New York: immersion in the sea of bounty . . . firmness in the Covenant
Mahmud writes: "The Master described for the friends His journey to California and His talks at the university and at gatherings in San Francisco. He said:
As they were delivered in scientific terms and with rational arguments, none could deny them and not a single voice was raised in opposition. In fact, in the gatherings like that at the university where one hundred and eighty professors and teachers and eighteen hundred students were present together with other notable people, if one had spoken using religious terminology and expressing religious opinions and imitations which are wholly contrary to science and reason, none would have paid any attention; rather, they would have scorned and mocked us.
One reason that people despair of the world of religion is this very matter of superstitions and imitations practiced by religious leaders. When intelligent and learned people see these imitations and customs as being contrary to reason and knowledge they forsake the divine religion and are not aware that these are idle fancies of the leaders and have nothing to do with divine principles. The foundations of divine religion do not negate sound reason and true science. The principles of divine religion do not contradict knowledge and insight, except for some principles and minutiae of the law which were given according to the exigencies of the time and age. Of course, the second or social laws suited to the Mosaic dispensation and useful for the Jewish people at that time are now purposeless and ineffective and seem futile, but they were pertinent and useful at the time.
with the Kinney family
Now, praise be to God, Bahá'u'lláh has solved these difficulties. All His teachings and laws are in keeping with the spirit of this age and the needs of the people. And greatest of all is the abandonment of religious superstitions and dogmas and the conformity of spiritual matters with scientific and rational arguments.
On Riverside Drive
`Abdu'l-Bahá spent the afternoon at the home of Mr Kinney. As was His daily custom, the Master went for a walk in the morning and afternoon in the gardens along the bank of the river on Riverside Drive.
His public talk at Mr Kinney's home concerned the immersion of the friends in the sea of bounty and favor. `Abdu'l-Bahá encouraged them to remain firm and constant in the Covenant of God. After the meeting another group came to visit. He also encouraged them to arise, teach and spread the fragrances of God and inspired them to render service to the world of humanity so that others might arise from among the friends, girding their loins to bring about unity and harmony among the nations.
When some of the friends requested that the verses of the holy writings and divine Tablets be translated into English, He said: `A committee consisting of experts in several languages is essential for the translation of the Sacred Writings.'
Several friends brought their children to Him. He took the little children in His arms and showered them with His kindness and affection. Among them was the little daughter of Mr Jones, who ran to the Master in all the meetings and did not wish to leave His side. She was always sad when she had to leave Him.
The Master spoke this evening on the importance of the friends striving to detach themselves from earthly passions and worldly desires and to remain aloof from the doubts of selfish persons who outwardly appear faithful but who are inwardly the cause of confusion to others. He gave a lengthy discourse on firmness in the Covenant of God, obedience to the Center of His Covenant, the unity of the believers, the afflictions and tribulations of the Abhá Beauty and the martyrdom of the Manifestations in order that unity and harmony might be brought to the nations of the world.
During this talk two large rooms at Mr Kinney's were filled to capacity. At first the Master sat on a chair between the two rooms but He later arose in a majestic and dignified manner, speaking with such forceful tones that everyone was delighted and full of admiration."
There seems to be a connection between immersion in the sea of bounty and firmness--two sides--the glory and the discipline, the flower and the root. Drawing closer to the Master, we see the need for both.