Monday, February 05, 2007

Master in California, II

Master in California, II

By John Taylor; 2007 Feb 05

As promised, here are sections scanned from that unique record of the early years of the Baha'i Faith in America, the Star of the West. We are now covering the Master's time in California. Here are the topic titles:

Abdu'l-Baha, the Baha'i Prophet, Speaks at Stanford University

Abdu'l-Baha at the Grave of Thornton Chase

Howard MacNutt's Tribute to Thornton Chase

"The Brilliant Proof" By Mirza Abul Fazl

Introductory to the Address by Abdu'l-Baha at Leland Stanford Jr. University, Palo Alto, California

Introductory to the Address by Abdu'l-Baha Abbas before Congregation Emmanu-El (Martin A. Meyer, Rabbi)

The first is a report about the events and circumstances of the Master's talk at the main school in California at the time, Stanford. The second reports the Master's visit to Thornton Chase's grave, instituting an annual commemoration there -- I cannot think of such an honor being given by him to anybody, even Thomas Breakwell. He instituted an annual picnic in New Jersey, but that was in honor of unity and no particular individual. His eulogy is truly inspiring, one of his greatest speeches in my opinion.

Then in the next article the editor of Promulgation gives his two cents worth on Chase.

Next comes one of the most amazing things, when you think of it, an advertisement written by the head of a major world religion. If you haven't read that defense of the Faith by Mirza Abu'l Fazl, don't you think you had better? It had currency then the "Brilliant Proof" was written to answer an attack by Christian clergy, who were reacting to the Master's words in London earlier on in His journeys. But in view of what He says, it still has currency for those interested in defending the Faith.

Finally I include the introductory addresses to the two most important talks the Master gave "out west," the one at Stanford and his address to a Jewish congregation. These intros are not to be found in Promulgation.

Abdu'l-Baha, the Baha'i Prophet, Speaks at Stanford University

SW Vol III No. 13, p. 13

A great assembly of students and teachers crowd the auditorium to hear the Baha’i Prophet of Persia expound the doctrine of a new day for Universal Brotherhood, International Peace and Religious Unity. Oriental Savant with Entourage of Twenty-nine Persons spent the day at Stanford University and are Entertained in Palo Alto.  [From "The Palo Altan"]

A crowded Assembly Hall, holding nearly two thousand people, awaited with eager expectancy the appearance last Tuesday morning of Abdu'l-Baha, Abbas Effendi, the world leader of the Baha'i movement. The venerable prophet, with his long gray beard and Persian cloak and turban, gave a true impression of the reincarnation of a Far Eastern prophet of old. He spoke in Persian, and his remarks were translated by Dr. Ameen Fareed, a graduate of the University of Illinois and also of Johns Hopkins University.

Abdul-Baha is revolutionizing the religion of Asia, bringing Mohammedans, Jews and Christians together on the basis of the laws of Moses, which they all ratify. He already has a vast host of followers and has aroused great interest by his present tour of America and England.

A pilgrimage through England and America undertaken by Abdul-Baha has created great interest in the Baha'i movement. The knowledge of this movement has been brought home to thousands of people who are willing and eager to spread its beneficent teachings. On this far western shore of America the seeds of peace and welfare find fertile ground and abundant fruitage. At Stanford there is a keen interest taken in International Peace on account of the prominent part taken by Dr. Jordan, one of the trustees of the Carnegie Peace Endowment.

After the address at the university some time was spent by the party in viewing the campus buildings and surroundings. In the evening another large assemblage gathered at the Unitarian Church in Palo Alto to hear the message to the church, as the morning sermon had been addressed to the men of science. As before, the sermon was translated sentence by sentence by Dr. Fareed as uttered by the speaker. The venerable prophet was followed with close attention by the large audience of men and women present.

It seemed to be a notable day when Abdul-Baha from the far country of the Orient met Dr. David Starr Jordan of the far western shore, both carrying the standard of international peace and universal brotherhood. It was Persia, the oldest nation of the world, indeed the fabled country of the Garden of Eden and birthplace of the human race, bringing a message to America, the youngest great nation of the world.

"For there is neither East nor West,

Border nor Breed nor Birth,

When two strong men stand face to face,

Though they come from the ends of the earth."

Abdu'l-Baha carries the message of religion and Doctor Jordan carries the message of science, both aiming for one great result. As all men are the children of one God, so are they all brothers, and we are at the dawning of a new day when the relationship of world fraternity will be seen and recognized.

