Who was `Abdu'l-Bahá, and why did He come to the West?

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 1912 Curing chronic diseases

Cincinnati: a vision of the cure for the chronic diseases of the nations; departure for Washington, DC
Grand Hotel, Cincinnati
Mahmud writes: "Early in the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá called His attentive lovers to Him and bestowed kindness on everyone. Several representatives of the press came to see Him and recorded His words about the history of the Cause and the teachings of the Abhá Beauty. Their reports appeared in various newspapers and publications.
Although the Master had planned to leave in the morning, the crowd of seekers and the attraction of the friends caused Him to prolong His stay until noon. Today He spoke about the Universal House of Justice and the International Parliament of man, where representatives from all the parliaments of the world will resolve conflicts between nations, such as that in the Balkans. This organization will cure the chronic diseases of the nations.
He then gave an account of how Constantine embraced Christianity and came under the shelter of Christ. He said, `Although he wore a crown as a monarch, yet he had to offer his all to the Son of Mary.' He spoke at length on such topics until He was tired. Then the friends invited Him for a drive through the public parks.
At noon the Master left for Washington DC. At the time of departure, the friends were happy as they recalled their visit and reunion with Him but wept because of His departure from their midst. These opposites, happiness and sorrow, like heat and cold, were both felt and seen.
A few stations beyond Cincinnati, a doctor sitting near the Master asked permission to speak with Him and inquired about the object of His journey. The Master said to the doctor:
My aim is to create harmony and concord among the different groups and to eradicate prejudice, hatred and enmity so that the peoples and nations of the world may become brothers and well-wishers of mankind and not engage in wars and massacres, and that catastrophes such as that in the Balkans with their bloodshed and annihilation of families may not occur again. Until such events cease, humanity will find no rest, the tabernacle of universal peace will not be raised and the oneness of the world of man will not be realized. We are all the flock of God, members of the same human race and the creatures of one Creator. God is kind to all and His bounties are equally bestowed upon all.
Sixty years ago Bahá'u'lláh instituted the foundations of such teachings in Persia. He advocated the establishment of universal peace and the oneness of humanity. The Sháh of Persia and the Sultán of Turkey threw us into prison. They killed twenty thousand of us hoping that this Cause would be annihilated and that these teachings of Bahá'u'lláh would be forgotten. But in spite of these obstacles the religion of Bahá'u'lláh progressed day by day. Then there was a revolution and the constitution wasnestablished and I was set free.  Leaving the prison of `Akká, I traveled to countries in Africa, Europe and America, called people to these blessed teachings and invited nations and religions to the oneness of the foundation of all religions and the abandonment of prejudices, wars, dogmatic imitations and superstitions.
The doctor was delighted and very impressed by the Master's words and thanked Him sincerely. The Master replied:
I, too, am very pleased to make your acquaintance. I, a Persian, am delighted to meet an eminent Westerner like you in utmost harmony and fellowship. This meeting of ours is an example of the joining of the East and the West.
In the afternoon Washington was again blessed by the arrival of the Master. The friends eagerly hastened to meet Him and accompanied Him to a house rented especially for Him. In the evening great numbers of friends gathered around Him like moths around a brilliant candle. The Master spoke about His journey to California, the influence of the Word of God and the devotion of the friends to the Abhá Beauty."
lobby, Grand Hotel
Here's Rob Stockman's account of the Cincinnati visit (from his new book): 
CINCINNATI, OCTOBER 4-5, 1912    Before leaving Chicago, `Abdu'l-Bahá sent a telegram saying He could stay in Cincinnati only one night. He arrived that evening, Monday, November 4, two or three hours before an 8 p. m. public meeting at the Grand Hotel, attended by five hundred people.[1] He spoke about “the sovereignty and endless bounties of God” and concluded with “explanations of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh from the holy writings.” From the meeting, `Abdu'l-Bahá went to a banquet for Him, His entourage, and the Cincinnati Bahá'ís, a party of fifty altogether. He spoke to them and had informal conversations with individuals and groups late into the night. Not wanting to lose any time with their Master, forty local Bahá'ís stayed overnight at the hotel.
The next morning `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke about various subjects, including the Universal House of Justice, suggesting He discussed matters related to the covenant, even though He was in the city a short time. He gave one talk aimed at the public that was recorded in The Promulgation of Universal Peace. Noting that Cincinnati was the home of President Taft, He offered a “statement to the people of Cincinnati and America generally” about the “cause of peace.” He noted that “having traveled from coast to coast,” America had proved to be “vast and progressive, the government just and equitable, the nation noble and independent.” He spoke about Bahá'u'lláh’s teachings of international unity and the reconciliation of religions, and noted that in the Persian Bahá'í community, people of many religious backgrounds were living in harmony. He closed by calling America “the standard-bearer of peace throughout the world” and specifically mentioned Bahá'u'lláh’s teaching that “the parliaments of the world [should] . . . send their wisest and best men to an international peace conference which should decide all questions between the peoples and establish universal peace.”

[1] He probably took the Pennsylvania Railroad, leaving Chicago at 9:15 A.M. and passing through Logansport, Kokomo, Anderson, and Richmond, arriving in Cincinnati at 5:15 P.M.
Wonderful to think of the Master visiting another city in Ohio. And, ah, another visit to DC!  
One month left of this luminous journey. . . . 

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