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Title: Bahíyyih Khánum
Author: Baha'i World Centre
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Bahíyyih Khánum


by Baha’i World Centre



Edition 1, (September 2006)



                           BAHA’I TERMS OF USE


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                                 CONTENTS


Baha’i Terms of Use
[Dedicatory Passage]
I: From the Writings of BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
   1: Let these exalted words be thy love-song on ...
   2: O My Leaf! Hearken thou unto My Voice: ...
II: From the Writings of ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ
   1: O my well-beloved, deeply spiritual sister! ...
   2: O thou my affectionate sister! In the daytime ...
   3: Dear and deeply spiritual sister! At morn and ...
   4: Dear sister, beloved of my heart and soul! ...
   5: O thou my loving, my deeply spiritual ...
   6: To my honoured and distinguished sister do ...
   7: O Díyá! It is incumbent upon thee, ...
   8: O thou my affectionate sister! ...
   9: O my dear sister! ...
   10: O my well-beloved sister, O Most Exalted ...
   11: O thou my sister, my dear sister! ...
   12: My sister and beloved of my soul! ...
   13: My sister, for a considerable period, that is, ...
   14: O my spiritual sister! ...
   15: O my spiritual sister! ...
   16: O my affectionate sister! ...
   17: O my dear sister! ...
   18: O my cherished sister! ...
   19: O my sister in the spirit, and the companion ...
   20: O thou Greatest and Most Merciful Holy ...
   21: I do not know in what words I could ...
III: From the Writings of SHOGHI EFFENDI
   1: This servant, after that grievous event and ...
   2: And in this fervent plea, my voice is once ...
   3: GREATEST HOLY LEAF’S IMMORTAL SPIRIT ...
   4: GREATEST HOLY LEAF ASCENDED ABHÁ KINGDOM. ...
   5: O ye who burn in the flames of bereavement! ...
   6: Brethren and fellow-mourners in the Faith ...
   7: ENTREAT SORROW STRICKEN AMERICAN BELIEVERS ...
   8: YOUR MESSAGE ALLEVIATED LOAD MY AGONIZING ...
   9: PRAY ASSURE AMERICAN BELIEVERS BEHALF HOLY ...
   10: Your valued message brought strength and ...
   11: I deeply appreciate your sympathy. My loss ...
   12: I greatly value your sympathy in my cruel, ...
   13: Your sweet and touching message imparted ...
   14: My great love for the Greatest Holy Leaf and ...
   15: The many evidences of your increasing zeal ...
   16: Your highly impressive and touching message ...
   17: The passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf has ...
   18: O well-loved friend, ...
   19: I wish to add a few words in person as a ...
   20: I am moved to add a few words with my ...
   21: The passing of the beloved Khánum has ...
   22: I greatly value the expression of your ...
   23: I wish to express to your distinguished ...
   24: O ye who share my anguish and are my ...
   25: Moved by an unalterable devotion to the ...
   26: It was through the arrival of these pilgrims, ...
   27: With ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ascension, and more ...
   28: The Fund associated with the beloved name ...
   29: BLESSED REMAINS PUREST BRANCH AND ...
   30: O loved ones of God, These two precious ...
   31: His nine-year-old son, later surnamed the ...
   32: ...as a further testimony to the majestic ...
   33: The raising of this Edifice will in turn ...
IV: Passages from letters written on behalf of SHOGHI EFFENDI
   1: Your touching words in connection with the ...
   2: The passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, so ...
   3: The ascension of the Greatest Holy Leaf is, ...
   4: His grief is too immense and his loss too ...
   5: The irreparable loss which the Faith has ...
   6: In these days, when we are all mourning the ...
   7: Your message of condolence and sympathy, ...
   8: ...The news of the Memorial Service you ...
   9: The letter from that spiritual friend has ...
   10: The letter dated 5 August 1932, from that ...
   11: What you had written concerning the ...
   12: ...He is eagerly awaiting to see the friends ...
   13: His loss is too immense to be adequately ...
   14: The profound sorrow occasioned by the ...
   15: The Guardian of the Cause of God has ...
   16: The Guardian’s anguish, because of this ...
   17: Indeed, the Greatest Holy Leaf, the Trust of ...
   18: The Guardian trusts that the explanation he ...
   19: The loss of the Greatest Holy Leaf will be ...
   20: Even though during these last years she was ...
   21: The passing away of the Greatest Holy Leaf ...
   22: Even though the Greatest Holy Leaf has left ...
   23: Shoghi Effendi wishes me to acknowledge ...
   24: You should be very happy to have had the ...
   25: Surely there is nothing that will console the ...
   26: These nine months during which the Guardian ...
   27: Surely no matter what we say about her still ...
   28: Indeed it would have been for you such a joy ...
   29: He fully appreciates the deep sorrow that ...
   30: He is sure that all the Bahá’ís throughout ...
   31: He deeply appreciates your sincere, well-expressed ...
   32: ...He was deeply touched by the strong ...
   33: The steps of her holy resting-place represent ...
V: Letters of THE GREATEST HOLY LEAF
   1: O Leaf of Paradise! ...
   2: I feel prompted to offer my sincere best ...
   3: The letter in which that leaf had expressed the ...
   4: Despite our overwhelming sorrows and ...
   5: It is my earnest hope that you, His distinguished ...
   6: O exalted leaf, O distinguished friend! May ...
   7: May my life be sacrificed for those leaves who ...
   8: From this hallowed and snow-white Spot, ...
   9: A number of your spiritual sisters, namely ...
   10: May the Light of Union radiate with greater ...
   11: O my dear sister! I have read what you ...
   12: Concerning the remnants of the martyrs’ ...
   13: O leaf that has been stirred by the breeze of ...
   14: All praise be to the Abhá Beauty, the ...
   15: At the exalted Threshold of our Lord, the ...
   16: On my return from Beyrouth I was sorry to ...
   17: O my dear sister! Your excellent letter ...
   18: The Festival of Ridván is come and the ...
   19: You should not think that the record of ...
   20: Both in the Persian and Arabic Writings of ...
   21: HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ ASCENDED TO ...
   22: NOW IS A PERIOD OF GREAT TESTS. THE FRIENDS ...
   23: MEMORIAL MEETING WORLD OVER JANUARY ...
   24: IN WILL SHOGHI EFFENDI APPOINTED GUARDIAN ...
   25: The hearts of the people of Bahá are ...
   26: We thank you most sincerely for your kind ...
   27: REJOICED OVER CONVENTION NEWS. PRAYING ...
   28: In this day, those holy souls are divinely ...
   29: It is not unknown to those who stand firm ...
   30: This dire calamity, this great affliction, the ...
   31: Although that supreme calamity, that ...
   32: O faithful servant of the Best-Beloved, the ...
   33: O God, my God! ...
   34: To the doves of faithfulness, ever since ...
   35: The passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our lives ...
   36: The ascension of Him Who was the Temple ...
   37: We rejoiced greatly to learn of the unity ...
   38: That supreme affliction, the passing of ...
   39: The good news that the Word of God is ...
   40: All the virtues of humankind are summed ...
   41: It is clear how that most dire of calamities, ...
   42: All praise to the omnipotent Lord, that in ...
   43: Indeed, you have adorned yourself with the ...
   44: The deep heart’s love and the longing of the ...
   45: The good news has come that the Will and ...
   46: In this noblest of all ages the Sun of grace ...
   47: The purport of your letter is highly indicative ...
   48: At this hour while yet the heart burns with ...
   49: O steadfast ones, gathered beneath the ...
   50: A physician treats every illness with a ...
   51: I was very glad to know of your meeting ...
   52: We were delighted to receive your excellent ...
   53: Following the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ...
   54: The letter that you wrote in your burning ...
   55: Although the ascension of the beloved ...
   56: You have offered up thanks to the Lord for ...
   57: The Ancient Beauty, the Most Great Name, ...
   58: After the construction of the Báb’s Shrine ...
   59: At the Threshold of the Lord of Mercy we ...
   60: The adherents of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh ...
   61: Regarding the Centre of Sedition and his ...
   62: Your letter has come, and I myself and the ...
   63: The sad news about the death of your ...
   64: The letter you have written was received ...
   65: All praise be unto the Court of Holiness, ...
   66: It has been demonstrated time and time ...
   67: The cheque for the amount of two hundred ...
   68: It is clear and evident that the body of ...
   69: We beseech God—exalted be His glory—to ...
   70: Your letter of 12th October 1922 is just ...
   71: All praise to the beloved Abhá Beauty, ...
   72: Your kind and loving letter written with an ...
   73: Praise be to God that through the gracious ...
   74: Your letter was received and its contents ...
   75: It was sometime ago that I received your ...
   76: You quite well realize, I presume, that ...
   77: The Pen of the divine Ordainer has so ...
   78: ‘O God, My God! Thou hast lighted the lamp of ...
   79: The tongue of this lowly and grief-stricken ...
   80: The question of Avárih has surely come to ...
   81: Praise be to God that through His gracious ...
   82: It is a very long time since we have had any ...
   83: Your short and loving note of June 25th has ...
   84: Your charming letter of June 20th has ...
   85: Your numerous letters written to the ...
   86: From this hallowed Spot I send heavenly ...
   87: In this Day nothing is so important as service. ...
   88: It always cheers my heart to hear from the ...
   89: My heart is always cheered when I meet or ...
   90: At the holy Threshold of the Abhá Beauty ...
   91: O dear sisters, ardent lovers of Bahá’u’lláh, ...
   92: Your letter, laden with many a graceful ...



[DEDICATORY PASSAGE]


(1) He is the Eternal! This is My testimony for her who hath heard My
voice and drawn nigh unto Me. Verily, she is a leaf that hath sprung from
this preexistent Root. She hath revealed herself in My name and tasted of
the sweet savours of My holy, My wondrous pleasure. At one time We gave
her to drink from My honeyed Mouth, at another caused her to partake of My
mighty, My luminous Kaw_th_ar. Upon her rest the glory of My name and the
fragrance of My shining robe.

(Bahá’u’lláh’s original Arabic of the above is inscribed around the
circular dome of the Greatest Holy Leaf’s monument on Mount Carmel. See
illustration between pages 92 and 93.)



I: FROM THE WRITINGS OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH



1: Let these exalted words be thy love-song on ...


(2) Let these exalted words be thy love-song on the tree of Bahá, O thou
most holy and resplendent Leaf: ‘God, besides Whom is none other God, the
Lord of this world and the next!’ Verily, We have elevated thee to the
rank of one of the most distinguished among thy sex, and granted thee, in
My court, a station such as none other woman hath surpassed. Thus have We
preferred thee and raised thee above the rest, as a sign of grace from Him
Who is the Lord of the throne on high and earth below. We have created
thine eyes to behold the light of My countenance, thine ears to hearken
unto the melody of My words, thy body to pay homage before My throne. Do
thou render thanks unto God, thy Lord, the Lord of all the world.

How high is the testimony of the Sadratu’l-Muntahá for its leaf; how
exalted the witness of the Tree of Life unto its fruit! Through My
remembrance of her a fragrance laden with the perfume of musk hath been
diffused; well is it with him that hath inhaled it and exclaimed: ‘All
praise be to Thee, O God, my Lord the most glorious!’ How sweet thy
presence before Me; how sweet to gaze upon thy face, to bestow upon thee
My loving-kindness, to favour thee with My tender care, to make mention of
thee in this, My Tablet—a Tablet which I have ordained as a token of My
hidden and manifest grace unto thee.



2: O My Leaf! Hearken thou unto My Voice: ...


(3) O My Leaf! Hearken thou unto My Voice: Verily there is none other God
but Me, the Almighty, the All-Wise. I can well inhale from thee the
fragrance of My love and the sweet-smelling savour wafting from the
raiment of My Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous. Be astir upon God’s
Tree in conformity with thy pleasure and unloose thy tongue in praise of
thy Lord amidst all mankind. Let not the things of the world grieve thee.
Cling fast unto this divine Lote-Tree from which God hath graciously
caused thee to spring forth. I swear by My life! It behoveth the lover to
be closely joined to the loved one, and here indeed is the Best-Beloved of
the world.



II: FROM THE WRITINGS OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ



1: O my well-beloved, deeply spiritual sister! ...


(4) O my well-beloved, deeply spiritual sister! Day and night thou livest
in my memory. Whenever I remember thee my heart swelleth with sadness and
my regret groweth more intense. Grieve not, for I am thy true, thy
unfailing comforter. Let neither despondency nor despair becloud the
serenity of thy life or restrain thy freedom. These days shall pass away.
We will, please God, in the Abhá Kingdom and beneath the sheltering shadow
of the Blessed Beauty, forget all these our earthly cares and will find
each one of these base calumnies amply compensated by His expressions of
praise and favour. From the beginning of time sorrow and anxiety, regret
and tribulation, have always been the lot of every loyal servant of God.
Ponder this in thine heart and consider how very true it is. Wherefore,
set thine heart on the tender mercies of the Ancient Beauty and be thou
filled with abiding joy and intense gladness....



2: O thou my affectionate sister! In the daytime ...


(5) O thou my affectionate sister! In the daytime and in the night-season
my thoughts ever turn to thee. Not for one moment do I cease to remember
thee. My sorrow and regret concern not myself; they centre around thee.
Whenever I recall thine afflictions, tears that I cannot repress rain down
from mine eyes....



3: Dear and deeply spiritual sister! At morn and ...


(6) Dear and deeply spiritual sister! At morn and eventide, with the
utmost ardour and humility, I supplicate at the Divine Threshold, and
offer this, my prayer:

‘Grant, O Thou my God, the Compassionate, that that pure and blessed Leaf
may be comforted by Thy sweet savours of holiness and sustained by the
reviving breeze of Thy loving care and mercy. Reinforce her spirit with
the signs of Thy Kingdom, and gladden her soul with the testimonies of Thy
everlasting dominion. Comfort, O my God, her sorrowful heart with the
remembrance of Thy face, initiate her into Thy hidden mysteries, and
inspire her with the revealed splendours of Thy heavenly light. Manifold
are her sorrows, and infinitely grievous her distress. Bestow continually
upon her the favour of Thy sustaining grace and, with every fleeting
breath, grant her the blessing of Thy bounty. Her hopes and expectations
are centred in Thee; open Thou to her face the portals of Thy tender
mercies and lead her into the ways of Thy wondrous benevolence.

Thou art the Generous, the All-Loving, the Sustainer, the
All-Bountiful....’



4: Dear sister, beloved of my heart and soul! ...


(7) Dear sister, beloved of my heart and soul! The news of thy safe
arrival and pleasant stay in the land of Egypt has reached me and filled
my heart with exceeding gladness. I am thankful to Bahá’u’lláh for the
good health thou dost enjoy and for the happiness He hath imparted to the
hearts of the loved ones in that land. Shouldst thou wish to know of the
condition of this servant of the Threshold of the Abhá Beauty, praise be
to Him for having enabled me to inhale the fragrance of His tender mercy
and partake of the delights of His loving-kindness and blessings. I am
being continually reinforced by the energizing rays of His grace, and feel
upheld by the uninterrupted aid of the victorious hosts of His Kingdom. My
physical health is also improving. God be praised that from every quarter
I receive the glad-tidings of the growing ascendancy of the Cause of God,
and can witness evidences of the increasing influence of its spread....



5: O thou my loving, my deeply spiritual ...


(8) O thou my loving, my deeply spiritual sister! I trust that by the
grace and loving-kindness of the one true God thou art, and wilt be, kept
safe and secure beneath the sheltering shadow of the Blessed Beauty. Night
and day thy countenance appeareth before mine eyes, and in my mind are
engraved the traits of thy character....



6: To my honoured and distinguished sister do ...


(9) To my honoured and distinguished sister do thou convey the expression
of my heartfelt, my intense longing. Day and night she liveth in my
remembrance. I dare make no mention of the feelings which separation from
her has aroused in mine heart; for whatever I should attempt to express in
writing will assuredly be effaced by the tears which such sentiments must
bring to mine eyes....



7: O Díyá! It is incumbent upon thee, ...


(10) O Díyá!(11) It is incumbent upon thee, throughout the journey, to be
a close, a constant and cheerful companion to my honoured and
distinguished sister. Unceasingly, with the utmost vigour and devotion,
exert thyself, by day and night, to gladden her blessed heart; for all her
days she was denied a moment of tranquillity. She was astir and restless
every hour of her life. Moth-like she circled in adoration round the
undying flame of the Divine Candle, her spirit ablaze and her heart
consumed by the fire of His love....



8: O thou my affectionate sister! ...


(12) O thou my affectionate sister! God be praised, according to what we
hear the climate in that land hath proved not unfavourable. It is to be
hoped that out of the grace of the Blessed Beauty thy illness will be
completely cured and thou wilt return in the best of health, so that once
again I may gaze upon that wondrous face of thine.

Write thou a full account of thy condition by every post, for I am most
anxious for news of thee. Let me know if thou shouldst desire anyone from
here to come to thee, that I may send the person along—even Munírih—so
that thou wilt not be homesick.

That thou shouldst spend a few days of peace and rest, is my dearest wish.

We here, God be thanked, are all enjoying the best of health. I have been
better lately, and sleeping well at night. Rest assured.



9: O my dear sister! ...


(13) O my dear sister!

Praise be to God, within the sheltering grace of the Blessed Beauty, here
in the lands of the West a breeze hath blown from over the rose-gardens of
His bestowals, and the hearts of many people have been drawn as by a
magnet to the Abhá Realm.

Whatever hath come to pass is from the confirmations of the Beloved; for
otherwise, what merit had we, or what capacity? We are as a helpless babe,
but fed at the breast of heavenly grace. We are no more than weak plants,
but we flourish in the spring rain of His bestowals.

Wherefore, as a thank-offering for these bounties, on a certain day don
thy garb to visit the Shrine, the ka’bih of our heart’s desire, turn
thyself toward Him on my behalf, lay down thy head on that sacred
Threshold, and say:

O divine Providence! O Thou forgiving Lord!

Sinner though I be, I have no refuge save Thyself. All praise be Thine,
that in my wanderings over mountains and plains, my toils and troubles on
the seas, Thou hast answered still my cries for help, and confirmed me,
and favoured me, and honoured me with service at Thy Threshold.

To a feeble ant, Thou hast given Solomon’s might. Thou hast made of a gnat
a lion in the thicket of Thy Mercy. Thou hast bestowed on a drop the
swelling waves of the sea, Thou hast carried up a mote to the pinnacles of
grace. Whatever was achieved, was made possible through Thee. Otherwise,
what strength did the fragile dust possess, what power did this feeble
being have?

O divine Providence! Do not seize us in our sins, but give us refuge. Do
not look upon our evil ways, but grant forgiveness. Consider not our just
deserts, but open wide Thy door of grace.

Thou art the Mighty, the Powerful! Thou art the Seer, the Knower!



10: O my well-beloved sister, O Most Exalted ...


(14) O my well-beloved sister, O Most Exalted Leaf!

Thou didst leave for Akká to remain but two days or so and then return,
but now thou hast been gone from us for quite a while. We have stayed
behind in Haifa, all alone, and it is very difficult to get along. We hear
that thou art a little indisposed; the Haifa air would have been better
for thee. We had everything ready in Haifa to receive thee, but in fact,
this caused thee some difficulty. There is no way but to endure the toil
and trouble of God’s path. If thou dost not bear these hardships, who
would ever bear them?

In any case, no matter how things are, come thou here today, because my
heart is longing for thee.



11: O thou my sister, my dear sister! ...