The prophets of Israel, Moses, Elijah and Christ, are firmly established in the heart and mind of humanity as great teachers who delivered the message of God to the world. They lived and taught in one small country, never getting far away from the place of their nativity. In the case of Moses, who led the children of Israel up out of Egypt to Canaan, a notable journey in its day, would be a slight migration in the modern sense of people accustomed to traverse the globe. Our Savior lived and taught only in Palestine. Yet with all the differences which come in the stretch of two thousand years, one feels in the presence of Abdul-Baha that he is a living embodiment of the old patriarchs and prophets. He has accomplished a great journey from the far East to the far West. Yet he was known before he came, and he will be long remembered.

In connection with these discourses, the wonderful skill and felicitous expression of the translator, Dr. Ameen Ullah Fareed, should not go unrecognized. To his ready learning is indebted the ability to fully appreciate the beauties of the discourses. They have been faithfully transcribed by the stenographer, Miss Bijou Straun.

The day, according to the wisdom of Solomon, is divided into three parts, whereof a part is for labor, a part for refreshment, and a part for repose. As fitting to follow the labor of a busy day, the company and a few guests enjoyed the hospitality of Mrs. I. C. Merriman at the home of her daughter on Waverley street. An evening of profitable am] delightful discussion of the Baha'i movement was followed by the serving of a sumptuous dinner at which all the appointments of refinement and good taste pervaded. Mrs. Merriman has taken a deep interest in the work of true benevolence best typified in the teachings of this universal religion and it was a pleasure to gather around her hospitable board on this occasion. The company remained over night and the next morning returned to San Francisco.

Abdu'l-Baha at the Grave of Thornton Chase


SW Vol III No. 13, p. 14-15

Abdu'l-Baha, in speaking of Mr. Chase, told the friends in San Francisco and Los Angeles to annually visit the grave of Mr. Chase, to pray and have a meeting there and detail his earnest endeavors, service and great love for the Cause. Abdul-Baha said that Mr. Chase's station was not known while he was alive but in the future years it will be known. Among the friends are many whose stations are not known while alive, but after their death, in the course of time their station becomes manifest. Annually the friends will visit the grave of Mr. Chase on the day Abdul-Baha visited it.

Upon our arrival in San Francisco, Oct. 4, 1912, when one of the Baha'is gave the news of the departure of Mr. Chase, Abdul-Baha said:

"This revered personage was the first Baha'i in America. He served the Cause faithfully and his services will ever be remembered throughout future ages and cycles. He has written many books in this Cause and they will be studied carefully by the coming generations. He traveled once to Acca and there we associated with each other for several days. Indeed he became free from the troubles of this world. No matter how long he might have remained here, he would have met nothing else but trouble.

The purpose of life is to get certain results; that is, the life of man must bring forth certain fruitage. It does not depend upon the length of life. As soon as the life is crowned with fruition then it is completed, although that person may have had a short life. There are certain trees which come to fruition very quickly, but there are other trees which attain to fruition very late; the aim is fruit. If the tree brings forth its fruit young, its life is short; it is praiseworthy. How regretful it is that a man may live a long life and yet his life may not be crowned with success, like unto the cypress tree which does not give any fruitage.

Praise be to God! the tree of Mr. Chase's life brought forth fruit. It gave complete fruit, therefore he is free. He attained to eternal rest. He is now in the Presence of Baha'u'llah. His Holiness Jesus Christ lived only thirty-three years, but the world is filled with the fruits of his life. Others have lived a hundred years, with no result and no fruitage from their lives.

There was a rabbi in Tiberius who lived 120 years, but the tree of his life was fruitless. He had great enmity against Jesus Christ. He often used to argue: 'The ephemeral life is subject to many trials and vicissitudes; there is no enjoyment in it.' The life of Mr. Chase was spiritual in character; his services will ever be remembered and he has already attained to the desire of his heart."

On Saturday, Oct. 19th, at 1 p. m., Abdu'l-Baha and about twenty-five Baha’is of Los Angeles arrived at the cemetery Inglewood. The place is charming, the meadows are green and there are many trees. Abdu'l-Baha silently walked ahead of the friends and he was followed reverently by them. There are many flower beds and the fragrance thereof reached the nostrils. Most of the friends carried bouquets of flowers in their hands. After arriving at the grave, Abdu'l-Baha scattered his flowers and then one after another of the friends gave him their bouquets and he divided them and scattered them over the grave. Then Abdu'l-Baha, standing at the head of the grave and raising his hands toward heaven, uttered the following prayer:


O my God! O my God! Verily, this is a servant of Thine, who did believe on Thee and in Thy signs; verily he hearkened to Thy summons, turned to Thy Kingdom, humbled himself at Thy holy threshold, was possessed of a contrite heart, arose to serve Thy cause, to spread Thy fragrances, to promote Thy word, and to expound Thy wisdom.

