`Abdu'l-Bahá's contacts with the Theosophical and Spiritualist movements

By Amin Egea

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #118
Centre for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
June 30 – July 4, 2013
(see list of papers from #118)

    In the first decades of the twentieth century two alternative religious movements, the Theosophical Society and spiritualism were at their peak. Some of the early Bahá'ís in the West either had belonged to one of these movements or still retained membership in them at the time of the travels of the Master. Thus, both movements had strong ties with the Bahá'í community.

    During His travels in Europe and America, `Abdu'l-Bahá met with many representatives and leaders of the two movements. He was also invited to speak at public and private meetings specially arranged for Him and also wrote to some of the journals of these organizations as well as to their leaders.

    This presentation will survey these contacts and will attempt to analyze some of the comments made by `Abdu'l-Bahá on some key issues for theosophists, such as reincarnation and the coming of a world savior, and for spiritualists, such as the powers of the soul and the communication with the departed ones.

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