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Брак и семейная жизнь Бахаи
Важность Обязательной молитвы и Поста
Вдохновители человечества(укороченная версия)
Вопросы связанные с изучением Веры Бахаи
Духовные Собрания и выборы бахаи
Европа
Жемчужины истины Для ежедневного чтения
Женщины и мужчины
Завет
Искусство
К Нему все вернутся
МДС - создание и статус
Молитва и размышления
Молитвенник 2000
МОЛИТВЫ БАХАИ 2003
Молодежные мастерские
Паломничество к Святыням бахаи
Подборка о душе от Gary Reusche
Построение выдающихся общин бахаи
Принципы Администрации бахаи
Раскрывая наше духовное предназначение
Рождения, браки, смерть
Розы Любви
Руководство для МДС
Светочи руководства 24 Здоровье
Светочи руководства 41 Пророки и Богоявления
Светочи руководства 42 Парапсихология
Светочи руководства
Свод компиляций том 1
Свод компиляций том 2
счастье - молодежные встречи
счастье - цитаты
Углубления для МДС - молитва Абдул-Баха
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Компиляции : Свод компиляций том 2
|BCOMPILATION_OF_COMPILATION_II
The Compilation of Compilations Volume II
|PPg_i
Compilation of Compilations
Volume II
CONTENTS
Page

Living The Life .................................. 1

Local Spiritual Assemblies........................ 29

The Local Spiritual Assembly ..................... 39

Teaching The Masses .............................. 61

Music ............................................ 73

National Spiritual Assembly ...................... 83

Opposition ...................................... 137

Peace ........................................... 151

The Power of Divine Assistance .................. 201

Prayer, Meditation and the Devotional Attitude .. 225

Prohibition--Drink .............................. 245

Prominent People................................. 257

Radio ........................................... 281

Significance of the Formative Age ............... 285

Guidelines for Teaching ......................... 295

Trustworthiness ................................. 327

Women ........................................... 355

Writers & Writing ............................... 407

Youth ........................................... 415

Preserving Marriages ............................ 441

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1266. How often the beloved Master was heard to say. Should each

one of the friends take upon himself to carry out, in all its

integrity and implications, only one of the teachings of the

Faith, with devotion, detachment, constancy and perseverance and

exemplify it in all his deeds and pursuits of life, the world

would become another world and the face of the earth would mirror

forth the splendours of the Abha Paradise. Consider what

marvellous changes would be effected if the beloved of the

Merciful conducted themselves, both in their individual and

collective capacities, in accordance with the counsels and

exhortations which have streamed from the Pen of Glory.

(From a letter dated 12 January 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the Bahá'ís of Persia - translated from the Persian)

1267. The wish of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, that which attracts His good

pleasure and, indeed, His binding command, is that Baha'is, in

all matters, even in small daily transactions and dealings with

others, should act in accordance with the divine Teachings. He

has commanded us not to be content with lowliness, humility and

meekness, but rather to become manifestations of selflessness and

utter nothingness. Of old, all have been exhorted to loyalty and

fidelity, compassion and love; in this supreme Dispensation, the

people of Baha are called upon to sacrifice their very lives.

Notice the extent to which the friends have been required in the

Sacred Epistles and Tablets, as well as in our Beloved's

Testament, to be righteous, well-wishing, forbearing, sanctified,

pure, detached from all else save God, severed from the trappings

of this world and adorned with the mantle of a goodly character

and godly attributes.

First and foremost, one should use every possible means to

purge one's heart and motives, otherwise, engaging in any form

of enterprise would be futile. It is also essential to abstain

from hypocrisy and blind imitation, inasmuch as their foul odour

is soon detected by every man of understanding and wisdom.

Moreover, the friends must observe the specific times for the

remembrance of God, meditation, devotion and prayer, as it is

highly unlikely, nay impossible, for any enterprise to prosper

and develop when deprived of divine bestowals and
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confirmation. One can hardly imagine what a great

influence genuine love, truthfulness and purity of motives exert

on the souls of men. But these traits cannot be acquired by any

believer unless he makes a daily effort to gain them...

It is primarily through the potency of noble deeds and

character, rather than by the power of exposition and proofs,

that the friends of God should demonstrate to the world that what

has been promised by God is bound to happen, that it is already

taking place and that the divine glad-tidings are clear, evident

and complete. For unless some illustrious souls step forth into

the arena of service and shine out resplendent in the assemblage

of men, the task of vindicating the truth of this Cause before

the eyes of enlightened people would be formidable indeed.

However, if the friends become embodiments of virtue and good

character, words and arguments will be superfluous. Their very

deeds will well serve as eloquent testimony, and their noble

conduct will ensure the preservation, integrity and glory of the

Cause of God.

(From a letter dated 19 December 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the Bahá'ís of the East - translated from the Persian)

1268. The chosen ones of God . . . should not look at the

depraved condition of the society in which they live, nor at the

evidences of moral degradation and frivolous conduct which the

people around them display. They should not content themselves

merely with relative distinction and excellence. Rather they

should fix their gaze upon nobler heights by setting the counsels

and exhortations of the Pen of Glory as their supreme goal. Then

it will be readily realized how numerous are the stages that

still remain to be traversed and how far off the desired goal

lies--a goal which is none other than exemplifying heavenly

morals and virtues.

(From a letter dated 30 October 1924 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Teheran)

1269. It is our duty and privilege to translate the love and

devotion we have for our beloved Cause into deeds and actions

that will be conducive to the highest good of mankind.

(From a letter dated 20 November 1924 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
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1270. If you read the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá

with selflessness and care and concentrate upon them, you will

discover truths unknown to you before and will obtain an insight

into the problems that have baffled the great thinkers of the

world.

(From a letter dated 30 January 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1271. The great thing is to "live the life"--to have our lives

so saturated with the Divine teachings and the Bahá'í Spirit that

people cannot fail to see a joy, a power, a love, a purity, a

radiance, an efficiency in our character and work that will

distinguish us from worldly-minded people and make people wonder

what is the secret of this new life in us. We must become

entirely selfless and devoted to God so that every day and every

moment we seek to do only what God would have us do and in the

way He would have us do it. If we do this sincerely then we shall

have perfect unity and harmony with each other. Where there is

want of harmony, there is lack of the true Bahá'í Spirit. Unless

we can show this transformation in our lives, this new power,

this mutual love and harmony, then the Bahá'í teachings are but

a name to us.

(From a letter dated 14 February 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1272. If we Bahá'ís cannot attain to cordial unity among

ourselves, then we fail to realize the main purpose for which the

Bab, Bahá'u'lláh and the Beloved Master lived and suffered.

In order to achieve this cordial unity one of the first

essentials insisted on by Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá is that we

resist the natural tendency to let our attention dwell on the

faults and failings of others rather than on our own. Each of us

is responsible for one life only, and that is our own. Each of

us is immeasurably far from being "perfect as our heavenly father

is perfect" and the task of perfecting our own life and character

is one that requires all our attention, our will-power and

energy. If we allow our attention and energy to be taken up in

efforts to keep others right and remedy their faults, we are

wasting precious time. We are like ploughmen each of whom has his

team to manage and his plough to direct, and in order to keep his

furrow straight he must keep his eye on his goal and concentrate

on his own task. If he looks to this side and that

|PPg_4

to see how Tom and Harry are getting on and to criticize their

ploughing, then his own furrow will assuredly become crooked.

On no subject are the Bahá'í teachings more emphatic than on

the necessity to abstain from faultfinding and backbiting while

being ever eager to discover and root out our own faults and

overcome our own failings.

If we profess loyalty to Bahá'u'lláh, to our Beloved Master

and our dear Guardian, then we must show our love by obedience

to these explicit teachings. Deeds not words are what they

demand, and no amount of fervour in the use of expressions of

loyalty and adulation will compensate for failure to live in the

spirit of the teachings.

(From a letter dated 12 May 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1273. As to the question whether it is right to tell an untruth

in order to save another, he feels that under no condition should

we tell an untruth but at the same time try and help the person

in a more legitimate manner. Of course it is not necessary to be

too outspoken until the question is directly put to us.

(From a letter dated 21 December 1927 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1274. We should not, however, forget that an essential

characteristic of this world is hardship and tribulation and that

it is by overcoming them that we achieve our moral and spiritual

development. As the Master says, sorrow is like furrows, the

deeper they go the more plentiful are the fruits we obtain.

(From a letter dated 5 November 1931 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1275. In the "Bayan" the Báb says that every religion of the past

was fit to become universal. The only reason why they failed to

attain that mark was the incompetence of their followers. He then

proceeds to give a definite promise that this would not be the

fate of the revelation of "Him Whom God would make manifest",

that it will become universal and include all the people of the

world. This shows that we will ultimately succeed. But could we

not, through our shortcomings, failures to sacrifice and

|PPg_5

reluctance to concentrate our efforts in spreading the Cause,

retard the realization of that ideal? And what would that mean?

It shall mean that we will be held responsible before God, that

the race will remain longer in its state of waywardness, that

wars would not be so soon averted, that human suffering will last

longer.

(From a letter dated 20 February 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1276. Every day has certain needs. In those early days the Cause

needed Martyrs, and people who would stand all sorts of torture

and persecution in expressing their faith and spreading the

message sent by God. Those days are, however, gone. The Cause at

present does not need martyrs who would die for the faith, but

servants who desire to teach and establish the Cause throughout

the world. To live to teach in the present day is like being

martyred in those early days. It is the spirit that moves us that

counts, not the act through which that spirit expresses itself;

and that spirit is to serve the Cause of God with our heart and

soul.

(From a letter dated 3 August 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer, quoted in "Bahá'í News", 68,

(Nov 1932), p. 3)

1277. He sincerely hopes that, through these sacrifices, that

edifice will be completed and become a focal centre for the

spirit and teachings of the Cause in that land; that from it the

light of guidance will spread and bring joy and hope to the heart

of this depressed humanity.

If you study the history of Nabil you will see how the Faith

has been fed by the constant sacrifices of the friends. Under

hardships, persecutions and constant worries has the Message of

Bahá'u'lláh been established throughout the world.

(From a letter dated 30 November 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1278. The advice that Shoghi Effendi gave you regarding the

division of your time between serving the Cause and attending to

your other duties was also given to many other friends both by

Bahá'u'lláh and the Master. It is a compromise between the two

verses of the "Aqdas", one making it incumbent upon every Baha'i

to serve the promotion of the Faith and the other that every soul

should be occupied in some form of occupation that

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will benefit society. In one of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh says that

the highest form of detachment in this day is to be occupied with

some profession and be self-supporting. A good Baha'i, therefore,

is the one who so arranges his life as to devote time both to his

material needs and also to the service of the Cause. (From a

letter dated 26 February 1933 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1279. I need not tell you how grievously he deplores the fact

that there are so many negative forces prevailing in Bahá'í gatherings

and particularly in such an important meeting as the Convention. The

oft-repeated words of the Master concerning unity and harmonious

co-operation among the friends should be carefully and thoughtfully

remembered now more than ever. Nothing is more contrary to the spirit

of the Cause than discord and strife, which are the inevitable outcome

of selfishness and greed. Pure detachment and selfless service, these

should be the sole motives of every true believer. And unless each

and every one of the friends succeeds in translating such qualities

into living action, no hope of further progress can be entertained.

It is now that unity of thought and action is most needed. It is now,

when the Cause is entering a new phase of development, when its

Administration is being gradually consolidated amid the welter and

chaos of a tottering civilization, that the friends should present

a united front to those forces of internal dissension, which, if

not completely wiped out, will bring our work to inevitable

destruction.

(From a letter dated 24 September 1933 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1280. He, indeed, highly deplores the fact that the

representatives of the highest administrative institution in your

country have permitted such differences and misunderstandings to assume

such a proportion, especially when the principles and laws of

the Administration have been each and all clearly and emphatically

stated by him in so many communications and ever since

the passing of the Master. Such difficulties, if not checked

immediately and vigorously, can do incalculable harm to the body of

the Cause, and may retard not only the flow but also the effectiveness

of its spirit in the world. If deeply and dispassionately examined the

source of all these troubles and disputes is
|PPg_7

to be found invariably in feelings of egotism and selfishness.

And unless these poisonous feelings are fully overcome there can

be no hope for the effective working and progress of the

administrative machinery of the Cause.

(From a letter dated 9 May 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1281. While he would urge you to courageously meet and overcome

the many obstacles that stand in your way, he would at the same

time advise you that in case of failure and no matter what

befalls you, you should remain radiantly content at, and entirely

submissive to, the Divine will. Our afflictions, tests and

trials are sometimes blessings in disguise, as they teach us to

have more faith and confidence in God, and bring us nearer to

Him.

(From a letter dated 28 April 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1282. Has not Bahá'u'lláh assured us that sufferings and

privations are blessings in disguise, that through them our inner

spiritual forces become stimulated, purified and ennobled?

Remain, therefore, confident that your material hardships will,

far from hindering your activities for the Cause, impart to your

heart a powerful impetus to better serve and promote its

interests.

(From a letter dated 22 November 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1283. Personal effort is indeed a vital prerequisite to the

recognition and acceptance of the Cause of God. No matter how

strong the measure of Divine grace, unless supplemented by

personal, sustained and intelligent effort it cannot become fully

effective and be of any real and abiding advantage.

(From a letter dated 27 February 1938 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1284. Such hindrances, no matter how severe and insuperable they

may at first seem, can and should be effectively overcome through

the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined and

continued effort.
|PPg_8

For have not Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá both repeatedly assured

us that the Divine and unseen hosts of victory will ever

reinforce and strengthen those who valiantly and confidently

labour in their name? This assurance should indeed enable you to

overcome any feeling of unworthiness, of incapacity to serve, and

any inner or outer limitation which threatens to handicap your

labours for the Cause. You should therefore arise, and with a

heart filled with joy and confidence endeavour to contribute any

share that is in your power toward the wider diffusion and

greater consolidation of our beloved Faith.

Whatever the particular field of service you may choose,

whether teaching or administrative, the essential is for you to

persevere, and not to allow any consciousness of your limitations

to dampen your zeal, much less to deter you from serving joyously

and actively.

(From a letter dated 6 February 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1285. The greater your trials and sufferings, the stronger should

wax your attachment and devotion to the Cause. For only through

repeated tribulations and trials does God test His servants, and

these they should therefore view as blessings in disguise, and

as opportunities whereby they can acquire a fuller consciousness

of the Divine Will and Purpose.

(From a letter dated 23 February 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to two believers)

1286. The course on character building to be given by Miss Flora

Hottes, the Guardian feels, is particularly important and should

be given due emphasis and studied carefully and thoroughly,

especially by the young believers in attendance at the school.

These standards of Bahá'í conduct, which he himself has set forth

in his last general epistle, "The Advent of Divine Justice", and

which it should be the paramount duty of every loyal and

conscientious believer to endeavour to uphold and promote,

deserve serious study and meditation, and should constitute the

main central theme of this year's programme at all the three

Bahá'í Summer Schools in the States.

(From a letter dated 20 May 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_9

1287. Regarding ...'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 Baha'i

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.

(From a letter dated 22 July 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New

Zealand)

1288. Indeed the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on

each other's love for strength and consolation in time of need.

The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the

reason the believers do not gain more from it is because they

have not learned to fully draw on these mighty forces of love and

strength and harmony generated by the Faith.

He would advise you to leave your friend ... to herself for the

time being, and pray for her. As she does not at the moment wish

your help you can only help her inwardly.

You have rendered the Cause many valuable services, and are

still doing so, and this should be your greatest consolation...

(From a letter dated 8 May 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1289. The friends must be patient with each other and must

realize that the Cause is still in its infancy and its

institutions are not yet functioning perfectly. The greater the

patience, the loving understanding and the forbearance the

believers show towards each other and their shortcomings, the

greater will be the progress of the whole Bahá'í community at

large.

(From a letter dated 27 February 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1290. We must realize our imperfection and not permit ourselves

to get too upset over the unfortunate things which occur,

sometimes in
|PPg_10

Conventions, sometimes in Assemblies or on Committees, etc. Such

things are essentially superficial and in time will be outgrown.

(From a letter dated 17 March 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1291. Not all of us are capable of serving in the same way, but

the one way every Bahá'í can spread the Faith is by example. This

moves the hearts of people far more deeply than words ever can.

The love we show others, the hospitality and understanding,

the willingness to help them, these are the very best

advertisements of the Faith. They will want to hear about it when

they see these things in our lives.

(From a letter dated 14 October 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1292. You have complained of the unsatisfactory conditions

prevailing in the ... Bahá'í Community; the Guardian is well

aware of the situation of the Cause there, but is confident that

whatever the nature of the obstacles that confront the Faith they

will be eventually overcome. You should, under no circumstances,

feel discouraged, and allow such difficulties, even though they

may have resulted from the misconduct, or the lack of capacity

and vision of certain members of the Community, to make you waver

in your faith and basic loyalty to the Cause. Surely, the

believers, no matter how qualified they may be, whether as

teachers or administrators, and however high their intellectual

and spiritual merits, should never be looked upon as a standard

whereby to evaluate and measure the divine authority and mission

of the Faith. It is to the Teachings themselves, and to the lives

of the Founders of the Cause that the believers should look for

their guidance and inspiration, and only by keeping strictly to

such [a] true attitude can they hope to establish their loyalty

to Bahá'u'lláh upon an enduring and unassailable basis. You

should take heart, therefore, and with unrelaxing vigilance and

unremitting effort endeavour to play your full share in the

gradual unfoldment of this Divine World Order.

(From a letter dated 23 August 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_11

1293. These, indeed, are the days when heroism is needed on the

part of the believers. Self-sacrifice, courage, indomitable hope

and confidence are the characteristics they should show forth,

because these very attributes cannot but fix the attention of the

public and lead them to enquire what, in a world so hopelessly

chaotic and bewildered, leads these people to be so assured,

so confident, so full of devotion? Increasingly, as time goes by,

the characteristics of the Bahá'ís will be that which captures

the attention of their fellow-citizens. They must show their

aloofness from the hatreds and recriminations which are tearing

at the heart of humanity, and demonstrate by deed and word their

profound belief in the future peaceful unification of the entire

human race.

(From a letter dated 26 October 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1294. We must always look ahead and seek to accomplish in the

future what we may have failed to do in the past. Failures,

tests, and trials, if we use them correctly, can become the means

of purifying our spirits, strengthening our characters, and

enable us to rise to greater heights of service.

(From a letter dated 14 December 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1295. Regarding the points you refer to in your letter: the

complete and entire elimination of the ego would imply

perfection--which man can never completely attain -- but the ego

can and should be ever-increasingly subordinated to

the enlightened soul of man. This is what spiritual progress

implies.

(From a letter dated 14 December 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1296. He was very pleased to hear that the Convention was so well

attended, and the believers enthusiastic and united. One of the

most paramount needs of the Cause in ... is that the friends

should unite, should become really keenly conscious of the fact

that they are one spiritual family, held together by bonds more

sacred and eternal than those physical ties which make people of

the same family. If the friends will forget all personal

differences and open their hearts to a great love for each other

for the
|PPg_12

sake of Bahá'u'lláh, they will find that their powers are vastly

increased; they will attract the heart of the public, and will

witness a rapid growth of the Holy Faith in... The National

Spiritual Assembly should do all in its power to foster unity

among the believers, and to educate them in the Administration

as this is the channel through which their community life must

flow, and which, when properly understood and practised, will

enable the work of the Cause to go ahead by leaps and bounds.

(From a letter dated 26 October 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma)

1297. Ultimately all the battle of life is within the individual.

No amount of organization can solve the inner problems or produce

or prevent, as the case may be, victory or failure at a crucial

moment. In such times as these particularly, individuals are torn

by great forces at large in the world, and we see some weak ones

suddenly become miraculously strong, and strong ones fail--we can

only try, through loving advice, as your Committee has done, to

bring about the act on the part of the believer which will be for

the highest good of the Cause. Because obviously something bad

for the Cause cannot be the highest good of the individual

Baha'i.

(From a letter dated 17 December 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1298. The thing the world needs today is the Bahá'í spirit.

People are craving for love, for a high standard to look up to,

as well as for solutions to their many grave problems. The

Bahá'ís should shower on those whom they meet the warm and living

spirit of the Cause, and this, combined with teaching, cannot but

attract the sincere truth-seekers to the Faith.

(From a letter dated 18 December 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1299. Regarding your question about the need for greater unity

among the friends, there is no doubt that this is so, and the

Guardian feels that one of the chief instruments for promoting

it is to teach the Bahá'ís themselves, in classes and through

precepts, that love of God, and consequently of men, is the

essential foundation of every religion, our own included. A

greater degree of love will produce a greater unity,

|PPg_13

because it enables people to bear with each other, to be patient

and forgiving. (From a letter dated 7 July 1944 written on behalf

of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, quoted in "Baha'i

News", 173, (Feb 1945), p. 3)

1300. He hopes that you will develop into Bahá'ís in character

as well as in belief. The whole purpose of Bahá'u'lláh is that

we should become a new kind of people, people who are upright,

kind, intelligent, truthful, and honest and who live according

to His great laws laid down for this new epoch in man's

development. To call ourselves Bahá'ís is not enough, our inmost

being must become ennobled and enlightened through living a

Bahá'í life.

(From a letter dated 25 August 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Louhelen School Youth Session)

1301. So many misunderstandings arise from the passionate

attachment of the friends to the Faith and also their immaturity.

We must therefore be very patient and loving with each other and

try to establish unity in the Bahá'í family. The differences ...

which you describe in your letter he feels are caused by the

above and not by enmity to the Faith or insincerity.

(From a letter dated 17 October 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1302. He was very happy to hear from you, and to learn that Green

Acre this year was pervaded with a love and harmony that was

instrumental in confirming many new souls in the Faith. This love

amongst the believers is the magnet which will, above all else,

attract the hearts and bring new souls into the Cause. Because

obviously the teachings - however wonderful - cannot change the

world unless the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's love is mirrored in the

Bahá'í Communities.

(From a letter dated 27 October 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1303. Indeed if the friends could seek, and exert themselves, to

become 100 per cent Bahá'ís they would see how greatly their

influence over others would be increased, and how rapidly the

Cause would spread. The world is seeking not a compromise but the

embodiment of a high and
|PPg_14

shining ideal. The more the friends live up to our teachings in

every aspect of their lives, in their homes, in business, in

their social relationships, the greater will be the attraction

they exercise over the hearts of others.

He is pleased to see you have naturally, with conviction and

good will towards all, been mingling with and teaching the

coloured people. When the Bahá'ís live up to their teachings as

they should, although it may arouse the opposition of some it

will arouse still more the admiration of fair-minded people.

(From a letter dated 23 January 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1304. Indeed when we see the increasing darkness in the world

today we can fully realize that unless the Message of Bahá'u'lláh

reaches into the hearts of men and transforms them, there can be

no peace and no spiritual progress in the future.

His constant hope is that the believers will conduct

themselves, individually and in their Bahá'í Community life, in

such a manner as to attract the attention of others to the Cause.

The world is not only starving for lofty principles and ideals,

it is, above all, starving for a shining example which the

Bahá'ís can and must provide.

(From a letter dated 22 February 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1305. The need is very great, everywhere in the world, in and

outside the Faith, for a true spiritual awareness to pervade and

motivate people's lives. No amount of administrative procedure

or adherence to rules can take the place of this

soul-characteristic, this spirituality which is the essence of

Man. He is very glad to see you are stressing this and aiding the

friends to realize its supreme importance.

(From a letter dated 25 April 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1306. Regarding the matter of ... and the inharmony that seems

to exist among certain of the friends ... when Bahá'ís permit the

dark forces of the world to enter into their own relationships

within the Faith they gravely jeopardize its progress; it is the

paramount duty of the believers, the Local Assemblies, and

particularly the National Spiritual Assembly to
|PPg_15

foster harmony, understanding 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.

(From a letter dated 13 May 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New

Zealand)

1307. Most important of all is that love and unity should prevail

in the Bahá'í Community, as this is what people are most longing

for in the present dark state of the world. Words without the

living example will never be sufficient to breathe hope into the

hearts of a disillusioned and often cynical generation.

(From a letter dated 20 October 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1308. Since you have turned to him for guidance, he will very

frankly give you his opinion.

He feels that the present inharmony prevailing amongst you

... is very detrimental to the advancement of the Cause, and can

only lead to disruption and the chilling of the interest of new

believers. You ... should forget about your personal grievances,

and unite for the protection of the Faith which he well knows

you are all loyally devoted to and ready to sacrifice for.

Perhaps the greatest test Bahá'ís are ever subjected to is from

each other; but for the sake of the Master they should be ever

ready to overlook each other's mistakes, apologize for harsh

words they have uttered, forgive and forget. He strongly

recommends to you this course of action. Also he feels that you

and ... should not remain away from the meetings and Feasts in

...; you have now got an enthusiastic group of young Bahá'ís in

..., and you should show them a strong example of Baha'i

discipline and the unity which can and must prevail amongst the

Community of the Most Great Name.

(From a letter dated 18 December 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_16

1309. You ask about "spiritual indigestion": Bahá'ís should seek

to be many-sided, normal and well balanced, mentally and

spiritually. We must not give the impression of being fanatics,

but at the same time we must live up to our principles.

(From a letter dated 12 March 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1310. You may be sure he will pray for the unity of the ...

believers, as this is of paramount importance, and upon it

depends the development of the Cause there, and the success of

every teaching effort. The thing the friends need--everywhere--

is a greater love for each other, and this can be acquired by

greater love for Bahá'u'lláh; for if we love Him deeply enough,

we will never allow personal feelings and opinions to hold His

Cause back; we will be willing to sacrifice ourselves to each

other for the sake of the Faith, and be, as the Master said, one

soul in many bodies.

(From a letter dated 5 September 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1311. He heartily agrees with you that unless we practise the

Teachings we cannot possibly expect the Faith to grow, because

the fundamental purpose of all religions--including our own--is

to bring man nearer to God, and to change his character, which

is of the utmost importance. Too much emphasis is often laid on

the social and economic aspects of the Teachings; but the moral

aspect cannot be over-emphasized.

(From a letter dated 6 September 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1312. The fact that you had a course on 'Bahá'í character' pleased

him very much, as he considers one of the greatest obligations

of your generation of believers is to live a Bahá'í life; you

must demonstrate, by your high moral standards, your courtesy,

your integrity and nobility, that our Faith, is not one of words

but truly changes the heart and conduct of its adherents.

(From a letter dated 19 September 1946 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the Louhelen School Junior Youth Session,

U.S.A.)
|PPg_17

1313. He feels that the youth, in particular, must constantly

and determinedly strive to exemplify a Bahá'í life. In the world

around us we see moral decay, promiscuity, indecency, vulgarity, bad

manners--the Bahá'í young people must be the opposite of these things,

and, by their chastity, their uprightness, their decency, their

consideration and good manners, attract others, old and young,

to the Faith. The world is tired of words; it wants example, and

it is up to the Bahá'í youth to furnish it.

(From a letter dated 19 September 1946 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to Green Acre Summer School

1314. The friends must, at all times, bear in mind that they are,

in a way, like soldiers under attack. The world is at present in

an exceedingly dark condition spiritually; hatred and prejudice,

of every sort, are literally tearing it to pieces. We, on the

other hand, are the custodians of the opposite forces, the forces

of love, of unity, of peace and integration, and we must

constantly be on our guard, whether as individuals or as an

Assembly or Community, lest through us these destructive,

negative forces enter into our midst. In other words we must

beware lest the darkness of society become reflected in our acts

and attitudes, perhaps all unconsciously. Love for each other,

the deep sense that we are a new organism, the dawn-breakers of

a New World Order, must constantly animate our Bahá'í lives, and

we must pray to be protected from the contamination of society

which is so diseased with prejudice.

(From a letter dated 5 February 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Atlanta, Georgia)

1315. The Cause in ... is growing very rapidly, and the more it

spreads the more the attention of the public will be fixed upon

it. This imposes a heavy responsibility on the believers, as they

must show forth such a spirit of love and unity among themselves

as will attract the hearts of others and encourage them to enter

the Faith in large numbers. We must always remember that the

Teachings are perfect, and that the only reason more of our

fellow men have not as yet embraced them is because we Baha'is,

the world over, are ourselves not yet as selfless and radiant

mirrors of Bahá'u'lláh's Truth as we should and could be! We must

constantly strive to better exemplify His Teachings.

|PPg_18

(From a letter dated 18 February 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1316. We must concentrate on perfecting our characters as

individual Baha'is, and on maturing our still embryonic, and

as yet improperly understood, World Order; on spreading the Message,

according to the provisions of the Divine Plan; and on

building a tightly knit world-wide Bahá'í Community. We are

relatively few in numbers, and have such a precious, unique and

responsible task to carry out. We must concentrate our full

forces upon it.

(From a letter dated 9 May 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

and Canada)

1317. It is upon the individual believer, constituting the

fundamental unit in the structure of the home front, that the

revitalization, the expansion, and the enrichment of the home

front must ultimately depend. The more strenuous the effort

exerted, daily and methodically, by the individual labouring on

the home front to rise to loftier heights of consecration, and

of self-abnegation, to contribute, through pioneering at home,

to the multiplication of Bahá'í isolated centres, groups and

Assemblies, and to raise, through diligent, painstaking and

continual endeavour to convert receptive souls to the Faith he

has espoused, the number of its active and whole-hearted

supporters; the sooner will the vast and multiple enterprises,

launched beyond the confines of the homeland, now so desperately

calling for a greater supply of men and means, be provided with

the necessary support that will ensure their uninterrupted

development and hasten their ultimate fruition ...

(From a letter dated 21 September 1957 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States)

1318. Regarding the questions you asked: self has really two

meanings, or is used in two senses, in the Bahá'í writings; one

is self, the identity of the individual created by God. This is

the self mentioned in such passages as "he hath known God who

hath known himself", etc. The other self is the ego, the dark,

animalistic heritage each one of us has, the lower nature that

can develop into a monster of selfishness, brutality, lust and

so on. It
|PPg_19

is this self we must struggle against, or this side of our

natures, in order to strengthen and free the spirit within us and

help it to attain perfection.

Self-sacrifice means to subordinate this lower nature and its

desires to the more godly and noble side of our selves.

Ultimately, in its highest sense, self-sacrifice means to give

our will and our all to God to do with as He pleases. Then He

purifies and glorifies our true self until it becomes a shining

and wonderful reality.

(From a letter dated 10 December 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1319. 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.

(From a letter dated 11 May 1948 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New

Zealand)

1320. We must never dwell too much on the attitudes and feelings

of our fellow-believers towards us. What is most important is to

foster love and

harmony and ignore any rebuffs we may receive; in this way the

weaknesses of human nature and the peculiarity or attitude of any

particular person is not magnified, but pales into insignificance

in comparison with our joint service to the Faith we all love.

(From a letter dated 19 September 1948 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1321. It is often difficult for us to do things because they are

so very different from what we are used to, not because the thing

itself is particularly difficult. With you, and indeed most

Baha'is, who are now, as adults, accepting this glorious Faith,

no doubt some of the ordinances, like fasting and daily prayer,

are hard to understand and obey at first. But we must always

think that these things are given to all men for a thousand years

to come. For Bahá'í children who see these things practised in

the home, they will be as natural and necessary a thing as going

to church on Sunday was to the more pious generation of

Christians. Bahá'u'lláh would not have given us these things if

they would not greatly benefit us, and, like children who are

sensible enough to realize their father is wise and does what is

good for them, we must accept to obey these ordinances even

|PPg_20

though at first we may not see any need for them. As we obey them

we will gradually come to see in ourselves the benefits they

confer.

(From a letter dated 16 March 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1322. ...as we suffer these misfortunes we must remember that the

Prophets of God Themselves were not immune from these things

which men suffer. They knew sorrow, illness and pain too. They

rose above these things through Their spirits, and that is what

we must try and do too, when afflicted. The troubles of this

world pass, and what we have left is what we have made of our

souls; so it is to this we must look--to becoming more spiritual,

drawing nearer to God, no matter what our human minds and bodies

go through.

(From a letter dated 5 August 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1323. He was grieved to hear of some of the things you describe.

It shows great spiritual immaturity on the part of some of the

Bahá'ís and an astonishing lack of understanding and study of the

teachings. To live up to our Faith's moral teachings is a task

far harder than to live up to those noble principles the Moral

Re-Armament inculcates, fine and encompassing as they are! Every

other word of Bahá'u'lláh's and 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í writings is a

preachment on moral and ethical conduct; all else is the form,

the chalice, into which the pure spirit must be poured; without

the spirit and the action which must demonstrate it, it is a

lifeless form.

He judges, from what you say, that the friends have not or

at least many of them have not, been properly taught in the

beginning. There is certainly no objection to stressing the "four

standards" of the Moral Re-Armament--though any teaching of our

precious Faith would go much more deeply into these subjects and

add more to them. When we realize that Bahá'u'lláh says adultery

retards the progress of the soul in the afterlife--so grievous

is it--and that drinking destroys the mind, and not to so much

as approach it, we see how clear are our teachings on these

subjects. You must not make the great mistake of judging our Faith

by one community which obviously needs to study and obey the

Bahá'í teachings.
|PPg_21

Human frailties and peculiarities can be a great test. But the

only way, or perhaps I should say the first and best way, to

remedy such situations, is to oneself do what is right. One soul

can be the cause of the spiritual illumination of a continent.

Now that you have seen, and remedied, a great fault in your own

life, now that you see more clearly what is lacking in your own

community, there is nothing to prevent you from arising and

showing such an example, such a love and spirit of service, as

to enkindle the hearts of your fellow Baha'is.

He urges you to study deeply the teachings, teach others,

study with those Bahá'ís who are anxious to do so, the deeper

teachings of our Faith, and through example, effort and prayer,

bring about a change.

(From a letter dated 30 September 1949 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1324. Without the spirit of real love for Bahá'u'lláh, for His

Faith and its Institutions, and the believers for each other, the

Cause can never really bring in large numbers of people. For it

is not preaching and rules the world wants, but love and action.

(From a letter dated 25 October 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1325. However, he feels very strongly that if ... is in the state

your letter would seem to indicate it is certainly conducting its

affairs in the wrong way. This does not mean the Assembly, it

means everyone. For where is Bahá'í love? Where is putting unity

and harmony first? Where is the willingness to sacrifice one's

personal feelings and opinions to achieve love and harmony? What

makes the Bahá'ís think that when they sacrifice the spiritual

laws the administrative laws are going to work?
. . .

He urges you to exert your utmost to get the ... Bahá'ís to

put aside such obnoxious terms as "radical", "conservative",

"progressive", "enemies of the Cause", "squelching the

teachings", etc. If they paused for one moment to think for what

purpose the Báb and the Martyrs gave their lives, and Bahá'u'lláh

and the Master accepted so much suffering, they

would never let such definitions and accusations cross their lips

when speaking of each other. As long as the friends quarrel

amongst themselves their efforts will not be blessed for they are

disobeying God.
|PPg_22

(From a letter dated 24 February 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1326. There are two kinds of Baha'is, one might say: those whose

religion is Bahá'í and those who live for the Faith. Needless to

say, if one can belong to the latter category, if one can be in

the vanguard of heroes, martyrs and saints, it is more

praiseworthy in the sight of God....

(From a letter dated 16 April 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
1327. ...

We must reach a spiritual plane where God comes first and

great human passions are unable to turn us away from Him. All the

time we see people who either through the force of hate or the

passionate attachment they have to another person, sacrifice

principle or bar themselves from the Path of God.

We must love God, and in this state, a general love for all

men becomes possible. We cannot love each human being for

himself, but our feeling towards humanity should be motivated by

our love for the Father Who created all men.

(From a letter dated 4 October 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1328. He urges you to do all you can to promote unity and love

amongst the members of the Community there, as this seems to be

their greatest need.

So often young communities, in their desire to administer the

Cause, lose sight of the fact that these spiritual relationships

are far more important and fundamental than the rules and

regulations which must govern the conduct of community affairs.

(From a letter dated 4 October 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1329. The greatest need it seems everywhere inside the Cause is

to impress upon the friends the need for love among them. There

is a tendency to mix up the functions of the Administration and

try to apply it in individual
|PPg_23

relationships, which is abortive, because the Assembly is a

nascent House of Justice and is supposed to administer, according

to the Teachings, the affairs of the community. But individuals

toward each other are governed by love, unity, forgiveness and

a sin-covering eye. Once the friends grasp this they will get

along much better, but they keep playing Spiritual Assembly to

each other and expect the Assembly to behave like an individual.

. .

(From a letter dated 5 October 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer, quoted in "Bahá'í News" 241

(March 1951), p. 2)

1330. When criticism and harsh words arise within a Baha'i

community, there is no remedy except to put the past behind one,

and persuade all concerned to turn over a new leaf, and for the

sake of God and His Faith refrain from mentioning the subjects

which have led to misunderstanding and inharmony. The more the

friends argue back and forth and maintain, each side, that their

point of view is the right one, the worse the whole situation

becomes.

When we see the condition the world is in today, we must

surely forget these utterly insignificant internal disturbances,

and rush, unitedly, to the rescue of humanity. You should urge

your fellow-Bahá'ís to take this point of view, and to support

you in a strong effort to suppress every critical thought and

every harsh word, in order to let the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh flow

into the entire community, and unite it in His love and in His

service.

(From a letter dated 16 February 1951 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1331. The Guardian feels sure that the contribution which has

been made by your friend who has not been active in the Cause for

a short time will be the means of stimulating her to renewed

service. There is nothing that brings success in the Faith like

service. Service is the magnet which draws the divine

confirmations. Thus, when a person is active, they are blessed

by the Holy Spirit. When they are inactive, the Holy Spirit

cannot find a repository in their being, and thus they are

deprived of its healing and quickening rays.

(From a letter dated 12 July 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_24

1332. The Guardian feels that your attitude towards the corrupt

practice of accepting commissions from fellow physicians and

pharmacists is most admirable. The more upright and noble the

Bahá'ís are in their conduct, the more they will impress the

public with the spiritual vitality of the Faith they believe

in.

(From a letter dated 20 October 1953 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1333. This challenge, so severe and insistent, and yet so

glorious, faces no doubt primarily the individual believer on

whom, in the last resort, depends the fate of the entire

community. He it is who constitutes the warp and woof on which

the quality and pattern of the whole fabric must depend. He it

is who acts as one of the countless links in the mighty chain

that now girdles the globe. He it is who serves as one of the multitude of

bricks which support the structure and ensure the

stability of the administrative edifice now being raised in

every part of the world. Without his support, at once

whole-hearted, continuous and generous, every measure adopted,

and every plan formulated, by the Body which acts as the

national representative of the community to which he belongs is

foredoomed to failure. The World Centre of the Faith itself is

paralysed if such a support on the part of the rank and file of

the community is denied it. The Author of the Divine Plan

Himself is impeded in His purpose if the proper instruments for

the execution of His design are lacking. The sustaining

strength of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, the Founder of the Faith, will

be withheld from every and each individual who fails in the

long run to arise and play his part. (From a letter dated 20

June 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States)

1334. When a person becomes a Baha'i, actually what takes place

is that the seed of the spirit starts to grow in the human

soul. This seed must be watered by the outpourings of the Holy

Spirit. These gifts of the spirit are received through prayer,

meditation, study of the Holy Utterances and service to the

Cause of God. The fact of the matter is that service in the

Cause is like the plough which ploughs the physical soil when

seeds are sown. It is necessary that the soil be ploughed up,

so that it can be enriched, and thus cause a stronger growth of

the seed. In exactly the
|PPg_25

same way the evolution of the spirit takes place through

ploughing up the soil of the heart so that it is a constant

reflection of the Holy Spirit. In this way the human spirit

grows and develops by leaps and bounds.
Naturally there will be periods of distress and

difficulty, and even severe tests; but if that person turns

firmly toward the divine Manifestation, studies carefully His

spiritual teachings and receives the blessings of the Holy

Spirit, he will find that in reality these tests and

difficulties have been the gifts of God to enable him to grow

and develop. Thus you might look upon your own difficulties in

the path of service. They are the means of your spirit growing

and developing. You will suddenly find that you have conquered

many of the problems which upset you, and then you will wonder

why they should have troubled you at all. An individual must

center his whole heart and mind on service to the Cause, in

accordance with the high standards set by Bahá'u'lláh. When

this is done, the Hosts of the Supreme Concourse will come to

the assistance of the individual, and every difficulty and

trial will gradually be overcome. (From a letter dated 6

October 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an

individual believer)

1335. The road is stony, and there are many tests; but as you

say, if the friends will learn to live according to

Bahá'u'lláh's teachings, they will discover that they work

indeed in mysterious and forceful ways; and that there is

always help at hand, that obstacles are overcome, and that

success is assured in the end.

(From a letter dated 23 April 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1336. The individual alone must assess its character, consult

his conscience, prayerfully consider all its aspects, manfully

struggle against the natural inertia that weighs him down in

his effort to arise, shed, heroically and irrevocably, the

trivial and superfluous attachments which hold him back, empty

himself of every thought that may tend to obstruct his path,

mix, in obedience to the counsels of the Author of His Faith,

and in imitation of the One Who is its true Exemplar, with men

and women, in all walks of life, seek to touch their hearts

through the distinction which characterizes his thoughts, his

words and his acts, and win them over,
|PPg_26

tactfully, lovingly, prayerfully and persistently, to the Faith

he himself has espoused. (From a letter dated 19 July 1956

written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States)

1337. He was very sorry to learn of the inharmony amongst the

friends there; and he feels that the only wise course of action

is for all the believers to devote themselves to teaching the

Faith and co-operating with their National Body.

Often these trials and tests which all Bahá'í communities

inevitably pass through seem terrible, at the moment, but in

retrospect we understand that they were due to the frailty of

human nature, to misunderstandings, and to the growing pains

which every Bahá'í community must experience.

(From a letter dated 25 November 1956 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1338. He is very happy to see that you have put into practice

one of the most encouraging precepts of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in which

He said that we should try and make every stumbling-block a

stepping-stone to progress. In the course of your past life you

have all stumbled very gravely; but, far from being embittered

or defeated by this experience, you are determined to make it a

means of purifying your natures, improving your characters, and

enabling you to become better citizens in the future. This is

truly pleasing in the eyes of God.

(From a letter dated 26 March 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Bahá'ís of Kitalya Farm Prison)

1339. ...the Bahá'ís must, in view of the condition of the

world today, stand forth firmly and courageously as followers

of Bahá'u'lláh, obeying His Laws, and seeking to build His World Order.

Through compromise we will never be able to

establish our Faith or win others' hearts to it. This involves

often great personal sacrifice, but we know that, when we do

the right thing, God gives us the strength to carry it out, and

we attract His blessing. We learn at such times that our

calamity is indeed a blessing.

(From a letter dated 5 May 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to two believer)
|PPg_27

1340. It is not enough for the friends to make the excuse that

their best teachers and their exemplary believers have arisen

and answered the call to pioneer. A "best teacher" and an

"exemplary believer" is ultimately neither more nor less than

an ordinary Bahá'í who has consecrated himself to the work of

the Faith, deepened his knowledge and understanding of its

Teachings, placed his confidence in Bahá'u'lláh, and arisen to

serve Him to the best of his ability. This door is one which we

are assured will open before the face of every follower of the

Faith who knocks hard enough, so to speak. When the will and

the desire are strong enough, the means will be found and the

way opened either to do more work locally, to go to a new goal

town within the United States, or to enter the foreign pioneer

field...

Not only must your Body provide the encouragement and

leadership required, and stimulate the friends to arise and

play their part, but the Local Assemblies must likewise do

everything in their power to help the friends to go forth and

attain their objectives. Each individual Bahá'í must likewise

feel that it is his personal duty to the Cause at this time and

his greatest privilege, and must ask himself what he can do

during the coming six years, beginning now, to hasten the

attainment of the goals of the World Crusade. The Bahá'ís are

the leaven of God, which must leaven the lump of their nation.

In direct ratio to their success will be the protection

vouchsafed, not only to them but to their country. These are

the immutable laws of God, from which there is no escape: "For

unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required."

(From a letter dated 21 September 1957 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States)
Revised July 1990
|PPg_28
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|PPg_29
THE LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES

(Based on extracts of communications from the Universal House

of Justice)
I. The Importance of the Local Spiritual Assembly

1341. "As the Bahá'í Administrative Order rapidly expands

throughout the world it behooves everyone associated with it to

familiarize himself with its principles, to understand its

import and to put its precepts into practice. Only as

individual members of Local Spiritual Assemblies deepen

themselves in the fundamental verities of the Faith and in the

proper application of the principles governing the operation of

the Assembly will this institution grow and develop toward its

full potential." (From a letter dated 11 August 1970 to all

National Spiritual Assemblies)

1342. "The divinely ordained institution of the Local Spiritual

Assembly operates at the first levels of human society and is

the basic administrative unit of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order. It

is concerned with individuals and families whom it must

constantly encourage to unite in a distinctive Bahá'í society,

vitalized and guarded by the laws, ordinances and principles of

Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. It protects the Cause of God; it acts

as the loving shepherd of the Bahá'í flock.
"Strengthening and development of Local Spiritual

Assemblies is a vital objective... Success in this one goal

will greatly enrich the quality of Bahá'í life, will heighten

the capacity of the Faith to deal with entry by troops which is

even now taking place and, above all, will demonstrate the

solidarity and ever-growing distinctiveness of the Baha'i

community, thereby attracting more and more thoughtful souls to

the Faith and offering a refuge to the leaderless and hapless

millions of the spiritually bankrupt, moribund present order.

"The friends are called upon to give their whole-hearted

support and cooperation to the Local Spiritual Assembly, first

by voting for the membership and then by energetically pursuing

its plans and programmes, by turning to it in time of trouble

or difficulty, by praying for its success and taking delight in

its rise to influence and honour. This great prize, this gift

of God within each community must be cherished, nurtured,

loved, assisted, obeyed and prayed for.
|PPg_30

"Such a firmly founded, busy and happy community life as is

envisioned when Local Spiritual Assemblies are truly effective,

will provide a firm home foundation from which the friends may

derive courage and strength and loving support in bearing the

Divine Message to their fellow-men and conforming their lives

to its benevolent rule."

(From a letter dated Naw-Ruz 1974 to the Bahá'ís of the World)

1343. "The institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly is of

primary importance in the firm establishment of the Faith, and

we hope that you will give particular attention to ensuring that as many as

possible, and in increasing numbers, are, in

the words of the beloved Guardian,'broadly based, securely

grounded' and 'efficiently functioning'."

(From a letter dated Naw-Ruz 1974 to all National Spiritual

Assemblies)

1344. "...the one vital activity which will enrich the quality

of Bahá'í life is the strengthening of Local Assemblies, for in

this institution, operating at the first level of human

society, rests the greatest opportunity to foster the sound and

healthy growth of the Bahá'í community. In other words, however

efficient the National Assembly and its staff may be, and

however diligently the national committees may function, it is

only when the Local Spiritual Assemblies begin to operate

vigorously that a firm home base can be provided from which to

carry the Divine Message further afield." (From a letter dated

3 April 1974 to the National Spiritual Assembly of South and

West Africa)

1345. "It is becoming increasingly understood by the friends

why ... such great emphasis upon the firmness of the foundation

and the efficiency of the operation of the Local Spiritual

Assemblies. This is very heartening, for upon the degree to

which the members of these Assemblies grasp the true

significance of the divine institution on which they serve,

arise selflessly to fulfil their prescribed and sacred duties,

and persevere in their endeavours, depends to a large extent

the healthy growth of the world-wide community of the Most

Great Name, the force of its outward thrust, and the strength

of its supporting roots."

(From a letter dated 25 May 1975 to all National Spiritual

Assemblies)
|PPg_31

II. The Development of the Local Spiritual Assemblies:

1346. "Local Spiritual Assemblies are at the present newly born

institutions, struggling for the most part to establish

themselves both in the Bahá'í community and in the world. They

are as yet only embryos of the majestic institutions ordained

by Bahá'u'lláh in His Writings....

"What we find expounded in the writings of our Faith is the

lofty station Local Spiritual Assemblies must attain in their

gradual and at times painful development.... "Among the more

salient objectives to be attained by the Local Spiritual

Assembly in its process of development to full maturity are to

act as a loving shepherd to the Bahá'í flock, promote unity and

concord among the friends, direct the teaching work, protect

the Cause of God, arrange for Feasts, Anniversaries and regular

meetings of the community, familiarize the Bahá'ís with its

plans, invite the community to offer its recommendations,

promote the welfare of youth and children, and participate, as

circumstances permit, in humanitarian activities. In its relationship to the

individual believer, the Assembly should

continuously invite and encourage him to study the Faith, to

deliver its glorious message, to live in accordance with its

teachings, to contribute freely and regularly to the Fund, to

participate in community activities, and to seek refuge in the

Assembly for advice and help, when needed. "In its own meetings

it must endeavour to develop skill in the difficult but highly

rewarding art of Bahá'í consultation, a process which will

require great self-discipline on the part of all members and

complete reliance on the power of Bahá'u'lláh. It should hold

regular meetings and ensure that all its members are currently

informed of the activities of the Assembly, that its Secretary

carries out his duties, and its Treasurer holds and disburses

the funds of the Faith to its satisfaction, keeping proper

accounts and issuing receipts for all contributions. Many

Assemblies find that some of their activities such as teaching,

observance of Feasts and Anniversaries, solution of personal

problems, and other duties are best dealt with by committees

appointed by the Assembly and responsible to it."

(From a letter dated 30 July 1972 to the National Spiritual

Assembly of Bolivia)

1347. "The time has come, we believe, when increasing numbers

of Local Spiritual Assemblies should assume responsibility for

helping the
|PPg_32

teaching work of groups, isolated believers, and other

Spiritual Assemblies in their neighborhood. Such extension

teaching goals should be assigned by the National Spiritual

Assembly or one of its teaching committees, or can be

spontaneously adopted by Local Spiritual Assemblies, and should

be carried out within the framework of the overall teaching

plans of the country. It should also be made clear that by

being given such goals a Spiritual Assembly is not being given

any jurisdiction over believers outside its area, still less

over other Local Spiritual Assemblies, but is being called upon

to collaborate with them in their work."

(From a letter dated Naw-Ruz 1974 to all National Spiritual

Assemblies)

1348. 'We long to see every Local Spiritual Assembly either

spontaneously adopt its own goals or warmly welcome those it

has been or will be given by its National Spiritual Assembly,

swell the number of the adherents who compose its local

community and, guided by the general policy outlined by its

National Spiritual Assembly, proclaim the Faith more

effectively, energetically pursue its extension teaching and

consolidation goals, arrange the observances of the Holy Days,

regularly hold its Nineteen Day Feasts and its sessions for

deepening, initiate and maintain community projects, and

encourage the participation of every member of its community in

giving to the Fund and undertaking teaching activities and administrative

services, so as to make each locality a

stronghold of the Faith and a torch-bearer of the Covenant."

(From a letter dated 25 May 1975 to all National Spiritual

Assemblies)

1349. "The adoption of a local plan by the Local Assembly can

exert a far-reaching influence on its work and on the life of

the community." (From a letter dated 24 December 1975 to the

National Spiritual Assembly of Reunion)

III. The Supporting Role of the Auxiliary Board Members and

their Assistants:

1350. The National Spiritual Assemblies in consultation with

the Counsellors should avail themselves of the services of the

Auxiliary Board members and their assistants, who, together

"...with the travelling teachers selected by the Assembly or

its Teaching Committees, should be
|PPg_33

continuously encouraged to conduct deepening courses ... and to

make regular visits to Local Spiritual Assemblies...."

The visitors, whether Auxiliary Board members, their

assistants or travelling teachers "...should meet on such

occasions not only with the Local Assembly but, of course, with

the local community members, collectively at general meetings

and even, if necessary, individually in their homes." The

subjects to be discussed at such meetings with the Local

Assembly and the friends should include among others the

following points:

1. the extent of the spread and stature of the Faith today;

2. the importance of the daily obligatory prayers (at least the

short prayer);

3. the need to educate Bahá'í children in the Teachings of the

Faith and encourage them to memorize some of the prayers;

4. the stimulation of youth to participate in community life by

giving talks, etc. and having their own activities, if

possible;

5. the necessity to abide by the laws of marriage, namely, the

need to have a Bahá'í ceremony, to obtain the consent of

parents, to observe monogamy; faithfulness after marriage;

likewise the importance of abstinence from all intoxicating

drinks and drugs;

6. the local Fund and the need for the friends to understand

that the voluntary act of contributing to the Fund is both a

privilege and a spiritual obligation. There should also be

discussion of various methods that could be followed by the

friends to facilitate their contributions and the ways open to

the Local Assembly to utilize its local Fund to serve the

interests of its community and the Cause;

7. the importance of the Nineteen Day Feast and the fact that

it should be a joyful occasion and rallying point of the entire

community;

8. the manner of election with as many workshops as required,

including teaching of simple methods of balloting for

illiterates, such as having one central home as the place for

balloting and arranging for one literate person, if only a

child, to be present at that home during the whole day, if

necessary;

9. last but not least, the all-important teaching work, both in

the locality and its neighbouring centres, as well as the need

to
|PPg_34

continuously deepen the friends in the essentials of the Faith.

The friends should be made to realize that in teaching the

Faith to others they should not only aim at assisting the

seeking soul to join the Faith, but also at making him a

teacher of the Faith and its active supporter.

"All the above points should, of course, be stressed within

the framework of the importance of the Local Spiritual

Assembly, which should be encouraged to vigorously direct its

attention to these vital functions and become the very heart of

the community life of its own locality, even if its meetings

should become burdened with the problems of the community. The

local friends should understand the importance of the law of

consultation and realize that it is to the Local Spiritual

Assembly that they should turn, abide by its decisions, support

its projects, co-operate whole-heartedly with it in its task to

promote the interests of the Cause, and seek its advice and

guidance in the solution of personal problems and the

adjudication of disputes, should any arise amongst the members

of the community." (From a letter dated 2 February 1966 to all

National Spiritual Assemblies Engaged in Mass Teaching Work)

1351. "It is at this local level of Bahá'í community life, the

very foundation of the administrative structure of the Faith,

that we so often find lack of adequate strength and efficiency.

It is at this same level that our beloved Guardian urged

Auxiliary Board Members to establish contact with Local

Spiritual Assemblies, groups, isolated centres and the

individual believers, and through periodic and systematic

visits to localities as well as by correspondence help in

promoting the interests of the Plan, assist in the efficient

and prompt execution of the goals, watch over the security of

the Faith, stimulate and strengthen the teaching and pioneer

work, impress upon the friends the importance of individual

effort, initiative and sacrifice, and encourage them to

participate in Bahá'í activities and be unified under all

circumstances." (From a letter dated 17 November 1971 to the

Continental Boards
of Counsellors)

1352. The aims of the Auxiliary Board members and their

assistants, stated previously in relation to the services of

the assistants, "...should be to
|PPg_35

activate and encourage Local Spiritual Assemblies, to call the

attention of Local Spiritual Assembly members to the importance

of holding regular meetings, to encourage local communities to

meet for the Nineteen Day Feasts and Holy Days, to help deepen

their fellow-believers' understanding of the Teachings,..."

(From a letter dated 7 October 1973 to the Bahá'ís of the

World)

1353. 'We are confident that the institution of the Boards of

Counsellors will lend its vital support and, through the

Counsellors' own contacts with the friends, through their

Auxiliary Boards and their assistants, will nourish the roots

of each local community, enrich and cultivate the soil of

knowledge of the teachings and irrigate it with the living

waters of love for Bahá'u'lláh. Thus will the saplings grow

into mighty trees, and the trees bear their golden fruit."

(From a letter dated 25 May 1975 to all National Spiritual

Assemblies)

IV. Suggested Goals for Local Spiritual Assemblies:

1354. "Any plan must have a term and specific goals, expressed

preferably and if possible in numbers. For a Local Spiritual

Assembly it would be better, at least in the early stages of

its development, to have a term of nine months to a year. Of

course it is also quite possible to have a series of plans of

very short terms of say two to three months each, throughout

the year.

"The examples of local goals listed below are in the form

of questions which each Assembly could put to itself, or may be

directed to it by the National Spiritual Assembly. The

questions are meant to lead to the adoption of a specific goal.

An explanatory note follows items which may need clarification

or comment.
A) Teaching

1. How many new believers? (The Plan calls for a "great

increase in the number of believers" and confirming individuals

"from every stratum of society". The ideal is for each local

community to double itself every year, since every believer

should, in accordance with the wish of the Master, guide one

soul to the Cause of God every year. In some areas this may be

an ambitious
|PPg_36

project at the beginning, and at the outset a more modest goal

could be adopted.)

2. How many firesides? (Shoghi Effendi urged the friends to

hold one fireside every nineteen days in their homes. The

friends willing to respond to this wish, could give their names

to the Local Assembly.)

3. Can a pledge be made to have extension teaching activities

outside the local area of jurisdiction? (Obviously only strong

Local Assemblies can sustain such a goal.)
B) Proclamation

4. Are mass media facilities such as radio, television, and the

press available to the Local Assembly? Can a goal be adopted

for such activities?

5. Can public meetings be anticipated? If so, how many?

6. What methods can be adopted for the dissemination of Baha'i

literature, such as distribution of books to local libraries,

etc....? Can this goal be expressed in a challenging form?

7. Can the local community participate in the social and

humanitarian activities of the society of which it forms a

part? Could a modest step be taken along this line?

C) Consolidation

8. Can the attendance of the friends at Nineteen Day Feasts be

improved upon? What about the Anniversaries? Can the increase

in attendance be expressed numerically, such as in terms of the

percentage of those attending?

9. Can regular meetings for the benefit of the local friends be

held? If so, how often and when? (In the recent compilation on

"Meetings" released to all National Spiritual

Assemblies,'Abdu'l-Bahá exhorts the friends to hold such

meetings as a "constant" activity, and praises weekly meetings.

He repeatedly counsels the believers to read and recite the

Holy Word in such meetings and deliver speeches on the

teachings, the proofs and the history of the Faith.) 10. Can

daily early morning prayer sessions be held? If so, where and

when? (If this is not feasible every day, an effort could be

made to hold such sessions less frequently. At such devotional

meetings
|PPg_37

not only prayers, but suitable selections from the Sacred

Writings could be read. Bahá'u'lláh has pointed out that upon

the Word of God "must depend the gathering together and

spiritual resurrection of all men", that "every word that

proceedeth out of the mouth of God is endowed with such potency

as can instill new life into every human frame", and that were

man to "taste the sweetness of the words which the lips of the

All-Merciful have willed to utter, he would, though the

treasures of the earth be in his possession, renounce them one

and all, that he might vindicate the truth of even one of His

commandments". It is because of such considerations that the

Five Year Plan calls for the friends to memorize selections

from the Writings. If a believer finds it difficult to

memorize, he may be encouraged to make for his own use a

selection of extracts, however brief, which he could reread and

enjoy at his own leisure, to satisfy his inner soul.)

11. Can youth activities be encouraged? If so, in what way?

12. Can activities and classes for children be established? If

so, could a specific goal be adopted?

13. Can youth activities be maintained? Could this be expressed

in the form of a goal?

14. Is the community strong enough to establish a local

Haziratu'l-Quds?
15. Can a local endowment be

acquired and maintained, and possibly used as an investment for

the community?

16. How can local contributions to the local Fund be

encouraged? Can a target be adopted?

17. Can the local community serve as host to a district

conference of neighbouring communities and localities?

18. Can the Local Assembly issue a regular Newsletter?

"When the goals are finally decided upon, it is important

that they should be announced to the friends. It should be

borne in mind that Shoghi Effendi longed to see every believer

involved in Bahá'í service, so that universal participation may

be achieved. It would be most effective if the Local Assembly,

prior to such an announcement, would appoint local committees,

to each of which a branch of activity or one or more of the

local goals could be assigned. Such committees need not consist

of
|PPg_38

many members. When the committee appointments are made, the

Local Assembly will be fully prepared to announce its goals and

its committee appointments to the community at a Nineteen Day

Feast or a specially called meeting of the community."

(Prepared for inclusion with a letter dated 24 December 1975 to

the National Spiritual Assembly of Reunion)
Revised July 1990
|PPg_39
I. Establishment and Station:

1355. ...The Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of

Justice be established wherein shall gather counsellors to the

number of Baha, and should it exceed this number it does not

matter. It behoveth them to be the trusted ones of the Merciful

among men and to regard themselves as the guardians appointed

of God for all that dwell on earth....

(Bahá'u'lláh, cited in a letter dated 5 March 1922 written by

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, published in "Baha'i

Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932" [rev. ed.],

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), p. 21)

1356. Addressing the nations, the Ancient Beauty ordaineth that

in every city in the world a house be established in the name

of justice wherein shall gather pure and steadfast souls to the

number of the Most Great Name. At this meeting they should feel

as if they were entering the Presence of God, inasmuch as this

binding command hath flowed from the Pen of Him Who is the

Ancient of Days. The glances of God are directed towards this

Assembly.
(Bahá'u'lláh - provisional translation)

1357. 'Abdu'l-Bahá is constantly engaged in ideal communication

with any Spiritual Assembly which is instituted through the

divine bounty, and the members of which, in the utmost

devotion, turn to the divine Kingdom and are firm in the

Covenant. To them he is whole-heartedly attached and with them

he is linked by everlasting ties....

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", [rev. ed.]

(Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), p. 89)

1358. These Spiritual Assemblies are aided by the Spirit of

God. Their defender is 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Over them He spreadeth His

Wings. What bounty is there greater than this? These Spiritual

Assemblies are shining lamps and heavenly gardens, from which

the fragrances of holiness are diffused over all regions, and

the lights of knowledge are shed abroad over all created

things. From them the spirit of life streameth in every

|PPg_40

direction. They, indeed, are the potent sources of the progress

of man, at all times and under all conditions.

('Abdu'l-Bahá, cited in Shoghi Effendi, "God Passes By"; rev.

ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987), p. 332)

1359. ...it is of the utmost importance that in accordance with

the explicit text of the "Kitáb-i-Aqdas", the Most Holy Book,

in every locality, be it city or hamlet, where the number of

adult (21 years and above) declared believers exceeds nine,[1] a

local "Spiritual Assembly" be forthwith established. To it When

the number of believers is exactly nine, they constitute

themselves as the Local Spiritual Assembly by joint

declaration. All local matters pertaining to the Cause must be

directly and immediately referred for full consultation and

decision. The importance, nay the absolute necessity of these

local Assemblies is manifest when we realize that in the days

to come they will evolve into the local Houses of Justice...

(From a letter dated 12 March 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the Bahá'ís of America, Australasia, France, Germany, British

Isles, Italy, Japan and Switzerland, published in "Baha'i

Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932", p. 37)

1360. Let us recall His explicit and often repeated assurances

that every Assembly elected in that rarefied atmosphere of

selflessness and detachment is in truth appointed of God, that

its verdict is truly inspired, that one and all should submit

to its decision unreservedly and with cheerfulness.

(From a letter dated 23 February 1924 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the Bahá'ís of America, published in "Bahá'í Administration:

Selected Messages 1922-1932" p. 65)

1361. Designated as "Spiritual Assemblies"--an appellation that

must in the course of time be replaced by their permanent and

more descriptive title of "Houses of Justice," bestowed upon

them by the Author of the Bahá'í Revelation; instituted,

without any exception, in every city, town and village where

nine or more adult believers are resident; annually and

directly elected, on the first day of the greatest Baha'i

Festival by all adult
____

[1.] When the number of believers is exactly nine, they

constitute themselves as the Local Spiritual Assembly by joint

declaration.
|PPg_41

believers, men and women alike; invested with an authority

rendering them unanswerable for their acts and decisions to

those who elect them; solemnly pledged to follow, under all

conditions, the dictates of the "Most Great Justice" that can

alone usher in the reign of the "Most Great Peace" which

Bahá'u'lláh has proclaimed and must ultimately establish;

charged with the responsibility of promoting at all times the

best interests of the communities within their jurisdiction, of

familiarizing them with their plans and activities and of

inviting them to offer any recommendations they might wish to

make; cognizant of their no less vital task of demonstrating,

through association with all liberal and humanitarian

movements, the universality and comprehensiveness of their

Faith; dissociated entirely from all sectarian organizations,

whether religious or secular; assisted by committees annually

appointed by, and directly responsible to, them, to each of

which a particular branch of Bahá'í activity is assigned for

study and action; supported by local funds to which all

believers voluntarily contribute; these Assemblies, the

representatives and custodians of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh,

numbering at the present time, several hundred, and whose

membership is drawn from the diversified races, creeds and

classes constituting the world-wide Bahá'í community, have, in

the course of the last two decades, abundantly demonstrated, by

virtue of their achievements, their right to be regarded as the

chief sinews of Bahá'í society, as well as the ultimate

foundation of its administrative structure.
(Shoghi Effendi, "God Passes By", p. 33

1362. That the Spiritual Assemblies of today will be placed in

time by the I louses of Justice, and are to all intents and

purposes identical and not separate bodies, is abundantly

confirmed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself. He has in fact in a Tablet

addressed to the members of the first Chicago Spiritual

Assembly, the first elected Bahá'í body instituted in the

United States, referred to them as the members of the "House of

Justice" for that city, and has thus with His own pen

established beyond any doubt the identity of the present Baha'i

Spiritual Assemblies with the Houses of Justice referred to by

Bahá'u'lláh. For reasons which are not difficult to discover,

it has been found advisable to bestow upon the elected

representatives of Bahá'í communities throughout the world the

temporary appellation of Spiritual Assemblies, a term which, as

the
|PPg_42

position and aims of the Bahá'í Faith are better understood and

more fully recognized, will gradually be superseded by the

permanent and more appropriate designation of House of

Justice....

(Shoghi Effendi, "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected

Letters", 2nd rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982) p. 6)

Il. Membership - Qualifications, Election:

1363. If we but turn our gaze to the high qualifications of the

members of Bahá'í Assemblies ... we are filled with feelings of

unworthiness and dismay, and would feel truly disheartened but

for the comforting thought that if we rise to play nobly our

part every deficiency in our lives will be more than

compensated by the all-conquering spirit of His grace and

power. Hence it is incumbent upon the chosen delegates to

consider without the least trace of passion and prejudice, and

irrespective of any material consideration, the names of only

those who can best combine the necessary qualities of

unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained

mind, of recognized ability and mature experience....

(From a letter dated 3 June 1925 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the delegates and visitors at the convention of the United

States and Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration:

Selected Messages 1922-1932", p. 88)

1364. With reference to your next question concerning the

qualifications of the members of the Spiritual Assembly: there

is a distinction of fundamental importance which should be

always remembered in this connection, and this is between the

Spiritual Assembly as an institution, and the persons who

compose it. These are by no means supposed to be perfect, nor

can they be considered as being inherently superior to the rest

of their fellow-believers. It is precisely because they are

subject to the same human limitations that characterize the

other members of the community that they have to be elected

every year. The existence of elections is a sufficient

indication that Assembly members, though forming part of an

institution that is divine and perfect, are nevertheless

themselves imperfect. But this does not necessarily imply that

their judgement is defective. For as 'Abdu'l-Bahá has

repeatedly emphasized Bahá'í Assemblies are under the guidance

and protection of God. The elections, especially when annual,

give the community a good opportunity to remedy any defect or

imperfection from which the
|PPg_43

Assembly may suffer as a result of the actions of its members.

Thus a safe method has been established whereby the quality of

membership in Bahá'í Assemblies can be continually raised and

improved. But, as already stated, the institution of the

Spiritual Assembly should under no circumstances be identified

with, or be estimated merely through, the personal

qualifications of the members that compose it.

(From a letter dated 15 November 1935 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to two believers)

1365. ...I feel that reference to personalities before the

election would give rise to misunderstanding and differences.

What the friends should do is to get thoroughly acquainted with

one another, to exchange views, to mix freely and discuss among

themselves the requirements and qualifications for such a

membership without reference or application, however indirect,

to particular individuals. We should refrain from influencing

the opinion of others, of canvassing for any particular

individual, but should stress the necessity of getting fully

acquainted with the qualifications of membership referred to in

our Beloved's Tablets and of learning more about one another

through direct, personal experience rather than through the

reports and opinions of our friends.

(From a letter dated 14 May 1927 written by Shoghi Effendi to a

Local Spiritual Assembly, published in "Bahá'í News" 18 (June

1927), p. 9)

1366. These local Spiritual Assemblies will have to be elected

directly by the friends, and every declared believer of 21

years and above, far from standing aloof and assuming an

indifferent or independent attitude, should regard it his

sacred duty to take part, conscientiously and diligently, in

the election, the consolidation, and the efficient working of

his own local Assembly.

(From a letter dated 12 March 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the Bahá'ís of America, Australasia, France, Germany, British

Isles, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, published in "Baha'i

Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932", p. 39)

1367. ...the elector ... is called upon to vote for none but

those whom prayer and reflection have inspired him to

uphold....the practice of nomination, so detrimental to the

atmosphere of a silent and prayerful election, is
|PPg_44

viewed with mistrust inasmuch as it gives the right to the

majority of a body that, in itself, under the present

circumstances, often constitutes a minority of all the elected

delegates, to deny that God-given right of every elector to

vote only in favour of those whom he is conscientiously

convinced are the most worthy candidates....

(From a letter dated 27 May 1927 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published

in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages
1922-1932", p. 136)
III. Taking Counsel Together - Functions:

1368. It is incumbent upon them to take counsel together and to

have regard for the interests of the servants of God, for His

sake, even as they regard their own interests, and to choose

that which is meet and seemly. Thus hath the Lord your God ...

commanded you. Beware lest ye put away that which is clearly

revealed in His Tablet. Fear God, O ye that perceive!

(Bahá'u'lláh, cited in a letter dated 5 March 1922 written by

Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada,

published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", p. 21)

1369. When in session it behooveth them to converse, on behalf

of the servants of God, on matters dealing with the affairs and

interests of the public. For instance, teaching the Cause of

God must be accorded precedence, inasmuch as it is a matter of

paramount importance, so that thereby all men may enter the

pavilion of unity and all the peoples of the earth be regarded

even as a single body...

Teaching the Cause must be viewed according to the

conditions of the age and of the times so as to see what course

is deemed proper to take. Other matters also should be dealt

with in like manner. They must, however, take care that nothing

doth take place contrary to the divine verses sent down in this

glorious Manifestation, inasmuch as naught but that which hath

been prescribed by the True One--exalted be His glory --would

serve the interests of His servants. He, in truth, is more

merciful to you than ye are unto yourselves. He, verily, is the

One Who knoweth and is well informed of all. Should these souls

comply with the prescribed conditions, they shall indeed, be

aided through His invisible bestowals. This is truly a matter

whose benefits will be conferred on all men...
|PPg_45
(Bahá'u'lláh, provisional translation)

1370. The prime requisites for them that take counsel together

are purity of motive, radiance of spirit, detachment from all

else save God, attraction to His Divine Fragrances, humility

and lowliness amongst His loved ones, patience and

long-suffering in difficulties and servitude to His exalted

Threshold. Should they be graciously aided to acquire these

attributes, victory from the unseen Kingdom of Baha shall be

vouchsafed to them. In this day, assemblies of consultation are

of the greatest importance and a vital necessity. Obedience

unto them is essential and obligatory. The members thereof must

take counsel together in such wise that no occasion for

ill-feeling or discord may arise. This can be attained when

every member expresseth with absolute freedom his own opinion

and setteth forth his argument. Should any one oppose, he must on no

account feel hurt for not until matters are fully

discussed can the right way be revealed. The shining spark of

truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.

If after discussion a decision be carried unanimously, well and

good; but if, the Lord forbid, differences of opinion should

arise, a majority of voices must prevail.[2]

('Abdu'l-Bahá, cited in a letter dated 5 March 1922 written by

Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada,

published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", pp. 21-22)

1371. ...Whenever ye enter the council-chamber, recite this

prayer with a heart throbbing with the love of God and a tongue

purified from all but His remembrance, that the All-Powerful

may graciously aid you to achieve supreme victory: "O God, my

God! We are servants of Thine that have turned with devotion to

Thy Holy Face, that have detached ourselves from all beside

Thee in this glorious Day. We have gathered in this spiritual

assembly, united in our views and thoughts, with our purposes

harmonized to exalt Thy Word amidst mankind. O Lord, our God!

Make us the signs of Thy divine Guidance, the Standards of Thy

exalted Faith amongst men, servants to Thy mighty Covenant, O

Thou our Lord Most High! Manifestations of Thy Divine Unity in

Thine Abha Kingdom, and resplendent stars shining upon all

regions. Lord! Aid us to become seas
____

[2.] "Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sections 43

and 44, p. 87
|PPg_46

surging with the billows of Thy wondrous Grace, streams flowing

from Thy all-glorious Heights, goodly fruits upon the Tree of

Thy heavenly Cause, trees waving through the breezes of Thy

Bounty in Thy celestial Vineyard. O God! Make our souls

dependent upon the Verses of Thy Divine Unity, our hearts

cheered with the outpourings of Thy Grace, that we may unite

even as the waves of one sea and become merged together as the

rays of Thine effulgent Light; that our thoughts, our views,

our feelings may become as one reality, manifesting the spirit

of union throughout the world. Thou art the Gracious, the

Bountiful, the Bestower, the Almighty, the Merciful, the

Compassionate."

('Abdu'l-Bahá, cited in a letter dated 5 March 1922 written by

Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada,

published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", pp. 20-21)

1372. ...The first condition is absolute love and harmony

amongst the members of the assembly. They must be wholly freed

from estrangement and must manifest in themselves the Unity of

God, for they are the waves of one sea, the drops of one river,

the stars of one heaven, the rays of one sun, the trees of one

orchard, the flowers of one garden. Should harmony of thought and

absolute unity be non-existent, that gathering shall be

dispersed and that assembly be brought to naught. The second

condition: they must when coming together turn their faces to

the Kingdom on High and ask aid from the Realm of Glory. They

must then proceed with the utmost devotion, courtesy, dignity,

care and moderation to express their views. They must in every

matter search out the truth and not insist upon their own

opinion, for stubbornness and persistence in one's views will

lead ultimately to discord and wrangling and the truth will

remain hidden. The honoured members must with all freedom

express their own thoughts, and it is in no wise permissible

for one to belittle the thought of another, nay, he must with

moderation set forth the truth, and should differences of

opinion arise a majority of voices must prevail, and all must

obey and submit to the majority. It is again not permitted that

any one of the honoured members object to or censure, whether

in or out of the meeting, any decision arrived at previously

though that decision be not right, for such criticism would

prevent any decision from being enforced. In short, whatsoever

thing is arranged in harmony and with love and purity of

motive, its result is light, and should the least trace of

|PPg_47

estrangement prevail the result shall be darkness upon

darkness.... If this be so regarded, that assembly shall be of

God, but otherwise it shall lead to coolness and alienation

that proceed from the Evil One....

('Abdu'l-Bahá, cited in a letter dated 5 March 1922 written by

Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada,

published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", p. 22)

1373. Discussions must all be confined to spiritual matters

that pertain to the training of souls, the instruction of

children, the relief of the poor, the help of the feeble

throughout all classes in the world, kindness to all peoples,

the diffusion of the fragrances of God and the exaltation of

His Holy Word. Should they endeavour to fulfil these conditions

the Grace of the Holy Spirit shall be vouchsafed unto them, and

that assembly shall become the centre of the Divine blessings,

the hosts of Divine confirmation shall come to their aid, and

they shall day by day receive a new effusion of Spirit.

('Abdu'l-Bahá, cited in a letter dated 5 March 1922 written by

Shoghi Effendi) to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada,

published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", pp. 22-23)

1374. A perusal of some of the words of Bahá'u'lláh

and 'Abdu'l-Bahá on the duties and functions of the Spiritual

Assemblies in every land (later to be designated as the local

Houses of Justice) emphatically reveals the sacredness of their

nature, the wide scope of their activity, and the grave

responsibility which rests upon them.
. . .

The matter of Teaching, its direction, its ways and means,

its extension, its consolidation, essential as they are to the

interests of the Cause, constitute by no means the only issue

which should receive the full attention of these Assemblies. A

careful study of Bahá'u'lláh's and 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í Tablets will

reveal that other duties, no less vital to the interests of the

Cause, devolve upon the elected representatives of the friends

in every locality. It is incumbent upon them to be vigilant and

cautious, discreet and watchful, and protect at all times the

Temple of the Cause from the dart of the mischief-maker and the

onslaught of the enemy.
|PPg_48

They must endeavour to promote amity and concord amongst

the friends, efface every lingering trace of distrust, coolness

and estrangement from every heart, and secure in its stead an

active and whole-hearted cooperation for the service of the

Cause. They must do their utmost to extend at all times the

helping hand to the poor, the sick, the disabled, the orphan,

the widow, irrespective of colour, caste and creed. They must

promote by every means in their power the material as well as

the spiritual enlightenment of youth, the means for the

education of children, institute, whenever possible, Baha'i

educational institutions, organize and supervise their work and

provide the best means for their progress and development.

. . .

They must undertake the arrangement of the regular meetings

of the friends, the feasts and the anniversaries, as well as

the special gatherings designed to serve and promote the

social, intellectual and spiritual interests of their

fellow-men. These rank among the most outstanding obligations

of the members of every Spiritual Assembly....

(The first paragraph is from a letter dated 5 March 1922

written by Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the United States

and Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932" p. 20)

The rest is from a letter dated 12 March 1923 also written by

Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of America, Australasia, France,

Germany, British Isles, Italy, Japan and Switzerland, published

in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932", pp.

37-39)

1375. ...he feels that you should turn to your Local Assembly,

in the strictest confidence, and seek their aid and advice.

These bodies have the sacred obligation to help, advise,

protect, and guide the believers in every way within their

power when appealed to--indeed they were established just for

the purpose of keeping order and unity and obedience to the law

of God amongst the believers. You should go to them as a child

would to its parents...

(From a letter dated 28 September 1941 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_49

1376. Bahá'u'lláh has given the promise that in every Assembly

where unity and harmony prevail there His glorious spirit will

not only be present, but will animate, sustain and guide all

the friends in all their deliberations.

It is to unity that the Guardian has been continually

calling the friends. For where a united will exists, nothing

can effectively oppose and hamper the forces of constructive

development.... (From a letter dated 17 November 1933 written

on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Local Spiritual Assemblies

of Evanston and Wilmette, Il. U.S.A., published in "Baha'i

News" 190 (December 1946), p. 1)

1377. The members of these Assemblies, on their part, must

disregard utterly their own likes and dislikes, their personal

interests and inclinations, and concentrate their minds upon

those measures that will conduce to the welfare and happiness

of the Bahá'í Community and promote the common weal.

(From a letter dated 12 March 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the Bahá'ís of America, Australasia, France, Germany, British

Isles, Italy, Japan and Switzerland, published in

"Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932", p. 41)

1378. Let us also remember that at the very root of the Cause

lies the principle of the undoubted right of the individual to

self-expression, his freedom to declare his conscience and set

forth his views....

And when they are called upon to arrive at a certain

decision, they should, after dispassionate, anxious, and

cordial consultation, turn to God in prayer, and with

earnestness and conviction and courage record their vote and

abide by the voice of the majority, which we are told by our

Master to be the voice of truth, never to be challenged, and

always to be whole-heartedly enforced. To this voice the

friends must heartily respond, and regard it as the only means

that can ensure the protection and advancement of the Cause.

(From a letter dated 23 February 1924 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the Bahá'ís of America, published in "Bahá'í Administration:

Selected Messages 1922-1932", pp. 63-64)
|PPg_50

1379. Bahá'ís are not required to vote on an Assembly against

their consciences. It is better if they submit to the majority

view and make it unanimous. But they are not forced to. What

they must do, however, is to abide by the majority decision, as

this is what becomes effective. They must not go around

undermining the Assembly by saying they disagreed with the

majority. In other words, they must put the Cause first and not

their own opinions. He (a Spiritual Assembly member) can ask

the Assembly to reconsider a matter, but he has no right to

force them or create inharmony because they won't change. Unanimous

votes are preferable, but certainly cannot be forced

upon Assembly members by artificial methods such as are used by

other societies. (From a letter dated 19 October 1947 written

on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer,

published in "Bahá'í News" 202 (December 1947), p. 3)

1380. But before the majority of the Assembly comes to a

decision, it is not only the right but the sacred obligation of

every member to express freely and openly his views, without

being afraid of displeasing or alienating any of his

fellow-members. In view of this important administrative

principle of frank and open consultation, the Guardian would

advise you to give up the method of asking other members to

voice your opinion and suggestions. This indirect way of

expressing your views to the Assembly not only creates an

atmosphere of secrecy which is most alien to the spirit of the

Cause, but would also lead to many misunderstandings and

complications. The Assembly members must have the courage of

their convictions, but must also express whole-hearted and

unqualified obedience to the well-considered judgement and

directions of the majority of their fellow-members. (From a

letter dated 28 October 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1381. The friends should therefore not feel discouraged at the

differences of opinion that may prevail among the members of an

Assembly, for these, as experience has shown, and as the

Master's words attest, fulfil a valuable function in all

Assembly deliberations. But once the opinion of the majority

has been ascertained, all the members should automatically and

unreservedly obey it, and faithfully carry it out. Patience and

restraint, however, should at all times characterize the

discussions and
|PPg_51

deliberations of the elected representatives of the local

community, and no fruitless and hair-splitting discussions

indulged in, under any circumstances. (From a letter dated 18

April 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual

believer)

1382. There is only one principle on which to conduct the work

of an Assembly, and that is the supremacy of the will of the

majority. The majority decisions must be courageously adopted

and carried out by the Assembly, quite regardless of the

opinionated adherence to their own views which any minority may

cling to. (From a letter dated 20 November 1941 written on

behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1383. He ... pointed out to them that the attitude of "all for

one and one for all" was very incorrect. An Assembly

constitutes within its area of jurisdiction the Trustees of the

Faith. Its members must at all times put the interests of the

Faith above personality and impartially go into any matter

brought to its attention. Theoretically it is always possible

for a member of an Assembly to be unworthy or insincere. To

take the attitude that any blame cast upon or any charge made

against an Assembly member is a charge against the body itself

is very wrong. An Assembly must protect the Faith and neither

blindly accuse nor blindly defend one of its members....

The Bahá'ís must learn to forget personalities and to

overcome the desire--so natural in people--to take sides and

fight about it. They must also learn to really make use of the

great principle of consultation. There is a time set aside at

the Nineteen Day Feasts for the Community to express its views

and make suggestions to its Assembly; the Assembly and the

believers should look forward to this happy period of

discussion, and neither fear it nor suppress it. Likewise the

Assembly members should fully consult, and in their decisions

put the interests of the Cause first and not personalities, the

will of the majority prevailing.

One of the healing remedies Bahá'u'lláh has given to a sick

world is the Assembly (which in future will become a House of

Justice); its members have very sacred and heavy

responsibilities, its power to steer the Community, to protect

and assist its members is likewise very great.
|PPg_52

(From a letter dated 30 June 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany and

Austria)
IV. Attendance and Resignation

1384. ...it is only too obvious that unless a member can attend

regularly the meetings of his Local Assembly, it would be

impossible for him to discharge the duties incumbent upon him,

and to fulfil his responsibilities, as a representative of the

community. Membership in a Local Spiritual Assembly carries

with it, indeed, the obligation and capacity to remain in close

touch with local Bahá'í activities, and [the] ability to attend

regularly the sessions of the Assembly.

(From a letter dated 16 February 1935 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States and Canada, published in "Principles of Baha'i

Administration: A Compilation" 1st Indian ed. (New Delhi:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 51)

1385. ...it is establishing a dangerous precedent to allow

Assemblies to put a time limit on non-attendance of their

members at meetings of the S.A., beyond which that person is

automatically dropped from the Assembly and a vacancy

declared... There should be no time limit fixed by Assemblies

beyond which a person is dropped. Every case of prolonged

absence from the sessions of the Assembly should be considered

separately by that Assembly, and if the person is seen to not

want to attend meetings, or to be held away from them indefinitely

because of illness or travel, then a vacancy could

legitimately be declared and a new member be elected.

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an

individual, published in "Bahá'í News" 208 (June 1948), p. 7)

1386. With reference to your question whether it would be

permissible for a believer to resign from the Local Assembly:

under special circumstances, such as illness, one may do so,

but only after, and never before, one has been elected to the

membership of the Assembly. Personal differences and

disagreements among Assembly members surely afford no

sufficient ground for such resignation, and certainly can not

justify absence from Assembly meetings. Through the clash of

personal opinions, as
|PPg_52

'Abdu'l-Bahá has stated, the spark of truth is often ignited,

and Divine guidance revealed....

(From a letter dated 18 April 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1387. The remedy to Assembly inharmony cannot be in the

resignation or abstinence of any of its members. It must learn,

in spite of disturbing elements, to continue to function as a

whole, otherwise the whole system would become discredited

through the introduction of exceptions to the rule.

(From a letter dated 20 November 1941 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
V. Assembly- Relation to Believers

1388. Let us also bear in mind that the keynote of the Cause of

God is not dictatorial authority, but humble fellowship, not

arbitrary power, but the spirit of frank and loving

consultation.

Nothing short of the spirit of a true Bahá'í can hope to

reconcile the principles of mercy and justice, of freedom and

submission, of the sanctity of the right of the individual and

of self-surrender, of vigilance, discretion and prudence on the

one hand and fellowship, candour and courage on the other.

The duties of those whom the friends have freely and

conscientiously elected as their representatives are no less

vital and binding than the obligations of those who have chosen

them. Their function is not to dictate, but to consult, and

consult not only among themselves, but as much as possible with

the friends whom they represent. They must regard themselves in

no other light but that of chosen instruments for a more

efficient and dignified presentation of the Cause of God. They

should never be led to suppose that they are the central

ornaments of the body of the Cause, intrinsically superior to

others in capacity or merit, and sole promoters of its

teachings and principles. They should approach their task with

extreme humility, and endeavour by their open-mindedness, their high

sense of justice and duty, their candour, their modesty,

their entire devotion to the welfare and interests of the

friends, the Cause, and humanity, to win not only the

confidence and the genuine support and respect of those whom

they should serve, but also their esteem and real affection.

They must at all times avoid the spirit of exclusiveness, the

|PPg_53

atmosphere of secrecy, free themselves from a domineering

attitude, and banish all forms of prejudice and passion from

their deliberations. They should, within the limits of wise

discretion, take the friends into their confidence, acquaint

them with their plans, share with them their problems and

anxieties, and seek their advice and counsel....

(From a letter dated 23 February 1924 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the Bahá'ís of America, published in "Bahá'í Administration:

Selected Messages 1922-1932", pp. 63-63)

1389. The first quality for leadership, both among individuals

and Assemblies, is the capacity to use the energy and

competence that exists in the rank and file of its followers.

Otherwise the more competent members of the group will go at a

tangent and try to find elsewhere a field of work and where

they could use their energy.

