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The beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout India and Burmah, Care of the members of the Spiritual Assembly.Beloved co-workers in the Vineyard of God!
It has been my great pleasure and privilege to send you, since my return to the Holy Land, first my general message of confidence and of love addressed to all believers throughout the East, and later another letter wherein I appeal in particular to those faithful lovers of His Cause in that vast and distant dominion to labour whole-heartedly and to the very end for the diffusion of His Light and the spread of His Cause. Remembering, however, the few among my friends in that land who are as yet unfamiliar with the Persian Tongue, I have thought of sending these few lines to them in particular and through them to the rest of my brethren and sisters in those regions who, despite the diversity of tongue, of race and custom are all united at heart and animated by one common desire to uplift humanity and carry out His Divine Purpose for this world.
What an alluring field of service India with all its possibilities unfolds to our eyes at the present time and how vast are the opportunities of sowing the seeds of unity and loving kindness in the hearts of its divers peoples!
True, that land seems now unhappily to be plunged in the darkness of prejudice, hate and mistrust, yet however dark the immediate prospect may appear, our confidence remains unshaken that ere long these mists shall clear away, the dawn of a New Day shall break upon that land and the Rays of this Divine Revelation shall make of India a spiritually-quickened, peaceful and united country.Page 2
The universal Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh if declared and propounded with wisdom and judgement, determination, selflessness and sincerity, and above all if exemplified in our lives and dealings with our fellow-men, cannot fail to inspire and stimulate the mind of the enlightened seeker and win the admiration and allegiance of all mankind. Ours then is the duty and privilege to bring to the attention of this distressed and war-weary world this Message of Eternal Salvation and help to establish the Era of Peace and Brotherhood as purposed and foretold by Bahá'u'lláh.
The welcome news of the progress of the Third All-India Bahá'í Convention as well as the favourable comment made upon it by the Press of that country have been fully shared with the pilgrims and resident friends in the Holy Land and we have all admired and rejoiced at the efforts you are exerting for the consolidation of the Movement in that ancient land.
May your endeavours in every sphere of your spiritual activities be crowned with brilliant success, that His glorious Promise regarding the future of that land may be speedily fulfilled!
It is my earnest hope that "The Bahá'í News", the representative organ of the Bahá'í Community in India, may expand and develop, may widen the sphere of its correspondence, add to the number and quality of its articles in Persian as well as in English, report regularly in its columns the news of the spiritual activities of all Bahá'í centres in India and elsewhere, and in general provide for the full, correct and dignified presentation of the Cause to the general public.
Assuring every one of you of my constant prayers on your behalf and wishing you success in your noble task,I am your brother and co-worker,
As you mentioned India is a vast country and an excellent field of service. If the younger Bahá'í generation, in whom Shoghi Effendi has great hopes, take the pain of studying the Cause deeply and thoroughly, read its history, find its underlying principles and become both well informed and energetic, they surely can achieve a great deal. It is upon their shoulders that the Master has laid the tremendous work of teaching. They are the ones to raise the call of the Kingdom and arouse the people from slumber. If they fail the Cause is doomed to stagnation. May we all hope and earnestly pray that through God's infinite grace, through the Master's spiritual guidance and through Shoghi Effendi's tender care we may do justice to this tremendous work and not fail to do the Master's bidding.
As Shoghi Effendi has not yet taken up the tremendous work and responsibility of attending to the correspondence of the individual friends, he asked me to write you this note, acknowledge the receipt of your letter, and ask you to do the following things: (1) Change the name of your Executive Committee to "The National Spiritual Assembly", because the corresponding Assembly in England and America bear the same name, and uniformity in such matters is most advisable. (2) He likes to receive regular and detailed reports of the position of the Cause as well as the activities of the friends in India drafted as well as sent by the Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly. So as to be informed of the conditions there and administer to your needs. (3) He wishes to have the postal as well as telegraphic address of the secretary so as to send his communications to him.
Shoghi Effendi earnestly hopes and prays that this National Spiritual Assembly will be able to achieve a great deal and herald a new era of spiritual awakening in that land.April 26, 1923
Regarding the position of the Bahá'í women in India and Burma, and their future collaboration with the men in the administrative work of the Cause, I feel that the time isPage 4
now ripe that those women who have already conformed to the prevailing custom in India and Burma by discarding the veil should not only be given the right to vote for the election of their local and national representatives, but should themselves be eligible to the membership of all Bahá'í Assemblies throughout India and Burma, be they local or national. This definite and most important step, however, should be taken with the greatest care and caution, prudence and thoughtfulness. Due regard must be paid to their actual capacity and present attainments, and only those who are best qualified for membership, be they men or women, and irrespective of social standing, should be elected to the extremely responsible position of a member of the Bahá'í Assembly.
This momentous decision, I trust, will prove to be a great incentive to the women Bahá'ís throughout India and Burma who, I hope, will now bestir themselves and endeavour to the best of their ability to acquire a better and more profound knowledge of the Cause, to take a more active and systematic part in the general affairs of the Movement, and prove themselves in every way enlightened, responsible and efficient co-workers to their fellow-men in their common task for the advancement of the Cause throughout their country.
May they fully realise their high responsibilities in this day, may they do all in their power to justify the high hopes we cherish for their future, and may they prove themselves in every respect worthy of the noble mission which the Bahá'í world is now entrusting to their charge.December 27, 1923
Your long-awaited letter, penned by our dear and devoted brother, Mr. N. R. Vakil, has been received and read with profound interest. I note with deep satisfaction the vigour and earnestness with which you are conducting the affairs of the Movement throughout the length and breadth of that vast and distant land, and ardently pray that you may achieve, individually and collectively, the highest success in all your endeavours.Page 5
Regarding the Bahá'í News, I strongly urge those responsible for its publication, and in particular, our beloved friends, Prof. Pritam Singh, Mr. Vakil, ... Mr. M. U. Abasi, Mirza Niku, Mr. Ardeshir Khodadad, and Haji Ahmad, to do their utmost that this Bahá'í organ may increase in volume, widen in scope, broaden in its outlook, improve in style and general presentation, and reflect more extensively the activities of the friends in India, Burma, and elsewhere. As a magazine that has been established in the days of our departed Master, and been the recipient of His special favours and blessings, it ought, and I have no doubt it will, with your active support and under your constant and general supervision, carry out the great plan it is destined to fulfill in this world.
With regard to Burma and its Bahá'í activities, I trust you realise that that province falls directly within the sphere of your activities, and although a Central Council for all Burma is in the process of establishment, that Council as well as all local Assemblies throughout Burma will have to be under the protection, care and direction of the All-India Spiritual Assembly.
I would indeed welcome regular, frequent and comprehensive reports from the National Assembly on the various branches of its manifold activities, and will spare no effort to contribute my humble share in consolidating and extending the Teaching Campaign throughout that vast Dominion.
I would be pleased to receive the permanent postal and telegraphic address of the Secretary of the National Assembly, and am confident that by the grace of Bahá'u'lláh and under the guiding Hand of our beloved Master, we shall all carry triumphantly the noble task entrusted to our charge to a speedy and successful conclusion.June 1, 1923
It is a great pleasure and privilege for me to renew the bonds of fellowship and affection that have always united our hearts in the service of our beloved Master. I need not recall to your minds the warm and abiding place which that giftedPage 6
Dominion has always occupied in our Beloved's heart, and the high hopes he cherished for its future contribution towards the triumph of the Movement in those distant regions of the earth.
I am sure the hour has struck when those dearly-beloved pioneers of the Master's Cause, scattered throughout the length and breadth of that vast and promising land, should unite, consolidate their forces, and effectively combine for the laying of a firm foundation for the future progress of their noble task. It is my earnest hope and my most cherished desire that at the forthcoming Convention the vigour and enlightened efforts of the Bahá'í youth of India, coupled with the generous support and devotion of the old beloved Parsee friends, and reinforced by the vast numbers of the ardent followers of the Faith in Burma, may, by imparting power and brilliancy to its proceedings, herald an era of unprecedented activity for the ultimate recognition of the Cause by the peoples of that country.
I shall welcome with genuine satisfaction every effort which that talented and untiring servant of Bahá'u'lláh, our highly-esteemed sister Mrs. Stannard, may exert in this connection, and would feel truly gratified to learn of her determination to play a conspicuous part in the presentation of the Cause to the eyes of the enlightened public. May the sustaining grace of God, the power of Bahá'u'lláh, and the loving counsels of our beloved Abdu'l-Bahá guide you and aid you in your mighty endeavours for the accomplishment of your task.
I shall eagerly await any particulars you might wish to send me regarding your various activities in the service of the Cause, and I trust that during the interval between now and Ridvan a complete and careful arrangement for the successful conduct of the coming Convention will have been drawn by all the friends and assemblies of India and Burma, and to which, I assure you, I shall be most pleased to contribute my humble share of cooperation and advice.
Hoping to hear from you, individually and collectively, and assuring you of my constant prayers on your behalf.December 5, 1923
Nothing, I dare say, can be more encouraging and gladsome to Shoghi Effendi than the news of the activities of the friends in such a vast and promising field as India. In the last few years the harvest of the friends' endeavours was not as rich and abundant as we all would wish and undoubtedly the political throes through which India has been passing and the general unrest which such conditions have brought about, account to a large measure for this comparative unfruitfulness in the self-sacrificing efforts of the Indian Baha'is. Yet nothing must damp our zeal and we cannot for a moment doubt the remarkable change that the Master said would take place in that country.
We have been all very much interested in the first-hand information which Mrs. Stannard has given us and we lament the formidable difficulties and obstacles with which the Bahá'ís must cope in their effort to imbue the individual with a new spirit and to bring new measures of reform in the social order. We shall, however, pray for you all and eagerly await every good news you have to share with us.[From the Guardian:]
I always eagerly await detailed and frequent reports from the National Assembly and desire strongly its members to meet as often as possible and actively, efficiently and constantly direct, co-ordinate and reinforce the activities of the individuals and Local Assemblies throughout India and Burma. I thirst for more specific information and urge its secretary to ensure that every communication from the Holy Land or from any other Bahá'í centre is promptly and widely distributed. I assure you of my loving prayers.March 5, 1925
We were sorry to know of the state of tension that exists between India and Burma. Let us hope that Shoghi Effendi's letter will draw both parties nearer together and so ease up the matter. It is very sad to see two sections of such a continentPage 8
though closely connected together, unable to work in harmony. Let us pray and also try our best that all petty misunderstandings should be forgotten and that the work should start on a new basis firmer than before.[From the Guardian:]
I do hope and pray that the Indians and Burmese friends will once the new N.S.A. is elected support their representatives and whole-heartedly unite in promoting the work of the Cause. An earnest, capable, energetic, loyal and experienced soul must discharge the responsible and arduous duties of a National Secretary. So much depends upon him. You will have my fullest and unqualified support in impressing upon the friends the supreme necessity of establishing forthwith and maintaining to the best of their ability the institution of the National Fund. I will pray for you all and assure you personally of my great affection.April 1, 1925
By now the election of the new National Spiritual Assembly and of its office-bearers will probably be completed. The office of Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly is most important and the smooth and efficient working of the Bahá'í organisation in India and Burmah will depend to a large extent on him. Shoghi Effendi hopes that the new Secretary of the National Assembly will send him as soon as possible a full list of the members and office-bearers of the Assembly with his own postal address. He would like him also, as soon as possible, to procure from each of the local assemblies in India and Burmah a full list of the members and office-bearers of the Local Spiritual Assembly with the address of the Secretary, and to transmit a copy of that list to Shoghi Effendi. This is to be done every year immediately after the election of the National Spiritual Assembly.
Further it is desirable that each local Assembly should have a register of the names and addresses of all declared Bahá'ís in their district and should be careful to keep the register up-to-date, promptly noting any changes in the address or number of thePage 9
believers. It is also desirable that the National Secretary should have a list of all believers in India and Burmah who are living in districts where there is no Local Spiritual Assembly, with full postal address in each case, so that these believers may be kept in touch with the body of believers by letters, literature etc., and travelling Bahá'ís visiting these districts may be put in touch with the believers there. Shoghi Effendi would like to have a copy of this list also.
The National Secretary should keep in as close touch as possible with the Local Spiritual Assemblies, should urge the secretaries of these Local Assemblies to furnish regular reports of the progress of the movement in their respective localities, and should, by means of circular letters etc., keep these local assemblies and isolated believers informed of all matters of importance affecting the Cause, remind them of the importance of contributing as regularly and generously as possible to the National Fund, and so on.
It is obvious that to carry out these manifold duties efficiently, thoroughly and tactfully is no easy task and Shoghi Effendi greatly hopes that some one may be found who will be able to devote the necessary ability, time and energy to carry them out satisfactorily.
A Bahá'í Year Book is now in course of preparation and Shoghi Effendi wishes to include in this Year-Book a complete list of the local Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world, with the address of the Secretary in each case, also a complete list of those localities where there are resident Bahá'ís but where no local Spiritual Assembly exists. It will probably be impracticable to include the addresses of all isolated believers, but these should be known to the Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly in each country, so that they may be available on application to him.
It will interest you to know that the Bahá'ís of Egypt have just elected their first National Spiritual Assembly.[From the Guardian:]
Your past and present efforts are indeed worthy of the deepest admiration and the highest praise. Concentrate asPage 10
much as you can at present on the consolidation of the foundations of the N.S.A. of India and Burma. This is the first and most essential step to further expansion in any direction. The institution of the National Fund is of vital importance and should be greatly stressed and emphasized in every circular or communication addressed to the friends. I will continue to pray for you from all my heart and assure you of my support and brotherly love.May 12, 1925
Yesterday he ordered me to write a few words and acknowledge the receipt of your letter, conveying to you his love and greeting. He was much pleased to see that you have followed his telegraphic instructions concerning the Baghdad House promptly.
From other centres also telegraphic communications have been done to both the High Commissioner and to His Majesty King Faisal. We are hoping for a desirable result. Up to this time no definite information has reached us. We shall keep you informed as soon as we receive any.[From the Guardian:]
The prompt and effective measures you have taken are worthy of the highest praise. I will inform you if further action is deemed necessary. I hope and pray your devoted efforts will yield abundant fruit in the near future.November 18, 1925
Shoghi Effendi prays for all of you and hopes that through your practical devotion, you will all attract divine assistance more and more day by day and so this coming year the Cause of God will make unprecedented progress in that country. He sendsPage 11
you and all the members of the National Spiritual Assembly his affectionate greeting and expects your good news regularly.[From the Guardian:]
I pray that your newly constituted National Spiritual Assembly may grow from strength to strength, may co-ordinate and consolidate the ever-expanding activities of the friends in India and Burma and inaugurate a fresh campaign of Teaching that will redound to the glory and power of the Most Great Name.
May the projected Congress at Cawnpore attract widespread interest and stimulate the work undertaken by the friends in that promising country. I assure you of my best wishes for your success.November 24, 1925
It is always a source of immeasurable joy and encouragement to our dear Guardian to learn of your increasing activities in serving our dear Cause and also of the growing measure of success which you are meeting with in all your endeavours. The unity of the friends in India and Burma, the spread of the Cause in that vast country and especially among the real natives, intelligent connections with the universities and schools and the direction of the thoughts of the students to a proper understanding of the Cause and its great mission on earth, will not only be real accomplishment on the part of our dear fellow-workers but will relieve to a very large extent our dear Guardian of the stupendous task that he shoulders, and will give him the deepest joy and confidence. We earnestly trust that through the help of our dear Master from on high all your efforts will be crowned with success.
Shoghi Effendi is always interested to hear from you on the work in India and to help you in every possible way.
You are, I am sure, in touch with Mr. Horace Holley in America and you would be interested to know that they arePage 12
publishing soon a Bahá'í Year Book which will be of widespread interest not only to the Bahá'ís but also to many interested men and women in our dear Cause.
Mrs. Stannard is very successful in her work in Geneva and she has already started a fine center there. She is able to make many connections with influential men and learned people and this is in itself a great work.[From the Guardian:]
I am very pleased and gratified to learn of your persistent efforts in advancing and consolidating the Cause. The establishment of a Central Office in Delhi is a great step forward and I await very eagerly the first issue of the publication of the National Spiritual Assembly of India [and] Burma. The Burmese friends are very satisfied and pleased with the consideration shown and the activity displayed by your Assembly and my prayer is that the relations of the National Body with the local Assemblies will grow firmer everyday. I will specially remember the friends who are promoting the Cause among the Qadiyani community whenever I visit the Shrines. I wish them the fullest success.March 27, 1926
Shoghi Effendi received your letter dated June 11th and was very glad to see the result of the election of the National Spiritual Assembly. He sincerely hopes that this year will witness a great change and progress for the Cause in India. As the friends are sincere in their love and devotion, the members of the Assembly strong in their faith and unfailing in their services, there is full assurance of an ultimate victory and final settlement of the existing difficulties. Shoghi Effendi has great hopes in you personally and trusts in your wise judgment, watchful attentiveness and absolute assurance in the Cause you serve. He wants me to assure you of his prayers.
He also hopes that the friends in India will do their very best to bring together the Hindus and Mohammedans. In suchPage 13
cases the friends can show their good-will, devotion to humanity, and disinterestedness in the material result obtained. He will pray that ... Prof. Pritam Singh will be guided in this undertaking and ably represent the spirit of the Cause as well as its teachings. Being competent themselves and having the necessary divine blessing and guidance it is sure that they will achieve much. May be this will be a good chance for attracting the attention of some of the prominent leaders to the reality of the Cause.[From the Guardian:]
I have written in person to the Bombay Assembly and urged them most emphatically to support morally and financially the National Assembly and the National Fund. We have to repeat and repeat over and over again until the truth, the necessity and the urgency of our Beloved's instructions sink in the hearts and minds of the believers. I am sure you will continue to remind the friends of their primary obligations. Assuring you again of my prayers for your success in your high endeavours.July 10, 1926
Abdu'l-Bahá used often to say that the difference between a prophet and an ordinary person is that the latter looks only to the present. He does not try to imagine the future victories and thereby forget the present trivial obstructions. The prophet, however, having a deep insight in the future condition of things sees his ultimate victory and does not get disheartened even though he sees a whole-sale massacre of his followers.
As Bahá'ís we should follow the prophet's method. We know that the Cause will ultimately conquer and its ranks be fully united. We know that the Master's promises will ultimately be realized, therefore why be discouraged by trivial oppositions we see on our way. We should rather add to our zeal and persist in our prayers and endeavours... It always takes time for a people to change from one administration to another. Up to the present they have been accustomed to think of the local assembliesPage 14
as next only to the Center of the Cause, and it will take some time and training before they can admit another superior.[From the Guardian:]
I have cabled to Bombay and will soon confirm it by letter. I have urged them to support consistently and whole-heartedly the very essential and vital institutions of the National Fund and the National Assembly. It must be made clear to them all that continuous support to these twin institutions is the corner-stone of all future achievements, the mainspring from which all future blessings will flow. Persevere in your heroic effort and remember that the end is glorious and bright.September 7, 1926
I take pleasure in thanking you on behalf of our dear Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, for your letter...
As it announced the election of a new body to take up the responsible but lofty work of supervising and guiding the promulgation of the Bahá'í Cause throughout India and Burma, Shoghi Effendi wishes me to take this opportunity and assure each and every member of that distinguished body not only of his heartfelt congratulations and prayers but also of the high hopes that he cherishes for you all. It is from you and through you that he expects to see emanating that glorious spirit for which our departed Master gave his entire life; and with your earnest endeavours, your consummate wisdom and your unflinching faith he awaits to see you lead the humble workers of that great country to an ultimate victory.
May I also take this opportunity and express the great desire of Shoghi Effendi that the National Assembly should try to be in close communication with him. To him it is a joy beyond words to try to do all in his power to help you in the noble work you have undertaken.[From the Guardian:]
Now that the N.S.A. has been properly constituted and its officers duly appointed, it is incumbent upon each and all to introduce and promote such measures as will consolidate the work that you have so well begun. The institution of thePage 15
National Fund, a Bahá'í Bulletin similar to the News Letter issued by the American N.S.A., a rigorous and well-conceived campaign of Teaching, a continuous and purposeful endeavour to coordinate the activities of the local Assemblies and groups throughout India and Burma and the sending of detailed and frequent reports to the Holy Land are among the most primary and urgent requirements of the new day that has dawned upon India. I eagerly await your reports and assure you of my continued prayers for the success of your arduous labours.October 28, 1926
The news that the difficulties, which for a time prevailed and threatened grave disturbances between the N.S.A. and the Local Assemblies, have vanished, was a source of great satisfaction and gratification to him. We were quite sure that it was all due to misunderstandings and that they would be easily overcome...
In a letter which I have lately written to Seyed Jenabe Ali on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, I intimated his desire that a special committee of the N.S.A. should be created to undertake the management of everything pertaining to the Kaukab. Furthermore, if a certain sum is offered to the National Fund with the expressed desire that it should be spent for the Kaukab, i.e., if the offer is labelled, then the N.S.A. should take into consideration the wish of the giver and spend it only for that purpose. Though the friends are advised to give unlabelled contributions they cannot in any way be prevented from using their choice in the way it should be spent.
Though the Local Assemblies should give the N.S.A. all the moral and financial support the latter needs, it is the duty of the N.S.A. to inspire the necessary confidence in keeping the management of its work as efficiently as possible.
In a cable recently sent to the N.S.A. Shoghi Effendi recommended the publication of the Kaukab. He desires this paperPage 16
to play an important role in drawing the attention of the more thoughtful and seeking people to the potency of this divine Cause. I herein enclose a cheque for L19 which Shoghi Effendi desires to be spent for this all important organ of the Cause in India.[From the Guardian:]
I am enclosing a general message, clearly worded, emphatically expressed, and vitally important in all its bearings, conveyed through Mirza Mahmood to the National Assembly for the information of all Bahá'ís in India and Burma. I am sure you will promptly and effectively take all necessary measures for its dissemination throughout India and Burma. The 'Kaukab' must, at all costs be continued, and I feel that its two editors ... are the most suitable to form a committee which will conduct its affairs under the direct supervision of the National Assembly. Whatever is contributed to the National Assembly for a specific purpose should be expended for that purpose only, but I would encourage the friends to send unlabelled contributions in order not to tie the hands of the National Assembly although I do not in the least require them to do so. I will pray for your success from all my heart.November 16, 1926
It is most gratifying to him to hear that the difficulties that darkened the horizon of the Cause in India have vanished and the National as well as Local Assemblies are united to further the interests of the Cause. He hopes that Kaukab will become a Bahá'í organ administered even better than before.
Shoghi Effendi hopes that Aqa Mirza Moneer will cause another stir in India and draw many individuals into a full understanding of the movement. His zeal as well as knowledge of the Cause stand to his credit and are sure to win him success wherever he goes. Please convey to him Shoghi Effendi's loving greetings and assure him of his prayers.Page 17
I hope to hear soon of the re-establishment and circulation of the Kaukab. The matter of the publication of a Bahá'í News Letter issued by the National Assembly is also of utmost importance. May the support to the National Fund be such as to render it a truly worthy and representative Bahá'í periodical. Persevere in your splendid efforts and do not lose heart for I will continue to pray for you from the depth of my heart.December 21, 1926
With the opening of this new Bahá'í year our Guardian trusts that it will be marked by a new and greater effort, by a more intense cooperation among the friends in India and Burma and by an unsurpassed record of success.
Now that Mrs. Schopflocker has in many places broken the ground, it devolves upon the faithful workers in India to follow up the work, to seize every opportunity and to give to her hasty and in many places insufficient services a more permanent and lasting character.
I express the hopes of our Guardian without disregard to your many problems and difficulties, but the field is so vast and the ground so fresh and fertile that it cannot but evoke almost unreasonable expectations. This feeling and yearning, I am sure, is much more yours than ours could be.[From the Guardian:]
I urge you to take every means at your disposal to follow up the work that has been so splendidly begun by Mrs. Schopflocker. I would also urge you to arrange for the preparation of an annual report by the National Assembly of the activities of the friends in India and Burma, to be forwarded to the American National Spiritual Assembly for insertion in the next issue of the Annual Bahá'í Year Book. A representative group photograph of the Bahá'ís of divers races and creedsPage 18
in that land would also greatly enhance the Year Book, if such a thing is possible.April 25, 1927
He is very glad to learn of the good work of Nabilzadeh and Mrs. Schopflocker and hopes that the friends will follow up their work in order to obtain some definite and permanent results. For a teacher to fly from one end of India to another is not sufficient, there must be somebody who can stay long enough in one place and start regular gatherings.
The latter function naturally falls upon the friends in India and he earnestly hopes that the new year may bring fresh and lasting achievements.
Shoghi Effendi awaits eagerly the results of the election of the N.S.A. and he should like to see that body accomplish something more than routine work. They should take new steps and carry out a regular campaign in India and Burma.[From the Guardian:]
It is my hope and prayer that the newly-elected National and Local Assemblies may widen the scope of their activities, initiate new and valuable measures, extend the circle of their correspondence with foreign Bahá'í centres, and promote the independence and distinctiveness of the Bahá'í Faith. I would urge you to inform the Year Book Committee through Mr. Holley of the results of all elections in India and to send if possible an annual report to that Committee. Wishing you success and happiness.May 24, 1927
In the midst of his work and many responsibilities, it is a source of comfort for him to feel that the initiative and guidance of the Cause in India is in such able hands and he trusts to see in the near future greater and fuller results.
True, the minds of many are turned away from all that sounds religious, but it is only because they are ill-advised asPage 19
to the meaning of true religion and it is just that mission that devolves upon us -- to give a new viewpoint, to revive fresh hopes and to guide by the sacred utterances the thoughts and actions of mankind.
Perhaps India has not yet reached the high mark which our hopes have made us expect, but the time still remains and the hopes of our Guardian are anxiously turned to the educated, sincere and zealous fellow-brothers he so much loves in India and Burma.[From the Guardian:]
I have received lately your second letter dated June 10th enclosing the list of the members of the newly-elected Indian Assemblies as well as the report of the receipts and expenditures of the National Fund. Your loyal and untiring attention to the pressing manifold requirements of our beloved and steadily expanding Cause is a thing never-to-be forgotten and worthy of unqualified praise. I trust you will continue to keep in touch with the American National Assembly whose Secretary is only too anxious to incorporate in the newsletter and the Year Book every bit of news regarding the progress of the Faith in India [and] Burma.July 14, 1927
He is very glad indeed to hear of the interview of Mr. Nabilzadeh with the Governor of Burma. He will pray that the seeds he has sown will germinate in the course of time and will prove of great benefit to our beloved Cause.
Our Guardian hopes that henceforth the secretaries of all local and national Assemblies will immediately upon their election inform the American National Assembly of their membership and the address, that the results may without delay be published in the Bahá'í Year Book.
Our Guardian will not cease to pray for you all that the Beloved may guide you to achieve that which will conducePage 20
to the consolidation and extension of the influence of the Cause.[From the Guardian:]
I trust the newly-elected Assembly will endeavour to follow the example of the American National Assembly in method, action, and procedure. The American Newsletter will indicate clearly the lines along which Bahá'í National Assemblies are to conduct their work in future and I earnestly urge you to encourage the friends to follow and adopt the method outlined in its columns.August 19, 1927
For a country like India and also Burma where the Bahá'í communities are so much scattered and are of varied extraction a common centre to coordinate the different efforts and to link up together both the Assemblies within India and in the various parts of the world, is also ... necessary, and our Guardian hopes and trusts to see in time great results from this new measure. Of course much depends upon how well this organ functions.
Shoghi Effendi is in good health having taken a good rest during the summer. He awaits as much as ever the good news of the friends in India and above all news of real accomplishment.[From the Guardian:]
I hope that nothing has transpired of late that might have in any manner affected the expansion of the work in those regions. I fully realize your single-handedness in such a vast and varied field, but I assure you, dearest friend, that your reward is proportionately great, for He that watches over you is aware of the great devotion which animates you in the pursuit of your arduous and noble task.November 1, 1927
Your frequent communications keeping him in close touch with your activities and the work in India, are deeply appreciated,Page 21
and he relies much upon your efforts to coordinate the work in India and to have more direct and material results than we have been accustomed to lately. When compared to some other countries and remembering the many years since the Cause was first known there, India, I am afraid, does not come up to expectations. Are we going to accept this secondary position or has the future a surprise in store? At any rate we patiently wait.November 16, 1927
He was greatly pleased with the news of the work of Prof. Pritam Singh in Karachi and Lahore and he read his well-worded lectures with interest. It gives him immense pleasure to keep in touch with his activities and he prays for the success of his efforts from the bottom of his heart. He is confident that when his plans are carried out and he does travel throughout the whole of India in the interests of the Cause, he will show a record of constant progress and would have rendered valuable services to the Bahá'í Faith. Please assure him of our Guardian's unfailing prayers and good wishes and also kindly convey to the Amritsar Bahá'ís the loving greetings of Shoghi Effendi...
I am sure it will interest you to know that we have had during the Ridwan festivals the first Bahá'í pilgrim from Tunis. The representative of the Tunis Assembly is a young man full of hopes and schemes for the future.[From the Guardian:]
I will specially supplicate, on behalf of my dear brethren in India [and] Burma, at the Beloved's Shrine, that they may arise with heart and soul and in perfect harmony and understanding to extend the scope of their activities, to consolidate the foundations of their work, to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the Faith, and to carry out the Beloved's explicit instructions for the establishment of Bahá'u'lláh's undisputed sovereignty on this earth. May they be richly blessed and guided in their endeavours.May 6, 1928
Among the subjects that the Guardian would expect your body to take are a coordination of the various efforts and endeavours throughout India and Burma, an acceleration and increase in the number of Bahá'ís and fellow-workers, ways and means to attract the attention of Indians from every class and creed to the message and vital dynamic spirit of the Bahá'í Faith and as a cumulative and culminating step the final recognition of the Bahá'í Community as a separate religious organization similar to what has been already achieved in America.June 22, 1928
The news that we obtain from the various parts of the world are most gratifying, for though there are some great problems to solve, yet no one can fail to see the constant realization of those ideals we cherish. May that day soon dawn when the source of this spiritual power, which is permeating the whole of society, will be appreciated and venerated.August 21, 1928
Present the Teachings at Various Conventions [and] Gatherings
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter ... reporting the events of the Brahmo Samaj Centenary gathering to Shoghi Effendi. Such meetings are wonderful occasions for showing the spirit and teachings of the Cause.... Shoghi Effendi's hope is that at such Conventions and gatherings the friends would present the teachings to persons otherwise inaccessible for individual contact.[From the Guardian:]
I heartily approve the project of a Bahá'í Convention and would leave the choice of the site and other arrangements to the National Assembly. The Cause in various countries is making a great headway and the reference of the case of thePage 23
Baghdad House to the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations is a great step forward.October 10, 1928
He was glad to hear from you and he has read with deep satisfaction the account of the good work of Syed Ilmi in Burma. Shoghi Effendi has always wondered as to the reasons why despite so many years of effort and activity, the Cause has not spread more rapidly either in India or Burma, perhaps the latter can be more proud of its results. He would in fact appreciate your own personal opinion, although God's ways are often hard to understand. We have lately had a remarkable illustration in Turkey where the Bahá'ís were an insignificant little group. Suddenly accused of constituting a secret political society the members of the N.S.A. in Constantinople and the S.A. in Smyrna were dragged to the police and kept for one night pending the formation of the Board of Inquiry. The next day the court sat and the president of the N.S.A. was cross-examined for eight consecutive hours. The result was that they were all dismissed, with the members of the Court deeply influenced and impressed by the teachings and principles which the President boldly and eloquently described. They asked for literature and many of them carried from that session much food for thought. Furthermore every paper in Turkey filled its front pages with the incident and a repetition of the teachings and good many a Turk heard of the Cause in a way that Bahá'ís could never bring about.[From the Guardian:]
I trust and pray that circumstances will be favourable and the means provided for the holding of a Bahá'í convention this year representative of India and Burma. A closer touch and more frequent interchange of thought among the Bahá'í Centres in those lands are absolutely essential. I am sending you a copy of the recently issued "Bahá'í World", and wish you to urge the National and Local Assemblies in India [and] Burma to order as many copies as they possibly can fromPage 24
America for distribution among the enlightened public as well as a means for the assistance and encouragement of the Bahá'í Publishing Committee in New York which is doing excellent service at the present time.November 15, 1928
Although I had never meant that my enquiry from you as to the reasons of lack of progress of the Cause in India, should be asked from every individual Baha'i, yet I am sure, our Guardian will be interested to know the ideas and opinions of various sections of the friends both in India and Burma.
The expression of our views in written form sometimes helps us to think better and deeper and often brings various matters into proper perspective, enabling us thereby to disregard what is extraneous and unimportant. The answers to the question put forth, would, I feel, be extremely valuable to the N.S.A. in India, and with the proper backing, respect and support of the entire friends, they should not lose a minute in an endeavour to remedy and inspire what ought not and what should be done, in an effort to spread the Cause.[From the Guardian:]
I trust that the forthcoming Convention will remedy most if not all the present deficiencies in the Cause and lend an unprecedented impetus to the progress of the Faith. The Teaching work should be stressed as it is the Fountain-head from which all future blessings will flow. We must first and foremost add to our small numbers, and introduce fresh blood into the organic life of the community. I will specially supplicate this bounty for the representative delegates to be assembled at Convention this year.December 19, 1928
Maintain and Strengthen the Unity of the National Assembly
He was very glad to hear of the success of the Convention. He hopes that such gatherings will become yearly and, like inPage 25
other countries, lead to a better understanding among the friends. It is surely true that as the Cause progresses differences will more and more arise. So unless there be a meeting place where the different views are thrashed, true unity of purpose and activity will not be obtained.
Just as much as the result of the Convention made him happy he was sorry to hear of the differences that exist between the N.S.A. members. The real source of the difficulty is, I believe, the lack of constant intercourse between the different members. As the country is so very vast meetings cannot be very frequent and well attended, and this ultimately leads to misunderstandings and lack of faith in each other. Shoghi Effendi knows the different individuals involved, he knows their integrity and faith in the Cause and its spirit. He is sure that they, each and all, have no other purpose but to serve the progress of the movement and uphold its interests. And they will surely not commit an act that would retard the very Cause they are serving. What the solution is, I do not know. What Shoghi Effendi has been hoping during the last two or three years is a spirit of mutual trust that would overcome physical handicaps. But that seems to be impossible. A lurking dissatisfaction is sure to appear at the end.[From the Guardian:]
Your subsequent letter dated Jan. 24 has also reached me. I will specially remember our dear and valued co-worker Prof. Pritam Singh when I visit the sacred Shrine that the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh may inspire, guide and sustain him in his great task. Regarding your last convention and the non-participation of the Burma delegates, I feel that the utmost effort must be exerted during the coming elections in April to elect those who are best fitted for this supreme and responsible position, and once elected, resignation is not to be accepted. The members must meet and consult in person. Persia is preparing for the holding of national elections, and for India and Burma to revert to a system that is being abandoned by the Persian believers would be a decidedly retrograde step. We must at all costs maintain and strengthen the unity of the National Assembly. Everything must bePage 26
subordinated to this end. I will supplicate our Beloved to enable you to achieve His purpose.February 12, 1929
It is his sincere hope and desire to see the newly-elected National Assembly during its term of office, infuse a new and fresh spirit into every Bahá'í activity both in India and Burma, and while establishing perfect unity and harmony within its own ranks and the entire body of the believers, should take vigorous steps to teach the Cause and to establish a progressive and representative Bahá'í community in both countries.June 20, 1929
With regard to your proposal that the N.S.A. should meet once in Burma and once in India, the Guardian wishes me to record his hearty approval and to even suggest that if it should be feasible they should meet even more often than that in both places.
