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LETTERS FROM THE GUARDIAN TO AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALANDPage 1
Upon my return, after a forced and prolonged absence, to the Holy Land, it is my first and most ardent wish to renew and strengthen those ties of brotherly love and fellowship that bind our hearts together in our common servitude to His Sacred Threshold.
The two years that have elapsed since the passing of our beloved Master have been for the Cause, as well as for mankind, years of deep anxiety and strain. The momentous changes that are taking place in the history of both have proved so swift and far-reaching as to arouse in certain hearts a strange misgiving as to their stability and future.
On one hand the remarkable revelations of the Beloved's Will and Testament so amazing in all its aspects, so emphatic in its injunctions, have challenged and perplexed the keenest minds, whilst the ever-increasing confusion of the world, threatened as never before with disruptive forces, fierce rivalries, fresh commotions and grave disorder, have well-nigh overwhelmed the heart and damped the zeal of even the most enthusiastic believers in the destiny of mankind.
And yet, how often we seem to forget the clear and repeated warnings of our beloved Master, who in particular during the concluding years of his mission on earth, laid stress on the severe mental tests that would inevitably sweep over his loved ones of the West ... tests that would purge, purify and prepare them for their noble mission in life.
And as to the world's evil plight, we need but recall the writings and sayings of Bahá'u'lláh, who, more than fifty years ago, declared in terms prophetic the prime cause of the ills and sufferings of mankind, and set forth their true and divine remedy. "Should the lamp of Religion be hidden", He declared, "chaos and confusion will ensue." How admirably fitting and applicable are these words to the present state of mankind!
Ours then is the duty and privilege to labour, by day, by night, amidst the storm and stress of these troublous days, thatPage 2
we may quicken the zeal of our fellow-man, rekindle their hopes, stimulate their interests, open their eyes to the true Faith of God and enlist their active support in the carrying out of our common task for the peace and regeneration of the world.
Let us take heart and be thankful to our beloved Abdu'l-Bahá, as we remember his manifold blessings and unfailing care and protection, ever since the hour of his departure from our midst. The flames of sedition, so maliciously kindled in the past by those who have dared to flout his will, are gone out for ever, and the fondest hopes of these evil plotters are now abandoned, doomed never to revive. He has indeed redeemed his promise!
It seemed not a long time ago that their agitation, so violently renewed immediately after the passing of our Beloved, would for a time confuse the Divine Message of Bahá'u'lláh, obscure His Covenant, retard the progress of His Cause, and shatter its unity; and yet how well we see them all today, not through our efforts, but by their own folly, and above all, by the intervention of the hidden hand of God, reduced to the vilest and most humiliating position.
And now, with the Cause purified and inwardly victorious, Its principles vindicated, Its enemies silenced and sunk in unspeakable misery, may we not, henceforth, direct all our efforts to collective action and constructive achievement; and in utter disregard of the flickerings of their fast-fading light, arise to carry out those urgent measures that will secure the outward and complete triumph of the Cause?
I for my part, as I look back to the unfortunate circumstances of ill-health and physical exhaustion that have attended the opening years of my career of service to the Cause, feel hardly gratified, and would be truly despondent but for the sustaining memory and inspiring example of the diligent and ceaseless efforts which my fellow-workers the world over have displayed during these two trying years in the service of the Cause.
I cherish the hope that, from now on the Beloved may bestow upon me all the strength and vigour that will enable me to pursue over a long and unbroken period of strenuous labour the supreme task of achieving, in collaboration with the friends in every land, the speedy triumph of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. This is the prayer I earnestly request all my fellow brethren and sisters in the Faith to offer on my behalf.Page 3
Let us pray to God that in these days of world encircling gloom, when the dark forces of nature, of hate, rebellion, anarchy and reaction are threatening the very stability of human society, when the most precious fruits of civilization are undergoing severe and unparalleled tests, we may all realize, more profoundly than ever, that though but a mere handful amidst the seething masses of the world, are in this day the chosen instruments of God's Grace, that our Mission is most urgent and vital to the fate of humanity and, fortified by these sentiments, arise to achieve God's holy purpose for mankind.Your brother in His service
The Guardian has deeply appreciated your message dated April 10th, and he has asked me to convey to you once more his grateful thanks for the services you are so continually rendering the Faith in your centre. The gratifying news has just reached him of the opening of the first Convention of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New-Zealand, and needless to say how deeply he was moved by this historic step you have been inspired to take for the consolidation of the Administration in your country. He feels confident that through such remarkable evidences of the self-sacrificing, heroic and united efforts of the Australian and New Zealand believers an increasing number of hitherto skeptical and unfriendly people will be gradually attracted to the Faith, and some of them will eventually join the ranks of the faithful.
Assuring you again of the Guardian's fervent prayers for the continued expansion of your Bahá'í activities, and with his best wishes and greetings to you and to all the friends in Adelaide,Yours in His Service,
I rejoice to learn of the momentous step the Bahá'ís of Australia and New-Zealand have taken. They will surely be reinforced by the hosts of the Kingdom, and deserve the praise and admiration of their fellow-believers throughout the world. Constancy, co-operation, unity and steadfast adherence to the spiritual and administrative principles of the Faith are essential during these days when the foundations of the Universal House of Justice are being laid through your devoted efforts in your own country. I will continue to pray for you from the depths of my heart.Your true brother,
I am directed by the Guardian to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of June 6th, written on behalf on the N.S.A. of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New-Zealand, and to convey to you, and to your collaborators on that Assembly his grateful appreciation of the stupendous efforts you have unanimously exerted for making your first Convention such a successful and promising meeting. Your collective and continued sacrifices, as well as the assistance and guidance of Bahá'u'lláh have surely been responsible for this historic triumph which you have been able to achieve in the administrative field of the Cause -- a triumph which will inevitably bring about a renewed and deeper spiritual consciousness to all the believers in these far-off lands.
Shoghi Effendi is praying from the very depths of his heart for your guidance and assistance, and hopes that as a result your National Assembly will be soon enabled to take such steps as would enable it to extend and to further consolidate its national as well as international activities.
With warm greetings to you and to all the friends in Adelaide,Yours in His Service,
My heart is filled with joy and gratitude as a result of the perusal of your letter. I long to be in close and constant touch with your newly-formed national assembly -- the first of your administrative activities and the herald of one of the most fruitful and stirring periods of the history of the Faith in that promising continent. I will be so glad to receive copies of the minutes of your gatherings, and urge you to keep in close touch with your sister assemblies throughout the Bahá'í world. I will assuredly pray for you and your dear and devoted collaborators from the depths of my heart.Your true brother,
I am directed by the Guardian to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated August 31st with its most interesting enclosures, all of which he has carefully read and considered. It is with deep gratification that he follows the progress and extension of the work of your N.S.A., and he hopes and prays that through the confirmations of the Almighty it will serve to give an increasing impetus to the progress of the Faith in your land.
The Guardian has read with particular interest the minutes of the meetings of your N.S.A. He hopes to receive them regularly, and thus to be in close and constant touch with your national activities.
In regard to your question as to whether it is permissible to substitute the plural pronoun for the singular in prayers worded in the singular, the Guardian would strongly urge your N.S.A. to inform the friends to strictly adhere to the text of the Holy Writings, and not to deviate even a hair-breadth from what has been revealed by the Holy Pen. Besides, it should be noted that congregational prayer has been discouraged by Bahá'u'lláh, and that it is allowed only in the case of the prayer for the dead.
Concerning the Healing Prayer, the Guardian wishes me to inform you that there is no special ruling for its recital. The believer is free to recite it as many times and in the way hePage 6
wishes. There are also no obligatory prayers for the Fast. But there are some specific ones revealed by Bahá'u'lláh for that purpose.
As to the instructions given in the little black covered Prayer Book, they are by no means complete and are only tentative. When the Book of Aqdas is published, the believers will have then full and authoritative prescriptions about the form of prayer, and other instructions and rulings of a spiritual character.
With loving greetings to you and to the members of the N.S.A.,Yours in His Service,
My constant prayers for the extension of the activities in which you and your dear fellow-labourers are so strenuously engaged will be offered on your behalf that the splendid era which you have inaugurated may redound to the glory and honour of the Most Great Name. I am truly proud of the manner in which my loved friends in Australia and New-Zealand have arisen to discharge their sacred and pressing responsibilities. Great triumphs, I feel convinced, are in store for them if they persevere in their mighty task. May the Almighty bless their high endeavours and enable them to achieve His purpose.Your true brother,
Your welcome letter of the 13th of December, together with the accompanying message of December 11th addressed to the Guardian by "The General Purposes and Business Committee" of the N.S.A. have all been duly received and deeply appreciated by him.
He has also received and read with great care and interest the enclosed copy of the minutes of the above-mentioned committee, and was pleased to realize that, despite the various impediments standing in the way of your Assembly, that body isPage 7
functioning smoothly and with one accord. He hopes that the various steps taken by your Committee in connection with the publication of the "Herald of the South" will all materialize and meet with success.
May I also in closing express the Guardian's appreciation of your efforts in connection with the management and direction of this monthly review, and also with regard to your activities in the field of teaching.
With his loving greetings to you and to your co-workers in the "Herald of the South" Committee, and with the assurance of his prayers for you all.Yours in His Service,
The repeated evidences of the strenuous efforts exerted by the believers in Australia and New-Zealand for the spread of the Cause and the rise and consolidation of its institutions have brought me intense joy and excited my deepest admiration. I urge them to persevere, to remain united, not to relax in their determination, and to strive with all their might to extend the scope of their meritorious activities. I will continue to pray for them from the bottom of my heart.Your true brother,
The Guardian has read with great care and interest your letter of the 24th of March last, and has noted with deep satisfaction the steady progress which your N.S.A. is making since its formation last year. He is particularly pleased and encouraged to realise how wisely and effectively your Assembly is adjusting itself to the general conditions and specific requirements of the Cause in Australia and New-Zealand, to such an extent that obstacles which a year ago seemed to be insurmountable have now, through the sustained and earnest efforts of the friends,Page 8
been partially if not completely removed. Your Assembly has, indeed, truly vindicated its ability and power to function as a well-organized and united body, and this in the face of manifold difficulties which the all-conquering spirit of the Faith could alone overcome. Nothing short of this Divine spirit, as expressed through the self-sacrificing and confident labours of the Australian and New-Zealand friends, could have so effectively subdued those forces which every now and then threatened to undermine the foundations of your Assembly, and thus overthrow the entire system of the Administration in your land.
Now that the N.S.A. has successfully emerged out of these difficulties and trials, the Guardian has every reason to believe that the progress thus far achieved will continue undiminished and undeterred by any obstacle, however formidable it may seem to appear.
In his moments of meditation and prayer at the Holy Shrines he will specially supplicate for the guidance and assistance of the N.S.A. and will supplicate Bahá'u'lláh to inspire its members in all their deliberations.
With his warmest and most loving appreciation and greetings to them and to all the friends in Adelaide.Yours in His Service,
I fully approve of the decisions arrived at by your assembly regarding the various issues referred to in your letter, and feel gratified to learn of the zeal, the constancy, the loyalty and the determination with which the national representatives of the believers in Australia and New-Zealand are prosecuting the noble work entrusted to them by the Almighty. I would urge you to take the necessary steps for the incorporation of your national assembly as soon as you adopt your Declaration of Trust and By-Laws, and I pray that the almighty hand of Bahá'u'lláh may guide and sustain you in your high and historic endeavours.Your true and grateful brother,
The Guardian has received your letter dated May 8th, and has carefully read and considered its contents. He wishes me to thank you for it, and specially to convey to you, as well as to the other members of your N.S.A., his hearty congratulations over the success that has attended your national elections this year. He hopes and prays that as years go by your Assembly will increasingly grow in unity and strength, and will demonstrate its capacity to cope with the manifold problems and difficulties with which it will be inevitably confronted as it forges ahead in its slow though steady progress towards the firmer establishment of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order throughout Australia and New-Zealand.
With regard to your question as to the advisability of disclosing to an individual believer the contents of the N.S.A.'s correspondence. The Guardian thinks that although this cannot be considered as constituting an obligation which a believer can impose upon the national body, yet, it would seem highly advisable that the N.S.A. should give a sympathetic consideration to any such request made to it by a believer. This, he feels, would avoid giving the impression that the assembly is working in an atmosphere of complete secrecy, and that it is motivated by dictatorial motives. The final decision in such matters; however, is entirely left to the discretion of the N.S.A. The basic principle that should always be remembered is that the N.S.A. cannot be required to reveal to any outsider all the details concerning its work. It may choose to do so if it wishes, but nobody has the right to enforce upon it any such action: This is, of course the purely legal side of the question. But a purely legalistic attitude in matters affecting the Cause, particularly now that the Faith is still in a state of infancy, is not only inadequate but fraught with unforeseen dangers and difficulties. The individuals and assemblies must learn to cooperate and to cooperate intelligently, if they desire to adequately discharge their duties and obligations towards the Faith. And no such cooperation is possible without mutual confidence and trust.
With loving greetings from the Guardian to you and to the members of the N.S.A. and with the assurance of his prayers on behalf of you all,Yours in His Service,
I cannot refrain from expressing in person my deep sense of gratitude and indebtedness to the beloved co-workers in that land for their splendid achievements in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í activity. I feel truly proud of your accomplishments. I will continue to supplicate for every one of you the Beloved's imperishable blessings.Rest assured and persevere.
On behalf of the Guardian I wish to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 8th of July last, with the enclosed copy of the minutes of the N.S.A. of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New-Zealand. I wish, in particular, to express his gratification at the news of the success of the last meeting of your N.S.A. held in Sydney. It gives him, indeed, much pleasure and encouragement to realize that your Assembly meetings are conducted with such a good deal of order and efficiency, and above all, in such a perfect spirit of unity and fellowship -- the few other obstacles and difficulties left, he feels confident, will in due time disappear. The foundation has been now firmly laid down, and the work is bound to develop and expand. The friends should, therefore, be confident, and should exert their utmost that the institutions they have so painstakingly and laboriously established should flourish and yield their fruit.
In connection with the N.S.A.'s decision regarding the appointment of Mrs. Axford and Mr. Inman to keep records of Australian and New-Zealand activities for the "Bahá'í World"; the Guardian wishes you to assure your fellow-members in the assembly that he fully endorses their choice. He also wishes you to impress the newly-appointed correspondents with the vital importance of their task, and to urge them to acquit themselves of it with thoroughness, efficiency and vigour.
Regarding dear Mr. Hyde Dunn's health; Shoghi Effendi is grieved beyond words to learn that he is growing so weak physically. Will you kindly assure him, as well as Mrs. Dunn, of hisPage 11
supplications for the amelioration of his health and for the complete restoration of his forces.
In closing will you also convey his love and greetings to the members of the N.S.A. and assure them once more of his continued prayers for their welfare, protection and guidance,Yours in His Service,
The detailed report of the activities of the national assembly -- the furthermost pillar of the Universal House of Justice which the high endeavours of the believers of Australia and New-Zealand have reared -- has filled my heart and soul with immense joy and gratitude. The Beloved is surely watching over and continually blessing your splendid accomplishments, the plans you have conceived, the methods you have devised, the efforts you are exerting, the services which you have rendered. I will continue to pray for the consolidation and uninterrupted expansion of your laudable activities in the service of so glorious and mighty a Cause. Never relax nor despair. The tender plant which your hands have raised and nurtured shall grow and will ultimately gather beneath its shadow the whole of that far-off and promising continent.Persevere and be happy.
The N.S.A. of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New-ZealandDear Bahá'í Friends,
Miss Effie Baker is leaving for Australia with the consent and full approval of the Guardian.
As you know for over ten years she has been devotedly working for the Cause in Haifa, as keeper of the Western Pilgrim House and also as the custodian of the International Bahá'í Archives. During this long period of service she has accomplished much for our beloved Cause, and she is now in need of somePage 12
rest after so many years of strenuous labours. She is going to join her mother, and will, it is hoped, prove of great help to the friends throughout Australia and New-Zealand in both their teaching and administrative activities.
The Guardian hopes, therefore, that the friends will give her all the opportunity she needs to help in the extension and consolidation of the Cause throughout Australia and New-Zealand.
He is entrusting Miss Baker with a beautiful and most precious present for the friends; it is one of the finest photographs of the Master which, he wishes your N.S.A. to place in your National Bahá'í Archives. He is, in addition, sending through her for the believers a bottle of attar of rose extracted by the friends in Persia.
With loving greetings and all good wishes for a most happy and prosperous New Year.Yours in His Service,
On behalf of the Guardian I acknowledge with thanks and appreciation the receipt of your letter of March 12th with enclosure. He is grateful for the warm assistance extended by your N.S.A. to Miss Effie Baker, and hopes that she will be of valuable assistance to you all, specially to the friends in Melbourne. The task of organizing the believers in that center is no doubt a very responsible one, and the Guardian trusts that she will be able to fully acquit herself of it.
Regarding the "Herald of the South" magazine, Shoghi Effendi very much appreciates the fact that in spite of the many difficulties that your Assembly had to overcome this review is being regularly published, and that its standard is gradually improving. He would call upon all the English-speaking friends to contribute, as often as they can, such articles for publication in that magazine as would serve to make it a more direct and effective teaching medium for the spread of the Cause throughout Australia and New-Zealand. He is advising the American N.S.A. to specially ask the cooperation of the American believers for that purpose, and hopes that the response they will make to this call will be such as to further encourage you in your splendid effortsPage 13
for the publication of this national organ of the Faith in Australia.
The Guardian would appreciate receiving detailed reports of the activities of the local assemblies, and would be very thankful if you send these to him as regularly as you can.
In closing may I ask you to convey his loving greetings to your distinguished fellow-members in the N.S.A. and to assure each and all of them of his supplications for their welfare and guidance. He also wishes you to express his best wishes to dear Father and Mrs. Dunn, and tell them how happy he is to learn that they are keeping in good health.Yours in His Service,
I am so glad to have received your letter and to have realised the progress of your activities. I trust and pray that the work in which the National Assembly is so energetically and devotedly engaged may steadily expand and be further consolidated. The teaching work is the corner-stone of its activities, the sole basis on which the administrative structure can flourish. A strenuous, systematic and continuous effort should, both individually and collectively, be now exerted to attain this supreme objective. With a heart full of gratitude I will pray for the success of your endeavours.Shoghi.
I am directed by the Guardian to thank you for your letter of the 30th March informing him of the date of Miss Kitty Carpenter's arrival in Port-Said. You can be sure that the friends will be most delighted to meet her, and to render her journey to Haifa as safe and comfortable as possible.
The Guardian himself is eagerly looking forward to the pleasure of meeting her, and cherishes the hope that through this pilgrimage she may receive a renewed stimulus to better work for the promotion of the Faith upon her return home.
The Guardian has also noted with deep satisfaction thePage 14
preparations made by your N.S.A. for this year's meeting in Melbourne. He is praying that in spite of the difficulties you have encountered in carrying out your plans this important gathering of the Australian and New-Zealand believers may prove another landmark in the history of the Cause throughout that Continent.
With loving greetings to you and your dear fellow-members,Yours in His Service,
May the Almighty bless you and your dearly-loved co-workers and fellow-members, and enable you all to proclaim far and wide the essential truths of this glorious Revelation and to lay unassailable foundations for its institutions.Your true and grateful brother,
I am instructed by our beloved Guardian to acknowledge with deepest thanks the receipt of your letter of March 30th written on behalf of the N.S.A. of Australia and New-Zealand.
He is rejoiced to learn of the projected formation of a Spiritual Assembly in Perth, and hopes that by the time this letter reaches you the assembly will have been duly constituted and will be functioning with the utmost unity, efficiency and vigour.
In this connection he wishes me to bring to your Assembly's attention the necessity of their taking the necessary steps for the incorporation of the N.S.A.. This step, he feels, is of a vital importance to the further development of your Assembly, and will no doubt give it more stability and an added influence, specially in the eyes of the general public.
The Guardian would also advise that the local assemblies take a similar step, and obtain official recognition from the authorities. In case the Auckland assembly has been registered in the government, will you be so kind as to send him photostatic reproductions of any registration papers or documents that the Auckland friends may have obtained from the authorities, as he wishes to have them published in the next "Bahá'í World".Page 15
As regards the photograph of your N.S.A; the Guardian wishes me to inform you that in going over the manuscript of the "Bahá'í World", which was sent to him from the States, he found your Assembly's picture already incorporated in it. The manuscript has now been sent back to America and is awaiting publication.With loving Bahá'í greetings,
The incessant efforts so devotedly exerted by the members of your distinguished assembly are assets that I greatly value and of which I am truly proud. I will fervently pray for the extension of your activities and the fulfilment of your dearest hopes. Rest assured and persevere.Your true and grateful brother,
Your detailed communication of July 14th written on behalf of the N.S.A. of Australia and New-Zealand, together with its enclosures have all duly arrived, and their contents read with deepest interest and appreciation by our beloved Guardian. Also the photographs and blocks have duly reached him, as well as the local Assembly reports sent under separate cover. Please accept his most sincere and grateful thanks for them all.
Regarding the proposed News Letter to be issued every three months by your N.S.A; this, the Guardian feels, is a splendid idea and can render a unique and much-needed help to your Assembly in its efforts for the establishment of the Administration, and the more effective functioning of its institutions throughout Australia and New-Zealand. Not only it has the great advantage of keeping the friends well-informed about the events and developments in the Cause, but in addition can help in consolidating the organic unity of the believers by bringing them within the full orbit of the N.S.A.'s jurisdiction. It is hoped that this body will do its utmost to maintain the publication of this bulletin, and willPage 16
make full use of this splendid medium for the further widening and consolidation of the foundations of the local as well as national assemblies.
As regards Mrs. ...'s request that you assist her in her project of uniting the believers through correspondence; this is of course a task which is quite secondary compared to the duties and responsibilities you are called upon to discharge as secretary of the N.S.A. Your secretarial work in that body imposes upon you a paramount obligation which no other service can equal in importance. All your other Bahá'í activities should be subordinated to your work in the N.S.A. which is, undoubtedly, the most vital and urgent among them all.
Concerning the Greatest Name; this term refers both to "Allah-u-Abha" and to "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha". The first is a form of Bahá'í greeting and should be used, while the other is an invocation, meaning "O Thou Glory of Glories!" These two words are both referred to as the Greatest Name.
The Guardian, while fully aware of the difficulties, both financial and otherwise which your N.S.A. is facing in connection with the publication of the "Herald of the South", feels nevertheless the urge to advise you to continue with this magazine and not to feel in the least discouraged if your efforts for meeting the expenses incurred for its printing and circulation, and for raising its literary standard, do not bring the expected results. He very deeply values the self-sacrificing and sustained efforts exerted by your Assembly in this connection. May Bahá'u'lláh richly reward you for all your meritorious endeavours.With warmest Bahá'í Greetings,
The work in which your National Assembly is engaged, and which it is prosecuting with such fidelity, diligence and perseverance is near and dear to my heart. You are laying an unassailable foundation for the erection of mighty Bahá'í institutions which future generations are destined to extend and perfect. Your pioneer work is arduous and highly meritorious. I feel proud of your achievements, realizing as I do the circumstances in whichPage 17
you labour. Abdu'l-Bahá is watching over you and is well-pleased with your services. Persevere and rest assured.Affectionately,
Our able and indefatigable co-worker Mr. Siegfried Schopflocher is on a tour to Australia, India and the Near East, and by the time this letter reaches you he may be already in your midst.
The Guardian wishes your N.S.A. to arrange for him to visit all the centers in Australia and if possible in New-Zealand too, and to make every effort to render his stay amongst you as abundant in its results as possible.
Mr. Schopflocher is surely known to you and to many friends in Australia. He is truly one of the most distinguished believers in the West. He has a deep knowledge of the Cause, and specially of the Administration, and has contributed a unique share towards its establishment and consolidation in the States. For many years a member of the American N.S.A., he revealed such great qualities of heart and mind as very few of his fellow-members were able to manifest. He supported valiantly and generously, and through both moral and financial means, the various institutions of the Cause, and in particular the institution of the Bahá'í Fund which, as you can well realize, is the foundation stone of every phase of Bahá'í activity.
In this connection it should be remembered that it was mainly due to his unfailing and most generous assistance that the Temple in Wilmette was built. The friends owe him indeed a great debt, and can never be too grateful for what he has accomplished, and is still so splendidly accomplishing, for the Faith in the West.
The Guardian hopes, nay he feels confident, your Assembly, as well as all the friends will extend a most cordial welcome to this dear and distinguished Servant of the Cause, and will fully avail yourselves of this splendid opportunity that has been offered you to further enrich the field of your experiences in the Faith.With warmest greetings,
On behalf of the Guardian I acknowledge with deepest thanks the receipt of your letter of the 17th October, and wish also to thank your Assembly for forwarding to him the photostatic reproduction of the registration certificate of the Assembly of Auckland. He fervently hopes that the formation of the Declaration of Trust of the N.S.A. will also be completed very soon, and that the difficulty you have encountered in this connection will be satisfactorily met and settled. He also trusts that the delay caused in registering the Sydney local assembly will be overcome, and that you will immediately proceed with the formation of your National Declaration of Trust. It is splendid, and a matter of deep satisfaction to our Beloved Guardian that in all these steps that you are taking for the administrative development and consolidation of the Faith in Australia and New-Zealand you are closely and faithfully following the example of America which, it should be admitted, occupies a pre-eminent rank among its sister communities in both the East and the West.