Shoghi Effendi hopes that the Assemblies will do their

utmost in planning such teaching activities that every single

soul will be kept busy. (From a letter dated 30 August 1930

written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States and Canada)

1390. The administrators of the Faith of God must be like unto

shepherds. Their aim should be to dispel all the doubts,

misunderstandings and harmful differences which may arise in

the community of the believers. And this they can adequately

achieve provided they are motivated by a true sense of love for

their fellow-brethren coupled with a firm determination to act

with justice in all the cases which are submitted to them for

their consideration.

(From a letter dated 9 March 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1391. There is no task more urgently necessary than the

assurance of perfect harmony and fellowship among the friends,

especially between the Local Assemblies and individual

believers. The Local Assemblies should inspire confidence in

the individual believers, and these in their turn should

express their readiness to fully abide by the decisions and

directions of the Local Assembly. The two must learn to

co-operate, and to realize that only through such a cooperation

can the institutions of the Cause effectively and permanently

function. While obedience to the
|PPg_54

Local Assembly should be unqualified and whole-hearted, yet

that body should enforce its decisions in such a way as to

avoid giving the impression that it is animated by dictatorial

motives. The spirit of the Cause is one of mutual co-operation,

and not that of a dictatorship.

(From a letter dated 28 October 1935 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
VI. Believers - Relation to Assembly

1392. ...It is incumbent upon everyone not to take any step

without consulting the Spiritual Assembly, and they must

assuredly obey with heart and soul its bidding and be

submissive unto it, that things may be properly ordered and

well arranged. Otherwise every person will act independently

and after his own judgement, will follow his own desire, and do

harm to the Cause. ('Abdu'l-Bahá, quoted in a letter dated 5

March 1922 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the

United States and Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration:

Selected Messages 1922-1932"p. 21)

1393. ...all matters without any exception whatsoever,

regarding the interests of the Cause in ... [a] locality,

individually or collectively, should be referred exclusively to

the Spiritual Assembly in that locality, which shall decide

upon it, unless it be a matter of national interest, in which

case it shall be referred to the National Body.... (From a

letter dated 5 March 1922 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, published in

"Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932", p. 23)

1394. In order to avoid division and disruption, that the Cause

may not fall a prey to conflicting interpretations, and lose

thereby its purity and pristine vigour, that its affairs may be

conducted with efficiency and promptness, it is necessary that

everyone should conscientiously take an active part in the

election of these Assemblies, abide by their decision,

enforce their decree, and co-operate with them whole-heartedly

in their task of stimulating the growth of the Movement

throughout all regions....

(From a letter dated 12 march 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the Bahá'ís of America, Australasia, France, Germany, British

Isles, Italy, Japan and
|PPg_55

Switzerland, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932", p. 41)

1395. I fully approve and whole-heartedly and unreservedly

uphold the principle to which you refer that personalities

should not be made centres around which the community may

revolve, but that they should be subordinated under all conditions and

however great their merits to the properly

constituted Assemblies. You and your co-workers can never

overestimate or overemphasize this cardinal principle of Baha'i

Administration. (From a letter dated 11 April 1933 written on

behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of

the United States and Canada, published in "Principles of

Bahá'í Administration: A Compilation", p. 58)

1396. Regarding the principle that the Cause must not be

allowed to centre around any Bahá'í personality, the Guardian

wishes to make it clear that it was never intended that well-qualified

individual teachers should not receive from Local

Assemblies every encouragement and facilities to address the

public. What the Guardian meant was that the personality and

the popularity of such a speaker should never be allowed to

eclipse the authority, or detract from the influence of, the

body of the elected representatives in every local community.

Such an individual should not only seek the approval, advice

and assistance of the body that represents the Cause in his

locality, but should strive to attribute any credit he may

obtain to the collective wisdom and capacity of the Assembly

under whose jurisdiction he performs his services. Assemblies

and not individuals constitute the bedrock on which the

Administration is built. Everything else must be subordinated

to, and be made to serve and advance the best interests of,

these elected custodians and promoters of the Law of

Bahá'u'lláh. (From a letter dated 12 August 1933 written on

behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, published

in "Principles of Bahá'í Administration: A Compilation, p. 19)

1397. Regarding consultation: Any person can refer a matter to

the Assembly for consultation whether the other party wishes to

or not. In matters which affect the Cause the Assembly should,

if it deems it
|PPg_57

necessary, intervene even if both sides don't want it to,

because the whole purpose of the Assemblies is to protect the

Faith, the Communities and the individual Bahá'ís as well.

(From a letter dated 17 October 1944 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, published in "Baha'i

News" 177 (November 1945), p. 2)

1398. The believers should learn to turn more often to their

Assemblies for advice and help and at an earlier date, and the

Assemblies, on the other hand, should act with more vigilance

and a greater sense of Community responsibility towards every

situation that may damage the prestige of the Faith in the eyes

of the public. When decisions have been reached by the

Assembly, they must be carried out loyally and willingly by all

concerned. (From a letter dated 13 March 1944 written on behalf

of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1399. One of the fundamentals involved in our Administrative

Order, which we must remember will become the pattern for our

World Order, is that even if an Assembly makes an ill-advised

decision it must be upheld in order to preserve the unity of

the Community. Appeal can be made from the Local Assembly's

decision to the National Assembly... But the principle of

authority invested in our elected bodies must be upheld. This

is not something which can be learned without trial and

test.... (From a letter dated 30 June 1949 written on behalf

of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany

and Austria)

1400. The believers should have confidence in the directions

and orders of their Assembly, even though they may not be

convinced of their justice or right. Once the Assembly, through

a majority vote of its members, comes to a decision the friends

should readily obey it. Specially those dissenting members

within the Assembly whose opinion is contrary to that of the

majority of their fellow- members should set a good example

before the community by sacrificing their personal views for

the sake of obeying the principle of majority vote that

underlies the functioning of all Bahá'í Assemblies. (From a

letter dated 28 October 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_58

1401. The Assembly may make a mistake, but, as the Master

pointed out, if the Community does not abide by its decisions,

or the individual Baha'i, the result is worse, as it undermines

the very institution which must be strengthened in order to

uphold the principles and laws of the Faith. He tells us God

will right the wrongs done. We must have confidence in this and

obey our Assemblies. He therefore strongly urges you to work

directly under your Bahá'í Assembly, to accept your

responsibilities as a voting member, and do your utmost to

create harmony within the community. (From letter dated 1949

written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
individual believer)

1402. What the Master desired to protect the friends against

was continual bickering and opinionatedness. A believer can ask

the Assembly why they made a certain decision and politely

request them to reconsider. But then he must leave it at that,

and not go on disrupting local affairs through insisting on his

own views. This applies to an Assembly member as well. We all

have a right to our opinions, we are bound to think

differently; but a Bahá'í must accept the majority decision of

his Assembly, realizing that acceptance and harmony--even if a

mistake has been made--are the really important things, and

when we serve the Cause properly, in the Bahá'í way, God will

right any wrongs done in the end. (From a letter dated 19

October 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an

individual believer)

1403. Just as the individual believers a[re] bound to support

and sustain their Local Spiritual Assembly, for the

preservation of the unity of the Faith and the strengthening of

its as yet embryonic World Order, so must the Local Assemblies

obey and sustain their national representatives. The closer the

co-operation between Local and National Assemblies, the greater

will be the power and radiance which can and must stream forth

from these institutions to the suffering ranks of humanity.

(From a letter dated 29 July 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Bombay)

VII. Prospects of the Future

1404. The administrative machinery of the Cause having now

sufficiently evolved, its aim and object fairly well grasped

and understood, and its
|PPg_59

method and working made more familiar to every believer, I feel

the time is ripe when it should be fully and consciously

utilized to further the purpose for which it has been created.

It should, I strongly feel, be made to serve a twofold purpose.

On one hand, it should aim at a steady and gradual expansion of

the Movement along lines that are at once broad, sound and

universal; and on the other, it should ensure the internal

consolidation of the work already achieved.... (From a letter

dated 11 May 1926 written by Shoghi Effendi to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada,

published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", p. 109)

1405. The friends must never mistake the Bahá'í administration

for an end in itself. It is merely the instrument of the spirit

of the Faith. This Cause is a Cause which God has revealed to

humanity as a whole. It is designed to benefit the entire human

race, and the only way it can do this is to re-form the

community life of mankind, as well as seeking to regenerate the

individual. The Bahá'í Administration is only the first shaping

of what in future will come to be the social life and laws of

community living. As yet the believers are only just beginning

to grasp and practise it properly. So we must have patience if

at times it seems a little self-conscious and rigid in its

workings. It is because we are learning something very

difficult but very wonderful--how to live together as a

community of Baha'is, according to the glorious teachings.

(From a letter dated 14 October 1941 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to two believers)

1406. Ours, dearly-beloved co-workers, is the paramount duty to

continue, with undimmed vision and unabated zeal, to assist in

the final erection of that Edifice the foundations of which

Bahá'u'lláh has laid in our hearts, to derive added hope and

strength from the general trend of recent events, however dark

their immediate effects, and to pray with unremitting fervour

that He may hasten the approach of the realization of that

Wondrous Vision which constitutes the brightest emanation

of His Mind and the fairest fruit of the fairest civilization

the world has yet seen.

(From a letter dated 28 November 1931 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the Bahá'ís of the West, published in "The World Order of

Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters", rev. ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 48)
|PPg_60

1407. And now as I look into the future, I hope to see the

friends at all times, in every land, and of every shade of

thought and character, voluntarily and joyously rallying round

their local and in particular their national centres of

activity, upholding and promoting their interests with complete

unanimity and contentment, with perfect understanding, genuine

enthusiasm, and sustained vigour. This indeed is the one joy

and yearning of my life, for it is the fountain-head from which

all future blessings will flow, the broad foundation upon which

the security of the Divine Edifice must ultimately rest....

(From a letter dated 24 September 1924 written by Shoghi

Effendi to the Bahá'ís of America)
Revised 1990
|PPg_61
March 1968
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS OF THE UNIVERSAL
HOUSE OF JUSTICE AND THE GUARDIAN
REGARDING TEACHING THE MASSES

When the masses of mankind are awakened and enter the Faith

of God, a new process is set in motion and the growth of a new

civilization begins. Witness the emergence of Christianity and

of Islam. These masses are the rank and file, steeped in

traditions of their own, but receptive to the new Word of God,

by which, when they truly respond to it, they become so

influenced as to transform those who come in contact with them.

God's standards are different from those of men. According to

men's standards, the acceptance of any cause by people of

distinction, of recognized fame and status, determines the

value and greatness of that cause. But, in the words of

Bahá'u'lláh:'The summons and the message which We gave were

never intended to reach or to benefit one land or one people

only. Mankind in its entirety must firmly adhere to whatsoever

hath been revealed and vouchsafed unto it." Or again, "He hath

endowed every soul with the capacity to recognize the signs of

God. How could He, otherwise, have fulfilled His testimony unto

men, if ye be of them that ponder His Cause in their hearts."

In countries where teaching the masses has succeeded, the

Bahá'ís have poured out their time and effort in village areas

to the same extent as they had formerly done in cities and

towns. The results indicate how unwise it is to solely

concentrate on one section of the population. Each National

Assembly therefore should so balance its resources and

harmonize its efforts that the Faith of God is taught not only

to those who are readily accessible but to all sections of

society, however remote they may be. The unsophisticated people

of the world--and they form the large majority of its

population--have the same right to know of the Cause of God as

others. When the friends are teaching the Word of God they

should be careful to give the Message in the same simplicity as

it is enunciated in our Teachings. In their contacts they must

show genuine -and divine love. The heart of an unlettered soul

is extremely sensitive;
|PPg_62

any trace of prejudice on the part of the pioneer or teacher is

immediately sensed.

When teaching among the masses, the friends should be

careful not to emphasize the charitable and humanitarian

aspects of the Faith as a means to win recruits. Experience has

shown that when facilities such as schools, dispensaries,

hospitals, or even clothes and food are offered to the people

being taught, many complications arise. The prime motive should

always be the response of man to God's message, and the

recognition of His Messenger. Those who declare themselves as

Bahá'ís should become enchanted with the beauty of the

Teachings; and touched by the love of Bahá'u'lláh. The

declarants need not know all the proofs, history, laws, and

principles of the Faith, but in the process of declaring

themselves they must, in addition to catching the spark of

faith, become basically informed about the Central Figures of

the Faith, as well as the existence of laws they must follow

and an administration they must obey. After declaration, the

new believers must not be left to their own devices. Through

correspondence and dispatch of visitors, through conferences

and training courses, these friends must be patiently

strengthened and lovingly helped to develop into full Baha'i

maturity. The beloved Guardian referring to the duties of

Bahá'í Assemblies in assisting the newly declared believer has

written: "...the members of each and every Assembly should

endeavour, by their patience, their love, their tact and

wisdom, to nurse, subsequent to his admission, the newcomer

into Bahá'í maturity, and win him over gradually to the

unreserved acceptance of whatever has been ordained in the

teachings." (From a letter dated 13 July 1964 written by the

Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual

Assemblies)

From reports and minutes we receive from various National

Spiritual Assemblies, it is evident that your efforts to

attract a greater number of receptive souls to the Cause of

God, to open new areas for increased teaching activity and to

consolidate the work so far accomplished are dependent upon

more local travelling teachers and pioneers being assisted by

the Fund to spend more of their time in Bahá'í teaching

services under your direction. There is a danger in this

situation which must be avoided at all costs. Despite the

pressing requirements of the Nine Year Plan, no Bahá'í

|PPg_63

teacher anywhere should consider himself as permanently

employed by the Faith. We do not have in the Cause of God any

paid career open to Bahá'í teachers.

The beloved Guardian elucidated this basic principle of

Bahá'í Administration through his repeated letters to National

Assemblies from which we quote:

At present it would be quite impossible to spread the Cause

if those who arise to serve it as teachers or pioneers were not

given financial assistance. All must realize, however, that the

monies they receive are only to enable them to fulfil their

objectives, and that they cannot consider themselves

permanently entitled to be supported by the Cause.

(From a letter dated 12 August 1944 to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India and Burma)

Likewise travelling teachers should be assisted financially

to carry out the "projects" assigned to them. The friends

should not for a moment confuse this type of support with the

creation of a paid clergy. Any Bahá'í can, at the discretion of

the NSA receive this necessary assistance and it is clearly

understood it is temporary and only to carry out a specific

plan. (From a letter dated 29 May 1946 to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles)

Each National Assembly, through its auxiliary Teaching

Committees, should be able to so plan the time and efforts of

its band of subsidized travelling teachers that no impression

of permanency is given. As far as possible each "project" must

be definite in objective and in duration. Likewise, when

pioneer projects are envisaged, it must be made clear to the

pioneer that he must make every effort to establish himself in

some position in his pioneering post and thus become freed from

the necessity of drawing further on Bahá'í funds. Experience

has shown that the observance of these principles is essential

for the rearing of healthy communities; wherever they have been

ignored difficulties and complications have arisen. In the

application of these principles, if you have any difficulty,

you should feel free to consult with us. Also, if you have

found any particular scheme proving to be
|PPg_64

successful without violating the above principles, you are

welcome to send the details to us so that we may share your

methods with other National Assemblies and enable them to

benefit from your experience.

Another problem closely linked with the above and which

directly affects areas where mass teaching work is being

carried out is the extent to which the local believers

contribute to the Fund. As you note, one of the objectives of

the Nine Year Plan is universal participation in Baha'i

community life. This can be possible when each believer

understands that his personal spiritual life will be enriched

and universal blessings will descend only if each Baha'i

participates in contributing, however poor he may be, however

small the contribution, and in whatever form it is offered.

Your Assembly must devote enough time at each meeting to

consider carefully this basic process. We must be confident

that the principles laid down in our Writings are not only

workable, but are the only solution to the ills of mankind.

With such confidence in their hearts, the members of each

National Assembly faced with this stupendous problem must

deliberate, and within the framework of the social and economic

conditions of the communities they are serving, they must find

ways and means that would gradually, yet positively, help in

realising this purpose. (From a letter dated 25 June 1964

written by the Universal House of Justice to all National

Spiritual Assemblies engaged in teaching work among the masses)

It has been due to the splendid victories in large-scale

conversion that the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has entered a new

phase in its development and establishment throughout the

world. It is imperative, therefore, that the process of

teaching the masses be not only maintained but accelerated. The

teaching committee structure that each National Assembly may

adopt to ensure best results in the extension of its teaching

work is a matter left entirely to its discretion, but an

efficient teaching structure there must be, so that the tasks

are carried out with dispatch and in accordance with the

administrative principles of our Faith. From among the

believers native to each country, competent travelling teachers

must be selected and teaching projects worked out. In the words

of our beloved Guardian, commenting upon the teaching work in

Latin America: "Strong and sustained support should be given to

the vitally needed and highly meritorious activities started by

the native ... travelling teachers, ...
|PPg_65

who, as the mighty task progresses, must increasingly bear the

brunt of responsibility for the propagation of the Faith in

their homelands."

While this vital teaching work is progressing each National

Assembly must ever bear in mind that expansion and

consolidation are inseparable processes that must go hand in

hand. The inter-dependence of these processes is best

elucidated in the following passage from the writings of the beloved

Guardian: "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 ... may maintain a proper balance between these

two essential aspects of its development ... is the ardent hope

of my heart...." To ensure that the spiritual life of the

individual believer is continuously enriched, that local

communities are becoming increasingly conscious of their

collective duties, and that the institutions of an evolving

administration are operating efficiently, is, therefore, as

important as expanding into new fields and bringing in the

multitudes under the shadow of the Cause. These objectives can

only be attained when each National Spiritual Assembly makes

proper arrangements for all the friends to be deepened in the

knowledge of the Faith. The National Spiritual Assemblies in

consultation with the Hands of the Cause, who are the

Standard-Bearers of the Nine Year Plan, should avail themselves

of the assistance of Auxiliary Board members, who, together

with the travelling teachers selected by the Assembly or its

Teaching Committees, should be continuously encouraged to

conduct deepening courses at Teaching Institutes and to make

regular visits to Local Spiritual Assemblies. The visitors,

whether Board members or travelling teachers should meet on

such occasions not only with the Local Assembly but, of course,

with the local community members, collectively at general

meetings and even, if necessary, individually in their homes.

The subjects to be discussed at such meetings with the Local

Assembly and the friends should include among others the

following points:

1). the extent of the spread and stature of the Faith today;

|PPg_66

2). the importance of the daily obligatory prayers (at least

the short prayer);

3). the need to educate Bahá'í children in the Teachings of

the Faith and encourage them to memorize some of the prayers;

4). the stimulation of youth to participate in community life

by giving talks, etc. and having their own activities, if

possible;

5). the necessity to abide by the laws of marriage, namely, the

need to have a Bahá'í ceremony, to obtain the consent of

parents, to observe monogamy; faithfulness after marriage;

likewise the importance of abstinence from all intoxicating

drinks and drugs;

6). the local Fund and the need for the friends to understand

that the voluntary act of contributing to the Fund is both a

privilege and a spiritual obligation. There should also be

discussion of various methods that could be followed by the

friends to facilitate their contributions and the ways open to

the Local Assembly to utilize its local Fund to serve the

interests of its community and the Cause;

7). the importance of the Nineteen Day Feast and the fact that

it should be a joyful occasion and rallying point of the entire

community;

8). the manner of election with as many workshops as required,

including teaching of simple methods of balloting for

illiterates, such as having one central home as the place for

balloting and arranging for one literate person, if only a

child, to be present at that home during the whole day, if

necessary;

9). last but not least, the all-important teaching work, both

in the locality and its neighbouring centres, as well as the

need to continuously deepen the friends in the essentials of

the Faith. The friends should be made to realize that in

teaching the Faith to others they should not only aim at

assisting the seeking soul to join the Faith, but also at

making him a teacher of the Faith and its active supporter.

All the above points should, of course, be stressed within

the framework of the importance of the Local Spiritual

Assembly, which should be encouraged to vigorously direct its

attention to these vital functions and become the very heart of

the community life of its own locality, even if its meetings

should become burdened with the problems
|PPg_67

of the community. The local friends should understand the

importance of the law of consultation and realize that it is to

the Local Spiritual Assembly that they should turn, abide by

its decisions, support its projects, co-operate whole-heartedly

with it in its task to promote the interests of the Cause, and

seek its advice and guidance in the solution of personal

problems and the adjudication of disputes, should any arise

amongst the members of the community. (From a letter dated 2

February 1966 written by the Universal House of Justice to all

National Spiritual Assemblies engaged in mass teaching work)

As it has already been pointed out, in various

communications to you, it is important for the National

Spiritual Assemblies to work out ways and means of creating a

sense of belonging in the hearts of the believers. One of the

ways this can be done is to bring to their attention the needs

of the Fund. The National Assembly should neither feel

embarrassed nor ashamed in turning to the friends, continuously

appealing to them to exemplify their faith and devotion to the

Cause by sacrificing for it, and pointing out to them that they

will grow spiritually through their acts of self-abnegation,

that the fear of poverty should not deter them from sacrificing

for the Fund, and that the assistance and bounty of the Source

of all good and of all wealth are unfailing and assured.... It

might be useful to share with the friends extracts from the

writings of the beloved Guardian, such as the two passages we quote

below:

Every Baha'i, no matter how poor, must realize what a grave

responsibility he has to shoulder in this connection, and

should have confidence that his spiritual progress as a

believer in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh will largely depend

upon the measure in which he proves, in deeds, his readiness to

support materially the divine institutions of His Faith. (From

a letter dated 17 July 1937 written on behalf of the Guardian

to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India and

Burma)

The institution of the National Fund, so vital and

essential for the uninterrupted progress of these activities

must, in particular, be assured of the whole-hearted, the

ever-increasing and universal support of the mass of believers,

for whose welfare, and in whose
|PPg_68

name, these beneficent activities have been initiated and have

been conducted. All, no matter how modest their resources, must

participate.

(From a letter dated 8 August 1957 written on behalf of the

Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of

Central and East Africa)

We feel that each National Assembly should carefully and

regularly consult on this vital aspect of the education of the

friends, spare no effort and lose no opportunity in bringing to

their attention the needs of the hour. For example, where land

is difficult to obtain, or where funds for the purchase of

endowments are not available, the friends should be appealed to

in a dignified and effective manner to donate from their own

land for the use of Bahá'í institutions. In the construction of

local Bahá'í centres, the National Assembly should carefully

devise methods of appealing to the friends to contribute

manpower or local materials for the construction of such

buildings. If ready cash is not available for contributions to

the Fund, the National Assembly should guide the friends in

ways they could raise funds by a collective effort to cultivate

a piece of land, by contributing cash crops, livestock or

home-made dishes, sweetmeats, or handicrafts. Special meetings

could also be arranged for the sale of such contributions in

kind. In the matter of attendance of delegates at Conventions,

the desirability of the friends themselves being

self-supporting should be pointed out by the National Assembly.

If a delegate cannot his own expenses in attending the

Convention, the Local Assembly or the believers in the

electoral unit from which the delegate comes should be

encouraged by the National Assembly to defray such expenses, so

that only when funds are unavailable from those sources, the

National Assembly is approached to consider offering financial

assistance. The same principle holds true about other

activities, such as attendance at Institutes, Conferences and Summer

Schools. (From a letter dated 9 February 1967 written

by the Universal House of Justice to various National Spiritual

Assemblies)

Many National Spiritual Assemblies in carrying out their

plans for expansion and consolidation have found it necessary

to select a number of believers for service as travelling

teachers. While we appreciate the valuable services these

travelling teachers have already rendered we are
|PPg_69

nevertheless deeply conscious of the problems facing your

National Assemblies in your desire to carry out your teaching

programmes with as much dispatch as possible. The purpose of

this letter is to draw your attention to the fact that these

problems could well be minimized if the selection of such

teachers were done with great care and discretion.

It must be realized that people who are mostly illiterate

cannot have the benefit of reading for themselves the written

word and of deriving directly from it the spiritual sustenance

they need for the enrichment of their Bahá'í lives. They become

dependent, therefore, to a large extent on their contacts with

visiting teachers. The spiritual calibre or moral quality of

these teachers assumes, therefore, great importance. The

National Spiritual Assembly or the Teaching Committees

responsible for the selection of these teachers should bear in

mind that their choice must depend, not only on the knowledge

or grasp of the teachings on the part of the teachers, but

primarily upon their pure spirit and their true love for the

Cause, and their capacity to convey that spirit and love to

others. ...What wonderful results will soon be witnessed in the

areas under your jurisdiction if you devise ways and means to

ensure, as far as circumstances permit, that the travelling

teachers you are encouraging to circulate among the friends

will all be of the standard called for in these quotations--pure and sanctified

souls, with nothing but true devotion and

self-sacrifice motivating them in their services to God's Holy

Cause.... (From a letter dated 26 October 1967 written by the

Universal House of Justice to National Spiritual Assemblies

engaged in mass teaching)

The paramount goal of the teaching work at the present time

is to carry the message of Bahá'u'lláh to every stratum of

human society and every walk of life. An eager response to the

teachings will often be found in the most unexpected quarters,

and any such response should be quickly followed up, for

success in a fertile area awakens a response in those who were

at first uninterested. The same presentation of the teachings

will not appeal to everybody; the method of expression and the

approach must be varied in accordance with the outlook and

interests of the hearer. An approach which is designed to

appeal to everybody will usually result in attracting the

middle section, leaving both extremes untouched. No effort must be spared

to ensure that the healing Word of God reaches the

rich and the poor, the
|PPg_70

learned and the illiterate, the old and the young, the devout

and the atheist, the dweller in the remote hills and islands,

the inhabitant of the teeming cities, the suburban businessman,

the labourer in the slums, the nomadic tribesman, the farmer,

the university student; all must be brought consciously within

the teaching plans of the Bahá'í Community.

Whereas plans must be carefully made, and every useful

means adopted in the furtherance of this work, your Assemblies

must never let such plans eclipse the shining truth expounded

in the enclosed quotations: that it is the purity of heart,

detachment, uprightness, devotion and love of the teacher that

attracts the divine confirmations and enables him, however

ignorant he be in this world's learning, to win the hearts of

his fellowmen to the Cause of God. (From a letter dated 31

October 1967 written by the Universal House of Justice to all

National Spiritual Assemblies)

The growth of the Cause in India during the past several

years has been vast and awe inspiring, and it is quite natural

that this growth should have been accompanied by problems and

responsibilities that taxed the administrative experience and

capacities of your National Assembly to the utmost.

...Travelling teachers and foreign pioneers could doubtless

stimulate the friends and assist them in the teaching work, but

essentially, the progress and growth of the Cause in India

depend upon the services of your own people, and, to this end,

a concerted effort should be made to integrate the friends in

India into the work of the Cause in all its aspects, to assure

universal participation that will result in winning even

greater victories for the Cause. In this connection, your idea

of engaging a number of well trained travelling teachers in

India is, in principle, correct. You have various Teaching

Institutes and a number of devoted, well-informed teachers at

your disposal for this service. One of the most important

duties of such travelling teachers should be to develop nuclei

of devoted and active believers in the many centres who would

inspire and assist the friends in active participation in the

work to be done in their villages and towns. A plan should be

developed to enable such travelling teachers to spend more time

in fewer places instead of making brief visits in numerous

centres. This would enable them to, in turn, train resident

teachers in the various localities to spearhead the work of

|PPg_71

expansion and consolidation in their areas. The names of the

believers thus trained should be given to the administrative

bodies in charge of teaching. Teaching Institutes, Summer

Schools, Conferences, etc. should be utilized to provide further

encouragement and training for those believers whenever

such opportunities arise.

In all your training programmes, the Bahá'í Administration

should have special attention. The believers should know that

our administration is part of our religion. For this reason,

not only should you patiently and lovingly train the believers,

but should also strive to attract to the Faith individuals who

possess qualities and capacities that will add to the

administrative strength of the Community as a whole. The

beloved Guardian has stated: "There is no doubt that the poorer

classes should be taught the Cause and given every opportunity

to embrace it. More especially in order to demonstrate to

people our cardinal lack of prejudice... However, he feels that

the great point is to confirm people of true capacity and

ability--from whatever social stratum they may be-- because the

Cause needs now, and will ever-increasingly need, souls of

great ability who can bring it before the public at large,

administer its ever-growing affairs, and contribute to its

advancement in every field." We note with deep satisfaction

that the Message of God is being given to a cross section of

all the people of India, as evidenced by your success in

attracting a large number of college students to the Faith, as

well as others representing various classes of people. (From a

letter dated 15 February 1968 written by the Universal House of

Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the
Bahá'ís of India)
|PPg_72
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|PPg_73
COMPILATION OF EXTRACTS FROM THE BAHA'I
WRITINGS ON MUSIC
From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

1408. Intone, O My servant, the verses of God that have been

received by thee, as intoned by them who have drawn nigh unto

Him, that the sweetness of thy melody may kindle thine own

soul, and attract the hearts of all men....

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), p. 295)

1409. We have permitted you to listen to music and singing.

Beware lest such listening cause you to transgress the bounds

of decency and dignity. Rejoice in the joy of My Most Great

Name through which the hearts are enchanted and the minds of

the well-favoured are attracted.

We have made music a ladder by which souls may ascend to

the realm on high. Change it not into wings for self and

passion. I seek refuge in God that you be not of the ignorant.

("Kitáb-i-Aqdas" - Provisional translation from the Arabic)

1410. Blessed is he who directeth his steps towards the

Mashriqu'l-Adhkar at the hour of dawn, communing with Him,

attuned to His remembrance, imploring His forgiveness. And

having entered therein, let him sit in silence to hearken unto

the verses of God, the Sovereign, the Almighty, the

All-Praised. Say, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is in truth any House

raised in towns or villages, for mention of Me. Thus hath it

been named before His Throne; would that ye know it. And those

who chant the verses of the Merciful in most melodious tones

will attain thereby unto that with which the kingdoms of earth

and heaven can never compare. And they will inhale therefrom

the fragrance of My realms which none discerneth in this day

save those who have been granted vision by this sublime Beauty.

Say, verily, the verses of the Merciful uplift the stainless

hearts unto those realms of the spirit which cannot be

described in words or expressed in symbols. Blessed are they

that hearken! ("Kitáb-i-Aqdas" - Provisional translation from

the Arabic)
|PPg_74

1411. Teach your children that which hath been sent down from

the heaven of majesty and power that they may recite the

Tablets of the Merciful in the halls of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkars

in most melodious tones. Verily, he who hath been drawn by the

magnet of the love of My Name, the Merciful, will recite the

verses of God in such wise as to enrapture the hearts of those

who are fast asleep. Well is it with him who hath quaffed the

choice wine of immortal life from the utterances of his Lord,

the Lord of Mercy, through the power of this exalted Name

whereby every high and lofty mountain hath been reduced to

dust. ("Kitáb-i-Aqdas" - Provisional translation from Arabic)

From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

1412. This wonderful age has rent asunder the veils of

superstition and has condemned the prejudice of the people of

the East.

Among some of the nations of the Orient, music and harmony

was not approved of, but the Manifested Light, Bahá'u'lláh, in

this glorious period has revealed in Holy Tablets that singing

and music are the spiritual food of the hearts and souls. In

this dispensation, music is one of the arts that is highly

approved and is considered to be the cause of the exaltation of

sad and desponding hearts.

Therefore ... set to music the verses and the divine words

so that they may be sung with soul-stirring melody in the

Assemblies and gatherings, and that the hearts of the listeners

may become tumultuous and rise towards the Kingdom of Abha in

supplication and prayer. ("Bahá'í World Faith: Selected

Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá", rev. ed. (Wilmette:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1976), p. 378)

1413. Thank thou God that thou art instructed in music and

melody, singing with pleasant voice the glorification and

praise of the Eternal, the Living. I pray to God that thou

mayest employ this talent in prayer and supplication, in order

that the souls may become quickened, the hearts may become

attracted and all may become inflamed with the fire of the love

of God!

("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas" vol. 3 (Chicago: Baha'i

Publishing Society, 1916), p. 512)
|PPg_75

1414. ...although sound is but the vibrations of the air which

affect the tympanum of the ear, and vibrations of the air are

but an accident among the accidents which depend upon the air,

consider how much marvelous notes or a charming song influence

the spirits! A wonderful song giveth wings to the spirit and

filleth the heart with exaltation....

("Bahá'í World Faith: Selected Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

and 'Abdu'l-Bahá", p. 334)

1415. The utmost joy was attained, for--praise be to God!--the

friends of the Merciful passed some time on that day joyous and

singing in the land of the Mashrak-el-Azcar and enjoyed

commemorating the Lord of the verses with the greatest joy.

I am hopeful that, during the coming Rizwan,[1] a great feast

shall be held in the land of the Mashrak-el-Azcar, a spiritual

celebration prepared and the melodies of the violin and the

mandolin and hymns in praise and glorification of the Lord of

Hosts make all the audience joyous and ecstatic.

('Abdu'l-Bahá, "Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas", vol. I (Chicago:

Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1930)

1416. O maid-servant of God! Sing with beautiful melodies in

the meetings of the maid-servants, praising and glorifying thy

Supreme Lord.
("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas", vol. 1, p. 65)

1417. O thou attracted one of the Kingdom! Complete thou the

study of the art of music and sacrifice thyself more or less to

the Lord of the Kingdom.
(Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas", vol. 3, p. 671)

1418. ...a musical and melodious voice imparteth life to an

attracted heart, but lureth toward lust those souls who are

engulfed in passion and desire. ("The Divine Art of Living, rev

ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1979), p. 100)

____
[1] April 21, 1909
|PPg_76

1419. O servant of Baha! Music is regarded as a praiseworthy

science at the Threshold of the Almighty, so that thou mayest

chant verses at large gatherings and congregations in a most

wondrous melody and raise such hymns of praise at the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar

to enrapture the Concourse on High. By virtue

of this, consider how much the art of music is admired and

praised. Try, if thou canst, to use spiritual melodies, songs

and tunes, and to bring the earthly music into harmony with the

celestial melody. Then thou wilt notice what a great influence

music hath and what heavenly joy and life it conferreth. Strike

up such a melody and tune as to cause the nightingales of

divine mysteries to be filled with joy and ecstasy. (From a

Tablet to an individual believer- translated from the Persian)

Extracts from the Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

1420. What a wonderful meeting this is! These are the children

of the Kingdom. The song we have just listened to was very

beautiful in melody and words. The art of music is divine and

effective. It is the food of the soul and spirit. Through the

power and charm of music the spirit of man is uplifted. It has

wonderful sway and effect in the hearts of children, for their

hearts are pure, and melodies have great influence in them. The

latent talents with which the hearts of these children are

endowed will find expression through the medium of music.

Therefore, you must exert yourselves to make them proficient;

teach them to sing with excellence and effect. It is incumbent

upon each child to know something of music, for without

knowledge of this art the melodies of instrument and voice

cannot be rightly enjoyed. Likewise, it is necessary that the

schools teach it in order that the souls and hearts of the

pupils may become vivified and exhilarated and their lives be

brightened with enjoyment. ("The Promulgation of Universal

Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the

United States and Canada in 1912, 2nd. ed. Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 52)

1421. Music is one of the important arts. It has a great effect

upon the human spirit. Musical melodies are a certain something

which prove to be accidental upon etheric vibrations, for voice

is nothing but the expression of vibrations, which, reaching

the tympanum, affect the nerves of hearing. Musical melodies

are, therefore, those peculiar effects
|PPg_77

produced by, or from, vibration. However, they have the keenest

effect upon the spirit. In sooth, although music is a material

affair, yet its tremendous effect is spiritual, and its

greatest attachment is to the realm of the spirit. If a person

desires to deliver a discourse, it will prove more effectual

after musical melodies. The ancient Greeks, as well as Persian

philosophers, were in the habit of delivering their discourses

in the following manner:--First, playing a few musical

melodies, and when their audience attained a certain

receptivity thereby they would leave their instruments at once

and begin their discourse. Among the most renowned musicians of

Persia was one named Barbod, who, whenever a great question had

been pleaded for at the court of the King, and the Ministry had failed to

persuade the King, they would at once refer the

matter to Barbod, whereupon he would go with his instrument to

the court and play the most appropriate and touching music, the

end being at once attained, because the King was immediately

affected by the touching musical melodies, certain feelings of

generosity would swell up in his heart, and he would give way.

You may try this: If you have a great desire and wish to attain

your end, try to do so on a large audience after a great solo

has been rendered, but it must be on an audience on which music

is effective, for there are some people who are like stones,

and music cannot affect stones.
Music is an important means to the education and

development of humanity, but the only true way is through the

Teachings of God. Music is like this glass, which is perfectly

pure and polished. It is precisely like this pure chalice

before us, and the Teachings of God, the utterances of God, are

like the water. When the glass or chalice is absolutely pure

and clear, and the water is perfectly fresh and limpid, then it

will confer Life; wherefore, the Teachings of God, whether they

be in the form of anthems or communes or prayers, when they are

melodiously sung, are most impressive. It was for this reason

that His Holiness David sang the psalms in the Holy of Holies

at Jerusalem with sweet melodies. In this Cause the art of

music is of paramount importance. The Blessed Perfection, when

He first came to the barracks (Acca) repeated this statement:

"If among the immediate followers there had been those who

could have played some musical instrument, i.e., flute or harp,

or could have sung, it would have charmed every one." In short,

musical melodies form an important role
|PPg_78

in the associations, or outward and inward characteristics, or

qualities of man, for it is the inspirer or motive power of

both the material and spiritual susceptibilities. What a motive

power it is in all feelings of love! When man is attached to

the Love of God, music has a great effect upon him.

("Table Talk" Acca, July 1909, quoted in "Herald of the

South" (January 13, 1933), pp. 2-3)

1422. Voice is the vibration of the air, and is like the waves

of the sea. The voice is produced through the instrumentality

of the lips, throat, teeth, tongue, etc. These cause a wave in

the air, and this wave reaches the nerve of the ear, which is

thereby affected. This is the voice.

There are two kinds of voices. One when the complete

instrument is perfect, then the emission of sound is perfect.

The second is when the instrument is imperfect, it affects the

voice in such a way that it is far from pleasing. What we have

just said refers to the voice itself.

It is natural for the heart and spirit to take pleasure and

enjoyment in all things that show forth symmetry, harmony, and

perfection. For instance: a beautiful house, a well designed

garden, a symmetrical line, a graceful motion, a well written

book, pleasing garments--in fact, all things that have in

themselves grace or beauty are pleasing to the heart and

spirit--therefore, it is most certain that a true voice causes

deep pleasure. What is music? It is a combination of harmonious

sounds. What is poetry? It is a symmetrical collection of

words.

Therefore, they are pleasing through harmony and rhythm. Poetry

is much more effective and complete than prose. It stirs more

deeply, for it is of a finer composition.

A fine voice when joined to beautiful music causes a great

effect, for both are desirable and pleasing. All these have in

themselves an organization, and are constructed on natural law.

Therefore, they correspond to the order of existence like

something which would fit into a mold. A true voice fits into

the mold of nature. When it is so, this affects the nerves, and

they affect the heart and spirit.

In the world of existence physical things have a connection

with spiritual realities. One of these things is the voice,

which connects itself
|PPg_79

with the spirit; and the spirit can be uplifted by this means

--for though it is a physical thing, it is one of the material,

natural organizations-- therefore, it is effective.

All forms when understood aright gladden the spirit.

Melodies are like water. The voice is like a goblet. The pure

water in a pure glass is pleasing. Therefore, it is acceptable.

But even though the water be pure, if it be in a goblet which

is not so, this receptacle will make it unacceptable.

Therefore, a faulty voice even though the music be good, is

unpleasing. In short: melodies, though they are material, are

connected with the spiritual, therefore, they produce a great

effect. A certain kind of melody makes the spirit happy,

another kind makes it sad, another excites it to action. All

these feelings can be caused by voice and music, for through

the nerves it moves and stirs the spirit. Even over animals,

music has an effect. For example: When they wish to take a

camel over a desert road, they attach to him some bells, or

they play upon a flute, and this sound prevents him from

realizing the fatigue of the journey; his nerves are affected,

but he does not have an increase of thought, he feels nothing

but physical sensation. Whatever is in the heart of man,

melody moves and awakens. If a heart full of good feelings and

a pure voice are joined together, a great effect is produced.

For instance: if there be love in the heart, through melody, it

will increase until its intensity can scarcely be borne; but if

bad thoughts are in the heart, such as hatred, it will increase

and multiply. For instance: the music used in war awakens the

desire for bloodshed. The meaning is that melody causes

whatever feeling is in the heart to increase. Some feelings

occur accidentally and some have a foundation. For example:

some people are naturally kind, but they may be accidentally

upset by a wave of anger. But if they hear music, the true nature will

reassert itself. Music really awakens the real,

natural nature, the individual essence. With whatever purpose

you listen to music, that purpose will be increased. For

instance: there will be a concert given for the poor and

unfortunate, and if you go there thinking of the aim, the music

will increase your compassion and generosity. This is the

reason why music is
|PPg_80

used in war. And so it is with all the things that cause the

excitation of the nerves. ('Abdu'l-Bahá'í words to Mrs. Mary

L. Lucas, as quoted in "A Brief Account of My Visit to Acca"

(Chicago: Bahá'í Publishing Society, 1905), pp. 11-14)

From Letters Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi

1423. With regard to singing some of the hymns written by

Mrs...., he thinks that it would be a splendid idea and when

Mrs. Lua Getsinger was living with the Master's family, she

often sang them and tried to teach them to the small children

in the family. (22 March 1928 to an individual believer)

1424. He thinks that it would especially be beautiful to see

little children singing them in groups.... (22 March 1928 to

an individual believer)

1425. The Guardian values the hymns that you are so beautifully

composing. They certainly contain the realities of the Faith,

and will indeed help you to give the Message to the young ones.

It is the music which assists us to affect the human spirit; it

is an important means which helps us to communicate with the

soul. The Guardian hopes that through this assistance you will

give the Message to the people, and will attract their hearts.

(15 November 1932 to an individual believer, cited in "Baha'i

News" 71 (February 1933), p. 2)

1426. In regard to the main question you have raised in

connection with the singing of hymns at Bahá'í meetings: He

wishes me to assure you that he sees no objection to it

whatsoever. The element of music is, no doubt, an important

feature of all Bahá'í gatherings. The Master Himself has

emphasized its importance. But the friends should in this, as

well as in all other things, not pass beyond the limits of

moderation, and should take great care to maintain the strict

spiritual character of all their gatherings. Music should lead

to spirituality, and provided it creates such an atmosphere

there can be no objection against it.
|PPg_81

A distinction of vital importance should, however, be

clearly established between the singing of hymns composed by

the believers and the chanting of the Holy Utterances.

(17 March 1935 to an individual believer)

1427. With regard to your question concerning the use of music

in the Nineteen Day Feasts, he wishes you to assure all the

friends that he not only approves of such a practice, but

thinks it even advisable that the believers should make use, in

their meetings, of hymns composed by Bahá'ís themselves, and

also of such hymns, poems and chants as are based on the Holy

Words. (7 April 1935 to an individual believer)

1428. Although now is only the very beginning of Bahá'í art,

yet the friends who feel they are gifted in such matters should

endeavour to develop and cultivate their gifts and through

their works to reflect, however inadequately, the Divine Spirit

which Bahá'u'lláh has breathed into the world.
(4 November 1937 to an individual believer)

1429. Music, as one of the arts, is a natural cultural

development, and the Guardian does not feel that there should

be any cultivation of "Bahá'í Music" any more than we are

trying to develop a Bahá'í school of painting or writing. The

believers are free to paint, write and compose as their talents

guide them. If music is written, incorporating the sacred

writings, the friends are free to make use of it, but it should

never be considered a requirement at Bahá'í meetings to have

such music. The further away the friends keep from any set

forms, the better, for they must realize that the Cause is

absolutely universal, and what might seem a beautiful addition

to their mode of celebrating a Feast, etc., would perhaps fall

on the ears of people of another country as unpleasant sounds--and vice

versa. As long as they have music for its own sake it

is all right, but they should not consider it Bahá'í music.

(20 July 1946 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States and Canada)

1430. Instrumental music may be used at the Bahá'í Feasts.

|PPg_82
(20 August 1956 to an individual believer)

1431. As regards producing a book of Bahá'í songs, your

understanding that there is no cultural expression which could

be called Bahá'í at this time (distinctive music, literature,

art, architecture, etc., being the flower of the civilization

and not coming at the beginning of a new Revelation), is

correct. However, that does not mean that we haven't Baha'i

songs, in other words, songs written by Bahá'ís on Baha'i

subjects.... (21 September 1957 to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States)

1432. You should try and work out the questions about songs

with the Reviewing Committee or the National Spiritual

Assembly. A Bahá'í can write songs, mentioning the Faith. This

is not "Bahá'í Music", but music in which the Faith is mentioned. This is

probably what the National Spiritual

Assembly meant. (24 October 1957 to an individual believer)

(Prepared for inclusion with a letter dated 1 March 1972

written by the Universal House of Justice to all National

Spiritual Assemblies)
Revised July 1990
|PPg_83
THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY
(A Compilation)
1. MEMBERSHIP, AUTHORITY AND ROLE
11. RELATION TO CONVENTION
111. RELATION TO THE COMMUNITY
IV. RELATION TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD
V. FUNCTION OF OFFICERS
VI. ASSEMBLY MEETINGS
VII. NATIONAL COMMITTEES
VIII. FLEXIBILITY IN SECONDARY MATTERS
IX. APPEALS
X. THE SPIRIT AND FORM OF BAHÁ'Í ADMINISTRATION
|PPg_84
[THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY BLANK.]
|PPg_85
The National Spiritual Assembly
I. Membership, Authority and Role

1433. Regarding the establishment of "National Assemblies", it

is of vital importance that in every country, where the

conditions are favourable and the number of the friends has

grown and reached a considerable size, such as America, Great

Britain and Germany, that a "National Spiritual Assembly" be

immediately established, representative of the friends

throughout that country.

Its immediate purpose is to stimulate, unify and co-ordinate,

by frequent personal consultations, the manifold

activities of the friends as well as the local Assemblies; and

by keeping in close and constant touch with the Holy Land,

initiate measures, and direct in general the affairs of the

Cause in that country. It serves also another purpose, no less

essential than the first, as in the course of time it shall

evolve into the National House of Justice (referred to in

'Abdu'l-Bahá'í Will as the "secondary House of Justice"), which

according to the explicit text of the Testament will have, in

conjunction with the other National Assemblies throughout the

Bahá'í world, to elect directly the members of the

International House of Justice, that Supreme Council that will

guide, organize and unify the affairs of the Movement

throughout the world.

It is expressly recorded in 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í Writings that

these National Assemblies must be indirectly elected by the

friends; that is, the friends in every country must elect a

certain number of delegates, who in their turn will elect from

among all the friends in that country the members of the

National Spiritual Assembly....

This National Spiritual Assembly, which pending the

establishment of the Universal House of Justice will have to be

re-elected once a year, obviously assumes grave

responsibilities, for it has to exercise full authority over

all the local Assemblies in its province, and will have to

direct the activities of the friends, guard vigilantly the

Cause of God, and control and supervise the affairs of the

Movement in general.

With it too rests the decision whether a certain point at

issue is strictly local in its nature, and should be reserved

for the consideration and decision of the local Assembly, or

whether it should fall under its own province and be regarded

as a matter which ought to receive its special attention. The

National Spiritual Assembly will also decide upon such

|PPg_86

matters which in its opinion should be referred to the Holy

Land for consultation and decision.

(From a letter dated 12 March 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of America,

Australasia, France, Germany, British Isles, Italy, Japan and

Switzerland, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932" [rev. ed.], (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1980), pp. 39-41)

1434. It is, I firmly believe, of the utmost urgent importance

that, with unity of purpose and action firmly established in

our midst, and with every trace of the animosity and mistrust

of the past banished from our hearts, we should form one united

front, and combat, wisely and tactfully, every force that might

darken the spirit of the Movement, cause division in its ranks,

and narrow it by dogmatic and sectarian belief.

It is primarily upon the elected members of the National Spiritual

Assemblies throughout the Bahá'í world that this

highly important duty devolves, as in their hands the direction

and management of all spiritual Bahá'í activities have been

placed and centralized, and as they constitute in the eyes of

the people of their country the supreme body in that land that

officially represents, promotes and safeguards the various

interests of the Cause. It is my fervent prayer and my most

cherished desire that the unfailing guidance of Bahá'u'lláh and

the blessings of our beloved Master will enable them to set a

high and true example to all other Bahá'í institutions and

Local Assemblies, and will show them what absolute harmony,

mature deliberation and whole-hearted co-operation can achieve.

Should such a representative and responsible body fail to

realize this fundamental requisite for all successful

achievement, the whole structure is sure to crumble, and the

Great Plan of the Future, as unfolded by the Master's Will and

Testament, will be rudely disturbed and grievously delayed.

(From a letter dated 9 April 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and

Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932" pp. 45-46)

1435. Regarding the method to be adopted for the election of

the National Spiritual Assemblies, it is clear that the text of

the Beloved's Testament
|PPg_87

gives us no indication as to the manner in which these

Assemblies are to be elected. In one of His earliest Tablets,

however, addressed to a friend in Persia, the following is

expressly recorded:

"At whatever time all the beloved of God in each country

appoint their delegates, and these in turn elect their

representatives, and these representatives elect a body, that

body shall be regarded as the Supreme Baytu'l-'Adl (Universal

House of Justice)". These words clearly indicate that a

three-stage election has been provided by 'Abdu'l-Bahá for the

formation of the International House of Justice, and as it is

explicitly provided in His Will and Testament that the

"Secondary Houses of Justice (i.e. National Assemblies) must

elect the members the Universal One", it is obvious that the

members of the National Spiritual Assemblies will have to be

indirectly elected by the body of the believers in their

respective provinces....

Should the appointing of the delegates be made a part of

the functions of Local Spiritual Assemblies, who are already

elected bodies, the principle of a four-stage election would be

introduced, which would be at variance with the provisions

explicitly laid down in the Master's Tablet. On the other hand,

were the Local Spiritual Assemblies, the number of whose

members is strictly confined to nine, to elect directly the

members of the National Spiritual Assembly--thus maintaining

the principle of a three-stage election--all Bahá'í localities,

which must necessarily differ in numerical strength, would then

have to share equally in the election of the National Spiritual

Assembly--a practice which would be contrary to fairness and

justice. Moreover, the central principle guiding for the

present the administration of the Cause has been to make the

Bahá'í National Spiritual Assemblies as independent as possible

in the conduct of such affairs as fall within their province,

and to lessen the hampering influence of any institution within

their jurisdiction that might, whether directly or indirectly,

impair their authority and prestige.

(From a letter dated 12 May 1925 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and

Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", pp. 84-85)

1436. High aims and pure motives, however laudable in

themselves, will surely not suffice if unsupported by measures

that are practicable and methods that are sound. Wealth of

sentiment, abundance of goodwill and
|PPg_88

effort, will prove of little avail if we should fail to

exercise discrimination and restraint and neglect to direct

their flow along the most profitable channels. The unfettered

freedom of the individual should be tempered with mutual

consultation and sacrifice, and the spirit of initiative and

enterprise should be reinforced by a deeper realization of the

supreme necessity for concerted action and a fuller devotion to

the common weal.

It would be impossible at this stage to ignore the

indispensability or to overestimate the unique significance of

the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly--the pivot

round which revolve the activities of the believers throughout

the American continent. Supreme is their position, grave their

responsibilities, manifold and arduous their duties. How great

the privilege, how delicate the task of the assembled delegates

whose function it is to elect such national representatives as

would by their record of service ennoble and enrich the annals

of the Cause! If we but turn our gaze to the high

qualifications of the members of Bahá'í Assemblies, as

enumerated in 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í Tablets, we are filled with

feelings of unworthiness and dismay, and would feel truly

disheartened but for the comforting thought that if we rise to

play nobly our part every deficiency in our lives will be more

than compensated by the all-conquering spirit of His grace and

power. Hence it is incumbent upon the chosen delegates to

consider without the least trace of passion and prejudice, and

irrespective of any material consideration, the names of only

those who can best combine the necessary qualities of

unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained

mind, of recognized ability and mature experience. May the

incoming National Spiritual Assembly --the privileged and

chosen servants of the Cause--immortalize their term of

stewardship by deeds of loving service, deeds that will redound

to the honour, the glory and the power of the Most Great Name.

(From a letter dated 3 June 1925 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the delegates and visitors at the Convention of the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published

in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932" pp.

87-88)

1437. The administrative machinery of the Cause having now

sufficiently evolved, its aim and object fairly well grasped

and understood, and its method and working made more familiar

to every believer, I feel the time is ripe when it should be

fully and consciously utilized to further the
|PPg_89

purpose for which it has been created. It should, I strongly

feel, be made to serve a twofold purpose. On one hand, it

should aim at a steady and gradual expansion of the Movement

along lines that are at once broad, sound and universal; and on

the other, it should ensure the internal consolidation of the

work already achieved. It should both provide the impulse

whereby the dynamic forces latent in the Faith can unfold,

crystallize, and shape the lives and conduct of men, and serve

as a medium for the interchange of thought and the

co-ordination of activities among the divers elements that

constitute the Bahá'í community.

Such in their broad outline are the guiding principles

which those who have been placed in charge of the

administration of the affairs of the Cause should at present

endeavour to promote, explain and securely establish. Nothing

short of the spirit of unwavering faith, of continuous

vigilance and patient endeavour can hope to secure eventually

the realization of this our cherished desire.

May America's national representatives arise with clear

vision, with unswerving determination and renewed vigour to

carry out in its entirety the sacred task they have purposed to

perform. (From a letter dated 11 May 1926 written by Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

and Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932", pp. 109-110)

1438. Now that the N.S.A. has been properly constituted and its

officers duly appointed, it is incumbent upon each and all to

introduce and promote such measures as will consolidate the

work that you have so well begun. The institution of the

National Fund, a Bahá'í Bulletin similar to the News Letter

issued by the American N.S.A., a vigorous and well-conceived

campaign of Teaching, a continuous and purposeful endeavour to

co-ordinate the activities of the Local Assemblies and groups

throughout India and Burma and the sending of detailed and

frequent reports to the Holy Land are among the most primary

and urgent requirements of the new day that has dawned upon

India. I eagerly await your reports and assure you of my

continued prayers for the success of your arduous labours.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter dated

28 October 1926 written on his behalf to the National Spiritual

Assembly of India and
|PPg_90

Burma, published in "Dawn of a New Day" (New Delhi: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, n.d. [1970]), pp. 1415)

1439. I wish to reaffirm, in clear and categorical language,

the principle already enunciated upholding the supreme

authority of the National Assembly in all matters that affect

the interests of the Faith in that land. There can be no

conflict of authority, no duality under any form or

circumstances in any sphere of Bahá'í jurisdiction whether

local, national or international. The National Assembly,

however, although the sole interpreter of its Declaration of

Trust and by-laws, is directly and morally responsible if it

allows any body or institution within its jurisdiction to abuse

its privileges or to decline in the exercise of its rights and

prerogatives. It is the trusted guardian and the mainspring of

the manifold activities and interests of every national

community in the Bahá'í world. It constitutes the sole link

that binds these communities to the International House of

Justice--the supreme administrative body in the Dispensation of

Bahá'u'lláh. (In the hand writing of Shoghi Effendi, appended

to a letter dated 11 June 1934 written on his behalf to the

National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

1440. ...the Guardian was very pleased to learn of the progress

made by the Indian National Spiritual Assembly in its efforts

to consolidate, widen and maintain the scope of its national

activities. The difficulties in your way are tremendous. The

differences of language and of social and intellectual

background do, undoubtedly, render the work somewhat difficult

to carry out and may temporarily check the efficient and smooth

working of the national administrative machinery of the Faith.

They, nevertheless, impart to the deliberations of the National

Assembly a universality which they would be otherwise lacking,

and give to its members a breadth of view which is their duty

to cultivate and foster. It is not uniformity which we should

seek in the formation of any National or Local Assembly. For

the bedrock of the Bahá'í administrative order is the principle

of unity in diversity, which has been so strongly and so

repeatedly emphasized in the writings of the Cause. Differences

which are not fundamental and contrary to the basic teachings

of the Cause should be maintained, while the underlying unity

of the administrative
|PPg_91

order should be at any cost preserved and ensured. Unity, both

of purpose and of means, is, indeed, indispensable to the safe

and speedy working of every Assembly, whether local or

national.

(From a letter dated 2 January 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma,

published in "Dawn of a New Day" pp. 47-48)

1441. With regard to your question concerning the right of a

member of the National Spiritual Assembly to disclose to that

body any facts which he possesses as a member of a Local

Spiritual Assembly, the Guardian thinks that the adequate

presentation of all such facts is not only the right but the

duty of every member of the National Spiritual Assembly. It is,

indeed, the responsibility of every conscientious and loyal

believer who has the privilege of being a member of the

National Spiritual Assembly to provide for the general

information of his co-workers in that body, all the facts which

the latter requires for the study and settlement of the cases

under its consideration. (From a letter dated 14 January 1935

written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual

Assembly of India and Burma)

1442. The formation of every new National Assembly must,

indeed, be viewed as a step forward in the evolution of the

Administration of the Faith. And not until a sufficient number

of such National Assemblies has been duly constituted can there

be any hope for the future expansion of the Cause.

(From a letter dated 26 March 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer, published in "Bahá'í News"

91 (April 1935), p. 15)

1443. With regard to your question as to the advisability of

disclosing to an individual believer the contents of the

National Spiritual Assembly'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 National

Spiritual Assembly 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
|PPg_92

decision in such matters, however, is entirely left to the

discretion of the National Spiritual Assembly. The basic

principle that should always be remembered is that the National

Spiritual Assembly 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 co-operate and to co-operate intelligently, if they

desire to adequately discharge their duties and obligations

towards the Faith. And no such co-operation is possible without

mutual confidence and trust.

(From a letter dated 19 June 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New

Zealand, published in "Letters from the Guardian to Australia

and New Zealand, 1923-1957" (Sydney: National Spiritual

Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia, 1970), p. 9)

1444. ...Shoghi Effendi wishes to urge once more your Assembly

to give careful and sympathetic consideration to this case,

which has already engaged their attention for several months.

The situation must be carefully studied, and all its aspects

thoroughly investigated, and a decision should be reached and

fearlessly and immediately carried out. Too much delay does not

only harm the interests of the petitioner but will, in

addition, have the effect of detracting from the authority and

prestige of your Assembly. (From a letter dated 12 August 1935

written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual

Assembly of India and Burma)

1445. The evolution of the Plan imposes a threefold obligation,

which all individual believers, all Local Assemblies, as well

as the National Assembly itself, must respectively recognize

and conscientiously fulfil. Each and every believer, undaunted

by the uncertainties, the perils and the financial stringency

afflicting the nation, must arise and ensure, to the full

measure of his or her capacity, that continuous and abundant

flow of funds into the national Treasury, on which the

successful prosecution of the Plan must chiefly depend. Upon

the Local Assemblies, whose special function and high privilege

is to facilitate the admission of new believers
|PPg_93

into the community, and thereby stimulate the infusion of fresh

blood into its organic institutions, a duty no less binding in

character devolves. To them I wish particularly to appeal, at

this present hour, when the call of God is being raised

throughout the length and breadth of both continents in the New

World, to desist from insisting too rigidly on the minor

observances and beliefs, which might prove a stumbling-block in

the way of any sincere applicant, whose eager desire is to

enlist under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh. While conscientiously

adhering to the fundamental qualifications already laid down,

the members of each and every Assembly should endeavour, by

their patience, their love, their tact and wisdom, to nurse,

subsequent to his admission, the newcomer into Bahá'í maturity,

and win him over gradually to the unreserved acceptance of

whatever has been ordained in the teachings. As to the National

Assembly, whose inescapable responsibility is to guard the

integrity, co-ordinate the activities, and stimulate the life, of the entire

community, its chief concern, at the present

moment, should be to anxiously deliberate as how best to enable

both individual believers and Local Assemblies to fulfil their

respective tasks. Through their repeated appeals, through their

readiness to dispel all misunderstandings and remove all

obstacles, through the example of their lives, their unrelaxing

vigilance, their high sense of justice, their humility,

consecration and courage, they must demonstrate to those whom

they represent their capacity to play their part in the

progress of the Plan in which they, no less than the rest of

the community, are involved. May the all-conquering Spirit of

Bahá'u'lláh be so infused into each component part of this

harmoniously functioning System as to enable it to contribute

its proper share to the consummation of the Plan. (In the

handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter dated 30

January 1938 written on his behalf to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States and Canada, published in

"Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams Addressed

to the Bahá'ís of North America 1932-1946" (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Committee, 1947), pp. 11-12)

1446. Such a rectitude of conduct[1] must manifest itself, with

ever-increasing potency, in every verdict which the elected

representatives of the Baha'i
____

[1]... with its implications of justice, equity, truthfulness,

honesty, fair-mindedness, reliability and trustworthiness...

(see "The Advent of Divine Justice", p. 23)
|PPg_94

community, in whatever capacity they may find themselves, may

be called upon to pronounce....It must be exemplified in the

conduct of all Bahá'í electors, when exercising their sacred

rights and functions.... It must constitute the brightest

ornament of the life, the pursuits, the exertions, and the

utterances of every Bahá'í teacher, whether laboring at home or

abroad, whether in the front ranks of the teaching force, or

occupying a less active and responsible position. It must be

made the hallmark of that numerically small, yet intensely

dynamic and highly responsible body of the elected national

representatives of every Bahá'í community, which constitutes

the sustaining pillar, and the sole instrument for the

election, in every community, of that Universal House whose

very name and title, as ordained by Bahá'u'lláh, symbolizes

that rectitude of conduct which is its highest mission to

safeguard and enforce.

So great and transcendental is this principle of Divine

justice, a principle that must be regarded as the crowning

distinction of all Local and National Assemblies, in their

capacity as forerunners of the Universal House of Justice, that

Bahá'u'lláh Himself subordinates His personal inclination and

wish to the all-compelling force of its demands and

implications. "God is My witness!" He thus explains, "were it

not contrary to the Law of God, I would have kissed the hand of My

would-be murderer, and would cause him to inherit My earthly

goods. I am restrained, however, by the binding Law laid down

in the Book, and am Myself bereft of all worldly

possessions.""Know thou, of a truth," He significantly affirms,

"these great oppressions that have befallen the world are

preparing it for the advent of the Most Great Justice." "Say,"

He again asserts, "he hath appeared with that Justice

wherewith mankind hath been adorned, and yet the people are,

for the most part, asleep." "The light of men is Justice, "He

moreover states, "(Quench it not with the contrary winds of

oppression and tyranny. The purpose of justice is the

appearance of unity among men." "No radiance," He declares,

"can compare with that of justice. The organization of the

world and the tranquility of mankind depend upon it." "O people

of God!" He exclaims, "That which traineth the world is

Justice, for it is upheld by two pillars, reward and

punishment. These two pillars are the sources of life to the

world.... Small wonder, therefore, that the Author of the

Bahá'í Revelation should have chosen to associate the name and

title of that House, which is to be the crowning glory of His

administrative institutions, not with
|PPg_95

forgiveness but with justice, to have made justice the only

basis and the permanent foundation of His Most Great Peace, and

to have proclaimed it in His Hidden Words as "the (best beloved

of all things" in His sight.

("The Advent of Divine Justice" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1984), pp. 26-29)

1447. In countries where the local Bahá'í communities had

sufficiently advanced in number and in influence measures were

taken for the initiation of National Assemblies, the pivots

round which all national undertakings must revolve. Designated

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will as the "(Secondary Houses of

Justice," they constitute the electoral bodies in the formation

of the International House of Justice, and are empowered to

direct, unify, coordinate and stimulate the activities of

individuals as well as local Assemblies within their

jurisdiction. Resting on the broad base of organized local

communities, themselves pillars sustaining the institution

which must be regarded as the apex of the Bahá'í Administrative

Order, these Assemblies are elected, according to the principle

of proportional representation, by delegates representative of

Bahá'í local communities assembled at Convention during the

period of the Ridvan Festival; are possessed of the necessary

authority to enable them to insure the harmonious and efficient

development of Bahá'í activity within their respective spheres;

are freed from all direct responsibility for their policies and

decisions to their electorates; are charged with the sacred

duty of consulting the views, of inviting the recommendations

and of securing the confidence and cooperation of the delegates

and of acquainting them with their plans, problems and actions; and are

supported by the resources of national funds to which

all ranks of the faithful are urged to contribute....

("God Passes By", rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust,

1987), pp. 332-333)

1448. Now that you have been elected to the National Spiritual

Assembly he feels that this offers you your greatest field of

service at the present time. Every other work for the Cause

should be subordinated to this, and you should conserve your

strength for this work--if you feel you have not enough to go

around to all the other tasks as well! Your long and devoted

services to the Cause have all been a training and preparation

|PPg_96

for wider activities, and this election to the N.S.A. itself is

a preparation, he hopes, for still greater work in the future.

(From a letter dated 28 July 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1449. He was very happy to see that changes had been made in

the membership of the National Spiritual Assembly this year,

not from any reasons of personality, but because change itself

is good and brings a fresh outlook into the discussions of any

Assembly. He was also pleased to see that these changes

involved more younger people being on the National Spiritual

Assembly; with the tremendous amount of work which this second

Seven Year Plan is going to involve, this will be a great help

to the older members of that body.

(From a letter dated 21 May 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1450. We should respect the National Spiritual Assembly and the

Local Spiritual Assembly because they are institutions founded

by Bahá'u'lláh. It has nothing to do with personality, but is

far above it. It will be a great day when the friends, on and

off the Assemblies, come to fully grasp the fact that it is not

the individuals on an Assembly which is important, but the

Assembly as an institution.

(From a letter dated 7 July 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1451. The Guardian regrets that, in the light of the Master's

statement that the deliberations of Assemblies must be secret

and confidential, it is not possible to have a non-Assembly

member in the National Spiritual Assembly meeting. You must

always remember that, in matters of principle, there can be no

deviation; in America it may be possible for you to find a

wholly trustworthy believer; but if your Assembly is permitted

to have non-Assembly secretaries present, then the same

privilege must be accorded oriental and Latin American

Assemblies; and can these other countries be assured of finding

people of the calibre you have found? Highly personal subjects,

damaging to the honour and happiness of others, are often taken up by

National Assemblies, and the danger that confidence will

be betrayed is already great enough with the 9 chosen

|PPg_97

representatives of the whole Community, let alone introducing

non-Assembly members. You will just have to make your minutes a

little more compact and sacrifice, if necessary, a certain

amount of efficiency in order to follow this very important

principle.

(From a letter dated 5 July 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States)

1452. EVIDENCES INCREASING HOSTILITY WITHOUT PERSISTENT

MACHINATIONS WITHIN FORESHADOWING DIRE CONTEST DESTINED

RANGE ARMY LIGHT FORCES DARKNESS BOTH SECULAR RELIGIOUS

PREDICTED UNEQUIVOCAL LANGUAGE 'ABDU'L-BAHÁ NECESSITATE

THIS CRUCIAL HOUR CLOSER ASSOCIATION HANDS FIVE CONTINENTS

BODIES ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES NATIONAL BAHÁ'Í COMMUNITIES

WORLD OVER JOINT INVESTIGATION NEFARIOUS ACTIVITIES INTERNAL

ENEMIES ADOPTION WISE EFFECTIVE MEASURES COUNTERACT THEIR

TREACHEROUS SCHEMES PROTECT MASS BELIEVERS ARREST SPREAD

EVIL INFLUENCE. CALL UPON HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EACH

CONTINENT SEPARATELY ESTABLISH HENCEFORTH DIRECT CONTACT

DELIBERATE WHENEVER FEASIBLE AS FREQUENTLY POSSIBLE

EXCHANGE REPORTS TO BE SUBMITTED THEIR RESPECTIVE AUXILIARY

BOARDS NATIONAL COMMITTEES EXERCISE UNRELAXING VIGILANCE

CARRY OUT UNFLINCHINGLY SACRED INESCAPABLE DUTIES. SECURITY

PRECIOUS FAITH PRESERVATION SPIRITUAL HEALTH BAHA'I

COMMUNITIES VITALITY FAITH ITS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS PROPER

FUNCTIONING ITS LABORIOUSLY ERECTED INSTITUTIONS FRUITION

ITS WORLD-WIDE ENTERPRISES FULFILMENT ITS ULTIMATE DESTINY

ALL DIRECTLY DEPENDENT BEFITTING DISCHARGE WEIGHTY

RESPONSIBILITIES NOW RESTING MEMBERS THESE TWO INSTITUTIONS

OCCUPYING WITH UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE NEXT INSTITUTION

GUARDIANSHIP FOREMOST RANK DIVINELY ORDAINED ADMINISTRATIVE

HIERARCHY WORLD ORDER BAHÁ'U'LLÁH.

(From a cable dated 4 July 1957 sent by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, published

in "Messages to the Bahá'í World 1950-1957" (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1971), p. 123)
|PPg_98
II. Relation to Convention

1453. Hitherto the National Convention has been primarily

called together for the consideration of the various

circumstances attending the election of the National Spiritual

Assembly. I feel, however, that in view of the expansion and

the growing importance of the administrative sphere of the

Cause, the general sentiments and tendencies prevailing among

the friends, and the signs of increasing interdependence among

the National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world, the

assembled accredited representatives of the American believers should

exercise not only the vital and responsible right of

electing the National Assembly, but should also fulfil the

functions of an enlightened, consultative and co-operative body

that will enrich the experience, enhance the prestige, support

the authority, and assist the deliberations of the National

Spiritual Assembly. It is my firm conviction that it is the

bounden duty, in the interests of the Cause we all love and

serve, of the members of the incoming National Assembly, once

elected by the delegates at Convention time, to seek and have

the utmost regard, individually as well as collectively, for

the advice, the considered opinion and the true sentiments of

the assembled delegates. Banishing every vestige of secrecy, of

undue reticence, of dictatorial aloofness, from their midst,

they should radiantly and abundantly unfold to the eyes of the

delegates, by whom they are elected, their plans, their hopes,

and their cares. They should familiarize the delegates with the

various matters that will have to be considered in the current

year, and calmly and conscientiously study and weigh the

opinions and judgments of the delegates. The newly elected

National Assembly, during the few days when the Convention is

in session and after the dispersal of the delegates, should

seek ways and means to cultivate understanding, facilitate and

maintain the exchange of views, deepen confidence, and

vindicate by every tangible evidence their one desire to serve

and advance the common weal. Not infrequently, nay oftentimes,

the most lowly, untutored, and inexperienced among the friends

will, by the sheer inspiring force of selfless and ardent

devotion, contribute a distinct and be the regard paid by those

whom the delegates call upon to serve in high position to this

all-important though inconspicuous manifestation of the

revealing power of sincere and earnest devotion.
|PPg_99

The National Spiritual Assembly, however, in view of the

unavoidable limitations imposed upon the convening of frequent

and long-standing sessions of the Convention, will have to

retain in its hands the final decision on all matters that

affect the interests of the Cause in America, such as the right

to decide whether any Local Assembly is functioning in

accordance with the principles laid down for the conduct and

the advancement of the Cause. It is my earnest prayer that they

will utilize their highly responsible position, not only for

the wise and efficient conduct of the affairs of the Cause, but

also for the extension and deepening of the spirit of

cordiality and whole-hearted and mutual support in their

co-operation with the body of their co-workers throughout the

land. The seating of delegates to the Convention, i.e. the

right to decide upon the validity of the credentials of the

delegates at a given Convention is vested in the outgoing

National Assembly, and the right to decide who has the voting

privilege is also ultimately placed in the hands of the

National Spiritual Assembly, either when a Local Spiritual

Assembly is for the first time being formed in a given locality

or when differences arise between a new applicant and an

already established Local Assembly. While the Convention is in

session and the accredited delegates have already elected from

among the believers throughout the country the members of the

National Spiritual Assembly for the current year, it is of

infinite value and a supreme necessity that as far as possible

all matters requiring immediate decision should be fully and

publicly considered, and an endeavour be made to obtain after

mature deliberation unanimity in vital decisions. Indeed it has

ever been the cherished desire of our Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá that

the friends in their councils, local as well as national,

should by their candour, their honesty of purpose, their

singleness of mind, and the thoroughness of their discussions

achieve unanimity in all things. Should this in certain cases

prove impracticable the verdict of the majority should prevail,

to which decision the minority must under all circumstances

gladly, spontaneously and continually submit. Nothing short of

the all-encompassing, all-pervading power of His Guidance and

Love can enable this newly-enfolded order to gather strength

and flourish amid the storm and stress of a turbulent age, and

in the fullness of time vindicate its high claim to be

universally recognized as the one Haven of abiding felicity and

peace.
|PPg_100

(From a letter dated 29 January 1925 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and

Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", pp. 78-80)

1454. In connection with the annual holding of the Baha'i

Convention and Congress, I feel that although such a

representative body need not be convened necessarily every

year, yet it is highly desirable, in view of the unique

functions it fulfils in promoting harmony and goodwill, in

removing misunderstandings and in enhancing the prestige of the

Cause, that the National Spiritual Assembly should exert itself

to gather together annually the elected representatives of the

American believers. It would in some ways be obviously

convenient and eminently desirable, though not absolutely

essential, if the National Spiritual Assembly could arrange

that the holding of such a Congress should synchronize with the

time at which the national elections are renewed, and that both

events should take place, if not on the first of Ridvan, at

least during the twelve joyous days of what may be justly

regarded as the foremost Bahá'í Festival. Apart from the local

elections, which universally are to be renewed on the 21st of

April, it is entirely left to the discretion of the National

Spiritual Assembly to decide, after having given due

consideration to the above-mentioned observations, on whatever

time and place the Bahá'í Convention as well as the annual

elections are to be held. Were the National Spiritual Assembly

to decide after mature deliberation to omit the holding of the

Bahá'í Convention and Congress in a given year, then they

could, only in such a case, devise ways and means to ensure

that the annual election of the National Spiritual Assembly

should be held by mail, provided it can be conducted with

sufficient thoroughness, efficiency and dispatch. It would also

appear to me unobjectionable to enable and even to require in

the last resort such delegates as cannot possibly undertake the

journey to the seat of the Bahá'í Convention to send their

votes, for the election of the National Spiritual Assembly

only, by mail to the National Secretary, as in my view the

advantages of such a procedure outweigh the considerations

referred to in your letter. It should however be made clear to

every elected delegate--who should be continually reminded--that

it is a sacred responsibility and admittedly preferable to

attend if possible in person the sessions of the Convention, to

take an active part in all its proceedings, and to acquaint his

fellow-workers on his
|PPg_101

return with the accomplishments, the decisions, and the

aspirations of the assembled representatives of the American

believers.

(From a letter dated 24 October 1925 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and

Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", pp. 91-92)

1455. The Guardian wishes the National Spiritual Assembly to

remind, and make it quite clear to, the believers in that land

that the supreme body in the United States and Canada, whose

privilege and function is to lay down, amend and abrogate the

administrative principles of the Faith with the approval of the

Guardian, is not the Convention, however representative it may

be, but the National Spiritual Assembly. On the other hand, it

is the sacred obligation and the primary function of the

National Assembly not to restrict, under any circumstances, the

freedom of the assembled delegates, whose twofold function is

to elect their national representatives and to submit to them

any recommendations they may feel inclined to make. The

function of the Convention is purely advisory and though the

advice it gives is not binding in its effects on those on whom

rests the final decision in purely administrative matters, yet,

the utmost caution and care should be exercised lest anything

should hamper the delegates in the full and free exercise of

their functions. In discharging this sacred function no

influence whatever, no pressure from any quarter, even though

it be from the National Assembly, should under any

circumstances affect their views or restrict their freedom. The

delegates must be wholly independent of any administrative

agency, must approach their task with absolute detachment and

must concentrate their attention on the most important and

pressing issues.

The Guardian believes that the right to elect the Chairman

and the Secretary of the Convention should be vested in the

assembled delegates, lest any objection be raised that the

members of the outgoing National Assembly are seeking to direct

the course of the discussions in a manner that would be

conducive to their own personal interests. The National

Assembly, however, must at all times vigilantly uphold, defend,

justify and enforce the provisions of the Declaration of Trust

and By-Laws, which are binding on the Convention no less than

on themselves. The National Spiritual Assembly has the right to

lay down, enforce and interpret the National Constitution of

the Bahá'ís in that land. It cannot, if it wishes to

|PPg_102

remain faithful to that Constitution, lay down any regulations,

however secondary in character, that would in the least hamper

the unrestricted liberty of the delegates to advise and elect

those whom they feel best combine the necessary qualifications

for membership of so exalted a body.

Non-delegates, however, according to the Guardian's

considered opinion, should not be given the right to intervene

directly during the sessions of the Convention. Only through an

accredited delegate should they be given indirectly the chance

to voice their sentiments and to participate in the

deliberations of the Convention. Much confusion and

complications must inevitably result, in the days to come, if

such a restriction be not imposed on a gathering which is

primarily intended for the accredited delegates of the Baha'i

communities. Bearing this restriction in mind, it is the duty

of the National Spiritual Assembly to devise ways and means

which would enable them to obtain valuable suggestions, not

only from the total number of the elected delegates, but from

as large a body of their fellow-workers as is humanly possible.

Shoghi Effendi has not departed from any established

administrative principle. He feels he has neither curtailed the

legitimate authority of the National Spiritual Assembly, nor

invested the Convention with undue powers enabling it to rival

or supersede those whom it has to elect. What the Guardian is

aiming at is to remind the friends, more fully than before, of

the two cardinal principles of Bahá'í Administration, namely,

the supreme and unchallengeable authority of the National

Spiritual Assembly in national affairs and working within the

limits imposed by the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws, and the

untrammelled freedom of the Convention delegates to advise,

deliberate on the actions, and appoint the successors of their

National Assembly. The Guardian is confident that you will

elucidate and give the widest publicity to these already

established principles, upon which the progress, the unity and

welfare of Bahá'í administrative institutions must ultimately

depend. [Postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi:] The

utmost care and vigilance should be exercised lest any fresh

misunderstandings arise regarding these fundamental issues. The

root principle of Bahá'í Administration is unreservedly

maintained. No departure from its established tenets is contemplated.

The undisputed authority of America's supreme Bahá'í Administrative

Body has been
|PPg_103

reaffirmed, while, on the other hand, the untrammelled freedom

of individual believers and delegates to exercise their

functions has been once again reaffirmed and strengthened. On

the continuous and harmonious co-operation of the two leading

Bahá'í institutions in America the growth and success of the

Administration bequeathed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá must ultimately

depend. May next year's Convention witness the triumph of these

basic principles. (From a letter dated 12 August 1933 written

on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly

of the United States and Canada)

1456. Concerning the status, rights and prerogatives of the

Annual Bahá'í Convention, the Guardian wishes to make it quite

clear to all the believers that this annual meeting of the

delegates is by no means a continuous consultative body all

through the year; that its twofold function of electing the

body of the National Spiritual Assembly, and of offering any

constructive suggestions in regard to the general

administration of the Cause is limited to a definite period;

and that consequently the opinion current among some of the

believers that the delegates are to serve as a consultative

body throughout the year is at variance with the fundamental,

though as yet unspecified, principles underlying the

Administration. Shoghi Effendi firmly believes that

consultation must be maintained between the National Spiritual

Assembly and the entire body of the believers, and that such a

consultation, when the Convention is not in session, can best

be maintained through the agency of the Local Assemblies, one

of whose essential functions is to act as intermediaries

between the local communities and their national

representatives. The main purpose of the Nineteen Day Feasts is

to enable individual believers to offer any suggestion to the

Local Assembly, which in its turn will pass it to the National

Spiritual Assembly. The Local Assembly is, therefore, the

proper medium through which local Bahá'í communities can

communicate with the body of the national representatives. The

Convention should be regarded as a temporary gathering, having

certain specific functions to perform during a limited period

of time. Its status is thus limited in time to the Convention

sessions, the function of consultation at all other times being

vested in the entire body of the believers through the Local

Spiritual Assemblies.

[Postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi:]

|PPg_104
I wish to affirm, without the least hesitation or

ambiguity, that the annual Convention is not to be regarded as

a body entitled to exercise functions similar to those which an ordinary

parliament possesses under a democratic form of

government. The Administrative Order which lies embedded in the

teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, and which the American believers have

championed and are now establishing, should, under no

circumstances, be identified with the principles underlying

present-day democracies. Nor is it identical with any purely

aristocratic or autocratic form of government, the

objectionable features inherent in each of these political

systems are entirely avoided. It blends, as no system of human

polity has as yet achieved, those salutary truths and

beneficial elements which constitute the valuable contributions

which each of these forms of government have made to society in

the past. Consultation, frank and unfettered, is the bedrock of

this unique Order. Authority is concentrated in the hands of

the elected members of the National Assembly. Power and

initiative are primarily vested in the entire body of the

believers acting through their local representatives. To

generate those forces which must give birth to the body of

their national administrators, and to confer, freely and fully

and at fixed intervals, with both the incoming and outgoing

National Assemblies, are the twofold functions, the supreme

responsibility and sole prerogative of the delegates assembled

in Convention. Nothing short of close and constant interaction

between these various organs of Bahá'í administration can

enable it to fulfil its high destiny. (From a letter dated 18

November 1933 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the

National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

1457. Concerning the status of members of the National

Spiritual Assembly at Convention sessions the Guardian feels

that the members of both the incoming and the outgoing

Assemblies should be given the full right to participate in the

Convention discussions. Those members of the National Spiritual

Assembly who have been elected delegates will, in addition to

the right of participation, be entitled to vote. The Guardian

wishes thereby to render more effective the deliberations and

the recommendations of the national representatives. He feels

that the exercise of such a right by the members of the

National Spiritual Assembly will enable them to consult more

fully with the assembled delegates, to
|PPg_105

exchange fully and frankly with them their views, and to

consider collectively the interests, needs and requirements of

the Cause. This, he believes, is one of the primary functions

of the Convention. (From a letter dated 25 December 1933

written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States and Canada, published in "Baha'i

News" 81 (February 1934), p. 3)

1458. In connection with the circular letter you have sent the

Local Assemblies in order to define the specific rights and

functions of the Annual Bahá'í Convention, and to explain once

more the relationships binding that body to the National

Spiritual Assembly, the Guardian wishes me to again affirm his

view that the authority of the National Spiritual Assembly is

undivided and unchallengeable in all matters pertaining to the

administration of the Faith throughout the United States and

Canada, and that, therefore, the obedience of individual

Baha'is, delegates, groups, and Assemblies to that authority is

imperative, and should be whole-hearted and unqualified. He is

convinced that the unreserved acceptance and complete

application of this vital provision of the Administration is

essential to the maintenance of the highest degree of unity

among the believers, and is indispensable to the effective

working of the administrative machinery of the Faith in every

country.
Hoping that through your efforts the friends will

co-operate in carrying out the Guardian's instructions on this

point, and with the renewed assurance of his prayers and

supplications on your behalf, and on behalf of your

collaborators in the National Assembly.

(From a letter dated 11 June 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

and Canada)
III. Relation to the Community

1459. What has given me still greater pleasure is to learn that

the members of this Central Body, which has assumed so grave a

responsibility and is facing such delicate and difficult tasks,

command individually and collectively not only the sympathy of

their spiritual brethren and sisters but also can confidently

rely on their active and whole-hearted support in the campaign

of service to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. It is indeed as it

should be, for if genuine and sustained co-operation and mutual

confidence cease to exist between individual friends and their

Local and
|PPg_106

National Assemblies, the all-beneficent work of the Cause must

cease and nothing else can enable it to function harmoniously

and effectively in future.

True, the Cause as every other movement has its own

obstacles, complications and unforeseen difficulties, but

unlike any other human organization it inspires a spirit of

Faith and Devotion which can never fail to induce us to make

sincere and renewed efforts to face these difficulties and

smooth any differences that may and must arise.

I look forward with fervent hope to hear of these renewed

efforts on your part and of the strong determination which you

will never suffer to slacken, to maintain at any cost the

unity, the effectiveness and the dignity of the Cause.

(From a letter dated 23 December 1922 written by Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

and Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932", p. 28)

1460. The need for the centralization of authority in the

National Spiritual Assembly, and the concentration of power in

the various local Assemblies, is made manifest when we reflect

that the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh is still in its age of tender

growth and in a stage of transition; when we remember that the

full implications and the exact significance of the Master's

world-wide Instructions, as laid down in His Will are as yet

not fully grasped, and the whole Movement has not sufficiently

crystallized in the eyes of the world.

It is our primary task to keep the most vigilant eye on the

manner and character of its growth, to combat effectively the

forces of separatism and of sectarian tendencies, lest the

Spirit of the Cause be obscured, its unity be threatened, its

Teachings suffer corruption, lest extreme orthodoxy on one

hand, and irresponsible freedom on the other, cause it to

deviate from that Straight Path which alone can lead it to

success.

(From a letter dated 12 March 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of America,

Australasia, France, Germany, British Isles, Italy, Japan and

Switzerland, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932", p. 42)
|PPg_107

1461. Let us .. . remember that at the very root of the Cause

lies the principle of the undoubted right of the individual to

self-expression, his freedom to declare his conscience and set

forth his views....

Let us also bear in mind that the keynote of the Cause of

God is not dictatorial authority, but humble fellowship, not

arbitrary power, but the spirit of frank and loving

consultation. Nothing short of the spirit of a true Bahá'í can

hope to reconcile the principles of mercy and justice, of

freedom and submission, of the sanctity of the right of the

individual and of self-surrender, of vigilance, discretion and

prudence on the one hand and fellowship, candour and courage on

the other. The duties of those whom the friends have freely and

conscientiously elected as their representatives are no less

vital and binding than the obligations of those who have chosen

them. Their function is not to dictate, but to consult, and

consult not only among themselves, but as much as possible with

the friends whom they represent. They must regard themselves in

no other light but that of chosen instruments for a more

efficient and dignified presentation of the Cause of God. They

should never be led to suppose that they are the central

ornaments of the body of the Cause, intrinsically superior to

others in capacity or merit, and sole promoters of its

teachings and principles. They should approach their task with

extreme humility, and endeavour by their open-mindedness, their

high sense of justice and duty, their candour, their modesty,

their entire devotion to the welfare and interests of the

friends, the Cause, and humanity, to win not only the confidence and the

genuine support and respect of those whom they should serve, but also

their esteem and real affection.

They must at all times avoid the spirit of exclusiveness, the

atmosphere of secrecy, free themselves from a domineering

attitude, and banish all forms of prejudice and passion from

their deliberations. They should, within the limits of wise

discretion, take the friends into their confidence, acquaint

them with their plans, share with them their problems and

anxieties, and seek their advice and counsel. And when they are

called upon to arrive at a certain decision, they should, after

dispassionate, anxious, and cordial consultation, turn to God

in prayer, and with earnestness and conviction and courage

record their vote and abide by the voice of the majority, which

we are told by our Master to be the voice of truth, never to be

challenged, and always to be whole-heartedly enforced. To this

voice the friends must heartily respond,
|PPg_108

and regard it as the only means that can ensure the protection

and advancement of the Cause.