(15) O thou my sister, my dear sister!

Divine wisdom hath decreed this temporary separation, but I long more and
more to be with thee again. Patience is called for, and long-suffering,
and trust in God, and the seeking of His favour. Since thou art there, my
mind is completely at rest.

In recent days, I have made a plan to visit Egypt, if this be God’s will.
Do thou, on my behalf, lay thy head on the sacred Threshold, and perfume
brow and hair in the dust of that Door, and ask that I may be confirmed in
my work; that I may, in return for His endless bounties, win, if He will,
a drop out of the ocean of servitude.



12: My sister and beloved of my soul! ...


(16) My sister and beloved of my soul!

Here on the slopes of Mount Carmel, by the cave of Elijah, we are thinking
of that Most Exalted Leaf, and the beloved and handmaids of the Lord.

We pass our days in writing and our nights now in communion with God, now
in bed to overcome failing health. And although, to outward seeming, we
are absent from you all, and far away, still our thoughts are with you
always.

I can never, never forget thee. However great the distance that separates
us, we still feel as though we were seated under the same roof, in one and
the same gathering, for are we not all under the shadow of the Tabernacle
of God and beneath the canopy of His infinite grace and mercy?



13: My sister, for a considerable period, that is, ...


(17) My sister, for a considerable period, that is, from the day of
Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension, had grown so thin and feeble, and was in such a
weakened condition from the anguish of her mourning, that she was close to
breakdown.

Although, so far as she was concerned, it was her dearest wish to drain
her cup and wing her way to the realms where the Divine Essence shineth in
glory, still this servant could not bear to behold her in that state. Then
it occurred to me that, God be thanked, I have such an unfailing comforter
as Jinab-i-Ḥájí,(18) and it would be well to make him my partner in
distress. I therefore determined to send her to Egypt, to provide her with
a change of air.

Although this will certainly cause thee trouble and inconvenience, still,
I trust that out of God’s bounty, it will also bring thee much joy and
good cheer.



14: O my spiritual sister! ...


(19) O my spiritual sister!

Thou didst go away to Haifa, supposedly for only three or four days. Now
it becometh apparent that the spiritual power of the Shrine hath brought
thee joy and radiance, and even as a magnet is holding thee fast. Thou
surely wouldst remember us as well.

Truly the spiritual quality of the holy place, its fresh skies and
delicate air, its crystal waters and sweet plains and charming seascape,
and the holy breathings from the Kingdom all do mingle in that Sacred
Fold. Thou art right to linger there...

Kiss the light of the eyes of the company of spiritual souls, Shoghi
Effendi...



15: O my spiritual sister! ...


(20) O my spiritual sister!

God be praised, through the Ancient Beauty’s grace and bounty, we have set
foot safe and sound upon this shore, and arrived in this town(21) ...

These coasts were once the place where the breezes of God’s loving
kindness blew, and here in this sacred Vale the Son of Spirit(22) raised
up His call of ‘Here am I, O Thou My Lord! Here am I!’ That is why we here
perceive, from every direction, the sweet breathings of holiness.

My meaning is, rest thou assured, this servant is suffering neither from
any trouble, nor hardship, nor fatigue. I am looking after myself, and
keeping away from all mental preoccupations; all, that is, except for one
thought, which doth indeed disquiet the mind—and that is, God forbid, that
thou shouldst sorrow.

I hope that out of the bestowals and bounties of the Ancient Beauty, He
will in His grace bring comfort to every heart.



16: O my affectionate sister! ...


(23) O my affectionate sister!

God be praised, through His grace and favour, my health and well-being are
now restored, but it is very hard for me to bear thine absence.

We think of thee at all times, here on the slopes of this sacred, holy and
blessed Mount Carmel, and we are being happy on thy behalf...



17: O my dear sister! ...


(24) O my dear sister!

It is quite a while now, since thou hast left us, and gone away to
Nazareth and Haifa. This journey hath lasted too long. The weather in Akká
is fine and moderate. If thou comest back, it will rejoice our hearts....



18: O my cherished sister! ...


(25) O my cherished sister!

Thou art never absent from my thoughts.

I speak of thee and call thee to mind at all times. It is my hope that out
of God’s favour and grace thou dost keep safe and well, and dost visit the
two Sacred Thresholds on my behalf.



19: O my sister in the spirit, and the companion ...


(26) O my sister in the spirit, and the companion of my heart!

God willing, the climate of Haifa hath proved favourable. I hope that out
of the bounties of the Ancient Beauty thou wilt gain a measure of peace
and health.

I bring thee to mind both night and day. Just recently I had hoped to come
to Haifa to visit thee, but various problems and the pressure of work have
left me no time; for I want to see the travellers off, and every one of
them presented a long list of names. God be thanked, I have written to
them all.

Kiss the fresh flower of the garden of sweetness, Shoghi Effendi.



20: O thou Greatest and Most Merciful Holy ...


(27) O thou Greatest and Most Merciful Holy Leaf!

I arrived in New York in the best of health, and I have been at all times
thinking of thee, and supplicating fervently at the threshold of the
Blessed Beauty that He may guard thee in the stronghold of His protection.
We are in the utmost fellowship and joy. I hope that thou wilt be
sheltered under His bountiful care.

Write to me at once about Rúhá _Kh_ánum’s and Shoghi Effendi’s condition,
informing me fully and hiding nothing; this is the best way.

Convey my utmost longing to all.



21: I do not know in what words I could ...


(28) I do not know in what words I could describe my longing for my
honoured sister. Whatever it may write, my pen falls short.



III: FROM THE WRITINGS OF SHOGHI EFFENDI



1: This servant, after that grievous event and ...


(29) This servant, after that grievous event and great calamity, the
ascension of His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Abhá Kingdom, has been so
stricken with grief and pain and so entangled in the troubles created by
the enemies of the Cause of God, that I consider that my presence here, at
such a time and in such an atmosphere, is not in accordance with the
fulfilment of my important and sacred duties.

For this reason, unable to do otherwise, I have left for a time the
affairs of the Cause both at home and abroad, under the supervision of the
Holy Family and the headship of the Greatest Holy Leaf until, by the Grace
of God, having gained health, strength, self-confidence and spiritual
energy, and having taken into my hands, in accordance with my aim and
desire, entirely and regularly the work of service I shall attain to my
utmost spiritual hope and aspiration.



2: And in this fervent plea, my voice is once ...


(30) And in this fervent plea, my voice is once more reinforced by the
passionate, and perhaps, the last, entreaty, of the Greatest Holy Leaf,
whose spirit, now hovering on the edge of the Great Beyond, longs to carry
on its flight to the Abhá Kingdom, and into the presence of a Divine, an
almighty Father, an assurance of the joyous consummation of an
enterprise,(31) the progress of which has so greatly brightened the
closing days of her earthly life.



3: GREATEST HOLY LEAF’S IMMORTAL SPIRIT ...


(32) GREATEST HOLY LEAF’S IMMORTAL SPIRIT WINGED ITS FLIGHT GREAT BEYOND.
COUNTLESS LOVERS HER SAINTLY LIFE IN EAST AND WEST SEIZED WITH PANGS OF
ANGUISH, PLUNGED IN UNUTTERABLE SORROW. HUMANITY SHALL ERELONG RECOGNIZE
ITS IRREPARABLE LOSS. OUR BELOVED FAITH, WELL-NIGH CRUSHED BY DEVASTATING
BLOW OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ’S UNEXPECTED ASCENSION, NOW LAMENTS PASSING LAST
REMNANT OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH, ITS MOST EXALTED MEMBER. HOLY FAMILY CRUELLY
DIVESTED ITS MOST PRECIOUS, MOST GREAT ADORNING. I, FOR MY PART, BEWAIL
SUDDEN REMOVAL MY SOLE EARTHLY SUSTAINER, THE JOY AND SOLACE OF MY LIFE.
HER SACRED REMAINS WILL REPOSE VICINITY HOLY SHRINES. SO GRIEVOUS A
BEREAVEMENT NECESSITATES SUSPENSION FOR NINE MONTHS THROUGHOUT BAHÁ’Í
WORLD EVERY MANNER RELIGIOUS FESTIVITY. INFORM LOCAL ASSEMBLIES AND GROUPS
HOLD BEFITTING MANNER MEMORIAL GATHERINGS, EXTOL A LIFE SO LADEN SACRED
EXPERIENCES, SO RICH IMPERISHABLE MEMORIES... ADVISE HOLDING ADDITIONAL
COMMEMORATION SERVICE OF STRICTLY DEVOTIONAL CHARACTER AUDITORIUM
MA_SH_RIQU’L-A_DH_KÁR.



4: GREATEST HOLY LEAF ASCENDED ABHÁ KINGDOM. ...


(33) GREATEST HOLY LEAF ASCENDED ABHÁ KINGDOM. OUR GRIEF IMMENSE, OUR LOSS
IRREPARABLE. INFORM LOCAL ASSEMBLIES COMMEMORATE BEFITTINGLY SACRED
EXPERIENCES SO RICH, SO SUBLIME, SO EVENTFUL A LIFE. MAGNITUDE OF OUR
SORROW DEMANDS COMPLETE SUSPENSION FOR NINE MONTHS THROUGHOUT BAHÁ’Í WORLD
EVERY FORM RELIGIOUS FESTIVITY. HER MORTAL REMAINS LAID VICINITY HOLY
SHRINE.



5: O ye who burn in the flames of bereavement! ...


(34) O ye who burn in the flames of bereavement! By the Day-star of the
World, my bereaved and longing heart is afire with a grief that is beyond
my description. The sudden, the grievous and calamitous news that the Most
Exalted, the pure, the holy, the immaculate, the brightly shining Leaf,
the Remnant of Bahá, and His trust, the eternal fruit and the one last
remembrance of the Holy Tree—may my life be offered for the wrongs she
suffered—has ascended, reached me like live coals cast into a frail and
afflicted heart. The foundations of my serenity were shattered, and tears
of desolation came like a flood that carries all away.

Alas, that I was prevented from being with her at the close of her earthly
days, at that moment when she ascended to her Lord, her Master, and when
her delicate body was placed in the tomb. Not mine that honour, that high
privilege, for I was far away, deprived, bereft, excluded.

O brothers and sisters in the spirit! In this solemn hour, from one
direction we can hear the sounds of loud weeping, and cries of mourning
and woe, rising out of the throats of the people of Bahá throughout this
nether world, because of their separation from that rich mine of
faithfulness, that Orb of the heaven of eternal glory—because of her
setting below the horizon of this holy Spot. But from another direction
can be heard the songs of praise and holy exultation from the Company on
High and the undying dwellers in Paradise, and from beyond them all God’s
Prophets, coming forth to welcome that fair being, and to place her in the
retreats of glory, and to seat her at the right hand of Him Who is the
Centre of God’s Mighty Covenant.

The community of Bahá, whether in the East of the world or the West, are
lamenting like orphans left destitute; fevered, tormented, unquiet, they
are voicing their grief. Out of the depths of their sorrowing hearts,
there rises to the Abhá Horizon this continual piercing cry: ‘Where art
thou gone, O torch of tender love? Where art thou gone, O source of grace
and mercy? Where art thou gone, O symbol of bounty and generosity? Where
art thou gone, O day-spring of detachment in this world of being? Where
art thou gone, O trust left by Bahá among His people, O remnant left by
Him among His servants, O sweet scent of His garment, shed across all
created things!’

O ye who loved that luminous face! The oil within that shining lamp was
used up in this world and its light was extinguished; and yet, in the
lamp-niche of the Kingdom, the fingers of the Lord of the heavenly throne
have kindled it so bright, and it has cast such a splendour on the maids
of Heaven—dwelling in chambers of red rubies and circling about her—that
they all called from out their souls and hearts, ‘O joy upon joy!’ and
with shouts of, ‘Well done! Well done! Upon thee be God’s blessings, O
Most Exalted Leaf!’ did they welcome that quintessence of love and purity
within the towering pavilions of eternity.

At that time, as bidden by the Lord, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting,
did the heavenly Crier raise up his voice and cry out: ‘O Most Exalted
Leaf! Thou art she who did endure with patience in God’s way from thine
earliest childhood and throughout all thy life, and did bear in His
pathway what none other hath borne, save only God in His own Self, the
Supreme Ruler over all created things, and before Him, His noble Herald,
and after Him, His holy Branch, the One, the Inaccessible, the Most High.
The people of the Concourse on High seek the fragrance of thy presence,
and the dwellers in the retreats of eternity circle about thee. To this
bear witness the souls of the cherubim within the tabernacles of majesty
and might, and beyond them the tongue of God the One True Lord, the Pure,
the Most Wondrous. Blessedness be thine and a goodly abode; glad tidings
to thee and a happy ending!’

To one who was reared by the hands of her loving kindness, the burden of
this direst of calamities is well nigh unbearable; and yet praised be the
God of glory that her fragile frame has escaped from the prison of
continual ordeals and afflictions which, with an astonishing forbearance,
and for more than eighty years, she accepted and endured. Now is she free;
delivered from her chains of care and sorrow; safe from all the suffering
and pain, released from the ills of this nether world. She rolled up and
packed away the years of longing for her mighty Father, and for Him, her
loving and well-favoured Brother, and departed to her abode in the midmost
heart of the Heavens.

This heavenly being, during all the turmoil of her days, did not rest for
a moment, nor ever did she seek quiet and peace. From the beginning of her
life, from her very childhood, she tasted sorrow’s cup; she drank down the
afflictions and calamities of the earliest years of the great Cause of
God. In the tumult of the Year of Ḥin,(35) as a result of the sacking and
plundering of her glorious Father’s wealth and holdings, she learned the
bitterness of destitution and want. Then she shared the imprisonment, the
grief, the banishment of the Abhá Beauty, and in the storm which broke out
in ‘Iráq—because of the plotting and the treachery of the prime mover of
mischief, the focal centre of hate—she bore, with complete resignation and
acquiescence, uncounted ordeals. She forgot herself, did without her kin,
turned aside from possessions, struck off at one blow the bonds of every
worldly concern; and then, like a lovelorn moth, she circled day and night
about the flame of the matchless Beauty of her Lord.

In the heaven of severance, she shone like the Morning Star, fair and
bright, and through her character and all her ways, she shed upon kin and
stranger, upon the learned, and the lowly, the radiance of Bahá’u’lláh’s
surpassing perfection. Because of the intense and deep-seated sorrows and
the manifold oppressive trials that assailed her—never failing spring of
grace that she was, essence of loving-kindness—in the Land of Mystery(36)
her lovely form was worn away to a breath, to a shadow; and during the
Most Great Convulsion, which in the years of ‘Stress’ made every heart to
quake, she stood as a soaring pillar, immovable and fixed; and from the
blasts of desolation that rose and blew, that Leaf of the eternal
Lote-Tree did not wither.

Rather did she redouble her efforts, urging herself on the more, to
servitude and sacrifice. In captivating hearts and winning over souls, in
destroying doubts and misgivings, she led the field. With the waters of
her countless mercies, she brought thorny hearts to a blossoming of love
from the All-Glorious, and with the influence of her pure loving-kindness,
transformed the implacable, the unyielding, into impassioned lovers of the
celestial Beauty’s peerless Cause.

Yet another wound was inflicted on her injured heart by the aggressions
and violations of the evil-doers within the prison-fortress,(37) yet
another blow was struck at her afflicted being. And then her anguish was
increased by the passing of the Abhá Beauty, and the cruelty of the
disloyal added more fuel to the fires of her mourning. In the midst of
that storm of violation, the countenance of that rare treasure of the Lord
shone all the brighter, and throughout the Bahá’í community, her value and
high rank became clearly perceived. By the vehement onslaught of the chief
of violators against the sacred beliefs of the followers of the Faith, she
was neither frightened nor in despair.

In the days of the Commission of Investigation, she was a staunch and
trusted supporter of the peerless Branch of Bahá’u’lláh, and a companion
to Him beyond compare. At the time of His absence in the western world,
she was His competent deputy, His representative and vicegerent, with none
to equal her. In a Tablet from the pen of the Centre of the Covenant,
addressed to His consort, are these words referring to His brilliant
sister: ‘To my honoured and distinguished sister do thou convey the
expression of my heartfelt, my intense longing. Day and night she liveth
in my remembrance. I dare make no mention of the feelings which separation
from her has aroused in my heart, for whatever I should attempt to express
in writing will assuredly be effaced by the tears which such sentiments
must bring to my eyes.’

After the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the realm of the All-Glorious, that
Light of the Concourse on High enfolded me, helpless as I was, in the
embrace of her love, and with incomparable pity and tenderness, persuaded,
guided, and urged me on to the requirements of servitude. The very
elements of this frail being were leavened with her love, refreshed by her
companionship, sustained by her eternal spirit. Never for a moment will
her kindnesses, her favours, pass from my memory, and as the months and
the years go by, the effects of them on this mourning heart will never be
diminished.

O Liege Lady of the people of Bahá!
Broken is our circle by thy going—
Broken our circle, broken too, our hearts.

That my tongue, my pen could thank thee were a hopeless task, nor can any
praise of mine befit thine excellence. Not even a droplet of all thine
endless love can I aspire to fathom, nor can I adequately praise and tell
of even the most trifling out of all the events of thy precious life. In
the courts of the Almighty, for this frail being thy sacred spirit
intercedeth, and in this darksome world, the sweet memory of thee is the
succourer and friend of this lowly one. Thy comely face is etched for ever
on the tablet of my grieving soul, those smiles that refreshed my life are
forever and safely imprinted in the innermost recesses of my stricken
heart. Let me not be forgotten by thee in the glorious precincts on high;
leave me not despairing, nor excluded from the never-ceasing
reinforcements that come from the living Lord; and in this world and the
Kingdom, help me to reach what thou knowest to be my dearest hope.

O faithful friends! It is right and fitting that out of honour to her most
high station, in the gatherings of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, whether
of the East or the West, all Bahá’í festivals and celebrations should be
completely suspended for a period of nine months, and that in every city
and village, memorial meetings should be held, with all solemnity,
spirituality, lowliness and consecration—where, in the choicest of
language, may be described at length the shining attributes of that most
resplendent Leaf, that archetype of the people of Bahá. If it be possible
for the individual believers to postpone their personal celebrations for a
period of one year, let them unhesitatingly do so thus to express their
sorrow at this agonizing misfortune. Let them read this letter, this
supplication, in their memorial gatherings, that perchance the Almighty
will lighten my burden, and dispel the clouds of my bereavement; that He
will answer my prayers, and fulfil my hopes, out of His bounty, His power,
His grace.



6: Brethren and fellow-mourners in the Faith ...


(38) Brethren and fellow-mourners in the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh!

A sorrow, reminiscent in its poignancy, of the devastating grief caused by
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sudden removal from our midst, has stirred the Bahá’í world
to its foundations. The Greatest Holy Leaf, the well-beloved and treasured
Remnant of Bahá’u’lláh entrusted to our frail and unworthy hands by our
departed Master, has passed to the Great Beyond, leaving a legacy that
time can never dim.

The Community of the Most Great Name, in its entirety and to its very
core, feels the sting of this cruel loss. Inevitable though this
calamitous event appeared to us all, however acute our apprehensions of
its steady approach, the consciousness of its final consummation at this
terrible hour leaves us, we whose souls have been impregnated by the
energizing influence of her love, prostrated and disconsolate.