As regards the problem facing the N.S.A. in connection with the representation of Perth at the next Annual Convention; the Guardian believes that the fact that a certain assembly or community is not in a financial position to defray the expenses of its delegate or delegates does not constitute sufficient justification for depriving it from its sacred right of participation in the national elections and other activities of the Convention. Every assembly, no matter how poor, is entitled to take part in the Convention proceedings by sending one or more delegates to that meeting. It is absolutely essential that this principle be clearly understood and faithfully applied by the friends. Financial considerations can under no circumstances invalidate it, or allow the least compromise in its application. It is the duty of every N.S.A. to ensure that it will be carried out whenever the Convention elections are held.With loving greetings,
I would be very pleased to receive two more copies of the registration form of the Auckland Assembly and three copies of the form of the Adelaide Assembly some of which I shall place in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji. Will you also send me three copies of the registration form of every Assembly which will be incorporated in the future. The foundations which your National Assembly is now laying with such assiduous care and exemplary loyalty constitute a service that is truly historic and is highly meritorious in the sight of God. I feel deeply indebted to you for such splendid achievements. Persevere and never lose heart.Your true and grateful brother,
The Guardian has just received the first issue of the newsletter published by the N.S.A. of the Baha'i's of Australia and New-Zealand, and has read it all through with deepest pleasure and satisfaction. He wishes me to ask you to transmit to your fellow-members in that body his warmest thanks for this new step they have taken for the further consolidation of the Administration in their country, as well as his most hearty congratulations upon the ever-increasing success that is attending their labours in this field.
It is his fervent hope that this organ your Assembly has initiated will fully serve its purpose by intensifying the spirit of cooperation between the N.S.A. and all local assemblies, groups and isolated believers throughout Australia and New-Zealand. Such a medium, if properly utilized, can be of inestimable value to the believers, by further enriching their knowledge and understanding of the principles and actual functioning of the Administrative order of the Faith, and by maintaining alive, nay intensifying in them the desire to promote and safeguard its interests.
He would, therefore, earnestly appeal to every believer in Australia and New-Zealand to make full and continued use of this bulletin, and consider it as a most effective means to closer fellowship and to a deeper understanding of his duties andPage 20
responsibilities as builder of the New World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.
He is ardently praying to the Almighty to ever bless and guide your Assembly's endeavours in this connection,Yours in His Service,
I am instructed by the Guardian to inform you of the receipt of your letter of the 2nd January, and of the enclosed reports of the Adelaide and Auckland spiritual assemblies, and to renew to you, and through you to your fellow-members in the N.S.A., his grateful appreciation of the warm welcome you have so lovingly extended to that dear and distinguished servant of the Cause Mr. Siegfried Schopflocher during his visit to Australia and New-Zealand. It is his fervent hope that the spirit his visit has released will long serve to sustain the friends in their heavy task of expanding the foundations of the Administrative Order throughout that continent.
Regarding Mr. Bolton's question as to whether the Guardian has given any instructions to the friends as to the best way to make their investments secure during the coming world crisis; I am instructed to inform you that no such directions have been given either to any individual believer or to any assembly. The only advice which the Guardian wishes to give is that whatever investment the friends make they should do it with the utmost caution, as economic and financial conditions are at present most unstable and even precarious.
Shoghi Effendi has been very deeply grieved to learn of Mr. ...'s resignation from both the N.S.A. and the Sydney local Assembly, and of his request to leave altogether the Cause. He wishes me, however, to assure your Assembly not to feel discouraged at this truly sad happening, but to confidently strive to bring him back into the community. Should he persistently refuse to return, the best thing would be to leave him to himself, and to pray for him that Bahá'u'lláh may, in His infinite mercy and love, open again his eyes, and lead him out of the state of spiritual lethargy into which he has so sadly fallen.Page 21
With the assurance of the Guardian's best wishes, and of his continual prayers for you, and for your distinguished fellow-members in the N.S.A.,Yours Sincerely in His Service,
I am delighted with the progress of your activities and with your splendid achievements in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í service. The National Spiritual Assembly is laying a firm and unassailable foundation for the administrative Order of the Faith, and I wish to congratulate all its members and committees on the marvellous progress thus far achieved. I will continue to pray for them from all my heart. I will specially supplicate for the success of this coming Convention. May your hopes be fulfilled in every respect.Gratefully and affectionately,
On behalf of the Guardian I acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your letter of the 17th February with the enclosed report of the Sydney local assembly, and wish to express his gratification at the news of the progress which that community is making in the teaching work. He has noted with deep satisfaction that two new names have been added to their membership roll, and hopes that this step will mark the beginning of a new era of teaching expansion throughout that center. He wishes you to kindly congratulate the Sydney Assembly for this splendid success which their teaching efforts have won, and to urge them to continue in their endeavours for the attraction and confirmation of New Souls. May the Beloved aid, sustain and ever bless them in His service.
The Guardian is delighted to learn that the necessary arrangements for the holding of your next Annual Convention have been completed, and while he deplores the fact that owing to the long distances that separate the centers full attendance atPage 22
this national gathering would not be feasible, he nevertheless hopes that it will be a most successful meeting, and will be marked all through by a perfect spirit of unity and fellowship. He wishes you to assure the delegates of his prayers for the success of their deliberations, and to convey to them his warmest greetings and best wishes for a happy Ridvan.Yours ever in His Service,
P.S. Shoghi Effendi wishes me to express his thanks for the four reproductions of the Adelaide Assembly registration form and trust which you had enclosed in your letter, one of which he has ordered to be placed in Bahá'u'lláh's Mansion at Bahji, and another one he wishes to incorporate in the manuscript of the next "Bahá'í World" (vol. VII).H.R.
I am truly gratified and delighted to receive so many evidences of the zeal, the loyalty and the devotion with which the believers in Australia and New-Zealand are extending the range of their historic activities. I feel deeply grateful to them. I will most assuredly pray for them that the Beloved may bless their high endeavours and aid them to establish His Cause and proclaim far and wide its verities and teachings.Shoghi.
Your welcome communication of June 30 written on behalf of the N.S.A., as well as the accompanying papers and reports have all been received, and their contents read with keenest interest and appreciation by our beloved Guardian.
How rejoiced he feels to witness the increasing evidences of the growing progress of the community of the Australian and New-Zealand believers. The considerable work that they have accomplished during the last few years, in both the teaching and the administrative fields, could not indeed have been carried outPage 23
without the wise and effective leadership of your N.S.A. who, ever since its inception, has been functioning with a loyalty and efficiency that are truly remarkable.
The success of this year's Convention, as evidenced by the report of the proceedings you had sent, marks a further step in the process of steady consolidation through which the N.S.A. is passing, and indicates how strong are the loyalty and attachment which it has awakened among the body of the believers throughout Australia and New-Zealand.
It is the Guardian's fervent hope that this confidence which your Assembly has inspired will be further strengthened during the course of this year, and that this in turn will deepen in the members the sense of the heavy responsibility they have to shoulder for the extension and consolidation of Bahá'í work throughout that continent.
Now as regards your Assembly's question concerning a tie vote; as the point raised is a secondary matter it is left to the discretion of your N.S.A.
In the case of voting for less than nine individuals; it is not compulsory that a ballot paper should contain necessarily nine votes. The individual voter may record less than nine names, if he chooses to do so.
With renewed greetings and thanks from the Guardian to you and your fellow-members in the N.S.A.,Yours ever in His Service,
I am delighted with the manifold evidences of the progress achieved through the concerted efforts of the Australian and the New-Zealand believers under the able direction of their elected national representatives. I feel proud of their accomplishments, highly approve of their plans and projected enterprises, feel grateful for the spirit that animates them, and cherish bright hopes for the extension of their activities. May the Beloved guide their steps, cheer their hearts and enable them to diffuse far and wide the teachings and spirit of His Cause.Gratefully and affectionately,
Your letter of the 17th July enclosing Miss Ethel Dawe's communication requesting permission to visit the Holy Land has been duly received by our beloved Guardian, and he has directed me to inform you that, at your suggestion, he has cabled Miss Dawe directly to London, extending to her a hearty welcome to visit the Holy Shrines in the next fall.
He hopes that in the meantime nothing will happen to alter or upset her plans, and that she will be given the privilege and joy of undertaking this much-desired pilgrimage to Haifa.
Hoping this will find you and all the Adelaide friends in the best of health, and with loving greetings to you and to them,Yours ever in the Cause,
Wishing you success from all my heart, and assuring you of my continued prayers for the realisation of your highest hopes,Your true brother,
The Guardian wishes me to express his loving thanks for your letter of the third instant, enclosing the half-yearly reports of the Perth and Auckland Spiritual Assemblies, all of which he has been delighted to read.
He wishes you to write the Auckland Assembly assuring them of his approval of the request they have made on behalf of Miss Kitty Carpenter for permission to visit Haifa. He has every hope that through this pilgrimage she will be greatly refreshed and strengthened spiritually, and will upon her return home impart to the friends in New-Zealand some measure of the inspiration she will gain through close contact with the Holy Shrines.
Before closing the Guardian also wishes me to express the hope that your N.S.A.'s plan of holding a meeting in MelbournePage 25
during the course of this year may be realized, and that the occasion may serve to lend a fresh impetus to the growth of the Cause in that city. He is fervently praying for the success of your Assembly's efforts in this connection.
Reciprocating your greetings and with renewed and warmest thanks,Yours in His Service,
The work in which you and your dear fellow-members are so devotedly, so loyally and diligently engaged, is progressing in a manner that is highly gratifying and merits the highest praise. I feel increasingly proud of, and thankful for the achievements that signalize the rise of the administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in Australia and New-Zealand. Generations yet unborn will extol those qualities and virtues that have enabled you all to render such great services to our beloved Cause. Persevere, be happy and confident.Shoghi.
The Guardian was indeed pleased to receive your letter of the 16th ins. informing him of Miss Dawe's safe arrival in Australia, and of the receipt of the precious relic which he had asked her to present to your N.S.A. for preservation in your National Archives.
He wishes you to assure your fellow-members of his full approval of their suggestion to place this sacred relic in a little miniature frame case, and in such manner as to keep the paper containing it from becoming soiled and frayed with constant handling.
In connection with the article published in the October number of the "Herald of the South" entitled "Above the Mists"; the Guardian wishes the believers to disregard such subjects as psychic practices and phenomena, for these besides not beingPage 26
authenticated by the Writings of the Founders of the Faith, pertain mostly to the domain of conjectures. The magazine of the "Herald of the South" should be devoted to the study and presentation of those subjects that reflect the spirit of the Teachings, and which as such are worthy of consideration by the believers. As the national organ of the Australian and New-Zealand friends its main function is to assist in disseminating the knowledge of the Cause, and thus develop into an effective teaching medium. This is the goal which the editors should have constantly in mind, and which they should endeavour to attain through the best possible means they can devise at present.
The Guardian wishes me in closing to express his thanks for sending him the reproductions of the Declaration of Trust certificate of your N.S.A., and for the reports of the Adelaide and Sydney assemblies, as well as the photograph and report of the Yerrinbool Summer-School.
With his loving greetings to you and to your fellow-members in the N.S.A.,Yours ever in His Service,
I am so touched by the repeated and compelling evidences of the magnificent spirit that animates my dearly-beloved co-workers in Australia and New-Zealand. The record of their manifold accomplishments warms my heart and cheers my spirit. The Beloved is truly pleased with them and the Almighty will surely bless and reinforce their high endeavours. May their highest and dearest hopes be fulfilled in His Service.Shoghi.
I am instructed by our beloved Guardian to express his thanks for your communication of May 14th, with the enclosed copy of the resolutions passed by the Australian and New-Zealand N.S.A. in its April meeting held in Melbourne. He has also noted with deep satisfaction the program of the public meeting youPage 27
had arranged on that occasion, and is very much heartened to know that the response from the public has been most genuine and quite beyond your expectations.
The general situation of the Cause in Melbourne, however, has caused immense grief to his heart, specially as the believers themselves are losing interest and seem to be drifting away. The decision taken by your Assembly to hold the next Annual Convention there, with the view of encouraging and guiding the friends to re-organise their activities, and also in order to stimulate the progress of the teaching work in that center is most splendid. The Guardian would strongly advise that in the meantime every effort be exerted, through such means as the N.S.A. may find feasible and effective, to bring back into the Community those members who have already left, and to take immediate measures to discourage those who contemplate doing so.
With reference to Miss Martha Root's projected teaching trip to your shores; the Guardian highly appreciates the cordial invitation extended to her by your Assembly, and has every hope that through her splendid zeal, mature and wide experience in the teaching field, she will be able to lend an unprecedented impetus to the expansion and consolidation of the teaching work throughout Australia and New-Zealand during this coming winter.
In closing I wish to convey through you to the newly-elected N.S.A. the Guardian's heartfelt congratulations and sincere greetings, and to assure them of his prayers, that throughout their new term of office, they may be assisted in acquitting themselves befittingly of their task.
Also kindly extend to them his loving thanks for the expression of deep sympathy which they have conveyed to him on their behalf, and in the name of the believers in New-Zealand and Australia, in the passing away of the Holy Mother, Munirih Khanum.Yours in His Service,
I truly admire the manner in which the national representatives of the believers of Australia and New Zealand are discharging their responsibilities and fulfilling their vital and manifoldPage 28
functions. I, moreover, feel eternally thankful for the spirit which the believers themselves manifest, the support they extend to them, the vigilance, steadfastness and self-sacrifice that distinguish the record of their services. The foundations they are laying will endure and broaden as the days go by, and the institutions they are erecting will multiply a thousandfold if they persevere in the path they are now treading. The blessing of the Abha Beauty will enable them to achieve still greater victories if they refuse to hesitate and falter.Gratefully,
I am directed by the Guardian to acknowledge with thanks your Assembly's communication of October 6th.
Regarding the need you have expressed for a small, inexpensive prayer book for use by the friends in Australia and New Zealand; he views with favour this idea, but does not advise the use of the translations given in the Bahá'í Prayer Book, as these are mostly incorrect and inadequate renderings. He wishes you to preferably select from the book "Prayers and Meditations", recently published in America, suitable prayers for a small edition.
The Guardian wishes me to express his gratification at the news of the enrolment of three new members in the Sydney Bahá'í group, and of two others in the Auckland community. He will pray that these new believers may continue deepening in their faith, and in their understanding of the Teachings, and that each of them may arise and lend every assistance in his power to the further expansion and firmer consolidation of the Faith in that far-off continent.
The three reproductions of the Sydney Registration Certificate which you have mailed under separate cover have been duly received, and one of them will shortly be placed in the Mansion at Bahji.Page 29
The projected visit of Miss Martha Root to your shores next winter, the Guardian hopes, will as on her previous journeys serve to impart a fresh stimulus to the friends in Australia and New-Zealand and inspire them with a renewed determination to re-consecrate themselves to the service of the Cause. Your Assembly should extend to her a warm welcome and every support she requires for the success of her mission. May her noble endeavours, seconded by the energetic and diligent efforts of the believers, result in inaugurating a new era of teaching expansion throughout the Australian continent.With warmest greetings from the Guardian,
The visit of our dear and cherished sister and exemplary co-worker, Martha, to your shores is approaching and I feel confident that her collaboration with you will lend an unprecedented impetus to the advancement of the Faith. Laden with laurels, animated by an unquenchable spirit, armed with a faith that none can surpass, she will, I feel sure, contribute magnificently to the magnificent work her co-workers in Australia and New Zealand have so valiantly achieved and are so energetically and methodically extending. My prayers for you and for her will continue to be offered with a heart filled with pride, joy and gratitude.Your true brother,
Your letter of January 17th, enclosing one addressed to the Guardian by the Sydney Spiritual Assembly, have both duly arrived, and their contents read by him with deepest satisfaction and with feelings of unbounded gratitude.
He is writing the Sydney Assembly separately, assuring themPage 30
that Miss Davis who is on a world tour, would be most welcome to visit the Holy Shrines in Haifa and Bahji, but he himself is exceedingly sorry not to be able to meet her, as he is at present away from the Holy Land, and may not be back to Haifa before some time. He hopes, nevertheless, Miss Davis will benefit from her close contact with the Sacred Places of the Faith, and will gain such experiences as will stimulate still further her interest in the Cause, and lead her gradually to fully and unreservedly embrace its truth.
Regarding the extensive preparations made by the N.S.A. in connection with the teaching travels of our indefatigable and highly-esteemed Bahá'í sister Miss Martha Root throughout Australia and New-Zealand; the Guardian feels truly delighted and profoundly grateful to your Assembly for the befitting welcome you have extended to her, and for the arrangements you have made for her to broadcast her speeches, and to contact as many individuals and organisations as her time and health permit. You are certainly fully availing yourself of the opportunity of her presence in your midst to further intensify the campaign of teaching throughout Australia, and you can rest assured that Bahá'u'lláh will reinforce and bless your endeavours for the accomplishment of so vital and so sacred a task.
The draft for thirty pounds which you had enclosed in your letter, representing the contribution of the believers of Australia and New-Zealand toward the International Fund of the Cause, has been received with grateful appreciation by our beloved Guardian, and he wishes your Assembly to kindly convey to all the friends his deep sense of gratitude, as well as his profound admiration, for the exemplary devotion and loyal attachment to the Cause that has prompted them to make such generous donations.
With renewed and heartfelt thanks for your very kind letter, and reciprocating your greetings,Yours in His Service,
I am so glad and grateful for the plans you have conceived for the reception, and organisation of the work, of Martha duringPage 31
her visit to your shores. The community of the believers in Australia and New Zealand is making remarkable progress in every phase of its activities, and deserves the highest praise in its magnificent and incessant labours. I am proud of the quality of its faith and the range of its achievements. May the Beloved infuse into each one of its members a greater measure of His power and of His spirit that will enable them to seek nobler heights in their historic service to His Cause!Your true and grateful brother,
Your communication of February the 12th addressed to our beloved Guardian, informing him of Martha's safe arrival in Australia, has been received, and he was made truly happy to know how cordially and befittingly she had been welcomed by the friends. The wide acclamation with which you have greeted her upon her arrival, and the kind solicitude and warm affection you have displayed towards her by arranging for dear Dr. Bolton to give her the necessary treatment soon after her landing in Adelaide -- such spontaneous expressions of your deep set admiration and love for this valiant and indefatigable star-servant of the Cause must have surely greatly warmed and touched her heart.
Your N.S.A., no less than the local assemblies of Perth and Adelaide, has undoubtedly spared no effort to use her presence as an opportunity for giving the Faith every publicity possible through both the radio and the press. It is to be hoped that before long the results of this campaign of publicity will be made apparent, and a good number of sincere and intelligent inquirers will be led to investigate and seriously study the Teachings, and enrol later on in the Community.
While the Guardian wishes the friends to take full advantage of Martha's presence and invite her to speak and teach as frequently as her energies permit, yet he would advise that they should also take great care lest her health be seriously impaired through overwork, specially as she is already so frail, having extensively travelled and tirelessly laboured for a whole year throughout India. He would further entreat the believers to joinPage 32
him in ardently supplicating Bahá'u'lláh to continue bestowing upon our well-beloved and distinguished sister all the strength and energy that she requires for the continuation and successful termination of her teaching tour throughout Australia and New-Zealand.
With reference to Mr. and Mrs. Bolton's request for permission to visit Haifa during next October or November, the Guardian wishes you to assure them that they would be most welcome to undertake this pilgrimage through which, he hopes, they will get refreshed spiritually and filled with renewed vigour and added determination to labour for the further promotion of the Faith upon their return home.
With the season's best greetings to you and all the friends,Yours ever in His Service,
How deeply I appreciate what you and your dear collaborators are achieving for the success of Martha's work amidst you. My heart brims over with gratitude for the manner in which you approach your task, discharge your duties and extend the range of your local and national activities. With your deeds you are demonstrating in that far-off continent what the power of the Greatest Name can achieve when it operates through channels that are pure, and receptive to its outpouring grace. My prayers are being continually offered for you all. Rest assured and be happy.Your true and grateful brother,
On behalf of our beloved Guardian I acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your deeply-appreciated message written on behalf of our Australian N.S.A., and of various materials, including Assembly reports and photographs of the Yerrinbool Summer-School, mailed under separate cover, all of which reached himPage 33
safely, and for which kindly convey his heart's deepest gratitude to your Assembly.
He has read with great pleasure the account of Miss Root's last few weeks in Australia, and feels exceedingly gratified and thankful at this renewed evidence of the loving hospitality so spontaneously and generously extended to her by all the friends in each center she visited, and wishes me, in particular, to convey to you and to dear Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne his special thanks for having kindly offered to accompany our precious and well-beloved sister throughout the last stages of her journey to Melbourne and Tasmania. May Bahá'u'lláh richly reward you with His choicest blessings for all the tender care and affection you lavished upon her all through her teaching itinerary, and may He sustain, strengthen and guide you in your endeavours to further enrich and consolidate the notable teaching results she was able to accomplish in your midst during all these months.
The Guardian was highly encouraged to hear of the news of the confirmation of Miss Lamprill's friend, and earnestly hopes and prays that through the combined, sustained, and loving exertions of these two dear believers the Cause will gradually make a headway in Hobart, and a group of well-confirmed souls will soon be established in that center. Kindly convey to these friends the expression of his warmest good wishes for the extension and success of their labours in service to our beloved Faith, and do urge them whole-heartedly, joyously and confidently persevere in their task of promulgating the message in Hobart.
With regard to Mrs. Routh's request for permission to visit Haifa; much as the Guardian desires her to undertake such longed for visit to the Holy Shrines, he feels that owing to the continued disturbances agitating the Holy Land, and which give no sign of abating, it would be inadvisable for her to come at such a dangerous time. He hopes some day when the situation will have returned to normal in Palestine, she will have an opportunity of undertaking this pilgrimage.
Assuring you, and your newly-elected fellow-members in the N.S.A. of his continued prayers and best wishes, and with affectionate greetings to all the friends,Yours in His Service,
The recent evidences of your marvellous activities in the service of our beloved Faith have brought infinite joy to my heart. The institutions you are so devotedly and laboriously erecting, multiplying and perfecting, notwithstanding your limited numbers, the scarcity of Bahá'í teachers and proper facilities, and despite your limited resources and the varied obstacles in your way, attest the splendid progress you have achieved and augur well for the future of your historic work in His service. The summer-school is but one of those institutions which you have established with such a rare spirit of devotion, such magnificent loyalty and such assiduous care. The foundation you have laid is broad, solid and unassailable. The rising generation who will build upon it will extol your virtues, ennoble your task, preserve the record of your acts, and transmit to posterity the great tradition which you are now so happily and nobly establishing. My heart brims over with gratitude for all that you are achieving, and is filled with hopes for all that you will achieve in the near and distant future. Perseverance, fidelity, redoubled effort, will enable you to reap a rich harvest and to attain your shining goal.Your true and grateful brother,
Your communications dated April 22nd and August 23rd written on behalf of the N.S.A. of Australia and New-Zealand with the enclosed reports have all been safely received, and their contents noted with feelings of deepest satisfaction and gratitude by our beloved Guardian.
Also he has received the copy of the Mittagong Star, the reproduction of registration certificate, the three snaps and the three photographs which you had mailed under separate cover, for all of which he wishes you to heartily thank the N.S.A. on his behalf.
He wishes you, in particular, to convey his warmest greetings and congratulations to the members of the newly-elected N.S.A., whose names he has been very pleased to note, and to assurePage 35
them of his prayers for their guidance and confirmation in the discharge of their heavy and sacred duties and responsibilites throughout this year. Despite the sorrow and distress created by the war, and the heavy sacrifices it is increasingly imposing upon the community of the faithful throughout Australia and New-Zealand, he confidently hopes that your Assembly, with the help and support of all the believers in that land, will continue prosecuting, with the same devoted zeal, resourcefulness and determination as before, its twofold task of extending the scope of the teaching work, and of further consolidating the foundations of the Administration. The unity and efficiency with which it has been functioning in the past year, as attested by the rich record of its accomplishments, indeed augur well for the future of its activities, and it is the Guardian's fervent hope that, notwithstanding the delay and dislocation which the prosecution of the war has inevitably occasioned, it will continue to advance and prosper, and receive unforeseen opportunities of spreading and of strengthening the foundations of the Cause throughout that far-off Continent.
In this time of world calamity his thoughts and prayers are often with our dearly-beloved friends in Australia and New Zealand, and he is ardently supplicating Bahá'u'lláh, on their behalf, that He may bestow upon them such measure of His guidance, protection and strength as would enable them to courageously and successfully meet the tests and trials of the days ahead.
Assuring you, in closing, of his special prayers on your own behalf, and reciprocating your greetings,Yours in His Service,
The report of your activities and of those of your fellow-workers, undertaken at such a time, and despite such difficulties and with such a courage, devotion, determination, thoroughness and fidelity, deserves indeed the highest praise and constitutes a powerful evidence of the unconquerable Spirit and the ever-extending range, and the ever-deepening influence of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. Your work is surely blessed by Him, and yourPage 36
fellow-labourers in distant lands derive great encouragement and inspiration from the incessant and remarkable efforts you are so devotedly exerting. Persevere and rest assured that I will, with increasing fervour, pray on your behalf at the Holy Shrines,Your true and grateful brother,
At the Guardian's direction I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of December 17th just arrived, together with the copy of the resolutions passed by the N.S.A. of Australia and New-Zealand in its August meeting, as well as the copy of the statement on the "Bahá'í Attitude to War" recently issued by your Assembly. He found that statement most satisfactory both in its form and in its clear and comprehensive presentation of the underlying principles governing the collective attitude of the believers in this vital issue of the hour.
The friends should indeed make a careful study of this statement, so as to be able to intelligently and correctly answer any questions put to them either by the authorities or individual inquirers.
The Guardian has been particularly pleased to note that the response of the Prime Minister, and of the premier of Victoria and other ministers to whom you had submitted a copy of the above statement has been so cordial, and he feels relieved to know that through this action of your Assembly any doubts or misapprehensions regarding the attitude of the Bahá'ís to war have been dispelled, and that the authorities feel, as a result, much more favourable towards the Cause, now that they know for themselves that it is entirely non-political in character and that it enjoins absolute loyalty and obedience to the Government.
This opportunity your Assembly has had of establishing direct contact with the authorities is indeed a step of vital significance to the Cause in Australia and New-Zealand, and is bound to pave the way for its ultimate recognition as an independent religious Faith, entitled to the same rights and privileges which other religious bodies and institutions enjoy in that land.
