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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 31, 1912

Several of these photos were taken in Dublin,
one with His hand upturned. He seems
to be so happy in Dublin! 
Dublin: Day 7 of 23; Henderson Summer School (Camp), but date discrepancy

Mahmud wrote: " In the morning the Master went to the summer school that had been established by Mr Henderson 20 years ago. It is located some 25 miles from Dublin and classes are held in tents in a clear, open field. As soon as `Abdu'l-Bahá's automobile arrived, the students, between the ages of 12 and 18, surrounded it and enthusiastically welcomed Him. They wore uniforms with knickerbockers and moved about busily but courteously. The headmaster then took `Abdu'l-Bahá to the school hall and remained standing while the Master spoke to the students and teachers, praising the school and the good manners of its students. Later He visited each of the student's tents. Some of the children had cameras and requested permission to take the Master's photograph. Dr Henderson said that when he had established the school 20 years ago there was not a summer school in the whole of America and now there are hundreds of them. `Abdu'l-Bahá remarked: `Everything praiseworthy spreads rapidly. But the children must first be taught religion so that they may be sincere and trustworthy.'
After tea and refreshments, the pupils requested permission from the Master to show Him their gymnastic exercises. The Master remained there a long while and spoke at length about education. When it was time to leave, the headmaster and school staff expressed their heartfelt gratitude to `Abdu'l-Bahá.
At the public meeting in the afternoon at Mr and Mrs Parsons's home, the Master spoke on spirituality and eternal happiness."

But there is a note: "It is possible that the events described as taking place on this date took place at some other time, as Joseph Hannen had provided transcripts of two talks `Abdu'l-Bahá gave in Dublin, one `at `Abdu'l-Bahá's house, Dublin, Wednesday morning, July 31st' and the other `at 9:30 a.m., July 31st, `Abdu'l-Bahá, on the veranda of His house'. (Star of the West, vol. 3, no. 11, pp. 4-6.) See also the entry in the diary of Agnes Parsons for Wednesday, July 31. (Hollinger, Agnes Parsons' Diary, pp. 85-8.) Mrs Parsons's diary suggests that the date of the visit to the summer school was August 1; however, there are two entries for August 1 in her diary (pp. 88-91).

Agnes Parsons says that the Master came to her house around 10 am and they had lunch with Mrs. Ford, Dr. Fareed, Mr. Latimer, and Jeffrey (her husband).  She expressed the wish that all He said had been written down. "I told Him that many people objected to having 'obey' in the marriage service among the promises made by the woman. He answered that it should not be there, as God intended the man & the woman to be one and the use of the word obey assumes two. He was profound, joyous, amusing!"
Photo with upturned hand
Can't you imagine this little interchange? Agnes goes on to describe how Mr. Hannen came to say goodbye, as he had to catch his train, and then left with this face "showing the great love he feels for Abdu'l-Baha." After the Master had a rest, Agnes says, believers assembled, and a beautiful address was given.  She asked him to shake the hands of some of the guests in the drawing room, and He did so, then re-joined other guests in the dining room.  He then walked in the "bird cage" (see earlier reference), speaking to them of more interesting things, and they they came in and had dinner.  When He was ready to go home, "He did not wish to drive, so a lantern was brought."

So--whether Mahmud's date or Agnes' date is correct, interesting things were going on in Dublin. 


  1. So I DID see a real picture with the hands upturned? And couldn't find it again?

  2. I think there are several photos taken on the same day of the Master in Dublin. I do believe, rather strongly, that one has an upturned hand. Will do more research to find it!