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COLLECTIONSNewspaper articles, Historical documents
TITLENew John the Baptist Preaching Universal Brotherhood: Abdul Ba-ha Patriarchal Head of Bahá'ísts in Denver With Message of Love and Justice to All and for All
AUTHOR 1Alice Rohe
ABSTRACTNews article of Abdu'l-Bahá's tour. Includes scanned image of original newspaper and photograph of Abdu'l-Bahá.
CONTENT jump to scan of page and photo

Venerable Impressive and Imposing Figure From Oriental Lands Comes to Give Asking Nothing But to Be Heard.

A venerable man-like a patriarch of old—his gray beard falling upon his breast his white locks surmounted by a white turban his erect figure draped in the flowing garments of Persia this is Abdul Ba-ha Abbas Effendi-"Servant of God teacher of universal religion universal peace universal brotherhood.

When I say this is Abdul Ba-ha the statement refers only to the first fleeting impression of this head of the Bahai movement who is in Denver spreading the message of brotherly love of the universal religion which will be the foundation of interreligious interracial and international brotherhood."

For when this aged man-whose presence in the dominant personality defies age—speaks when the keen dark eyes become afire with the words he utters-the first impression of Abdul Ba-ha becomes but a superficial one. Yesterday afternoon at the Shirley hotel surrounded by a staff of attendants chief of whom is the vividly intelligent and finely educated Dr. Ameen U. Fareed I was thrilled for an hour by the flow of sonorous words that rolled from the lips of this man of the Orient who has a message for all this world.

Not understanding a word that Abdul Ba-ha said in his native tongue the calm of "the master broken at times by an impetuous rardor as he raised small slender hands in expressing a thought his words quickly translated with a beautiful understanding by Dr. Fareed gave to the interview an impressiveness that is seldom possible when interpretation from one language to another is necessary.

The son of Baha'o'llah whose coming "the Bab" foretold-Abdul Ba-Ha brings the message from his father the founder of the Bahai movement.

Underlying Love of Humanity.

The most Impressive feeling that one receives in talking to this patriarchal messenger from Persia is his broad humanity-his love of humankind underlying the deep spirituality of his teaching and his deep love of God in whom is all knowledge.

Yesterday afternoon listening to the rolling sentences quickly translated by Dr. Fareed the interruption of an afternoon tea drinking according to American custom would have been extremely incongruous.

But this man of deep sympathies who shrinks from exploitation of his own personality who wishes to get this message of brotherly love of unity to all mankind is as simple as only dignity and nobility of character understands simplicity.

The conversation of Abdul Ba-Ha did not even stop even as we drank our Persian tea together. And for the benefit of tea drinkers let me add that until one has sipped this fragrant tea of Persia served in small glasses pored over two lumps of sugar and stirred with a tiny spoon on a plate of Persian design-one has never tasted tea. Then it was the aroma of that fragrant tea permeating the room with a soft and subtle perfume that Abdul Ba-Ha added more light upon the Bahai movement of which he is the present head and which has witnessed the martyrdom of "the Bab" and the forty years' imprisonment and exile of Ba-ha'o'llah.

Brood and Sweeping Philosophy.

Questions concerning the actions of progressives and reformers of the woman's suffrage movement being but an outcome of the teachings of Baha-ism were answered but in broad sweeping philosophy of Abdul Ba-Ha's own style:

"The contingent world is typical of man as the microcosm the human organism. Just as the microcosm the human organization goes through successive embryonic steps beginning with embryonic origin through the foetal to stages of maturity likewise does this contingent world. In man we find in the period of maturity un-folding signs of intelligence and the "virtuous characteristic of the world of humanity. Therefore we can say that the development of man from the beginning was a preparation for the laying of a foundation for the culminating event which was intellection. All these physical processes expressed in metabolism are for the same purpose of ripening into a reasonable being. The reason of mind in the human world is the great goal toward which organism works. The greatest of all reforming movements appeared bearing the same relation to the world at "large as the mind in maturity bears "to the human being. This was no other than the coming of Baha'o'llah. Bahaism appeared in the Orient and H S founded the divine civilization because civilization is of two kinds material and divine natural civilization and the civilization of the kingdom. "Inasmuch as these constitute a great issue which transpired in this century the manifestation of Baha'o'llah in the East was like the dawning of the sun was like the dawn of the great mind. And it revolutionized the Oriental world. The development is like unto a tree. It has put out leafage and branches and has blossomed. But like the tree all these are only the beginnings preparatory to fruitage."

Teaches Universal Council.

As Abdul Ba-ha spoke leaning back in a chair drawn near the window of his room in this the hotel-he glanced from the rain flecked leaves of a swaying tree skating its branches near the panes of glass. The gray beared man "with the message of universal religion wrinkled his high forehead at times and occasionally closed his eyes as though looking into the future for the realization of the message which he believes is finding material ground for fruitage in America.

"Among the teaching of Bah-'o'llah" he continued, "is that of a universal council. Indeed the father of Abdul Ba-Ha—the promised one of whom the Bab prophesied to come bearing the divine truth—met imprisonment and exile through his teaching of universal justice.

"His teachings are for a universal council among all races for all nations for all religions."

Abdul Ba-Ha then spoke of his father with an added reverence in his voice:

"Fifty years ago Baha'o'llah wrote to all the kings and crowned heads of the earth presenting the need of the world for a court of justice the members of which shall be elected delegates representing all nations and governments of the world. The parliaments of every nation must have two delegates elected at large the nation whereof the world's court shall be composed."

"All international disputes and intergovernmental problems shall be presented for settlement to this court of justice.

If in case a nation should go contrary to the decrees and court the world if humanity would arise against the rebel power.