The Guardian wishes me in closing to express his deepfeltPage 37
appreciation of your teaching services in Melbourne and Hobart, in which cities you seem to have accomplished such splendid work, both in introducing the Cause to the general public and by assisting the friends in better conducting their teaching and administrative activities.
May the Beloved ever bless and guide your efforts, and may He also strengthen and confirm your fellow-members in the N.S.A. in the discharge of their arduous duties and responsibilities. To you and to them all he sends his warmest greetings,Yours in His Service,
The manner and spirit in which the dearly-beloved friends in Australia and New Zealand are discharging their multifarious and sacred responsibilities, in these days of strife and peril, augur well for the future of their mission in that far-off continent. The sound lines along which the administration of the Faith is evolving, the courage and fidelity with which they defend the integrity and assert the claims, and proclaim the verities of their beloved Cause are evidences of their onward march and the potentialities with which they are endowed. I rejoice and am thankful. I will continue to pray and seek for them still greater blessings.Your true and grateful brother,
Shoghi Effendi has instructed me to answer your letter of March 16th, 1941.
He was very pleased to learn that Mother Dunn has accepted in such a noble and exemplary Bahá'í spirit the loss of dear Father Dunn, and that the friends of Sydney are preparing a full description of his death and the funeral. The Guardian would like very much to receive all such histories and reports for the next Vol. of "Bahá'í World". He would also like you to send him three good photographs of Father Dunn and some of his grave and tombstone -- whenever the latter are available.Page 38
The truly remarkable services of Hyde Dunn will never be forgotten. They have added a golden page to the history of the Formative Period of our Faith. The whole-hearted response to Abdu'l-Bahá'í call, raised more than twenty years ago, which he and Mother Dunn made; their quiet and unassuming sacrifices for the Cause; the wisdom and permanence with which he laid the foundations of the work in Australia and New-Zealand; and the faithful love with which both of these noble souls tended the growing institutions of the Faith -- all constitute a landmark in the victorious progress of the Faith. He is indeed the spiritual conqueror of that continent!
The Guardian was very impressed by your Assembly's recent statement published in the January issue of "Bahá'í Quarterly". So much so that he felt impelled to have the American N.S.A. publish it in "Bahá'í News" and also have it read at the annual Convention. He feels that in excellent form you have presented the very essence of the Bahá'í attitude on these matters. This has further strengthened his conviction that the Bahá'ís of Australia and New-Zealand display a remarkable soundness in their views on all matters concerning the Faith, a characteristic which greatly pleases him.
Concerning your question whether a Bahá'í Burial Service can be conducted for non-Bahá'ís if requested by them: if non-Bahá'ís desire that the believers should conduct such a service there is no objection at all.
The contemplated teaching trip of Miss Brooks, Mrs Hawthorne and Mrs Moffit to Queensland, meets with the Guardian's whole-hearted approval. He will pray in the Holy Shrines that its outcome will be richly blessed and fruitful.
He was very sorry to learn that Miss Stevenson has passed on. He will pray for her joy and advancement in the Worlds beyond. She had the great honour and blessing of being the first New-Zealand believer and her reward must be great.
With the assurance of Shoghi Effendi's most loving prayers for you all and with Bahá'í greetings,Yours in His Service,
P.S. He wishes me also to thank you for the Naw-Ruz and Ridvan greetings from all the dear friends in Australia and New Zealand.Page 39
The community of the Most Great Name in these far-off islands have lost a great leader, a stalwart upholder of the new World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. The influence he has exercised will however continue to live, and the example he has set will inspire the rising generation to perform deeds as great and brilliant as those which will ever remain associated with his name. Our dear friend, Mr. Hyde Dunn, will, from his exalted station intercede on your behalf, and you should, on your part strive to emulate one whom Bahá'í historians will recognise and acclaim as Australia's spiritual conqueror. I will pray for his dear spiritual children from the depths of my heart.Your true brother,
The passing of yet another staunch and indefatigible worker, Miss Stevenson, constitutes yet another loss to the believers in that continent. The work which that exemplary pioneer has achieved however is imperishable. Kindly assure her relatives of my deepfelt sympathy.Sh.
The Guardian has instructed me to answer your welcome letter to him of June 20th, with all its good news.
The response your teaching work met with in Brisbane is truly most encouraging and shows a remarkable receptivity on the part of the people of Australia to the Divine Message. Shoghi Effendi hopes that you will be able to undertake many such trips in furtherance of the teaching work and that an increasing number of the friends will do likewise.
Indeed all the news that comes from the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand bears witness to the soundness of their understanding of the teachings, their loyalty and devotion to the Cause and its laws, and the excellence of their faith itself.
The Guardian has recently written a long general letter to the Bahá'ís of the West. Owing to its length and the difficulty ofPage 40
sending a large number of manuscripts abroad at such a time, he has requested the N.S.A. of America to forward it to the other National Spiritual Assemblies. He trusts it will soon reach you.
The news received of the Winter session of the Yerrinbool school was very encouraging. Shoghi Effendi hopes that many of these points of community contact, such as school sessions, teaching conferences -- whatever form of activity is most feasible -- will be increasingly inaugurated, as they are of vital importance in fostering the work of the Cause.
He most deeply appreciates your own untiring services in promotion of the Faith in all its branches. You may rest assured that he will often pray for you, and he will also pray for the confirmation of those souls whom you and Mrs. Hawthorne attracted during your recent trip.With Bahá'í love,
P.S. The Guardian has not yet received the record of Martha's voice nor photographs of Father Dunn. Will you kindly send one copy of each to him as soon as convenient.R. R.
It is indeed thrilling to note the rapidity and soundness with which the flourishing Bahá'í community in that far-off land is establishing the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, is fearlessly proclaiming its truths, upholding its verities and standards, multiplying its institutions, defending its interests, disseminating its literature, and exemplifying its invincible power and spirit. I rejoice, feel proud, and am eternally grateful. I cannot but pray, with redoubled fervour, to Him Who so manifestly guides and sustains you, to increase your numbers, to remove every barrier that obstructs your path, to safeguard your unity, to bless your undertakings and to enable you to demonstrate, afresh and with still greater force, the reality of the faith that animates you in the discharge of your sacred duties. Be assured and persevere.Shoghi.
The Guardian has instructed me to answer your letters dated Sep. 23rd. and Oct. 1st, and to acknowledge the receipt of the manuscript you sent for "Bahá'í World" vol. IX, also the photographs of Father Dunn's home and his own picture.Regarding the questions you asked in your letter:
No. 1. Confucius was not a Prophet. It is quite correct to say he is the founder of a moral system and a great reformer.
No. 2. The Buddha was a Manifestation of God, like Christ, but his followers do not possess his authentic writings.
No. 3. Zoroaster was not Abraham; the Muslims, some of them, contend that they were the same, but we believe they were two distinct Prophets. There is a misunderstanding in the reference in "Bahá'í Proofs" to this matter.
No. 4. There are no Prophets, so far, in the same category as Bahá'u'lláh, as He culminates a great cycle begun with Adam.
No. 5. The Greatest Name is the Name of Bahá'u'lláh. "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha" is an invocation meaning: "O Thou Glory of Glories"! "Allah-u-Abha" is a greeting which means: "God the All-Glorious". Both refer to Bahá'u'lláh. By Greatest Name is meant that Bahá'u'lláh has appeared in God's Greatest Name, in other words, that He is the Supreme Manifestation of God.
No. 6. Revelations 3.12, refers to the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh.
No. 7. References in the Bible to "Mt. Paran" and "Paraclete" refer to Muhammad's Revelation. Deuteronomy 33.2; Genesis 21.21.; Numbers 12.16; Numbers 13.3.; Genesis 17.20 refers to the twelve Imams and in the Revelation of St. John, Chap. 11.; where it mentions two witnesses, it refers to Muhammad and Ali.
No. 8. The statement in the "Gleanings", p. 64-65, "who out of utter nothingness.." etc., should be taken in a symbolic and not literal sense. It is only to demonstrate the power and greatness of God.
No. 9. The Guardian considers that the gist of what Mrs. Hanford Ford reported can be considered quite correct.
No. 10. The figures 1290 date from the declaration of Muhammad, ten years before His flight to Medina.Page 42
No. 11. The intercalary days are specially set aside for hospitality, the giving of gifts, etc. Bahá'u'lláh Himself specified that they be used this way, but gave no explanation for it.
No. 12. The Bahá'í Summer-Schools were originated in America to meet the requirements of the friends. They have been adopted by other Bahá'í communities the world-over, but there is no reason why they should be called "Summer Schools". There is nothing rigid about the term, it is purely descriptive. The Guardian feels that although you can have the immediate affairs of your Summer-Schools managed by a convenient local assembly, they should remain under the direct supervision of the National Spiritual Assembly as they are national in character and not purely local.
A few days ago Mr. Jim Heggie came to see the Guardian. He was able to visit all the shrines and archives as well. Shoghi Effendi was delighted with him, he found him devoted, full of faith and zeal, and very well read in the teachings. He feels that if this is a sample of the Bahá'í youth of Australia, there is, indeed, a wonderful future ahead of that country!
He will be very pleased to receive the picture of Father Dunn's grave as soon as it is available.
The Guardian assures you and the members of the National Spiritual Assembly that his prayers are constantly being offered on your behalf. He is so very pleased with the good news he receives of your activities and the spread of the Cause in those distant lands.
Only yesterday he was reading a most heartening and enthusiastic report of the work in Tasmania, which greatly cheered him.
Dark as these days are he feels confident that the Australian and New-Zealand Bahá'ís will continue with unabated devotion to carry on their excellent and exemplary services to the Faith.
His prayers are with them all, and his loving gratitude goes out to you who lead and co-ordinate their activities.With warm Bahá'í greetings
In these days when perils are increasingly threatening that far-off continent, the most distant outpost of our beloved Faith, my thoughts turn with deepening anxiety, solicitude, and love to those who are so valiantly holding aloft the banner of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. I appeal to every one of them, and particularly to the members of the assemblies who safeguard their interests, not to allow any disturbance, suffering, or anxiety to dim the splendour of their faith, to deflect them from their high purpose, to cause any division in their ranks, to interfere with the steady consolidation and expansion of their activities and institutions. I will specially pray that the work they have magnificently initiated, and so marvellously and soundly developed may suffer no setback, but rather continue to develop and yield its destined fruit. Persevere and rest assured.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter, with enclosures, of Nov. 8th reached the Guardian safely, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
His thoughts and prayers are very often with the Australian Bahá'ís in these difficult and dangerous times. They are now facing a much more acute situation than hitherto. But whatever of trial and affliction the immediate future may hold for them, we know that the destiny of mankind is in the firm grasp of Bahá'u'lláh, and that He will guide it to its ultimate and highest goal. This assurance is more precious than life itself, it is our anchor in every difficulty and trial.
The Guardian was very happy to know that the work in Brisbane is progressing, and that the Cause is more and more coming before the public and reaching the attention of prominent people.
He feels the believers must continue to do their utmost to acquaint their fellow-citizens with the teachings, that they may at least hear of the Bahá'í ideals, whether they are ready to accept them yet or not.Page 44
The recent meeting of the National Spiritual Assembly must have been of great benefit to all the members and to the work of the Cause in general. Their responsibility in these days is greater than ever, but Shoghi Effendi feels sure they will be guided and protected and continue to spread and safe-guard the Faith in those distant lands.
He assures you, and all the N.S.A. members, of his deep appreciation for your untiring services, and his loving and ardent prayers. He will beseech for you all blessings and protection in the Holy Shrines.With loving Bahá'í greetings,
As the difficulties and problems facing the valiant and high-minded supporters and upholders of the Faith in Australia and New Zealand multiply, my thoughts and prayers turn increasingly towards them, in loving admiration for the work they have performed and will continue to perform in the future. Adversity, in whatever form, will, I feel confident, now that they have laid an unassailable basis for the Faith, in their hearts and through their institutions, serve to heighten the ardour of their devotion, and reinforce the foundation of their spiritual community life. They should persevere, redouble their efforts, close their ranks, intensify their individual as well as collective teaching activities, and defend even more tenaciously and courageously the tenets, claims and institutions of their Faith. Measureless blessings will crown their exertions if they persevere, and face heroically the challenge, the problems, and the perplexities of the present hour.Your true brother,
The Guardian has instructed me to answer your two letters of Jan. 15th and 24th, and to acknowledge the receipt of the enclosed letter of Mrs. Dunn.Page 45
He was delighted to learn that the New Zealand members were able to make the trip to Australia, and that such a highly satisfactory N.S.A. meeting was held, in such a spirit of love and harmony. No doubt this experience will prove of great value, not only to the National Assembly, but also to the work of the Cause in the days to come.
Regarding the various matters you refer to in your letters: The Guardian highly approves of the very kind and helpful arrangements made by Dr. Bolton, by which his property at Yerrinbool will pass to the Faith at his death and be used, according to the requirements of a future date, as dictated by the discretion of the N.S.A. It is better that the believers, subject to the judgements of the N.S.A., be left free to select any spot that will prove most convenient for the majority for their summer-schools.
Regarding the Summer-Schools in general; although there is no objection to their being under the direct management of a special Committee elected for that purpose, they must be generally supervised by the N.S.A. in respect to policy, etc. In other words they must be considered as a national and not a purely local institution.
For purposes of convenience the N.S.A. may appoint as members of such Committees, those who are situated near the Summer-Schools and are able to pay direct attention to their affairs.
Concerning individual Baha'is' letters to the Guardian and his replies; the friends are free to write to the Guardian when they feel the urge to do so. However, for the believers to suppose that the Guardian's letters to them, however full of loving encouragement they may be, give them any special powers or authority to go against or ignore the wishes of their local or national assembly, is to grossly misinterpret his true meaning. The Guardian has been at great pains to build up the administrative order and teach the friends how to use it. How could he possibly himself act in such a way as to ignore or belittle the functions of these bodies? He often encourages believers to work, to teach, to pursue some plan they propose in their letters to him but this does not mean a veto of the assembly's rights, or that the individual thus becomes free to ignore its authority. He trusts this will make the matter quite plain to the friends.Page 46
Regarding the matter of Mother Dunn's letter; the N.S.A., will, he feels sure, do all in their power to allay the fears of Mother Dunn and smooth out any misunderstandings that may arise. He feels, however, that you should point out to Mother Dunn that if, at any future date, the believers of Australia and New Zealand should wish to remove the remains of Father Dunn and herself to a beautiful site in a Bahá'í cemetery, or any other chosen spot, they cannot do it without some legal authorization. Just at present, after an infinite amount of red tape being gotten through, the Egyptian N.S.A. has at last succeeded in getting arrangements made for the transfer of Lua Getsinger's and Mirza Abu'l-Fadl's bodies to the new Bahá'í Cemetery. It is to ensure success and save trouble in the future, that your assembly is asking her to delegate certain powers to it in this matter. He feels sure she will cooperate fully when she understands the matter.
In view of the criticalness of the times, the great issues facing the entire human race, and the uncertainty of what perils and trials may yet remain ahead of us to be endured, the Guardian feels, that the sooner Father Dunn's memorial is erected the better. Mother Dunn may rest assured in her heart that future believers of Australia will know how to honour and cherish dear Father Dunn's grave; for the time being, though, it seems to him, it would be wise to complete whatever arrangements are under way as speedily as possible, subject, of course, to her acceptance, as he does not want her to be distressed or unhappy over this matter.
The Guardian would be very glad to receive as soon as possible photographs of Father Dunn's grave upon its completion, to be placed in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji.
He assures you all that he feels the greatest confidence in your ability to aid the believers of Australia and New Zealand to weather all storms during the dark days we are passing through. The friends of those two countries have amply displayed their deep loyalty to the Faith, their profound dedication to its Divine Mission, their adherence to its laws and institutions. He always thinks of them with a heart at rest and feelings of deep affection.
Rest assured that his loving prayers will continue to be offered on their behalf, and for you and your fellow membersPage 47
of the N.S.A., who are serving with such devotion and self-sacrifice the Holy Faith.With warm Bahá'í Greetings and love,
The spirit manifested by the valiant supporters of the Faith in Australia and New Zealand is most encouraging, highly meritorious, and truly exemplary. The work they have achieved, the plans they are devising, the hopes they cherish for the future, fill me with admiration and evoke my deepest gratitude. The Beloved will assuredly continue to illumine their path, to sustain their efforts, and to bless their accomplishments in these days of unprecedented stress, anxiety, and peril. I will continue to supplicate for them all His abundant and imperishable blessings.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letters, written on behalf of the National Spiritual Assembly, and dated April 21st, 1942 and Nov. 18th, 1942, reached the Guardian, together with their enclosures, and he has instructed me to answer them on his behalf.
He regrets the delay in replying to them, but he has been, and still is, engaged on a work which requires a tremendous amount of his time, and his correspondence has, of necessity, suffered from it.
The Guardian would prefer sending all cables and moneys etc., to you direct, but the war regulations, as enforced in this country, prohibit the use of a postal address in cables or telegrams, and as he does not have your street address, he has had to do it this way. Please forward your own address, or the one you care to have used, and it will simplify matters in the future.
He is delighted to hear that the friends will be able to hold a Convention in April, and he hopes that, through its deliberations, and the meetings of the N.S.A. members, far reachingPage 48
teaching plans will be set afoot and the Cause in New Zealand and Australia obtain a new impetus. You already have the nuclei of a number of Spiritual Assemblies in places where there are a group of believers, and he hopes that through following the methods, so successful in such countries as India and the United States, of having both travelling teachers and pioneers or settlers go out you will have a number of new Spiritual Assemblies by 1944.
He was very pleased to see the increased interest among the friends in their various Bahá'í Summer and Winter Schools, and hopes that these will increasingly attract students of the Faith, anxious to deepen their knowledge of its wonderful teachings.
The Australian and New Zealand friends, now feeling the full weight of the war, its dangers and sorrows, are very often in his prayers. He feels confident that they will emerge from these dark years stronger in spirit, more united and consecrated than ever before. They have a great and precious mission before them of rearing, albeit in miniature the pattern of a New World Order, divine in origin, in the midst of their countrymen, who someday are sure to turn to that pattern as the solution to their problems and the harbinger of their happiness.
He assures you and all the members of the N.S.A. of his continued, loving prayers, that you may be guided and aided in all your services to our beloved Faith.With Bahá'í love,
P.S. The Guardian replied to Mr. Heggie's letter, and he is very pleased to hear of the fine work he is doing. He is also pleased to hear that the work will now go on in connection with Father Dunn's Memorial.[From the Guardian:]
The constancy, the zeal, the unity and devotion which characterize the activities of the dearly-beloved community of Australia and New Zealand Bahá'ís evoke my heartfelt admiration, and demonstrate the power of Bahá'u'lláh and His unfailing guidance. I will pray for them all, will supplicate for them His richest blessings, and feel confident that if they perseverePage 49
in their noble task their mission will be crowned with glorious success.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letters dated June 8th, Sep. 12th, Nov. 12th, Jan. 10th and 17th, 1944, together with their enclosures, have all been received, and the Guardian has instructed me to answer them on his behalf. He has also received the envelope of photographs you sent of N.S.A. Members, Father Dunn's grave and other pictures of Bahá'í friends, for which he thanks you.
He also wishes to thank you for your manuscript for the Bahá'í World which was also received safely.
In regard to the recently purchased National Headquaters in Sydney: He was delighted that you were able to take possession of a house suitable to the present requirements of the Faith, and he trusts that by the time this reaches you all the legal steps will have been completed and the building registered in the name of the National Spiritual Assembly. It should be called by its proper title of "Haziratu'l-Quds".
The ideal to be followed, of course, is for the Secretariat, the office of the treasurer, etc., to be in the National Headquarters. However, this can be brought about gradually, and he leaves decisions in this matter to the N.S.A.
He trusts that the combined Centenary Celebrations and annual Convention will not only draw a large group of believers to Sydney to meet in their new Haziratu'l-Quds, but will also be a means of attracting the attention of the public to the Faith on a wider scale than ever before. The Australian and New Zealand friends are standing not only on the threshold of the second Bahá'í Century but also on the threshold of a new phase of the Cause in that part of the world. Their responsibilities are therefore greatly increased, and he believes they will meet them unitedly, with clear vision, and their characteristic devotion to our beloved Faith.
He assures you and the other members of the N.S.A. of hisPage 50
loving prayers for the success of your labours and the fulfilment of your dearest hopes.With Bahá'í love,
P.S. He found the newspaper clippings you forwarded of great interest, and is pleased to see that the press is being so friendly and helpful. He has already through a cable stated that the convention should be held in conjunction with the Centenary Celebrations which embrace the 23rd of May. The Commemoration gathering should be held on the 22nd of May exactly at two hours and eleven minutes after sunset, which is the time at which the Báb declared His Mission.[From the Guardian:]
The activities of the beloved friends in Australia and New Zealand during recent troubles have been truly remarkable. Now that the Haziratu'l-Quds is to be established in Sydney I trust and pray that this central administrative headquarters in the oldest and leading Bahá'í centre in that far-off continent will act as a powerful magnet and attract the manifold blessings of the Almighty and lend a tremendous impetus to the organized activities of the believers in Australia and New Zealand. I will continue to pray for them from the depths of my heart.Your true and grateful brother,
The Guardian has instructed me to acknowledge your letter dated June 27th and also two previous ones from the former secretary of the N.S.A. dated Feb. 6th and Aug. 27th, and to answer them on his behalf.
He deeply appreciates all the work done by dear Miss Brooks in the past as Secretary of the National Assembly, and hopes that now that she is relieved of this arduous post she will devote much of her time to teaching and writing for the Faith.
The sacrifice you and your husband are making by moving to Sydney in order to attend to the work of the N.S.A. is trulyPage 51
praiseworthy, and he hopes the way will open for you to do so at an early date.
In connection with the incorporation of the N.S.A.: the Guardian feels that whatever form the incorporation takes the name and seal of the Nat. assembly must not be changed in any way, i.e. the title "National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand" should be preserved.
The various enclosures you forwarded in your letter were all received safely by him.
He hopes that now that the National Headquarters has been established and you are going to take up residence there as Secretary -- thus giving a new permanence and prestige to the functions of the N.S.A. -- the work of the Faith will go ahead by leaps and bounds. The many groups now functioning should be aided and strengthened with a view to forming new Spiritual Assemblies as soon as possible, and the Cause should be given publicity as much as possible, through the Press, Radio and public meetings.
You may be sure his most loving prayers will be offered for the success of your labours as N.S.A. secretary, and for your health and guidance. Also for the confirmation of your dear husband in the Faith.With Bahá'í love,
The work accomplished by the Australian and New Zealand believers in recent years, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í activity, culminating in the splendid celebrations at the newly established national headquarters in the capital city of the Australian Commonwealth, is highly praiseworthy and augurs well for the future. The opening years of the new century must witness a stupendous effort on the part of the newly established community in the teaching field -- an effort at once nation-wide, systematic, strenuous and persistent. The multiplication of Bahá'í centres in towns and villages, a greater measure of publicity, a higher degree of unity and consecration to the Faith, a fuller measure of self-sacrifice should distinguish the labours of the members of this community. I will pray from the depths of my heart for the removal of every obstacle fromPage 52
your path and the speedy realization of every hope you cherish for the promotion of His Faith and the consolidation of its institutions.Your true and grateful brother,
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to write your National Spiritual Assembly and inform you of his views and wishes in connection with the Summer School in Australia:
He does not consider it either wise or necessary at the present time to have more than one Bahá'í Summer School in Australia, and as Yerrinbool is equipped to accommodate the friends on Bahá'í property, so to speak, he would suggest that Yerrinbool continue to be used as the Australian Bahá'í Summer School.
He pointed out this same principle of not multiplying the number of Summer Schools some time ago in connection with the Adelaide Assembly's purchase of a building and property.
He has also done the same thing in America -- limited the number of Summer Schools -- as the friends in their enthusiasm to inaugurate new institutions wanted to have very many summer schools which would have not only weakened, instead of strengthening, the older schools, but also would have dissipated the energy of the friends.
Assuring you and all the members of your Assembly of his loving prayers on your behalf and for the success of your work,Yours in His Service,
Your letter of Feb. 9th has been received (written on behalf of the N.S.A.), and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer it on his behalf and to also acknowledge receipt of the copy of the resolutions which you forwarded in it.Page 53
The news you conveyed was all very encouraging and pleased him greatly.
He was particularly happy to hear of the formation of a new Spiritual Assembly at Caringbah as this marks an important step forward in the growth of the Cause and its administrative institutions in Australia. He hopes that the N.S.A. will, through travelling and visiting teachers, and Bahá'í settlers and pioneers, be able to speedily ensure the establishment of further assemblies; wherever the conditions for their development seem most promising, the efforts should be concentrated.
He was also very glad to hear that the Haziratu'l-Quds has been successfully transferred to the name of the National Assembly. He is looking forward to receiving the photographs of its opening, and of the Centenary dinner, which you are sending him. Likewise he was pleased to see it is being put to such active use and teaching classes, public meetings, etc. being held in it.
He cannot stress too much the vital importance of the teaching work, and he hopes that all the believers, however circumscribed their means, however unqualified they may feel themselves to be, will arise and contribute their share to this all-important work. The Cause has, all things considered, made remarkable progress in Australia and New Zealand of late; but the united efforts of all the friends are required to spread the Divine Message during these moving and dark times the world is passing through. They must fix their eyes on the abject misery of humanity and, forgetful of their own limitations, deliver the Teachings to their fellow countrymen.
He assures you and your co-workers that he deeply appreciates your devoted services, and will constantly pray for the progress of the Faith in those distant and important lands.With Bahá'í love,
P.S. He hopes that the N.S.A. watches over dear Mother Dunn. She is now advancing in years and deserves the greatest love and consideration in view of the imperishable services she and Father Dunn rendered the Cause there.