Verily he guided the people to Thine ancient pathway, and led them to Thy way of rectitude. Verily he held the chalice of guidance in his right hand and gave unto those athirst to drink of the cup of favor. He presented himself at Thy lofty threshold, where he laid his brow on the fragrant soil of Thy garden and circumambulated Thy all-glorious and sublime abode, the traces of which are wide-spread and the fragrances of whose loyalty are sensed everywhere. Later he returned to these vast and extensive countries and proclaimed Thy Name amongst the people, until his respiration ceased and his outward sensation was suspended, returning to Thee with a heart throbbing with Thy love and with an eye opened to Thy direction.

O Lord! O Lord! Submerge him in the ocean of Thy glory. O Lord! O Lord! Usher him into Thy delectable garden. O Lord! O Lord! Usher him into Thy lofty paradise and cause him to be present in Thy meeting of transfiguration. O Lord! Submerge him in the ocean of Thy lights.

Verily, Thou art the Clement! Verily, Thou are the Merciful, the Precious, the Omnipotent!

Then after the prayer he spoke as follows:

"Mr. Chase was of the blessed souls. The best time of his life was spent in the path of God. He had no other aim except the good pleasure of the Lord and no other desire except the attainment to the Kingdom of God. During his lifetime he bore many trials and vicissitudes, but he was very patient and longsuffering. He had a heart most illuminated, a spirit most rejoiced; his hope was to serve the world of humanity; during the days of his life he strove as much as he could -- he never failed -- until he witnessed the lights of the Kingdom of Abha, and he was guided by the lights of Guidance. He summoned the people to the religion of God; he suffered them to enter into the Kingdom of God; he wrote books and epistles regarding the proofs and evidences of the Manifestations of Baha'u'llah. In reality he has left behind him certain signs which will never be forgotten throughout ages and cycles. In reality this personage was worthy of respect. This personage is worthy of having the friends visit his grave. The traces of this personage will ever shine. This is a personage who will not be forgotten. For the present his worth is not known but in the future it wiII be inestimably dear. His sun will ever be shining, his stars will ever bestow the light. The people will honor this grave. Therefore, the friends of God must visit this grave and on my behalf bring flowers and seek the sublimity of the spiritual station for him and have the utmost consideration for the members of his family. This personage will not be forgotten."

Mirza Ahmad Sohrab.

Tribute to Thornton Chase from Brooklyn, NY

SW Vol III No. 13, p. 15-6

The report of the illness of Brother Chase reached us after his spirit had ascended to the Supreme Concourse. Not aware of his departure, a number of the friends met at 935 Eastern Parkway to pray for the descent of the Divine Confirmations upon this blessed and faithful servant of the Heavenly Kingdom. It was a holy gathering, sanctified as we now know by the spirit of the attained one, forever free from the prison of the mortal body. Truly the benediction of his life, words and works haloed the meeting. Verily his spirit is still moving, his voice still upraised in the Cause of God.

On October 16th, the Nineteen Day Feast of Ilm was celebrated at the same Baha'i home. Fifty of the heavenly companions were present and services commemorating the beloved brother were held. Tablets of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha were read and the invocation from Kitab-el-Akdas offered in behalf of the attained one.

The readings included the Tablet written by Abdu'l-Baha in memory of another brother:

"O Beloved! O Faithful Brother! Where is thy beautiful face? Where is thy eloquent speech? Where is thy serene brow? Where is thy radiant beauty? Where is thy flame enkindled by the Fire of the Love of God? Where is thy attraction to the Perfumes of God? Where is thy discourse in praise of God? Where is thy determination to serve in the Cause of God? Where are thy beautiful eyes? Where are thy smiling lips? Where is thy noble countenance ? Where is thy graceful form? Thou hast abandoned the human world and ascended to the Kingdom. Thou hast attained to the Divine Grace. Thou hast reached the Threshold of the Lord of the Celestial Kingdom. Thou hast abandoned the bodily lamp, the mortal garment, the earthly elements and the life of this world. Thou hast kindled thy flame in the Lamp of the Supreme Concourse and thou hast entered the Paradise of El-Abha. Thou hast taken shelter in the shadow of the Tree of Life and attained the Meeting with God in the Abode of Paradise. Thou wert a divine bird which has forsaken its mortal nest. Thou hast flown to the nest of the Divine Kingdom and attained thy brilliant station. Thou hast already sung verses of the Mercy of the Lord the Clement.