It is his sincere hope that in this manner and through the individual effort of every member the misunderstandings existing between India and Burma will be wiped out altogether and that a fresh start will be made in a spirit of true and whole-hearted accord.July 8, 1929
He hopes that the new National Assembly will do its utmost to bring about unity in its group and among the friends. For, as he has often stated, the work of the Cause will remain cramped unless that unity is obtained. The petty differences that do exist are the result of misunderstandings and these can surely be eliminated.August 20, 1929
I write on behalf of the Guardian to remind you that the next issue of the 'Bahá'í World' will soon appear and its editors are already busy compiling material. He has been asked by the editors in America to request you please to make a special effort to contribute as much material as you possibly can in the form of photographs, reports, accounts, and individual articles; and to send them as soon as possible to America in order that a work which the Guardian considers our foremost Bahá'í publication in the world, may be as representative of the many countries and especially Eastern peoples as we would all wish it to be.December 15, 1929
...As regards "Huquq", it is really 19 per cent of one's income payable to the Guardian. But it is not obligatory now.December 19, 1929
He was very sorry to learn of the illness of Syed Jenab Ali and since the receipt of your letter, he has been extremely grieved to learn of his passing. His sudden departure throws a shadow of gloom upon all of us here and in India and while Burma loses a distinguished and truly earnest Bahá'í leader, it must be especially unfortunate to you that just at a time when you were considering and preparing the ground for Government Recognition and a temporary consideration of Bahá'í laws, you were deprived of his valued cooperation. The Cause in India is as yet in such a tender age that we can ill afford the loss of those few that keep the torch aflame.Page 28
The news of the passing of our dear and able friend and collaborator Syed Jenab Ali has brought profound sorrow to our hearts. He leaves a great gap behind him. I hope that the friends far from feeling disheartened and discouraged at such a great loss will arise and redouble their efforts in order to compensate for the loss which they have sustained. Kindly assure his relatives of my deep grief, and my prayers for his departed soul.January 6, 1930
...Miss Root is at present in Tehran and she does not know just how long she will stay, but surely before leaving for India she would inform you of her plans in time. It is such a pity that Mr. Vakil is unwell. He is a man we cannot spare just as the passing of Syed Jenab Ali leaves a serious gap in Burma.[From the Guardian:]
Miss Root will soon be with you, and I trust her visit may lend a fresh impetus to your work of consolidation and spread of the Cause. I will continue to pray for your efforts and activities from the depths of my heart. Be not disheartened. Persevere in your labours and rest assured that the Beloved will richly reward those who stand firm in the Faith, and those who persevere in their endeavours.March 1, 1930
Miss Root has been delayed by the enthusiastic reception she has received in Persia and she is now planning to visit southern and eastern Persia where she has not yet been. We hope her visit to India will prove of some value in attracting the attention of the intelligent classes among the non-Baha'is, but perhaps thePage 29
political agitation will entirely defeat that purpose at the present time.April 26, 1930
He was very glad to hear of the activities of Miss Martha Root in India and hopes that they will all bear some wonderful fruits for the progress of the Cause in India. It is sure that with the existence of the present political unrest in that country few are ready to pay any attention to religious matters, but among the very intelligent people there are undoubtedly people whose vision extends further than the present difficulties and desire a spiritual rebirth for that much divided and troubled nation. To these the Bahá'í teachings should undoubtedly present a much desired reform movement. Anyhow Shoghi Effendi hopes that with the help of Miss Root you have been able to approach such eminent persons and have sown in their heart the seed of faith.July 4, 1930
Concerning the trip of Miss Martha Root, we have already heard about her activities from many sources. Shoghi Effendi sincerely hopes that the National Assembly will undertake such measures as would keep up the work and produce some tangible result from her visit. It is very important to follow up the work that she started and keep in touch with the people she has been able to interest.[From the Guardian:]
With the assurance of my deep appreciation of your many and highly successful endeavours in connection with the visit of Miss Root and of my fervent and loving prayers for your own happiness and spiritual advancement.September 19, 1930
Bahá'í Representation at the All-Asian Women's Conference
Concerning Bahá'í representation at the All-Asian Women's Conference; this is undoubtedly a most commendable thing to do especially as the Cause has so much concerning the position of women in society. Shoghi Effendi hopes that the National Assembly will do its best to win the admiration of all the assembled delegates for the teachings of the Cause along that line. We should always take such opportunities that present themselves. May be we would succeed to render some service to society and alleviate its ills.November 10, 1930
Shoghi Effendi hopes that with the combined efforts of the friends and the Master's infinite mercy a great success will be achieved at both of the conferences. While visiting the Blessed Shrines he will remember the delegates and ask for them divine guidance. If presented properly the position of women in the Bahá'í teachings will surely attract much attention, for it is not only legal but also spiritual and educational. Our ideals are so high and at the same time so practicable that all other views will fall short if compared to them. Shoghi Effendi hopes that many will be able to attend these conferences and render all the assistance they possibly can.[From the Guardian:]
I trust that the message sent on behalf of the Greatest Holy Leaf and myself has reached in time and been conveyed to the members of the conference. May the Almighty Hand of Bahá'u'lláh guide your steps and sustain your efforts in the manifold services you are rendering to the Cause. I will continue to pray for you from the depths of my heart.January 7, 1931
The Guardian has also received the account of the National Fund of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India [and] Burma and he read it with careful attention and deep interest.
He was very pleased to learn with what self-sacrificing efforts our Indian brothers are toiling and he fervently prays that the Almighty may continually shower His blessings upon them that they may be able to spread the Cause in the most rapid and in the most efficient way. Shoghi Effendi was particularly rejoiced at the perseverance with which our talented Bahá'í brother, Dr. Pritam Singh, is carrying on his work in connection with the publication of the "Bahá'í Weekly", copies of which he has received and read with deepest interest.
You may have heard of the projected publication by the Bahá'í Publishing Committee of the book entitled "The Dawn-Breakers" being Nabil's narrative of the early days of the Bahá'í revelation, recently translated by the Guardian. It is hoped that the Indian friends will order a few copies of this highly valuable book and that they will send a few others to some of the leading libraries in India and Burma.[From the Guardian:]
My prayers will continue to be offered on behalf of the loyal and self-sacrificing friends in India and Burma. Prof. Pritam Singh's notable and ever-increasing share in the administrative, literary and financial activities of the Faith in that land is a source of genuine and constant satisfaction. I would specially request your Assembly to prepare a comprehensive and detailed report on the activities and progress of the Faith in India and Burma during the last two years, 1930-32, for inclusion in the forthcoming issue of the Bahá'í World. Will you kindly forward the report to Mr. Horace Holley as soon as possible, as he has been charged to draw up a survey similar to the one published in the last volume.Page 32
I would also urge the friends in India and Burma to order as many copies of the "Dawn-Breakers" as they possibly can as I regard its circulation of vital importance to the Cause.August 29, 1931
Shoghi Effendi wishes me to drop you these few lines to draw your attention to a general principle he has laid down for all the Bahá'í periodicals, namely that they should be very careful in selecting the advertisements they accept to publish. It should be highly dignified, such as books for example, otherwise it would detract from the dignity of the periodical itself. This may cause certain difficulty in financially establishing the paper, but we should face the sacrifice and not endanger the prestige of our publications. He wishes you to take note of this general recommendation in accepting advertisements for the Bahá'í Weekly.January 7, 1932
Mrs. Ransom Kehler has informed us of her trip to India. Shoghi Effendi hopes that the friends will give her all the necessary facilities to make of her tour a real success. The report of her work in Australia and New Zealand has been brilliant. There is no reason why she should not do the same in India and Burma if she is given the chance, and be put in touch with really open-minded and interested people. In America she is considered among the first class national teachers and is well informed as to the progress of modern thought and the teachings of the Cause. May be she will be able to give a new impetus to the teaching work....Page 33
He trusts that through the efforts of you and the other members of the National Assembly the Cause will take a real lead in uniting the different elements existing in India and turn the face of its people to the light of God shining through Bahá'u'lláh.[From the Guardian:]
Your most welcome letter interrupting a prolonged silence on your part, has brought joy and strength to my heart. I will most assuredly pray for your complete recovery, for in you the Cause in India has an invaluable asset which I, for my part, greatly value and prize. I trust and pray that Mrs. Kehler's visit will lend a fresh impetus to the work which you are so ably conducting. I would certainly advise her to prolong her stay in your midst if it is practicable for her to do so. It is a splendid opportunity which the friends in India should utilize to the utmost possible extent. May the Beloved bless and reinforce your high endeavours, remove every obstacle from your path, and enable you at once to broaden and reinforce the foundations of the Faith in that troubled land.February 11, 1932
Shoghi Effendi was very glad to hear of the arrangements you have made for the trip of Mrs. Ransom Kehler to India. Being thoroughly familiar with the teachings and a competent speaker, she should succeed to render wonderful services to the progress of the movement in India. She could be easily ranked as a first class teacher among the Bahá'ís of America and has been the cause of guidance to innumerable souls. Guided and helped by Prof. Pritam Singh she should be able to awaken many souls to the spirit and teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.March 12, 1932
I wish to urge you to take as soon as you possibly can, the necessary and most effective steps to ensure the translationPage 34
of Dr. Esslemont's book into Urdu and Gujrati. I have already expressed the desirability to have these translations to a number of pilgrims, but so far my hopes have not materialized. This book has already been translated and printed into eight different languages, the latest being Russian, Hebrew and Chinese. The Persian, the Albanian, the Bulgarian, the French and the Swedish versions will be printed this year. I wish you to do all in your power to ensure the speedy and correct translation of this book into these two languages, and if necessary to hire the services of a competent non-Bahá'í translator. I shall be only too pleased to assist financially both with regard to their translation and publication. May the Beloved guide and assist you in this vital and important task.March 12, 1932
Shoghi Effendi wishes me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated March 14th 1932 informing him about the arrival of Mrs. Ransom Kehler to Calcutta. He was very glad to know that her visit was successful and that it has very much stimulated the teaching work in that city. He sincerely hopes that as a consequence a number of souls will enter the Cause and be inspired by its divine teachings and ennobling spirit. Such teachers of the Cause who, with all sincerity and determination, undertake such long trips, should be very much helped by the resident believers if real progress is to be achieved. They ought to be assisted to reach important people speak to intelligent and receptive audiences, and obtain interviews with persons whose heart is open to the light of God. Otherwise, during their short stay they would, like a helpless man in a strange country, be impotent to achieve their purpose. Shoghi Effendi is very glad the friends have taken the necessary step to assist Mrs. Ransom Kehler by appointing ProfessorPage 35
Pritam Singh to accompany her in her trip through India. May God help her and help you in proclaiming the Word of God through the length and breadth of that vast land.March 28, 1932
He was very glad to learn of the plans you made for Mrs. Ransom Kehler. He sincerely hopes that in these meetings and public lectures delivered in so many cities, she has been able to attract some new souls to the Cause and confirm people who until now have been merely interested. We should admit, however, that the time at her disposal was too short to give her the chance of doing her best. A teacher ought to remain at least a few months in the same city if he wants to really confirm souls. Mere passing and giving a lecture or two is not sufficient unless there are resident Bahá'ís to continue the work that was merely started. Anyhow Mrs. Ransom Kehler is expected to reach Haifa in about 3 weeks and Shoghi Effendi will hear the report of her journey from herself.Translation of Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era
The Guardian was very glad to learn of your quick response to his expressed desire in having Dr. Esslemont's book translated into Urdu and Gujrati. As he comes to learn from one of the Parsee pilgrims here in Haifa, the book has already been translated by a competent Bahá'í in India into Gujrati. So there remains only Urdu. So Shoghi Effendi wishes you to concentrate upon having the book translated only into Urdu.[From the Guardian:]
I wish you to concentrate your efforts on the completion of the Urdu version of Dr. Esslemont's book, and to take the necessary step for its early publication. I shall be only too glad to assist financially in its printing as soon as itsPage 36
translation is completed. I also desire to stress the paramount importance of following up the valuable work accomplished by Mrs. Kehler and which I hope other international Bahá'í teachers will reinforce. How vast is the field and how small the number of competent teachers! Bahá'u'lláh will however bless and crown our efforts with success if we persevere and labour with unabated confidence and vigour.April 5, 1932
He sincerely hopes that as a result of her (Mrs. Kehler's) trip the Cause will make a great progress in India and many souls will be drawn into the Cause. It was surely very nice and wise on the part of the National Assembly to appoint Mr. Pritam Singh to travel with her and help her make openings into intellectual circles. It is unfortunate, however, that she cannot stay long in every centre and make really confirmed believers such as she did in certain centres in Australia. But perhaps the National Assembly will attend to that task and keeping in touch with persons she will interest, and gradually make them embrace the Faith and lend a help towards its progress. We need teachers in every part of the world, and as those who are in active service are few we should create some from the material we have. It is the work of the N.S.A. to attend to such matters and develop some of our young Bahá'ís into competent teachers.
Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era to be Translated into Urdu [and] Hindi
In a previous letter I informed you on behalf of ShoghiPage 37
Effendi that as we already have a translation of Dr. Esslemont's book into Gujrati, you concentrate your efforts on having it rendered only into Urdu, so that the work may soon be completed and published.[From the Guardian:]
I trust you have by now taken the necessary steps for a prompt and careful translation of the book into Urdu. This service will, I am sure, be an added blessing to the masses of India, whom you are striving so devotedly and energetically to arouse and teach. May it prove a prelude to an intensive and fruitful teaching campaign that shall bring in its wake enlightenment, peace and hope to the distracted multitudes of that agitated country.April 12, 1932
Even though we can refer to a non-Bahá'í when we have no one among the friends to undertake a proper work of translation, yet it is always preferable to have it accomplished by a person who is imbued with the spirit and is already familiar with the different expressions of Bahá'í conceptions unfamiliar to a non-Baha'i. Shoghi Effendi wishes him success and will pray for his guidance.
Mrs. Ransom Kehler is now in Haifa taking some rest before starting for Persia, where she expects to stay a few months. Shoghi Effendi was very glad to hear of her great success in India. He hopes that she will after Persia pay another visit to that country and resume the work she has started. She is surely a very competent teacher and well versed in the Writings.[From the Guardian:]
I trust and pray that you will be enabled to start promptly the publication of the Hindi translation on one hand, and to ensure, on the other, the early completion of the Urdu version, both of which, I feel are indispensable preliminaries to an intensive teaching campaign among the great masses of the Indian people. I am confident that the publication of the Gujrati version together with these and the Burmese translations, will reinforce the impetus which thePage 38
projected visit of Mrs. Kehler to India next autumn will lend to the onward march of our beloved Cause in India. May the Almighty reinforce your labours and bless your high endeavours.May 31, 1932
He is very glad to know that the different translations of Dr. Esslemont's book, that you have undertaken to have made, are progressing rapidly. He sincerely hopes that before long they will be passed through the press and be ready for distribution. Even though the book was written by a Christian and was meant to be for people of that Faith to read, yet it is a very fine presentation of the teachings as a whole and might prove interesting to other people as well.
Shoghi Effendi surely hopes that before long the Cause may produce scholars that would write books which would be far deeper and more universal in scope, but for the present this is the best we possess to give a general idea as to the history and teachings of the Faith to new seekers. After reading this they get the necessary introduction to delve more deeply into the fundamental tenets such as are explained in the Iqan. Shoghi Effendi hopes that these books will greatly stimulate the teaching work in India and become the cause of guidance to many sincere souls.Passing Away of the Greatest Holy Leaf
The Guardian wishes me also to thank you for your kind words of sympathy in connection with the passing away of the Greatest Holy Leaf. This great loss will be felt by every Bahá'í but especially the pilgrims to whom she used to be such a source of inspiration and joy. All those who met her left her presence with a new spirit and a firm determination to serve the Cause for which she suffered so much and whose progress was so near to her heart.Page 39
What the Guardian is glad about is that her passing is creating a new spirit among the friends and arousing them to greater effort. May her death do for the progress of the Faith as much as her life did.Publication of Bahá'u'lláh [and] the New Era
I wish to emphasize afresh the vital necessity of speeding up the work of the translation and publication of the Gujrati, the Urdu and the Hindi versions of the 'New Era', a book that has already been published into 14 different languages and is being translated into sixteen additional tongues. I am deeply appreciative of what you have already achieved, and wish to assure you of my continued prayers for the success of your painstaking efforts and the realization of your dearest wish in the service of our beloved Faith.October 19, 1932
Shoghi Effendi wishes me to communicate with you to inquire regarding the Hindi and Urdu translations of Dr. Esslemont's book. It is sometime that he has had no definite word as to the progress of that work which you have so kindly undertaken to supervise. He sincerely hopes that gradually that task will be successfully achieved and that they will be ready to be submitted to the printers and then to the readers who may be anxiously awaiting to study them and benefit from their contents.
This work once completed will become a great stimulus to the teaching activities of the friends, for books can do infinitely more work than teachers. Sitting in a chair in a solitary corner one is infinitely more receptive to truth than in a lecture hall or in a discussion group. The public has learned the habit of reading. It is through that channel therefore that we have to approach them.November 19, 1932
He was very glad to obtain some news regarding the translation of Dr. Esslemont's book into Urdu and Hindi, for he feels deeply interested in the work. He feels that it is only when such books are accessible to the public that the Cause will begin to spread and its followers increase in number.
He, therefore, wishes you to exert your effort along that line so that the task may be achieved properly and without any needless delay. Also please keep him informed regarding any new development or any progress made.
We do not now have any pilgrims, but the news we receive from different parts of the world show great progress achieved by the friends. Even though material conditions in some instances hamper their activities to an appreciable extent, yet their devotion and self-sacrifice are daily winning for them the admiration and sympathy of the world around them. Every day a new group is formed and new souls attracted to the faith.[From the Guardian:]
I grieve to learn of the delay in the translation and publication of the various translations of Dr. Esslemont's valuable book, and I urge you to do all you possibly can to hasten the realization of our cherished hopes -- hopes which when fulfilled will no doubt lend a great and fresh impetus to the advancement of the Faith in that land. I am enclosing a copy of my recent letter concerning the Greatest Holy Leaf and the measures which, I feel, must be taken by the friends in Persia preliminary to the formation of the House of Justice.January 10, 1933
He sincerely hopes that through God's infinite blessings the necessary sum will be forthcoming and that in time a Center worthy of the prestige and name of the Cause will be purchased or built.Page 41
Such institutions greatly help the spread of the Faith, for there will be a permanent place where the interested souls can go for information. It also operates as the center of the different activities of the Spiritual Assembly of that locality. In his moments of prayer at the Blessed Shrines, the Guardian will think of you as well as of the other friends in that locality and ask for you all divine guidance and help. He was also delighted to hear that three new souls have accepted the Faith in Calcutta. He hopes that before long we will have large groups, comprising hundreds of earnest and seeking souls, enter the Cause and take part in spreading the Message. Please assure the three of them of Shoghi Effendi's loving greetings.February 8, 1933
Translation of Bahá'u'lláh [and] the New Era into Burmese
Shoghi Effendi wishes me to write you this short note to enclose a check for thirty pounds.
This is his contribution towards the publication of the translation of Dr. Esslemont's book into Burmese which has been made by Sayed Mustafa Rumi. Please inform the latter about its receipt because he has asked the Guardian to send this contribution through you and he may be anxious to receive this news.March 1, 1933
He was very glad to learn that the Burmese translation has been completed and that it is now in the hands of the printers. Now the translation into Burmese and Gujrati have been completed and the latter is even printed and circulated thePage 42
Guardian feels we should concentrate upon the Hindi and Urdu translations. We should not permit so much unnecessary delay. If one way seems closed or difficult we could try another and strive for the speedy completion of those books. The more we see the crying need of the world for the spiritual teachings of our Faith the more restless we should feel in giving out the Message and improving the means of diffusing the precepts of the Cause.
In his moments of prayers at the Blessed Shrines the Guardian will think of you and ask God to guide and sustain your efforts. He knows fully how difficult it is these days to bring a task to a speedy and successful conclusion, but to a person who is determined and lays his trust in God nothing is impossible.Teaching Among the Masses in India
I rejoice to hear of the steps that are being taken for the printing of the Burmese edition of the 'New Era' but deplore the delay in the translation of the book into Hindi and Urdu. The Gujrati copies have already been placed in the library of the Mansion at Bahji, and I long with all my heart to witness these remaining translations in their final and printed form, side by side with the nineteen printed versions which have already been collected and distributed throughout the world. I would urge you to concentrate your energy on this important and essential preliminary to an intensive campaign of teaching among the masses in India. Persevere and rest assured that my prayers will continue to be offered on your behalf.March 24, 1933
He was very glad to receive the Gujrati translation of Dr. Esslemont's book, and he hopes that through your efforts the Hindi and Urdu translation of it will soon be ready for publication.Page 43
As you may know, this work has already been translated into 19 different languages and its rendering into 11 others will be soon completed. This is really encouraging.[From the Guardian:]
I long to hear from you and of the progress of your devoted and incessant activities in the service of our beloved Faith. I am also eager to receive the good news of the completion of the translation and early publication of the Urdu and Hindi versions of the 'New Era'. The utmost effort should be exerted to ensure the consummation of this work which, I feel, must precede an intensive teaching campaign among the masses in India. I am arranging for Mrs. Kehler to visit southern Persia this autumn after which she is expecting to visit India, this winter.June 8, 1933
He was particularly glad to learn that some of our Indian friends have encouraged you to start a fortnightly paper on the Cause. The idea is, undoubtedly, most genuine and meets with our Guardian's wholehearted approval. He wishes you, however, not to act hurriedly, to take all the necessary steps which can insure its safety and development. Such projects are not so easy to carry out, especially in these days when the economic crisis is getting so acute. At any rate, if you find that your financial conditions allow you to undertake such an important work, you should persevere in your efforts and try to make your paper an indispensable adjunct to the teaching activities of the friends.
The Guardian hopes that you will be more successful in this, your second attempt. The unexpected death of the 'Bahá'í Weekly', he feels, had badly affected the prestige of the Cause. It is hoped that your new fortnightly paper will enable all to appreciate more adequately the divine potency with which it is endowed.Page 44
Mrs. Keith Ransom-Kehler, who has been doing such a fine work in Persia, is planning to leave for India at the beginning of winter. Her presence among you will be certainly appreciated. She is such a wonderful soul, so devoted, so active and so capable. The Guardian hopes that you will make the utmost use of her stay in India.[From the Guardian:]
Your unswerving loyalty and inflexible resolve to carry on the work you have so nobly initiated are indeed worthy of the highest praise. I will pray for your success and the steady and uninterrupted progress of your activities whenever I lay my head on the sacred Threshold and will supplicate for you all the strength and guidance you need for the prosecution of your task. The friends in India and Burma should bestir themselves and, under the guidance and by the aid of the National Assembly prepare the way for the forthcoming visit of our able and brilliant international teacher Mrs. Kehler. May the Lord sustain and guide them in their endeavours and reward them for their acts of self-sacrifice in His Path.June 13, 1933
As regards the Urdu translation of Dr. Esslemont's book, Shoghi Effendi wishes you to make all the necessary effort to have it published as soon as possible. He is fully aware of the difficulties that have caused an inevitable delay in the publication of this highly important work, but he feels certain that, through your perseverance and through the kind and invaluable assistance of Prof. Pritam Singh ... the translation will be soon completed and be ready for publication.
The Guardian would like you also to take all the necessary steps for the Hindi translation of this same work. It is hoped that no delay will be caused this time.[From the Guardian:]
The Serbian and Hungarian versions of "The New Era"Page 45
have been recently published through the efforts of Martha Root. The Rumanian translation has been undertaken and the Greek version will soon be started. I long to see the Urdu, the Hindi and the Burmese versions in print and circulated among the masses of the Indian people. Persevere and redouble in your efforts.August 6, 1933
Shoghi Effendi was deeply gratified to learn of the important steps you have taken for the translation and publication of Dr. Esslemont's book into Hindi. He has greatly appreciated the assistance of Dr. Kaushal Kishore, and sincerely trusts that through your combined efforts the work will be soon completed and will be ready for circulation. In a recent communication to the Guardian, our devoted friend Siyyid, Mustafa Rumi, has given the news of the publication of this same book in Burmese. It is hoped that this will serve to encourage our Indian believers to follow his example.[From the Guardian:]
I am so pleased and grateful to you for your incessant efforts in connexion with the translation and publication of the 'New Era', and I am deeply gratified to learn of the progress already achieved. I will continue to pray for the speedy realization of your hopes, plans and wishes in the service of this glorious Faith.September 10, 1933
The sudden passing of that wholly-consecrated and brilliant teacher and international promoter of the Cause Mrs. Keith Ransom-Kehler, has plunged Shoghi Effendi into deepest sorrow for in her he has lost not only a valuable co-worker but a dear friend. After more than a year of intense teaching work in Persia, where she was entrusted by the Guardian with the mission of acquainting our Persian brethren with the basicPage 46
principles of the Administration and of liberating them from the appalling persecutions to which they have been lately subjected, our precious Keith left this world under so tragic circumstances that she was given by the Guardian the title of the first western martyr on Persian soil, and was raised by him to the station of one of the Hands of the Cause. Her deep-rooted and unshakable faith, her unqualified loyalty to the Cause of the Administration and her profound knowledge of the Teachings, all these fully entitle her to occupy such an eminent rank among the faithful.
Our Indian friends, who have been so appreciative of her last visit to them, must have been particularly affected by such an irretrievable loss. May the memory of her services inspire them to follow in her footsteps, and to tread the path of service as firmly and as successfully as she did.
Twentyfive Printed Versions of Bahá'u'lláh [and] the New Era[From the Guardian:]
I am so eager to receive the news of the completion and publication of the Hindi and Urdu versions of the "New Era", and it will please and encourage you to know that we have already twentyfive different printed versions of this precious book translated into Eastern and Western tongues.November 26, 1933
The Guardian was greatly pleased to read the minutes of the last meeting of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India and Burma and he wishes me to express his genuine appreciation of the important steps which your Assembly has taken for the further extension and consolidationPage 47
of the administrative institutions of the Faith in that country.
He would be very grateful if you send him regularly the minutes of the meetings of the N.S.A. and he would be only too glad to offer any suggestion or advice which may help its members to better discharge their manifold and delicate functions. He sincerely hopes that your Assembly will meet as regularly and as frequently as possible in order to maintain the efficiency of its functioning and to raise the standard and to widen the scope of its activities.
The important decision of the N.S.A. relative to the registration of the Bombay Assembly as a recognized religious body is, in the Guardian's opinion, a leading step towards the official recognition of the Cause as an independent religious organisation by the Government authorities both in India and Burma. He would strongly urge, however, that the constitution to be adopted should not only be based on that which the New York Assembly has adopted for its own registration but should reproduce it identically without any change whatsoever but with due consideration to all local and geographical differences.
The Guardian wishes also to stress the necessity of completing the Urdu and the Hindi translations of Dr. Esslemont's 'New Era'. He has already, in several communications addressed to Mr. N.R. Vakil, requested him to take all the necessary steps in this direction. May the decision of the N.S.A. on this point hasten and insure the completion of this task to which the Guardian has so repeatedly drawn the attention of the friends.December 27, 1933
The Guardian was very pleased to learn of the progress done by the Indian N.S.A. in its efforts to consolidate, widen and maintain the scope of its national activities. The difficulties in your way are tremendous. The differences of language and of social and intellectual background do, undoubtedly, render the work somewhat difficult to carry out and may temporarilyPage 48
check the efficient and smooth working of the national administrative machinery of the Faith. They, nevertheless, impart to the deliberations of the National Assembly a universality which they would be otherwise lacking, and give to its members a breadth of view which is their duty to cultivate and foster. It is not uniformity which we should seek in the formation of any national or local assembly. For the bedrock of the Bahá'í administrative order is the principle of unity in diversity, which has been so strongly and so repeatedly emphasized in the writings of the Cause. Differences which are not fundamental and contrary to the basic teachings of the Cause should be maintained, while the underlying unity of the administrative order should be at any cost preserved and insured. Unity, both of purpose and of means is, indeed, indispensable to the safe and speedy working of every Assembly, whether local or national.
Another factor which, in the Guardian's opinion, is essential to the development of your N.S.A. is the holding of frequent meetings. Although the members are stationed at great distances from one another, yet they can communicate through correspondence.
It is not necessary that all the members should be present in all the sessions. Those who for some reason or another are unable to attend in person the meetings of the N.S.A., can express their views in a written form and send them to the Assembly. The main point is that your national activities should not be let to suffer in any way, and its work be retarded and postponed because of such necessarily unimportant and secondary considerations.[From the Guardian:]
I wish to assure you in person of my prayers for the removal of the difficulties, domestic and otherwise, that beset your path in these days. I will supplicate the Almighty to guide you in your manifold and valuable activities in the service of His Faith, to cheer your heart, and to deepen your understanding of the fundamentals of His Faith. You should concentrate your efforts at the present time on whatever will, in your opinion reinforce the basis and extend the influence, of the administrative institutions and the teaching activities of the Faith. The Cause will, no doubt, surmountPage 49
the obstacles that now hinder its growth and will establish its ascendency in the fulness of time and at the appointed hour. We should persevere and never feel disheartened.January 2, 1934
The N.S.A. cannot refuse accepting a resignation when it is well justified, and when it is done not with the purpose of shirking responsibility but with the intention of giving a chance to others to prove themselves worthy of occupying responsible posts in the administrative field.April 10, 1934
The resolutions passed by your N.S.A. at its recent meeting at Delhi have given him sufficient evidence of the new spirit that has come to animate its members. It is his hope that through the continued development of that same spirit your Assembly will be enabled to do more effective work for the Cause.[From the Guardian:]
The splendid resolutions passed by the National Assembly at Delhi are admirable and indicate the revival of the spirit of fellowship and determination to consolidate the administrative basis of the Faith in India and Burma. I am eagerly anticipating to hear the news that these resolutions have been duly carried out, particularly regarding the incorporation of the Bombay Assembly and the translation and publication of the New Era into Urdu and Sindhi.May 29, 1934
He fully agrees with the Bombay Assembly that they are in need of an English-speaking Secretary, in view of thePage 50
increasingly large volume of correspondence they receive in English. But he feels that this emergency does not afford sufficient justification to any believer or Assembly to make the slightest departure from the recognized and duly established principles governing the election of the members of any Assembly, whether local or national. If the Bombay Assembly feels it necessary to have a Secretary for the English correspondence they can appoint an Assistant Secretary from outside the Assembly. It is only the body of Bahá'í electors who can bring about any change in the membership of the Assembly, and this during the Ridvan feast which for all administrative purposes is the beginning of the Bahá'í Year.June 5, 1934
He notes with deep satisfaction the important steps taken by your N.S.A. for intensifying the spread of the Cause throughout India and Burma, and particularly values the encouragement and help which they have extended to dear Mr. Pritam Singh in his teaching tour in Northern India. He is praying from the depth of his heart for the success of this trip, as well as for the speedy and complete materialisation of the plans which you, in close collaboration with your fellow-members in the National Assembly, are initiating for the wider diffusion of the teachings throughout your country.
He fully appreciates, indeed, the suggestions you have offered him in this connection. The lack of competent teachers is no doubt a serious obstacle facing the Indian believers at present. But it is by no means the most difficult problem with which they have to deal. The essential is that all the friends, without any exception whatever, should realise the full measure of the responsibility which Bahá'u'lláh has placed on them for teaching far and wide His Message. It is only through such an awakened consciousness of their heavy and sacred responsibilities and duties that the believers can hope to effectively promote and safeguard the interests of the Cause. The Bahá'í era is thusPage 51
the age of individual responsibility -- the age in which everyone is called to consider the spread of the Cause as his most sacred and vital obligation.
This is the point which the Guardian wishes your Assembly to emphasize in connection with the problem of teaching in India. He hopes that through their collective efforts a new zeal for teaching will come to animate the entire community of the believers throughout India and Burma.
Shoghi Effendi approves of your suggestion to utilize the fifty pounds which he sent to you, for the publication of the Bengali translation of the "New Era". He hopes that this work will soon be ready for distribution.November 25, 1934
I am directed by the Guardian to request you to kindly mail to his address five copies of the Urdu translation of the "Kitáb-i-Iqan" (Book of Certitude).
You will certainly be interested to know that the Iqan has already been translated and published into Russian, English, French, German, Chinese, Albanian, Urdu and Braille. Steps have also been taken for its rendering and publication into Arabic, Armenian, Swedish and Danish.November 27, 1934
The persecutions from which the Persian friends are now suffering represent, indeed, the culmination in the long and nation-wide campaign which the authorities in that country have during the last two years launched against the Faith. In many of its aspects this campaign is reminiscent of the persecutions suffered by the early Babis,...Page 52
The first incident which led to this outburst of fierce antagonism on the part of the Government was in connection with the Tarbiat Schools in Tehran. The school authorities having, after due consultation with the N.S.A. and in strict conformity with the principle governing the observance of Bahá'í holidays, decided to close the schools on the occasion of the celebration of the anniversary of Báb's martyrdom, the authorities in the capital immediately issued orders that the schools be permanently closed, and that also no public meetings of any kind be held by the believers. This has been done in spite of the fact that other religious communities, such as the Muslims and the Zoroastrians, are allowed to celebrate their own feasts, and as such enjoy full religious freedom. Similar orders were issued to the believers in all other parts of Persia, with the result that today the friends find their activities in Persia completely paralyzed. Their schools have all been definitely closed, their meetings suspended, their correspondence intercepted, and their assemblies and committees for the most part dissolved.
The situation, as it stands at present, is highly disconcerting. The friends, however, faithful to the injunctions of the Master regarding obedience to government in all administrative matters as distinguished from those affecting their conscience and loyalty to the Cause strictly adhere to the laws and orders of the government. Their sole hope is the assurance that in due time all these restrictions are bound to disappear....
In the meantime, the Guardian would urge all the friends to patiently and prayerfully wait until these sad happenings take their due course. For the history of the Cause, particularly in Persia, is a clear illustration of the truth that such persecutions invariably serve to strengthen the believers in their faith, by stimulating the spiritual powers latent in their hearts, and by awakening in them a new and deeper consciousness of their duties and responsibilities towards the Faith. Indeed, the mere progress of the Cause, by provoking the hatreds and jealousies of peoples and nations, creates for itself such difficulties and obstacles as only its divine spirit can overcome. Abdu'l-Bahá has emphatically stated that the enmity and opposition of thePage 53
world will increase in direct proportion to the extension and progress of the Faith. The greater the zeal of the believers and the more striking the effect of their achievements, the fiercer will be the opposition of the enemy.
Many are the passages in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh wherein He foreshadows the persecutions awaiting His Faith. But side by side with such emphatic predictions is the assurance that out of these sufferings and trials His Cause will emerge triumphant and purified. May we not, therefore, gather strength from such an assurance, and with hearts filled with confident and joyous hope arise to fulfil our part in the establishment of His Cause?January 20, 1935
With regard to the teaching outline you had enclosed, Shoghi Effendi has read it with interest and appreciation and wishes me to assure you of his whole-hearted approval. The method you have adopted for the training of Bahá'í teachers is, indeed, very similar to the one used by the American friends. It is very thorough, yet clear and highly effective. The Guardian trusts that the believers in India and Burma will make full use of your Assembly's suggestions and directions, and in this way help in inaugurating a new and effective teaching campaign throughout India and Burma.July 8, 1935
He has been particularly pleased and encouraged to receive the copy of the Certificate of Registration of the Karachi Bahá'í Assembly, and is eagerly awaiting for the registration papers of the Delhi and Rangoon Spiritual Assemblies. He hopes that the N.S.A. will expedite the matter of legalizing all the LocalPage 54
Assemblies of India and Burma and in this way insure the stability of the administrative institutions of the Cause in these two countries.August 12, 1935
He is pleased to learn of the possibility of establishing an Assembly in Lahore in the near future. He would urge you, and through you your fellow-members in the N.S.A., to make a special effort to bring about such a formation as soon as conditions are found to be favourable. He hopes that the establishment of a local Assembly in so important and central a town in India will greatly help the expansion of the Faith, and will consolidate the foundations of its institutions throughout that country.October 17, 1935
Historic Step in Development of Administrative Order
He wishes me to congratulate you, and through you your fellow-members in the N.S.A., for the steps you have taken for the registration of the Delhi, Calcutta, Rangoon and other local Assemblies. He hopes that by the end of the year six out of the eight Assemblies will be duly registered. Needless to say that the obtention of such an official recognition from the authorities is an historic step in the development of the Administrative Order of the Faith throughout India and Burma, and one which shall greatly enhance its prestige, and consolidate its position in the eyes of the public. May Bahá'u'lláh continue to guide and assist your efforts for the fulfilment of this task.
The Guardian is also very much gratified to learn that the N.S.A. is considering the possibility of establishing a localPage 55
Assembly in Lucknow. He trusts that in Jaunpur too an Assembly will be formed very soon, and that through these two valuable additions to the list of local Bahá'í Assemblies, the administrative work of the Cause in India will make further and steady advancement.
In connection with the Teaching School which the N.S.A. is planning to start, the Guardian wishes me to express his approval, as well as his appreciation of this important action taken by your Assembly for the extension of their teaching work. He is also very pleased at the news of the teaching tour undertaken by Prof. Pritam Singh throughout Northern India and Bengal.
He is praying for the success of this trip, and cherishes the hope that it may serve to bring into the Cause people of capacity and of true spiritual vision.Circulation of Abdu'l-Bahá'í Photographs
Regarding the use of Abdu'l-Bahá'í photographs; Shoghi Effendi sees no objection to their circulation. He would, however, suggest that the Paris photograph be used, as well as the American reproduction of it, printed on yellow paper with a quotation from the Kitáb-i-Ahd at the bottom.Splendid Initiative
My heart swells with pride and gratitude as I witness, in rapid succession and with ever-increasing dearness, the evidences of the splendid initiative, the unwavering determination and solidarity which have characterized your accomplishments in recent months. The National Assembly of India and Burma may be said to have resuscitated our Cause and its institutions throughout the length and breadth of that land. A mighty power whose source is centred in Bahá'u'lláh Himself is copiously flowing through and permeating the various organs of the Administrative Order ofPage 56
His Faith in both India and Burma. You and your collaborators stand on the threshold of unparalleled achievements. I cannot but congratulate you on the start you have made and on your choice of the path, which, after so many trials and vicissitudes, you are so confidently treading. Persevere, and be happy and thankful to Bahá'u'lláh.November 15, 1935
The Guardian ... feels truly delighted at the news of the splendid meetings that were held in Bombay in honour of the anniversary of the birthday of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh. This fresh evidence of the loyalty and devotion with which the Bombay friends are upholding the institutions of the Faith is highly gratifying and encouraging to him, indeed.
But he cannot but deplore the fact that some of the believers are reluctant to observe, as strictly as they should, the Feasts and anniversaries prescribed by the Cause. This attitude, which may be justified in certain exceptional circumstances, is fraught with incalculable dangers and harm to the community, and will, if allowed to persist, seriously endanger its influence and prestige in the public eye. Unity of action, in matters of so vital an importance as the observance of Bahá'í holidays, is essential. It is the responsibility of the N.S.A. to remind and urge the friends to faithfully carry out all such laws and precepts of the Cause, the enforcement of which does not constitute an open violation of the laws of their country.[From the Guardian:]
The striking evidences of renewed Bahá'í activity throughout India and Burma, the recent manifestations of loyalty, solidarity and self-sacrifice on the part of individuals, groups and Assemblies in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í service, rejoice my heart and revive and enliven my hopes for the future of that land. The friends in India and Burma have made a splendid start. They havePage 57
laid a firm foundation within the framework of the administrative order of our Faith. They have weathered manifold and distressing difficulties and successfully surmounted formidable obstacles. A new era is opening before them. I have no doubt that they will rise to the height of the occasion, and will prove themselves worthy of their high destiny.November 22, 1935
He feels greatly rejoiced at the important steps you have taken for giving the Cause a wide and effective publicity throughout India. He has read with much interest the newspaper clipping which you had enclosed, and sincerely hopes that your masterly sketch of the history and teachings of the Cause will serve to attract leading personalities among the Indian public to the Faith.
