Link to Commemoration Acivities Page
Some of the Events that Happen
Each Day of Abdúl-Bahá's Visit
from August 30 to September 9th, 1912
Each Day of Abdúl-Bahá's Visit
from August 30 to September 9th, 1912
August 30th 1912
Abdúl-Bahá arrived at 8:00pm by railway coming from Boston. He was met by Sutherland Maxwell who had two carriages ready to take the Abdúl-Bahá and His companions to his residence at 31 Pine Street, Montreal. There a group of friends and a newspaper publisher were waiting to see Abdúl-Bahá. A pastor had telephone to ask Abdúl-Bahá to address his congregation the day after tommorrow and the editor of the newspaper said he would publish the announcement the next day.
August 31th 1912
In the morning, the pastor of the Unitarian church came with several others to visit Abdúl-Bahá. The Master (A title of Abdúl-Bahá that the Bahái's often refer to Him as) discussed with them the elimination of religious superstitions and prejudices, which are contrary to science and common sense and which are obstacles to the attainment of the foundation of truth of the divine religions. A newspaper reporter came to interview the Master about His life and the history of the cause.
In the afternoon Abdúl-Bahá went for a ride into town. While in the carriage He remarked:
"Every city in which the remembrance of God is raised is a divine city. Akká was a despised city but when it became the center of the mention of God and the dawning place of His Light, it illumined the world."
He pass several other buildings, colleges and churches and made similar enlightening comments!
In the evening there was a well attended meeting at Abdúl-Bahá's residence. He spoke with good effect, about spiritual progress and the manifestation of divine virtues in human realities.
September 01st 1912
In the morning, This day from the pulpit of the Unitarian Church Abdúl-Bahá gave an address. When the carriage arrived, the pastor, who had been waiting at the entrance, came forward, took Abdúl-Bahá's arm with the utmost reverence and courtesy led him to the pulpit and offered Him his own chair. The Master's address on the unity of humanity and the oneness of the Manifestations of God, together with an explanation of the new teachings, ws so enthusiastically recieved by the audience that it is difficult to describe adequately, especially the effect of the prayer He chanted.
A wonderful change came over the hearts of the people of the city and a new excitement was felt in the public meetinings. One person asserted that the only religion which was worthy to be acknowledged today was the Bahá'i religion while another thanked God that he was granted life to hear this great message.
In the afternoon a number of people of different nationalities, having obtained permission by telephone, came to visit Abdúl-Bahá's. Some of the Turks became so attracted to Him that they were continually to be found in His presence, both day and night.
In the evening a great multitude assembled to hear Abdúl-Bahá. He unfolded the mysteries of the evolution of humanity, the divine civilization and the new birth so impressively and with such majesty that His taj fell from His head and His hair tumbled down. As He left for His room, some asked for a private interview with Him. Everyone has a request to make and expressed his sincerity and humility and each recieved His bounties.
September 02nd 1912
After the morning prayer Mrs. Maxwell came to Abdúl-Bahá and said that the people were changing and becoming interested. Her neighbour, who had previously reproached her, was so enchanted after visiting Abdúl-Bahá that she telephoned to request that He visit her home. She also suggested that Abdúl-Bahá use her carriage every day. After the Master visited and encouraged this neighbour, He went to the Hotel Windsor and rented three rooms. On the way back to the Maxwell home, Abdúl-Bahá bought some valuable rings to give as gifts. A large number of people were waiting for Him and attained new spiritual heights and powers through His discourses.
At Lunch time the Master invited a number of people to the table, saying: 'Come! We are in Montreal, Canada, in this home, eating Persian rice which has been cooked by Mirzá Ahmad. This has a relish all its own; what a tale it makes! Continuing , He said:.
"To be grateful for the blessing of God in time of want and trouble is necessary. In the abundance of blessings everyone can be grateful. It is said that Sultán Mahmúd cut a melon and gave a portion to it to Ayáz who ate it cheerfully and expressed gratitude. When the Sultán ate a little of the same melon, he found it bitter. he asked, 'How did you eat such a bitter melon and show no sign of disliking it?' Ayáz answered, 'I had eaten many sweet and palatable things from the hands of the Sultán and I thought it very unworthy of me to express dislike on eating a slightly bitter thing today.' Thus man , who is immersed in the blessings of God, should not be grieved if he experiences a little trouble. He should not forget the manifold divine bounties."