(From a letter dated 23 February 1924 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the Bahá'ís of America, published in "Bahá'í Administration:

Selected Messages 1922-1932" pp. 63-64)

1462. The News-Letter which you have lately initiated fulfils a

very vital function and has been started admirably well. I

would urge you to enlarge its scope, as much as your resources

permit, that in time it may devote a special section to every

phase of your activities, administrative, devotional,

humanitarian, financial, educational and otherwise. That it may

attain its object it must combine the essential qualities of

accuracy, reliability, thoroughness, dignity and wisdom. It

should become a great factor in promoting understanding,

providing information on Bahá'í activity both local and

foreign, in stimulating interest, in combating evil influences,

and in upholding and safeguarding the institutions of the

Cause. It should be made as representative as possible, should

be replete with news, up-to-date in its information, and should

arouse the keenest interest among believers and admirers alike

in every corner of the globe. I cherish great hopes for its

immediate future, and I trust you will devote your special

attention to its development, and by devising well-conceived

and world-wide measures transform this News-Letter into what I

hope will become the foremost Bahá'í Journal of the world.

(From a letter dated 10 April 1925 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and

Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932" p. 82)

1463. Let it be made clear to every inquiring reader that among

the most outstanding and sacred duties incumbent upon those who

have been called upon to initiate, direct and co-ordinate the

affairs of the Cause are those that require them to win by every

means in their power the confidence and affection of

those whom it is their privilege to serve. Theirs is the duty

to investigate and acquaint themselves with the considered

views, the prevailing sentiments, the personal convictions of

those whose welfare it is their solemn obligation to promote.

Theirs is the duty to purge once for all their deliberations

and the general conduct of their affairs from that air of

self-contained aloofness, from the suspicion
|PPg_109

of secrecy, the stifling atmosphere of dictatorial

assertiveness, in short from every word and deed that might

savour of partiality, self-centeredness and prejudice. Theirs

is the duty, while retaining the sacred and exclusive right of

final decision in their hands, to invite discussion, provide

information, ventilate grievances, welcome advice from even the

most humble and insignificant member of the Bahá'í Family,

expose their motives, set forth their plans, justify their

actions, revise if necessary their verdict, foster the spirit

of individual initiative and enterprise, and fortify the sense

of interdependence and co-partnership, of understanding and

mutual confidence between them on one hand and all Local

Assemblies and individual believers on the other. (From a

letter dated 18 October 1927 written by Shoghi Effendi to the

National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and

Canada)

1464. Regarding the proposed News-Letter ... 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. It has not only 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 National Spiritual Assembly's jurisdiction. It is hoped

that this body will do its utmost to maintain the publication

of this bulletin, and will make full use of this splendid

medium for the further widening and consolidation of the

foundations of the Local as well as National Assemblies. (From

a letter dated 23 September 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New

Zealand)

1465. This contact between the members of the National Assembly

and the individual believers is certainly of immense value to

the Cause, as it serves to promote, more than any other means,

intelligent co-operation, fellowship and understanding among

the friends. It is the National Spiritual Assembly's

responsibility, therefore, to foster by every means in its

power this growth, and thus help in further consolidating its

authority and prestige in the community. There is nothing that

can inflict upon it
|PPg_110

a greater harm than the attitude of aloofness, of isolation

from the general body of the believers.

It is Shoghi Effendi's hope that the success that has

attended this last session of the National Spiritual Assembly

at San Francisco will stimulate the members to hold their

meetings in as many different centres as possible. He is

fervently praying for their guidance in this matter.

(From a letter dated 4 December 1936 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1466. Before closing there is one suggestion in your letter

which the Guardian wishes me to confirm, namely that it is one

of the vital functions of the National Spiritual Assembly to be

always in touch with local conditions in every community and to

endeavour, through personal contacts and by means of regular

correspondence, to guide the friends, individually and

collectively, in all their activities.

(From a letter dated 30 June 1938 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1467. Let every participator in the continent-wide campaign

initiated by the American believers, and particularly those

engaged in pioneer work in virgin territories, bear in mind the

necessity of keeping in close and constant touch with those

responsible agencies designed to direct, coordinate, and

facilitate the teaching activities of the entire community.

Whether it be the body of their elected national

representatives, or its chief auxiliary institution, the

National Teaching Committee, or its subsidiary organs, the

regional teaching committees, or the local Spiritual Assemblies

and their respective teaching committees, they who labor for

the spread of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh should, through constant

interchange of ideas, through letters, circulars, reports,

bulletins and other means of communication with these

established instruments designed for the propagation of the

Faith, insure the smooth and speedy functioning of the teaching

machinery of their Administrative Order. Confusion, delay,

duplication of efforts, dissipation of energy will, thereby, be

completely avoided, and the mighty flood of the grace of

Bahá'u'lláh, flowing abundantly and without the least

obstruction through these essential channels will so inundate

the hearts and souls of
|PPg_111

men as to enable them to bring forth the harvest repeatedly

predicted by 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

(Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", pp. 52-53)

1468. The Guardian is, doubtless, well aware of the existing

imperfections in the administrative machinery of the Cause, but

these, he strongly feels, should be attributed not to the

administrative system itself, but to the administrators of the

Faith, who by reason of their human limitations and

imperfections can never hope to entirely fulfil those ideal

conditions set forth in the Teachings. Many of the existing

defects in the present-day activities of the believers,

however, will as the Community develops and gains in experience

be gradually removed, and healthier and more progressive

conditions prevail. And it is towards the realization of this

high aim that the friends should earnestly and unitedly strive.

The Guardian feels certain that no matter how much your

heart may be afflicted at the sight of the difficulties now

confronting the American Community, and however revolting may

appear to you the attitude and the shortcomings of certain of

its members, you will far from being discouraged be stimulated

to exert every effort in your power to remedy such unhealthy

conditions, confident that in your earnest and sincere attempt

to do so, you will be assisted and guided by the unfailing

confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh.

(From a letter dated 14 May 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1469. The Guardian believes that a great deal of the

difficulties from which the believers ... feel themselves to be

suffering are caused by their neither correctly understanding

nor putting into practice the administration. They seem--many

of them--to be prone to continually challenging and criticizing

the decisions of their Assemblies. If the Bahá'ís undermine the

very bodies which are, however immaturely, seeking to

co-ordinate Bahá'í activities and administer Bahá'í affairs, if

they continually criticize their acts and challenge or belittle

their decisions, they not only prevent any real rapid progress

in the Faith's development from taking place, but they repel

outsiders who quite rightly may ask how we ever expect to unite

the whole world when we are so disunited among ourselves!

|PPg_112
There is only one remedy for this: to study the

administration, to obey the Assemblies, and each believer seek

to perfect his own character as a Baha'i. We can never exert

the influence over others which we can exert over ourselves. If

we are better, if we show love, patience, and understanding of

the weaknesses of others; if we seek to never criticize but

rather encourage, others will do likewise, and we can really

help the Cause through our example and spiritual strength. The

Bahá'ís everywhere, when the administration is first

established, find it very difficult to adjust themselves. They

have to learn to obey, even when the Assembly may be wrong, for

the sake of unity. They have to sacrifice their personalities,

to a certain extent, in order that the community life may grow

and develop as a whole. These things are difficult--but we must

realize that they will lead us to a very much greater, more perfect,

way of life when the Faith is properly established

according to the administration.

The Guardian would advise you to abide by the decisions of

the National Spiritual Assembly in all matters. If they,

knowing the requirements of the Faith all over India, do not

feel it the time or advisable to publish your writings, you

should accept their decision. Also you should not seek to

publish any books or pamphlets without their sanction.

Concentrate on teaching the Holy Faith, and put your trust in

Bahá'u'lláh. The Guardian will pray for you and all the dear

friends there.

(From a letter dated 26 October 1943 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1470. 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 Baha'i

administration.

He always has the right to step in and countermand the

decisions of a National Assembly; if he did not possess this

right he would be absolutely impotent to protect the Faith,

just as the National Spiritual Assembly, if it were divested of

the right to countermand the decisions of a Local
|PPg_113

Assembly, would be incapable of watching over and guiding the

national welfare of the Bahá'í Community.

It is the duty of the National Spiritual Assembly 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.

(From a letter dated 13 May 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New

Zealand, published in "Letters from the Guardian to Australia

and New Zealand, 1923-1957", pp.55-57)

1471. 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.

(From a letter dated 8 August 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New

Zealand, published in "Letters from the Guardian to Australia

and New Zealand, 1923-1957", p.58)

1472. Over and over, in going through the correspondence he

received from your Assembly, he was struck by the fact that the

friends acted so unadministratively. Instead of taking up their

accusations and problems and unhappy feelings with their Local

Assembly, or the National Assembly, they referred to

individuals or individual members of the Assembly, or they

refused to meet with the Assembly. The first thing a believer

should do is to turn to an Assembly--that is why we have

Assemblies! He feels this trouble would never have arisen if

the Bahá'ís utilized their Assemblies as they should....

(From a letter dated 30 June 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany and

Austria)

1473. The question of your budget, which you have raised in

your letter, is one of great importance. In spite of the

numbers which you represent
|PPg_114

and the enthusiasm of the Baha'is, your Assembly must face the

fact that it represents a very poor community, financially. Any

over-ambitious budget, which would place an oppressive

financial burden on the friends, would be highly unwise,

because, unless it is met, it will give them a feeling at the

end of the year of intense frustration.

He thinks that what you have outlined is too much. Your

Assembly will have to, particularly during this first year of

its existence, be less ambitious as regards projects involving

money, and devote itself particularly to encouraging the

friends, reinforcing the foundations of the Local Assemblies,

assisting the groups to attain Assembly status, and deepening

in every way it can the education of the African friends in the

Faith. The other National Spiritual Assemblies, as you know,

are having their own problems financially; and, although there

is no objection to appealing to them to give you some help, the

Guardian doubts very much whether they will be in a position to

add very substantially to your funds at this time.

(From a letter dated 6 July 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East

Africa)

1474. He appreciates your spirit of devotion to the Faith, but

he feels that you, your husband and ... should comply with the

instructions of the National Spiritual Assembly. There can be

no protection for the Faith unless the friends are willing to

submit to their administrative bodies, especially when these

are acting in good faith; and the individual believers are not

in a position to judge their National Body. If any wrong has

been done, we must leave it in the hands of God, knowing, as

'Abdu'l-Bahá said, that He will right it, and in the mean time

not disrupt the Cause of God by constantly harping on these

matters. (From a letter dated 3 February 1957 written on

behalf of Shoghi
Effendi to an individual believer)

1475. He feels that your Assembly must keep before its eyes the

balance specified by Bahá'u'lláh, Himself, in other words,

justice, reward and retribution. Although the Cause is still

young and tender, and many of the believers inexperienced, and

therefore loving forbearance is often called for in the place

of harsh measures, this does not mean that a
|PPg_115

National Spiritual Assembly can under any circumstances

tolerate disgraceful conduct, flagrantly contrary to our

Teachings, on the part of any of its members, whoever they may

be and from wherever they may come. You should vigilantly watch

over and protect the interests of the Bahá'í Community, and the

moment you see that any of the Persian residents in Germany,

or, for that matter, German Bahá'ís themselves, are acting in a

way to bring disgrace upon the name of the Faith, warn them,

and, if necessary, deprive them immediately of their voting

rights if they refuse to change their ways. Only in this way

can the purity of the Faith be preserved. Compromise and weak

measures will obscure the vision of its followers, sap its

strength, lower it in the eyes of the public and prevent it

from making any progress. (From a letter dated 14 August 1957

written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual

Assembly of Germany and
Austria)
IV. Relation to the Outside World:

1476. ...as the Movement grows in strength and power the

National Spiritual Assemblies should be encouraged, if

circumstances permit and the means at their disposal justify,

to resort to the twofold method of directly and indirectly

winning the enlightened public to the unqualified acceptance of

the Bahá'í Faith. The one method would assume an open, decisive

and challenging tone. The other, without implying in any manner

the slightest departure from strict loyalty to the Cause of

God, would be progressive and cautious. Experience will reveal

the fact that each of the methods in its own special way might

suit a particular temperament and class of people, and that

each, in the present state of a constantly fluctuating society,

should be judiciously attempted and utilized.

It is I feel for the national representatives of the

believers in every land to utilize and combine both methods,

the outspoken as well as the gradual, in such a manner as to

secure the greatest benefit and the fullest advantage for this

steadily-growing Cause....
. . .

As the Movement extends the bounds of its influence and its

opportunities for fuller recognition multiply, the twofold

character of the obligations imposed on its national elected

representatives should, I feel, be increasingly emphasized.

Whilst chiefly engaged in the pursuit of their
|PPg_116

major task, consisting chiefly in the formation and the

consolidation of Bahá'í administrative institutions, they

should endeavour to participate, within recognized limits, in

the work of institutions which, though unaware of the claim of

the Bahá'í Cause, are prompted by a sincere desire to promote

the spirit that animates the Faith. In the pursuit of their

major task their function is to preserve the identity of the

Cause and the purity of the mission of Bahá'u'lláh. In their

minor undertaking their purpose should be to imbue with the

spirit of power and strength such movements as in their

restricted scope are endeavouring to achieve what is near and

dear to the heart of every true Baha'i. It would even appear at

times to be advisable and helpful as a supplement to their work

for the Bahá'ís to initiate any undertaking not specifically

designated as Baha'i, provided that they have ascertained that

such an undertaking would constitute the best way of approach

to those whose minds and hearts are as yet unprepared for a

full acceptance of the claim of Bahá'u'lláh. These twofold

obligations devolving upon organized Bahá'í communities, far

from neutralizing the effects of one another or of appearing

antagonistic in their aims, should be regarded as complementary

and fulfilling, each in its way, a vital and necessary

function.

It is for the national representatives of the Bahá'í Cause

to observe the conditions under which they labour, to estimate

the forces that are at work in their own surroundings, to weigh

carefully and prayerfully the merits of either procedure, and

to form a correct judgement as to the degree of emphasis that

should be placed upon these twofold methods. Then and only then

will they be enabled to protect and stimulate on one hand the

independent growth of the Bahá'í Faith, and on the other

vindicate the claim of its universal Principles to the doubtful

and unbelieving. (From a letter dated 20 February 1927 written

by Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

United States and Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration:

Selected Messages 1922-1932" pp. 124-127)

1477. The Guardian feels that it is a pity that, through the

over-enthusiasm of the official concerned, a school building

was placed at the disposal of the Bahá'ís before any official

decision had been made as to whether it was possible for them

to send a teacher there.
|PPg_117

We must be very careful in our dealings with the public,

particularly officials, lest we create situations which cause

us embarrassment, and may belittle our prestige in non-Baha'i

eyes.

The Guardian attaches the greatest importance to your work;

and is delighted to see that you are carrying on your various

projects with so much enthusiasm and devotion. It would be

ideal if an offer, such as that made, could be accepted; but as

the Cause has so many burdens to bear at this time, we are

forced to do as 'Abdu'l-Bahá said--give up the important for

the most important.

(From a letter dated 29 December 1951 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the Comite Nacional de Ensenanza Bahá'í para

los indigenas)
V. Function of Officer:

1478. All donations and contributions should be offered to the

Treasurer of the Assembly, for the express purpose of promoting

the interests of the Cause, throughout that locality or

country. It is the sacred obligation of every conscientious and

faithful servant of Bahá'u'lláh, who desires to see His Cause

advance, to contribute freely and generously for the increase

of that Fund. The members of the Spiritual Assembly will at

their own discretion expend it to promote the Teaching

Campaign, to help the needy, to establish educational Baha'i

institutions, to extend in every way possible their sphere of

service....

(From a letter dated 12 March 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of America,

Australasia, France, Germany, British Isles, Italy, Japan and

Switzerland, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932" pp. 41-42)

1479. By now the election of the new National Spiritual

Assembly and of its office-bearers will probably be completed.

The office of Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly is

most important and the smooth and efficient working of the

Bahá'í organization in India and Burma will depend to a large

extent on him....

It is obvious that to carry out these manifold duties

efficiently, thoroughly and tactfully is no easy task and

Shoghi Effendi greatly hopes
|PPg_118

that someone may be found who will be able to devote the

necessary ability, time and energy to carry them out

satisfactorily.

(From a letter dated 12 May 1925 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma)

1480. As regards your question whether the president of the

National Spiritual Assembly is entitled to give any ruling

during the period of his tenure, the Guardian wishes me to

state that no such ruling can be valid unless approved by the

other members of the National Assembly. The president has no

special legislative capacity, except as a member of the Assembly.

(From a letter dated 28 February 1937 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and

Burma)

1481. In connection with resolution No. 15 recorded in the

minutes of your National Spiritual Assembly: the Guardian

wishes you to make clear to all the believers that membership

in a Bahá'í Assembly or Committee is a sacred obligation which

should be gladly and confidently accepted by every loyal and

conscientious member of the Community, no matter how humble and

inexperienced. Once elected to serve in a given Assembly a

believer's duty is to do his utmost to attend all Assembly

meetings, and co-operate with his fellow-members, unless,

however, he is prevented from doing so by some major reason

such as illness, and even then he should notify the Assembly to

this effect. The National Spiritual Assembly's duty is to urge,

and also facilitate attendance at Assembly meetings. If a

member has no valid reason to justify his repeated absence from

Assembly meetings, he should be advised, and even warned, and

if such warning is deliberately ignored by him, the Assembly

will then have the right to suspend his rights as a voting

member of the Community. Such administrative sanction would

seem to be absolutely imperative and necessary, and while not

tantamount to a complete expulsion of such [a] member from the

Cause, deprives him of any real participation in its

administrative functions and affairs, and is thus a most

effective corrective measure which the Assembly can use against

all such half-hearted and irresponsible individuals in the

Community.

(From a letter dated 2 July 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma)

|PPg_119

1482. As regards the question of what procedure the Baha'i

Assemblies should adopt when dissatisfied with the services of

any of their officers: Should such dissatisfaction involve the

loyalty of an Assembly officer to the Faith, he should,

following a majority vote, be dismissed. But in case the

dissatisfaction is due to the incompetence of a member, or

simply to a neglect on his part to discharge his duties, this

does not constitute sufficient justification to force his

resignation or dismissal from the Assembly. He should be kept

in office until new elections are held.

(From a letter dated 22 November 1940 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

British Isles)

1483. Regarding your question concerning the secretary of the

National Spiritual Assembly: There cannot be any permanently

elected secretary who would year after year hold office, as

this would be contrary to the principles of the administration;

however, the Guardian feels that the National Spiritual Assembly

should supply the secretary with a paid helper in

order to enable him to carry on his duties properly and at the

same time pursue his own profession, if that is necessary for

him. In other words the secretary of the National Spiritual

Assembly can have a full-time secretary under him if the work

requires it.

(From a letter dated 22 June 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma)

1484. Generally speaking the secretary of an Assembly must be

careful to convey exactly what the majority decision or advice

of the body was. There can surely be no objection to his

putting it in proper terms and clarifying the matter according

to the decision or instruction of the Assembly. But he should

of course not introduce his personal views unless endorsed by

the Assembly.

(From a letter dated 19 October 1947 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1485. He was sorry that he felt it necessary to insist that the

secretary of your Assembly must be located in Buenos Aires, so

that the Secretariat can be located in the Headquarters of this

region; this is a general principle which he has insisted the

friends adhere to everywhere. A situation similar to yours

arose in Scandinavia, where the secretary was in Oslo instead

of
|PPg_120

Stockholm, and a change was necessary there also. As the Ten

Year Crusade unfolds it is increasingly important for the work

to go forward in a uniform manner and according to general

principles applicable to all.

(From a letter dated 29 July 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Argentina, Chile,

Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia)
VI. Assembly Meetings:

1486. I always eagerly await detailed and frequent reports from

the National Assembly and desire strongly its members to meet

as often as possible and actively, efficiently and constantly

direct, co-ordinate and reinforce the activities of the

individuals and Local Assemblies throughout India and Burma. I

thirst for more specific information and urge its secretary to

ensure that every communication from the Holy Land or from any

other Bahá'í centre is promptly and widely distributed. I

assure you of my loving prayers.

(From a letter dated 5 March 1925 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma)

1487. Another factor which, in the Guardian's opinion, is

essential to the development of your National Spiritual

Assembly is the holding of frequent meetings. Although the

members are stationed at great distances from one another yet they can

communicate through correspondence. It is not

necessary that all the members should be present in all the

sessions. Those who, for some reason or another, are unable to

attend in person the meetings of the National Spiritual

Assembly can express their views in a written form and send

them to the Assembly. The main point is that your national

activities should not be let to suffer in any way, and its work

be retarded and postponed because of such necessarily

unimportant and secondary considerations.

(From a letter dated 2 January 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma)

1488. The Guardian welcomes the step taken by your Assembly to

increasingly devote its meetings to the consideration of major

policies and plans, and to dwell less on matters of detail and

of mere secondary administrative character. He would, however,

urge that all decisions,
|PPg_121

unless of a trivial and insignificant nature dealing purely

with routine work, should be reached after careful and

conscientious deliberation by all the nine members. Any

tendencies towards decentralization, or the delegation of

authority to any person or body to make decisions on matters

which directly and solely concern the National Spiritual

Assembly itself, would be harmful and should be checked at the

very outset. It is for this very reason, namely to enable the

National Spiritual Assembly to properly and fully discharge its

functions of consultation and deliberation on issues that

concern the national community under its jurisdiction, that its

membership has been limited to nine, so that it may not be too

unwieldy for making decisions that would often require quick

action and mature deliberation by all the members. In order to

safeguard the distinctive character of such a central and

authoritative institution more frequent gatherings would seem

imperative, particularly as the problems which it will be

called upon to deal with are destined to increase in number and

importance with the steady expansion of the Faith in North

America.

(From a letter dated 28 January 1939 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States and Canada)

1489. Likewise, he feels that the National Spiritual Assembly

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.

(From a letter dated 16 July 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New

Zealand)
VII. National Committees:

1490. Large issues in such spiritual activities that affect the

Cause in general in that land,... far from being under the

exclusive jurisdiction of any Local Assembly or group of

friends, must each be minutely and fully directed by a special

board, elected by the National Body, constituted as a committee

thereof, responsible to it and upon which the National Body

shall exercise constant and general supervision.
|PPg_122

(From a letter dated 5 March 1922 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United

States and Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration:

Selected Messages 1922-1932, p. 24)

1491. I very highly approve of the arrangements you have made

for centralizing the work in your hands and of distributing it

to the various committees, who, each in its own sphere, have so

efficiently and thoroughly undertaken the management of their

own affairs.

(From a letter dated 23 December 1922 written by Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

and Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932", p. 28)

1492. Vital issues, affecting the interests of the Cause in

that country, such as the matter of translation and

publication, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, the Teaching Work, and

other similar matters that stand distinct from strictly local

affairs, must be under the full jurisdiction of the National

Assembly.

It will have to refer each of these questions, even as the

local Assemblies, to a special Committee, to be elected by the

members of the National Spiritual Assembly from among all the

friends in that country, which will bear to it the same

relation as the local committees bear to their respective local

Assemblies.

(From a letter dated 12 March 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of America,

Australasia, France, Germany, British Isles, Italy, Japan and

Switzerland, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932", p. 40)

1493. Touching the recent decision of the National Spiritual

Assembly to place as much as possible of the current details of

the work in the hands of its national Committees, I feel I

should point out that this raises a fundamental issue of

paramount importance, as it involves a unique principle in the

administration of the Cause, governing the relations that

should be maintained between the central administrative Body

and its assisting organs of executive and legislative action.

As it has been observed already, the role of these committees

set up by the National Spiritual Assembly, the renewal, the membership and

functions of which should be reconsidered

separately each year by the incoming National Assembly, is

chiefly to make thorough and expert study of the issue

entrusted to
|PPg_123

their charge, advise by their reports, and assist in the

execution of the decisions which in vital matters are to be

exclusively and directly rendered by the National Assembly. The

utmost vigilance, the most strenuous exertion is required by

them if they wish to fulfil, as befits their high and

responsible calling, the functions which it is theirs to

discharge. They should, within the limits imposed upon them by

present-day circumstances, endeavour to maintain the balance in

such a manner that the evils of over-centralization which clog,

confuse and in the long run depreciate the value of Baha'i

services rendered shall on one hand be entirely avoided, and on

the other the perils of utter decentralization with the

consequent lapse of governing authority from the hands of the

national representatives of the believers definitely averted.

The absorption of the petty details of Bahá'í administration by

the personnel of the National Spiritual Assembly is manifestly

injurious to efficiency and an expert discharge of Baha'i

duties, whilst the granting of undue discretion to bodies that

should be regarded in no other light than that of expert

advisers and executive assistants would jeopardize the very

vital and pervading powers that are the sacred prerogatives of

bodies that in time will evolve into Bahá'í National Houses of

Justice. I am fully aware of the strain and sacrifice which a

loyal adherence to such an essential principle of Baha'i

administration--a principle that will at once ennoble and

distinguish the Bahá'í method of administration from the

prevailing systems of the world--demands from the national

representatives of the believers at this early stage of our

evolution. Yet I feel I cannot refrain from stressing the broad

lines along which the affairs of the Cause should be

increasingly conducted, the knowledge of which is so essential

at this formative period of Bahá'í administrative institutions.

(From a letter dated 18 October 1927 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and

Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", pp. 141-142)

1494. Aided by national committees responsible to and chosen by

them, without discrimination, from among the entire body of the

believers within their jurisdiction, and to each of which a

particular sphere of Bahá'í service is allocated, these Baha'i

National Assemblies have, as the scope of their activities

steadily enlarged, proved themselves, through the spirit of

discipline which they have inculcated and through their

|PPg_124

uncompromising adherence to principles which have enabled them

to rise above all prejudices of race, nation, class and color,

capable of administering, in a remarkable fashion, the

multiplying activities of a newly-consolidated Faith.

Nor have the national committees themselves been less

energetic and devoted in the discharge of their respective

functions. In the defense of the Faith's vital interests, in

the exposition of its doctrine; in the dissemination of its

literature; in the consolidation of its finances; in the

organization of its teaching force; in the furtherance of the

solidarity of its component parts; in the purchase of its

historic sites; in the preservation of its sacred records,

treasures and relics; in its contacts with the various

institutions of the society of which it forms a part; in the

education of its youth; in the training of its children; in the

improvement of the status of its women adherents in the East;

the members of these diversified agencies, operating under the

aegis of the elected national representatives of the Baha'i

community, have amply demonstrated their capacity to promote

effectively its vital and manifold interests....
("God Passes By", p. 333)

1495. He feels that the Local Assemblies should be encouraged

to realize that National Committees are constituted to serve

their needs, not to dictate arbitrarily to them, and to unify

the work of the Cause which is now spreading so rapidly in the

British Isles. The Committees in question should be very

tactful in dealing with a young Assembly which is beginning to

"feel its oats", as this spirit of independence, if properly

handled, can lead it to be strong and independent rather than

weak and always relying on other bodies to carry it forward!

Assemblies, however, should certainly co-operate with National

Committees and not refuse their assistance.

(From a letter dated 5 November 1948 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

British Isles)
VIII. Flexibility in Secondary Matters:

1496. In regard to your criticism of the Article VIII of the

By-Laws of the N.S.A., the Guardian wishes you to know that

since this is a secondary matter arising out of the general

principles he has already laid down in one of his latest

communications addressed to you and to the N.S.A. concerning

the power of the delegates and the relation of these to the

|PPg_125

National Assembly, he does not think it is necessary for him to

enter into these details which by their very nature fall within

the jurisdiction of the N.S.A. It is to that body which you

should submit any criticism, whether in regard to the

provisions of the Constitution, or in connection with any other

phase of the administrative work of the Cause. It is not for

the Guardian to enter into matters of detail. His overwhelming

and pressing duties, and the very nature of his position as the

supreme Guardian of the Faith, make it impossible for him to

interfere in affairs of a local character, and of a relatively

secondary importance. It is for you, as one of the

distinguished members of the highest administrative body of the

Cause in the States, to remind your fellow-members of what is

their duty to consider and to act upon. The Guardian lays down

the general principle, and it is for the National Assembly to

direct all local assemblies and groups as to the best way they

can apply it to their local conditions.

(From a letter dated 11 November 1933 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1497. In connection with his cablegram sent in July urging your

Assembly to cease issuing any more statements on various

administrative matters, the Guardian wishes me again to

reiterate and confirm the directions and explanations already

conveyed in one of his recent communications to the National

Spiritual Assembly to the effect that the publication of such

statements no longer fills an urgent need, and that their

multiplication would only result in making the administration

of the Cause too rigid. The various rulings and regulations

recorded in the "Bahá'í Administration" and the supplementary

statements already issued by the National Assembly, he feels,

are for the present sufficiently detailed to guide the friends

in their present-day activities. He himself has in recent years

deliberately refrained from adding any more administrative

regulations, or from even elucidating and elaborating those

already enforced. All the more reason that your Assembly

should, likewise, desist from multiplying the administrative

regulations which, as their number increases, must necessarily

fetter and confuse those who are called upon to carry them out.

It is not necessary for your Assembly to anticipate situations

which have not arisen, and to lay down general rules and

regulations to meet them. It would be wiser to consider every

case individually as it arises, and then to resolve the problem

connected with
|PPg_126

it in the most suitable and practical manner. The American

believers, as well as their national representatives, must

henceforth direct their attention to the greater and vital

issues which an already established Administration is called

upon to face and handle, rather than allow their energies to be

expended in the consideration of purely secondary

administrative matters. The Guardian wishes your Assembly to

refer again to the communication already referred to bearing on

this subject.

(From a letter dated 25 November 1937 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States and Canada)

1498. In reading your annual Convention report the Guardian has

noted the request made that the National Spiritual Assembly

should lay down certain rules of procedure. He has already

informed the American N.S.A. that they should henceforth

refrain from laying down any further rules and regulations, as

these would tend to rigidity the affairs of the Cause and

ultimately obscure its spirit and retard its growth. He feels

that your Assembly should exercise the same care, and avoid

introducing any rules of procedure not already in existence.

Every case coming before the Assembly should be judged on its

own merits, and be decided individually without any recourse to

new rulings.

(From a letter dated 29 June 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma)

1499. Now that your Assembly is formed, and is embarking on its

independent existence as a National Body, he wishes to

emphasize a point which he is constantly stressing to other

National Bodies: you must avoid issuing rules and regulations.

The fundamentals laid down in the Bahá'í Administration must,

of course, be adhered to, but there is a tendency for

Assemblies to constantly issue detailed procedures and rules to

the friends, and he considers this hampers the work of the

Cause, and is entirely premature. As far as is possible cases

which come up should be dealt with and settled as they arise,

and not a blanket ruling be laid down to cover all possible

similar cases. This preserves the elasticity of the

Administrative Order and prevents red tape from developing and

hampering the work of the Cause. You must likewise bear in mind

that you are now a wholly independent National Body, and must

consider the administration of the affairs of the Faith within

your jurisdiction as your
|PPg_127

separate problem. There is no more need for you to follow every

single rule laid down by the American N.S.A., than there is for

the British or the Australian and New Zealand N.S.A.s to do

this. Uniformity in fundamentals is essential, but not in every

detail. On the contrary, diversity, the solving of the local

situation in the right way, is important.

(From a letter dated 4 November 1948 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada)

1500. He was particularly pleased to see that members of your

Assembly have been out travelling and contacting the friends in

an effort to deepen their understanding of the workings of the

administration and also their knowledge of the Faith in

general. He feels that particularly at present in Latin America

this intimate, loving and friendly approach will do more to

further the work than anything else. Indeed, he would go so far

as to advise your Assembly to avoid deluging the friends with

circulars and unnecessary bulletins. You must always bear in

mind the genuine difference between the peoples of the south

and the peoples of the north; to use the same techniques as those

adopted in the United States would be disastrous because

the mentality and background of life are quite different. Much

as the friends need administration, it must be brought to them

in a palatable form, otherwise they will not be able to

assimilate it and instead of consolidating the work you will

find some of the believers become estranged from it.

(From a letter dated 30 June 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central America)

1501. As regards the "Administrative Manual": he urges you to

not add to the rules and regulations, but try to cut down on

these and decide cases as they arise; there is a natural

tendency to codify the teachings and produce handbooks of

procedure, there are not enough Bahá'ís in the whole world to

justify this, and he continuously urges the various National

Spiritual Assemblies to beware of this tendency. He has no

time, at all, to go over such things himself; indeed, your

Assembly, and all the others, will have to assume increasing

responsibility for your work in order to relieve him. He is

worn out with all his work and added material to read. (From a

letter dated 19 June 1953 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central America)

|PPg_128

1502. He hopes your Assembly will devote special, constant

attention to encouraging the friends in their teaching work,

and facilitate their tasks. As the new National Assemblies are

being formed, he feels it incumbent upon him to issue a word of

warning to avoid rules and regulations and tying the believers'

work up in red tape. Over-administration can be even worse for

the Faith at this time than under-administration. The believers

are, for the most part, young in the Cause, and if they make

mistakes it is not half as important as if their spirit is

crushed by being told all the time --do this and don't do that!

The new National Body should be like a loving parent, watching

over and helping its children, and not like a stern judge,

waiting for an opportunity to display his judicial powers. The

reason he points this out to you is that constantly, for the

past twenty years and more, he has been pointing this out to

the old and tried National Assemblies, and he does not want the

younger bodies to make the same mistakes. Individual cases

should be dealt with as they arise, according to the Teachings,

of which the believers have quite sufficient available to

handle all of their problems at this time, and no more

additional rules and regulations need be introduced.

(From a letter dated 30 June 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska)

1503. The whole purpose of the Bahá'í administrative bodies at

this time is to teach, to increase the membership, to increase

the Assemblies and to increase the groups, not to create rules

and regulations and impede the work through unnecessary red tape, but

to ensure that a great breath of spiritual vitality

and inspiration goes out to the friends from their new National

Body. Your Assembly should constantly bear this in mind,

encourage and stimulate the friends in the teaching field,

smooth out difficulties and misunderstandings and hurt feelings

through love, understanding and wisdom, refrain from harsh

measures, and, above all, from over-organization of the affairs

of the Communities. There is a definite tendency of people

everywhere to try and over-administer, so to speak, and the

beloved Guardian points this out to your Assembly during the

very first year of its existence in order to put it on its

guard against this danger, which will stifle the spiritual life

of the Community. You may
|PPg_129

be sure that many, many times he has issued this same warning

to such old and tried National Bodies as that of America,

Germany, England, etc.

(From a letter dated 5 July 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Benelux

countries)

1504. Your Assembly must be very careful not to overload the

Bahá'ís with rules and regulations, circulars and directions.

The purpose of the administration at this time is to blow on

the fire newly kindled in the hearts of these people who have

accepted the Faith, to create in them the desire and capacity

to teach, to facilitate the pioneer and teaching work, and help

deepen the knowledge and understanding of the friends. The

beloved Guardian issues this word of warning, as long

experience has shown that it is a tendency on the part of all

N.S.A.s to over-administer. In their enthusiasm they forget

that they only have a handful of inexperienced souls to guide,

and attempt to deal with their work as if they had a large

population to regulate! This then stifles the spirit of the

friends and the teaching work suffers.

(From a letter dated 15 July 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia)

1505. To facilitate matters and avoid misunderstandings he

prefers to refer you and the individual friends to them. He is

sure that you will obtain full satisfaction by putting the

question to them. The purpose of the Guardian in this is not to

avoid the issue but only to facilitate matters and eliminate

misunderstandings. In all such matters the friends should first

approach the Local, then the National Assembly and only in case

they can obtain no satisfaction should they approach the

Guardian on these matters. This way many difficulties will be

avoided.

(From a letter dated 14 November 1932 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, published in "Baha'i

News" 71 (February 1933), p. 2)

1506. Anything whatsoever affecting the interests of the Cause

and in which the National Assembly as a body is involved

should, if regarded as unsatisfactory by Local Assemblies or

individual believers, be immediately referred to the National

Assembly itself. Neither the general body of the believers, nor

any Local Assembly, nor even the delegates to the Annual

|PPg_130

Convention should be regarded as having any authority to

entertain appeals against the decision of the National

Assembly. Should the matter be referred to the Guardian it will

be his duty to consider it with the utmost care and to decide

whether the issues involved justify him to consider it in

person, or to leave it entirely to the discretion of the

National Assembly.

This administrative principle which the Guardian is now

restating and emphasizing is so clear, so comprehensive and

simple that no misunderstanding as to its application, he

feels, can possibly arise. There are no exceptions whatever to

this rule, and the Guardian would deprecate any attempt to

elaborate or dwell any further upon this fundamental and

clearly-enunciated principle. The problems with which the Faith

is now grappling, whether national or international, are so

pressing and momentous that no one among its loyal adherents

can afford to dissipate his precious energies on details

arising from the application of administrative principles, or

even on the perfecting of the machinery of the administration

itself. Purely secondary matters can be postponed until the

primary tasks are performed.

(From a letter dated 10 September 1934 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States and Canada)

1507. As to your second question relative to the right of a

committee to appeal to the National Spiritual Assembly against

the Local Assembly by which it has been elected, the Guardian

wishes me to inform you that this matter, being of a rather

secondary character involving as it does the application of a

minor administrative regulation, is one for your National

Spiritual Assembly to consider and to decide upon. It is a

matter that should be left to the discretion of your Assembly.

(From a letter dated 14 January 1935 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and

Burma)

1508. When the Local Assembly has given its decision in the

matter, you then have the right to appeal, if you wish, to the

National Spiritual Assembly for further consideration of your

case. But before taking such an action it is your duty as a

loyal and steadfast believer to whole-heartedly and

unreservedly accept the National Spiritual Assembly's request

to enter into joint conference with your Local Assembly. You

should have
|PPg_131

confidence that in obeying the orders of your National Assembly

you will not only succeed in solving your own personal problems

with the friends, but will in addition set a noble example

before them.

Shoghi Effendi hopes, therefore, that you will follow the

advice and guidance of the National Spiritual Assembly,

confident that the final outcome of all these questions will be

full justice to you and to everybody concerned.

(From a letter dated 2 October 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1509. Regarding the matter you mentioned concerning the Chicago

Spiritual Assembly and one of its members: Whenever there is

any infringement of Bahá'í rights, or lapse in the proper

procedure, the friends should take the matter up with the

Assembly concerned, and, if not satisfied, then with the

National Spiritual Assembly. This is both their privilege and

their duty.

(From a letter dated 10 July 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1510. Committees should first take up their problems with the

National Spiritual Assembly and seek to solve them

satisfactorily; if they are dissatisfied they have the right to

appeal to the Guardian himself. The Guardian will then decide

whether it is a matter for him to pronounce upon, or if he will

refer it back to the National body. (From a letter dated 28

March 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi
Effendi to an individual believer)

1511. Appeal can be made from the Local Assembly's decision to

the National Assembly, and from the National Assembly's

decision to the Guardian. But the principle of authority

invested in our elected bodies must be upheld. This is not

something which can be learned without trial and test....

(From a letter dated 30 June 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany and

Austria)

1512. He suggests you let the entire matter of your appeal

drop. Unless a very serious major issue is involved (which he

does not feel is the case this
|PPg_132

time) to drive these subjects home is far more likely to do the

Cause harm than good. There are many mistakes made, but they

are, for the most part, not serious enough to warrant creating

inharmony and raising issues which lead to endless argument and

discussion, wasting time and energy better spent on creative

action. (From a letter dated 8 December 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1513. The friends have every right to appeal to the Australian

National Assembly and express their views that ... be allowed

to teach people of all races as she has been doing; but in the

mean time she should comply with the wishes of the National

Assembly, because all Bahá'ís must learn to live according to

the administrative principles of our Faith. If they don't, they

only undermine the very institutions they are trying to create,

and which we know, carry the solution to the world's problems.

It is often difficult to follow this course, but it is the one

'Abdu'l-Bahá always asked the friends to follow; and obedience,

even when we believe the instruction is not wise, brings in

itself blessings from on high. (From a letter dated 29

November 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an

individual believer)
X. The Spirit and Form of Bahá'í Administration:

1514. The time is indeed ripe for the manifold activities,

wherein the servants and handmaids of Bahá'u'lláh are so

devoutly and earnestly engaged, to be harmonized and conducted

with unity, cooperation and efficiency, that the effect of such

a combined and systematized effort, through which an

All-powerful Spirit is steadily pouring, may transcend every

other achievement of the past, however glorious it has been...

(Shoghi Effendi, "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932", p. 24)

1515. He is constantly yearning for happy news concerning the

spread of the Message and this, he is firmly convinced, depends

mainly on the united and combined efforts of the friends and

the Assemblies. Without unity, co-operation and selfless

service the friends will surely be unable to attain their goal.

How can we possibly increase in number and in strength if we do

not present a united front to those forces, both from without

and within, which threaten to undermine the very edifice of the

Cause? Unity
|PPg_133

is, therefore, the main key to success. And the best way to

ensure and consolidate the organic unity of the Faith is to

strengthen the authority of the Local Assemblies and to bring

them within the full orbit of the National

Assembly's jurisdiction. The National Assembly is the head, and

the Local Assemblies are the various organs of the body of the

Cause. To ensure full co-operation between these various parts

is to safeguard the best interests of the Faith by enabling it

to counteract those forces which threaten to create a breach

within the ranks of the faithful....

(From a letter dated 20 September 1933 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1516. Administrative efficiency and order should always be

accompanied by an equal degree of love, of devotion and of

spiritual development. Both of them are essential and to

attempt to dissociate one from the other is to deaden the body

of the Cause. In these days, when the Faith is still in its

infancy, great care must be taken lest mere administrative

routine stifles the spirit which must feed the body of the

Administration itself. That spirit is its propelling force and

the motivating power of its very life.

But as already emphasized, both the spirit and the form are

essential to the safe and speedy development of the

Administration. To maintain full balance between them is the

main and unique responsibility of the administrators of the

Cause.

(From a letter dated 10 December 1933 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States and Canada)

1517. He fully appreciates the spirit which has prompted you to

abide whole-heartedly and without any hesitation by the

instructions of the National Assembly, and he strongly feels

that your attitude in the whole matter constitutes an example

which the friends will gladly learn to follow. You have

[sacrificed], and must indeed continue to sacrifice, some of

your personal opinions and views regarding the teaching work

for the sake of upholding the authority of the National

Spiritual Assembly. For such a sacrifice on your part does not

involve submission to any individual, but has the effect of

strengthening the authority of the community as a whole as

expressed through the medium of its duly recognized

representatives. We should, indeed, learn to curb our

individualism when we are confronted with problems and issues

affecting the general welfare of the
|PPg_134

Cause. For Bahá'í community life implies a consciousness of

group solidarity strong enough to enable every individual

believer to give up what is essentially personal for the sake

of the common weal. (From a letter dated 31 May 1934 written

on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to two believers)

1518. 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. (In the handwriting

of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter dated

30 July 1941 written on his behalf to the National Spiritual

Assembly of Australia and New Zealand)

1519. Excommunication is a spiritual thing and up until now the

Guardian has always been the one who exerted this power, and he

feels for the present he must continue to be. Only actual

enemies of the Cause are excommunicated. On the other hand,

those who conspicuously disgrace the Faith or refuse to abide

by its laws can be deprived, as a punishment, of their voting

rights; this in itself is a severe action, and he therefore

always urges all National Assemblies (who can take such action)

to first warn and repeatedly warn the evil-doer before taking

the step of depriving him of his voting rights. He feels your

Assembly must act with the greatest wisdom in such matters, and

only impose this sanction if a believer is seriously injuring

the Faith in the eyes of the public through his conduct or

flagrantly breaking the laws of God. If such a sanction were

lightly used the friends would come to attach no importance to

it, or to feel the N.S.A. used it every time they got angry

with some individual's disobedience to them. We must always

remember that, sad and often childish as it seems,

|PPg_135

some of those who make the worst nuisances of themselves to

their National Bodies are often very loyal believers, who think

they are protecting the true interests of their Faith by

attacking N.S.A. decisions!
The Guardian feels very strongly that everywhere,

throughout the entire Bahá'í world, the believers have got to

master and follow the principles of their divinely laid down

Administrative Order. They will never solve their problems by

departing from the correct procedure.... The Bahá'ís have got

to learn to live up to the laws of Bahá'u'lláh, which are

infinitely higher, more exacting and more perfect than those

the world is at present familiar with. Running away, fighting

with each other, fostering dissension, is not going to advance

the Indian or any other Community; all it is going to do is to

bring Bahá'u'lláh's plans and work to a standstill until such

time as the believers unite to serve Him, or new and more

dedicated souls arise to take their place. (From a letter

dated 8 May 1948 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India, Pakistan

and Burma)

1520. It is very unfortunate that some of the believers do not

seem to grasp the fact that the administrative order, the Local

and National Assemblies, are the pattern for the future,

however inadequate they may sometimes seem. We must obey and

support these bodies, for this is the Bahá'í law. Until we

learn to do this we cannot make real progress. Those friends

who believe that the N.S.A. is doing wrong in some matters are,

unconsciously, implying the Guardian does not know what is

going on, which is not true. He watches very carefully over the

various National Assemblies, and never hesitates to intervene

when he considers it necessary. To undermine confidence in the

National Body disrupts the Faith, confuses and alienates the

friends, and prevents the thing the Master desired above all

else, that the Bahá'ís be as one spirit in many bodies, united

and loving.

The Bahá'ís are far from perfect, as individuals or when

they serve on elected bodies, but the system of Bahá'u'lláh is

perfect and gradually the believers will mature and the system

will work better. The watchful eye of the Guardian prevents any

serious errors, and the believers should know this and

co-operate with their Assemblies fully.

(From a letter dated 1 November 1950 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_136

1521. The friends should be helped to overcome their problems,

deepen in the Faith, and increase their unity and their love

for each other. In this way you will find that your work goes

ahead speedily, and that the National Body is like the beating

of a healthy heart in the midst of the Community, pumping

spiritual love, energy and encouragement out to all the

members.

(From a letter dated 30 June 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska)

1522. The National Assembly is the guardian of the welfare of

the Faith, a most sacred and heavy responsibility and one which

is inescapable. They must be ever vigilant, ever on the

look-out, ever ready to take action, and, on all matters of

fundamental principle, refuse to compromise for an instant.

Only in this way can the body of the Faith be free of disease.

(From a letter dated 14 August 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany and

Austria)
Revised July 1990
|PPg_137
1. From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

1523. Behold how in this Dispensation the worthless and foolish

have fondly imagined that by such instruments as massacre,

plunder and banishment they can extinguish the Lamp which the

Hand of Divine power hath lit, or eclipse the Day Star of

everlasting splendor. How utterly unaware they seem to be of

the truth that such adversity is the oil that feedeth the flame

of this Lamp! Such is God's transforming power. He changeth

whatsoever He willeth; He verily hath power over all things....

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh" rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1983), sec. 29, p. 72)

1524. Pay thou no heed to the humiliation to which the loved

ones of God have in this Day been subjected. This humiliation

is the pride and glory of all temporal honor and worldly

elevation. What greater honor can be imagined than the honor

conferred by the Tongue of the Ancient of Days when He calleth

to remembrance His loved ones in His Most Great Prison? The day

is approaching when the intervening clouds will have been

completely dissipated, when the light of the words, "All honor

belongeth unto God and unto them that love Him," will have

appeared, as manifest as the sun, above the horizon of the Will

of the Almighty.

Ere long the world and all that is therein shall be as a

thing forgotten, and all honor shall belong to the loved ones

of thy Lord, the All-Glorious, the Most Bountiful.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec.

140, pp. 305-6)

1525. Say: O people of God! Beware lest the powers of the earth

alarm you, or the might of the nations weaken you, or the

tumult of the people of discord deter you, or the exponents of

earthly glory sadden you. Be ye as a mountain in the Cause of

your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the Unconstrained.

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice"

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), p. 82)
|PPg_138

1526. Say: Beware, O people of Baha, lest the strong ones of

the earth rob you of your strength, or they who rule the world

fill you with fear. Put your trust in God, and commit your

affairs to His keeping. He, verily, will, through the power of

truth, render you victorious, and He, verily, is powerful to do

what He willeth, and in His grasp are the reins of omnipotent

might.

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice" p. 82)

1527. It is incumbent upon all men, each according to his

ability, to refute the arguments of those that have attacked

the Faith of God. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the

All-Powerful, the Almighty. He that wisheth to promote the

Cause of the one true God, let him promote it through his pen

and tongue, rather than have recourse to sword or violence. We

have, on a previous occasion, revealed this injunction, and We

now confirm it, if ye be of them that comprehend. By the

righteousness of Him Who, in this Day, crieth within the inmost

heart of all created things: "God, there is none other God

besides Me!" If any man were to arise to defend, in his

writings, the Cause of God against its assailants, such a man,

however inconsiderable his share, shall be so honored in the

world to come that the Concourse on high would envy his glory.

No pen can depict the loftiness of his station, neither can any

tongue describe its splendour. For whosoever standeth firm and

steadfast in this holy, this glorious, and exalted Revelation,

such power shall be given him as to enable him to face and

withstand all that is in heaven and on earth. Of this God is

Himself a witness.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec.

154, pp. 329-30)

1528. When the victory arriveth, every man shall profess

himself as believer and shall hasten to the shelter of God's

Faith. Happy are they who in the days of world-encompassing

trials have stood fast in the Cause and refused to swerve from

its truth. ("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec.

150, p. 319)
II. From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

1529. ...The darkness of error that has enveloped the East and

West is, in this most great cycle, battling with the light of

Divine Guidance. Its swords and its spears are very sharp and

pointed; its army keenly bloodthirsty.
|PPg_139
Extracts on Opposition

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", p. 6)

1530. This day the powers of all the leaders of religion are

directed towards the dispersion of the congregation of the

All-Merciful, and the shattering of the Divine Edifice. The

hosts of the world, whether material, cultural or political are

from every side launching their assault, for the Cause is

great, very great. Its greatness is, in this day, clear and

manifest to men's eyes.

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", p. 6)

1531. ...How great, how very great is the Cause! How very

fierce the onslaught of all the peoples and kindreds of the

earth. Ere long shall the clamor of the multitude throughout

Africa, throughout America, the cry of the European and of the

Turk, the groaning of India and China, be heard from far and

near. One and all, they shall arise with all their power to

resist His Cause. Then shall the knights of the Lord, assisted

by His grace from on high, strengthened by faith, aided by the

power of understanding, and reinforced by the legions of the

Covenant, arise and make manifest the truth of the verse:

"Behold the confusion that hath befallen the tribes of the

defeated!" (Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The World Order of

Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters", rev. ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 17)

1532. The prestige of the Faith of God has immensely increased.

Its greatness is now manifest. The day is approaching when it

will have cast a tremendous tumult in men's hearts. Rejoice,

therefore, O denizens of America, rejoice with exceeding

gladness!

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi,'The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh:

Selected Letters", p. 79)

1533. O ye beloved of God! When the winds blow severely, rains

fall fiercely, the lightning flashes, the thunder roars, the

bolt descends and storms of trial become severe, grieve not;

for after this storm, verily, the divine spring will arrive,

the hills and fields will become verdant, the expanses of grain

will joyfully wave, the earth will become covered with

blossoms, the trees will be clothed with green garments and

adorned with blossoms and fruits. Thus blessings become

manifest in all countries. These favours are results of those

storms and hurricanes.
|PPg_140

Therefore, O ye beloved of God, be not grieved when people

stand against you, persecute you, afflict and trouble you and

say all manner of evil against you. The darkness will pass away

and the light of the manifest signs will appear, the veil will

be withdrawn and the Light of Reality will shine forth from the

unseen [Kingdom] of El-Abha. This we inform you before it

occurs, so that when the hosts of people arise against you for

my love, be not disturbed or troubled; nay rather, be firm as a

mountain, for this persecution and reviling of the people upon

you is a pre-ordained matter. Blessed is the should who is firm

in the path!

('Abdu'l-Bahá, "Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas", voL I (Chicago:

Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1930), pp. 12-14)

1534. ...a large multitude of people will arise against you,

showing oppression, expressing contumely and derision, shunning

your society, and heaping upon you ridicule. However, the

Heavenly Father will illumine you to such an extent that, like

unto the rays of the sun, you shall scatter the dark clouds of

superstition, shine gloriously in the midst of Heaven and

illumine the face of the earth. You must make firm the feet at

the time when these trials transpire, and demonstrate

forbearance and patience. You must withstand them with the

utmost love and kindness; consider their oppression and

persecution as the caprice of children, and do not give any

importance to whatever they do. For at the end the illumination

of the Kingdom will overwhelm the darkness of the world and the

exaltation and grandeur of your station will become apparent

and manifest...

(From a Tablet to an individual believer, published in "Baha'i

News" 10 (September 1910), pp. 1-2)
III. From the Writings of Shoghi Effendi:

1535. I am however assured and sustained by the conviction,

never dimmed in my mind, that whatsoever comes to pass in the

Cause of God, however disquieting in its immediate effects, is fraught with

infinite Wisdom and tends ultimately to promote

its interests in the world. Indeed, our experiences of the

distant past, as well as of recent events, are too numerous and

varied too permit of any misgiving or doubt as to the truth

|PPg_141

of this basic principle--a principle which throughout the

vicissitudes of our sacred mission in this world we must never

disregard or forget.

(From a letter dated 23 December 1922 to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States and Canada, published in

"Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932" [rev. ed.],

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980),
p.27)

1536. That the Cause of God should in the days to come witness

many a challenging hour and pass through critical stages in

preparation for the glories of its promised ascendancy in the

New World has been time and again undeniably affirmed by our

departed Master, and is abundantly proved to us all by its

heroic past and turbulent history....

(From America, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932", pp. 60-61)

1537. We cannot believe that as the Movement grows in strength,

in authority and in influence, the perplexities and the

sufferings it has had to contend with in the past will

correspondingly decrease and vanish. Nay, as it grows from

strength to strength, the fanatical defendants of the

strongholds of Orthodoxy, whatever be their denomination,

realizing the penetrating influence of this growing Faith, will

arise and strain every nerve to extinguish its light and

discredit its name. For has not our beloved 'Abdu'l-Bahá sent

forth His glowing prophecy from behind the prison walls of the

citadel of 'Akka--words so significant in their forecast of the

coming world turmoil, yet so rich in their promise of eventual

victory...

Dearly-beloved friends, upon us devolves the supreme

obligation to stand by His side, to fight His battles and to

win His victory. May we prove ourselves worthy of this trust.

(From a letter dated 12 February 1927 to the Bahá'ís of the

West, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932"), p. 123)

1538. Viewed in the light of past experience, the inevitable

result of such futile attempts, however persistent and

malicious they may be, is to contribute to a wider and deeper

recognition by believers and unbelievers alike of the

distinguishing features of the Faith proclaimed by

|PPg_142

Bahá'u'lláh. These challenging criticisms, whether or not

dictated by malice, cannot but serve to galvanize the souls of

its ardent supporters, and to consolidate the ranks of its

faithful promoters. They will purge the Faith from those

pernicious elements whose continued association with the

believers tends to discredit the fair name of the Cause, and to

tarnish the purity of its spirit. We should welcome, therefore,

not only the open attacks which its avowed enemies persistently

launch against it, but should also view as a blessing in

disguise every storm of mischief with which they who apostatize

their faith or claim to be its faithful exponents assail it

from time to time. Instead of undermining the Faith, such

assaults, both from within and from without, reinforce its

foundations, and excite the intensity of its flame. Designed to

becloud its radiance, they proclaim to all the world the

exalted character of its precepts, the completeness of its

unity, the uniqueness of its position, and the pervasiveness of

its influence.

(From a letter dated 21 March 1930 to the Bahá'ís of the West,

published in "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected

Letters",
pp. 15-16)

1539. For let every earnest upholder of the Cause of

Bahá'u'lláh realize that the storms which this struggling Faith

of God must needs encounter, as the process of the

disintegration of society advances, shall be fiercer than any

which it has already experienced. Let him be aware that so soon

as the full measure of the stupendous claim of the Faith of

Bahá'u'lláh becomes to be recognized by those time-honoured and

powerful strongholds of orthodoxy, whose deliberate aim is to

maintain their stranglehold over the thoughts and consciences

of men, that this infant Faith will have to contend with

enemies more powerful and more insidious than the cruellest

torture-mongers and the most fanatical clerics who have

afflicted it in the past. What foes may not in the course of

the convulsions that shall seize a dying civilization be

brought into existence, who will reinforce the indignities

which have already been heaped upon it!

(From a letter dated 21 March 1930 to the Bahá'ís of the West,

published in "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected

Letters", p. 17)

1540. We have only to refer to the warnings uttered

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in order to realize the extent and character of

the forces that are destined to contest with God's holy

Faith....
|PPg_143

Stupendous as is the struggle which His words foreshadow,

they also testify to the complete victory which the upholders

of the Greatest Name are destined eventually to achieve.

Peoples, nations, adherents of divers faiths, will jointly and successively

arise to shatter its unity, to sap its force, and

to degrade its holy name. They will assail not only the spirit

which it inculcates, but the administration which is the

channel, the instrument, the embodiment of that spirit. For as

the authority with which Bahá'u'lláh has invested the future

Bahá'í Commonwealth becomes more and more apparent, the fiercer

shall be the challenge which from every quarter will be thrown

at the verities it enshrines.

(From a letter dated 21 March 1930 to the Bahá'ís of the West,

published in "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected

Letters",
pp. 17-18)

1541. Fierce as may seem the onslaught of the forces of

darkness that may still afflict this Cause, desperate and

prolonged as may be that struggle, severe as may be the

disappointments it may still experience, the ascendancy it will

eventually obtain will be such as no other Faith has ever in

its history achieved....

Who knows but that triumphs, unsurpassed in splendour, are

not in store for the mass of Bahá'u'lláh's toiling followers?

Surely, we stand too near the colossal edifice His hand has

reared to be able, at the present stage of the evolution of His

Revelation, to claim to be able even to conceive the full

measure of its promised glory. Its past history, stained by the

blood of countless martyrs, may well inspire us with the

thought that, whatever may yet befall this Cause, however

formidable the forces that may still assail it, however

numerous the reverses it will inevitably suffer, its onward

march can never be stayed, and that it will continue to advance

until the very last promise, enshrined within the words of

Bahá'u'lláh, shall have been completely redeemed.

(From the Epilogue to "The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil's Narrative of

the Early Days of the Bahá'í Revelation", trans. and ed.

Shoghi Effendi. (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1975), pp.

667-668)

1542. The separation that has set in between the institutions

of the Bahá'í Faith and the Islamic ecclesiastical

organizations that oppose it--a movement that has originated in

Egypt and is now spreading steadily throughout the Middle East,

and will in time communicate its influence
|PPg_144

to the West--imposes upon every loyal upholder of the Cause the

obligation of refraining from any word or action that might

prejudice the position which our enemies have, in recent years

and of their own accord, proclaimed and established.... Our

adversaries in the East have initiated the struggle. Our future

opponents in the West will, in their turn, arise and carry it a

stage further. Ours is the duty, in anticipation of this

inevitable contest, to uphold unequivocally and with undivided

loyalty the integrity of our Faith and demonstrate the

distinguishing features of its divinely appointed institutions.

(In the hand writing of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 15 June 1935 written on his behalf of the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published

in "Bahá'í News" 95 (October 1935), p. 2)

1543. That the forces of irreligion, of a purely materialistic

philosophy, of unconcealed paganism have been unloosed, are now

spreading, and, by consolidating themselves, are beginning to

invade some of the most powerful Christian institutions of the

western world, no unbiased observer can fail to admit. That

these institutions are becoming increasingly restive, that a

few among them are already dimly aware of the pervasive

influence of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, that they will, as their

inherent strength deteriorates and their discipline relaxes,

regard with deepening dismay the rise of His New World Order,

and will gradually determine to assail it, that such an

opposition will in turn accelerate their decline, few, if any,

among those who are attentively watching the progress of His

Faith would be inclined to question. (From a letter dated 11

March 1936 to the Bahá'ís of the West, published in "The World

Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters", pp. 180-81)

1544. Fierce and manifold will be the assaults with which

governments, races, classes and religions, jealous of its

rising prestige and fearful of its consolidating strength, will

seek to silence its voice and sap its foundations. Unmoved by

the relative obscurity that surrounds it at the present time,

and undaunted by the forces that will be arrayed against it in

the future, this community, I cannot but feel confident, will,

no matter how afflictive the agonies of a travailing age,

pursue its destiny, undeflected in its course, undimmed in its

serenity, unyielding in its resolve, unshaken in its

convictions.
|PPg_145

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 5 July 1938 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published

in "Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams

Addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America 1932-1946" (Wilmette:

Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1947) p. 14)

1545. The resistless march of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh ...

propelled by the stimulating influences which the unwisdom of

its enemies and the force latent within itself both engender,

resolves itself into a series of rhythmic pulsations,

precipitated, on the one hand. through the explosive outbursts

of its foes, and the vibrations of Divine Power, on the other,

which speed it, with ever-increasing momentum, along that

predestined course traced for it by the Hand of the Almighty.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 12 August 1941 written on his behalf to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States and Canada, published

in "Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams

Addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America 1932-1946", p. 51)

1546. How can the beginnings of a world upheaval, unleashing

forces that are so gravely deranging the social, the religious,

the political, and the economic equilibrium of organized

society, throwing into chaos and confusion political systems,

racial doctrines, social conceptions, cultural standards,

religious associations, and trade relationships--how can such

agitations, on a scale so vast, so unprecedented, fail to

produce any repercussions on the institutions of a Faith of

such tender age whose teachings have a direct and vital bearing

on each of these spheres of human life and conduct?

Little wonder, therefore, if they who are holding aloft the

banner of so pervasive a Faith, so challenging a Cause, find

themselves affected by the impact of these world-shaking

forces. Little wonder if they find that in the midst of this

whirlpool of contending passions their freedom has been

curtailed, their tenets contemned, their institutions

assaulted, their motives maligned, their authority jeopardized,

their claim rejected.

(From a letter dated 25 December 1938 to the Bahá'ís of the

United States and Canada, published in "The Advent of Divine

Justice", pp. 2-3)
|PPg_146

1547. Let not, however, the invincible army of Bahá'u'lláh, who

in the West, and at one of its potential storm-centres is to

fight, in His name and for His sake, one of its fiercest and

most glorious battles, be afraid of any criticism that might be

directed against it. Let it not be deterred by any condemnation

with which the tongue of the slanderer may seek to debase its

motives. Let it not recoil before the threatening advance of

the forces of fanaticism, of orthodoxy, of corruption, and of

prejudice that may be leagued against it. The voice of

criticism is a voice that indirectly reinforces the

proclamation of its Cause. Unpopularity but serves to throw

into greater relief the contrast between it and its

adversaries, while ostracism is itself the magnetic power that

must eventually win over to its camp the most vociferous and

inveterate amongst its foes....

(From a letter dated 25 December 1938 to the Bahá'ís of the

United States and Canada, published in "The Advent of Divine

Justice", p. 42)

1548. We can discover a no less distinct gradation in the

character of the opposition it has had to encounter--... an

opposition which, now, through the rise of a divinely appointed

Order in the Christian West, and its initial impact on civil

and ecclesiastical institutions, bids fair to include among its

supporters established governments and systems associated with

the most ancient, the most deeply entrenched sacerdotal hierarchies in

Christendom. We can, at the same time,

recognize, through the haze of an ever-widening hostility, the

progress, painful yet persistent, of certain communities within

its pale through the stages of obscurity, of proscription, of

emancipation, and of recognition--stages that must needs

culminate in the course of succeeding centuries, in the

establishment of the Faith, and the founding, in the plenitude

of its power and authority, of the world-embracing Baha'i

Commonwealth....

("God Passes By", rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust,

1987), Foreword p. xvii)

1549. Nor should a survey of the outstanding features of so

blessed and fruitful a ministry omit mention of the prophecies

which the unerring pen of the appointed Center of Bahá'u'lláh's

Covenant has recorded. These foreshadow the fierceness of the

onslaught that the resistless march of the Faith must provoke

in the West, in India and in the Far East when it meets the

time-honored sacerdotal orders of the Christian, the

|PPg_147

Buddhist and Hindu religions. They foreshadow the turmoil which

its emancipation from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will

cast in the American, the European, the Asiatic and African

continents....
("God Passes By", p. 315)

1550. Despite the blows leveled at its nascent strength,

whether by the wielders of temporal and spiritual authority

from without, or by black-hearted foes from within, the Faith

of Bahá'u'lláh had, far from breaking or bending, gone from

strength to strength, from victory to victory. Indeed its

history, if read aright, may be said to resolve itself into a

series of pulsations, of alternating crisis and triumphs,

leading it ever nearer to its divinely appointed destiny....

("God Passes By", p. 409

1551. The tribulations attending the progressive unfoldment of

the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have indeed been such as to exceed in

gravity those from which the religions of the past have

suffered.

Unlike those religions, however, these tribulations have failed

utterly to impair its unity, or to create, even temporarily, a

breach in the ranks of its adherents. It has not only survived

these ordeals, but has emerged, purified and inviolate, endowed

with greater capacity to face and surmount any crisis which its

resistless march may engender in the future.
("God Passes By", p. 410)

1552. Whatever may befall this infant Faith of God in future

decades or in succeeding centuries, whatever the sorrows,

dangers and tribulations which the next stage in its world-wide

development may engender, from whatever quarter the assaults to be

launched by its present or future adversaries may be

unleashed against it, however great the reverses and setbacks

it may suffer, we, who have been privileged to apprehend, to

the degree our finite minds can fathom, the significance of

these marvelous phenomena associated with its rise and

establishment, can harbor no doubt that what it has already

achieved in the first hundred years of its life provides

sufficient guarantee that it will continue to forge ahead,

capturing loftier heights, tearing down every obstacle, opening

up new horizons and winning still mightier victories until its

glorious mission, stretching into the dim ranges of time that

lie ahead, is totally fulfilled.
|PPg_148
("God Passes By", p. 412)

1553. No opportunity, in view of the necessity of ensuring the

harmonious development of the Faith, should be ignored, which

its potential enemies, whether ecclesiastical or otherwise, may

offer, to set forth, in a restrained and unprovocative

language, its aims and tenets, to defend its interests, to

proclaim its universality, to assert the supernatural, the

supranational and non-political character of its institutions,

and its acceptance of the Divine origin of the Faiths which

have preceded it....

(From a letter dated 5 June 1947 to the Bahá'ís of the West,

published in "Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957"

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), p. 23)

1554. Indeed this fresh ordeal that has, in pursuance of the

mysterious dispensations of Providence, afflicted the Faith at

this unexpected hour, far from dealing a fatal blow to its

institutions or existence, should be regarded as a blessing in

disguise, not a "calamity" but a "providence" of God, not a

devastating flood but a "gentle rain" on a "green pasture", a

"wick" and "oil" unto the "lamp" of His Faith, a "nurture" for

His Cause, "water for that which has been planted in the hearts

of men", a "crown set on the head" of His Messenger for this

Day. (In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a

letter dated 20 August 1955 written on his behalf to the

National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, published in

"Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957", p. 139)

IV. From Letters Written on Behalf of Shoghi Effendi

1555. ...when the very progress of the Cause on the one hand,

and the corresponding decline in ecclesiastical organizations

on the other will inevitably incite Christian ecclesiastical

leaders to vehemently oppose and undermine the Faith, the

believers will then have a real chance to defend and vindicate

the Cause.... (From a letter dated 25 May 1938 to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

1556. The matter of refuting attacks and criticisms directed

against the Cause through the press is, he feels, one which

devolves on the National Spiritual Assembly to consider. This

body, whether directly or through
|PPg_149

the agency of its committees, should decide as to the

advisability of answering any such attacks, and also should

carefully examine and pass upon any statements which the

friends wish to send to the press to this effect. Only through

such supervision and control of all Bahá'í press activities can

the friends hope to avoid confusion and misunderstanding in

their own minds and in the mind of the general public whom they

can reach through the press.

The Guardian would advise, therefore, that henceforth you

seek the guidance and approval of the National Spiritual

Assembly in all your attempts to refute the criticisms of the

enemies of the Cause, as there are certain cases when it is an

absolute loss of time and energy, and even perhaps positively

harmful, to counteract such attacks, which often lead to

interminable and fruitless controversies. The National

Spiritual Assembly can best advise you as to what action to

take in such matters.

(From a letter dated 28 September 1938 to an individual

believer)

1557. The friends . . . should not feel bewildered, for they

have the assurance of Bahá'u'lláh that whatever the nature and

character of the forces of opposition facing His Cause, its

eventual triumph is indubitably certain. (From a letter dated

30 August 1937 to an individual believer)

1558. We have every reason to hope and believe that in the

future many of the truly enlightened clergy may seek the

shelter of Bahá'u'lláh, just as we feel certain that we may

also expect at some future date a keen antagonism to our Faith

on the part of those who do not see in it the salvation of the

world, but rather challenge to their own fame and position.

(From a letter dated 6 July 1942 to a group of believers)

1559. It seems both strange and pitiful that the Church and

clergy should always, in every age, be the most bitter

opponents of the very Truth they are continually admonishing

their followers to be prepared to receive! They have become so

violently attached to the form that the substance itself eludes

them!

However, such denunciations as those your minister made

publicly against you and the Bahá'í Faith can do no harm to the

Cause at all; on
|PPg_150

the contrary they only serve to spread its name abroad and mark

it as an independent religion.

(From a letter dated 7 February 1945 to an individual believer)

1560. Although this may temporarily prove an embarrassment to

your work, and a set-back, there is no doubt that it signalizes

a step forward in the advance of the Faith; for we know that

our beloved Faith must eventually clash with the entrenched

orthodoxies of the past; and that this conflict cannot but lead

to greater victories, and to ultimate emancipation, recognition

and ascendancy.

(From a letter dated 8 April 1951 to two believers)

1561. We are bound to meet with increasing opposition from

Church-dominated countries, but our counter-moves must be

carefully undertaken. He would like you to always consult him

in matters which bring the Faith before government or Church

bodies in cases of this kind.

(From a letter dated 23 November 1951 to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States)
|PPg_151
PEACE
August 1985
Compiled by: The Research Department
of the Universal House of Justice
Extracts from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

1562. This is the Day in which God's most excellent favours

have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty

grace hath been infused into all created things. It is

incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their

differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath

the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It

behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be

conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the

promotion of their best interests.... ("Gleanings from the

Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1983), p. 6)

1563. God's purpose in sending His Prophets unto men is

twofold. The first is to liberate the children of men from the

darkness of ignorance, and guide them to the light of true

understanding. The second is to ensure the peace and

tranquillity of mankind, and provide all the means by which

they can be established. ("Gleanings from the Writings of

Bahá'u'lláh" pp. 79-80)

1564. O ye that dwell on earth! The distinguishing feature that

marketh the preeminent character of this Supreme Revelation

consisteth in that We have ... laid down the essential

prerequisites of concord, of understanding, of complete and

enduring unity. Well is it with them that keep My statutes.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", p. 97)

1565. The Great Being, wishing to reveal the prerequisites of

the peace and tranquillity of the world and the advancement of

its peoples, hath written: The time must come when the

imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an

all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized.

The
|PPg_152

rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and,

participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and

means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great Peace

amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers

should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples

of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should

any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly

arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the

world will no longer require any armaments, except for the

purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of

maintaining internal order within their territories. This will

ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and

nation. We fain would hope that the kings and rulers of the

earth, the mirrors of the gracious and almighty name of God,

may attain unto this station, and shield mankind from the

onslaught of tyranny....The day is approaching when all the

peoples of the world will have adopted one universal language

and one common script. When this is achieved, to whatsoever

city a man may journey, it shall be as if he were entering his

own home. These things are obligatory and absolutely essential.

It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding to

strive to translate that which hath been written into reality

and action.... That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth

himself to the service of the entire human race. The Great

Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote

the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. In

another passage He hath proclaimed: It is not for him to pride

himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who

loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and

mankind its citizens.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", pp. 249-250)

1566. O ye rulers of the earth! Wherefore have ye clouded the

radiance of the Sun, and caused it to cease from shining?

Hearken unto the counsel given you by the Pen of the Most High,

that haply both ye and the poor may attain unto tranquillity

and peace. We beseech God to assist the kings of the earth to

establish peace on earth. He, verily, doth what He willeth. O

kings of the earth! We see you increasing every year your

expenditures, and laying the burden thereof on your subjects.

This, verily, is wholly and grossly unjust. Fear the sighs and

tears of this Wronged One, and lay not excessive burdens on

your peoples. Do not rob them to rear palaces for yourselves; nay rather

choose for them that which ye choose
|PPg_153

for yourselves. Thus We unfold to your eyes that which

profiteth you, if ye but perceive. Your people are your

treasures. Beware lest your rule violate the commandments of

God, and ye deliver your wards to the hands of the robber. By

them ye rule, by their means ye subsist, by their aid ye

conquer. Yet, how disdainfully ye look upon them! How strange,

how very strange!

Now that ye have refused the Most Great Peace, hold ye fast

unto this, the Lesser Peace, that haply ye may in some degree

better your own condition and that of your dependents. O rulers

of the earth! Be reconciled among yourselves, that ye may need

no more armaments save in a measure to safeguard your

territories and dominions. Beware lest ye disregard the counsel

of the All-Knowing, the Faithful. Be united, O kings of the

earth, for thereby will the tempest of discord be stilled

amongst you, and your peoples find rest, if ye be of them that

comprehend. Should any one among you take up arms against

another, rise ye all against him, for this is naught but

manifest justice.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh" pp. 253-254)

1567. The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are

unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.

This unity can never be achieved so long as the counsels which

the Pen of the Most High hath revealed are suffered to pass

unheeded.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", p. 286)

1568. We pray God--exalted be His glory--and cherish the hope

that He may graciously assist the manifestations of affluence

and power and the daysprings of sovereignty and glory, the

kings of the earth--may God aid them through His strengthening

grace--to establish the Lesser Peace. This, indeed, is the

greatest means for ensuring the tranquillity of the nations. It

is incumbent upon the Sovereigns of the world--may God assist

them--unitedly to hold fast unto this Peace, which is the chief

instrument for the protection of all mankind. It is Our hope

that they will arise to achieve what will be conducive to the

well-being of man. It is their duty to convene an all-inclusive

assembly, which either they themselves or their ministers will

attend, and to enforce whatever measures are required to

establish unity and concord amongst men. They must put

|PPg_154

away the weapons of war, and turn to the instruments of

universal reconstruction. Should one king rise up against

another, all the other kings must arise to deter him. Arms and

armaments will, then, be no more needed beyond that which is

necessary to ensure the internal security of their respective

countries. If they attain unto this all-surpassing blessing,

the people of each nation will pursue, with tranquillity and

contentment, their own occupations, and the groanings and

lamentations of most men would be silenced. We beseech God to

aid them to do His will and pleasure. He, verily, is the Lord

of the throne on high and of earth below, and the Lord of this

world and of the world to come. It would be preferable and more

fitting that the highly-honoured kings themselves should attend

such an assembly, and proclaim their edicts. Any king who will

arise and carry out this task, he, verily will, in the sight of

God, become the cynosure of all kings. Happy is he, and great

is his blessedness!

("Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1988), pp. 30-31)

1569. The sixth Glad-Tidings is the establishment of the Lesser

Peace, details of which have formerly been revealed from Our

Most Exalted Pen. Great is the blessedness of him who upholdeth it and

observeth whatsoever hath been ordained by God, the

All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas",

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1988), p.23)

1570. ... In all matters moderation is desirable. If a thing is

carried to excess, it will prove a source of evil. Consider the

civilization of the West, how it hath agitated and alarmed the

peoples of the world. An infernal engine hath been devised, and

hath proved so cruel a weapon of destruction that its like none

hath ever witnessed or heard. The purging of such deeply-rooted

and overwhelming corruptions cannot be effected unless the

peoples of the world unite in pursuit of one common aim and

embrace one universal faith. Incline your ears unto the Call of

this Wronged One and adhere firmly to the Lesser Peace.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.

69)

1571. First: It is incumbent upon the ministers of the House of

Justice to promote the Lesser Peace so that the people of the

earth may be relieved
|PPg_155

from the burden of exorbitant expenditures. This matter is

imperative and absolutely essential, inasmuch as hostilities

and conflict lie at the root of affliction and calamity.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.

89)

1572. In the abundance of Our grace and loving-kindness We have

revealed specially for the rulers and ministers of the world

that which is conducive to safety and protection, tranquillity and peace;

haply the children of men may rest secure from the

evils of oppression. He, verily, is the Protector, the Helper,

the Giver of victory. It is incumbent upon the men of God's

House of Justice to fix their gaze by day and by night upon

that which hath shone forth from the Pen of Glory for the

training of peoples, the upbuilding of nations, the protection

of man and the safeguarding of his honour.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.

125)

1573. ... They that are possessed of wealth and invested with

authority and power must show the profoundest regard for

religion. In truth, religion is a radiant light and an

impregnable stronghold for the protection and welfare of the

peoples of the world, for the fear of God impelleth man to hold

fast to that which is good, and shun all evil. Should the lamp

of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and

the lights of fairness and justice, of tranquillity and peace

cease to shine. Unto this will bear witness every man of true

understanding.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.

125)

1574. We have enjoined upon all mankind to establish the Most

Great Peace --the surest of all means for the protection of

humanity. The sovereigns of the world should, with one accord,

hold fast thereunto, for this is the supreme instrument that

can ensure the security and welfare of all peoples and nations.

They, verily, are the manifestations of the power of God and

the daysprings of His authority. We beseech the Almighty that

He may graciously assist them in that which is conducive to the

well-being of their subjects. A full explanation regarding this

matter hath been previously set forth by the Pen of Glory; well

is it with them that act accordingly. ("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh

revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.
126)
|PPg_156

1575. The purpose of religion as revealed from the heaven of

God's holy Will is to establish unity and concord amongst the

peoples of the world; make it not the cause of dissension and

strife. The religion of God and His divine law are the most

potent instruments and the surest of all means for the dawning

of the light of unity amongst men. The progress of the world,

the development of nations, the tranquillity of peoples, and

the peace of all who dwell on earth are among the principles

and ordinances of God. Religion bestoweth upon man the most

precious of all gifts, offereth the cup of prosperity,

imparteth eternal life, and showereth imperishable benefits

upon mankind. It behoveth the chiefs and rulers of the world,

and in particular the Trustees of God's House of Justice, to

endeavour to the utmost of their power to safeguard its position,

promote its interests and exalt its station in the

eyes of the world. In like manner it is incumbent upon them to

enquire into the conditions of their subjects and to acquaint

themselves with the affairs and activities of the divers

communities in their dominions. We call upon the manifestations

of the power of God--the sovereigns and rulers on earth--to

bestir themselves and do all in their power that haply they may

banish discord from this world and illumine it with the light

of concord.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pp.

129-130)

1576. Our hope is that the world's religious leaders and the

rulers thereof will unitedly arise for the reformation of this

age and the rehabilitation of its fortunes. Let them, after

meditating on its needs, take counsel together and, through

anxious and full deliberation, administer to a diseased and

sorely-afflicted world the remedy it requireth.

The Great Being saith: The heaven of divine wisdom is

illumined with the two luminaries of consultation and

compassion. Take ye counsel together in all matters, inasmuch

as consultation is the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way,

and is the bestower of understanding.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p.

168)

1577. Take ye counsel together, and let your concern be only

for that which profiteth mankind and bettereth the condition

thereof ... Regard the world as the human body which, though

created whole and perfect, has been afflicted, through divers

causes, with grave ills and maladies. Not for one day did it

rest, nay its sicknesses waxed more severe, as it fell under

the treatment of unskilled physicians who have
|PPg_157

spurred on the steed of their worldly desires and have erred

grievously. And if at one time, through the care of an able

physician, a member of that body was healed, the rest remained

afflicted as before. Thus informeth you the All-Knowing, the

All-Wise.... That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign

remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the

world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause,

one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved except

through the power of a skilled, an all powerful and inspired

Physician. This verily is the truth, and all else naught but

error.

Consider these days in which the Ancient Beauty, He Who is

the Most Great Name, hath been sent down to regenerate and

unify mankind. Behold how with drawn swords they rose against

Him, and committed that which caused the Faithful Spirit to

tremble. And whenever We said unto them: 'Lo, the World

Reformer is come,' they made reply: 'He, in truth, is one of

the stirrers ofmischief' ...

(Extracts from the Tablet to Queen Victoria, cited in Shoghi

Effendi, "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters",

rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982), pp. 39-40;

p. 163)
Extracts from the Utterances of Bahá'u'lláh:

1578. ... Praise be to God that thou hast attained!... Thou

hast come to see a prisoner and an exile.... We desire but the good

of the world and happiness of the nations; yet they deem us a

stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and

banishment.... That all nations should become one in faith and

all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity

between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity

of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled--what

harm is there in this?... Yet so it shall be; these

fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the

"Most Great Peace" shall come.... Do not you in Europe need this

also? Is not this that which Christ foretold?... Yet do we see

your kings and rulers lavishing their treasures more freely on

means for the destruction of the human race than on that which

would conduce to the happiness of mankind.... These strifes and

this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one

kindred and one family.... Let not a man glory in this, that he

loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves

his kind....

(Words spoken. to E. G. Browne, from his pen portrait of

Bahá'u'lláh, J. E. Esslemont, "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era",

5th rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987), pp.

39-40)
|PPg_158
Extracts from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

1579. Know thou that all the powers combined have not the power

to establish universal peace, nor to withstand the

overmastering dominion, at every time and season, of these

endless wars. Ere long, however, shall the power of heaven, the

dominion of the Holy Spirit, hoist on the high summits the

banners of love and peace, and there above the castles of

majesty and might shall those banners wave in the rushing winds

that blow out of the tender mercy of God.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", [rev. ed.]

(Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), p. 174)

1580. Rest thou assured that in this era of the spirit, the

Kingdom of Peace will raise up its tabernacle on the summits of

the world, and the commandments of the Prince of Peace will so

dominate the arteries and nerves of every people as to draw

into

His sheltering shade all the nations on earth. From springs of

love and truth and unity will the true Shepherd give His sheep

to drink.

O handmaid of God, peace must first be established among

individuals, until it leadeth in the end to peace among

nations. Wherefore, O ye Baha'is, strive ye with all your might

to create, through the power of the Word of God, genuine love,

spiritual communion and durable bonds among individuals. This

is your task. ("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá",

p. 246)

1581. So long as these prejudices [religious, racial, national,

political] survive, there will be continuous and fearsome wars.

To remedy this condition there must be universal peace. To

bring this about, a Supreme Tribunal must be established,

representative of all governments and peoples; questions both

national and international must be referred thereto, and all

must carry out the decrees of this Tribunal. Should any

government or people disobey, let the whole world arise against

that government or people.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", p. 249)

1582. At present universal peace is a matter of great

importance, but unity of conscience is essential, so that the

foundation of this matter may become secure, its establishment

firm and its edifice strong.
|PPg_159

Therefore Bahá'u'lláh, fifty years ago, expounded this

question of universal peace at a time when He was confined in

the fortress of 'Akka and was wronged and imprisoned.... Among

His teachings was the declaration of universal peace....the

teachings of Bahá'u'lláh were not limited to the establishment

of universal peace. They embraced many teachings which

supplemented and supported that of universal peace.

. . .

In fine, such teachings are numerous. These manifold

principles, which constitute the greatest basis for the

felicity of mankind and are of the bounties of the Merciful,

must be added to the matter of universal peace and combined

with it, so that results may accrue. Otherwise the realization

of universal peace by itself in the world of mankind is

difficult. As the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are combined with

universal peace, they are like a table provided with every kind

of fresh and delicious food. Every soul can find, at that table

of infinite bounty, that which he desires. If the question is

restricted to universal peace alone, the remarkable results

which are expected and desired will not be attained. The scope

of universal peace must be such that all the communities and

religions may find their highest wish realized in it. The

teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are such that all the communities of

the world, whether religious, political or ethical, ancient or

modern, find in them the expression of their highest wish. For

example, the question of universal peace, about which

Bahá'u'lláh says that the Supreme Tribunal must be established:

although the League of Nations has been brought into existence, yet it is

incapable of establishing universal peace. But the

Supreme Tribunal which Bahá'u'lláh has described will fulfil

this sacred task with the utmost might and power. And His plan

is this: that the national assemblies of each country and

nation--that is to say parliaments--should elect two or three

persons who are the choicest of that nation, and are well

informed concerning international laws and the relations

between governments and aware of the essential needs of the

world of humanity in this day. The number of these

representatives should be in proportion to the number of

inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who

are chosen by the national assembly, that is, the parliament,

must be confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the

cabinet and also by the president
|PPg_160

or monarch so these persons may be the elected ones of all the

nation and the government. The Supreme Tribunal will be

composed of these people, and all mankind will thus have a

share therein, for every one of these delegates is fully

representative of his nation.[1] When the Supreme Tribunal gives

a ruling on any international question, either unanimously or

by majority rule, there will no longer be any pretext for the

plaintiff or ground of objection for the defendant. In case any

of the governments or nations, in the execution of the

irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or

dilatory, the rest of the nations will rise up against it,

because all the governments and nations of the world are the

supporters of this Supreme Tribunal. Consider what a firm

foundation this is! But by a limited and restricted League the

purpose will not be realized as it ought and should. This is

the truth about the situation, which has been stated....

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", pp. 297-298,

p. 304, pp. 306-307)

1583. True civilization will unfurl its banner in the midmost

heart of the world whenever a certain number of its

distinguished and high-minded sovereigns--the shining exemplars

of devotion and determination-- shall, for the good and

happiness of all mankind, arise, with firm resolve and clear

vision, to establish the Cause of Universal Peace. They must

make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and

seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the

nations of the world. They must conclude a binding treaty and

establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound,

inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it to all the world

and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race. This

supreme and noble undertaking--the real source of the peace and

well-being of all the world--should be regarded as sacred by

all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be

mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most

Great Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the limits and

frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the

principles underlying the relations of governments towards one

another definitely laid down, and all international agreements

and obligations ascertained. In like manner,
____

[1] The translation of this sentence has been revised since

the publication of "Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá".

|PPg_161

the size of the armaments of every government should be

strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the

military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase,

they will arouse the suspicion of others. The fundamental

principle underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that

if any government later violate any one of its provisions, all

the governments on earth should arise to reduce it to utter

submission, nay the human race as a whole should resolve, with

every power at its disposal, to destroy that government. Should

this greatest of all remedies be applied to the sick body of

the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will

remain eternally safe and secure.