Regarding the publication of the Hindi, Sindhi and Bengali translations of "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era," the Guardian very much appreciates your N.S.A.'s response to his call for speeding up the printing of these works which, he hopes, will, when widely circulated throughout the country open a new era of unprecedented teaching activity not only in India and Burma, but also in Ceylon and other neighbouring countries.January 3, 1936
He feels really proud of you and of your distinguished and able co-workers in the National Assembly for the unity, efficiency and zeal with which you are labouring for the consolidation of the Administration throughout India and Burma. He is convinced that your sustained and collective efforts in this connection will soon result in ushering in a new era in the history of the Cause in that country.Page 58
The N.S.A. should, indeed, advise the believers to lessen their correspondence with the Guardian. But under no circumstances it can prevent them from writing to him. For this is a sacred right and a supreme privilege which every believer can rightly claim to possess, as through it alone he can get in direct touch with his Guardian. If individuals feel, after the advice of the N.S.A. to lessen correspondence, an inner urge to write to the Guardian they should not be prevented or discouraged."New-Era" in Sindhi [and] Bengali Printed
Shoghi Effendi is delighted to learn that the Sindhi and the Bengali translations of the "New Era" have been already sent to the press. He hopes that the Hindi version will also be completed very soon. He is also very pleased that the N.S.A. is taking the necessary steps for presenting to the authorities the pamphlet regarding various laws and ordinances of the Cause on matters of personal status. He sincerely hopes that the bill you are planning to submit to the government will be approved. He is eagerly awaiting to read the text himself.
Union With Loved Ones in the Next World . The possibility of securing union with his beloved in the next world is one which the Bahá'í Teachings are quite clear about. According to Bahá'u'lláh the soul retains its individuality and consciousness after death, and is able to commune with other souls. This communion, however, is purely spiritual in character, and is conditioned upon the disinterested and selfless love of the individuals for each other. Effort in the Field of Teaching Urgently Required[From the Guardian:]
The evidences of the rise, the consolidation, and expansionPage 59
of the Administrative Order of our beloved Faith in India and Burma are highly significant and most encouraging. The incorporation of several local Assemblies is of historic importance. Reproduction of all the Certificates of Incorporation will adorn the pages of the forthcoming Biennial.
Now that the basis of Bahá'í institutions has been firmly laid, an unprecedented effort in the field of teaching is urgently required. Such an effort is of vital and paramount importance. May the Almighty sustain, inspire and guide you in this meritorious endeavour.March 10, 1936
...He would also appeal to all the friends to lend full and continued support to the Cause of teaching throughout India. He would suggest that those believers who have the means and the necessary physical requirements, to settle in those localities where the light of the Cause has not yet penetrated, with the view of establishing a new group. This, he feels, is a very effective way of spreading the Cause in a vast and exceptionally varied country like India.Voting is Sacred Obligation
Regarding voting; it is not only the right but the sacred obligation of every member of any Bahá'í administrative body, whether permanent, or temporary like the Convention, to fully and freely exercise this function. Abstention from voting is, as a rule, not advisable, as it implies a shirking of responsibility which every loyal and conscientious believer should consider it a privilege to shoulder.It is But a Beginning
The work thus far achieved, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í service, is highly reassuring and truly meritorious in the sight of God. It is but a beginning however. Much remains to be achieved. A systematic effort, aiming at the settlement of individual believers inPage 60
those states and provinces of India where the banner of the Faith has not yet been hoisted, must be deliberately exerted and vigorously sustained. Southern India particularly, the island of Ceylon and other outlying centres on the fringe of the Indian Empire as well as within its very heart should be won over, through your strenuous, constant and devoted labours, to the ever-advancing Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. To extend the outposts of our far-flung Faith should be your immediate objective.May 31, 1936
Much as he realizes the heavy and ever-increasing expenses which your Assembly is incurring, particularly in these hard times, he feels nevertheless the urge to impress upon you the vital necessity for the Indian and Burmese believers to help in maintaining this Bahá'í school in Daidanaw which, in addition to the educational advantages it offers to the Baha'is, can be of great help in promoting the cause of teaching throughout Burma.
In view of that the Guardian wishes you to lay this matter before the N.S.A. and to urge them to give it their careful consideration. He himself is sending through the care of Siyyid Mustafa Roumie, thirty pounds as his contribution towards the upkeep of the school at Daidanaw.July 10, 1936
With regard to the problems confronting the believers; these, the Guardian fully realizes, are by no means easy to solve. But the friends should be confident that the very progress of the Cause will enable them to find the necessary solution to the difficulties which appear now to so seriously puzzle their minds.Page 61
There are two main principles which the Guardian wishes the friends to always bear in mind and to conscientiously and faithfully follow. First is the principle of unqualified and whole-hearted loyalty to the revealed Word. The believers should be careful not to deviate, even a hair-breadth, from the Teachings. Their supreme consideration should be to safeguard the purity of the principles, tenets and laws of the Faith. It is only by this means that they can hope to maintain the organic unity of the Cause. There can and should be no liberals or conservatives, no moderates or extremes in the Cause. For they are all subject to the one and the same law which is the Law of God. This law transcends all differences, all personal or local tendencies, moods and aspirations.
Next is the principle of complete, and immediate obedience to the Assemblies, both local and national. It is the responsibility of these Bahá'í administrative bodies to enable the community to acquire, and increasingly deepen in the knowledge and understanding of the Cause. Doctrinal unity and administrative unity, these are the two chief pillars that sustain the edifice of the Cause, and protect it from the storms of opposition which so severely rage against it.September 5, 1936
I am addressing you these few lines on behalf of our beloved Guardian to ask you to kindly inform your fellow-members in the Indian N.S.A. of the happy news of the projected visit of dear Mr. Siegfried Schopflocher to India, and to request you to take any step that your Assembly deems advisable in order to make his journey as fruitful and abundant in its results as possible. Mr. Siegfried Schopflocher is not in need of any introduction, as his long and manifold services to the Cause in America and particularly his generous and unfailing support of the local, national as well as international Bahá'í funds, have endeared him to all the friends, whether in the East or in the West.Page 62
For many years he has been a member of the American N.S.A. and he contributed no small part in the steady development and consolidation of the Administration ever since the early days of its establishment in the States. He is indeed an outstanding champion of the Administration not only in America but also in the West, and has proved in deeds his profound attachment and loyalty to all its principles, laws and institutions. ame will be ever associated with the beloved Temple in Wilmette. Had it not been for the continued and whole-hearted support, both financial and moral, which he so generously extended to it, that edifice could have never been reared so steadily and efficiently. The friends will always remember with deep gratitude the eminent services he has rendered the Faith in this connection.
In view of these labours so devotedly accomplished, the Guardian wishes your Assembly to urge the friends to draw full benefit from Mr. Schopflocher's visit to India. He is confident that you will extend to him a most hearty welcome, and will, through association with him, draw fresh strength and inspiration in your arduous labours for the Cause.September 25, 1936
Our beloved Guardian has read with intense interest and deepest satisfaction your most welcome letter of the fifth October conveying to him the joyful news of the teaching travels undertaken by Prof. Pritam Singh and Dr. G.Y. Chitnis throughout India. He wishes you to congratulate most warmly on his behalf these two distinguished friends upon their determination to carry the Message to those numerous and varied sections of the Indian population who have not received as yet the blessings which the knowledge of the Cause confers. He is deeply grateful to them, and to those who have, whether directly or indirectly, assisted them in the pursuit of this truly noble aim.Page 63
The Guardian wishes also to express his heartfelt thanks to the Indian N.S.A. for its splendid efforts for the extension of the teaching work throughout India. The evidences of its warm and effective response to his earnest appeal for the inauguration of a new systematized and nation-wide teaching campaign in that country are indeed such as to give him fresh hopes concerning the future expansion and consolidation of the Faith not only in India and Burma but in the neighbouring regions where the light of the Teachings has not yet penetrated. It is his sincere hope that the National Assembly will, faithful to its pledge, continue exerting its utmost for the furtherance of the cause of teaching in India, and particularly in Southern India and Ceylon where there are almost no centres at present. Nothing short of the unity, self sacrifice and intelligent and systematized planning which the local and national assemblies and also the individual believers may show forth throughout the coming years can enable them to attain this vital teaching goal.[From the Guardian:]
I hasten to assure you in person of my personal and intense satisfaction and of my special and fervent prayers for these two stalwart pioneers who have arisen to accomplish so noble a task in such difficult circumstances. The hosts of the Abha Kingdom will assuredly guide and sustain them, and will, if they persevere, crown their high endeavours with success. May their example be followed by an increasingly large number of their fellow workers.October 22, 1936
Now, that the teaching work is making a steady headway, the friends should be on their guard lest they lose the opportunity they have of spreading the Message in every corner throughout India and Burma. In this connection, he feels, he must congratulate most warmly the members of the N.S.A. for the valuable steps they have taken for the introduction of the Cause in central and southern India.Page 64
The progress of the teaching activities initiated by your Assembly is highly gratifying. Inflexible determination is required to carry it to a successful conclusion. The methods adopted by the American Bahá'í community, the zeal, the initiative, the efficiency, the fidelity with which they are prosecuting their enterprise should be exemplified by individuals and Assemblies in India and Burma. The administrative machinery which the American believers have erected and perfected has already had its counterpart in the institutions you have so nobly reared in recent years. Your teaching campaign, the supreme purpose for which this machinery has been fashioned, should likewise be modelled according to the plan which your sister community has devised and is now developing so strenuously and successfully.November 7, 1936
He wishes me now to express in particular to you, and to your distinguished fellow-members in the Indian N.S.A., his most loving appreciation and thanks for the cordial welcome you have extended to our dearly-beloved friend, Mr. Siegfried Schopflocher, during his visit to India and Burma. He is confident that the steps you have taken to render his trip successful will greatly help in giving the Faith a wide and long-needed publicity. The opportunity that has been offered you has been truly splendid, and you certainly deserve to be heartily congratulated for having fully availed yourselves of it. May the Beloved reward you a thousand-fold for your ceaseless and devoted endeavours in His Path.January 7, 1937
With regard to the Theosophists and their activities; although they obviously try to copy and claim as their own some of the principles of the Cause, yet the Guardian feels that it would be of no advantage to oppose them and to refute theirPage 65
arguments. The best attitude for the friends to adopt in such cases at the present time is to totally disregard and even neglect their opponents. This has invariably been his advice to the friends, whether in the East or in the West.Bahá'í Holidays
Regarding the sale of tea and other refreshments in a cinema under non-Bahá'í ownership; those friends who have hired from the owner of the cinema a stall for the sale of such refreshments should make every effort to obtain permission to close on Bahá'í holidays. In case, however, the non-Bahá'í owner or partner refuses to grant their request their only alternative is to obey.
The case is different with a bread bakery owned by a believer. In this case there can be no excuse whatever why the shop should not be closed during Bahá'í holidays, as there are always non-Bahá'í bakers from whom the public can buy.Bahá'í Administration
Concerning the LSA's right to suspend one of its members from Assembly membership; the Assembly can, by a majority vote, take such an action, even though the suspension may be for a long period.
As regards your question whether the President of the N.S.A. is entitled to give any ruling during the period of his tenure; the Guardian wishes me to state that no such ruling can be valid unless approved by the other members of the National Assembly. The President has no special legislative capacity, except as a member of the Assembly.
As to the question of removing a believer from the voting list; although every duly constituted local Assembly has the right to take such an action against any individual believer inPage 66
the community, nevertheless the Guardian feels the advisability for the Local Assemblies to seek the advice and approval of the N.S.A. in this most delicate and vital matter, as it is one fraught with grave and far-reaching responsibilities.
Before closing I wish to express to you, and through you to your fellow-members in the N.S.A., how happy the Guardian feels to learn of the strong preparations your Assembly has made for the holding of the next Annual Convention of the friends in Karachi. He is the more rejoiced that the main item of the discussions will be the problem of teaching. He is fervently praying that the program upon which the delegates and the N.S.A. will decide will mark the inauguration of an unprecedented teaching campaign throughout India and Burma.[From the Guardian:]
I am delighted to learn of the work which is being steadily and efficiently accomplished in so many spheres of Bahá'í activity throughout India and Burma. My heart is filled with gratitude as I witness the progress you have achieved, the enterprises you have initiated, the method and measures you have adopted, the plans you have conceived and above all the spirit of exemplary loyalty and magnificent devotion that impels you forward in the great mission you are destined to fulfil.February 28, 1937
...concerning the three daily obligatory prayers. The friends are free to choose any one of these three prayers, but have to follow the instructions revealed by Bahá'u'lláh concerning them. The long prayer should be recited once in every 24 hours, and is accompanied by certain physical acts. The short prayer, consisting of one verse, should be recited once a day at noon; while the medium prayer should be said three times a day: in the morning, at noon and in the evening. The believer is entirely free to choose any one of these three prayers for daily use.Page 67
While praying it would be better to turn one's thoughts to the Manifestation as He continues, in the other world, to be our means of contact with the Almighty. We can, however, pray directly to God Himself.April 27, 1937
The reports of the progress of the teaching work in India and Burma are most gratifying, and all indicate the high measure of devotion and zeal which the friends are putting at the service of this most noble and sacred task. Dr. Ali of Rangoon is specially active working through the press, and has already succeeded in giving a very wide publicity to the Faith in many circles, both native and foreign. He is certainly the most promising teacher we have in Rangoon, and the N.S.A. would do well to encourage him, and to give him every possible assistance with the view of further extending the scope of his teaching activities throughout Burma.[From the Guardian:]
I am so glad ... of the progress of the teaching work in India and Burma. I pray that Martha's forthcoming visit to your shores may greatly stimulate the splendid work which has been so nobly initiated and is being so painstakingly continued.July 12, 1937
I wish, in particular, to express his gratification at the success that has attended your annual Convention this year, and at the recommendations and decisions taken by the N.S.A. with the view of intensifying the teaching campaign throughout India and Burma. He would strongly urge your Assembly to maintain the standard of the teaching work, and to appeal to the friends to rise up to the call of the hour, and to be ready to undergo any sacrifice that their sacred task requires.Page 68
Above all he wishes through you to reiterate his wish, already expressed in his recent cable to the N.S.A., that the National Fund, which undoubtedly constitutes the bedrock upon which all the activities of the Cause ultimately rest, should receive the continued and whole-hearted support of all the believers. Both the local Assemblies and the individual believers should realize that unless they contribute regularly and generously to that Fund the progress of the Faith in India and Burma will not only be considerably retarded, but will inevitably come to a standstill. There should be a continual flow of funds to the National treasury of the N.S.A., if that body wishes to properly administer the manifold and ever-increasing activities of the Faith. Every Bahá'í no matter how poor, must realize what a grave responsibility he has to shoulder in this connection, and should have confidence that his spiritual progress as a believer in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh will largely depend upon the measure in which he proves, in deeds, his readiness to support materially the divine institutions of His Faith.
With reference to your question in connection with the observance of Bahá'í Holy Days; the Bahá'í day begins and ends at sunset. The night preceding a Holy day is therefore included in the day, and consequently work during that period is forbidden.
The Guardian is most delighted to hear of the activities initiated recently by various local Assemblies in India, and wishes you to convey to these dear friends, and particularly to Prof. Abdu'l-Aziz of Hyderabad and the members of his teaching group, the expression of his keenest appreciation of their labours for the spread of the Cause. He would urge them each and all to lend every effort to assist your N.S.A. in its nation-wide teaching endeavours, and is most ardently praying that they may be assisted and guided by the confirmations from on high.[From the Guardian:]
I am deeply touched by the varied and compelling evidences of the vigour and loyalty which characterize the National Assembly's conduct of Bahá'í affairs in both India andPage 69
Burma. The Cause, as a result of their self-sacrificing endeavours and inflexible resolve, is being firmly consolidated and widely propagated in those regions. Perseverance will enable you to attain your goal and to lay an unassailable foundation for your future work in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í service. I will continue to pray for you from the depths of my heart.July 17, 1937
Shoghi Effendi has been most pleased to receive your letter of October 25th and to learn of the very warm reception you have accorded Miss Martha L. Root upon her arrival in India. He has every reason to hope that with the program the N.S.A. has so carefully arranged for her she will be able to do an extensive teaching work, and to contact as many classes and sections of the population as her time and energies permit. The Guardian would call upon you specially to make every effort possible to render Miss Root's teaching trip successful in every way, and wishes you to continually urge the friends to make her visit an occasion for giving the Faith a widespread publicity throughout India and Burma.[From the Guardian:]
I am so glad to hear of the plans that have been conceived and the activity that is being displayed by the friends in connexion with dear Martha's visit to India.November 7, 1937
He was particularly delighted to know of the warm hospitality and wholehearted assistance which the friends have so kindly extended to dear Miss Root all through her travels throughout India and Burma.
This truly memorable visit of Miss Root to the friends in that vast continent is indeed a God-sent opportunity, of which the believers should fully avail themselves in order to give thePage 70
Faith the widest possible publicity, and also to attract to it the attention and sympathy of responsible leaders throughout India and Burma.
The Guardian will continue to pray that at the termination of this year the results of this historic teaching trip undertaken by our beloved Miss Root may prove to be such as to ensure for many years to come the uninterrupted extension of the teaching work in all parts of India.March 20, 1938
It will surely please and interest the believers to know that the Holy Mother's remains have been laid to rest in a spot in the vicinity of, and overshadowed by the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf on Mt. Carmel.L.S.A. [and] Summer School in Simla
The Guardian was delighted to hear of the formation of a Spiritual Assembly in Simla, and wishes that body to apply soon for official registration. He would very much appreciate receiving two copies of the Certificate of Incorporation of the Assembly, as soon as they are obtained from the authorities.
The news of the projected holding of the first Indian Bahá'í Summer School in Simla has also considerably rejoiced the heart of our beloved Guardian. He will pray that this excellent and indeed historic project may be satisfactorily carried out, and receive the whole-hearted, generous and sustained support of the entire body of the believers throughout India and Burma.Six-Year Plan
The Six-Year Plan which your N.S.A. has resolved toPage 71
initiate with the purpose of furthering the teaching work has met with the full approval of the Guardian. He wishes your Assembly every success in this remarkable and nation-wide undertaking which you have decided to launch.[From the Guardian:]
"Your letter of June 19, enclosing reports of great interest and value, has also reached me and I am filled with a sense of happiness and gratitude for these incessant evidences of your zeal and united endeavours. I am truly impressed by the sound progress and expansion of the activities in which the believers of India and Burma are so earnestly and devotedly engaged. The institutions you have recently initiated, the plan of teaching you have launched, the degree of unity, of consecration and solidarity you have attained, the measures for internal consolidation you have devised, the support you have consistently and cordially extended to our dear Martha, all proclaim the depth of your devotion and attest the nobility and staunchness of your faith. The utmost care is now required to nurse, foster, multiply and coordinate these nascent institutions and activities. Every nerve should be strained, every sacrifice should be made to enable them to fructify and prosper."July 4, 1938
I am instructed by our beloved Guardian to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your communication dated October 17th, together with the enclosed report on the first Indian Bahá'í Summer School held in Simla during last September. And as to the photographs of the Summer School you had submitted under separate cover, these will be placed in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji, and will also appear in the "Bahá'í World" Vol. VIII.
The Guardian wishes me in this connection to express his profound satisfaction at the success that has attended the N.S.A.'s efforts for the formation of this first Bahá'í Summer School in India -- a step which, he strongly feels, is bound toPage 72
accelerate the extension of the teaching activities of the believers in that land.
He is truly delighted to know that the attendance at the school has been satisfactory, and that the young believers, in particular, have been most enthusiastic about it. What he feels now is most essential for the N.S.A. is to make arrangements to have this school held regularly every year, so that it may develop into an effective, and increasingly vital, instrument for the propagation of the Faith, and also for the education and training of Bahá'í teachers.
It is the Guardian's fervent hope that as this Institution expands, and fulfils the high hopes you all set upon it, it will be felt advisable by the N.S.A. to consider the possibilities of establishing, in due time, one or two more of such schools, thus permitting those friends, who in view of their limited means are not in a position to travel over large distances, to avail themselves of the benefits derived from these nascent Bahá'í institutions of learning.Task Immense -- Time Short
"The Six-Year Plan, initiated by the National Assembly of India and Burma with such spontaneous devotion, admirable zeal and unflinching resolve, marks a milestone on the road of progress trodden by them and their fellow-workers in both of those countries. The task is immense, the time is short, the hour critical but the faith that animates and sustains them is strong enough to surmount all obstacles, however formidable, that may stand in their way. That they may persevere, redouble their efforts and win signal success in their mighty enterprise is the dearest wish of my heart and the object of my constant and earnest prayers."December 1, 1938
The Guardian was most pleased to receive your letter of the 3rd inst. and has noted with genuine satisfaction the farewell meeting which the N.S.A. had arranged in Bombay in honourPage 73
of our indefatigable and distinguished Bahá'í sister Miss Martha L. Root on the occasion of her departure to Australia.
The feelings of unbounded joy with which you all unanimously acclaimed her arrival in India, and the expressions of deep and sorrowful regret which your National Assembly, as the official mouthpiece of all the Indian and Burmese believers, had been moved to convey to her upon her leaving your shores, all attest the high value which the friends have attached to her presence in India and the splendid work accomplished by her throughout her travels in that country. The cooperation she had received from the Assemblies and individual believers in every centre she visited, and the effective support, both moral and material, so lovingly and continually extended to her by the N.S.A. in the execution of her teaching plans, have contributed to a marked degree to the success of her journey, which has been indeed the longest and most fruitful she had ever undertaken to your shores.
The Guardian hopes that the friends, and in particular the N.S.A., will now endeavour to follow up, with united and unflinching resolve, the splendid work accomplished by Miss Root. The contacts she has formed with leading personalities in social, religious and university circles should be maintained, nay extended and consolidated, and every effort exerted in order to speed up the progress of the teaching work which has received such a fresh impetus as a result of her uninterrupted teaching activity during this past year.January 25, 1939
He has noted with profound appreciation, in particular, the account of the farewell meeting held in Bombay under the auspices of your Assembly on the occasion of the departure of our indefatigable and highly esteemed Bahá'í sister Miss Martha Root from India. No more eloquent tribute could have been paid indeed to the historic work accomplished by that well-beloved star-servant of the Cause during her stay of one full year in that country than that beautiful and impressive gathering which had met to bid her a last farewell upon her leaving yourPage 74
shores. The warmth and spontaneity of your love must have profoundly impressed and moved her heart, and given her an added proof of the unbounded gratitude which you all surely cherish for her, after these many months of ceaseless teaching activity she has spent in your midst.
The Guardian wishes to express his own gratitude to the members of the N.S.A., and through them to the community of believers throughout India and Burma for the hospitality and loving assistance you have all, individually as well as collectively, continually extended to Miss Root all through her stay in your country. The essential now, he feels, is for each one of the friends, and particularly the local Assemblies, to arise and with unflinching resolve to endeavour to follow up the splendid work she has so ably, yet so unostentatiously, accomplished. They would be certainly failing in their debt of gratitude to her, if they allow the seeds she has faithfully and painstakingly scattered, during these months of arduous and uninterrupted effort, to get lost. Rather, they should spare no effort to water these seeds and enable them to germinate and yield in due time most abundant and lasting results.Bahá'í Youth Groups
With regard to the formation of Bahá'í Youth groups; the Guardian is most pleased to hear of the satisfactory progress that has been accomplished along this line, and of the extensive programme you have arranged for the development of Bahá'í Youth activity during the coming year. He wishes me to express, in particular, his appreciation of the very warm response made by six of these youth groups to the suggestion of the National Youth Committee of America regarding the holding of special youth meetings on the 26th of this month. He wishes you to assure them of his special prayers for the success and confirmation of their efforts.Page 75
Six-Year Plan -- Spontaneous Undertaking of Indian Bahá'í Community
In connection with the Six-Year Plan initiated by your N.S.A.; the Guardian cannot too highly praise this undertaking of unprecedented magnitude which your Assembly has resolved to carry out. One year has already elapsed since that Plan was first launched, and the task that will have to be accomplished during the remaining five years is indeed immense, and calls for no less than a combined and tremendous sacrificial effort by every Assembly, group and individual believer throughout India and Burma.
But the friends should derive much encouragement at the realization that their efforts for the prosecution of this Plan are, in a way, far more meritorious than those which their fellow-believers in the American Continent are exerting in connection with the Seven-Year Plan of the American N.S.A. Whereas this latter Plan, which, it should be fairly admitted, is the largest enterprise of its kind ever undertaken by any national Bahá'í Community, has been conceived and formulated directly by the Guardian himself, the Six-Year Plan adopted by the Indian N.S.A. has been initiated solely through the efforts of the elected body of the national representatives of the Indian and Burmese believers, and represents therefore the spontaneous undertaking of the Indian Bahá'í Community itself, and as such is endowed with a special merit and a unique spiritual potency. When successfully completed this Plan will constitute indeed an abiding monument to the resourceful energy, the unstinted devotion, and the unquenchable enthusiasm of the Indian Baha'is, from which future generations of believers in that land will derive endless inspiration and guidance.
In view of the paramount importance of this Six-Year Plan, and the urgency which the friends must undoubtedly feel to carry it out as speedily and efficiently as possible during the remaining five years, the Guardian would advise that in the next Annual Convention meeting in Calcutta a special session be devoted to the findings and consideration by all the delegatesPage 76
and friends present of such policies and means as, in their considered opinion, can best insure the speedy and timely completion of this glorious undertaking.
The Guardian would particularly suggest that special stress be laid on the necessity for pioneer teaching in those states and provinces in India and Burma, where the Cause has not yet been introduced. Those believers who have the means, and also the capacity to teach, should be encouraged, no matter how great the sacrifice involved, to settle in these virgin territories, until such time as a local assembly has been constituted, or at least a group of firm believers formed that can safely and gradually evolve into a firmly-organized and properly-functioning local assembly. This policy of teaching by settlement which the Guardian has also advised and indeed urged the American believers to adopt has been proved by experience to be the most effective way of establishing the Faith in new territories, and he therefore confidently recommends it for adoption by your Assembly.Summer School
As regards the Indian Summer School; its importance, the Guardian feels, cannot be overstressed, specially in view of its recognized teaching value, both as a centre for the training of Bahá'í teachers, and also for the attraction of outsiders to the Cause. The wide popularity which this newly-established yet highly-promising institution is already enjoying, truly attests its high value as one of those vital institutions of the Faith in this formative age of its development.David
...The David referred to by the Báb, and stated by Him to have preceded Moses, is not the same one as King David, the father of King Solomon, who lived in the tenth century B.C. and who obviously lived many years, and indeed manyPage 77
centuries after Moses. Abdu'l-Bahá has explained this in a Tablet.Inheritance
...Although in the "Questions [and] Answers" Bahá'u'lláh has specifically stated that non-Bahá'ís have no right to inherit from their Bahá'í parents or relatives, yet this restriction applies only to such cases when a Bahá'í dies without leaving a will and when, therefore, his property will have to be divided in accordance with the rules set forth in the Aqdas. Otherwise, a Bahá'í is free to bequeath his property to any person, irrespective of religion, provided however he leaves a will, specifying his wishes. As you see therefore it is always possible for a Bahá'í to provide for his non-Bahá'í wife, children or relatives by leaving a will. And it is only fair that he should do so.Reason of Severe Laws Revealed by the Báb
...The severe laws and injunctions revealed by the Báb can be properly appreciated and understood only when interpreted in the light of His own statements regarding the nature, purpose and character of His own Dispensation. As these statements clearly reveal, the Bábi Dispensation was essentially in the nature of a religious and indeed social revolution, and its duration had therefore to be short, but full of tragic events, of sweeping and drastic reforms. These drastic measures enforced by the Báb and His followers were taken with the view of undermining the very foundations of Shi'ah orthodoxy, and thus paving the way for the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. To assert the independence of the new Dispensation, and to prepare also the ground for the approaching Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh the Báb had therefore to reveal very severe laws, even though most of them, were never enforced. But the mere fact that He revealed them was in itself a proof of the independent character of His Dispensation and was sufficient to create such widespread agitation,Page 78
and excite such opposition on the part of the clergy that led them to cause His eventual martyrdom.
The Báb specified that the "Bayan" is not completed and that "He Whom God would manifest" (Bahá'u'lláh) would complete it, though not in its actual form, but only spiritually in the form of another book. The "Iqan" is believed to be its continuation.February 17, 1939
He is truly delighted to know that your Annual Convention this year has been most united, and highly constructive and fruitful in its result, and trusts that the important discussions and deliberations held by the delegates at various Convention sessions will have the result of stimulating afresh the progressive and systematic penetration of the teaching work throughout India and Burma. The Six-Year Plan of teaching inaugurated last year by your N.S.A., the Guardian feels, however, cannot succeed unless it receives the continued moral and material support of the entire body of the Indian and Burmese believers, and it is this fact which the National Assembly should continually endeavour to impress upon them all, through frequent appeals destined at once to encourage and provide the facilities required for all those friends who are qualified to work in the field of pioneer teaching. The Guardian would particularly recommend that the N.S.A. should make every possible effort to open up to the Cause those Indian provinces which still remain deprived of the light of the Teachings, and to this end would suggest that those believers who can arrange to settle in those virgin territories should at once be urged to do so, and the necessary facilities extended to them by the N.S.A., with the view of enabling them to prolong their stay until some definite results are accomplished. Also, he feels, your Assembly should endeavour to strengthen the weak areas which have been recently opened, and also launch a wide and systematic campaign for the dissemination of Bahá'í literature throughout the whole country.Page 79
Membership in Bahá'í Assembly or Committee is a Sacred Obligation
...The Guardian wishes you to make clear to all the believers that membership in a Bahá'í Assembly or Committee is a sacred obligation which should be gladly and confidently accepted by every loyal and conscientious member of the Community, no matter how humble and inexperienced. Once elected to serve in a given Assembly a believer's duty is to do his utmost to attend all Assembly meetings, and cooperate with his fellow-members, unless, however, he is prevented from doing so by some major reason such as illness, and even then he should notify the Assembly to this effect. The N.S.A.'s duty is to urge, and also facilitate attendance at assembly meetings. If a member has no valid reason to justify his repeated absence from assembly meetings, he should be advised, and even warned, and if such warning is deliberately ignored by him, the assembly will then have the right to suspend his rights as a voting member of the Community. Such administrative sanction would seem to be absolutely imperative and necessary, and while not tantamount to a complete expulsion of such a member from the Cause, deprives him of any real participation in its administrative functions and affairs, and is thus a most effective corrective measure which the Assembly can use against all such half-hearted and irresponsible individuals in the Community.Meaning of Resurrection
...Concerning the meaning of "Resurrection": although this term is often used by Bahá'u'lláh in His Writings, as in the passage quoted in your letter, its meaning is figurative. The tomb mentioned is also allegorical, i.e. the tomb of unbelief. The Day of Resurrection, according to Bahá'í interpretation, is the Judgement Day, the Day when unbelievers will be called upon to give account of their actions, and whether the world has prevented them from acknowledging the new Revelation.
The passage in Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet in which He explains thePage 80
Sura of "The Sun" should not be interpreted literally. It does not mean that after the Day of Resurrection praise and peace will cease to be vouchsafed to the Prophet. Rather it means to the end of time, i.e. indefinitely and for all times.
The intercession spoken of by Bahá'u'lláh in one of His prayers which you have quoted is a purely spiritual act and is applicable to Muhammad as well as to all Prophets. This passage, however, refers more particularly to that kind of intercession in which Muslims believe, though the manner and circumstances of it, according to Bahá'í belief, are mysterious and unknowable.Teaching -- The Paramount Task
I long to hear of the progress of your teaching work in those areas and provinces where the light of the Faith has not as yet shone forth. Teaching is the paramount task that urgently demands the concentrated attention and the complete consecration of the united and persistent efforts of the believers of India and Burma at the present stage of the Six-Year Plan which they of their own accord have so magnificently initiated. No dissipation of efforts, no delay in the initiation and execution of the necessary measures for its success should be allowed. All assemblies, all committees and individuals should regard the teaching work as the most essential factor in the discharge of their obligations to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and as the supreme purpose of the machinery of the Administrative Order which they have lately so laboriously and faithfully erected. I will from all my heart pray that the high aim they pursue may be reached, that their hopes may be fulfilled, and that their individual and corporate lives may equally reflect the noble principles that animate their Cause.July 2, 1939
Your joint and welcome message of October 18th written on the occasion of our beloved sister Miss Martha Root's arrivalPage 81
in Bombay has duly reached the Guardian and his heart is filled with gratitude to you for the very warm and befitting welcome you have so kindly extended to that well-beloved star-servant of the Cause. This is truly in keeping with the tradition of warm hospitality for which our Indian believers have already won such a high reputation. The cordiality you have shown this distinguished international teacher on her previous visits to India could have hardly been surpassed, and there is every reason to believe, therefore, that on this trip, which will be probably the most extended one she has ever been able to undertake throughout that continent, she will be the object of the same devotion and love manifested towards her on previous occasions.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty bless you for the magnificent welcome accorded to such an outstanding champion of the Cause, and may He enable you, in conjunction with her, to lend a mighty impetus to the progress of the Faith and the extension of its institutions.November 4, 1939
What you had written him regarding the various steps taken by the N.S.A. to further the Six-Year Plan of Teaching has immeasurably rejoiced his heart, and he too joins with your Assembly in humbly supplicating Bahá'u'lláh to vouchsafe to all those dear friends who have offered to undertake pioneer teaching in various parts of India such measure of His guidance and blessings as would enable them to effectively further the interests of this Plan. He would urge you all to persevere in your self-sacrificing exertions, and, notwithstanding the various handicaps under which you may be compelled to labour, to confidently strive to achieve this high teaching objective.[From the Guardian:]
The energetic prosecution of the Six-Year Plan, despite the perils, the uncertainties and gravity of the present hour, is the paramount task facing the believers of India and Burma. All projects and activities, however desirable and urgent, mustPage 82
henceforth be subordinated to this most pressing and vital issue, inasmuch as it is the fountain-head from which all future blessings will flow and the one and only instrument which can at the present time, most effectively establish and consolidate the administrative order of the Faith throughout the Indian Peninsula. My prayers for your signal success in such a mighty and glorious enterprise will continue to be offered, with increasing fervour, at the Threshold of Bahá'u'lláh. Persevere and be confident.November 26, 1939
Your very kind message ... expressing your profound sorrow and sympathy at the passing away of our beloved sister Miss Martha Root has just reached our dear Guardian, and he feels indeed most deeply touched by the very thoughtful words which you had been moved to convey to him. The loss which the entire Bahá'í world has come to sustain through her untimely departure from this world is indeed enormous, and can be compensated only partially by the self-sacrificing efforts which our dear Bahá'í teachers in East and West are now exerting in their respective fields of teaching.
The Guardian's hope, however, is that, spurred by the noble example of Martha's life and character, the friends in every land will make a supreme and united effort to carry onward the great teaching task which she had so untiringly been endeavouring to accomplish during all these years, and thus bring eternal joy and impart infinite hope and solace to her heart in the other world.[From the Guardian:]
I deeply appreciate, and am greatly touched by, the noble sentiments you have expressed. The passing of dearest Martha, that distinguished hero of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, is indeed a great loss to those who labour for His Cause, both in the East and West. May her glorious examplePage 83
continue to inspire the friends in India and Burma to tread in her footsteps, and to extend the work she so nobly initiated.December 8, 1939
It greatly pleased and encouraged him to know that the Annual Convention held this year in Poona has proved such a high success, and that the important decisions taken by the delegates with the view of intensifying the teaching campaign in India and Burma are being effectively implemented by the offer made by so many of the friends to teach and travel in virgin territories. He wishes these dear believers, who have so heroically responded to the call of the hour, every blessing and success in their respective fields of teaching, and will pray most earnestly for the confirmation of their labours in the pursuit of their high and sacred task.May 14, 1940
The slow yet steady extension of the teaching campaign throughout India is a matter which greatly rejoices his heart, and for which he feels moved to convey his warmest congratulations to the N.S.A. Considering the well-nigh insufferable obstacles in your way, and the difficult conditions created by the war, the progress so far achieved, though small, has been remarkable in many ways, and augurs well for the future of the Six-Year Plan which your Assembly is so energetically carrying out.
The signal success which the able and untiring efforts of Mr. [and] Mrs. Bakhtiari, Mr. M. H. Ilmi ... have won for the Cause in Kashmir deserves particular mention; and it is to be hoped that the group already established in that center will steadily develop and soon attain the status of aPage 84
Spiritual Assembly. To these dear teachers who have so successfully accomplished such high teaching mission, as well as to our new Bahá'í brother Moulvi Abdullah of Kashmir who, notwithstanding the violent opposition and criticisms of the Qadianis has firmly stood by the Cause, the Guardian wishes you to convey his warmest appreciation and gratitude.Financial Assistance to Bahá'í Teachers
In connection with your teaching campaign, the Guardian wishes you to inform the N.S.A. that although there exists in the Cause no such institution as that of paid teachers, the N.S.A. nevertheless should, in view of the urgent and pressing requirements of the Six-Year Plan, extend, though only temporarily, any financial assistance in its power to those believers who offer to undertake pioneer work throughout India and Burma. Also, those believers who are not themselves able to offer their services as pioneers, and who wish to directly and effectively participate in the campaign of teaching can instead offer to defray, through the National Fund, the expenses of any believer they choose to deputize for that purpose. Such deputy teachers, however, should for all other purposes be responsible to the N.S.A. and the teaching bodies concerned.Great Message Can Redeem Bewildered Humanity
I regret that owing to present circumstances arising from the war and its grave repercussions, the activities, particularly in the teaching field, connected with the Six-Year Plan, so spontaneously initiated by your Assembly, have had to be curtailed. I wish to appeal, however, to all its members, and through them to the general body of the devoted friends inPage 85
India and Burma to make a united and supreme endeavour to overcome, while there is yet time, the obstacles that stand in their way, and to refuse to allow the perils, the uncertainties and anxieties that face and afflict their country to deter them from carrying out the original plan they have so nobly conceived. Let them remember that a firm resolution on their part, an absolute rededication of their resources, and an actual attempt to translate into action their meritorious intentions, coupled with perseverance in the discharge of their duties, would suffice to ensure the success of the mission to which they are now committed. The time is indeed ripe, and the minds and hearts of the suffering multitudes are being mysteriously prepared for the Great Message that can alone redeem, exalt and regenerate a sore-tried and bewildered humanity. I will specially and fervently pray for the success of any and every effort the dearly-beloved friends in India and Burma may arise to exert.November 28, 1940
Regarding his instruction to the N.S.A. of Iran to the effect that Bahá'u'lláh's writings in Arabic should not be translated into Persian; this applies to the translation of the revealed words into Persian only. Your Assembly, therefore, may proceed with its plan for the rendering of the Tablet of Ahmad, the three daily obligatory prayers and other Tablets, into Urdu.