P.P.S. Your previous letter, dated Aug. 18th as well as the photostat copies connected with the incorporation of the N.S.A. reachedPage 54
him. He was delighted at this further evidence of the efficiency of that body and the manner in which it is consolidating its foundation.[From the Guardian:]
The teaching responsibilities confronting the Australian and New Zealand believers are of supreme importance and of extreme urgency. Now that the basis of the Administrative Order has been firmly laid, and fully understood, and the national Haziratu'l-Quds established in the leading city of the Australian Commonwealth, the attention of the members of the entire community must be focussed on the teaching work -- the promotion of which is the ultimate object of the entire machinery of the Administrative Order and its subsidiary institutions and agencies. The multiplication of Bahá'í groups, the steady increase in the number of local assemblies, the dissemination of literature, the dispersal of the believers, no matter how small their number, to important centers throughout the continent constitute the vital task of the infant community which has, despite its limited resources and isolated situation, demonstrated its capacity to establish on a sound basis the primary institutions of its Faith, to safeguard its unity and promote its vital interests. That it may forge ahead and overcome every obstacle in its path and fulfil its high destiny is my fondest hope and constant prayer.Your true and grateful brother,
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer your letters dated April 12th, 13th (two) and 14th, and to acknowledge receipt of the enclosures forwarded with them.
Regarding the matter of Mrs. ... and the inharmony that seems to exist among certain of the friends in ...: when Bahá'ís permit the dark forces of the world to enter into their own relationships within the Faith they gravely jeopardise its progress; it is the paramount duty of the believers, the local assemblies, and particularly the N.S.A. to foster harmony, understandingPage 55
and love amongst the friends. All should be ready and willing to set aside every personal sense of grievance -- justified or unjustified -- for the good of the Cause, because the people will never embrace it until they see in its community life mirrored what is so conspicuously lacking in the world: love and unity.
The Bahá'ís are fully entitled to address criticisms to their assemblies; they can freely air their views about policies or individual members of elected bodies to the assembly, local or national, but then they must whole-heartedly accept the advice or decision of the assembly, according to the principles already laid down for such matters in Bahá'í administration.
Shoghi Effendi has repeatedly stated, to believers in every part of the world, that the individual Bahá'ís are entirely free to write to him on any matter they please; naturally he is equally free to answer in any manner he pleases. At the present time, when the institutions of the Cause are just beginning to function, he considers it essential to keep up this large correspondence, much as it adds to his many other burdens. It is sometimes the case that the very first intimation he receives of some important step influencing the interests of the Faith, one way or another, comes from an individual's letter instead of from an assembly; it would naturally be preferable for the information to come from an administrative body, but whatever the source, the Guardian is solely concerned with the welfare of the Faith, and when he deems a certain step detrimental he states his views in his reply. This he is at entire liberty to do.
Just as the National Assembly has full jurisdiction over all its local Assemblies, the Guardian has full jurisdiction over all National Assemblies; he is not required to consult them, if he believes a certain decision is advisable in the interests of the Cause. He is the judge of the wisdom and advisability of the decisions made by these bodies, and not they of the wisdom and advisability of his decisions. A perusal of the Will and Testament makes this principle quite clear.
He is the Guardian of the Cause in the very fullness of that term, and the appointed interpreter of its teachings, and is guided in his decisions to do that which protects it and fosters its growth and highest interests.
He always has the right to step in and countermand the decisions of a national assembly; if he did not possess this rightPage 56
he would be absolutely impotent to protect the Faith, just as the N.S.A., if it were divested of the right to countermand the decisions of a local assembly, would be incapable of watching over and guiding the national welfare of the Bahá'í Community.
It very seldom happens -- but it nevertheless does happen -- that he feels impelled to change a major (as you put it) decision of an N.S.A.; but he always unhesitatingly does so when necessary, and the N.S.A. in question should gladly and unhesitatingly accept this as a measure designed for the good of the Faith which its elected representatives are so devotedly seeking to serve.
Regarding the position of Summer Schools in Australia: much of what you are at present going through has already been experienced by the American Bahá'í Community, and he sympathises with your views and problems; however he wishes to state the following:
Whatever the history of the Yerrinbool School may be, the fact remains it is now in existence, is owned by believers ready to have it used as such, and is known as a Bahá'í Summer School all over the world. The Guardian is not the least concerned with personalities in this matter, but with principles. He feels at the present time that one Bahá'í Summer School is enough for the believers of Australia to maintain. In the future, as assemblies and groups multiply, the question will naturally have to be reconsidered.
Bahá'í Summer Schools in the United States originated in the same informal manner as Yerrinbool; they were (and some still are) the property of individual believers who resided on them, but they are administered by Committees appointed by the N.S.A. and which usually include, out of courtesy and consideration, the owners. The American friends also desired to have many more Summer Schools, but the Guardian has so far not permitted them to add to the number, as it dissipates the energy and funds of the believers and would at present weaken those already existing.
He feels that the duty of your Assembly is to not give up Yerrinbool because of any inharmony over it, but to administer and support it properly and remove the inharmony. You should appoint a Committee for the School, purchase any extra equipment needed for the comfort and accommodation of the attendants,Page 57
and he feels sure the Boltons will cooperate with you in this matter, as they are eager to have the property be used by the believers.
Generally speaking he does not encourage the erection of buildings in memory to individual believers at the present time. But as those at Yerrinbool serve a useful purpose and that the memory of dear Father Dunn commemorates the life of the man who brought the Faith to the Continent of Australia, we may welcome it in the spirit it was given.
As to what uses should be made of the building purchased by the S.A. of Adelaide, he leaves the decision to your body and that Assembly. He hopes that at a future date it can be used as a Summer School.
It is the duty of the N.S.A. to exercise the greatest wisdom, forbearance and tact in handling the affairs of the Cause. Many of the differences which arise between the believers are due to their immaturity, their extreme zeal and sincerity.
He will pray for you all in the Holy Shrines, that the Beloved may assist and strengthen you in the discharge of your sacred duties to the Faith and its adherents in Australia and New Zealand.With Bahá'í love,
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer your letters dated June 12th, 15th and 25th, and to acknowledge receipt of the numerous enclosures you forwarded with them.
As he has already expressed to you in his recent messages he greatly regretted the tone of certain recent communications from the N.S.A.
He cannot too strongly point out to you all that any condition of inharmony places in jeopardy the wonderful achievements recently made in the spread and consolidation of the Cause in Australia and New Zealand. The beloved MasterPage 58
pointed out over and over again that unity and love among the friends promotes harmony and the rapid spread of the Faith, and that when these are sacrificed and disputes, anger and violent criticism take their place, the Cause cannot move forward.
The N.S.A.s the world over, owing to the spiritual immaturity of the believers, must at the present time exert the greatest patience in dealing with the friends; otherwise, as seems to be rapidly becoming the case in Australia, the friends will take sides, bitterness will increase and what started out as a small thing, (however unjustified and regrettable a departure from the Bahá'í spirit) will become a menace to the progress of the Faith and definitely retard its progress.
He feels that Mrs. ... and Miss ... , both of whom love their religion and are devoted to its promotion, should be called upon to forget and forgive the past, and concentrate on serving the Faith. These are the ways in which the Bahá'ís can demonstrate true spiritual nobility and detachment. In such delicate and complicated cases, the N.S.A. should appeal to the believers to put the interests of the Cause first, regardless of any personal sacrifice of feelings this may require.
He assures you he will pray ardently for the speedy and satisfactory solution of this entire matter.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
It is my fervent hope and prayer that the members of the Bahá'í communities of Australia and New Zealand, will, now that the machinery of the Administrative Order of their Faith has been erected, redouble their efforts to proclaim, with one voice and in a most effective manner, those vital and healing principles for which the great mass of their war-weary and much tested countrymen are hungering. This supreme issue must have precedence over all other considerations, must be given immediate and anxious attention, must be faced courageously and continually, and be regarded by individual believers as well as their elected representatives as the supreme objective of the manifold administrative institutions they have reared and are still labouring to establish. Complete harmony, mutual understanding,Page 59
unity of purpose, coordination of efforts, prayerful consideration of, and mature deliberation on, all the aspects and requirements of this great and sacred objective can alone ensure its triumphant consummation during these years of stress and peril through which mankind is passing. May the national elected representatives of both communities set a superb example to their fellow-workers throughout that far-off continent, and enable them to win memorable victories in the service of their glorious Faith and its God-given institutions.Your true brother,
Your letters, written on behalf of the N.S.A. and dated June 15th, and 16th, July 26th and Sep. 15th, 1945, and Jan. 7th, 1946, together with their enclosures, have been received, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer them on his behalf.
He is very pleased to see the progress the Cause is making in Australia and New Zealand and hopes that the N.S.A. will not only inspire and encourage the believers in their teaching activities, but will also constantly impress on them the need for the greatest love and unity to prevail in their midst; the masses will only really turn to the Faith when they see that in it true religion is practiced as well as preached!
The recent articles attacking the Cause are a sign that its influence is sufficiently felt to be feared -- a great compliment to the progress you are making in spreading the message!
Concerning the various points raised in your letters:
He noticed, from your letter of Jan. 7th, that you were planning to hold the annual Convention in May, and cabled you that it must be held in the Ridvan period -- as are all the other National Bahá'í Conventions the world over, -- even though some other date might be more convenient locally.
He feels that the Yerrinbool Summer School should hold longer sessions; in this respect the friends cannot do better than to pattern themselves on the American Summer Schools, some ofPage 60
which now hold two or three Summer sessions, and even a "Winter Session". Although such a large number of sessions may be premature for Australia at present, the goal should be kept in mind as you seek to expand your school.
There can be no schism in the Bahá'í Faith because the Guardianship is established on an unassailable foundation, supported by a signed, sealed document -- the Will. Schism can only flourish where there is ambiguity or no specific proof. The New History Society is like a branch that has no roots, and will soon dry up and wither. It has not caused, nor can it cause, a breach among the believers.
He was very happy to see you are now establishing Regional Teaching Com.'s, and hopes you will concentrate all your resources, and the energy of the friends, on establishing new Assemblies and groups.
He assures you, one and all, that his loving prayers will be offered for your guidance and for the success of your important work.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
R. Rabbani. P.S. He was very pleased to see the article on the Faith in "Truth". The Cause is certainly getting very good publicity out there![From the Guardian:]
The activities initiated by the dearly beloved friends in Australia and New Zealand, and so diligently promoted by them all are highly meritorious; and will, no doubt, bear abundant fruit in the days to come. The utmost effort should be exerted by individuals as well as local assemblies to increase the number of the active supporters of the Faith and to enable them to disperse as widely as possible, to multiply the groups that must sooner or later evolve into assemblies, to achieve greater publicity for the Faith through the radio and the press, to extend the range of the activities of the Bahá'í Faith, to foster the institution of the summer-school, and to consolidate and enlarge the scope of the Haziratu'l-Quds. These are the main objectives that demand the concentrated attention of the Australian and New Zealand believers during the months that lie immediately ahead. No sacrificePage 61
is too great to ensure the realisation of these noble aims. All must arise and unitedly endeavour to carry to a successful conclusion these vital tasks, with which the immediate destinies of the Faith are so closely linked. That the Beloved may guide and sustain you in all your undertakings, that He may crown your assiduous labours with magnificent success is my dearest wish and ardent prayer.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter dated April 27th has been received and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer it on his behalf. He also acknowledges receipt of the enclosures forwarded with it.
He trusts that by the time this letter reaches you the complications which arose at Convention, about the election, will have been satisfactorily straightened out; as he already cabled you, this was a question for the out-going N.S.A. to decide.
He feels that the National Spiritual Assembly during the coming year should focus both its and the believers' attention on the all-important teaching work, and the necessity of increasing the number of groups and assemblies throughout Australia and New Zealand. The friends should be urged and encouraged to arise both as pioneers and travelling teachers, and they should receive, in cases where they cannot afford it themselves, financial aid from the National Fund. Such measures are at the present time absolutely necessary, as the believers are few, the hour very pressing, and most of them not sufficiently well-off to do such work without assistance.
The Bahá'ís in the United States have just embarked on their second Seven Year Plan; India is working hard on a Four and a half Year Plan; England is straining every nerve to achieve, during the Six Year Plan the friends have chosen for themselves, 19 assemblies. It is only right and proper that such a vast and promising territory as Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania represent, should likewise win for itself new laurels in the Bahá'í teaching field during the next few years! He thereforePage 62
suggests you choose, after surveying your own possibilities and soliciting suggestions from the friends, certain immediate objectives, and then work unitedly towards achieving them.
He assures you that he will offer special prayers on your behalf, that the N.S.A. members and the Bahá'ís they represent, may speedily forge ahead, and enter into a new era of development of the Faith in that distant but promising land.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
The activities in which you are engaged, are the object of my fervent and constant prayers. To teach the Faith, to stimulate the dispersal and settlement of pioneers, to enable the existing groups to attain assembly status, and to multiply, steadily and speedily, the number of groups in Australia and New Zealand are the paramount tasks which demand the constant attention, the prayerful consideration and the united and vigorous collaboration of the believers, and particularly of their national elected representatives. No sacrifice is too great to further these manifold and noble aims and purposes. Effective measures, unprecedented in scope, should be carefully and immediately devised, proclaimed to the believers, and, through sustained and organised effort, carried into effect. There is no time to lose. The masses, greatly tried by the calamities of the age, restless, disappointed, and eager to obtain real and complete relief in their hour of trial, hunger for the Message of the new Day, and will, if properly approached and appealed to, embrace the great verities it enshrines. Firm and unassailable unity among those who profess to be its bearers, unshakeable fidelity to the principles on which it is founded, generous and unfailing support of the institutions designed to propagate it, are the vital prerequisites of their urgent and sacred task. Every consideration, however profitable and laudable, must for the present be subordinated to the vital needs of the strenuous task now confronting the Australian and New Zealand Bahá'í communities. The administrative machinery designed to provide the necessary agency for the diffusion of the Message has been sufficiently consolidated to enable it to perform the glorious task for which it was originallyPage 63
erected. It should be utilised to the fullest possible extent. Its scope should simultaneously be enlarged to provide a still wider basis for the future extension of teaching activities. May the coming year witness a notable advance in the organized activities of the community for the furtherance of so glorious and meritorious a purpose.Your true brother,
Your letter of June 20th has been received, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer it on his behalf, also to acknowledge receipt of its enclosures.
He was very glad to see that amongst the actions taken by the N.S.A. at its recent meeting was to allot sums to the Regional Teaching Committees for them to carry on active teaching campaigns and finance travelling teachers and settlers -- if possible. He considers this all very important, and he urges you to appeal to the Bahá'ís to arise and do pioneer work as their fellow-believers are doing in England, India, Egypt and America.
He also feels that, if the N.S.A. considers such a course of action feasible, definite plans should be made for carrying the Cause to certain goal towns; in other words, a real plan with fixed objectives and a time limit is now possible for Australia, and should be speedily set in motion.
Likewise, he feels that the N.S.A. should meet more often, even if all members cannot always be present. Decisions by correspondence lack the vitality of those that arise out of active consultation, and now the Faith is progressing so well there, and has a sound administrative foundation, more vigorous and systematic action is required.
You may be sure all the members of the assembly are remembered in his prayers, and he is supplicating for their guidance and success in the discharge of their sacred duties.With loving greetings,
The ever-expanding activities of the Bahá'í communities of Australia and New Zealand, so clearly reflected in the reports and minutes forwarded recently by your Assembly, demonstrate the character of the Faith which so powerfully animates you, testify to the loyalty, the vigour and the devotion with which you conduct the affairs of a continually growing Faith, proclaim the soundness of the foundation upon which you are rearing its institutions, and augur well for their future evolution and triumph. The attention of the believers throughout all centres in both communities should now be focussed on the steady multiplication and consolidation of these institutions which constitute the bedrock of the Administrative Order of which your Assembly is the appointed trustee and chief promoter. No sacrifice is too great for the promotion of such an urgent and vital task. A supreme effort, on the part of all, young and old alike, individuals, assemblies and communities, is absolutely essential in the course of the present year, and as a prelude to the initiation of future plans aiming at a still greater development and further enrichment of the life of both communities. All secondary matters should be subordinated to the primary requirements of the present day. The futherance of this noble objective should be made the object of the anxious and sustained deliberations of your Assembly. The resources of both communities should be devoted to such a purpose. Nothing should be allowed to deflect them from this course. If they persevere the blessings of the Almighty will enable them to achieve exploits far exceeding their fondest expectations. That they may be graciously aided, in their labours, by Bahá'u'lláh is my fervent hope and prayer. I feel confident that they will respond to my plea, and arise unitedly to achieve their immediate goal.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter -- with check enclosed -- dated 15th of July was received and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer it on his behalf.Page 65
He is very sorry that from here he is unable owing to existing regulations, to forward this loving contribution made by both the believers and the N.S.A. to Persia for the Relief Fund. He suggests you try to send it direct to Tehran to the treasurer of this Fund, Mr. Varga. If you are able to do so, and will arrange to send the money to Mr. Daoud Toeq, he will see it reaches Mr. Varga in Tehran.
Please assure the members of the N.S.A., and all the friends, of his deep appreciation of this gift to their sorely tried brethren in other lands.
You may be sure he often prays for the success of your work and that of all the N.S.A. members.With loving greetings,
Assuring you of my loving prayers for the success of your efforts in the service of our beloved Faith and of its divinely appointed institutions,Your true brother,
Our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer your letters dated Sep. 2nd and 16th, and Oct. 22nd and 25th, 1946, and to acknowledge receipt of enclosures sent in some of them, and also material forwarded under separate cover. He regrets very much the delay in replying to these N.S.A. communications, but he has been very preoccupied with various pressing matters the last few months, and his mail has consequently had to wait.
In regard to the various points you raised in your letters:
There is no objection to individual Bahá'ís sending Naw-Ruz cards if they want to; also the N.S.A. can send them out occassionally, but it should not become a fixed custom.
He has already cabled you that he approves of increasing the delegates to the Annual Convention to 19.
He feels that Committees should be left free to elect their own officers.Page 66
Prayers translated by other people may be used and memorized by the friends; they need not be confined to his translations.
He considers that the N.S.A. has every right to examine the ballots if there is some doubt as to the election having been properly conducted. By "preservation" of the ballots is meant that they are preserved in the National files.
A Convention delegate should certainly be given an opportunity to report to the community his or her experiences at Convention and impressions.
As to the whole matter of the incorporation of assemblies: he cannot go into the details of such things, as this is the work of the N.S.A. What he wants is that the spiritual assemblies in New Zealand and Australia should be legally empowered to hold property in their own names; how this can be done, the best way of doing it, are matters for your Assembly and its legal advisers to decide.
He feels very strongly that the main thing for your Assembly and all the believers of both Australia and New Zealand to concentrate on are teaching plans. The United States, India, Persia and England are all embarked on ambitious and bold teaching campaigns, and it is a great pity that Australasia, where the Cause is now firmly established and boasts an active National Assembly, should not have a definite plan, with fixed goals, of its own.
When the believers are embarked on a definite teaching schedule there will be less time for them to constantly occupy themselves with purely secondary administrative points of procedure. Teaching is their need, and the solution to any problems they may feel they have.
He was delighted over the report of the work in Brisbane; this is a step in the right direction, and should be followed through vigorously. Please convey to those who have devotedly served there and brought this group into being his warm thanks and his admiration for their services.
You may be sure he deeply values the loyal and persevering efforts of your Assembly to promote the Faith in all its aspects in Australia and New Zealand. His loving prayers are offered on your behalf and for the success of your labours.With Bahá'í greetings,
I wish to appeal, through you, to the members of the entire community in both Australia and New Zealand, to arise, in these opening years of the Second Bahá'í century, and lend, through their concerted, their sustained, and determined efforts, an unprecedented impetus to the growth of the Faith, the multiplication of its administrative centers, and the consolidation of its nascent institutions. The initiation of a Plan, carefully devised, universally supported, and designed to promote effectively the vital interests of the Faith, and attain a definite objective within a specified number of years, would seem, at the present hour, highly desirable and opportune, and will, as a magnet, attract, to an unprecedented degree, the blessings of Bahá'u'lláh on the members of both communities, both individually and collectively.
Now that the structural basis of the Bahá'í Administrative Order has been firmly and definitely laid in those far-away lands, and the National Headquarters of that Order established, a systematic effort must be exerted to widen the basis of that Order, by multiplying the Administrative institutions and forming the necessary nucleii, which, as they develop and are consolidated, will have to be utilized as the divinely ordained and most effectual instruments for the proclamation of the Faith to the masses.
I fully realize how small are your numbers, how circumscribed are your means, how vast the distances that separate the centres already established. But I firmly believe that the initiation of a Plan to remedy the very deficiencies from which the infant Administrative Order is now suffering, and a firm resolve to carry out its provisions, as well as a sustained effort to make the necessary sacrifices for its consummation, will set in motion forces of such magnitude, and draw upon both communities blessings of such potency, as shall excite the wonder of the believers themselves, and cause their Faith to enter an era of unprecedented expansion and marvellous and fruitful development.
The concluding years of the first Bahá'í century have witnessed a notable progress in the development and consolidation of both communities. The first decade of the succeeding century must synchronize with a no less remarkable extension of that essential administrative foundation on which the future institutionsPage 68
of a flourishing Faith must repose, and on which its destinies and security must ultimately depend.
May the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh guide, sustain and inspire you in the discharge of the noble and formidable tasks which will face you in the years to come.Your true and grateful brother,
Our beloved Guardian has instructed me to write and ask you to please forward to him copies of the letters of acknowledgement written by the Bishops who received copies of "God Passes By".
He read in the British News Letter that such letters had been received by your Assembly, and he feels that such material should always be forwarded (in copy) to Haifa, as it is of more than mere local importance.
He hopes the N.S.A. is progressing with its teaching plans, and assures you all of his loving prayers.With Bahá'í greetings,
The letters from the N.S.A. (some written by the former Secretary) dated Sep. 2nd, 1946, Feb. 10th, March 9th, April 27th (two of this date), June 13th and July 10th have been received, as well as their enclosures, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer them on his behalf.
He is very anxious that your Assembly should devote its energies and resources to prosecuting the teaching work and stimulating and encouraging the believers to devote their thoughts and time to it. This is really the solution to all the small problems and differences of opinion that arise in Australia. It is the sacred duty of the believers to teach, and one of thePage 69
reasons for so painstakingly building up Assemblies is for them to promulgate the Cause of God, and not to lose their time in discussing details, settling disputes which should not have arisen between Baha'is, and generally losing themselves in personalities.
He urges your Assembly to try and create as many local assemblies as possible; large suburbs, if outside the city limits and possessing their own administration should -- if 9 Bahá'ís reside in them, form separate assemblies. This may at first seem to weaken the larger communities; but it will also challenge all concerned to renew their labours to expand the local communities and increase their numbers.
Enclosed is a letter to Mr. Featherstone in connection with his letter sent to the Guardian by your Assembly.
Regarding Mr. ...'s appeal: the Guardian feels the best course of action in this matter is to ask both of the believers concerned to forgive and forget the entire matter.
He does not want the friends to form the habit of taking up a kind of Bahá'í litigation against each other. Their duties to humanity are too sacred and urgent in these days, when the Cause is struggling to spread and assert its independence, for them to spend their precious time, and his precious time, in this way. Ask them, therefore, to unite, forget the past, and serve as never before.
His loving prayers are offered for you and the other members of the Assembly, for your guidance and success.With warm greetings,
The Plan, on which the National elected representatives of the Bahá'í communities of Australia and New Zealand have spontaneously embarked marks a turning-point, of great spiritual significance, in the evolution of the Faith in those far-off lands, and is an evidence of the truly remarkable spirit that animates them as well as the communities they represent. I welcome this mighty step they have taken with joy, pride and gratitude, and have hastened to transmit to them my contribution as a token of my keen appreciation of their high endeavours, of my confidence in their ability, and of my admiration for their zeal and noblePage 70
determination in the service of the Faith. The attention of the members of both communities must henceforth be focused on the Plan, its progress, its requirements, its significance and immediate objectives. All must participate without exception without reserve, without delay. The Administrative Order which they have laboured to establish must henceforth, through its organs and agencies be utilized for the promotion of this vital purpose, this supreme end. For no other purpose was it created. That it may serve this end, that the Plan may speedily develop and yield its destined fruit and demonstrate through its consummation the worthiness, the capacity and high-mindedness of the organized body of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in those distant lands are the objects of my fervent and constant prayers at the Holy Shrines.Your true and grateful brother,
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand,Mr. James Heggie, sec.
Your letter to our beloved Guardian, dated Dec. 11th, 1947, has been received, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
The devotion and perseverance of the believers in seeking to meet the requirements of their Plan pleases and touches him immensely, and although he fully realizes that the fewness of their numbers and the great distances involved in such a vast country as Australia, form serious handicaps in the progress of their teaching work, he, nevertheless, feels confidant that they can achieve their goals in time, and raise their heads proudly in the galaxy of their fellow-pioneers the world over.
We can truly say that this Cause is a cause that enables people to achieve the impossible! For the Baha'is, everywhere, for the most part, are people with no great distinguishments of either wealth or fame, and yet once they make the effort and go forth in the name of Bahá'u'lláh to spread His Faith, they become,Page 71
each one, as efficacious as a host! Witness what Mustafa Raumie accomplished in Burma, and a handful of pioneers achieved, in a decade, in Latin America! It is the quality of devotion and self-sacrifice that brings rewards in the service of this Faith rather than means, ability or financial backing.
This has again, during the last few years, been demonstrated even more remarkably by the British Baha'is, who have not only had to contend with very limited means and a small community to draw from, but have also had infinite restrictions and privations to put up with -- and, in spite of this, they are steadily gaining on the requirements of the Plan they have set for themselves, and, indeed, are startling and inspiring their fellow-Bahá'ís everywhere by their spirit and achievements!
He hopes that now, from "down under", news will begin to flow out to the Bahá'í World of the remarkable accomplishments of the Australians and New Zealanders!
Regarding the question you asked him about the Bahá'í sacred writings: these should be regarded as the writings of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá and only these should be read during the purely devotional part of the Feast.
