‘Abdu’l-Bahá And The Theosophists

On his journey to the West ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed diverse meetings and groups-

in the city of New York alone He delivered public addresses in, and made formal visits to, no less than fifty-five different places. Peace societies, Christian and Jewish congregations, colleges and universities, welfare and charitable organizations, members of ethical cults, New Thought centers, metaphysical groups, Women’s clubs, scientific associations, gatherings of Esperantists, Theosophists, Mormons and agnostics, institutions for the advancement of the colored people, representatives of the Syrian, the Armenian, the Greek, the Chinese, and Japanese communities…

God Passes By, Pages 279-294: 289

During the course of these visits ‘Abdu’l-Bahá made a number of presentations to Theosophical societies in England, France, Austria and in the United States. He also made a presentation to Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society. His United States itinerary was particularly full in this regard-

25 April 1912 Talk to Theosophical Society Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

4 May 1912 Talk to Theosophical Society Northwestern University Hall, Evanston, Illinois

30 May 1912 Talk at Theosophical Lodge Broadway and Seventy-ninth Street, New York

24 July 1912 Talk to Theosophical SocietyThe Kensington Exeter and Boylston Streets, Boston, Massachusetts

4 December 1912 Talk to Theosophical Society 2228 Broadway, New York

During his presentations ‘Abdu’l-Bahá frequently highlighted the various principals held in common by Theosophists and Baha’is- for example the oneness of religion and the oneness of humanity.

Question.—(It was remarked, Theosophy teaches that truth in all the religions is the same): Does the task of unifying all religions have ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sympathy?

Answer.—Surely.

Question.—Can ‘Abdu’l-Bahá suggest any lines on which it could best be worked out?

Answer.—Search for truth. Seek the realities in all religions. Put aside all superstitions. Many of us do not realize the Reality of all Religions.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London

Oneness of the world of humanity ensures the glorification of man. International peace is the assurance of the welfare of all humankind. There are no greater motives and purposes in the human soul. As we are agreed upon them, the certainty of unity and concord between Bahá’ís and Theosophists is most hopeful. Their purposes are one, their desires one, and spiritual susceptibilities are common to both. Their attention is devoted to the divine Kingdom; they partake alike of its bounty.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace

In addition to highlighting principals held in common, when asked to elucidate a point by his audience, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá also expressed philosophical differences with some Theosophical beliefs such as reincarnation .

…observe that in the sensible world appearances are not repeated, for no being in any respect is identical with, nor the same as, another being. The sign of singleness is visible and apparent in all things. If all the granaries of the world were full of grain, you would not find two grains absolutely alike, the same and identical without any distinction. It is certain that there will be differences and distinctions between them. As the proof of uniqueness exists in all things, and the Oneness and Unity of God is apparent in the reality of all things, the repetition of the same appearance is absolutely impossible. Therefore, reincarnation, which is the repeated appearance of the same spirit with its former essence and condition in this same world of appearance, is impossible and unrealizable.

Some Answered Questions, Pages 282-289: gr10

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