With reference to ... question whether it is permissible for the Bahá'ís to see pictures; there is nothing in the Teachings that would forbid such a practice.Page 86
Also with regard to the practice of circumcision; the Teachings bear no reference to this matter, and it is therefore not enjoined upon the believers.Training of Children
The question of the training and education of children in case one of the parents is a non-Bahá'í is one which solely concerns the parents themselves, who should decide about it the way they find best and most conducive to the maintenance of the unity of their family, and to the future welfare of their children. Once the child comes of age, however, he should be given full freedom to choose his religion, irrespective of the wishes and desires of his parents.Membership of the International House of Justice
As regards the membership of the International House of Justice, Abdu'l-Bahá states in a Tablet that it is confined to men, and that the wisdom of it will be revealed as manifest as the sun in the future. In any case the believers should know that, as Abdu'l-Bahá Himself has explicitly stated that sexes are equal except in some cases, the exclusion of women from the International House of Justice, should not be surprising. From the fact that there is no equality of functions between the sexes one should not, however, infer that either sex is inherently superior or inferior to the other, or that they are unequal in their rights.Appearance of two Davids
Concerning the appearance of two Davids; there is a TabletPage 87
from Abdu'l-Bahá in which He says that just as there have been two Ishmaels, one the son of Abraham, and the other one of the Prophets of Israel, there have appeared two Davids, one the author of the Psalms and father of Solomon, and the other before Moses.Importance of the Teaching Campaign
The Guardian wishes me once again to stress the all-importance of the teaching campaign throughout India and Burma.
Much as he is aware of the obstacles that stand in the way of the expansion of pioneer teaching -- obstacles which your sister Assembly in the U.S.A. are far in a better position to overcome, owing to the larger resources at their disposal and to their longer and wider experience in matters of teaching -- he nevertheless strongly feels that, through the united, determined and passionate resolve of your N.S.A., of all the local Assemblies, groups and individuals, much can be accomplished in that direction, and firm foundations laid down for future expansion and consolidation. The greater your handicaps the firmer your determination should wax, and the more abundant will assuredly be the blessings and confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh. May His love and guidance lead you and our dearly-beloved friends in that land to still greater heights of selfless accomplishment in His path, and thereby crown with success the Six-Year Plan so ably devised and so energetically pursued by the N.S.A.[From the Guardian:]
I wish to reassure you in person of my fervent and continued prayers for the protection, the success and the spiritual advancement of the community of the Indian and Burmese believers who, under your direction, and stimulated by the initiative and example, of their national elected representatives, are arising, in these days of widespread confusion, turmoil and danger, to carry out the Plan they are pledged to fulfil. No sacrifice can be regarded as too great for the attainment of so great and splendid an objective. They should persevere in their task, undaunted by the rising tidePage 88
of calamity and despair which afflicts the world, and which is mysteriously paving the way for its unification and ultimate redemption. May the Beloved guide every step you take, and bless every endeavour you exert in His path.December 14, 1940
Whenever the Guardian receives news of the spread of the Cause it brings him fresh hope and helps to lighten his heavy burden. This is the greatest need of the present hour in India; more teachers in new fields! His prayers are always being offered for the advancement of this all-important work and the fulfilment of the Six-Year Teaching Plan.April 19, 1941
He was very happy to note the spirit of true and profound dedication to their holy task of spreading the Faith in India and Burma which the members of the N.S.A. manifest, and he feels sure that, if they exert the utmost effort, they will, through the confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh, succeed in fulfilling what is required of them under the Six-Year Plan.
He regrets very much that circumstances have prevented any active furtherance of the teaching work during the past Bahá'í year. Because of this the Guardian felt impelled, after reading your Assembly's letter, to transmit by cable the sum of two hundred pounds sterling to be set aside by your Assembly as the nucleus of a special fund to be established for the specific purpose of furthering the all-India teaching campaign of the Six-Year Plan. He trusts that this will stimulate the body ofPage 89
Indian and Burmese Bahá'ís to also contribute to this fund generously and by providing the necessary means to enable them to speedily fulfil the task they have vowed to carry out.
Concerning the methods to be adopted for the realization of your urgent task, Shoghi Effendi approves of the suggestion that some business firms open branches in new districts and thus provide Bahá'í settlement by this means. However, he feels that this will not be enough, and that all the Spiritual Assemblies, as well as each individual believer, should rally to this great opportunity which, indeed, may not again be presented to them, of spreading the Faith through the length and breadth of India while they are still in a position to do so. The world is day by day becoming increasingly involved in this cataclysmic struggle, but so far the Bahá'ís of India, Australia, New Zealand and the American continents have not felt either the dangers or the restrictions imposed on less fortunate communities which find themselves either over-run and temporarily eclipsed, or in the actual theatre of war. Therefore the believers of India should not allow these truly priceless days to slip by without exerting themselves to the utmost and sacrificing comfort, home, and money, to the great duty of giving the Divine Message to the people of their vast country.
Smallness of numbers, lack of skilled teachers, and modesty of means should not discourage or deter them. They must remember the glorious history of the Cause, which, both in East and West, was established by dedicated souls who, for the most part, were neither rich, famous, nor well educated, but whose devotion, zeal and self-sacrifice overcame every obstacle and won miraculous victories for the Faith of God. Such spiritual victories can now be won for India and Burma by the friends. Let them dedicate themselves -- young and old, men and women alike -- and go forth and settle in new districts, travel, and teach in spite of lack of experience, and be assured that Bahá'u'lláh has promised to aid all those who arise in His Name. His strength will sustain them; their own weakness is unimportant.Refrain from Imposing New Rules
In reading your annual Convention report the Guardian hasPage 90
noted the request made that the N.S.A. should lay down certain rules of procedure. He has already informed the American N.S.A. that they should henceforth refrain from laying down any further rules and regulations, as these would tend to rigidify the affairs of the Cause and ultimately obscure its spirit and retard its growth. He feels that your Assembly should exercise the same care, and avoid introducing any rules of procedure not already in existence. Every case coming before the Assembly should be judged on its own merits, and be decided individually without any recourse to new rulings.
The Guardian will constantly pray for the success of all your undertakings, as well as for the welfare and progress of all the dear believers in India and Burma. Particularly will he remember in his prayers the members of the National Assembly who are called upon to direct, coordinate, and carry out the Indian Baha'is' great and noble teaching enterprise.Prosecute Six-Year Plan With Unremitting Energy
The Six-Year Plan, which you have so nobly conceived and so enthusiastically initiated, must, during these crucial years, when the first century of the Bahá'í Era is drawing to a close, be prosecuted with unremitting energy, and unshaken determination. The vastness of the field, the smallness of your numbers, the indifference of the masses, must neither discourage nor appall you. You should at all times fix your gaze on the promise of Bahá'u'lláh, put your whole trust in His creative Word, recall the past and manifold evidences of His all-encompassing and resistless power and arise to become worthy and exemplary recipients of His all-sustaining grace and blessings. I appeal to every Indian and Burmese believer, however modest his position, however limited his knowledge, however restricted his means, to rise to the height of this great opportunity which if missed will not recur again. To disperse, to settle, to teach by word and deed, to persevere and sacrifice are the requirements of the present hour. May the Almighty, Whose Cause you are labouringPage 91
to advance, endow you and your fellow-workers with all the wisdom, the strength, and guidance that you need to acquit yourselves worthily of this task.June 29, 1941
Shoghi Effendi was also very happy to hear from you that you consider the Faith is making substantial progress in India, due to the tireless and devoted efforts of our Bahá'í brothers and sisters in that land. He would, however, urge the friends to follow the example of the American believers by sending out more pioneers to work in territories where there are no Baha'is. This is in accordance with the idea expressed by the beloved Master in the "Divine Plan" Tablets, and should be followed by all Baha'is.
The Guardian will pray for the success of the Summer School to be held in Surat. He is delighted that the Indian friends are so well organised and are, year by year, strengthening the administrative institutions of their Faith.[From the Guardian:]
I am eagerly and hopefully awaiting to witness fresh evidences of the renewed determination of the believers throughout India and Burma, to carry aloft and into virgin territories the torch of Divine Guidance despite the dark clouds that threaten on the horizon. In these days of stress and peril, every effort expended, every victory achieved, every sacrifice made, will be rewarded a hundredfold. I will earnestly and continually that the friends may evince such zeal and perseverance as to ensure the complete success of the Six-Year Plan which they, of their own accord, have so splendidly initiated.October 5, 1941
He was very happy to receive so much good news of the progress of the Bahá'í teaching work in India, as well as thePage 92
The fact that the friends of India, and also of Iran, are now finding themselves in a position where they can arise and teach the Cause far and wide, greatly cheers the Guardian's heart. He hopes that the Bahá'ís of India, in spite of the fact that the war is now so close to their native land, with all its attendant dangers and problems, will allow nothing to deter them in their prosecution of their Six-Year Teaching Plan for India and Burma.
Now is the time of true test and trial -- the time when the friends must follow in the footsteps of the first Persian believers, who, heedless of comfort and even life itself, raised the Banner of Bahá'u'lláh's Faith aloft, for all the world to see and follow. He feels confident that the believers, led by their National Spiritual Assembly, and aided and inspired by their Local Spiritual Assemblies, will arise to new heights of service, and distinguish themselves in the eyes of the Bahá'í world. His constant prayers will be offered on their behalf, and he will remember them in the Shrines with love and yearning for their success.[From the Guardian:]
I wish to add a few words in person and appeal to you, and through you to the dear friends in Burma and India, not to allow, despite the increasing gravity of the international situation and the dangers that threaten the East, the work, which has been so enthusiastically initiated, to suffer through any relaxation of effort, or any deflection of purpose, on the part of any individual or Assembly. These perils, sufferings and commotions are blessings in disguise, which pave the way and prepare the hearts of those who face and sustain them for a deeper realization and an earlier and fuller acceptance of the Divine Message of Bahá'u'lláh. The opportunities are manifold and priceless. Every effort should be exerted, every sacrifice should be made, every obstacle should be surmounted.December 16, 1941
It rejoices his heart to see that the Indian believers are now rising to such noble heights of self-sacrifice and utter devotion to the Faith of God, and that they are, despite the great difficulty of these war times we are living through, determined to fulfil their Six-Year Plan of teaching the Bahá'í Cause in India and Burma and complete the spread of its divine and healing message to her peoples before the end of the first Bahá'í century.Persecution of Bahá'ís of Kadwai
He was very sad to hear of the persecution of the Bahá'ís of Kadwai by the fanatical Muslim population. Please convey to the friends there the assurance of his most loving prayers for their protection, and tell them that, though they are suffering for their Faith, this very persecution is a blessing to the believers of India, as we know that wherever the Cause has suffered it has always grown stronger and attracted more attention and more adherents.
He was also very pleased to hear of the success of the Summer School this year. The Indian Bahá'ís have every reason to feel encouraged by the marked progress of their activities in all fields.Use of A'rabs (Vowel Points)
Regarding your question as to the use of A'rabs on the Arabic texts of the Tablets: The Guardian feels that this is a matter which concerns the entire Bahá'í world, and requires to be worked out by a highly specialized group of qualified people at some future date. He, therefore wishes you not to print the A'rabs on the Holy Tablets except on rare occasions where it is absolutely necessary in order to distinguish the word from some other word just like it.Two Davids
Abdu'l-Bahá is the one who has interpreted the reference ofPage 94
the Báb concerning David, by saying that there were two Davids, one of them was the author of the Psalms. The Tablet in which the Master states this is absolutely authentic, but at the moment the original is not available.He Whom God Will Make Manifest
The Báb said that whenever "He whom God will make manifest" appears, accept Him. He never said don't accept Him until after the lapse of 1000 years. Also Bahá'u'lláh says that in the year 9 of the Bábi Dispensation the time was ripe for the Revelation of "He whom God will make manifest". As the Báb was not only a Manifestation but a Herald of this Bahá'í Faith, the interval between His Revelation and that of Bahá'u'lláh was of shorter duration. His Dispensation in a sense will last as long as Bahá'u'lláh's lasts.The Holy Book -- The Aqdas
There are no doubtful verses in the Holy Book, the Aqdas. The reason it is not circulated amongst all the Bahá'ís is, first, because the Cause is not yet ready or sufficiently matured to put all the provisions of the Aqdas into effect and, second, because it is a book which requires to be supplemented by detailed explanations and to be translated into other languages by a competent body of experts. The provisions of the Aqdas are gradually, according to the progress of the Cause, being put into effect already, both in the East and the West.Use of A'rabs (Vowel Points)
No vowel points, as A'rabs, should be published with any part of the text of the Aqdas. Certain of the Tablets may be translated in Urdu, but not the Aqdas itself, for the reasons mentioned above.Page 95
The books of the Báb have not as yet been printed in the original. Except for the Bayan, the Seven Proofs and Commentary on the Surih of Joseph, we cannot be sure of the authenticity of most of His other works as the text has been corrupted by the unfaithful.The Universal House of Justice
The Universal House of Justice is elected by the members of the National Houses of Justice. At this time when the National Assemblies in the Cause are not yet functioning sufficiently or fully representative of all the various important elements within it, and when some of the Bahá'ís are not even free to practise their faith, despite their numbers, it is quite impracticable to seek to establish the Universal House of Justice. Whenever conditions permit, it will be established.Surmount Every Obstacle
The Guardian wishes the members of your Assembly to persevere, in spite of the dangers of the war now raging near to India, in the all-important task of fulfilling the Six-Year Plan. He is confident that the friends of India and Burma like their Bahá'í brothers and sisters of other lands, will surmount every obstacle, overcome every difficulty, and emerge victorious at the end of the first Bahá'í Century.[From the Guardian:]
The news conveyed by your latest communication has rejoiced my heart. The manner in which the friends have arisen to promote the teaching work throughout their country merits the highest praise. By their enthusiasm, their self-abnegation, the determination and vigour they display, they have lent a fresh impetus to the onward march of the Faith and the expansion of its institutions and the multiplication of its administrative centres. The perils of the present hour, the repercussions of this tremendous world ordeal on theirPage 96
native land, must, in no wise, alarm or discourage them.
Their purpose must never be deflected, their enthusiasm never dimmed, their vision never obscured, their exertions never discontinued. Adversity prepares the hearts of men, and paves the way for a wholehearted and general acceptance of the tenets and claims of our beloved Faith.
Challenged by the obstacles in their path, encouraged by work already initiated, assured of the Divine Promise of Bahá'u'lláh, let them forge ahead until their goal is attained. My prayers will ever surround them.December 27, 1941
He has been greatly encouraged by the work the Indian believers are doing in the pioneer teaching field. It makes him proud to behold the way this great eastern nation is arising, through its enlightened Baha'is, to serve the Cause of God, and is fast pushing to the forefront of Bahá'í service, and becoming an example and an inspiration to the other Bahá'í communities in the Orient and Far East.
The noble response the Indian friends are making to his appeals has encouraged him to send them further donations for their teaching work, and he trusts that, under the indefatigable leadership of the National Spiritual Assembly, they will redouble their efforts, and push on to the full and glorious completion of the Six-Year Plan they laid down for themselves with such courage and devotion.
The establishment of the Hyderabad Assembly and that of Bangalore are great steps forward, and the Guardian is waiting hopefully to receive the good news of more new spiritual Assemblies in this coming Bahá'í year.
He was also very pleased to hear that the Summer School is becoming an institution of national importance, and that the friends are increasingly attending it and realizing its great value in the life of the entire Community of believers. In a country such as India it might grow to be the first permanent institutionPage 97
of Bahá'í learning if the believers support it sufficiently and carry out their teaching campaign with whole-hearted devotion and zeal; for, with the influx of many new Bahá'ís into the Cause in that country, it should not be difficult to evolve it into a Bahá'í university as time goes by.
The Guardian wishes to convey, through you, his loving appreciation of their noble services to all the dear Indian believers who have gone out as pioneers and teachers in these momentous days. He will remember them, and all the Indian friends, in his prayers in the Holy Shrines, and supplicate for them a victorious conclusion for their Six-Year Plan by 1944.[From the Guardian:]
I have been greatly heartened in my arduous task by the remarkable evidences of activity, devotion and perseverance which the believers in India have lately manifested, and by the manner in which they have arisen to promote the cause of our Beloved, and extend the range of its institutions. I admire, their spirit, and feel truly proud of their achievements. The field is indeed vast, and the problems manifold, but the spirit they have demonstrated will, if kept alive, enable them to surmount every obstacle. My prayers will continue to be offered on their behalf and particularly for those who are planting the banner of the Faith in virgin territories. How glorious their task, how meritorious their accomplishments.January 10, 1942
He was very relieved to hear from Mr. Butt that the Burmese Bahá'ís were all safe, and he trusts that, in spite of the grave dangers now so near them, God will continue to over-shadow them and protect them in His mercy and wisdom. We Bahá'ís are indeed most blessed in that we know that, however dark the days immediately ahead of the human race, the future is blessed and glorious. It is for this future that thePage 98
believers must labour day and night, heedless of the state of the world and the dangers threatening.
The Guardian will continuously pray that Bahá'u'lláh will strengthen and guide the Indian friends to succeed in their teaching plans, and to persevere in their efforts until they have completed the Six-Year Plan.[From the Guardian:]
In these days when perils are fast gathering about India and Burma my heart and my thoughts turn increasingly towards the friends, and particularly those who are vigorously and devotedly promoting the interests of the Six-Year Plan. I will specially and fervently pray for them all, that their vision may not be obscured, that their efforts may not diminish, that their courage many remain undaunted, and their steadfastness and loyalty unshaken. The greater their problems and anxieties and the more formidable the obstacles in their way, the more glorious and abundant will be the recompense and blessings that will be bestowed upon them by their all-seeing, their all-bountiful, all-powerful Master.February 23, 1942
The Guardian has written the new Hyderabad Assembly, and he will indeed pray for their protection and blessing. They are an important group in an important State, and he hopes that your Assembly will render them every assistance and help possible, in order to deepen them in the knowledge of the teachings and in Faith.
The establishment of the Assembly of Kotah, no less than that of Hyderabad, must be viewed in the light of another milestone in the forward march of the Faith in India. The Guardian would like you to convey to all the dear pioneers and teachers whom you have enumerated in your letters, the expression of his deep gratitude for, and appreciation of the wonderful work they are doing. The believers of India, though few in number in relation to the millions that form their nation,Page 99
are performing a service to their fellow-countrymen which in the future will be seen in the true magnitude. Let them rest assured and toil ceaselessly for the establishment of the Faith which they serve, and which alone can ultimately heal the ills of sorely-tried mankind.[From the Guardian:]
The pioneer activities in which the friends in India are so steadfastly, so energetically and so devotedly engaged, in spite of the perils, the uncertainties and the stress of the present hour, are a marvellous evidence of the indomitable spirit that animates them in the service of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. Perseverance is the magnet that will, in these days, attract the promised blessings of the Almighty Author of our beloved Faith. Unity and harmony constitute the basis on which the structure of these activities can securely rest. Self-sacrifice, audacity, undeviating adherence to the essentials of the Faith, will reinforce that structure and accelerate its rise. That the dear friends in India are increasingly demonstrating the quality and depth of their faith and the character and range of their accomplishments is a source of intense satisfaction to me, and I will continue to supplicate our Beloved to guide their steps, cheer their hearts, illumine their understanding, and fulfil their highest and noblest aspirations. He indeed is well pleased with the record of their past services, and will, if they redouble their efforts, enable them to achieve a signal victory.June 27, 1942
...The extremely good news of the way the Bahá'ís of India are arising and serving in new fields in spite of the war conditions prevailing, and the formation of the new Assemblies of Hyderabad and Kotah, the work in Kashmir and various other centres, has all greatly cheered his heart, and impelled him to contribute the sum he forwarded through you to help carry out the many teaching enterprises now under way. The rate at which the Indian believers are advancing is increasingly entitlingPage 100
them to a position in the foremost ranks of the Faith, and will no doubt greatly inspire and encourage other Bahá'ís of the East to follow their example. Such prizes are to be won in these days of universal trial and suffering, and it makes the Guardian very happy to feel that some of them are evidently going to be merited by the Indian believers!
It is a great deprivation that the friends should be cut off from their devoted fellow-Bahá'ís in Burma. We can only hope and pray that Bahá'u'lláh will protect and watch over them until the ordeal of these times is past, and the faithful believers the world over can again join hands and work together for the peace and progress of the entire world.Passing of Abd'ul-Jalil Beg Saad
The passing of Abd'ul-Jalil Beg Saad was a great loss to the Faith in Egypt, and the Guardian was pleased to hear that his co-workers in India held memorial meetings for him. Such occasions constitute eloquent testimonials to the profound love that binds Bahá'ís to each other, whoever and wherever they may be.Painstaking and Fruitful Efforts
I wish to reaffirm my deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude for the sustained, the painstaking and fruitful efforts exerted so far by the Indian believers for the promotion of the Six-Year Plan. The limits of the Faith have been enlarged, the centres and groups have multiplied, and the determination and zeal of the prosecutors of the Plan are visibly increasing. I am greatly cheered and encouraged, and will, with redoubled fervour, pray at the holy Shrines, for the victorious conclusion of the campaign initiated with such devotion, energy, and resolution. May the Beloved sustain them in their noble task.July 27, 1942
The marked, and extremely encouraging, progress which the Cause is making in India has so pleased the Guardian and cheered his over-burdened heart that he felt impelled to forward to your Assembly the sum of two hundred pounds to be expended for the further promotion of the teaching work.
That at such a time, when dangers threaten on every side and the whole planet is plunged in war and confusion, the Indian believers should, so steadily and patiently, with such devotion and enthusiasm, pursue their tasks of teaching under the Six-Year Plan, is, indeed, a cause for universal acclaim and rejoicing on the part of their fellow-Baha'is. They are ever increasingly arising to take their place as one of the foremost Bahá'í Communities, and their spirit and their accomplishments are arousing the envy and the admiration of their fellow-workers in Eastern lands.Placing of Burial Stone
The placing of the burial stone on the dead has no other significance than to emphasize our profound conviction that our souls come from our Creator and to Him they return, and in Him we believe and trust.Ensure the Triumphant Conclusion
The accomplishments of the believers of India, in virgin fields and in furtherance of the interests of the Six-Year Plan, merit the highest praise. Prompted by their achievements, and as a token of my keen appreciation of their notable services, and in order to facilitate further expansion and consolidation of their teaching activities, I have forwarded to you a contribution which I trust will serve as a nucleus for a Fund designed to promote the vital and urgent interests of the nation-wide teaching enterprise in which you have embarked, and which constitutes the greatest singlePage 102
organized undertaking launched in the service of Bahá'u'lláh in that country. Perseverance, coupled with a spirit of complete dedication to the cause of teaching, will, I feel confident, ensure the triumphant conclusion of your labours. I will continue to pray for you from the depths of my heart. Redouble your efforts and be confident.July 29, 1942
Concerning his recent cable to the National Spiritual Assembly: The Guardian feels that, if feasible, it is highly desirable and necessary that the rapidly growing and strengthening Indian Bahá'í Community should have a proper administrative Headquarters, situated in the capital -- Delhi -- and suitable for the next few years at least. He wishes the N.S.A. to find a building or house which will suit their requirements in every way, and inform him at once of the price required. He considers that it is premature at present to think of purchasing a site for a future Bahá'í Temple. The thing for the friends to concentrate on at present is the Haziratu'l-Quds.
He has been greatly encouraged of late to witness the marked increase of activity shown by the Bahá'í Communities everywhere in India. They are demonstrating their right to a place in the foremost ranks of the Bahá'í World, and he is very pleased with them and eager that they should forge ahead in every field of Bahá'í life.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty graciously assist the Indian believers to establish, at the close of the first Bahá'í Century, their administrative headquarters in the capital city of India, and thus befittingly crown their meritorious teaching activities.January 28, 1943
He was very sad to hear of the passing of our dear and esteemed brother, Mr. Vakil. His loss will be much felt by the Indian believers, and the many services he rendered the Cause will never be forgotten. It is too bad that he was denied the burial he himself longed for, but no doubt his spirit is now rejoicing in the Abha Kingdom after its long and faithful labours in this world.Secretary of the N.S.A.
Regarding your question concerning the Secretary of the N.S.A.: There cannot be any permanently elected Secretary who would year after year hold office, as this would be contrary to the principles of the administration; however, the Guardian feels that the N.S.A. should supply the Secretary with a paid helper in order to enable him to carry on his duties properly and at the same time pursue his own profession, if that is necessary for him. In other words the Secretary of the N.S.A. can have a full-time secretary under him if the work requires it.Election of L.S.A.'s
The Guardian has notified the friends in other countries that, in view of the fact that this is the hundredth year of the Faith and we are going to celebrate our Centenary next May, Spiritual Assemblies may be constituted or elected anytime before next April, wherever there are 9 or more believers. He has done this in order to encourage the friends and stimulate the work everywhere. He would like you to impress this fact on the believers in India so that they may redouble their efforts and have a truly impressive number of Assemblies by next May.Page 104
He is sorry to hear that you have not as yet been able to find a suitable house for the National administrative Headquarters. The establishment of this headquarters will greatly enhance the prestige of the Indian Bahá'í Community and stimulate the growth and work of the Cause. He hopes you will soon meet with success, and cable him the glad news he is eagerly waiting to receive.Bahá'ís Can Undertake Philanthropic Work
Mr. Mani Mehta forwarded to the Guardian a copy of the N.S.A.'s decision informing him that he must either give up his connection with the War Comforts Fund or his Bahá'í administrative work. The Guardian feels that there is no objection to a Bahá'í undertaking work of a philanthropic or humanitarian nature and at the same time being on elected Bahá'í bodies or holding office in them. The War Comforts Fund is in no way contrary to our principles, and there can be no objection to Mr. Mehta's work in this connection. He hopes that the N.S.A. will clarify this matter and remove any misunderstandings that have arisen.Centenary Celebrations
The friends in India are, after years of labour and devotion, beginning to find their number greatly increased, their assemblies multiplied, their Faith increasingly well-known to the public; they are about to initiate their first national headquarters, and in a few months will be celebrating the glorious occasion of the hundredth anniversary of their Faith. At such a critical time they should, one and all, devote their energies to achieving theirPage 105
objectives and impressing upon the public the nobility and beauty of their teachings, divinely inspired, and of such vast import to the entire world, and cast aside, once for all, any differences of opinion or personal viewpoints or prejudices that may hinder the success of their plans and cast a blight on the wonderful achievements they have carried out and are about to crown with still greater victories.
The Guardian feels that the N.S.A. must from now on coordinate its plans and set in motion its preparations for the Centenary Celebration. The believers must hold gatherings for the Bahá'ís at exactly 2 hours and 11 minutes after sunset on May 22nd, 1944 as this is the exact time when the Báb declared His Mission to Mulla Hussayn. They should also arrange to hold public gatherings on May 23rd and enlist the support of prominent friends of the Faith as speakers, together with Bahá'í speakers, on that occasion. They should, as far as possible, hold festive gatherings at this time, give banquets at which friends of the Cause and believers are present, obtain as much space in the press of India as possible, and in general devise ways and means of making this a glorious and memorable celebration. He would also like to have the N.S.A. publish, in conjunction with the Centenary, a pamphlet giving a brief outline of the Faith's origin and teachings and major events in India, since its establishment there, and a detailed outline of the accomplishments of the Indian Bahá'í Community, its early history, its development, etc.
He has been greatly encouraged by the progress made by the Indian Bahá'í Community in recent years, and he longs to see them shine still brighter amidst its fellow communities the world over.
You may be sure that his loving prayers will be offered on your behalf and on behalf of all the other N.S.A. members, that you may speedily find a suitable Hazira, that the Cause may go on to still greater triumphs during this last year of the Century, and that the unity of the friends may be increased everywhere, as befits our Holy Faith.Page 106
The celebration of the Centenary of our glorious Faith by the friends in India should, under your direction, and with your encouragement and the assistance of individuals and local Assemblies throughout India, constitute a befitting conclusion to the magnificent labours and accomplishments that have marked your stewardship in the service of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh in recent years. A special fund should be initiated, a strong committee should be set up, the utmost care should be taken, the most diligent efforts should be exerted and every sacrifice should be made to ensure the unqualified success of this great undertaking. I will pray for your success from the depths of my heart. There is no time to lose. The Beloved will, no doubt, crown your exertions with signal victory if you arise and persevere.June 22, 1943
He was very pleased to hear that the Convention was so well attended, and the believers enthusiastic and united. One of the most paramount needs of the Cause in India is that the friends should unite, should become really keenly conscious of the fact that they are one spiritual family, held together by bonds more sacred and eternal than those physical ties which make people of the same family. If the friends will forget all personal differences and open their hearts to a great love for each other for the sake of Bahá'u'lláh, they will find that their powers are vastly increased; they will attract the heart of the public, and will witness a rapid growth of the Holy Faith in India. The N.S.A. should do all in its power to foster unity among the believers, and to educate them in the administration as this is the channel through which their community life must flow, and which, when properly understood and practised, will enable the work of the Cause to go ahead by leaps and bounds.
The excellent news you conveyed of the progress of the Faith in so many hitherto virgin territories of India greatly rejoicedPage 107
the Guardian's heart, and he is proud to witness the manner in which the Indian believers are arising, teaching, and sacrificing for the Faith of God. The friends themselves must be astonished at the rapidity with which the devoted pioneers have succeeded in establishing new spiritual Assemblies; and he hopes that many more souls will, thrilled by these achievements, follow in their footsteps, and thus ensure a truly glorious celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the Cause next May. The eyes of the Bahá'í world are being increasingly attracted by the achievements of the Indian friends, and they have the opportunity of crowning their Centenary celebrations with a victory outstanding in the records of the Bahá'ís of the East. The Guardian hopes that in this connection many more Bahá'í young people will arise and serve. They have the advantages of health and freedom from family responsibilities which are not always enjoyed by older people, and they should cooperate to the full with more experienced believers in carrying on the pioneer work of the Cause.
He is most anxious that now that the National administrative Headquarters of the Faith has been successfully established -- a tremendous step forward for the Faith there -- you should give special attention to getting out the Esslemont book in three additional languages as soon as possible.The Six-Year Plan Has Progressed Magnificently
The achievements of the Indian believers in recent months have been truly stupendous. The Six-Year Plan has progressed magnificently; the dissemination of Bahá'í literature has been stimulated, the national administrative headquarters, to be henceforth designated as the Haziratu'l-Quds, has been established; a new spirit stirs in the hearts of the believers, teachers, pioneers as well as administrators; the evidences of a fast-developing community life are evident everywhere. The impetus lent to these activities must be continually reinforced in these concluding months of the first Bahá'í century.
The Indian believers have amply demonstrated the vitality of the faith they profess. They must win fresh laurels. They cannot rest on their oars. They must scale still loftierPage 108
heights. They must persevere till the end. They must sacrifice to the utmost. They must unite as never before. They must prove themselves worthy of the task they have so nobly initiated and are now so energetically prosecuting. I will, with redoubled fervour, pray for its consummation. Rest assured.October 26, 1943
He approves of the plans for holding the Centenary, and wishes the annual Bahá'í Convention to be held in conjunction with it (as already confirmed by cable to you). All Bahá'í Communities free to convene conventions will be also meeting this year during the Centenary celebrations. This will both facilitate the work of the Cause, stimulate the friends, and be of added interest to the public.
The truly remarkable work accomplished by the pioneers and teachers in India during this last year has greatly pleased, and even astonished, the Guardian, and he hopes that the friends, newly enlisted under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh, will study the teachings deeply, help to promote unity and concord among the believers, and greatly aid in spreading the Divine Message among the people of India.Historic Achievements
The truly splendid and indeed historic achievements of the Indian believers during the concluding months of the first Bahá'í century deserve the highest praise. The repeated and striking evidences of their high accomplishments invigorate, encourage, and excite the admiration of, their sister communities in East and West. They are holding aloft the standard of Divine guidance in a manner that cannot but evoke the unstinted praise and the unqualified gratitude of their brethren throughout the Bahá'í world. The Beloved is well pleased with their magnificent record of service. I feelPage 109
truly proud of their stewardship of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, of the spirit which animates them, and of the steadfastness with which they pursue their manifold and ever-expanding activities in the service of this glorious Faith.March 19, 1944
A few days ago the Kanarese volumes reached him and he was very happy to see them; he has placed most of them in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh and the others he has distributed to various Assemblies and Bahá'í libraries. He is eagerly awaiting copies of the various other translations your Assembly has undertaken, and in this connection he urges you again to persevere in your efforts to overcome every obstacle and get these further additions to your Bahá'í literature in India speedily out and in the hands of the newly-attracted souls.Achieved Mighty Victories
The Guardian wishes to once again stress the immediate tasks which face your Assembly: the important -- and almost miraculous -- work achieved during the closing years of our first Bahá'í Century in forming so many Assemblies, most of them in virgin territory, should be carefully consolidated through travelling teachers, additional pioneers (if necessary), extension of financial help, etc., so that none of them will be weakened and forced to revert to group status. Also the newly formed groups should be given every assistance to enable them to become Assemblies and take part in the administrative order of the Cause in India. He urges you to concentrate on these three things: the publication and distribution of the newly translated books; the firm consolidation of the new Assemblies; and the development of existing groups, that they may speedily achieve Assembly status.Page 110
Important as new teaching undertakings are they should not be given precedence at the present time until these other objectives are well on the way to being realized. In closing let me assure you that the beloved Guardian cherishes the brightest hopes for the future development of the Cause there, and expects great things of the Indian believers in view of the truly remarkable tasks they have been accomplishing these last few years with such a spirit of zeal and devotion. His loving prayers are offered on your behalf and for your fellow-members of the N.S.A., that you may be blessed and guided always.[From the Guardian:]
The achievements of the Indian Bahá'í Community during the closing years of the first Bahá'í Century have shed a great lustre on the record of their imperishable services ever since the inception of the Faith in their vast and promising country. Both in the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í activity they have assiduously laboured, nobly persevered, generously given of their resources, consistently collaborated, achieved mighty victories and raised to a new level the standard of Bahá'í stewardship. The field now stretching before them during the opening year of the second Bahá'í Century is vast and highly promising. The call is urgent, the opportunities priceless, the need of the waiting masses desperate, the machinery for the execution of the Divine Purpose already erected and vigorously functioning, the promise of signal victory clear and definite. A higher degree of administrative efficiency; a closer collaboration between the various elements constituting the organic Bahá'í Community; a greater measure of self sacrifice; a still more intensified exertion aiming at the consolidation and preservation of the newly constituted Assemblies and the rapid conversion of the existing groups into full-fledged Assemblies; a systematic, sustained and nation-wide endeavour for the purpose of disseminating the literature of the Faith, increasing its volume and adding to its diversity and lastly a more audacious and convincing presentation of its tenets to the masses of the people -- these constitute the primary tasks facingPage 111
now the Indian believers. That they may achieve their high destiny is my constant hope and fervent prayer.December 20, 1944
First let me say that he was very pleased to receive your cable telling him the Bahá'ís in at least a part of Burma have survived. His thoughts and prayers have often been with them during these terrible years of war. He wishes to urge the N.S.A. to concentrate above all on re-instating any Spiritual Assemblies which were disbanded last Bahá'í year owing to insufficient numbers. This must always be the first consideration, so that the hardly won prizes of these new Assemblies may not be lost.Depriving of Voting Rights -- Function of N.S.A.
Also he wishes to point out that the power to put a person outside the Faith administratively must be solely, for the present time, in the hands of the N.S.A. This applies only to the cases where believers are deprived of their voting rights. Such extremely important and dramatic measures should never be resorted to unless absolutely necessary, and should certainly never be left in the hands of local assemblies, where personal feelings might colour the Assembly's decision. On the other hand, the right to enroll believers has always been given to the Local Assemblies. But they should be strongly urged to make sure the applicant is sincere and fully understands and accepts the fundamentals of the Faith.Teach a Wider Range of Indians
He also feels that now that you have so much literature on hand in various languages you should endeavour to teach aPage 112
wider range of Indian races; especially the Hindus and Moslems as they form the preponderating mass of the people. Also Hindu and Moslem believers should be encouraged to teach, pioneer, lecture, and be appointed on Committees, and elected to Assemblies, so that our true inter-racial, inter-religious character may be incontestably demonstrated to the world. The Guardian does not feel that it is necessary to wait one whole year before an applicant is admitted into the Faith. The Assemblies must not be too strict, but should make every effort to increase the membership of their communities.June 26, 1945
He was deeply grieved to hear of the death of our very dear and esteemed Bahá'í brother, Siyyid Mustafa. He was truly an example of steadfast devotion and one of the outstanding pioneers the Faith produced during the first century of its existence. He was also very sad to hear of the ruin of the Bahá'í Haziras and the plight of the Bahá'ís in general. He wishes your Assembly to exert its utmost in alleviating the suffering of the Burmese friends, and assisting them in every way possible. Convey to them all the assurance of his ardent and loving prayers on their behalf, and for the speedy re-establishment of the Faith and its institutions in Burma.Bahá'í Marriage
Regarding the question of ... marriage: She should have performed the Bahá'í marriage rites, but, as the Guardian already wrote her, she can now be re-instated in her voting rights by having a Bahá'í marriage ceremony performed. As she was married by civil, and not religious, law she need have no divorce or annulment of her civil marriage.