He wishes to assure you, and all the other members of the N.S.A., of his most loving and ardent prayers for the success of your various undertakings and above all, for the success of your teaching Plan.With warmest greetings,
The Plan launched by the small yet highly promising community of devoted believers in Australia and New Zealand constitutes a landmark of unusual significance in the history of the evolution of the Faith in that far-off continent. It opens a new chapter, rich in promise, momentous in the events which it must record, and destined to be regarded as a prelude to still more glorious chapters in the annals of the Faith in the Antipodes.
The limited resources at the disposal of the prosecutors of the Plan, the vastness of the territory in which it must operate, the fewness of the numbers of those participating in its execution, offer a mighty challenge which no loyal follower of thePage 72
Faith of Bahá'u'lláh can either ignore or minimize. Indeed the greater the challenge, the more bountiful the blessings which will be vouchsafed from on high, and the richer the reward to be won by its triumphant executors.
The successful termination of this Plan, the first fruit of the newly established and properly functioning Administrative Order in those distant lands, will pave the way for the launching of still greater enterprises, destined to carry the message of Bahá'u'lláh to the Islands of the Pacific in the vicinity of that continent. For the mission entrusted to the care of the adherents of the Faith in Australia and New Zealand is by no means confined to the mainland of Australia and the islands of New Zealand, but should embrace, as it unfolds, in the years to come, the islands of the Antipodes, where the banner of the Faith still remains to be unfurled and its Message is as yet undelivered.
It is not for them, however, at the present stage of their evolution, to probe into the future, and seek to evaluate the range of their future achievements. They must concentrate every ounce of their energy, and focus their entire attention, on the tasks immediately ahead, resolved to work unremittingly and unflinchingly until the goals of the present Plan are achieved.
Whatever the situation that may develop in the years to come, however great the obstacles by which a nascent community may yet be faced, no matter how arduous the task now confronting its members, it must persevere until the historic work is accomplished.
I will, from the depths of my heart, supplicate the Beloved to reinforce the noble exertions of this community, guide its steps, clarify its vision, deepen its understanding of the requirements of the present hour, and aid it to extend continually the scope of its meritorious achievements.
My heart longs to receive the news of the progress of this first collective enterprise on which the community has embarked, and I feel confident that its stalwart members will not allow the hopes that animate me to be frustrated.Your true and grateful brother,
N.S.A. of Australia and New Zealand, Secretary, Mrs. Mariette G. Bolton.Haifa, Dec. 30th, 1948.
The letter written by our dear Bahá'í brother, Mr. Jim Heggie, as secretary at that time, and dated May 5th, as well as those written by you, and dated July 17th, Dec. 4th, 6th (two of this date), and 9th, together with their various enclosures, have been received, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer your assembly on his behalf.
He was very happy to hear of your meeting held in Melbourne, as he feels sure this was a great stimulus to the local community, and he hopes that circumstances will permit the N.S.A. to meet in other communities and inspire and encourage the friends in different parts of the country by this personal contact with them and their work.
In regard to the various matters raised in your letters:
He would be pleased to receive reports of the Teaching Work, the Annual Convention and Annual Reports, and, of course, the minutes of your N.S.A. meetings.
He does not feel it advisable to combine more than one town area in an Assembly, as you have suggested might be done. It is better for the friends to move, if possible, into one town's limits, and form their Assembly that way, or concentrate on their teaching work and wait until they have the requisite 9 members.
Unfortunately it is not feasible for the believers to elect or constitute an Assembly and also elect and send delegates to the Annual Convention of the same year, as both events take place in the Ridvan period.
The Guardian is striving to build up uniformity in essentials all over the Bahá'í World, and this frequently involves a small measure of delay in achieving our various goals set locally. But he considers it sufficiently important to warrant the sacrifices it sometimes involves:
In this connection he would like to mention your Local By-Laws: He feels that they should conform much more closely to the original one of the New York Assembly. What is absolutely essential was incorporated in those, and all other local assemblies being incorporated should follow this pattern as closely as local legal technicalities permit. This again is in order to maintainPage 74
international uniformity in essentials. It is not a question here of whether the By-Laws drawn up by your Legal Committee are not more up to date and do not represent the last word, undoubtedly they are and do, but if every country, when drawing up its Local By-Laws, continue this process of elaboration, in the end uniformity will be lost. The Eastern Assemblies have adhered to the original By-Laws so carefully that they have practically translated them word for word and adopted them. He feels sure Mr. Dive will understand this, and he would like you to please express to him his deep appreciation of the excellent work he has done in this connection, truly a labour of love to the Faith.
There is also another, perhaps even more pertinent reason, why he does not want anything more added to these New York By-Laws, and that is that he is everywhere urging the believers -- the Americans included -- to not add procedures and rulings to the Cause. He considers that what he has laid down in Bahá'í Administration is essential, but that practically everything else is secondary and he wishes the Assemblies, your own included, to deal with things with elasticity, as they come up, case by case, and not by continually passing new rulings to cover all similar cases.
The efforts being made by your Assembly to carry out the Teaching Plan for Australia and New Zealand, and the ever-increasing response of the believers in both places to this all-important work, greatly encourage and cheer him. He feels sure a very great future lies in store for our beloved Faith in those distant regions, but much more still remains to be done by the friends in order to complete this first, historic and vital, organized Plan of theirs. He feels sure they will see it through to victory; just as their brothers and sisters in other lands, working also on Plans of their own, are determined to achieve all their goals at the appointed time, so must they persevere and ensure a resounding victory for the Faith there in the Antipodes.
His loving prayers are offered in the Holy Shrines very often for the success of your work, and that God may bless you and all the members of the National Assembly in the discharge of your important duties.With Bahá'í love,
P.S. I wish to also acknowledge receipt of the letter of yourPage 75
Assembly's Treasurer, dated Dec. 23rd, and to thank you, on behalf of the Guardian, for your loving contribution to the International Fund here in Haifa. He regrets the delay in getting this off to you, but has been too busy to attend to it owing to work in connection with the Shrine here. Kindly give the enclosed receipt to Mr. Tunks.[From the Guardian:]
Recent communications and reports from your Assembly have revealed, in a very striking manner, the magnificent progress achieved by the alert, the faithful, and truly distinguished communities of the followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. The range of their labours, the rapid consolidation of their swiftly multiplying institutions, the soundness and solidity of the foundations, on which they are erecting these institutions, the exemplary loyalty they demonstrate, the solidarity and self-sacrifice, the courage and confidence they display in their incessant and manifold activities, prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Faith they love and serve so nobly and efficiently has at last been firmly and unassailably established in the Antipodes, and that its upholders and defenders in those far-away yet highly promising islands are contributing a notable and never-to-be-forgotten share to the onward march and unfoldment of its world Administrative Order.
I desire to offer the members of this high-minded, this resolute and dearly-beloved community, and particularly its elected representatives, my heartfelt congratulations on their splendid achievements which posterity will recognize as deeds that have truly enriched and adorned the annals of the Faith in the opening years of the second Bahá'í century.
As the processes impelling a rapidly evolving Order on the highroad of its destiny multiply and gather momentum, attention should be increasingly directed to the vital need of ensuring, by every means possible, the deepening of the Faith, the understanding and the spiritual life of the individuals who, as the privileged members of this community, are called upon to participate in this glorious unfoldment, and are lending their assistance to this historic evolution. A profound study of the Faith which they have espoused, its history, its spiritual as wellPage 76
as administrative principles; a thorough understanding of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and of the Will of Abdu'l-Bahá, a deeper realization of the implications of the claims advanced by the Founders of the Faith; strict adherence to the laws and principles which they have established; a greater dedication to the fundamentals and verities enshrined in their teachings -- these constitute, I feel convinced, the urgent need of the members of this rapidly expanding community. For upon this spiritual foundation must depend the solidity of the institutions which they are now so painstakingly erecting. Every outward thrust into new fields, every multiplication of Bahá'í institutions, must be paralleled by a deeper thrust of the roots which sustain the spiritual life of the community and ensure its sound development. From this vital, this ever-present need, attention must at no time be diverted; nor must it be, under any circumstances, neglected, or subordinated to the no less vital and urgent task of ensuring the outer expansion of Bahá'í administrative institutions. That this community, so alive, so devoted, so strikingly and rapidly developing, may maintain a proper balance between these two essential aspects of its development, and march forward with rapid strides and along sound lines toward the goal of the Plan it has adopted, is the ardent hope of my heart and my constant prayer.Your true and grateful brother,
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.August 22, 1949
Your letters dated February 23; March 14, 16; April 4, 5, 11; May 2, 13, 27; June 1, 7, 21 (3 of this date), 24; have all been received, as well as their enclosures, and the material sent under separate cover, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He has gone over the copy of the By-Laws of a local assembly which you sent him, and he approves of the slight changes you have made in the wording, as well as the additions at the veryPage 77
beginning, providing you consider the addition essential in order to secure the government recognition you are going to seek in the future. However, he feels that Article VI is not correct in the form you have given it, because you state "all persons resident ... who have attained the age of 15 years". The original New York By-Laws are more correct, because they differentiate clearly between all members of the Community and voting members who are 21 years of age or more. In other words children under 15 are Bahá'ís according to the New York version, which is correct, but according to your version only people over 15 years are Bahá'ís which is not correct. He thinks you should go back to the New York version. The declaration of faith by children when they reach the age of 15 in the United States is in order to enable the American Youth to apply for exemption, under the American laws, from active military service. It has no other purpose, but in that country is expedient. It is not necessary to add such a clause to your By-Laws.
Other points which he feels are not necessary and should be deleted are those heavily underlined portions in Section 5 of Article XII and Article XIII. In both these cases the New York By-Laws should be followed and not added to. Likewise he feels that in Article XIV, under the heading "These By-Laws (on page 11) B and C should be deleted as they are not in the New York original and not necessary. Naturally, all Assemblies are under N.S.A. jurisdiction, but this need not be included.
He wishes the essentials to be maintained as per the New York By-Laws, but not amplified and added to, as this will gradually lead, all over the Bahá'í world, to a steady addition of unessential rules and restrict the freedom and plasticity of the Cause. As he has repeatedly told the American and other National assemblies, it is much better to deal with situations and new requirements as they arise, and not to have it all down in black and white and rigid before hand.
He is very happy to see you are steadily working towards the goal of having local assemblies empowered to hold property legally and to perform Bahá'í marriages. No doubt the act of the Canadian Parliament recently passed, and giving the Canadian N.S.A. legal status will act as an important precedent when the time is ripe for you to present your own petitions to your Government.Page 78
The news that there is now a spiritual assembly in every capital city of the various states in Australia pleased him immensely. This is an historic land-mark in your progress out there, and must act as a keen incentive to further exploits on the part of the Australian Baha'is.
He was also delighted to see that certain of the Bahá'ís have received official permission not to work on Bahá'í Holy Days. He admires the initiative these believers have shown, and hopes many others will follow their example.
Likewise, he was very pleased to see you are holding your N.S.A. meetings in various centers, as this will greatly stimulate the local work, draw the friends closer to your body, and promote unity and enthusiasm amongst them.
The Act of your Assembly in depriving Mr. ... of his voting rights was wise and correct. Unless he demonstrates an entire change of character he certainly cannot claim to be a member of any Bahá'í Community.
He appreciated the Secretary's forwarding to him copies of the Bishop's letters acknowledging receipt of "God Passes By" -- though their answers in no way imply any spiritual wakefulness on their parts, alas!
He was very happy to see that New Zealand friends were present at the Convention. In general the work in New Zealand is certainly progressing, and beginning to show really promising signs for the immediate future.
The generous donation of land to Yerrinbool School by Mr. Styles will certainly re-inforce that valuable Bahá'í property, and the Guardian very much appreciated this act of his.
His confidence in, and admiration for, the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand is steadily increasing, as he witnesses the enthusiasm and self-confidence of the believers out there, and the increased capacity of their National Body to handle wisely and capably the affairs of the Cause.
He assures you all, and through you the believers, of his loving prayers for your success and the attainment of all the goals of your historic Plan.With Bahá'í love,
The notable progress achieved in recent months, in so many fields and in spite of adverse circumstances, demonstrates afresh the vitality of the faith and the soundness of the outlook, of the members of the fast-advancing and steadily consolidating community of the followers of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. This remarkable process of expansion and consolidation augurs well for the ultimate success of the Plan to which the combined resources of this community are committed. The various reports, both local and national which I have perused with sustained interest and quickened admiration, attest the rapid and sound development, of the institutions of a Faith that is so rich in promise, and whose interests are being promoted with such devotion, energy, loyalty and consecration by the members of this community.
What has been achieved, in both the teaching field and in the administrative sphere of Bahá'í service, however is but a stepping stone to the still greater victories which the gradual unfoldment of the Plan must inevitably produce. The multiplication of the groups and assemblies that constitute the bedrock of the Faith, must accompany the consolidating process which must bring in its wake, on the one hand, the incorporation of these assemblies and their recognition by the civil authorities, and the establishment, on the other, of Bahá'í local endowments and the right of these assemblies to execute, officially, the fundamental laws of the Most Holy Book regarding both marriage and divorce that constitute the distinguishing feature of this most holy and august Dispensation.
The task undertaken is immense, fraught with momentous possibilities, highly delicate in nature, and bound to have far-reaching repercussions, not only in the West, and particularly in the continent of Europe, where the institutions of Bahá'u'lláh's Administrative Order are emerging with such rapidity and showing such promise, but on the continent of Asia, where the overwhelming majority of the followers of the Most Great Name, have endured such grievous afflictions, and are faced with grave peril, and are battling so heroically against the forces of darkness with which they are encompassed.
The nature of the work in which this wide-awake, untrammelled unprejudiced, freedom-loving community, is so energeticallyPage 80
engaged, cannot, therefore, be regarded as a purely local and isolated enterprise, but is vitally linked with the fortunes of a world-encircling Order, functioning mysteriously in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, highly organized in its administrative machinery, sensitive in its mechanism, far-flung in its ramifications, challenging in its features, revolutionizing in its implications, and destined to seek increasingly, as it expands and develops, the good-will and assistance of the civil authorities in every continent of the globe.
The number of pioneers, both from among the veterans of the Faith who have participated in the early establishment of this infant Order in the Antipodes, and the new believers who have embraced its Cause, must, if this task is to be successfully carried out, be substantially increased. The flow of funds to both the local and national treasuries must correspondingly be augmented and systematically sustained. The heroism and self-sacrifice of those who prosecute the Plan, both as administrators and pioneers, must attain greater heights and engender still more powerful forces in the spiritual life of this community.
The relationship binding it to the civil authorities of the Australian Commonwealth, the Dominion of New Zealand and the Island of Tasmania, must be assiduously fostered. The ties linking it with the members of the world-wide community of the adherents of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, must be rapidly strengthened and multiplied. The unity and solidarity of its constituent members must be simultaneously reinforced, its roots permanently planted in the soil of the Covenants of both Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá, its branches spread out irresistibly to the furthest ends of that far-off continent, its vision clarified, its determination reaffirmed and its consecration deepened.
Obstacles, varied and numerous, will no doubt arise to impede the onward march of this community. Reverses may temporarily dim the radiance of its mission. The forces of religious orthodoxy may well, at a future date, be leagued against it. The exponents of theories and doctrines fundamentally opposed to its religious tenets and social principles may challenge its infant strength with persistence and severity. The Administrative Order -- the Ark destined to preserve its integrity and carry it to safety -- must without delay, without exception, claim the attention of the members of this community, its ideals must be continuallyPage 81
cherished in their hearts, its purposes studied and kept constantly before their eyes, its requirements wholeheartedly met, its laws scrupulously upheld, its institutions unstintingly supported, its glorious mission noised abroad, and its spirit made the sole motivating purpose of their lives.
Then and only then, will this community, so young, so vibrant with life, so rich in promise, so dedicated to its task, be in a position to discharge adequately its weighty responsibilities, to reap the full harvest it has sown, acquire still greater potentialities for the conduct of subsequent stages in the crusade on which it has embarked, and contribute, to a degree unsuspected as yet by its members, its full share to the World-wide establishment of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, the emancipation of its Oriental followers, the recognition of its independence, the birth of its World Order and the emergence of that world civilization which that Order is destined to create.Your true brother,
N.S.A. of Australia and New Zealand, Mrs. Mariette Bolton, Secretary.4 September, 1949.
This is just a little note to ask you, on behalf of our beloved Guardian, to please make the following corrections in a quotation of his words, published in the August number of your Bahá'í News Bulletin, on page 5: "As the processes impelling" (not "in filling"); in the sentence lower down, reading: "the deepening of the faith, understanding and spiritual life..." both "faith" and "spiritual" should not be capitalized, but be printed as I have written them above; after the words "this historic evolution" there should be a period, as it is the end of the sentence.
Hoping you received the long letter recently mailed you, and with loving Bahá'í greetings,Yours,
P.S. He wishes to thank you and dear Mr. Bolton for the loving gift of Bolton Place to the Bahá'í Community of Australia. ThisPage 82
is an excellent example, and befitting gesture, for it has many associations with the spread and development of the Faith in Australia, and has further enriched the record of your historic services to the Faith.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.June 28, 1950.
Your letters of August 9, 19; September 14, 22; November 7, 10, 21; of 1949; January 19; February 28; March 8, 31; April 11; May 2 (two), 1950, have been received by our beloved Guardian and he has instructed me to answer them on his behalf. The many enclosures and material forwarded have, likewise, been safely received.
It has been impossible for our Guardian to keep abreast of his correspondence and other work this Winter and Spring. It is only during the last week that he has been able to turn to the mountain of mail, representing the correspondence of the various National Assemblies, and commence replying. The reason for this regrettable delay is that in order to get the arcade of the Shrine of the Báb finished in time for the centenary of His Martyrdom he had to undertake extensive excavations into the solid rock of the mountain behind the Shrine -- the new edifice being much larger than the precious original building it is designed to enshrine and protect. This work he personally supervised in order to ensure the Shrine was in no way damaged, and to see the cost was kept within bounds. You can imagine this was a very exacting and tiring ordeal for him.
Then, just as he had hoped to take up his overburdening correspondence, Mr. Maxwell, the architect of the Shrine, at the beginning of April became desperately ill, and for ten weeks absorbed the anxious care and attention of us all, as his condition was seemingly hopeless. Thanks to the Mercy of Bahá'u'lláh and the determination of the Guardian, he is recovering, and our lives are getting back to normal routine.
The Guardian regrets very much the conduct of Mr. ...; it seems now fairly clear that he is a former Bahá'í from India who misconducted himself there over a period of years and thenPage 83
showed up, under a different name, in Australia. No one who conducts himself as he has can remain a voting member of the Bahá'í Community for -- in spite of his wide knowledge of the Faith and his belief in it -- his acts are contrary to its teachings and bring not only confusion into the Community and create inharmony, but disgrace the Cause in the eyes of non-Baha'is.
The Guardian fully realizes that the process of splitting up large communities into smaller ones, each existing within its own civil units, has been difficult for the Australian friends. What they do not seem to fully appreciate is that this has been done in Canada and the United States as well, and is only in order to organize the assemblies on a logical basis, and one with a firmer legal foundation. The fact that this may create more assemblies in the end, and that it sometimes breaks up existing ones, is only incidental; the important point is to consolidate the communities on a sound basis, i.e. every assembly within the limits of the Municipality its members reside in.
As Mrs Axford requested Mrs Thomas to write about her Bahá'í life there is every reason to respect her wishes. This in no way precludes the New Zealand Community from writing about her services and life and keeping this record in the National archives. The Guardian feels the Auckland Assembly should be consulted, as her, (Mrs Axford's), home community, by Mrs Thomas. He hopes this In Memoriam article, about so dear and tireless a servant of the Faith, will produce a spirit of love and co-operation amongst all concerned.
The gift by Miss Perks of an additional piece of land to the Yerrinbool School is deeply appreciated. It enriches the endowments already held by your Assembly. Please thank Miss Perks, on behalf of the Guardian, for this generous contribution, to the institutions of the Faith in Australia, and tell her he does not feel any name should be given the property other that of Yerrinbool School, of which it will form a part, and that she will always be remembered as the donor of it.
The acquisition of the site for the New Zealand Summer School was a great step forward in the progress of the Faith there, and he was very pleased about it. He was also delighted to hear of the formation of the Devonport Assembly, and he hopes next year there will be still more.
I would also like to answer here a question raised in MrsPage 84
Bolton's letter of March 8: the Guardian feels that no annual fixed pilgrimage should be made to the grave of Father Dunn. The friends will naturally always want to go there, when and how they like, but it must not become a ceremony, otherwise it will constitute a precedent for similar things in the future.
It is premature, and will weaken the national and local work, for delegates to be elected by State elections rather than by assemblies. There is no question involved about believers losing their voting rights: all the time believers are gaining and losing their voting rights by becoming members of communities with assemblies or moving out into places where they are isolated believers. The friends should not dwell on these minor details, but concentrate on teaching the Cause and exemplifying the Bahá'í life. Voting is a purely administrative detail, but teaching and serving are vital spiritual obligations. Regarding the change of the By-Laws: the Guardian considers the letter he wrote you about this subject is final. He is considerably surprised by the fact that of all the National Bodies in the Bahá'í World, operating under these By-Laws, it is only the Assembly of Australia and New Zealand, evidently acting under pressure from their legal committee, that constantly raises the question of changing them. This he considers is going too far, and is not necessary. He holds very bright hopes for the future of your work, and urges you, and through you all the believers, to concentrate on your glorious teaching tasks and forge ahead to win new victories for the beloved Faith.With Bahá'í love,
P.S. Your letter of June 9 has been received, and the Guardian deeply appreciates the contribution you sent. Please find receipt enclosed. The map you forwarded will be published in the next volume of "Bahá'í World" as the progress it shows will be of great interest to all readers.[From the Guardian:]
The remarkable progress achieved by the Bahá'í communities in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania in promoting the Plan, designed to further the interests of the Faith in the Antipodes, is most encouraging, and will, when consummated, markPage 85
the opening of a new and glorious chapter in the history of the Faith in that continent. The varied and welcome evidences of the steady extension in the range of the manifold activities of these communities, the multiplication of Bahá'í institutions and their rapid consolidation, are particularly gratifying and merit the highest praise.
The territories in which these communities conduct their meritorious, strenuous and highly promising activities with such diligence, resolution, fidelity and devotion, are admittedly vast and constitute a direct challenge to those who are called upon to diffuse the light of the Faith, and lay an unassailable foundation for its rising administrative Order, throughout the length and breadth of these territories.
The Plan, now operating with increasing momentum in that far-off continent, is designed to enable its prosecutors to lay the first foundations of the structure which the members of these communities must rear in the years to come. As these primary pillars of a divinely ordained steadily evolving, spiritually propelled order are successively erected and sufficiently consolidated, and the agencies designed for the launching of a systematic campaign aiming at the future proclamation of the Faith to the masses inhabiting these far-flung territories multiply, a simultaneous effort should be exerted, and measures should be carefully devised, by the national elected representatives of these same communities, for the launching of the initial enterprises destined to carry the Message of the Faith, beyond the confines of these territories, to the Islands of the Pacific, lying in their immediate neighbourhood.
For whatever may be the nature of the future successive crusades which the American and Canadian Bahá'í communities, may, under the Divine Plan of Abdu'l-Bahá, launch in the course of the opening decades of the second Bahá'í century, and however extensive the range of their operations, and no matter how far-reaching the future campaigns which the Bahá'í community, centered in the heart of the British Isles, may undertake throughout the widely-scattered dependencies of the British Crown, the responsibility devolving upon the National elected representatives of the Bahá'ís of the Australasian continent for the introduction of the Faith and its initial establishment in the Islands of the Pacific, linking them, on the one hand, with theirPage 86
sister communities in the American continents and on the other hand, with the communities in South-Eastern Asia, remains clear and inescapable.
As the various Bahá'í national communities, labouring directly as well as indirectly, under the impulse of a Divine Plan, broaden and consolidate the base of their operations in their respective homelands, and acquire the potentialities that will empower them to lend, in an ever-increasing measure, their share, and participate in the world-wide propagation of the Faith, the Australian and New Zealand believers must, for their part, contribute worthily to the overseas teaching activities and accomplishments of these communities. Already the Bahá'í community in the Great Republic of the West, the vanguard of the irresistibly marching army of Bahá'u'lláh, has launched its twin crusades in Latin America and the continent of Europe. Its collaborator in the execution of Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan, the Canadian Bahá'í community is busily engaged in establishing the Faith beyond the Canadian mainland and further north in the vast territory of Greenland. The Persian and Iraqi Bahá'í communities are, moreover, assiduously labouring in the adjacent territories of the Arabian Peninsula and the Kingdom of Afghanistan, while their sister-communities in the sub-continent of India are pushing the frontiers of the Faith as far as Ceylon in the South and Siam and Indonesia to the North and Southeast of that subcontinent. More recently the members of the British Bahá'í community, having brought to a successful conclusion their first historic Plan, are devising the necessary measures for the launching of a teaching enterprise in the heart of Africa, supplementing the work already accomplished by the Egyptian Bahá'í community in that continent. Shortly, and at its appointed time, yet another national community, already established in the heart of the European continent, will, as soon as the present obstacles are removed, and its internal activities are sufficiently consolidated, embark on a campaign, beyond the borders of its homeland, that will carry the light of the Faith to the adjoining Balkan territories, the Baltic states and, across the eastern frontiers of Europe, into Asia.
In this stupendous and laudable collective enterprise, world-wide in its range, divinely propelled, world-redemptive in its purpose, in which National Bahá'í communities, already sufficientlyPage 87
consolidated from within, are participating, each in accordance with the provisions of its own specific plan and constituting, in its proportions and potentialities, the mightiest spiritual crusade launched since the inception of the Formative Age of the Faith, -- in such an enterprise the Bahá'í communities of Australia and New Zealand can neither afford to remain inactive or play a negligible part. The situation they occupy, the unnumbered virgin territories lying in their neighbourhood, the vitality and adventurous spirit the members of these communities have so strikingly manifested -- all demand that they arise, as soon as the process of internal consolidation is sufficiently advanced, to play their part in this world-encompassing crusade now unfolding itself in, and constituting the brightest feature of, the opening years of the second Bahá'í century.
