“Act in accordance with the counsels of the Lord,” Abdu’l-Baha advised humanity:

… rise up in such wise, and with such qualities, as to endow the body of this world with a living soul, and to bring this young child, humanity, to the stage of adulthood. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 33.

In his travels around the world and even while imprisoned, Abdu’l-Baha spent much of his time and energy encouraging the Baha’is to live up to the teachings of Baha’u’llah—and to share his message with others.

A typical example is an address he gave in December 1912 to the American Baha’is at the very end of his visit to North America:

The earth is one native land, one home; and all mankind are the children of one Father. God has created them, and they are the recipients of His compassion. Therefore, if anyone offends another, he offends God. It is the wish of our heavenly Father that every heart should rejoice and be filled with happiness, that we should live together in felicity and joy. The obstacle to human happiness is racial or religious prejudice, the competitive struggle for existence and inhumanity toward each other ….

Beware lest ye offend any heart, lest ye speak against anyone in his absence, lest ye estrange yourselves from the servants of God. You must consider all His servants as your own family and relations. Direct your whole effort toward the happiness of those who are despondent, bestow food upon the hungry, clothe the needy, and glorify the humble. Be a helper to every helpless one, and manifest kindness to your fellow creatures in order that ye may attain the good pleasure of God. This is conducive to the illumination of the world of humanity and eternal felicity for yourselves. I seek from God everlasting glory in your behalf; therefore, this is my prayer and exhortation.

… Your efforts must be lofty. Exert yourselves with heart and soul so that, perchance, through your efforts the light of universal peace may shine and this darkness of estrangement and enmity may be dispelled from amongst men, that all men may become as one family and consort together in love and kindness, that the East may assist the West and the West give help to the East, for all are the inhabitants of one planet, the people of one original native land and the flocks of one Shepherd. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 468-469.

Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to the early Baha’is had an extremely profound impact on them. It was not limited to his words alone. His deeds, his loving consideration for others, his spiritual power and majesty, all combined to make an indelible impression on those who associated with Abdu’l-Baha. Some were believers before his arrival in America, and others came to believe in the Baha’i teachings as the result of meeting him. Many people in both categories spent their remaining years in service to the Baha’i principles of the oneness of humanity and the essential unity of all Faiths.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.

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