Observe that if such a happy situation be forthcoming, no

government would need continually to pile up the weapons of

war, nor feel itself obliged to produce ever new military

weapons with which to conquer the human race. A small force for

the purposes of internal security, the correction of criminal

and disorderly elements and the prevention of local

disturbances, would be required--no more. In this way the

entire population would, first of all, be relieved of the

crushing burden of expenditure currently imposed for military

purposes, and secondly, great numbers of people would cease to

devote their time to the continual devising of new weapons of

destruction -- those testimonials of greed and

bloodthirstiness, so inconsistent with the gift of life--and

would instead bend their efforts to the production of whatever

will foster human existence and peace and well-being, and would

become the cause of universal development and prosperity. Then

every nation on earth will reign in honour, and every people

will be cradled in tranquillity and content. A few, unaware of

the power latent in human endeavour, consider this matter as

highly impracticable, nay even beyond the scope of man's utmost

efforts. Such is not the case, however. On the contrary, thanks

to the unfailing grace of God, the loving-kindness of His

favoured ones, the unrivaled endeavours of wise and capable

souls, and the thoughts and ideas of the peerless leaders of

this age, nothing whatsoever can be regarded as unattainable.

Endeavour, ceaseless endeavour, is required. Nothing short of

an indomitable determination can possibly achieve it. Many a

cause which past ages have regarded as purely visionary, yet in

this day has become most easy and practicable. Why should this

most great and lofty Cause--the day-star of the firmament of

true civilization and
|PPg_162

the cause of the glory, the advancement, the well-being and the

success of all humanity--be regarded as impossible of

achievement? Surely the day will come when its beauteous light

shall shed illumination upon the assemblage of man.

The apparatus of conflict will, as preparations go on at

their present rate, reach the point where war will become

something intolerable to mankind. It is clear from what has

already been said that man's glory and greatness do not consist

in his being avid for blood and sharp of claw, in tearing down

cities and spreading havoc, in butchering armed forces and

civilians. What would mean a bright future for him would be his

reputation for justice, his kindness to the entire population

whether high or low, his building up countries and cities,

villages and districts, his making life easy, peaceful and

happy for his fellow beings, his laying down fundamental

principles for progress, his raising the standards and

increasing the wealth of the entire population. No power on

earth can prevail against the armies of justice, and every

citadel must fall before them; for men willingly go down under

the triumphant strokes of this decisive blade, and desolate

places bloom and flourish under the tramplings of this host.

There are two mighty banners which, when they cast their shadow

across the crown of any king, will cause the influence of his

government quickly and easily to penetrate the whole earth,

even as if it were the light of the sun: the first of these two

banners is wisdom; the second is justice. Against these two

most potent forces, the iron hills cannot prevail, and

Alexander's wall will break before them. It is clear that life

in this fast-fading world is as fleeting and inconstant

as the morning wind, and this being so, how fortunate are the

great who leave a good name behind them, and the memory of a

lifetime spent in the pathway of the good pleasure of God. A

conquest can be a praiseworthy thing, and there are times when

war becomes the powerful basis of peace, and ruin the very

means of reconstruction. If, for example, a high-minded

sovereign marshals his troops to block the onset of the

insurgent and the aggressor, or again, if he takes the field

and distinguishes himself in a struggle to unify a divided

state and people, if, in brief, he is waging war for a

righteous purpose, then this seeming wrath is mercy itself, and

this apparent tyranny the very substance of justice and this

warfare the cornerstone of peace. Today, the
|PPg_163

task befitting great rulers is to establish universal peace,

for in this lies the freedom of all peoples.

("The Secret of Divine Civilization" 2nd ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1983), pp. 64-67, 70-71)

1584. In cycles gone by, though harmony was established, yet,

owing to the absence of means, the unity of all mankind could

not have been achieved. Continents remained widely divided, nay even

among the peoples of one and the same continent

association and interchange of thought were well nigh

impossible. Consequently intercourse, understanding and unity

amongst all the peoples and kindreds of the earth were

unattainable. In this day, however, means of communication have

multiplied, and the five continents of the earth have virtually

merged into one.... In like manner all the members of the human

family, whether peoples or governments, cities or villages,

have become increasingly interdependent. For none is

self-sufficiency any longer possible, inasmuch as political

ties unite all peoples and nations, and the bonds of trade and

industry, of agriculture and education, are being strengthened

every day. Hence the unity of all mankind can in this day be

achieved. Verily this is none other but one of the wonders of

this wondrous age, this glorious century. Of this past ages

have been deprived, for this century--the century of light--has

been endowed with unique and unprecedented glory, power and

illumination. Hence the miraculous unfolding of a fresh marvel

every day. Eventually it will be seen how bright its candles

will burn in the assemblage of man.

Behold how its light is now dawning upon the world's

darkened horizon. The first candle is unity in the political

realm, the early glimmerings of which can now be discerned. The

second candle is unity of thought in world undertakings, the

consummation of which will ere long be witnessed. The third

candle is unity in freedom which will surely come to pass. The

fourth candle is unity in religion which is the corner-stone of

the foundation itself and which, by the power of God, will be

revealed in all its splendour. The fifth candle is the unity of

nations--a unity which in this century will be securely

established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard

themselves as citizens of one common fatherland. The sixth

candle is unity of races, making of all that dwell on earth

peoples and kindreds of one race. The seventh candle is unity

of language, i.e., the choice of a universal tongue in which

all peoples will be instructed and converse. Each and every one

of these will inevitably come to pass, inasmuch as the power of

the Kingdom of God will aid and assist in their realization.

|PPg_164

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh", pp.

38-39, and "The Promised Day Is Come", rev. ed. (Wilmette:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 120-121)

1585. ...every great Cause in this world of existence findeth

visible expression through three means: first, intention;

second, confirmation; third, action. Today on this earth there

are many souls who are promoters of peace and reconciliation

and are longing for the realization of the oneness and unity of

the world of humanity; but this intention needeth a dynamic

power, so that it may become manifest in the world of being. In

this day the divine instructions and lordly exhortations

promulgate this most great aim, and the confirmations of

the Kingdom also support and aid the realization of this intention.

Therefore, although the combined forces and thoughts of the

nations of the world cannot by themselves achieve this exalted

purpose, the power of the Word of God penetrateth all things

and the assistance of the divine Kingdom is continuous. Erelong

it will become evident and clear that the ensign of the Most

Great Peace is the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, and the tent of

union and harmony among nations is the Tabernacle of the divine

Kingdom, for therein the intention, the power and the action,

all three, are brought together. The realization of everything

in the world of being dependeth upon these three elements.

(From a Tablet - translated from Persian)

1586. As far as possible, rest thou not for a moment, travel to

the North and South of the country and summon all men to the

oneness of the world of humanity and to universal peace,

saying:

O people! Bahá'u'lláh laid the foundation of universal peace

fifty years ago. He even addressed Epistles to the kings

wherein He declared that war could destroy the foundation of

the world of humanity, that peace is conducive to everlasting

life and that dire peril awaited mankind. Also three years

before the outbreak of the world war 'Abdu'l-Bahá travelled to

America and most of Europe, where he raised His voice before

all gatherings, societies and churches, appealing: O ye

assemblage of men! The continent of Europe hath virtually

become an arsenal filled with explosives. There are vast stores

of destructive material hidden underground, liable to burst

forth at a single spark, causing the whole earth to quake. O ye

men of understanding!
|PPg_165

Bestir yourselves that perchance this accumulation of volatile

material may not explode. But the appeal went unheeded and

consequently this murderous war broke out.

The bulk of humanity now realiseth what a great calamity

war is and how war turneth man into a ferocious animal, causing

prosperous cities and villages to be reduced to ruins and the

foundations of the human edifice to crumble. Now, since all men

have been awakened and their ears are attentive, it is time for

the promulgation of universal peace--a peace based on

righteousness and justice--that mankind may not be exposed to

further dangers in the future. Now is the dawn of universal

peace, and the first streaks of its light are beginning to

appear. We earnestly hope that its effulgent orb may shine

forth and flood the East and the West with its radiance. The

establishment of universal peace is not possible save through

the power of the Word of God...
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

1587. Chaos and confusion are daily increasing in the world.

They will attain such intensity as to render the frame of

mankind unable to bear them. Then will men be awakened and become

aware that religion is the impregnable stronghold and

the manifest light of the world, and its laws, exhortations and

teachings the source of life on earth.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)
Extracts from the Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

1588. Today the world of humanity is in need of international

unity and conciliation. To establish these great fundamental

principles a propelling power is needed. It is self-evident

that the unity of the human world and the Most Great Peace

cannot be accomplished through material means. They cannot be

established through political power, for the political

interests of nations are various and the policies of peoples

are divergent and conflicting. They cannot be founded through

racial or patriotic power, for these are human powers, selfish

and weak. The very nature of racial differences and patriotic

prejudices prevents the realization of this unity and

agreement. Therefore, it is evidenced that the promotion of the

oneness of the kingdom of humanity, which is the essence of the

teachings of all the Manifestations of God, is impossible

except through
|PPg_166

the divine power and breaths of the Holy Spirit. Other powers

are too weak and are incapable of accomplishing this. ("The

Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912" 2nd. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982),

pp. 11-12)

1589. We will pray that the ensign of international peace may

be uplifted and that the oneness of the world of humanity may

be realized and accomplished. All this is made possible and

practicable through your efforts. May this American democracy

be the first nation to establish the foundation of

international agreement. May it be the first nation to proclaim

the universality of mankind. May it be the first to upraise the

standard of the Most Great Peace, and through this nation of

democracy may these philanthropic intentions and institutions

be spread broadcast throughout the world. Truly, this is a

great and revered nation. Here liberty has reached its highest

degree. The intentions of its people are most praiseworthy.

They are, indeed, worthy of being the first to build the

Tabernacle of the Most Great Peace and proclaim the oneness of

mankind. I will supplicate God for assistance and confirmation

in your behalf.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", pp. 36-37)

1590. Today the greatest need of the world of humanity is

discontinuance of the existing misunderstandings among nations.

This can be accomplished through the unity of language. Unless

the unity of languages is realized, the Most Great Peace and

the oneness of the human world cannot be effectively organized

and established because the function of language is to portray

the mysteries and secrets of human hearts. The heart is like a

box, and language is the key. Only by using the key can we open

the box and observe the gems it contains. Therefore, the

question of an auxiliary international tongue has the utmost

importance.... It is my hope that it may be perfected through

the bounties of God and that intelligent men may be selected

from the various countries of the world to organize an

international congress whose chief aim will be the promotion of

this universal medium of speech.
|PPg_167

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and

Canada in 1912", pp. 60-61)

1591. ...because I find the American nation so capable of

achievement and this government the fairest of western

governments, its institutions superior to others, my wish and

hope is that the banner of international reconciliation may

first be raised on this continent and the standard of the Most

Great Peace be unfurled here. May the American people and their

government unite in their efforts in order that this light may

dawn from this point and spread to all regions, for this is one

of the greatest bestowals of God. In order that America may

avail herself of this opportunity, I beg that you strive and

pray with heart and soul, devoting all your energies to this

end: that the banner of international peace may be upraised

here and that this democracy may be the cause of the cessation

of warfare in all other countries.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and

Canada in 1912", pp. 83-84)

1592. In past ages humanity has been defective and inefficient

because it has been incomplete. War and its ravages have

blighted the world; the education of woman will be a mighty

step toward its abolition and ending, for she will use her

whole influence against war. Woman rears the child and educates

the youth to maturity. She will refuse to give her sons for

sacrifice upon the field of battle. In truth, she will be the

greatest factor in establishing universal peace and

international arbitration. Assuredly, woman will abolish

warfare among mankind.... ("The Promulgation of Universal

Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the

United States and Canada in 1912" p. 108)

1593. All of us know that international peace is good, that it

is conducive to human welfare and the glory of man, but

volition and action are necessary before it can be established.

Action is essential. Inasmuch as this century is a century of

light, capacity for action is assured to mankind. Necessarily

the divine principles will be spread among men until the time

of action arrives. Surely this has been so, and truly the time

and conditions are ripe for action now....
|PPg_168

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and

Canada in 1912", p. 121)

1594. This has come to pass. The powers of earth cannot

withstand the privileges and bestowals which God has ordained

for this great and glorious century. It is a need and exigency

of the time.... Let this century be the sun of previous

centuries, the effulgences of which shall last forever, so that

in times to come they shall glorify the twentieth century,

saying the twentieth century was the century of lights, the

twentieth century was the century of life, the twentieth

century was the century of international peace, the twentieth

century was the century of divine bestowals, and the twentieth

century has left traces which shall last forever.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and

Canada in 1912", pp. 125-26)

1595. The most momentous question of this day is international

peace and arbitration, and universal peace is impossible

without universal suffrage. Children are educated by the women.

The mother bears the troubles and anxieties of rearing the

child, undergoes the ordeal of its birth and training.

Therefore, it is most difficult for mothers to send to the

battlefield those upon whom they have lavished such love and

care. Consider a son reared and trained twenty years by a

devoted mother. What sleepless nights and restless, anxious

days she has spent! Having brought him through dangers and

difficulties to the age of maturity, how agonizing then to

sacrifice him upon the battlefield! Therefore, the mothers will

not sanction war nor be satisfied with it. So it will come to

pass that when women participate fully and equally in the

affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably

the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; for woman

will be the obstacle and hindrance to it. This is true

and without doubt.
("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks

Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States

and Canada in 1912", pp. 134-35)

1596. Now the glorious and brilliant twentieth century has

dawned, and the divine bounty is radiating universally....

|PPg_169

Truly, this can be called the miracle of centuries, for it is

replete with manifestations of the miraculous. The time has

come when all mankind shall be united, when all races shall be

loyal to one fatherland, all religions become one religion, and

racial and religious bias pass away. It is a day in which the

oneness of humankind shall uplift its standard and

international peace, like the true morning, flood the world

with its light....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and

Canada in 1912", p. 153)

1597. He promulgated the adoption of the same course of

education for man and woman. Daughters and sons must follow the

same curriculum of study, thereby promoting unity of the sexes.

When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of

education and the equality of men and women be realized, the

foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without equality

this will be impossible because all differences and distinction

are conducive to discord and strife. Equality between men and

women is conducive to the abolition of warfare for the reason

that women will never be willing to sanction it. Mothers will

not give their sons as sacrifices upon the battlefield after

twenty years of anxiety and loving devotion in rearing them

from infancy, no matter what cause they are called upon to

defend. There is no doubt that when women obtain equality of

rights, war will entirely cease among mankind.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 175)

1598. The world is in greatest need of international peace.

Until it is established, mankind will not attain composure and

tranquillity. It is necessary that the nations and governments

organize an international tribunal to which all their disputes

and differences shall be referred. The decision of that

tribunal shall be final. Individual controversy will be

adjudged by a local tribunal. International questions will come

before the universal tribunal, and so the cause of warfare will

be taken away.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and

Canada
in 1912" p. 301)

1599. I find these two great American nations [the United

States and Canada] highly capable and advanced ... it is my

hope that these revered
|PPg_170

nations may become prominent factors in the establishment of

international peace and the oneness of the world of humanity...

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 318)

1600. The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male

and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent

in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the

same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of

activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be

realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real

attainment. When the two wings or parts become equivalent in

strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man

will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary. Therefore, woman

must receive the same education as man and all inequality be

adjusted. Thus, imbued with the same virtues as man, rising

through all the degrees of human attainment, women will become

the peers of men, and until this equality is established, true

progress and attainment for the human race will not be

facilitated.

The evident reasons underlying this are as follows: Woman

by nature is opposed to war; she is an advocate of peace.

Children are reared and brought up by the mothers who give them

the first principles of education and labour assiduously in

their behalf. Consider, for instance, a mother who has tenderly

reared a son for twenty years to the age of maturity. Surely

she will not consent to having that son torn asunder and killed

in the field of battle. Therefore, as woman advances toward the

degree of man in power and privilege, with the right of vote

and control in human government, most assuredly war will cease;

for woman is naturally the most devoted and staunch advocate of

international peace.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered

by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and

Canada in 1912", p. 375)

1601. A Supreme Tribunal shall be elected by the peoples and

governments of every nation, where members from each country

and government shall assemble in unity. All disputes shall be

brought before this Court, its mission being to prevent war.

("Paris Talks: Addresses given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in

1911-1912", 11th ed. (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1979),

p. 132)
|PPg_171

1602. A Supreme Tribunal shall be established by the peoples

and Governments of every nation, composed of members elected

from each country and Government. The members of this Great

Council shall assemble in unity. All disputes of an

international character shall be submitted to this Court, its

work being to arrange by arbitration everything which otherwise

would be a cause of war. The mission of this Tribunal would be

to prevent war.

("Paris Talks: Addresses given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in

1911-1912", p. 155)

1603. As to the question of disarmament, all nations must

disarm at the same time. It will not do at all, and it is not

proposed, that some nations shall lay down their arms while

others, their neighbours, remain armed. The peace of the world

must be brought about by international agreement. All nations

must agree to disarm simultaneously...

No nation can follow a peace policy while its neighbour

remains warlike. There is no justice in that. Nobody would

dream of suggesting that the peace of the world could be

brought about by any such line of action. It is to be brought

about by a general and comprehensive international agreement,

and in no other way...

Simultaneous action, he went on, is necessary in any scheme

of disarmament. All the governments of the world must transform

their battleships and warcraft into merchant vessels. But no

one nation can by itself start in upon such a policy and it

would be folly should one power attempt to do so ... it would

simply invite destruction....

Are there any signs that the permanent peace of the world

will be established in anything like a reasonable
period? 'Abdu'l-Bahá was asked.

It will be established in this century, he answered. It

will be universal in the twentieth century. All nations will be

forced into it.
Economic pressure will tell?

Yes: the nations will be forced to come to peace and to

agree to the abolition of war. The awful burdens of taxation

for war purposes will get beyond human endurance...

No, said 'Abdu'l-Bahá in conclusion, I repeat, no nation

can disarm under these circumstances. Disarmament is surely

coming, but it must
|PPg_172

come, and it will come, by the universal consent of the

civilized nations of the earth. By international agreement they

will lay down their arms and the great era of peace will be

ushered in. In this and no other way can peace be established

upon the earth.

(Extracts from interview with newspaper reporter, quoted in

"'Abdu'l-Bahá in Canada" (Thornhill: Bahá'í Canada

Publications, 1987), pp. 34-35)

1604. Once the Parliament of Man is established and its

constituent parts organized, the governments of the world

having entered into a covenant of eternal friendship will have

no need of keeping large standing armies and navies. A few

battalions to preserve internal order, and an International

Police to keep the highways of the seas clear, are all that

will be necessary. Then these huge sums will be diverted to

other more useful channels, pauperism will disappear, knowledge

will increase, the victories of Peace will be sung by poets and

bards, knowledge will improve the conditions and mankind will be rocked

in the cradle of felicity and bliss. Then, whether a

government is constitutional or republican, hereditary monarchy

or democratic, the rulers will devote their time to the

prosperity of their nations, the legislation of just and sane

laws and the fostering of closer and more amicable relations

with their neighbours-- thus will the world of humanity become

a mirror reflecting the virtues and attributes of the Kingdom

of God.

By a general agreement all the governments of the world

must disarm simultaneously... It will not do if one lays down

the arms and the other refuses to do so. The nations of the

world must concur with each other concerning this supremely

important subject, thus they may abandon together the deadly

weapons of human slaughter. As long as one nation increases her

military and naval budget, another nation will be forced into

this crazed competition through her natural and supposed

interests.... Now the question of disarmament must be put into

practice by all the nations and not only by one or two.

Consequently the advocates of Peace must strive day and night,

so that the individuals of every country may become

peace-loving, public opinion may gain a strong and permanent

footing, and day by day the army of International Peace be

increased,
|PPg_173

complete disarmament be realized and the Flag of Universal

Conciliation be waving on the summit of the mountains of the

earth.

The ideals of Peace must be nurtured and spread among the

inhabitants of the world; they must be instructed in the school

of Peace and the evils of war. First: The financiers and

bankers must desist from lending money to any government

contemplating to wage an unjust war upon an innocent nation.

Second: The presidents and managers of the railroads and

steamship companies must refrain from transporting war

ammunition, infernal engines, guns, cannons and powder from one

country into another. Third: The soldiers must petition,

through their representatives, the Ministers of War, the

politicians, the Congressmen and the generals to put forth in a

clear, intelligible language the reasons and the causes which

have brought them to the brink of such a national calamity. The

soldiers must (demand this as one of the prerogatives.

"Demonstrate to us", they must say, "that this is a just war,

and we will then enter into the battlefield otherwise we will

not take one step.... Come forth from your hiding-places, enter

into the battlefield if you like to attack

each other and tear each other to pieces if you desire to air

your so-called contentions. The discord and feud are between

you; why do you make us, innocent people, a party to it? If

fighting and bloodshed are good things, then lead us into the

fray by your presence!"

In short, every means that produces war must be checked

and the causes that prevent the occurrence of war be advanced; -so that

physical conflict may become an impossibility. On the

other hand, every country must be properly delimited, its exact

frontiers marked, its national integrity secured, its permanent

independence protected, and its vital interests honoured by the

family of nations. These services ought to be rendered by an

impartial, international Commission. In this manner all causes

of friction and differences will be removed. And in case there

should arise some disputes between them, they could arbitrate

before the Parliament of Man, the representatives of which

should be chosen from among the wisest and most judicious men

of all the nations of the world.

("Star of the West", vol. 5, no. 8 (August 1914), pp. 115-117)

1605. Every century holds the solution of one predominating

problem. Although there may be many problems, yet one of the

innumerable
|PPg_174

problems will loom large and become the most important of

all....in this luminous century the greatest bestowal of the

world of humanity is Universal Peace, which must be founded, so

that the realm of creation may obtain composure, the East and

the West, which include in their arms the five continents of

the globe, may embrace each other, mankind may rest beneath the

tent of oneness of the world of humanity, and the flag of

universal peace may wave over all the regions....
. . .

Today the true duty of a powerful king is to establish a

universal peace; for verily it signifies the freedom of all the

people of the world. Some persons who are ignorant of the world

of true humanity and its high ambitions for the general good,

reckon such a glorious condition of life to be very difficult,

nay rather impossible to compass. But it is not so, far from

it.

("Star of the West". vol. 7, no. 14 (November 1916), p. 136)

1606. O ye individuals of humanity, find ye means for the

stoppage of this wholesale murder and bloodshed. Now is the

appointed time! Now is the opportune time! Arise ye, show ye an

effort, put ye forward an extraordinary force, and unfurl ye

the Flag of Universal Peace and dam the irresistible fury of

this raging torrent which is wreaking havoc and ruin

everywhere.

("Star of the West" vol. 18, no. 11 (February 1928), p. 345)

1607. By what process, continued the questioner, will this

peace on earth be established? Will it come at once after a

universal declaration of the Truth?

No, it will come about gradually, said 'Abdu'l-Bahá. A

plant that grows too quickly lasts but a short time. You are my

family, and he looked about with a smile, my new children! if a

family lives in unison, great results are obtained. Widen the

circle; when a city lives in intimate accord greater results

will follow, and a continent that is fully united will likewise

unite all other continents. Then will be the time of the

greatest results, for all the inhabitants of the earth belong

to one native land.
("'Abdu'l-Bahá in London: Addresses, and Notes of

Conversations", Commemorative ed. (London: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1987), p. 106)
|PPg_175
Extracts from the Writings of Shoghi Effendi:

1608. Dearly-beloved friends! Humanity, whether viewed in the

light of man's individual conduct or in the existing

relationships between organized communities and nations, has,

alas, strayed too far and suffered too great a decline to be

redeemed through the unaided efforts of the best among its

recognized rulers and statesmen--however disinterested their

motives, however concerted their action, however unsparing in

their zeal and devotion to its cause. No scheme which the

calculations of the highest statesmanship may yet devise, no

doctrine which the most distinguished exponents of economic

theory may hope to advance, no principle which the most ardent

of moralists may strive to inculcate, can provide, in the last

resort, adequate foundations upon which the future of a

distracted world can be built. No appeal for mutual tolerance

which the worldly-wise might raise, however compelling and

insistent, can calm its passions or help restore its vigour.

Nor would any general scheme of mere organized international

co-operation, in whatever sphere of human activity, however

ingenious in conception or extensive in scope, succeed in

removing the root cause of the evil that has so rudely upset

the equilibrium of present day society. Not even, I venture to

assert, would the very act of devising the machinery required

for the political and economic unification of the world -- a

principle that has been increasingly advocated in recent times--

provide in itself the antidote against the poison that is

steadily undermining the vigour of organized peoples and

nations. What else, might we not confidently affirm, but the

unreserved acceptance of the Divine Programme enunciated, with

such simplicity and force as far back as sixty years ago, by

Bahá'u'lláh, embodying in its essentials God's

divinely-appointed scheme for the unification of mankind in

this age, coupled with an indomitable conviction in the

unfailing efficacy of each and all of its provisions, is

eventually capable of withstanding the forces of internal

disintegration which, if unchecked, must needs continue to eat

into the vitals of a despairing society. It is towards this

goal--the goal of a new World Order, Divine in origin,

all-embracing in scope, equitable in principle, challenging in

its features--that a harassed humanity must strive.

To claim to have grasped all the implications of Bahá'u'lláh's

prodigious scheme for world-wide human solidarity, or to have

fathomed its import, would be presumptuous on the part of even

the declared
|PPg_176

supporters of His Faith. To attempt to visualize it in all its

possibilities, to estimate its future benefits, to picture its

glory, would be premature at even so advanced a stage in the

evolution of mankind.

All we can reasonably venture to attempt is to strive to

obtain a glimpse of the first streaks of the promised Dawn that

must, in the fullness of time, chase away the gloom that has

encircled humanity. All we can do is to point out, in their

broadest outline, to what appear to us to be the guiding

principles underlying the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, as

amplified and enunciated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Centre of His

Covenant with all mankind and the appointed Interpreter and

Expounder of His Word. That the unrest and suffering afflicting

the mass of mankind are in no small measure the direct

consequences of the World War and are attributable to the

unwisdom and short-sightedness of the Framers of the Peace

Treaties only a biased mind can refuse to admit.... It would be

idle however to contend that the war, with all the losses it

involved, the passions it aroused and the grievances it left

behind, has solely been responsible for the unprecedented

confusion into which almost every section of the civilized

world is plunged at present. Is it not a fact--and this is the

central idea I desire to emphasize--that the fundamental cause

of this world unrest is attributable, not so much to the

consequences of what must sooner or later come to be regarded

as a transitory dislocation in the affairs of a continually

changing world, but rather to the failure of those into whose

hands the immediate destinies of peoples and nations have been

committed, to adjust their systems of economic and political

institutions to the imperative needs of a fast evolving age?

Are not these intermittent crises that convulse present-day

society due primarily to the lamentable inability of the

world's recognized leaders to read aright the signs of the

times, to rid themselves once for all of their preconceived

ideas and fettering creeds, and to reshape the machinery of

their respective governments according to those standards that

are implicit in Bahá'u'lláh's supreme declaration of the

Oneness of Mankind -- the chief and distinguishing feature of

the Faith He proclaimed?.... How pathetic indeed are the

efforts of those leaders of human institutions who, in utter

disregard of the spirit of the age, are striving to adjust

national processes, suited to the ancient days of
self-contained
|PPg_177

nations to an age which must either achieve the unity of the

world, as adumbrated by Bahá'u'lláh, or perish. At so critical

an hour in the history of civilization it behoves the leaders

of all the nations of the world, great and small, whether in

the East or in the West, whether victors or vanquished, to give

heed to the clarion call of Bahá'u'lláh and, thoroughly imbued

with a sense of world solidarity, the sine qua non of loyalty

to His Cause, arise manfully to carry out in its entirety the

one remedial scheme He, the Divine Physician, has prescribed

for an ailing humanity. Let them discard, once for all, every

preconceived idea, every national prejudice, and give heed to

the sublime counsel of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the authorized Expounder

of His teachings. You can best serve your country, was

'Abdu'l-Bahá'í rejoinder to a high official in the service of

the federal government of the United States of America, who had

questioned Him as to the best manner in which he could promote

the interests of his government and people, if you strive, in

your capacity as a citizen of the world, to assist in the

eventual application of the principle of federalism underlying

the government of your own country to the relationships now

existing between the peoples and nations of the world.

Some form of a world super-state must needs be evolved, in

whose favour all the nations of the world will have willingly

ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose

taxation and all rights to maintain armaments, except for

purposes of maintaining internal order within their respective

dominions. Such a state will have to include within its orbit

an international executive adequate to enforce supreme and

unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the

commonwealth; a world parliament whose members shall be elected

by the people in their respective countries and whose election

shall be confirmed by their respective governments; and a

supreme tribunal whose judgement will have a binding effect

even in such cases where the parties concerned did not

voluntarily agree to submit their case to its consideration. A

world community in which all economic barriers will have been

permanently demolished and the interdependence of Capital and

Labour definitely recognized; in which the clamour of religious

fanaticism and strife will have been for ever stilled; in which

the flame of racial animosity will have been finally

extinguished; in which a single code of international law--the

product of the considered judgement of the
|PPg_178

world's federated representatives--shall have as its sanction

the instant and coercive intervention of the combined forces of

the federated units; and finally a world community in which the

fury of a capricious and militant nationalism will have been

transmuted into an abiding consciousness of world citizenship-

such indeed, appears, in its broadest outline, the Order

anticipated by Bahá'u'lláh, an Order that shall come to be

regarded as the fairest fruit of a slowly maturing age.

Let there be no misgivings as to the animating purpose of

the world-wide Law of Bahá'u'lláh. Far from aiming at the

subversion of the existing foundations of society, it seeks to

broaden its basis, to remould its institutions in a manner

consonant with the needs of an ever-changing world. It can

conflict with no legitimate allegiances, nor can it undermine essential

loyalties. Its purpose is neither to stifle the flame

of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men's hearts, nor to

abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the

evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does

not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress the diversity of

ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and

tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples

and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a

larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It

insists upon the subordination of national impulses and

interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It

repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims

all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity

in diversity such as 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself has explained. Its

[the principle of the Oneness of Mankind] implications are

deeper, its claims greater than any which the Prophets of old

were allowed to advance. Its message is applicable not only to

the individual, but concerns itself primarily with the nature

of those essential relationships that must bind all the states

and nations as members of one human family. It does not

constitute merely the enunciation of an ideal, but stands

inseparably associated with an institution adequate to embody

its truth, demonstrate its validity, and perpetuate its

influence. It implies an organic change in the structure of

present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet

experienced. It constitutes a challenge, at once bold and

universal, to outworn shibboleths of national creeds--creeds

that
|PPg_179

have had their day and which must, in the ordinary course of

events as shaped and controlled by Providence, give way to a

new gospel, fundamentally different from, and infinitely

superior to, what the world has already conceived. It calls for

no less that the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the

whole civilized world--a world organically unified in all the

essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its

spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and

language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national

characteristics of its federated units.

It represents the consummation of human evolution--an

evolution that has had its earliest beginnings in the birth of

family life, its subsequent development in the achievement of

tribal solidarity, leading in turn to the constitution of the

city-state, and expanding later into the institution of

independent and sovereign nations.
. . .

To take but one instance. How confident were the assertions

made in the days preceding the unification of the states of the

North American continent regarding the insuperable barriers

that stood in the way of their ultimate federation! Was it not

widely and emphatically declared that the conflicting

interests, the mutual distrust, the differences of government

and habit that divided the states were such as no force,

whether spiritual or temporal, could ever hope to harmonize or

control? And yet how different were the conditions prevailing a

hundred and fifty years ago from those that characterize

present-day society! It would indeed be no exaggeration to say

that the absence of those facilities which modern scientific

progress has placed at the service of humanity in our time made

of the problem of welding the American states into a single

federation, similar though they were in certain traditions, a

task infinitely more complex than that which confronts a

divided humanity in its efforts to achieve the unification of

all mankind. Who knows that for so exalted a conception to take

shape a suffering more intense that any it has yet experienced

will have to be inflicted upon humanity? Could anything less

than the fire of a civil war with all its violence and

vicissitudes--a war that nearly rent the great American

Republic--have welded the states, not only into a Union of

independent units, but into a Nation, in spite of all the

ethnic differences that characterized its component parts? That

so fundamental a revolution, involving such far-reaching

changes in the structure of society, can be
|PPg_180

achieved through the ordinary processes of diplomacy and

education seems highly improbable. We have but to turn our gaze

to humanity's blood-stained history to realize that nothing

short of intense mental as well as physical agony has been able

to precipitate those epoch-making changes that constitute the

greatest landmarks in the history of human civilization.

Great and far-reaching as have been those changes in the past,

they cannot but appear, when viewed in their proper

perspective, except as subsidiary adjustments preluding that

transformation of unparalleled majesty and scope which humanity

is in this age bound to undergo. That the forces of a world

catastrophe can alone precipitate such a new phase of human

thought is, alas, becoming increasingly apparent. That nothing

short of the fire of a severe ordeal, unparalleled in its

intensity, can fuse and weld the discordant entities, that

constitute the elements of present-day civilization, into the

integral components of the world Commonwealth of the future is

a truth which future events will increasingly demonstrate. The

prophetic voice of Bahá'u'lláh warning, in the concluding

passages of the "Hidden Words", "the peoples of the world" that

"an unforeseen calamity is following them and that grievous

retribution awaiteth them" throws indeed a lurid light upon the

immediate fortunes of sorrowing humanity. Nothing but a fiery

ordeal, out of which humanity will emerge, chastened and

prepared, can succeed in implanting that sense of

responsibility which the leaders of a new-born age must arise

to shoulder. I would again direct your attention to those

ominous words of Bahá'u'lláh which I have already quoted: "And

when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear

that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake." Has not

'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself asserted in unequivocal language that

"another war, fiercer than the last, will assuredly break out"?

Upon the consummation of this colossal, this unspeakably

glorious enterprise--an enterprise that baffled the resources

of Roman statesmanship and which Napoleon's desperate efforts

failed to achieve --will depend the ultimate realization of

that millennium of which poets of all ages have sung and seers

have long dreamed. Upon it will depend the fulfilment of the

prophecies uttered by the Prophets of old when
|PPg_181

swords shall be beaten into ploughshares and the lion and the

lamb lie down together. It alone can usher in the Kingdom of

the Heavenly Father as anticipated by the Faith of Jesus

Christ. It alone can lay the foundation for the New World Order

visualized by Bahá'u'lláh--a World Order that shall reflect,

however dimly, upon this earthly plane, the ineffable

splendours of the Abha
Kingdom.

One word more in conclusion. The proclamation of the

Oneness of Mankind--the head corner-stone of Bahá'u'lláh's

all-embracing dominion --can under no circumstances be compared

with such expressions of pious hope as have been uttered in the

past. His is not merely a call which He raised, alone and

unaided, in the face of the relentless and combined opposition

of two of the most powerful Oriental potentates of His day-

while Himself an exile and prisoner in their hands. It implies

at once a warning and a promise--a warning that in it lies the

sole means for the salvation of a greatly suffering world, a

promise that its realization is at hand. Uttered at a time when

its possibility had not yet been seriously envisaged in any

part of the world, it has, by virtue of that celestial potency

which the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh has breathed into it, come at

last to be regarded, by an increasing number of thoughtful men,

not only as an approaching possibility, but as the necessary

outcome of the forces now operating in the world. Surely the

world, contracted and transformed into a single highly complex

organism by the marvellous progress achieved in the realm of

physical science, by the world-wide expansion of commerce and

industry, and struggling, under the pressure of world economic

forces, amidst the pitfalls of a materialistic civilization,

stands in dire need of a restatement of the Truth underlying

all the Revelation, of the past in a language suited to its

essential requirements. And what voice other than that of

Bahá'u'lláh- the Mouthpiece of God for this age--is capable of

effecting a transformation of society as radical as that which

He has already accomplished in the hearts of those men and

women, so diversified and seemingly irreconcilable, who

constitute the body of His declared followers throughout the

world? That such a mighty conception is fast budding out in the

minds of men, that voices are being raised in its support, that

its salient features must fast crystallize in the consciousness

of those who are in authority,
|PPg_182

few indeed can doubt. That its modest beginnings have already

taken shape in the world-wide Administration with which the

adherents of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh stand associated only

those whose hearts are tainted by prejudice can fail to

perceive.

(28 November 1931 to the Bahá'ís of the West, published in "The

World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters", pp. 33-37, 40

43, 45-48)

1609. No machinery falling short of the standard inculcated by

the Bahá'í Revelation, and at variance with the sublime pattern

ordained in His teachings, which the collective efforts of

mankind may yet devise can ever hope to achieve anything above

or beyond that "Lesser Peace" to which the Author of our Faith

has Himself alluded in His writings. "Now that ye have refused

the Most Great Peace," He, admonishing the kings and rulers of

the earth, has written, "hold ye fast unto this the Lesser

Peace, that haply ye may in some degree better your own

condition and that of your dependents." Expatiating on this

Lesser Peace, He thus addresses in that same Tablet the rulers

of the earth: "Be reconciled among yourselves, that ye may need

no more armaments save in a measure to safeguard your

territories and dominions... Be united, O kings of the earth,

for thereby will the tempest of discord be stilled amongst you,

and your peoples find rest, if ye be of them that comprehend.

Should any one among you take up arms against another, rise ye

all against him, for this is naught but manifest justice."

The Most Great Peace, on the other hand, as conceived by

Bahá'u'lláh -- a peace that must inevitably follow as the

practical consequence of the spiritualization of the world and

the fusion of all its races, creeds, classes and nations--can

rest on no other basis, and can be preserved through no other

agency, except the divinely appointed ordinances that are

implicit in the World Order that stands associated with His

Holy Name....

The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, whose supreme mission is

none other but the achievement of this organic and spiritual

unity of the whole body of nations, should, if we be faithful

to its implications, be regarded as signalizing through its

advent the (coming of age of the entire human race. It should

be viewed not merely as yet another spiritual revival in the

ever-changing fortunes of mankind, not only as a further stage

in a chain
|PPg_183

of progressive Revelations, nor even as the culmination of one

of a series of recurrent prophetic cycles, but rather as

marking the last and highest stage in the stupendous evolution

of man's collective life on this planet. The emergence of a

world community, the consciousness of world citizenship, the founding of

a world civilization and culture--all of which must

synchronize with the initial stages in the unfoldment of the

Golden Age of the Bahá'í Era--should, by their very nature, be

regarded, as far as this planetary life is concerned, as the

furthermost limits in the organization of human society, though

man, as an individual, will, nay must indeed as a result of

such a consummation, continue indefinitely to progress and

develop.

The whole of mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to

unity, and to terminate its age-long martyrdom. And yet it

stubbornly refuses to embrace the light and acknowledge the

sovereign authority of the one Power that can extricate it from

its entanglements, and avert the woeful calamity that threatens

to engulf it. Ominous indeed is the voice of Bahá'u'lláh that

rings through these prophetic words: "O ye peoples of the

world! Know, verily, that an unforeseen calamity followeth you,

and grievous retribution awaiteth you. Think not that which ye

have committed hath been effaced in My sight." And again: "We

have a fixed time for you, O peoples. If ye fail, at the

appointed hour, to turn towards God, He, verily, will lay

violent hold on you, and will cause grievous afflictions to

assail you from every direction. How severe, indeed, is the

chastisement with which your Lord will then chastise you!"

Must humanity, tormented as she now is, be afflicted with still

severer tribulations ere their purifying influence can prepare

her to enter the heavenly Kingdom destined to be established

upon earth? Must the inauguration of so vast, so unique, so

illumined an era in human history be ushered in by so great a

catastrophe in human affairs as to recall, nay surpass, the

appalling collapse of Roman civilization in the first centuries

of the Christian Era? Must a series of profound convulsions

stir and rock the human race ere Bahá'u'lláh can be enthroned

in the hearts and consciences of the masses, ere His undisputed

ascendancy is universally recognized, and the noble edifice of

His World Order is reared and established?
|PPg_184

The long ages of infancy and childhood, through which the

human race had to pass, have receded into the background.

Humanity is now experiencing the commotions invariably

associated with the most turbulent stage of its evolution, the

stage of adolescence, when the impetuosity of youth and its

vehemence reach their climax, and must gradually be superseded

by the calmness, the wisdom, and the maturity that characterize

the stage of manhood. Then will the human race reach that

stature of ripeness which will enable it to acquire all the

powers and capacities upon which its ultimate development must

depend. Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall mark of

the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of

family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been

successively attempted and fully established. World unity is

the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving.

Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in

state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing

to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness

and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for

all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental

principle of its life. . . . The unity of the human

race, as envisaged by Bahá'u'lláh, implies the establishment of

a world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and

classes are closely and permanently united, and in which the

autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and

initiative of the individuals that compose them are definitely

and completely safeguarded. This commonwealth must, as far as

we can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, whose

members will, as the trustees of the whole of mankind,

ultimately control the entire resources of all the component

nations, and will enact such laws as shall be required to

regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the

relationships of all races and peoples. A world executive,

backed by an international Force, will carry out the decisions

arrived at, and apply the laws enacted by, this world

legislature, and will safeguard the organic unity of the whole

commonwealth. A world tribunal will adjudicate and deliver its

compulsory and final verdict in all and any disputes that may

arise between the various elements constituting this universal

system. A mechanism of world inter-communication will be

devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national

hindrances and restrictions, and
|PPg_185

functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity. A

world metropolis will act as the nerve centre of a world

civilization, the focus towards which the unifying forces of

life will converge and from which its energizing influences

will radiate. A world language will either be invented or

chosen from among the existing languages and will be taught in

the schools of all the federated nations as an auxiliary to

their mother tongue. A world script, a world literature, a

uniform and universal system of currency, of weights and

measures, will simplify and facilitate intercourse and

understanding among the nations and races of mankind. In such a

world society, science and religion, the two most potent forces

in human life, will be reconciled, will co-operate, and will

harmoniously develop. The press will, under such a system,

while giving full scope to the expression of the diversified

views and convictions of mankind, cease to be mischievously

manipulated by vested interests, whether private or public, and

will be liberated from the influence of contending governments

and peoples. The economic resources of the world will be

organized, its sources of raw materials will be tapped and

fully utilized, its markets will be co-ordinated and developed,

and the distribution of its products will be equitably

regulated.

National rivalries, hatreds, and intrigues will cease, and

racial animosity and prejudice will be replaced by racial

amity, understanding and co-operation. The causes of religious

strife will be permanently removed, economic barriers and

restrictions will be completely abolished, and the inordinate

distinction between classes will be obliterated. Destitution on

the one hand, and gross accumulation of ownership on the other,

will disappear. The enormous energy dissipated and wasted on

war, whether economic or political, will be consecrated to such

ends as will extend the range of human inventions and technical

development, to the increase of the productivity of mankind, to

the extermination of disease, to the extension of scientific

research, to the raising of the standard of physical health, to

the sharpening and refinement of the human brain, to the

exploitation of the unused and unsuspected resources of the

planet, to the prolongation of human life, and to the

furtherance of any other agency that can stimulate the

intellectual, the moral, and spiritual life of the entire human

race.
|PPg_186

A world federal system, ruling the whole earth and

exercising unchallengeable authority over its unimaginably vast

resources, blending and embodying the ideals of both the East

and the West, liberated from the curse of war and its miseries,

and bent on the exploitation of all the available sources of

energy on the surface of the planet, a system in which Force is

made the servant of Justice, whose life is sustained by its

universal recognition of one God and by its allegiance to one

common Revelation --such is the goal towards which humanity,

impelled by the unifying forces of life, is moving.

(11 March 1936, published in "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh:

Selected Letters", pp. 162-63, 201-4)

1610. The world-shaking ordeal which Bahá'u'lláh, as quoted in

the foregoing pages, has so graphically prophesied, may find it

[the American nation] swept, to an unprecedented degree, into

its vortex. Out of it will probably emerge, unlike its

reactions to the last world conflict, consciously determined to

seize its opportunity, to bring the full weight of its

influence to bear upon the gigantic problems that such an

ordeal must leave in its wake, and to exorcise forever, in

conjunction with its sister nations of both the East and the

West, the greatest curse which, from time immemorial, has

afflicted and degraded the human race.

Then, and only then, will the American nation, moulded and

purified in the crucible of a common war, inured to its

rigours, and disciplined by its lessons, be in a position to

raise its voice in the councils of the nations, itself lay the

corner-stone of a universal and enduring peace, proclaim the

solidarity, the unity, and maturity of mankind, and assist in

the establishment of the promised reign of righteousness on

earth. Then, and only then, will the American nation, while the

community of the American believers within its heart is consummating its

divinely appointed mission, be able to fulfill

the unspeakably glorious destiny ordained for it by the

Almighty, and immortally enshrined in the writings of

'Abdu'l-Bahá. Then, and only then, will the American nation

accomplish "that which will adorn the pages of history,"

"become the envy of the world and be blest in both the East and

the West."

(25 December 1938, published in "The Advent of Divine Justice"

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), pp. 90-91)

|PPg_187

1611. The world is, in truth, moving on towards its destiny.

The interdependence of the peoples and nations of the earth,

whatever the leaders of the divisive forces of the world may

say or do, is already an accomplished fact. Its unity in the

economic sphere is now understood and recognized. The welfare

of the part means the welfare of the whole, and the distress of

the part brings distress to the whole. The Revelation of

Bahá'u'lláh has, in His own words, "lent a fresh impulse and

set a new direction" to this vast process now operating in the

world. The fires lit by this great ordeal are the consequences

of men's failure to recognize it. They are, moreover, hastening

its consummation. Adversity, prolonged, world wide, afflictive,

allied to chaos and universal destruction, must needs convulse

the nations, stir the conscience of the world, disillusion the

masses, precipitate a radical change in the very conception of

society, and coalesce ultimately the disjointed, the bleeding

limbs of mankind into one body, single, organically united, and

indivisible.

To the general character, the implications and features

of this world commonwealth, destined to emerge, sooner or

later, out of the carnage, agony, and havoc of this great world

convulsion, I have already referred in my previous

communications. Suffice it to say that this consummation will,

by its very nature, be a gradual process, and must, as

Bahá'u'lláh has Himself anticipated, lead at first to the

establishment of that Lesser Peace which the nations of the

earth, as yet unconscious of His Revelation and yet unwittingly

enforcing the general principles which He has enunciated, will

themselves establish. This momentous and historic step,

involving the reconstruction of mankind, as the result of the

universal recognition of its oneness and wholeness, will bring

in its wake the spiritualization of the masses, consequent to

the recognition of the character, and the acknowledgement of

the claims, of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh--the essential

condition to that ultimate fusion of all races, creeds,

classes, and nations which must signalize the emergence of His

New World Order.

Then will the coming of age of the entire human race be

proclaimed and celebrated by all the peoples and nations of the

earth. Then will the banner of the Most Great Peace be hoisted.

Then will the world wide sovereignty of Bahá'u'lláh--the

Establisher of the Kingdom of the Father foretold by the Son, and

anticipated by the Prophets of God before Him and after

Him--be recognized, acclaimed, and firmly established. Then

|PPg_188

will a world civilization be born, flourish, and perpetuate

itself, a civilization with a fullness of life such as the

world has never seen nor can as yet conceive. Then will the

Everlasting Covenant be fulfilled in its completeness. Then

will the promise enshrined in all the Books of God be redeemed,

and all the prophecies uttered by the Prophets of old come to

pass, and the vision of seers and poets be realized. Then will

the planet, galvanized through the universal belief of its

dwellers in one God, and their allegiance to one common

Revelation, mirror, within the limitations imposed upon it, the

effulgent glories of the sovereignty of Bahá'u'lláh, shining in

the plenitude of its splendour in the Abha Paradise, and be

made the footstool of His Throne on high, and acclaimed as the

earthly heaven, capable of fulfilling that ineffable destiny

fixed for it, from time immemorial, by the love and wisdom of

its Creator.

(28 March 1941, published in "The Promised Day Is Come" pp.

122-124)

1612. The principle of collective security He [Bahá'u'lláh]

unreservedly urges; recommends the reduction in national

armaments; and proclaims as necessary and inevitable the

convening of a world gathering at which the kings and rulers of

the world will deliberate for the establishment of peace among

the nations. ("God Passes By", rev. ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1987), pp.
217-218)

1613. During this Formative Age of the Faith, and in the course

of the present and succeeding epochs, the last and crowning

stage in the erection of the framework of the Administrative

Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh--the election of the

Universal House of Justice--will have been completed, the

"Kitáb-i-Aqdas", the Mother-Book of His Revelation, will have

been codified and its laws promulgated, the Lesser Peace will

have been established, the unity of mankind will have been

achieved and its maturity attained, the Plan conceived by

'Abdu'l-Bahá will have been executed, the emancipation of the

Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will have been

effected, and its independent religious status will have been

universally recognized... ."
...we cannot fail to perceive the workings of two

simultaneous processes, generated as far back as the concluding

years of the Heroic
|PPg_189

Age of our Faith, each clearly defined, each distinctly

separate, yet closely related and destined to culminate,

in the fullness of time, in a single glorious consummation.

One of these processes is associated with the mission of

the American Bahá'í community, the other with the destiny of

the American nation. The one serves directly the interests of

the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh... The

other process dates back to the outbreak of the First World War

that threw the Great Republic of the West into the vortex of

the first stage of a world upheaval. It received its initial

impetus through the formulation of President Wilson's Fourteen

Points, closely associating for the first time that Republic

with the fortunes of the Old World. It suffered its first

set-back through the dissociation of that Republic from the

newly-born League of Nations which that President had laboured

to create. It acquired added momentum through the outbreak of

the Second World War, inflicting unprecedented suffering on

that Republic, and involving it still further in the affairs of

all the continents of the globe. It was further reinforced

through the declaration embodied in the Atlantic Charter, as

voiced by one of its chief progenitors, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It assumed a definite outline through the birth of the United

Nations at the San Francisco Conference. It acquired added

significance through the choice of the City of the Covenant

itself as the seat of the newly-born organization, through the

declaration recently made by the American President related to

his country's commitments in Greece and Turkey, as well as

through the submission to the General Assembly of the United

Nations of the thorny and challenging problem of the Holy Land,

the spiritual as well as the administrative centre of the World

Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. It must, however long and tortuous the

way, lead, through a series of victories and reverses, to the

political unification of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres,

to the emergence of a world government, and the establishment

of the Lesser Peace, as foretold by Bahá'u'lláh and

foreshadowed by the Prophet Isaiah. It must, in the end,

culminate in the unfurling of the banner of the Most Great

Peace, in the Golden Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh.

(5 June 1947 to the Bahá'ís of West, published in "Citadel of

Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957" (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1980), p. 6, pp.
32-33)
|PPg_190

1614. The raising of this Edifice will in turn herald the

construction, in the course of successive epochs of the

Formative Age of the Faith, of several other structures, which

will serve as the administrative seats of such divinely

appointed institutions as the Guardianship, the Hands of the

Cause, and the Universal House of Justice. These Edifices will,

in the shape of a far-flung arc, and following a harmonizing

style of architecture, surround the resting-places of the

Greatest Holy Leaf, ranking as foremost among the members of

her sex in the Bahá'í Dispensation, of her Brother, offered

up as a ransom by Bahá'u'lláh for the quickening of the world and

its unification, and of their Mother, proclaimed by Him to be

His chosen "consort in all the worlds of God". The ultimate

completion of this stupendous undertaking will mark the

culmination of the development of a world-wide

divinely-appointed Administrative Order whose beginnings may be

traced as far back as the concluding years of the Heroic Age of

the Faith.

This vast and irresistible process, unexampled in the

spiritual history of mankind, and which will synchronize with

two no less significant developments--the establishment of the

Lesser Peace and the evolution of Bahá'í national and local

institutions--the one outside and the other within the Baha'i

world--will attain its final consummation, in the Golden Age of

the Faith, through the raising of the standard of the Most

Great Peace, and the emergence, in the plenitude of its power

and glory, of the focal Centre of the agencies constituting the

World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. The final establishment of this

seat of the future Bahá'í World Commonwealth will signalize at

once the proclamation of the sovereignty of the Founder of our

Faith and the advent of the Kingdom of the Father repeatedly

lauded and promised by Jesus Christ.

This World Order will, in turn, in the course of successive

Dispensations of the Bahá'í Cycle, yield its fairest fruit

through the birth and flowering of a civilization, divinely

inspired, unique in its features, world-embracing in its scope,

and fundamentally spiritual in its character --a civilization

destined as it unfolds to derive its initial impulse from the

spirit animating the very institutions which, in their

embryonic state, are now stirring in the womb of the present

Formative Age of the Faith.

(27 November 1954 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

United States, published in "Messages to the Bahá'í World,

1950-1957" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971), pp. 7475)

|PPg_191

Extracts from Letters Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:

1615. The world is in great turmoil, and what is most pathetic

is that it has learned to keep away from God, Who alone can

save it and alleviate its sufferings. It is our duty, we who

have been trusted with the task of applying the divine remedy

given by Bahá'u'lláh, to concentrate our attention upon the

consummation of this task, and not rest until the peace

foretold by the Prophets of God is permanently established....

(9 December 1931 to the Bahá'ís of Tokyo)

1616. Shoghi Effendi wrote his last general letter to the

western friends because he felt that the public should be made

to understand the attitude the Bahá'í Faith maintains towards

the prevailing economic and political problems. We should let

the world know what the real aim of Bahá'u'lláh was. Up to the

present Unity of Mankind was only of an academic importance.

Now it is becoming more and more a subject for international

statesmen to think of. It is coming to the field of practical

politics. It is therefore a wonderful chance for us to come to

the front and expound the teaching which is the goal and aim of

the social precepts of Bahá'u'lláh. Shoghi Effendi hopes that

the friends will re-echo this call to an organic unity of

mankind until it forms part of the conscious faith of every

living man in the world. Great judgement should be however

practised lest we be misunderstood and our Faith be classed

among radical movements.

(28 January 1932 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

United States and Canada)

1617. Shoghi Effendi wishes me to acknowledge the receipt of

your letter dated January 26th 1932 which accompanied a printed

copy of his last general letter. He thanks you both for this as

well as for the one hundred copies you are shipping to him. He

is deeply gratified to learn that the friends find it

interesting and worthwhile enough as to make its subject-matter

the topic of their teaching campaign. He sincerely hopes that

this will also awaken some of the friends to the importance of

this teaching of the Cause and stimulate them to make a

thorough and deep study of it. For it undoubtedly forms the

goal of the social precepts of the Faith. There is no reason

why the Bahá'ís should not take the lead in
|PPg_192

advocating such a federation of the world, towards which the

world is driven by forces it cannot control....

(16 February 1932 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

United States and Canada)

1618. The different nations of the world will never attain

peace except after recognizing the significance of the

teachings and whole-heartedly upholding them for through those

precepts all international problems will be solved and every

man will secure the spiritual environment in which his soul can

evolve and produce its highest fruits.
(15 January 1933 to an individual believer)

1619. The Guardian has also read with deep interest all the

enclosed papers. He is firmly convinced that through

perseverance and concerted action the cause of Peace will

eventually triumph over all the dark forces which threaten the

welfare and progress of the world today. But such purely human

attempts are undoubtedly ineffective unless inspired and guided

by the power of faith. Without the assistance of God, as given

through the message of Bahá'u'lláh, peace can never be safely

and adequately established. To disregard the Bahá'í solution

for world peace is to build on foundations of sand. To accept

and apply it is to make peace not a mere dream, or an ideal,

but a living reality. This is the point which the Guardian

wishes you to develop, to emphasize again and again, and to support by

convincing arguments. The Bahá'í peace programme is,

indeed, not only one way of attaining that goal. It is not even

relatively the best. It is, in the last resort, the sole

effective instrument for the establishment of the reign of

peace in this world. This attitude does not involve any total

repudiation of other solutions offered by various

philanthropists. It merely shows their inadequacy compared to

the Divine Plan for the unification of the world. We cannot

escape the truth that nothing mundane can in the last

resort be enduring, unless supported and sustained through the

power of God.
(25 September 1933 to an individual believer)

1620. Whatever our shortcomings may be, and however formidable

the forces of darkness which besiege us today, the unification

of mankind as outlined and ensured by the World Order of

Bahá'u'lláh will in the
|PPg_193

fullness of time be firmly and permanently established. This is

Bahá'u'lláh's promise, and no power on earth can in the long

run prevent or even retard its adequate realization. The

friends should, therefore, not lose hope, but fully conscious

of their power and their role they should persevere in their

mighty efforts for the extension and the consolidation of

Bahá'u'lláh's universal dominion on earth.
(6 November 1933 to an individual believer)

1621. As regards the International Executive referred to by the

Guardian in his "Goal of a New World Order", it should be noted

that this statement refers by no means to the Baha'i

Commonwealth of the future, but simply to that world government

which will herald the advent and lead to the final

establishment of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. The formation

of this International Executive, which corresponds to the

executive head or board in present-day national governments, is

but a step leading to the Bahá'í world government of the

future, and hence should not be identified with either the

institution of the Guardianship or that of the International

House of Justice.
(17 March 1934 to two believers)

1622. In connection with your teaching work: what the Guardian

wishes you to particularly emphasize in all your talks is the

supreme necessity for all individuals and nations in this day

to adopt in its entirety the social programme given by

Bahá'u'lláh for the reconstruction of the religious, economic

and political life of mankind. He wishes you to explain and

analyze the elements that help in raising this Divine World

Order in the light of the present-day events and conditions in

the world. Special stress, he feels, should be laid on the

impending necessity of establishing a supranational and

sovereign world state, as the one described by Bahá'u'lláh.

With the world becoming increasingly subject to tumults and

convulsions never experienced before, the realization of such a

necessity is entering into the consciousness of not only the

wise and learned, but of the common people as well. The

believers should, therefore, seize this opportunity and make a

supreme effort to present, in a convincing and eloquent

language, those social and humanitarian teachings of the Faith

which we believe to constitute the sole panacea for the

innumerable ills afflicting our present-day world.

|PPg_194
(15 November 1935 to two believers)

1623. With reference to your question concerning 'Abdu'l-Bahá's

reference to "unity in the political realm": this unity should

be clearly distinguished from the "unity of nations". The first

is a unity which politically independent and sovereign states

achieve among themselves; while the second is one which is

brought about between nations, the difference between a state

and a nation being that the former, as you know, is a political

entity without necessarily being homogeneous in race, whereas

the second implies national as well as political homogeneity.

(26 July 1936 to an individual believer)

1624. As regards your teaching work: the Guardian has already

advised you to stress in your talks the idea of a world

superstate, and the concept of the Oneness of Mankind

underlying it. In addition, he wishes you also to emphasize the

fact that humanity, taken as a whole, has entered the most

critical and momentous stage of its evolution, the stage of

maturity. This idea of the coming of age of mankind constitutes

the central core of the Bahá'í Teachings, and is the most

distinguishing feature of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. A

proper understanding of this concept gives the key to an

adequate appreciation of the tremendous claim made by the

Author of the Faith, both with regard to His own station, and

to the incomparable greatness of His Dispensation.

(12 October 1936 to an individual believer)

1625. With reference to the question you have asked concerning

the time and means through which the Lesser and Most Great

Peace, referred to by Bahá'u'lláh, will be established,

following the coming World War: Your view that the Lesser Peace

will come about through the political efforts of the states and

nations of the world, and independently of any direct Baha'i

plan or effort, and the Most Great Peace be established through

the instrumentality of the believers, and by the direct

operation of the laws and principles revealed by Bahá'u'lláh

and the functioning of the Universal House of Justice as the

supreme organ of the Bahá'í superstate -- your view on this

subject is quite correct and in full accord with the

pronouncements of the Guardian as embodied in "The Unfoldment

of World Civilization".
|PPg_195

(14 March 1939 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States and Canada, and to an individual believer)

1626. Though it is premature to try and endeavour to foresee on

what basis various nations would be represented on any

international council, or in any international form of

government, it is clear that from the Bahá'í standpoint it

could only be carried out on a basis of true justice; and

justice does not imply one race having a preponderating vote

over some other race's representatives, and thus being in a

position to dominate them.
(12 April 1942 to an individual believer)

1627. What 'Abdu'l-Bahá meant about the women arising for peace

is that this a matter which vitally affects women, and when

they form a conscious and overwhelming mass of public opinion

against war there can be no war. The Bahá'í women are already

organized through being members of the Faith and the

Administrative Order. No further organization is needed. But

they should, through teaching and through the active moral

support they give to every movement directed towards peace,

seek to exert a strong influence on other women's minds in

regard to this essential matter.
(24 March 1945 to two believers)

1628. The Seven Lights of Unity will not necessarily appear in

the order given. A product of the second may well be universal

culture.
(19 November 1945 to an individual believer)

1629. The teachings of Bahá'u'lláh will establish a new way of

life for humanity. Those who are Bahá'ís must endeavour to

establish this way of life just as rapidly as possible. Now

that the hour has arrived when the Bahá'í Faith is gaining

prominence, and is being reviewed by so many peoples, it is

necessary that the adherents of the Faith should live up to the

high ideals of the Faith in every way. In this way they can

demonstrate that the Bahá'í Faith does create a new way of

life, which brings to the individual a complete association

with the Will of God, and thus the establishment of a peaceful

and universal society. Divisional attachments are of men, while

universal service is of God.
|PPg_196

The Guardian is now anxious that all the friends achieve a

universal consciousness and universal way of life.

(20 November 1955 to an individual believer)

1630. World government will come, but we do not know the date.

(15 August 1957 to an individual believer)

Extracts from Letters of the Universal House of Justice:

1631. When Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed His Message to the world in

the nineteenth century He made it abundantly clear that the

first step essential for the peace and progress of mankind was

its unification. As He says, "The well-being of mankind, its

peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity

is firmly established." ("The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh", p.

203)

To this day, however, you will find most people take the

opposite point of view: they look upon unity as an ultimate,

almost unattainable goal and concentrate first on remedying all

the other ills of mankind. If they did but know it, these other

ills are but various symptoms and side effects of the basic

disease--disunity.
Bahá'u'lláh has, furthermore, stated that the

revivification of mankind and the curing of all its ills can be

achieved only through the instrumentality of His Faith....

We are told by Shoghi Effendi that two great processes are

at work in the world: the great Plan of God, tumultuous in its

progress, working through mankind as a whole, tearing down

barriers to world unity and forging humankind into a unified

body in the fires of suffering and experience. This process

will produce, in God's due time, the Lesser Peace, the

political unification of the world. Mankind at that time can be

likened to a body that is unified but without life. The second

process, the task of breathing life into this unified body--of

creating true unity and spirituality culminating in the Most

Great Peace--is that of the Baha'is, who are labouring

consciously, with detailed instructions and continuing Divine

guidance, to erect the fabric of the Kingdom of God on earth,

into which they call their fellow men, thus conferring upon

them eternal life.
|PPg_197

(8 December 1967, published in "Wellspring of Guidance:

Messages 1963-1968", 1st rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1976), pp. 131-34)

1632. It is true that 'Abdu'l-Bahá made statements linking the

establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century.

For example: 'The fifth candle is the unity of nations--a unity

which, in this century, will be securely established, causing

all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens

of one common fatherland." And, in The "Promised Day Is Come",

following a similar statement quoted from "Some Answered

Questions", Shoghi Effendi makes this comment: "This is the

stage which the world is now approaching, the stage of world

unity, which, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá assures us, will, in this

century, be securely established."

There is also this statement from a letter written in

1946 to an individual believer on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his

secretary:

All we know is that the Lesser and the Most Great Peace

will come -- their exact dates we do not know. The same is true

as regards the possibility of a future war; we cannot state

dogmatically it will or will not take place --all we know is

that mankind must suffer and be punished sufficiently to make

it turn to God.
(29 July 1974)

Extracts from Letters Written on behalf of the Universal House

of Justice:

1633. ...the Bahá'í Faith aims to eliminate all war, including

nuclear. The fundamental purpose of our Faith is unity and the

establishment of peace. This goal, which is the longing of

people throughout an increasingly insecure world, can only be

achieved through the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Since it is only

the Bahá'ís who can give these Teachings to mankind, the

friends must weigh carefully how they will spend their time and

energy and guard against associating with activities which

unduly distract them from their primary responsibility of

sharing the Message of Bahá'u'lláh.
(4 July 1982 to an individual believer)
|PPg_198

1634. At the present time, the subject of nuclear disarmament

has become very much a political issue, with demonstrations

taking place not only in the United States but also in England

and some western European countries. To single out nuclear

disarmament falls short of the Bahá'í position and would

involve the Faith in the current disputes between nations. It

is very clear that Bahá'ís believe disarmament, not only of

nuclear weapons but of biological, chemical and all other

forms, is essential...
(12 January 1983 to an individual believer)

1635. Concerning the transition from the present system of

national sovereignty to a system of world government, the House

of Justice fully agrees with your view that the Bahá'ís must

now do all in their power to promote this transition. This

requires several related activities, all of which are goals of

the present Seven Year Plan. One is the establishment as

rapidly as possible of firmly grounded efficiently functioning

Local Spiritual Assemblies in every part of the world, so that

seekers everywhere will have a point of reference to which they

can turn for guidance and for the Teachings of the Faith. A

second is the deepening of the believers, of all ages, in their

understanding of and obedience to the Teachings. A third is the

proclamation of the Faith to all strata of society, and in

particular to those in authority and to leaders of thought so

that those who hold the direction of peoples in their hands

will learn accurately about the nature and tenets of the Faith

and will grow to respect it and implement its principles. A

fourth is the promotion of Bahá'í scholarship, so that an

increasing number of believers will be able to analyse the

problems of mankind in every field and to show how the

Teachings solve them. A fifth is the development of relations

between the Bahá'í International Community and the United

Nations both directly with the highest UN institutions and

at a grass-roots level in areas of rural development,

education, etc.

As you are no doubt aware, the Guardian indicated that the

development of mankind from its present chaotic condition to

the stage of the Bahá'í World Commonwealth would be a long and

gradual one. The coming into existence of a World Authority and

the initiation of the Lesser Peace, is one major transformation

in this process, and will be followed by other stages of the

development of the Faith as outlined by
|PPg_199

Shoghi Effendi in his writings. Undoubtedly, as these

developments are taking place, the counsel the institutions of

the Faith can give to governments, the pattern of world

administration offered by the Bahá'í community and the great

humanitarian projects which will be launched under the aegis of

the Universal House of Justice, will exercise a great influence

on the course of progress.
(19 January 1983 to an individual believer)

1636. It is true that Bahá'ís are not pacifists since we uphold

the use of force in the service of justice and upholding law.

But we do not believe that war is ever necessary and its

abolition is one of the essential purposes and brightest

promises of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation. His specific command to

the kings of the earth is: "Should any one among you take up

arms against another, rise ye all against him, for this is

naught but manifest justice." (Tablet to Queen Victoria, "The

Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh", p. 13) The beloved Guardian has

explained that the unity of mankind implies the establishment

of a world commonwealth, a world federal system,".. .liberated

from the curse of war and its miseries in which Force is made

the servant of Justice..." whose world executive "backed by an

international Force,...will safeguard the organic unity of the

whole commonwealth." This is obviously not war but the

maintenance of law and order on a world scale. Warfare is the

ultimate tragedy of disunity among nations where no

international authority exists powerful enough to restrain them

from pursuing their own limited interests. Bahá'ís therefore

ask to serve their countries in non-combatant ways during such

fighting; they will doubtless serve in such an international

Force as Bahá'u'lláh envisions, whenever it comes into being.

(11 September 1984 to an individual believer)

1637. Bahá'u'lláh's principal mission in appearing at this time

in human history is the realization of the oneness of mankind

and the establishment of peace among the nations; therefore,

all the forces which are focused on accomplishing these ends

are influenced by His Revelation. We know, however, that peace

will come in stages. First, there will come the Lesser Peace,

when the unity of nations will be achieved, then gradually the

Most Great Peace--the spiritual as well as social and political

unity of mankind, when the Bahá'í World Commonwealth, operating

in strict accordance
|PPg_200

with the laws and ordinances of the Most Holy Book of the

Bahá'í Revelation, will have been established through the

efforts of the Baha'is.

As to the Lesser Peace, Shoghi Effendi has explained that

this will initially be a political unity arrived at by decision

of the governments of various nations; it will not be

established by direct action of the Bahá'í community. This does

not mean, however, that the Bahá'ís are standing aside and

waiting for the Lesser Peace to come before they do something

about the peace of mankind. Indeed, by promoting the principles

of the Faith, which are indispensable to the maintenance of

peace, and by fashioning the instruments of the Baha'i

Administrative Order, which we are told by the beloved Guardian

is the pattern for future society, the Bahá'ís are constantly

engaged in laying the groundwork for a permanent peace, the

Most Great Peace being their ultimate goal. The Lesser Peace

itself will pass through stages; at the initial stage the

governments will act entirely on their own without the

conscious involvement of the Faith; later on, in God's good

time, the Faith will have a direct influence on it in ways

indicated by Shoghi Effendi in his "The Goal of a New World

Order". In connection with the steps that will lead to this

latter stage, the Universal House of Justice will certainly

determine what has to be done, in accordance with the guidance

in the Writings, such as the passage you quoted from "Tablets

of Bahá'u'lláh", page 89. In the meantime, the Bahá'ís will

undoubtedly continue to do all in their power to promote the

establishment of peace.
(31 January 1985 to an individual believer)
|PPg_201
August 1981
Compiled by: The Research Department
of the Universal House of Justice
From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

1638. Be not dismayed, O peoples of the world, when the day

star of My beauty is set, and the heaven of My tabernacle is

concealed from your eyes. Arise to further My Cause, and to

exalt My Word amongst men. We are with you at all times, and

shall strengthen you through the power of truth. We are truly

almighty. Whoso hath recognized Me, will arise and serve Me with such

determination that the powers of earth and heaven
shall be unable to defeat his purpose.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), sec. 71, p. 137; "A

Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy

Book of Bahá'u'lláh", 1st ed. (Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre,

1973), p. 14)

1639. Let not your hearts be perturbed, O people, when the

glory of My Presence is withdrawn, and the ocean of My

utterance is stilled. In My presence amongst you there is a

wisdom, and in My absence there is yet another, inscrutable to

all but God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily, We

behold you from Our realm of glory, and shall aid whosoever

will arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the

Concourse on high and a company of Our favoured angels.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 72, p.

139; "A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the

Most Holy Book of Bahá'u'lláh" p. 16)

1640. Dost thou believe thou hast the power to frustrate His

Will, to hinder Him from executing His judgement, or to deter

Him from exercising His sovereignty? Pretendest thou that aught

in the heavens or in the earth can resist His Faith? No, by Him

Who is the Eternal Truth! Nothing whatsoever in the whole of

creation can thwart His Purpose....
|PPg_202

Know thou, moreover, that He it is Who hath, by His own

behest, created all that is in the heavens and all that is on

the earth. How can, then, the thing that hath been created at

His bidding prevail against Him?...

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 113, p.

220)

1641. By the righteousness of God! Whoso openeth his lips in

this Day and maketh mention of the name of his Lord, the hosts

of Divine inspiration shall descend upon him from the heaven of

My name, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. On him shall also

descend the Concourse on high, each bearing aloft a chalice of

pure light. Thus hath it been foreordained in the realm of

God's Revelation, by the behest of Him Who is the All-Glorious,

the Most Powerful.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 129, p.

280)

1642. They that have forsaken their country for the purpose of

teaching Our Cause--these shall the Faithful Spirit strengthen

through its power. A company of Our chosen angels shall go

forth with them, as bidden by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Wise. How

great the blessedness that awaiteth him that hath attained the honor of

serving the Almighty!...

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 157, p.

334)

1643. Great is the blessedness of him who hath in this Day cast

away the things current amongst men and hath clung unto that

which is ordained by God, the Lord of Names and the Fashioner

of all created things, He Who is come from the heaven of

eternity through the power of the Most Great Name, invested

with so invincible an authority that all the powers of the

earth are unable to withstand Him. Unto this beareth witness

the Mother Book, calling from the Most Sublime Station.

(Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas"

[rev. ed.], (Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), p. 48)

1644. This is the most great, the most joyful tidings imparted

by the Pen of this Wronged One to mankind. Wherefore fear ye, O

My well-beloved ones? Who is it that can dismay you? A touch of

moisture sufficeth to dissolve the hardened clay out of which

this perverse generation is
|PPg_203

moulded. The mere act of your gathering together is enough to

scatter the forces of these vain and worthless people.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas",

pp. 8485)

1645. The source of courage and power is the promotion of the

Word of God, and steadfastness in His Love.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.

156)

1646. He, verily, will aid everyone that aideth Him, and will

remember everyone that remembereth Him. To this beareth witness

this Tablet that hath shed the splendor of the loving-kindness

of your Lord, the All-Glorious, the All Compelling....

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice"

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), p. 76)

1647. Every single letter proceeding from Our mouth is endowed

with such regenerative power as to enable it to bring into

existence a new creation --a creation the magnitude of which is

inscrutable to all save God. He verily hath knowledge of all

things....

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", p.

80)

1648. It is in Our power, should We wish it, to enable a speck

of floating dust to generate, in less than the twinkling of an

eye, suns of infinite, of unimaginable splendour, to cause a

dewdrop to develop into vast and numberless oceans, to infuse

into every letter such a force as to empower it to unfold all

the knowledge of past and future ages....

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", pp. 80-81)

1649. We are possessed of such power which, if brought to

light, will transmute the most deadly of poisons into a panacea

of unfailing efficacy.

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", p.

81)

1650. Say: Beware, O people of Baha, lest the strong ones of

the earth rob you of your strength, or they who rule the world fill

you with fear. Put your trust in God, and commit your affairs

to His keeping. He, verily, will, through the power of truth,

render you victorious, and He, verily, is
|PPg_204

powerful to do what He willeth, and in His grasp are the reins

of omnipotent might....

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", p.

82)

1651. By the righteousness of God, should a man, all alone,

arise in the name of Baha and put on the armor of His love, him

will the Almighty cause to be victorious, though the forces of

earth and heaven be arrayed against him....

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh:

Selected Letters", rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1982), p. 106)

1652. By God besides Whom is none other God! Should any one

arise for the triumph of our Cause, him will God render

victorious though tens of thousands of enemies be leagued

against him. And if his love for Me wax stronger, God will

establish his ascendancy over all the powers of earth and

heaven. Thus have We breathed the spirit of power into, all

regions.

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh:

Selected Letters" p.106)
From the Writings and Utterances of the Báb:

1653. Rid thou thyself of all attachments to aught except God,

enrich thyself in God by dispensing with all else besides Him,

and recite this prayer:

Say: God sufficeth all things above all things, and nothing

in the heavens or in the earth or in whatever lieth between

them but God, thy Lord, sufficeth. Verily, He is in Himself the

Knower, the Sustainer, the Omnipotent.

Regard not the all-sufficing power of God as an idle fancy.

It is that genuine faith which thou cherishest for the

Manifestation of God in every Dispensation. It is such faith

which sufficeth above all the things that exist on the earth,

whereas no created thing on earth besides faith would suffice

thee. If thou art not a believer, the Tree of divine Truth would

condemn thee to extinction. If thou art a believer, thy

faith shall be sufficient for thee above all things that exist

on earth, even though thou possess nothing.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb" [rev. ed.], (Haifa:

Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), p. 123)
|PPg_205

1654. Say, verily any one follower of this Faith can, by the

leave of God, prevail over all who dwell in heaven and earth

and in whatever lieth between them; for indeed this is, beyond

the shadow of a doubt, the one true Faith. Therefore fear ye

not, neither be ye grieved.

Say, God hath, according to that which is revealed in the

Book, taken upon Himself the task of ensuring the ascendancy of

any one of the followers of the Truth, over and above one

hundred other souls, and the supremacy of one hundred believers

over one thousand non-believers and the domination of one

thousand of the faithful over all the peoples and kindreds of

the earth; inasmuch as God calleth into being whatsoever He

willeth by virtue of His behest. Verily He is potent over all

things. Say, the power of God is in the hearts of those who

believe in the unity of God and bear witness that no God is

there but Him, while the hearts of them that associate partners

with God are impotent, devoid of life on this earth, for

assuredly they are dead.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb" p. 153)

1655. When the Day-Star of Baha will shine resplendent above

the horizon of eternity it is incumbent upon you to present

yourselves before His Throne....

Ye have, one and all, been called into being to seek His

presence and to attain that exalted and glorious station.

Indeed, He will send down from the heaven of His mercy that

which will benefit you, and whatever is graciously vouchsafed

by Him shall enable you to dispense with all mankind.... Indeed

if it be His Will He can assuredly bring about the resurrection

of all created things through a word from Himself. He is, in

truth, over and above all this, the All-Powerful, the Almighty,

the Omnipotent.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb", pp. 16466)

1656. Hallowed be the Lord in Whose hand is the source of

dominion. He createth whatsoever He willeth by His Word of

command Be", and it is. His hath been the power of authority

heretofore and it shall remain His hereafter. He maketh

victorious whomsoever He pleaseth, through the potency of His

behest. He is in truth the Powerful, the Almighty. Unto Him

pertaineth all glory and majesty in the kingdoms of Revelation

and
|PPg_206

Creation and whatever lieth between them. Verily He is the Potent,

the All Glorious. From everlasting He hath been the

Source of indomitable strength and shall remain so unto

everlasting. He is indeed the Lord of might and power. All the

kingdoms of heaven and earth and whatever is between them are

God's, and His power is supreme over all things. All the

treasures of earth and heaven and everything between them are

His, and His protection extendeth over all things. He is the

Creator of the heavens and the earth and whatever lieth between

them and He truly is a witness over all things. He is the Lord

of Reckoning for all that dwell in the heavens and on earth and

whatever lieth between them, and truly God is swift to reckon.

He setteth the measure assigned to all who are in the heavens

and the earth and whatever is between them. Verily He is the

Supreme Protector. He holdeth in His grasp the keys of heaven

and earth and of everything between them. At His Own pleasure

doth He bestow gifts, through the power of His command. Indeed

His grace encompasseth all and He is the All-Knowing.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb", p. 171)

1657. Glorified art Thou, O God, Thou art the Creator of the

heavens and the earth and that which lieth between them. Thou

art the sovereign Lord, the Most Holy, the Almighty, the

All-Wise. Magnified be Thy Name, O God, send down upon them who

have believed in God and in His signs a mighty succour from Thy

presence such as to enable them to prevail over the generality

of mankind.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 176)

1658. Praised art Thou, O Lord! At Thy behest Thou dost render

victorious whomsoever Thou willest, through the hosts of heaven

and earth and whatsoever existeth between them. Thou art the

Sovereign, the Eternal Truth, the Lord of invincible might.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb", p. 177)

1659. O Lord! Assist those who have renounced all else but

Thee, and grant them a mighty victory. Send down upon them, O

Lord, the concourse of the angels in heaven and earth and all

that is between, to aid Thy servants, to succour and strengthen

them, to enable them to achieve success, to sustain them, to

invest them with glory, to confer upon them honour and

|PPg_207

exaltation, to enrich them and to make them triumphant with a

wondrous triumph.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb", p. 192)

1660. Send forth, O God, such hosts as would render Thy

faithful servants victorious. Thou dost fashion the created

things through the power of Thy decree as Thou pleasest. Thou

art in truth the Sovereign, the Creator, the All-Wise.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb", p. 211)

1661. Heed not your weaknesses and frailty; fix your gaze upon the

invincible power of the Lord, your God, the Almighty. Has

He not, in past days, caused Abraham, in spite of His seeming

helplessness, to triumph over the forces of Nimrod? Has He not

enabled Moses, whose staff was His only companion, to vanquish

Pharaoh and his hosts? Has He not established the ascendancy of

Jesus, poor and lowly as He was in the eyes of men, over the

combined forces of the Jewish people? Has He not subjected the

barbarous and militant tribes of Arabia to the holy and

transforming discipline of Muhammad, His Prophet? Arise in His

name, put your trust wholly in Him, and be assured of ultimate

victory.

(Addressed to the Letters of the Living cited in "The

Dawn-Breakers: Nabil's Narrative of the Early Days of the

Bahá'í Revelation" trans. and ed. Shoghi Effendi (Wilmette:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1974), p. 94)
From the Writings and Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

1662. These souls are the armies of God and the conquerors of

the East and the West. Should one of them turn his face toward

some direction and summon the people to the Kingdom of God, all

the ideal forces and lordly confirmations will rush to his

support and reinforcement. He will behold all the doors open

and all the strong fortifications and impregnable castles razed

to the ground. Singly and alone he will attack the armies of

the world, defeat the right and left wings of the hosts of all

the countries, break through the lines of the legions of all

the nations and carry his attack to the very center of the

powers of the earth. This is the meaning of the Hosts of God.

("Tablets of the Divine Plan Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the

North American Baha'is" rev. ed. (Wilmette:Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1980), pp. 47-48)
|PPg_208

1663. If in this day a soul shall act according to the precepts

and the counsels of God, he will serve as a divine physician to

mankind, and like the trump of Israfil,[1] he will call the dead

of this contingent world to life; for the confirmations of the

Abha Realm are never interrupted, and such a virtuous soul

hath, to befriend him, the unfailing help of the Company on

high. Thus shall a sorry gnat become an eagle in the fullness

of his strength, and a feeble sparrow change to a royal falcon

in the heights of ancient glory.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" [rev. ed.I,

(Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), sec. 8, p. 23)

1664. Know thou of a certainty that thy Lord will come to thine

aid with a company of the Concourse on high and hosts of the

Abha Kingdom. These will mount the attack, and will furiously

assail the forces of the ignorant, the blind....

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" sec. 19, p.

43)

1665. If a small number of people gather lovingly together,

with absolute purity and sanctity, with their hearts free of

the world, experiencing the emotions of the Kingdom and the

powerful magnetic forces of the Divine, and being at one in

their happy fellowship, that gathering will exert its influence

over all the earth. The nature of that band of people, the

words they speak, the deeds they do, will unleash the bestowals

of Heaven, and provide a foretaste of eternal bliss. The hosts

of the Company on high will defend them, and the angels of the

Abha Paradise, in continuous succession, will come down to

their aid.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" sec. 39, p. 81)

1666. He will come to your aid with invisible hosts, and

support you with armies of inspiration from the Concourse

above; He will send unto you sweet perfumes from the highest

Paradise, and waft over you the pure breathings that blow from

the rose gardens of the Company on high. He will breathe into

your hearts the spirit of life, cause you to enter the Ark of

salvation, and reveal unto you His clear tokens and signs.

Verily is this abounding grace. Verily is this the victory that

none can deny.
____

[1] Believed to be the angel appointed to sound the

trumpet on the Day of Resurrection to raise the dead at the

bidding of the Lord.
|PPg_209

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" sec. 157, pp.

186-87)

1667. Rest ye assured that if a soul ariseth in the utmost

perseverance and raiseth the Call of the Kingdom and resolutely

promulgateth the Covenant, be he an insignificant ant he shall

be enabled to drive away the formidable elephant from the

arena, and if he be a feeble moth he shall cut to pieces the

plumage of the rapacious vulture.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 184, p.

209)

1668. The confirmations of Him Who is the Ever-Forgiving have

wrapped every clime in light, the armies of the Company on high

are rushing forward to do battle at the side of the friends of

the Lord and carry the day...

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 193, p.

229)

1669. All praise and thanksgiving be unto the Blessed Beauty,

for calling into action the armies of His Abha Kingdom, and

sending forth to us His never-interrupted aid, dependable as

the rising stars....

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 195, p.

237)

1670. Whensoever holy souls, drawing on the powers of heaven,

shall arise with such qualities of the spirit, and march in

unison, rank on rank, every one of those souls will be even as

one thousand, and the surging waves of that mighty ocean will

be even as the battalions of the Concourse on high....

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, sec. 207, p.

260)

1671. It is clear that in this day, confirmations from the

unseen world are encompassing all those who deliver the divine

Message. Should the work of teaching lapse, these confirmations

would be entirely cut off, since it is impossible for the loved

ones of God to receive assistance unless they teach.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, sec. 209, pp.

26465)

1672. O ye servants of the Sacred Threshold! The triumphant

hosts of the Celestial Concourse, arrayed and marshalled in the

Realms above, stand ready and expectant to assist and assure

victory to that valiant horseman
|PPg_210

who with confidence spurs on his charger into the arena of

service. Well is it with that fearless warrior, who armed with

the power of true Knowledge, hastens unto the field, disperses

the armies of ignorance, and scatters the hosts of error, who

holds aloft the Standard of Divine Guidance, and sounds the

Clarion of Victory. By the righteousness of the Lord! He hath

achieved a glorious triumph and obtained the true victory.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" sec. 208, p.

264)

1673. Be not grieved at the smallness of your number and thank

God for the power of your spirits. He shall assist you with

such a confirmation whereat minds will be astonished and souls

will be amazed.

('Abdu'l-Bahá, "Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas, vol. 1 (Chicago:

Bahai Publishing Committee 1930), p. 80)

1674. Be ye assured with the greatest assurance that, verily,

God will help those who are firm in His Covenant in every matter,

through His confirmation and favor, the lights of which will

shine forth unto the east of the earth, as well as the west

thereof. He will make them the signs of guidance among the

creation and as shining and glittering stars from all horizons.

("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas", vol. 1, p. 83)

1675. Arise with every power to assist the Covenant of God and

serve in His vineyard. Be confident that a confirmation will be

granted unto you and a success on His part is given unto you.

Verily, He shall support you by the angels of His holiness and

reinforce you with the breaths of the Spirit that ye may mount

the Ark of Safety, set forth the evident signs, impart the

spirit of life, declare the essence of His commands and

precepts, guide the sheep who are straying from the fold in all

directions, and give the blessings. Ye have to use every effort

in your power and strive earnestly and wisely in this new

century. By God, verily the Lord of Hosts is your support, the

angels of heaven your assistance, the Holy Spirit your

companion and the Center of the Covenant your helper. Be not

idle, but active and fear not....

("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas", vol. 1, p. 162; "Bahá'í World

Faith: Selected Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, [rev.

ed.] (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1976), p. 362)

|PPg_211

1676. By the Lord of the Kingdom! If one arise to promote the

Word of God with a pure heart, overflowing with the love of God

and severed from the world, the Lord of Hosts will assist him

with such a power as will penetrate the core of the existent

beings.

("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas" vol 2 (Chicago: Baha'i

Publishing Society, 1915) p. 348)

1677. Your Lord hath assuredly promised His servants who are

firm and steadfast to render them victorious at all times, to

exalt their word, propagate their power, diffuse their lights,

strengthen their hearts, elevate their banners, assist their

hosts, brighten their stars, increase the abundance of the

showers of mercy upon them, and enable the brave lions (or

teachers) to conquer.

Hasten, hasten, O ye firm believers! Hasten, hasten, O ye

steadfast! Abandon the heedless, set aside every ignorant, take

hold of the strong rope, be firm in this Great Cause, draw

light from this Evident Light, be patient and be steadfast in

this wise Religion! Ye shall see the hosts of inspiration

descending successively from the Supreme World, the procession

of attraction falling incessantly from the heights of heaven,

the abundance of the Kingdom of El-ABHA outpouring continually

and the teachings of God penetrating with the utmost power,

while the heedless are indeed in evident loss.