"This was declared fifty years ago by Baha'o'llah. His addresses were published in India and were spread all over the continent. However the royalty of Persia arose against Baha'o'llah being of the deepest despotic form of government. For fifty years he endured horrible ordeals. He was either in exile or prison but through the power of the Holy spirit he spread through the world his teachings."

Abdul Ba-Ha was a young boy when his father was first thrown into prison and the gray-haired man who is now in Denver himself suffered forty years along with his father imprisonment and exile receiving from the head of the Babism his instructions.

"Religion ought to be the cause of "love." he continued. "The foundation of Divine religion is love. Hence it must be ever the cause of love and fellowship among men. And if religion proves the cause of hatred and enmity and a factor in murder and rapine it is better to do without it."

The son of Baha'o'llah speaks always of his beliefs as being the teaching of his father. A favorite way of making his statements is:

"Among the teachings of Baha'o'llah is that relating to a universal language which shall be the means of international communication. He speaks "for a general spirit of education. It is the duty of a father to educate his children. If he cannot then it is the duty of the body politic to educate the child."

Pioneer of Equal Suffrage.

A system of social economy goes "hand in hand with the Bahai movement and interesting it is to note the position of woman in their scheme of life entire. Indeed the Bahaists claim the forethought of the equal suffrage movement.

Abdul Ba-Ha speaking of education does not hesitate to say since women are the mothers of the race a father who has not money enough to educate both boys and girls should choose daughters as the recipients of culture.

Speaking of civilization natural and divine Abdul Ba-Ha says that the natural is not sufficient for it tends toward bodies while divine civilization "is on the realm of morality. Were it not for divine civilization the world of men would be akin to animals. All the divine holy manifestations were the founders of the godlike civilization. The first and foremost of such a civilization was Jesus Christ.

Asked whether he thought woman with her awakened responsibilities and realization of her own individual rights would be largely instrumental in the regeneration of society Abdul Baha said.

"The accomplishments of wonderful women in our own times gives us the keen anticipation of many extraordinary women in the future. So far as equality is concerned both men and women must be equal. Men and women are as wings bearing humanity aloft. If one wing is weak the flight is hampered. Both wings must be equally strong in order that the bird may take its way to progress. Therefore as "women become peers of men the world of humanity will soar."

And Abdul Ba-Ha sees no reason that woman is not man's equal. As the mind "and the soul are sexless so there should be no discrimination except those dependent upon frailer physique concerning women. Women he believes having sensibilities finer intuitive powers are often man's superiors.

Science and religion instead of being conflicting Abdul Ba-Ha compares to the same simile as that used for men and women-both are as wings of the same truth.

The broadness of his views and the desire toward universal religion-a oneness of mankind accepts all religions. His philosophy is that as there is but one God which all religions worship—why not throw aside the symbols the theories the differences "which but turn the straight path toward God in diverse directions.

Bahaism is not a cult it is not a doctrine—it is a message a desire to blend all religions to smooth away the rough edges of differences that creak. Abdul Baha has spoken in the big churches of New York city he has ad-dressed the men of the Bower mission he has talked before the Theosophical society in Chicago he will talk in the Divine Science church in Denver. Indeed he is a man of all religions seeing good in all who worship "God. He is a Christian in that believes in the teachings of Christ. Christ to the Bahaist is a manifestation of the divine spirit. This spirit manifests itself from time to time. Ba-ha'o'llah is the last manifestation.

Abdul Baha takes to himself no divinity. He is merely the messenger of his father's teaching of universal ace brotherhood and religion. This patriarchal man of Persia with the face that is now overcast with thought was lighted by a kindly feeling of friendship was born in Persia on the twenty-third of May 1844 the day upon which "the Bab" prophet of the coming manifestations of the divine spirit made his declarations to his disciples at Shiraz. His father Baha'o'llah was one of the richest and most noble families of Persia. Baha'o'llah never met "the Bab the prophet who told of the coming of the greater teacher whose mission would be that of establishing the universal religion the Brotherhood of Man.

Has Been Head Twenty Years.

The Bab suffered martyrdom along with thousands of his followers and shortly after Baha'o'llah appeared his "mission lasting forty years. He died "in 1892 and since then the man who "is now in Denver has been at the head of the Bahaist movement.

This venerable man whose only wish is to be known as the servant of humanity has led a life which has been one continual dispensing of good. Charity flows from his finger tips. And the practical demonstration of brotherly lovely is his. Recently in New York quite unostentatiously he gave away $200 in quarters to the poor at the Bowery mission.

He teaches that the root of all knowledge is the knowledge of God. And when he teaches it is not for gain.

The remarkable thing about the Bahaist movement is that the teachings are altruist-Abdul Ba-Ha receives nothing—he gives always. He does not believe in a paid priesthood and his social and economic doctrine is that no human being should look to others for his maintenance.

He gives freely of his teachings of a universal religion—a universal brotherhood—a oneness of the world.

The followers of Abdul Ba-Ha number 200 in Denver. Last night he gave the first of his talks at the home of Mrs. S. E. Roberts on Sherman street.

[Photo heading] ABDUL ALLAHO ABHA, Persian-prophet and apostle of the Baha a' Llah religion and his retinue after their arrival in Denver yesterday. Left to right: Mirja Mohmoul the scribe; Fingeta the Japanese cook; Ahmad Sohrab, Abdul Ba-ha, Dr. Ameen U. Fareed, the interpreter, and Sayid Asad O'llah.

[Quote inserted into photo] "When the ocean of My Presence hath disappeared and the Book of Origin is achieved to the end, turn your faces toward Him Whom God Hath Purposed who hath branched from this Pre-Existent Root" — Words of BAHA'O'LLAH

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