How can my lonely pen, so utterly inadequate to glorify so exalted a
station, so impotent to portray the experiences of so sublime a life, so
disqualified to recount the blessings she showered upon me since my
earliest childhood—how can such a pen repay the great debt of gratitude
and love that I owe her whom I regarded as my chief sustainer, my most
affectionate comforter, the joy and inspiration of my life? My grief is
too immense, my remorse too profound, to be able to give full vent at this
moment to the feelings that surge within me.

Only future generations and pens abler than mine can, and will, pay a
worthy tribute to the towering grandeur of her spiritual life, to the
unique part she played throughout the tumultuous stages of Bahá’í history,
to the expressions of unqualified praise that have streamed from the pen
of both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Centre of His Covenant, though
unrecorded, and in the main unsuspected by the mass of her passionate
admirers in East and West, the share she has had in influencing the course
of some of the chief events in the annals of the Faith, the sufferings she
bore, the sacrifices she made, the rare gifts of unfailing sympathy she so
strikingly displayed—these, and many others stand so inextricably
interwoven with the fabric of the Cause itself that no future historian of
the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh can afford to ignore or minimize.

As far back as the concluding stages of the heroic age of the Cause, which
witnessed the imprisonment of Bahá’u’lláh in the Síyáh-_Ch_ál of Ṭihrán,
the Greatest Holy Leaf, then still in her infancy, was privileged to taste
of the cup of woe which the first believers of that Apostolic Age had
quaffed.

How well I remember her recall, at a time when her faculties were still
unimpaired, the gnawing suspense that ate into the hearts of those who
watched by her side, at the threshold of her pillaged house, expectant to
hear at any moment the news of Bahá’u’lláh’s imminent execution! In those
sinister hours, she often recounted, her parents had so suddenly lost
their earthly possessions that within the space of a single day from being
the privileged member of one of the wealthiest families of Ṭihrán she had
sunk to the state of a sufferer from unconcealed poverty. Deprived of the
means of subsistence her illustrious mother, the famed Navváb, was
constrained to place in the palm of her daughter’s hand a handful of flour
and to induce her to accept it as a substitute for her daily bread.

And when at a later time this revered and precious member of the Holy
Family, then in her teens, came to be entrusted by the guiding hand of her
Father with missions that no girl of her age could, or would be willing
to, perform, with what spontaneous joy she seized her opportunity and
acquitted herself of the task with which she had been entrusted! The
delicacy and extreme gravity of such functions as she, from time to time,
was called upon to fulfil, when the city of Ba_gh_dád was swept by the
hurricane which the heedlessness and perversity of Mírzá Yaḥyá had
unchained, as well as the tender solicitude which, at so early an age, she
evinced during the period of Bahá’u’lláh’s enforced retirement to the
mountains of Sulaymáníyyih, marked her as one who was both capable of
sharing the burden, and willing to make the sacrifice, which her high
birth demanded.

How staunch was her faith, how calm her demeanour, how forgiving her
attitude, how severe her trials, at a time when the forces of schism had
rent asunder the ties that united the little band of exiles which had
settled in Adrianople and whose fortunes seemed then to have sunk to their
lowest ebb! It was in this period of extreme anxiety, when the rigours of
a winter of exceptional severity, coupled with the privations entailed by
unhealthy housing accommodation and dire financial distress, undermined
once for all her health and sapped the vitality which she had hitherto so
thoroughly enjoyed. The stress and storm of that period made an abiding
impression upon her mind, and she retained till the time of her death on
her beauteous and angelic face evidences of its intense hardships.

Not until, however, she had been confined in the company of Bahá’u’lláh
within the walls of the prison-city of Akká did she display, in the
plentitude of her power and in the full abundance of her love for Him,
those gifts that single her out, next to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, among the members
of the Holy Family, as the brightest embodiment of that love which is born
of God and of that human sympathy which few mortals are capable of
evincing.

Banishing from her mind and heart every earthly attachment, renouncing the
very idea of matrimony, she, standing resolutely by the side of a Brother
whom she was to aid and serve so well, arose to dedicate her life to the
service of her Father’s glorious Cause. Whether in the management of the
affairs of His Household in which she excelled, or in the social
relationships which she so assiduously cultivated in order to shield both
Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, whether in the unfailing attention she paid
to the everyday needs of her Father, or in the traits of generosity, of
affability and kindness, which she manifested, the Greatest Holy Leaf had
by that time abundantly demonstrated her worthiness to rank as one of the
noblest figures intimately associated with the life-long work of
Bahá’u’lláh.

How grievous was the ingratitude, how blind the fanaticism, how persistent
the malignity of the officials, their wives, and their subordinates, in
return for the manifold bounties which she, in close association with her
Brother, so profusely conferred upon them! Her patience, her magnanimity,
her undiscriminating benevolence, far from disarming the hostility of that
perverse generation, served only to inflame their rancour, to excite their
jealousy, to intensify their fears. The gloom that had settled upon that
little band of imprisoned believers, who languished in the Fortress of
Akká contrasted with the spirit of confident hope, of deep-rooted optimism
that beamed upon her serene countenance. No calamity, however intense,
could obscure the brightness of her saintly face, and no agitation, no
matter how severe, could disturb the composure of her gracious and
dignified behaviour.

That her sensitive heart instantaneously reacted to the slightest injury
that befell the least significant of creatures, whether friend or foe, no
one who knew her well could doubt. And yet such was the restraining power
of her will—a will which her spirit of self-renunciation so often prompted
her to suppress—that a superficial observer might well be led to question
the intensity of her emotions or to belittle the range of her sympathies.
In the school of adversity she, already endowed by Providence with the
virtues of meekness and fortitude, learned through the example and
exhortations of the Great Sufferer, Who was her Father, the lesson she was
destined to teach the great mass of His followers for so long after Him.

Armed with the powers with which an intimate and long-standing
companionship with Bahá’u’lláh had already equipped her, and benefiting by
the magnificent example which the steadily widening range of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s activities afforded her, she was prepared to face the storm
which the treacherous conduct of the Covenant-breakers had aroused and to
withstand its most damaging onslaughts.

Great as had been her sufferings ever since her infancy, the anguish of
mind and heart which the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh occasioned nerved her,
as never before, to a resolve which no upheaval could bend and which her
frail constitution belied. Amidst the dust and heat of the commotion which
that faithless and rebellious company engendered she found herself
constrained to dissolve ties of family relationship, to sever
long-standing and intimate friendships, to discard lesser loyalties for
the sake of her supreme allegiance to a Cause she had loved so dearly and
had served so well.

The disruption that ensued found her ranged by the side of Him Whom her
departed Father had appointed as the Centre of His Covenant and the
authorized Expounder of His Word. Her venerated mother, as well as her
distinguished paternal uncle, Áqáy-i-Kalím—the twin pillars who, all
throughout the various stages of Bahá’u’lláh’s exile from the Land of His
Birth to the final place of His confinement, had demonstrated, unlike most
of the members of His Family, the tenacity of their loyalty—had already
passed behind the Veil. Death, in the most tragic circumstances, had also
robbed her of the Purest Branch, her only brother besides ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,
while still in the prime of youth. She alone of the family of Bahá’u’lláh
remained to cheer the heart and reinforce the efforts of the Most Great
Branch, against Whom were solidly arrayed the almost entire company of His
faithless relatives. In her arduous task she was seconded by the diligent
efforts of Munírih _Kh_ánum, the Holy Mother, and those of her daughters
whose age allowed them to assist in the accomplishment of that stupendous
achievement with which the name of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will for ever remain
associated.

With the passing of Bahá’u’lláh and the fierce onslaught of the forces of
disruption that followed in its wake, the Greatest Holy Leaf, now in the
hey-day of her life, rose to the height of her great opportunity and
acquitted herself worthily of her task. It would take me beyond the
compass of the tribute I am moved to pay to her memory were I to dwell
upon the incessant machinations to which Muḥammad-Alí, the arch-breaker of
the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, and his despicable supporters basely
resorted, upon the agitation which their cleverly-directed campaign of
misrepresentation and calumny produced in quarters directly connected with
Sulṭán ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd and his advisers, upon the trials and investigations
to which it gave rise, upon the rigidity of the incarceration it
reimposed, and upon the perils it revived. Suffice it to say that but for
her sleepless vigilance, her tact, her courtesy, her extreme patience and
heroic fortitude, grave complications might have ensued and the load of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s anxious care would have been considerably increased.

And when the storm-cloud that had darkened the horizon of the Holy Land
had been finally dissipated and the call raised by our beloved
‘Abdu’l-Bahá had stirred to a new life certain cities of the American and
European continents, the Most Exalted Leaf became the recipient of the
unbounded affection and blessings of One Who could best estimate her
virtues and appreciate her merits.

The decline of her precious life had by that time set in, and the burden
of advancing age was beginning to becloud the radiance of her countenance.
Forgetful of her own self, disdaining rest and comfort, and undeterred by
the obstacles that still stood in her path, she, acting as the honoured
hostess to a steadily increasing number of pilgrims who thronged
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s residence from both the East and the West, continued to
display those same attributes that had won her, in the preceding phases of
her career, so great a measure of admiration and love.

And when, in pursuance of God’s inscrutable Wisdom, the ban on
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s confinement was lifted and the Plan which He, in the
darkest hours of His confinement, had conceived materialized, He with
unhesitating confidence, invested His trusted and honoured sister with the
responsibility of attending to the multitudinous details arising out of
His protracted absence from the Holy Land.

No sooner had ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stepped upon the shores of the European and
American continents than our beloved _Kh_ánum found herself well-nigh
overwhelmed with thrilling messages, each betokening the irresistible
advance of the Cause in a manner which, notwithstanding the vast range of
her experience, seemed to her almost incredible. The years in which she
basked in the sunshine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s spiritual victories were,
perhaps, among the brightest and happiest of her life. Little did she
dream when, as a little girl, she was running about, in the courtyard of
her Father’s house in Ṭihrán, in the company of Him Whose destiny was to
be one day the chosen Centre of God’s indestructible Covenant, that such a
Brother would be capable of achieving, in realms so distant, and among
races so utterly remote, so great and memorable a victory.

The enthusiasm and joy which swelled in her breast as she greeted
‘Abdu’l-Bahá on His triumphant return from the West, I will not venture to
describe. She was astounded at the vitality of which He had, despite His
unimaginable sufferings, proved Himself capable. She was lost in
admiration at the magnitude of the forces which His utterances had
released. She was filled with thankfulness to Bahá’u’lláh for having
enabled her to witness the evidences of such brilliant victory for His
Cause no less than for His Son.

The outbreak of the Great War gave her yet another opportunity to reveal
the true worth of her character and to release the latent energies of her
heart. The residence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Haifa was besieged, all throughout
that dreary conflict, by a concourse of famished men, women and children
whom the maladministration, the cruelty and neglect of the officials of
the Ottoman Government had driven to seek an alleviation to their woes.
From the hand of the Greatest Holy Leaf, and out of the abundance of her
heart, these hapless victims of a contemptible tyranny, received day after
day unforgettable evidences of a love they had learned to envy and admire.
Her words of cheer and comfort, the food, the money, the clothing she
freely dispensed, the remedies which, by a process of her own, she herself
prepared and diligently applied—all these had their share in comforting
the disconsolate, in restoring sight to the blind, in sheltering the
orphan, in healing the sick, and in succouring the homeless and the
wanderer.

She had reached, amidst the darkness of the war days the high water-mark
of her spiritual attainments. Few, if any, among the unnumbered
benefactors of society whose privilege has been to allay, in various
measures, the hardships and sufferings entailed by that Fierce Conflict,
gave as freely and as disinterestedly as she did; few exercised that
undefinable influence upon the beneficiaries of their gifts.

Age seemed to have accentuated the tenderness of her loving heart, and to
have widened still further the range of her sympathies. The sight of
appalling suffering around her steeled her energies and revealed such
potentialities that her most intimate associates had failed to suspect.

The ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, so tragic in its suddenness, was to her a
terrible blow from the effects of which she never completely recovered. To
her He, Whom she called ‘Áqá’, had been a refuge in times of adversity. On
Him she had been led to place her sole reliance. In Him she had found
ample compensation for the bereavements she had suffered, the desertions
she had witnessed, the ingratitude she had been shown by friends and
kindred. No one could ever dream that a woman of her age, so frail in
body, so sensitive of heart, so loaded with the cares of almost eighty
years of incessant tribulation, could so long survive so shattering a
blow. And yet, history, no less than the annals of our immortal Faith,
shall record for her a share in the advancement and consolidation of the
world-wide Community which the hand of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had helped to fashion,
which no one among the remnants of His Family can rival.

Which of the blessings am I to recount, which in her unfailing solicitude
she showered upon me, in the most critical and agitated hours of my life?
To me, standing in so dire a need of the vitalizing grace of God, she was
the living symbol of many an attribute I had learned to admire in
‘Abdu’l-Bahá. She was to me a continual reminder of His inspiring
personality, of His calm resignation, of His munificence and magnanimity.
To me she was an incarnation of His winsome graciousness, of His
all-encompassing tenderness and love.

It would take me too long to make even a brief allusion to those incidents
of her life, each of which eloquently proclaims her as a daughter, worthy
to inherit that priceless heritage bequeathed to her by Bahá’u’lláh. A
purity of life that reflected itself in even the minutest details of her
daily occupations and activities; a tenderness of heart that obliterated
every distinction of creed, class and colour; a resignation and serenity
that evoked to the mind the calm and heroic fortitude of the Báb; a
natural fondness of flowers and children that was so characteristic of
Bahá’u’lláh; an unaffected simplicity of manners; an extreme sociability
which made her accessible to all; a generosity, a love, at once
disinterested and undiscriminating, that reflected so clearly the
attributes of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s character; a sweetness of temper; a
cheerfulness that no amount of sorrow could becloud; a quiet and
unassuming disposition that served to enhance a thousandfold the prestige
of her exalted rank; a forgiving nature that instantly disarmed the most
unyielding enemy—these rank among the outstanding attributes of a saintly
life which history will acknowledge as having been endowed with a
celestial potency that few of the heroes of the past possessed.

No wonder that in Tablets, which stand as eternal testimonies to the
beauty of her character, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have paid touching
tributes to those things that testify to her exalted position among the
members of their Family, that proclaim her as an example to their
followers, and as an object worthy of the admiration of all mankind.

I need only, at this juncture, quote the following passage from a Tablet
addressed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Holy Mother, the tone of which reveals
unmistakably the character of those ties that bound Him to so precious, so
devoted a sister:

‘To my honoured and distinguished sister do thou convey the expression of
my heartfelt, my intense longing. Day and night she liveth in my
remembrance. I dare make no mention of the feelings which separation from
her has aroused in my heart, for whatever I should attempt to express in
writing will assuredly be effaced by the tears which such sentiments must
bring to my eyes.’

Dearly-beloved Greatest Holy Leaf! Through the mist of tears that fill my
eyes I can clearly see, as I pen these lines, thy noble figure before me,
and can recognize the serenity of thy kindly face. I can still gaze,
though the shadows of the grave separate us, into thy blue, love-deep
eyes, and can feel in its calm intensity, the immense love thou didst bear
for the Cause of thine Almighty Father, the attachment that bound thee to
the most lowly and insignificant among its followers, the warm affection
thou didst cherish for me in thine heart. The memory of the ineffable
beauty of thy smile shall ever continue to cheer and hearten me in the
thorny path I am destined to pursue. The remembrance of the touch of thine
hand shall spur me on to follow steadfastly in thy way. The sweet magic of
thy voice shall remind me, when the hour of adversity is at its darkest,
to hold fast to the rope thou didst seize so firmly all the days of thy
life.

Bear thou this my message to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, thine exalted and
divinely-appointed Brother: If the Cause for which Bahá’u’lláh toiled and
laboured, for which Thou didst suffer years of agonizing sorrow, for the
sake of which streams of sacred blood have flowed, should, in the days to
come, encounter storms more severe than those it has already weathered, do
Thou continue to overshadow, with Thine all-encompassing care and wisdom,
Thy frail, Thy unworthy appointed child.

Intercede, O noble and well-favoured scion of a heavenly Father, for me no
less than for the toiling masses of thy ardent lovers, who have sworn
undying allegiance to thy memory, whose souls have been nourished by the
energies of thy love, whose conduct has been moulded by the inspiring
example of thy life, and whose imaginations are fired by the imperishable
evidences of thy lively faith, thy unshakable constancy, thy invincible
heroism, thy great renunciation.

Whatever betide us, however distressing the vicissitudes which the nascent
Faith of God may yet experience, we pledge ourselves, before the
mercy-seat of thy glorious Father, to hand on, unimpaired and undivided,
to generations yet unborn, the glory of that tradition of which thou hast
been its most brilliant exemplar.

In the innermost recesses of our hearts, O thou exalted Leaf of the Abhá
Paradise, we have reared for thee a shining mansion that the hand of time
can never undermine, a shrine which shall frame eternally the matchless
beauty of thy countenance, an altar whereon the fire of thy consuming love
shall burn for ever.



7: ENTREAT SORROW STRICKEN AMERICAN BELIEVERS ...


(39) ENTREAT SORROW STRICKEN AMERICAN BELIEVERS NEVER ALLOW CONSCIOUSNESS
THEIR AGONIZING LOSS PARALYZE DETERMINATION PROSECUTE AN ENTERPRISE ON
WHICH ADORED OBJECT OUR MOURNING CENTRED HER BRIGHTEST HOPES.



8: YOUR MESSAGE ALLEVIATED LOAD MY AGONIZING ...


(40) YOUR MESSAGE ALLEVIATED LOAD MY AGONIZING SORROW. NOTHING LESS
INFLEXIBLE RESOLVE CARRY OUT HER DEAREST PARTING WISH HOLD FAST CAUSE HER
ALMIGHTY FATHER CAN LIFT ITS CRUSHING BURDEN.



9: PRAY ASSURE AMERICAN BELIEVERS BEHALF HOLY ...


(41) PRAY ASSURE AMERICAN BELIEVERS BEHALF HOLY FAMILY MYSELF ABIDING
APPRECIATION NUMEROUS EVIDENCES THEIR VALUED SYMPATHY. OUR SORROW-LADEN
HEARTS MUCH RELIEVED FILLED WITH GRATITUDE. OUT OF PANGS OF ANGUISH WHICH
BEREAVED AMERICA EXPERIENCED IN HER SUDDEN SEPARATION FROM ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ
ADMINISTRATION GOD’S MIGHTY FAITH WAS BORN. MIGHT NOT HER PRESENT GRIEF AT
LOSS BAHÁ’U’LLÁH’S PRECIOUS DAUGHTER RELEASE SUCH FORCES AS WILL ENSURE
SPEEDY COMPLETION MA_SH_RIQU’L-A_DH_KÁR THE ADMINISTRATION’S MIGHTY
BULWARK, SYMBOL OF ITS STRENGTH AND HARBINGER ITS PROMISED GLORY.



10: Your valued message brought strength and ...


(42) Your valued message brought strength and solace to my aching heart. I
deeply appreciate the sentiments of my invaluable fellow-workers, who have
by their eminent, their unforgettable and unique services, contributed so
powerfully in brightening the closing days of her precious life. The
services each of you has rendered to our beloved Cause brought much joy
and hope to her in the evening of her life, and are, therefore, highly
meritorious in the sight of the Almighty. May He bless abundantly your
work in the Divine Vineyard, and enable you to render still greater
services in the days to come.



11: I deeply appreciate your sympathy. My loss ...