("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas" vol. 2, pp. 442-43)

1678. Today, any soul who looseneth his tongue in the delivery

of Truth and is engaged in the diffusion of the fragrances of

God, he shall undoubtedly be assisted and confirmed by the Holy

Spirit and can resist the attacks of all the people of the

world, [for the] power of the Realm of Might shall prevail.

That is why thou seest that, although the disciples of Christ

were physically weak and apparently vanquished by the

persecution of every king, yet in the end were victorious over

all and brought them under their protection.

("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas, vol. 3 (Chicago: Baha'i

Publishing Society, 1916), p. 508)

1679. Should anyone in this day attach his heart to the Kingdom,

release himself from all else save God and become attracted to

the fragrances of
|PPg_212

holiness, the army of the Kingdom of ABHA will help him and the

angels of the Supreme Concourse will assist him.
("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas", vol. 3, p. 591)

1680. Remember not your own limitations; the help of God will

come to you. Forget yourself. God's help will surely come!

When you call on the Mercy of God waiting to reinforce you,

your strength will be tenfold. Look at me: I am so feeble, yet

I have had the strength given me to come amongst you: a poor

servant of God, who has been enabled to give you this message!

I shall not be with you long! One must never consider one's own

feebleness, it is the strength of the Holy Spirit of Love,

which gives the power to teach. The thought of our own weakness

could only bring despair. We must look higher than all earthly

thoughts; detach ourselves from every material idea, crave for

the things of the spirit; fix our eyes on the everlasting

bountiful Mercy of the Almighty, who will fill our souls with

the gladness of joyful service to His command 'Love One

Another'.

("Paris Talks: Addresses given by Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in

1911-1912", 10th ed. (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1979),

pp. 38-39)

1681. How great, how very great is the Cause; how very fierce

the onslaught of all the peoples and kindreds of the earth!

Erelong shall the clamor of the multitude throughout Africa,

throughout America, the cry of the European and of the Turk,

the groaning of India and China be heard from far and near. One

and all they shall arise with all their power to resist His

Cause. Then shall the Knights of the Lord, assisted by grace

from on high, strengthened by faith, aided by the power of

understanding and reinforced by the legions of the Covenant,

arise and make manifest the truth of the verse: 'Behold the

confusion that hath befallen the tribes of the defeated!'[2]

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "Bahá'í Administration: Selected

Messages 1922-1932" [rev. ed.], (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1980), p. 123)
____
[2] Qur'an 38: 11
|PPg_213

1682. The Báb hath said: "Should a tiny ant desire, in this

day, to be possessed of such power as to be able to unravel the

abstrusest and most bewildering passages of the Qur'an, its

wish will no doubt be fulfilled, inasmuch as the mystery of

eternal might vibrates within the innermost being of all

created things." If so helpless a creature can be endowed with

so subtle a capacity, how much more efficacious must be the

power released through the liberal effusions of the grace of

Bahá'u'lláh!

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice" p. 46)

1683. The Kingdom of God is possessed of limitless potency.

Audacious must be the army of life if the confirming aid of

that Kingdom is to be repeatedly vouchsafed unto it.... Vast is

the arena, and the time ripe to spur on the charger within it.

Now is the time to reveal the force of one's strength, the

stoutness of one's heart and the might of one's soul.

(Cited in a letter dated 28 January 1939 to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published

in Shoghi Effendi "Messages to America: Selected Letters and

Cablegrams Addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America

1932-1946" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1947), p.

17)

1684. And now you, if you act in accordance with the teachings

of Bahá'u'lláh, may rest assured that you will be aided and

confirmed. In all affairs which you undertake, you shall be

rendered victorious, and all the inhabitants of the earth

cannot withstand you. You are the conquerors, because the power

of the Holy Spirit is your assistant. Above and over physical

forces, phenomenal forces, the Holy Spirit itself shall aid you

(Published in "Star of the West, voL 8, no. 8 (1 August

1917), p. 103)

1685. Be ye valiant and fearless! Day by day add to your

spiritual victories. Be ye not disturbed by the constant

assaults of the enemies. Attack ye like unto the roaring lions.

Have no thought of yourselves, for the invisible armies of the

Kingdom are fighting on your side. Enter ye the battlefield

with the Confirmations of the Holy Spirit. Know ye of a

certainty that the powers of the Kingdom of Abha are with you.

The hosts of the heaven of Truth are with you. The cool breezes

of the Paradise of Abha are wafting over your heated brows. Not

for a moment are ye alone. Not for a second are ye left to

yourselves. The Beauty of Abha is with you. The Glorious God is

with you. The King of Kings is with you.
|PPg_214

(Published in "Star of the West" vol. 13, no. 5 (August 1922),

p. 113)
From Letters and Cables Written by Shoghi Effendi

1686. Difficult and delicate though be our task, the sustaining

power of Bahá'u'lláh and of His Divine guidance will assuredly

assist us if we follow steadfastly in His way, and strive to

uphold the integrity of His laws. The light of His redeeming

grace, which no earthly power can obscure, will if we persevere,

illuminate our path, as we steer our course amid the snares and

pitfalls of a troubled age, and will enable us to discharge our

duties in a manner that would redound to the glory and the

honour of His blessed Name.

(From a letter dated 21 March 1932 written by Shoghi Effendi to

the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, published in "The

World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters", p. 67)

1687. "Peter,"'Abdu'l-Bahá has testified, "according to the

history of the Church, was also incapable of keeping count of

the days of the week. Whenever he decided to go fishing, he

would tie up his weekly food into seven parcels, and every day

he would eat one of them, and when he had reached the seventh,

he would know that the Sabbath had arrived, and thereupon would

observe it." If the Son of Man was capable of infusing into

apparently so crude and helpless an instrument such potency as

to cause, in the words of Bahá'u'lláh, "the mysteries of wisdom

and of utterance to flow out of his mouth," and to exalt him

above the rest of His disciples, and render him fit to become

His successor and the founder of His Church, how much more can

the Father, Who is Bahá'u'lláh, empower the most puny and

insignificant among His followers to achieve, for the execution

of His purpose, such wonders as would dwarf the mightiest

achievements of even the first apostle of Jesus Christ!

("The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 46)

1688. The field is indeed so immense, the period so critical,

the Cause so great, the workers so few, the time so short, the

privilege so priceless, that no follower of the Faith of

Bahá'u'lláh, worthy to bear His name, can afford a moment's

hesitation. That God-born Force, irresistible in its sweeping

power, incalculable in its potency, unpredictable in its

course, mysterious in its workings, and awe-inspiring in its

manifestations--a
|PPg_215

Force which, as the Báb has written, "vibrates within the

innermost being of all created things," and which, according to

Bahá'u'lláh, has through its "vibrating influence," "upset the

equilibrium of the world and revolutionized its ordered life"

--such a Force, acting even as a two-edged sword, is, under our

very eyes, sundering, on the one hand, the age-old ties which

for centuries have held together the fabric of civilized

society, and is unloosing, on the other, the bonds that still

fetter the infant and as yet unemancipated Faith of

Bahá'u'lláh.
("The Advent of Divine Justice", pp. 46-47)

1689. There is no time to lose. There is no room left for

vacillation. Multitudes hunger for the Bread of Life. The

stage is set. The firm and irrevocable Promise is given. God's

own Plan has been set in motion. It is gathering momentum with

every passing day. The powers of heaven and earth mysteriously assist in

its execution. Such an opportunity is irreplaceable.

Let the doubter arise, and himself verify the truth of such

assertions. To try, to persevere, is to ensure ultimate and

complete victory.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 28 January 1939 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published

in "Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams

Addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America, 1932-1946"

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1947), p. 17)

1690. Faced with such a challenge, a community that has scaled

thus far such peaks of enduring achievement can neither falter

nor recoil. Confident in its destiny, reliant on its God-given

power, fortified by the consciousness of its past victories,

galvanized into action at the sight of a slowly disrupting

civilization, it will--I can have no doubt--continue to fulfil

unflinchingly the immediate requirements of its task, assured

that with every step it takes and with each stage it traverses,

a fresh revelation of Divine light and strength will guide and

propel it forward until it consummates, in the fullness of time

and in the plenitude of its power, the Plan inseparably bound

up with its shining destiny.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi appended to a letter

dated 4 July 1939 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published

in "Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams

Addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America, 1932-1946", p. 26)

|PPg_216

1691. The field, in all its vastness and fertility, is wide

open and near at hand. The harvest is ripe. The hour is

overdue. The signal has been given. The spiritual forces

mysteriously released are already operating with increasing

momentum, unchallenged and unchecked. Victory, speedy and

unquestioned, is assured to whomsoever will arise and respond

to this second, this urgent and vital call.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 28 July 1939 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published

in "Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams

Addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America, 1932-1946", pp.

28-29)

1692. The vastness of the field, the smallness of your numbers,

the indifference of the masses, must neither discourage nor

appall you. You should at all times fix your gaze on the

promise of Bahá'u'lláh, put your whole trust in His creative

Word, recall the past and manifold evidences of His

all-encompassing and resistless power, and arise to become

worthy and exemplary recipients of His all-sustaining grace and

blessings.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter dated 29 June

1941 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of India, published in "Dawn of a New Day" (New Delhi:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, n.d. [1970]), p. 90)

1693. If the friends, individually and collectively, play their

part and exert their utmost the abundant blessings of

Bahá'u'lláh will be fully vouchsafed, and the triumph of the

Plan will mark a glorious chapter in the history of the Faith.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 18 December 1945 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles)

1694. ...FORCES MYSTERIOUSLY RELEASED DESIGNED DIRECT

OPERATION STIMULATE PROCESSES ENSURE CONSUMMATION SECOND

STAGE DIVINE PLAN INCONCEIVABLY POTENT. FULL RAPID USE THESE

FORCES BY ORGANIZED COMMUNITY ALIVE SUBLIMITY MISSION

IMPERATIVE, MANIFOLD AGENCIES LOCAL REGIONAL NATIONAL

INTERCONTINENTAL DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE PROSECUTION PLAN NOW

CALLED UPON ACHIEVE RESPECTIVE SPHERES ... SUCCESSES SO

CONSPICUOUS
|PPg_217

AS SHALL IMMEASURABLY FORTIFY HOPES WINNING STIPULATED

TIME TOTAL DECISIVE VICTORY....

(From a cable dated 6 October 1946 to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States and Canada, published in

"Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams Addressed

to the Bahá'ís of North America 1932-1946", p. 108)

1695. The invisible hosts of the Kingdom are ready and eager to

rush forth to the assistance of such as will have the courage

to weigh the issues involved and to take the decision

commensurate with these issues....

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 6 September 1949 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles)

1696. Time is short. Opportunities, though multiplying with

every passing hour, will not recur, some for yet another

century, others never again. However severe the challenge,

however multiple the tasks, however short the time, however

sombre the world outlook, however limited the material

resources of a hard-pressed adolescent community, the untapped

sources of celestial strength from which it can draw are

measureless in their potencies, and will unhesitatingly pour

forth their energizing influences if the necessary daily effort

be made and the required sacrifices be willingly accepted.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 18 December 1945 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States, published in "Citadel

of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957" (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1980), p. 85)

1697. The invisible battalions of the Concourse on high are

mustered, in serried ranks, ready to rush their reinforcements

to the aid of the vanguard of Bahá'u'lláh's crusaders in the

hour of their greatest need...

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 23 November 1951 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States, published in "Citadel

of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957", 105)

1698. LORD HOSTS KING OF KINGS PLEDGED UNFAILING AID

EVERY CRUSADER BATTLING HIS CAUSE. INVISIBLE BATTALIONS

|PPg_218
MUSTERED RANK UPON RANK READY POUR FORTH
REINFORCEMENTS FROM ON
HIGH.

(From a cable dated 8 October 1952 to the Bahá'ís of the West

published in "Messages to the Bahá'í World 1950-1957"

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971), p. 44)

1699. Putting on the armour of His love, firmly buckling on the

shield of His mighty Covenant, mounted on the steed of

steadfastness, holding aloft the lance of the Word of the Lord

of Hosts, and with unquestioning reliance on His promises as

the best provision for their journey, let them set their faces

towards those fields that still remain unexplored and direct

their steps to those goals that are as yet unattained, assured

that He Who has led them to achieve such triumphs, and to store

up such prizes in His Kingdom, will continue to assist them in

enriching their spiritual birthright to a degree that no finite

mind can imagine or human heart perceive.

(From a letter dated April 1956 to all National Spiritual

Assemblies, published in "Messages to the Bahá'í World

1950-1957", p. 102)

1700. Delicate and strenuous though the task may be, however

arduous and prolonged the effort required, whatsoever the

nature of the perils and pitfalls that beset the path of whoever arises to

revive the fortunes of a Faith struggling against the rising forces of

materialism, nationalism, secularism, racialism and ecclesiastism, the

all-conquering potency of the grace of God, vouchsafed through the

Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, will, undoubtedly, mysteriously and surprisingly,

enable whosoever arises to champion His Cause to win complete and total

victory.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 19 July 1956 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States, published in "Citadel

of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957", p. 149)

1701. ...the sustaining grace promised to all those who will

arise, with single-mindedness, courage, dedication and high

resolve, to aid in the attainment of these noble objectives, is

of such potency that no earthly power can resist the ultimate

fulfilment of so glorious a task, or even delay its eventual

fruition.
|PPg_219

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 27 June 1957 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual of New Zealand)

1702. The Concourse on High watches over them ready to

vouchsafe its aid and confer its blessings on their valiant and

concerted endeavours. The Author of the Divine Plan will, as

promised by Him in His epoch-making Tablets, assist them to

surmount whatever obstacles they may encounter in their path,

and crown their historic enterprise with a resounding victory.

The Founder of their Faith Himself will not fail to reward

them, in His own Kingdom, and in accordance with His wisdom and

bounty, for their share in the furtherance of the interests of

His world-encompassing Order, and to exalt them amidst the

company of His immortal saints and heroes dwelling in the Abha

Kingdom.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 2 July 1957 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Arabian Peninsula)

From Letters Written on Behalf of Shoghi Effendi

1703. Perhaps the reason why you have not accomplished so much

in the field of teaching is the extent you looked upon your own

weaknesses and inabilities to spread the message. Bahá'u'lláh

and the Master have both urged us repeatedly to disregard our

own handicaps and lay our whole reliance upon God. He will come

to our help if we only arise and become an active channel for

God's grace. Do you think it is the teachers who make converts

and change human hearts? No, surely not. They are only pure

souls who take the first step, and then let the spirit of

Bahá'u'lláh move them and make use of them. If any one of them

should even for a second consider his achievements as due to

his own capacities, his work is ended and his fall starts. This

is in fact the reason why so many competent souls have after

wonderful services suddenly found themselves absolutely

impotent and perhaps thrown aside by the Spirit of the Cause as

useless souls. The criterion is the extent to which we are

ready to have the will of God
operate through us.

Stop being conscious of your frailties, therefore; have a

perfect reliance upon God; let your heart burn with the desire

to serve His mission
|PPg_220

and proclaim His call; and you will observe how eloquence and

the power to change human hearts will come as a matter of

course.

Shoghi Effendi will surely pray for your success if you

should arise and start to teach. In fact the mere act of

arising will win for you God's help and blessings.

(Dated 31 March 1932 to an individual believer)

1704. You should never look at your own limitations, much less

allow them to deter you from promoting the Message. For the

believers, whether capable or not, whether poor or rich, and

whether influential or obscure, are after all but mere channels

through which God carries His message to mankind. They are

instruments, whereby He communicates His will to His people.

The friends, therefore, must cease looking at their own

deficiencies in a way that would kill in them the spirit of

initiative and of service. They should have confidence in the

divine assistance promised to them by Bahá'u'lláh, and kill in

them the spirit of initiative and of service. They should have

confidence in the divine assistance promised to them by

Bahá'u'lláh, and strengthened and revived by such an assurance

they should continue to toil till the very end of their life.

(Dated 18 March 1934 to an individual believer)

1705. The invisible hosts of the Kingdom are ready to extend to

you all the assistance you need, and through them you will no

doubt succeed in removing every obstacle in your way, and in

fulfilling this most cherished desire of your heart.

Bahá'u'lláh has given us [a] promise that should we persevere

in our efforts and repose all our confidence in Him the doors

of success will be widely open before us....

(Dated 22 September 1936 to an individual believer)

1706. The harder you strive to attain your goal, the greater

will be the confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh, and the more certain

you can feel to attain success. Be cheerful, therefore, and

exert yourself with full faith and confidence. For Bahá'u'lláh

has promised His Divine assistance to everyone who arises with

a pure and detached heart to spread His holy Word, even though

he may be bereft of every human knowledge and capacity, and

notwithstanding the forces of darkness and of opposition which

may be arrayed against him. The goal is clear, the path safe

and
|PPg_221

certain, and the assurances of Bahá'u'lláh as to the eventual

success of our efforts quite emphatic. Let us keep firm, and

whole-heartedly carry on the great work which He has entrusted

into our hands.
(Dated 3 February 1937 to an individual believer)

1707. The Bahá'í teacher must be all confidence. Therein lies

his strength and the secret of his success. Though

single-handed, and no matter how great the apathy of the people

around you may be, you should have faith that the hosts of the

Kingdom are on your side, and that through their help you are bound to

overcome the forces of darkness that are facing the

Cause of God. Persevere, be happy and confident, therefore.

(Dated 30 June 1937 to an individual believer)

1708. ...he would advise you to persevere in the task you have

set your heart to accomplish, confident that through Divine

assistance you will be able, sooner or later, to attain your

goal. Reliance on God is indeed the strongest and safest weapon

which the Bahá'í teacher can carry. For by its means no earthly

power can remain unconquered, and no obstacle become

insuperable.
(Dated 27 March 1938 to an individual believer)

1709. Smallness of numbers, lack of skilled teachers, and

modesty of means should not discourage or deter them. They must

remember the glorious history of the Cause, which, both East

and West, was established by dedicated souls who, for the most

part, were neither rich, famous, nor well educated, but whose

devotion, zeal and self-sacrifice overcame every obstacle and

won miraculous victories for the Faith of God.... Let them

dedicate themselves--young and old, men and women alike--and go

forth and settle in new districts, travel, and teach in spite

of lack of experience, and be assured that Bahá'u'lláh has

promised to aid all those who arise in His Name. His strength

will sustain them; their own weakness is unimportant.

(Dated 29 June 1941 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

of the Bahá'ís of India, published in "Dawn of a New Day", p.

89)
|PPg_222

1710. Bahá'u'lláh has said that God will assist all those who

arise in His service. The more you labour for His Faith, the

more He will aid and bless you.

(Dated 23 November 1941 to the Bahá'ís of Quito, Ecuador)

1711. If the friends always waited until they were fully

qualified to do any particular task, the work of the Cause

would be almost at a standstill! But the very act of striving

to serve, however unworthy one may feel, attracts the blessings

of God and enables one to become more fitted for the task.

(Dated 4 May 1942 to an individual believer)

1712. When once a few bold, self-sacrificing individuals have

arisen to serve, their example will no doubt encourage other

timid, would-be pioneers to follow in their footsteps. The

history of our Faith is full of records of the remarkable

things achieved by really very simple, insignificant

individuals, who became veritable beacons and towers of

strength through having placed their trust in God, having

arisen to proclaim His Message....

(Dated 27 March 1945 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

British Isles)

1713. Once the friends start out to win the goals set in their

Plan, they will find the Divine confirmations sustaining them

and hastening its consummation....
(Dated 9 August 1945 to the
National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles)

1714. It shows that wherever and whenever the friends arise to

serve, the mysterious power latent in this Divine Cause rushes

in to bless and reinforce their labours far beyond their

fondest hopes.

(Dated 18 February 1947 to an individual believer)

1715. Each one of us, if we look into our failures, is sure to

feel unworthy and despondent, and this feeling only frustrates

our constructive efforts and wastes time. The thing for us to

focus on is the glory of the Cause and the Power of Bahá'u'lláh

which can make of a mere drop a surging sea!
(Dated 13 October 1947 to an individual believer)
|BCOMPILATION_OF_COMPILATION_II
|PPg_223

1716. ...when we put our trust in Him, Bahá'u'lláh solves our

problems and opens the way.
(Dated 12 October 1949 to an individual believer)

1717. Just one mature soul, with spiritual understanding and a

profound knowledge of the Faith, can set a whole country

ablaze--so great is the power of the Cause to work through a

pure and selfless channel.
(Dated 6 November 1949 to an individual believer)

1718. At all times we must look at the greatness of the Cause,

and remember that Bahá'u'lláh will assist all who arise in His

service. When we look at ourselves, we are sure to feel

discouraged by our shortcomings and insignificance!

(Dated 12 December 1950 to an individual believer)

1719. Today, as never before, the magnet which attracts the

blessings from on high is teaching the Faith of God. The Hosts

of Heaven are poised between heaven and earth, just waiting,

and patiently, for the Bahá'í to step forth, with pure devotion

and consecration, to teach the Cause of God, so they may rush

to his aid and assistance. It is the Guardian's prayer that the

Friends may treble their efforts, as the time is short--alas,

the workers too few. Let those who wish to achieve immortality

step forth and raise the Divine Call. They will be astonished

at the spiritual victories they will gain.
(Dated 28 March 1953 to an individual believer)

1720. The Hosts of the Supreme Concourse are in martial array,

poised between Earth and Heaven ready to rush to the assistance

of those who arise to Teach the Faith. If one seeks the

confirmation of the Holy Spirit, one can find it in rich

abundance in the Teaching Field. The world is seeking as never before, and

if the Friends will arise with new determination,

fully consecrated to the noble task ahead of them, victory

after victory will be won for the Glorious Faith of God.

(Dated 2 February 1956 to an individual believer)

1721. The Friends must realize the Power of the Holy Spirit

which is manifest and quickening them at this time through the

appearance of
|PPg_224

Bahá'u'lláh. There is no force of heaven or earth which can

affect them if they place themselves wholly under the influence

of the Holy Spirit and under its guidance....
(Dated 11 August 1957 to an individual believer)
Revised July 1990
|PPg_225
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER, MEDITATION
AND THE DEVOTIONAL ATTITUDE:
A COMPILATION
March 1980
Extracts from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

1722. Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may

unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that

lie hid in its depths. Take heed that ye do not vacillate in

your determination to embrace the truth of this Cause--a Cause

through which the potentialities of the might of God have been

revealed, and His sovereignty established. With faces beaming

with joy, hasten ye unto Him. This is the changeless Faith of

God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future. Let him that

seeketh, attain it; and as to him that hath refused to seek it

-verily, God is Self-Sufficient, above any need of His

creatures.

("A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most

Holy Book of Bahá'u'lláh", 1st ed. (Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre,

1973), pp. 27-28)

1723. Recite ye the verses of God every morning and evening.

Whoso reciteth them not hath truly failed to fulfil his pledge

to the Covenant of God and His Testament, and whoso in this day

turneth away therefrom hath indeed turned away from God since

time immemorial. Fear ye God, O concourse of My servants!

Take heed lest excessive reading and too many acts of piety

in the daytime and in the night season make you vainglorious.

Should a person recite but a single verse from the Holy

Writings in a spirit of joy and radiance, this would be better

for him than reciting wearily all the Scriptures of God, the

Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Recite ye the verses of God in such

measure that ye be not overtaken with fatigue or

boredom. Burden not your souls so as to cause exhaustion and

weigh them down, but rather endeavour to lighten them, that

they may soar on the wings of revealed Verses unto the

dawning-place of His signs. This is conducive to nearer access

unto God, were ye to comprehend.

("Kitáb-i-Aqdas" provisional translation from the Arabic)

|PPg_226

1724. The wine of renunciation must needs be quaffed, the lofty

heights of detachment must needs be attained, and the

meditation referred to in the words "One hour's reflection is

preferable to seventy years of pious worship" must needs be

observed, so that the secret of the wretched behaviour of the

people might be discovered, those people who, despite the love

and yearning for truth which they profess, curse the followers

of Truth when once He hath been made manifest....

("Kitáb-i-Iqan" [rev. ed.], (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1985), p. 238)

1725. In like manner, those words that have streamed forth from

the source of power and descended from the heaven of glory are

innumerable and beyond the ordinary comprehension of man. To

them that are possessed of true understanding and insight the Surah of

Hud surely sufficeth. Ponder a while those holy words in your heart, and,

with utter detachment, strive to grasp their meaning....

("Kitáb-i-Iqan" p. 5)

1726. O brother, we should open our eyes, meditate upon His

Word, and seek the sheltering shadow of the Manifestations of God,

that perchance we may be warned by the unmistakable counsels of the

Book, and give heed to the admonitions recorded in the holy

Tablets; that we may not cavil at the Revealer of the verses,

that we may resign ourselves wholly to His Cause, and embrace

wholeheartedly His law, that haply we may enter the court of

His mercy, and dwell upon the shore of His grace. He, verily, is

merciful, and forgiving towards His servants.
("Kitáb-i-Iqan" p. 217)
O SON OF GLORY!

1727. Be swift in the path of holiness, and enter the heaven of

communion with Me. Cleanse thy heart with the burnish of the

spirit, and hasten to the court of the Most High.

("The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh", Persian no. 8, rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1985), p. 24)

1728. Say: Deliver your souls, O people, from the bondage of

self, and purify them from all attachment to anything besides

Me. Remembrance of Me cleanseth all things from defilement, could

ye but perceive it. Say: Were
|PPg_227

all created things to be entirely divested of the veil of

worldly vanity and desire, the Hand of God would in this Day

clothe them, one and all, with the robe "He doeth whatsoever He

willeth in the kingdom of creation," that thereby the sign of

His sovereignty might be manifested in all things. Exalted then

be He, the Sovereign Lord of all, the Almighty, the Supreme

Protector, the All-Glorious, the Most Powerful.

Intone, O My servant, the verses of God that have been

received by thee, as intoned by them who have drawn nigh unto

Him, that the sweetness of thy melody may kindle thine own

soul, and attract the hearts of all men. Whoso reciteth, in the

privacy of his chamber, the verses revealed by God, the

scattering angels of the Almighty shall scatter abroad the

fragrance of the words uttered by his mouth, and shall cause

the heart of every righteous man to throb. Though he may, at

first, remain unaware of its effect, yet the virtue of the

grace vouchsafed unto him must needs sooner or later exercise

its influence upon his soul. Thus have the mysteries of the

Revelation of God been decreed by virtue of the Will of Him Who

is the Source of power and wisdom.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), sec. 136, pp. 29495)

1729. O Salman! All that the sages and mystics have said or

written have never exceeded, nor can they ever hope to exceed,

the limitations to which man's finite mind hath been strictly

subjected. To whatever heights the mind of the most exalted of

men may soar, however great the depths which the detached and

understanding heart can penetrate, such mind and heart can

never transcend that which is the creature of their own

conceptions and the product of their own thoughts. The

meditations of the profoundest thinker, the devotions of the

holiest of saints, the highest expressions of praise from

either human pen or tongue, are but a reflection of that which

hath been created within themselves, through the revelation of

the Lord, their God. Whoever pondereth this truth in his heart

will readily admit that there are certain limits which no human

being can possibly transgress. Every attempt which, from the

beginning that hath no beginning, hath been made to visualize

and know God is limited by the exigencies of His own creation-

a creation which He, through the operation of His own Will and

for the purposes of none other but His own Self, hath called

into being. Immeasurably exalted is He
|PPg_228

above the strivings of human mind to grasp His Essence, or of

human tongue to describe His mystery....

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 148, pp.

317-18)

1730. Do thou meditate on that which We have revealed unto

thee, that thou mayest discover the purpose of God, thy Lord,

and the Lord of all worlds. In these words the mysteries of

Divine Wisdom have been treasured....

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 79, p. 153)

1731. Were any man to ponder in his heart that which the Pen of

the Most High hath revealed and to taste of its sweetness, he

would, of a certainty, find himself emptied and delivered from

his own desires, and utterly subservient to the Will of the

Almighty. Happy is the man that hath attained so high a

station, and hath not deprived himself of so bountiful a grace.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 163, p.

343)

1732. Occupy thyself in remembrance of the Beauty of Him Who is

the Unconstrained at early morn, and seek communion with Him at

the hour of dawn. O 'Ali! Remembrance of Me is a healing

medicine to the souls and a light to the hearts of men.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer - translated from the

Persian)
Extracts from the Writings of the Báb

1733. It is seemly that the servant should, after each prayer,

supplicate God to bestow mercy and forgiveness upon his

parents. Thereupon God's call will be raised:'Thousand upon

thousand of what thou hast asked for thy parents shall be thy

recompense!' Blessed is he who remembereth his parents when

communing with God. There is, verily, no God but Him, the

Mighty, the Well-Beloved.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb" [rev. ed.], (Haifa:

Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), p. 94)

1734. The reason why privacy hath been enjoined in moments of

devotion is this, that thou mayest give thy best attention to

the remembrance of God, that thy heart may at all times be

animated with His Spirit, and not
|PPg_229

be shut out as by a veil from thy Best Beloved. Let not thy

tongue pay lip service in praise of God while thy heart be not

attuned to the exalted Summit of Glory, and the Focal Point of

communion. Thus if haply thou dost live in the Day of

Resurrection, the mirror of thy heart will be set towards Him

Who is the Day-Star of Truth; and no sooner will His light

shine forth than the splendour thereof shall forthwith be

reflected in thy heart. For He is the Source of all goodness,

and unto Him revert all things. But if He appeareth while thou

hast turned unto thyself in meditation, this shall not profit

thee, unless thou shalt mention His Name by words He hath

revealed. For in the forthcoming Revelation it is He Who is the

Remembrance of God, whereas the devotions which thou art

offering at present have been prescribed by the Point of the

Bayan, while He Who will shine resplendent in the Day of

Resurrection is the Revelation of the inner reality enshrined

in the Point of the Bayan--a Revelation more potent,

immeasurably more potent, than the one which hath preceded it.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 93-94)

1735. Worship thou God in such wise that if thy worship lead

thee to the fire, no alteration in thine adoration would be

produced, and so likewise if thy recompense should be paradise.

Thus and thus alone should be the worship which befitteth the

one True God. Shouldst thou worship Him because of fear, this

would be unseemly in the sanctified Court of His presence, and

could not be regarded as an act by thee dedicated to the

Oneness of His Being. Or if thy gaze should be on paradise, and

thou shouldst worship Him while cherishing such a hope, thou

wouldst make God's creation a partner with Him, notwithstanding

the fact that paradise is desired by men.

Fire and paradise both bow down and prostrate themselves

before God. That which is worthy of His Essence is to worship

Him for His sake, without fear of fire, or hope of paradise.

Although when true worship is offered, the worshipper is

delivered from the fire, and entereth the paradise of God's

good-pleasure, yet such should not be the motive of his act.

However, God's favour and grace ever flow in accordance with

the exigencies of His inscrutable wisdom. The most acceptable

prayer is the one offered with the utmost spirituality and

radiance; its prolongation hath not been and is not

|PPg_230

beloved by God. The more detached and the purer the prayer, the

more acceptable is it in the presence of God.

("Selections from the Writings of the Báb" pp. 77-78)

Extracts from the Writings and Utterances of
'Abdu'l-Bahá:

1736. O thou who hast bowed thyself down in prayer before the

Kingdom of God! Blessed art thou, for the beauty of the divine

Countenance hath enraptured thy heart, and the light of inner

wisdom hath filled it full, and within it shineth the

brightness of the Kingdom. Know thou that God is with thee

under all conditions, and that He guardeth thee from the

changes and chances of this world and hath made thee a handmaid

in His mighty vineyard....

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" [rev. ed ],

(Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), sec. 91, p. 122)

1737. Praise be to God, thy heart is engaged in the

commemoration of God, thy soul is gladdened by the glad tidings

of God and thou art absorbed in prayer. The state of prayer is

the best of conditions, for man is then associating with God.

Prayer verily bestoweth life, particularly when offered in

private and at times, such as midnight, when freed from daily

cares.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" sec. 172, p.

202)

1738. Thou hast asked about places of worship and the

underlying reason therefor. The wisdom in raising up such

buildings is that at a given hour, the people should know it is

time to meet, and all should gather together, and, harmoniously

attuned one to another, engage in prayer; with the result that

out of this coming together, unity and affection shall grow and

flourish in the human heart.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 58, pp.

94-95)

1739. Praised be God, ye two have demonstrated the truth of

your words by your deeds, and have won the confirmations of the

Lord God. Every day at first light, ye gather the Baha'i

children together and teach them the communes and prayers. This

is a most praiseworthy act, and bringeth joy to the children's

hearts: that they should, at every morn, turn their faces

|PPg_231

toward the Kingdom and make mention of the Lord and praise His

Name, and in the sweetest of voices, chant and recite.

These children are even as young plants, and teaching them

the prayers is as letting the rain pour down upon them, that

they may wax tender and fresh, and the soft breezes of the love of

God may blow over them, making them to tremble with joy.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 115,

p. 139)

1740. O handmaid of God! Prayers are granted through the

universal Manifestations of God. Nevertheless, where the wish

is to obtain material things, even where the heedless are

concerned, if they supplicate, humbly imploring God's help-

even their prayer hath an effect.

O handmaid of God! The prayers which were revealed to ask

for healing apply both to physical and spiritual healing.

Recite them, then, to heal both the soul and the body. If

healing is right for the patient, it will certainly be granted;

but for some ailing persons, healing would only be the cause of

other ills, and therefore wisdom doth not permit an affirmative

answer to the prayer.

O handmaid of God! The power of the Holy Spirit healeth

both physical and spiritual ailments.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 139, pp.

161-62)

1741. Beseech thou from God's infinite grace whatsoever thou

desirest. But wert thou to heed my advice thou wouldst desire

naught save entrance into the Abha Kingdom, and seek naught

save the bounties of the Beauty of the All-Glorious, may my

life be sacrificed for His loved ones. This is my exhortation

to thee.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

1742. Thou hast asked about material means and prayer. Prayer

is like the spirit and material means are like the human hand.

The spirit operateth through the instrumentality of the hand.

Although the one true God is the All-Provider, it is the earth

which is the means to supply sustenance. "The heaven hath

sustenance for you"[1] but when sustenance is decreed it becometh

available, whatever the means may be. When man refuseth to

____
[1] Qur'an 51:22
|PPg_232

use material means, he is like a thirsty one who seeketh to

quench his thirst through means other than water or other

liquids. The Almighty Lord is the provider of water, and its

maker, and hath decreed that it be used to quench man's thirst,

but its use is dependent upon His Will. If it should not be in

conformity with His Will, man is afflicted with a thirst which

the oceans cannot quench.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

1743. The state of prayer is the best of conditions, for man is

then associating with God. Prayer verily bestoweth life,

particularly when offered in private and at times, such as

midnight, when freed from daily cares.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 172, p.

202)

1744. The obligatory prayers are binding inasmuch as they are

conducive to humility and submissiveness, to setting one's face

towards God and expressing devotion to Him. Through such prayer

man holdeth communion with God, seeketh to draw near unto Him,

converseth with the true Beloved of one's heart, and attaineth

spiritual stations.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

1745. Remembrance of God is like the rain and dew which bestow

freshness and grace on flowers and hyacinths, revive them and

cause them to acquire fragrance, redolence and renewed charm.

"And thou hast seen the earth dried up and barren: but when We

send down the rain upon it, it stirreth and swelleth, and

groweth every kind of luxuriant herb."[2] Strive thou, then, to

praise and glorify God by night and by day, that thou mayest

attain infinite freshness and beauty.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

1746. It behoveth the servant to pray to and seek assistance

from God, and to supplicate and implore His aid. Such becometh

the rank of servitude, and the Lord will decree whatsoever He

desireth, in accordance with His consummate wisdom.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Arabic)
____
[2] Qur'an 107:5
|PPg_233

1747. O Lord! In this Most Great Dispensation Thou dost accept

the intercession of children in behalf of their parents. This

is one of the special infinite bestowals of this Dispensation.

Therefore, O Thou kind Lord, accept the request of this Thy

servant at the threshold of Thy singleness and submerge his

father in the ocean of Thy grace, because this son hath arisen

to render Thee service and is exerting effort at all times in

the pathway of Thy love. Verily, Thou art the Giver, the

Forgiver and the Kind!
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

1748. Know thou that in every word and movement of the

obligatory prayer there are allusions, mysteries and a wisdom

that man is unable to comprehend, and letters and scrolls

cannot contain.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Arabic)

1749. O maid-servant of God! Chant the Words of God and,

pondering over their meaning, transform them into actions! I

ask God to cause thee to attain a high station in the Kingdom

of Life forever and ever.

("Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá 'Abbas", vol. I (Chicago: Baha'i

Publishing Society, 1909), p. 85)

1750. Therefore, know thou that the True One possesseth

invisible worlds which human meditation is unable to comprehend

and the intellect of man hath no power to imagine. When thou

wilt purify and clarify thy spiritual nostrils from every

worldly moisture, then thou wilt inhale the holy fragrances

diffusing from the merciful gardens of these worlds.

("Bahá'í World Faith: Selected Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and

'Abdu'l-Bahá", rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust,

1976), p. 393)

1751. When man allows the spirit, through his soul, to

enlighten his understanding, then does he contain all

Creation...

But on the other hand, when man does not open his mind and

heart to the blessing of the spirit, but turns his soul towards

the material side, towards the bodily part of his nature, then

is he fallen from his high place and he becomes inferior to the

inhabitants of the lower animal kingdom....
|PPg_234

("Paris Talks: Addresses given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in

1911-1912, 10th ed. (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1979),

pp. 96-97)

1752. Bahá'u'lláh says there is a sign (from God) in every

phenomenon: the sign of the intellect is contemplation and the

sign of contemplation is silence, because it is impossible for

a man to do two things at one time --he cannot both speak and

meditate.

It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are

speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put

certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the

light breaks forth and the reality is revealed. You cannot

apply the name 'man' to any being void of this faculty of

meditation; without it he would be a mere animal, lower than

the beasts. Through the faculty of meditation man attains to

eternal life; through it he receives the breath of the Holy

Spirit--the bestowal of the Spirit is given in reflection and

meditation. The spirit of man is itself informed and

strengthened during meditation; through it affairs of which man

knew nothing are unfolded before his view. Through it he

receives Divine inspiration, through it he receives heavenly

food. Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries.

In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man

withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective

mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can

unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. To illustrate this,

think of man as endowed with two kinds of sight; when the power

of insight is being used the outward power of vision does not

see. This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal

nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with

God. This faculty brings forth from the invisible plane the

sciences and arts. Through the meditative faculty inventions

are made possible, colossal undertakings are carried out;

through it governments can run smoothly. Through this faculty

man enters into the very Kingdom of God.

Nevertheless some thoughts are useless to man; they are

like waves moving in the sea without result. But if the faculty

of meditation is bathed in the inner light and characterized

with divine attributes, the results will be confirmed.

|PPg_235

The meditative faculty is akin to the mirror; if you put it

before earthly objects it will reflect them. Therefore if the

spirit of man is contemplating earthly subjects he will be

informed of these. But if you turn the mirror of your spirits

heavenwards, the heavenly constellations and the rays of the

Sun of Reality will be reflected in your hearts, and the

virtues of the Kingdom will be obtained. Therefore let us keep

this faculty rightly directed--turning it to the heavenly Sun

and not to earthly objects--so that we may discover the secrets

of the Kingdom, and comprehend the allegories of the Bible and the

mysteries of the spirit. May we indeed become mirrors

reflecting the heavenly realities, and may we become so pure as

to reflect the stars of heaven.

("Paris Talks: Addresses given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in

1911-1912", pp. 174-76)

1753. Know thou, verily, it is becoming in a weak one to

supplicate to the Strong One, and it behooveth a seeker of

bounty to beseech the Glorious Bountiful One. When one

supplicates to his Lord, turns to Him and seeks bounty from His

Ocean, this supplication brings light to his heart,

illumination to his sight, life to his soul and exaltation to

his being.

During thy supplications to God and thy reciting,'Thy

Name is my healing," consider how thine heart is cheered, thy

soul delighted by the spirit of the love of God, and thy mind

attracted to the Kingdom of God! By these attractions one's

ability and capacity increase. When the vessel is enlarged the

water increases, and when the thirst grows the bounty of the

cloud becomes agreeable to the taste of man. This is the

mystery of supplication and the wisdom of stating one's wants.

("J.E. Esslemont, "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era", 5th rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987), p. 93)

1754. We must strive to attain to that condition by being

separated from all things and from the people of the world and

by turning to God alone. It will take some effort on the part

of man to attain to that condition, but he must work for it,

strive for it. We can attain to it by thinking and caring less

for material things and more for the spiritual. The further we

go from the one, the nearer we are to the other. The choice is

ours.
|PPg_236

Our spiritual perception, our inward sight must be opened,

so that we can see the signs and traces of God's spirit in

everything. Everything can reflect to us the light of the

Spirit.

(Report of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í words as quoted in J. E. Esslemont,

"Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era", p. 89)

1755. If one friend feels love for another, he will wish to say

so. Though he knows that the friend is aware that he loves him,

he will still wish to say so.... God knows the wishes of all

hearts. But the impulse to prayer is a natural one, springing

from man's love to God.

Prayer need not be in words, but rather in thought and

attitude. But if this love and this desire are lacking, it is

useless to try to force them. Words without love mean nothing.

If a person talks to you as an unpleasant duty, with no love or

pleasure in his meeting with you, do you wish to converse with

him? (Report of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í words as quoted in J. E.

Esslemont, "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era", p. 94)

1756. In the highest prayer, men pray only for the love of God,

not because they fear Him or hell, or hope for bounty or

heaven.... When a man falls in love with a human being, it is

impossible for him to keep from mentioning the name of his

beloved. How much more difficult is it to keep from mentioning

the Name of God when one has come to love Him.... The spiritual

man finds no delight in anything save in commemoration of God.

(Report of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í words as quoted in J. E. Esslemont,

"Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era", p. 95)
Extract from a Letter Written by Shoghi Effendi:

1757. The simplicity characterizing the offering of Baha'i

prayers, whether obligatory or otherwise, should be maintained.

Rigidity and rituals should be strictly avoided.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 30 October 1936 written on his behalf to an individual

believer)
|PPg_237

Extracts from Letters Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:

1758. The Guardian wishes you, therefore, to pray, and to

supplicate the Almighty that He may give you a fuller measure

of His grace; that through it your spiritual energies may be

quickened and that you may become more imbued with that spirit

which must needs animate, sustain and strengthen every sincere

and true follower of the Faith.
(13 March 1934 to an individual believer)

1759. Concerning the directions given by Bahá'u'lláh for the

recital of certain prayers, Shoghi Effendi wishes me to inform

you that these regulations--which by the way are very few and

simple--are of a great spiritual help to the individual

believer, in that they help him to fully concentrate when

praying and meditating. Their significance is thus purely spiritual.

(5 November 1934 to an individual believer)

1760. In prayer the believers can turn their consciousness

toward the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, provided that in doing so

they have a clear and correct understanding of His station as a

Manifestation of God.
(15 November 1935 to two believers)

1761. With regard to your spiritual experiences, the Guardian

has been very interested to share them. He would, however, urge you

to always use and read, during your hours of meditation and

prayer, the words revealed by Bahá'u'lláh and the Master.

(6 December 1935 to an individual believer)

1762. The problem with which you are faced is one which

concerns and seriously puzzles many of our present-day youth.

How to attain spirituality is, indeed, a question to which

every young man and woman must sooner or later try to find a

satisfactory answer. It is precisely because no such

satisfactory reply has been given or found, that modern youth

finds itself bewildered, and is being consequently carried away

by the materialistic forces that are so powerfully undermining

the foundation of man's moral and spiritual life.
|PPg_238

Indeed, the chief reason for the evils now rampant in

society is a lack of spirituality. The materialistic

civilization of our age has so much absorbed the energy and

interest of mankind, that people in general no longer feel the

necessity of raising themselves above the forces and conditions

of their daily material existence. There is not sufficient

demand for things that we should call spiritual to

differentiate them from the needs and requirements of our

physical existence. The universal crisis affecting mankind is,

therefore, essentially spiritual in its causes. The spirit of

the age, taken on the whole, is irreligious. Man's outlook upon

life is too crude and materialistic to enable him to elevate

himself into the higher realms of the spirit.

It is this condition, so sadly morbid, into which society

has fallen, that religion seeks to improve and transform. For

the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling that unites

man with God. This state of spiritual communion can be brought

about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer. And

this is the reason why Bahá'u'lláh has so much stressed the

importance of worship. It is not sufficient for a believer to

merely accept and observe the teachings. He should, in

addition, cultivate the sense of spirituality, which he can

acquire chiefly by the means of prayer. The Bahá'í Faith, like

all other Divine religions, is thus fundamentally mystic in

character. Its chief goal is the development of the individual

and society, through the acquisition of spiritual virtues and

powers. It is the soul of man that has first to be fed. And

this spiritual nourishment prayer can best provide. Laws and

institutions, as viewed by Bahá'u'lláh, can become really

effective only when our inner spiritual life has been perfected

and transformed. Otherwise religion will degenerate into a mere

organization, and become a dead thing.

The believers, particularly the young ones, should

therefore fully realize the necessity of praying. For prayer is

absolutely indispensable to their inner spiritual development,

and this, already stated, is the very foundation and purpose of

the Religion of God.

(8 December 1935 to an individual believer, published in "Bahá'í News" 102

(August 1936), p. 3)

1763. ...the obligatory prayers are by their very nature of

greater effectiveness and are endowed with a greater power than

the non-obligatory ones, and as such are essential.

|PPg_239
(4 January 1936 to an individual believer)

1764. While praying it would be better to turn one's thoughts

to the Manifestation as He continues, in the other world, to be

our means of contact with the Almighty. We can, however, pray

directly to God Himself.

(27 April 1937 to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and

Burma)

1765. You have asked whether our prayers go beyond Bahá'u'lláh:

it all depends whether we pray to Him directly or through Him

to God. We may do both, and also can pray directly to God, but

our prayers would certainly be more effective and illuminating

if they are addressed to Him through His Manifestation,

Bahá'u'lláh.
(14 October 1937 to an individual believer)

1766. The Guardian wishes me to assure you that he sees no

objection to the friends coming together for meditation and

prayer. Such a communion helps in fostering fellowship among

the believers, and as such is highly commendable.
(20 November 1937 to an individual believer)

1767. [...] was a matter of deepest [...] to the Guardian to

hear of the news of the formation in Honolulu of a Morning

Class of prayer and meditation conducted by dear Mrs.... in her

home, inasmuch as he feels the absolute necessity for the

friends to make now a special effort to cultivate the

devotional side of their Bahá'í life in preparation for a more

intensified and successful service, particularly in the

teaching field.
(1 May 1938 to an individual believer and a Local
Spiritual Assembly)

1768. Although you seem to feel that your prayers have not so

far been answered, and do no longer have any hope that your

material conditions will ameliorate, the Guardian wishes you

nevertheless not to allow such disappointments to undermine

your faith in the power of prayer, but rather to continue

entreating the Almighty to enable you to discover the great

wisdom which may be hidden behind all these sufferings. For are

not our sufferings often blessings in disguise, through which

God wishes to test the sincerity and depth of our faith, and

thereby make us firmer in His Cause?
|PPg_240
. . .

The true worshipper, while praying, should endeavour not so

much to ask God to fulfil his wishes and desires, but rather to

adjust these and make them conform to the Divine Will. Only

through such an attitude can one derive that feeling of inner

peace and contentment which the power of prayer alone can

confer.
(26 October 1938 to an individual believer)

1769. You should rest assured that your strict adherence to the

laws and observances enjoined by Bahá'u'lláh is the one power

that can effectively guide and enable you to overcome the tests

and trials of your life, and help you to continually grow and

develop spiritually.

The Guardian particularly appreciates the fact that you

have been faithfully observing Bahá'u'lláh's injunction

regarding the recital of the daily obligatory prayers, and have

thereby set such a high example before your Baha'i

fellow-youth. These daily prayers have been endowed with a

special potency which only those who regularly recite them can

adequately appreciate. The friends should therefore endeavour

to make daily use of these prayers, whatever the peculiar

circumstances and conditions of their life.
(23 February 1939 to two believers)

1770. He wishes again to assure you he will pray for your

spiritual advancement in the Holy Shrines. The power of God can

entirely transmute our characters and make of us beings

entirely unlike our previous selves. Through prayer and supplication,

obedience to the divine laws Bahá'u'lláh has revealed, and

ever-increasing service to His Faith, we can change ourselves.

(22 November 1941 to an individual believer)

1771. There are no set forms of meditation prescribed in the

teachings, no plan, as such, for inner development. The friends

are urged--nay enjoined--to pray, and they also should

meditate, but the manner of doing the latter is left entirely

to the individual.
|PPg_241

The inspiration received through meditation is of a nature that

one cannot measure or determine. God can inspire into our minds

things that we had no previous knowledge of, if He desires to

do so.
(25 January 1943 to the believers)

1772. Prayer and meditation are very important factors in

deepening the spiritual life of the individual, but with them

must go also action and example, as these are the tangible

results of the former. Both are essential.
(15 May 1944 to an individual believer)

1773. The believers, as we all know, should endeavour to set

such an example in their personal lives and conduct that others

will feel impelled to embrace a Faith which reforms human

character. However, unfortunately, not everyone achieves easily

and rapidly the victory over self. What every believer, new or

old, should realize is that the Cause has the spiritual power

to re-create us if we make the effort to let that power

influence us, and the greatest help in this respect is prayer.

We must supplicate Bahá'u'lláh to assist us to overcome the

failings in our own characters, and also exert our own

will-power in mastering ourselves.
(27 January 1945 to an individual believer)

1774. Through meditation the doors of deeper knowledge and

inspiration may be opened. Naturally, if one meditates as a

Bahá'í he is connected with the Source; if a man believing in

God meditates he is tuning in to the power and mercy of God;

but we cannot say that any inspiration which a person, not

knowing Bahá'u'lláh, or not believing in God, receives is

merely from his own ego. Meditation is very important, and the

Guardian sees no reason why the friends should not be taught to

meditate, but they should guard against superstitious or

foolish ideas creeping into it.
(19 November 1945 to an individual believer)

1775. He feels more emphasis should be laid on the importance

and power of prayer, including the use of The Greatest Name,

but not over-emphasizing it. It is the spirit behind the words

which is really important.
(16 March 1946 to an individual believer)
|PPg_242

1776. In regard to your question: we must not be rigid about

praying; there is not a set of rules governing it; the main

thing is we must start out with the right concept of God, the

Manifestation, the Master, the Guardian-- we can turn, in

thought, to any one of them when we pray. For instance you can

ask Bahá'u'lláh for something, or, thinking of Him, ask God for

it. The same is true of the Master or the Guardian. You can

turn in thought to either of them and then ask their

intercession, or pray direct to God. As long as you don't

confuse their stations, and make them all equal, it does not

matter much how you orient your thoughts.
(24 July 1946 to an individual believer)

1777. He is delighted to hear you are now fully recovered and

again active in your important work for the Cause. However, you

should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which

enables you to serve. It-- the body--is like a horse which

carries the personality and spirit, and as such should be well

cared for so it can do its work! You should certainly safeguard

your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for

prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation. We

don't have to pray and meditate for hours in order to be

spiritual.
(23 November 1947 to an individual believer)

1778. I might add that he does not believe any radiations of

thought or healing, from any group, are going to bring peace.

Prayer, no doubt, will help the world, but what it needs is to

accept Bahá'u'lláh's system so as to build up the World Order

on a new foundation, a divine foundation!
(8 June 1948 to an individual believer)

1779. If you find you need to visualize someone when you pray,

think of the Master. Through Him you can address Bahá'u'lláh.

Gradually try to think of the qualities of the Manifestation,

and in that way a mental form will fade out, for after all the

body is not the thing, His Spirit is there and is the

essential, everlasting element.
(31 January 1949 to an individual believer)

1780. He would advise you to only use the short midday

Obligatory Prayer. This has no genuflections and only requires

that when saying it the believer turn his face towards 'Akka

where Bahá'u'lláh is buried. This is
|PPg_243

a physical symbol of an inner reality, just as the plant

stretches out to the sunlight--from which it receives life and

growth--so we turn our hearts to the Manifestation of God,

Bahá'u'lláh, when we pray; and we turn our faces, during this

short prayer, to where His dust lies on this earth as a symbol

of the inner act.
. . .

Bahá'u'lláh has reduced all ritual and form to an absolute

minimum in His Faith. The few forms that there are--like those

associated with the two longer obligatory daily prayers--are

only symbols of the inner attitude. There is a wisdom in them,

and a great blessing, but we cannot force ourselves to

understand or feel these things, that is why He gave us also

the very short and simple prayer, for those who did not feel

the desire to perform the acts associated with the other two.

(24 June 1949 to an individual believer)

1781. He suggests that you daily pray to Bahá'u'lláh to let you

meet a soul receptive to His Message. The power of prayer is

very great, and attracts the Divine confirmations. He, also,

will pray for your teaching work there.
(30 September 1951 to an individual believer)

1782. He thinks it would be wiser for the Bahá'ís to use the

Meditations given by Bahá'u'lláh, and not any set form of

meditation recommended by someone else; but the believers must

be left free in these details and allowed to have personal

latitude in finding their own level of communion with God.

(27 January 1952 to an individual believer)
Revised July 1990
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Extracts from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

1783. It is forbidden for an intelligent person to drink that

which depriveth him of his intelligence; it behoveth him to

engage in that which is worthy of man, not in the act of every

heedless doubter.

("Kitáb-i-Aqdas" - provisional translation from the Arabic)

1784.
0 Son of Dust!

Turn not away thine eyes from the matchless wine of the

immortal Beloved, and open them not to foul and mortal dregs.

Take from the hands of the divine Cupbearer the chalice of

immortal life, that all wisdom may be thine, and that thou

mayest hearken unto the mystic voice calling from the realm of

the invisible. Cry aloud, ye that are of low aim! Wherefore

have ye turned away from My holy and immortal wine unto

evanescent water?

("The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, Persian no. 62, rev. ed.

Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1985), pp. 43-44)

1785. Fear ye God, O people of the earth, and think not that

the wine We have mentioned in Our Tablet is the wine which men

drink, and which causeth their intelligence to pass away, their

human nature to be perverted, their light to be changed, and

their purity to be soiled. Our intention is indeed that wine

which intensifieth man's love for God, for His Chosen Ones and

for His loved ones, and igniteth in the hearts the fire of God

and love for Him, and glorification and praise of Him. So

potent is this wine that a drop thereof will attract him who

drinketh it to the court of His sanctity and nearness, and will

enable him to attain the presence of God, the King, the

Glorious, the Most Beauteous. It is a wine that blotteth out

from the hearts of the true lovers all suggestions of

limitation, establisheth the truth of the signs of His oneness

and divine unity, and leadeth them to the Tabernacle of the

Well-Beloved, in the presence of God, the Sovereign Lord, the

Self-Subsisting, the All-Forgiving, the All-Generous. We meant

by this Wine, the River of God, and His favour, the fountain of

His living waters, and the Mystic Wine and its divine grace,

even as it was revealed in the Qur'an, if ye are of those who

understand. He said, and how true is His utterance: "A wine

|PPg_246

delectable to those who drink it."[1] And He had no purpose in

this but the wine We have mentioned to you, O people of

certitude!

Beware lest ye exchange the Wine of God for your own

wine, for it will stupefy your minds, and turn your faces away

from the Countenance of God, the All-Glorious, the Peerless,

the Inaccessible. Approach it not, for it hath been forbidden

unto you by the behest of God, the Exalted, the Almighty.

(From a Tablet- translated from the Arabic)

1786. The Mystic Wine of the one true God hath a different

intoxication and imparteth another exhilaration. The one

diminisheth the intelligence of man, the other increaseth it.

The one leadeth to perdition, the other bestoweth life.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

1787. Drink ye, O handmaidens of God, the Mystic Wine from the

cup of My words. Cast away, then, from you that which your

minds abhor, for it hath been forbidden unto you in His Tablets

and His Scriptures. Beware lest ye barter away the River that

is life indeed for that which the souls of the pure-hearted

detest. Become ye intoxicated with the wine of the love of God,

and not with that which deadeneth your minds, O ye that adore

Him! Verily, it hath been forbidden unto every believer,

whether man or woman. Thus hath the sun of My commandment shone

forth above the horizon of My utterance, that the handmaidens

who believe in Me may be illumined.

(Quoted in "The Advent of Divine Justice" (Wilmette:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), p. 33)
Extracts from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

1788. The drinking of wine is, according to the text of the

Most Holy Book, forbidden; for it is the cause of chronic

diseases, weakeneth the nerves, and consumeth the mind.

(Quoted in "The Advent of Divine Justice", p. 33)

1789. Regarding the use of liquor: According to the text of the

Book of Aqdas, both light and strong drinks are prohibited. The

reason for this
____
[1] Qur'an 47:15.
|PPg_247

prohibition is that alcohol leadeth the mind astray and causeth

the weakening of the body. If alcohol were beneficial, it would

have been brought into the world by the divine creation and not

by the effort of man. Whatever is beneficial for man existeth

in creation. Now it hath been proved and is established

medically
and scientifically that liquor is harmful.

As to the meaning of that which is written in the Tablets:

"I have chosen for thee whatsoever is in the heaven and the

earth", this signifieth those things which are in accordance

with the divine purpose and not the things which are harmful.

For instance, one of the existing things is poison. Can we say

that poison must be used as it hath been created by God?

Nevertheless, intoxicating liquor, if prescribed by a physician

for the patient and if its use is absolutely necessary, then it

is permissible.

In brief, I hope that thou mayest become inebriated with

the wine of the love of God, find eternal bliss and receive

inexhaustible joy and happiness. All wine hath depression as an

after-effect, except the wine of the Love of God.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

1790. Intellect and the faculty of comprehension are God's

gifts whereby man is distinguished from other animals. Will a

wise man want to lose this Light in the darkness of

intoxication? No, by God! This will not satisfy him! He will,

rather, do that which will develop his powers of intelligence

and understanding, and not increase his negligence,

heedlessness and decline. This is an explicit text in the

perspicuous Book, wherein God hath set forth every goodly

virtue, and exposed every reprehensible act.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Arabic)

Extracts from Letters Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi

1791. With regard to your first question on alcohol and

drinking, Bahá'u'lláh, fully aware of the great misery that it

brings about, prohibits it as He expressly states that

everything that takes away the mind, or in other words makes

one drunk, is forbidden....
(15 February 1926 to an individual believer)

1792. The wine mentioned in the Tablets has undoubtedly a

spiritual meaning for in the "Book of Aqdas" we are definitely

forbidden to take
|PPg_248

not only wine, but everything that deranges the mind. In poetry

as a whole wine is taken to have a different connotation than

the ordinary intoxicating liquid. We see it thus used by the

Persian poets such as Saadi and Umar Khayyam and Hafiz to mean

that element which nears man to his divine beloved, which makes

him forget his material self so as better to seek his spiritual

desires. It is very necessary to tell the children what this

wine means so that they may not confuse it with the ordinary

wine.
(4 November 1926 to an individual believer)

1793. With regard to the question you have raised in connection

with the sale of alcoholic liquors by the friends: he wishes me

to inform you that dealings with such liquors, in any form, are

highly discouraged in the Cause. The believers should, therefore,

consider it their spiritual obligation to refrain

from undertaking any business enterprise that would involve

them in the traffic of alcoholic drinks.
(6 November 1935 to a Local Spiritual Assembly)

1794. Concerning the third question (sale of alcoholic drinks

at Baha'i-owned premises and restaurants), the beloved Guardian

has asked me to point out that this practice is highly improper

and reprehensible and would be tantamount to encouraging acts

that are forbidden in the Faith. It is indeed the conscientious

duty of every true Bahá'í to abandon such practices. However,

should a Bahá'í owner rent his property without himself taking

any part whatever in the business, or giving aid to the tenant,

then he would incur no responsibility. Nevertheless, the

landlord should resort to every possible means to rid his

premises of the defilement of this degrading business; how far

more injurious if he himself were engaged in such repugnant

affairs.

(From a letter dated 6 November 1935 to a National Spiritual

Assembly translated from the Persian)

1795. Concerning your question with regard to the use of

alcohol for rubbing: the believers can make any use of alcohol

for any such treatments, provided they do not drink it, unless,

of course, they are compelled to do so, under the advice of a

competent and conscientious physician, who may have to

prescribe it for the cure of some special ailment.

|PPg_249
(25 July 1938 to an individual believer)

1796. With reference to your question whether those foods which

have been favoured with alcoholic liquors such as brandy, rum,

etc. should be classified under the same category as the

intoxicating drinks, and consequently be avoided by the

believers, the Guardian wishes all the friends to know that

such foods, or beverages, are strictly prohibited.

(9 January 1939 to an individual believer)

1797. The reason Bahá'u'lláh forbade drinking alcoholic

beverages is because it is bad for the health, more

particularly for the mind. Of course you can point this out to

Mr.... and Mr.... and you can also pray that they will

themselves feel the urge to give it up; but these are habits

each individual should seek to surmount for his own good.

(17 February 1945 to an individual believer)

1798. The degree to which the use of alcohol has spread in the

world today is truly alarming; it is a great evil, and we

Bahá'ís can see clearly why Bahá'u'lláh prohibits its being

taken at all.
(23 February 1946 to an individual believer)

1799. Any work that helps people to get over the terrible habit

of drinking is excellent, and should be looked upon with

sympathy and approval by the Baha'is. He thanks you for the

Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlet you enclosed and was pleased to

see it.
(26 July 1946 to an individual believer)

1800. He feels you should, in teaching, certainly not start

with such a difficult point as abstinence from wine; but when

the person wishes to join the Faith he must be told....

(7 April 1947 to two believers)

1801. Of course no Bahá'í should drink, and if he persists in

it and refuses to make an effort to overcome it, the Assembly

must take action. But in these newly established centres one

must be very patient lest the whole group go to pieces because

of too strong or sudden action.
(19 July 1947 to an individual believer)
|PPg_250

1802. When we realize that Bahá'u'lláh says ... that drinking

destroys the mind, and not to so much as approach it, we see

how clear are our teachings on these subjects.
(30 September 1949 to an individual believer)

1803. However, drinking is prohibited in the Book of Laws and,

although the Guardian has not made this an immediate issue to

be considered when people apply for membership, all Baha'is

should not drink, and if they persist the Assembly should take

action....
(7 August 1950 to an individual believer)

1804. From your letter it would be assumed that some of your

believers feel that the law of the "Aqdas" regarding the use of

intoxicating liquors is a personal one, and may be followed or

not followed, as the individual desires. This is not correct.

The law of the "Aqdas" regarding not using intoxicating liquors

is binding on all Baha'is. The Guardian does feel, however,

that with new Baha'is, coming into the Faith, leniency should

be exercised; but he feels that when a person is a Bahá'í for

some time, his Bahá'í association and the spirit of the

Teachings which he studies and endeavours to exemplify will

bring about a change in the character, and the individual will

stop drinking. However, old and firm Bahá'ís must apply the law

of the non-use of alcoholic beverages.
(19 August 1952 to an individual believer)

1805. The Assemblies must be wise and gentle in dealing with

such cases, but at the same time must not tolerate a prolonged

and flagrant disregard of the Bahá'í Teachings as regards

alcohol.
(26 June 1956 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1806. As regards the questions you asked: Under no circumstances

should Bahá'ís drink. It is so unambiguously forbidden in

the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh that there is no excuse

for them even touching it in the form of a toast, or in a

burning plum pudding; in fact, in any way.

There is no reason why Bahá'ís may not serve some alcoholic

refreshment to their guests, if they feel sincerely that this

will further their teaching work. If they can obtain their

objectives without doing so, it
|PPg_251

would be better; but we don't want to give people the

impression that we are peculiar in every way.
(3 March 1957 to an individual believer)

Extracts from Letters written by the Universal House of Justice

1807. As to those believers who continue to drink, they should

be lovingly exhorted, then firmly warned and eventually

deprived of their voting rights. The number of times a person

is exhorted and warned is a matter left to the discretion of

each Local Spiritual Assembly, in consultation with the

National Spiritual Assembly. The policy you adopt should not be

one of removing the administrative rights of the believers in a

bureaucratic and automatic way, as this would be unwise and

unjust. Your Assembly as well as all Local Spiritual Assemblies

should courageously and continuously remind the friends of

their obligation in this respect, handle firmly all flagrant

cases, and use such cases, in a way that by force of example,

they exert their influence upon the other believers. It must be

made clear to the Local Assemblies that they should be willing

to cooperate with the believers affected by such drinking

habits, when any such believer promises gradually and

systematically to reduce his drinking with the objective in

mind of entirely abandoning this habit.

We feel sure that your National Assembly will, with wisdom,

loving kindness and determination succeed in uprooting this

evil from your ranks and bring about the spiritual upliftment

and advancement of the believers under your area of

jurisdiction.

(12 November 1965 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1808. There are certain scientific purposes for which alcohol

may be used, but we believe that a Bahá'í should not willingly

submit himself to scientific experiments requiring him to drink

alcoholic beverages.
(13 June 1966 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1809. Alcohol should not be served at any reception, either at

home or in a public place, at which you are host... We believe

you should not use the term "cocktail party". The designation

of either "tea" or "reception" would be preferable.

(31 December 1967 to an individual believer)
|PPg_252

1810. ...it is clear that on all occasions officially sponsored

by Bahá'í Institutions or where the host is acting as a

representative of the Cause alcohol should not be served. In

private homes or in the course of business or professional

activity it is left to the conscience of Bahá'ís themselves

whether they serve alcoholic drinks to non-Bahá'ís but the

obligation is very strong to observe the prohibition enjoined

by Bahá'u'lláh.

(8 February 1968 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1811. ...no Bahá'í institution should serve alcoholic drinks

under any circumstances, and we also feel that it would be

inappropriate for a Bahá'í to serve such beverages at a

function given by him.
(19 December 1968 to two believers)

1812. As to question number 6 concerning the sale of alcohol by

a believer, as you state, obviously he should cease to deal in

the sale of alcohol in his shop." However, as he is a new

believer and was engaged in this business before becoming a

Baha'i, he should be given a reasonable opportunity to find

another means whereby he can earn a living and should be given

every assistance by the National Spiritual Assembly to do so.

He should be treated with patience and understanding,

especially if he is making efforts to dispose of this business

and to seek other employment. However, if after a reasonable

time has elapsed and no effort has been made to comply with the

Bahá'í law, then, as a last resort, the Assembly would have no

alternative but to suspend his administrative rights.

(13 March 1974 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1813. We have found no texts prohibiting the friends from using

favoured extracts in their food. This may be a matter for later

legislation by the Universal House of Justice but for the time

being the friends should be left free to do as they choose. The

same principle applies to those who are employed in factories

manufacturing such extracts.
(7 April 1974 to an individual believer)

1814. Flagrant violation by members of the National Spiritual

Assembly of the Bahá'í requirement to abstain from intoxicating

drinks will certainly have a debilitating effect on the

national community, and these violations
|PPg_253

should be forcefully resisted through frank consultation of the

matter by the Counsellors with the National Spiritual Assembly,

so that in addition to admonishments, stern warnings be given

to the member or members concerned, and sanctions imposed, if

disregard of Bahá'í laws is continued.

(From a memorandum dated 10 February 1975 to the International

Teaching Centre)

1815. Such employments [Bahá'ís who are in the employment of

non-Bahá'ís and whose employment involves the serving or

selling of alcoholic beverages] cover a very wide range of

degree of involvement, therefore it is left to the individual

to decide whether or not he feels his employment violates the

spirit of the Bahá'í law. In cases of doubt he can, of course,

consult his Spiritual Assembly for advice.

We have found no explicit text or instruction of the

beloved Guardian on such a situation [the sale of alcoholic

beverages by a business in which a Bahá'í is a partner with

non-Baha'is] and feel that it is one in which no hard and fast

rules should be drawn at the present time.... We feel that this

is a matter which needs to be decided in each case in the light

of the spirit of the teachings and the circumstances of the

case, and unless the situation is one which is endangering the

good name of the Faith or is obviously a ruse on the part of a

believer to evade the Bahá'í law, it should be left to the

conscience of the believer concerned who should, of course, be

informed of the Bahá'í teachings concerning alcohol and should

make every effort to dissociate himself from such an activity.

The above [paragraph] concerns Bahá'ís who are already in

partnerships dealing in such matters. It is, however, obvious

that a Bahá'í who is not in such a situation should not enter

into it.

(From a memorandum dated 15 January 1976 to the International

Teaching Centre) Extract from Letter written on behalf of The

Universal House of Justice

1816. The future christening of the ... child should present no

problem, for the Bahá'í parent should have no objection to the

baptism of his child if the Catholic mother wishes it.

Similarly, the use of champagne upon that
|PPg_254

occasion is a matter which she is free to undertake, but of

course the Bahá'ís would not partake of alcoholic beverages.

(7 December 1977 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1817. The House of Justice ... points out that, as far as

advertising is concerned, the Bahá'í must use wisdom in

deciding what is allowable and what is not. For example, while

the issuing of an advertisement specifically for wines would

seem to be inadmissible, there would be no objection to a

Bahá'í advertising agent's issuing an advertisement listing the

prices of goods on sale at a supermarket even if wines and

spirits are included on it. It is, thus, a matter of emphasis

and wisdom. Primarily the House of Justice wishes the decision

in such matters to be left to the judgement of the individual

concerned, but where there is any doubt, or where the National

Spiritual Assembly feels that the good name of the Faith is

being injured, the Assembly should, of course, be consulted and could

decide in specific instances.

In view of the requirements of his conscience in light of

Bahá'í law, a Bahá'í advertising agent might be well advised to

include a clause in any contract he signs in which difficulties

of this nature might arise, protecting his right to demur.

(20 December 1977 to an individual believer)

1818. Concerning the questions you raise about [doing]

illustrations for the wine company manual, the House of Justice

feels this is for you to decide...
(18 January 1978 to an individual believer)

1819. As to your questions concerning the serving of alcohol by

Bahá'ís to their non-Bahá'í guests, the House of Justice feels

that, because of the many differing circumstances relating to

this subject, it does not wish to make any definite statements

at the present time. It is obvious that Bahá'ís themselves must

not drink alcohol and the rest, for the time being, must be

left to their own consciences....

Concerning your enquiry about a Bahá'í keeping brandy in

his home for emergency use on the advice of a doctor, the House

of Justice feels there is no objection to this.
(2 March 1978 to a National Spiritual Assembly)
|PPg_255

1820. In the case of a believer who continues to take alcoholic

drinks the Assembly should decide whether the offence is

flagrant, and, if it is, should try to help him to understand

the importance of obeying the Bahá'í law. If he does not

respond he must be repeatedly warned and, if this is

unsuccessful, he is subject to loss of his voting rights. In

the case of an alcoholic who is trying to overcome his weakness

the Assembly must show especial patience, and may have to

suggest professional counselling and assistance. If the offence

is not flagrant, the Assembly need take no action at all.

(26 September 1978 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

Revised August 1990
|PPg_256
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|PPg_257
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|PPg_258
PROMINENT PEOPLE
EXTRACTS FROM THE BAHÁ'Í WRITINGS AND LETTERS
WRITTEN BY OR ON BEHALF OF SHOGHI EFFENDI AND THE
UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
Compiled by the Research Department of the
Universal House of Justice
September 1990
Table of Contents
Page
1.THE IMPORTANCE OF GUIDING "DISTINGUISHED

SOULS TO THE CAUSE" ................................... 259

11. SOME GUIDELINES FOR REACHING PROMINENT PEOPLE ..... 265

2.1 "ESTABLISH TIES OF FRIENDSHIP" .................... 265

2.2 ATTITUDES AND APPROACHES .......................... 267

2.3 THE ROLE OF THE SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES .............. 274

2.4 THE "COURSE OF PRUDENCE" .......................... 277

|PPg_259

I. The Importance of Guiding "Distinguished Souls to the

Cause"
From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

1821. I hope that thou wilt ... endeavour to teach some

high-ranking and influential persons, for the hearts of the

people have become attracted to the Cause of God and their

minds bewildered and enthralled by its awesome grandeur. Those

who occupy high positions, too, have become profoundly

receptive to its message. The loved ones of God should

therefore make a determined effort and guide these

distinguished souls to the Cause.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer - translated from the

Persian)

1822. You should always seek to guide prominent people inasmuch

as once such a person is regenerated he is likely to bring

about the quickening of a thousand souls. Thus the spirit of

truth would flow forth unimpeded into the veins and arteries of

a multitude.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer- translated from

the Persian)

1823. Wherefore thou shouldst seek to impart the Message to

influential person and become a cause of guidance to the

learned and distinguished, that perchance there may be raised

up in Iran wise, sagacious souls who shall be solicitous for

both the good of the state and the welfare of the populace, who

shall labour diligently night and day to the end that their

great nation may retrieve its former glory and restore for all

the world to see the splendour of the Kiyaniyan kings, and that

its illustrious people may shine out amongst mankind with an

extraordinary brilliance and attain to lasting happiness and

contentment.

(From a Tablet to a group of believers - translated from the

Persian)

1824. You should give serious concern to the matter of

teaching, and think of ways of imparting the Message to prominent

people, for once such person have given their allegiance to the Faith

they will cause the people to be led, troop after troop, to the

wellspring of unfailing guidance.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer - translated from the

Persian)
|PPg_260

From letters written by or on behalf of Shoghi Effendi[1]

1825. It is incumbent upon the Bahá'ís to seize the

opportunities of the present hour and, with wisdom, firm

resolve and cheerfulness, impress the verities of their Faith

upon the attention of every reasonable-minded person in whom

they find a willingness to listen, explaining to them its noble

principles, its universal teachings, its basic tenets, and the

fundamental laws of the new era inaugurated by Bahá'u'lláh. In

like manner, they must clearly and convincingly demonstrate to

their fellow-citizens, whether high or low, the necessity of

accepting and recognizing the resplendent teachings of the

Universal Manifestation of God; must show to the leaders of

their country that the unity, the strength and spiritual

vitality of the Bahá'í community are palpable and concrete

realities; must eliminate and nullify the effects of

prejudices, superstitions, misunderstandings and all fanciful

and erroneous conceptions on the hearts of the pure and

righteous people; and must attract to the community of the

Greatest Name, through whatever channels and by whatever

means, persons of capacity, experience and devotion

who,joining the ranks of the believers, severing themselves

from every extraneous attachment, identifying themselves

whole-heartedly with the organized community of the Bahá'ís in

the area, will labour heart and soul to consolidate the

foundations of Bahá'í belief and proclaim the tidings of the

Promised Day.
With regard to the Bahá'í literacy classes, their

continuation at the present time is a service beyond measure

both profitable and desirable. Similarly, the establishment of

contact and maintenance of friendly relations with government

officials and other nationally distinguished figures is a

matter that should be regarded by the friends as a binding

obligation.

(2 November 1928 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Iran Central

Spiritual Assembly - translated from the Persian).

1826. Shoghi Effendi was delighted to hear of your conversation

with Sir.... How much he hopes to have such scholars obtain a

true understanding of the spirit and teaching of the Cause and

arise to dissipate that veil of misconceptions that is

prejudicing the mind of the scholars in the western world. The

Cause is in great need for such competent and spiritually

____

[1] To individual believers unless otherwise noted.

|PPg_261

minded men who after a thorough study of the Movement would

share with the world the fruit of their labours.

(11 March 19297 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1827. ...he feels that the great point is to confirm people of

true capacity and ability--from whatever social stratum they

may be--because the Cause needs now, and will ever-increasingly

need, souls of great ability who can bring it before the public

at large, administer its ever-growing affairs, and contribute

to its advancement in every field.

(30 October 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1828. The more people of capacity who accept the Faith, the

higher will become the standard of the entire group.

(17 June 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1829. The Cause of God has room for all. It would, indeed, not

be the Cause of God if it did not take in and welcome everyone--poor and

rich, educated and ignorant, the unknown, and the

prominent--God surely wants them all, as He created them all.

(10 December 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1830. He was very pleased to learn ... that your reception was

such a success, and that you now feel that people in high

places are beginning to waken from their sleep and see the Light of

Bahá'u'lláh. The time must come when they do; it just seems a

question of how soon.

A lot, also, depends on our having inside the Faith enough

people of real capacity to form a nucleus that will attract to

it similar souls....

(22 November 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1831. He hopes that your contract with Chief ... will prove

fruitful, and that his heart may open to the Message you have

carried him. It would be a great asset to the Faith if a

prominent Chief of some tribe should accept it and arise to

serve it.
(31 May 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)
|PPg_262

From letters written by the Universal House of Justice

1832. ...one of the most important duties of each National

Spiritual Assembly is to acquaint leaders of thought and

prominent men and women in its country with the fundamental

aims, the history and the present status and achievements of

the Cause. Such an activity must be carried out with the utmost

wisdom, discretion and dignity.

(2 July 1967 to all National Spiritual Assemblies, published in

"Wellspring of Guidance: Messages 1963-1968", 1st rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1976), p. 117)

1833. The paramount goal of the teaching work at the present

time is to carry the message of Bahá'u'lláh to every stratum of

human society and every walk of life. An eager response to the

teachings will often be found in the most unexpected quarters,

and any such response should be quickly followed up, for

success in a fertile area awakens a response in those who were

at first uninterested.

The same presentation of the teachings will not appeal to

everybody; the method of expression and the approach must be

varied in accordance with the outlook and interests of the

hearer. An approach which is designed to appeal to everybody

will usually result in attracting the middle section, leaving

both extremes untouched. No effort must be spared to ensure

that the healing Word of God reaches the rich and the poor, the

learned and the illiterate, the old and the young, the devout

and the atheist, and the dweller in the remote hills and

islands, the inhabitant of the teeming cities, the suburban

businessman, the labourer in the slums, the nomadic tribesman,

the farmer, the university student; all must be brought

consciously with the teaching plans of the Bahá'í Community.

(31 October 1967 to all National Spiritual Assemblies,

published in "Wellspring of Guidance: Messages 1963-1968", p.

124)

1834. There have been notable advances in the process of

gaining wider recognition for the Cause of God and in fostering

cordial relations with civil authorities, a matter of vital

importance in these days when there is a growth of opposition

to the Faith from those who, misconstruing its true nature

and aims, take alarm at its progress.

(Ridvan 1978 to the International Bahá'í Convention)

|PPg_263

1835. Yet these disasters[2] have called forth fresh energies

in the hearts of the friends, have fed the deep roots of the

Cause and given rise to a great harvest of signal victories.

Chief among these are the successful conclusion of the Five

Year Plan; the launching of the Seven Year Plan, now in the

final year of its second phase; and unprecedented proclamation

of the Faith to Heads of States, parliaments and

parliamentarians, government ministers and officials, leaders

of thought and people prominent in the professions, resulting in a change

of attitude on the part of the mass media, which

now increasingly approach us for information about the

Cause....

The growing maturity of a world-wide religious community

which all these processes indicate is further evidenced in the

reaching out, by a number of national communities, to the

social and economic life of their countries, exemplified by the

founding of tutorial schools, the inception of radio stations,

the pursuit of rural development programmes and the operation

of medical and agricultural schemes. To these early beginnings

must be added the undoubted skills acquired, as a result of the

Iranian crisis, in dealing with international organizations,

national governments and the mass media--the very elements of

society with which it must increasingly collaborate toward the

realization of peace on earth.
(Ridvan 1983 to the Bahá'ís of the World)

1836. The entrance of the Cause onto the world scene is

apparent from a number of public statements in which we have

been characterized as "model citizens", "gentle"'

"law-abiding", "not guilty of any political offence or crime";

all excellent but utterly inadequate insofar as the reality of

the Faith and its aims and purposes are concerned. Nevertheless

people are willing to hear about the Faith, and the opportunity

must be seized. Persistently greater and greater efforts must

be made to acquaint the leaders of the world, in all

departments of life, with the true nature of Bahá'u'lláh's

revelation as the sole hope for the pacification and

unification of the world. Simultaneous with such

a programme must be unabated, vigorous pursuit of the teaching

work, so that we may be seen to be a growing community, while

universal observance by the friends of the Bahá'í laws of

personal living will assert the fullness of, and arouse a

____

[2] The "loss of six Hands of the Cause" and the waves of bitter

persecution" directed against the Bahá'í community in Iran.

|PPg_264

desire to share in, the Bahá'í way of life. By all these means

the public image of the Faith will become, gradually but

constantly, nearer to its true character....

There can be no doubt that the progress of the Cause from

this time onward will be characterized by an ever increasing

relationship to the agencies, activities, institutions and

leading individuals of the non-Bahá'í world. We shall acquire

greater stature at the United Nations, become better known in

the deliberations of governments, a familiar figure to the

media, a subject of interest to academics, and inevitably the

envy of failing establishments. Our preparation for the

response to this situation must be a continual deepening of our

faith, an unwavering adherence to its principles of abstention

from partisan politics and freedom from prejudices, and above

all an increasing understanding of its fundamental verities and

relevance to the modern world.
(Ridvan 1984 to the Bahá'ís of the World)
|PPg_265
II. Some Guidelines for Reaching Prominent People
2.1 "Establish Ties of Friendship"
From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

1837. Some of the loved ones should establish ties of

friendship with the notables of the region and manifest towards

them the most affectionate regard. In this manner these men may

become acquainted with the Bahá'í way of life, learn of the

teachings of the Merciful One, and be informed of the pervasive

influence of the Word of God in every quarter of the globe. If

but one of these souls were attracted to the Cause, others

would quickly be similarly moved, since the people tend to

follow in the footsteps of their leaders.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer- translated from

the Persian)

1838. Ye should strive to widen the circle of those with whom

ye enjoy friendly relations, and to establish the closest

contact with those benevolent souls whose only thought is to do

good, who are labouring in the cause of universal peace, and

who cherish no desire but to witness the unification of the

world of humanity. Ye should seek out the company of such

people as these, that ye may imbue them with an awareness of

the heavenly Kingdom, for albeit their motives are of the

finest, yet they do not realize that all the powers of the

earth are impotent either to establish universal peace or to

promote the oneness of the human world. Nothing short of the

power of the Word of God and the breaths of the Holy Spirit can

ever succeed.

(From a Tablet to a Spiritual Assembly - translated from the

Persian)

From letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi[3]

1839. Our Guardian hopes and prays that you will be guided in

your endeavour to bring together at the banquet various

prominent citizens of various races and religions with the sole

purpose of winning then ultimately to the recognition of God's

sacred Faith. You must stress the universal aspect of the Cause

and show utmost kindness and love to them all as a preparation

to their eventual acceptance of the entire truth.
(8 October 1927)
___

[3] To individual believers unless otherwise noted

|PPg_266

1840. Some of the items were of great interest to him,

especially that part which told of the contacts you have made

with distinguished men and invited them to speak at your meetings. This is

an effective way to make these take an active

part in promoting the Faith and increasing their knowledge of

its spirit and basic teachings.

Shoghi Effendi hopes that some day they will come forward

as devoted servants and consecrate their lives to it....there

are distinguished men who are friends and admirers of the

Cause, but due to their natural conservative and cautious

attitude towards anything new, prefer to be onlookers than

passionate advocates. They cannot however keep on that

dispassionate state of mind, some day they will feel

unwittingly drawn into it....

He is sending you two copies of "The Dawn-Breakers" to be

presented to two distinguished friends of the Cause. One of

these he wants to be presented to sir ... in acknowledgement of

the services he has rendered to us.... This is one form of

keeping up the interest of such distinguished men in the

progress of the Faith. Maybe one day they will take an active

part.
(6 May 1932)

1841. He was also very pleased to see that the Cause is

receiving newspaper publicity there, and you are winning the

sympathetic interest of editors and people of importance. The

Faith needs friends as well as adherents, and you should always

endeavour to attract the hearts of enlightened leaders to its

teachings.
(5 October 1945 to a Local Spiritual Assembly)

1842. There are, as you truly say, many important admirers of

the Faith at present in the U.S.A.--and, indeed, in other

countries, but it is unlikely such people will actually embrace

the Cause; they are not ready to identify themselves with an as

yet struggling Movement with a relatively small following;

moreover, many such people would be unwilling to make the

effort required to live up to Bahá'í standards of conduct!

Still, it is excellent that we are winning more friends and

admirers; this in itself helps the Cause and adds to its

prestige, and gradually some of these people may actually make

the sacrifice of entering its service.
(25 February 1947)
|PPg_267

1843. He feels that the believers should make every effort, in

the proper way and with discretion, to keep in contact with

important people.... We should make every effort to ensure that

leaders of thought in public life are not merely familiar with

the name Baha'i, but if possible stand in a cordial

relationship to some members of our Community, if not to the

body of the Faith.

(18 February 1951 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

From letters written by the Universal House of Justice

1844. A very important activity which has been pursued

effectively in all too few countries is the undertaking by the

National Spiritual Assembly of a sustained, planned effort to

foster cordial relations with prominent people and responsible

government officials and to familiarize them personally with

the basic tenets and the teachings of the Faith. Such an

activity must be carried out with wisdom and discretion, and

requires the constant attention of a responsible committee as

well as periodic review by the National Spiritual Assembly

itself. Where successful it can effectively forestall

opposition to the Faith and smooth the way for many essential

aspects of the development of the Bahá'í community.

(Naw-Ruz 1974 to all National Spiritual Assemblies)

1845. The House of Justice feels that your National Assembly

must do more than distribute printed information about the

Faith, as valuable as this is. A beginning should be made to

identify the prominent persons in your country and ways be

found to meet with them personally to acquaint them with the

Faith. To this end, the House of Justice again urges you to

appoint a committee to investigate the possibilities. If the

few prominent Bahá'ís ... are too busy to assist, then you will

have to either redirect their efforts or call others to this

task.
(22 August 1984 to a National Spiritual Assembly)
2.2 Attitudes and Approaches
From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

1846. Be righteous, O servants, in your actions! Turn not away

from the helpless; make mention of Me amidst the great, and

have no fear.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)
|PPg_268

1847. For we, the followers of the Blessed Beauty, should all

be engaged in the service of the Cause of God, and become

sources of guidance to humanity. Thou shouldst, if thou deemest

it advisable and possible, proceed forthwith to organize a

meeting of dignitaries. And when thy distinguished guests have

assembled, speak to them about the Cause. Thou shouldst

likewise advise the friends to arrange for another meeting with

these same persons to be held one evening and to be addressed

by them. This is a great service that I am entrusting to thee,

and I pray to God that He may grant thee His assistance and

confirmation, and bestow His blessings upon thy family.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer - translated from the

Persian)

From letters written by or on behalf of Shoghi Effendi[4]

1848. I do hope your passionate fervour, your mature experience

and the ardour of your love will accomplish a great deal among

the higher-class people with whom you associate. The Cause must

capture the heights, and I look to you as the beloved and

enthusiastic apostle of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to win to the Cause,

cultured and capable souls. Be not disheartened and be assured

of my constant loving prayers for the success of your

much-valued efforts.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 2 April 1925 written on his behalf)

1849. Ever since its[5] inception Shoghi Effendi has cherished

the hope of making it a work that would prove interesting and

illuminating to the reader. Destined mainly for the

non-Baha'is, he has tried to attract through its pages the

attention of educated and enlightened people and especially

leaders in every country, with a view to acquainting them with

the broad and fundamental principles of the Faith and to

winning their consideration of the Movement as a growing force

for good and for peace throughout the entire world. It is

therefore with lively satisfaction that he has seen the

publication grow yearly in importance and this feeling has been

lately enhanced very much by the words of interest and

appreciation which he has received from many quarters and

leading men, among which was a remarkably encouraging letter

from Sir Herbert Samuel.
____

[4] To individual believers unless otherwise noted

[5] "The Bahá'í World"
|PPg_269

Indeed Shoghi Effendi has made it a point to send copies to as

many leading men as possible and copies of last year's issue

were presented to the Emperor of Japan, the Shah of Persia and

Queen Marie of Rumania.