With this glorious vision before them, assured that a full measure of Divine guidance and sustenance will be vouchsafed to them when they embark on the second stage of their collective activities, let them concentrate, in the years immediately ahead, on the tasks that require their earnest and undivided attention. The prosecution of the Plan, in all its aspects, is their primary obligation. Whatever contributes to the broadening and reinforcement of the Administrative Base, designed to guide, coordinate and extend the ramifications of their future enterprises overseas, should be unhesitatingly welcomed and carried out at the present hour and during the opening phase of their collective unified endeavour in the service of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.
May they seize every opportunity that presents itself, surmount every obstacle that may confront them in the future, and pave the way for a befitting inauguration of the subsequent phase of their historic and rapidly unfolding mission.Shoghi.
Under separate cover the Guardian is mailing to you two enlargements of the finished Arcade of the Báb's Shrine. These are a gift from him to the N.S.A. and believers, and he would like you to have them circulated as widely as possible, for thePage 88
friends to see them, and them hang them in the National Headquarters.
Please cable receipt of these photos, so he will know they reached you safely.
Also please inform the friends in the News Letter that copies of one of these views may be purchased through the American N.S.A., to whom he has sent the original film.With loving greetings,
I am replying to your letter of September 21 apart from other N.S.A. correspondence, as the beloved Guardian wishes to assure the Assembly that the contribution for the Shrine of the Báb has been received. (A receipt is herewith enclosed.)
He was very touched by the exemplary sense of duty and devotion to the interests of the Faith which this sum represents. Please, on his behalf, thank all the donors to the Yerrinbool Dormitory Fund for their prompt response to his appeal regarding the Holy Shrine.
Already the contract for the stone-work of the Octagon has been placed in Italy, and he hopes soon the preliminary arrangements locally can be made for continuing the work.
With loving Bahá'í greetings to all the Assembly members from the Guardian,Yours in His Service,
Assuring you of my deepfelt and abiding appreciation of the contribution of the Australian and New Zealand believers for so great and historic an enterprise, and of my loving and ardent prayers for their spiritual advancement and the steady expansion and consolidation of the great and historic work in which they are so devotedly engaged.Your true and grateful brother,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand;
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to acknowledge on his behalf the Nov. issue of your Bahá'í News. He is well pleased with it and commends you.
He would like to call your attention to the statement on page 3, paragraph 3, under "Anniversaries and Festivals", and clarify it.
The Day of the Covenant Nov. 26th, and the Day of the Ascension, Nov. 28th, anniversaries of the birth and the Ascension of Abdu'l-Bahá must be observed by the friends coming together, but work is not prohibited. In other words the friends must regard observance of these two anniversaries as obligatory -- but suspension of work not to be regarded as obligatory.
He assures you of his deep interest in all your efforts and offers prayers on your behalf at the Holy Shrines.With warmest love,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New ZealandC/o Mrs. Mariette G. Bolton, Secretary
Your letters addressed to our beloved Guardian, and dated June 22, August 4 and 22, November 10 and December 5 and 11, of 1950 and January 30 and Feb. 20, 22, 26, of 1951, together with their enclosures, have been received; and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
In regard to the various matters raised in your letters:
It is indeed a great tragedy that ... should have such an utterly despicable character, and the ability to be a teacher. He has undoubtedly dealt with the greatest injustice with the friends in Fiji who wrote to Mr. Blum; and the Guardian wasPage 90
extremely sorry to hear that this man, attracted to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and evidently a sincere and decent person, should have been duped by the very man who gave him this glorious Message. It was very wise to send Mr. Blum out there; and he hopes that your Assembly will keep in close contact with the friends who were attracted, it would seem almost miraculously under the circumstances, to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh in those distant islands.
It might interest your Assembly to know that since leaving Fiji, ... went to the United States, and himself admitted in a letter to the Guardian that he had seen Ahmad Sohrab.
The Guardian assures your Assembly, and, through you, all the believers throughout Australasia, that he has been deeply touched by the spirit of loyalty which you have all shown at this difficult time for him, and also the devotion to every work which is undertaken here at the International Center of the Faith.
The support you have given to the construction of the Shrine of the Báb has been deeply appreciated; and he hopes that in the not distant future it will be possible for the doors of pilgrimage to be opened once more; and then the believers can see with their own eyes what their sacrificial contributions have helped to erect, on Mount Carmel. It will interest the friends to hear that we are at present busy with the preliminary work required prior to the erection of the second story of the Holy Tomb, in other words, the octagonal portion, which will be built on top of the roof of the original Shrine building erected by Abdu'l-Bahá Himself. The stones have been ordered from Italy for this next stage in our undertaking, and soon will be coming to Haifa another 300 tons of granite, some of it with beautiful carved ornamentation.
The Guardian would like you to please convey to the Adelaide Spiritual Assembly his deep appreciation of the contribution they made through your Body to the Shrine Fund here in Haifa, a contribution which represents the sum of their Property Fund. They showed in this matter an exemplary spirit, and placed the major issue in its true perspective, forgetting their local hopes and aspirations in order that the work on the glorious Shrine of the Báb might be carried forward more speedily.
In regard to your question concerning the Centenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's mission: The Guardian, at a later date,Page 91
will give instructions concerning this commemoration to the entire Bahá'í world.
He has been particularly pleased to note, during the past year, the increase in pioneer activity going on under your jurisdiction. As you know, he attaches the greatest importance to this type of Bahá'í service; and he hopes that more of the believers will arise and go forth into the field, establishing new centers and groups, and broadcasting the Message of Bahá'u'lláh over the face of that vast continent.
This is at once their greatest duty and privilege, and one which will attract the blessings of Bahá'u'lláh, and enrich, not only each individual who arises to serve, but the entire Community of which he forms a part.
Whenever the friends feel that they are small in number, and the effort required, truly colossal, they should remember what the British Bahá'ís accomplished during the Six Year Plan; and how, after the long and exhaustive years of the war and all its restrictions, they succeeded, at the point of utter exhaustion, one might say, in achieving every single goal gloriously. The Australian and New Zealand friends, who have not been subjected to such rigors during the last decade, who are a young and fresh nation, so to speak, can surely accomplish as much, and one would imagine more, than their British brethren, who labored under such great handicaps.
He assures you all that he will remember you in his prayers at the Holy Threshold, and supplicate that your Assembly, and the Community of believers whom you represent, may achieve great things during the coming Bahá'í year and arise to new heights of self-sacrifice and service.With warm Bahá'í love,
P.S. I would like to add that the Guardian does not consider that it is advisable for New Zealand to be separated in the near future from Australia, and come under the jurisdiction of an independent National Assembly. He considers that the present arrangement is the best one until such time as there are more assemblies flourishing in New Zealand, and he would consider the basis for a National Assembly strong enough there to support such an institution.Page 92
Regarding the question of Mr. ..., the Guardian was considerably surprised at his temerity in getting in touch with the Baha'is. He belongs to an old family of Covenant-breakers from the days of Abdu'l-Bahá, was later pardoned by the Guardian, and a number of years ago, flagrantly disobeyed the Guardian, and was put out of our local Community here. We all know that he has been in constant association with the Covenant-breakers ever since, and he even admits it in his own letter! Needless to say, the Bahá'ís should consider him a Covenant-breaker, and shun him entirely. The harm that he could do a Community if treated otherwise, would be very great indeed.[From the Guardian:]
The manifold and ever multiplying activities in which the Australian, New Zealand and Tasmanian Bahá'í communities are so devotedly and unitedly engaged are the object of my constant solicitude, and evoke, as they steadily expand, feelings of gratitude and admiration in my heart. Though unavoidably prevented from communicating more frequently with their elected national representatives, who are directing with exemplary loyalty, unrelaxing vigilance, inflexible resolve, unsparing devotion and commendable foresight, the course of these highly meritorious and promising activities, I follow, through the perusal of the various reports and news letters I receive from them, every development in the unfoldment of their work, and surround them as they labour so assiduously for their Cause, with my fervent prayers, offered on their behalf in the holy Shrines.
The assistance they have so spontaneously and enthusiastically extended to the newly established centre in the Fiji Islands, constituting the opening phase of the crusade destined to be systematically launched by them in the Pacific Islands -- a territory with which their spiritual destiny is irrevocably linked -- has been particularly gratifying and merits unstinted praise. To have undertaken this additional task, with such determination and fervour, while immersed in the labours associated with the prosecution of their Plan, is surely an evidence of their youthful vitality, their unbounded devotion to the interests of the Faith, and their eager desire to emulate the example of their sister-communities which have initiated, over and above their prescribedPage 93
tasks, enterprises beyond the confines of their respective homelands.
While this historic undertaking is being carried forward by their elected national representatives, these communities must concentrate their attention on the pressing and inescapable requirements of the Plan to which they stand committed. The process of extending the range of their administrative activities through the formation of groups and the multiplication of assemblies must continue unabated until this particular objective of the Plan is fully achieved. The proper incorporation of the national and local assemblies, so vital and urgent at the present stage of their evolution, must be hastened by every means in their power. The measures required to ensure the recognition of the Faith, of its laws regarding matters of personal status, as well as its Holy Days, by the civil authorities, in both Australia and New Zealand, must be carefully considered, and promptly adopted. The institutions of summer and winter schools, so vital and beneficial at the present stage in the development of the Faith must be continually expanded enriched and consolidated. The national and local Funds, on which the prosperity and unfoldment of a rising Administrative System must ultimately depend, should be assured of an ever-increasing measure of support, whilst the contributions of the believers for the raising of the superstructure of the Báb's Holy Sepulchre, constituting a sacred and added responsibility at this present critical hour, should be constantly borne in mind and steadily maintained. The deepening and enrichment of the spiritual life of the individual believer, his increasing comprehension of the essential verities underlying this Faith, his training in its administrative processes, his understanding of the fundamentals of the Covenants established by its Author and the authorised Interpreter of its teachings should be made the supreme objectives of the national representatives responsible for the edification, the progress and consolidation of these communities.
This two fold task, both at home and abroad, confronting the members of these communities, labouring so valiantly, and holding aloft so courageously the banner of the Most Great Name in the Antipodes, at so crucial a stage in the evolution of the human race on this planet, can neither be shirked nor be treated lightly for one moment. The hour is too critical, time isPage 94
too short, the requirements of an infant Faith are too pressing, the resources at the disposal of the few into whose hands its care has been entrusted are too circumscribed to suffer any time to be lost in procrastination or through complacency or neglect. The prizes destined for the heroic warriors, battling for the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the Southern Hemisphere, and particularly Australasia, are glorious beyond compare. The assistance to be vouchsafed to them from on high in their struggle for its establishment to recognition and triumph is ready to be poured forth in astonishing abundance. Action immediate and whole-hearted, coupled with unswerving fidelity and dogged perseverance, will no doubt enable those who participate in this double crusade, to attract the full measure of these blessings and to attain these glorious goals.Your true brother,
In answer to your letter of Feb. 22nd, the beloved Guardian has instructed me to assure you that the statement made in my letter to you Jan. 21st was quite correct.
You quote from page 537 "Bahá'í World" words written by Abdu'l-Bahá, -- further down on the same page you will find the following "As a corollary of this Tablet (above) it follows the anniversaries of the birth and the ascension of Abdu'l-Bahá are not to be regarded as days on which work is prohibited. The celebration of these two days is however obligatory". -- These are the words of the Guardian. We really have eleven Holy Days but as stated, work is only prohibited on the first nine mentioned in the Tablet.
He follows your work with deep interest and assures you of his loving prayers.With warmest love,
Your letter of July 19 has been received, as well as the contribution of the believers to the Shrine, and the beloved Guardian sends you herewith his receipt.
He wishes to thank all the friends, communities, and assemblies who have contributed so lovingly to this Holy undertaking. Surely such gifts, representing both sincere love and often real sacrifice, will add to the preciousness of a Shrine already so dear to all Bahá'í hearts.
He wishes you every success in your own devoted services tothe Cause.
Assuring you of my loving prayers for your success in the service of our beloved Faith,Your true brother,
Your letter of August 12 has been received, and I am enclosing a receipt from the beloved Guardian for the sum you forwarded.
He was deeply touched by this further evidence of the interest shown by the believers in Australia and New Zealand in the Holy task now going ahead at the World Center. Please thank all the contributors on his behalf.
He sends you and all the members of the N.S.A. his loving greetings,With Bahá'í love,
May the Almighty bless and reward all those who have so devotedly and spontaneously contributed for the promotion of so holy an enterprise, and aid them to win great and memorable victories in the service of His glorious Faith.Your true brother,
Your letters to the beloved Guardian, dated April 3rd (two) 4th and 26th; May 4th and 25th; July 13th; and Oct. 16, with various enclosures, have been received, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.Regarding various matters raised in your letters:
The Guardian feels that as Mr. Audenwood clearly signified his belief in Bahá'u'lláh before his passing, his name should by all means be registered in your records as a believer. Please assure his wife of the Guardian's prayers for the progress and happiness of his soul, and for her own services to the Faith to be richly blessed.
Shoghi Effendi feels it is better not to put the Greatest Name on Bahá'í graves. It is not forbidden to do so, but inappropriate.
Regarding Mr. ... and Mr. ... we all regret exceedingly the loss he afflicted this believer with. Your Assembly, if you have not already done so, should write both the Persian and Indian Assemblies exposing him, and asking if there is no way he can be reached and made to pay his debt. The last news the Guardian had of him he was in Cyprus and planned (?) to go on to Iran or India. It is most extraordinary to see the way this man, who breaks all the laws of his Faith and disobeys both the Guardian and the Assemblies, has been able to plant a firm faith in the hearts of sincere souls in Fiji, who are now devoted believers! Your Assembly should give this small community every aid and encouragement you can, for its members were born with a terrific test, enough to shake the belief of old and tried Baha'is.
The Guardian was very pleased to see the Racing Conference courteously changed the name of that horse which had been called Bahá'u'lláh.
He is also very glad you are in touch with dear, faithful Mr. Auskauli. You should keep up this contact and when you write please assure him of the Guardian's appreciation of his steadfastness and of his loving prayers. He advises you to keep for your library the books sent you.
The Guardian has noted a new spirit of love and unity amongst the Australian and New Zealand Baha'is, which pleases him very much, as the atmosphere of harmony amongst the friends will attract the Divine Blessings and enable them to achieve a great deal more for the Faith.Page 97
He strongly feels that the time has come for the believers of Australia and New Zealand to arise as a conquering army and ensure the attainment of their goals under their Six Year Plan. They now constitute one of the strongest bodies of believers in the world, ranking with such active and well established communities as those of Canada, Great Britain and India. Their period of adolescence in the Faith has passed; they are now adults, and they must face the problems involved in fulfilling their Plan squarely and with maturity. The pleasant period of youthful irresponsibility, when they could look on the work of the American and Persian Communities as the feats of the strong, which they were not called upon to emulate, being too young, is now passed forever. They must sacrifice, concentrate on their tasks, plan their actions and carry on their pioneer work with determination, realizing they will have no one to blame for any failures, except themselves! The Guardian feels they are entirely capable of fulfilling their Plan. He is proud of the progress they have made and confident they can succeed if they really try.
He assures you all of his loving prayers for your guidance and for the success of your work, the progress of which he follows with the keenest interest.With Bahá'í love,
P.S. I am enclosing a receipt herein. I do not think this sum has been previously acknowledged, but if there is any duplication, please destroy it.[From the Guardian:]
The Six-Year Plan, formulated by the elected representatives of the valiant Bahá'í communities in Australasia, is now entering its final and most critical stage. If successfully terminated it will mark the conclusion of a memorable chapter in the evolution of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the Antipodes, and will at the same time herald the opening of the initial phase in the establishment of the institutions of that Faith, beyond the borders of that far-off continent, in the numerous diversified and widely scattered Islands of the South Pacific Ocean. It will in fact signalize the third stage in the evolution of the Faith in that newly opened, highly promising, far-flung continent -- an evolution which commenced,Page 98
during the concluding decade of Abdu'l-Bahá'í Ministry and of the Heroic Age of the Faith, with the birth and rise of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, and which was subsequently accelerated through the formulation during the opening years of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, of two successive Plans, designed to broaden and reinforce the foundations of that nascent Order in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. The inauguration of the third and most glorious phase in this historic and momentous development must now depend on the consummation of the tasks willingly shouldered by this youthful, this virile and greatly beloved community, which, despite its physical remoteness from the heart and world centre of the Faith, the smallness of its size, its limited resources and the vastness of the field under the jurisdiction of its elected representatives, has made such great strides since its inception, has shown such exemplary devotion and loyalty, and has preserved and reinforced so nobly the solidity of its foundations.
This Community, which owes its birth to the revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, must now brace itself, during the fleeting months that lie ahead, for a supreme, a concerted and sustained effort to ensure the attainment of the objectives of the present Plan, and thereby acquire the spiritual potentialities essential to the launching of a mighty Crusade, in collaboration with the Trustees of the Plan, conceived by the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, and with its neighbouring sister communities in Latin America and in the Indian Sub-continent, destined to culminate in the fullness of time in the Spiritual conquest of the multitudinous islands of the South Pacific Ocean.
So exalted a mission, so strenuous a task, so weighty a responsibility call for, while the Present Preparatory Plan speeds to its end, an unprecedented demonstration on the part of young and old, or both men and women, whether administrators or teachers, veterans or neophytes, of solidarity, determination, zeal and constancy, a still greater display of self-sacrifice, a wider dispersion of forces, a more energetic discharge of duty, a clearer vision, a firmer grasp, of the requirements of the present hour, and a more complete dedication to the purposes of the present-day enterprise.
The steady multiplication of Bahá'í Administrative institutions; the rapid consolidation of these basic agencies on which the speedy expansion of the community beyond its borders mustPage 99
ultimately depend; the early incorporation of all steadily functioning assemblies as a means of further reinforcing a newly erected administrative structure; the systematic and vigorous dissemination of Bahá'í literature, and the gradual proclamation of the Faith through the Press and Radio; the initiation of measures designed to forge friendly links between these newly-fledged assemblies and local civil authorities, and a parallel effort aimed at the strengthening of the ties binding the Bahá'í Supreme Administrative Body with both the Federal and State authorities -- above all the constant deepening of the spiritual life of the individual believers, the enrichment of community life, the promotion of greater unity, harmony and cooperation among the rank and file of the followers of the Faith -- these are the essential prerequisites to which special attention should be directed in preparation for the great campaign destined to be launched in that remote corner of the globe, by one of the most youthful and promising Bahá'í national communities, on the morrow of the world-wide celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's prophetic Mission.
Afire with the vision that now opens before their eyes; conscious of the substantial share of responsibility they must assume, in conjunction with the Indian, the Pakistani, the North American, and the Latin American followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, in uplifting the banner of the Most Great Name amidst the dwellers of these scattered, distant and in some cases isolated, Islands of the South, and in drawing them into the orbit of His constantly evolving Administrative Order; fortified by the magnificent progress they themselves have achieved in their own homelands; and confident of the irresistible and mysterious power instilled by the Hand of Providence in every agency associated with His Most Holy Name, let the members of these rapidly maturing, fast evolving, soundly established, Bahá'í communities throughout Australasia arise, as they have never heretofore done, and during the concluding phase of their present fate-laden Plan, to seal their high endeavours with total and complete victory, and thereby open a chapter of undreamt-of glory that will add an imperishable lustre to the annals of an immortal Faith.
Just as their first collective enterprise, through its resounding success, contributed its particular share of tribute to the memory of the Herald of their Faith, on the occasion of thePage 100
centenary of the birth of His Revelation, may their present collective enterprise, through its consummation, qualify and empower them to play a distinctive role in the celebration of the Great Jubilee that will mark the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Prophetic Mission.
A great opportunity lies before them. Much of their present mighty task still remains to be achieved. Immense virgin fields stretch before them, flanked, on the one side, by a sister community in the South American continent, and on the other by another sister community in the vast Indian sub-continent, both ready and eager to extend their help in prosecuting a memorable, a gigantic and supremely arduous task. May they, when the hour strikes, be found ready and well equipped to assume the onerous responsibilities that will fall to their share.Shoghi.
Your letter of October 17th has been received by the beloved Guardian, as well as the contribution you forwarded, a receipt for which I am enclosing.
Will you kindly assure the individuals, groups and assemblies who contributed, of the Guardian's very deep appreciation of this assistance they are giving to the work of the Shrine here. The building is going ahead rapidly; and he hopes that, within a couple of months, the octagon will be finished, and the drum section which will support the dome, can be commenced without any interruption.With loving Bahá'í greetings,
May the Beloved abundantly reward and bless all who have contributed for the construction of the Shrine, sustain them in their efforts, and aid them to win great victories in the service of our beloved Faith,Your true brother,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Sister:
Your letter of January 29th has been received; and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to forward to you the enclosed receipt for the loving contribution made by the Australia and New Zealand believers for the Shrine of the Báb, as well as for the contribution made directly by your National Body.
Please thank all the friends concerned in this contribution on his behalf; and assure them the Shrine is growing more beautiful daily as work on it progresses.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
May the Almighty abundantly reward, bless and sustain all those who have contributed towards this holy Enterprise, aid and protect them, and enable them to promote, at all times, the vital interests of His Faith.Your true brother,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Friends:
Your loving letter of March 11th, addressed to the beloved Guardian has come to hand, and he has asked me to answer it in his behalf.
The kind contribution which you made to the Shrine of the Báb fund has been received, and receipt therefor is enclosed herewith.
After checking with our bank here, I find they feel it would be simpler if you made future remittances on the basis of a bank transfer instead of a draft.Page 102
Answering the specific questions which you propound, the information is as follows:1. The full name and address of the bank is:
The beloved Guardian values very deeply the admirable manner in which the friends in Australia and New Zealand are carrying on their teaching work. He will pray that they will meet with every possible success, and gain new victories for the Faith as their plan progresses.
The Guardian likewise wishes you to express to each one who joined in the contribution you sent, his loving appreciation.
The work of the Shrine is progressing. The octagon and the pinnacles are now completed, so far as the marble work is concerned. The Guardian is hopeful the entire project may continue uninterruptedly so that it might be completed by Naw-Ruz period next year.With warm Bahá'í greetings, I am
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Friends:
Your gracious letter of April 3rd has come to hand, and the Guardian has asked me to acknowledge it on his behalf. Enclosed is receipt for the contribution which has been made to the Shrine of the Báb.
The unity of the friends in Australia and New Zealand is greatly valued by the Guardian; and he appreciates the sacrifices which have been made in sending these contributions to this Holy Undertaking on Mt. Carmel.
The Shrine is increasing in beauty from day to day. The marble work on the octagon has been completed; the exquisitePage 103
pinnacles have been put in place; and work is under way on the extension of some of the Gardens. The Guardian is hopeful the work may continue uninterruptedly, so as to be completed next year.With loving Bahá'í greetings, I am
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Sister:
The beloved Guardian has received your letters of December 20 and 21, 1951, February 12 and 26, March 11 and May 2, 1952, with enclosures, and has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
As regards various matters raised in your letters, Mr. ... is now in Khartoum, Sudan at the following address: Mr. ..., Khartoum. The reason the Guardian knows this is that he has received a contribution from him for the Shrine, which he has asked the Bank to trace back to the sender, so that he can return it to him.
The Guardian suggests that you contact Mr. ..., and press him to discharge his debt to the believer in Fiji whom he has so grievously wronged, pointing out to him that surely, if he expects any forgiveness from God, the first pre-requisite is to conduct himself honestly.
The Guardian was very happy to hear that as a result of Mrs. Bolton's trip to New Caledonia, there is now a believer in that far-off island. He was also very happy to hear of the close contact you maintain with the friends in Suva, and considers that this is extremely important, as of course at the New Delhi Conference, plans will have to be made for the unfoldment of the Faith throughout all the Pacific Islands, and the more strong centers we have to begin with, the better.
As regards World Religion Day, the Guardian does not attach any importance to what date the meeting is held on.Page 104
World Religion Day has nothing to do with our Faith as such, but is merely a useful means of getting the public together and bringing the Cause to them.
He sees no reason why Mother Dunn should not have a companion in the Hazira, and hopes that she will settle down there comfortably and happily.
The sympathy you have expressed on the occasion of the passing of dear Mr. Maxwell was much appreciated by the Guardian. Although Mr. Maxwell is naturally missed very much here, the services God in His bounty enabled him to accomplish for the Faith preclude any feelings of sadness, when we think of the blessings showered upon him.
He urges your Assembly to constantly stimulate the believers to achieve their goals. It would be a great pity if, after the success of their First Plan, their Second historic Plan did not likewise culminate in victory, more particularly in view of the fact that the New Delhi Conference will involve the formation of work to be undertaken by eight National Bodies during a ten year period.
Consequently all Assemblies, not only yours, but all National Assemblies all over the world, should, so to speak, clear the decks for action, and wind up their present business, so that they will be free to carry out the much more important work that lies ahead of them.
The Guardian feels sure that the Australian and New Zealand Bahá'ís can make and will make sufficient effort to consummate their Plan with success. He is certainly sustaining them with his ardent prayers.
He assures you all that your labours are most deeply appreciated.With warm Bahá'í love,
Though extremely preoccupied, during recent months, with the constantly expanding activities and manifold problems arising at the World Centre of the Faith, necessitating, to my extreme regret, a considerable delay in acknowledging your assembly's communications, I have been watching, with close interest and ever deepening admiration, the progressive unfoldmentPage 105
of the task which the community of the believers in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania are so valiantly shouldering. I have noted, with particular gratification, the simultaneous advance made in the extension of the teaching activities of the steadfast and self-sacrificing members of this forward-looking highly promising community, as well as in the consolidation of the institutions which they are laboriously establishing throughout that far-away continent and its neighbouring islands. I rejoice at the remarkable vitality, courage and determination which they are increasingly demonstrating in enlarging the limits of the Faith and in implanting its banner beyond the confines of that continent, over and above the task assigned to them in accordance with the provisions of their Plan, and in territories where they are destined to exert a notable influence through their collective efforts and achievements in the years immediately ahead.