(43) I deeply appreciate your sympathy. My loss is tremendous and my
sorrow so profound. I will pray that you, who have felt the power of her
spirit at so advanced an age may be enabled to mirror forth its splendour
and reveal its beauty to the world. I will continue to pray in your
behalf. You are often in my thoughts. Rest assured and persevere in your
devoted efforts.



12: I greatly value your sympathy in my cruel, ...


(44) I greatly value your sympathy in my cruel, my irreparable loss. My
only comfort is the assurance of her devoted lovers to remain firm and
steadfast in the Cause and to strive to follow in her footsteps. The
example of her life is our solace, our inspiration and strength. May the
Beloved aid you to follow in her way, and to perpetuate her glorious
memory.



13: Your sweet and touching message imparted ...


(45) Your sweet and touching message imparted strength and solace to my
heart. I value the sentiments you express and am deeply grateful. My grief
is profound and my only comfort is the thought that her many lovers, East
and West, are straining every nerve to promote those very ideals for which
she suffered and toiled all the days of her eventful and sacred life. I
will continue to pray for your welfare and success from the depths of my
heart. Rest assured.



14: My great love for the Greatest Holy Leaf and ...


(46) My great love for the Greatest Holy Leaf and my attachment to each
one of you prompt me to add these few words in person and to express to
you my gratitude for the expression of your valued sympathy. I greatly
value your message, and will pray that the Almighty may bless your efforts
in the service of a Cause for the sake of which our loved _Kh_ánum
sacrificed her precious life.



15: The many evidences of your increasing zeal ...


(47) The many evidences of your increasing zeal and activities in the
service of our beloved Cause, have to a great measure, relieved my
sorrow-laden heart. I will continue to pray for your unsparing efforts,
and wish you to persevere, whatever the vicissitudes which this immortal
Faith may encounter in future. Rest assured, and never feel
disconsolate...

The celebration of Bahá’í festive anniversaries, I feel, should also be
suspended during a period of nine months.



16: Your highly impressive and touching message ...


(48) Your highly impressive and touching message brought much relief to my
weary soul. I thank you from the depths of my heart. I greatly value the
sentiments expressed on behalf of a local community, the members of which
have, by their services, their devotion and loyalty, contributed, to so
great an extent, to the joy and satisfaction of the hearts of both
‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Greatest Holy Leaf. My great attachment to each one
of you, as well as my immense love for our departed and beloved _Kh_ánum,
have prompted me to add these few words in person. I will continue to pray
for the success of your efforts, as well as for your spiritual
advancement.



17: The passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf has ...


(49) The passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf has filled my heart with
unutterable sorrow. My comfort is the thought that the measure of success
achieved, under your wise and able leadership, by the collective efforts
of the American believers has brightened considerably the last days of her
precious life. Would to God that the continued endeavours of this little
band of her devoted lovers who have brought so great a joy to her blessed
heart, may bring further satisfaction to her soul, and realize, at the
appointed time, her dearest wish and fondest hopes for the Cause in your
land. To complete the Temple, to clothe its naked dome, and terminate its
exterior elaborate ornamentation, is the best and most effective way in
which the American believers, the recipients of her untold favours, can
demonstrate their fidelity to her memory and their gratitude for the
inestimable blessings she showered upon them.



18: O well-loved friend, ...


(50) O well-loved friend, The emotions that have possessed my grieving
heart are such that they cannot be put into words, and tongue and pen are
helpless to describe them. The one consolation of this servant is the
steadfastness and the redoubled services of those dearly-loved ones in
Iran, and the good news of energetic efforts being exerted by the friends
in that land. This is what dissipates the clouds of my grieving, and
dispels the darkness of my anguish, and quiets the flames that consume my
very being, and casts a ray of joy across the darkened sky of my agonized
and stricken heart.



19: I wish to add a few words in person as a ...


(51) I wish to add a few words in person as a token of my deepfelt
appreciation of your loving message of sympathy in the great loss the
family of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and myself have sustained. My prayer for each one
of you is that the Almighty may aid you to perpetuate her glorious memory,
to walk in her footsteps and to transmit to future generations the
tradition she has bequeathed to us all.



20: I am moved to add a few words with my ...


(52) I am moved to add a few words with my own pen, to what has been
written on my behalf, renewing my plea to you and through you, to each
member of your beloved community, to prosecute, with undiminished vigour
the enterprise which you have so splendidly inaugurated. The Greatest Holy
Leaf, from her retreat of Glory, is watching over you, is interceding for
every one of you, and is expecting you to play your part in the great
task, with which the prestige of her Father’s glorious Cause is so closely
associated. You have, while she lived amongst us, contributed to a
remarkable degree to the brightening of her earthly life. By your
persistent, your heroic endeavours you will, I am sure, bring added joy to
her soul, and will vindicate afresh your undying loyalty to her memory.



21: The passing of the beloved Khánum has ...


(53) The passing of the beloved _Kh_ánum has plunged me in unspeakable
sorrow. What a gap she has left behind her! It is terrible to contemplate.
Your message, which I greatly value, lessened considerably the burden of
my grief as I am fully conscious of the extent to which you have, in so
many different ways, contributed to her physical well-being, and to the
joy and satisfaction of her soul. We are all indebted to you for the many
evidences of your loving and unfailing solicitude for her welfare, and we
can only pray at her grave that her spirit may intercede for you before
the throne of her glorious Father, and aid you to accomplish still greater
things for a Cause, in the path of which she toiled and suffered all the
days of her precious life.



22: I greatly value the expression of your ...


(54) I greatly value the expression of your loving sympathy and am greatly
relieved by the sentiments your message conveyed. I will pray that you may
be assisted, individually and collectively, to follow her inspiring
example, to bring happiness to her soul, and to proclaim far and wide the
purity of her life, the immensity of her love, and the supreme nobility of
her character.



23: I wish to express to your distinguished ...


(55) I wish to express to your distinguished assembly my gratitude for the
action they have taken in reproducing in facsimile my humble tribute to
the Greatest Holy Leaf. The hundred copies you sent me have been received
and are splendid reproductions of the original. The finest and most
enduring tribute which can be paid to her memory lies within the grasp,
and constitutes the supreme opportunity, of the American believers. Her
earthly life, as it drew to a close, was much brightened by the brilliant
accomplishments of her devoted lovers in the American continent. May her
pure angelic soul in the realms beyond derive added satisfaction from the
uninterrupted progress and the eventual completion of an enterprise on
which she had centered the one remaining joy of her life.



24: O ye who share my anguish and are my ...


(56) O ye who share my anguish and are my comforters in my distress and
bereavement! In these past few months, from the day of the passing of that
fairest fruit of the Undying Tree, of the setting of that wondrous Star in
the heavens of endless glory, and of that bright Ray from the well spring
of pre-existent light, [‘Abdu’l-Bahá], the Ancient Beauty, the Most Great
Name—may the spirits of the Concourse on High be sacrificed for Him—has
witnessed what has come upon me, whom she had surrounded at all times with
her loving-kindness, her unceasing favours, and what a wound this loss has
inflicted on my suffering heart. This parting from her has left my whole
being in turmoil, burning with the fire of my love and longing for her.
When, in the morning and the evening, I call her beloved face to mind, and
let her smiles, that nourished the spirit, pass again before my eyes, and
I think over all her bounty to me, all her unnumbered kindnesses, and
remember that astonishing meekness she showed in her sufferings—then the
flames of yearning love are kindled yet again, and sighs come out of my
heart, and tears flow from my eyes, so that all control is lost and I sink
into a sea of anguish without end.

Bearing witness to this, at this very moment, is her own pure and radiant
soul, her bright and sacred spirit, that soars in the atmosphere of the
invisible realm, and gazes, from beyond the throne of the Most High, upon
me and upon those others on earth who are enamoured of her well-beloved
name.

O thou Scion of Bahá! I weep over thee in the night season, as do the
bereaved; and at break of day I cry out unto thee with the tongue of my
heart, my limbs and members, and again and again I repeat thy well-loved
name, and I groan over the loss of thee, over thy meekness and ordeals,
and how thou didst love me, over the sufferings thou didst bear, and the
terrible calamities, and the wretchedness and the griefs, and the
abasement, and the rejection—and all this only and solely for the sake of
thy Lord and because of thy burning love for those, out of all of
creation, who shared in thine ardour.

Whensoever, in sleep, I call to mind and see thy smiling face, whensoever,
by day or night, I circumambulate thine honoured tomb, then in the
innermost depths of my being are rekindled the fires of yearning, and the
cord of my patience is severed, and again the tears come and all the world
grows dark before my eyes. And whensoever I remember what blows were
rained upon thee at the close of thy days, the discomforts, trials and
illnesses—and I picture thy surroundings now, in the Sanctuary on High, in
the midmost heart of Heaven, beside the pavilions of grandeur and might;
and I behold thy present glory, thy deliverance, the delights, the
bounties, the bestowals, the majesty and dominion and power, the joy,
thine exultation, and thy triumph—then the burden of my grieving is
lightened, the cloud of sorrow is dispelled, the heat of my torment
abates. Then is my tongue loosed to praise and thank thee, and thy Lord,
Him Who did fashion thee and did prefer thee to all other handmaidens, and
did give thee to drink from His sweet-scented lips, Who withdrew the veil
of concealment from thy true being and made thee to be a true example for
all thy kin to follow, and caused thee to be the fragrance of His garment
for all of creation.

And at such times I strengthen my resolve to follow in thy footsteps, and
to continue onward in the pathway of thy love; to take thee as my model,
and to acquire the qualities, and to make manifest that which thou didst
desire for the triumph of this exalted and exacting, this most
resplendent, sacred, and wondrous Cause.

Then intercede thou for me before the throne of the Almighty, O thou who,
within the Company on High, dost intercede for all of humankind. Deliver
me from the throes of my mourning, and confer upon me and those who love
thee in this nether world what will remove our afflictions, and bring
assurance to our hearts, and quiet the winds of our sorrows, and console
our eyes, and fulfil our hopes both in this world and the world to come—O
thou whom God hast singled out from amongst all the countenances of the
Abhá Paradise, and hast honoured in both His earth and His Kingdom on
high, and of whom He has made mention in the Crimson Book, in words which
wafted the scent of musk and scattered its fragrance over all the dwellers
on earth!

O thou Greatest Holy Leaf! If I cry at every moment out of a hundred
mouths, and from each of these mouths I speak with a hundred thousand
tongues, yet I could never describe nor celebrate thy heavenly qualities,
which are known to none save only the Lord God; nor could I befittingly
tell of even the transient foam from out the ocean of thine endless favour
and grace.

Except for a very few, whose habitation is in the highest retreats of
holiness, and who circle, in the furthermost Sanctuary, by day and by
night about the throne of God, and are fed at the hand of the Abhá Beauty
on purest milk—except for these, no soul of this nether world has known or
recognized thine immaculate, thy most sacred essence, nor has any
befittingly perceived that ambergris fragrance of thy noble qualities,
which richly anoints thy brow, and which issues from the divine wellspring
of mystic musk; nor has any caught its sweetness.

To this bear witness the Company on High, and beyond them God Himself, the
Supreme Lord of all the heavens and the earths: that during all thy days,
from thine earliest years until the close of thy life, thou didst
personify the attributes of thy Father, the Matchless, the Mighty. Thou
wert the fruit of His Tree, thou wert the lamp of His love, thou wert the
symbol of His serenity, and of His meekness, the pathway of His guidance,
the channel of His blessings, the sweet scent of His robe, the refuge of
His loved ones and His handmaidens, the mantle of His generosity and
grace.

O thou Remnant of the divine light, O thou fruit of the Cause of our
All-Compelling Lord! From the hour when thy days did set, on the horizon
of this Snow-White, this unique and Sacred Spot, our days have turned to
night, our joys to great consternation; our eyes have grown blind with
sorrow at thy passing, for it has brought back that supreme affliction yet
again, that direst convulsion, the departing of thy compassionate Brother,
our Merciful Master. And there is no refuge for us anywhere except for the
breathings of thy spirit, the spotless, the excellently bright; no shelter
for us anywhere, but through thine intercession, that God may inspire us
with His own patience, and ordain for us in the other life the reward of
meeting thee again, of attaining thy presence, of gazing on thy
countenance, and partaking of thy light.

O thou Maid of Bahá! The best and choicest of praises, and the most
excellent and most glorious of salutations, rest upon thee, O thou solace
of mine eyes, and beloved of my soul! Thy grace to me was plenteous, it
can never be concealed; thy love for me was great, it can never be
forgotten. Blessed, a thousand times blessed, is he who loves thee, and
partakes of thy splendours, and sings the praises of thy qualities, and
extols thy worth, and follows in thy footsteps; who testifies to the
wrongs thou didst suffer, and visits thy resting-place, and circles around
thine exalted tomb, by day and by night. Woe unto him, retribution be his,
who disputes thy rank and station, and denies thine excellence, and turns
himself aside from thy clear, thy luminous and straight path.

O ye distracted lovers of that winsome countenance! It is meet and fitting
that in the gatherings of the loved ones of God and the handmaids of the
Merciful in all the countries and lands of the East, these shining words
and clear tokens from the Supreme Pen and His Interpreter’s wonder-working
hand—verses which were revealed for that priceless treasure of the
Kingdom—should be repeatedly recited, most movingly with devotion and
lowliness, and great attention and care, so as to perpetuate her blessed
memory, and extol her station, and out of love also for her incomparable
beauty.

May the honoured members of the Central Assembly of Iran circulate these
Writings, immediately and with great care, to the countries of the East,
through their Local Spiritual Assemblies; for this task is a great bounty
especially set apart for the trustees of His devoted loved ones in that
noble homeland. May God reward them with excellent rewards, in both this
world of His, and in His Kingdom.



25: Moved by an unalterable devotion to the ...


(57) Moved by an unalterable devotion to the memory of the Greatest Holy
Leaf, I feel prompted to share with you, and through you with the
concourse of her steadfast lovers throughout the West, these significant
passages(58) which I have gleaned from various Tablets revealed in her
honour by Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Impregnated with that love after which the soul of a humanity in travail
now hungers, these passages disclose, to the extent that our finite minds
can comprehend, the nature of that mystic bond which, on one hand, united
her with the Spirit of her almighty Father and, on the other, linked her
so closely with her glorious Brother, the perfect Exemplar of that Spirit.

The memory of her who was a pattern of goodness, of a pure and holy life,
who was the embodiment of such heavenly virtues as only the privileged
inmates of the uppermost chambers in the Abhá Paradise can fully
appreciate, will long live enshrined in these immortal words—a memory the
ennobling influence of which will remain an inspiration and a solace amid
the wreckage of a sadly shaken world.

Conscious of the predominating share assumed, in recent years, by the
American believers in alleviating the burden which that most exalted Leaf
bore so heroically in the evening of her life, I can do no better than
entrust into their hands these prized testimonies of the Founder of our
Faith and of the Centre of His Covenant. I feel confident that their
elected representatives will take whatever measures are required for their
prompt and wide circulation among their brethren throughout the West. They
will, thereby, be contributing still further to the repayment of the great
debt they owe her in the prosecution of a mighty and divinely-appointed
task.



26: It was through the arrival of these pilgrims, ...


(59) It was through the arrival of these pilgrims,(60) and these alone,
that the gloom which had enveloped the disconsolate members of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s family was finally dispelled. Through the agency of these
successive visitors the Greatest Holy Leaf, who alone with her Brother
among the members of her Father’s household had to confront the rebellion
of almost the entire company of her relatives and associates, found that
consolation which so powerfully sustained her till the very close of her
life.



27: With ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ascension, and more ...


(61) With ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s 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.



28: The Fund associated with the beloved name ...


(62) The Fund associated with the beloved name of the Greatest Holy Leaf
has been launched. The uninterrupted continuation to its very end of so
laudable an enterprise is now assured. The poignant memories of one whose
heart so greatly rejoiced at the rearing of the superstructure of this
sacred House [the House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois] will so energize
the final exertions required to complete it as to dissipate any doubt that
may yet linger in any mind as to the capacity of its builders to worthily
consummate their task.



29: BLESSED REMAINS PUREST BRANCH AND ...


(63) BLESSED REMAINS PUREST BRANCH AND MASTER’S MOTHER SAFELY TRANSFERRED
HALLOWED PRECINCTS SHRINES MOUNT CARMEL. LONG INFLICTED HUMILIATION WIPED
AWAY. MACHINATIONS COVENANT-BREAKERS FRUSTRATE PLAN DEFEATED. CHERISHED
WISH GREATEST HOLY LEAF FULFILLED. SISTER BROTHER MOTHER WIFE ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ
REUNITED ONE SPOT DESIGNED CONSTITUTE FOCAL CENTRE BAHÁ’Í ADMINISTRATIVE
INSTITUTIONS AT FAITH’S WORLD CENTRE. SHARE JOYFUL NEWS ENTIRE BODY
AMERICAN BELIEVERS.



30: O loved ones of God, These two precious ...


(64) O loved ones of God, These two precious and most exalted
treasures,(65) these two keepsakes of the sacred Beauty of Abhá, have now
been joined to the third trust from Him, that is, to the daughter of Bahá
and His remnant, the token of the Master’s Remembrance.

Their resting-places are in one area, on an elevation close by the Spot
round which do circle the Concourse on High, and facing the Qiblih of the
people of Bahá—Akká, the resplendent city, and the sanctified, the
luminous, the Most Holy Shrine.

Within the shadow of these honoured tombs has also been laid the remains
of the consort(66) of Him round Whom all names revolve.

For joy, the Hill of God is stirred at so high an honour, and for this
most great bestowal the mountain of the Lord is in rapture and ecstasy.



31: His nine-year-old son, later surnamed the ...


(67) His(68) nine-year-old son, later surnamed the ‘Most Great Branch’,
destined to become the Centre of His Covenant and authorized Interpreter
of His teachings, together with His seven-year-old sister, known in later
years by the same title(69) as that of her illustrious mother, and whose
services until the ripe old age of four score years and six, no less than
her exalted parentage, entitle her to the distinction of ranking as the
outstanding heroine of the Bahá’í Dispensation, were ... included among
the exiles who were now bidding their last farewell to their native
country.



32: ...as a further testimony to the majestic ...


(70) ...as a further testimony to the majestic unfoldment and progressive
consolidation of the stupendous undertaking launched by Bahá’u’lláh on
that holy mountain, may be mentioned the selection of a portion of the
school property situated in the precincts of the Shrine of the Báb as a
permanent resting-place for the Greatest Holy Leaf, the ‘well-beloved’
sister of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the ‘Leaf that hath sprung’ from the ‘Pre-existent
Root’, the ‘fragrance’ of Bahá’u’lláh’s ‘shining robe’, elevated by Him to
a ‘station such as none other woman hath surpassed’, and comparable in
rank to those immortal heroines such as Sarah, Ásíyih, the Virgin Mary,
Fátimih and Táhirih, each of whom has outshone every member of her sex in
previous Dispensations.



33: The raising of this Edifice will in turn ...


(71) The raising of this Edifice(72) will in turn herald the construction,
in the course of successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, of
several other structures...

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’.



IV: PASSAGES FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF SHOGHI EFFENDI



1: Your touching words in connection with the ...


(73) Your touching words in connection with the sudden removal of the
Greatest Holy Leaf from their(74) midst have greatly alleviated the burden
of sorrow that weighs so heavily upon their hearts and have demonstrated
that in their great and irreparable loss the friends are faithfully
sharing their sorrow and grief.

The passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, so tragic in its suddenness, has,
indeed, divested the Holy Family of its unique adornment and the Bahá’í
world at large of one of its noblest and most precious members. She was to
us all not only a true friend but the real embodiment of those traits and
characteristics, of that genuine and profound love that was born of God,
and that we had learned to admire in the Master...

In this great loss that the followers of the Faith both in East and West
have come to suffer our Guardian’s share is the greatest and perhaps the
most cruel. His sole comfort, in this great calamity, is to see the
friends unitedly working for the spread of a Cause for which our departed
_Kh_ánum had given up all her life, and for the triumph of which she
cherished the highest hopes. The expressions of zealous enthusiasm and
hope, of genuine self-abnegation and love that the American believers and
especially our precious sister Mrs Agnes Parsons demonstrated in their
last Convention meeting have greatly brightened the closing days of her
life.(75) Shoghi Effendi trusts that her memory will increasingly serve to
cheer and hearten the friends in their ever-widening activities.



2: The passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, so ...


(76) The passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, so cruel in the feelings of
unalterable grief that it has evoked, is, indeed, a tremendous loss to us
all and particularly to our Guardian. Her presence among us was such a
source of inspiration and joy that we cannot too deeply grieve the
immensity of our loss. She was a real mother to every one of us, a
comforter in our pains and anxieties, and a friend in our moments of utter
loneliness and despair. But alas! We failed to appreciate adequately what
her presence among us meant and it is only now, when she has gone for
ever, that we come to realize the irreparable character of our loss.

And yet, however deep our consciousness of her unexpected removal from our
midst may be, we cannot but feel certain that from her heavenly retreat
she is continually showering her blessings upon everyone of us and is
interceding on our behalf so that we may recover our energies and
unanimously arise and dedicate our lives to the service of her Father’s
glorious Cause.

Her memory will, assuredly, continue to inspire us for many, many long
years and will prove, when the hour of adversity is at its darkest, to be
our best sustainer.

May her glorious spirit inspire us with faith and hope, steel our energies
and enable us to make every sacrifice in the path lighted by her saintly
and eventful life.



3: The ascension of the Greatest Holy Leaf is, ...


(77) The ascension of the Greatest Holy Leaf is, indeed, an irreparable
loss to us all and will continue to be deeply felt for many, many long
years. Her presence among us was such a source of blessings and
inspiration! She was to every one of us not only a friend but a real
mother, through whose maternal care and love we had learned to feel and
experience that consuming love which is born of God and which alone can
galvanize the souls of men.

Her departure from our midst, though cruel and heart-rending in its
immediate results cannot but ultimately serve the very best interests of
the Cause. For this invincible Faith of God has, ever since its inception
in darkest Persia, grown and flourished amidst all sorts of tribulations
and sufferings and has welcomed all these as providential forces destined
to ensure its unity, promote its interests and consolidate its work.

Let us, therefore, not remain disconsolate and hopeless and withstand in a
heroic way the shock occasioned by the passing of our beloved _Kh_ánum.
Her ascension is a challenge to us all, a challenge to our faith, to our
sincerity and to our love.

May her memory continue to strengthen and deepen our spiritual insight and
enable us to render the Faith as many services as we can.



4: His grief is too immense and his loss too ...


(78) His grief is too immense and his loss too heavy to be adequately
expressed in words. But the many letters of condolence he has already
received, and especially your message that indicated your profound
attachment to our departed _Kh_ánum, greatly comforted his sorrow-stricken
heart and gave him the assurance that in this calamitous event the friends
are amply sharing his grief.

However irreparable and heart-rending our loss may be, we cannot but thank
God for having released our beloved Holy Leaf from the oppression and
bondage of this world. For more than eighty years this Exalted Leaf bore
with a fortitude that bewildered every one who had the privilege of
knowing her, sufferings and tribulations that few of our present-day
believers did experience. And yet, what a joy and what a saintlike
attitude she manifested all through her life. Her angelic face was so
calm, so serene in the very midst of sufferings and pains. Not that she
lacked tenderness of heart and sympathy. But she could overcome her
feelings and this because she had put all her trust in God.

And now that she has gone for ever we should rejoice at the thought that
she is still living in our hearts and is animating our soul with a
devotion, a courage, and a hope of which we are in such a dire need in
these days of sufferings and hardships.

May the memory of her saintly life inspire you with faith and hope, cheer
and strengthen your heart and make of you a servant worthy to promote and
consolidate the interests of the Faith!



5: The irreparable loss which the Faith has ...


(79)

The irreparable loss which the Faith has suffered through the passing of
the Greatest Holy Leaf is too immense to be adequately expressed in words,
and we cannot fully realize its significance at the present stage of the
evolution of the Cause. Future generations stand in a better position to
appreciate what her significance was during the early days of the
Revelation and especially after the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

And now that she has gone for ever and is in direct communion with God we
should rejoice at the thought that from the Realm Above she is watching
over us all and is sending us her blessings.

May the memory of her saintly life be our comforter in our hours of
sadness and despair, and may we learn through her example how to live the
true life of the spirit, of self-abnegation and of service.



6: In these days, when we are all mourning the ...


(80) In these days, when we are all mourning the loss of our beloved
Greatest Holy Leaf, Shoghi Effendi’s sole comfort is to see the friends as
ever devoted and active and striving day and night to promote the
teachings of the Cause.

However cruel our separation from Bahíyyih _Kh_ánum may be, especially at
a time when her presence among us was such a source of inspiration and
strength, yet we feel confident that from her Heavenly Retreat she is
sending us her blessings and is quickening our weary souls.

Concerning the suspension of festivities for a period of nine months it
should be made clear that what is meant by this is that all gatherings,
whether outdoor or indoor, which are not of a strictly devotional
character should be abolished all through the period of our mourning.
However, meetings and services that are wholly spiritual as well as those
that are necessary for the carrying on of the administration should
continue to be held as usual.



7: Your message of condolence and sympathy, ...


(81) Your message of condolence and sympathy, dated July 22nd, 1932 which
so fully conveyed your profound grief at the loss occasioned by the
unexpected passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf was received and read with
great interest. The Guardian’s sorrow was much relieved and the burden of
his agonizing pain immensely alleviated. He sincerely hopes that out of
the pangs of this crushing calamity the Faith will strengthen its
foundations and extend the sphere of its ever-widening influence.

Our loss is, indeed, immense and even irreparable. But our joy should also
be great, for the Greatest Holy Leaf has at least been released from the
bondage of this world after more than eighty years of continued suffering.
It would take me too long to relate in their fullness those incidents
which eloquently proclaim her as one of the greatest sufferers the world
has yet seen. And yet, with what a fortitude she bore all these
tribulations for she was confident in the grace of God.

Though now gone for ever from our midst we should be hopeful that from her
Celestial Realm she will send us her blessings and will extend to us her
help. Her memory will continue to cheer and strengthen our souls, deepen
our spiritual insight and bring us to a strong determination to serve till
the very last breath of our life a Cause for which our departed _Kh_ánum
gave up her entire existence and for the future of which she cherished the
brightest hopes.



8: ...The news of the Memorial Service you ...


(82) ...The news of the Memorial Service you had held for the Greatest
Holy Leaf gave him the assurance that the friends are faithfully sharing
his grief and are demonstrating in a befitting manner their profound
devotion to one whose very life was an example of faithfulness and
sincerity, of self-abnegation and love.

The ascension of the Greatest Holy Leaf is, indeed, both a calamity and a
blessing. It is an overwhelming calamity since it has deprived us of the
presence in our very midst of the last Remnant of that Heroic age of the
Cause that gave birth to so many noble and faithful souls. The mere
presence of our beloved _Kh_ánum among us was a source of inspiration and
blessing. And now that she has gone we cannot too deeply deplore the
immensity of our loss.

But thanks to God for having released her, after so many long years of
agonizing pain, of the bondage of this world and given her the priceless
privilege of being in direct communion with God.

May her everlasting spirit continue to guide our efforts and enable us to
serve a Cause, for which she suffered so much, with all our might, our
enthusiasm and hope.



9: The letter from that spiritual friend has ...


(83) The letter from that spiritual friend has reached the beloved
Guardian, and he is aware of your bitter grieving over the calamitous news
that a most glorious fruit of the Holy Tree, the Most Exalted Leaf, the
Remnant of Bahá, has passed away.

This disastrous event has had an effect on the Guardian so terrible that
no pen can describe it nor paper bear the words; for that bright and
surpassingly fair presence, that quintessence of the perfections and
attributes of God, was his close companion, and the consolation of his
heart, so that his separation from her whom the world wronged, and the
ascension of that loved one of the community of love, was unspeakably hard
for him to bear.

She was a divine trust, a treasure of the Kingdom, and she spent all the
days of her precious life as an exile and a captive, and her every
priceless hour was passed under tests and afflictions and ordeals that she
endured at the hands of merciless foes. From early childhood she had her
share of the sufferings of Bahá’u’lláh, subjected even as He was to
hardships and calamities, and she was as well the partner in sorrows and
tribulations of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

For her there was never a night of peaceful sleep, for her no day when she
found rest, and always, like a moth, would her comely person circle about
the bright candle of the Faith. The words of her mouth were ever to
glorify the Abhá Beauty, her only thought and her high purpose were to
proclaim the Cause of God and to protect His Law, while the dearest wish
of her glowing heart was to waft far and wide the sweet breathings of the
Lord.

Her heavenly ways were a model for the people of Bahá, and those who dwell
in the pavilions of devotion and the denizens of the Abhá Paradise found
in her celestial attributes their prototype and their guide. Glory be to
God, Who created her, fashioned her, called her into being, sent her forth
and revealed her, whose like the eye of the world had never seen.

The Guardian sends his message of consolation to your honoured self and
all the friends, and he says that it is fitting that the righteous should
hold fast to the cord of resignation and acquiescence, and adorn
themselves with the ornaments of faithfulness and servitude, and take for
their example that priceless treasure of the Kingdom.



10: The letter dated 5 August 1932, from that ...


(84) The letter dated 5 August 1932, from that spiritual friend has been
received by the Guardian of the Cause of God, may our lives be sacrificed
for him, and he has been informed of your receiving his telegram regarding
the ascension of that matchless fruit of the Tree of Glory, the Most
Exalted Leaf.

There is no question but that the burden of grief on his sorrowing heart,
because of this terrible ordeal, this great calamity, is heavier than
minds can conceive, or words can tell. That gem of immortality, that
precious and exalted being, was the one consolation, the one companion of
the Guardian in his sorrow-filled life; and she, with her sweet
encouragement, her gentle words, her never-ceasing, soothing care of him,
her smiles that came like fair winds from heavenly gardens, could always
gladden and refresh his spirit.

No one has understood the tender, spiritual and celestial bond between the
Guardian and her who was the Remnant of Bahá, nor can any mind conceive
that plane of being, nor reckon its sublimity.

During her whole life span, that heavenly being was subjected to ordeals
and tribulations. She confronted the attacks of the hostile, and she
suffered afflictions any one of which could well have shattered a mountain
of iron. And yet the sweet and comely face of that spirit-like dove of
holiness, was wreathed till her very last hour in life-giving smiles, nor
did that patience and endurance, that greatness, that majesty and dignity,
ever desert her delicate and fragile person.

She who was the trust left by Bahá’u’lláh had no other aim nor goal but
these: to proclaim the Cause of God and exalt His Word; to praise and
glorify the Blessed Beauty’s name; to bear ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in mind and serve
Him ever; to pity the sorely-troubled and give them endless, loving care;
to cherish and comfort them, and bring them joy. There is, then, good
reason, that with the passing of this peerless gem, this precious,
matchless pearl, we should rend our garments in mourning, and that our
eyes should stream with bitter tears.

The Guardian conveys his message of condolence, and says that in this
severest of afflictions, it would befit the people of Bahá to hold fast to
resignation and acquiescence, and to rise up and loyally serve the Faith,
taking for their example that priceless treasure of the Abhá Paradise.



11: What you had written concerning the ...


(85) What you had written concerning the memorial gatherings of men and
women believers to mourn the Most Exalted Leaf, who was the peerless fruit
of the Holy Tree, and to commemorate the ascension of her who was the most
glorious trust left on earth by the Lord—may the souls of holy men and
women be a sacrifice for her sacred resting-place—has been received by the
Guardian.

It cannot be imagined to what a degree this terrible and calamitous event
has saddened him, and, more than words can tell, clouded the radiance of
his heart. For that holy being, that resplendent person, with all her
heart and soul and endless love, had ever fostered and cherished him in
the warm embrace of her celestial tenderness. She was his single, dear
companion, she was his one and only consolation in the world, and that is
why he is so burdened down with the passing of her high and stately
presence, and why the departure of that comely spirit is so hard for him
to bear.

She who was left in trust by Bahá’u’lláh was the symbol of His infinite
compassion, the day star in the heaven of His bounty and grace. That
sanctified spirit revealed the loving-kindness of Him who was the Beauty
of the All-Glorious, and was the welling spring of the favours and
bestowals of Him Who was the Lord, the Most High. She was the comforter of
anyone who grieved, the solace of any with a broken heart. She, that
Remnant of Bahá, was a loving mother to the orphan, and for the hapless
and bewildered it was she who would find a way. Her holy life lit up the
world; her heavenly qualities and ways were a standard for people all over
the earth. Like a cloud of grace, she showered down gifts, and her
bestowals, like the morning winds, refreshed the soul.

Stranger and friend alike were captured by her loving-kindness, her
spiritual nature, her unceasing care for them and tender ways; enamoured
of her great indulgence toward them, and how she favoured them and
cherished them. The mind could only marvel at that subtle and ethereal
being, at the majesty and greatness of her, and the heavenly modesty, and
the forbearance and long suffering. Even in the thick of the worst
ordeals, she would smile like an opening rose, and no matter how dark and
calamitous the times, like a bright candle she would shed her light.

The Guardian sends messages of heartfelt condolence to all of you, and
asks you to be submissive and acquiescent and patient, and loyally to
arise and serve, and take for your model that precious treasure of the
Abhá Paradise.

You had asked the Guardian as to the nine months of mourning, during which
all Bahá’í festivities are to be suspended. His answer is that this refers
to nine solar months. He says further that the blessed and exalted Leaf
ascended at one hour after midnight, on the eve of Friday, July 15.



12: ...He is eagerly awaiting to see the friends ...


(86) ...He is eagerly awaiting to see the friends as ever burning with the
desire to serve a Cause for the sake of which our departed Holy Leaf gave
up her entire existence.

May her glorious spirit cheer your hearts, strengthen your faith and
inspire you with renewed courage and hope.



13: His loss is too immense to be adequately ...


(87) His loss is too immense to be adequately expressed in words. But his
joy is also great. For such calamitous events, though cruel in their
immediate effects, nevertheless, serve to stimulate the friends and
quicken their souls.

Ours, therefore, is the opportunity to arise and serve the Cause and put
all our trust in God. Surely, He will guide our steps and will inspire us
with the necessary enthusiasm and strength.

May the immortal spirit of our departed _Kh_ánum quicken our energies and
give fresh lustre to our endeavours for the greater extension of the
Cause.



14: The profound sorrow occasioned by the ...


(88) The profound sorrow occasioned by the sudden passing of the Greatest
Holy Leaf, as well as the unnumbered messages of sympathy received from
friends and believers in East and West, all of which the Guardian
acknowledged in person, have caused the unavoidable delay in giving his
immediate attention to various matters referred to in your communications
to him. He deeply regrets the obstacles which stood in his way and which
by their very nature he found them impossible to surmount.



15: The Guardian of the Cause of God has ...


(89) The Guardian of the Cause of God has received your letter of 21 July
1932, telling of your and the other friends’ profound distress on
receiving word of this calamity, this dire ordeal, that is, the ascension
of the Most Exalted Leaf, that brightest fruit of the Eternal Tree.

It is certain that this anguish, this harrowing event, has reached into
the very depths of his being, and oppressed and darkened his radiant heart
more than words can ever tell. For the subtle and spiritual attachment
that the Guardian felt for her, and the heavenly tenderness and affection
between that lovely fruit of the divine Lote-Tree and himself, was a bond
so strong as to defy description, nor can the mind encompass that exalted
state. That secret is a secret well-concealed, a treasured mystery
unplumbed, and to a plane such as this, the minds of the believers can
never find their way. On this account the Guardian’s anguish at being
parted from that bright and comely denizen of Heaven is beyond our
conceiving.

She who was a sparkling light of God, she who was so full of grace—that
widespread ray of Heaven’s splendour, that sign of God’s mercy—was made to
appear with all perfections, all goodly attributes, all blessed ways; and
never had the world’s eye gazed upon such a welling spring of tender love,
of pity and compassion, and never will it behold again such a gem of
loving-kindness, such a fount of God’s munificence.

How many a night did she whom the world wronged spend as a prisoner, worn
with care, tormented, banished from her home. How many a day did she live
through as an exile and a captive! There was no venom of affliction, at
the hands of this Faith’s foes, that was not given her to drink, no arrow
of cruelty but struck her holy breast. Yet in spite of the endless
tribulations and disasters, she who was a spirit of holiness and a
songster of Heaven, would even in the midst of dire ordeals, her face
aglow, bloom like a rose.

The Guardian sends messages of consolation to you and all the friends in
this bereavement, and he says that in this calamitous time all must bow
down their heads and be acquiescent, arise in faithful service to His
Cause, and model themselves upon that most exalted, sacred and resplendent
presence.



16: The Guardian’s anguish, because of this ...


(90) The Guardian’s anguish, because of this tragic occurrence, is such
that it can neither be plumbed nor described in words. That sublime and
gloried Leaf, that precious jewel of the Kingdom, was the one great solace
of his life; she was his glorious companion, and her disappearance, and
the separation from her, and her ascending into the heavenly presence and
court of her Lord was the direst ordeal to be visited upon the people of
Bahá. Alas for any future time that might produce such a calamity, when
the world’s eye might see its like.

That sacred treasure, that jewel of Heaven, was the very sign and token of
spiritual attributes and qualities and perfections, the very model of high
honour and nobility and heavenly ways. The sufferings she bore in the
pathway of God were the cruellest ones, the afflictions that assailed her
were the severest of all. Fortitude was the rich dress she wore, serenity
and tranquil strength were her splendid robe, virtue and detachment,
purity and chastity, were all her jewels, and tenderness, care and love
for humankind, her beauty’s bright adornings.

The Guardian conveys his message of consolation and comfort, enjoining
submission and acquiescence in this calamity, and the need for arising to
serve and to be steadfast, and to take for our model that gem of the Abhá
Paradise.



17: Indeed, the Greatest Holy Leaf, the Trust of ...


(91) Indeed, the Greatest Holy Leaf, the Trust of Bahá’u’lláh amongst us,
was the emblem of His boundless grace, a luminary shining in the heaven of
tender mercy and gracious providence, the embodiment of the manifold
favours of the Abhá Beauty, a repository of the bounty and loving-kindness
so characteristic of the Báb, the Exalted One. To every disconsolate one
she was an affectionate comforter, to every heart-broken and
grief-stricken soul, a token of unfailing sympathy, of kindliness, of
cheer and comfort. Her blessed life was a source of spiritual illumination
for the whole world and her noble traits and heavenly attributes served as
a shining example, an object of emulation for all mankind. Like the
showers of heavenly grace, her generosity knew no bounds, and as the
breeze of celestial blessing and favour, she breathed a new life into
every soul. Both friends and strangers were drawn by her sense of
spirituality, her tenderness and refinement, her unfailing solicitude, and
were attracted by the magic of her unbounded affection and goodwill. That
heavenly being displayed throughout her life such evidence of glory and
dignity, such manifestations of majesty and greatness, such a degree of
patience and resignation as bewildered the minds and souls. In the midst
of trials her radiant face bore the likeness of a sweet rose and in
moments of sore tribulation she was resplendent as a brilliant candle.