As at present a Bahá'í marriage is not yet legally recognized by the authorities, the friends should also have the civil marriage in addition. We have no objection to it at all, as it is non-sectarian and in no way affects our Bahá'í status.Page 113
As long as both the Bahá'í and the other religious (whatever it may be) ceremony are both performed prior to the consummation of the marriage, we do not mind which ceremony is performed first. It should be left to the individuals concerned to decide among themselves.Task Urgent, Vast and Sacred
The task facing the members of the Indian Bahá'í community in these days of stress and trial, is urgent, vast and sacred. The responsibilities they shoulder are growing in number and complexity. The obstacles in their path are numerous and seemingly insurmountable. The victories, however, which they have won during the concluding years of the first Bahá'í century, augur well for the future, and constitute only a preliminary stage in the great work they are destined to accomplish in the years that lie ahead. A unity that is truly unshakable, a consecration to their task which no trial or test can impair, a resolve that no force, however inimical, can shake, a united and systematic endeavour to proclaim and firmly establish their Faith which enemies neither from within nor from without can undermine -- all these are vitally required to enable them to achieve their high destiny. To you as their national elected representatives I desire to appeal in particular to exercise the utmost forbearance, care and vigilance, to exert the utmost endeavour, to deliberate, cooperate and carry out with exemplary vigour the necessary measures which the urgency of the task and the criticalness of the hour imperatively demand. That their glorious mission may be crowned with signal success is the object of my constant and fervent prayers at the holy Shrine.August 9, 1945
He was very sad to read of the sufferings of the beloved Burmese friends, of the death of that bright star of the Faith, Siyyid Mustafa, and of the murder of many other of the friends!Page 114
At the same time his heart swelled with pride when he saw that already the believers have re-assembled, elected an Assembly, and started their school again. This shows how deep their faith is, and presages a glorious future for the Cause there. As you already know he has sent you a sum to be devoted to rebuilding the Bahá'í institutions, teaching the Faith, and assisting the friends who are in desperate need. He has also invited other National Assemblies to contribute to this fund, and thus assist your Assembly to carry out this very important task of re-establishing a flourishing Community in Burma. The Indian believers are finding themselves increasingly called upon to shoulder heavy responsibilities; they are becoming more numerous, have spread to many new centres, undertaken a large publishing program, increased the number of their institutions, and are gradually becoming known to their fellow-Indians as followers of a new and glorious Faith. In view of this he feels your Assembly should constantly exhort the friends to be more conscious of their duties, and to be very careful of having differences of opinion which are so strong as to lead to disputes and thus humiliate our beloved Faith in the eyes of non-Baha'is. The public is beginning to observe them, and they must therefore conduct themselves at all times as befits those who bear the glorious Name of Baha. They must be forgetful of self, but ever mindful of the Cause of God![From the Guardian:]
The rehabilitation of the community of the sore-stricken believers throughout Burma constitutes the most urgent task of the Indian believers, and is a direct challenge which they cannot ignore or neglect. The reconstitution of dissolved assemblies, the extension of relief to the needy, the promotion of the teaching work, the dissemination of Bahá'í literature, the construction of the Haziras, the re-establishment of schools and committees are all vitally urgent, and should be carried out fully, systematically, and with the utmost speed. I long to hear of the progress of your labours in this important field, upon which the future welfare of the Burmese community depends, and with which the destinies of the Indian believers are closely interwoven.Page 115
I will pray from the depths of my heart that your meritorious efforts may soon be crowned with magnificent success.December 18, 1945
There is no objection to permitting the name of a Bahá'í or his relative, to be placed on a stone incorporated in some Bahá'í building he has donated to the Faith.
He is delighted with the progress your work is making in every field, and he urges you all to continually stimulate and inspire the friends to make ever greater effort and sacrifice in the service of their beloved Faith. The opportunity is unique and the rewards of Bahá'u'lláh inestimably glorious.[From the Guardian:]
My heart swells with joy, pride, and gratitude as I contemplate the range of the services rendered in recent years by the Indian believers to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. I particularly rejoice at the splendid initiative, the magnificent zeal, the unconquerable spirit that have characterised their recent understanding associated with the new Plan which they have audaciously conceived, and which, I feel confident, they will prosecute with exemplary vigour and constancy.
Simultaneous with the united efforts that must be strenuously exerted to ensure its success, a systematic endeavour must be made to proclaim the verities of our glorious Faith to the masses, and to disseminate far and wide its literature.
This threefold task requires the concentrated and sustained attention of the rank and file of the believers, the subordination of every consideration to its paramount interests, the extension of generous financial assistance to the agencies designed for its promotion. The believers in India have set an inspiring example to their fellow-believers throughout the East, and even to the great mass of their co-religionists in Bahá'u'lláh's native land, and have abundantly demonstratedPage 116
to them all, what organized activity, boldly conceived and soundly and energetically conducted, can achieve when directed and animated by the ennobling influences and the generative spirit of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. Their exploits are indeed unsurpassed by those of any community throughout the Bahá'í world except those which stand associated with the community that may well claim to be the standard-bearer of the Cause of God in the West. That these exploits may be the forerunners of still mightier and nobler achievements is my fervent hope and prayer.March 20, 1946
Bahá'ís Can Accept Grants-in-aid From The Government
Your question about whether Bahá'ís can accept grants-in-aid and free plots from Government.... There is no objection, the beloved Guardian says, to the Bahá'ís receiving this type of help from the Government and civic authorities.March 24, 1946
He thinks it is better for Bahá'í doctors not to work on our 9 Holy Days -- but, of course, that does not mean they should not attend to very sick people and emergencies on these days.Voting Rights
As he already told you in a previous communication he feels that your Assembly should not deprive people of their voting rights unless the matter is really very grave; this is a very heavy sanction, and can embitter the heart if lightly imposed, and also make people think we unduly resort to pressure of a strong nature. The friends must be nursed and assisted, for they are still mostly immature spiritually, and their "sins" are those ofPage 117
immaturity! Their hearts are loyal to the Cause, and this is the most important thing.Responsibilities Immense
The responsibilities confronting the Indian and Burmese Bahá'í Communities, in these days of stress and turmoil, are immense and inescapable. The task facing them is urgent, complex and rich in possibilities. The Plan which they are now striving to carry out demands the utmost vigilance, care, vigour and perseverance. All must arise to lend their assistance, and ensure its unqualified success in all its aspects. An intensification of effort aimed at increasing the number of pioneers who are labouring throughout the length and breadth of that land; a more vigorous and systematic endeavour to ensure the speedy publication of Bahá'í literature in all the languages that have already been determined upon and its immediate dissemination as an adjunct to the all-important teaching work; the elimination of every trace of inharmony, misunderstanding and ill-will so detrimental, at this juncture, to the interests of the Plan; the initiation of measures designed to give greater publicity to the aims and purposes of the Faith and its fundamental teachings, through the Press and radio; the adoption and enforcement of whatever measures are required to increase the number of Indian and Muslim converts to the Faith, on whom its ultimate triumph and recognition must depend; the steady consolidation and expansion of newly-established institutions, such as the Summer School, the hostel and the local Haziras; a more liberal and widespread contribution of funds to the National Treasury for the support of these institutions, and for the promotion of the general interests of the Faith -- these stand out as the primary duties and obligations of both the participants of the Plan and of those who conduct its operation.
A special effort must simultaneously be exerted to provide whatever is required to re-establish the long-suffering and dearly-loved Burmese community on a secure foundation.Page 118
The despatch of competent teachers and visitors to that sorely-tried land; the extension of the necessary relief to those who are still in need; the reconstruction of the administrative headquarters and the re-establishment of the Bahá'í school; the construction of the memorial to the beloved and unforgettable pioneer and martyr Siyyid Mustafa; the formation of Assemblies and Groups in as many localities as possible -- these constitute the immediate tasks confronting your Assembly in addition to the responsibilities you are called upon to discharge under the new Plan.
No sacrifice can be deemed too great for the achievement of this dual purpose, no effort should be spared in order to carry out in its entirety this twofold objective. May the Beloved grant you the strength you require for the accomplishment of your historic task.August 2, 1946
Concerning ... divorce: He has no right to demand from his wife a refund of the marriage expenses he incurred. In the Aqdas it is quite clear that the husband must not only give the dowry but must support his wife until the time when the divorce is completed. In view of this she is not required to repay expenses of the marriage, etc.
The paying of the Huquq is a spiritual obligation; the friends must not be obliged by the Assemblies to pay it, but they should be encouraged to fulfil this spiritual obligation laid upon them in the Aqdas.
He is very pleased to note the list of literature the publishing committee is forwarding to him, and urges you to persevere in pressing the translation and publishing of the New Era in the important languages already chosen for the purpose, as he attaches the greatest importance to this work.
He was also delighted to see that the Srinagar Assembly held its elections. These new Assemblies must receive every aid andPage 119
encouragement from your Assembly and every effort must be made to carry the Faith to new Centres, and to stimulate pioneering amongst the friends.
The Indian believers have a great opportunity to compete with both the American and British Bahá'ís in pioneer services; they already have a record to be proud of, and are first among the countries of the East in the record they hold of achievements in this field. He hopes they will go on from victory to victory, and vindicate the high hopes he cherishes for their future. If the National Assembly is sure that it was Siyyid Mustafa Roumie's wish to be buried next to his wife in Mandalay, then you should, by all means, arrange for the interment of his remains there. A befitting memorial can then be erected over the vault. The spirit of this great and valiant teacher surely watches over the land of his adoption, and will aid the Burmese believers in their efforts to rebuild their centres and promulgate the Cause of God there.
As we see the confusion in the world spreading, and the hatreds that divide men augmenting steadily, we, as the trustees of our Lord's glorious Faith, must rise to higher levels of self-sacrifice and devotion. He prays that the Indian believers may achieve wonderful victories for Bahá'u'lláh in the months that lie ahead, and prove themselves worthy of the great destiny that beckons to them.Unstinted Devotion Displayed
The perseverance, the tenacity, the unstinted devotion displayed consistently by the Indian Bahá'í Community, so clearly demonstrated by the reports recently received by their national elected representatives, are truly exhilarating and augur well for the future of the Plan. The members of this Community, however, must not be content with the standard already achieved, but must exert themselves ever more determinedly and unitedly to fulfil the high hopes cherished forPage 120
the success of their collective enterprise. The Burmese Bahá'í Community, which they are so devotedly striving to rehabilitate, must, likewise participate without reserve, in the glorious task that confronts them, and demonstrate, thereby, its virility and resilience in the face of the trials and obstacles which it has had to struggle against in the past. The establishment of new centres in Burma, the consolidation of the reinstated Assemblies, are both equally vital and urgent. The verities of the Faith must be proclaimed, its literature must be disseminated and its institutions reinforced and multiplied throughout that land. Both communities must collaborate and through sustained, vigorous and systematic effort and mutual assistance lend an unprecedented impetus to the onward march of the Faith in India and Burma. The greater the effort and self-sacrifice, the richer the benefits that will accrue, and the more potent the blessings that will be vouchsafed from on high. The goals are clearly defined. The prizes to be won are within reach and inexpressibly glorious. Time is running out and the opportunity is priceless. The promise of Divine unfailing assistance is assured. All are challenged to arise, to toil and to persevere, until their solemn pledge under the Plan is completely and totally fulfilled. That they may prove themselves worthy of their high mission is my fervent hope and constant prayer.October 12, 1946
He has been very encouraged to see the way the Indian, and now the Burmese friends have responded to his repeated call for greater sacrifice and for more pioneers to go forth into the teaching field. Your country is so vast that less valiant hearts than those possessed by the indomitable Bahá'ís might well have quailed before the tasks to be undertaken. But, on the contrary, the Indian and Burmese friends have arisen and demonstrated the calibre of their faith and courage in a manner which excites the admiration of their fellow Bahá'ís East and West.
Now is not the time to rest on their oars, but rather to re-doublePage 121
their efforts and go on from victory to victory, and to add new fame to their exploits, conscious that the eyes of their fellow-believers are focussed upon them to see what they will achieve next.
He was particularly happy to see how active the beloved Burmese friends are, and that through the efforts of some members of their Community and Indian friends they have now established a new centre in Kyigone, where a Spiritual Assembly can exist. This is a great step forward, and he hopes many new Bahá'í Assemblies will be developed in Burma during the coming Bahá'í year.
He was also very pleased to hear of the book exhibit held in Kolhapur, and of the interest shown in our Bahá'í literature by persons of standing in the Community. Such exhibitions offer a great opportunity to show the public what the Cause is doing and what it stands for, and every advantage of them should be taken.
Although your Assembly has succeeded in getting out a number of new language publications, you should not relax for a moment in your efforts to translate and publish the New Era in the remaining languages chosen, as this work is of the utmost importance, enables you to teach new language groups the Faith, and adds to the prestige of the Cause not only in India but abroad. Although you have many obstacles to overcome the results in the future will be great.
He cannot impress too strongly upon the friends the need for action: they must arise in still greater numbers to pioneer; those who cannot go themselves should remember the admonition of Bahá'u'lláh and send, through the N.S.A., someone in their stead; the young people should learn to teach and go forth in the field in the days of their youth and receive this great blessing; more qualified teachers should arise, and circulate among the new and weak Assemblies in order to consolidate them.[From the Guardian:]
The rich and varied material which you have been forwarding during recent months to the Holy Land proclaim and demonstrate, beyond the shadow of a doubt the assiduousPage 122
care, the magnificent devotion, the exemplary fidelity, the increased efficiency with which you are conducting the affairs, and consolidating the activities of a steadily growing community. My heart swells with gratitude as I witness, in so many fields, the striking evidences of the growth, the multiplication and establishment of highly diversified communities throughout the length and breadth of India and Burma, the expansion of Bahá'í literature, the rise of new institutions, the growing consciousness and solidarity of the teachers and administrators of the Faith, and of the contact that is being established between them and the great masses of their countrymen, at so critical a period in their history. However much these communities have already achieved, they cannot afford, for a moment, to rest content with the laurels that they have won. Spurred on by these initial and superb victories -- victories unprecedented in the annals of their Faith in that land -- they must press on, more diligently than ever, to reinforce their unity, to deepen their understanding of the spiritual verities of their Faith and of the administrative principles underlying its new world order, to multiply its nascent institutions, to broadcast its Message, to disseminate its literature, to exemplify its spirit, to proclaim its truths, and to swell the ranks of its unreserved supporters. The greater the effort they exert along these lines, the more abundant the measure of celestial grace that will be vouchsafed to them from on high. That they may go from strength to strength, that they may add still more glorious chapters to the distinguished record of their immortal services to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh is my constant prayer and the most cherished desire of my heart.March 13, 1947
He advises you to make every effort to have the Esslemont book translated into Karen at present, and to persevere in your attempts to find someone to translate it into Chin in the future. He urges you to make a supreme effort to completePage 123
these translations and publication of the Esslemont book in the remaining chosen languages.Rules [and] Regulations Should Not Be Multiplied
You may not perhaps know that in connection with all National Assemblies the Guardian is advising that rules and regulations should not be multiplied and new statements on "procedure" issued; we should be elastic in details and rigid in principles; consequently he does not want your Assembly to issue statements of a binding nature unless absolutely necessary.... It is only those who have been spiritually ex-communicated by the Guardian with whom the believers are forbidden to associate, and not a person who is being punished by being deprived of his voting rights. As contributions to Bahá'í funds are used to support the administration of the Faith, they should not be accepted from those who are deprived of their voting rights; but such believers, should not be prevented from being buried in a Bahá'í Cemetery or receiving charity -- which we even give to non-Bahá'ís -- if in dire need.Added Responsibility
As the N.S.A. of Persia is, it would seem, unable to send pioneers to Bahrayn or Afghanistan, he fully approves of your Assembly doing so, if some of the dear Indian believers are willing to assume this added responsibility and perform this valuable service, highly meritorious in the sight of God. The recent news conveyed to him by you of the achievement of the immediate goals that lay before the Indian and Burmese Baha'is, pleased him greatly. He feels that the Community of believers there, as they see their own Plan developing and their own labours bearing fruit, their fame spreading amongst their sister-communities and their star rising in the heaven of the Bahá'í world, are now acquiring a new zest for teaching, and arePage 124
ever more ready to sacrifice themselves in order to win complete victory for their Plan! This pleases him greatly and encourages him to believe the future of the dear Indian and Burmese believers is very bright.
He was also delighted and relieved to hear that unity was achieved at Convention amongst the friends, and that all of them have resolved to put away childish differences, unworthy of them as servants and custodians of our glorious Faith in that great country, and unitedly strive for the good of the Cause and the successful completion of their sacred tasks. He wishes once more to impress upon your Assembly the great importance of immediately finding and purchasing, and moving into, a befitting Hazira in Delhi. This will bring upon the entire community great confirmations.Threshold of a New Epoch
The perusal of your Annual Report and the messages conveyed by the elected representatives of the Indian and Burmese Bahá'í communities, assembled at Convention, have served to deepen my sense of admiration for the work collectively achieved by the members of these communities, and of my gratitude for the magnificent qualities they display, and for the spirit which so powerfully animates them in their stewardship to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.
They now stand on the threshold of a new epoch in the history of the evolution of the Administrative Order in their land. The transfer of the central institution of that Order to the capital of India; the wide measure of centralization which this historic step must needs involve; the purchase of a befitting seat for the ever expanding activities and multiplying agencies of that institution in that same capital, the progressive transfer of the national committees to the national Haziratu'l-Quds -- all these must synchronize with a remarkable, and indeed unprecedented, intensification of effort in the pioneer field of Bahá'í activity, as well as in the sphere of public teaching, designed to arouse the masses andPage 125
proclaim the verities of the Faith throughout the length and breadth of that subcontinent and its adjoining territory of Burma.
In this twofold activity, supporting directly and indirectly the interests of the Plan, committed to your charge, the Hindu, the Moslem, the Burmese and Zoroastrian believers must jointly, unitedly, and effectively participate. The minority elements in these ever-expanding communities must be continually stimulated, encouraged, trained and in some cases, as when an equal number of ballots have been cast in an election, given priority, in order to reinforce the representative character of Bahá'í institutions, demonstrate the distinction of these institutions from all other man-made agencies, and win, to an ever-increasing degree, the sympathy and support of the teeming masses of Hindu and Moslem extraction, on whose adherence to the Faith, the ultimate progress, establishment, and triumph of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh must chiefly depend.
Courage, good-will, resolution, self-abnegation, are imperatively required, at this momentous stage in the evolution of these nascent communities, who, having reared, with assiduous care, the machinery of their Administrative Order, and launched the Plan which the institutions of that Order are now so efficiently promoting, have arisen to initiate a crusade which, as it gathers momentum, must embrace all the diversified races, classes and creeds of that vast country, and its adjoining territories. May the impelling power of the Faith which they champion enable them to surmount every obstacle, and reach their destined goal.May 8, 1947
During the great period of transition that vast land has been, and still is, going through his thoughts have been very frequently with you all, and his anxiety for the safety of the beloved friends there is very keen. He fully appreciates the fact that the Baha'is, in spite of their total lack of religious or other prejudice, and theirPage 126
strict political neutrality, are nevertheless placed in danger sometimes by the passions and unrest of their countrymen. His ardent prayers are offered for their protection, and he urges them to, at all times, set the highest example of tolerance, freedom from any form of partisanship in the present troubles and disputes going on, and sympathy with the deep sufferings of all classes and creeds.Greater Dedication to Service
The work of your Assembly is even more onerous and delicate than before. Now that India, Burma and Pakistan no longer form one unit, in the sense of being under one regime, you will, no doubt, have many new problems to meet. But he feels assured that the experience the Community of believers has gained during recent years, the increased awareness of the glory of this Cause, and the greater dedication to its service which unites the hearts of all the Bahá'ís out there, will now manifest themselves in the Community's wholehearted cooperation with the N.S.A., and in a renewed determination to achieve its Plan.
The believers must realize that they, in fulfilling the immediate goals of this Plan, are hastening the day when India, Pakistan and Burma can respectively have each its own National Spiritual Assembly, which, in due time, will become one of the pillars of the International House of Justice. Although three N.S.A.'s and not one must be envisaged in the future, how appropriate it is that, at present, when political division has taken place and animosities are fanned into flame, the believers in the Cause of God are united under one Spiritual Assembly, guiding and aiding all believers with love and understanding! Please particularly assure the Serampur Bahá'ís of his loving prayers, and that he is proud of their devotion to the Faith. He also wishes to assure you of his prayers for the progress of all the work your Assembly is doing, and especially for the solution of the problems involved in the National Headquarters' purchase. He attributes great importance to this undertaking,Page 127
and is delighted to see the determined and self-sacrificing manner in which the believers are supporting it.Opportunity Which May Never Occur Again
The strife and bloodshed, with their attendant misery, sorrow and confusion, that have afflicted the entire subcontinent of India, in recent months, have caused me the gravest concern. The disorders, following in the wake of this great crisis in the life of its people, constitute a challenge, which the Community of the steadfast followers of Bahá'u'lláh in that land must resolutely face, and demonstrate in meeting it the quality of their faith, the depth of their devotion, the strength of their unity, the solidity of their institutions and the heroic character of their resolve. They must neither feel alarmed, nor falter or hesitate in the execution of their Plan. Shielded by the institutions which their hands have reared, abiding securely in the stronghold of their love for Bahá'u'lláh and their devotion to His Faith, pursuing with unrelaxing vigilance and singleness of purpose the course set by the Plan they themselves have inaugurated, heartened by the initial success already achieved since that Plan was set in motion, they, however much buffeted by present circumstances, and no matter how perilous the path they now tread, must press forward, unafraid of persecution, scorn of calumny, towards the shining goals they have set themselves to attain.
The newly-fledged Assemblies, constituted with so much labour and sacrifice, must above all be thoroughly safe-guarded. The administrative nuclei formed throughout the length and breadth of that land, must, however great the effort demanded, be preserved and continually fostered, and enabled to develop into groups destined in time to evolve into firmly knit Assemblies. The obstacles that have arisen in connection with the purchase and registration of the Haziratu'l-Quds in Delhi must be resolutely overcome and all the subsidiary issues connected with it definitely and speedily settled, enabling thereby the attention of your Assembly to be focussed on the vital requirements of thePage 128
teaching work on which the prosperity of the community and its rapid growth must ultimately depend. Attention, moreover, should be directed to the completion of the task undertaken in connexion with the translation and publication of the New Era in the few remaining languages selected for that purpose. The dissemination of Bahá'í literature should, likewise, be simultaneously carried out with increasing vigour. Whatever measures are required to ensure a more systematic and extensive propagation of the teaching of the Faith among the masses must be promptly and unhesitatingly adopted.
The hour is indeed propitious. The ordeals and tribulations which the hungry, the dispossessed, the sick, as well as the disillusioned and restless multitudes, are now experiencing, offer the bearers of the Message of the Most Great Name, an opportunity which may never again recur. There is no time to lose. Every warrior in the ever-advancing army of
Bahá'u'lláh must arise and participate in this holy crusade. The rewards and prizes to be won are inestimable. However circumscribed its resources, however small its numbers, however formidable the obstacles with which it is confronted, the entire community of the believers in India, Burma and Pakistan, must arise as one man, and, pledging anew its fidelity to its Faith prove itself fully worthy of the Cause it has espoused and the high mission it has undertaken.October 24, 1947
Excommunication is a spiritual thing and up until now the Guardian has always been the one who exerted this power, and he feels for the present he must continue to be. Only actual enemies of the Cause are ex-communicated. On the other hand, those who conspicuously disgrace the Faith or refuse to abide by its laws can be deprived, as a punishment, of their voting rights; this in itself is a severe action, and he therefore always urges all National Assemblies (who can take such action) to first warn and repeatedly warn the evil-doer before taking the step of depriving him of his voting rights. He feels your Assembly mustPage 129
act with the greatest wisdom in such matters, and only impose this sanction if a believer is seriously injuring the Faith in the eyes of the public through his conduct or flagrantly breaching the laws of God. If such a sanction were lightly used the friends would come to attach no importance to it, or to feel the N.S.A. used it every time they got angry with some individual's disobedience to them. We must always remember that, sad and often childish, as it seems, some of those who make the worst nuisances of themselves to their National Bodies are often very loyal believers, who think they are protecting the true interests of their Faith by attacking N.S.A. decisions!Unite to Serve Him
The Guardian feels very strongly that everywhere, throughout the entire Bahá'í world, the believers have got to master and follow the principles of their divinely laid down Administrative Order. They will never solve their problems by departing from the correct procedure... The Bahá'ís have got to learn to live up to the laws of Bahá'u'lláh which are infinitely higher, more exacting and more perfect than those the world is at present familiar with. Running away, fighting with each other, fostering dissension, is not going to advance the Indian or any other Community; all it is going to do is to bring Bahá'u'lláh's plans and work to a standstill until such time as the believers unite to serve Him, or new and more dedicated souls arise to take their place.Seeking to Purify the World
He also feels very strongly, as he has pointed out in the enclosed letter to the Calcutta Assembly, that the Bahá'ís must be mature and realize that, whether they are conscious of it or not, the intense feelings of hatred, suspicion and jealousy which are flaming up everywhere in India and Pakistan, are tinging the attitudes of the believers themselves. At such a time, seeingPage 130
this colossal example before them of the very essence of everything we are seeking to purify the world from, the Hindu, Moslem and Zoroastrian Bahá'ís should determine to show a love for each other and an inner spiritual solidarity so great as to forcibly attract the attention of their countrymen and impress them with the fact that Bahá'u'lláh's Message is, indeed, the only remedy for the ills afflicting the great multitudes of the Far East. It would seem, however, from your reports and those of individuals who write him, that the Bahá'ís are doing the very opposite and enabling outsiders to point the finger at them and say "the very rivalry we are experiencing between various communities, the Bahá'ís are also experiencing!" How terrible, how tragic, if Bahá'ís should let such a situation develop, such a betrayal of not only the trust God has placed in their hands but also a betrayal of the glorious victories they themselves won during the past decade!
The Guardian assures you all, and through you, the believers of India, Pakistan and Burma, that he will supplicate in the Holy Shrines that the labours you have all achieved together may be preserved from blemish, and that you may go on together to fulfil your plan and raise still higher the name of your fame.Stormy Yet Glorious Path of Service
The work now engaging the attention of the members of the Bahá'í Communities in India, Pakistan and Burma, as it develops and is further consolidated, acquires momentous importance, and should be pursued with added zeal, ever deepening consecration, firmer unity, closer collaboration, greater vigilance and nobler self-sacrifice. The sufferings and trials they have recently experienced, the disappointments and anxieties they have borne, the obstacles and setbacks they have encountered in their path, should, far from causing them to flinch in their determination or to relax in their efforts, act as a stimulant and challenge, to scale loftier heights, and win mightier victories in their strenuous labours for the propagation of their beloved Faith.Page 131
Though they are pressed by the multitudinous demands of an ever-growing task, though overburdened by the manifold responsibilities of an ever-expanding administration, I have, in my desire to enable them to enrich the splendid record of their stewardship to the Faith in recent years, and enhance the prestige of all three communities, urged them to push still further the outposts of the Faith, both southward and eastward of the present field of their joint labours. In the island of Ceylon, the Republic of Indonesia and the sovereign State of Siam, which due to their proximity must, sooner or later be opened up to the Faith by these Communities, an effort, however tentative, must be made to establish a nucleus, through the settlement of one or two pioneers which will, as Plans are initiated in the years to come, develop into full-fledged communities capable of illuminating the eastern and southern fringes of the continent of Asia.
Through the successful conclusion of this added task to be shouldered by these communities, the believers in these three communities will have contributed, to a marked degree, to the raising to one hundred of the number of countries included within the pale of the ever-advancing Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. They will be emulating the example of their American, Canadian and Persian brethren, who, through their respective plans, are hastening this glorious consummation by initiating Bahá'í activities in Latin America, in Greenland and New Foundland and the territories of the Arabian Peninsula.
Their solid achievements in recent years, the marvellous multiplication of Bahá'í Centres, the establishment of befitting national headquarters, the remarkable impetus lent to the translation, publication and dissemination of Bahá'í Literature, embolden me to appeal to them, to undertake fresh enterprises, ere the termination of the present Plan, and on however small a scale, beyond the confines of India and Burma. The greater the range of their collective enterprises, the mightier the effusion of the Abha grace from on high, a grace that will sustain, protect, guide and cheer them as theyPage 132
tread the stormy yet glorious path of service for the furtherance of their beloved Cause.
Let them, at this momentous stage of their historic labours, eliminate, once and for all, every trace of inharmony from their midst, purge their hearts from every lingering suspicion, prejudice and animosity, acquire a clearer vision of the greatness of their Faith and the significance of their mission, give heed to the urgent and tragic needs of the vast multitudes of their disillusioned and sore-tried countrymen, now hungering for the Bread of Life, and arise, as one man, to discharge their sacred and inescapable responsibilities. The hour is propitious, the situation critical, the Cause infinitely precious, the prize within reach and inexpressibly glorious.May 8, 1948
The news that from Calcutta two souls have volunteered to go forth as pioneers to Siam and Indonesia greatly pleased him. Likewise, he was rejoiced to hear a pioneer for Ceylon has been found.
The Burmese, Indian and Pakistan Baha'is, forming as they do a relatively old and tried Community of believers, have heavy responsibilities to discharge. They cannot be looked upon as children or youngsters in this great Cause, but rather must be considered more in the light of elders, and consequently their Bahá'í brothers and sisters expect great things of them, and look to them for signs of leadership in that part of the world! Therefore, the fulfilment of their Plan, and the sending forth of their pioneers to neighbouring Asiatic countries, is of crucial importance in maintaining their leadership in this field and their prestige in the Bahá'í world.
He was very glad to see your Assembly has not relaxed its efforts in the matter of translating and publishing the Esslemont book. As you know, he considers this a vital service being rendered by your Community to not only the peoples of that partPage 133
of the world, but to the Faith as a world-wide movement. He has begun to receive lately some of your publications, and trusts, now the mails are again running, to receive safely all the material you are sending.Arcade of the Shrine of the Báb
The Foundation of the arcade of the Shrine has now been laid and all the heavy threshold stones placed in position. More than half of the stone work ordered in Italy for this first unit of the beautiful shell, which will enclose and protect for all-time the sacred building built by the beloved Master Himself, has now been received on the Shrine property, and plans are being made for the next stage of construction to go ahead.
This glorious work, so cheering to all our hearts, is, however, greatly increasing the burden our beloved Guardian bears, and he hopes the friends will understand this when they find letters to him can no longer be answered promptly. At such a time, when this country has passed through so much danger and difficulty, it is little short of miraculous the way this work on the Shrine has been facilitated and protected and gone ahead steadily! It is greatly enhancing the prestige of the Faith here, and the authorities have been cooperative and helpful.Grave Challenge
The communications addressed to me several months ago by your Assembly have, after considerable delay in transmission, reached the Holy Land, and, together with the reports and minutes accompanying them, were read with deep and sustained interest.
The tremendous task facing the Bahá'í Communities in India, Pakistan and Burma, constitutes a grave challenge to the followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in these countries and must be faced and met with courage, determination and aPage 134
spirit of complete dedication to His Cause. The disturbances that have so gravely shaken the peoples of these countries, on the morrow of a world-convulsing international conflict; the unfortunate and sudden cessation of communications between these countries and the World Centre of the Faith in the Holy Land during the past year; the fears and anxieties engendered by a steadily deteriorating international situation which cannot but dismay the stoutest hearts, have no doubt contributed, in varying degrees, and in no small measure, to a slowing down of the progress of the collective enterprise, so nobly, so enthusiastically and so energetically initiated by the upholders of the Faith throughout the sub-continent of India and Burma.
The reverses they have suffered, with their attendant disappointments, confusion and relaxation of effort, must never be allowed, however short the period remaining before the termination of their Plan, to jeopardize the chance of a success which is still in their power to achieve. They must close their ranks, gird up their loins, rededicate their souls and spirits to the unfinished tasks which face them, purge themselves of every taint of communal prejudice, detach themselves from every thought of self-interest, and arise, while there is yet time, to attain the goals they have pledged themselves to attain.
The final phase of the Plan with which they stand identified, and on which their immediate destiny depends, coincides with the hundredth anniversary of the most bloody, tragic and turbulent period in the history of their Faith -- a period immortalised by the noblest evidences of Bahá'í self-sacrifice, marked by acts of sublime heroism, and ennobled by a spirit of dedication and determination unsurpassed at any subsequent stage in Bahá'í history. Now, if ever, is the time to emulate the example of these heroes, saints and martyrs. Now is the time to pour out one's substance as copiously and as readily, as the Dawn-breakers of the Heroic Age of the Faith have shed their life-blood in the path of this most precious Cause. No more befitting tribute can be paid to the memory of these luminous souls, by those who carry the torch of Divine Guidance after them, than by a correspondingPage 135
manifestation of solidarity, self-abnegation, zeal and devotion, which will impel them to forsake their homes, sacrifice their treasure, brave every danger, endure every hardship, expend every ounce of energy, that the Plan which they have spontaneously and unitedly sponsored may, through its triumphant termination, carry them a stage further along the broad highway of their destiny.
The multiplication of Bahá'í Assemblies, at any cost and with the utmost speed; the reconstitution of dissolved Assemblies, however great the effort required; the completion of the translation into, and the printing of the New Era, in the few remaining languages, within the shortest possible time, the despatch of no more than one pioneer, to the neighbouring Island of Ceylon, to Siam and to Indonesia, ere the termination of the closing year of the Plan -- these stand out as the immediate requirements of the present challenging hour -- requirements that the prosecutors of the Plan must meet. The eyes of their fellow-workers in East and West, are fixed upon them. The Concourse on high watches their actions, and stands ready to bless and reinforce their labours. The Centre of the Covenant Himself is eagerly waiting to witness the evidences of their victory, and will no doubt intercede, on their behalf, before the throne of Bahá'u'lláh, if they but arise resolutely and spur their chargers into the arena of service.
The sands are indeed running out. The task that remains to be accomplished is indeed colossal. The distractions, temptations, and pitfalls that might interfere with its consummation are many and varied. The resources however spiritual and material still at the disposal of the members of these communities, are still adequate, if they but resolve to utilize them, to the needs of the present hour. The blessings from on high, ready to be showered upon them, are more than adequate to ensure their complete and total victory. So much hangs on the fortunes of the present Plan! So much must necessarily depend on the manner and the spirit in which they discharge their terrific responsibilities, during the few fleeting months still allotted them ere the expiry of the Plan!Page 136
I entreat them, with all the fervour of my soul, not to allow this golden opportunity to slip from their grasp. They have, in the past, proved themselves capable, in times of crisis, of overleaping the most formidable barriers, and of wresting victory from the jaws of impending defeat. Theirs is the opportunity, now if ever, to demonstrate a similar resolution, a no less spectacular outburst of enthusiasm, an even nobler heroism and self-sacrifice than they have ever shown in the past.
Then, and only then, will the next stage in the evolution of their common destiny be unveiled to their eyes. Then, and only then, will the call summoning them to press forward to yet another landmark in their history be sounded. Then, and only then, will a still fuller measure of heavenly prizes be laid up for them in reward for their inestimable and arduous services in the treasuries of the Abha Kingdom by Him who alone knows how to re-ignite His faithful servants.April 9, 1949
He would like you to please thank on his behalf those friends who have forwarded Huquq to him and contributions for the building of the Super-structure of the Báb's Shrine. This building is now beginning to take shape and promises to be very beautiful, befitting and dignified. It is the realization of the fond hope of the beloved Master, who stated to Badi Bushrui one day, as He looked up at the building He Himself had already completed: "The Shrine is as yet unbuilt.... God willing, it will be built. We have brought it up to this stage." The friends should be told this, as many of them do not realize it was the Master's own plan to go much further, and erect a dome over the Resting Place of the Báb.Page 137
The Guardian desires your Assembly to keep in close touch with your pioneers abroad and give them strong moral, as well as financial support. It will please you to know two Dutch Bahá'ís are going out to Indonesia, and he has asked them to communicate with your Assembly and cooperate with you in spreading the Faith there and in having at least a pamphlet, to begin with, translated into the most needed native language. His heart has been very anxious over the fate of the believers in Burma, and it relieved him greatly to hear that you received news they were safe. Please assure them his loving prayers are with them and offered for their protection.End of Six-Year Plan Approaches
As the end of the Plan to which your community stands committed inexorably approaches, my anxious thoughts increasingly turn towards you and your fellow workers, on whose shoulders a staggering responsibility -- grave as well as inescapable -- is weighing so heavily in these days. I am fully aware of the character of the manifold and unexpected trials this community has been called upon to face in India, Pakistan and Burma since its inception. The ordeal of internal disorder and of civil strife; the dislocation of the machinery of internal administration, the inevitable consequence of the vast political changes that have been effected in these countries; the reverses suffered by this same community through the temporary seizure of its newly acquired administrative headquarters and the loss of some of its precious assets in both India and Burma; the hardships endured by the pioneers of this community as well as its administrators as a consequence of severely imposed restrictions, outbursts of fanaticism and civil riots -- have been such as to dismay the stoutest heart and tax to the uttermost the determination of the most resolute.Page 138
And yet, in spite of these successive afflictions the members of this community have forged ahead, valiantly, unitedly and determinedly, and have even extended the original range of their Plan by embarking on fresh and historical enterprises beyond the confines of these territories, through the despatch of pioneers to the neighbouring Dominion of Ceylon and the adjacent Kingdom of Siam and the Republic of Indonesia. Whatever the fate of the Plan which they are now seeking to bring to its consummation, this striking evidence of the indomitable spirit of faith that animates the rank and file of this community, and which has prompted it to seek fresh laurels in virgin territories beyond the frontiers of its homeland, will, without the slightest doubt, redound eternally to its credit, and be abundantly rewarded by a vigilant and all-Bountiful Master.