Later in the afternoon, professors, clergy and press representatives came one after another to visit Abdúl-Bahá. The samovar was steaming and fruits and sweets were served to all. One of Abdúl-Bahá talks was this:
"Because of material civilization, industry has progressed and sciences and arts have burgeoned but at the same time weapons of war and bloodshed designed for the destruction of the edifice of humanity have multiplied and political problems have vastly increased. Hence, this material civilization cannot become the means of comfort and ease for all until it acquires spiritual power and the attributes of a divine civilization. Rather, the difficulties will increase and the troubles will multiply."
Abdúl-Bahá made many such important addresses and all who heard Him were eloquent in their praise and adoration of Him. Abdúl-Bahá spoke at the hotel on the inherent imperfection of the world of nature and its ultimate perfection through divine education. After the Master's talk each guest came to shake His hand and recieved His blessing yet when He went upstairs, the majority followed Him, especially the new seekers.
September 03rd 1912
The morning ws cloudy and rainy. As some professors and clergymen had come by to visit Abdúl-Bahá, He spoke to them on the relationship of human souls, universal peace and the harm caused by prejudices. His words were particularly enjoyed by the professor from the university and the ministers showed their humility. After giving a detailed description of the teachings of the Supreme Pen, He said:
" This is the purpose of the people of Bahá. Would you not like to serve such an ideal? I would hope you will put forth effort in this direction so that the world of men may find real unity, become released from prejudice and be freed from war and bloodshed. Our efforts are for this. Bahá'u'lláh has opened a broad vista to humanity. For instance, when the people of different religions, races and nations were reviling each other, He addressed the people of the world saying, 'O people! Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch."
During the afternoon, while cheering the friends, He also attended to mail and read petitions from the friends of the East and the West. At one moment Abdúl-Bahá was answering important questions and the next He was dictating words conducive to the betterment of the social status of women and their confirmation in the Kingdom of God. When the guests had left and the Master was completely exhausted, He went out alone for a walk to refresh Himself.
That evening He spoke to a meeting of the Socialist Club with majesty and dignity. The president introduced the Master in the most glowing terms, concluding, 'Now, 'Abdúl-Bahá will teach us the principles of brotherhood, prosperity and the upliftment of the poor.' The meeting continued to such a late hour that the audience itself began to realize that to continue would not only be impolite but might also be injurious to Abdúl-Bahá's health. As the Master moved towards His carriage, the people surrounded Him, demonstrating their heartfelt reverence and humility.
September 04th 1912
In the morning an account of the Master's talk at the Socialist Club and its influence was published in glowing terms in the newspapers. The force of His explanations and the persuasiveness of His proofs were the talk of the day. The Friends told the Master how happy they were to see the extent to which the Cause of God had penetrated the hearts. 'Abdúl-Bahá said in reply:
" The greatness of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh will be known when they are acted upon and practiced. Not one of a hundred has as yet come into force. All of your thoughts should be turned towards bringing these blessed teaching into practice."
In the afternoon, for a change of routine, Abdúl-Bahá took the elevator down from the seventh floor and went for an automobile ride to the foot of a mountain outside the city limits. It has a cable car, which took the Master and His companions up the mountain. While at the top of the mountain, translations of other accounts of the meetings that had been published in the evening newspapers were read to Him. Suddenly He cried out:
"O Bahá'u'lláh! May I be a sacrifice for Thee. O Bahá'u'lláh! may my life be offered up for Thee. Thou hast spoken the Word which cannot be refuted. What a wonderful Cause Thou hast founded! It satisfies every assemblage! Each group testifies to its greatness. In the churches it shakes the souls; it excites the Theosophists; it imparts spirituality to the spiritualists; it makes the socialists contented and grateful and inspires joy and happiness in the peace meetings. There is no refuge for any denomination except in submission to it. It is a miracle! It is the greatest force in the world of existence. This is all through the assistance of the Blessed Beauty. If healing the lame and crippled is a miracle, it can also be produced by a dose of medicine. This is no great achievement."