As the Plan, to which they stand committed, enters upon the last stage in its unfoldment the members of this community, however remarkable their accomplishments have been in the past, must steel themselves and through a supreme effort, endeavour to rise to still greater heights of dedication, display in the pioneering field a still more compelling degree of consecration, evince a still nobler spirit of self-abnegation, and a greater awareness of the gravity of the issues at stake and of the inestimable value of the prizes within their reach. That they may be qualified to undertake a still greater mission, assume weightier responsibilities and embark upon mightier enterprises, the adequate discharge of their present duties and the fulfilment of their sacred obligations is no doubt essential.
The multiplication and consolidation of the administrative institutions of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh throughout Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania, as its followers in those regions, must undoubtedly be well aware, constitutes the primary foundation for, and the necessary prelude to, the firm establishment of the institutions of His Administrative Order, beyond the confines and in the neighbourhood of these territories, and amidst the highly diversified tribes and races inhabiting the numerous and widely scattered islands and archipelagos of the South Pacific Ocean.
The approaching Holy Year, a period of such unique significance in the history of the Faith; the prospect of the active participationPage 106
of some of the elected representatives and members of the community holding aloft the torch of the Faith in the Antipodes; in one of the most important Conferences to be held during that year; their formal association with no less than seven other National Spiritual Assemblies in the prosecution of the colossal tasks that are to be initiated in South East Asia, in the course of the coming decade; the manifold blessings which must assuredly flow from the assumption of such a sacred function and in the course of the development of so gigantic, so challenging and so meritorious an undertaking, can surely not fail to galvanize the privileged members of this community, constituting a vital outpost of the Faith, and occupying such a spiritually strategic position in the world crusade soon to be launched by itself and its sister communities in both the East and the West, into action, at once so swift and decisive, as to add fresh lustre to the annals of the Faith.
This community, now standing on the threshold of an era of unprecedented expansion, and gazing towards the glorious future that awaits it, must seize the priceless opportunities which these fast-fleeting months offer it, and must not allow for a moment its vision to be dimmed, its resolution to flag, its attention to be distracted or its faith in its ultimate destiny to waver.
With a heart full of hope, and with an affection and fervour which every forward step in the progress of its strenuous labours serves to intensify, I will supplicate at the threshold of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh to enable His stalward followers championing His Cause in those far-away lands to achieve a resounding success in the task they have pledged themselves to fulfil.Your true brother,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Friends:
The beloved Guardian has directed me to write you in his behalf, to request that the information relating to Australia andPage 107
New Zealand and their activities, contained in the booklet "The Bahá'í Faith", 'Information Statistical and Comparative' be brought up to date as of May 1, 1952, and sent to him here by first possible air mail post.
One of the features of the Holy Year will be the re-issuance of this important book; inasmuch as the Holy Year is fast approaching, the Guardian wishes the information as quickly as possible.
Briefly, the information which your NSA is to provide, brought up to date of May 1, 1952, is as follows:
Incorporated Local Spiritual Assemblies, in Australia and New Zealand. Bahá'í Centers in Australia and New Zealand, showing if possible the division between Local Spiritual Assemblies, Groups and Isolated Believers. Any information not immediately available, should be handled by telegraph, but such information as is available should not be delayed for any one or two delinquents. You can appreciate that if the booklet is to be published early in the Holy Year, the information should reach the Guardian at a very early date.
The Guardian sends his loving greetings to the NationalAssembly and its devoted members.
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New ZealandDear Bahá'í Sister:
Your letter of September 30th has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
The generous contribution which Mrs. ... made towards the Shrine of the Báb has already been acknowledged direct to her, because she mentioned it in a recent letter.
It was indeed most kind of this dedicated believer to supportPage 108
this work of the Shrine here to this extent, and was much appreciated.
The Guardian assures you your devoted labors for the Faith are much appreciated. He will remember you in his prayers in the Shrine.With loving greetings,
Assuring you of my loving prayers for your success and spiritual advancement,Your true brother,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand,Mrs. D. E. Dive, Treasurer,
Your loving letter of September 14th has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has asked me to acknowledge it on his behalf.
The Guardian will greatly appreciate your thanking each one of the contributors to this fund.
He is very appreciative of the outstanding services and sacrifices of the friends in Australia and New Zealand. He feels they are bringing renown to the Faith, and laying a firm foundation for the great Crusade ahead.
The Guardian will pray for the success of all the activities of the friends, and for the guidance and confirmation of the National Assembly.
The funds representing the proceeds of sale of the shares, given by Mrs. ... have come to hand, amounting to 346.9.10 Sterling. The Guardian has asked that you express his deep appreciation to Mrs. ... for this loving contribution, which will be used in the construction of the Shrine of the Báb.
The construction work on the drum of the Shrine is going forward quite rapidly. The tall columns between the windowsPage 109
are rapidly nearing completion, adding to the beauty of this glorious structure. The Guardian is hopeful that this work can continue until the building is completely finished.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Friend:
The beloved Guardian has received your letter of April 14th, and has instructed me to acknowledge it on his behalf.
The contribution which has been made by the friends in Australia and New Zealand for the construction work on the Shrine of the Báb, is very deeply appreciated. Receipt is enclosed herewith.
Will you please extend to all the Assemblies, Groups and individual believers who have joined in this contribution, the Guardian's heartfelt appreciation.
Shoghi Effendi was delighted to learn that the Six Year Teaching Plan was successfully concluded. Word coming into Haifa from all over the world indicates the great success of the teaching plans in every country. He is therefore encouraged to feel that the heavy tasks of the Ten Year Plan will be easily accomplished.
You will be happy to know that the work on the dome of the Shrine is progressing very rapidly. As the Guardian has cabled, the shutterings and the scaffolding for the dome have been completed, and some of the golden tiles placed on lower sections of the dome. The building achieves greater majesty as each new height is reached.With loving greetings, I am
The Beloved Guardian has instructed me to write to you and ask you to please send me the name and address of the Bahá'í in Samoa, also the name and address of the Bahá'í in New Caledonia. And, will you please advise if a spiritual assembly was formed in Suva on April 21st. This news has come indirectly and he very much wants to have it confirmed by the NSA. You may be sure his eager eyes are on these new places and any news about them makes his heart very happy. Please send the name and address of the secretary of Suva.
The news of the 2nd International Bahá'í Conference has been very thrilling and the Beloved Guardian has been exceedingly happy about it all.
If you will please send the information asked for by return AIR MAIL, I will be very deeply grateful to you.
The work on the Shrine is going ahead very wonderfully, a few tiles have already been placed. We hope someday you will all make the pilgrimage and see this most beautiful Shrine in the heart of Mt. Carmel, fulfilment of prophecy.Devoted love and thanks
To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Friends:
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. 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!Page 111
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.
In the United States some 150 people have volunteered for pioneer service, and some of them already are preparing to leave for their posts. The Guardian has informed the United States National Assembly, that because of their being the Chief Executor of the Divine Plan of Abdu'l-Bahá for teaching throughout the World, their pioneers may be sent to any virgin area in the world, regardless to which NSA it may be assigned. If any of their pioneers wish to settle in any of the areas assigned to your Assembly, they will communicate with you.
The Friends in Australia and New Zealand have displayed such outstanding devotion and consecration to the Faith, that despite all obstacles they have continuously "scattered" to various parts to spread the Divine Teachings. The Beloved Guardian is sure they will do likewise in connection with this great Crusade and will settle promptly many virgin areas.
There are some general observations which the Guardian shares with you, and then some specific suggestions which are enumerated below:
1. Every individual who offers to pioneer, should be encouraged and assisted in every way possible by the National Assembly.
2. Every application for pioneering must be expedited, and not allowed to drag in any way, either in the handling of the NSA, or any Committee working out the details for the NSA.
3. The National Assembly must make the settlement of their virgin areas, the first order of their business. In other words, nothing is more important at this time, than settlement in the 131 virgin areas.
4. More than two pioneers should not be sent to any one place; unless, of course, they are members of one family. In fact, what is wanted is to settle each area with Baha'is, and therefore, one Bahá'í will fulfill the initial task.Page 112
The specific suggestions which the Guardian makes, are:
a. Areas close at hand and easy of settlement should be filled first. Then the areas more difficult, and finally, the difficult ones.
b. Whenever a pioneer enters a new territory, a cable should be sent at once to the Beloved Guardian, giving the name, place and any pertinent information.
c. A report should be sent each month by your Assembly to the Secretary General of the International Bahá'í Council, giving the progress of your teaching work in the virgin areas of the Plan, particularly the development of your plans for settling them. This does not mean your Assembly should correspond with the International Council concerning administrative matters; as all administrative matters should be handled in the usual manner, directly with the Guardian. It simply means that reports and data concerning the development of the plan should be sent to the International Council for consolidation with other reports, for the Guardian.
d. The Guardian feels the following areas should be easily settled and he would appreciate your arranging to send pioneers there at the earliest possible date. Portugese Timor, New Hebrides Islands, Admiralty Islands; and then the other Islands as you can place pioneers on them.
As his dramatic cable indicates, the Guardian is preparing 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 placed 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 God.
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 the spiritual power released with the launching of this Great Ten Year Global Crusade, will carry the consecrated and devoted friends to complete victory.Page 113
He will pray for the members of your Assembly, whose sacrificial services he greatly values.Faithfully yours,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New ZealandDear Bahá'í Sister:
Your letters of June 18, July 29, October 7, 21 and 24 (2), November 10 and 18, 1952, and February 19, May 18 and 21, 1953 have been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf. The various enclosures as well as material forwarded under separate cover were also received.
Owing to extreme pressure of work here, which is getting worse all the time, he has not been able to answer any N.S.A. letters from any country for almost a year. He regrets this but unfortunately it was unavoidable. As you can see, all your communications reached him, but he was too busy to reply.
He appreciated your Assembly's gift of books gotten out by the Child Education Committee, and assures you that the four copies of the bulletin "Herald of the South", "Bahá'í Youth Journal" and other material which you sent, are quite satisfactory.
The thing that is most difficult for the Guardian is to have to read through a sheaf of material in order to extract the salient information on such vital subjects as pioneer activities, important decisions of the National Assembly or the Teaching Committee etc. Two words in the text of your letter might convey important items in a succinct and summarized manner.
He was delighted to hear that as many as thirty of the Australian believers are planning to attend the New Delhi Conference, and that a large number of N.S.A. members, if not all, will be present. In a way, the New Delhi Conference is one of the most important of all four conferences to be held during thePage 114
Holy Year, because at it, eight National Assemblies must be represented and their joint teaching endeavor covers vast areas of the globe, areas practically hitherto untouched by the Message of Bahá'u'lláh.
He was glad to hear that the Convention this year and the Pacific School held afterward had been such a success.
He was sorry to learn that after all, it was not possible for Mr. and Mrs. Katzmann to go to New Britain. He hopes that they or others will follow through this project, as it is an extremely important one.
The best photographs available of the Shrine of the Báb at present are to be obtained from the American N.S.A., as films are placed at their disposal, and they can fulfill your requirements. He suggests you get in touch with Mr. Holley.
Shoghi Effendi hopes that at the New Delhi Conference the contribution which the representatives from Australia and New Zealand will make will be vital and will carry the work forward much faster. It will be a truly unique opportunity for the representatives of so many National Assemblies to consult about the vast pioneers regions which will be entrusted to their care, and every advantage should be taken of it, as it may not recur again ever.With warm Bahá'í love,
P.S. The Guardian has been greatly encouraged by the way the believers of Australia and New Zealand succeeded in their Plan carried out the last few years. He hopes for still greater things from them in the days to come![From the Guardian:]
The victorious conclusion of the Plan formulated by your Assembly, which posterity will recognize as a landmark of the utmost significance in the development of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the Antipodes, has filled my heart with joy and thanksgiving, has evoked profound admiration in the hearts of the followers of the Faith in both Hemispheres, and fully qualified the Bahá'í Communities in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania to embark upon their Ten-Year Plan, which constitutes so important and vital a phase of the global Crusade launched by their sister Communities in every continent of the globe.Page 115
This new milestone in the history of the Faith in Australasia signalizes the opening of a new chapter in the progressive unfoldment of the Mission of these communities -- a Mission that embraces both their homelands as well as the neighbouring Island of the South Pacific Ocean and where their most brilliant exploits, testifying to their heroism and devotion, must be achieved and their greatest victories won.
A twofold task of far-reaching importance, at once thrilling and arduous, now faces them, involving the steady multiplication and consolidation of the nascent institutions of the Faith in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania and the erection of the Administrative structure of the Faith in the islands and archipelagos beyond the shores of the Australian continent.
The despatch of pioneers to the seven virgin islands assigned to the National Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand is the first and most vital objective of the newly launched Ten-Year Plan, requiring urgent consideration, careful planning, and energetic action, in the course of the current year. Every effort should be exerted and the utmost sacrifice should be made, to ensure, ere the opening year of this great and historic Plan draws to a close, the settlement of at least one pioneer in each of these Islands -- an achievement which will seal with success the opening phase of the collective enterprise auspiciously launched by your Assembly on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Mission.
Second in importance and far-reaching in its repercussions is the selection and purchase by your assembly -- an undertaking to which Bahá'í National Assemblies, as well as I myself, will contribute -- of the site of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in the Antipodes, to be situated either within or in the immediate outskirts of, the city of Sydney, the leading and oldest Bahá'í Centre in the Australian continent, and which already houses the National Administrative Headquarters of your assembly.
These two essential obligations, as well as the task of consolidating steadily the prizes already won in the administrative field in that continent, must take precedence over all other obligations assumed by the prosecutors of the Plan, and will, if fulfilled in time, constitute a splendid prelude to its systematic execution and eventual consummation.
The valiant and youthful Bahá'í communities established inPage 116
Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania, which despite their limited resources, the smallness of their numbers, their relative inexperience, and the various obstacles which have confronted them in the past, have proved themselves capable of such memorable feats, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í activity, will, surely, refuse to hesitate or falter at this crucial and challenging hour in the unfoldment of their destiny, and will never allow themselves to be outdone by their sister-communities who share with them the high and inescapable responsibility of contributing to the final triumph of this, the most gigantic and momentous collective undertaking launched since the inception of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation.
I appeal to their elected national representatives to direct, with all the means at their disposal, the operations of the Plan, and encourage constantly the members of the Communities they represent to lend, each according to his or her resources and capabilities, every possible assistance to this common task. I entreat, moreover, all local assemblies, groups and isolated believers to support, unstintingly, every measure devised for the effective prosecution of this same task, and to continue in this meritorious endeavour until every single objective of the Plan is attained.
May the followers of the Faith in that far-off continent, who can already boast of such a proud record of stewardship to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, illuminate its annals, in the course of the coming decades by deeds of still greater renown, by acts of still more glorious sacrifice, and prepare themselves to worthily contribute, at the appointed time, to the world-wide celebrations which will commemorate the Centenary of His Declaration.Shoghi.
Mrs. Greta Lake, Secretary, Yerrinbool Bahá'í School.Dear Bahá'í Sister:
Your letter of January 3rd has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.Page 117
He was very happy that the honored Hand of the Cause, Mr. Furutan, and Mr. Faizi, could be with you at this session of your Summer School, and he is sure they were the cause of great happiness and deep enkindlement to the friends present.
The Guardian has high hopes for the dear Australian and New Zealand believers, and he urges you, one and all, to persist in your labours, no matter at what cost, until all the goals set before you for the Ten Year Crusade, have been attained.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
May the Almighty bless you and your dear co-workers in your highly meritorious endeavours, and enable you to win great victories in the service of His glorious Faith.Your true brother,
Mr. James Heggie, Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Brother:
The letters from your Assembly dated July 6, September 14, November 9 and December 18, 1953, and January 7 (2), February 28, and March 22 and 31, 1954, with enclosures, also the material sent separately, have all been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
Regarding the various matters you have raised, he does not know how the galleys of the Tahitian pamphlet and letters of Louise Bosch happened to be sent to you. He had nothing to do with it, and is perfectly satisfied that they should remain in the hands of your Assembly.
He has been delighted over the marked progress made by your Assembly in carrying out its own portion of the Ten-Year Crusade. The number of members of the National Body who have gone forth as pioneers to virgin territories which you havePage 118
succeeded in opening during the first year of the Plan, the purchase of the Temple site in Sydney -- all attest the vitality of the faith of the believers in the Antipodes. He is very proud of their spirit and their achievements, and believes that they will go very far in their service to the Faith on an international scale. The initiative shown through the holding of a South Pacific School pleased him immensely. In view of the work to be done, the number of languages into which the literature is to be translated, the tremendous area throughout which the Australian goals are scattered, schools and institutes of this nature are really essential.
He is also very happy to note the increase in Bahá'í membership, a sure sign of the virility of the faith of the believers.
He feels sure that the visit of the dear Hand of the Cause, Mr. Furutan, accompanied by Mr. Faizi, did a tremendous amount of good. Mr. Furutan has since made the pilgrimage to Haifa, and spoke very highly to the Guardian of the believers in that part of the world, whom he grew to love and admire very much during his visit.
He was very happy to see that Mrs. Dunn was able to attend the New Zealand Bahá'í Summer School. For a woman of her age, this was surely a remarkable achievement, and must have been a great inspiration to the New Zealand friends, coming as she did so freshly from the last Intercontinental Teaching Conference held in New Delhi.
Now that so many of the goals abroad have been settled, and active plans have been laid to settle the remaining ones, he feels that your Assembly should pay particular attention, during the coming year, to the work on the home front. The multiplication of Local Assemblies, the incorporation of Local Assemblies and the increase in centers throughout Australia and New Zealand are all-important and pressing, and will require a great deal of work. The sooner the friends "get on with it" the better!
In connection with the teaching work throughout the Pacific area, he fully believes that in many cases the white society is difficult to interest in anything but its own superficial activities. The Bahá'ís must identify themselves on the one hand, as much as they reasonably can, with the life of the white people, so as not to become ostracized, criticized and eventually ousted from their hard-won pioneer posts. On the other hand, they must bear in mind that the primary object of their living there is to teachPage 119
the native population the Faith. This they must do with tact and discretion, in order not to forfeit their foot-hold in these islands which are often so difficult of access.
Sound judgment, a great deal of patience and forbearance, faith and nobility of conduct, must distinguish the pioneers, and be their helpers in accomplishing the object of their journey to these far places.
He attaches great importance to teaching the aboriginal Australians, and also in converting more Maoris to the Faith, and hopes that the Bahá'ís will devote some attention to contacting both of these minority groups.
As he has already informed you, he approves of any surplus moneys in the Temple fund, after having purchased the site, being diverted for the use of the Pacific teaching work. He feels that your Assembly has shown remarkably good judgment in handling this entire matter.
The most important thing of all in connection with the pioneer work, is to ensure that the believers who, at such cost of sacrifice and effort, have at last succeeded in gaining entry to these far-flung and difficult territories, should remain there at all costs.
As regards the question of how to write some of the Oriental words, like Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá in the translations which have Latin script, he feels that at least in parenthesis a phonetical pronunciation should be included after the name when the English transliteration is used. There is no use giving people the Teachings, and not enabling them to pronounce correctly the names that have the deepest association of all with our Faith.
He urges your Body and, through you, all of the dear believers in Australia and New Zealand, and your devoted pioneers serving so far afield, to be of good heart, to persevere, and to rest assured that the Beloved will watch over and protect your labours.
He will pray for all the members of your Assembly in the holy Shrines, and for the success of your indefatigable labours.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
The manifold evidences of the remarkable progress, achieved in almost every field, by the Australian and New-Zealand Bahá'í Communities since the launching of the Ten-Year Plan, have truly rejoiced my heart, and served to heighten my feelings of admiration for the sterling qualities which the members of these Communities have increasingly displayed in recent years.
There is no doubt whatever -- and I truly feel proud to place it on record -- that the community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh labouring for His Cause in the Antipodes now occupies, by virtue of the quality of the faith of its members, the soundness of their judgement, the clearness of their vision, the scope of their accomplishments, and their exemplary loyalty, courage and self-sacrifice, a foremost position among its sister communities in all the continents of the globe.
Far from stagnating or declining in number or in influence it has in recent years displayed a vitality which can well excite the admiration and envy of them all, and has demonstrated, beyond the shadow of a doubt, a fidelity to the principles of our Faith, whether a spiritual or administrative, and a capacity for service which all may well emulate.
Though all the goals, in the virgin areas of the globe, assigned to the elected national representatives of these two communities have not as yet been attained, owing solely to circumstances beyond their control, yet the spirit evinced by the pioneers belonging to these communities, who have so gloriously initiated this major task, constituting the foremost objective of the opening phase of this Ten-Year Crusade, has been such as to amply compensate for the inability of their national elected representatives to consummate, ere the close of the first year of the Ten-Year Plan, this initial enterprise marking the inauguration of their Mission in foreign fields. Particularly gratifying and indeed inspiring has been the response of the members of your assembly to the Call for pioneers -- a response that has surpassed that of any other National Body throughout the Bahá'í World.
The selection and subsequent purchase of the site of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in the Antipodes in the outskirts of a city -- the first to receive the light of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh in Australasia, and destined to play a predominant role in thePage 121
evolution of the Administrative Order of His Faith in that vast area -- is an achievement which I heartily welcome and for which I feel deeply grateful. This remarkable accomplishment will, in conjunction with the establishment a decade ago of the National Haziratu'l-Quds in that same city, accelerate the progress, and immensely reinforce the foundations, of the administrative institutions inaugurated on the morrow of Abdu'l-Bahá'í ascension, and which are destined to yield their fairest fruit in the Golden Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation.
The second phase of this spiritual Crusade upon which these two greatly blessed, fast unfolding, firmly established, intensely alive communities have now entered must witness the opening, at whatever cost, of the remaining virgin territories allocated to their national elected representatives. The preservation of the prizes already won in the newly opened territories is, moreover, a task they cannot afford to neglect under any circumstances. The multiplication of Bahá'í isolated centres, groups and local assemblies, in both Australia and New-Zealand -- a process that has been steadily and rapidly developing since the inauguration of the Ten-Year Plan, is likewise of paramount importance in the years immediately ahead. The development of these institutions, particularly in New-Zealand, will no doubt hasten the emergence of an independent National Spiritual Assembly in that territory, and will lend a tremendous impetus to the onward march of the Faith in those regions.
The assistance which your Assembly must increasingly extend to its sister assembly in the Indian sub-continent, in connection with the translation and publication of Bahá'í Literature in the languages allocated under the Ten-Year Plan, is yet another task which, in the coming months, must be boldly tackled and consistently carried on. The incorporation of local assemblies moreover, is a matter of great urgency and should in no wise be postponed or neglected. The consolidation work to be undertaken, according to the provisions of this same Plan, is, likewise, urgent and of the utmost importance, and will undoubtedly serve to enhance the prestige of your assembly and enrich the record of your far-reaching accomplishments. The purchase of a building in Auckland destined to serve as the National Haziratu'l-Quds of the Bahá'ís of New-Zealand, is yet another objective on which attention should be immediately focused -- in anticipationPage 122
of the erection of yet another pillar of the future House of Justice in that remote part of the world.
Whilst these objectives are being steadily pursued by your assembly, every effort will be exerted in the Holy Land, as a tribute to the superb spirit animating the Australian and New Zealand believers and to their incessant and meritorious labours in the service of the Cause they have championed, to hasten the transfer of a part of the Bahá'í international endowments to the name of the newly constituted Israel Branch of your Assembly -- an act that will at once bestow a great spiritual and material benefit on your Assembly and reinforce the ties binding it to the World Centre of the Faith in the Holy Land.
May the members of these valiant communities, whose interests you so conscientiously serve and whom you so ably represent, continue to prosper under your wise and loving leadership, scale loftier heights in their collective enterprise, and win a still greater measure of fame in the service of a Cause to which they have so nobly dedicated their resources, and which they have served, in the past thirty years, with so rare a spirit of consecration and self-sacrifice.
That they may bring to full and early fruition the manifold tasks they have undertaken is the constant prayer of one who has never ceased to love and admire them for their past and present achievements, and for whose future accomplishments he cherishes the brightest hopes.Shoghi.
Your letters of July 27, August 5, and November 16, 1954, and January 21, and July 5, 1955, with enclosures, have been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He is very happy over the progress which has been made in the area under your Assembly's jurisdiction during the past year.Page 123
The news of the purchase of the Haziratu'l-Quds in Auckland was most welcome. The acquisition of this building is really one of the pre-requisites for the formation of the National Assembly of New Zealand; he hopes that the impetus this has given to the work of the Faith there, combined with the devotion of the Bahá'ís will speed the formation of local Assemblies, which alone constitute the necessary firm foundation for the National Body, a Body which will be one of the direct pillars supporting the International House of Justice. He urges, therefore, your Assembly to give all the teaching help it can to New Zealand; and to encourage the believers there to do their utmost to achieve their goals.
The wonderful spirit the pioneers from Australia and New Zealand have shown is a source of pride to the Guardian. Already they have garnered many rich prizes for the Faith in the form of such romantic, remote and inaccessible isles as Tonga, the Solomons and the Society Islands. Their determination, devotion and courage are exemplary in every way; and he hopes they will persevere, and not abandon their posts.
It must be made quite clear to the Bahá'ís that opening a new territory or a new town for that matter, meritorious as it is, is nevertheless only the first move. The consolidation of the Bahá'í work undertaken there is the most important thing of all. Victories are won usually through a great deal of patience, planning and perseverance, and rarely accomplished at a single stroke.
He was very glad to see that your Assembly had promptly gone to the aid of Mr. Blum. Without the support you gave him so generously and quickly, he might well have been forced to abandon this important post, which would have indeed been a great defeat to our work.
He was very happy to receive the Samoan and Tongan pamphlets. However restricted in size, such pamphlets as these are a great asset to the literature of the Faith, and enable the teaching work to progress more rapidly. He hopes that the pioneers will bear this in mind; and if they find any languages that would be of real use to their teaching work, and can get a small pamphlet translated into them, they will endeavour to do so.