18: The Guardian trusts that the explanation he ...


(92) The Guardian trusts that the explanation he has given by wire
regarding the suspension for a period of nine months of Bahá’í religious
festivity has been made clear. The Nineteen Day Feast being of a
quasi-administrative character should continue to be held, but should be
conducted with the utmost simplicity and should be devoid of any features
associated with feasts and entertainment. The celebration of Naw-Rúz, the
anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh and of the Báb should be
altogether cancelled as a token of our deep mourning for so distinguished
and precious a member of Bahá’u’lláh’s family. The period of nine months
should be reckoned from the 15th of July to the 15th of April.



19: The loss of the Greatest Holy Leaf will be ...


(93) The loss of the Greatest Holy Leaf will be bitterly felt by all those
friends who had the pleasure and privilege to meet her. She always kept
such a wonderful atmosphere of joy and hope around her that was bound to
influence those that were present and help them to go out into the world
with added zeal and determination to consecrate all in the path of God.

The only consolation of Shoghi Effendi is in the knowledge that she has
been delivered from earthly worries and physical weakness and that she is
now in the presence of Bahá’u’lláh, her Father and Lord, enjoying the
infinite blessings of His eternal Kingdom.



20: Even though during these last years she was ...


(94) Even though during these last years she was weak and most of the time
confined to her room, yet she was a source of constant joy and inspiration
to those that met her. The Guardian feels her loss tremendously because
the greatest part of his leisure hours he used to spend in her company.

His only comfort is that she has been delivered from the worries and
weaknesses of a body that could no more withhold her spirit and help her
to express all her desire in meeting the friends and serving them.

At present, in the presence of her Father and Lord we trust she is
remembering us and asking for us His divine grace and blessings.



21: The passing away of the Greatest Holy Leaf ...


(95) The passing away of the Greatest Holy Leaf was a loss every Bahá’í
will feel deeply if only he stops to think about it. She was such a
precious soul and so radiantly happy and hopeful even under most adverse
circumstances. Every believer that came in contact with her left her
presence with a more determined spirit of service and self-sacrifice. Both
Shoghi Effendi and the rest of the Bahá’ís will mourn her loss bitterly.
Their only consolation can be her own deliverance from a life of hardship
and difficulties, and her entrance into a realm which is naught but
eternal bliss and infinite divine grace.



22: Even though the Greatest Holy Leaf has left ...


(96) Even though the Greatest Holy Leaf has left us in body she is with us
in spirit, inspiring us in our work and beseeching for us God’s loving
mercy and fatherly care. She will never forget her loving friends nor
leave them in their woes.

Shoghi Effendi was very sad to hear of your difficulties, especially as
they have encompassed you at an age when you cannot confront them but must
have comfort and peace. You should, however, take courage and resign to
the will of God when you see what the Greatest Holy Leaf had to face
during her life. All you may suffer is nothing compared to what she had to
endure; and yet how joyous and hopeful she used always to be!

This is the way of the world. The greatest among us seems to be the one
who has suffered most and withstood best the battles of life.



23: Shoghi Effendi wishes me to acknowledge ...


(97) Shoghi Effendi wishes me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
dated August 25th 1932 and to extend his deep appreciation for your kind
words of sympathy. This loss is a thing that will be bitterly felt by
every Bahá’í throughout the world, because she used to be a source of
inspiration to every one of them. The mere coming into her presence and
thinking of the trials and difficulties she had to pass through in her
life, was sufficient to create in us new hope and arouse us to stronger
determination to promote the Cause she suffered for.



24: You should be very happy to have had the ...


(98) You should be very happy to have had the privilege of meeting her
upon this physical plane of existence, for the world has seen only very
few such souls who have suffered so much for the sake of God and yet kept
their cheer and uttered words of hope and encouragement to those who were
around them. What a source of inspiration she was to the pilgrims who came
from the four corners of the world to seek spirituality and attain a new
birth by visiting the Holy Shrines. They should surely remember those
blessed moments they spent in her room or in her presence elsewhere, and
remembering her suffering, take courage in confronting the problems of
their life. May God help us all to follow her example and like her be a
blessing to others.



25: Surely there is nothing that will console the ...


(99) Surely there is nothing that will console the Guardian more than the
happy news that the Cause for which the Greatest Holy Leaf lived and
suffered is gradually spreading and embracing the whole of the people of
the world.

She is undoubtedly conscious of our activities, following our work and
impatiently awaiting the result of our battles. Let her passing,
therefore, be a source of added sacrifice and more energetic striving on
the part of her devoted friends and lovers.



26: These nine months during which the Guardian ...


(100) These nine months during which the Guardian has asked the friends to
discard feast days, are meant to be months of mourning for the passing
away of the Greatest Holy Leaf. The friends should also use it as a period
of redoubled energy in serving the Cause in expression of our deep love
for her as well as for the Cause she so much suffered for.



27: Surely no matter what we say about her still ...


(101) Surely no matter what we say about her still we have not done
justice to the abounding love she had and the services she rendered to
Bahá’u’lláh and the Master. Her life was full of events, full of
sacrifices in the path of God. Ever since her childhood she had to endure
hardships and share the exile and persecution that Bahá’u’lláh had to
suffer. In her face one could easily read the history of the Cause from
its earliest days to the present moment.

Notwithstanding all this she never grumbled nor lost her faith in the
future. She kept cheerful and tried to give cheer to others. She was a
real source of inspiration to every person that met her.

The only adequate way to show our love and devotion to her is to arise and
serve the Cause for which she so earnestly laboured during all her mortal
life. Her deeds and sacrifices should act as examples for us to follow.



28: Indeed it would have been for you such a joy ...


(102) Indeed it would have been for you such a joy to meet the Greatest
Holy Leaf during her earthly life, but the Guardian does not wish you to
feel depressed about it; this beloved soul will from the Heaven of her
Almighty Father guide you to serve the Cause which has been so dear to
her. Shoghi Effendi values your sincere sympathy in this irreparable loss;
he hopes that we all will follow the example of her saintly life.



29: He fully appreciates the deep sorrow that ...


(103) He fully appreciates the deep sorrow that you, as well as the other
friends, feel for the passing away of the Greatest Holy Leaf. All those
who met her cannot feel but an emptiness in their hearts. She was always
such a source of courage and hope to those pilgrims that came from all
parts of the world and had the pleasure of meeting her, that they left her
presence with added hope and greater determination to serve the Cause and
sacrifice their all in its path. This was especially true of them after
the passing away of the Master when they felt that she was the only worthy
remnant of Bahá’u’lláh’s immediate kin.

May her passing stir the friends to greater measures of sacrifice and
direct their attention towards the spiritual duties that have been laid
upon their shoulders.



30: He is sure that all the Bahá’ís throughout ...


(104) He is sure that all the Bahá’ís throughout the world share with him
in this sorrow, for she was a source of comfort and inspiration to them
all. No one left her presence without being deeply impressed by her
spirit. All the sufferings that she had endured during her life and that
had left their traces upon her feeble form, had not in the least affected
her spirit of joy and hopefulness. She liked to see the people happy, and
exerted all her efforts to make it easy for them to realize it.

How badly we need such souls in the world at present when it seems so full
of sorrows and discouragements! Every one is suffering and no person to
give them courage and brighten their hearts.

Shoghi Effendi hopes that the friends will follow her example and become a
source of inspiration to the world at large, giving hope to the depressed
and joy to the disconsolate. Moreover, he trusts that her passing will
operate as a great impetus in our services to the Cause for which she
suffered so long and so hard.



31: He deeply appreciates your sincere, well-expressed ...


(105) He deeply appreciates your sincere, well-expressed reference, to the
tribute he has written to the dearly beloved Greatest Holy Leaf. You
cannot imagine to what an extent our dear Guardian has, in this loss, been
deprived for ever of the sustaining influence and kindness that this Most
Exalted Leaf used to shower daily upon him. In this beautiful Tribute we
can trace the life of this beautiful soul, witness with anguish all the
sufferings and deprivations that she has endured. Now we should, all of
us, try in turn to follow her saintly path and direct all our energy to
serve the Cause, which has been so dear to her.



32: ...He was deeply touched by the strong ...


(106) ...He was deeply touched by the strong attachment of the friends to
one who, besides being the beloved daughter of Bahá’u’lláh, exemplified
perhaps more than anyone the true spirit that animates His teachings. His
sincere hope is that your love for our departed Greatest Holy Leaf will
attain such depth and intensity as to enable you to follow on her
footsteps and to carry out with increasing devotion and vigour all that
she cherished so much during the entire course of her earthly life. The
memory of her saintly life will undoubtedly sustain and feed your energies
and will provide you with that spiritual potency of which we are all in
such a great need.



33: The steps of her holy resting-place represent ...


(107) The steps of her holy resting-place represent Local Spiritual
Assemblies, not individual believers. The columns, that is the pillars,
are like the National Spiritual Assemblies, while the dome, which is
raised following the placing of the columns, symbolizes the Universal
House of Justice which, in accordance with the Master’s Will and Testament
must be elected by the secondary Houses of Justice, that is, the National
Spiritual Assemblies of East and West.



V: LETTERS OF THE GREATEST HOLY LEAF



1: O Leaf of Paradise! ...


(108) O Leaf of Paradise!

Loose your tongue at all times in gratitude for the blessings of the
Beloved of the Worlds, for you are always mentioned in His Glorious and
Sanctified Presence, and you are ever in the hearts of His maidservants.
The pen is unable to describe the depths of our longing, nor can the
tongue recount the love concealed within our hearts. Should you look into
the mirror of your own heart, which is free from the defilements of this
world of dust, you would clearly see the truth of what has been set forth.

From the time of your departure no day passes without mention being made
of your name. Please God you may in your days and nights hold fast to the
sure handle of detachment, and be occupied in the remembrance of God, the
Wondrous, the All-Glorious.

There is no blessing greater than attainment unto His Holy Presence. Thank
God you attained this bounty.

May the spiritually-minded son, Mírzá Badí’u’lláh, God willing, be always
safe in the stronghold of God’s care and protection.



2: I feel prompted to offer my sincere best ...


(109) I feel prompted to offer my sincere best wishes to you and to
express the agony of separation that has deeply affected me. First of all
let me say that I received with the hand of gratitude and thankfulness
your kind letter which bore the full abundance of your love and amply
portrayed the noble traits of your nature, so richly adorned with laudable
characteristics. In truth, I always pay tribute to your excellent
qualities and eagerly yearn to set my eyes upon your countenance. I often
recall those days when I had the delightful pleasure of your company and
indulged in the fruits of your brilliant sense of humour. Perhaps the days
of reunion shall come again through the favour of the Lord of grace and
bounty. I fervently pray that God—glorified and exalted be He—may endue
your life with vigour and happiness and enable you to achieve your heart’s
desire. Moreover, I beseech Him—exalted is He—to grant me the pleasure of
meeting you again very soon. Indeed, He is nigh and readily answers the
call. I hereby offer my best greetings and befitting salutations to your
revered person, and may God perpetuate your life. Every one here enquires
about your distinguished self and sends high expressions of praise and
compliment to you. May God prolong your life.



3: The letter in which that leaf had expressed the ...


(110) The letter in which that leaf had expressed the ardent longing of
her heart and revealed the depth of her devotion has received my eager
attention.

Indeed, the voice of lamentation that the loved ones of God and His
devoted servants have raised on the occasion of this terrible adversity,
this grievous calamity, has caused the fire of His bereavement to rage
more fiercely than ever. In reality no pen can depict the poignant feeling
that surges in our hearts. Every expression would prove utterly
inadequate, even less than the eye of a needle, inasmuch as words and
syllables are incapable of conveying the intensity of this dire suffering.
They are but a tiny drop compared to an ocean. Even in the vast immensity
of inner significances and expositions nothing can portray this calamitous
event. Moreover, the tale of how these prisoners have been consumed by the
fire of bereavement is interminable. During this dark and dreadful
calamity, and to this God bears me witness, our souls melted and our eyes
unceasingly rained with tears.

Nevertheless, when faced with the irrevocable decree of the Almighty, the
vesture that best befits us in this world is the vesture of patience and
submission, and the most meritorious of all deeds is to commit our affairs
into His hands and to surrender ourselves to His Will. Therefore, it
behoves that leaf to take fast hold on the handle of resignation and
radiant acquiescence and to strictly adhere to the cord of patience and
long-suffering. God willing, through His aid and heavenly confirmation you
may be enabled to exalt His Word and to render exemplary service to His
Cause, that perchance the ears of all created things may be purged of the
tales of bygone ages and become endued with the capacity to hearken to the
holy verses that the Lord of all men has proclaimed. Indeed, this is the
underlying purpose of man’s existence during the brief period of his
earthly life. Please God, we may all be confirmed and aided to achieve
this.

Every manner of description that I use, and every form of symbolic
expression that I conceive will fail to convey the extent of the ardent
love and affection that I cherish for you; however, it causes the fire of
love to glow more intensely and to burn more brightly. Therefore, I had
better confine myself to these few lines.

At the court of the presence of the Most Mighty Branch—may the lives of
them that yearn after Him and are wholly devoted to Him be sacrificed for
His holy presence—your name has been mentioned and you became the
recipient of His special favours.



4: Despite our overwhelming sorrows and ...


(111) Despite our overwhelming sorrows and afflictions, our heart-burning
and depth of woes, you are always in our thoughts and we call to mind your
cheerful face. When we visit the Most Holy Shrine, the Point round which
revolve the people of the world, we offer our prayers, and visit that
Sacred Spot on your behalf, and on behalf of all the friends, particularly
the well-assured, the faithful and loyal handmaids of the Merciful. We
have prayed and will continue to pray at the Threshold of the Tomb of the
Blessed Beauty for your success, and that of your relatives. Likewise in
the presence of ‘Him Whom God hath purposed’ you are always remembered.
Several days ago He retired to the Cave of _Kh_idr,(112) and that verdant
spot has been blessed by the steps of our Master, ‘Him round Whom all
names revolve’. He intends to stay there for a while, so that He may have
some respite from His countless concerns and cares.

For the most part your previous letters have been answered, but you have
not acknowledged receipt. This letter is in reply to your recent missive,
so that you will be confident that we are, under all conditions, thinking
of you.

Should you enquire about these bereaved ones, through the grace of the
Lord and the bounties of His divine Mystery, we are all well, but our
grief knows no bounds. We supplicate at the Threshold of the Eternal and
Almighty Beloved that He may unlock before us the doors of delight, awaken
the heedless and those in deep slumber, and grant the exponents of
violation a sense of justice, so that its dust may settle down, that this
dissension be wiped out, and once again we may taste the sweetness of the
days of bliss.

O Lord! Graciously enable this servant of Thine as well as those who
supplicate tearfully before Thy face and have turned towards Thee in their
affliction to achieve unity, harmony, friendliness and fellowship, that
they may magnify Thy virtues in the daytime and in the night season, may
chant Thy holy words, may recite verses from Thy heavenly Book, may
eagerly set their hearts toward the retreats of Thy holiness, yearning to
behold the vision of Thy grandeur. O Lord! Fulfil their hearts’ desires,
gladden their bosoms with the shining splendour of the Centre of Thy
Covenant, illumine their eyes and rejoice their souls with the goodly
gifts of the light of harmony. Verily Thou art the Lord of the Day of
Judgement.



5: It is my earnest hope that you, His distinguished ...


(113) It is my earnest hope that you, His distinguished leaf, together
with the other maidservants of the All-Merciful in that land, may be so
enkindled by the flame set ablaze by the hand of God as to illumine the
whole world through the quickening energy of the love of God, and that
through the eloquence of your speech, the fluency of your tongue, and the
confirmations of the Holy Spirit you will be empowered to expound divine
wisdom in such manner that men of eloquence, and the scholars and sages of
the world, will be lost in bewilderment. This indeed would not be hard for
Him.



6: O exalted leaf, O distinguished friend! May ...


(114) O exalted leaf, O distinguished friend! May the glory of God and His
praise, His bounty and blessing rest upon you inasmuch as you have
remained faithful to the Covenant of God and His Testament.

Your letter so fine and ornate, a gift from the Paradise of the love of
God, and a dear token of the celestial Garden of divine knowledge, has
been received, and perfumed with its spiritual and ethereal fragrance the
nostrils of this maidservant of God, this yearning prisoner.

Praise be to God that He has enabled you, His well-assured leaf, to
magnify at all times the glory of His gracious countenance, has sustained
your life through the remembrance of His Beauty, has suffered you to rid
yourself of all attachment to any one save Him that you may continually
commune with His love. He has graciously assisted you to remain faithful
to His weighty and irrefutable Testament, to cling tenaciously to the hem
of the robe of the Centre of the Covenant of God, the All-Bountiful, and
to fix your gaze entirely upon the luminous face of ‘Him Whom God hath
purposed’, the One ‘Who hath branched from the pre-existent Root’. In
truth, a myriad praises and thanksgiving should be offered in appreciation
of this outpouring of divine favours and blessings. We implore the Kingdom
of our Lord, the All-Glorious, that He may continually waft upon you His
vitalizing breaths, may enrapture you by the uplifting transports of His
delight, may quicken you through His Holy Spirit and may grant you
confirmation to serve His maidservants and His leaves.



7: May my life be sacrificed for those leaves who ...


(115) May my life be sacrificed for those leaves who are steadfast in the
Covenant of God—they whom the slander of the slanderer hinders not from
holding fast to His divine Testament.

I yield praise to God and offer thanksgiving to the Abhá Beloved—may my
spirit be offered up for every atom of the dust of His holy
Threshold—inasmuch as the animating breeze of holiness has wafted from the
rose-garden of your love and fellowship. By this is meant that your
letter—a letter fraught with expressions of loving-kindness that that
loved one of my heart and soul penned with such tender affection—has been
received. It brought immense happiness to the grief-stricken heart of this
yearning prisoner and by perusing its contents my whole being has been
flooded with ineffable gladness. Indeed, the nostrils of my heart have
been perfumed by its sweet savours and the channel of my soul has become
redolent with its vitalizing perfume, inasmuch as from its inner meaning
the fragrances of heavenly praise and adoration were inhaled and from its
words the sweet smell of attraction to the love of God was perceived. In
truth, every letter which serves to magnify the glory of the Ancient
Beauty or to extol the virtues of the Most Great Name is sweeter than
honey, for it imparts sweetness to the palate of the soul.

In brief, we all rejoice to know that you and the other handmaids of God
in that region are enjoying good health, that they are all firm and
steadfast in the Cause of God, are shining brightly and are enraptured by
His love; for this token of grace we have offered boundless praise at the
Threshold of our forgiving Lord. We are well acquainted with the matters
you have mentioned in your letter, and in the luminous and holy presence
of the peerless Servant of His Threshold, our Master, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—may my
life be sacrificed for Him—your name and the names of all the handmaids of
God and of His enraptured leaves have been mentioned and words of praise
were expressed by Him in your favour. Be well assured that you are always
remembered at the spiritual meetings and gatherings of the friends.



8: From this hallowed and snow-white Spot, ...