To enhance the value of so rich a prize won, in so short a period, by a community so burdened by cares and anxieties, in territories for the most part overshadowed by discord and internal revolution, through the triumphant conclusion of the major task entrusted to its hands, and the successful conclusion of the second collective enterprise embarked upon by its indefatigable and resolute members, on the morrow of a world-encircling conflict, must now be the paramount and all-absorbing purpose of all who are privileged to participate in this mighty endeavour. Time is short. Every week is precious. The resources of the community, financial, moral and spiritual are, I firmly believe, adequate to meet the needs of this critical hour. So golden an opportunity, if missed, will not recur for who knows how extensive a period. The launching of subsequent enterprises destined to culminate in the triumph and ascendancy of a struggling Faith in the subcontinent of India, as well as in the establishment of its institutions in South-East Asia, will be inevitably and indefinitely postponed. Undaunted by the setbacks it has experienced; heartened by the settlement and the initial victory won by its pioneers in the newly opened virgin territories in the North, the South and the East; fully conscious of its abilityPage 139
to perform adequately its task and discharge befittingly its responsibility; relying on the unfailing grace of an all-Powerful, ever solicitous, continually watching Providence; deriving fresh inspiration and confidence from the amazing feat achieved, by the small band of its brethren, in the West, and in a continent more devastated by the ravages of war than any other continent of the globe; let this community, while time still remains, gird up its loins, sink its differences, rededicate itself to its urgent task, sweep away every barrier that confronts it, and rise, with an upsurge of unprecedented enthusiasm and determination, to those heights to which its spiritual destiny is now beckoning it.
With a heart, aglow with gratitude for what this community has in the initial stage of its administrative development accomplished, filled with confidence in the potentialities with which our beloved Master has endowed it in the years of His earthly ministry, and overflowing with love for those who, through their incessant labours and heroic self-sacrifice, have achieved unforgettable victories in recent years, I will continue to supplicate for all its members, at home and abroad, in their administrative spheres of activity as well as in the teaching field such blessings as will enable them to crown their concerted efforts with a success that will resound throughout the Bahá'í world.November 6, 1949
The past winter and spring have been very arduous months for our beloved Guardian and very anxious ones. As you know, he has been pressing the work on the arcade of the Shrine of the Báb in order to have it completed by the Centenary of His martyrdom. As the arcade which fits about and protects the Holy Tomb, built by our beloved Master, is considerably larger than the original edifice, it has been necessary to excavate the mountain immediately behind the Shrine, and this very difficult work was carried out under the close and constant supervision of the Guardian himself in order to ensure it was accomplished safely, quickly and economically. This absorbed, forPage 140
many months, his precious time and energies. When this was accomplished he looked forward to turning his attention to the various National Assembly letters piled up, but, unfortunately, Mr. Maxwell, the architect of the Shrine, became dangerously ill at the beginning of April, and is still in hospital. His condition was so grave that for weeks our Guardian and household were prevented from concentrating on the many tasks waiting to be attended to owing to the constant anxiety, the coming and going of doctors, etc. He feels you should be informed of these facts as an explanation of the long delay in hearing from him. Mr. Maxwell, thanks to the mercy of God and the determination of the Guardian, is now recovering, and we hope will live to continue his work on the Shrine.
The contributions sent by the Indian believers for the Holy Shrine were very much appreciated. Ever since the Burmese friends contributed the Sarcophagus for the Holy Remains, the friends in that part of the world have been linked with this sacred enterprise. Their joy will be great when, once the pilgrimage can be resumed, their eyes fall upon the beauty of this Shrine.Bahá'ís May Join Non-Partisan Organisations
There is no objection to the Bahá'ís associating with such organisations as the World Government Organisation. The instructions he gave to the British Bahá'ís may be followed. However, great care should be taken to make sure these organisations are absolutely non-partisan in their political views and lean neither to East or West.A Bahá'í Cannot be a Theosophist
A Bahá'í cannot at the same time be a theosophist; many theosophists have become believers and very enlightened ones, but as we do not believe in reincarnation we obviously cannot be active as theosophists and Bahá'ís at the same time.Killing of a Believer in Kamarhatti
The tragic killing of a believer in Kamarhatti grieved thePage 141
Guardian very much. If you are in touch with any of the relatives please convey his sympathy to them, and assure them of his prayers. Terrible as persecution is, we must always remember that it waters the tree of Religion, and that from such deeds as this the believers -- far from being cowed and silenced -- must derive inspiration and courage.Convention Delegates
The Guardian feels that, if a delegate is elected to represent an Assembly (or community having Assembly status) during the administrative year in which the Assembly existed he is properly qualified, even if at Ridvan that community falls back to group status. A community, however, which reverts to group status at Ridvan cannot have a delegate to the following year's Convention.No Effort is Too Great
The severe restrictions to which the dearly-loved, highly devoted, long struggling Bahá'í community of India, Pakistan and Burma have been subjected, the repeated setbacks they have suffered, the grave disturbances in the wake of which their manifold and meritorious activities have been caught, evoke my heartfelt sympathy and arouse my deep concern. The spirit which, despite adversities, delays and dislocations, they have consistently manifested in recent years is, however, worthy of the highest praise, and will, no doubt, triumph over every obstacle, and will enable them to weather every storm and win ultimate victory.
Though the course of the Plan they spontaneously undertook has, of necessity, been affected by these constant vicissitudes and unexpected developments, their achievements, beyond the confines of their homelands, as well as in the publishing field, have ennobled the record of their service to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, and constitute a memorable chapter in the history of the Faith in the sub-continent of India.Page 142
The translation and publication of the "New Era" in more than twenty languages in recent years, the planting of the banner of the Faith in the Island of Ceylon, the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of Siam -- though not originally an integral part of their Plan -- has signalized the opening of a new epoch in the evolution of the Faith in South Eastern Asia, and has marked the formal association of the Indian the Pakistani and Burmese believers with their brethren in Europe, America, Egypt and Persia, in carrying the torch of the Faith beyond the confines of their respective continents and countries, and in executing the last wishes of the Centre of the Covenant so movingly expressed in His Will [and] Testament.
Whatever these communities, so valiantly labouring in that disturbed and strife-ridden corner of the Asiatic continent, undertake to perform within the confines of their homelands in the years ahead, this double process of extending the range of the literature of the Faith and of propagating its Message within the virgin territories, lying to the North and South-East of their native lands, must continue with undiminished momentum, and must receive the undivided attention of the elected representatives of these communities. Consolidation at home, and the provision of the necessary measures to ensure the speedy and effective extension of the influence of the Faith abroad, constitute the dual, the immediate and inescapable responsibilities of all the members of these communities, who are labouring, at so critical a period, with such steadfast zeal and devotion, amidst the masses of their fearful and harassed countrymen, for so lofty an ideal and so precious a Faith.
Firmly united in their purpose, banishing, once and for all, every trace of estrangement and prejudice from their midst, assured of the all-compelling, ever-sustaining power of Bahá'u'lláh, deriving fresh inspiration from the triumphs collectively achieved by their brethren in all continents of the globe, undeflected in their resolve by any setback, opposition or injustice, let them, with so notable a record of service behind them, march resistlessly forward, entering still wider fields, scalingPage 143
nobler heights, plumbing still greater depths of heroism and self-sacrifice.
As the Centenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's prophetic mission approaches, these sorely tried, much loved, indefatigable communities, must brace themselves, however challenging future circumstances may prove to be, however arduous the tasks they are called upon to discharge, to contribute, in whatever, way possible in whatever field they may find it practicable, a memorable share to the collective tribute which the followers of the Most Great Name are now arising to pay, through action in the field of service, to the Founder of their Faith on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the inception of His Revelation.
The hour is indeed both precious and propitious. The opportunity is glorious and will not recur in the lifetime of this generation. No effort is too great to ensure the success of so historic a commemoration. Time is short for an adequate preparation for the celebration, through collective and sound achievement, of so great a jubilee. All must arise and contribute a share worthy of the name they bear and of the privilege bestowed upon them.
That all three communities may rise to this occasion, may rededicate themselves with renewed resolve and fresh vigour, is my ardent and constant prayer.June 28, 1950
Under separate cover two enlargements of the arcade of the Shrine of the Báb have been mailed you. The Guardian wishes this gift from him to be shown to the believers as widely as possible, and then be hung in the National Headquarters. He has sent the American N.S.A. two negatives of the Shrine, and the Bahá'ís can order from the States copies if they desire to purchase some.
He feels it will make the friends happy to see the beautyPage 144
of this blessed building so dear to all our hearts.November 2, 1950
He was very pleased to see that the policy of holding inter-assembly conferences has been adopted and is meeting with success; and he urges your Assembly to encourage the believers to hold more of such gatherings. It cannot but have a stimulating effect upon the teaching work, and inspire the friends to make greater efforts in their respective communities.Assembly in Moulmein, Burma
The news of the formation of an Assembly in Moulmein pleased him very much; and he wishes you to assure the believers there that he will pray for them in the Holy Shrines. The devotion and loyalty of the Burmese believers, in the face of so much turmoil in their native land, has aroused his admiration and increased his affection for this long-standing Bahá'í Community, so persevering and so attached to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.Centenary Pamphlet Excellent
In connection with your publications, he would like to say that he found your "Centenary of the Martyrdom of the Báb" pamphlet excellent in every way, and was delighted to see that the Indian Bahá'ís had shown so much initiative in getting out this memorial pamphlet.Increase the Number of Delegates to 95
The increase in the number of delegates to 95 is an important milestone in the history of the Cause in those parts; and he feels that the friends, proud of the progress they have made, should determine that the coming Convention will be distinguishedPage 145
as one of the most harmonious and constructive ever held.Pioneering to Siam
The Guardian is very anxious that pioneer activities should be carried forward in Siam; and he urges your Assembly to push this matter further, and ... send some other pioneer there.Registration of Assemblies
The Guardian hopes that wherever you have a strongly established Spiritual Assembly, you will make every effort to register it legally, as he attaches great importance to the registration and incorporation of Spiritual Assemblies, and hopes that you will make every effort to add to their number in areas under your jurisdiction.Contribution for the Shrine of the Báb
The contributions sent by the believers for the construction of the Tomb of the Báb have been deeply appreciated by our beloved Guardian. It is only right that this old Bahá'í Community, so tried in the fire of tests, and having been in existence from practically the days of the beloved Báb Himself, should play a part in building his sepulchre. The Guardian is now undertaking the second phase of the construction work, which involves raising the Edifice above the level of the original Tomb.Bahá'ís Cannot Become Freemasons
The Guardian does not consider it advisable for Bahá'ís to become Freemasons. Reviewing of Bahá'í Books
...Local Spiritual Assemblies are not empowered to review material which is for national circulation. The Guardian thinksPage 146
that your Assembly, or the Committee that you delegate such authority to, should review the pamphlet in question; and if it is in accordance with the Teachings, there is certainly no reason why it should not be circulated; but in the future, the Spiritual Assemblies should be more careful about publishing literature which is for more than local use.Pioneers for Indonesia and Siam
In closing, he would like to urge the members of your Assembly to redouble your efforts to assist pioneers to go forth to Indonesia and Siam. The extraordinary success the promulgation of the Faith has met with in Ceylon should be sufficient evidence for all concerned of the way in which God strengthens the endeavours of His servants, and blesses their seed-sowing, and brings it to harvest. He hopes that many of the believers, not only in India, but in Pakistan and Burma as well, will volunteer to go forth as pioneers, and will make every effort to do so.
The success of your past endeavours should encourage you all and the Community whom you represent, to forge ahead, unmindful of obstacles, and forgetful of personal differences of opinion in one united and unanimous effort to carry out all the work you have set for yourselves and achieve all your goals.Great Historic Enterprise
The communications received in recent months from your Assembly testify to the perseverance and devotion with which the Bahá'í Communities of India, Pakistan and Burma have pursued the course of their activities in the face of manifold obstacles and trials and despite the severity of the problems which have confronted them since the outbreak of the political disturbances that have agitated the Indian sub-continent. Though suffering from various reverses, though afflicted with disappointment, though sustaining repeated losses they have persevered in their labours, widened the scope of their task, pushed further the outposts ofPage 147
the Faith, and won their initial victories beyond the confines of their respective homelands.
In the field of Bahá'í publications, in the publicity given to the Bahá'í teachings, in their negotiations with the civil authorities under whose jurisdiction they function, in their constant encouragement and support of the pioneers labouring both at home and abroad, the national elected representatives of these communities have, likewise, demonstrated a spirit of dedication, a zeal and fidelity worthy of the highest praise.
The great historic enterprise launched by them in recent years in the neighbouring territories of Ceylon, Siam, Indonesia and the Malayan Peninsula, -- a vast and highly meritorious undertaking still in its initial stage of development, and conferring a great and imperishable lustre on its valiant initiators -- must be energetically prosecuted notwithstanding the unsettled political situation prevailing in those territories, and however threatening the clouds gathering on the international horizon. The movement and settlement of pioneers throughout India, Pakistan and Burma must, moreover, continue unabated and must be paralleled by a steady multiplication of Bahá'í Centres and the consolidation of nascent institutions, the negotiations with the civil authorities, however disillusioning and unfruitful they have been so far in their results, must continue to be conducted with extreme vigilance and unrelaxing vigour. The highly commendable task of completing the translation and publication of the "New Era" in the languages already chosen should be promptly and befittingly consummated. The efforts exerted to publicize the Faith, disseminate its teachings and spread its fame, should be redoubled by all administrative agencies concerned with this vital sphere of Bahá'í activity. The sacred duty of deepening and enriching the spiritual life of the newly enrolled believers should be faithfully discharged by both the local and national elected representatives of these communities. The added responsibility of contributing to the raising of the superstructure of the Báb's holy Sepulchre, now entering upon the secondPage 148
phase of its construction, and of speeding its consummation in view of the increasingly critical world condition, should be valiantly faced and nobly discharged. Above all, the inescapable obligation of guarding the integrity of the Faith, of preserving the unity of its followers, and of reinforcing its spiritual and administrative foundations, must be continually borne in mind not only by the representatives of these communities but by every individual believer labouring for the good name and the glorification of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.
The Bahá'í Communities of the Indian sub-continent and of Burma constituting the largest entity throughout the Orient, next to the body of believers residing in the Cradle of the Faith, and enjoying, unlike their Eastern sister communities in Persia, Egypt and Iraq, the blessings of relative freedom from repression or persecution, and including within their fold a greater variety of races, creeds and tongues than any of their sister communities throughout the world, are faced with both a peculiar challenge and a unique opportunity. The resources at their disposal, the privileges they possess, the facilities they enjoy should, with clear vision, with confident hearts and inflexible resolve, be consecrated to the noble objectives which it is their mission to pursue. Conscious of their high calling, aware of the potentialities with which their homelands have been endowed, these communities, placing their reliance on the all-conquering power of Bahá'u'lláh must unitedly arise, however numerous the barriers imposed between them, to achieve their destiny, and contribute collectively and effectively, to the world-wide propagation, the universal recognition and ultimate world triumph of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.March 10, 1951
The wonderful news of the increase of believers in the Benares area, thanks largely to the heroic determination andPage 149
great faith of Mr. Badi-uz-Zaman, brought great happiness to the Guardian. Please assure this devoted soul that the Guardian is very pleased about the wonderful services he is rendering the Cause of God, and that he is praying for him to be richly blessed by Bahá'u'lláh. He has suffered from the enemies of the Cause, but his reward will be very great!Teaching in South-East Asia
It brought great joy to the Guardian's heart to see there are so many believers now in the area of South-East Asia. This marks a new epoch in the unfoldment of our Faith and an important one. Just as Ceylon, at one time empty of believers, has now developed an active and devoted community of Baha'is, so now, in these far-flung territories, Assemblies and groups must be built up.... He urges the younger believers, who are less held down by family ties, to make an effort to migrate there and seek employment.The 19-Month Plan
He was delighted over the formulation of your Assembly's 19-Month Plan. This spirit of initiative shown by you is highly commendable, and he hopes that all the Baha'is, whether of Indian or Persian origin, will arise to unitedly see it achieve its goals. Determination, courage, faith and perseverance are necessary if the Plan is to be a success, but he feels sure the friends will not hesitate to demonstrate their capacity to meet the challenge it presents.Pioneers to Settle in Africa
He, likewise, wishes to call special attention to the work in Africa which is very promising and which is going ahead very well. Your Assembly must do all it can to speedily get pioneers settled in the two countries allotted to you as your portion in this historic campaign. Also, you should keep in close touch with the British NSA as they are the co-ordinators of this work, and well situated in order to give advice as English experts,Page 150
having had such a long contact with Africa, its peoples and problems, are available in London and elsewhere for consultation with the British Africa Committee.19-Month Plan -- Third of its Kind
The initiation of the 19-Month Plan by the elected representatives of the Bahá'í Communities of the sub-continent of India and of Burma -- the third of its kind undertaken by them since the inception of the epoch marking the commencement of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation -- evokes my deepest admiration. Through this spontaneous act, momentous in its consequences, and eloquently testifying to the initiative, the zeal and the valour of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in India, Pakistan and Burma, the body of their elected national representatives can well boast of the distinction it has achieved, throughout the Bahá'í world through the successive formulation of no less than three far-reaching Plans since the inauguration of the First Epoch in the history of the systematic prosecution of Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan. This striking demonstration of their resourcefulness and dedication to the interests of the Faith is, indeed, highly praiseworthy, extremely encouraging and augurs well for the future of the Mission which it is theirs to carry out, in the years to come, not only in that subcontinent and the adjoining territories and neighbouring islands, but in South Asia as well.
They cannot, however, ensure the success of the Plan they have devised, unless the unity and solidarity of those who are participating in its execution, and above all the harmony of the body directing its operation, are safeguarded, maintained and consolidated. Time is pressing. The issues involved are momentous. The centenary celebrations of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's prophetic Mission will soon be upon us. The inauguration of the first organized Crusade, in which several Bahá'í National Spiritual Assemblies, in no less than four continents of the globe will be intimately associated, for the purpose of proclaiming the Message ofPage 151
Bahá'u'lláh in the South Pacific Islands as well as in South Eastern Asia, must directly depend upon the successful conclusion of the Plan now envisaged. The obligations involved in, and the privileges conferred by, such an association -- an association that will find its parallel in the collective and organized effort now being exerted in the African Continent, as well as in the joint campaign destined to be launched, by other national Bahá'í communities, in both Northern and North Eastern Asia, -- are at once sacred and unique. Their significance, at this early stage, cannot be fully apprehended. It is not for them, however, to attempt at the present time, to assess their value. Theirs, rather, is the duty, to avoid any action or thought that might delay the unfoldment of so glorious a Plan or damage so splendid a destiny.
The members of all the communities participating in this Nineteen-Month Plan, which may be regarded as a prelude to the mighty and historic Crusade, of still vaster dimensions and nobler scope, that is to be launched in the future, irrespective of race, creed, or class, of either sex and of every age, must rise as one man to the occasion that now presents itself.
No trace of bickering, no consciousness of racial distinction, no petty jealousies, must be allowed, under any circumstances, to darken the glorious prospect opening before them. They must neither flinch, nor hesitate nor lose sight, however briefly, of the distant and shining goal. An all-powerful, all-loving, all-Bountiful Master, watching their exertions from on high, will, surely, bless their effort, will intercede on their behalf before the throne of His all-glorious Father, and will, if they persevere in their high endeavours, render them victorious.
I, for my part, will, with a prayerful heart, follow the course of their activities, and will continue to lend them whatever assistance that lies in my power, for the complete discharge of their inescapable duty and the total fulfilment of their united pledge to the Author of their Faith.October 16, 1951
It has been a great pleasure to the beloved Guardian to welcome recently in Haifa the first pilgrims from India; their love and devotion to the Faith have brought their brethren in that far-off land very close, and he hopes that they, in turn, will carry back to the friends there a new sense of nearness to the World Center at Haifa, and thus serve to create greater unity and dedication amongst the believers.Inter-Continental Conference
The Guardian attaches the greatest possible importance to the forthcoming Inter-continental Conference to be held during the Holy Year in New Delhi; as the National Assemblies of Persia, United States, Canada, Central and South America, Iraq, Australia and New Zealand, as well as your own body, are to send representatives to it, it will, through having eight N.S.A.s pooling their thoughts and suggestions, be, no doubt, the most important of the four Inter-continental Conferences to be held. Also, aside from the numerical importance of the participating bodies, the vast field their plans must embrace is truly awe-inspiring. In view of this he feels that the members of your Assembly have very heavy responsibilities to discharge during the coming months, and that all petty details and misunderstandings must be put aside, once and for all, in order to ensure a brilliant success -- a success, whose repercussions must be felt during ten years of Bahá'í history between this coming great Jubilee and the Most Great Jubilee which will take place in 1963.
As convenor of this great Conference you must lay your plans very carefully to ensure that the representatives of the various N.S.A.s., the visiting Hands of the Cause, the many Bahá'ís attending, are properly accommodated, the sessions of the Conference held in an efficient manner, and suitable publicity given to this event. The Guardian also suggests that one or two private sessions could be held at which thePage 153
N.S.A. representatives and the Hands of the Cause could meet to better and more effectively suggest plans for the future campaign. There will, naturally, be no delegates to the Conference, as it is in no sense a convention, but more concentrated consultation can be obtained through a smaller number being present. No doubt you will also, without sacrificing the interests of the Conference, make good use of any visiting teachers and lecturers.No Harm in Taking Part in Dramas
In the teachings there is nothing against dancing, but the friends should remember that the standard of Bahá'u'lláh is modesty and chastity. The atmosphere of modern dance halls, where so much smoking and drinking and promiscuity goes on, is very bad, but decent dances are not harmful in themselves. There is certainly no harm in classical dancing or learning dancing in school. There is also no harm in taking part in dramas. Likewise in cinema acting. The harmful thing, nowadays, is not the art itself but the unfortunate corruption which often surrounds these arts. As Bahá'ís we need avoid none of the arts, but acts and the atmosphere that sometimes go with these professions we should avoid.Encouraging the Hindu Bahá'ís
As regards the question you asked about minorities: because the Hindu believers are a minority at present in the Faith in India, preference should be given to them in India, where the majority of the population is Hindu. A special effort should be made to convert them, so that our enemies may have no excuse for stating that the Cause has scarcely affected the largest elements in the country. There is also an added reason for encouraging the Hindu Bahá'ís because within the Faith in India they are a minority. In every country throughout the Bahá'í World the Bahá'ís must make a special effort to attract to the Faith the element which constitutes the majority, whether religious or national.Page 154
The multiplicity of the vital issues that have of late confronted me at the World Centre of the Faith, the opening of the door of pilgrimage, and the unexpected problems which, by their urgency, have required my immediate and close attention have, to my extreme regret, prevented me from acknowledging, as promptly as I would have wished the communications which various Bahá'í National Assemblies have addressed me in recent months. I have followed, however, with admiration and keen interest the progress of the activities initiated under the 19-Month Plan by the valiant Bahá'í Communities of India, Pakistan and Burma. The generous, unceasing contributions made by them for the completion of the Báb's holy Sepulchre proclaim, in unmistakable terms, their devotion to the Cause for which He laid down so heroically His life. The expansion of the activities initiated by the high-minded and resolute pioneers in Ceylon, Indonesia, Siam, Malaya and Sarawak indeed merit the highest praise. The efforts exerted for the multiplication of the institutions of the Faith and their consolidation both in the subcontinent of India and beyond its confines augur well for the future of the Plan, the third of its kind embarked upon by the followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, who are destined to play a predominant part in the unfoldment of His World Order throughout the territories of South East Asia. The steady endeavours made for the translation, publication and dissemination of the literature of the Faith by your Assembly have greatly enriched and ennobled the record of the services you have rendered it in recent years.
Great as have been the victories already won in its service, the work that still remains to be accomplished under this same Plan during the fleeting months that lie ahead is still formidable, and demands unrelaxing vigilance, heroic self-sacrifice, and inflexible resolve on the part of not only the elected representatives of these communities but of all their members as well. The uninterrupted and rapid multiplication of Bahá'í administrative centres; the conversion of groups into assemblies; the development of isolated centers intoPage 155
groups; a marked increase in the number of incorporated Local Assemblies; the early completion of the highly important task assumed in connexion with the translation and publication of the New Era in the remaining languages already selected for that purpose; the despatch, without further delay, of no more than one pioneer for the present to Nepal and Indo-China, as well as to Zanzibar and Madagascar, in pursuance of the Plan initiated in both Africa and South East Asia; the maintenance, at any cost, of the present status of the newly formed assemblies; the concentration of effort for the promotion of unity and cooperation among the divers elements that constitute the warp and woof of these communities -- these stand out as the predominating obligations facing the entire body of the followers of the Faith in the subcontinent of India and its neighbouring territories. Nor must the privileged members of these communities, and particularly their elected representatives, neglect, for a moment, the paramount duty, of preparing, by every means at their disposal, for the historic and in some respects, the most vital, Conference to be held in the course of the Holy Year which the entire Bahá'í world will soon befittingly celebrate. As the Convenor of such a fate-laden Conference, whose task is to facilitate the execution of the most far-reaching, the most challenging, and the most dramatic of all the enterprises destined to be launched by the followers of the Faith throughout the whole planet, your Assembly assumes a responsibility at once immense, soul-stirring and inescapable.
In providing adequate facilities for the accommodation of the Hands of the Cause and of the official representatives of no less than eight National Spiritual Assemblies and of the large number of visitors who will participate in its proceedings; in ensuring wide publicity through the press and radio for such a unique gathering; in exerting their utmost for the maintenance of harmony and for full consultation on the weighty issues that will face its attendants; in fostering the spirit of heroic adventure and noble resolve on the part of the members of the communities that are to act as hosts to the honoured participants of such an epoch-making assemblage,Page 156
which will, God willing, enable them to play a notable role in the Crusade destined to embrace the continents of Asia and Australasia and of the Pacific Islands -- in all these the members of your Assembly, supported by the rank and file of the faithful, must display a determination, a valour and consecration that will excite the admiration of the entire Bahá'í world.
The work that calls for unswerving fidelity, urgent attention and continuous vigilance, during the swiftly passing months ahead, is immense, truly sacred and infinitely meritorious. The consummation of the Plan already initiated would constitute the best preparation for the assumption of the still greater functions, and the discharge of still weightier responsibilities, that await the patiently labouring, the steadfast, the loyal and devoted followers of the Most Great Name in India, Pakistan and Burma. That they may victoriously discharge their present responsibilities, that they may befittingly embark on the glorious Mission that lies ahead of them, that they may distinguish themselves through their collective contribution to the success of the World Crusade soon to be inaugurated by the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in both the East and the West, is the object of my constant prayer and one of the most cherished desires of my heart.June 30, 1952
There is no age limit whatsoever for serving the Cause in administrative capacities after one has reached twenty-one years. Indeed we are supposed to serve the Cause to our last breath.
Contributions Not Accepted From Those Whose Voting Rights are Suspended
As regards the question of accepting contributions from people whose voting rights are suspended, the Guardian says this is not permissible.Page 157
Local Haziras may be converted to National ones; this is premature at present.
The recognition of our Laws of Personal Status must naturally precede formation of Bahá'í courts; as long as your translation is correct his approval is not needed. You should start a Temple Fund; the site need not exceed two or three acres, and should be inside Delhi or near the city limits.
You will be able to consult with the members of Australian N.S.A. at the time of the Conference in New Delhi about literature; they will certainly assist your Assembly with the publications. Bahá'ís from India, Pakistan and Burma are eligible for your Asian Teaching Committee.
Consolidation can mean the establishment of the institutions you enumerate, but it is not essential at present; to increase the assemblies and groups, and bring in new believers, is the most important part of consolidation; as the plan unfolds, he will have to see what other things are really essential and call your attention to them.Consolidation of the Manifold Institutions
The splendid efforts, so devotedly exerted by the members of the Bahá'í communities in India, Pakistan and Burma, extending over more than a decade, in connexion with the launching and prosecution of no less than three successive Plans, formulated for the promotion of the interests of the Faith in South-East Asia, have raised their prestige in the eyes of the Bahá'í World, and have fitted them to undertake, at this auspicious hour in the evolution of its institutions in the Indian sub-continent and its neighbouring territories and islands, yet another collective enterprise, of still vaster dimensions, of far greater possibilities, requiring the utmostPage 158
exertion and consecration for a period of no less than ten years, and culminating in the Most Great Jubilee, designed to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of the Mission of the Founder of their Faith.
The task they now assume involves the consolidation of the manifold institutions which, through the operation of three successive Plans, have been patiently and laboriously established, as well as the erection of the administrative structure of the Faith in the virgin territories along the shores, and in the vicinity, of the Indian sub-continent, in the Islands of the Indian Ocean, in African Dependencies, and as far as the Islands of the South Pacific Ocean.
Through the prosecution of the Plans initiated by your Assembly these communities have acquired the training and experience that have qualified them to embark upon so extensive and momentous an undertaking -- an undertaking which if victoriously consummated will eclipse all the joint efforts and enterprises which have illuminated the pages of Indian Bahá'í history since the inception of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation.
The first and most sacred obligation confronting them, on the morrow of the launching of their Ten-Year Plan, is the despatch and settlement, during the current year and the one succeeding it, of pioneers in the sixteen virgin territories and islands, assigned to your Assembly according to the provisions of the aforementioned Plan. The opening of the six dependencies along the eastern and western coasts of the Indian subcontinent must be given careful attention, and must be carried out with promptitude and vigour. The despatch and definite settlement of no more than one or two pioneers in each of these territories and islands is a task not only of great urgency but of infinite merit, and constitutes the most important feature of the initial phase of the Plan. Next in importance and of no less urgency is the selection and purchase, either within or in the outskirts of the capital-city of India -- in which the Administrative Headquarters of the Faith has already been established -- of the site of thePage 159
First Mashriq'ul Adhkar of the Indian sub-continent, covering an area of approximately one or two acres at least which can gradually be enlarged in the course of the coming years. Collateral with this vital project is the preparation in conjunction with the Australian National Assembly of a suitable pamphlet by your Assembly, and the adoption of energetic measures for its translation into the languages allocated to the Australian and Indian National Assemblies.
While this threefold objective is being assiduously pursued, the process of the multiplication of local Assemblies, of groups and isolated centres must be maintained, nay accelerated, for upon it will depend the early formation of independent National Spiritual Assemblies in India, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon and South-East Asia.
The responsibilities devolving upon your Assembly in the course of the opening stage of the Plan are enormous, sacred and pressing. All Bahá'í communities participating in this glorious enterprise must bend every effort, and sacrifice to the utmost of their power to ensure the unqualified success of the great work that lies immediately ahead.
There is no time to lose. The newly launched Plan demands a vigilance, an expenditure of effort and resources on a scale unprecedented in Indian Bahá'í history. Bahá'í communities in East and West, embarked on a similar Crusade, are vying with one another and with your Assembly in the world-wide field of Bahá'í pioneering. The glory of the prizes to be won, the benefits that will accrue to all participants are unimaginable. I direct my appeal to your Assembly and, through its members, to all communities participating in this unprecedented enterprise, to arise to this great and unique occasion that now presents itself, at this critical hour in the fortunes of mankind and at so significant a stage in the evolution of the Faith, and to resolve, with inflexible determination, to consummate, at the appointed time, this fate-laden enterprise on which all our hearts are set and upon which the immediatePage 160
destinies of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh so largely depend. In my hours of prayer and meditation in the holy Shrines I will supplicate on behalf of your Assembly, as well as on behalf of the communities you represent, that Divine Guidance may direct your steps, that God's sustaining grace may aid you to overcome every obstacle, that His strength may be poured out upon you, that His providence and love may enfold you, and that the inspiration of the Dawn-breakers, who proclaimed the birth of His Cause, may carry you to ultimate and total victory.June 21, 1953
The most important thing we know from the Teachings is to serve. In carrying out the Plans of God we are strengthened, blessed and purified; we attract the loving attention of Bahá'u'lláh; our efforts are confirmed; and we are enabled through His power to achieve great victories for His Faith. He urges you, one and all, as one soul in many bodies, to consecrate yourselves to fulfilling the objectives of the Ten-Year Plan. He feels sure that when the proper unity and dedication prevail in the National Body, it will be sensed by the mass of the believers, and react upon their efforts. As Abdu'l-Bahá said, nothing is impossible if we have faith; and this must always be the standard for all the Baha'is. As we have faith, so are our powers and our blessings.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty enable you to lend a fresh and unprecedented impetus to the onward march of the Faith, revive the spirit of its supporters, enlarge its limits, multiply its local institutions, consolidate its foundations, safeguard its rights, spread abroad its fame, and aid its followers to discharge befittingly their responsibilities, and concentrate on the attainment of the objectives of the Ten-Year Plan, on which the immediate destiny of the entire community depends.December 26, 1955
The Guardian urges as many of the Bahá'í youth of India, Pakistan and Burma as possible to attend the historic Conference to be held in New Delhi, in October. At that Conference, plans will be made for the carrying of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, during the coming ten years, far beyond the borders of their homeland; and it will be the youth who will shoulder a great part of this and the other tasks that will be given to your Community. In fact, the settling of these virgin fields both close to your own lands, and in far-off areas, is the very first responsibility of the believers, in this Ten-Year World Crusade. Therefore, each one of you should think now seriously what you are going to do about it, and start making your plans accordingly. The sooner the virgin fields are settled, the sooner will be witnessed the tremendous power that is released in this day; and the bounties that await those who go forth to pioneer in these lands, are great indeed.May 28, 1953
Naturally it will be difficult for the Faith to be established in the new territories or amongst the new tribes if they do not have at least a pamphlet for distribution to the new contacts.
He therefore feels that along with the sending of pioneers into the virgin areas, the translation of literature into the languages assigned to the Indian National Assembly should take place.
The Guardian feels that one of the existing pamphlets would be satisfactory, or a new one, which you may feel it desirable to prepare. At this time it is not necessary to enter into the question of translation of Bahá'í books, simply a pamphlet, which can be used for teaching purposes.
The Guardian wishes you to budget the necessary funds toPage 162
cover this work, and to see that it is actively pursued, so that the literature will be available at an early date.June 8, 1953
Our beloved Guardian has been greatly encouraged by reports reaching him from all parts of the Bahá'í world; of the victories already gained, and the plans being laid for the prosecution of the Ten-Year Crusade.
They have evoked his awe-inspiring, and soul-stirring cablegram of May 28th, calling for the immediate settlement of all the 131 virgin areas of the Plan, just as quickly as possible. He is convinced, that the friends will arise and translate their enthusiasm into Action, because the Keynote of the Crusade, must be Action, Action, Action!
The beloved Guardian has directed me to write your Assembly to amplify some of the aspects of his dynamic message. The settlement of these virgin areas is of such an emergency nature, that he feels pioneering in one of them takes precedence over every other type of Bahá'í service -- whether it be in the teaching or administrative fields of the Faith. So important is it that the National Assembly may delay initiation of steps to fulfill other phases of the Plan, until all these areas are conquered for the Faith. Nothing, absolutely nothing, must be allowed to interfere with the placing of pioneers in each of the 131 goal countries.
In America some 150 people have volunteered for pioneer service, and some of them already are preparing to leave for their posts. The beloved Guardian fully expects the dear friends in India, Pakistan and Burma to follow this example, and quickly settle the areas allotted to them.
Because of it being the Chief Executor of the Divine Plan, and having so many pioneers available, the Guardian has given permission to the United States to send pioneers into any areaPage 163
of the globe regardless of whom it may be assigned to. Thus pioneers from the United States may ask permission to settle in one of the areas assigned to your Assembly. If this is done, you should assist them in every way possible.
There are some general observations which the Guardian shares with you, and then some specific suggestions which are enumerated below:
1. Every individual who has offered to pioneer, must be encouraged in every way by the National Assembly.
2. The National Assembly should assist each pioneer, so they may be placed in their post just as quickly as possible.
3. The handling of each application for pioneering service, must be expedited, and not allowed to be bogged down for any reason, or in the hands of Committees.
4. The National Assembly should make it their first order of business to follow up actively this most important task. They must make it the first order of business at each Assembly meeting, to see that each application is being progressed rapidly. This does not mean the special committees should not handle the details; but it does mean the Assembly itself, must review each application at each meeting; and see that the pioneer gets into the field as soon as possible.
5. A large number of pioneers should not be sent to any one country. One, or even two, will be sufficient for the time being. Later on, if supplementary assistance is needed, that of course can be taken care of. The all important thing now, is to get at least one pioneer in each of the 131 virgin areas.
6. The National Assembly may exercise its prerogatives and suggest to applicants where their services are most needed. This, of course, applies particularly to pioneers, where a large number wish to go to the same place.Page 164
a. Areas close at hand and easy of settlement should be filled first. Then the areas more difficult, and finally, those which will be difficult.
b. Whenever a pioneer enters a new territory, a cable should be sent at once to the Guardian, giving the name, place, and any pertinent information.
c. A monthly report of progress is to be sent by your Assembly to the Secretary-General of the International Bahá'í Council. Special matters of report nature, for the Guardian, in connection with the plan of settling these 131 areas, should be sent to the Secretary-General of the Council also. This does not mean that any administrative matters in connection with the settlement of pioneers should be handled with the council. These should continue to be handled with the Guardian direct. The Council is simply to coordinate reports, consolidate them, keep maps up to date, etc. for the Guardian, and your reports will enable them to do this.
d. The Guardian feels the following areas should be easily settled, and he would appreciate your early cable advice of such new victories: Bhutan, Daman, Diu, Goa, Karikal, Mahe, Pondicherry, Sikkim, as pointed out in his cable to your Assembly of May 30th, 1953. These have first precedence.
The beloved Guardian feels the friends living in large Bahá'í Centres, could easily move into these territories, which are a part of India itself.