As he already cabled you, of the extra 3,000 Dollars which you had left over in the Haziratu'l-Quds Fund for New Zealand,Page 124
he wishes you to keep half for the teaching activities carried out under your jurisdiction, and forward the other half to England for the work there, as they are in need of assistance in carrying forward the many important tasks allotted to the British National Spiritual Assembly.
The purchase of the Temple site -- reasonable in sum, reasonable in area, and excellent in position -- brought great joy to his heart.
He is indeed proud of the achievements of the believers of Australia and New Zealand, and the well-balanced, intelligent and persevering manner in which they go about their business.
He hopes that the private bill you are planning to have passed in the Upper House, and which will give the Bahá'ís legal recognition, will go through successfully. In view of the precedent of the Canadian Parliament when a special Act was passed, legalizing the status of the Bahá'ís in that country, he feels that you should not have much difficulty in Australia.
He is hoping that, after the Ridvan elections, good news will reach him of the formation of many more new Spiritual Assemblies in both Australia and New Zealand. The multiplication of Bahá'í Centers is, at the present stage of the development of the Cause, of the greatest importance. In the first place, it means that news of the coming of Bahá'u'lláh is being made available to a greater number of the population; and in the second place, it broadens the foundation of the national institutions which must elect the International House of Justice. Believers in centres that possess a relatively large voting list should bear in mind that at this time it is highly important and acceptable in the sight of God to disperse and carry the Message to new Centres, both outside the country and within it.
Your Assembly should bear in mind the necessity, in the future at any rate, of having firmly grounded local Assemblies in all of the States of Australia and New Zealand; and also the importance of increasing the representation of the minority races, such as the Aborigines and the Maoris, within the Bahá'í Community. Special effort should be made to contact these people and to teach them; and the Bahá'ís in Australia and New Zealand should consider that every one of them that can be won to the Faith is a precious acquisition.
As he surveys the progress being made throughout the Bahá'íPage 125
world, he is particularly pleased with that achieved in the Antipodes. The soundness, healthiness and vigour of the Bahá'í Community "down under" is a source of great joy to him, and he feels is an example to the Bahá'ís in other continents of the globe.
He remembers the members of your Assembly and all the dear Bahá'í pioneers and those labouring at home in his prayers in the holy Shrines, and supplicates that you all may be richly blessed, and render the Faith devoted services.With warm Bahá'í love.
The achievements that have distinguished and ennobled the record of services rendered by the valiant, fast expanding, steadily consolidating, richly endowed, highly promising Bahá'í Communities in the Antipodes have brought intense joy to my heart, and have, no doubt, excited the admiration of the members of their sister communities throughout the Bahá'í world. The contribution which, severally and collectively, the organized followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the Australian continent, in New Zealand and in Tasmania, are making towards the progress of the Ten-Year Crusade in so many of its aspects, ever since its inception, is truly exemplary and augurs well for their future development and triumph under the provisions of this momentous Ten-Year Plan.
The steady increase in the number of believers, of isolated centres, groups and assemblies evokes my deep and heartfelt admiration and gratitude. The purchase of the site of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in the Antipodes is a service that has greatly enhanced the prestige of the Faith, and constitutes a historic victory worthy to rank as a distinct milestone in the history of its progressive unfoldment throughout Australasia. The purchase of the Haziratu'l-Quds in Auckland, as the future headquarters of the New Zealand National Spiritual Assembly, is another accomplishment that merits the highest praise. The opening of the virgin territories assigned, under the Ten-Year Plan, to the elected representatives of these communities has, furthermore, demonstrated the readiness of the members of these communities to speedily and worthily achieve the goals of this dynamic Plan in this particular and vital sphere of collective Bahá'í endeavour.Page 126
The assistance extended by these same representatives to their brethren in the Indian sub-continent in connection with the translation of Bahá'í literature into the languages allotted to them, under this same Plan, affords, moreover, further evidence of their alacrity, their devotion, their watchfulness in promoting, in every way possible, the manifold interests of their beloved Faith at this crucial stage in its development and consolidation.
Laden with such victories, conscious of the future brightness of their mission, fully relying in the efficacy of that celestial aid which has at no time failed them in the past, it behoves them to rededicate themselves, during the opening months of the last year of the second phase of this world encompassing Crusade, to the tasks they have so splendidly initiated. The scope of their activities, now ranging out far into the South Pacific Ocean, must rapidly widen. Their determination to fulfil their tasks must never for a moment falter. Their vision of the glorious destiny bound up with the triumphant accomplishment of their collective enterprise must remain undimmed. Their willingness to sacrifice unstintingly until every single objective of the Plan has been achieved must, under no circumstances, be allowed to weaken. Their unity and solidarity in the pursuit and attainment of their immediate as well as distant objectives must, at all times, continue unimpaired. The prizes they have won, at the expense of so much sacrifice, in the islands neighbouring the Australian continent, as well as in those lying further from its shores in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, must not, however strenuous the effort required, be jeopardized. The opening of the one remaining island as yet unopened among those alloted to them under the Ten-Year Plan must be speedily undertaken. The translation of Bahá'í literature into the few remaining languages which still require the concentrated attention of their elected representatives must in no wise be neglected. The process of Bahá'í incorporation, constituting one of the most vital features of their collective enterprise, must be accelerated -- however formidable the obstacles which stand in their path. The establishment of Bahá'í endowments in the Dominion of New Zealand is yet another responsibility devolving upon their elected national representatives, a responsibility which should be discharged prior to the emergence of an independent national assembly in that distant and promising island.Page 127
Whilst these immediate goals are being steadily and resolutely pursued, attention should, likewise, be particularly directed to the vital need for the constant multiplication of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies, as well as to the necessity of increasing, to an unprecedented degree, the number of the avowed adherents of the Faith who can directly and effectively contribute to the broadening of its foundations and the expansion of its nascent institutions. Particularly in the Dominion of New Zealand, where a pillar of the future Universal House of Justice will soon be erected, must a fresh impetus be lent to this vital process which can alone reinforce the foundations on which this projected institution must ultimately rest.
The Community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in the Antipodes is approaching a milestone of great significance in the course of its development through the emergence of this major institution, destined to play a notable part in the evolution of the administrative Order of the Faith in the Pacific Area.
Fully aware of their high and inescapable responsibilities at this crucial stage in the expansion and consolidation of their institutions, challenged and stimulated by the tragic and heartrending tidings reaching them from Bahá'u'lláh's native land, where a wave of persecution of uncommon severity has swept over His followers in both the Capital and the provinces; conscious and appreciative of the blessing of freedom so cruelly denied their oppressed brethren in the cradle of their Faith; and determined to offset by their exertions the losses sustained by the Faith in that land, the members of this privileged, this valiant and forward marching community must display, in the months immediately ahead, such a spirit of devotion and of self-sacrifice as will outshine the brilliance and glory of their past and present achievements.
Theirs is an opportunity which they can not ignore or neglect. Theirs is a duty which if worthily performed will no doubt draw them closer to the throne of Bahá'u'lláh, and considerably enrich their share of inestimable blessings stored for them in the Abha Kingdom. May they by their response to the call of the present hour prove themselves worthy of the high mission with which they have been entrusted.Shoghi.
At the instruction of our beloved Guardian, I am writing you this letter, the contents of which he wishes your assembly to regard as strictly confidential for the time being, until such time as he wishes to make it public.
He is seriously considering the possibility of having a Bahá'í Temple built in the Antipodes during the present 10 Year Plan, on the Temple site already purchased in Sydney. This would ensure a House of Worship in every Continent of the globe by 1963. Also, in view of the strong recrudescence of persecution and hatred of the Faith in Persia he feels that to erect Temples in Africa and Australasia -- where it is possible to do so -- would be a great comfort to the Persian believers and a befitting response to their enemies who may well make it unfeasible to build the Tehran Temple during this Plan.
In view of this he wishes you to approach qualified architects and request sketches -- preliminary studies -- for this Temple, which you can submit to him as soon as possible and from which he can indicate the one he feels would be most suitable. He makes this suggestion of studies first because the recent drawings submitted in competition in Germany (and forwarded to him) were all highly modernistic and undignified and a lot of money and time was spent for nothing. There was only one he considered at all possible, and this was not chosen by the judges; necessary qualifications: a building nine sides, surmounted by a dome. Note -- circular building. Seating capacity 500 with possible additional seating in a balcony at a future date. Height 40 to 45 meters. Note: no assembly hall is to be included, only auditorium for worship, with no surrounding rooms, is necessary. Extra rooms for maintenance, toilets, caretaker, can be in basement.
There is no reason why it should look like the Chicago Temple; on the other hand, he feels these ultra-modern, often bizarre structures are not at all in keeping with the dignity of our Faith. The type of dome on such structures as Mason Remey's Temple for Haifa, the Shrine of the Báb and St. Peter's in Rome he considers beautiful in proportion and suitable. The style is naturally a question each architect would evolve for himself. What interests the Guardian is the symmetry of the ensemble and dignity.Page 129
He would urge your Assembly to get preliminary studies to him at the earliest possible date, and then he can indicate the one he feels most suitable and the architect can work up full details later.With loving greetings,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand,Care of Mr. J. Heggie, Secretary.
This is just a note, written at the instruction of our beloved Guardian, to answer a question raised in your last letter.
As there is no definite and conclusive statement on Vivisection in the Bahá'í teachings, this is a matter which the International House of Justice will have to pass upon in the future.
With loving Bahá'í greetings to you all, and the assurance of the beloved Guardian's prayers for the success of your labours.R. Rabbani.
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Brother:
Your letters of November 17, and December 12 and 31, 1955, and January 6, February 22, April 24, and May 27, (two), with enclosures have been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was happy to receive the pamphlets which you have had translated and forwarded to him, and which is certainly a welcome addition to the teaching work in the Pacific area.
He was also pleased to see that you have found a friendly architect, who will cooperate in submitting plans for the futurePage 130
Temple in Sydney. He is eagerly looking forward to receiving them. Since writing this, they have been received. He was also glad to hear that another site had been procured.
Repercussions of the Chicago Temple are felt everywhere, and the same is becoming increasingly true of the Shrine. One single edifice, raised to the glory of Bahá'u'lláh, shines like a beacon and attracts the hearts of the people; no doubt many seeds are sown just through the act of people visiting these edifices -- seeds which in the future will germinate. It is because of this that he is very eager to have the Australian one commenced as soon as circumstances permit.
As regards the question the Auckland Assembly has asked about vivisection, there is nothing on this subject in the Bahá'í teachings. At a future date such matters will no doubt be taken up by the International House of Justice.
He is very anxious to have as many local assemblies incorporated as possible; and was hence very pleased to hear that your Assembly is energetically prosecuting this part of the Ten Year Plan in both Australia and New Zealand.
The visits of the Australian friends to different centers in Australia and New Zealand, as well as Mr. Featherstone's trip to some of the Pacific Islands, have been much appreciated, and he feels sure that marked results will be forthcoming. Although you who labour in that distant continent may often feel that your work is progressing but slowly, the Guardian, from the prospective that he has here at the World Center, is well pleased with the perseverance, the devotion and the achievements of the Australian and New Zealand friends; and he is proud of their spirit, and feels sure that they will accomplish their goals.
He was very happy to hear that Mr. Marques has obtained permission to remain in Timor. His background makes him a very important pioneer for that area; and he is happy that your Assembly was able to make it possible for him to remain.
The matter of the areas under the jurisdiction of a local Spiritual Assembly is one which the National Assembly must study, and apply the principles laid down by the Guardian; namely, that within a municipal area, where the people resident in the area pay taxes and vote, the Assembly can be elected, and holds jurisdiction. Anyone living outside of that area is not a member of that Community, and cannot enjoy the administrativePage 131
privileges of that Community. Although this will affect your Assembly roll, it will place the work of the Faith on a much sounder basis, and increase the number of Centers where Bahá'ís reside throughout Australia, which is an important phase of the work in any case. It will challenge the friends to work harder to create new Assemblies and make up for those dissolved; and he feels sure that in the near future the Bahá'ís will be very proud of the results they have achieved through this change.
He is delighted to hear that the New Zealand friends are so eagerly carrying on their work in preparation for their National Assembly next year. Their coming of age, so to speak, will be a source of pride to all their fellow National Assemblies, and they will form a welcome addition to the pillars which must ultimately sustain the International House of Justice.
Regarding the question of capital punishment, provision is made for it in the Aqdas, but this is not the time to go into details. When the Aqdas is promulgated and the House of Justice comes into being will be the time to go into these matters in greater detail. For the present they should be given no publicity.
Assuring you all of his loving prayers for the success of the work you are doing.With warmest greetings,
My heart overflows with gratitude, and my admiration is heightened, as I contemplate the range and quality of the achievements of the devoted and valiant adherents of the Faith in the Antipodes, who have in recent years so greatly embellished the record of their services and contributed so remarkably to the progress of the institutions of a divinely appointed Administrative order in that far-away continent.
The entire Bahá'í world beholds with pride and admiration the great victories won by the Australian and New-Zealand communities, both in their homelands and in so many islands of the Pacific Ocean, and shares my confidence that their historic accomplishments, particularly since the inception of the Ten-Year Plan, are but a prelude to still nobler exploits and still mightier victories.Page 132
Their exemplary loyalty to the Faith they have so eagerly embraced, their keen enthusiasm, their persistent endeavours, their willingness to sacrifice, their inflexible resolve to surmount every obstacle, their unity and solidarity, their optimism and courage, are assets which I greatly value, and for which I cannot but feel deeply grateful.
Much indeed has been achieved by these stalwart defenders and promoters of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh! To an extent which they themselves cannot estimate their individual and collective achievements, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í activity, have compensated for the enforced inactivity and the disabilities suffered by their sorely tried brethren in Persia. The first and second phases of the Ten-Year Plan owe, to a very notable degree, their success to the impetus which the splendid initiative and remarkable resourcefulness displayed by the members of these communities has lent to the onward march of the Faith in that continent. In more than one way these communities, through their consecrated efforts and the tangible results they have achieved, have set an inspiring example to their sister communities in both the East and the West. The Author of the Divine Plan, Himself, who during the closing years of His ministry, witnessed the awakening of that vast continent, rejoices over and applauds the rapidity with which the light of His Father's Faith has spread over and enveloped that continent and its neighbouring islands.
Much, however still remains to be achieved before the laurels of total and complete victory are claimed.
The precarious situation in some of the newly opened territories allotted to your assembly must be given first consideration and should be speedily remedied. Any, and every nucleus formed in those islands must be vigilantly safeguarded, and, if possible, constantly enlarged and consolidated.
Special attention, during the opening year of the third phase of the Plan, must be prayerfully accorded to the extension and consolidation of the homefront, with particular emphasis on the rapid increase in the number of the adherents of the Faith, and the multiplication of isolated centres, groups and assemblies. The process of incorporation, so long held in abeyance, must be accelerated by every means possible.
A supreme effort must be made, in the course of the currentPage 133
year, in conjunction with the Indian National Spiritual Assembly, to bring to an early and successful conclusion the translation of Bahá'í literature into the languages listed in the Plan, thereby assuring the attainment of one of its vital objectives.
Particular attention should be devoted to the urgent needs of the New Zealand Bahá'í community, through the formulation of a plan which will enable it to swell the number of its administrative institutions, enlarging and reinforcing thereby the foundations on which its forthcoming National Assembly must ultimately rest.
The goals which both communities are called upon, at this crucial hour in the evolution of the Plan, to achieve have been clearly defined and repeatedly emphasized. The task, however, is vast and arduous. The effort that must needs be exerted by the rank and file of the believers is immense. The challenge that must needs be met is severe. The promise of eventual victory, if the army of Bahá'u'lláh's Crusaders persevere in their mission, is clear and unmistakeable.
The need of the present hour, as these communities enter upon the third, and, what promises to be, the most brilliant phase of a World Spiritual Crusade, is a still greater consecration to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh in all its aspects, and a renewed dedication in all the divers fields of Bahá'í activity.
That the members of the Australian and New Zealand communities will unanimously rise to the present occasion, that they will not allow any consideration whatever to deflect them from their high purpose in the days to come, that they will expend every ounce of energy for the attainment of these shining goals, is the deepest longing of my heart and the object of my ardent prayers.Shoghi.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand.Dear Bahá'í Friends:
Your Assembly will be receiving five hundred pounds sent by Mr. Varqa on behalf of the beloved Guardian. This is a contributionPage 134
for your National Fund to help in the work you are doing.With loving greetings,
Under separate cover, at the instruction of our beloved Guardian, I am mailing to you a fragment of the plaster from the Room the Báb was confined in, in the Fortress of Mah-Ku, in Persia.
He is sending this precious memento to be placed by Mother Dunn on his behalf in the foundations of the First Mashriqu'l-Adhkar which you will shortly commence building in Sydney.
He feels sure that this precious dust, calling to mind the sacrifices of the beloved Bab, will be a blessing for the Temple and an inspiration to the friends.
Please acquaint Mother Dunn with his instructions, and see that she receives the plaster safely.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
Your Assembly's communications with their enclosures and material sent under separate cover have all been safely received by the beloved Guardian; and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf, and to acknowledge receipt of your letters dated: August 14, September 6, October 14 and 29, and December 3, 1956, and February 17 and March 24, May 9, June 12 and 19, 1957.Page 135
In connection with various matters raised in your letters:
The photograph of the Shrine on Mt. Carmel was sent to Dr. Brasch, and we hope that he received it safely.
As regards the "Herald of the South" magazine, in view of the important work lying ahead of your Assembly, and the fact that this magazine is a drain on the limited resources of the Community, he thinks it would be quite all right to suspend publication until a future date when the financial situation permits such expenditures to be made with relative ease. He leaves, however, the final decision to your Assembly.
The Committee responsible for the publication of this magazine has certainly laboured valiantly throughout the years, and the publication will be missed by its readers. However, it is some years since the American Bahá'í Magazine was abandoned for similar reasons, and the Guardian feels that you can do so in Australia, and the funds be used to better advantage, at this time. However, now that you have found a printer in Sydney and appointed a new committee, he thinks you should continue it and give the new Plan a try.
The progress your Assembly has been making on the plans for the Temple, in conjunction with the evidently very able and cooperative architect whom you have found in Sydney, greatly pleases and encourages the beloved Guardian. He is particularly happy to know that Mr. Brogan is pliable in his ideas, and enthusiastic about getting the Temple constructed, even though the original design is not his own. Unfortunately, owing to the age of Mr. Remey and his duties at the International Center, it is impossible for him to carry out, himself, the execution in detail of his plans or to supervise the construction; and consequently both the Kampala Temple and the Sydney Temple have been entrusted to reliable firms.
The influence that this Mother Temple of the whole Pacific area will exert when constructed, is incalculable and mysterious. The beloved Master told the American friends that their Temple would be the greatest silent teacher, and there is no doubt that this one building has exerted a profound influence on the spread of the Faith, not only in the United States and the Western Hemisphere, but throughout the world. We can therefore expect that the construction of another "Mother Temple" in the heart of Australasia, and one in the center of Africa, as well as one inPage 136
the heart of Europe, will exert a tremendous influence, both locally and internationally.
He is eagerly waiting to receive pictures of the inauguration of the work on the Temple site, and has recently mailed your Assembly under separate cover a piece of the plaster from the Room in the Fortress at Mah-Ku where the Báb was confined, as well as a letter requesting that dear Mother Dunn place this, as his representative, in the foundations of the Temple. He would like very much to have a good photograph of this ceremony for reproduction; and he also urges your Assembly to give as much publicity to this occasion, and to the Temple work in general, as possible.
The teaching work carried on by the Australian friends throughout the region of the Pacific under their jurisdiction, has been very satisfactory, and he is proud of the truly immense progress which has been made. The publication of literature in so many additional languages, the School opened by Mrs. Dobbins in the New Hebrides, the increase in the number of native believers throughout the islands, are all indications, not only of the great power of this Faith to touch the hearts of those who are spiritually receptive, but also of the consecration and devotion of the Australian believers.
As regards various questions you asked in your letter of February 17th:
It is of the utmost importance to keep the pioneers in their goals. If, for reasons over which you have no control, they are forced to leave a certain pioneer area, then he would strongly recommend that, instead of returning all the way to their home base, they be routed to another base in the Pacific where they can serve the Faith. This is both economical, and hastens the attainment of our goals. Matters of detail as to how these plans are best worked out, are naturally left to the discretion of the National Body responsible for the area in question.
In your letter of August 14th, you mention a small translation of a Timorese language has been secured from Dili. The Guardian would like to know what the specific name of this language is, and, if it has been printed, he would like to receive a copy.
He was very sorry to hear that dear Mother Dunn's son had died. This, no doubt, in spite of her devotion and fortitude,Page 137
must have been a severe blow to her at her age; and he hopes the friends will do all they can to comfort and take care of this precious soul -- the mother of their Community. Please assure her that he prays for the progress of the soul of her son in the holy Shrines.
The successful culmination of the long standing partnership of the Australian and New Zealand believers thru the emergence of the New Zealand N.S.A. is a source of great satisfaction to the Guardian, and no doubt to all the members of both communities. He feels sure this will mark a turning point in the work in the Antipodes and the neighbouring islands and give a new lease of life to the teaching work throughout that area. Both your Assembly and that of New Zealand have now emerged into your permanent form as pillars of the future International House of Justice. The bones of the skeleton of the World Order are growing strong, but only the teaching work can clothe them with flesh.
You may be sure that he will ardently pray for the success of your work, and that you may be strengthened and guided to discharge your important duties and to fulfil your goals under the Ten Year Plan.With warm Bahá'í love,
The progress achieved in recent years, rapid and extraordinary as it has been, by the Bahá'í Communities labouring so patiently, so methodically, and so faithfully, for the consolidation and expansion of the institutions of the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh in the Antipodes, has been highly gratifying and has served to deepen my confidence in their ability to achieve their high destiny, and to evoke sentiments of ever-increasing admiration for the manner in which they have acquitted themselves of their task in the face of varied and almost insurmountable obstacles.
Particularly commendable, and indeed exemplary, has been the share of the Australian believers in enabling the New-Zealand Bahá'í Community to make such rapid strides, in recent years, strides that have prepared it for the assumption of its sacred and vital function as an independent community, and which culminatedPage 138
in the formation of a body qualified to take its place, and assume the weighty responsibilities incumbent on it, as a distinct and separate member of the world-wide family of Bahá'í national and regional Spiritual Assemblies. The great and signal honour, conferred upon their homeland through the selection of one of the most highly advanced, the most populous, and one of the most progressive of its cities -- enjoying already the distinction of being the first among them to be opened to the Message of Bahá'u'lláh and to be warmed by the rising Sun of His Revelation -- as the site of the Mother Temple of the Antipodes, and indeed of the whole Pacific area, moreover, proclaims their right to be considered the vanguard of His hosts, and the defenders of the stronghold of the Administrative Order of His Faith, in that vast area of the globe, an area endowed with unimaginable potentialities, and which, owing to its strategic position, is bound to feel the impact of world shaking forces, and to shape to a marked degree through the experience gained by its peoples in the school of adversity, the destinies of mankind.
The emergence of a new Regional Spiritual Assembly in the North Pacific Area, with its seat fixed in the capital city of a country which by reason of its innate capacity and the spiritual receptivity it has acquired, in consequence of the severe and prolonged ordeal its entire population has providentially experienced, is destined to have a preponderating share in awakening the peoples and races inhabiting the entire Pacific area, to the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, and to act as the Vanguard of His hosts in their future spiritual conquest of the main body of the yellow race on the Chinese mainland -- the emergence of such an assembly may be said to have, at long last, established a spiritual axis, extending from the Antipodes to the northern islands of the Pacific Ocean -- an axis whose northern and southern poles will act as powerful magnets, endowed with exceptional spiritual potency, and towards which other younger and less experienced communities will tend for some time to gravitate.
A responsibility, at once weighty and inescapable, must rest on the communities which occupy so privileged a position in so vast and turbulent an area of the globe. However great the distance that separates them; however much they differ in race, language, custom, and religion; however active the political forces which tend to keep them apart and foster racial and politicalPage 139
antagonisms, the close and continued association of these communities in their common, their peculiar and paramount task of raising up and of consolidating the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh in those regions of the globe, is a matter of vital and urgent importance, which should receive on the part of the elected representatives of their communities, a most earnest and prayerful consideration.
The Plan, which it is the privilege of the Australian Bahá'í community to energetically prosecute must, simultaneously, be assured of the unqualified, the systematic and whole-hearted support of its members.
Theirs indeed is a twofold task which must under no circumstances be either neglected or underrated. The one aims at the consolidation, the multiplication and expansion of the institutions so laboriously erected throughout the length and breadth of the Australian commonwealth and in the islands beyond its confines, in strict accordance with the provisions of the Ten-Year Plan, while the other is designed to forge fresh links with its sister communities, and particularly those situated in the North, in anticipation of the Mission which the newly fledged Bahá'í communities, now rapidly multiplying throughout the length and breadth of that area, are destined and are collectively called upon to discharge.
Whilst addressing itself to the meritorious twofold task with which it is now confronted, this wide-awake, swiftly expanding, steadily consolidating, highly promising community must lend whatever assistance is possible to its newly emerged sister community in the South, and enable her, as her institutions develop and become firmly grounded, to share in a befitting manner, in the collective enterprises that must, sooner or later, be launched and carried to a successful conclusion by the island communities situated in the Northern and Southern regions as well as in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.
May this community which, with its sister community in the North, has had the inestimable privilege of being called into being in the lifetime of, and through the operation of the dynamic forces released by the Centre of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, continue, with undimmed vision, with redoubled vigour, and unwavering fidelity and constancy, to discharge its manifold and ever increasing duties and responsibilities, and lend, as the daysPage 140
go by, an impetus such as it has not lent before, in the course of almost two score years of its existence, to the propagation of the Faith it has so whole-heartedly espoused and is now so valiantly serving, and play a memorable and distinctive part in hastening the establishment, and in ensuring the gradual efflorescence and ultimate fruition, of its divinely appointed embryonic World Order.Shoghi.