(12 December 1929 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1850. As to teaching work in colleges and universities, this is

very important, for students as a whole are open-minded and

little influenced by tradition. They would easily enter the

Cause if the subject is properly presented and their intellect

and sentiments properly satisfied. This, however, should be

attempted only by persons who have had university training and

are therefore acquainted with the mind of the intelligent and

educated youth. (3 February 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi, published in "Bahá'í News" 64 (July 1932), p. 4)

1851. The letter you addressed to the Secretary of State, he

liked very much. He sincerely hopes that through such

approaches and communications the authorities will come to take

into consideration the importance of the Cause and gradually

feel deep sympathy and admiration for its spirit. It is very

important that they should know how we stand and what is our

attitude towards some of the outstanding problems and issues

that face the world in the present day. These are very

difficult questions and most delicate, but the Master's spirit

will surely guide you and inspire you to do what is proper and wise.

(4 May 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

1852. It is really strange how much modern thinkers are, of

their own accord, drawing nearer to the teachings of the Faith

and voicing views very much like ours. It shows clearly the

truth of the saying of the Master that the spirit of the

Movement has permeated the hearts of all the people of the

world. It is God's hands operating and guiding the nations and

intellectual men and leaders of society to a gradual acceptance

of His Message revealed through Bahá'u'lláh. The way we can

hasten the development of this process is by doing our share in

spreading the words of God far and wide. Even

though we may not see any case of sudden conversion on the part

of these
|PPg_270

intellectuals, yet they are bound to be influenced in their

view and look to the Faith with greater admiration and with a

more willing desire to be led by its precepts. Shoghi Effendi,

therefore, wishes me to encourage you in your work, in sending

appropriate literature to such men of learning.
(7 May 1933 Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1853. Through the reading of such a challenging and scholarly

work[6] many will, undoubtedly, be awakened and stimulated, while

others will be infuriated to the extent of virulently attacking

the Faith. The unprecedented publicity which the Cause will be

thus receiving will in itself constitute an important step towards

a wider and fuller recognition of the Movement by

distinguished personalities, in both intellectual and social circles.

(15 May 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National

Spiritual Assembly)

1854. Regarding your work with the upper classes, the Guardian

quite agrees with you that the people of wealth and culture do

sometimes have a great capacity for spiritual things. But they

need the right type of people to approach them, and a method

that can suit their mentality. Our teaching methods should

allow a certain degree of elasticity in establishing contacts

with various types of individual seekers. Every inquirer has to

be approached from his own angle. Those who are essentially of

the mystic type should first be given those teachings of the

Cause which emphasize the nature and value of spiritual

realities; while those who are practically minded and of a

positive type are naturally more ready and inclined to accept

the social aspect of the Teachings. But of course, gradually

the entire Message, in all its aspects and with the full

implications it entails, should be explained to the newcomer.

For to be a believer means to accept the Cause in its

wholeness, and not to adhere to some of its teachings. However,

as already stated, this ought to be done gradually and

tactfully. For conversation is after all a slow
process.

(28 December 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

____
[6] George Townshend, "The Promise of All Ages"
|PPg_271

1855. It is wonderful to see, at last, the intellectuals

turning to the problems of the world and seeking to solve them.

Side by side with this non-Bahá'í work, so close to many of

Bahá'u'lláh's teachings, we believers must carry on our purely

Bahá'í work, which only we can do, and which has such

tremendous implications for the future of humanity in every

sphere.

(14 April 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1856. They[7] must be neither provocative nor supine, neither

fanatical nor excessively liberal, in their exposition of the

fundamental and distinguishing features of their Faith. Thy

must be either wary or bold, they must act swiftly or mark

time, they must use the direct or indirect method, they must be

challenging or conciliatory, in strict accordance with the

spiritual receptivity of the soul with whom they come in

contact, whether he be a nobleman or a commoner, a northerner

or a southerner, a layman or a priest, a capitalist or a

socialist, a statesman or a prince, an artisan or a beggar. In

their presentation of the Message of the Bahá'u'lláh they must

neither hesitate nor falter. They must be neither contemptuous

of the poor nor timid before the great. In their exposition of

its verities they must neither over stress nor whittle down the

truth which they champion, whether their hearer belong to

royalty, or be a prince of the Church, or a politician, or a

tradesman, or a man of the street. To all alike, high or low,

rich or poor, they must proffer, with open hands, with a

radiant heart, with an eloquent tongue, with infinite patience,

with uncompromising loyalty, with great wisdom, with

unshakeable courage, the Cup of Salvation, at so critical an

hour, to the confused, the hungry, the distraught and

fear-stricken multitudes...

(5 June 1947 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the

West, published in "Citadel of Faith: Messages to America

1947-1957" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), pp.

25-26)

1857. The lack of prejudice, (for the most part) the true

altruism of the pure scientist, is pretty well demonstrated,

and to such people the Faith, if properly presented, should

have a great appeal; and moreover such people could do

tremendous things for the Cause if they joined it in numbers.

____
[7] American pioneers
|PPg_272

There is certainly a place in the Cause for outstanding

people, and we need more of them. But the administration must

function on a consultative basis, not leadership.
(5 July 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1858. It seems what we need now is a more profound and

co-ordinated Bahá'í scholarship in order to attract such men as

you are contacting. The world has--at least the thinking world--caught up

by now with all the great and universal principles

enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh over 70 years ago, and so of course

it does not sound "new" to them. But we know that the deeper

teachings, the capacity of His projected World Order to

re-create society, are new and dynamic. It is these we must

learn to present intelligently and enticingly to such men!

(3 July 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1859. ...the solution given to the world's problems by

Bahá'u'lláh is the only solution--being Divine in origin--and

most desperately needed; therefore we, the few who have caught

the vision, should not waste our energies beating up and down

the paths pursued by humanity, and which are not solving its

ghastly present-day problems. We should concentrate on the

Cause, because it is what is needed to cure the world. This is

a sound attitude, for if we don't devote ourselves to the

Bahá'í work and teaching, who will?

On the other hand there is a big difference between this

and learning. If the Bahá'ís want to be really effective in

teaching the Cause they need to discuss intelligently,

intellectually, the present condition of the world and its

problems. We need Bahá'í scholars, not only people far, far

more deeply aware of what our teachings really are, but also

well-read and well-educated people, capable of correlating our

teachings to the current thoughts of the leaders of society.

We Bahá'ís should, in other words, arm our minds with

knowledge in order to better demonstrate to, especially, the

educated classes, the truths enshrined in our Faith. What the

Guardian, however, does not advise the friends to do is to

dissipate their time and energies in serving movements that are

akin to our principles but not, we believe, capable of solving

the present spiritual crisis the world finds itself in. We can

co-operate with such movements and their promoters to good

effect,
|PPg_273

while at the same time openly standing forth as Bahá'ís with a

specific programme to offer society.
(5 July 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

From letters written by or on behalf of the Universal House of

Justice

1860. In view of the difficulty you have experienced in obtaining

publicity about the Faith in the national press in

..., the House of Justice has instructed us to say that there

are three courses of action which should assist you in

achieving this in the future. First, it is important that

there be certain believers, such as the members of a public

information committee, who are given the task of cultivating

personal contacts with influential figures in the national

information media. This personal contact is a vital element in

fostering the receptivity of the media to news about the Faith.

Secondly, as an aid to promoting such links, your

representatives could take with them examples of excellent

material about the Faith that has been published in such

important newspapers as "Le Monde", "The Times" of London, and

"The New York Times".... Thirdly, repeated mention of the Faith

in the local press will contribute to the willingness of the

national press to regard the Bahá'í Faith as newsworthy

material.

(5 January 1981 written on behalf of the Universal House of

Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1861. With the approach of the Year of Peace and the rapidly

growing awareness among thinking people of the need for

world-wide solutions to the problems threatening humankind, the

House of Justice feels that there is a need for research and the

writing of books and papers on subjects which are of immediate

interest to the leaders of thought and the generality of

mankind.

(31 March 1985 written on behalf of the Universal House of

Justice to the Association for Bahá'í Studies, Canada)

1862. It was also mentioned that there was a need to reach

leaders of thought and people in authority with the Teachings;

that there is a tendency for the people to more readily accept

new ideas if they have already been accepted by the upper

echelons of society. If this is so, perhaps a viable programme

could be developed of inviting prominent
|PPg_274

Bahá'ís from other countries to visit ... in order to contact

prominent [individuals] of similar station or profession.

(16 February 1987 written on behalf of the Universal House of

Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1863. National Bahá'í communities have organized and

successfully conducted inter-religious conferences, peace

seminars, symposiums on racism and other subjects on which we

have a specific contribution to make, often achieving

widespread publicity and the interest of highly placed leaders

of society.

(Ridvan 1987 written by the Universal House of Justice to the

Bahá'ís of the World)
2.3 The Role of the Spiritual Assemblies

From letters written by or on behalf of Shoghi Effendi[8]

1864. To approach such well-known important persons is always

an extremely delicate matter, since it requires a good deal of

wisdom, courage and ability. But those friends who really feel

the urge to do so, and possess the necessary qualifications,

should cultivate such friends which, if properly done, can be

of an immense benefit to the Cause. In any case, however, the

assistance and help of either the Local or the National

Assembly is not only useful but necessary, if important

contacts of this sort are to be fruitful and promising....

(30 August 1933 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

1865. ...a resolute attempt should be made by the national

elected representatives of the entire community, aided by their

Public Relations, Race Unity, Public Meetings, Visual

Education, College Speakers Bureau and Radio Committees, to

reinforce the measures already adopted for the proclamation,

through the press and radio, of the verities of the Faith to

the masses, and for the establishment of closer contact with

the leaders of public thought, with colleges and universities

and with newspaper and magazine editors.

(5 June 1947 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the

West, published in "Citadel of Faith: Messages to America

1947-1957" pp. 9)
____

[8] To individual believers unless otherwise noted

|PPg_275

1866. The National Assembly should not be timid about trying to

contact important visitors to.... The stature of the Faith is

now such that its representatives can demand and receive

attention. Whether they are always successful or not, is not

the point, the point is to let people of importance realize we

are active and on the world scene, so to speak.

(23 November 1951 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a

National Spiritual Assembly)

1867. The Guardian was very happy to see your Assembly had had

a successful meeting with both the Mayor of ... and the

Minister for Foreign Affairs; such important contacts should be

carried out on a high level, and only believers able to perhaps

offer hospitality or having some point of contact with the

officials in question or being themselves attractive to meet,

should be used by your Assembly, and in conjunction with your

members, to meet such personages.

(30 June 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National

Spiritual Assembly)

1868. He feels that the time has now come when you should

establish a national committee to make contacts with civil

authorities on a national level, and with important public

figures in State and large City administrations. The purpose

of these contacts is to establish friendly relations with

important public figures, so that they may be fully informed of

the Faith and its principles, may gain confidence in the

Bahá'ís and their activities, may understand the non-political

aspect of the Faith, and in the future, be anxious to be of

assistance to us as the Faith evolves.

(29 December 1953 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a

National Spiritual Assembly)

From letters written by or on behalf of the Universal House of

Justice

1869. National Spiritual Assemblies must promote wise and

dignified approaches to people prominent in all areas of human

endeavour, acquainting them with the nature of the Baha'i

community and the basic tenets of the Faith, and winning their

esteem and friendship.

(Naw Ruz 1979 written by the Universal House of Justice to the

Bahá'ís of the World)
|PPg_276

1870. ... the House of Justice is extremely happy that your

National Assembly is continuing its wise, effective and ongoing

efforts to familiarize the officials in your country about the

Faith. Such approaches should be planned whenever the occasion

arises. In the meantime, through your various proclamation

efforts, the Bahá'í community should indirectly draw the

attention of people of all strata of society to the Cause so

that it will be easier for the Bahá'ís to have a positive

access to the officials in the time of need.

(26 July 1987 written on behalf of the Universal House of

Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1871. The spark which ignited the mounting interest in the

Cause of Bahá'u'lláh was the heroic fortitude and patience of

the beloved friends in Iran, which moved the Bahá'í world

community to conduct a persistent, carefully orchestrated

programme of appeal to the conscience of the world. This vast

undertaking, involving the entire community acting unitedly

through its Administrative Order, was accompanied by equally

vigorous and visible activities of that community in other

spheres which have been detailed separately. Nonetheless, we

are impelled to mention that an important outcome of this

extensive exertion is our recognition of a new stage in the

external affairs of the Cause, characterized by a marked

maturation of National Spiritual Assemblies in their growing

relations with governmental and non-governmental organizations

and with the public in general.

This recognition prompted a meeting in Germany last

November of national Bahá'í external affairs representatives

from Europe and North America, together with senior

representatives of the Offices of the Bahá'í International

Community, intent on effecting greater coordination of their

work. This was a preliminary step towards the gathering of more

and more National Spiritual Assemblies into a harmoniously functioning,

international network capable of executing global

undertakings in this rapidly expanding field. Related to these

developments was the significant achievement of international

recognition accorded the Faith through its formal acceptance

last October into membership of the Network on Conservation and

Religion of the renowned World Wide Fund for Nature.

|PPg_277

(Ridvan 1988 written by the Universal House of Justice to the

Bahá'ís of the World)
2.4 The "Course of Prudence"
From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

1872. ...thou shouldst initially adopt that course of prudence

that the Faith enjoins. In the early stages, thou shouldst seek

out the company of the eminent members of the populace and,

turning thyself in utter lowliness to the unseen realm of

Glory, thou shouldst pray for succour and protection so that

the Holy Spirit may, through the outpourings of its grace,

grant thee its assistance. When, by thy godly conduct and

demeanour, thy fervour, thy chaste and lucid utterance, thou

shalt have succeeded in winning the affection of one and all,

then shall the portals of heavenly guidance be opened wide;

then shall the bounteous cup be borne around and all the souls

that drink therefrom be inebriated with the wine of holy

mysteries and truths.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer- translated from the

Persian)

From letters written by or on behalf of Shoghi Effendi[9]

1873. You mentioned in your letter your intention to make

contact with the representatives of movements which are akin to

the Cause in the principles they advocate. Shoghi Effendi

trusts that in all such communications and activities you would

maintain the prestige and superiority of the Cause. We should

never compromise our principles for some temporary benefits we

are apt to reap. It is very important to bring the Cause to the

attention of such leaders of thought and for this purpose we

have to get in touch with them, but our aim should be to draw

them to the Cause rather than follow their footsteps.

(29 November 1926 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a

National Spiritual Assembly)

1874. I entirely agree with you that non-interference in

politics does not imply non-association on the part of the

friends with the outside world. I hope you will impress the

friends with the necessity of maintaining close, but not too

intimate, relationships with the authorities, the foreign

representatives, and the leaders of public thought in the

capital. They should be on their guard, however, lest too close

an association should
____

[9] To individual believers unless otherwise noted

|PPg_278

lead, imperceptibly, to compromise on the principles which we

cherish and uphold. They must mix with all classes of society

without associating themselves with their policies and schemes.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 8 October 1927 written on his behalf)

1875. It is our supreme obligation to endeavour to bring the

knowledge of this Revelation to the highest authorities and the

leading personalities among our countrymen, but to refrain from

associating ourselves or identifying our Faith with their

political pursuits, their conflicting ambitions and party

programmes. May the Almighty guide and sustain your high

endeavours, and enable you to win for His Cause the most

capable, the most virtuous and the most enlightened leaders of

public opinion in that land.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi appended to a letter

dated 15 April 1932 written on his behalf)

1876. Shoghi Effendi fully approves your meeting of important

men who are in power and have the reins of government in their

hands. In fact he would urge you to avail yourself of every

such opportunity that presents itself. But you should be very

careful not to discuss matters that are political and that are

points of contention between the different parties. That would

drag the Cause into political affairs, a thing which was

strictly forbidden by the Master. Your concern in meeting such

people should be to familiarize them with the teachings of the

Cause and imbue them with the spirit of the Movement. Should

such men embrace the Movement they would lead with themselves

thousands of others into the Cause.

(15 April 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

From a letter written by the Universal House of Justice

1877. It is perfectly in order for Bahá'í institutions to

present the Bahá'í view or recommendations on any subject of

vital interest to the Faith which is under the consideration of

a government, if the governmental authority itself invites such

a submission, or if it is open to receive recommendations. The

Bahá'í Assemblies should, however, refrain from bringing

pressure to bear on the authorities in such matters, either

|PPg_279

separately or in concert with others. The Bahá'ís will submit

their views, if permissible, expressing them as cogently and

forcefully as the occasion warrants, but will not go beyond

this to the stage of pressing the authorities to adopt these

views. Moreover, when considering whether or not it is wise to

make such a submission on any particular matter, the Bahá'í Assembly

concerned must take care that it will not diffuse the

energies of the Community or divert its resources by making

submissions unless the interests of Faith demand it. Likewise

the Assembly must ensure that it does not, by any minute and

detailed analysis of a situation, "needlessly alienate or

estrange any government or people", or involve the Faith in

"the base clamourings and contentions of warring sects,

factions and nations."
(21 November 1971 to an individual believer)

From letters written on behalf of the Universal House of

Justice

1878. The House of Justice received your letter of 13 December

1986 inquiring about permissible activities of the Bahá'ís in

relation towards governments...

The general policy already enunciated by Shoghi Effendi in

"The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh", pages 63-67, should be

scrupulously upheld by the friends. However, as the Faith

emerges from obscurity, the application of certain aspects of

this policy will require the clarification of the House of

Justice. With the passage of time, practices in the political

realm will definitely undergo the profound changes anticipated

in the Bahá'í writings. As a consequence, what we understand

now of the policy of non-involvement in politics will also

undergo a change; but as Shoghi Effendi has written, this

instruction, "at the present stage of the evolution of our

Faith, should be increasingly emphasized, irrespective of its

application to the East or to the West".

In view of the necessity of the Bahá'í community to relate

to governments, whether for reasons of defending its persecuted

members or of responding to opportunities to be of service, a

correct understanding of what is legitimate Bahá'í action in

the face of the policy of non-interference with government

affairs is bound to be difficult to achieve on the part of

individual friends. The force of circumstances, operating

internally and externally, is pressing the Bahá'í community

into certain relationships with governments.
|PPg_280

Hence, it is important that decisions as to the conduct of

such relationships be made by authorized institutions of the

Faith and not by individuals. In matters of this kind, given

the utter complexity of human affairs with which the Baha'i

community must increasingly cope both spiritually and

practically, individual judgement is not sufficient.

(23 June 1987 to an individual believer)

1879. This is a field of service in which much latitude for

initiative must be given to individuals. For instance, in the

aspect of the work which calls for reaching very important

persons, it is necessary to rely on the personal relationships

which individual Bahá'ís have developed or are capable of

developing, to rely on their ability to engage the attention

of such persons, because these Bahá'ís are themselves attractive

in particular ways. While exercising careful judgement in

selecting the individuals you can call on for such services,

and providing them with any necessary guidance, you must also

be sensitive to these points and avoid excessive control, or

even the appearance of it, in your dealing with those who are

engaged in these important services.
(26 April 1988 to a National Spiritual Assembly)

1880. Your comments concerning the maintenance of contacts with

officials in the lower level of your Government's hierarchy are

well taken, and you should feel confident in pursuing this wise

course of action.

There is no objection to initiating contact with high

officials of the Catholic Church. This would require your

careful consideration as to the timeliness of such action and

determination by you as to how to proceed without unduly

arousing opposition to the Faith.

Your Assembly is encouraged to establish contacts with

national associations, bearing in mind the need to select such

organizations wisely, so as not to stretch your human and

financial resources beyond reasonable bounds or to distract the

community from its primary teaching efforts. As this balance is

sometimes difficult to achieve, you may wish to include this as

an element of your consultation with the Counsellors on the

role of ... in the process of the Faith's emergence from

obscurity in Latin America and the world.
(23 March 1989 to a National Spiritual Assembly)
|PPg_281
USE OF RADIO AND TELEVISION IN TEACHING

(Extracts from letters written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi)

1881. In regard to your wish of broadcasting the Message,

Shoghi Effendi would advise you to consult with the Spiritual

Assembly as to whether such an action meets their approval, and

if so to ask their assistance and help for finding the best

means through which to carry out your plan. The idea of a

wireless station is rather ambitious and requires much

financial expenditure. If, however, you find it feasible and

within your financial capacity you should not hesitate to do

so, in as much as this will enable you to spread the Cause in a

much easier and more efficient manner.
(13 August 1933 to an individual believer)

1882. Your suggestion regarding the installation of a radio

station in the Temple is truly splendid. But it remains to be

seen whether the National Spiritual Assembly finds it

financially feasible to undertake such a project, which is,

beyond doubt, a very costly enterprise. Whatever the

expenditure involved in this project, there is no reason why

the believers should not start now considering seriously

the possibility of such a plan, which, whe[n] carried out and

perfected, can lend an unprecedented impetus to the expansion

of the teaching work throughout America.

It is for the National Spiritual Assembly, however, to take

the final decision in this matter, and to determine whether the

national fund of the Cause is at present sufficiently strong to

permit them to install a radio station in the Temple.

The Guardian feels, nevertheless, confident that this plan

will receive the careful consideration of the National

Spiritual Assembly members, and hopes that, if feasible, they

will take some definite action in this matter.
(31 January 1937 to an individual believer)

1883. He read with interest the various suggestions you made to

the National Spiritual Assembly, and feels they are

fundamentally sound, especially the wider use of the radio.

Unfortunately at the present time anything that would make a

fresh demand on the financial resources of the Cause in

America--such as a Baha'i-owned broadcasting station--

|PPg_282

is out of the question, as the friends are finding it difficult

to meet the great needs of the teaching and Temple Funds.

However the idea should, he feels, be kept in mind for future

realization.
(14 October 1942 to an individual believer)

1884. In connection with the radio work ... he would suggest

that the main consideration is to bring to the attention of the

public the fact that the Faith exists, and its teachings. Every

kind of broadcast, whether of passages from the Writings, or on

topical subjects, or lectures, should be used. The people need

to hear the word "Baha'i" so that they can, if receptive,

respond and seek the Cause out. The primary duty of the friends

everywhere in the world is to let the people know such a

Revelation is in existence; their next duty is to teach it.

(24 July 1943 to an individual believer)

1885. He feels it would be excellent if the Cause could be

introduced more to the people through the medium of radio, as

it reaches the masses, especially those who do not take an

interest in lectures or attend any type of meeting.

(7 March 1945 to an individual believer)

1886. The matter of obtaining free time on the radio is one

which the Radio Committee and the National Spiritual Assembly

must decide upon: but the principle is that every effort should

be made to present the teachings over the air as often as

possible as long as the manner in which it is done is

compatible with the dignity of our beloved Faith.
(15 August 1945 to an individual believer)

1887. He was sorry to learn through your cable that the project

for a Bahá'í radio station can not be carried out at present;

he considers that such a station would be a very great asset to

the Cause, not only as a teaching medium and a wonderful form

of publicity, but also as an enhancement of its prestige. He

feels your Assembly should not drop the matter, but go on

investigating ways to make such a project materialize as soon

as possible.

(20 March 1946 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States and Canada)
|PPg_283

1888. He hopes that a Bahá'í radio station will prove feasible

during the coming years, as he considers it of great

importance.

(4 May 1946 to the Radio Committee of the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States and Canada)

1889. The Bahá'ís should not always be the last to take up new

and obviously excellent methods, but rather the first, as this

agrees with the dynamic nature of the Faith which is not only

progressive, but holds within itself the seeds of an entirely

new culture and civilization.
(5 May 1946 to an individual believer)

1890. The Guardian approves in principle of a radio station,

and sees no objection to its being in the Temple; but he

considers the cost you quote too much of a burden at the

present time for the Fund to bear, in view of the multiple

expenses of the new Seven Year Plan. If there is any way it can

be done for a price you feel the Fund could pay, and which

would be more reasonable, he approves of your doing it. In any

case the National Spiritual Assembly should strongly press for

recognition as a Religious Body, and claim full rights to be

represented on the air on an equal footing with other

established Churches.

(20 July 1946 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States and Canada)

1891. He approves of your desire to teach the principles of the

Faith through radio. But he urges you to do all you can to

always, however small the reference you are able to make to it

may be, clearly identify or associate what you are giving out

with Bahá'u'lláh. The time is too short now for us Baha'i's to

be able to first educate humanity and then tell it that the

Source is this new World Faith. For their own spiritual

protection people must hear of the name Baha'i--then, if they

turn blindly away, they cannot excuse themselves by saying they

never even knew it existed! For dark days seem still ahead of

the world, and outside of this Divine Refuge the people will

not, we firmly believe, find inner conviction, peace and

security. So they have a right to at least hear of the Cause as

such!
(24 April 1949 to an individual believer)
|PPg_284
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|PPg_285
EXTRACTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF SHOGHI
EFFENDI ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE
FORMATIVE AGE OF OUR FAITH

1892. The passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, so sudden in the

circumstances which caused it, so dramatic in its consequences,

could neither impede the operation of such a dynamic force[1] nor

obscure its purpose. Those fervid appeals, embodied in the Will

and Testament of a departed Master, could not but confirm its

aim, define its character and reinforce the promise of its

ultimate success.

Out of the pangs of anguish which His bereaved followers

have suffered, amid the heat and dust which the attacks

launched by a sleepless enemy had precipitated, the

Administration of Bahá'u'lláh's invincible Faith was born. The

potent energies released through the ascension of the Center of

His Covenant crystallized into this supreme, this infallible

Organ for the accomplishment of a Divine Purpose. The Will and

Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá unveiled its character, reaffirmed

its basis, supplemented its principles, asserted its

indispensability, and enumerated its chief institutions....

("America and the Most Great Peace, 21 April 1933, "The World

Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters", rev. ed (Wilmette:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 89)

1893. With 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í ascension, and more particularly with

the passing of His well-beloved and illustrious sister the Most

Exalted Leaf-- the last survivor of a glorious and heroic age--there

draws to a close the first and most moving chapter of

Bahá'í history, marking the conclusion of the Primitive, the

Apostolic Age of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. It was 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Who, through the provisions of His weighty Will and Testament,

has forged the vital link which must for ever connect the age

that has just expired with the one we now live in--the

Transitional and Formative period of the Faith--a stage that

must in the fullness of time reach its blossom and yield its

fruit in the exploits and triumphs that are to herald the

Golden Age of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh.
____
[1] The Cause of Bahá'u'lláh
|PPg_286
Dearly-beloved friends! The onrushing forces so

miraculously released through the agency of two independent and

swiftly successive Manifestations are now under our very eyes

and through the care of the chosen stewards of a far-flung Faith being

gradually mustered and disciplined. They are slowly

crystallizing into institutions that will come to be regarded

as the hall-mark and glory of the age we are called upon to

establish and by our deeds immortalize. For upon our

present-day efforts, and above all upon the extent to which we

strive to remodel our lives after the pattern of sublime

heroism associated with those gone before us, must depend the

efficacy of the instruments we now fashion -- instruments that

must erect the structure of that blissful Commonwealth which

must signalize the Golden Age of our Faith.

("The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh" 8 February 1934, "The World

Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters" p. 98)

1894. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who incarnates an institution for which we

can find no parallel whatsoever in any of the world's

recognized religious systems, may be said to have closed the

Age to which He Himself belonged and opened the one in which we

are now laboring. His Will and Testament should thus be

regarded as the perpetual, the indissoluble link which the mind

of Him Who is the Mystery of God has conceived in order to

insure the continuity of the three ages that constitute the

component parts of the Bahá'í Dispensation. The period in which

the seed of the Faith had been slowly germinating is thus

intertwined both with the one which must witness its

efflorescence and the subsequent age in which that seed will

have finally yielded its golden fruit.

The creative energies released by the Law of Bahá'u'lláh,

permeating and evolving within the mind of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, have,

by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an

Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World

Order which is at once the glory and the promise of this most

great Dispensation. The Will may thus be acclaimed as the

inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse

between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His

divine Purpose and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen

recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant--the Heir of both

the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God--the Will

and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him

Who supplied the original and motivating impulse
|PPg_287

than from the One Who ultimately conceived it. Bahá'u'lláh 's

inscrutable purpose, we must ever bear in mind, has been so

thoroughly infused into the conduct of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and their

motives have been so closely wedded together, that the mere

attempt to dissociate the teachings of the former from any

system which the ideal Exemplar of those same teachings has

established would amount to a repudiation of one of the most

sacred and basic truths of the Faith.

The Administrative Order, which ever since 'Abdu'l-Bahá's

ascension has evolved and is taking shape under our very eyes

in no fewer than forty countries of the world, may be considered

as the framework of the Will itself, the inviolable stronghold

wherein this new-born child is being nurtured and

developed. This Administrative Order, as it expands and

consolidates itself, will no doubt manifest the potentialities

and reveal the full implications of this momentous Document--this most

remarkable expression of the Will of One of the most

remarkable Figures of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. It will,

as its component parts, its organic institutions, begin to

function with efficiency and vigor, assert its claim and

demonstrate its capacity to be regarded not only as the nucleus

but the very pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace

in the fullness of time the whole of mankind.

("The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh", 8 February 1934, "The World

Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters", pp. 143-44)

1895. Dearly-beloved friends: Though the Revelation of

Bahá'u'lláh has been delivered, the World Order which such a

Revelation must needs beget is as yet unborn. Though the Heroic

Age of His Faith is passed, the creative energies which that

Age has released have not as yet crystallized into that world

society which, in the fullness of time, is to mirror forth the

brightness of His glory. Though the framework of His

Administrative Order has been erected, and the Formative Period

of the Bahá'í Era has begun, yet the promised Kingdom into

which the seed of His institutions must ripen remains as yet

uninaugurated....

"The heights," Bahá'u'lláh Himself testifies, "which,

through the most gracious favor of God, mortal man can attain

in this Day are as yet unrevealed to his sight. The world of

being hath never had, nor doth it yet possess, the capacity for

such a revelation. The day, however, is
|PPg_288

approaching when the potentialities of so great a favor will,

by virtue of His behest, be manifested unto men."

For the revelation of so great a favor a period of intense

turmoil and wide-spread suffering would seem to be

indispensable. Resplendent as has been the Age that has

witnessed the inception of the Mission with which Bahá'u'lláh

has been entrusted, the interval which must elapse ere that Age

yields its choicest fruit must, it is becoming increasingly

apparent, be overshadowed by such moral and social gloom as can

alone prepare an unrepentant humanity for the prize she is

destined to inherit.... As we view the world around us, we are

compelled to observe the manifold evidences of that universal

fermentation which, in every continent of the globe and in

every department of human life, be it religious, social,

economic or political, is purging and reshaping humanity in

anticipation of the Day when the wholeness of the human race

will have been recognized and its unity established. A twofold

process, however, can be distinguished, each tending, in its

own way and with an accelerated momentum, to bring to a climax

the forces that are transforming the face of our planet. The

first is essentially an integrating process, while the second

is fundamentally disruptive. The former, as it steadily

evolves, unfolds a System which may well serve as a pattern for

that world polity towards which a strangely-disordered world is

continually advancing; while the latter, as its disintegrating

influence deepens, tends to tear down, with increasing

violence, the antiquated barriers that seek to block humanity's

progress towards its destined goal. The constructive process

stands associated with the nascent Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and is

the harbinger of the New World Order that Faith must erelong

establish. The destructive forces that characterize the other

should be identified with a civilization that has refused to

answer to the expectation of a new age, and is consequently

falling into chaos and decline. A titanic, a spiritual

struggle, unparalleled in its magnitude yet unspeakably

glorious in its ultimate consequences, is being waged as a

result of these opposing tendencies, in this age of transition

through which the organized community of the followers of

Bahá'u'lláh and mankind as a whole are passing.... It is not my

purpose to call to mind, much less to attempt a detailed

analysis of, the spiritual struggles that have ensued, or to

note the victories
|PPg_289

that have redounded to the glory of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh

since the day of its foundation. My chief concern is not with

the happenings that have distinguished the First, the Apostolic

Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, but rather with the outstanding

events that are transpiring in, and the tendencies which

characterize, the formative period of its development, this Age

of Transition, whose tribulations are the precursors of that

Era of blissful felicity which is to incarnate God's ultimate

purpose for all mankind.

("The Unfoldment of World Civilization", 11 March 1936, "The

World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters", pp. 168-71)

1896. The moment had now arrived for that undying, that

world-vitalizing Spirit that was born in Shiraz, that had been

rekindled in Tihran, that had been fanned into flame in Baghdad

and Adrianople, that had been carried to the West, and was now

illuminating the fringes of five continents, to incarnate

itself in institutions designed to canalize its outspreading

energies and stimulate its growth. The Age that had witnessed

the birth and rise of the Faith had now closed. The Heroic, the

Apostolic Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, that

primitive period in which its Founders had lived, in which its

life had been generated, in which its greatest heroes had

struggled and quaffed the cup of martyrdom, and its pristine

foundations been established--a period whose splendors no

victories in this or any future age, however brilliant, can

rival--had now terminated with the passing of One Whose mission

may be regarded as the link binding the Age in which the seed

of the newborn Message had been incubating and those which are

destined to witness its efflorescence and ultimate fruition.

The Formative Period, the Iron Age, of that Dispensation

was now beginning, the Age in which the institutions, local,

national and international, of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh were to

take shape, develop and become fully consolidated, in

anticipation of the third, the last, the Golden Age destined to

witness the emergence of a world-embracing Order enshrining the

ultimate fruit of God's latest Revelation to mankind, a fruit

whose maturity must signalize the establishment of a world

civilization and the formal inauguration of the Kingdom of the

Father upon earth as promised by Jesus Christ Himself....

|PPg_290

The last twenty-three years of the first Bahá'í century may

thus be regarded as the initial stage of the Formative Period

of the Faith, an Age of Transition to be identified with the

rise and establishment of the Administrative Order, upon which

the institutions of the future Bahá'í World Commonwealth must

needs be ultimately erected in the Golden Age that must witness

the consummation of the Bahá'í Dispensation. The Charter which

called into being, outlined the features and set in motion the

processes of, this Administrative Order is none other than the

Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, His greatest legacy to

posterity, the brightest emanation of His mind and the

mightiest instrument forged to insure the continuity of the

three ages which constitute the component parts of His Father's

Dispensation....

The Administrative Order which this historic Document has

established, it should be noted, is, by virtue of its origin

and character, unique in the annals of the world's religious

systems....

The Document establishing that Order, the Charter of a

future world civilization, which may be regarded in some of its

features as supplementary to no less weighty a Book than the

Kitáb-i-Aqdas;...

("God Passes By", rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust,

1987), pp. 324-28)

1897. The first seventy-seven years of the preceding century,

constituting the Apostolic and Heroic Age of our Faith, fell

into three distinct epochs, of nine, of thirty-nine and of

twenty-nine years' duration, associated respectively with the

Babi Dispensation and the ministries of Bahá'u'lláh and of

'Abdu'l-Bahá. This Primitive Age of the Bahá'í Era,

unapproached in spiritual fecundity by any period associated

with the mission of the Founder of any previous Dispensation,

was impregnated, from its inception to its termination, with

the creative energies generated through the advent of two

independent Manifestations and the establishment of a Covenant

unique in the spiritual annals of mankind.

The last twenty-three years of that same century coincided

with the first epoch of the second, the Iron and Formative, Age

of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh--the first of a series of

epochs which must precede the inception of the last and Golden Age of

that Dispensation--a Dispensation which, as the Author

of the Faith has Himself categorically asserted, must extend

over a period of no less than one thousand years,
|PPg_291

and which will constitute the first stage in a series of

Dispensations, to be established by future Manifestations, all

deriving their inspiration from the Author of the Baha'i

Revelation, and destined to last, in their aggregate, no less

than five thousand centuries....

During this Formative Age of the Faith, and in the course

of present and succeeding epochs, the last and crowning stage

in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of

the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh--the election of the Universal House

of Justice--will have been completed, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the

Mother-Book of His Revelation, will have been codified and its

laws promulgated, the Lesser Peace will have been established,

the unity of mankind will have been achieved and its maturity

attained, the Plan conceived by 'Abdu'l-Bahá will have been

executed, the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of

religious orthodoxy will have been effected, and its

independent religious status will have been universally

recognized, whilst in the course of the Golden Age, destined to

consummate the Dispensation itself, the banner of the Most

Great Peace, promised by its Author, will have been unfurled,

the World Bahá'í Commonwealth will have emerged in the

plenitude of its power and splendor, and the birth and

efflorescence of a world civilization, the child of that Peace,

will have conferred its inestimable blessings upon all mankind.

("The Challenging Requirements of the Present Hour, 5 June

1947, "Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957"

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 4-6)

Revised August 1990
|PPg_292
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|PPg_293
GUIDELINES FOR TEACHING
FROM THE WRITINGS OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH:

1898. O Friends! You must all be so ablaze in this day with the

fire of the love of God that the heat thereof may be manifest

in all your veins, your limbs and members of your body, and the

peoples of the world may be ignited by this heat and turn to

the horizon of the Beloved.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

1899. Teach thou the Cause of God with an utterance which will

cause the bushes to be enkindled, and the call 'Verily, there is no God but

Me, the Almighty, the Unconstrained' to be raised

therefrom. Say: Human utterance is an essence which aspireth to

exert its influence and needeth moderation. As to its

influence, this is conditional upon refinement which in turn is

dependent upon hearts which are detached and pure. As to its

moderation, this hath to be combined with tact and wisdom as

prescribed in the Holy Scriptures and Tablets....

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", 1st

pocket-sized ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1988), p.

143)

1900. Moderation is indeed highly desirable. Every person who

in some degree turneth towards the truth can himself later

comprehend most of what he seeketh. However, if at the outset a

word is uttered beyond his capacity, he will refuse to hear it

and will arise in opposition.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

1901. ... Piety and detachment are even as two most great

luminaries of the heaven of teaching. Blessed the one who hath

attained unto this supreme station...

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.

253)

1902. Should any one among you be incapable of grasping a

certain truth, or be striving to comprehend it, show forth,

when conversing with him, a spirit of extreme kindliness and

good-will. Help him to see and
|PPg_294

recognize the truth, without esteeming yourself to be, in the

least, superior to him, or to be possessed of greater

endowments.

The whole duty of man in this Day is to attain that share

of the flood of grace which God poureth forth for him. Let

none, therefore, consider the largeness or smallness of the

receptacle. The portion of some might lie in the palm of a

man's hand, the portion of others might fill a cup, and of

others even a gallon-measure.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1983), p. 8)

1903. Consort with all men, O people of Baha, in a spirit of

friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth,

if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it

with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will. If

it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is

attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself,

and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with

him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It

is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning,

it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding....

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", p. 289)

1904. If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he

forgoeth all created things, the words he uttereth shall set on

fire them that hear him.

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice"

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), p. 51)

1905. Say: O people of God! That which can insure the victory

of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, His hosts and helpers on

earth, have been set down in the sacred Books and Scriptures, a

nd are as clear and manifest as the sun. These hosts are such

righteous deeds, such conduct and character, as are acceptable

in His sight. Whoso ariseth, in this Day, to aid Our Cause, and

summoneth to his assistance the hosts of a praiseworthy

character and upright conduct, the influence from such an

action will, most certainly, be diffused throughout the whole

world.

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", p.

24)
|PPg_295
From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

1906. Now is the time for you to divest yourselves of the

garment of attachment to this world that perisheth, to be

wholly severed from the physical world, become heavenly angels,

and travel to these countries....

("Tablets of the Divine Plan Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the

North American Baha'is, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1980), p. 34)

1907. With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with

tongues commemorating the mention of God, with eyes turned to

the Kingdom of God, they must deliver the Glad Tidings of the

manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people. Know ye

of a certainty that whatever gathering ye enter, the waves of

the Holy Spirit are surging over it, and the heavenly grace of

the Blessed Beauty encompasseth that gathering.

("Tablets of the Divine Plan Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the

North American Baha'is", pp. 38-39)

1908. The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be

pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought

at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in

the love of God a shining torch. Should he become as such, his

sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there

will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not

perfected, how can he efface the defects of others. Unless he

is detached from aught else save God, how can he teach

severance to others!

("Tablets of the Divine Plan Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the

North American Baha'is", p. 51)

1909. ...rest ye assured in the confirmations of the Merciful

and the assistances of the Most High; become ye sanctified

above and purified from this world and the inhabitants thereof;

suffer your intention to become for the good of all; cut your

attachment to the earth and like unto the essence of the spirit

become ye light and delicate. Then with a firm resolution, a

pure heart, a rejoiced spirit, and an eloquent tongue, engage

your time in the promulgation of the divine principles...

("Tablets of the Divine Plan Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the

North American Baha'is", p. 67)
|PPg_296

1910. ...the believers of God must become self-sacrificing and

like unto the candles of guidance become ignited... Should they

show forth such a magnanimity, it is assured that they will

obtain universal divine confirmations, the heavenly cohorts

will reinforce them uninterruptedly, and a most great victory

will be obtained....

("Tablets of the Divine Plan Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the

North American Baha'is", p. 27)

1911. 0 ye believers of God! Be not concerned with the

smallness of your numbers, neither be oppressed by the

multitude of an unbelieving world. Five grains of wheat will be

endued with heavenly blessing, whereas a thousand tons of tares

will yield no results or effect. One fruitful tree will be

conducive to the life of society, whereas a thousand forests of

wild trees offer no fruits. The plain is covered with pebbles,

but precious stones are rare. One pearl is better than a

thousand wildernesses of sand, especially this pearl of great

price, which is endowed with divine blessing. Ere long

thousands of other pearls will be born from it. When that pearl

associates and becomes the intimate of the pebbles, they also

all change into pearls.

...rest ye not, seek ye no composure, attach not yourselves

to the luxuries of this ephemeral world, free yourselves from

every attachment, and strive with heart and soul to become

fully established in the Kingdom of God. Gain ye the heavenly

treasures. Day by day become ye more illumined. Draw ye nearer

and nearer unto the threshold of oneness. Become ye the

manifestors of spiritual favours and the dawning-places of

infinite lights!...

As regards the teachers, they must completely divest

themselves from the old garments and be invested with a new

garment. According to the statement of Christ, they must attain

to the station of rebirth--that is, whereas in the first

instance they were born from the womb of the mother, this time

they must be born from the womb of the world of nature. Just as

they are now totally unaware of the experiences of the fetal

world, they must also forget entirely the defects of the world

of nature. They must be baptized with the water of life, the

fire of the love of God and the breaths of the Holy Spirit; be

satisfied with little food, but take a large portion from the heavenly table.

They must disengage themselves from temptation

and covetousness, and be filled with the spirit. Through the

effect of their pure breath, they must change the stone into

the brilliant
|PPg_297

ruby and the shell into pearl. Like unto the cloud of vernal

shower, they must transform the black soil into the rose-garden

and orchard. They must make the blind seeing, the deaf hearing,

the extinguished one enkindled and set aglow, and the dead

quickened.

("Tablets of the Divine Plan Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the

North American Baha'is" pp. 86-88)

1912. O thou maid-servant of God! Whenever thou art intending

to deliver a speech, turn thy face toward the Kingdom of ABHA

and, with a heart detached, begin to talk. The breaths of the

Holy Spirit will assist thee.

("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas, vol. 2 (Chicago: Baha'i

Publishing Committee, 1930 printing), p. 246)

1913. By the Lord of the Kingdom! If one arise to promote the

Word of God with a pure heart, overflowing with the love of God

and severed from the world, the Lord of Hosts will assist him

with such a power as will penetrate the core of the existent

beings.
("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas", vol. 2, p. 348)

1914. Under all conditions the Message must be delivered, but

with wisdom. If it be not possible openly, it must be done

quietly. The friends should be engaged in educating the souls

and should become instruments in aiding the world of humanity

to acquire spiritual joy and fragrance. For example: If every

one of the friends (believers) were to establish relations

of friendship and right dealings with one of the negligent

souls, associate and live with him with perfect kindliness, and

meanwhile through good conduct and moral behaviour lead him to

divine instruction, to heavenly advice and teachings, surely he

would gradually arouse that negligent person and would change

his ignorance into knowledge.

Souls are liable to estrangement. Such methods should be

adopted that the estrangement should be first removed, then the

Word will have effect. If one of the believers be kind to one

of the negligent ones and with perfect love should gradually

make him understand the reality of the Cause of God in such a

way that the latter should know in what manner the Religion of

God hath been founded and what its object is, doubtless

|PPg_298

he will become changed; excepting abnormal souls who are

reduced to the state of ashes and whose hearts are like stones,

yea, even harder.
("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas", vol. 2, p. 391)

1915. If thou wishest to guide the souls, it is incumbent on

thee to be firm, to be good and to be imbued with praiseworthy

attributes and divine qualities under all circumstances. Be a

sign of love, a manifestation of mercy, a fountain of

tenderness, kind-hearted, good to all and gentle to the

servants of God, and especially to those who bear relation to

thee, both men and women. Bear every ordeal that befalleth thee

from the people and confront them not save with kindness, with

great love and good wishes.

("Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas, vol. 3 (Chicago: Baha'i

Publishing Committee, 1930 printing), pp. 619-20)

1916. The teacher, when teaching, must be himself fully

enkindled, so that his utterance, like unto a flame of fire,

may exert influence and consume the veil of self and passion.

He must also be utterly humble and lowly so that others may be

edified, and be totally self-effaced and evanescent so that he

may teach with the melody of the Concourse on high--otherwise

his teaching will have no effect.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, [rev. ed.]

(Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), Sec. 217, p. 270)

1917. When the friends do not endeavour to spread the message,

they fail to remember God befittingly, and will not witness the

tokens of assistance and confirmation from the Abha Kingdom nor

comprehend the divine mysteries. However, when the tongue of

the teacher is engaged in teaching, he will naturally himself

be stimulated, will become a magnet attracting the divine aid

and bounty of the Kingdom, and will be like unto the bird at

the hour of dawn, which itself becometh exhilarated by its own

singing, its warbling and its melody.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", Sec. 211, pp.

267-68)

1918. In accordance with the divine teachings in this glorious

dispensation we should not belittle anyone and call him

ignorant, saying: "You know not, but I know". Rather, we should

look upon others with respect, and
|PPg_299

when attempting to explain and demonstrate, we should speak as

if we are investigating the truth, saying: "Here these things

are before us. Let us investigate to determine where and in

what form the truth can be found." The teacher should not

consider himself as learned and others ignorant. Such a thought

breedeth pride, and pride is not conducive to influence. The

teacher should not see in himself any superiority; he should

speak with the utmost kindliness, lowliness and humility, for

such speech exerteth influence and educateth the souls.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Sec 15, p. 30)

1919. It is at such times that the friends of God avail

themselves of the occasion, seize the opportunity, rush forth

and win the prize. If their task is to be confined to good

conduct and advice, nothing will be accomplished. They must

speak out, expound the proofs, set forth clear arguments, draw

irrefutable conclusions establishing the truth of the

manifestation of the Sun of Reality.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", Sec. 212, p.

268)

1920. When a speaker's brow shineth with the radiance of the

love of God, at the time of his exposition of a subject, and he

is exhilarated with the wine of true understanding, he becometh

the centre of a potent force which like unto a magnet will

attract the hearts. This is why the expounder must be in the

utmost enkindlement.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

1921. Speak, therefore; speak out with great courage at every

meeting. When you are about to begin your address, turn first

to Bahá'u'lláh and ask for the confirmations of the Holy

Spirit, then open your lips and say whatever is suggested to

your heart; this, however, with the utmost courage, dignity and

conviction....

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", Sec. 216 p.

269)

1922. As to his question about the permissibility of

promulgating the divine teachings without relating them to the

Most Great Name, you should answer: "This blessed Name hath an

effect on the reality of things. If these teachings are spread

without identifying them with this holy Name, they will fail to

exert an abiding influence in the world. The teachings are like

|PPg_300

the body, and this holy Name is like the spirit. It imparteth

life to the body. It causeth the people of the world to be

aroused from their slumber."
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

1923. The teaching work should under all conditions be actively

pursued by the believers because divine confirmations are

dependent upon it. Should a Bahá'í refrain from being fully,

vigorously and wholeheartedly involved in the teaching work he

will undoubtedly be deprived of the blessings of the Abha

Kingdom. Even so, this activity should be tempered with wisdom

- not that wisdom which requireth one to be silent and

forgetful of such an obligation, but rather that which

requireth one to display divine tolerance, love, kindness,

patience, a goodly character, and holy deeds. In brief,

encourage the friends individually to teach the Cause of God

and draw their attention to this meaning of wisdom mentioned in the

Writings, which is itself the essence of teaching the

Faith--but all this to be done with the greatest tolerance, so

that heavenly assistance and divine confirmation may aid the

friends.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", Sec. 213, p.

268)

1924. The friends of God should weave bonds of fellowship with

others and show absolute love and affection towards them. These

links have a deep influence on people and they will listen.

When the friends sense receptivity to the Word of God, they

should deliver the Message with wisdom. They must first try and

remove any apprehensions in the people they teach. In fact,

every one of the believers should choose one person every year

and try to establish ties of friendship with him, so that all

his fear would disappear. Only then, and gradually, must he

teach that person. This is the best method.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

1925. Follow thou the way of thy Lord, and say not that which

the ears cannot bear to hear, for such speech is like luscious

food given to small children. However palatable, rare and rich

the food may be, it cannot be assimilated by the digestive

organs of a suckling child. Therefore unto every one who hath a

right, let his settled measure be given.

"Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor

can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor

can every timely
|PPg_301

utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who

hear it." Such is the consummate wisdom to be observed in thy

pursuits. Be not oblivious thereof, if thou wishest to be a man

of action under all conditions. First diagnose the disease and

identify the malady, then prescribe the remedy, for such is the

perfect method of the skilful physician.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", Sec. 214, pp.

268-69)

1926. Do not argue with anyone, and be wary of disputation.

Speak out the truth. If your hearer accepteth, the aim is

achieved. If he is obdurate, you should leave him to himself,

and place your trust in God. Such is the quality of those who

are firm in the Covenant.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

1927. In this day every believer must concentrate his thoughts

on teaching the Faith... O loved ones of God! Each one of the

friends must teach at least one soul each year. This is

everlasting glory. This is eternal grace.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

From the Writings of Shoghi Effendi and Letters Written on His

Behalf:

1928. First and foremost, one should use every possible means

to purge one's heart and motives, otherwise, engaging in any

form of enterprise would be futile. It is also essential to

abstain from hypocrisy and blind imitation, inasmuch as their

foul odour is soon detected by every man of understanding and

wisdom. Moreover, the friends must observe the specific times

for the remembrance of God, meditation, devotion and prayer, as

it is highly unlikely, nay impossible, for any enterprise to

prosper and develop when deprived of divine bestowals and

confirmation. One can hardly imagine what a great influence

genuine love, truthfulness and purity of motives exert on the

souls of men. But these traits cannot be acquired by any

believer unless he makes a daily effort to gain them....

It is primarily through the potency of noble deeds and

character, rather than by the power of exposition and proofs,

that the friends of God should demonstrate to the world that

what has been promised by God is
|PPg_302

bound to happen, that it is already taking place and that the

divine glad-tidings are clear, evident and complete....

(From a letter dated 19 December 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi

to the Bahá'ís of the East- translated from the Persian)

1929. Having . .. obtained a clear understanding of the true

character of our mission, the methods to adopt, the course to

pursue, and having attained sufficiently the individual

regeneration --the essential requisite of teaching--let us

arise to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction,

understanding and vigor. Let this be the paramount and most

urgent duty of every Baha'i. Let us make it the dominating

passion of our life. Let us scatter to the uttermost corners of

the earth; sacrifice our personal interests, comforts, tastes

and pleasures; mingle with the divers kindreds and peoples of

the world; familiarize ourselves with their manners,

traditions, thoughts and customs; arouse, stimulate and

maintain universal interest in the Movement, and at the same

time endeavor by all the means in our power, by concentrated

and persistent attention, to enlist the unreserved allegiance

and the active support of the more hopeful and receptive among

our hearers. Let us too bear in mind the example which our

beloved Master has clearly set before us. Wise and tactful in

His approach, wakeful and attentive in His early intercourse,

broad and liberal in all His public utterances, cautious and

gradual in the unfolding of the essential verities of the

Cause, passionate in His appeal yet sober in argument,

confident in tone, unswerving in conviction, dignified in His

manners--such were the distinguishing features of our Beloved's

noble presentation of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.

("Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932" [rev.

ed.], (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 69-70)

1930. Having on his own initiative, and undaunted by any

hinderances with which either friend or foe may, unwittingly or

deliberately, obstruct his path, resolved to arise and respond

to the call of teaching, let him carefully consider every

avenue of approach which he might utilize in his personal

attempts to capture the attention, maintain the interest, and

deepen the faith, of those whom he seeks to bring into the fold

of his Faith. Let him survey the possibilities which the

particular circumstances
|PPg_303

in which he lives offer him, evaluate their advantages, and

proceed intelligently and systematically to utilize them for

the achievement of the object he has in mind. Let him also

attempt to devise such methods as association with clubs,

exhibitions, and societies, lectures on subjects akin to the

teachings and ideals of his Cause such as temperance, morality,

social welfare, religious and racial tolerance, economic

cooperation, Islam, and Comparative Religion, or participation

in social, cultural, humanitarian, charitable, and educational

organizations and enterprises which, while safeguarding the

integrity of his Faith, will open up to him a multitude of ways

and means whereby he can enlist successively the sympathy, the

support, and ultimately the allegiance of those with whom he

comes in contact. Let him, while such contacts are being made,

bear in mind the claims which his Faith is constantly making

upon him to preserve its dignity, and station, to safeguard the

integrity of its laws and principles, to demonstrate its

comprehensiveness and universality, and to defend fearlessly

its manifold and vital interests. Let him consider the degree

of his hearer's receptivity, and decide for himself the

suitability of either the direct or indirect method of

teaching, whereby he can impress upon the seeker the vital

importance of the Divine Message, and persuade him to throw in

his lot with those who have already embraced it. Let him

remember the example set by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and His constant

admonition to shower such kindness upon the seeker, and

exemplify to such a degree the spirit of the teachings he hopes

to instill into him, that the recipient will be spontaneously

impelled to identify himself with the Cause embodying such

teachings. Let him refrain, at the outset, from insisting on

such laws and observances as might impose too severe a strain

on the seeker's newly awakened faith, and endeavour to nurse

him, patiently, tactfully, and yet determinedly, into full

maturity, and aid him to proclaim his unqualified acceptance of

whatever has been ordained by Bahá'u'lláh. Let him, as soon as

that stage has been attained, introduce him to the body of his

fellow-believers, and seek, through constant fellowship and

active participation in the local activities of his community,

to enable him to contribute his share to the enrichment of its

life, the furtherance of its tasks, the consolidations of its

interests, and the coordination of its activities with those if its sister

communities. Let him not be content until he has

infused into his spiritual child so deep a longing as to impel

him to arise independently, in his turn, and devote his

energies to the
|PPg_304

quickening of other souls, and the upholding of the laws and

principles laid down by his newly adopted Faith.
("The Advent of Divine Justice", pp. 51-52)

1931. Every laborer in those fields, whether as traveling

teacher or settler, should, I feel, make it his chief and

constant concern to mix, in a friendly manner, with all

sections of the population, irrespective of class, creed,

nationality, or color, to familiarize himself with their ideas,

tastes, and habits, to study the approach best suited to them,

to concentrate, patiently and tactfully, on a few who have

shown marked capacity and receptivity, and to endeavor, with

extreme kindness, to implant such love, zeal, and devotion in

their hearts as to enable them to become in turn

self-sufficient and independent promoters of the Faith in their

respective localities....
("The Advent of Divine Justice", p. 65)

1932. Nor should any of the pioneers, at this early stage in

the upbuilding of Bahá'í national communities, overlook the

fundamental prerequisite for any successful teaching

enterprise, which is to adapt the presentation of the

fundamental principles of their Faith to the cultural and

religious backgrounds, the idealogies, and the temperament of

the divers races and nations whom they are called upon to

enlighten and attract. The susceptibilities of these races and

nations, from both the northern and southern climes, springing

from either the Germanic or Latin stock, belonging to either

the Catholic or Protestant communion, some democratic, others

totalitarian in outlook, some socialistic, others capitalistic

in their tendencies, differing widely in their customs and

standards of living, should at all times be carefully

considered, and under no circumstances neglected.

These pioneers, in their contact with the members of divers

creeds, races and nations, covering a range which offers no

parallel in either the north or south continents, must neither

antagonize them nor compromise with their own essential

principles. They must be neither provocative nor supine,

neither fanatical nor excessively liberal, in their exposition

of the fundamental and distinguishing features of their Faith.

They must be either wary or bold, they must act swiftly or mark

time, they must use the direct or indirect method, they must be

challenging or conciliatory, in strict accordance with the

spiritual receptivity of the soul
|PPg_305

with whom they come in contact, whether he be a nobleman or a

commoner, a northerner or a southerner, a layman or a priest, a

capitalist or a socialist, a statesman or a prince, an artisan

or a beggar. In their presentation of the Message of

Bahá'u'lláh they must neither hesitate nor falter. They must be

neither contemptuous of the poor nor timid before the great. In

their exposition of its verities they must neither overstress

nor whittle down the truth which they champion, whether their

hearer belong to royalty, or be a prince of the church, or a

politician, or a tradesman, or a man of the street. To all

alike, high or low, rich or poor, they must proffer, with open

hands, with a radiant heart, with an eloquent tongue, with

infinite patience, with uncompromising loyalty, with great

wisdom, with unshakable courage, the Cup of Salvation at so

critical an hour, to the confused, the hungry, the distraught

and fear-stricken multitudes, in the north, in the west, in the

south and in the heart, of that sorely tried continent.

("Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957" (Wilmette:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 25-26)

1933. The individual alone must assess its character, consult

his conscience, prayerfully consider all its aspects, manfully

struggle against the natural inertia that weighs him down in

his effort to arise, shed, heroically and irrevocably, the

trivial and superfluous attachments which hold him back, empty

himself of every thought that may tend to obstruct his path,

mix, in obedience to the counsels of the Author of His Faith,

and in imitation of the One Who is its true Exemplar, with men

and women, in all walks of life, seek to touch their hearts,

through the distinction which characterizes his thoughts, his

words and his acts, and win them over tactfully, lovingly,

prayerfully and persistently, to the Faith he himself has

espoused.

("Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957", p. 148)

1934. ...revisit all the centres where you have already sown

the seed, in order to water the seedlings that have taken root

and to sow fresh good seed in the prepared ground.

(From a letter dated 9 April 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to two believers)
|PPg_306

1935. Entire and selfless devotion is what is most needful. The

brighter our torch burns, the more light will it give and the

more readily will it impart its blaze to others....

(From a letter dated 3 May 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1936. Shoghi Effendi feels that he can lay down no rule as to

when one should introduce the names of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and

'Abdu'l-Bahá in one's teaching. Much depends on the temperament

and aptitude both of the teacher and the one taught....

. . .

We must look to the example of the Master and follow our

"Inner Light", adapting our message as best we can to the

capacity and "ripeness" of the one we are seeking to teach....

Man 's spiritual digestive powers have similar laws to those

that govern physical digestion. When people are spiritually

hungry and thirsty they must be given wholesome and suitable

spiritual food, but if we give too much at a time or too rich

food for the digestive powers, it only causes nausea and

rejection or malassimilation.

(From a letter dated 20 October 1925 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to two believers)

1937. Although teaching the Cause is the duty of every real

Bahá'í and must be our main aim in life, to obtain the best

results extensive and organized efforts at teaching must be by

the approval and through the help and supervision of either the

Local or the National Spiritual Assemblies. Shoghi Effendi

hopes that you will translate your earnestness and enthusiasm

into real service in close co-operation with the friends and

the Assemblies.

(From a letter dated 31 May 1926 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1938. In spreading the Cause we should be mindful not to lower

its prestige and also try and get the people whom we approach

really attracted. Shoghi Effendi has often in his letters

mentioned the importance of follow-up work. Seeds sown but not

watered and reared will not mature into fruition.
|PPg_307

(From a letter dated 13 August 1928 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1939. Perhaps the reason why you have not accomplished so much

in the field of teaching is the extent you looked upon your own

weaknesses and inabilities to spread the message. Bahá'u'lláh

and the Master have both urged us repeatedly to disregard our

own handicaps and lay our whole reliance upon God. He will come

to our help if we only arise and become an active channel for

God's grace. Do you think it is the teachers who make converts

and change human hearts? No, surely not. They are only pure

souls who take the first step, and then let the spirit of

Bahá'u'lláh move them and make use of them. If any one of them

should even for a second consider his achievements as due to

his own capacities, his work is ended and his fall starts. This

is in fact the reason why so many competent souls have after

wonderful services suddenly found themselves absolutely

impotent and perhaps thrown aside by the Spirit of the Cause as

useless souls. The criterion is the extent to which we are

ready to have the will of God operate through us.

Stop being conscious of your frailties, therefore; have a

perfect reliance upon God; let your heart burn with the desire to serve His

mission and proclaim His call; and you will observe

how eloquence and the power to change human hearts will come as

a matter of course.

Shoghi Effendi will surely pray for your success if you

should arise and start to teach. In fact the mere act of

arising will win for you God's help and blessings.

(From a letter dated 31 March 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1940. It is on young and active Baha'is, like you, that the

Guardian centres all his hopes for the future progress and

expansion of the Cause, and it is on their shoulders that he

lays all the responsibility for the upkeep of the spirit of

selfless service among their fellow-believers. Without that

spirit no work can be successfully achieved. With it triumph,

though hardly won, is but inevitable. You should, therefore,

try all your best to carry aflame within you the torch of

faith, for through it you will surely find guidance, strength

and eventual success.
|PPg_308

. ..every one of them is able, in his own measure, to

deliver the Message ... Everyone is a potential teacher. He has

only to use what God has given him and thus prove that he is

faithful to his trust.

(From a letter dated 1 September 1933 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1941. In teaching the Cause, much depends on the personality of

the teacher and on the method he chooses for presenting the

message. Different personalities and different classes and

types of individuals need different methods of approach. And it

is the sign of an able teacher to know how to best adapt his

methods to various types of people whom he happens to meet.

There is no one method one can follow all through. But there

should be as many ways of approach as there are types of

individual seekers. Flexibility and variety of method is,

therefore, an essential prerequisite for the success of every

teaching activity.

(From a letter dated 31 May 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1942. There are innumerable ways of teaching the Cause. You can

choose the one that suits best your nature and capacity.

(From a letter dated 13 November 1935 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1943. A true and adequate knowledge of the Cause is, indeed,

indispensable to every one who wishes to successfully teach the

Message. The book of "Gleanings" gives the friends a splendid

opportunity to acquire this necessary knowledge and

understanding. It gives them, in addition, that inspiration and

spiritual fervour which the reading of the Holy Words can alone impart.

(From a letter dated 2 December 1935 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1944. What the Guardian feels it of vital importance for the

friends to do is to teach the Cause directly and by means of

imparting the Holy Words....

(From a letter dated 6 May 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_309

1945. It is in intellectual circles such as this that the

believers should endeavour to teach, confident that no matter

how limited their capacity may be, yet their efforts are

continually guided and reinforced from on High. This spirit of

confident hope, of cheerful courage, and of undaunted

enthusiasm in itself, irrespective of any tangible results

which it may procure, can alone ensure the ultimate success of

our teaching efforts.

(From a letter dated 31 October 1936 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1946. ...the upper classes ... need the right type of people to

approach them, and a method that can suit their mentality. Our

teaching methods should allow a certain degree of elasticity in

establishing contacts with various types of individual seekers.

Every inquirer has to be approached from his own angle. Those

who are essentially of the mystic type should first be given

those teachings of the Cause which emphasize the nature and

value of spiritual realities; while those who are practically

minded and of a positive type are naturally more ready and

inclined to accept the social aspect of the Teachings. But of

course, gradually the entire Message, in all its aspects and

with the full implications it entails, should be explained to

the newcomer. For to be a believer means to accept the Cause in

its wholeness, and not to adhere to some of its teachings.

However, as already stated, this ought to be done gradually and

tactfully. For conversion is after all a slow process.

(From a letter dated 28 December 1936 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1947. Do not feel discourag[ed] if your labours do not always

yield an abundant fruitage. For a quick and rapidly-won success

is not always the best and the most lasting. The harder you

strive to attain your goal, the greater will be the

confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh, and the more certain you can feel

to attain success. Be cheerful, therefore, and exert yourself

with full faith and confidence. For Bahá'u'lláh has promised

His Divine assistance to everyone who arises with a pure and

detached heart to spread His holy Word, even though he may be

bereft of every human knowledge and capacity, and

notwithstanding the forces of darkness and of opposition which may be

arrayed against him. The goal is clear, the path
|PPg_310

safe and certain, and the assurances of Bahá'u'lláh as to the

eventual success of our efforts quite emphatic. Let us keep

firm, and whole-heartedly carry on the great work which He has

entrusted into our hands.

(From a letter dated 3 February 1937 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1948. The Bahá'í teacher must be all confidence. Therein lies

his strength and the secret of his success. Though

single-handed, and no matter how great the apathy of the people

around you may be, you should have faith that the hosts of the

Kingdom are on your side, and that through their help you are

bound to overcome the forces of darkness that are facing the

Cause of God. Persevere, be happy and confident, therefore.

(From a letter dated 30 June 1937 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1949. ...refrain, under any circumstances, from involving

yourselves, much less the Cause, in lengthy discussions of a

controversial character, as these besides being fruitless

actually cause incalculable harm to the Faith. Bahá'u'lláh has

repeatedly urged us not to engage in religious controversies,

as the adepts of former religions have done. The Bahá'í teacher

should be concerned above all in presenting the Message, in

explaining and clarifying all its aspects, rather than in

attacking other religions. He should avoid all situations that,

he feels, would lead to strife, to hair-splitting and

interminable discussions.

(From a letter dated 29 November 1937 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1950. The believers ought to give the Message even to those who

do not seem to be ready for it, because they can never judge

the real extent to which the Word of God can influence the

hearts and minds of the people, even those who appear to lack

any power of receptivity to the Teachings.

(From a letter dated 14 January 1938 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1951. The love we bear mankind, our conviction that

Bahá'u'lláh's Faith

contains the only and the Divine remedy for all its ills, must

be
|PPg_311

demonstrated today in action by bringing the Cause before the

public. No doubt the majority are not yet able to see its true

significance, but they must not be deprived, through our

failure in obligation, of the opportunity of hearing of it.

And there are many precious souls who are seeking for it and ready

to embrace it.

(From a letter dated 19 March 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1952. If the friends always waited until they were fully

qualified to do any particular task, the work of the Cause

would be almost at a standstill! But the very act of striving

to serve, however unworthy one may feel, attracts the blessings

of God and enables one to become more fitted for the task.

Today the need is so great on the part of humanity to hear

of the Divine Message, that the believers must plunge into the

work, wherever and however they can, heedless of their own

shortcomings, but ever heedful of the crying need of their

fellow-men to hear of the teachings in their darkest hour of

travail.

(From a letter dated 4 May 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1953. The Cause of God has room for all. It would, indeed, not

be the Cause of God if it did not take in and welcome everyone--poor and

rich, educated and ignorant, the unknown, and the

prominent--God surely wants them all, as He created them all.

(From a letter dated 10 December 1942 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to two believers)

1954. ...no system, for teachers to practise, exists. But

obviously the more people know about the teachings and the

Cause, the better they will be able to present the subject. If

some people find that prayer and placing all their trust in

God, releases in them a flood of inspiration, they should be

left free to pursue this method if it is productive of results.

(From a letter dated 25 January 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to two believers)
|PPg_312

1955. Through example, loving fellowship, prayer, and kindness the friends can attract the hearts of such people and enable them to realize that this is the Cause of God in deed, not merely words!...

1955. Через личный пример, заботливую дружбу, молитву и доброту друзья смогут привлечь сердца таких людей и дадут им почувствовать, что это - Дело Божие, причём на деле, а не только на словах!

(From a letter dated 24 February 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

(Из письма, датированного 24 февраля 1943 г. от имени Шоги Эффенди одному из верующих)

1956. Unless and until the believers really come to realize

they are one spiritual family, knit together by a bond more

lasting than mere physical ties can ever be, they will not be

able to create that warm community atmosphere which alone can

attract the hearts of humanity, frozen for lack of real love

and feeling.

(From a letter dated 5 May 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1957. Not all of us are capable of serving in the same way, but

the one way every Bahá'í can spread the Faith is by example.

This moves the hearts of people far more deeply than words ever

can.

The love we show others, the hospitality and understanding,

the willingness to help them, these are the very best

advertisements of the Faith....

(From a letter dated 14 October 1943 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1958. By all means persevere and associate in a friendly spirit

with other groups of young people, particularly of a different

race or minority nationality, for such association will

demonstrate your complete conviction of the oneness of mankind

and attract others to the Faith, both young and old alike.

A spirit of prejudice-free, loving comradeship with others

is what will open the eyes of people more than any amount of

words. Combined with such deeds you can teach the Faith easily.

(From a letter dated 18 June 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Bahá'ís of Dayton, Oh)

1959. ...a sound knowledge of history, including religious

history, and also of social and economic subjects, is of great

help in teaching the Cause to intelligent people...

|PPg_313

(From a letter dated 4 May 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1960. He feels you should, in teaching, certainly not start

with such a difficult point as abstinence from wine; but when

the person wishes to join the Faith he must be told....

(From a letter dated 7 April 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to two believers)

1961. All the Baha'is, new and old alike, should devote

themselves as much as possible to teaching the Faith; they

should also realize that the atmosphere of true love and unity

which they manifest within the Bahá'í Community will directly

affect the public, and be the greatest magnet for attracting

people to the Faith and confirming them.

(From a letter dated 4 April 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Stuttgart, Germany)

1962. In teaching people, when they begin to seriously study

the Faith there is no objection to impressing upon them that

this message involves great spiritual responsibility, and

should not be either accepted or cast aside lightly. But we must be very

gentle, tactful and patient, and not administer shocks to people.

We must always teach constructively, and be very sure that

none of us, through disagreement among ourselves or indiscretion, cool off

the souls of the seekers.

(From a letter dated 14 October 1947 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1963. There is no objection to leaving Bahá'í Literature in a

public place as long as it is not overdone and does not savour

of proselytizing.

(From a letter dated 22 December 1947 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1964. ...it is spirit, determination, faith and devotion which

bring victories into being, one after another, in Britain, and

not luxury and leisure....

(From a letter dated 29 April 1948 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British

Isles)
|PPg_314

1965. We should never insist on teaching those who are not

really ready for the Cause. If a man is not hungry you cannot

make him eat. Among the Theosophists there are, no doubt, many

receptive souls, but those who are satisfied should be just

associated with in a friendly way, but let alone. Once a seeker

comes to accept the concept of progressive religion, and

accepts Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation for this day, the

reincarnation concept will fade away in the light of truth; we

should try and avoid controversial issues in the beginning, if

possible.

(From a letter dated 23 June 1948 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1966. It seems what we need now is a more profound and

co-ordinated Bahá'í scholarship in order to attract such men as

you are contacting. The world has--at least the thinking world--caught up

by now with all the great and universal principles

enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh over 70 years ago, and so of course

it does not sound "new" to them. But we know that the deeper

teachings, the capacity of His projected World Order to

re-create society, are new and dynamic. It is these we must

learn to present intelligently and enticingly to such men!

(From a letter dated 3 July 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1967. ...we, the few who have caught the vision, should not

waste our energies beating up and down the paths pursued by

humanity, and which are not solving its ghastly present-day

problems. We should concentrate on the Cause, because it is

what is needed to cure the world....

If the Bahá'ís want to be really effective in teaching the

Cause they need to be much better informed and able to discuss

intelligently, intellectually, the present condition of the

world and its problems.... We Bahá'ís should, in other words,

arm our minds with knowledge in order to better demonstrate to, especially,

the educated classes, the truths enshrined in our
Faith....

(From a letter dated 5 July 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_315

1968. Teaching individually is of great importance, and often

enables you to confirm people, whereas public speaking, while

it carries the Message to more people, does not confirm very

many. You can do both.

(From a letter dated 5 August 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1969. ...when we put our trust in Him, Bahá'u'lláh solves our

problems and opens the way.

(From a letter dated 12 October 1949 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1970. To find these receptive souls and teach them, with tact

and understanding, is the duty and privilege of every single

Baha'i.

(From a letter dated 20 October 1949 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1971. Without the spirit of real love for Bahá'u'lláh, for His

Faith and its Institutions, and the believers for each other,

the Cause can never really bring in large numbers of people.

For it is not preaching and rules the world wants, but love and

action.

(From a letter dated 25 October 1949 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1972. Just one mature soul, with spiritual understanding and a

profound knowledge of the Faith, can set a whole country

ablaze--so great is the power of the Cause to work through a

pure and selfless channel.

(From a letter dated 6 November 1949 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1973. As we have such wonderful prayers and meditations in our

writings, the reading of these with friends who are interested

in and crave for this type of small meeting is often a step

towards attracting them to the Faith. Perhaps you could start

such an activity in your city.

(From a letter dated 4 February 1950 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_316

1974. The believers are entirely free to hold as many little

teaching groups or Firesides as they please in their own

homes... In fact this personal, informal, home teaching is

perhaps the most productive of results.

(From a letter dated 24 February 1950 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1975. ...make a special point of praying ardently not only for

success in general, but that God may send to you the souls that

are ready. There are such souls in every city...

(From a letter dated 18 March 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Punta Arenas)

1976. The people of the world are submerged in an atmosphere

which is the very antithesis, morally, of the Baha'i

atmosphere; we must teach them. If we are too strict in the

beginning most--not all--types will be rebuffed and veer away

from what they might otherwise be led to accept. On the other

hand, we don't want Bahá'ís who do not seriously try to live up

to the teachings--we must therefore use great tact and

challenge strong souls and lead weak souls.

(From a letter dated 7 August 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1977. At all times we must look at the greatness of the Cause,

and remember that Bahá'u'lláh will assist all who arise in His

service. When we look at ourselves, we are sure to feel

discouraged by our shortcomings and insignificance!

(From a letter dated 12 December 1950 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1978. The excellent work you are doing in the teaching field,

he appreciates very deeply and wishes you to persevere and go

on teaching people of importance. Even if they are not always

good prospects as far as being converted to the Faith goes, it

is very necessary that they should hear of it and be made

friendly towards it.

(From a letter dated 10 February 1951 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_317

1979. Although it is good not to provoke conventional people

too much, on the other hand, we must not allow them to come

between us and obeying Bahá'u'lláh; and we know that He has

instructed His servants to spread His Message....

(From a letter dated 1 May 1951 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1980. ...whilst actively teaching, the friends must themselves

be taught and deepened in the spirit of the Faith, which brings

love and unity.

(From a letter dated 17 July 1951 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1981. These people, finding the Bahá'ís sincerely lacking in

either prejudice --or that even worse attitude, condescension--might not

only take interest in our Teachings, but also help us to reach their people

in the proper way.

It is a great mistake to believe that because people are

illiterate or live primitive lives, they are lacking in either

intelligence or sensibility. On the contrary, they may well

look on us, with the evils of our civilization, with its moral

corruption, its ruinous wars, its hypocrisy and conceit, as

people who merit watching with both suspicion and contempt. We

should meet them as equals, well-wishers, people who admire and

respect their ancient descent, and who feel that they will be

interested, as we are, in a living religion and not in the dead

forms of present-day churches.

(From a letter dated 21 September 1951 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the Comite Nacional de ensenanza Bahá'í para

los indigenas)

1982. Teaching is of course the head corner-stone of all Baha'i

service, but successful teaching is dependent upon many

factors, one of which is the development of a true Bahá'í way

of living and the fulfilment of responsibilities which we have

incurred.

(From a letter dated 3 June 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1983. It should not be overlooked, however, that the most

powerful and effective teaching medium that has been found so

far is the fireside meeting, because in the fireside meeting,

intimate personal questions can
|PPg_318

be answered, and the student find the spirit of the Faith more

abundant there.

(From a letter dated 11 December 1952 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to a Local Spiritual Assembly and an individual

believer)

Today, as never before, the magnet which attracts the

blessings from on high is teaching the Faith of God. The Hosts

of Heaven are poised between heaven and earth, just waiting,

and patiently, for the Bahá'í to step forth, with pure devotion

and consecration, to teach the Cause of God, so they may rush

to his aid and assistance. It is the Guardian's prayer that the

Friends may treble their efforts, as the time is short--alas,

the workers too few. Let those who wish to achieve immortality

step forth and raise the Divine Call. They will be astonished

at the spiritual victories they will gain.

(From a letter dated 28 March 1953 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1984. What is needed to achieve success in the teaching field

is a complete dedication on the part of the individual,

consecration to the glorious task of spreading the Faith, and

the living of the Bahá'í life, because that creates the magnet

for the Holy Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit which quickens the new soul.

Thus the individual should be as a reed, through

which the Holy Spirit may flow, to give new life to the seeking

soul.

One should search out those who are receptive to the Faith,

and then concentrate on these persons in their teaching.

(From a letter dated 18 December 1953 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1985. The peoples generally are seeking the light of Divine

Guidance. The problems of the world have awakened the populace.

It only remains for the Bahá'ís to raise the Call and give the

Message according to the high standards enunciated by the

beloved Master. The world can become alive with the gifts of

the Holy Spirit, if the Bahá'ís fulfil their sacred obligation.

In pioneering fields, and on the home front, the friends

must arise with the same spirit of dedication and consecration

which animated the original pioneers. If they do, they will be

astonished at the great results they will achieve.

|PPg_319

Setting aside all the shibboleths of present-day living,

leaving behind the false standards of those endeavouring to

solve the world's problems by weak platitudes, and

demonstrating the new Bahá'í way of dynamic spiritual living,

let them, relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, arise to

spread the Water of Life over America. This will produce the

results which the cries of humanity today require. Where are

the spiritual souls who will now seize their opportunity, and

achieve immortal glory in the service of the Faith!

(From a letter dated 14 April 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States)

1986. As you interest different ones in the Faith, you must be

very cautious, and gradually lead them into the Light of Divine

Guidance, especially the practices of Bahá'í living. Thus you

should not be dogmatic about any of the secondary practices of

the Faith....

(From a letter dated 5 June 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1987. The Guardian feels that the most effective way for the

Bahá'ís to teach the Faith is to make strong friends with their

neighbours and associates. When the friends have confidence in

the Bahá'ís and the Bahá'ís in their friends, they should give

the Message and teach the Cause. Individual teaching of this

type is more effective than any other type.
The principle of the fireside meeting, which was

established in order to permit and encourage the individual to

teach in his own home, has been proven the most effective

instrument for spreading the Faith....

(From a letter dated 27 December 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi

to an individual believer)

1988. It is better to have one Bahá'í who understands the

Teachings and is wholeheartedly convinced of their truth, than

a number of Baha'is, who are not well aware of the Cause, and

deep-rooted in the Covenant.

(From a letter dated 22 January 1955 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_320

1989. Consecration, dedication and enthusiastic service is the

Keynote to successful teaching. One must become like a reed

through which the Holy Spirit descends to reach the student of

the Faith.

We give the Message, and explain the Teachings, but it is

the Holy Spirit that quickens and confirms.

(From a letter dated 16 February 1955 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1990. The Guardian thinks perhaps a different approach to the

aborigines might attract them; one of being interested in their

lives and their folklore, and of trying to become their friend,

rather than trying to change them or improve them.

(From a letter dated 9 April 1955 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1991. The Bahá'ís must realize that the success of this work

depends upon the individual. The individual must arise as never

before to proclaim the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. The most effective

way for them to carry on their work is for the individual to

make many contacts, select a few who they feel would become

Baha'is, develop a close friendship with them, then complete

confidence, and finally teach them the Faith, until they become

strong supporters of the Cause of God.

(Prom a letter dated 13 May 1955 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to all National Spiritual Assemblies)

1992. The all-important thing of course is that every activity

... is for the purpose of teaching the Faith and confirming

people. Therefore you and the other Bahá'ís should watch the

situation very closely. You should study those who attend the

meetings, and when you find one who you feel would become a

strong and active Baha'i, then you should concentrate on

teaching him. Thus, if you are able to confirm some souls, you

will have rendered distinguished and outstanding service.

Actually this is the goal of all such activities in all of the

universities.

(From a letter dated 1 June 1955 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_321

1993. The Hosts of the Supreme Concourse are in martial array, poised

between Earth and Heaven ready to rush to the assistance

of those who arise to Teach the Faith. If one seeks the

confirmation of the Holy Spirit, one can find it in rich

abundance in the Teaching Field. The world is seeking as never

before, and if the Friends will arise with new determination,

fully consecrated to the noble task ahead of them, victory

after victory will be won for the Glorious Faith of God.

(From a letter dated 2 February 1956 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1994. The greatest glory and honor which can come to an

individual is to bring the light of guidance to some new soul.

The quickening power of the Holy Spirit, which has come into

the world through Bahá'u'lláh, is the source of immortal life;

and those who are quickened by this spirit in this world will

find themselves in great honor and glory in the next world. The

most meritorious service which anyone could render is to bring

the light of divine guidance and the quickening power of the

spirit to an entirely new area. Humanity is crying for

salvation; and it is only by the Bahá'ís going into the various

areas of the world, that it can be brought to them. This is the

reason the Guardian has encouraged all of the friends to

disperse to new territories, for this is the hour for the

quickening of the world.

(From a letter dated 11 March 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Bahá'í Community of Tacoma, US)

1995. The need of the Hour is Teaching on the Home Front. Its

goals can be won, by a new spirit of dedication and

consecration on the part of the friends, each in his own

country, in his own home.... Never must they let a day pass

without teaching some soul, trusting to Bahá'u'lláh that the

seed will grow. The friends should seek pure souls, gain their

confidence, and then teach that person carefully until he

becomes a Baha'i, and then nurture him until he becomes a firm

and active supporter of the Faith.

Everyone must remember that it is the "Holy Spirit that

quickens" and therefore the teacher must become like a reed

through which the Holy Spirit may reach the seeking soul.

The beloved Guardian has stressed over and over again, that

to effectively teach the Faith, the individual must study

deeply, the Divine
|PPg_322

Word, imbibe Its life-giving waters, and feast upon Its

glorious teachings. He should then meditate on the import of

the Word, and finding its spiritual depths, pray for guidance

and assistance. But most important, after prayer is action.

After one has prayed and meditated, he must arise, relying

fully on the guidance and confirmation of Bahá'u'lláh, to teach

His Faith. Perseverance in action is essential, just as wisdom

and audacity are necessary for effective teaching. The

individual must sacrifice all things to this great goal, and

then the victories will be won.

(From a letter dated 30 May 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Hands of the Cause in the United States)

1996. The spirit of the hour is teaching on the Home Fronts.

Its goal can only be won by a new spirit of dedication and

consecration on the part of the friends at home. Miraculous

victories are being won, in the difficult virgin areas, because

the pioneers have consecrated their lives to the Noble Mission

they have embarked upon. The Friends at home must display this

same consecration and dedication. Never must they let a day

pass, without teaching some soul, hoping that Bahá'u'lláh will

cause each seed to grow. The Friends should seek pure souls,

gain their confidence and then teach that person carefully

until he becomes a Baha'i--and then nurture him until he

becomes a firm and active supporter of the Faith.

(From a letter dated 15 June 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the Bahá'ís of Lafayette, In)

1997. He hopes you will be guided and confirmed in your work,

so many souls may find eternal life, through your selfless

services. It is important that you make contact with pure

hearted individuals, gain their confidence, they gain

confidence in you, and then gradually teach them. It is better

to concentrate on a few, rather than attempt to teach too many

at a time. Consecration, devotion, dedication, humility are

essential, that the Holy Spirit may use you as a reed for the

diffusion of Its creative rays.

(From a letter dated 15 July 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

1998. The Guardian feels that, if the friends would meditate a

little more objectively upon both their relationship to the

Cause and the vast
|PPg_323

non-Bahá'í public they hope to influence, they would see things

more clearly.... He fully realizes that the demands made upon

the Bahá'ís are great, and that they often feel inadequate,

tired and perhaps frightened in the face of the tasks that

confront them. This is only natural. On the other hand, they

must realize that the power of God can and will assist

them; and that because they are privileged to have accepted the

Manifestation of God for this Day, this very act has placed

upon them a great moral responsibility toward their fellow-men.

It is this moral responsibility to which the Guardian is

constantly calling their attention...

(From a letter dated 19 July 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States)

1999. The friends must certainly explore new channels and have

more audacity, if they are to get anywhere in adding to their numbers.

(From a letter dated 6 October 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

2000. The most effective method of teaching is the Fireside

group, where new people can be shown Bahá'í hospitality, and

ask all questions which bother them. They can feel there the

true Bahá'í spirit--and it is the spirit that quickeneth.

(From a letter dated 20 October 1956 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

2001. He feels that to distribute Bahá'í pamphlets from door to

door ... is undignified and might create a bad impression of

the Faith....

(From a letter dated 20 October 1956 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada)

2002. We must be careful not to teach in a fanatical way. We

should teach as the Master taught. He was the perfect Exemplar

of the Teachings. He proclaimed the universal truths, and,

through love and wise demonstration of the universal verities

of the Faith, attracted the hearts and the minds.

(From a letter dated 20 October 1956 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
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2003. The Master assured us that when we forget ourselves, and strive with all our powers to serve and teach the Faith, we receive divine assistance. It is not we who do the work, but we are the instruments used at that time for the purpose of teaching His Cause.

2003. Учитель заверил нас, что когда мы забываем о самих себе и всеми силами стараемся служить Вере и учить ей, мы получаем Божественную поддержку. Не мы выполняем эту работу - мы являемся в этот момент всего лишь орудиями, которые используются для обучения Его Делу.

(From a letter dated 8 November 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

(Из письма, датированного 8 ноября 1956 г., от имени Шоги Эффенди одному из верующих)

2004. The Teaching of the Faith is dependent on the individual

and his effort. When the individual arise with enthusiasm, with

full dedication and consecration, and allows nothing to deter

him; then results will be achieved....