(116) From this hallowed and snow-white Spot, this blessed, heavenly
Garden, wherefrom the fragrance of God is diffused to all regions, I hail
you with salutations, most tender, most wondrous, and most glorious, and
impart to you the most joyful tiding. This tiding serves as the
sweet-smelling savour of His raiment to them that long to behold His face,
it represents the highest aspiration of His steadfast leaves, it is the
animating impulse for the happiness of the world, it is the source of
ineffable gladness to the people of Bahá, a remedy to the afflicted, and a
refreshing draught for the thirsty. By the righteousness of God, O beloved
friend, through this glad-tiding the ailing are cured and every mouldering
bone is quickened. This most joyful tiding is the news of the good health
and well-being of the blessed, the exalted, the holy person of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘He Whom God hath purposed’—may the life of all created
things be offered up for His oneness.



9: A number of your spiritual sisters, namely ...


(117) A number of your spiritual sisters, namely the handmaidens who have
embraced His Cause, have arrived here from Paris and the United States on
pilgrimage. They recently reached this blessed and luminous Spot and have
had the honour to prostrate themselves at His Holy Threshold and to behold
the radiant face of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Centre of the Covenant of Almighty
God—may my life be offered up as a sacrifice for His sake. We have now the
pleasure of their company and commune with them in a spirit of utmost love
and fellowship. They all send loving greetings and salutations to you
through the language of the heart.



10: May the Light of Union radiate with greater ...


(118) May the Light of Union radiate with greater clearness and brilliancy
day by day among the people in your great country—for to this country God
has given much and much is expected from it. But without harmony and love
existing among those who call themselves Bahá’ís, nothing will be seen
from it whatsoever; for verily the Believers are the pivots upon which the
fate of nations hang; and a difference among two believers is quite
sufficient to consume and destroy a whole country. The one who works for
harmony and union among the hearts of the people in these days will
receive the greatest blessings and the most abundant bounties. There is no
greater work for one to do upon this earth than to try and unite the
hearts of the people—and especially those who are calling upon the Holy
Name of God.



11: O my dear sister! I have read what you ...


(119) O my dear sister! I have read what you wrote, and as I became aware
of the content, I wept bitter tears. Then I carried the letter itself to
‘Abdu’l-Bahá and He read it from beginning to end. These terrible events
in Yazd call for cries and lamentation, and the shedding of tears of fire.

Although ‘Alí’s foes, on the plains of Karbilá, came as a rushing torrent
of affliction against the Prince of Martyrs,(120) and even as ravening
wolves, tore at the breasts of the favoured ones of the Court of Holiness,
and wreaked their hate upon them and lifted their heads onto pikes—they
leading out an expedition against the hapless victims, and carrying away
all that these possessed—yet the span of that agony at Karbilá was but
from the morning until noon, while the ordeal of the martyrs of Yazd
lasted one entire month. And further, the companions of the Prince of
Martyrs—may the souls of all those killed on the holy Path be offered up
for him!—made to defend themselves, and each one of them felled a number
of those foes of ‘Alí’s House, spilled out the others’ blood, before being
martyred themselves. But these innocent victims of Yazd looked on their
murderers with smiles, and gently welcomed them, and in exchange for the
swords’ blows offered honey and milk. Those set the blade to the victims’
throats, but the martyrs presented them with sweets; those cursed and
vilified them, while the martyrs implored God to forgive their murderers.

Although the slain on God’s path at Karbilá were truly victims, helpless,
innocent, so that the Concourse on High wept fiery tears over what the
tyrants did in the desert there, still, we know that before every one of
those great martyrs, some who battled against them fell down and died. But
the martyrs of Yazd, at the onslaught of the foe, and under the tyrant’s
sword, uttered not even an unseemly word...

Truly the harried survivors of these wronged ones have been subjected to
the severest of ordeals, nor can any balm be found to soothe their wound,
nor is there any antidote against this lethal drink. For them, every new
morning is a new martyrdom.

Praise be to God, through the grace and favour of the Abhá Beauty—may all
souls be offered up for those who are slain upon His path—the friends
everywhere have arisen to do what they can for these survivors. But
whatever we may do in such circumstances and however much we may
sacrifice, it is still not enough, and they merit more. I hope that, with
the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom, we may be enabled to offer up our
hearts and souls for the children of the martyrs, and think of ourselves
as the servants of those noble ones.



12: Concerning the remnants of the martyrs’ ...


(121) Concerning the remnants of the martyrs’ families, you have mentioned
how eager they are to hear a word of commendation assuring them that this
act of self-sacrifice and martyrdom will be acceptable in the sight of
God. Therefore, I mentioned this matter in His holy presence and I am glad
to say that, in compliance with His instructions, a compilation containing
most of the Tablets which have been revealed in honour of the martyrs of
Yazd and elsewhere has been prepared. I am now sending it to you together
with this letter. You may peruse these Tablets and then recite them in the
presence of the remnants of those who have offered up their lives in the
path of God, that they may be fully aware that those martyrs are
well-favoured at the exalted threshold of the Almighty, and that the
merciful glances of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—may our souls be His sacrifice—are at all
times directed towards them.

On behalf of this bereaved and eager prisoner, convey loving greetings and
salutations to all the handmaids of God there, particularly the remnants
of the martyrs’ families—and give them the joyful tidings that the memory
of those dear souls, who have laid down their lives in the arena of
sacrifice, has always been and will continue to be remembered at the
fellowship meetings and in His holy presence.



13: O leaf that has been stirred by the breeze of ...


(122) O leaf that has been stirred by the breeze of God! O victim of
oppression in the path of the Abhá Beauty!—may my soul and the souls of
the handmaids of God be offered up as a sacrifice for the dust of His Holy
Shrine.

I earnestly hope that you may ever abide in peace and security within the
shelter of the loving-kindness of the One true God, may labour diligently
in those regions to serve His Cause and to diffuse the fragrance of
holiness, that you may be confirmed at all times through His gracious
assistance, and that, at the gatherings of the handmaids of God, you may
shine forth as a bright candle, directing those loved ones of the Beauty
of the All-Merciful to the path of divine guidance, exhorting them to be
firm and steadfast, to be sanctified and detached so that they may, one
and all, arise to fulfil that which is deemed worthy of these days, and by
manifesting a goodly character and noble conduct cause that country to vie
with the blissful Paradise.



14: All praise be to the Abhá Beauty, the ...


(123) All praise be to the Abhá Beauty, the Best-Beloved, the Desire of
the world, for having enabled His well-assured leaves to remain firm in
the Cause of God and steadfast in His love, even as immovable mountains,
particularly the ladies belonging to the household of the Afnán—the twigs
of the celestial Tree, who are resident in the land of Yá [Yazd]—upon them
be the glory of the Most Glorious. In these days when tempestuous winds of
tests are blowing and an ocean of trials has risen high, they have rid
themselves of all earthly attachments, set their affection on the sacred
beauty of the True One and have turned their hearts to the celestial
kingdom.

The contents of your letter were highly appreciated. Praise be to God that
from the rose-garden of its words and inner meanings the fragrance of
spiritual fellowship was inhaled, and from the meadows of its pages the
sweet melody of love, of remembrance and glorification of God was heard.
It filled our hearts with immense joy, for it indicated that you were
enjoying good health, and so were the saplings of the garden of God and
the handmaids of the Merciful, particularly the remnants of the families
of those who have offered up their lives in the path of the Lord of Mercy.



15: At the exalted Threshold of our Lord, the ...


(124) At the exalted Threshold of our Lord, the Best-Beloved of the world,
I fervently beseech Him to graciously keep that assured leaf and the other
handmaids of the Merciful safe and secure under the shelter of His bounty
and grace.

The love-laden letter penned by that dearly-loved handmaid of God has
reached this yearning prisoner and its perusal has filled my heart with
joy and happiness, inasmuch as it indicates that you have turned in prayer
and supplication to the Kingdom of God and been attracted to His divine
fragrances. It imparted exceeding gladness and radiance, and thereby the
hearts and spirits were inspired. Both at the sublime meetings convened in
His presence and at the fellowship gatherings of the handmaids of the
merciful Lord your name and the names of the beloved handmaids in India
are often mentioned with high praise.

Praised be God that after attaining the holy Threshold of the Merciful in
this hallowed land, this luminous Spot, you were able to take back with
you the gift of the divine fragrance of holiness, to perfume the nostrils
of the handmaids of God, to refresh and stimulate, nay rather revive and
quicken the lifeless bodies through the potency of His wondrous
exhortations, His sublime counsels and teachings. To all the handmaids of
God announce the joyful tidings that both at the blessed and luminous
Shrine and in the holy presence of Him Who is the Mystery of God we
continually pray for all of you, extol your noble virtues, call to mind
the memory of the radiant faces of those faithful leaves, and from the
exalted court of the Lord of Glory implore for every one of you unbounded
heavenly assistance and confirmation.



16: On my return from Beyrouth I was sorry to ...


(125) On my return from Beyrouth I was sorry to find out that you had left
for Italy and I missed seeing you before you left. Not only I but all the
holy household miss you very much. Though we miss you we are glad to learn
that our Lord has directed you to go into the world and give the Glad
Tidings of the Kingdom to the people and awaken the sleeping souls. How
happy you must have been that you left with this thought in your mind that
with the direction of our Lord you have gone. We hope that we soon will
hear of your wonderful services in the Path of the Cause of God. Have no
fear and be not down-hearted. Trust in Him. Be sure you will be successful
at the end, for He has sent you and He will surely be with you and help
you always.



17: O my dear sister! Your excellent letter ...


(126) O my dear sister! Your excellent letter brought me much joy,
testifying as it did to your ardour and pure intent, and to your being
immersed in the ocean of God’s heavenly love, and also to the harmony and
concord among His handmaids—which indeed is the greatest of God’s
bestowals: for fellowship, closeness and love are glories of the Kingdom,
and richest gifts from the Lord of dominion and might. We thank Him then
for this great bounty.

To the honoured handmaid of God, Miss Barney, give my many and fond
wishes. I implore God to assist her and yourself to attain the greatest of
all His favours in His mighty Kingdom.

I conveyed the salutations from all of you, and your expressions of
devoted servitude, to Him Whom God hath purposed, the Centre of His
ancient Covenant.

From this imprisoned handmaid.



18: The Festival of Ridván is come and the ...


(127) The Festival of Ridván is come and the splendour of the light of God
is shining from the invisible horizon of His mercy. The overflowing grace
of the Lord of oneness is pouring down copiously from the unseen world and
the glad-tidings of the Kingdom are coming in from all countries. The
resplendent morn that betokens the advancement of the Cause of God and
heralds the exaltation of His Word is dawning in every region.

Praise be to God that the fame of the Ancient Beauty—may my life be
offered up for His loved ones—has been noised abroad in the world and the
glory of His Cause is spread far and wide throughout the East and the
West. These joyous developments will indeed gladden the hearts of His
loved ones.



19: You should not think that the record of ...


(128) You should not think that the record of those meetings can ever be
blotted out from the pages of history or that the memory of those
gatherings can fade from the face of the world. Nay every single act,
every deed or utterance is a seed sown in the garden of life. Ere long it
will grow and develop, yielding an abundant harvest even as a fruitful
tree....

Those sufferings were endured for the sake of God alone and for His love.
They occurred during this century in which the Manifestation of God has
appeared, and their underlying purpose was solely to glorify the Cause of
the Abhá Beloved, and to exalt the Word of God. Indeed, a single deed
performed in this Day is equivalent to the deeds of a thousand years.



20: Both in the Persian and Arabic Writings of ...


(129) Both in the Persian and Arabic Writings of the Primal Point—may the
life of all men be offered up for Him—there are several, nay indeed
numerous passages in which He directs His plea to the exalted court of Him
Whom God shall make manifest, requesting Him to graciously protect the
leaves of the Tree of the Bayán, that they may not fall away but rather
attain their paradise which is the recognition of His Manifestation.

The detailed account you had given about the services she(130) has
performed during the early days of the Faith is entirely true, and
sufficient witness unto it is God. God willing, the services she has
rendered and the hardships she has endured may yield excellent results.
With the utmost humility and devotion we will pray for her at the Holy
Shrine, beseeching divine confirmation and assistance. Likewise, in the
sublime presence of Him Whom God has purposed we will beg earnestly for
His tender solicitude and the outpouring of His special favours.



21: HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ ASCENDED TO ...


(131) HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ ASCENDED TO ABHÁ KINGDOM INFORM FRIENDS.
GREATEST HOLY LEAF.



22: NOW IS A PERIOD OF GREAT TESTS. THE FRIENDS ...


(132) NOW IS A PERIOD OF GREAT TESTS. THE FRIENDS SHOULD BE FIRM AND
UNITED IN DEFENDING THE CAUSE. NAKEZEENS(133) STARTING ACTIVITIES THROUGH
PRESS AND OTHER CHANNELS ALL OVER THE WORLD. SELECT COMMITTEE OF WISE COOL
HEADS TO HANDLE PRESS PROPAGANDA IN AMERICA. GREATEST HOLY LEAF.



23: MEMORIAL MEETING WORLD OVER JANUARY ...


(134) MEMORIAL MEETING WORLD OVER JANUARY SEVEN. MASTER LEFT FULL
INSTRUCTIONS IN HIS WILL AND TESTAMENT. TRANSLATION WILL BE SENT. INFORM
FRIENDS. GREATEST HOLY LEAF.



24: IN WILL SHOGHI EFFENDI APPOINTED GUARDIAN ...


(135) IN WILL SHOGHI EFFENDI APPOINTED GUARDIAN OF CAUSE AND HEAD OF HOUSE
OF JUSTICE. INFORM AMERICAN FRIENDS. GREATEST HOLY LEAF.



25: The hearts of the people of Bahá are ...


(136) The hearts of the people of Bahá are intensely burning by reason of
the great calamity, and their longing cries are rising up to the Concourse
on High and the angelic dwellers in the Abhá Paradise, yet, this day is
the day of service, and this time the time to spread the holy Teachings
far and wide; therefore must God’s loved ones like unto a shining flame,
rise up to serve the Cause of God with all their might and vie with one
another in service. Let them, even as shooting stars, drive the disloyal
out—so that in the Preserved Tablet of God, they may be recorded with that
company who ever stood faithful to His Covenant and Testament.

Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Chosen Branch and
leader of the people of Bahá, as a result of intense and unceasing grief
over this great bereavement, this supreme affliction, has determined to
absent himself for a short period, in an effort to rest, and to regain his
health, after which he will return to the Holy Land and resume his
services and obligations to the Cause of God. During his absence, in
accordance with his letter herewith enclosed,(137) this prisoner is
appointed to administer the affairs of the Faith, in consultation with the
members of the Holy Household.

For this reason I have temporarily made arrangements so that the persons
named by Shoghi Effendi may meet and the affairs be conducted in
consultation with them. It is my hope that during the period of his
absence the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful will
exert their efforts to advance the Cause and accelerate its growth. He is,
verily, compassionate and merciful to His servants.



26: We thank you most sincerely for your kind ...


(138) We thank you most sincerely for your kind letters of sympathy, and
we appreciate your loving Messages, which are as comforting balm to our
wounded hearts.

It would be our wish to answer each letter individually, but the shock of
our bereavement was so sudden, and the work to which we were compelled to
attend, was so overwhelming, that time failed us. Now, we wish you to
realize that your words of steadfast faith and love were our greatest
solace throughout the days of our grief, for we felt that you would each
and all faithfully and loyally strive to carry on the work for which the
life of our Beloved Master was spent.

We are more than thankful to God that He has not left us without a leader,
but that Shoghi Effendi is appointed to guide the administration of the
Cause.

We hope that the friends of God, the beloved and the handmaidens of the
Merciful, will pray for us, that we may be enabled to help Shoghi Effendi
in every way in our power to accomplish the Mission entrusted to him.



27: REJOICED OVER CONVENTION NEWS. PRAYING ...


(139) REJOICED OVER CONVENTION NEWS. PRAYING FOR CONFIRMATION. HOLY LEAF.



28: In this day, those holy souls are divinely ...


(140) In this day, those holy souls are divinely confirmed who stand firm
in the most sacred Cause of the Abhá Beauty, those who are steadfast, and
loyal to the Covenant and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Praised be the undying glory of God that you and all His friends have
attained this greatest of gifts. You stand fast-rooted in the divine
Covenant, and you turn to the appointed Centre, the explicitly chosen
Branch. In all the world, what conceivable bounty could ever be greater
than this?



29: It is not unknown to those who stand firm ...


(141) It is not unknown to those who stand firm in the Covenant and
Testament of God that the centre of violation and his associates, from the
day of the ascension of the Ancient Beauty, may His Great Name be ever
exalted, have been working night and day and continually putting forth all
their efforts, to spread disorder and disrupt the Faith. At this time,
because of our terrible affliction, the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—may the
quintessence of our souls be sacrificed to His sacred resting-place—they
are busying themselves more than ever with the circulation of false
rumours and idle imaginings, their purpose being, one way or another, to
instil doubts into the minds, and thus to achieve their vain and futile
ends.

Alas for them, however, there is no doubt at all that they will achieve
nothing but the failure of their plans and the frustration of their hopes.
Utter disappointment and a bitter end is all they will ever gain—just as
‘Abdu’l-Bahá—may our lives be sacrificed for His meekness—has foretold in
His Will and Testament, where He clearly and unequivocally sets forth the
dissidence, the mischief-making and the wicked designs of that abominable
band. And it is certain that through the never-ceasing confirmations of
God, the light diffused by the loyalty of the true believers will scatter
the darkness of the suspicions which the malicious have been spreading,
and the brightness that streams from the believers’ faces will dispel the
gloom of the people of doubt.

Briefly, for some time they had been applying to the various government
agencies, in the hope that with the government’s assistance they would be
able to obtain legal support for their empty claims. However, God be
praised, they were disappointed. Then came a day, Tuesday, January 30—that
is, four months ago—when the disaffected gathered together at the Mansion
of Bahjí, invited in some of the rabble of Akká, and after joint
consultation, determined to go to the Holy Tomb, forcibly wrest its key
from the caretakers, and hand it over to the arch Covenant-breaker, pivot
of the violation. Such was the plan, the disgraceful action, devised by
the prime mover of mischief and his lieutenant.

They then committed the brazen act. From the caretaker of the Holy Tomb,
Áqá Siyyid Abu’l-Qásim, they took away the key by force, and he, unable to
withstand their attack, at once dispatched his assistant, Áqá _Kh_alíl, to
Haifa, to report to Shoghi Effendi what had taken place. The news reached
Haifa about two hours after sunset, and the matter was instantly referred
to the Governor. On his stringent orders, the key was surrendered that
very night and placed in Government custody until the matter could be
fully investigated to determine the question of rightful ownership.

Now, after the passage of four months, the Government has rendered its
verdict, to the effect that the question should be put to the Bahá’í
community, and that whatever decision the Bahá’ís arrive at will be
conclusive. If the Bahá’í community considers Mírzá Muḥammad-‘Alí to be
excommunicated, then he has no rights whatever to the takeover. Therefore,
wherever Bahá’ís reside, they must, through the given city’s Spiritual
Assembly, and bearing the signature of named individuals who are members
of the elected body, inform the British authorities in Jerusalem, either
by cable or letter sent through His Majesty’s ambassadors or consuls, that
the Bahá’í community, in conformity with the explicit writings and the
Will and Testament of His Eminence ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Sir Abbás Effendi, texts
well known and available in His own hand—recognize His Eminence Shoghi
Effendi as the one to whom all Bahá’ís must turn, and as the Guardian of
the Cause of God, and that they have no connection whatever, either
material or spiritual, with Mírzá Muḥammad-Alí, whom they consider to be
excommunicated from the Bahá’í Faith, according to the explicit writings
of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

It should be the request, therefore, of Bahá’ís of all countries, both men
and women, in every important centre, wherever they may reside throughout
the world, that the officials of His Britannic Majesty’s Government in
Palestine, its Headquarters being Jerusalem, issue a categorical order
that the key of the Holy Tomb—which is the Point of Adoration and the
sanctuary of all Bahá’ís in the world—be restored to His Eminence Shoghi
Effendi, the Chosen Branch, and in this way to render the Bahá’í
community, whether of the East or of the West, more appreciative than ever
of British justice. The text of both cable and letter, together with the
address, have been written on a separate sheet, as enclosed. The message
is to be signed by the representatives and known followers of the Bahá’í
Faith in that city.