As his dramatic cable indicates, the Guardian will have prepared an illuminated "Roll of Honor" on which will be inscribed the names of the "Knights of Bahá'u'lláh" who first enter these 131 virgin areas. This "Roll of Honor" will be placedPage 165
inside the entrance door of The Inner Sanctuary of the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh.
From time to time, the Guardian will announce to the Bahá'í World, the names of those Holy Souls who arise under the conditions outlined in his message, and settle these areas and conquer them for Bahá'u'lláh.
Now is the time for the Bahá'ís of the World to demonstrate the spiritual vitality of the Faith, and to arise as one soul to spread the Glory of the Lord, over the face of the Earth. The Guardian is sure, that the Bahá'ís of India, Pakistan and Burma who have served and sacrificed so long for the Faith, will continue their glorious record by winning many new victories for the Faith.June 8, 1953
Message to the Inter Continental Conference, New Delhi[From the Guardian:]
To the Hands of the Cause, the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies, the pioneers, the resident believers and visitors attending the Asian Intercontinental Teaching Conference in New Delhi, India.Well-beloved friends:
With high hopes and a joyful heart I acclaim the convocation, in the leading city of the Indian sub-continent, of the fourth and last of the Intercontinental Teaching Conferences of a memorable Holy Year commemorating the centenary of the birth of the prophetic Mission of Bahá'u'lláh. On this historic occasion, when the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America, of the Dominion of Canada, of Central and of South America, of Persia, of the Indian subcontinent and of Burma, of Iraq and of Australasia, as well as representatives of the sovereign states and dependencies of the AsiaticPage 166
continent, of the Republics of North, Central and South America, and of Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania are assembled, and are to deliberate on the needs and requirements of the recently launched triple Campaign embracing the Asiatic mainland, the Australian continent and the islands of the Pacific Ocean -- a campaign which may well be regarded as the most extensive, the most arduous and the most momentous of all the campaigns of a world-girdling Crusade, and which, in its scope, is unparalleled in the history of the Faith in the entire eastern Hemisphere -- my thoughts, on such an occasion, go back to the early dawn of our Faith, to those unforgettable scenes of matchless heroism, of dark tragedy, of imperishable glory which heralded its birth, and accompanied the spread, of its infant Light, in the heart of the Asiatic continent.
I vividly recall the meteoric rise of the Faith of the Báb in the provinces of Persia and the stirring episodes associated with His cruel incarceration in the mountain-fastnesses of Adhirbayjan, with the revelation of the laws of His Dispensation, with the proclamation of the independence of His Faith, with the peerless heroism of His disciples, with the fiendish cruelty of His foes -- the Chief Magistrate, the civil authorities, the ecclesiastical dignitaries and the masses of the people, of His native land -- with the humiliation, the spoliation, the dispersal, the eventual massacre of a vast number of His followers, and, above all, with His own execution in the City of Tabriz.
With a throb of wonder I call to mind the early and sudden fruition of His Dispensation in the capital city of that land, and the dramatic circumstances attending the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation culminating in His precipitate banishment to Iraq.
I am reminded, moreover, of the initial spread of the light of this Revelation, in consequence of the banishment of Bahá'u'lláh, to the adjoining territories of Iraq, and, as far as the western fringes of that continent, to Turkey and the neighbouring territories of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, and, at a later stage, to the Indian sub-continent and China,Page 167
situated on the southern and eastern extremities of that continent as well as to the Caucasus and Russian Turkistan. Nor can I fail to remember the series of alternating crises and victories -- each constituting a landmark in the evolution of the Faith -- which it has experienced in some of these territories, associated with the distressful withdrawal of its Author to the mountains of Sulaymaniyyih; with the glorious Declaration of His Mission in Baghdad; with His second and third banishments to Constantinople and Adrianople; with the grievous rebellion of His half-brother; with the proclamation of His own Mission; with His fourth banishment to the desolate and far-off penal colony of Akka in Syria; with the revelation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, His Most Holy Book; with His ascension in the Holy Land; with the establishment of His Covenant and the inauguration of the Ministry of Abdu'l-Bahá, His son and the Exemplar and authorized interpreter of His teachings. These opening stages in the evolution of His Faith in the Asiatic continent were followed, while the first and Apostolic Age of His Dispensation was drawing to a close, by the opening of the Islands situated in the Pacific Ocean, Japan in the north, and the Australian continent in the South. To these memorable chapters of Asian Bahá'í history another was soon added, on the morrow of the ascension of the Centre of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, and during the initial epoch of the Formative Age of the Faith, distinguished by the rise of the Administrative Order and the erection of its pillars in the cradle of that Faith, in Iraq, in India, Pakistan and Burma and in the Antipodes. This memorable episode in its development in that vast continent was succeeded by the initiation, during the second Epoch of that same Age, of a series of Plans in those same territories in support of Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan and as a prelude to the opening of the recently launched world-embracing Spiritual Crusade.
The hour has now struck for this continent, on whose soil, more than a century ago, so much sacred blood was shed,Page 168
in whose very heart deeds of such tragic heroism were performed, and in many of whose territories such brilliant victories have been won, to contribute, in association with its sister continents, to the progress and ultimate triumph of this global Crusade, in a manner befitting its unrivalled position in the entire Bahá'í world.
The various Bahá'í Communities dwelling within the borders of this continent and those situated to the south of its shores in the Antipodes, which include the oldest and most venerable among all the communities of the Bahá'í world, and whose members in their aggregate constitute the overwhelming majority of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh, are called upon, in close association with four other Bahá'í communities in the Western Hemisphere, to undertake in the course of the coming decade: First, the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Bahá'u'lláh's native land, in the City of Tihran, surnamed by Bahá'u'lláh "Mother of the World". Second, the purchase of land for the future construction of three Mashriqu'l-Adhkars, one in the city of Baghdad, enshrining the "Most Great House", the third holiest city of the Bahá'í world, one in New Delhi, the leading city of the Indian sub-continent, and the third in Sydney, the oldest and foremost Bahá'í Centre in the Antipodes. Third, the formation of no less than eleven National Spiritual Assemblies, one each in Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India, Pakistan and Burma; one in Turkey and one in Afghanistan, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Persia; one in Japan, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America; one in New Zealand, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand, as well as four regional National Spiritual Assemblies, one in the Arabian Peninsula, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Persia; one in South-East Asia, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India, Pakistan and Burma; a third in the South Pacific, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís ofPage 169
the United States of America; and a fourth in the Near East, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís in Iraq. Fourth, the opening of the following forty-one virgin territories and islands: Andaman Islands, Bhutan, Daman, Diu, Goa, Karikal, Mahe, Mariana Islands, Nicobar Islands, Pondicherry, Sikkim, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India, Pakistan and Burma; Caroline Islands, Dutch New Guinea, Hainan Island, Kazakhstan, Macao Island, Sakhalin Island, Tibet, Tonga Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America; Brunei, Chagos Archipelago, Krigizia, Mongolia, Solomon Islands, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Persia; Admiralty Islands, Cocos Island, Loyalty Islands, Mentawei Islands, New Hebrides Islands, Portuguese Timor, Society Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand; Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Marshall Islands, Tuamotu Archipelago, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Central America; Hadhramaut, Kuria-Muria Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Iraq; Marquesas Islands, Samoa Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada; Cook Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of South America. Fifth, the translation and publication of Bahá'í literature in the following forty languages, to be undertaken by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India, Pakistan and Burma, in association with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand: Abor Miri, Aneityum, Annamese, Balochi, Bentuni, Binandere, Cheremiss, Chungchia, Georgian, Houailou, Javanese, Kado, Kaili, Kopu, Kusaie, Lepcha, Lifu, Manchu, Manipuri, Manus Island, Marquesas, Mentawei, Mongolian, Mordoff, Mwala, Na-Hsi, Nicobarese, Niue, Ossete, Ostiak, Pali, Panjabi, Pashto, Perm, Petats, Samoan, Tho, Tibetan, Tonga, Vogul. Sixth, the consolidation of Aden Protectorate, Adhirbayjan, Afghanistan, Ahsa, Armenia, Bahrayn Island, Georgia, Hijaz, Saudi-Arabia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Yemen, allocated to the NationalPage 170
Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Persia; of Baluchistan, Borneo, Burma, Ceylon, Indo-China, Indonesia, Malaya, Nepal, Pakistan, Sarawak, Siam, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India, Pakistan and Burma; of China, Formosa, Japan, Korea, Manchuria, Philippine Islands, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America; of Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, Trucial Sheikhs, Umman, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Iraq; of Bismarck Archipelago, Fiji, New Caledonia, Australian New Guinea, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand; of Hong Kong, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles. Seventh, the incorporation of the eleven above-mentioned National Spiritual Assemblies, as well as those of Persia and Iraq. Eighth, the establishment by these above-mentioned eleven National Spiritual Assemblies of national Bahá'í endowments. Ninth, the establishment of a national Haziratu'l-Quds in the capital cities of each of the countries where National Spiritual Assemblies are to be established, as well as one in Suva, one in Jakarta, one in Bahrayn and one in Beirut. Tenth, the establishment of a national Bahá'í Court in the capital cities of Persia, of Iraq, of Pakistan and of Afghanistan -- the leading Muslim centres in the Asiatic continent. Eleventh, the establishment of two National Bahá'í Publishing Trusts, one in Tihran and one in New Delhi. Twelfth, the formation of Israel Branches of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of Persia, of Iraq and Australia; authorized to hold on behalf of their parent institutions property dedicated to the holy Shrines at the World Centre of the Faith in the State of Israel. Thirteenth, the appointment, during Ridvan 1954, by the Hands of the Cause in Asia and in Australia of an auxiliary Board of nine members who will, in conjunction with the eight National Spiritual Assemblies participating in the Asiatic and Australian campaigns, assist, through periodic and systematic visits to Bahá'í centres, in the efficient and prompt execution of the Plans formulated for the prosecution of the teaching campaigns in the continent of AsiaPage 171
The Asiatic continent, the cradle of the principal religions of mankind; the home of so many of the oldest and mightiest civilizations which have flourished on this planet; the crossways of so many kindreds and races; the battleground of so many peoples and nations; above whose horizon, in modern times, the suns of two independent Revelations -- the promise and consummation of a six thousand-year-old religious Cycle -- have successively arisen; where the Authors of both of these Revelations suffered banishment and died; within whose confines the Centre of a divinely-appointed Covenant was born, endured a forty-year incarceration and passed away; on whose Western extremity the Qiblih of the Bahá'í world has been definitely established; in whose heart the City proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh as the "Mother of the World" is enshrined; within whose borders another City regarded as the "cynosure of an adoring world" and the scene of the greatest and most glorious Revelation the world has witnessed is embosomed; on whose soil so many saints, heroes and martyrs, associated with both of these Revelations, have lived, struggled and died -- such a continent, so privileged among its sister continents and yet so long and so sadly tormented, now stands, at the hour of the launching of a world-encompassing Crusade, on the threshold of an era that may well recall, in its glory and ultimate repercussions, the great periods of spiritual revival which, from the dawn of recorded history have, at various stages in the revelation of God's purpose for mankind, illuminated the path of the human race.
May this Crusade, launched simultaneously on the Asiatic mainland, its neighbouring islands and the Antipodes, under the direction of eight National Spiritual Assemblies, and through the operation of eight systematic Teaching Plans, and the concerted efforts of Bahá'í communities in both the East and the West, provide, as it unfolds, an effective antidote to the baneful forces of atheism, nationalism, secularism and materialism that are tearing at the vitals of this turbulent continent, and may it re-enact those scenes ofPage 172
spiritual heroism which, more than any of the secular revolutions which have agitated its face, have left their everlasting imprint on the fortunes of the peoples and nations dwelling within its borders. -- SHOGHIOctober, 1953
It should be pointed out to the delegates that the function of consultation of the delegates takes place only when they are in session at the Annual Convention. They do not have any consultative status prior to the Convention or after the Convention. In other words, they are elected to serve as electors of the new National Assembly during the Convention, and to consult on all matters properly coming before the Convention during the Convention period, not before and not after.April 27, 1956
The Guardian has been greatly pleased with the results of the expansion of the Faith in the new centers during the past year, and the establishment of new Assemblies. He urges the National Assemblies to concentrate on this type of teaching work, and particularly on the home front. The Ten-Year Crusade is making most remarkable progress in all fields except the teaching on the home front. If the Bahá'ís remaining "at home" would arise with the same spirit of devotion and fervor as animates the pioneers, there is no question of the remarkable results that would be achieved.May 6, 1956
The Guardian was very happy to note the intensive manner in which your Assembly is taking hold of the very importantPage 173
matter of increasing the number of Baha'is, isolated Centers, Groups and particularly Assemblies in the territories under your jurisdiction, particularly those where National Assemblies are to be elected.
He feels every effort should be made to bring as many groups up to Assembly status during this critical year as possible. The Assemblies formed at Ridvan 1957, cannot take part in the election of the National Assemblies elected during that same Ridvan period; but they do make a much stronger base on which the National Assembly can be formed.
In other words, answering directly your question, the Guardian advises the practice prevalent now throughout the world that a local Assembly may not participate in the election of a National Assembly, until a year after its coming into being, must continue, and be applicable in the areas referred to by you.September 11, 1956
With regard to the translations into the languages of the countries of the Russian Zones -- the Guardian feels you should under no circumstances contact Universities in Russia. He feels this might create great difficulty for the Faith, particularly during these troublesome times.
If there are Universities in India, or Great Britain where the translations can be made, there is no objection to utilizing such sources, but no University or institution in Russia. Perhaps the British NSA can be helpful -- or the Italo-Swiss NSA, as there are many Russian refugees in Switzerland.November 12, 1956
He is quite distressed that some of the hard won goals havePage 174
become virgin again. He requests that your Assembly study the matter carefully, to see if you cannot send pioneers into these areas that have fallen back. He is thinking particularly of Nepal, Bhutan, and Goa. Also, he is very anxious indeed that some assistance be given our lone pioneer in Tibet. That noble soul is holding the difficult post, without any aid, and the Guardian hopes you will be able to send a pioneer into that land to cooperate in establishing the Faith.
He assures you of his prayers in your behalf so you may quickly regain the lost ground in these virgin areas, and go forward to new victories.
The fact of the matter is, in some countries, they have been able to add new areas to the Crusade -- in other words, they have established the Faith in areas, where the Faith has not existed, and which were not included in the Crusade. In other areas, many other victories have been won, not contemplated in the Crusade. The Guardian has set up a new map, showing the supplementary goals won, so far, -- outside the Crusade goals. It would be wonderful if India could add some objectives to this supplementary map.December 27, 1956
The Guardian feels it is most important the teaching work in the areas mentioned by Abdu'l-Bahá in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, be carried forward with intensive activity.... It has been over 40 years since the Master wrote the Tablets of the Divine Plan, and only now has this center mentioned by him, been settled. Surely the Master will watch over his devoted servant who is labouring so diligently in this center, and guide and protect him; as well as to confirm his work.January 19, 1957
He was very happy to receive these reports, which indicate that the work of translating is actively in hand. He feels this is a very important aspect of our teaching work, as it is impossible, or at least, most difficult to teach natives, without some of the literature being translated into their languages. Thus he hopes you will follow up the matter quite actively.January 19, 1957
The beloved Guardian has directed me to write you concerning the wonderful news that he has received of the fact that there are now ten Bahá'ís in Sikkim. The pioneers there have been very successful and have been able to win souls to the Cause of God. This is a distinct victory for the Faith, and all are to be congratulated. The Guardian wishes them to know how much he values their services.
The most difficult goals, and the most arduous duties win the greatest spiritual rewards. Thus, he hopes that the friends in Sikkim, who naturally are looking forward to their Spiritual Assembly this coming Ridvan, will realise how great would be their reward, if they were able now to reinforce the work in Tibet. There is only one pioneer there, and perhaps some of the new Bahá'ís could enter Tibet to assist in the work there. Great would be their reward if they could do so. Should others be able to go to Nepal and Bhutan, that would be most helpful. In other words, the Guardian feels that more important than an Assembly in Sikkim, would be the reinforcing of the pioneers and teaching work, first in Tibet, and then in Bhutan and Nepal.January 26, 1957
The beloved Guardian has directed me to write to your Assembly with regard to the Maldive Islands. He attaches great importance to these Islands, and hopes they can be settled by one or more pioneers at an early date. The Light of Divine Guidance should shine in that area, and if one of the friends will arise to pioneer there, he is sure they will win many signal victories for the Cause of God.February 17, 1957
The beloved Guardian has been very pleased with the teaching work which has been done in the Virgin Areas of the Ten-Year Crusade. Indeed, all the pioneers have rendered historic and heart-stirring service to the Cause of God. Now, the banner of the Faith is firmly established over the entire face of the Globe. Blessed and happy is everyone who has been able to join in this, the Greatest Spiritual Crusade of all times.March 6, 1957
Though as yet your youth group is small in number he hopes that through your efforts during the coming year it will grow and become a strong and vital one and play an important part in helping the youth of India to better serve the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.
The field of work open to Bahá'í young people is very great, and they must increasingly bear their share of the all-important teaching campaign which the Indian Bahá'ís have embarked upon.June 19, 1941
I have just heard the very sad news of the passing of your dearly-loved father. This is a great loss to the Bahá'í Community in that land and indeed to the Bahá'í world. His exemplary devotion, his indefatigable efforts, his shining faith, his unswerving fidelity, his zeal, his magnificent achievements, in both the administrative and teaching spheres of Bahá'í activity have enriched the annals of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. I personally greatly loved and admired him. The Beloved, I assure you, was pleased with him, and will now bless his soul in the Great Beyond. I will pray for him from the depths of my heart. (Letter addressed to the daughters of Mr. N.R. Vakil).May 5, 1943
The responsibility of young believers is very great, as they must not only fit themselves to inherit the work of the older Bahá'ís and carry on the affairs of the Cause in general, but the world which lies ahead of them -- as promised by Bahá'u'lláh -- will be a world chastened by its sufferings, ready to listen to His Divine Message at last; and consequently a very high character will be expected of the exponents of such a religion. To deepen their knowledge, to perfect themselves in the Bahá'íPage 180
standards of virtue and upright conduct, should be the paramount duty of every young Baha'i.June 6, 1941
He was very happy to see how active and devoted the young Bahá'ís of India are. The interests of our beloved Faith require that the youth in particular exert every effort to spread it, while at the same time deepening their own knowledge of the Teachings and perfecting their private lives in accordance with the standards of conduct laid down by Bahá'u'lláh. Upon the present generation of youth will devolve the weighty task of helping to construct a new world after the effects of this tragic war have passed away. They must be ever conscious of their supreme duty towards their fellow-men -- the duty of holding up to their enquiring gaze the model upon which a sound future society can be constructed. This is the system of Bahá'u'lláh which the Bahá'ís must first learn themselves to live up to, and then share with the whole world.June 19, 1941
He has been most encouraged by the increasing evidences of the activity of the Bahá'í youth of India and their determination to play their part in the great teaching campaign which the believers of that country have undertaken.
The responsibility of the Bahá'í youth is very great indeed, as they constitute the generation of Bahá'ís who will be called upon to help re-construct the world after this devastating war is over. They should devote their lives to the supreme objective of perfecting themselves as members in Bahá'u'lláh's divine World Order.
The Guardian hopes that during the coming year an ever-increasing number of young believers will devote themselves to teaching the Cause and helping the Six-Year Plan to be fulfilled.June 19, 1941
The Guardian feels that the role of Bahá'í youth in these days is becoming increasingly important, and that your Committee, as well as all local youth committees, should do all in your power to encourage the Bahá'í young people to a greater activity and sense of responsibility. In the field of teaching, in pioneer service and settlement, in the administration of the Cause, they must increasingly take an active part, as upon these same youth will devolve the many and heavy responsibilities of the future when the Bahá'ís will be called upon to demonstrate to their fellow-men the perfection of Bahá'u'lláh's laws and World Order in such a manner that bewildered humanity will turn to them as their only refuge.[From the Guardian:]
I was greatly cheered and heartened by the expressions of devotion, determination and loyalty conveyed in the welcome message enclosed in your letter, attesting the significant spirit that animates the Bahá'í youth of India. They are indeed the object of my unfailing solicitude and of my ardent and constant prayers. I feel proud of the work which they are so strenuously promoting. Bahá'u'lláh is indeed well pleased with them, and our Beloved Master will no doubt reinforce their labours. May their work prosper, and their numbers increase, and their influence extend and their enterprises be consolidated and their highest hopes be fulfilled.June 19, 1941
The young Bahá'ís of India must take part in all the work of the Indian Bahá'í Community, whether it be in teaching the Cause, pioneering in new territory, attending the Summer School, or aiding in the administrative work of the Faith. Only in this way can they prepare and train themselves for all that they will have to do in the future.December 27, 1941
That at such a time the young believers should be so busy,Page 182
both studying the teachings and spreading them, is an eloquent testimony to the character of their Faith and the devotion it inspires in its adherents. The Guardian hopes that in these days of universal danger and suffering, the young Bahá'ís of Karachi will play an ever-increasing part in the spread and consolidation of the Faith in that city and nearby centres, and arise and help lighten the load of the older believers who have so patiently and tirelessly served the Cause in that land.July 3, 1942
He is greatly pleased to note the progress which the young Bahá'ís of India are making. Year by year he sees them growing stronger in faith, more conscious of their duties and privileges as Baha'is; more anxious to develop their knowledge of the teachings and their capacity to serve in the administration. He strongly feels that now is the time for them to arise and follow the example of their American brothers and sisters, and begin, wherever possible, to undertake pioneer teaching work. The services rendered in this field by some of the American youth have been little short of astounding, and he sees no reason why the young believers of India should not win for themselves similar laurels in the path of Bahá'u'lláh. Their beginning has been excellent, and he hopes that their future will be even more outstanding and praiseworthy.June 27, 1942
I was deeply touched by your messages, and I greatly value the sentiments you have expressed, and your determination to promote the interests of our beloved Faith. The Plan conceived by your national elected representatives offers you a wide field in which to demonstrate your resourcefulness, your energy, your perseverance, and your devotion to the vital interests of the Cause and its nascent institutions. May the Beloved, whose Cause you are so eager to serve, bless your activities, increase your numbers, guide your steps, andPage 183
enable you to contribute a notable share to the advancement of its institutions.April 8, 1946
It pleased him greatly to see that there are so many active Bahá'í youth groups in India, and his heart was particularly rejoiced to receive messages from such far-off centres as Kashmir and Baluchistan, where, a few years ago, there were practically no Bahá'ís at all!
He hopes that in the years that lie ahead of us -- years of unrest, of trouble; of transition for the whole world -- that the Bahá'í youth will increasingly rise to meet the challenge of the times, and to carry the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, through both teaching and example, all over India and, indeed, Asia.
You who are at present in your teens, or twenties, must realize that tomorrow, to a large extent, the burden of the Cause will rest on your shoulders; you will have to be the administrators and teachers and scholars of the Faith. Now is the time to prepare yourselves for your future duties.
He hopes you will study the teachings deeply, their spiritual, moral, and administrative precepts, and at the same time take as active a part as possible in the life of your respective Bahá'í communities.April 12, 1945
He was indeed highly pleased and encouraged to note from the contents of your annual report how alive the members of the Bahá'í Youth Group in Bombay are to their responsibilities and duties towards the Cause, and he will assuredly pray on their behalf that in spite of the perils, the uncertainties and dangers of the present hour their activities for the Faith may steadily gain in scope and in effectiveness, and that they may each and all receive such confirmations from On High as wouldPage 184
enable them to forge ahead, and to attain their high destiny in service to our beloved Cause.October 15, 1940
He feels that, in the important teaching Plans now being undertaken by the Indian Baha'is, the youth have an ever-increasingly significant part to play; they are standing at the threshold of active Bahá'í service in both the pioneer and administrative fields, and they must prepare themselves for the future and follow, at the same time, the example of American Bahá'í young people, so many of whom have entered the field as pioneers during the last ten years, and not only rendered the Cause great services but prepared themselves, through this experience, for their future tasks as administrators and teachers of the Faith.April 8, 1946
Our dear Shoghi Effendi owing to the shock he received at the sudden news of the Ascension of our Master and owing to the great fatigue occasioned to him through the excess of work has become susceptible to malaria of which Haifa is a great centre. This summer is very hot too. He was troubled with malaria two days or three in every week. So the members of the Holy Family conjointly with the Haifa Spiritual Assembly repeatedly begged him to change his residence during these hot summer months to some cooler climate. At last he affectionately accepted our humble entreaty and left this morning for Egypt whence he'll proceed to some summer resort as he considers suitable. He wishes all the friends to be more active in his absence.June 20, 1923.
I trust that the National Assembly of which you are the honoured and esteemed President will distinguish itself by its unremitting labours, its profound wisdom, its distinct contribution to the deepening of the spirit of love, service, unity, understanding and confidence amongst the friends. It is the vital and urgent duty of the Secretary to keep in close and constant touch with Burma and the various other Bahá'í localities and distribute with efficiency and promptitude all the glad tidings it receives from the Holy Land and elsewhere.November 5, 1924
Shoghi Effendi trusts that your elections are over and that they were conducted in the proper manner. He earnestly hopes that the new N.S.A. will be able to accelerate the progress ofPage 188
the Cause in India and Burma and will bring in the dawning of a new day for the Bahá'í movement in India. Both Shoghi Effendi and the friends have had to satisfy their eagerness with insufficient progress in the past, and although there are many difficulties to meet and overcome and in spite of the fact that no one is more alive to them than Shoghi Effendi himself, we hope and pray that the future may have great accomplishments in store for us.May 17, 1926
I trust that by now a better understanding and more substantial cooperation has been attained by the friends of India and Burma. It is for the delegates who are to be chosen by them this year, to elect those whom they think are best qualified for membership of the National Spiritual Assembly, and once elected, the unity and efficiency of this body must at any cost be maintained. I cannot but pray that they may be guided in their choice, and discharge honourably their functions.March 2, 1929
He was very glad that your N.S.A. meeting in Bombay was such a success and he is extremely happy of your decision to hold your next meeting in Burma, for he shares your hope that by meeting the friends in Burma and ventilating in a spirit of goodwill all past misunderstandings and problems, a new and enduring unity of purpose and effort may prevail and the Cause may make a fresh start.[From the Guardian:]
I trust and pray that your gathering in Rangoon may prove a landmark in the history of the Cause in India and Burma and may lend a fresh and unprecedented impetus to the onward march of the Cause in those lands. May thePage 189
Beloved strengthen you and guide you and enable you to consolidate the foundations of His Faith.December 17, 1929
He is pleased to hear of the receipt of his cablegram addressed to the Asian Women's Conference through Prof. Pritam Singh and he sincerely hopes that the Bahá'í members attending will take an active share in its proceedings and will thereby be putting to actual effect the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Various and innumerable contacts will naturally be made and the effort should be to take advantage of this unique opportunity.January 14, 1931
Shoghi Effendi is as usual extremely busy. But his health is in a very good condition and he is anxiously awaiting the news of further achievements for the spreading of the Cause. The conditions in India are now quite favourable but what the Bahá'ís need is a group of well-educated and seriously-minded people who would spend a good deal of their time in lecturing before large audiences and in writing and distributing books and pamphlets. We are in need of such people. They are, as you know very well, very few in number and the Guardian hopes that you will do your utmost to organize or to encourage and assist the formation of such a group.July 10, 1931
Your previous letter of Aug. 25 has reached me and I rejoice to learn that the Burmese version of the "New Era" is being circulated. I long to hear of the completion and publication of the Hindi and Urdu versions. The utmost effort should be exerted in order to expedite this most important and urgent work.October 27, 1933
I am so glad to note a decided improvement in the administrative conduct of Bahá'í affairs in India, and IPage 190
trust and pray that the teaching work will as a result receive a fresh and unprecedented impetus. To teach the Cause is the ultimate purpose and the supreme objective of all Bahá'í institutions. These are but means to an end. May the Beloved grant you strength to enhance the splendid work you have already achieved. I am eagerly awaiting the news of the publication of the Urdu and the Sindhi editions of the "New Era".November 3, 1934
The report of your teaching work in Mysore and Bangalore, and of your meeting with Prof. Shastri and His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore, who had been gracious enough to accord you an audience, has been noted with feelings of highest satisfaction and gratitude by the Guardian. He wishes me to express to you his heart's warmest congratulations upon the success of your efforts in contacting such eminent personalities who, if closely drawn and attracted to the Faith, can lend invaluable support to its spread and wider recognition throughout India.
Shoghi Effendi would indeed urge that you follow up these important contacts by every means you can, so that you may obtain some more tangible results in the way of confirming some important personalities in these high social and intellectual Indian circles.October 15, 1940
The Guardian wishes me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated September 14th 1932 expressing your words of sympathy for the passing away of the Greatest Holy Leaf. She was such a source of joy, hope and inspiration to those who met her that not only Shoghi Effendi but every single Bahá'í pilgrim will miss her terribly. To the lady pilgrims it was a real treat to go and have tea with her in the afternoons.Page 191
She was always so radiantly hopeful and tried to persuade others that sorrows are passing and have to be disregarded. The only consolation of Shoghi Effendi is that she has been freed from the physical weakness that during these last years was confining her to her room for most of the time. He is sure that in the realm in which she now is she is thinking of her friends and asking for them divine guidance and help.October 12, 1932
The Indian believers, in spite of the troubled condition of their country, its vastness, and the relative fewness of their numbers, are really demonstrating a remarkable tenacity of purpose in carrying out their pioneer teaching plan and in organizing and supporting their Bahá'í activities. He is therefore very pleased with them, and wishes the young people to take part more and more in the work of the Cause in India.May 2, 1947
There is no refuge in the world today except the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. The believers must rest assured that, having the Faith, they have everything. They must place their lives in the Hand of God, and, confident of His mercy and protection, go on teaching the Cause and serving it, no matter what happens.May 8, 1942
He considers that the most important thing, as he has often pointed out to the friends, is to maintain the Spiritual Assemblies already in existence throughout India, to create Spiritual Assemblies out of Groups, and to establish new Centres. He therefore does not feel that, if the Cause is precarious in Surat and this goal of the Assembly has not been successfully achieved, the Bahá'ís who are working there should leave and go elsewhere.
The principle he has laid down has invariably been thatPage 192
the friends must establish a Spiritual Assembly on a firm and enduring basis with a nucleus of about fifteen Bahá'ís in the Community, so that the Assembly would be maintained, and then the other believers are free above the number fifteen to disperse and teach elsewhere; in fact they should consider it their duty to do so. This instruction of our beloved Guardian applies to Surat as well as to other Centres.February 2, 1957
Your frank expression of the situation in India and your energetic desire to see things moving after years of practical stagnation, is gladly welcomed by the Guardian, and he is refreshed to see a feeling of dissatisfaction with present conditions and a desire for fresh endeavours along enlightened lines, evident among a good many of our friends in India and Burma. It is especially gratifying to see you realize the fact that when the world has developed and been enlightened enough through the unseen powers of the Almighty, to be led to the teachings and spirit of the Cause, it will be our shameful task to go round proclaiming such principles as we were taught so many years before and none of which we had lived up to. Concerning Huquq, the Guardian wishes me to inform you that at present it is not obligatory for the friends to pay, but that they should be urged to contribute to the local and national funds.September 19, 1929
Concerning the Esslemont book in languages read by Hindus: The text of the book can in no way be changed, but two things can be done to make it more suitable for teaching Hindus: a footnote can be added informing the reader that the book was written by a Scotsman who was anxious to present to the Christians the Bahá'í Faith in relation to their own religion, and hence he used many Biblical quotations with Bahá'í interpretations given; secondly an appendix may bePage 193
added which will include quotations from the Bahá'í writings suitable to the Hindu mind and interests.
Regarding Bahá'í women using facial make-up: individuals are entirely free to do as they please in such purely personal matters. As Bahá'ís are enjoined to use moderation in all things, and to seek the Golden mean, the N.S.A. can, if it deems it necessary or advisable, counsel the believers to use moderation in this respect also.
Concerning your question as to whether a person may sign a registration card and then request his declaration to not be made public: all such administrative details must be referred to the N.S.A. for decision and their instructions followed.
The Guardian counsels you to refrain by all means from criticizing and attacking the National Assembly and its members or any local assemblies. The good that you think can be done by such criticism is far out-weighed by the harm it does.
The new assemblies and believers will cease to have confidence in the administration, cease to love and respect their representatives and the pioneer work you have done will suffer in general.December 1, 1944
The Guardian has been very pleased to note the progress the Bombay friends have been making in their various activities. He would, however, urge the Bombay Assembly and community to redouble their efforts in the field of teaching; to send forth new souls into the pioneer field; and to devote as much time as possible to fostering the spread of the Cause in nearby centres.
He hopes that the contemplated celebration of the anniversary of the Birthday of Bahá'u'lláh will prove to be a great success, and he sees no objection to the friends helping nearby centres to hold a similar public meeting to attract new souls and teach the Faith.
In all matters of national importance, or which in any wayPage 194
transcend the purely local jurisdiction of the assembly, the Guardian would urge your Assembly to consult with, and seek the advice of, the N.S.A., as only in this way can administrative authority be upheld, and the work of the Cause progress swiftly and smoothly just as the individual believers are bound to support and sustain their local assembly, for the preservation of the unity of the Faith and the strengthening of its as yet embryonic World Order, so must the local assemblies obey and sustain their national representatives. The closer the cooperation between local and national assemblies, the greater will be the power and radiance which can and must stream forth from these institutions to the suffering ranks of humanity.[From the Guardian:]
The activities of the Indian believers in the teaching field, in these days of uncertainty and peril, deserve the highest praise. I will specially pray at the holy Shrines for the expansion of these activities to which I attach the utmost importance in these concluding years of the First Bahá'í Century. What the Bombay believers have accomplished in this respect is noteworthy, and I trust and pray that the Beloved may aid, sustain and guide them to achieve great victories in the pioneer field in the days to come.July 29, 1942
Regarding your question concerning Bahá'ís printing and circulating matter on the Faith: Whether the person writes it openly, as a Baha'i, or gives the impression he is not a Baha'i, (in order to make his statements seem those of a dispassionate observer and thus carry more weight with some minds), if he is a voting member of our Faith he should submit the material to the N.S.A., or its appointed Committee, to be passed upon as to its accuracy and acceptability. Naturally non-Bahá'í material the individual is free to do as he likes about. The National Assembly should deal efficiently with such matters and thus encourage the friends to follow the correct procedure. The whole object in Bahá'í administration is not only to manage the affairs of the Cause, but to stimulate the believersPage 195
to work for it and to teach it to the masses. When the N.S.A. provides competent and quick service, in its own work and that of its Committees, it will see a far greater manifestation of enthusiasm and enterprise on the part of the believers.[From the Guardian:]
The steady extension of the activities of the Indian Bahá'í Community, in accordance with the fundamental administrative principles of the Faith, constitutes a landmark in the early history of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, and augurs well for the ultimate triumph and official recognition of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh in the course of the second Bahá'í Century. The concerted endeavours of the Indian believers during the closing years of the first century have been crowned with signal success. A solid foundation has been laid. The machinery for the systematic and efficient development of the institutions of the Faith in the capital and in the provinces is now functioning. Its literature is being widely disseminated. Its pioneers are labouring in distant fields. What is now required is an intensification of effort to establish direct contact with the masses, proclaim audaciously the verities of the Faith, to consolidate the work already achieved and to lend further impetus to the settlement of pioneers in areas where the light of the Faith has not as yet penetrated. A greater measure of self-sacrifice, closer cooperation, and a higher degree of consecration to the task facing them are required of the believers of India in the course of the second year of the second Bahá'í Century. May the Beloved sustain, aid and bless their concerted and meritorious endeavours.March 28, 1945
He admires very much the devoted manner in which the Kolhapur Bahá'ís have built up the Spiritual Assembly there and caused that community to be one of the most active in Southern India. You must not now become discouraged because some of your teachers have left and gone to serve the CausePage 196
elsewhere. This gives you the opportunity of learning to do more of the work yourselves, and of also putting your reliance on Bahá'u'lláh and realizing that He will assist all those who arise to serve Him.
The Guardian assures you he will pray in the Holy Shrines for your protection and that God may assist you in your work, aid you to be united and show the greatest love, one for another, and bless your work.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty guide every step you take in the path of service, and enable you to proclaim the verities of His Faith, and contribute effectively to the consolidation of its newly-born institutions.December 19, 1949
He was surely very sorry to hear of the passing away of your father who was such an old and devoted servant of the Cause. Such persons, at their passing, proceed to the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and partake of His infinite blessings and divine bounties. They enter into a state which, should we only have the eye to see, we would envy and earnestly desire. It is only because we ignore the beautiful and glorious life of the world beyond that we seem attached to our earthly abode and often forget the goal of our very existence here.May 14, 1932
It is to the youth that the Guardian is today eagerly looking, and it is upon their shoulders that he is laying all the responsibility for the promotion of the Faith. Theirs is the opportunity to arise and serve to their utmost this great Cause of God.June 6, 1933
Concerning the use of alcoholic drinks and drugs the Guardian wishes you to know that they have been explicitlyPage 197
forbidden in the "Kitáb-i-Aqdas". Opium is, undoubtedly, prohibited. But smoking, though allowed, is discouraged. Various other points which may be raised in this connection and which have not been explained in the Holy Writings have to be carefully considered and acted upon by the future International House of Justice which is the body empowered by Bahá'u'lláh to legislate in all matters which have not been explicitly revealed in the Sacred Writings of the Faith.December 27, 1933
What, in the last resort, is most essential to every believer is a conscious and an unwavering faith in the mission which the Cause has been called upon to fulfill. Through the light of faith the darkness which envelops our thoughts and feelings gives way to a radiance and a splendour before which every gloom vanishes.January 7, 1934
While secrecy in matters of religious faith should be deprecated as being against the spirit of the Cause yet, it is always recommendable to exercise full tact and wisdom whenever, by too frank and open a declaration of our beliefs, we run the risk of exciting the animosity and opposition of those around us.September 25, 1934
With regard to your question relative to the advisability of having Bahá'ís join film companies. Although on principle there is no objection if any believer wishes to become a cinema actor, yet in view of the excessive corruption that now prevails along such a line of occupation, the Guardian would not advise any believer to choose this kind of profession, unless he finds this to be the only means of earning his livelihood. Concerning the passage in the Old Testament in which Abraham is reported to have addressed his wife as his sister, thePage 198
interpretation given it by some Christians cannot hold, as it implies that the Messengers of God are all sinners. A much more plausible explanation would be, that in doing so Abraham wished to emphasize the superiority of the spiritual relationship binding him with his wife to the purely physical and material one.September 4, 1935
As regards your study of the Hindu religion. The origins of this and many other religions that abound in India are not quite known to us, and even the Orientalists and the students of religion are not in complete accord about the results of their investigations in that field. The Bahá'í Writings also do not refer specifically to any of these forms of religion current in India. So, the Guardian feels it impossible to give you any definite and detailed information on that subject. He would urge you, however, to carry on your studies in that field, although its immensity is well-nigh bewildering, with the view of bringing the Message to the Hindus. The task of converting this section of the Indian population is a most vital obligation, although the Guardian is fully aware of the many difficulties that it presents. Nevertheless the friends should do their best to make as many converts among the Hindus as they possibly can.
