Message of Universal Religion Brought by Persian M [text missing]
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Abbas Effendi — “The Servant of God” — a venerable old man, son of a Persian noble man, and the prophet of universal brotherhood and love, is in Denver, spreading the doctrine of the Bahá’ís.
A dignified old man with a flowing white beard and dressed in the pure white draperies of his native land, his wrinkled face beaming with kindness and charity — this is the head of a new religion, a faith which would do away with the strife of creeds and the wars of nations.
Perhaps it is not a new creed, for it teaches what men have long felt — that at the bottom of every religion there lies a foundation which is the same — but so enthusiastic is the venerable patriarch that the truths falling from his lips have a ring which is strange.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá is not the prophet of creeds; he does not seek to establish a new faith. His aim is a broader one. Its object is no less than to make every creed as one. He teaches the brotherhood of men, the universal scope of the love of God.
He does not pretend to be the Messiah or a prophet of God. In his native language his name signifies “The Servant of God.”
“I am not a prophet. I am a servant of God. You also are a servant of God.” This is the way he states his mission, taking care that you do not think him placing himself above you. He wants everyone to think of him as a brother.
Faithful to his doctrine that deeds and not words comprise the real service of God, he greets everyone with the utmost kindness. Perhaps he has been interrupted in the midst of his speaking, but as you enter his room he greets you with a smile and rises to shake hands. Through his interpreter he asks the health of his visitor and if he is happy. On receiving an affirmative answer his face gleams with gladness — and no one ever has the heart to tell this old man that he is not happy.
Since he was a lad 9 years of age ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has been a prisoner of the Turkish government, persecuted but never relaxing in his zeal, winning his guards to him by his gentleness, that he might spread his doctrine of love outside the walls of his prison. When the young Turks revolted in 1908 he was liberated and since that time he has been touring Europe and Egypt. Recently he came to America to continue his teachings.
The Bahá’í movement had its beginning in Persia in 1844, when a young merchant declared himself to be the Iman Mahdi, the one whom the Moslems believe will appear on earth to establish peace and the unity of the human race.
His teachings soon spread and the new faith incurred the hatred of the Turkish government. Over 20 000 converts to the faith were put to death, among them the young merchant.
One of his disciples took up the work and called himself Bahá’u’lláh, “The Glory of God.” He was the father of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and when he died in prison in 1892 his son took up the work.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not urge his followers to give up their different faiths. He teaches that through the principles of his teachings they can become better Christians, stronger Buddhists and more faithful Moslems. But all the time their differences will grow smaller and soon they will be brothers of one faith, striving for one end - universal peace and the brotherhood of men.
‘Abdul believes that labor will be dignified through this love and that the working classes and the employers will reach one plane. He believes that strife will cease and that an eternal peace with happiness and content will succeed it.
In speaking of America, its possibilities and its needs, he said today:
“The country of America is a good country. From every stand point there is natural happiness and prosperity for the people. It is a vast and spacious continent; it is a continent overflowing with the blessings of God; it is a continent in which you find all the blessings. It is a continent in which freedom finds its highest fruitage and is one of happiness and comfort.
“But it is in need of the influence of Divine civilization. It needs the splendors of the sun of reality. It is in need of spiritual culture and education. It is in need of virtues and ideals. It is in need of the effulgencies of the kingdom of God so that the people may become reinforced in the interest of universal peace, so that they may become able to serve humanity, so that they may cause the spirit of progress to spread through the human world.
“The lights may shine, the hearts become illuminated, and the virtues of the human world be revealed through this.”
Tonight he will speak at the Second Church of Christ, 38th ave. and Perry. He is staying at the Shirley hotel and tomorrow night the management has consented to throw open the lower floor to him that he may address his followers.
BAHA ON EQUAL SUFFRAGE
“If equal education is granted to women and if they are raised to the high state of education of men and if they advance to have equal rights with men in all human affairs — as universal suffrage — they will be able to serve international peace extraordinarily.
“Young men go to war trained by women. Women educate them in early youth and for 20 years go through the greatest vicissitudes to educate their youths.
“Women will not give consent to warfare and suffer their children to go upon the battle field. The son is very beloved by his mother. She will never consent to have her son taken to be killed.
“When women receive the right to vote on all problems there is no doubt that they will strive to take away warfare.”]