(From a letter dated 17 December 1956 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís assembled at the Indiana State

Convention)

2005. The Guardian hopes the Friends ... will display the

loving spirit of the Master in their contacts, and then win

those souls to the Faith. The fireside method of teaching seems

to produce the greatest results, when each one invites friends

into their homes once in nineteen days, and introduces them to

the Faith. Close association and loving service affects the

hearts; and when the heart is affected, then the spirit can

enter. It is the Holy Spirit that quickens, and the Friends

must become channels for its diffusion.

(From a letter dated 27 January 1957 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

2006. The Guardian was very happy to receive the news of the

sudden spurt in the number of Friends joining the Faith. It

demonstrates that one must persevere until the very end, if

success is to be achieved....

(From a letter dated 19 April 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

2007. ...the world is being shaken to its foundations and the

people are seeking. If the Bahá'ís will arise as never before

to teach the Cause they will find many listeners and many will

find eternal life through their sacrificial efforts.

(From a letter dated 17 May 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada)

|PPg_325

2008. Divine Truth is relative and that is why we are enjoined

to constantly refer the seeker to the Word itself--and why any

explanations we make to ease the journey of the soul of any

individual must be based on the Word--and the Word alone.

(From a letter dated 4 June 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada)

2009. The believers must be encouraged to teach individually in

their own homes. Bahá'u'lláh has enjoined upon the Bahá'ís the

sacred obligation of teaching. We have no priests, therefore

the service once rendered by priests to their religions is the

service every single Bahá'í is expected to render individually

to his religion. He must be the one who enlightens new souls,

confirms them, heals the wounded and the weary upon the road of

life, and gives them to quaff from the chalice of everlasting

life the knowledge of the Manifestation of God in His Day.

(From a letter dated 5 July 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Benelux

countries)

2010. The Beloved Guardian directs me to inform you that you

should not weary in well doing. He knows you must become

discouraged at times when hardness of the hearts of the local

people does not permit the budding of the seeds which you are

so diligently sowing. However, he assures you that all of the

seeds that are sown will ultimately reap their fruit. . .

(From a letter dated 7 August 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)

2011. Teaching is the source of Divine Confirmation. It is not

sufficient to pray diligently for guidance, but this prayer

must be followed by meditation as to the best methods of action

and then action itself Even if the action should not

immediately produce results, or perhaps not be entirely

correct, that does not make so much difference, because prayers

can only be answered through action and if someone's action is

wrong, God can use that method of showing the pathway which is right....

(From a letter dated 22 August 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi

Effendi to an individual believer)
|PPg_326

2012. It is not enough for the friends to make the excuse that

their best teachers and their exemplary believers have arisen

and answered the call to pioneer. A "best teacher" and an

"exemplary believer" is ultimately neither more nor less than

an ordinary Bahá'í who has consecrated himself to the work of

the Faith, deepened his knowledge and understanding of its

Teachings, placed his confidence in Bahá'u'lláh, and arisen to

serve Him to the best of his ability. This door is one which we

are assured will open before the face of every follower of the

Faith who knocks hard enough, so to speak. When the will and

the desire are strong enough, the means will be found and the

way opened either to do more work locally, to go to a new goal

town ... or to enter the foreign pioneer field....

The Bahá'ís are the leaven of God, which must leaven the

lump of their nation. In direct ratio to their success will be

the protection vouchsafed, not only to them but to their

country. These are the immutable laws of God, from which there

is no escape: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall

be much required."

(From a letter dated 21 September 1957 written on behalf of

Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

United States)
Revised July 1990
|PPg_327
TRUSTWORTHINESS: A CARDINAL BAHÁ'Í VIRTUE
January 1987
Compiled by the Research Department
of the Universal House of Justice
Extracts from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

2013. O people! The goodliest vesture in the sight of God in

this day is trustworthiness. All bounty and honour shall be the

portion of the soul that arrayeth itself with this greatest of

adornments.
(From a Tablet - translated from Persian)

2014. Regard thou faith as a tree. Its fruits, leaves, boughs

and branches are, and have ever been, trustworthiness,

truthfulness, uprightness and forbearance.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2015. The virtues and attributes pertaining unto God are all

evident and manifest, and have been mentioned and described in

all the heavenly Books. Among them are trustworthiness,

truthfulness, purity of heart while communing with God,

forbearance, resignation to whatever the Almighty hath decreed,

contentment with the things His Will hath provided, patience,

nay, thankfulness in the midst of tribulation, and complete

reliance, in all circumstances, upon Him. These rank, according

to the estimate of God, among the highest and most laudable of

all acts. All other acts are, and will ever remain, secondary

and subordinate unto them....

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1983), sec. 134, p. 290)

2016. Beautify your tongues, O people, with truthfulness, and

adorn your souls with the ornament of honesty. Beware, O

people, that ye deal not treacherously with any one. Be ye the

trustees of God amongst His creatures, and the emblems of His

generosity amidst His people. They that follow their lusts and

corrupt inclinations, have erred and dissipated their efforts.

They, indeed, are of the lost....
|PPg_328

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 136, p.

297)

2017. The purpose of the one true God in manifesting Himself is

to summon all mankind to truthfulness and sincerity, to piety

and trustworthiness, to resignation and submissiveness to the

Will of God, to forbearance and kindliness, to uprightness

and wisdom. His object is to array every man with the mantle of

a saintly character, and to adorn him with the ornament of holy

and goodly deeds.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 137, p.

299)

2018. Say: Let truthfulness and courtesy be your adorning.

Suffer not yourselves to be deprived of the robe of forbearance

and justice, that the sweet savors of holiness may be wafted

from your hearts upon all created things. Say: Beware, O people

of Baha, lest ye walk in the ways of them whose words differ

from their deeds. Strive that ye may be enabled to manifest to

the peoples of the earth the signs of God, and to mirror forth

His commandments....

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh", sec. 139, p.

305)

2019. We ask God, exalted be His glory, to confirm each one of

the friends in that land in the acquisition of such

praiseworthy characteristics as shall conduce to the spread of

justice and equity among the peoples of the world. The first,

the fundamental purpose underlying creation hath ever been, and

will continue to be, none other than the appearance of trustworthiness and

godliness, of sincerity and goodwill

amongst mankind, for these qualities are the cause of peace,

security and tranquillity. Blessed are those who possess such

virtues.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2020. I beseech Thee, O my God, by all the transcendent glory of Thy Name, to clothe Thy loved ones in the robe of justice and to illumine their beings with the light of trustworthiness. Thou art the One Who hath power to do as He pleaseth and Who holdeth within His grasp the reins of all things, visible and invisible.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Arabic)

Заклинаю Тебя, о мой Боже, всей неземной славой Твоего Имени - облачи возлюбленных Твоих в наряд справедливости и озари их светом надёжности. Ты есть Тот, Кто властен вершить, что угодно Тебе, Тот, Кто держит в руках Своих бразды всего сущего, зримого и незримого.

|PPg_329

2021. Say: O people of God! Adorn your temples with the

adornment of trust- worthiness and piety. Help, then, your Lord

with the hosts of goodly deeds and a praiseworthy character....

"Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas",

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1988), p. 120)

2022. One day of days We repaired unto Our Green Island. Upon

Our arrival, We beheld its streams flowing, and its trees

luxuriant, and the sunlight playing in their midst. Turning Our

face to the right, We beheld what the pen is powerless to

describe; nor can it set forth that which the eye of the Lord

of Mankind witnessed in that most sanctified, that most

sublime, that blest, and most exalted Spot. Turning, then, to

the left We gazed on one of the Beauties of the Most Sublime

Paradise, standing on a pillar of light, and calling aloud

saying: 'O inmates of earth and heaven! Behold ye My beauty,

and My radiance, and My revelation, and My effulgence. By God,

the True One! I am Trustworthiness and the revelation thereof,

and the beauty thereof. I will recompense whosoever will cleave

unto Me, and recognize My rank and station, and hold fast unto

My hem. I am the most great ornament of the people of Baha, and

the vesture of glory unto all who are in the kingdom of

creation. I am the supreme instrument for the prosperity of the

world, and the horizon of assurance unto all beings.' Thus have

We sent down for thee that which will draw men nigh unto the

Lord of creation.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.

122)

2023. The fourth Taraz concerneth trustworthiness. Verily it is

the door of security for all that dwell on earth and a token of

glory on the part of the All-Merciful. He who partaketh thereof

hath indeed partaken of the treasures of wealth and prosperity.

Trustworthiness is the greatest portal leading unto the

tranquillity and security of the people. In truth the stability

of every affair hath depended and doth depend upon it. All the

domains of power, of grandeur and of wealth are illumined by its light.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.

37)

2024. Were a man in this day to adorn himself with the raiment

of trustworthiness it were better for him in the sight of God

than that he should journey on foot towards the holy court and

be blessed with
|PPg_330

meeting the Adored One and standing before His Seat of Glory.

Trustworthiness is as a stronghold to the city of humanity, and

as eyes to the human temple. Whosoever remaineth deprived

thereof shall, before His Throne, be reckoned as one bereft of

vision.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2025. We call to remembrance every one of the friends and

exhort them to have regard to trustworthiness, which is a

charge that God hath entrusted to the safe-keeping of His

servants; to righteousness, which He hath made to be a citadel

of strength for His well-favoured ones and faithful, humble

servants; and to whatever virtues shall conduce to their

dignity and honour among all peoples.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Arabic)

2026. O ye friends of God in His cities and His loved ones in

His lands! This Wronged One enjoineth on you honesty and piety.

Blessed the city that shineth by their light. Through them man

is exalted, and the door of security is unlocked before the

face of all creation. Happy the man that cleaveth fast unto

them, and recognizeth their virtue, and woe betide him that

denieth their station.

("Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1988), p. 23)

2027. Be ye God's manifestations of trustworthiness in every

land. So perfectly should ye mirror forth this quality that

even were ye to travel through cities heaped with gold, your

gaze would not for a single moment be seduced by its allure.

This is the standard required of you, O assemblage of true

believers. Assist ye your gracious Lord with your wealth and

substance so that in all the worlds of God His servants may

perceive from you the sweet savours of the one true God.

(From a Tablet- translated from the Arabic)

2028. He is the true servant of God who, in this day, were he

to pass through cities of silver and gold, would not deign to

look upon them, and whose heart would remain pure and undefiled

from whatever things can be seen in this world, be they its

goods or its treasures. I swear by the Sun of Truth! The breath

of such a man is endowed with potency, and his words with

attraction ....
|PPg_331

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice"

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), p. 23)

2029. Say: O bearer of My Name! Upon thee be My glory and My

loving-kindness. Thou hast ever been adorned with the fair robe

of trustworthiness and piety. These twin qualities are as two

companions for thee in whom thou mayest find solace. They are

as two sentinels who shall stand watch over thee, and two

guardians that shall, by God's leave, keep thee from harm.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2030. Cleave ye to the hem of the raiment of virtue and keep

fast hold of the cord of piety and trustworthiness. Have regard

to the good of the world and not to your own selfish desires. O

peoples of God! Ye are the shepherds of the world. Keep ye your

flocks unbesmirched by the mire of evil passion and desire, and

adorn each one with the ornament of the fear of God. This is

the firm command that hath issued forth in this day from the

pen of the Ever-Abiding. I swear by the righteousness of God!

The sword of upright conduct and a goodly character is sharper

than blades of steel.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

2031. We ask God graciously to grant that all may evince such fairness of character, such goodliness of deed and kindliness of word as will meet with His good pleasure. It hath been decreed that the citadels of men's hearts should be subdued through the hosts of a noble character and praiseworthy deeds. Contention, discord, strife and sedition have all been forbidden in the Book of God. Beseech the Lord that He deprive not His dominions of the effulgent light of the sun of trustworthiness, nor deny them the radiance of the Day-Star of truthfulness or the splendour of the orb of justice and equity. Trustworthiness and piety are even as two luminaries shining resplendent above the horizon of the heaven of the Tablet in which are inscribed the ordinances of God. Well is it with them that have discerned them, and woe betide the heedless!

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

Мы просим Бога, дабы по милости Своей даровал Он всем явить такую чистоту души, такую красоту деяний и доброту речи, кои удостоятся Его приятия. Заповедано, что твердыни сердец человеческих должны покоряться воинствами благородного нрава и похвальных деяний. Раздоры, разногласия, борьба и подстрекательство к мятежу - всё сие запрещено в Книге Божией. Молите Господа, да не лишит Он владения Свои лучезарного света, исходящего от солнца надёжности, и да не воздержит от них сияния Дневной Звезды честности и ярких лучей светила справедливости и равенства. Надёжность и благочестие подобны двум светилам, ярко сияющим над окоёмом небес Скрижали, на коей начертаны повеления Божии. Благо тем, кто прочёл их, и горе беспечным!

|PPg_332

2032. We have counselled all people, in the most clear and eloquent language, to adorn their characters with trustworthiness and godliness, and with such qualities as are conducive to the elevation of man's station in the world of being. This Wronged One testifieth that the purpose for which mortal men have, from utter nothingness, stepped into the realm of being, is that they may work for the betterment of the world and live together in concord and harmony. Dissension and strife have always been, and shall remain, rejected by God. The Books, the Scriptures and Holy Writings of previous ages have all proclaimed the joyful tidings that the purpose underlying this most mighty Revelation is none other than the rehabilitation of the world and its nations; that perchance the power of utterance may prevail over the power of arms, and the world's affairs be administered through the potency of love. We ask God, the True One, to invest all with the mantle of trustworthiness, for that is the world's comeliest garment.

(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

Самым ясным и выразительным языком Мы советовали всем людям украсить свою душу надежностью и благочестием и такими качествами, кои ведут к возвышению положения человека в мире бытия. Сей Гонимый свидетельствует, что цель, ради коей смертные явились из полного несуществования в царство бытия - трудиться для улучшения мира и жить вместе в мире и согласии. Раздоры и борьба всегда отвергались и будут отвергаться Богом. Книги, Свитки и Святые Писания былых эпох единодушно провозглашают радостную весть о том, что цель сего наимогущественного Откровения

2033. Cleave thou to the fear of God and to whatsoever hath

been revealed in His Book: thus biddeth thee He Who is the Word

of Truth and the Knower of things unseen. Say: trustworthiness

is the sun of the heaven of My commandments, truthfulness is

its moon, and praiseworthy attributes are its stars. Yet the

people, for the most part, understand not.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Arabic)

2034. We send Our greetings to the faithful followers of the

one true God, who have tasted of the sweet waters of

loving-kindness and directed their gaze toward the Realm of

Glory. We enjoin upon them all to conduct themselves with

trustworthiness and rectitude and to lead chaste and virtuous

lives.

O beloved friends! Whoever adorneth his character with such

virtues will be reckoned among the true servants of God, and

his name will be commemorated by the Concourse on High; but he

who depriveth himself thereof shall not be accounted of their

number. Strive diligently to acquire such goodly qualities and

traits of character as will be the cause of everlasting

salvation. Make not the fruits of the tree of trustworthiness

targets for the stones of treachery, nor rend its boughs

asunder with the
|PPg_333

instruments of tyranny and oppression. Truthfulness and

sincerity have always been the ornament of a man's character,

and so they shall ever be. O friends! Let not the deceptive

glamour of this fleeting world--to whose impermanence all

things attest--cut you off from God's enduring bestowals, nor

deprive you from partaking of the spiritual sustenance that He

hath sent down from the heaven of His bounty. Keep your gaze

centred on Him Who is the Sovereign Word of Truth: place your

whole reliance upon Him, and beg of Him to destine for you what

is meet and fitting. Resign your affairs into the hands of God,

the Lord of creation. Call ye to mind the people of former

ages: whither are they sped, the prideful and vainglorious, the

workers of iniquity and unrighteousness?

Where are their hoards of treasure, their palaces, citadels and

thrones? Reflect upon those bygone days, and the vicissitudes

of which they tell, and be ye admonished thereby. The prayer of

this Wronged One is that God may assist all to do what shall

meet with His favour and acceptance.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2035. Thou art most dear to Us; and, as We love thee, so love

We all in whom may be perceived the goodly adornments of

trustworthiness and uprightness, and such qualities of virtue

and integrity as have been enjoined upon men in the Book of

God, the Lord of the Mighty Throne. Happy the lot of the soul

that hath perceived the fragrant breaths of divine utterance,

and given ear to what hath been revealed by God, the

Omniscient, the All-Informed. God hath, verily, willed that His

Cause should be assisted by the hosts of goodly deeds and a

righteous character. Blessed, then, be the man that

apprehendeth this truth and acteth conformably; and woe betide

those who ignore or deny it!
(From a Tablet- translated from the Arabic)

2036. We send our greetings to the friends and exhort them to

conduct themselves with rectitude, trustworthiness, piety,

virtue and loving-kindness--with all those qualities, in fine,

that will serve to bring forth man's true station in the world

of being. He Who is the Eternal Truth, exalted be His glory,

hath ever loved faithfulness. Well is it with him who adorneth

his temple with its raiment, and is honoured by this greatest

of distinctions.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)
|PPg_334

2037. Trustworthiness, wisdom and honesty are, of a truth,

God's beauteous adornments for His creatures. These fair

garments are a befitting vesture for every temple. Happy are

those that comprehend, and well is it with them that acquire

such virtues.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

2038. Cleave ye at all times to the cord of trustworthiness and

hold fast the hem of the garment of truthfulness: thus biddeth

you He Who is the Truthful, the Trusted One. God is my witness,

trustworthiness is a light that shineth refulgently from the

heavens, and leadeth to the exaltation of the Cause of God, the

Omnipotent, the Incomparable, the All-Praised. Whoso hath

remained faithful to the Covenant hath been steadfast in his

adherence to trustworthiness, whilst those who have repudiated

it have erred grievously.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Arabic)

2039. It behoveth ye all so to adorn your inner and outer

beings that, robed in trustworthiness, girt with righteousness

and arrayed in truthfulness and rectitude, ye may become a

means for the exaltation of the Cause and the education of the

human race.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

2040. The companions of God are, in this day, the lump that

must leaven the peoples of the world. They must show forth such

trustworthiness, such truthfulness and perseverance, such deeds

and character that all mankind may profit by their example....

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", p.

23)

2041. They who dwell within the Tabernacle of God, and are

established upon the seats of everlasting glory, will refuse,

though they be dying of hunger, to stretch their hands, and

seize unlawfully the property of their neighbour, however vile

and worthless he may be. The purpose of the one true God in

manifesting Himself is to summon all mankind to truthfulness

and sincerity, to piety and trustworthiness, to resignation and

submissiveness to the will of God, to forbearance and kindliness, to

uprightness and wisdom. His object is to array every man with the mantle

of a saintly character, and to adorn him with the ornament of holy and

goodly deeds....

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi, "The Advent of Divine Justice", p.

24)
|PPg_335

2042. O My loved ones! We charge you to conduct yourselves with

trustworthiness and rectitude, that through you the attributes

of your Lord may be manifested to His servants and the

evidences of His exalted holiness may appear in every land. He

is, verily, the Ordainer, the Ancient of Days.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Arabic)

2043. I counsel you, O friends of God, to comport yourselves

with the utmost trustworthiness in your dealings with my

servants and people. By its aid shall the Cause of God be

promoted throughout the world and its exalted sanctity become

manifest to all creation. Be ye the repositories of the trust

of all men. Thus have We commanded them in the Tablets. Thy

Lord is, verily, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Arabic)

2044. O friends of God in every land! This Wronged One adjureth

you by the Best-Beloved of the world, Who is calling aloud in

the Kingdom of Utterance, that ye deal not faithlessly with the

substance of your fellow men. Be ye the trustees of God in His

dominions and the embodiments of truthfulness throughout His

realms. Blessed the man that heedeth the counsels of God and

observeth His precepts.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Arabic)

2045. We have enjoined upon all to become engaged in some trade

or profession, and have accounted such occupation to be an act

of worship. Before all else, however, thou shouldst receive, as

a sign of God's acceptance, the mantle of trustworthiness from

the hands of divine favour; for trustworthiness is the chief

means of attracting confirmation and prosperity. We entreat God

to make of it a radiant and mercifully showering rain-cloud

that shall bring success and blessings to thy affairs. He of a truth is the

All-Bountiful, the Gracious.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

2046. Commerce is as a heaven, whose sun is trustworthiness

and whose moon is truthfulness. The most precious of all things

in the estimation of Him Who is the Sovereign Truth is

trustworthiness: thus hath it been
|PPg_336

recorded in the sacred Scroll of God. Entreat ye the one true

God to enable all mankind to attain to this most noble and

lofty station.

(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian and Arabic)

2047. In connection with the demands for payment of which thou

hast written in thy letter, it is manifestly clear that anyone

who hath the ability to settle his debts, and yet neglecteth to

do so, hath not acted in accordance with the good pleasure of

the one true God. Those who incur debts should strive to settle

them with all diligence and application. God's binding

commandments with respect to trustworthiness, uprightness and

the honouring of rights have been recorded in clear and

perspicuous language in all the sacred Books, Tablets,

Scriptures and holy Writings. Well is it with him whom the

fleeting vanities of the world have not deprived of a lasting

adornment, and whom avarice and negligence have not shut out

from the illumination of the sun of trustworthiness. These

matters, however, depend on the existence of ability, for the

making of a demand is contingent upon ability to meet it. By

the Lord of the Book, the former is not permissible in the

absence of the latter. To this testifieth the Verse: "Respite

thy debtor till he findeth means to pay."[1]
(From a Tablet- translated from the Arabic)

2048. In most of Our Tablets We have counselled the servants of

God to be trustworthy and righteous, just and fair-minded. We

have commanded them to eschew iniquity and evil and bidden them

practise piety and the fear of God. The heedless, however, have

been led only into ever-increasing loss. Truly, had God's

creatures but conformed their actions to the will and pleasure

of God, exalted be His glory, the whole earth would by now be

seen as a single country, a blessed land of beauty and light.

(From a Tablet- translated from the Arabic)

2049. Say: desist from wickedness and transgression, and lay

hold on trustworthiness and piety, candour and sincerity. This

is the commandment of God, the Lord of the Judgement Day. He

Whom the world hath wronged speaketh not through the promptings

of worldly
____
[1] Qur'an 2:280
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desire, but in accordance with what hath been revealed in the

Book of God, the Ordainer, the Ancient of Days. Righteousness

of character is the means whereby the high stations attainable

by man in the world of being may be made evident: to this

testify God's honoured servants, whom the evil whisperings of

the people have not deterred from arising to render service to

their Lord, the King of the Mighty Throne.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Arabic)
2050. Be thou of the people of hell-fire,
but be not a hypocrite.
Be thou an unbeliever,
but be not a plotter.
Make thy home in taverns,
but tread not the path
of the mischief-maker.
Fear thou God,
but not the priest.
Give to the executioner thy head,
but not thy heart.
Let thine abode be under the stone,
but seek not the shelter of the cleric.

Thus doth the Holy Reed intone its melodies, and the

Nightingale of Paradise warble its song, so that He may infuse

life eternal into the mortal frames of men, impart to the temples of

dust the essence of the Holy Spirit and the heavenly Light, and

draw the transient world, through the potency of a single word,

unto the Everlasting Kingdom.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)
Extract from the utterances of the Báb:

2051. One day the Báb asked that some honey be purchased for

Him. The price at which it had been bought seemed to Him

exorbitant. He refused it and said: "Honey of a superior

quality could no doubt have been
|PPg_338

purchased at a lower price. I who am your example have been a

merchant by profession. It behoves you in all your transactions

to follow in My way. You must neither defraud your neighbour

nor allow him to defraud you. Such was the way of your Master.

The shrewdest and ablest of men were unable to deceive Him, nor did He

on His part choose to act ungenerously towards the

meanest and most helpless of creatures." He insisted that the

attendant who had made that purchase should return and bring

back to Him a honey superior in quality and cheaper in price.

(Cited in "The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil's Narrative of the Early

Days of the Bahá'í Revelation", trans. and ed. Shoghi Effendi,

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1974), p. 303)

Extracts from the writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

2052. Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.

Without truthfulness progress and success, in all the worlds of

God, are impossible for any soul. When this holy attribute is

established in man, all the divine qualities will also be

acquired.

(Cited in Shoghi Effendi,"The Advent of Divine Justice" p. 26)

2053. O Sadiq![2] Truthfulness, uprightness and integrity are the

attributes of the righteous and the hallmarks of the pure.

Truthfulness is the goodliest of qualities as it comprehendeth

all other virtues. A truthful person will be protected from all

moral afflictions, will shrink from every evil deed, and be

preserved from every wicked act, inasmuch as all vices and

misdeeds are the very antithesis of truthfulness, and a

truthful man will hold them all in utter abhorrence.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2054. O pure soul! Follow thou in the footsteps of the truthful

and tread the way of the righteous, so that, through

truthfulness, thou mayest come to occupy a Seat of Truth,[3] and,

through righteousness, thou mayest attain to abiding honour. If

the sum of all sins were to be weighed in the balance,

falsehood would, on its own, countervail them; nay, its evils

would even outweigh them and its detriment prove greater. It

were better
____

[2] The name "Sadiq" means literally "truthful" or "sincere"

[3] Qur'an, 54:55
|PPg_339

for thee that thou shouldst be a blasphemer and tell the truth

than that thou shouldst mouth the formulas of faith and yet be

a liar. These clear words are addressed as an admonition to the

peoples of the world. Render thanks unto God that it is through

thee that this counsel hath been addressed to all mankind.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2055. O army of God! Through the protection and help vouchsafed

by the Blessed Beauty--may my life be a sacrifice to His loved

ones--ye must conduct yourselves in such a manner that ye may

stand out distinguished and brilliant as the sun among other

souls. Should any one of you enter a city, he should become a

centre of attraction by reason of his sincerity, his

faithfulness and love, his honesty and fidelity, his truthfulness and

loving-kindness towards all the peoples of the

world, so that the people of that city may cry out and say:

'This man is unquestionably a Baha'i, for his manners, his

behaviour, his conduct, his morals, his nature, and disposition

reflect the attributes of the Baha'is.' Not until ye attain

this station can ye be said to have been faithful to the

Covenant and Testament of God. For He hath, through irrefutable

Texts, entered into a binding Covenant with us all, requiring

us to act in accordance with His sacred instructions and

counsels.

""Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" [rev. ed.],

(Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), sec. 35, pp. 70-1)

2056. ...we, and the friends of God, should on no account

slacken our efforts to be loyal, sincere and men of good will.

We should at all times manifest our truthfulness and sincerity,

nay rather, we must be constant in our faithfulness and

trustworthiness, and occupy ourselves in offering prayers for

the good of all.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, sec. 225, p.

294)

2057. The primary characteristic of true believers is

trustworthiness whereas the primary characteristic of the

rebellious is faithlessness.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2058. If a man were to perform every good work, yet fail in the

least scruple to be entirely trustworthy and honest, his good

works would become as
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dry tinder and his failure as a soul-consuming fire. If, on the

other hand, he should fall short in all his affairs, yet act

with trustworthiness and honesty, all his defects would

ultimately be righted, all injuries remedied, and all

infirmities healed. Our meaning is that, in the sight of God,

trustworthiness is the bedrock of His Faith and the foundation

of all virtues and perfections. A man deprived of this quality

is destitute of everything. What shall faith and piety avail if

trustworthiness be lacking? Of what consequence can they be?

What benefit or advantage can they confer? Wherefore

'Abdu'l-Bahá counselleth the friends--nay, rather, fervently

imploreth them--so vigilantly to guard the sanctity of the

Cause of God and preserve their own dignity as individuals that

all nations shall come to know and honour them for their

trustworthiness and integrity. They can render no greater

service than this today. To act otherwise would be to take an

axe to the root of the Cause of God--we take refuge with God

from this heinous transgression and pray that He will protect

His loved ones from committing so flagrant a wrong.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2059. You have written on the question of how the friends

should proceed in their business dealings with one another.

This is a question of the greatest importance and a matter that

deserveth the liveliest concern. In relations of this kind, the

friends of God should act with the utmost trustworthiness and

integrity. To be remiss in this area would be to turn one's

face away from the counsels of the Blessed Beauty and the holy

precepts of God. If a man in his own home doth not treat his

relations and friends with entire trustworthiness and

integrity, his dealings with the outside world--no matter how

much trustworthiness and honesty he may bring to them--will

prove barren and unproductive. First one should order one's own

domestic affairs, then attend to one's business with the

public. One should certainly not argue that the friends need

not be treated with undue care, or that it is unnecessary for

them to attach too great importance to the practice of

trustworthiness in their dealings with one another, but that it

is in their relations with strangers that correct behaviour is

essential. Talk like this is sheer fantasy and will lead to

detriment and loss. Blessed be the soul that shineth with the

light of trustworthiness among the people and becometh a sign

of perfection amidst all men.
|PPg_341
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2060. Since the orderly running of your association dependeth

upon the devotion, integrity, fair-mindedness and sanctity of

purpose manifested by the friends of God, they should show

forth in their management of its affairs such purity, nobility

and far-sighted wisdom that they will become a model for other

societies, and all people may be edified and enlightened by

their example. In this way the Bahá'ís will become known to all

as people who are dependable and honest, virtuous and

enlightened, pure and refined; who are industrious and

high-principled, liberal-minded and promoters of freedom; whose

concern is to serve the common good, not to advance their own

interests, and whose aim is to further the welfare and

prosperity of the people, not to foster their own well-being.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2061. Your criterion should be to pursue your commercial

activities with such fairness and equity as to be a cause of

guidance to others. The friends of God should, through the

instrumentality of their business, lead the people to God's

path, and make them so astonished as to exclaim: "How great is

their truthfulness, how high their trustworthiness, and how

true is their good will!"
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2062. Every business company should be established on divine

principles. Its foundations should be trustworthiness, piety

and truthfulness in order to protect the rights of the people.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2063. Commerce, agriculture and industry should not, in truth,

be a bar to service of the one true God. Indeed, such

occupations are most potent instruments and clear proofs for

the manifestation of the evidences of one's piety, of one's

trustworthiness and of the virtues of the All-Merciful Lord.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2064. Ye who are the sincere well-wishers of the state, who are

the dutiful and compliant subjects of the government, should

occupy yourselves in
|PPg_342

constant service. Anyone who entereth the employ of the

government should show forth in all his deeds and actions the

highest degree of rectitude and honesty, of temperance and

self-discipline, of purity and sanctity, of justice and equity.

If, God forbid, he should be guilty of the least breach of

trust, or approach his duties in a slack or desultory fashion,

or extort so much as a farthing from the populace, or seek to

further his own selfish interests and personal gain--then it is

certain that he shall be deprived of the outpourings of God's

grace.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2065. In discharging the functions of the office to which thou

hast been appointed, thy conduct and actions should attest to

the highest standard of trustworthiness and honesty, to a

degree of sincerity that is altogether above suspicion, and to

an integrity that is immune to the promptings of self-interest.

Thus shall all know that the Bahá'ís are the embodiments of

probity, and the very essence of spotless virtue. If they

accept office, their motive is to render service to the whole

of humanity, not to seek their own self-interest; and their

object is to vindicate the cause of truth, not to give

themselves over to self-indulgence and base ingratitude.

(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

2066. As for those who are engaged in government service, they

should perform their duties with the utmost fidelity,

trustworthiness, rectitude, uprightness, integrity and

high-mindedness. Let them not tarnish their good repute by

pursuing personal interests, nor, for the sake of transient

worldly benefits, make themselves objects of public odium and

outcasts of the Threshold of Grandeur.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2067. Those persons who are selected to serve the public, or

are appointed to administrative positions, should perform their

duties in a spirit of true servitude and ready compliance. That

is to say, they should be distinguished by their goodly disposition and

virtuous character, content themselves with

their allotted remuneration, and act with trustworthiness in

all their doings. They should keep themselves aloof from

unworthy motives, and be far removed above covetous designs;

for rectitude, probity and righteousness are among the most

potent means for attracting the
|PPg_343

grace of God and securing both the prosperity of the country

and the welfare of the people. Glory and honour for man are not

to be found in fortunes and riches, least of all in those which

have been unlawfully amassed through extortion, embezzlement

and corruption practised at the expense of an exploited

populace. Supreme honour, nobility and greatness in the human

world, and true felicity in this life and the life to come--all

consist in equity and uprightness, sanctity and detachment. If

a man would seek distinction, he should suffice himself with a

frugal provision, seek to better the lot of the poor of the

realm, choose the way of justice and fair-mindedness, and tread

the path of high-spirited service. Such a one, needy though he

be, shall win imperishable riches and attain unto everlasting

honour.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2068. If any of the friends should enter into the service of

the government, they should make their occupation a means of

drawing nearer to the divine Threshold: they should act with

probity and uprightness, rigorously shun all forms of venality

and corruption, and content themselves with the salaries they

are receiving, taking pride, rather, in the degree of sagacity,

competence and judgement that they can bring to their work. If

a person content himself with a single loaf of bread, and

perform his duties with as much justice and fair-mindedness as

lieth within his power, he will be the prince of mortals, and

the most praiseworthy of men. Noble and distinguished will he

be, despite his empty purse! Pre-eminent will he rank among

the free, although his garb be old and worn! For man, praise

and glory reside in virtuous and noble qualities; honour and

distinction in nearness to the divine Threshold. The world's

wealth is, by contrast, the stuff of illusion.[4] Those who lust

after it are the followers of evil and, erelong, they shall be

plunged into confusion and despair. Which is better--that a man

should be thus, or that he should comport himself with

consecration and sanctity of purpose and stand out

conspicuously for his integrity, uprightness and honesty? Nay,

such qualities are better than the riches of Korah,[5]

and dearer than all the treasures of existence.
____
[4] Cf. Qur'an, 3:185 and 57:20

[5] Name synonymous with great wealth, mentioned (in the form

'Qar'un') in the Qur'an, 28:76
|PPg_344

2069. If one of the friends ... be appointed to a high

administrative office, he should strive diligently to perform

the duties committed to his charge with perfect honesty,

integrity, sincerity, rectitude and uprightness. If, however,

he abuse his position through corrupt or mercenary behaviour,

he will be held in detestation at the Threshold of Grandeur and

incur the wrath of the Abha Beauty--nay, he shall be forsaken

by the one true God and all who adore Him. So far from acting

thus, he should content himself with his salary and allowances,

seek out the way of righteousness, and dedicate his life to the

service of state and people. Such must be the conduct and

bearing of the Baha'is. Whoso transgresseth these bounds shall

fall at length into manifest loss.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2070. Those souls who are employed in government departments

should approach their duties with entire detachment, integrity

and independence of spirit, and with complete consecration and

sanctity of purpose. Content with the wages they are receiving,

they should see that they do not stain their fair character

through acts of bribery and fraud. Were one of the friends in

this day to misappropriate so much as a single penny, the

sacred mantle of God's Cause would become sullied by his action

and the shame of it would attach to the whole community. Heaven

forbid! Nay, rather, the government and people should come to

repose such trust in the Bahá'ís as to wish to commit all

affairs of state throughout the provinces into the chaste, pure

hands of God's well-beloved.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2071. All government employees, whether of high or low rank,

should, with perfect integrity, probity and rectitude, content

themselves with the modest stipends and allowances that are

theirs. They should keep their hands unsullied and preserve

their fair name from blemish.... If a man deal faithlessly with

a just government he shall have dealt faithlessly with God; and

if he render it faithful service he shall have rendered that

service to God.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian.)
|PPg_345

2072. Let them perform their services with complete sanctity

and detachment, and on no account defile themselves by

receiving bribes, harbouring unseemly motives, or engaging in

noxious practices. Let them be content with their wages, and

seek distinction in truthfulness, straightforwardness, and the

pursuit of virtue and excellence; for vanity in riches is

worthy of none but the base, and pride in possessions beseemeth

only the foolish. To attain to true glory and honour, man

should exercise justice and equity, forbear to act in an

oppressive manner, render service to his government, and work for the

good of his fellow-citizens. Were he to seek after

aught else but this he would indeed be in manifest loss.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2073. How foolish and ignorant must a man be, how base his

nature, and how vile the clay of which he is fashioned, if he

would defile himself with the contamination of bribery,

corruption and perfidy towards the state! Truly, the vermin of

the earth are to be preferred to such people!
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2074. If it should happen that one of the friends be called

upon to serve his country and people in some capacity, he

should apply himself to his work with heart and soul, and

discharge his duties with perfect honesty, trustworthiness and

godliness.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)
Extracts from letters written by Shoghi Effendi:

2075. These are the days for rendering the divine Cause

victorious and effective aid! The victory of God's Faith is

dependent upon teaching; and teaching is conditional upon

righteous actions and goodly deeds and conduct. The

foundation-stone of a life lived in the way of God is the

pursuit of moral excellence and the acquisition of a character

endowed with qualities that are well-pleasing in His sight. The

Bahá'ís should adorn themselves with this holy raiment; with

this mighty sword they should conquer the citadels of men's

hearts. People have grown weary and impatient of rhetoric and

discourse, of preaching and sermonizing. In this day, the one

thing that can deliver the world from its travail and attract

the hearts of its peoples is deeds, not words; example, not

precept; saintly
|PPg_346

virtues, not statements and charters issued by governments and

nations on socio-political affairs. In all matters, great or

small, word must be the complement of deed, and deed the

companion of word: each must supplement, support and reinforce

the other. It is in this respect that the Bahá'ís must seek

distinction over other peoples and nations, whom the Pen of the

Most High has epitomized in the following words: "Their words

are the pride of the world, and their deeds are the shame of

the nations."

(8 December 1923 to a Bahá'í community - translated from the

Persian)

2076. The employment that the Bahá'ís accept, the tasks and

duties that they perform, should be of a kind whose benefits

accrue to the nation as a whole and not such as are a means of

profit to a small circle of high officials and a few select

individuals. Further, the beloved friends and members of the

Assemblies should, in the manifold circumstances of their lives

and in all their multifarious dealings and pursuits, by their

deeds, their bearing and demeanour, seek to demonstrate to

their fellow-countrymen the excellence of this sacred Cause, to

vindicate its truth, and give living testimony to its potency

and the sublimity of its spirit. It is thus that the friends

should proceed, not confining themselves to the delivery of the

message, to explanations, expositions and elucidations.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Chief Interpreter of the Faith of

Bahá'u'lláh, has written:

Wherefore it is incumbent upon all Bahá'ís to ponder this

very delicate and vital matter in their hearts, that, unlike

other religions, they may not content themselves with the noise,

the clamour, the hollowness of religious doctrine. Nay, rather, they

should exemplify in every aspect of their lives those attributes and virtues

that are born of God and should arise to distinguish themselves by their

goodly behaviour. They should justify their claim to be Bahá'ís by deeds

and not by name. He is a true Bahá'í who strives by day and by night to

progress and advance along the path of human endeavour, whose most

cherished desire is so to live and act as to enrich and illuminate the world,

whose source of inspiration is the essence of divine virtue, whose aim in life

is so to conduct himself as to be the cause of infinite progress. Only when

he attains unto such perfect gifts can it be said of him that he is a true

Baha'i. For in this holy Dispensation, the crowning glory of

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bygone ages and cycles, true faith is no mere acknowledgement

of the unity of God, but rather the living of a life that will

manifest all the perfections and virtues implied in such

belief.[6]

See how firm and strongly-worded is this statement of

'Abdu'l-Bahá's, and how demanding its requirements!

Notwithstanding, it is only when the Bahá'ís are able fully and

befittingly to distinguish their characters by the adornment of

these divine virtues that they will appear before the eyes of

the world in a worthy and appropriate manner and that the name

of Bahá'u'lláh will set the universe ablaze.

(30 October 1924 to a Local Spiritual Assembly - translated

from the Persian)

2077. Nothing but the abundance of our actions, nothing but the

purity of our lives and the integrity of our character, can in

the last resort establish our claim that the Bahá'í spirit is

in this day the sole agency that can translate a long-cherished

ideal into an enduring achievement. (24 November 1924 to the

National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada,

published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages

1922-1932" [rev. ed.], (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust,

1980), p. 68)

2078. This is the day for excellence of character and conduct. We should

all adorn ourselves with these ornaments of the

Kingdom while still in this world of being, so that we may

render fit service to the Threshold of the Most Merciful.

(In the hand writing of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 24 November 1924 written on his behalf to an individual

believer- translated from the Persian)

2079. The responsibilities of the members of the Spiritual

Assemblies that are engaged in teaching the Cause of God in

Eastern lands have been clearly laid down in the holy Texts.

These bid them to work towards the improvement of morals

and the spread of learning; to strive to eradicate ignorance

and unenlightenment, eliminate prejudice, and reinforce the

foundation of true faith in people's hearts and minds; to seek

to develop self-reliance and avoidance of blind imitation; to

aim to enhance the efficient management of their
____

[6] Translated by Shoghi Effendi and published in "The Baha'i

World", vol. 2, "1925-1928" (New York: Bahá'í Publishing

Committee, 1928), p. xvi
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affairs, and observe purity and refinement in all

circumstances; to show their commitment to truthfulness and

honesty, and their ability to conduct themselves with

frankness, courage and resolution.

They similarly enjoin them to lend their support to

agricultural and industrial development, to consolidate the

foundations of mutual assistance and co-operation, to promote

the emancipation and advancement of women and support the

compulsory education of both sexes, to encourage application of

the principles of consultation among all classes, and to adhere

in all dealings to a standard of scrupulous integrity. They

further impress upon them the virtue of trustworthiness and

godliness, of purity of motive, kindliness of heart, and

detachment from the fetters of this material world. They call

upon them so to sanctify themselves that they will rise above

the corrupt and evil influences that exercise so powerful a

sway over the Western world, and charge them to abide by the

counsel of moderation at all times and under all conditions.

They urge them to make detailed inquiry into the various

branches of contemporary learning--arts and sciences alike--and

to concentrate their attention on serving the general interests

of the people; to deepen themselves by attentive study of the

sacred Texts, and to apply the divine guidance they contain to

the circumstances, needs and conditions of society today; to

refrain from entering into the tangled affairs of political

parties and to have neither concern for, nor involvement in,

the controversies of politicians, the wranglings of theologians

or any of the ailing social theories current amongst men. They

finally exhort them to be sincerely obedient, in both thought

and word, to the laws duly enacted by the government of the

realm, and to distance themselves from the methods, concepts and

ill-grounded arguments of extreme traditionalists and

modernists alike; to accord honour, veneration and respect to--

and endorse the efforts of-- exponents of the arts and

sciences, and to esteem and revere those who are possessed of

extensive knowledge and scholarly erudition; to uphold the

right of freedom of conscience; and to abstain from criticizing

and disparaging the manners, customs and beliefs of other

individuals, peoples and nations. These are among the most

pressing requirements for the nations of the East. These are

the basic, the binding, the inescapable responsibilities

|PPg_349

of the trustees of the Merciful, the representatives of the

Bahá'í communities, the members of the Spiritual Assemblies.

(30 January 1926 to the Spiritual Assemblies throughout

the East - translated from the Persian)

2080. The people of Baha, under the jurisdiction of whatsoever

state or government they may be residing, should conduct

themselves with honesty and sincerity, trustworthiness and

rectitude. They should concern themselves with men's hearts,

and hold themselves aloof from the fluctuations and limitations

of the contingent world. They are neither thirsty for

prominence, nor acquisitive of power; they are neither adepts

at dissimulation and hypocrisy, nor are they seekers after

wealth and influence; they neither crave for the pomp and

circumstance of high office, nor do they lust after the glory

of titles and ranks. They are averse to affectation and

ostentation, and shrink from the use of coercive force; they

have closed their eyes to all but God, and set their hearts on

the firm and incontrovertible promises of their Lord; they have

severed the bonds of earthly expectations and attachments, and

connected their lives to the One Peerless Beloved. Oblivious to

themselves, they have occupied their energies in working

towards the good of society; and, steadfastly adhering to the

sound and wholesome principles of God's Faith, they have turned

their backs on the morbid imaginings, the incoherent theories,

and pernicious ideas of the victims of caprice and folly. While

vigilantly refusing to accept political posts, they should

whole-heartedly welcome the chance to assume administrative

positions; for the primary purpose of the people of Baha is to

advance the interests and promote the welfare of the nation,

not to further the devious ends and designs of the profligate

and shameless. Such is the method of the Baha'is; such is the

conduct of all spiritually illumined souls; and aught else is

manifest error.

(February 1927 to the believers throughout the East -

translated from the Persian)

2081. In their homes, ... in the daily contact of business

transactions, ... the community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh

should satisfy themselves that in the eyes of the world at

large and in the sight of their vigilant Master they are the

living witnesses of those truths which He fondly cherished and

tirelessly championed to the very end of His days....

|PPg_350

(12 April 1927 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

United States and Canada, published in "Bahá'í Administration:

Selected Messages 1922-1932", p. 130)

2082. Let them so shape their lives and regulate their conduct

that no charge of secrecy, of fraud, of bribery or of

intimidation may, however ill-founded, be brought against

them....

(21 March 1932 to the believers throughout North America,

published in "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters",

rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 64)

2083. It [rectitude of conduct] must be constantly reflected in

the business dealings of all its members, in their domestic

lives, in all manner of employment, and in any service they

may, in the future, render their government or people....

(25 December 1938 to the believers throughout North America,

published as "The Advent of Divine Justice" p. 26)

Extracts from letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:

(To individual believers unless otherwise stated)

2084. The permanence and stability achieved by any association,

group or nation is a result of--and dependent upon--the

soundness and worth of the principles upon which it bases the

running of its affairs and the direction of its activities. The

guiding principles of the Bahá'ís are: honesty, love, charity

and trustworthiness; the setting of the common good above

private interest; and the practice of godliness, virtue and

moderation. Ultimately, then, their preservation and happiness

are assured. Whatever misfortunes they may encounter, wrought

by the wiles of the schemer and ill-wisher, shall all pass away

like waves, and hardship shall be succeeded by joy. The friends

are under the protection of the resistless power and

inscrutable providence of God. There is no doubt that every

blessed soul who brings his life into harmony with this

all-swaying power shall give lustre to his works and win an

ample recompense. The actions of those who choose to set

themselves against it should provoke not antipathy on our part,

but prayers for their guidance. Such was the way of the Baha'is

in days gone by, and so must it be, now and for always.

|PPg_351

(18 December 1925 to a National Spiritual Assembly - translated

from the Persian)

2085. The Pen of the Most High has recorded: "Fear of God is the greatest

commander that can render the Cause of God

victorious, and the hosts which best befit this commander have

ever been and are an upright character and pure and goodly

deeds."[7]

The people of Baha should, then, lead their lives and

conduct their affairs with the highest degree of sanctity and

godliness, and uncompromisingly repudiate and dissociate

themselves from the disreputable practices, the deplorable

modes and customs prevalent among the people of the West. Piety

and devotion should be the object of all who would be accounted

lovers of this Cause, and the adornment of every righteous

soul; otherwise, slowly but surely, the illumination conferred

on the innermost reality of men's hearts by the virtues of the

human world will flicker and fade and die away, to be

overwhelmed by the engulfing darkness of vice and depravity.

Courtesy and dignity are what bring nobility and standing to a

man; whereas frivolity and facetiousness, ribaldry and

effrontery will lead to his abasement, degradation and

humiliation. The Bahá'ís should, indeed must, seek to

distinguish themselves in all things, for what difference else

would there be between them and others? Any action, therefore,

that is calculated to detract from the dignity of man's station

must be steadfastly avoided and shunned.
(21 January 1928 - translated from the Persian)

2086. You brought up the question of showing forth honesty and

trustworthiness when engaged in the service of the state. These

are qualities that must distinguish all the activities of the

friends, and the acquisition of which is a religious duty

incumbent on every believer. That some of the leaders whom they

serve may be unappreciative of their efforts, or fail correctly

to value their services, should give no cause for surprise. The

reason for such conduct is the remoteness of such men from the

True Source of justice, equity and fair-mindedness. We should

keep our vision centred on God, not on the doings of His

creatures. Every
____

[7] From the Kitáb-i-Ahd, published in "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh

Revealed after the Kitáb-i-'Aqdas" rev. ed. (Haifa: Baha'i

World Center, 1982), p. 222.
|PPg_352

spotless action, every sincere intent of ours will win the

commendation of the True One, will be exalted and magnified by

Him, and requited with a bounteous recompense.
(8 March 1948 - translated from the Persian)

2087. It is with deep concern indeed that he has learned of the

difficulties you have encountered in your business, and [he]

was particularly grieved to hear of the bitter competition you

are meeting from some Persians in New York, who seem determined

to ruin and force you out of business, despite the fact that

you have shown them kindness, and refused to deal with them harshly.

Though the Guardian would advise that you continue

keeping such [a] true Bahá'í attitude of forbearance, he wishes

you at the same time not to give way, and not to allow any

threat on their part to discourage or demoralize you. However

unethical the methods they may employ, it should be your firm

conviction that such malicious devices cannot in the long run

succeed, and that the most effective way of counteracting them

is for you to maintain unreservedly the one true standard of

business conduct inculcated in the Teachings.
(31 October 1938)

2088. May I, in closing, also express his satisfaction at the

improvement in Mr....'s business conditions. He will continue

to pray that the high standard of integrity he has so well

maintained in his business transactions may not only serve to

draw upon him the confirmations and blessings of God, but in

addition prove an effective means for the attraction of many

souls to the Faith.
(4 November 1940)

2089. As for your comment that the Faith has a need for

selfless, love-intoxicated followers, for people of outstanding

spiritual endowments, for powerful, eloquent speakers and for

men of material resources and talents to vindicate the truth of

our beloved Cause, the Guardian instructed me to write:

"What is needed is excellence of character and conduct, and

compliance with the laws revealed by Bahá'u'lláh--these are the magnets

that attract divine confirmation, and the means of

|PPg_353

establishing the validity and uniqueness of the Cause of the All-Glorious."

He further bade me write:

"The removal of imperfections is a gradual process. Constant advice and admonition are necessary so that, step by step, the community may make good the various deficiencies that beset it and run its affairs on a planned and orderly basis."

Исправление несовершенств - постепенный процесс. Следует неустанно подавать совет и увещевание, дабы, шаг за шагом, община исправила различные недостатки, мешающие ей, и начала вести свои дела планомерно и упорядоченно.

(12 January 1946)

2090. The Guardian feels that your attitude towards the corrupt

practice of accepting commissions from fellow physicians and

pharmacists is most admirable. The more upright and noble the

Bahá'ís are in their conduct, the more they will impress the

public with the spiritual vitality of the Faith they believe

in.
(20 October 1953)

2091. He feels you should both consider the competent running

of your business not only a moral obligation to any creditors

outstanding, but also the wise and proper thing to do.

(6 June 1954)
Revised August 1990
|PPg_354
[THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY BLANK.]
|PPg_355
WOMEN
January 1986
Compiled by the Research Department
of the Universal House of Justice
|PPg_356
Table of Contents
Pages

I. The Bahá'í concept of equality .................... 1

II. The role of education in the development

of women .......................................... 11

III. Application of the principle of equality

to family life .................................... 15

IV. Women in the world at large ....................... 21

V. Fostering the development of women ................ 25

VI. Bibliography ...................................... 33

|PPg_357
I. The Bahá'í Concept of Equality
Extracts From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

2092. O Children of Men! Know ye not why We created you all

from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the

other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created.

Since We have created you all from one same substance it is

incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same

feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that

from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of

oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest.

Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this

counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree

of wondrous glory.

("The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh "Arabic no. 68, rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1985), p. 20)

2093. Exalted, immensely exalted is He Who hath removed

differences and established harmony. Glorified,

infinitely glorified is He Who hath caused discord to cease, and

decreed solidarity and unity. Praised be God, the Pen of the

Most High hath lifted distinctions from between His servants

and handmaidens, and, through His consummate favours and

all-encompassing mercy, hath conferred upon all a station and

rank of the same plane. He hath broken the back of vain

imaginings with the sword of utterance and hath obliterated the

perils of idle fancies through the pervasive power of His

might.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2094. This Wronged One hath heard thy voice and that which thy

inner and outer tongue hath uttered in praise of thy Lord. By

the righteousness of God! That which the people possess, and

the treasures of the earth, and that which the rulers and kings

own, are not equal in this day to the singing of His praise.

The Lord of the Kingdom beareth witness unto this at this

glorious moment. And having heard thy groaning and lamentation,

We are responding with a Tablet which calleth out betwixt earth

and heaven and maketh mention of thee with words that

immortalize what hath appeared from thee in His love, in His

service, in His remembrance and in His praise. And He hath made

that which hath issued forth from thy mouth a trust with Him

for thee. He is verily the
|PPg_358

Most Bounteous, the Most Generous. If thou truly givest ear to

that which hath been revealed for thee from My Supreme Pen at

this moment, thou shalt soar with the wings of eagerness in the

heaven of love for the Lord of the Day of the Covenant, and

wilt say during all the days of thy life: Thanks be unto Thee,

O Thou the Desire of the world, and praise be unto Thee, O Thou

the Beloved of the people of understanding. May all existence

be a sacrifice for Thy favour, and all that hath been and will

ever be, a ransom for Thy Word, O Thou the Wronged One amongst

the people of enmity, O Thou in Whose grasp are the reins of

all who are in heaven and on earth....

In this Day the Hand of divine grace hath removed all

distinctions. The servants of God and His handmaidens are

regarded on the same plane. Blessed is the servant who hath

attained unto that which God hath decreed, and likewise the

leaf moving in accordance with the breezes of His will. This

favour is great and this station lofty. His bounties and

bestowals are ever present and manifest. Who is able to offer

befitting gratitude for His successive bestowals and continuous

favours?

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

2095. By My Life! The names of handmaidens who are devoted to

God are written and set down by the Pen of the Most High in the

Crimson Book. They excel over men in the sight of God. How

numerous are the heroes and knights in the field who are bereft

of the True One and have no share in His recognition, but thou

hast attained and received thy fill.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

2096. Verily the Pen of the Most High hath borne witness unto

thy recognition of Him, thy love for Him and thy turning

towards the Ancient Countenance at a time when the world hath

rejected Him, save those whom God, the Most High, hath

willed....

Well is it with thee for having adorned thyself with the

ornament of the love of God and for having been enabled to make

mention of Him and utter His praise. Divine grace, in its

entirety, is in the mighty grasp of God, exalted be He. He

conferreth it upon whomsoever He willeth. How many a man

considered himself a celebrated divine and a repository of

heavenly mysteries, and yet when the slightest test visited

him, he arose with such opposition and denial as to cause the

Concourse on high to
|PPg_359

moan and lament. Through the bestowals of the Lord, however,

and His infinite favour, thou hast attained unto the hidden

secret and the well-guarded treasure. Preserve then, in the

name of God, this lofty station and conceal it from the eyes of

betrayers. The glory shining from the horizon of My Kingdom be

upon thee and upon every handmaiden who hath attained the

splendours of My sublime Throne.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

2097. We beseech God to aid all the leaves to attain the

knowledge of the Tree and deprive them not of the ocean of His

generosity. In this day no regard is paid to loftiness or

lowliness, to poverty or wealth, to nobility and lineage, to

weakness or might. Whosoever recognizeth the incomparable

Beloved is the possessor of true wealth and occupieth a divine

station. Today, in the court of the True One, the queen of the

world and her like are not worth a mustard seed, because

although she may speak in the name of God, invoke the Lord of

creation every day in the temple of her body, and spend large

sums of earthly wealth for the development of her nation, she

is deprived of recognition of the Sun of His Manifestation and

is barred from the True One in Whose remembrance she is

engaged....

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

2098. Throughout the centuries and ages many a man hath waited

expectant for God's Revelation, and yet when the Light shone

forth from the horizon of the world, all but a few turned their

faces away from it. Whosoever from amongst the handmaidens hath

recognized the Lord of all Names is recorded in the Book as one

of those men by the Pen of the Most High. Offer thou praise to

the Beloved of the world for having aided thee to recognize the

Dayspring of His Signs and the Revealer of the evidences of His

Glory. This is a great bounty, a bounteous favour. Preserve it

in the name of the True One....

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

Extracts From the Writings and Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

2099. From the beginning of existence until the Promised Day

men retained superiority over women in every respect. It is

revealed in the Qur'an: "Men have superiority over women." But

in this wondrous
|PPg_360

Dispensation, the supreme outpouring of the Glorious Lord

became the cause of manifest achievements by women. Some

handmaidens arose who excelled men in the arena of knowledge.

They arose with such love and spirituality that they became the

cause of the outpouring of the bounty of the Sovereign Lord

upon mankind, and with their sanctity, purity and attributes of

the spirit led a great many to the shore of unity. They became

a guiding torch to the wanderers in the wastes of bewilderment,

and enkindled the despondent in the nether world with the flame

of the love of the Lord. This is a bounteous characteristic of

this wondrous Age which hath granted strength to the weaker sex

and hath bestowed masculine might upon womanhood....

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2100. O handmaid of God! In this wondrous dispensation in which

the Ancient Beauty and the Manifest Light--may my spirit be

sacrificed for His loved ones--hath risen from the horizon of

age-old hopes, women have assumed the attributes of men in

showing forth steadfastness in the Cause of God, and revealing

the heroism and might of fearless men. They invaded the arena

of mystic knowledge and hoisted aloft the banner on the heights

of certitude. Thou, too, must make a mighty effort and show

forth supreme courage. Exert thyself and taste of the sweetness

of a heavenly draught, for the sweet taste of the love of God

will linger on to the end that hath no end.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2101. Render thanks to the Lord that among that race thou art

the first believer,[1] arisen to guide others. It is my hope that

through the bounties and favours of the Abha Beauty thy

countenance may be illumined, thy
____

[1] This Tablet was addressed to one Mrs. Pocohontas in Washington.

According to Fadil Mazandarani, the recipient of the Tablet was

a black woman. See "Tarikh-i-Zuhuru'l-Haq", vol. 8, part 2, p.

1209 (Tihran: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 132 B.E.). Additional

information provided by the Archives of the National Spiritual

Assembly of the United States indicates that Mr. Louis Gregory,

in a history of the Washington, D.C. that thou hast engaged in

spreading sweet-scented breezes, and hast Bahá'í community,

mentions a black Baha'i, Mrs. Pocohontas Pope, who is likely

the same person. Mrs. Pope learned of the Bahá'í Faith through

Alma and Fanny Knobloch and Joseph and Pauline Hannen. There is,

at present no other information on Mrs. Pope.
|PPg_361

disposition pleasing, and thy fragrance diffused, that thine

eyes may be seeing, thine ears attentive, thy tongue eloquent,

thy heart filled with supreme glad-tidings, and thy soul

refreshed by divine fragrances, so that thou mayest arise among

that race and occupy thyself with the edification of the

people, and become filled with light. Although the pupil of the

eye is black, it is the source of light. Thou shalt likewise

be. The disposition should be bright, not the appearance.

Therefore, with supreme confidence and certitude, say: "O God!

Make me a radiant light, a shining lamp, and a brilliant star,

so that I may illumine the hearts with an effulgent ray from

Thy Kingdom of Abha...."
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2102. The establishment of a women's assemblage for the

promotion of knowledge is entirely acceptable, but discussions

must be confined to educational matters. It should be done in

such a way that differences will, day by day, be entirely wiped

out, not that, God forbid, it will end in argumentation between

men and women. As in the question of the veil, nothing should

be done contrary to wisdom. The individual women should, today,

follow a course of action which will be the cause of eternal

glory to all womankind, so that all women will be illumined.

And that lieth in gathering to learn how to teach, in holding

meetings to recite the verses, to offer supplications to the

kingdom of the Lord of evident signs, and to institute

education for the girls. Ponder the manner in which

Jinab-i-Tahirih used to teach. She was free from every concern,

and for this reason she was resplendent.

Now the world of women should be a spiritual world, not a

political one, so that it will be radiant. The women of other

nations are all immersed in political matters. Of what benefit

is this, and what fruit doth it yield? To the extent that ye

can, ye should busy yourselves with spiritual matters which

will be conducive to the exaltation of the Word of God and of

the diffusion of His fragrances. Your demeanour should lead to

harmony amongst all and to coalescence and the good-pleasure of

all....

I am endeavouring, with Bahá'u'lláh's confirmations and

assistance, so to improve the world of the handmaidens that all

will be astonished. This progress is intended to be in

spirituality, in virtues, in human perfections and in divine

knowledge. In America, the cradle of women's liberation, women

are still debarred from political institutions because

|PPg_362

they squabble. They are yet to have a member in the House of

Representatives. Also Bahá'u'lláh hath proclaimed: "O ye men of

the House of Justice." Ye need to be calm and composed, so

that the work will proceed with wisdom, otherwise there will be

such chaos that ye will leave everything and run away. "This

newly born babe is traversing in one night the path that

needeth a hundred years to tread." In brief, ye should now

engage in matters of pure spirituality and not contend with

men. 'Abdu'l-Bahá will tactfully take appropriate steps. Be

assured. In the end thou wilt thyself exclaim, "This was indeed

supreme wisdom!" I appeal to you to obliterate this contention

between men and women....

No one can on his own achieve anything. 'Abdu'l-Bahá must

be well pleased and assist.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2103. Know thou, O handmaid, that in the sight of Baha, women

are accounted the same as men, and God hath created all

humankind in His own image, and after His own likeness. That

is, men and women alike are the revealers of His names and

attributes, and from the spiritual viewpoint there is no

difference between them. Whosoever draweth nearer to God, that

one is the most favoured, whether man or woman. How many a

handmaid, ardent and devoted, hath, within the sheltering shade

of Baha, proved superior to the men, and surpassed the famous

of the earth.

The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit

text of the Law of God, is confined to men;[2] this for a wisdom

of the Lord God's, which will ere long be made manifest as

clearly as the sun at high noon.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" [rev. ed.],

(Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), sec. 38, pp. 79-80)

2104. And among the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh is the equality of

women and men. The world of humanity has two wings--one is

women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally

developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight

is impossible. Not until the world of women
____

[2] From other extracts it is evident that the limitation of

membership to men applies only to the Universal House of

Justice, and not to the National and Local Houses of Justice.

|PPg_363

becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues

and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they

ought to be.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 227, p.

302)

2105. Inasmuch as this is the century of light, it is evident

that the Sun of Reality, the Word, has revealed itself to all

humankind. One of the potentialities hidden in the realm of

humanity was the capability or capacity of womanhood. Through

the effulgent rays of divine illumination the capacity of woman

has become so awakened and manifest in this age that equality

of man and woman is an established fact....

In this day man must investigate reality impartially and

without prejudice in order to reach the true knowledge and

conclusions. What, then, constitutes the inequality between man

and woman? Both are human. In powers and function each is the

complement of the other. At most it is this: that woman has

been denied the opportunities which man has so long enjoyed,

especially the privilege of education....
. . .

The truth is that all mankind are the creatures and

servants of one God, and in His estimate all are human. Man is

a generic term applying to all humanity. The biblical statement

"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" does not

mean that woman was not created. The image and likeness of God

apply to her as well. In Persian and Arabic there are two

distinct words translated into English as man: one meaning man

and woman collectively, the other distinguishing man as male

from woman the female. The first word and its pronoun are

generic, collective; the other is restricted to the male. This

is the same in Hebrew. To accept and observe a distinction

which God has not intended in creation is ignorance and

superstition....

It is my hope that the banner of equality may be raised

throughout the five continents where as yet it is not fully

recognized and established. In this enlightened world of the

West woman has advanced an immeasurable degree beyond the women

of the Orient. And let it be known once more that until woman

and man recognize and realize equality, social and political

progress here or anywhere will not be possible. For the world

of humanity consists of two parts or members: one
|PPg_364

is woman; the other is man. Until these two members are equal

in strength, the oneness of humanity cannot be established, and

the happiness and felicity of mankind will not be a reality.

God willing, this is to be so.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", 2nd. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982),

pp. 74-77)

2106. Today questions of the utmost importance are facing

humanity, questions peculiar to this radiant century....

One of these questions concerns the rights of woman and her

equality with man. In past ages it was held that woman and man

were not equal --that is to say, woman was considered inferior

to man, even from the standpoint of her anatomy and creation. She was

considered especially inferior in intelligence, and the

idea prevailed universally that it was not allowable for her to

step into the arena of important affairs. In some countries man

went so far as to believe and teach that woman belonged to a

sphere lower than human. But in this century, which is the

century of light and the revelation of mysteries, God is

proving to the satisfaction of humanity that all this is

ignorance and error; nay, rather, it is well established that

mankind and womankind as parts of composite humanity are

coequal and that no difference in estimate is allowable, for

all are human. The conditions in past centuries were due to

woman's lack of opportunity. She was denied the right and

privilege of education and left in her undeveloped state.

Naturally, she could not and did not advance. In reality, God

has created all mankind, and in the estimation of God there is

no distinction as to male and female. The one whose heart is

pure is acceptable in His sight, be that one man or woman. God

does not inquire, "Art thou woman or art thou man?" He judges

human actions. If these are acceptable in the threshold of the

Glorious One, man and woman will be equally recognized and

rewarded.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and

Canada in 1912", p. 133)

2107. The world of humanity consists of two parts: male and

female. Each is the complement of the other. Therefore, if one

is defective, the other will necessarily be incomplete, and

perfection cannot be attained. There
|PPg_365

is a right hand and a left hand in the human body, functionally

equal in service and administration. If either proves

defective, the defect will naturally extend to the other by

involving the completeness of the whole; for accomplishment is

not normal unless both are perfect. If we say one hand is

deficient, we prove the inability and incapacity of the other;

for single-handed there is no full accomplishment. Just as

physical accomplishment is complete with two hands, so man and

woman, the two parts of the social body, must be perfect. It is

not natural that either should remain undeveloped; and until

both are perfected, the happiness of the human world will not

be realized.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 134)

2108. The status of woman in former times was exceedingly

deplorable, for it was the belief of the Orient that it was

best for woman to be ignorant. It was considered preferable

that she should not know reading or writing in order that she

might not be informed of events in the world. Woman was

considered to be created for rearing children and attending

to the duties of the household. If she pursued educational

courses, it was deemed contrary to chastity; hence women were

made prisoners of the household. The houses did not even have

windows opening upon the outside world. Bahá'u'lláh destroyed

these ideas and proclaimed the equality of man and woman. He

made woman respected by commanding that all women be educated,

that there be no difference in the education of the two sexes

and that man and woman share the same rights. In the estimation

of God there is no distinction of sex. One whose thought is

pure, whose education is superior, whose scientific attainments

are greater, whose deeds of philanthropy excel, be that one man

or woman, white or colored, is entitled to full rights and

recognition; there is no differentiation whatsoever....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 166)

2109. Woman's lack of progress and proficiency has been due to

her need of equal education and opportunity. Had she been

allowed this equality, there is no doubt she would be the

counterpart of man in ability and capacity. The happiness of

mankind will be realized when women and
|PPg_366

men coordinate and advance equally, for each is the complement

and helpmeet of the other.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 182)

2110. He establishes the equality of man and woman. This is

peculiar to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, for all other

religions have placed man above woman.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 455)

2111. Women have equal rights with men upon earth; in religion

and society they are a very important element. As long as women

are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so

long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be

theirs.

("Paris Talks: Addresses given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in

1911-1912", 10th ed. (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1979),

p. 133)

2112. In the world of humanity ... the female sex is treated as

though inferior, and is not allowed equal rights and

privileges. This condition is due not to nature, but to

education. In the Divine Creation there is no such distinction.

Neither sex is superior to the other in the sight of God. Why

then should one sex assert the inferiority of the other,

withholding just rights and privileges as though God had given His authority

for such a course of action? If women received

the same educational advantages as those of men, the result

would demonstrate the equality of capacity of both for

scholarship.

In some respects woman is superior to man. She is more

tender-hearted, more receptive, her intuition is more intense.

("Paris Talks: Addresses given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in

1911-1912", p. 161)

2113. Divine Justice demands that the rights of both sexes

should be equally respected since neither is superior to the

other in the eyes of Heaven.
|PPg_367

Dignity before God depends, not on sex, but on purity and

luminosity of heart. Human virtues belong equally to all!

("Paris Talks: Addresses given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in

1911-1912", p. 162)

2114. In the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, women are advancing

side by side with men. There is no area or instance where they

will lag behind: they have equal rights with men, and will

enter, in the future, into all branches of the administration

of society. Such will be their elevation that, in every area of

endeavour, they will occupy the highest levels in the human

world. Rest thou assured. Look not upon their present state. In

future, the world of womankind will shine with lustrous

brilliance, for such is the will and purpose of Bahá'u'lláh. At

the time of elections the right to vote is the inalienable

right of women, and the entrance of women into all human

departments is an irrefutable and incontrovertible question. No

soul can retard or prevent it.

But there are certain matters, the participation in which

is not worthy of women. For example, at the time when the

community is taking up vigorous defensive measures against the

attack of foes, the women are exempt from military engagements.

It may so happen that at a given time warlike and savage tribes

may furiously attack the body politic with the intention of

carrying on a wholesale slaughter of its members; under such a

circumstance defence is necessary, but it is the duty of men to

organize and execute such defensive measures and not the women--

because their hearts are tender and they cannot endure the

sight of the horror of carnage, even if it is for the sake of

defence. From such and similar undertakings the women are

exempt. As regards the constitution of the House of Justice,

Bahá'u'lláh addresses the men. He says: "O ye men of the House

of Justice!"

But when its members are to be elected, the right which

belongs to women, so far as their voting and their voice is

concerned, is indisputable. When the women attain to the

ultimate degree of progress, then, according to the exigency of

the time and place and their great capacity, they shall obtain

extraordinary privileges. Be ye confident on these accounts. His Holiness

Bahá'u'lláh has greatly strengthened the cause of

women, and the rights and privileges of women is one of the

greatest principles of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Rest ye assured! Ere long

the days shall come
|PPg_368

when the men addressing the women, shall say: 'Blessed are ye!

Blessed are ye! Verily ye are worthy of every gift. Verily ye

deserve to adorn your heads with the crown of everlasting glory,

because in sciences and arts, in virtues and perfections ye

shall become equal to man, and as regards tenderness of heart

and the abundance of mercy and sympathy ye are superior'

(From a Tablet to an individual believer- translated from the

Persian, published in "Paris Talks: Addresses given by

'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in 1911-1912",
p. 182-84)

2115. The woman of the East has progressed. Formerly in India,

Persia and throughout the Orient, she was not considered a

human being. Certain Arab tribes counted their women in with

the live stock. In their language the noun for woman also meant

donkey; that is, the same name applied to both and a man's

wealth was accounted by the number of these beasts of burden he

possessed. The worst insult one could hurl at a man was to cry

out, "Thou woman!"

From the moment Bahá'u'lláh appeared, this changed. He did

away with the idea of distinction between the sexes,

proclaiming them equal in every capacity. In former times it

was considered wiser that woman should not know how to read or

write; she should occupy herself only with drudgery. She was

very ignorant. Bahá'u'lláh declares the education of woman to

be of more importance than that of man. If the mother be

ignorant, even if the father have great knowledge, the child's

education will be at fault, for education begins with the milk.

A child at the breast is like a tender branch that the gardener

can train as he wills. The East has begun to educate its women.

Some there are in Persia who have become liberated through this

cause, whose cleverness and eloquence the 'ulama cannot refute.

Many of them are poets. They are absolutely fearless.

I hope for a like degree of progress among the women of Europe-- that

each may shine like unto a lamp; that they may cry out

the proclamation of the kingdom; that they may truly assist the

men; nay, that they may be even superior to the men, versed in

sciences and yet detached, so that the whole world may bear

witness to the fact that men and women have absolutely the same

rights. It would be a cause of great
|PPg_369

joy for me to see such women. This is useful work; by it woman

will enter into the kingdom. Otherwise, there will be no

results.

("'Abdu'l-Bahá on Divine Philosophy" (Boston: Tudor Press,

1918), pp. 81-83)

2116. The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man

has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and

aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is

already shifting; force is losing its dominance, and mental

alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and

service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy.

Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more

permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly,

will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of

civilization will be more evenly balanced.

(J. E. Esslemont, "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era", 5th rev. ed.

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987), p. 149)

Extracts From Letters Written on Behalf of Shoghi
Effendi:

2117. If presented properly the position of women in the Baha'i

teachings will surely attract much attention, for it is not

only legal but also spiritual and educational. Our ideals are

so high and at the same time so practicable that all other

views will fall short if compared to them.

(7 January 1931 to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and

Burma)

2118. As regards your question concerning the membership of the

Universal House of Justice: there is a Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Bahá

in which He definitely states that the membership of the

Universal House is confined to men, and that the wisdom of it

will be fully revealed and appreciated in the future. In the

local as well as the national Houses of Justice, however, women

have the full right of membership. It is, therefore, only to

the International House that they cannot be elected. The

Bahá'ís should accept this statement of the Master in a spirit

of deep faith, confident that there is a divine guidance and

wisdom behind it which will be gradually unfolded to the eyes

of the world.
(28 July 1936 to an individual believer)
|PPg_370

2119. As regards the membership of the International House of

Justice, 'Abdu'l-Bahá states in a Tablet that it is confined to

men, and that the wisdom of it will be revealed as manifest as

the sun in the future. In any case the believers should know

that, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself has explicitly stated that sexes

are equal except in some cases, the exclusion of women from the

International House of Justice should not be surprising. From

the fact that there is no equality of functions between the

sexes one should not, however, infer that either sex is

inherently superior or inferior to the other, or that they are

unequal in their rights.

(14 December 1940 to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma)

Extracts From Letters Written by the Universal House of

Justice:

2120. It is apparent from the Guardian's writings that where

Bahá'u'lláh has expressed a law as between a man and a woman it

applies, mutatis mutandis, between a woman and a man unless the

context should make this impossible. For example, the text of

the "Kitáb-i-Aqdas" forbids a man to marry his father's wife

(i.e. his step-mother), and the Guardian has indicated that

likewise a woman is forbidden to marry her step-father....

(28 April 1974 to an individual believer)

2121. Concerning your questions about the equality of men and

women, this, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá has often explained, is a

fundamental principle of Bahá'u'lláh; therefore the Laws of the

"Aqdas" should be studied in the light of it. Equality between

men and women does not, indeed physiologically it cannot, mean

identity of functions. In some things women excel men, for

others men are better fitted than women, while in very many

things the difference of sex is of no effect at all. The

differences of function are most apparent in family life. The

capacity for motherhood has many far-reaching implications

which are recognized in Bahá'í Law. For example, when it is not

possible to educate all one's children, daughters receive

preference over sons, as mothers are the first educators of the

next generation. Again, for physiological reasons, women are

granted certain exemptions from fasting that are not applicable

to men.
(24 July 1975 to an individual believer)
|PPg_371

2122. The primary question to be resolved is how the present

world, with its entrenched pattern of conflict, can change to a

world in which harmony and co-operation will prevail.

World order can be founded only on an unshakable

consciousness of the oneness of mankind, a spiritual truth

which all the human sciences confirm. Anthropology, physiology,

psychology, recognize only one human species, albeit infinitely

varied in the secondary aspects of life. Recognition of this

truth requires abandonment of prejudice -- prejudice of every

kind--race, class, colour, creed, nation, sex, degree of

material civilization, everything which enables people to

consider themselves superior to others.
Acceptance of the oneness of mankind is the first

fundamental prerequisite for reorganization and administration

of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Universal

acceptance of this spiritual principle is essential to any

successful attempt to establish world peace....
(October 1985 to the Peoples of the World)

From Letters Written on Behalf of the Universal House of

Justice:

2123. To the general premise that women and men have equality

in the Faith, this, as often explained by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, is a

fundamental principle deriving from Bahá'u'lláh and therefore

His mention of the "Men of Justice" in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas should

be considered in light of that principle ....
(29 June 1976 to an individual believer)

2124. ...'Abdu'l-Bahá asserts: "In this divine age the bounties

of God have encompassed the world of women. Equality of men and

women, except in some negligible instances, has been fully and

categorically announced. Distinctions have been utterly

removed." That men and women differ from one another in certain

characteristics and functions is an inescapable fact of nature;

the important thing is that He regards such inequalities as

remain between the sexes as being "negligible".

(8 January 1981 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

United States)

2125. You are quite right in stating that men and women have

basic and distinct qualities. The solution provided in the

teachings of Bahá'u'lláh is not, as you correctly observe, for

men to become women, and for
|PPg_372

women to become men. 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave us the key to the

problem when He taught that the qualities and functions of men

and women "complement" each other. He further elucidated this

point when He said that the "new age" will be "an age in which

the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be

more properly balanced."
(22 April 1981 to an individual believer)

2126. It may be helpful to stress ... that the Bahá'í principle

of the equality of men and women is clearly stated in the

teachings, and the fact that there is diversity of function

between them in certain areas does not negate this principle.

(23 August 1984 to two believers)

II. The Role of Education in the Development of Women

Extracts From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

2127. It is the bounden duty of parents to rear their children

to be staunch in faith ... For every praiseworthy deed is born

out of the light of religion, and lacking this supreme bestowal

the child will not turn away from any evil, nor will he draw

nigh unto any good.

(From a Tablet - translated from Persian, published in

"Bahá'í Education, a compilation, 1976 World Centre edition, p.

6)

Extracts From the Writings and Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

2128. Praised be God, the women believers have organized

meetings where they will learn how to teach the Faith, will spread the sweet

savours of the Teachings and make plans for
training the children.

...those present should concern themselves with every means

of training the girl children; with teaching the various

branches of knowledge, good behaviour, a proper way of life,

the cultivation of a good character, chastity and constancy,

perseverance, strength, determination, firmness of purpose;

with household management, the education of children, and

whatever especially applieth to the needs of girls--to the end

that these girls, reared in the stronghold of all perfections,

and with the protection of a goodly character, will, when they

themselves become mothers, bring up their children from

earliest infancy to have a good character and conduct

themselves well.
|PPg_373

Let them also study whatever will nurture the health of the

body and its physical soundness, and how to guard their

children from disease.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" sec. 94, pp.

123-24)

2129. Work ye for the guidance of the women in that land, teach

the young girls and the children, so that the mothers may

educate their little ones from their earliest days, thoroughly

train them, rear them to have a goodly character and good

morals, guide them to all the virtues of humankind, prevent the

development of any behaviour that would be worthy of blame, and

foster them in the embrace of Bahá'í education. Thus shall

these tender infants be nurtured at the breast of the knowledge

of God and His love. Thus shall they grow and flourish, and be

taught righteousness and the dignity of humankind, resolution

and the will to strive and to endure. Thus shall they learn

perseverance in all things, the will to advance, high

mindedness and high resolve, chastity and purity of life. Thus

shall they be enabled to carry to a successful conclusion

whatsoever they undertake.

Let the mothers consider that whatever concerneth the

education of children is of the first importance. Let them put

forth every effort in this regard, for when the bough is green

and tender it will grow in whatever way ye train it. Therefore

it is incumbent upon the mothers to rear their little ones even

as a gardener tendeth his young plants. Let them strive by day

and by night to establish within their children faith and

certitude, the fear of God, the love of the Beloved of the

worlds, and all good qualities and traits. Whensoever a mother

seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud

him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait

should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish

him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal

chastisement should this be necessary. It is not, however,

permissible to strike a child, or vilify him, for the child's

character will be totally perverted if he be subjected to blows or verbal

abuse.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 95, pp.

124-25)

2130. ...it is incumbent upon the father and mother to train

their children both in good conduct and the study of books;

study, that is, to the degree required, so that no child,

whether girl or boy, will remain illiterate....

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" sec 101, p.

127)
|PPg_374

2131. 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í supreme joy is in observing that a number

of leaves from among the handmaidens of the Blessed Beauty have

been educated, that they are the essence of detachment, and are

well-informed of the mysteries of the world of being; that they

raise such a call in their glorification and praise of the

Greatest Name as to cause the inmates of the Fanes of the

Kingdom to become attracted and overjoyed, and that they recite

prayers in prose and poetry, and melodiously chant the divine

verses. I cherish the hope that thou wilt be one of them, wilt

cast forth pearls, wilt be constantly engaged in singing His

praise and wilt intone celestial strains in glorification of

His attributes....
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2132. ...Thou hast written about the girls' school. What was

previously written still holdeth true. There can be no

improvement unless the girls are brought up in schools and

centres of learning, unless they are taught the sciences and

other branches of knowledge, and unless they acquire the

manifold arts, as necessary, and are divinely trained. For the

day will come when these girls will become mothers. Mothers are

the first educators of children, who establish virtues in the

child's inner nature. They encourage the child to acquire

perfections and goodly manners, warn him against unbecoming

qualities, and encourage him to show forth resolve, firmness,

and endurance under hardship, and to advance on the high road

to progress. Due regard for the education of girls is,

therefore, necessary. This is a very important subject, and it

should be administered and organized under the aegis of the

Spiritual Assembly....
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2133. ...it is incumbent upon the girls of this glorious era to

be fully versed in the various branches of knowledge, in

sciences and the arts and all the wonders of this pre-eminent

time, that they may then educate their children and train them

from their earliest days in the ways of perfection.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2134. Furthermore, the education of woman is more necessary and

important than that of man, for woman is the trainer of the child

from its infancy. If she be defective and imperfect

herself, the child will necessarily be deficient; therefore,

imperfection of woman implies a
|PPg_375

condition of imperfection in all mankind, for it is the mother

who rears, nurtures and guides the growth of the child. This is

not the function of the father. If the educator be incompetent,

the educated will be correspondingly lacking. This is evident

and incontrovertible. Could the student be brilliant and

accomplished if the teacher is illiterate and ignorant? The

mothers are the first educators of mankind; if they be

imperfect, alas for the condition and future of the race.

It has been objected by some that woman is not equally

capable with man and that she is deficient by creation. This is

pure imagination. The difference in capability between man and

woman is due entirely to opportunity and education. Heretofore

woman has been denied the right and privilege of equal

development. If equal opportunity be granted her, there is no

doubt she would be the peer of man. History will evidence this.

In past ages noted women have arisen in the affairs of nations

and surpassed men in their accomplishments....

The purpose, in brief, is this: that if woman be fully

educated and granted her rights, she will attain the capacity

for wonderful accomplishments and prove herself the equal of

man. She is the coadjutor of man, his complement and helpmeet.

Both are human; both are endowed with potentialities of

intelligence and embody the virtues of humanity. In all human

powers and functions they are partners and coequals. At present

in spheres of human activity woman does not manifest her natal

prerogatives, owing to lack of education and opportunity.

Without doubt education will establish her equality with

men....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", pp. 133-37)

2135. In proclaiming the oneness of mankind He taught that men

and women are equal in the sight of God and that there is no

distinction to be made between them. The only difference

between them now is due to lack of education and training. If

woman is given equal opportunity of education, distinction and

estimate of inferiority will disappear....

He promulgated the adoption of the same course of education

for man and woman. Daughters and sons must follow the same

curriculum
|PPg_376

of study, thereby promoting unity of the sexes. When all

mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the

equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war

will be utterly destroyed....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in

1912, pp. 17475)

2136. Why should a woman be left mentally undeveloped? Science

is praiseworthy--whether investigated by the intellect of man

or woman. So, little by little, woman advanced, giving

increasing evidence of equal capabilities with man--whether in

scientific research, political ability or any other sphere of

human activity. The conclusion is evident that woman has been

outdistanced through lack of education and intellectual

facilities. If given the same educational opportunities or

course of study, she would develop the same capacity and

abilities.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 281)

2137. Bahá'u'lláh has announced that inasmuch as ignorance and

lack of education are barriers of separation among mankind, all

must receive training and instruction. Through this provision

the lack of mutual understanding will be remedied and the unity

of mankind furthered and advanced. Universal education is a

universal law. It is, therefore, incumbent upon every father to

teach and instruct his children according to his possibilities.

If he is unable to educate them, the body politic, the

representative of the people, must provide the means for their

education.

The sex distinction which exists in the human world is due

to the lack of education for woman, who has been denied equal

opportunity for development and advancement. Equality of the

sexes will be established in proportion to the increased

opportunities afforded woman in this age, for man and woman are

equally the recipients of powers and endowments from God, the

Creator. God has not ordained distinction between them in His

consummate purpose.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 300)

2138. The education of each child is compulsory.... In addition

to this widespread education each child must be taught a

profession, art, or
|PPg_377

trade, so that every member of the community will be enabled to

earn his own livelihood. Work done in the spirit of service is

the highest form of worship....
("'Abdu'l-Bahá on Divine Philosophy", p. 78)

2139. Devote ye particular attention to the school for girls,

for the greatness of this wondrous Age will be manifested as a

result of progress in the world of women. This is why ye observe that in

every land the world of women is on the march,

and this is due to the impact of the Most Great Manifestation,

and the power of the teachings of God.

(From a Tablet- Translated from the Persian, published in

"Bahá'í Education, a compilation", p. 37)

2140. Our hearts rejoiced at thy letter concerning a school for

girls.

Praised be God that there is now a school of this type in

Tihran where young maidens can, through His bounty, receive an

education and with all vigour acquire the accomplishments of

humankind. Erelong will women in every field keep pace with the

men. Until now, in Persia, the means for women's advancement

were non-existent. But now, God be thanked, ever since the

dawning of the Morn of Salvation, they have been going forward

day by day. The hope is that they will take the lead in virtues

and attainments, in closeness to the Court of Almighty God, in

faith and certitude--and that the women of the East will become

the envy of the women of the West.

(From a Tablet- Translated from the Persian, published in

"Bahá'í Education, a compilation", p. 48)

Extract From a Letter Written by the Universal House of

Justice:

2141. The cause of universal education, which has already

enlisted in its service an army of dedicated people from every

faith and nation, deserves the utmost support that the

governments of the world can lend it. For ignorance is

indisputably the principal reason for the decline and fall of

peoples and the perpetuation of prejudice. No nation can

achieve success unless education is accorded all its citizens.

Lack of resources limits the ability of many nations to fulfil

this necessity, imposing a certain ordering of priorities. The

decision-making agencies involved would do well to consider

giving first priority to the education of women and girls,

since it
|PPg_378

is through educated mothers that the benefits of knowledge can

be most effectively and rapidly diffused throughout society. In

keeping with the requirements of the times, consideration

should also be given to teaching the concept of world

citizenship as part of the standard education of every child.

(October 1985 to the Peoples of the World)

Extracts From Letters Written on Behalf of the Universal House

of Justice:

2142. A very important element in the attainment of such

equality is Bahá'u'lláh's provision that boys and girls must

follow essentially the same curriculum in schools.

(28 December 1980 to the National Spiritual Assembly of New

Zealand)

2143. The House of Justice regards the need to educate and

guide women in their primary responsibility as mothers as an

excellent opportunity for organizing women's activities. Your

efforts should focus on helping them in their function as

educators of the rising generation. Women should also be

encouraged to attract their husbands and male members of their

families to the Faith so that the Bahá'í community will be

representative of the society of which it forms a part.

Gradually the spirit of unity and fellowship, as set forth in

our teachings, will be reflected in the life of Baha'i

families.