At a meeting in the evening at Mrs. Maxwell's home, 'Abdúl-Bahá gave an address on spiritual brotherhood and the economic principles upheld by the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh which will be the cause of the salvation, prosperity and liberation of the nations of the world. This meeting was very special because the master's talk was so influential. The audience was invited to light refreshments of sweets and beverages.
September 05th 1912
The bishop of Montreal came to visit the Master to express his admiration and graditude for the Master's address concerning the purpose of the appearence of Christ and the other Manifestations. The editor of an illustrated Toronto magazine was announced . He happily recorded a detail account of the history and teaching of the Bahá'i Cause. Another visitor was a Jewish rabbi who became very enthusiastic when he heard the Master's explanations. One of Ábdúl-Bahá's talks today was this:
" The degree to which these different denominations testify to the greatness of the Cause of God has never been seen in past history. Even socialists say that although so many philosophers have written books on economic questions, the Bahá'i Cause has the solution."
When we arrived at the Methodist Church in the evening, we saw an electric illumined sign reading: 'This evening the Prophet of the East will speak on the principles of the Bahá'i Faith and the salvation of the world of humanity.' The Master said, 'So, people are calling me a prophet. Oh, would that they has omitted that word!' The Master stood before the audience and spoke about the continuity of the Divine Bounties, the power and majesty of the Kingdom of God and these wonderful teachings. A judge named Mr. Riger said, 'We will never forget His message. There is no doubt taht these teachings of universal peace, the oneness of humanity and the distribution of wealth are in complete accord with the principles of economic law, the equality of rights and the adoption of one universal language. These are the basic principles for the progress of the world of humanity.' The Master then chanted a prayer and publicly thanked the judge. Of particular note was the judge, who repeatedly expressed his desire to become a Bahá'í.
September 06th 1912
In the morning Ábdúl-Bahá came into the room. When He saw the pile of newspapers which had been collected to send to the friends in the East, He asked, with surprise, 'What have you done? What are all these newspapers for?' We replied that they were the signs of the power and influence of the Cause of God. After leaving the church last night, the Master had caught a cold and His voice was hoarse, so even though He had planned to leave Montreal, His departure was delayed for a few days. During this time he went nowhere except to the home of Mr. and Mrs Maxwell. However, many came to visit Him at the hotel.
Mrs. Maxwell said that her husband used to say to her: 'You have become a Bahá'í. Very well, you are responsible for this yourself. I have no hand in it. You must not speak to me about it anymore.' But now, she added, he was so proud of the Master's visit that if kings had come to their home he would not have felt so exalted. The room in which the Master stayed was considered by him to be holy and he would not allow anyone to enter it.
Ábdúl-Bahá advice to Mr. Maxwell and others was this:
"You must cling to those things which prove to be the cause of happiness for the world of man. You must show kindness to the orphans, give food to the hungry, clothe the naked and offer help to the poor so that you may be accepted in the Court of God."
September 07th 1912
Today Ábdúl-Bahá spoke to a group of people who came to visit Him at the hotel. Here is some of what He explained:
" As in the physical world there are four seasons, so in the realm of religion there is the season of heavenly and spiritual springtime. When its outpourings gradually dimminish, the trees of exitence cease to be verdant and creeping torpor spreads, it will become like winter. The souls will become withered and distressed and the soil of the hearts will become full of thorns and thistles There will be no flowers, no hyacinths, no greenery, no pleasure, no freshness and no cheer. Then, once again, the divine spring will raise its tabernacle. The gardens of the world of humanity will become green and verdant, full of freshness and purity. The flowers of reality will open and the trees of existence will bring forth enduring fruit. This is the law of God and is in accord with the world of creation and this is the cause for the reappearance of holy Manifestations Who effect renewal and change in religious laws and commandments."