Thou art a grateful servant, and thou entered into the joy of thy Lord. Verily the Lord hath chosen thee for His Love ;- guided thee to the side of His Holiness, caused thee to enter into the Garden of His Nearness and permitted thee to behold His Beauty. Thou hast laid hold of Eternal Life and attained Everlasting Well-Being, -- to the Good-Pleasure of God, -- to His Delight -- and His All-Sufficient Favor. Thou hast become a star in Highest Horizon, a light among the Angels of Heaven, and a living soul in the Exalted World, resting upon the Throne of Immortality. I ask God to enable thee to attain His Nearness and His Union ;- to rejoice thee by His Presence ;- to increase thy brightness and thy beauty ;- to grant thee honor and glory. We remember thee continually and never forget thee. We pray for thee night and day. We see thee in the Supreme Horizon of El-Abha!

"O Beloved! O Faithful Brother!"

Howard MacNutt.

"The Brilliant Proof" By Mirza Abul Fazl

(advertisement for this book in SW Vol III No. 13, p. 16)

Recently Abdul-Baha said:

"Consider the times of the past: Regard for instance the days of His Holiness Christ and days subsequent thereto. How many were the libelous things attributed to Him! How many were the utterances in the Temples against Him! How many titles were given unto Him, they gave the title Beelzebub-Satan! They did not say 'Jesus;' they used the word 'Beelzebub.' 'Beelzebub was captured! Beelzebub was paraded through the streets! Beelzebub was crucified!' they said .... But remember that these did not affect the Cause of Christianity; nay, rather, It advanced daily in power and potency, in splendor and effulgence. Therefore, my purpose is to warn you against accusations, certain criticisms, certain revilings in articles in the newspapers. Do not worry; they are the very cause of confirming the Cause, of uplifting the Movement .... A great confusion will take place in the churches ... Some ministers will arise saying the Bahais are misguided. That is the day the Cause is going to spread.

"My purpose is this: That his honor Mirza Abul Fazl has written a treatise answering the criticisms of a London preacher. It is published in Chicago; each one of you should have a copy of that book, and read, memorize and ponder over it. Then when anybody advances any accusations or criticisms, you will be well armed."

Introductory to the Address by Abdu'l-Baha at Leland Stanford Jr. University, Palo Alto, California

SW, Vol. 3, No. 12, p. 10

October 8 1912, 10:15 a. m.

Translated by Dr. Ameen 15. Fareed; stenographically reported by Miss Bijou Sraun.

Introductory Remarks By President David Starr Jordan.

It is our portion to have with us, through the courtesy of our Persian friends, one of the great religious teachers of the world, one of the natural successors of the old Hebrew prophets.

He is said sometimes to be the founder of a new religion. He has upwards of three millions of people following along the lines in which he leads. It is not exactly a new religion, however. The religion of brotherhood, of goodwill, of friendship between men and nations -- this is as old as good thinking and good living may be. It may be said in some sense to be the oldest of religions.

He will speak in Persian. He will be translated by Dr. Ameen U. Fareed, a graduate of the University of Illinois and also of Johns Hopkins University.

I have now the great pleasure, and the great honor also, of presenting to you Abdul-Baha.

Introductory to the Address by Abdu'l-Baha Abbas before Congregation Emmanu-El (Martin A. Meyer, Rabbi)

Introduction by Rabbi Meyer. SW Vol III No. 13, p. 3

Brethren of the Congregation Emmanu-El: It is our privilege and a very high privilege indeed to welcome in our midst this morning Abdul-Baha, a great teacher of our age and generation.

The heart of the Orient seems to be essentially religious, whatever else it might be or might not be, and now and again, out of the heart of the Orient the fundamental religious message of the world is stated and restated. Abdul-Baha is the representative of one of the religious systems of life, and it appeals to us Jews because we Jews feel that we have fathered that ideal throughout the centuries of men.

This morning he will speak in his native tongue through his interpreter Dr. Fareed, on "The Fundamental Unity of Religious Thought," and I know that what he will say will be of significance to us. We thank him in advance for the message and for consenting to address us at this service this morning.


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