(29 February 1984 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

Mariana Islands)

III. Application of the Principle of Equality to Family Life

Extracts From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

2144. Steadfastness in the Cause is mentioned in the Tablets

and set forth by the Pen of the Ancient of Days. Render thanks

to the Beloved of the world that thou hast set thy heart on Him

and art uttering His praise. Many a man hath in this day been

deprived of making mention of the All-Sufficing Lord and of

recognizing His truth; and many a woman hath fixed her gaze

upon the Horizon of the Most High, and hath adorned herself

with the garb of the love of the Desire of the world. This is

God's grace which He bestoweth upon whomsoever He pleaseth. By

the Day-Star
|PPg_379

of ancient mysteries! The sweet-scented fragrance of every

breath breathed in the love of God is wafted in the court of

the presence of the Lord of Revelation. The reward of no good

deed is or ever will be lost. Blessed art thou, doubly blessed

art thou! Thou art reckoned amongst those handmaidens whose

love for their kin hath not prevented them from attaining the

shores of the Sea of Grace and Mercy. God willing, thou shalt

rest eternally neath the shade of the favours of the

All-Merciful and shalt be assured of His bounties. Engage in

the praise of the True One and rejoice in His loving-kindness.

The world passeth away, and that which is everlasting is

the love of God. God willing, thou shalt circumambulate the

True One in every world of His worlds and shalt be free from

all else save Him....

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

2145. All should know, and in this regard attain the splendours

of the sun of certitude, and be illumined thereby: Women and

men have been and will always be equal in the sight of God. The

Dawning-Place of the Light of God sheddeth its radiance upon

all with the same effulgence. Verily God created women for men,

and men for women. The most beloved of people before God are

the most steadfast and those who have surpassed others in their

love for God, exalted be His glory....

The friends of God must be adorned with the ornament

of justice, equity, kindness and love. As they do not allow

themselves to be the object of cruelty and transgression, in

like manner they should not allow such tyranny to visit the

handmaidens of God. He, verily, speaketh the truth and

commandeth that which benefitteth His servants and handmaidens.

He is the Protector of all in this world and the next.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

Extracts From the Writings and Utterances of
'Abdu'l-Bahá:

2146. The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to

abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be

even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate

friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each

other.

If they live thus, they will pass through this world with

perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the

object of divine grace and favour in the Kingdom of heaven. But

if they do other than
|PPg_380

this, they will live out their lives in great bitterness,

longing at every moment for death, and will be shamefaced in

the heavenly realm.

Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as

two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both

worlds.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec 92, p.

122)

2147. ...following the precepts of God and the holy Law, suckle

your children from their infancy with the milk of a universal

education, and rear them so that from their earliest days,

within their inmost heart, their very nature, a way of life

will be firmly established that will conform to the divine

Teachings in all things.

For mothers are the first educators, the first mentors; and

truly it is the mothers who determine the happiness, the future

greatness, the courteous ways and learning and judgement, the

understanding and the faith of their little ones.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 96, p.

126)

2148. ...it is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty,

to strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son, to

nurse them from the breast of knowledge and to rear them in the

bosom of sciences and arts. Should they neglect this matter,

they shall be held responsible and worthy of reproach in the

presence of the stern Lord.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 98, p.

127)

2149. O ye loving mothers, know ye that in God's sight, the

best of all ways to worship Him is to educate the children and

train them in all the perfections of humankind; and no nobler

deed than this can be imagined.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" sec. 144, p.

139)

2150. Note ye how easily, where unity existeth in a given

family, the affairs of that family are conducted; what progress

the members of that family make, how they prosper in the world.

Their concerns are in order, they enjoy comfort and

tranquillity, they are secure, their position is assured, they

come to be envied by all. Such a family but addeth to its

stature and its lasting honour, as day succeedeth day....

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá", sec. 221, p.

279)
|PPg_381

2151. You have asked whether a husband would be able to prevent

his wife from embracing the divine light or a wife dissuade her

husband from gaining entry into the Kingdom of God. In truth

neither of them could prevent the other from entering into the

Kingdom, unless the husband hath an excessive attachment to the

wife or the wife to the husband. Indeed when either of the two

worshippeth the other to the exclusion of God, then each could

prevent the other from seeking admittance into His Kingdom.

(From a Tablet - Translated from the Arabic, published in

"Family Life, a compilation", p. 8)

2152. Question: What is the attitude of your belief toward the

family?

Answer: According to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh the

family, being a human unit, must be educated according to the

rules of sanctity. All the virtues must be taught the family.

The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered,

and the rights of the individual members must not be

transgressed. The rights of the son, the father, the mother--

none of them must be transgressed, none of them must be

arbitrary.Just as the son has certain obligations to his

father, the father, likewise, has certain obligations to his

son. The mother, the sister and other members of the household

have their certain prerogatives. All these rights and

prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family

must be sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the

injury of all; the comfort of each, the comfort of all; the

honor of one, the honor of all.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912" p. 168)

Extracts From letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi

to individual believers unless otherwise cited:

2153. When such difference of opinion and belief occurs between husband

and wife it is very unfortunate for undoubtedly it

detracts from that spiritual bond which is the stronghold of

the family bond, especially in times of difficulty. The way,

however, that it could be remedied is not by acting in such

wise as to alienate the other party. One of the objects of the

Cause is actually to bring about a closer bond in the homes. In

all such cases, therefore, the Master used to advise obedience

to the wishes of the other party and prayer. Pray that your

husband may gradually see
|PPg_382

the light and at the same time so act as to draw him nearer

rather than prejudice him. Once that harmony is secured then

you will be able to serve unhampered.
(15 July 1928)

2154. Shoghi Effendi trusts that as a result of his cable and

this letter your wife will be able to devote a little more time

to her family, but he also hopes that you will be able to

assist her in obtaining the time and opportunity to serve a

Cause that is so dear and near to her heart and in which her

services are much appreciated.
(19 June 1931)

2155. The Guardian, in his remarks ... about parents' and

children's, wives' and husbands' relations in America, meant

that there is a tendency in that country for children to be too

independent of the wishes of their parents and lacking in the

respect due to them. Also wives, in some cases, have a tendency

to exert an unjust degree of domination over their husbands,

which, of course, is not right, any more than that the husband

should unjustly dominate his wife.
(22 July 1943)

2156. It is one of the essential teachings of the Faith that

unity should be maintained in the home. Of course this does not

mean that any member of the family has a right to influence the

faith of any other member; and if this is realized by all the

members, then it seems certain that unity would be feasible.

(6 July 1952)

2157. The Guardian fully appreciates your desire to go forth as

a pioneer at this time, and to help establish the Faith in the

virgin areas, but you should not go against the wishes of your

husband, and force him to give up everything in order that you

might serve the Faith in this manner. We must bear in mind the

wishes and the rights of those who are closely connected in our

lives.

If your husband wishes you to remain where you are,

certainly there is a vast field for teaching there....

(31 July 1953)
|PPg_383

2158. Wherever there is a Bahá'í family, those concerned should

by all means do all they can to preserve it, because divorce is

strongly condemned in the Teachings, whereas harmony, unity and

love are held up as the highest ideals in human relationships.

This must always apply to the Baha'is, whether they are serving

in the pioneering field or not.

(9 November 1956 to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central

America)

Extracts From letters Written on Behalf of the Universal House

of Justice to individual believers unless otherwise cited:

2159. That the first teacher of the child is the mother should

not be startling, for the primary orientation of the infant is

to its mother. This provision of nature in no way minimizes the

role of the father in the Bahá'í family. Again, equality of

status does not mean identity of function.
(23 June 1974)

2160. In considering the problems that you and your wife are

experiencing, the House of Justice points out that the unity of

your family should take priority over any other consideration.

Bahá'u'lláh came to bring unity to the world, and a fundamental

unity is that of the family. Therefore, we must believe that

the Faith is intended to strengthen the family, not weaken it.

For example, service to the Cause should not produce neglect of

the family. It is important for you to arrange your time so

that your family life is harmonious and your household receives

the attention it requires.

Bahá'u'lláh also stressed the importance of consultation.

We should not think this worthwhile method of seeking solutions

is confined to the administrative institutions of the Cause.

Family consultation employing full and frank discussion, and

animated by awareness of the need for moderation and balance,

can be the panacea for domestic conflict. Wives should not

attempt to dominate their husbands, nor husbands their

wives....
(1 August 1978)

2161. Noting that you and your husband have consulted about

your family problems with your Spiritual Assembly but did not

receive any advice, and
|PPg_384

also discussed your situation with a family counsellor without

success, the House of Justice feels it most essential for your

husband and you to understand that marriage can be a source of

well-being, conveying a sense of security and spiritual

happiness. However, it is not something that just happens. For

marriage to become a haven of contentment it requires the

cooperation of the marriage partners themselves, and the

assistance of their families....
(24 June 1979)
2162. The members of a family all have duties and

responsibilities towards one another and to the family as a

whole, and these duties and responsibilities vary from member

to member because of their natural relationships. The parents

have the inescapable duty to educate their children--but not

vice versa; the children have the duty to obey their parents--the

parents do not obey the children; the mother--not the

father--bears the children, nurses them in babyhood, and is

thus their first educator; hence daughters have a prior right

to education over sons and, as the Guardian's secretary has

written on his behalf, 'The task of bringing up a Bahá'í child,

as emphasized time and again in Bahá'í Writings, is the chief

responsibility of the mother, whose unique privilege is indeed

to create in her home such conditions as would be most

conducive to both his material and spiritual welfare and

advancement. The training which a child first receives through

his mother constitutes the strongest foundation for his future

development..." A corollary of this responsibility of the

mother is her right to be supported by her husband -- a husband

has no explicit right to be supported by his wife....

In any group, however loving the consultation, there are

nevertheless points on which, from time to time, agreement

cannot be reached. In a Spiritual Assembly this dilemma is

resolved by a majority vote. There can, however, be no majority

where only two parties are involved, as in the case of a

husband and wife. There are, therefore, times when a wife

should defer to her husband, and times when a husband should

defer to his wife, but neither should ever unjustly dominate

the other. In short, the relationship between husband and wife

should be as held forth in the prayer revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá

which is often read at Bahá'í weddings:
|PPg_385

"Verily, they are married in obedience to Thy command. Cause

them to become the signs of harmony and unity until the end of

time."

These are all relationships within the family, but there is

a much wider sphere of relationships between men and women than

in the home, and this too we should consider in the context of

Bahá'í society, not in that of past or present social norms.

For example, although the mother is the first educator of the

child, and the most important formative influence in his

development, the father also has the responsibility of

educating his children, and this responsibility is so weighty

that Bahá'u'lláh has stated that a father who fails to exercise

it forfeits his rights of fatherhood. Similarly, although the

primary responsibility for supporting the family financially is

placed upon the husband, this does not by any means imply that

the place of woman is confined to the home....

(28 December 1980 to the National Spiritual Assembly of New

Zealand)

2163. You have asked, however, for specific rules of conduct to

govern the relationships of husbands and wives. This the House

of Justice does not wish to do, and it feels that there is

already adequate guidance included in the compilation on this

subject. For example the principle that the rights of each and

all in the family unit must be upheld, and the advice that

loving consultation should be the keynote, that all matters

should be settled in harmony and love, and that there are times

when the husband and the wife should defer to the wishes of the

other. Exactly under what circumstances such deference should

take place, is a matter for each couple to determine....

(16 May 1982)

2164. You ask about the admonition that everyone must work, and

want to know if this means that you, a wife and mother, must

work for a livelihood as your husband does. We are requested to

enclose for your perusal an excerpt, "The twelfth

Glad-Tidings", from Bahá'u'lláh's "Tablet of Bisharat".[3] You

will see that the directive is for the friends to be engaged in

an occupation which will be of benefit to mankind. Homemaking

is a highly honourable and responsible work of fundamental

importance for mankind....
____

[3] This passage appears in the present compilation under

Section IV., page 21.
|PPg_386
(16 June 1982)

2165. With regard to your question whether mothers should work

outside the home, it is helpful to consider the matter from the

perspective of the concept of a Bahá'í family. This concept is

based on the principle that the man has primary responsibility

for the financial support of the family, and the woman is the

chief and primary educator of the children. This by no means

implies that these functions are inflexibly fixed and cannot be

changed and adjusted to suit particular family situations, nor

does it mean that the place of the woman is confined to the

home. Rather, while primary responsibility is assigned, it is

anticipated that fathers would play a significant role in the

education of the children and women could also be breadwinners.

As you rightly indicated, 'Abdu'l-Bahá encouraged women to

"participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world".

In relation to your specific queries, the decision

concerning the amount of time a mother may spend in working

outside the home depends on circumstances existing within the

home, which may vary from time to time. Family consultation

will help to provide the answers....
(9 August 1984)

2166. The great importance attached to the mother's role

derives from the fact that she is the first educator of the

child. Her attitude, her prayers, even what she eats and her physical

condition have a great influence on the child when it

is still in the womb. When the child is born, it is she who has

been endowed by God with the milk which is the first food

designed for it, and it is intended that, if possible, she

should be with the baby to train and nurture it in its earliest

days and months. This does not mean that the father does not

also love, pray for, and care for his baby, but as he has the

primary responsibility of providing for the family, his time to

be with his child is usually limited, while the mother is

usually closely associated with the baby during this intensely

formative time when it is growing and developing faster than it

ever will again during the whole of its life. As the child

grows older and more independent, the relative nature of its

relationship with its mother and father modifies and the father

can play a greater role.
(23 August 1984 to two believers)
|PPg_387
IV. Women in the World at Large
Extract From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

2167. It is enjoined upon every one of you to engage in some

form of occupation, such as crafts, trades and the like. We

have graciously exalted your engagement in such work to the

rank of worship unto God, the True One. Ponder ye in your

hearts the grace and the blessings of God and render thanks

unto Him at eventide and at dawn. Waste not your time in

idleness and sloth. Occupy yourselves with that which

profiteth yourselves and others. Thus hath it been decreed in

this Tablet from whose horizon the day-star of wisdom and

utterance shineth resplendent.

The most despised of men in the sight of God are those who

sit idly and beg. Hold ye fast unto the cord of material means,

placing your whole trust in God, the Provider of all means.

When anyone occupieth himself in a craft or trade, such

occupation itself is regarded in the estimation of God as an

act of worship; and this is naught but a token of His infinite

and all-pervasive bounty.

("Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas"

[rev. ed.], (Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), p. 26)

Extracts From the Writings and Utterances of
'Abdu'l-Bahá:

2168. The handmaidens of God and the bondsmaids in His divine

Court should reveal such attributes and attitudes amongst the

women of the world as would cause them to stand out and achieve

renown in the circles of women. That is, they should associate

with them with supreme chastity and steadfast decency, with

unshakeable faith, articulate speech, an eloquent tongue,

irrefutable testimony and high resolve. Beseech God that thou

mayest attain unto all these bounties.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

2169. Until the reality of equality between man and woman is

fully established and attained, the highest social development

of mankind is not possible. Even granted that woman is inferior

to man in some degree of capacity or accomplishment, this or

any other distinction would continue to be productive of

discord and trouble. The only remedy is education, opportunity;

for equality means equal qualification....
|PPg_388

And let it be known once more that until woman and man

recognize and realize equality, social and political progress

here or anywhere will not be possible....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912, pp. 76-77)

2170. ...the principle of religion has been revealed by

Bahá'u'lláh that woman must be given the privilege of equal

education with man and full right to his prerogatives. That is

to say, there must be no difference in the education of male

and female in order that womankind may develop equal capacity

and importance with man in the social and economic equation.

Then the world will attain unity and harmony. In past ages

humanity has been defective and inefficient because it has been

incomplete. War and its ravages have blighted the world; the

education of woman will be a mighty step toward its abolition

and ending, for she will use her whole influence against war.

Woman rears the child and educates the youth to maturity. She

will refuse to give her sons for sacrifice upon the field of

battle. In truth, she will be the greatest factor in

establishing universal peace and international arbitration.

Assuredly, woman will abolish warfare among mankind....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 108)

2171. Again, it is well established in history that where woman

has not participated in human affairs the outcomes have never

attained a state of completion and perfection. On the other

hand, every influential undertaking of the human world wherein

woman has been a participant has attained importance. This is

historically true and beyond disproof even in religion.Jesus

Christ had twelve disciples and among His followers a woman

known as Mary Magdalene.Judas Iscariot had become a traitor and

hypocrite, and after the crucifixion the remaining eleven

disciples were wavering and undecided. It is certain from the

evidence of the Gospels that the one who comforted them and

reestablished their faith was Mary Magdalene.

The most momentous question of this day is international

peace and arbitration, and universal peace is impossible

without universal suffrage. . . .
|PPg_389

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 134)

2172. Question: Is it not a fact that universal peace cannot be

accomplished until there is political democracy in all the

countries of the world?

Answer: It is very evident that in the future there shall

be no centralization in the countries of the world, be they

constitutional in government, republican or democratic in form.

The United States may be held up as the example of future

government--that is to say, each province will be independent

in itself, but there will be federal union protecting the

interests of the various independent states. It may not be a

republican or a democratic form. To cast aside centralization

which promotes despotism is the exigency of the time. This will

be productive of international peace. Another fact of equal

importance in bringing about international peace is woman 's

suffrage. That is to say, when perfect equality shall be

established between men and women, peace may be realized for

the simple reason that womankind in general will never favor

warfare. Women will not be willing to allow those whom they

have so tenderly cared for to go to the battlefield. When they

shall have a vote, they will oppose any cause of warfare.

Another factor which will bring about universal peace is the

linking together of the Orient and the Occident.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 167)

2173. When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of

education and the equality of men and women be realized, the

foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without equality

this will be impossible because all differences and distinction

are conducive to discord and strife. Equality between men and

women is conducive to the abolition of warfare for the reason

that women will never be willing to sanction it....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 175)
|PPg_390

2174. Woman must especially devote her energies and abilities

toward the industrial and agricultural sciences, seeking to

assist mankind in that which is most needful. By this means she

will demonstrate capability and ensure recognition of equality

in the social and economic equation....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 283)

2175. Therefore, strive to show in the human world that women are most

capable and efficient, that their hearts are more

tender and susceptible than the hearts of men, that they are

more philanthropic and responsive toward the needy and

suffering, that they are inflexibly opposed to war and are

lovers of peace. Strive that the ideal of international peace

may become realized through the efforts of womankind, for man

is more inclined to war than woman, and a real evidence of

woman's superiority will be her service and efficiency in the

establishment of universal peace.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912" p. 284)

2176. ...imbued with the same virtues as man, rising through

all the degrees of human attainment, women will become the

peers of men, and until this equality is established, true

progress and attainment for the human race will not be

facilitated.

The evident reasons underlying this are as follows: Woman

by nature is opposed to war; she is an advocate of peace.

Children are reared and brought up by the mothers who give them

the first principles of education and labor assiduously in

their behalf. Consider, for instance, a mother who has tenderly

reared a son for twenty years to the age of maturity. Surely

she will not consent to having that son torn asunder and killed

in the field of battle. Therefore, as woman advances toward the

degree of man in power and privilege, with the right of vote

and control in human government, most assuredly war will cease;

for woman is naturally the most devoted and staunch advocate of

international peace.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 375)
|PPg_391

2177. According to the spirit of this age, women must advance

and fulfill their mission in all departments of life, becoming equal to men.

They must be on the same level as men and enjoy equal rights. This is my

earnest prayer and it is one of the fundamental principles of Bahá'u'lláh.

(J. E. Esslemont, "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era" p. 147)

2178. ...The woman is indeed of the greater importance to the

race. She has the greater burden and the greater work. Look at

the vegetable and the animal worlds. The palm which carries the

fruit is the tree most prized by the date grower. The Arab

knows that for a long journey the mare has the longest wind. For her

greater strength and fierceness, the lioness is more feared by the hunter

than the lion.

The woman has greater moral courage than the man; she has also

special gifts which enable her to govern in moments of

danger and crisis....

("'Abdu'l-Bahá in London: Addresses, and Notes of Conversations"

(London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982), pp. 102-3)

Extracts From Letters Written on Behalf of Shoghi
Effendi:

2179. Concerning Bahá'í representation at the All-Asian Women's

Conference: this is undoubtedly a most commendable thing to do

especially as the Cause has so much concerning the position of

women in society. Shoghi Effendi hopes that the National

Assembly will do its best to win the admiration of all the

assembled delegates for the teachings of the Cause along that

line. We should always take such opportunities that present

themselves. Maybe we would succeed to render some service to

society and alleviate its ills.

(10 November 1930 to the National Spiritual Assembly of India

and Burma)

2180. What 'Abdu'l-Bahá meant about the women arising for peace

is that this a matter which vitally affects women, and when

they form a conscious and overwhelming mass of public opinion

against war there can be no war. The Bahá'í women are already

organized through being members of the Faith and the

Administrative Order. No further organization is needed. But

they should, through teaching and through the active moral

support they give to every movement directed towards peace,

seek to exert a strong influence on other women's minds in

regard to this essential matter.
|PPg_392
(24 March 1945 to an individual believer)

Extract From a Letter Written by the Universal House of

Justice:

2181. The emancipation of women, the achievement of full

equality between the sexes, is one of the most important,

though less acknowledged prerequisites of peace. The denial of

such equality perpetrates an injustice against one half of the

world's population and promotes in men harmful attitudes and

habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to

political life, and ultimately to international relations.

There are no grounds, moral, practical, or biological, upon

which such denial can be justified. Only as women are welcomed

into full partnership in all fields of human endeavour will the

moral and psychological climate be created in which

international peace can emerge.
(October 1985 to the Peoples of the World)

Extracts From Letters Written on Behalf of the Universal

House of Justice:

2182. ...there is a much wider sphere of relationships between

men and women than in the home, and this too we should consider

in the context of Bahá'í society, not in that of past or present

social norms. For example, although the mother is the

first educator of the child, and the most important formative

influence in his development, the father also has the

responsibility of educating his children, and this

responsibility is so weighty that Bahá'u'lláh has stated that a

father who fails to exercise it forfeits his rights of

fatherhood. Similarly, although the primary responsibility for

supporting the family financially is placed upon the husband,

this does not by any means imply that the place of woman is

confined to the home. On the contrary, 'Abdu'l-Bahá has stated:

In the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, women are advancing

side by side with men. There is no area or instance where they

will lag behind: they have equal rights with men, and will

enter, in the future, into all branches of the administration

of society. Such will be their elevation that, in every area of

endeavour, they will occupy the highest levels in the human

world....[4]
____

[4] The quotation in the original letter which was taken from

"Paris Talks", p. 182, has been replaced by this revised

translation.
|PPg_393
and again:

So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and

equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter

confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will

cease;...
("The Promulgation of Universal Peace", p. 135)

In the Tablet of the World, Bahá'u'lláh Himself has

envisaged that women as well as men would be breadwinners in

stating:

Everyone, whether man or woman, should hand over to a

trusted person a portion of what he or she earneth through

trade, agriculture or other occupation, for the training and

education of children, to be spent for this purpose with the

knowledge of the Trustees of the House of Justice.

("Tablets of Baha'u'LLah Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p.

90) (28 December 1980 to the National Spiritual Assembly of New

Zealand)

2183. The duty of women in being the first educators of mankind

is clearly set forth in the Writings. It is for every woman, if

and when she becomes a mother, to determine how best she can

discharge on the one hand her chief responsibility as a mother

and on the other, to the extent possible, to participate in

other aspects of the activities of the society of which she

forms a part....
(22 April 1981 to an individual believer)
V. Fostering the Development of Women
Extracts From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh:

2184. In this Day the Blessed Tree of Remembrance speaketh

forth in the Kingdom of Utterance saying: Well is it with the

servant who hath turned his face towards Him, and embraced His

truth, and with the handmaiden who hath hearkened to His Voice

and become of the blissful. Verily, she is a champion of the

field of true understanding. To this the Tongue of Truth

beareth witness from His exalted Station.

O My leaf, blessed art thou for having responded to My call

when it was raised in the name of the True One. Thou didst

recognize My Revelation when men of renown were immersed in

manifest idle fancies. Thou hast verily attained the mercy of

thy Lord time and again. Render thanks unto Him and glorify Him

with thy Praise. He is, in truth, with His
|PPg_394

handmaidens and servants who have turned towards Him. The

shining glory from the Horizon of My Kingdom be upon thee and

upon the one who hath guided thee to My straight path.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

2185. We beseech the True One to adorn His handmaidens with the

ornament of chastity, of trustworthiness, of righteousness and

of purity. Verily, He is the All-Bestowing, the All-Generous.

We make mention of the handmaidens of God at this time and

announce unto them the glad-tidings of the tokens of the mercy

and compassion of God and His consideration for them, glorified

be He, and We supplicate Him for all His assistance to perform

such deeds as are the cause of the exaltation of His Word. He

verily speaketh the truth and enjoineth upon His servants and

His handmaidens that which will profit them in every world of

His worlds. He, verily, is the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian and Arabic)

Extracts From the Writings and Utterances of
'Abdu'l-Bahá:

2186. The effulgence of the rays of the Sun of Truth is

abundant and the favours of the Blessed Beauty surround the

women believers and the handmaidens who have attained unto

certitude. At every moment a bounteous bestowal is revealed.

The handmaidens of the Merciful should seize the opportunities

afforded in these days. Each one should strive to draw nigh

unto the divine Threshold and seek bounties from the Source of

existence. She should attain such a state and be confirmed with

such a power as to make, with but the utterance of one word, a

lowly person to be held in reverence, initiate him who is

deprived into the world of the spirit, impart hope to the

despondent, endow the portionless one with a share of the great

bestowal, and confer knowledge and insight upon the ignorant

and the blind, and alertness and vigilance on the indolent and

heedless. This is the attribute of the handmaidens of the Merciful.

This is the characteristic of the bondsmaids of God's

Threshold.

O ye leaves who have attained certitude! In the countries

of Europe and America the maidservants of the Merciful have won

the prize of excellence and advancement from the arena of men,

and in the fields of teaching and spreading the divine

fragrances they have shown a brilliant hand. Soon they will

soar like the birds of the Concourse on high in the

|PPg_395

far corners of the world and will guide the people and reveal

to them the divine mysteries. Ye, who are the blessed leaves

from the East, should burn more brightly, and engage in

spreading the sweet savours of the Lord and in reciting the

verses of God. Arise, therefore, and exert yourselves to fulfil

the exhortations and counsels of the Blessed Beauty, that all

hopes may be realized and that the plain of streams and

orchards may become the garden of oneness.
Upon ye, men and women, be the glory of glories.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2187. In this great Cycle and wondrous Dispensation some women

have been raised up who were the emblems of unity and ensigns

of oneness, for the revelation of divine bestowals is received

by men and women in equal measure. "Verily the most honoured in

the sight of God is the most virtuous amongst you"[5] is

applicable to both men and women, to servants and handmaidens.

All are under the shadow of the Word of God and all derive

their strength from the bounties of the Lord. Therefore, do not

consider thyself to be insignificant by doubting what a

handmaiden living behind the veil can do....

With a firm heart, a steadfast step and an eloquent tongue

arise to spread the Word of God and say: "O God, although I am

sitting concealed behind the screen of chastity and am

restricted by the veil and exigencies of modesty, my cherished

hope is to raise the banner of service and to become a

maidservant at Thy Holy Threshold; to ride on a charger and

penetrate the army of the ignorant, defeat the mighty regiments

and subvert the foundations of error and violation. Thou art

the Helper of the weak, Thou art the Sustainer of the poor,

Thou art the Succourer of the handmaidens. Verily, Thou art the

Almighty and All-Powerful."
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2188. Confirmations from the kingdom of God will assuredly be

received, enabling some radiant leaves to appear resplendent in

the assemblage of this world with clear proofs and convincing

reasons, which will adorn the cause of womanhood. They will

prove that in this cycle women are equal to men, nay, in

certain respects they will excel. Ponder ye: in this

____
[5] Qur'an 49:13
|PPg_396

wonderful Cause numerous were the men who scaled the heights of

knowledge; they had a brilliant utterance, a convincing proof,

an eloquent tongue and magnificent speech, but the blessed

leaf, Jinab-i-Tahirih, because she was a woman, emerged with

immense splendour and dumbfounded all the people. If she were a

man, this would not have been so at all. Therefore, ye should

know that the greatness of the Cause hath penetrated the nerves

and veins of the world in such wise that if one of the leaves

is attracted and gains mastery in demonstrating reasons and

proofs and in uttering convincing evidences, she will shine

resplendently. O radiant leaves, I swear by the Beauty of the

Desired One and the Mystery of Existence that if ye work

actively in this realm, the outpourings of the Blessed Beauty

will reflect as the sun in the mirrors of the hearts. Your

progress will astonish all.

The attracted leaves should not, when associating with each

other, talk merely about the temperature of the weather, the

coldness of the water, the beauty of the flowers and gardens,

the freshness of the grass and the flowing water. They should

rather restrict their discussions to glorification and praise

and the uttering of proofs and reasons, to quoting verses and

traditions and putting forth clear testimonies, so that all the

homes of the loved ones will be converted into gathering places

for lessons on teaching the Cause. If ye do so, in a short

while the outpourings of the Kingdom will be so manifested that

each one of the handmaidens of the Merciful will become a

perspicuous book revealing the mysteries of the Lord of Mercy.

Upon you be the glory of glories.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2189. In this wondrous Dispensation the favours of the Glorious

Lord are vouchsafed unto the handmaidens of the Merciful.

Therefore, they should, like unto men, seize the prize and

excel in the field, so that it will be proven and made manifest

that the penetrative influence of the Word of God in this new

Dispensation hath caused women to be equal with men, and that

in the arena of tests they will outdo others. Therefore, the

true bondsmaids of the Blessed Beauty must be revived by the

spirit of detachment, and refreshed by the breezes of

attraction. With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with

souls gladdened by the heavenly glad-tidings, and with extreme

humility and lowliness, let them speak out
|PPg_397

with eloquent speech, and praise and glorify the Great Lord,

for they are the manifestations of His bounty and adorned with

the crown of splendour.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2190. Blessed, blessed are ye for ye have arranged spiritual

meetings and engaged in propounding divine proofs and evidences. Ye are

intent on vindicating truth in support of the

manifest Light of the Cause, through conclusive arguments and

proofs based on the sacred scriptures of the past. This is a

very noble aim, and this cherished hope a cause of the

illumination of all peoples and nations.

From the beginning of existence until the present day, in

any of the past cycles and dispensations, no assemblies for

women have ever been established and classes for the purpose of

spreading the teachings were never held by them. This is one of

the characteristics of this glorious Dispensation and this

great century. Ye should, most certainly, strive to perfect

this assemblage and increase your knowledge of the realities of

heavenly mysteries, so that, God willing, in a short time,

women will become the same as men; they will take a leading

position amongst the learned, will each have a fluent tongue

and eloquent speech, and shine like unto lamps of guidance

throughout the world. In some respects, women have astonishing

capacities; they hasten in their attraction to God, and are

intense in their fiery ardour for Him.

In brief, spend your nights and days in the study of the

holy Utterances and in acquiring perfections. Occupy yourselves

always in discussing these matters. When ye meet each other,

convey the glad-tidings and impart hope to one another because

of the confirmations and bounties of the Ancient and

Ever-Living Lord. Let each set forth proofs and evidences, and

talk about the mysteries of the Kingdom, so that the true and

divine Spirit may permeate the body of the contingent world and

the secrets of all things, whether of the past or of the

future, may become openly manifest and resplendent.

O loved handmaidens of God! Consider not your present

merits and capacities, rather fix your gaze on the favours and

confirmations of the Blessed Beauty, because His everlasting

grace will make of the insignificant plant a blessed tree, will

turn the mirage into cool water and wine; will cause the

forsaken atom to become the very essence of being,

|PPg_398

the puny one erudite in the school of knowledge. It enableth a

thorny bush to give forth blossoms, and the dark earth to

produce fragrant and rich hyacinths. It will transmute the

stone into a ruby of great price, and fill the sea shells with

brilliant pearls. It will assist a fledgling schoolchild to

become a learned teacher and enable a frail embryo to reveal

the reality of the verse: "Hallowed be the Lord, the Most

Excellent of all creators."[6]
Verily, my Lord is powerful over things.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2191. In this day the duty of everyone, whether man or woman,

is to teach the Cause. In America, the women have outdone the

men in this regard and have taken the lead in this field. They

strive harder in guiding the peoples of the world, and their

endeavours are greater. They are confirmed by divine bestowals and

blessings. It is my hope that in the East the handmaids of

the Merciful will also exert such effort, reveal their powers,

and manifest their capacities....
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2192. Now is the time to speak forth and to deliver speeches,

the time to teach and to give testimony. Loosen thy tongue,

expound the truths, and establish the validity of the verse:

"The All-Merciful hath taught the Qur'an."[7] The Holy Spirit

speaketh through the innermost essence of the human tongue,

God's Spirit which desireth communion with the human soul

unfoldeth the truths, the Faithful Spirit writeth down and the

Spirit of the Ancient of Days confirmeth. I swear by that

Peerless Beauty, Who is in the Unseen Kingdom, that when the

leaves loose their tongues in praise and glorification of the

All-Loving Lord, and in teaching the Cause of the Kind Lord,

the concourse of the Kingdom and the inmates of the Unseen

Realms will give ear, and cry out with exclamations of extreme

joy and jubilation.

Glory be upon thee and upon every handmaiden who is

steadfast in the Covenant.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)
____
[6] Qur'an 23:14
[7] Qur'an 55:2
|PPg_399

2193. O handmaid of God!... To the mothers must be given the

divine Teachings and effective counsel, and they must be

encouraged and made eager to train their children, for the

mother is the first educator of the child. It is she who must,

at the very beginning, suckle the new-born at the breast of

God's Faith and God's Law, that divine love may enter into him

even with his mother's milk, and be with him till his final

breath.

So long as the mother faileth to train her children, and

start them on a proper way of life, the training which they

receive later on will not take its full effect. It is incumbent

upon the Spiritual Assemblies to provide the mothers with a

well-planned programme for the education of children, showing

how, from infancy, the child must be watched over and taught.

These instructions must be given to every mother to serve her as

a guide, so that each will train and nurture her children in

accordance with the Teachings.

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" [rev. ed.],

(Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982), sec. 113, p. 138)

2194. ...we must not make distinctions between individual

members of the human family. We must not consider any soul as

barren or deprived. Our duty lies in educating souls so that

the Sun of the bestowals of God shall become resplendent in

them, and this is possible through the power of the oneness of

humanity. The more love is expressed among mankind and the stronger the

power of unity, the greater will be this

reflection and revelation, for the greatest bestowal of God is

love. Love is the source of all the bestowals of God. Until

love takes possession of the heart, no other divine bounty can

be revealed in it.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 15)

2195. In brief, the assumption of superiority by man will

continue to be depressing to the ambition of woman, as if her

attainment to equality was creationally impossible; woman's

aspiration toward advancement will be checked by it, and she

will gradually become hopeless. On the contrary, we must

declare that her capacity is equal, even greater than man's.

This will inspire her with hope and ambition, and her

susceptibilities for advancement will continually increase. She

must not be told and taught that she is weaker and inferior in

capacity and qualification. If a pupil is
|PPg_400

told that his intelligence is less than his fellow pupils, it

is a very great drawback and handicap to his progress. He must

be encouraged to advance by the statement, "You are most

capable, and if you endeavour, you will attain the highest

degree."

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", pp. 76-77)

2196. The purpose, in brief, is this: that if woman be fully

educated and granted her rights, she will attain the capacity

for wonderful accomplishments and prove herself the equal of

man. She is the coadjutor of man, his complement and

helpmeet....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", p. 136)

2197. The realities of things have been revealed in this

radiant century, and that which is true must come to the

surface. Among these realities is the principle of the equality

of man and woman--equal rights and prerogatives in all things

appertaining to humanity. Bahá'u'lláh declared this reality

over fifty years ago. But while this principle of equality is

true, it is likewise true that woman must prove her capacity

and aptitude, must show forth the evidences of equality. She

must become proficient in the arts and sciences and prove by

her accomplishments that her abilities and powers have merely

been latent. Demonstrations of force, such as are now taking

place in England, are neither becoming nor effective in the

cause of womanhood and equality. Woman must especially devote

her energies and abilities toward the industrial and agricultural

sciences, seeking to assist mankind in that which

is most needful. By this means she will demonstrate capability

and ensure recognition of equality in the social and economic

equation. Undoubtedly God will confirm her in her efforts and

endeavours, for in this century of radiance Bahá'u'lláh has

proclaimed the reality of the oneness of the world of humanity

and announced that all nations, peoples and races are one....

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912", pp. 283-84)

2198. Equality of the sexes will be established in proportion

to the increased opportunities afforded woman in this age, for

man and woman are equally
|PPg_401

the recipients of powers and endowments from God, the Creator.

God has not ordained distinction between them in His consummate

purpose.

("The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by

'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada

in 1912, p. 300)

2199. Woman must endeavour then to attain greater perfection,

to be man's equal in every respect, to make progress in all in

which she has been backward, so that man will be compelled to

acknowledge her equality of capacity and attainment.

In Europe women have made greater progress than in the

East, but there is still much to be done! When students have

arrived at the end of their school term an examination takes

place, and the result thereof determines the knowledge and

capacity of each student. So will it be with woman; her actions

will show her power, there will no longer be any need to

proclaim it by words. It is my hope that women of the East, as

well as their Western sisters, will progress rapidly until

humanity shall reach perfection. God's Bounty is for all and

gives power for all progress. When men own the equality of

women there will be no need for them to struggle for their

rights! One of the principles then of Bahá'u'lláh is the

equality of sex. Women must make the greatest effort to acquire

spiritual power and to increase in the virtue of wisdom and

holiness until their enlightenment and striving succeeds in

bringing about the unity of mankind. They must work with a

burning enthusiasm to spread the Teaching of Bahá'u'lláh among

the peoples, so that the radiant light of the Divine Bounty may

envelop the souls of all the nations of the world!

("Paris Talks: Addresses given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in

1911-1912", pp. 162-63)
Extracts From Letters Written by Shoghi Effendi:

2200. Regarding the position of the Bahá'í women in India and

Burma, and their future collaboration with the men in the

administrative work of the Cause, I feel that the time is

now ripe that those women who have already conformed to the

prevailing custom in India and Burma by discarding the veil

should not only be given the right to vote for the election of

their local and national representatives, but should themselves

be eligible to
|PPg_402

the membership of all Bahá'í Assemblies throughout India and

Burma, be they local or national.

This definite and most important step, however, should be

taken with the greatest care and caution, prudence and

thoughtfulness. Due regard must be paid to their actual

capacity and present attainments, and only those who are best

qualified for membership, be they men or women, and

irrespective of social standing, should be elected to the

extremely responsible position of a member of the Baha'i

Assembly.

This momentous decision, I trust, will prove to be a great

incentive to the women Bahá'ís throughout India and Burma who,

I hope, will now bestir themselves and endeavour to the best of

their ability to acquire a better and more profound knowledge

of the Cause, to take a more active and systematic part in the

general affairs of the Movement, and prove themselves in

every way enlightened, responsible and efficient co-workers to

their fellow-men in their common task for the advancement of

the Cause throughout their country.

May they fully realize their high responsibilities in this

day, may they do all in their power to justify the high hopes we

cherish for their future, and may they prove themselves in

every respect worthy of the noble mission which the Baha'i

world is now entrusting to their charge.

(27 December 1923 to the National Spiritual Assembly of India

and Burma)

2201. Full rights have been accorded to Bahá'í women residing

in the cradle of the Faith, to participate in the membership of

both national and local Bahá'í Spiritual Assemblies, removing

thereby the last remaining obstacle to the enjoyment of

complete equality of rights in the conduct of the

administrative affairs of the Persian Bahá'í Community.

(April 1954, published in "Messages to the Bahá'í World

1950-1957" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971), p. 65)

2202. That the members of this community, of either sex and of

every age, of whatever race or background, however limited in

experience, capacity and knowledge, may arise as one man, and

seize with both hands the God-given opportunities now presented

to them through the dispensations of an all-loving,

ever-watchful, ever-sustaining Providence, and lend thereby a

tremendous impetus to the propelling forces mysteriously

guiding the operations of this newly-launched, unspeakably

|PPg_403

potent, world-encompassing Crusade, is one of the dearest

wishes which a loving and longing heart holds for them at this

great turning point in the fortunes of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh

in the American continent.

(20 June 1954 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States, published in "Citadel of Faith: Messages to America

1947-1957" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), p. 132)

Extract From Letters and a Telex Written by the Universal House

of Justice:

2203. Concerning the point you raised in your letter ... that

the women's liberation movement in . .. is assuming extreme

positions which are having some influence on impressionable

Bahá'í young women, we feel it would be helpful if

your Assembly were to stress the unique position that women occupy by

being members of the Bahá'í Faith particularly through participation in the

administration of its affairs on both a local and national scale.

(9 April 1971 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United

States)

2204. 'Abdu'l-Bahá has pointed out that "Among the miracles

which distinguish this sacred dispensation is this, that women

have evinced a greater boldness than men when enlisted in the

ranks of the Faith." Shoghi Effendi has further stated that

this "boldness" must, in the course of time, "be more

convincingly demonstrated, and win for the beloved Cause

victories more stirring than any it has as yet achieved."

Although obviously the entire Bahá'í world is committed to

encouraging and stimulating the vital role of women in the

Bahá'í community as well as in society at large, the Five Year

Plan calls specifically on eighty National Spiritual Assemblies

to organize Bahá'í activities for women. In the course of the

current year which has been designated "International Women's

Year" as a world-wide activity of the United Nations, the

Baha'is, particularly in these eighty national communities,

should initiate and implement programs which will stimulate and

promote the full and equal participation of women in all

aspects of Bahá'í community life, so that through their

accomplishments the friends will demonstrate the distinction of

the Cause of God in this field of human endeavour.

(25 May 1975 to all National Spiritual Assemblies)

|PPg_404

2205. PARTICULARLY CALL UPON BAHÁ'Í WOMEN, WHOSE CAPACITIES

IN MANY LANDS STILL LARGELY UNUSED, AND WHOSE POTENTIAL FOR

SERVICE CAUSE SO GREAT, TO ARISE AND DEMONSTRATE

IMPORTANCE PART THEY ARE TO PLAY IN ALL FIELDS SERVICE FAITH.

(24 March 1977 to all National Spiritual Assemblies)

2206. The youth have long been in the forefront of the teaching

work, and now our hearts rejoice to see the women, in so many lands

where previously their capacities were largely left

unused, devoting their capable services to the life of the

Bahá'í community....

(Ridvan 1978 to the International Bahá'í Convention)

2207. At the heart of all activities, the spiritual,

intellectual and community life of the believers must be

developed and fostered, requiring: the prosecution with

increased vigour of the development of Local Spiritual

Assemblies so that they may exercise their beneficial influence

and guidance on the life of Bahá'í communities; the nurturing

of a deeper understanding of Bahá'í family life; the Baha'i

education of children, including the holding of regular Baha'i

classes and, where necessary, the establishment of tutorial

schools for the provision of elementary education; the

encouragement of Bahá'í youth in study and service; and the

encouragement of Bahá'í women to exercise to the full their

privileges and responsibilities in the work of the community--may they

befittingly bear witness to the memory of the Greatest

Holy Leaf, the immortal heroine of the Bahá'í Dispensation, as

we approach the fiftieth anniversary of her passing.

(Naw Ruz 1979 to the Bahá'ís of the World)

2208. The equality of men and women is not, at the present

time, universally applied. In those areas where traditional

inequality still hampers its progress we must take the lead in

practising this Bahá'í principle. Bahá'í women and girls must

be encouraged to take part in the social, spiritual and

administrative activities of their communities....

(Ridvan 1984 to the Bahá'ís of the World)
|PPg_405

2209. Calling upon local and national Bahá'í communities to

sponsor a wide range of activities which will engage the

attention of people from all walks of life to various topics

relevant to peace, such as: the role of women...

(23 January 1985 to all National Spiritual Assemblies)

Extracts From Letters Written on Behalf of the Universal House

of Justice:

2210. The House of Justice regards the need to educate and

guide women in their primary responsibility as mothers as an

excellent opportunity for organizing women's activities. Your

efforts should focus on helping them in their function as

educators of the rising generation....

(29 February 1984 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the

Mariana Islands)

2211. The principle of the equality between women and men, like

the other teachings of the Faith, can be effectively and

universally established among the friends when it is pursued in

conjunction with all the other aspects of Bahá'í life. Change

is an evolutionary process requiring patience with one's self and others,

loving education and the passage of time as the

believers deepen their knowledge of the principles of the

Faith, gradually discard long-held traditional attitudes and

progressively conform their lives to the unifying teachings of

the Cause.
(25 July 1984 to an individual believer)
|PPg_406
VI. Bibliography

Bahá'u'lláh. "The Hidden Words". London: National Spiritual

Assembly of the British Isles, 1949.

Bahá'u'lláh. "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the

Kitáb-i-Aqdas", Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1978.

'Abdu'l-Bahá. "Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá".

Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1978.

'Abdu'l-Bahá. "The Promulgation of Universal Peace". Wilmette:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982.

'Abdu'l-Bahá. "Paris Talks". London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust,

1961.

'Abdu'l-Bahá. "'Abdu'l-Bahá in London". London: Baha'i

Publishing Trust, 1982.

Shoghi Effendi. "Messages to the Bahá'í World, 1950-1957".

Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971.

Shoghi Effendi. "Citadel of Faith". Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing

Trust, 1980.

"Bahá'í Education, a compilation". Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre,

1976.
"Family Life", 1982 U.K Publishing Trust, p. 8

"'Abdu'l-Bahá on Divine Philosophy", compiled by Isobel F.

Chamberlain, Boston: The Tudor Press, 1917.

Esslemont, John Ebenezer. "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era",

Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1976.
Revised July 1990
|PPg_407
EXTRACTS FROM THE BAHÁ'Í WRITINGS ON THE
SUBJECT OF WRITERS AND WRITING
July 1980
From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

2212. Thou hast written that one of the friends hath composed a

treatise. This was mentioned in the Holy Presence, and this is

what was revealed in response: Great care should be exercised

that whatever is written in these days doth not cause

dissension, and invite the objection of the people. Whatever

the friends of the one true God say in these days is listened

to by the people of the world. It hath been revealed in the

Lawh-i-Hikmat: "The unbelievers have inclined their ears

towards us in order to hear that which might enable them to

cavil against God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting."[1]

Whatever is written should not transgress the bounds of tact

and wisdom, and in the words used there should lie hid the

property of milk, so that the children of the world may be

nurtured therewith, and attain maturity. We have said in the

past that one word hath the influence of spring and causeth

hearts to become fresh and verdant, while another is like unto

blight which causeth the blossoms and flowers to wither. God

grant that authors among the friends will write in such a way

as would be acceptable to fair-minded souls, and not lead to

cavilling by the people.

(From a Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh to an individual believer-

translated from Persian and Arabic)

2213. Say: O men! This is a matchless Day. Matchless must,

likewise, be the tongue that celebrateth the praise of the

Desire of all nations, and matchless the deed that aspireth to

be acceptable in His sight. The whole human race hath longed

for this Day, that perchance it may fulfil that which well

beseemeth its station, and is worthy of its destiny. Blessed is

the man whom the affairs of the world have failed to deter from

recognizing Him Who is the Lord of all things.

("Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh" (Wilmette:

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1983), sec XVI, p. 39)
____

[1] "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas

(Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1988), p. 141
|PPg_408

2214. How great the multitude of truths which the garment of

words can never contain! How vast the number of such verities

as no expression can adequately describe, whose significance

can never be unfolded, and to which not even the remotest

allusions can be made! How manifold are the truths which must

remain unuttered until the appointed time is come! Even as it

hath been said: "Not everything that a man knoweth can be

disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded

as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the

capacity those who hear it."

Of these truths some can be disclosed only to the extent of

the capacity of the repositories of the light of Our knowledge, and the

recipients of Our hidden grace. We beseech God to strengthen thee with

His power, and enable thee to recognize Him Who is the Source of all

knowledge, that thou mayest detach thyself from all human learning, for,

"what would it profit any man to strive after learning when he hath already

found and recognized Him Who is the Object of all knowledge?" Cleave to

the Root of Knowledge, and to Him Who is the Fountain thereof, that thou

mayest find thyself independent of all who claim to be well versed in human

learning, and whose claim no clear proof, nor the testimony of any

enlightening book, can support. ("Gleanings from the Writings of

Bahá'u'lláh" sec. LXXXIX, pp.
176-77)

2215. In this Day the secrets of the earth are laid bare before

the eyes of men. The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are

indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the

pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them

and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing,

sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon.

However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the

promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with

the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into

situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then

set them down in writing.

(From the Tarazat, published in "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh

Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pp. 3940)

2216. It ill beseemeth thee to turn thy gaze unto former or

more recent times. Make thou mention of this Day and magnify

that which hath appeared therein. It will in truth suffice all

mankind. Indeed expositions
|PPg_409

and discourses in explanation of such things cause the spirits

to be chilled. lt behoveth thee to speak forth in such wise as

to set the hearts of true believers ablaze and cause their

bodies to soar.

Teach thou the Cause of God with an utterance which will

cause the bushes to be enkindled, and the call "Verily, there

is no God but Me, the Almighty, the Unconstrained" to be raised

therefrom. Say: Human utterance is an essence which aspireth to

exert its influence and needeth moderation. As to its

influence, this is conditional upon refinement which in turn is

dependent upon hearts which are detached and pure. As to its

moderation, this hath to be combined with tact and wisdom as

prescribed in the Holy Scriptures and Tablets. Meditate upon

that which hath streamed forth from the heaven of the Will of

thy Lord, He Who is the Source of all grace, that thou mayest

grasp the intended meaning which is enshrined in the sacred

depths of the Holy Writings.

(From the Lawh-i-Hikmat, published in "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh

Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pp. 142-43)

2217. Every word of thy poetry is indeed like unto a mirror in

which the evidences of the devotion and love thou cherishest

for God and His chosen ones are reflected. Well is it with thee

who hast quaffed the choice wine of utterance and partaken of

the soft flowing stream of true knowledge. Happy is he who hath

drunk his fill and attained unto Him and woe betide the

heedless. Its perusal hath truly proved highly impressive, for

it was indicative of both the light of reunion and the fire of

separation.

(From the Lawh-i-Maqsud, published in "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh

Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pp. 175-76)
From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

2218. It is my hope that thou mayest succeed in writing thy

book. However, the language should be moderate, tempered, and

infinitely courteous. Look not at the language used by that

hostile writer, for he was prejudiced and unrefined. Any person

with the slightest degree of fairness will understand that his

writing is totally biased and inspired by enmity. This is

enough proof that what he hath written is spurious.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer - translated from the

Persian)
|PPg_410

2219. Pure souls, such as Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, upon him be the

Glory of God, spend their nights and days in demonstrating the

truth of the Revelation, by adducing conclusive and brilliant

proofs and expanding the verities of the Faith, by lifting the

veils, promoting the religion of God and spreading His

fragrances.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer - translated from the

Persian)

2220. Great care should be exercised in preparing this

translation. Mr.... should make a supreme effort so that the

language will be most exquisite, eloquent and lucid, even if

the translated text is to be submitted to, and made dependent

upon the opinions of, experts in language.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer - translated from the

Persian)

2221. The subjects to be taught in children's school are many,

and for lack of time We can touch on only a few: First and most

important is training in behaviour and good character; the

rectification of qualities; arousing the desire to become

accomplished and acquire perfections, and to cleave unto the

religion of God and stand firm in His Laws: to accord total

obedience to every just government, to show forth loyalty and

trustworthiness to the ruler of the time, to be well wishers of

mankind, to be kind to all.

And further, as well as in the ideals of character,

instruction in such arts and sciences as are of benefit, and in

foreign tongues. Also, the repeating of prayers for the

well-being of ruler and ruled; and the avoidance of

materialistic works that are current among those who see only

natural causation, and tales of love, and books that arouse the

passions. To sum up, let all the lessons be entirely devoted to

the acquisition of human perfections. Here, then, in brief are

directions for the curriculum of these schools. Greetings be

unto you, and praise.

(From a Tablet to an individual believer, published in "The

Bahá'í World: 1972-1976, vol. 16, pp. 36-37)

From a Letter written by Shoghi Effendi to an Individual

Believer

2222. I am overjoyed at such a splendid production. I strongly

urge you to secure the assistance of one of the best and most

respected publishers in
|PPg_411

England and to ensure that it will receive the fullest

attention regarding its outward form and style of printing. The

book is correct in its presentation of the essentials of the

Faith, eminently readable, exquisitely arranged, and has a

distinctive charm unsurpassed by any book of its kind whether

written by Eastern or Western believers. I heartily recommend

it to every earnest and devout teacher of the Cause.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 11 November 1927 written on his behalf)

From Letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to

Individual Believers

2223. Your literary ability makes you especially qualified to

teach the Cause. For in the world of today much can be achieved

through the power of the pen. All you need is to try to deepen

your knowledge of the history and the teachings of the Faith,

and thus well-equipped you will assuredly win a glorious

success--Bahá'u'lláh has given us the assurance that He will be

always on our side and will give us all the help we may need.

You should, therefore, arise steadfastly to serve our beloved

Cause and dedicate the rest of your life to the noble ideal

which it seeks to realize.
(30 July 1932)

2224. What Bahá'u'lláh meant primarily with "sciences that

begin and end in words" are those theological treatises and

commentaries that encumber the human mind rather than help it

to attain the truth. The students would devote their life to

their study but still attain no where. Bahá'u'lláh surely never

meant to include story writing under such a category; and

shorthand and typewriting are both most useful talents very

necessary in our present social and economic life.

What you could do, and should do, is to use your stories to

become a source of inspiration and guidance for those who read

them. With such a means at your disposal you can spread the

spirit and teachings of the Cause; you can show the evils that

exist in society, as well as the way they can be remedied. If

you possess a real talent in writing you should consider it as

given by God and exert your efforts to use it for the

betterment of society.[2]
____

[2] This advice was given to a believer who asked whether such

skills as shorthand and typing, and the writing of stories

dealing with human experience, would be classified among those

sciences that "begin and end in words", as mentioned by

Bahá'u'lláh.
|PPg_412

2225. He has received and read with deepest interest the

manuscripts you had enclosed in your letter, one entitled "The

Ocean of His Utterances", and the other consisting of a long

poem in which you had made an attempt to present the Message

indirectly.

As to this last one, he approves of your suggestion to

write a sequel to it, and to refer more directly to the Cause.

He would, however, advise you to couch the whole subject in such

a form as to make it interesting and appealing to the

non-Bahá'í reader. The direct presentation of the Teachings is

surely highly important and even indispensable nowadays. But it

should be done with utmost care and tact, and in a manner that

would appeal to the non-believers.
(31 December 1935)

2226. There is a great need for teaching the Cause at present;

every Bahá'í should teach, and each one has his own capacities

and can expect to reach certain souls who respond to his

efforts. Your gift of writing should by all means be utilized

in serving the Cause. Every one is perforce only an instrument

in giving the Message which is more or less coloured by his own

capacities and approach to life. There is no harm in this. You

should write freely what you feel, what you wish to convey to

the mind of the reader; afterwards you yourself, and those who

pass upon Bahá'í manuscripts and publications, can make sure

that all your points conform to the teachings. The way you give

them out and present them is an individual matter and there is

no objection to this at all.

He would not recommend fiction as a means of teaching; the

condition of the world is too acute to permit of delay in

giving them the direct teachings, associated with the name of Bahá'u'lláh.

But any suitable approach to the Faith, which appeals to this or that group,

is certainly worthy of effort, as we wish to bring the Cause to all men,

in all walks of life, of all mentalities.[3]
(23 March 1945)
____

[3] This advice was given to a believer who sought the counsel

of the Guardian on ways one might use writing skills to teach

the Faith. The believer proposed writing a novel in which the

Bahá'í teachings and their source would be presented indirectly

and in such a way as to stimulate curiosity and search by the

reader. HJ5. 137.032
|PPg_413

2227. Regarding your question about what courses would be most

useful for you to study: He feels that both radio and

journalistic work are fields in which the Bahá'ís could well

learn to express themselves for the sake of helping their

teaching work, and advises you, if you have the time, to study

these subjects.
(15 August 1945)

2228. Your suggestion regarding a book for the general public

is a good one. The question is not only have we Baha'is

competent to present this subject in a way which would catch

the attention of the public, but also even if such a book

existed would it achieve its end? We have, unfortunately, not

very many capable Bahá'í writers, and the condition of

confusion in the world is such that it seems doubtful if such a

work would arrest the attention of distracted mankind.

However, we need more and better Bahá'í books, and he

suggests you present your idea to the German, British and

American National Spiritual Assemblies.
(26 October 1950)

2229. There is no objection to your being a journalist as long

as you try to keep off political issues; especially the big

East-West issue. You have a talent for writing, and it might be

of help to you financially and in making contacts for the

Faith.
(30 November 1950)

2230. Regarding the advice you asked him for, he feels that to

devote all one's studies with the object of becoming a Baha'i

author, is rather risky. We need Bahá'í authors badly, but you

have to be assured that you have the talent to earn your living

in that field, and also serve the Faith in it.

He feels that the best thing for you to do is to devote

your studies to acquiring a sound education, if you like along

literary lines, and then see what develops.
(14 May 1957)

From a Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of

Justice

2231. The Universal House of Justice has considered your letter

of 6 December 1979 concerning the novel you are writing

involving a
|PPg_414

romantic relationship and asking whether you should continue

this project in light of the advice of 'Abdu'l-Bahá that

curricula of schools should avoid tales of love.

We have been asked to say that what should be avoided are

stories that arouse the passions. From what you say, the

purpose of your story is to appeal to higher motivations in

life and, in fact, to spread the spirit and teachings of the

Cause.
(23 December 1979 to an individual believer)
Revised - August 1990
|PPg_415
EXTRACTS RELATING TO THE SUBJECT OF YOUTH
From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

2232. Blessed is he who in the prime of his youth and the

heyday of his life will arise to serve the Cause of the Lord of

the beginning and of the end, and adorn his heart with His

love. The manifestation of such a grace is greater than the

creation of the heavens and of the earth. Blessed are the

steadfast and well is it with those who are firm.
(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)
From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

2233. It is incumbent upon the youth to walk in the footsteps

of Hakim[1] and to be trained in his ways, for such important

souls as he and his like have now ascended to the Kingdom of

Abha. The youth must grow and develop and take the place of

their fathers, that this abundant grace, in the posterity of

each one of the loved ones of God who bore great agonies, may

day by day increase, until in the end it shall yield its fruit

on earth and in Heaven.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)

2234. Wherefore, O ye illumined youth, strive by night and by

day to unravel the mysteries of the mind and spirit, and to

grasp the secrets of the Day of God. Inform yourselves of the

evidences that the Most Great Name hath dawned. Open your lips

in praise. Adduce convincing arguments and proofs. Lead those

who thirst to the fountain of life; grant ye true health to the

ailing. Be ye apprentices of God; be ye physicians directed by

God, and heal ye the sick among humankind. Bring those who have

been excluded into the circle of intimate friends. Make the

despairing to be filled with hope. Waken them that slumber;

make the heedless mindful.

Such are the fruits of this earthly life. Such is the

station of resplendent glory. Upon you be Baha'u'l-Abha.

(From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2235. O Lord! Make this youth radiant and confer Thy bounty

upon this poor creature. Bestow upon him knowledge, grant him added

strength
____
[1] One of the distinguished believers of Qazvin
|PPg_416

at the break of every morn and guard him within the shelter of

Thy protection so that he may be freed from error, may devote

himself to the service of Thy Cause, may guide the wayward,

lead the hapless, free the captives and awaken the heedless,

that all may be blessed with Thy remembrance and praise. Thou

art the Mighty and the Powerful.
(From a Tablet- translated from the Persian)
From Letters Written by Shoghi Effendi

2236. What you have undertaken to achieve, under the guidance

and instruction, of that valiant and indefatigable servant of

the Abha Threshold, my well-beloved brother Dr. Bagdadi, is

highly praiseworthy and of supreme importance. Never flinch in

your great enterprise. Deepen your knowledge of the Cause.

Strive to extend the sphere of your activities and seek to

understand and promote the harmony that must exist between true

science and Divine Revelation. I will never fail to pray for

you. I have great hopes in the ultimate triumph of the task

before you. (In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to

a letter dated 23 January 1924 written on his behalf to the

Bahá'í Youth of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.)

2237. The Bahá'í youth must be taught how to teach the Cause of

God. Their knowledge of the fundamentals of the Faith must be

deepened and the standard of their education in science and

literature enhanced. They must become thoroughly familiar with

the language used and the example set by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His

public addresses throughout the West. They must also be

acquainted with those essential prerequisites of teaching as

recorded in the Holy Books and Tablets.

(9 June 1925 to the Spiritual Assembly of the East- translated

from the Persian)

2238. I strongly urge you to devote, while you are pursuing

your studies, as much time as you possibly can to a thorough

study of the history and Teachings of our Beloved Cause. This

is the prerequisite of a future successful career of service to

the Bahá'í Faith in which I hope and pray you will distinguish

yourself in the days to come.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 18 May 1926 written on his behalf to an individual

believer)
|PPg_417

2239. The youthful and eager workers for the Cause ... occupy a

warm place in my heart. I will remember their hopes, their

plans, their activities in my hours of prayer at the Holy Shrine. I urge them

to study profoundly the revealed utterances

of Bahá'u'lláh and the discourses of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and not to

rely unduly on the representation and interpretation of the

Teachings given by Bahá'í speakers and teachers. May the

Almighty sustain you and guide you in your work.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 20 March 1929 written on his behalf to an individual

believer)

2240. The work in which you are engaged is dear and near to my

heart and constitutes one of the most vital aspects of the

manifold activities of our beloved Faith. The highest standards

of purity, of integrity, of detachment and sacrifice must be

maintained by the members of your group in order to enable you

to play a decisive part in the spread and consolidation of the

Faith. A tremendous responsibility has been laid upon you, and

nothing short of a pure, a virtuous, an active and truly

exemplary life can enable you to fulfil your high destiny. I

will pray that you may be guided and strengthened to render the

most effective service to the Cause and by your example lend a

fresh impetus to the onward march of its new-born institutions.

(In the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi, appended to a letter

dated 6 September 1934 written on his behalf to the National

Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada Youth

Council)
From letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi

2241. If the younger Bahá'í generation, in whom Shoghi Effendi

has great hopes, take the pain of studying the Cause deeply and

thoroughly, read its history, find its underlying principles

and become both well informed and energetic, they surely can

achieve a great deal. It is upon their shoulders that the

Master has laid the tremendous work of teaching. They are the

ones to raise the call of the Kingdom and arouse the people

from slumber. If they fail the Cause is doomed to
stagnation....

(26 April 1923 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is

of India and Burma)
|PPg_418

2242. His hope, as well as that of the friends, is that you

should increase both in number and spirituality. The future of

this Cause, which is so dear to us all, depends upon the energy

and devotion of the rising generation. It is you who before

long will be called to shoulder its responsibilities and

undertake its spread. To do that, however, you ought to be well

equipped. You ought to have your intellectual as well as

spiritual side equally developed....

(28 December 1925 to the Bahá'í Youth of Baltimore, Maryland,

U.S.A.)

2243. We had heard through various channels the wonderful way your

children had grown to speak about the Cause in public.

Shoghi Effendi's hope is that they will, the three of them,

become able and devoted speakers on the Cause and subjects akin

to it. To do this properly they will need a firm foundation of

scientific and literary training which fortunately they are

obtaining. It is just as important for the Bahá'í young boys and

girls to become properly educated in colleges of high standing

as it is to be spiritually developed.

The mental as well as the spiritual side of the youth has

to be developed before he can serve the Cause efficiently.

(28 November 1926 to an individual believer)

2244. He was greatly pleased and highly encouraged with your

slow but progressive work among members of the faculty and the

student body in State College. It is high time for the Baha'is

to try and reach the thinking and educated youth of the country

upon whom so much of the future depends, especially the

stupendous task of applying the spirit and letter of the Baha'i

teachings to the requirements of the time--a work for which

generations of preparation might be necessary.
(13 June 1928 to an individual believer)

2245. He was deeply interested in your work among the

university students and hopes that it will bear much fruit. The

youth is open-minded, unhampered by prejudice and ready to

accept any message that satisfies his spiritual longings as

well as intellectual demands. The work should, however, be both

intensive and extensive. It is not sufficient that you should

address many student bodies; persons have to be found to follow

up that work, pick those who are interested to know more and

ground
|PPg_419

them in the teachings. This task undoubtedly pertains to the

teaching committee which should always be on the alert, see

where there is a receptive group and send teachers to bring

them into the Cause.
(20 June 1931 to an individual believer)

2246. Being a Bahá'í you are certainly aware of the fact that

Bahá'u'lláh considered education as one of the most fundamental

factors of a true civilization. This education, however, in

order to be adequate and fruitful, should be comprehensive in

nature and should take into consideration not only the physical

and the intellectual side of man but also his spiritual and

ethical aspects. This should be the programme of the Baha'i

youth all over the world.

And no doubt the best means through which this educational

development can be attained is by joining the different

associations and gatherings which intend to promote the ideals

of this new international civilization. Although the Guardian

prefers that Bahá'ís should join those associations which are

within the orbit of Bahá'í activities, he nevertheless approves and even

encourages any person who would like to join any

non-Bahá'í movements, provided that these movements will not

promote any ideal or principle which will harm and check the

advance of the Cause.
(9 July 1931 to an individual believer)

2247. The prevailing distress in America and Europe should

awaken the youth to the futility of concentrating their whole

life on purely material pursuits. They should learn the lesson

that spiritual considerations should be the dominating factors

of our life, that our guiding purpose should be to enhance our

moral life and seek what is eternal and abiding.

Should the different nations continue to go wrong and be

guided by the selfish desire of personal aggrandizement, you

will be the group that will suffer most. Our present policies

bear their fruits only in the future and it is the youth of the

present that are the men and women of the future.
(2 November 1931 to an individual believer)

2248. Shoghi Effendi was delighted to see the result of the

work achieved, which proved the deep interest the young Baha'is

are showing in the
|PPg_420

progress of the Faith. The message of Bahá'u'lláh which

contains the only true and lasting solution of the social and

spiritual problems that confront society at present, is

entrusted to their care. It is they who should, with a spirit

of complete detachment and consecration, raise the banner of

the Faith and enlist the support of strong and devoted souls.

Through such conferences Shoghi Effendi hopes you will

develop your knowledge of modern problems and at the same time

help those non-Bahais who come to help, to see the light

brought by Bahá'u'lláh to the world. People who come so close

to our doors and perhaps enter our home should not be left

to go without carrying away some of the delights we are enjoying.

They are also seeking souls earnestly desiring to attain their

spiritual and social ideals. To approach them

may need tact and care and may entail much difficulty, but

such is our duty we are called to carry through.

Shoghi Effendi hopes that the success of this last summer

will encourage you to hold more conferences in the future, thus

arousing the youth to true service and spreading the Message

far and wide. He will remember you all in his prayers and ask

for you divine guidance and assistance....

[Postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi:]

I am delighted with your letter enclosing the splendid report

on International relations. I am particularly gratified to

learn of the active part played by the Bahá'í youth and of

their harmonious co-operation with the older and more

experienced believers. I would warn them to be on their guard

lest the impression be given to the outside world that the

Bahá'ís are political in their aims and pursuits or interfere

in matters that pertain to the political activities of their

respective governments. The Cause, still in its state of infancy, should be

adequately protected from this particular
danger....
(13 November 1931 to an individual believer)

2249. The youth should be encouraged to train themselves in

public speaking while they are still pursuing their studies in

schools or colleges.

(7 December 1931 to an individual believer, published in

"Bahá'í News" 64 (July 1932), p 4)
|PPg_421

2250. The account of your work among the foreign students made

Shoghi Effendi very happy. Not only will these young people get

a good impression of American families and hospitality, but the

spiritual training you try to give them will make their

education so much more complete and worthwhile. This is beside

the fact that in their heart is planted the seeds of the Baha'i

teachings which in time will germinate and bring forth wondrous

fruits. All these young people when they return home will carry

the Message with them and even though they do not become

confirmed believers, they will remain friends always ready to

render a service to the Bahá'í teachers they happen to meet.

Shoghi Effendi hopes you will carry on that work but at the

same time try to make them true Baha'is--in spirit as well as

in faith.
(4 February 1932 to an individual believer)

2251. The present condition of the world--its economic

instability, social dissensions, political dissatisfaction and

international distrust--should awaken the youth from their

slumber and make them inquire what the future is going to

bring. It is surely they who will suffer most if some calamity

sweep over the world. They should therefore open their eyes to

the existing conditions, study the evil forces that are at play

and then with a concerted effort arise and bring about the

necessary reforms--reforms that shall contain within their

scope the spiritual as well as social and political phases of

human life.

(13 March 1932 to an individual believer, published in "Baha'i

News" 68 (November 1932), p. 3)

2252. What impressed him most in the account of your services

was the statement that the old and the young Bahá'ís are firmly

united and co-operating in bearing the burdens of the Faith in

that locality. Nothing will attract God's blessings and grace

more than the unity of the friends, and nothing is more

destructive of their highest purpose than divisions and

misunderstandings. Cling therefore to unity if you desire to

succeed and abide by the will of your Lord Bahá'u'lláh; for that is the true

objective of His Mission in this world.

(11 October 1932 to the Local Spiritual Assembly of West

Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.)
|PPg_422

2253. Surely in this very critical period of human history when

old institutions are beginning to crumble down or being

considerably modified, there is a certain amount of

maladjustments and unfortunate happenings; but such a condition

is not permanent. The Cause and its institutions will gradually

take their place and with its virile spirit secure the full

obedience of its followers and of the people of the world as a

whole. So we need not be too pessimistic as to the future or

take passing conditions too seriously. The young people who are

living between these two eras, and seeing the destruction of

old institutions are therefore apt to discard all respect for

them and in fact view with contempt any person that may still

cherish the old. Hence we see the loose morality prevalent

among them. This condition is not true only of America and

Europe but also of the East, and I dare say in the East more

than in the West.

Even though the Bahá'í Youth should feel with the condition

in which they see their non-Bahá'í friends and not indict them

for it, they should not let themselves be carried by the wave

of world events as they are being carried. Whereas they see

before them only a world that is crumbling down we are also

seeing a new world being built up. Whereas they experience the

destruction of old institutions that commanded their respect,

we are beholding the dawn of a new era with its strict commands

and new social bonds. Their materialistic outlook shows them

the futility of all things while our faith in a regenerated and

spiritualized man makes us look to the future and build for it.

To make them follow our ways we should sympathize with their

plight but should not follow their ways. We should take our

stand on a higher plane of moral and spiritual life and,

setting for them the true example, urge them up to our level.

The young people should read what Bahá'u'lláh and the Master

say on such matters and follow them conscientiously. That is if

they desire to be true to the teachings and establish them

throughout the world. [Postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi

Effendi:]

The activities, hopes and ideals of the Bahá'í Youth in

America, as well as in all other parts of the world are close

and dear to my heart. Upon them rests the supreme and

challenging responsibility to promote the interests of the

Cause of God in the days to come, to co-ordinate its world-wide

activities, to extend its scope, to safeguard its integrity, to

exalt its virtues, define its purpose, and translate its ideals

and aims into memorable and abiding achievements. Theirs is a

mighty task, at once
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holy, stupendous and enthralling. May the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh

protect, inspire and sustain them in the prosecution of their

divinely-appointed task!

(26 October 1932 to an individual believer, published in

"Bahá'í News" 443 (February 1968), p. 8)

2254. The Movement is in need of young people, who have been

spiritually awakened, to arise and stem the tide of a material

civilization that has brought mankind to the verge of ruin.

Should the forces, now playing havoc with society, be let

loose, should we neglect our duty to check them and bring them

under our control, no man dare imagine what the future will

bring.

It is upon the young people that the greatest suffering

will fall. They should, therefore, mobilize their ranks, and,

with one accord, arise and consummate their task and establish

the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

(Published in "Herald of the South" Vol. 4, No. 5, (January -

March 1933), p. 11; also published in "The Bahá'í World, Vol. 5, (1932

-1934) (New York: Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1936), pp.370-72)

2255. Life is not easy for the young people of this generation.

They enter life with a heart full of hope, but find before

themselves nothing but failures, and see in the future nothing

but darkness. What they need is the light manifested by

Bahá'u'lláh, for that brightens their soul and stimulates their

vigour in facing difficulties.
(12 March 1933 to an individual believer)

2256. As regards the attitude of her group towards the

administration, they will come to understand these things, for

before long they will see that without a proper administrative

body the ideas of the Cause will never be put into practice,

nor will the future progress of the Faith be ensured. In

dealing with the young people one has to use tact and reason

out the different problems with them.
(22 April 1933 to an individual believer)

2257. It is always gratifying to learn of the splendid effects

which the teachings of the Cause inevitably bring in the hearts

and minds of young Bahá'í men and women and to witness their

eagerness to mould and
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shape their entire living according to the divine teachings

bequeathed to the world by Bahá'u'lláh. For the Bahá'í youth

constitute the main active element in the Cause. Theirs is the

duty not only to study and to spread the Teachings but to put

them into actual practice. It is hoped that you will

increasingly mirror forth the beauty and the power of the

principles of the Faith and will become shining examples to

every Bahá'í whose sole aim in life is to scale the heights

which Bahá'u'lláh has summoned His followers to attain.

(5 August 1933 to two believers)

2258. It is on young and active Baha'is, like you, that the

Guardian centres all his hopes for the future progress and

expansion of the Cause, and it is on their shoulders that he

lays all the responsibility for the upkeep of the spirit of

selfless service among their fellow-believers. Without that

spirit no work can be successfully achieved. With it triumph,

though hardly won, is but inevitable. You should, therefore,

try all your best to carry aflame within you the torch of

faith, for through it you will surely find guidance, strength

and eventual success.
(1 September 1933 to an individual believer)

2259. I need not tell you what great hopes he cherishes for the

future role which young Bahá'ís will be inevitably called upon

to play in the teaching as well as in the administrative fields

of Bahá'í activity. It is on them that he centres his essential

and vital hopes for the effective and wide spread of the

Message, and for the strengthening of the basis of the nascent

Bahá'í administrative institutions which are gradually taking

shape amidst storms of an unprecedented severity, and under

extremely tragic circumstances.

His brotherly advice to you, and to all loyal and ardent

young believers like you, is that you should deepen your

knowledge of the history and of the tenets of the Faith, not

merely by means of careful and thorough study, but also through

active, whole-hearted and continued participation in all the

activities, whether administrative or otherwise, of your

community. The Bahá'í community life provides you with an

indispensable laboratory, where you can translate into living

and constructive action the principles which you imbibe from

the Teachings. By becoming a real part of that living organism

you can catch the real
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spirit which runs throughout the Bahá'í Teachings. To study the

principles, and to try to live according to them, are,

therefore, the two essential mediums through which you can

ensure the development and progress of your inner spiritual

life and of your outer existence as well. May Bahá'u'lláh

enable you to attain this high station, and may He keep the

torch of faith for ever burning in your heart!
(2 November 1933 to an individual believer)

2260. He would advise you, however, to devote some more of your

time to active teaching in public. To that end he would urge

you to attend, if possible, all the sessions and meetings at

the Geyserville Summer School, that you may not only deepen

your knowledge of the Teachings, but also acquire the necessary

training for expounding them to the public. The ambition of

every young Bahá'í should be, indeed, to become a well-informed

and competent teacher. For this very purpose the institution of

[the] Bahá'í Summer School has been established, and its

importance so strongly and repeatedly emphasized by the Guardian.

(21 June 1935 to an individual believer)

2261. The problem with which you are faced is one which

concerns and seriously puzzles many of our present-day youth.

How to attain spirituality is, indeed, a question to which

every young man and woman must sooner or later try to find a

satisfactory answer. It is precisely because no such

satisfactory reply has been given or found, that modern youth

finds itself bewildered, and is being consequently carried away

by the materialistic forces that are so powerfully undermining

the foundation of man's moral and spiritual life.

Indeed, the chief reason for the evils now rampant in

society is a lack of spirituality. The materialistic

civilization of our age has so much absorbed the energy and

interest of mankind, that people in general no longer feel the

necessity of raising themselves above the forces and conditions

of their daily material existence. There is not sufficient

demand for things that we should call spiritual to differentiate

them from the needs and requirements of our physical existence.

The universal crisis affecting mankind is, therefore,

essentially spiritual its causes. The spirit of the age, taken

on the whole, is irreligious. Man's outlook upon life is

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too crude and materialistic to enable him to elevate himself

into the higher realms of the spirit.

It is this condition, so sadly morbid, into which society

has fallen, that religion seeks to improve and transform. For

the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling that unites

man with God. This state of spiritual communion can be brought

about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer. And

this is the reason why Bahá'u'lláh has so much stressed the

importance of worship. It is not sufficient for a believer to

merely accept and observe the teachings. He should, in

addition, cultivate the sense of spirituality, which he can

acquire chiefly by the means of prayer. The Bahá'í Faith, like

all other Divine religions, is thus fundamentally mystic in

character. Its chief goal is the development of the individual

and society, through the acquisition of spiritual virtues and

powers. It is the soul of man that has first to be fed. And

this spiritual nourishment prayer can best provide. Laws and

institutions, as viewed by Bahá'u'lláh, can become really

effective only when our inner spiritual life has been perfected

and transformed. Otherwise religion will degenerate into a mere

organization, and become a dead thing.

The believers, particularly the young ones, should

therefore fully realize the necessity of praying. For prayer is

absolutely indispensable to their inner spiritual development,

and this, already stated, is the very foundation and purpose of

the Religion of God.

(8 December 1935 to an individual believer, published in

"Bahá'í News" 102 (August 1936) p. 3)

2262. ...the Guardian fully realizes the difficulties that

stand in the way of co operation between the young and old

believers. This is a problem that confronts the Cause almost

everywhere, especially in those communities where the number of

young and old Bahá'ís is nearly the same. The solution, as in

all such cases, is to be found through intelligent and mutual

compromise. The old believers have to give up something of

their old conceptions and ways of working in order to better

adapt themselves to the changing social conditions and

circumstances. The young too must learn to act with wisdom, tact

and moderation, and to take advantage and benefit from the

age-long experiences of their older fellow-believers. The old

and the young have each something specific to contribute to the

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progress and welfare of the Bahá'í community. The energy of

youth should be tempered and guided by the wisdom of old age.

As to the attitude of resentment which the young believers

are inclined to assume regarding certain precepts of the Cause,

such as obligatory prayers: there can and should be no

compromise whatever in such matters that are specifically

enjoined by Bahá'u'lláh. We should neither have any feeling of

shame when observing such laws and precepts, nor should we

overestimate their value and significance. Just as the friends

have no difficulty in recognizing the value of the specific

prayers revealed by Bahá'u'lláh, such as the Tablets of fasting

and healing, so also they should recognize that the obligatory

prayers are by their very nature of greater effectiveness and

are endowed with a greater power than the non-obligatory ones,

and as such are essential.
(4 January 1936 to an individual believer)

2263. What can control youth and save it from the pitfalls of

the crass materialism of the age is the power of a genuine,

constructive and living Faith such as the one revealed to the

world by Bahá'u'lláh. Religion, as in the past, is still the

world's sole hope, but not that form of religion which our

ecclesiastical leaders strive vainly to preach. Divorced from

true religion, morals lose their effectiveness and cease to

guide and control man's individual and social life. But when

true religion is combined with true ethics, then moral progress

becomes a possibility and not a mere ideal. The need of our

modern youth is for such a type of ethics founded on pure

religious faith. Not until these two are rightly combined and

brought into full action can there be any hope for the future

of the race.

(17 April 1936 to an individual believer, published in "Baha'i

News" 104 (December 1936), p. 1)

2264. The obligation to teach is essentially the responsibility

of young believers. Their whole training should therefore be

directed in such a way as to make them competent teachers. It is for this

very purpose that Bahá'í summer schools, which

constitute the very basis upon which the Bahá'í universities of

the future will be established, should be widely attended by

young believers.

(15 May 1936 to Bahá'í Youth Groups United States)

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2265. Regarding your question in connection with Bahá'í youth

activity: The chief purpose underlying all such activities

undertaken by our Bahá'í youth throughout the world is to

stimulate enthusiasm, promote instruction and foster the

development of the spirit of solidarity and co-operation among

young Bahá'í men and women, in order to enable them at a later

age to collaborate intelligently and harmoniously with their

fellow-believers of whatever class, age or origin. Such

activities should be undertaken within the framework of the

Administrative Order. They should neither be overemphasized nor

curtailed. The formation of youth committees is a means to

achieve the end stated above, and is not an end in itself. (8

November 1937 to an individual believer)

2266. It is his fervent hope and his heart's ardent prayer that

you may increasingly deepen in your faith, and steadily gain

in your understanding and appreciation of the Teachings, and

display such earnestness and perseverance in your Baha'i

studies as to gradually acquire the full knowledge, training

and experience necessary for active and effective service to

the Faith in the future.

Although still young in age, you should endeavour from now,

through close association with your fellow-believers, and

through your faithful application to your Bahá'í studies, to

prepare yourself for that day when you will be called upon, as

a grown-up and responsible member of the Community, to take

full part in the activities of the Cause, and thus prove

yourself worthy of being a member of this world-wide Fellowship

created by Bahá'u'lláh.

The Guardian was truly pleased to note that you have

already started reading some Bahá'í books, and would specially

advise you to endeavour [to] commit to memory certain passages

from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, and in particular, some of

His prayers. This training would undoubtedly be of tremendous

help to you in your future studies of the Cause, and would also

serve to considerably deepen and enrich your own spiritual life

at present.
(10 April 1939 to an individual believer)

1002. He feels the importance of young believers taking an

active part in every field of service cannot be overestimated,

for they must carry on the
|PPg_429

great work of reconstruction into the future, which will be in dire need of

spiritual example and leadership.
(16 March 1941 to an individual believer)

2267. Indeed it is very important for the Faith, to extend the

teachings of Bahá'u'lláh amongst the youth, as it is through

their activities, that the Cause of our Beloved Master will in

future spread all over the American continent. They have upon

their shoulders all the responsibilities for the progress of

the Movement; it is our duty to rear their spiritual feelings,

enlighten their hearts with the light of guidance which has

been shed before us by the Master.

(2 November 1932 to two believers, published in "Bahá'í News,

143 (May 1941), p. 8)

2268. The responsibility of young believers is very great, as

they must not only fit themselves to inherit the work of the

older Bahá'ís and carry on the affairs of the Cause in general,

but the world which lies ahead of them --as promised by

Bahá'u'lláh--will be a world chastened by its sufferings, ready

to listen to His Divine Message at last, and consequently a

very high character will be expected of the exponents of such a

religion. To deepen their knowledge, to perfect themselves in

the Bahá'í standards of virtue and upright conduct, should be

the paramount duty of every young Baha'i.

(6 June 1941 to the Bahá'í Youth of Bombay, India)

2269. The tasks which will face the present generation of

Bahá'í Youth-- and are indeed already beginning to face them--are

stupendous. They cannot but expect to find themselves most

severely tested in the days to come--tested as to their

characters, their faith, the strength of their convictions, and

their complete adherence to the Laws of Bahá'u'lláh.

Shoghi Effendi's greatest hope, and his prayer, is that

they may so distinguish themselves in the eyes of their

fellow-countrymen that it will become increasingly evident what

a Bahá'í is and what he stands for. How wonderful it would be

to witness the time when the actions and words of the Baha'is

will have become so well known that people will say: "Ah! That

must be a Baha'i--they are like that!" and mean it as a

compliment.
|PPg_430

(19 October 1941 to the Bahá'í Youth at Louhelen Bahá'í School,

Youth Session)

2270. The winds of test and trial have blown upon our Faith

more than once, and he strongly feels that old believers like

yourself should do everything in their power to protect the

younger Baha'is, to strengthen their faith, deepen them in the

Covenant, and enable them to take full refuge in the Will and

Testament of the beloved Master, that impregnable fortress He

built for our safety when He Himself should have gone from our sight.

(26 October 1941 to an individual believer)

2271. If ever it could be said that a religion belonged to the

youth, then surely the Bahá'í Faith today is that religion. The

whole world is suffering, it is sunk in misery, crushed beneath

its heavy problems. The task of healing its ills and building

up its future devolves mainly upon the youth. They are the

generation who, after the war, will have to solve the terrible

difficulties created by the war and all that brought it about.

And they will not be able to upbuild the future except by the

laws and principles laid down by Bahá'u'lláh. So their task is

very great and their responsibility very grave.

(8 May 1942 to the Bahá'í Youth of Peoria, Illinois, U.S.A.)

2272. Young men such as yourselve[s,] so surprisingly dedicated

to a movement which the uninitiated might associate with mature

people of a philosophical bent of mind, so free from the

current dissipated habits of most young people, are in a

position to capture the attention and respect of both young and

old alike. This Cause, although it embraces with equal esteem

people of all ages, has a special message and mission

for the youth of your generation. It is their charter for their

future, their hope, their guarantee of better days to come.

Therefore the Guardian is especially happy that the young

Bahá'ís are active in the pioneer work....
(16 June 1942 to an individual believer)

2273. The Cause needs more Bahá'í scholars, people who not only

are devoted to it and believe in it and are anxious to tell

others about it, but also who have a deep grasp of the

Teachings and their significance, and
|PPg_431

who can correlate its beliefs with the current thoughts and

problems of the people of the world.

The Cause has the remedy for all the world's ills. The

reason why more people don't accept it is because the Baha'is

are not always capable of presenting it to them in a way that

meets the immediate needs of their minds. Young Bahá'ís like

yourself must prepare themselves to really bring the Message to

their generation, who need it so desperately and who can

understand the language it speaks so well. He would advise you

among other books to study the Talks of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as His

method of approaching the mind of the public cannot be

surpassed... He also advises you to develop yourself as a

public speaker so you will be increasingly able to teach the

Cause...
(21 October 1943 to an individual believer)

2274. The Guardian hopes that along with whatever other studies

you take up, you will continually study the teachings and

endeavour to acquire a profound knowledge of them. The importance of

young Bahá'ís becoming thoroughly steeped in

every branch of the teachings cannot be overemphasized, as they

have great teaching tasks ahead of them to accomplish.

(22 January 1944 to an individual believer)

2275. The Guardian has always advised young people to study

deeply such subjects as History, Economics and Sociology as

they are all related to the teachings and aid in understanding

the Faith....

The greatest need of youth today is character training.

Prayer is only one factor in this; they must learn to live up

to the ethical teachings of the Faith....

He feels that teaching the Faith to the youth is of the

utmost importance in these days, as they will not only become

the workers of the future but will be able to widely spread the

Message among their own generation. He approves of your

devoting as much time to this work as feasible, in conjunction

with the valuable services you are so tirelessly renderin