Also with regard to the problem of inter-marriage between the Zoroastrian and Hindu Baha'is, this is a highly delicate and vital question, as important as the problem of the black and white in America. The friends should all realize that racial considerations do not, in the light of the Bahá'í Teachings, constitute any hindrance to any kind of intercourse between the believers. The Hindu and Zoroastrian Bahá'ís should forget their former and traditional prejudices whether religious, racial or social, and commune together on a common basis of equality, love and devotion to the Cause. While the goal is quite clear yet, wisdom and caution are needed in order to carry this ideal into full practice.April 17, 1936
In these days when the forces of inharmony and disunity are rampant throughout the world, the Bahá'ís must cling to their Faith and to each other, and, in spite of every difficulty and suffering, protect the unity of the Cause. Often the first efforts at getting the administration of the Faith to mark harmoniously, are painful because the individual must learn to subject his will to the whole -- but these are all minor details, and the friends must all concentrate on constructive work for the Cause.
Of course no one is debarred from becoming a Baha'i; rich or poor, learned or ignorant, all have a sacred and equal right to accept the Supreme Manifestation for this age. The question of residence and taking part in administrative affairs hangs together: wherever a Bahá'í has his legal residence, he belongs to the community that is established in that same civil area as his residence, and he cannot vote or be elected to any Bahá'í body outside of that area except, of course, National Assembly and Committees. This, of course, does not prevent his teaching in nearby towns or anywhere else. But he cannot live in one city and be a voting Bahá'í in another.May 7, 1941
He urges you to redouble your efforts during the coming year, to teach the youth this great Message of Bahá'u'lláh. It is indeed the one hope for the spiritual and material security of the world; and although the response may be slow at first, through your perseverance and devotion, you will gradually succeed in attracting a very large group to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.April 7, 1952
He was also delighted to hear that the Message was given to such large crowds of people in a spot associated with the enlightenment of the Manifestation of God, Buddha. The Guardian attaches great importance to the conversion ofPage 200
Buddhists to the Faith as well as Hindus, and he urges your Assembly to do everything in your power to attract the members of these Faiths and convert them.January 27, 1957
The Guardian is confident that the ceremony of your marriage will be conducted along strictly Bahá'í lines and feels certain that your example will create a deep impression upon the non-believers, and will also serve to greatly encourage the believers in their efforts for the emancipation of the Cause from the doctrines and traditions of the past, and for its wide and effective recognition as an independent religion.February 7, 1937
In this connection, the Guardian feels the necessity of bringing to your attention the fact that the validity of a Bahá'í marriage is conditioned upon the consent of the two parties and their parents only. So that in case the other members of your family show any dislike or opposition to your sister's union ... their objection does under no circumstances invalidate it. Your parents' approval would be sufficient, even though all the rest of your family may violently oppose it.March 31, 1937
1. In the passage "eschew all fellowship with the ungodly", Bahá'u'lláh means that we should shun the company of those who disbelieve in God and are wayward. The word "ungodly" is a reference to such perverse people. The words "Be thou as a flame of fire to My enemies and a river of life eternal to My loved ones" should not be taken in their literal sense. Bahá'u'lláh's advice is that again we should flee from the enemies of God, and instead seek the fellowship of His lovers.
2. A believer has the right to vote for himself during the election time, if he conscientiously feels the urge to do so. ThisPage 201
does not necessarily imply that he is ambitious or selfish. For he might conscientiously believe that his qualifications entitle him to membership in a Bahá'í administrative body, and he might be right. The essential, however, is that he should be sincere in his belief, and should act according to the dictates of his conscience. Moreover, membership in an assembly or committee is a form of service, and should not be looked upon as a mark of inherent superiority or a means for self-praise.
3. The Bahá'í view of "reincarnation" is essentially different from the Hindu conception. The Bahá'ís believe in the return of the attributes and qualities, but maintain that the essence or the reality of things cannot be made to return. Every being keeps its own individuality, but some of his qualities can be transmitted. The doctrine of metempsychosis upheld by the Hindus is fallacious.
4. The eating of pork is not forbidden in the Bahá'í Teachings.
5. Genesis XIX, 29-38 -- the text makes it quite clear that Lot was not responsible for the action committed by his two daughters, as they gave him wine and made him drunk.
6. Electioneering and all forms of propaganda are against the spirit of Bahá'í elections. The chief opportunity which the friends have for discussion on administrative questions is during the Nineteen Day Feasts, at which time the members of the assembly can meet with the body of the believers and discuss in common the affairs of the Cause, and suggest new policies and methods. But even then no reference to individuals should be made.
7. Bahá'ís are permitted to marry non-believers but they should insist on observing the Bahá'í marriage ceremony and should also not object if their non-Bahá'í partner wishes to observe the marriage ceremony of his or her particular religion. Civil marriage is generally practised amongst the Western believers, but in most of the East it is unknown.March 27, 1938
...as to the meaning of the passage in the "Iqan" in which Bahá'u'lláh refers to the renewal of the "City of God" once in about a thousand years; this, as the word about implies, is simply an approximate date, and should not therefore be taken literally.
The Administrative Order of the Cause, though first established in America, copied as a model by other national Bahá'í communities, is not an American production, but is a universal system based on the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. It is not simply by coincidence however that it was first initiated and perfected by the American believers.October 29, 1938
The task of bringing up a Bahá'í child, as emphasized time and again in Bahá'í Writings, is the chief responsibility of the mother, whose unique privilege is indeed to create in her home such conditions as would be most conducive to both his material and spiritual welfare and advancement. The training which the child first receives through his mother constitutes the strongest foundation for his future development...November 16, 1939
The Bahá'ís all over the world are subject sometimes to suffering, along with their fellow-men. Whatever vicissitudes befall their country, they will be protected though, and watched over by Bahá'u'lláh, and should not fear the future but rather fear any failure on their part to carry out the work of His Cause. This applies to the Indian Baha'is.April 27, 1946
Your most welcome letter has rejoiced my heart, and has redoubled my confidence and hope in that little band of earnest and ardent followers of the Bahá'í Faith who labour so devotedly for the diffusion of the Light of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the world.
The glowing account you give me of your recent efforts and activities to extend and consolidate the Campaign of Service in that land has been shared with the resident friends and pilgrims in the Holy Land, and incorporated in the circular letters which the Haifa Spiritual Assembly addresses to the Bahá'í world. It will send, I am sure, a thrill of enthusiasm and courage throughout the body of the friends the world over, and will serve to strengthen the ties that bind us all to you, our beloved co-workers in that far-eastern land! I am looking forward with the greatest interest, to the time when your high hopes will have been fully realized, your plans fulfilled and your selfless efforts crowned with glorious success. It is my fervent hope and prayer that your endeavours to constitute a Central Council for all Burma, and establish a Bahá'í Magazine, exclusively devoted to the progress of the work in that province, will soon bear abundant fruit, and will stand a testimony to the efficiency, the energy and the zeal of the beloved Burmese friends.
May our loving and ever-watchful Master, guide and protect you in all the services you are so whole-heartedly tendering to His sacred Threshold, and may He enable you to contribute your full share in carrying out His Great Purpose for mankind! This is my prayer for you all whenever I visit the Three Holy Shrines, and I feel certain that He will not fail to answer it, if we but hold fast to those principles for which He lived, laboured and died.June 1, 1923
The detailed report I have recently received from the tried and faithful servant of Bahá'u'lláh, Aqa Syed Mustapha, regarding the progress of your labours in those remote regions of the world has filled my heart with hope and gladness, and has served to fortify the ties of loving fellowship that bind our hearts together in the service of His Cause. I have read and re-read the account of your activities with profound interest, and have been deeply touched to realize how constantly and fervently you are carrying on the work entrusted to your charge. May His Spirit guide you, sustain you and protect you in all your endeavours, and make of you the vanguard of His Host that shall conquer the world. I shall await the joyful news of the expansion of your work, the establishment of your Magazine, the consolidation of your Assemblies, the increase of your numbers, with keen interest, and wish to assure you again and again of my readiness and desire to help you and serve you in your efforts to promote the Cause in even the uttermost corners of the world.
By day and by night, in my hours of prayer and meditation, I tenderly remember every one of you, and pray from the bottom of my heart, for your spiritual happiness, material prosperity, and ultimate success in your sacred mission in this world.
I shall be most pleased to receive frequent and direct letters from every Bahá'í locality in Burma, and will not fail to do all I can to stimulate your work, and extend your activities throughout that distant province.
May the day be not far distant when the few and ardent followers of the Faith in that land, will have increased a hundred-fold, and the promises of our beloved Abdu'l-Bahá strikingly and speedily fulfilled.==================================
18.11.1935 Urge exert supreme effort publication Bengali Sindhi Hindi publication Esslemonts book praying success love -- SHOGHI
29.4.1937 Ardently praying success deliberations. Earnest
prayerful consultation intensify teaching campaign already energetically initiated India Burma vitally required. Anticipate epoch making success loving remembrance Holy Shrines -- SHOGHI
27.6.1937 Earnestly urge every loyal Believer particularly local assemblies India Burma demonstrate their ever ready eagerness rally round elected body national representatives by stimulating flow their contributions to national fund the bedrock upon which security expansion their newborn institutions must ultimately rest -- SHOGHI
2.9.1937 Martha Root arriving Bombay September sixteenth urge individuals Local National Assemblies vigorously participate ensure triumphant success her extended stay accord magnificent welcome best beloved star servant Bahá'u'lláh -- SHOGHI
22.9.1938 Assure first Summer School signalized presence beloved Martha fervent prayers success deliberations -- SHOGHI
27.6.1942 Bahá'í world deplores loss distinguished promoter Faith Abduljalil Saad his eminent services as champion Cause in Egypt as teacher author administrator unforgettable inform friends hold memorial gatherings his honour -- SHOGHI RABBANI.
8.7.1942 Notable progress achieved dear Indian believers teaching Faith Bahá'u'lláh impels me contributePage 210
two hundred pounds teaching fund. Appeal intensification efforts wider dispersion increase number volunteers multiplication groups Assemblies praying conspicuous victories -- SHOGHI RABBANI
3.1.1943 Greatly cheered remarkable expansion teaching activities valiant pioneers urge perseverance cabling three hundred pounds facilitate Bahá'í settlement virgin states praying magnificent victories resounding success historic task -- SHOGHI RABBANI
15.1.1943 Completion temple by American believers necessitates direct attention establishment administrative centre for Faith in India. Enquire whether purchase suitable house in Delhi as temporary centre pending construction special edifice in future possible. Wire after prompt consultation with members Assembly result inquiries regarding site prices. Praying its early establishment ere conclusion first Bahá'í Century -- SHOGHI RABBANI
28.1.1943 Urgent expedite choice suitable building wire fully results inquiries to save time -- SHOGHI RABBANI
5.3.1943 Wire prices demanded purchase suitable building -- SHOGHI RABBANI
12.3.1943 Owing exorbitant price advise rent suitable house -- SHOGHI RABBANI
23.4.1943 Desire address plea representatives Indian believers assembled convention last year first Bahá'í Century deliberate necessary measures prompt establishment much needed Bahá'í national headquarters capital city India. Cabling one thousand pounds contribution fund dedicated meritorious purpose stop Advise considerPage 211
ways means ensure befitting celebration May 1944 Centenary Faith and publication survey history Faith since inception India. Urge unrelaxing vigilance redoubled efforts ensure success six year plan praying Almighty's blessings guidance mighty undertakings. Heroic self sacrifice imperative -- SHOGHI RABBANI
2.5.1943 Rejoice multiplication centres urge ensure unity harmony believers indispensable condition further progress Faith advise renewed efforts early establishment Bahá'í administrative headquarters -- SHOGHI RABBANI
6.5.1943 Share fully poignant grief Indian Bahá'í Community passing its distinguished champion firm pillar able teacher administrator beloved Vakil. Concourse on high acclaim his pioneer historic services. Advise hold befitting memorial gatherings recognition tribute his high station -- SHOGHI RABBANI
10.5.1943 Assure youth conference delegates members loving remembrance shrines. Urge continued endeavours safeguard consolidate unity. Exert immediate efforts wider dispersion teaching virgin territories establish urgently required administrative headquarters marking consummation recent notable achievements dear Indian believers in teaching field. Wire permanent street address for future use -- SHOGHI RABBANI
27.7.1943 Praying success concentrate purchase building and promotion teaching activities -- SHOGHI RABBANI
6.8.1943 Advise undertake prompt measures translation publication Esslemonts book into Mahratti Tamil and three other languages selected by National Assembly. Multiplication assemblies establishment administrative headquarters must bePage 212
speedily supplemented by measures aiming much needed publicity. Praying still greater victories. Cabling three hundred pounds this meritorious purpose -- SHOGHI RABBANI
9.10.1943 Wire price purchased Hazira also whether any surplus funds left -- SHOGHI RABBANI
17.10.1943 Cabling one thousand pounds nucleus formation special fund for translation printing widespread dissemination Bahá'í literature... -- SHOGHI RABBANI
15.2.1944 Overjoyed magnificent successes praying abundant blessings three newly formed assemblies. Local assemblies should be elected as usual during Ridvan. Annual Convention should be held same week as Centenary Celebrations. Advise fix number convention delegates at fifty-seven or three times nineteen. Choice place celebrations left discretion National Assembly -- SHOGHI RABBANI
April 1953 Assembled delegates communities India Pakistan Burma lovingly remembered Shrines occasion Most Great Festival Holy Year coinciding launching world, Spiritual Crusade designed diffuse light Bahá'u'lláhs Revelation entire planet. Members all three communities constituting next cradle Faith second stronghold its institutions Asiatic continent distinguished record services His Cause extending three quarters century called upon enrich considerably coming decade annals Faith Indian Subcontinent Burma. Ten Year Plan fourth series plans undertaken these communities designed carry stage further collective achievements within beyond borders homelands involves first opening following virgin territories eleven Asia Andaman Islands Bhutan Daman Diu Goa Karikal Mahe MarianaPage 213
Islands Nicobar Islands Pondicherry Sikkim five Africa Comoro Islands French Cameroons Gambia Ruanda Urundi Socotra Island second consolidation Faith following territories eleven Asia Baluchistan Borneo Burma Ceylon Indo-China Indonesia Malaya Nepal Pakistan Sarawark Siam three Africa Madagascar Mozambique Zanzibar third establishment National Spiritual Assemblies Pakistan Burma Ceylon South East Asia fourth incorporation each aforementioned National Assemblies fifth establishment national endowments same assemblies sixth establishment national haziratulquds Karachi Rangoon Colombo Jakarta seventh establishment national Bahá'í court New Delhi eighth establishment national Bahá'í court Karachi ninth purchase land New Delhi anticipation first Mashriquladhkar India tenth translation Bahá'í literature forty languages collaboration National Spiritual Assembly Australasia Abor Miri Aneityum Annamese Balochai Bentuni Binandere Cheremiss Chungchia Georgian Houailou Javanese Kado Kaili Kopu Kusaie Lepcha Lifu Manchu Manipuri Manus Island Marquesas Mentawei Mongolian Mordoff Mwala Na-Hsi Nicobarese Niue Ossete Ostiak Pali Panjabi Pashto Perm Petats Samoan Tho Tibetan Tonga Vogul eleventh doubling number Spiritual Assemblies localities India Pakistan Burma twelfth doubling number incorporated Spiritual Assemblies India Pakistan Burma thirteenth establishment Bahá'í Publishing Trust New Delhi fourteenth expansion Panchgani School fifteenth formation Asian Teaching Committee designed stimulate coordinate teaching activities Plan. May valiant followers Faith representatives four principal religions mankind recruited highly diversified classes races boasting already noteworthy share unfoldment Administrative Order Bahá'u'lláh arise ennoble past achievements be enabled through future victoriesPage 214
pay befitting tribute His memory occasion hundredth anniversary declaration His Mission -- SHOGHI
24.4.1944 Appreciate Ridvan greetings loving remembrance. Extraordinary progress Bahá'í teaching activities initiated by Indian believers necessitates corresponding extension field Bahá'í literature cabling one thousand pounds for this meritorious purpose as well as further multiplication Bahá'í centres. Praying continually abundant blessings. Advise undertake immediately translation Esslemonts into Rajasthani -- SHOGHI RABBANI
22.5.1944 Deeply appreciate heartily reciprocate Centenary greetings beloved valiant victorious community Indian believers. Triumphant conclusion Six Year Plan sheds imperishable lustre record community's services Faith Bahá'u'lláh course first Bahá'í century and augurs well still greater victories opening years second century. With grateful heart supplicate this glorious occasion unprecedented blessings historic task so vast field in both teaching administrative spheres Bahá'í activity -- SHOGHI RABBANI
24.5.1944 Announce friends joyful tidings hundredth anniversary declaration mission martyred Herald Faith signalized by historic decision complete structure His sepulchre erected by Abdu'l Baha on site chosen by Bahá'u'lláh. Recently designed model dome unveiled presence assembled believers. Praying early removal obstacles consummation stupendous plan conceived by Founder Faith and hopes cherished by Centre His Covenant -- SHOGHI RABBANI
24.8.1944 Intensification teaching activity and extension range Bahá'í literature as necessary prelude inauguration systematic teaching campaigns neighbouring territories course opening years secondPage 215
Bahá'í century imperative. Urge undertake immediate measures translation Esslemonts New Era into Nepali Assamese Chin languages. Cabling one thousand pounds promotion two fold purpose praying abundant blessings unprecedented victories -- SHOGHI RABBANI
31.10.1944 Urge expedite translation publication New Era thirteen languages already chosen. Redoubled efforts urgently required necessary prelude mighty tasks ahead praying success. Wire progress meritorious enterprise -- SHOGHI RABBANI
26.11.1944 Overjoyed magnificent extension publication activities. Urge similar exertions no less vital teaching tasks particularly conversion existing groups into local assemblies. Mail whenever ready hundred copies each Esslemont translation and fifty each other publications praying ever increasing success abiding gratitude -- SHOGHI RABBANI
15.12.1944 Hundred copies Kinarese received. Loving appreciation advise mail five copies each national assembly also future version. Wire date publication Tamil Telugu urge expedite translation reviewing publication remaining languages -- SHOGHI RABBANI
15.2.1945 Wire date despatch hundred copies Tamil Telugu versions New Era also wire progress translation publication other languages praying speedy success -- SHOGHI RABBANI
13.3.1945 Urge renewed exertion expedite translation publication New Era -- SHOGHI RABBANI
4.4.1945 Urge translation publication remaining languagesPage 216
Punjabi Rajasthani Nepali Chin praying removal obstacles persevere -- SHOGHI RABBANI
30.4.1945 Convey delegates sixteenth Bahá'í convention deepest loving appreciation message assurance remembrance Shrines. Second year second Bahá'í century must witness alike steady consolidation newly fledged assemblies multiplication groups unprecedented expansion teaching activities nation wide dissemination Bahá'í literature. Incoming assembly's paramount duty initiate sound measures ensure effective prosecution urgent tasks -- SHOGHI RABBANI
9.1.1946 Admire initiative overjoyed magnificent spontaneous decision national representatives Indian believers inaugurate plan designed consolidate extend range splendid achievements associated termination first Bahá'í century. Fervently supplicating outpourings Bahá'u'lláhs blessings mighty undertaking. Pledging one thousand pounds furtherance highly meritorious purpose -- SHOGHI RABBANI
10.1.1946 German Bahá'í community emerging ten years trials bitterest endured by followers Faith throughout West. Urge Indian believers transmit contribution token Bahá'í solidarity through Valiollah Varqa Trustee Fund -- SHOGHI RABBANI
16.7.1946 Hearts griefstricken passing Supreme Concourse distinguished pioneer Faith Bahá'u'lláh dearly beloved staunch high minded noble soul Siyyid Mustafa. Long record his superb services both teaching administrative fields shed lustre on both heroic and formative ages Bahá'í Dispensation. His magnificent achievements fully entitle him join ranks Hands Cause Bahá'u'lláh. His resting place should be regarded foremost Shrine community Burmese believers. Advise holding memorialPage 217
gatherings throughout India honour his imperishable memory. Urge Indian Burmese Bahá'ís participate construction tomb. Cabling three hundred pounds my personal contribution so praiseworthy purpose -- SHOGHI RABBANI
11.11.1946 Greatly deplore tribulations afflicting dearly beloved Burmese friends profoundly moved circumstances attending assassination heroic apostle Bahá'u'lláh Sayed Mustafa and associates. Admire unquenchable spirit animating long suffering brethren Rangoon Mandalay Daidanow assure them admiration gratitude strong attachment fervent prayers revival activities. Soon transmitting one thousand pounds my contribution relief rebuilding institutions promotion teaching activities. Urge National Assembly immediate concentrated continual attention promote vital interests Burmese community -- RABBANI
18.11.1946 Praying success mission Indian Burmese believers lovingly remember appreciate greetings invoke blessings Bahá'u'lláh both communities -- SHOGHI
14.1.1947Deepest loving appreciation noble sentiment dearly beloved coworkers India Burma proud their historic exemplary achievements praying ever increasing success mighty endeavours -- SHOGHI
4.4.1947 Cable number local assemblies groups and isolated believers India Burma separately. Cable approximate value Bahá'í endowments local and national in May 1944 and at present. Cable present status translations publication New Era urge redouble efforts early completion this vital task -- SHOGHI
5.4.1947 Cable how much money has been set aside for future National Haziratul Quds cable also present approximate value Delhi Haziratul-Quds -- SHOGHIPage 218
11.4.1947 Advise take immediate steps purchase Delhi befitting building for national Haziratul Quds. Utilize funds reserved this purpose also proceeds sale present Delhi structure. Owing overriding importance suitable national headquarters advise divert temporarily sum raised Panchgani School this meritorious purpose. Cabling one thousand pounds my contribution. Urge friends arise unitedly contribute generously meet vital urgent need Faith present hour -- SHOGHI
24.4.1947 Deeply appreciate greetings Indian Burmese Bahá'ís fervently praying success their activities urge prompt action purchase vitally needed Hazira Delhi fulfil without delay urgent national need Faith -- SHOGHI
30.4.1947 Deeply appreciate message convention delegates. Heartily congratulate communities India Burma magnificent achievements. Opening phase historic plan victoriously concluded. Appeal all members both communities demonstrate greater solidarity higher resolve nobler self sacrifice keener understanding fuller dedication in wider fields pursuance more glorious victories. Valiant prosecutors plan lovingly remembered Holy Shrines occasion Most Great Festival -- SHOGHI
28.5.1947 Approve borrow for purchase six hundred thousand structure -- SHOGHI
5.6.1947 Urge all assemblies groups individual believers arise unitedly contribute generously redeem promise debt incurred purchase Hazira focus all national activities powerful magnet Divine Blessings -- SHOGHI
9.7.1947 Delighted magnificent response believers appeal funds purchase Hazira. Praying complete success. Congratulate national elected representatives community holding harmonious historic session Indias capital. Convey friends decision celebratePage 219
this occasion through initiation of negotiations by me with authorities Holy Land aimed secure authorization transfer portion Bahá'í international endowments precincts Shrine Mt Carmel to Palestine branch Indian National Assembly already incorporated religious association Palestine. Praying successful outcome entitling Indian National Assembly unique distinction throughout Bahá'í world of sharing with sister Assembly America honour ownership property permanently dedicated Báb's Holy Shrine -- SHOGHI
7.8.1947 Advise register Hazira names two or three individuals if registration Assemblys name absolutely impossible -- SHOGHI
23.10.1947 Heartfelt appreciation greetings Indian Burmese friends lovingly remembered praying continually protection unity triumph removal obstacles transfer possession Haziratul Quds deepest love abiding gratitude -- SHOGHI
11.11.1947 Profoundly regret complications urge vigilant strenuous unrelaxing effort ardently supplicating removal difficulties ensure legal transfer early occupation Hazira -- SHOGHI
21.11.1947 Owing possibility antagonize authorities advise postpone representations by National Assemblies. If after lapse year promise unfulfilled representations advisable. Urge continued efforts your Assembly ensure early release. Supplicating fervently success endeavours protection dearly beloved friends -- SHOGHI
27.12.1947 Rejoice registration Hazira Assembly's name praying success representations authorities loving appreciation -- SHOGHI
5.5.1948 Number countries opened Faith Bahá'u'lláh approachingPage 220
hundred. Prompt response valiant Indian believers regarding Ceylon prompts me appeal dispatch volunteers Siam Indonesia thereby hastening glorious consummation Abha reward inestimable -- SHOGHI
19.6.1948 Shrines safe appreciate progress New Era publications urge translation Chin last remaining version -- SHOGHI
9.1.1949 Delighted progress translation New Era. Greatly heartened response pioneers assure them fervent prayers highly meritorious mission eager news their settlement urge perseverance. Announce friends despite turmoil Holy Land foundation arcade Babs sepulchre designed safeguard structure raised hands Beloved Master completed. Of total six hundred tons material one-third already received. Contemplating commence building operations destined culminate erection dome envisaged by Centre Covenant -- SHOGHI RABBANI
23.3.1949 Dearly beloved friends India Pakistan Burma remembered Shrines supplicating manifold blessings diversified activities total success plan. Announce believers commencement building operations arcade Babs Shrine coinciding fortieth anniversary placing Sacred Remains by Centre Covenant in sarcophagus presented by valiant Burmese believers deepest love -- SHOGHI RABBANI
29.4.1949 Assembled delegates lovingly remembered Shrines. Appeal through them entire community's save fortunes plan. Work so nobly initiated so vigorously prosecuted must be gloriously consummated dispatch pioneers Ceylon Siam Indonesia must be expedited remaining translations publication New Era completed praying ardentlyPage 221
restoration Hazira fulfilment dearest hopes -- SHOGHI
26.11.1949 Delighted rising hopes brighter prospects success plan entreat entire community steadfastly pursue high objectives rise higher level enthusiastic support vigorous prosecution this fateful hour historic plan. Advise all centers local national commemorate centenary through public meetings press radio invitation participation notables -- SHOGHI
9.4.1950 Delighted magnificent achievement fields translation publication Bahá'í literature. Urge crown this achievement through speedy publication Punjabi and translation publication New Era Kachin Shans Malay Indonesian languages. Announce friends translation literature Eskimo Welsh and three African languages raising total languages Bahá'í world sixtythree -- SHOGHI
29.4.1950Assembled delegates lovingly remembered Shrines fervently praying blessings Almighty their deliberation. Approve election assemblies till July ninth. Urge continued effort homefront foreign fields absolute necessity maintenance present status assemblies groups at home abroad determined endeavour enlist further countries dependencies South East Asia under banner Faith enhancing thereby record service already performed beyond confines Indian subcontinent -- SHOGHI
13.6.1950 Community believers Indian subcontinent Burma lovingly remembered historic occasion glorious centenary Báb's martyrdom may poignant memories His supreme sacrifice galvanize enable them rededicate themselves twin historic tasks within confines homeland adjacent territories win signal unprecedented victories -- SHOGHIPage 222
29.4.1951 Deeply appreciate sentiments assembled delegates. Urge rededicate themselves manifold tasks confronting them. Consolidation multiplication institutions laboriously established homeland translation publication New Era remaining languages vigorous prosecution enterprises launched Ceylon expansion activities Indonesia Malaya Siam initiation extension work Indochina participation erection superstructure Báb's Holy Sepulchre outstanding inescapable responsibilities present hour. Supplicating unprecedented blessings historic labours loving remembrance Shrines -- SHOGHI
6.5.1951 Appeal community valiant followers Faith Indian subcontinent arise lend assistance vast momentous newly launched historic African enterprise involving participation British American Persian Egyptian Bahá'í National Assemblies. Number territories African continent already settled course settlement over twenty. Bahá'í literature translated process translation twelve African languages. Urge despatch pioneers virgin territories preferably Zanzibar Madagascar. Praying great African victories expansion international tasks already initiated dearly beloved self-sacrificing Indian friends South East Asia -- SHOGHI
31.8.1951 Overjoyed momentous highly meritorious nineteen months plan spontaneously initiated valiant representatives Bahá'í communities Indian subcontinent Burma. Signal act distinguishes Indian Pakistani Burmese believers as sole community Bahá'í world able boast inauguration three successive plans since inception opening epoch evolution Abdu'l-Bahá'í divine plan. Heartily approve chosen objectives. Advise fix date termination Ridvan 1953 same as plans other sister Assemblies. Fervent prayers ascending throne Bahá'u'lláh supplicating triumphant conclusion enterprisePage 223
exercising direct influence immediate spiritual destinies Faith Pacific Islands Asiatic African continents. Contributing thousand pounds furtherance interests magnificent plan -- SHOGHI
7.10.1953 Occasion conclusion Holy Year overjoyed share following triple announcement attendants fourth final intercontinental teaching conference marking termination festivities associated centenary birth Bahá'u'lláhs prophetic mission. Five year old three quarter million dollar enterprise constituting final stage initial epoch evolution process initiated over sixty years ago Founder Faith heart mountain God consummated. Finishing touches installation stained glass windows drum octagon removal scaffolding exterior interior edifice interior calcimining dome drum octagon tuckpointing cleaning floodlighting entire structure completed synchronizing closing weeks glorious twelvemonth annals Holy Faith. Steadily swelling throng visitors far near many days exceeding thousand flocking gates leading inner sanctuary majestic mausoleum paying homage Queen Carmel enthroned Gods Mountain crowned glowing gold robed shimmering white girdled emerald green enchanting every eye from air sea plain hill. Moved request attendants conference hold befitting memorial gathering pay tribute Hand Cause Sutherland Maxwell immortal architect arcade superstructure Shrine. Feel moreover acknowledgment be made same gathering unflagging labours vigilance Hand Cause Ugo Giachery negotiating contracts inspecting despatching all materials required construction edifice as well as assiduous constant care Hand Cause Leroy Ioas supervising construction both drum dome. To two doors Shrine recently named after first two aforementioned Hands octagon door now added henceforth associated third Hand who contributed raising statelyPage 224
sacred structure. Second announcement worldwide process settlement virgin areas globe accelerated arrival following pioneers respective posts Cora Oliver British Honduras Carole Dwight Allen Greece Mr Mrs Xavier Rodriques Portuguese Guinea Brigitte Hasselblatt Shetlands Elizabeth Hopper Ada Schott Sara Kenny Mrs Duffield Madeira H. Snider Key West Hugh McKinley and mother Cyprus Max Kenyerezi French Equatorial Africa Elsa Grossmann Frisian Islands Helen Robinson Baranof Mr Mrs Ted Anderson Yukon Tabandeh Payman San-Marino Una Townshend Malta Rolf Haug Crete swelling roll honour raising number territories pale Faith hundred sixty seven. Two additional pioneers proceeding leper colonies Puerto Rico French Guinea. Two valiant pioneers India America preparing entry Tibet. Two more members United States National Assembly volunteered pioneer raising number five. United States pioneers departing twenty four virgin territories ere conclusion Holy Year. Total United States pioneer applications two hundred forty nine. Feast names celebrated last August two stalwart crusaders weather station Buchanan Bay desolate Ellesmere Island seventy nine latitude less seven hundred miles North Pole. Irresistibly unfolding crusade sanctified death heroic eighty eight year old Ella Bailey elevating her rank martyrs Faith shedding further lustre American Bahá'í community consecrating soil fast awakening African continent. Third announcement preliminary steps taken aiming acquisition extensive area head Holy Mountain scene revelation Tablet Carmel preparatory purchase site future Mother Mashriquladhkar Holy Land made possible munificent hundred thousand dollar donation Hand Cause Amelia Collins signalizing opening second stage unfoldment mighty process set motion Author Faith. Triple bounty vouchsafedPage 225
community Most Great Name scattered face planet calls for tremendous immediate concerted exertion assembled believers adequately discharge triple responsibility. First redoubled consecration pioneering task particularly Pacific area emphasized Tablets Divine Plan raising thereby ere adjournment conference number territories opened Faith or assigned pioneers immediate settlement above two hundred. Second demonstration increasing self-sacrifice through inauguration funds purchase land future temples Asiatic continent Antipodes Baghdad New Delhi Sydney. Contributing three thousand pounds furtherance meritorious enterprises. Third earnest consultation representatives Persian Iraqi National Assemblies directly concerned holy task with assembled Hands Cause ways means conduct through investigation ensure purchase holy places particularly site Siyahchal cradle revelation Author Faith as well as identification transfer Bahá'í cemeteries relatives Báb Bahá'u'lláh constituting vital objectives Ten Year Plan. Ardently hoping fervently supplicating epochal conference setting seal celebration second Bahá'í jubilee contribute unprecedented degree through character its deliberations solidity achievements scope accomplishments ultimate attainment shining goals World Crusade destined culminate not far distant Most Great Jubilee associated hundredth anniversary assumption Bahá'u'lláh His prophetic office -- SHOGHI
12.10.1953 Eve conclusion festivities commemorating centenary birth Bahá'u'lláhs ministry moved direct following specific message Hands assembled conference. In grateful recognition multiple bounties showered rapid succession army Lord Hosts course Holy Year auspiciously ushered through proclamation objectives world crusade whose opening months witnessed convocation heartPage 226
African continent first intercontinental teaching conference whose climax signalized simultaneous holding heart North America Intercontinental Conference Western Hemisphere dedication Mother Temple West launching Ten Year Plan whose record been ennobled two additional intercontinental gatherings successively convened European Asiatic continents all eleven Hands called upon arise enhance abiding value strenuous exemplary labours last twelve months constituting initial chapter their steadily unfolding world mission. Hour propitious morrow last intercontinental conference gird loins yet another still wider dispersal extending one or two months embracing Asia Africa Australasia purpose establishing close contact national assemblies advising assisting local assemblies individuals attain goals globe girdling plan. Adoption following itinerary recommended. Mason Remey Dorothy Baker Horace Holley India Pakistan Burma Ceylon Ugo Giachery Persia Valiullah Varqa Shuaullah Alai Iraq Turkey Egypt Clara Dunn Ali Akbar Furutan Australia New Zealand Zikrullah Khadem Malaya Japan Tarazullah Samandari Musa Banani Arabian Peninsula. Contributing three thousand pounds assistance execution meritorious enterprise. Urge Persian Indian Australian Egyptian Iraqi National Assemblies extend utmost assistance arrange schedules publicize Faith wherever advisable direct local assemblies utilize every means their power add momentum most ambitious undertaking embarked followers Bahá'u'lláh hundred ten years Bahá'í history -- SHOGHI
15.10.1953 As Holy Year expires overjoyed announce assembled believers no less thirteen additions roll honour since transmission last message conference week ago. Claire Gung Southern Rhodesia Ursula von Brunn Frisian Islands Richard NolenPage 227
family Azores Katherine Meyer Margarita Island Geraldine Craney Hebrides Fawzi Zeinolabedin family Spanish Morocco Manouchihr Hezari Morocco International Zone Chicago believer St. Thomas Island Ted Cardell South West Africa William Danjon Andorra Fred Jean Allen Cape Breton Island Frederick Elizabeth Laws Basutoland Amin Batt Rio de Oro. Total number virgin areas inscribed scroll with names conquerors since launching world crusade last Ridvan mounted fifty. Number territories included orbit Faith raised within unbelievably short time hundred seventyeight marking increase hundred countries since celebration first jubilee nine years ago. In addition sixty unopened areas bespoken including Ukraine Albania. No more eight volunteers required be despatched Ashanti Protectorate Bechuanaland Chagos Archipelago Comoro Islands Marquesas Islands Marshall Islands Spanish Sahara Tonga Islands in order ensure attainment preeminent goal global crusade excluding socialist republics satellite countries. Moment arrived last day year forever sanctified memory future generations owing its sacred associations be linked closing already narrow gap separating vanguard army crusaders victory most glorious phase grandest collective spiritual enterprise embarked organized firmly knit communities Most Great Name scattered planet -- SHOGHI
13.4.1954 Beloved Guardian feels utmost importance all virgin areas susceptible be settled before end Ridvan. 98 areas settled. Ten of remaining 18 outside iron curtain can should be settled during first year Crusade Guardian urges you consider settlement following areas most important task next three weeks Admiralty Anticosti Chagos Archipelago Cocos Comoro Hainan Loyalty Mariana MarshallPage 228
Portuguese Timor. In order assure spiritual victory Guardian extending settlement period to end Ridvan. This emergency should be followed vigorously daily by assembly in conjunction appropriate teaching committee. Cable progress fulfilment strategic goals this cable sent National Assemblies America Canada Australia India -- IOAS
26.4.1955 Cable immediately names new assemblies India Pakistan Burma -- SHOGHI
29.4.1955 Urge delegates rouse all communities concentrate objectives Plan particularly intensification teaching activities dispersal multiplication centres assemblies homefront consolidation centres allotted newly opened territories. Neglect sacred duties harmful interests Faith immediate sustained response essential -- SHOGHI