From the East
Several of the magazines are printing photographs of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and are paying some attention to his visit at this time to the United States. He is described by one of them as a man of loving kindness, spiritual breadth and physical frailty. Perhaps his slender store of bodily strength is due to the fact that for forty years he was a prisoner in Persia, his father having died there and his grandfather having been executed. His reception in America has been a compliment to Americans themselves for their gentle courtesy toward the eastern teacher. In New York he occupied the pulpit of one of the largest Episcopal churches and in introducing him its pastor said that his strange gray brother from the Orient teaches the fundamental unity of all religions. When he spoke the Bahá said that the bond which can unite all the human race and make for the progress of the world is the love of God, and that it is this oneness of reality which will overcome all the lesser forces in life and give the world of existence a true maturity. It is his vision that when this is the common consciousness of all people there can be no more hate or war. It will end all superstitions and dogmas, he says, when the essential reality underlying all religions and revealed by all the prophets is known to be the same in its essence. It is quite possible that Abul Bahá speaks far better for himself than others have spoken for him, and that his visit to America will be a help to the people here in a general way, regardless of its effect on the Bahá’í movement. It is likely, too, that the practical application of this movement belongs more properly toward unifying the many sects of the Orient, but the unity of religious doctrine and purpose is a consummation to be striven for in all places.
The divine manifestations of God are all founded upon fellowship. The religion of God is the cause of love, but if it be the cause of enmity and strife, surely its non-existence is better than its existence, because then it is a catastrophy in the human world. In the Orient various nations were in a state of discord. Darkness had encompassed all nations. When He appeared He removed all imitations and laid the foundation of the one religion of God. When the imitations were dispelled, the Mussulman, the Christian, the Jew and the Buddist were united, and they have become revivified through the breath of the Holy Spirit. Praise be to God, this love has come forth from the East, and eventually there shall be no discord and enmity in the East. Through the power of Bahá, all will be united. When he was the subject of banishment he wrote to all the kings, summoning them to international peace. He made it incumbent on them to call a board of arbitration for all international disputes. I was in prison forty years until the Young Turk and the Committee of Union and Progress proclaimed liberty. Were it not for these, I should have been in prison to the end of my life.