In the afternoon Abdúl-Bahá spoke about the oneness of the fundamental truths of the religions of God and the vain imaginings and beliefs of various peoples, saying:
" The foundation of all religion is one and the aim of all creeds of the world is also one. All are believers in the oneness of God. All believe that a mediator between the Creator and the creatures is needed. The question is that to the Jews Moses is the last, to the Chrisians it is Christ, to the Muslims it is Muhammad and to the Parsis it is Zoroaster. But their differences are only those of names. If the names are set aside, it is evident that their aim is one. Every divine religious law was complete for its time. The renewal of the laws of God and the appearence of the Manifestations of the bounties of the Lord in each cycle are necessary. Thus the people who seek truth and innner meaning can discover the divine mysteries and become aware of the secrets of the Books of God. They know God to be the Supreme, His bounties infinite and the doors of His mercy unbarred. They believe in all the Prophets and affirm 'No difference do we make between any of them'[Qur'án 2:130]. But those who adhere to outer meanings follow their superstitions. They use the allegories set forth in the verses of God to deny the Cause of the Lord of Signs. Therefore, offer thanks to God that you have attained unto reality, have responded affirmatively to the Call of God, have given up dogmatic imitations and have become cognizant of the mystery of oneness. Offer thanks to God. Be grateful to your Lord."
In the evening
September 08th 1912
Ábdúl-Bahá discourses today consisted of divine exhortations, admonitions and expressiions of farewell to the friends. 'I have sown the seed,' He said. 'You must water it. You must educate the souls in divine morals, make them spiritual and lead them to the oneness of humanity and to universal peace.'
In the afternoon Abdúl-Bahá gave an account of His imprisoment in the Most Great Prison and of His return to the Holy Land. Some one suggested that His return to the Ákká might bring trouble to Him and again cause His imprisonment. 'Oh no,' He replied,
" that organization has been rolled up; that system has been rendered null. Those days were so hard that all had believed that when the Commission of Investigation returned to Constantinople Äbdú-Bahá's life and name would be effaced. But God did not will it. As we were imprisoned for the Cause of God and not for political reasons, while in prison we were not perturbed and had no worries. However, the others thought that after I was set free I would raise the banner of independance among the Arabs and unite them with me! See, how ill-informed was such a judgement!"
As this was the last day of His stay in Montreal, all the friends, both old and new, expressed their sorrow. Ábdúl-Bahá consoled them with the glad tidings of certitude, spiritual nearness, assistance and heavenly grace.
September 09th 1912
In the morning the bill for $700 for the week's stay at the hotel was paid. All luggage sent through the railway station had to be examined by the Customs officers; but the chief officer at the customs and his assistants passed our baggage, indicating that they were perfectly satisfied and had no reason to examine the effects of the Bahá'ís! When the Master was told this, His face opened up like a rose and He expounded on the stations of truthfulness and trustworthiness, which are the sources of the prosperity and assurance of the people of the world.
Departure of Abdúl-Bahá: The enthusiasm and ardor of the friends knew no bounds. They surrounded Ábdúl-Bahá like moths. Until the train pulled out of the station at nine o'clock, the friends continued to sigh and express their sorrow at His departure.
It is astonishing to see that Ábdúl-Bahá does not want any comfort and will not take any rest, even while traveling on the train. When translations of the newspaper articles and letters from the friends were read to Him, He immediately answered and bestowed His bounties upon them. To some He wrote in His own hand. When He was tired of writing, the Master spoke about the coming of Christ from the heaven of holiness:
" The Gospel expressly records that in His first coming, although Christ was born to Mary, He Himself said that He came from heaven. Thus, the meaning of 'heaven' is the greatness of the Cause and eminence and might of the Manifestation of God Who spreads this divine Cause by His heavenly power and divine strength and not through material means."
Whenever His eyes fell on the luxuriant beauty of the lakes and rivers along the route He would remember the Blessed Perfection. The air in the coach was stifling and, owing to the speed of the train, even though the windows and doors were closed, the dust was heavy. Ábdúl-Bahá felt tired. When the train reached Toronto to change tracks, He walked a little on the platform saying that He was exhausted. 'We have not gone far,' He said, 'yet we fell tired. How will the great distance to California be traversed? We have no choice, as in the path of God we must regard troubles as blessings and discomforts as great bounties.'