Stories about 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Mahmud: May 3 — Indians Residing in Chicago Greet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Mahmud's Diary
May 3, 1912
Chicago, IL

From early morning friends and inquirers visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in twos and threes, all profusely offering their thanks and praise for the favors they had received from Him.

Today the members of an association of Indians residing in Chicago, who had previously attended ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s receptions, arrived as one body and after obtaining His permission, read Him an address of welcome:
From the Society of Indians Residing in Chicago to His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ‘Abbas. In the Name of God!

We, the members of the Society of Indians Residing in Chicago welcome you to this country. The Cause that has brought your Excellency to this country is most surely a source of honor and grace to us. Asia has always been the dawning-place of religions: Muhammad, Christ, Buddha and Confucius were born in that enlightened continent; and we confidently believe that at this time, too, Asia will again usher in the universal principles of accord. The Bahá’í Cause, like the Cause of the Buddha, will be a source of uniting nations and will be a fulfillment of the teachings of our forefathers. Although Asia presently is in a state of backwardness, we console ourselves with the thought that although we are lacking in material progress, yet, concerning spirituality, we are the pride of the world.

We feel happy when we realize that through your Excellency, the means for the acquisition of Western arts and sciences will become available for those in the East and that the youth of Persia will come to these parts to acquire material knowledge and broaden their thinking and will return to their homes to benefit their brothers and sisters in the East on the road to progress.

Further, we believe that our country, India, will greatly benefit from a visit from your Excellency. The lack of unity between the Hindus and Muslims has kept them in the utmost contention and strife. As your Excellency’s teachings are very much like the teachings of our religious leaders, they will undoubtedly unite them and make these contending nations one. We are certain that you will receive the same warmth and honor in India as here in America.

We pray to God to give your Excellency long life so that you may be enabled to convey your message to all mankind.

We are, most beloved Master, your sincere friends, the members of the Society of Indians Residing in Chicago.”

More people gathered, forming a large group. The Master gave a public talk at the hotel on the gradual weakening of man’s physical and material powers and the effect on man of divine civilization and spiritual education. All were struck with the charm of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s expression and the power of His argument. They openly expressed their conviction that the true salvation of the world of humanity lay in following the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. The address by the Society of Indians and the testimony of others are examples for the fair-minded of the degree of attachment and attraction of the people, just as ‘a drop expresses oceans’.

In the evening the Bahá’ís consulted. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sent us there and later joined us. He spoke briefly to the meeting but on the subject of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, the Master said, ‘I will not discuss this matter. It is the business of the consultative assembly.’ Later He added: ‘If I were to speak about the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, it would have to be built at once.’

In the early evening ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a very eloquent and impressive address for the Theosophical Society, which fascinated the audience, especially the members of the society.

Some of the friends had asked whether they could take photographs of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Several photographs were therefore taken in the park across from the hotel by Mr and Mrs Killius, two of the devoted believers. In one of the photographs ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is standing with a flower in His hand. In another He is with His entourage and in the third He is standing among the believers. Although photographs of the Master had been taken in other cities, these are better and more lifelike.