30: This dire calamity, this great affliction, the ...


(142) This dire calamity, this great affliction, the passing of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for His meekness, has shaken us
to the very depths. Our lives lie in ruins. In our hearts, the stars of
happiness have set, the lamps of joy have been put out. No more, from the
rose-garden of the All-Glorious, does the nightingale warble those songs
that fed the spirit in days gone by. From over the flower-beds of Heaven,
the dove trills and coos no more. Now is the bright morning dark, and
blazing noon is night, and the sea of woe has surged, and a storm of
sorrow has overwhelmed mankind.

Alas, alas, that luminous Moon, with His ravaged breast a thicket of
arrows—darts of the evil-doers’ taunts, their derision, their
calumnies—and His heart grieved by the malevolence of His foes and the
rebellion of the violators, is now hidden behind heavy clouds, has
departed from this world’s horizons, and has risen upward to the realm of
transcendent glory, to the all-highest Horizon.

And now, at such a time as this, a time of our affliction and deep
distress, the prime mover of mischief, the centre of sedition, thinking to
profit by this eclipse of the Sun of the Covenant, the Moon of spiritual
concord, has taken advantage of what he sees as a rare opportunity for
himself, and has mounted a violent revolt, and with the support of their
second chief, has begun to spread the most far-fetched of malicious
accusations, and is busy day and night, stirring up trouble and carrying
out plots and stratagems the details of which would take too long to
enumerate here and which you will be informed of later on.

Although they behold in every instance only grievous abasement and
disappointment, failures and defeats, still their burning jealousy blazes
up within them all the more, and their haughtiness and arrogance only
increase. At this hour of turmoil and deep anguish and sudden, unexpected
calamity, our only consolation lies in service to the Cause of God, and
steadfastness in His Faith, and the guarding of His Law, and in the bonds
of unity among the friends, and their fervour and joy, and in deeds that
exemplify the holy Teachings of the Abhá Beauty, may His name be exalted,
and the counsels of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our souls be sacrificed for His
servitude. It is our hope that we all shall be helped to achieve these
things, which alone befit this sacred day.

It appears from your letter that you had written prior to the receipt of
the Will and Testament of the Centre of the Covenant. You have certainly
perused it by now. This Text is His decisive decree; it constitutes the
very life of those endued with understanding. In it the Pen of Bounty has
set forth in the most powerful, comprehensive, clear and detailed manner
the obligations devolving on every stratum of the Bahá’í community, and
has hacked out the tree of violation by its root, and has caused the
centre of it to be forlorn and disgraced. He has specifically named the
centre to whom all must turn, thus solidly fixing and establishing the
foundations of the Covenant, and has clearly appointed the centre, to whom
all the people of Bahá must direct themselves, the Chosen Branch, the
Guardian of the Cause of God. This great bestowal is one of the special
characteristics of this supreme Revelation, which of all Dispensations is
the noblest and most excellent. Goodly be this to the steadfast,
glad-tidings to the staunch, blessings to those who win the day.

Praise be to God, you have arisen to serve Him, and are actively teaching
and spreading His Faith. Such a bounty merits thanks a thousand times
over, and praises forever, in the hallowed sanctuary of the one Beloved.

Convey my Bahá’í salutations to all the faithful.



31: Although that supreme calamity, that ...


(143) Although that supreme calamity, that great ordeal, the ascension of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, put the torch to the harvest of our hearts, and brought down
both our outer and inner beings, wedding us to grief and ceaseless pain,
yet praised be God, He Who is the Dayspring of the Covenant has appointed
in writing a specific centre, and designated the Guardian of the Cause,
Shoghi Effendi, as the one toward whom must turn all those who follow
Bahá’u’lláh—His purpose being that the Faith of God and His Cause should
remain secure and safe. For this greatest of gifts it is fitting that we
should return a thousand thanks to the one Beloved, and offer a thousand
praises to His court of holiness.

Likewise, the hand of divine grace has reared blessed souls who are
shining today like lamps of guidance in the assemblage of the Company on
High, and who like luminous stars are casting their bright rays across the
skies of faithfulness. How often we heard the Master, the Centre of the
Covenant, say: ‘At the time when Christ rose out of this mortal world and
ascended into the Eternal Kingdom, He had twelve disciples, and even of
these, one was cast off. But because that handful of souls stood up, and
with selflessness, devotion and detachment, resolved to spread His holy
Teachings and to scatter abroad the sweet fragrances of God, disregarding
the world and all its peoples, and because they utterly lost themselves in
Christ—they succeeded, by the power of the spirit, in capturing the cities
of men’s hearts, so that the splendour of the one true God pervaded all
the earth, and put the darkness of ignorance to flight.

‘Now when I shall depart from this world, I shall leave more than fifty
thousand blessed individuals, every one of whom is staunch and firm as the
high mountains, shining out over the earth like sparkling stars. These are
the quintessence of loyalty and fellowship and love. They are the
self-sacrificing watchers over the Cause, and they are the guides to all
who seek after truth. Judge from this what the future will be!’

It is certain that when we act in accordance with the Teachings of the
Abhá Beauty and the counsels of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, then will this world become
the Abhá Paradise, and its thorns and brambles of cruelty will change into
a blossoming garden of the faithful.

May we all be enabled to achieve this end.



32: O faithful servant of the Best-Beloved, the ...


(144) O faithful servant of the Best-Beloved, the Most Glorious! O
steadfast friend, flourishing in the garden of His luminous Beauty! The
brief but informative letter you had written to Shoghi Effendi, the Chosen
Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, has been received together with
the scrolls of doubt you had enclosed. Indeed, men whose nostrils have
been perfumed by the fragrance of the Abhá Paradise, whose ears have been
exhilarated by the sweet melodies of the nightingale warbling in the
rose-garden of immortality, and whose souls have been refreshed and
quickened by the reviving breaths of holiness, would surely be saddened to
hear the screech of the raven and the croaking of the crow, and from them
they would certainly endeavour to flee. For the disgusting odour of
violation is like poisonous air, whose baneful effects upon the body and
soul are injurious and harmful, nay rather it will eventually lead to
terrible loss and perdition. Thus the way you have dealt with this matter
is approved and acceptable.

Since Shoghi Effendi has gone on a journey for a while, this lowly one was
prompted to answer your letter. Convey wondrous Abhá greetings to all the
lovers of the Blessed Beauty and the faithful friends of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. And
upon you be His glory.



33: O God, my God! ...


(145) O God, my God!

Thou seest me immersed in the depths of grief, drowned in my sorrow, my
heart on fire with the agony of parting, my inmost self aflame with
longing. Thou seest my tears streaming down, hearest my sighs rising up
like smoke, my never-ceasing groans, my cries, my shouts that will not be
stilled, the useless wailing of my heart.

For the sun of joy has set, has sunk below the horizon of this world, and
in the hearts of the righteous the lights of courage and consolation have
gone out. So grave this catastrophe, so dire this disaster, that the inner
being crumbles away to dust, and the heart blazes up, and nothing remains
save only despair and anguish.

Thou seest, O my God, in the midmost of this terrible event, this ultimate
calamity, when the devoted never put aside their mourning dress, and the
moaning and the tears never cease—how that malevolent band have, with all
their powers, mounted an attack against Thy loved ones who are loyal to
the Covenant, even as the assault of wolves upon the flock. They are
striving, with all their strength, to bring down the mighty structure of
Thy Covenant in ruins, and level Thy strong citadel to the ground, and
turn away from Thy straight and clearly-marked path those Thou hast guided
aright. O my Lord, I voice my complaint before Thee, and lay bare my
griefs and sorrows, and supplicate at the door of Thy oneness, and whisper
unto Thee, and weep and cry out.

O my kind Lord! Thou didst make a clear compact and a Covenant explicit
and firm, not in veiled and allusive language, that all should turn unto
the Centre of Thy Covenant and the Protector of Thy Cause—so that no
doubts whatever would remain for the hostile and the suspicious to
exploit; and then Thy lone Servant rose up to lift Thy banner high, and
carry the day for Thy Faith. For thirty years He summoned the people unto
Thee, publicly, privately, and spread Thy Teachings and Thy principles to
every corner, every country of the earth. Night and day, He fostered Thy
loved ones in the cradle of divine knowledge and wisdom, and endowed them
with the qualities of the spirit. And all this time He bore, at the hands
of that evil crew, not once but over and over again, every kind of
outrage, and calumny, and oppression. For they were forever lying in wait
for Him, were spying on Him at all times from their ambush, attacking Him
in whatever manner they chose, swelling with their insolence and pride.
And yet, through Thy strong support, Thine overwhelming confirmations,
they were the losers in the end, and their strivings came to nothing in
this world’s life, and all they gained was their own ruin.

Then, O my Lord, Thou didst make Him to ascend unto Thee, to place Him at
Thy side, and by this the pillars of joy were shaken to their base, and
the hearts of the devoted were terrified, and the smoke of their sorrow
overspread the earth. At such a time that hate-filled band, seeing their
advantage in the dire event, came in from every highway and byway,
advancing on every side to topple over the throne of Thy Covenant, and
lead Thy loved ones to perdition. They have laid their very being in ruins
and they know not. How far, how very far have they gone in their
ignorance!

But the Centre of Thy complete and flawless Covenant, He Who occupies the
seat of servitude to Thee in Thine exalted and all-glorious Cause, had
written by Thy will and Thy power a Book that shall never be lost nor ever
forgotten. Within it by Thy predestinating knowledge and might, He had set
forth all that is essential and obligatory for the upraising of Thy Cause
in this world below. It is a book in which all things are explained in
minute detail, in such wise that no matters whether small or great have
been left out. And by Thy will and pleasure He designated therein, in
place of His own Person, a Branch grown out from the Tree of Thy holiness,
one fresh and tender, verdant and flourishing, arising to serve Thee,
dwelling in the groves of Thine eternity, and Thine immortal gardens. And
he, after turning to Thy gracious countenance and through Thine ancient
succour, is inviting the people unto Thee and unto Thy Covenant, sound and
firmly-established, and is spreading Thy commandments and Thy doctrines
throughout Thy land, and guiding Thy servants to the path that leads
aright.

O my God, I beg of Thee by all the days which Thy Light, the Centre of Thy
Covenant, did spend in scattering Thy sweet scents abroad, and by all the
nights when that delicate and fragile Being rested not, but kept the long
vigils, crying out unto Thee, expending His efforts to guard Thy Cause and
Thy dear ones, exerting His utmost to spread out Thy bounties and
bestowals—while the malevolent, comfortable against their pillows, rested
in their beds—I entreat Thee, by the ordeals He endured, for the sake of
exalting Thy Word, at the hands of those who join partners to God, and the
deniers, and the deserters, to keep Thy loved ones safe from the arrows of
the calumniators, and the doubts of those who mislead and betray. Hold
them fast, then, in the gardens and groves of Thy Covenant and Testament,
and make them to enter the pavilions of Thy good pleasure, and shelter
them in the refuge of Thy protection, and cast upon them the glance of Thy
mercy’s eye, and guard them from deviation and schism. Make them to live
in unity and harmony, one with the others, and aid them to serve Thy Faith
and to spread Thy Teachings far and wide.

Verily Thou art the Living, the Eternal, the Watchful, the All-Powerful,
the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

O you true servants of the Holy Threshold, you faithful friends of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá!

Our hearts are burning away with the intense emotions aroused by this most
dreaded of calamities, and our souls are suffering the torments of this
separation causing delay in correspondence with you, yet God be praised,
you are all among the well-favoured at the divine Threshold, and are
drinking from the winecup of the Eternal Covenant. To the holy summons,
you have all replied ‘Yea!’; you have seized the chalice of His Testament
and held it high. You are enamoured of that world-adorning Face, your
hearts are tightly bound to those curling locks, that waft the fragrance
of the musk-deer’s scent; you are held spellbound by that magic nature,
and by the teachings like nectar on the tongue, refreshing the spirit; and
all continually receiving divine bounties from the One alone beloved, and
ministering at His Threshold, and sincere and pure of heart.

The glories of that Sun are shining now from out the high, immortal
realms, and His glance is resting on His loved ones. The portals of
everlasting blessings are opened wide. The succouring armies are standing
ready, waiting to behold what efforts the loved ones will exert as they
carry out the holy Will, as they boil up and roar like waves of the sea.
Let them rest not for a moment, nor wish for quiet and repose; let them
carry out all His behests and thus prove their loyal gratitude for all His
endless grace.

Over a span of thirty years the Centre of God’s Covenant rested not, nor
was His human temple ever tranquil and at peace. By day, by night, He
would be teaching and guiding stranger and friend alike, and protecting
the Cause, and seeing to its progress, and for these things He sacrificed
His life. Now does loyalty to Him require that the beloved should rise up
in obedience to His instructions, and devote their efforts to teaching the
Faith, and to passing around from one to the next this winecup tempered at
the camphor fountain,(146) and to protecting God’s Cause from the evil
suggestions and the mischief of the adversary, and to guarding the
structure of the holy Covenant from disruption at the hands of the
Covenant-breakers. Now is the time to stand as an impregnable rampart
around the city of the Cause of God, to defend it from the assaults of
alienation and violation, that come against it like Gog and Magog.(147)

Praised be God, those of His friends who have been cradled and fostered
for many a year within His wisdom and His teachings, and have drunk deep
from the soft-flowing waters of true and mystic knowledge, and whose eyes
have been opened, whose ears are attentive, whose hearts are wise—these,
in all that concerns faith and certitude and the abiding by His
instructions, stand fixed and firm as the high mountains. They are even as
the towering palm, the goodly tree ‘its root firmly fixed, and its
branches in the heavens.’(148) Their roots run deep, and the fruits they
yield are sweet. They know a mirage for what it is; they know, too, what
will endure—for ‘As to the foam, it is quickly gone: and as to what is
useful to man, it remaineth on the earth.’(149) They have heard and read
of how the Covenant met with opposition and violation in the Dispensations
of the past, and have both heard of and seen for themselves the storms of
mischief and the tests that appeared in the early days of this Cause. They
know how these trials are designed to sift and purify, and how the dense
clouds of revolt and violation would gradually pass from its skies; for
the errors and falsehoods of the violators can never withstand the
overwhelming power of the Covenant, nor can the mountains of diabolical
suggestions ever stand under the rod of God’s majesty and might.

O faithful loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá! The centre of sedition, the focus
of rebellion—whose evil character and passions, even in the days of the
Ancient Beauty, made him known for his stubborn perversity and his
ambition to lead—began to put forward certain claims, gathered about him a
pitiful band, raised up the ensign of self-glorification and self-love,
and considered himself to be a partner in authority with none other than
Him Who was the True One, until in the end the hand of the Lord’s
omnipotence struck down his plans and hopes.

For a period of thirty years, he opposed the Centre of the Covenant and,
to bring down His structure in ruins, did everything that lay in his
power. This in spite of the fact that the divine Beauty had made His
Covenant so strong, and appointed its Centre so explicitly, in writing,
unmistakably, that He had left no room for any questions or doubts. In the
Most Holy Book of Aqdas, which in this most excellent of all ages is the
Mother Book, and embraces all, and again in the Kitáb-i-‘Ahdí,(150) the
last revealed Tablet by the Tongue of knowledge and wisdom, which contains
the final wishes of God—the people of Bahá are directed with perfect
clarity to turn their faces toward Him Whom God has purposed, and He is
designated as the Interpreter of the Book, the Resolver of all complex and
difficult questions, and the Centre of the Faith. Therein as well are the
other Branches, the Afnán and the rest of the believers bidden to direct
themselves unto that One so that all might face one and the same Centre,
and all be bound thereto. Thus would the basic foundation of God’s Cause,
which is unity, remain unassailable. Thus the root of heresy and rebellion
would wither away, and just as in the days when He Who is the Truth was
made manifest, so too in the day of His Covenant the light of unity would
pervade all things, and put to flight the murk of disbelief and dualism
and rebellion and opposition—and thus the tree of His holy Cause would
grow and flourish, and the rich fruits borne by the holy Teachings would
satisfy all needs and be sweet in the mouth of all mankind.

This fact of there being only one Centre and of turning unto a single holy
Being is, in the Kingdom of His Cause, as the shaft or spindle of a
millstone, and all the other laws and ordinances must needs revolve around
this one. In the temple of God’s religion the Centre of the Cause can be
likened to the heart, for upon it depends the life of the human body as
one entity, as well as the relationships of its organs and their essential
growth and vitality. In human society the Centre of the Cause can be
compared to the sun, whose magnetic force controls the movements and
orbits of the planets. The Centre of the Cause is also like the spine of a
book, for by it the pages are all banded together into one book, and
without the spine the papers would become loose and scattered.

Now each separate member of the community who is within the shelter of
that blessed unity is, according to his rank and station, the recipient of
grace; and that rank is respected and protected, in conformity with the
verse: ‘Not one of us but hath his clearly designated station.’(151) Thus,
in the body of man, the eye has a preordained station, one not belonging
to some lesser members; and yet, should it once depart from the whole, and
its connection with the centre be broken, then its membership in the body,
and its very life, are ended, let alone its previous station and degree.
Or should the eye be plucked from its place, torn out of the body, it
would be deprived of life itself, how much less would it continue to enjoy
the station that rightly belongs to the eye.

How strange! With reference to one who smokes opium, the Ancient Beauty,
the Most Great Name, has said: ‘He is not of Me’, making no distinction
here between one enjoying God’s special favour, and some other. If the
smoking of opium, which is one of the secondary and lesser prohibitions,
completely severs the smoker from membership in the community and from
relationship to the Person of the Manifestation, then what must be the
condition of him who refuses to acknowledge the Centre of the holy
Covenant? In the words of Christ, ‘If thine eye cause thee to stumble,
pluck it out ... if thy hand offend thee, cut it off...’(152)

O would that they had contented themselves with their refusal to recognize
that shining Being—with their failure to obey Him and to be lowly before
Him. But no, they beat upon rebellion’s drum, and hoisted the flag of
contumacy and spite, and blew the trumpet of calumnies across the world.
In the hearts of the credulous they sowed seeds of disaffection, and
inconstancy and opposition. They made common cause with the hostile, the
biased, the mockers, who were arrayed against the Faith of the Blessed
Beauty, flattering them and paying them bribes and holding out promises
and hopes; they worked hand in glove with those occupying the seats of the
judiciary, and those authorized to interpret the law and pronounce
judgment, and those who sat on despots’ thrones, and with still others who
were engaged in affairs remote from God’s; and by all manner of deceits
and stratagems incited them to utterly extirpate the Covenant of Almighty
God and the Centre of it. They even, with a liberal distribution of funds,
hired assassins to shed the sacred blood of that Vicegerent of the
Glorious Lord.

Could any just person imagine that such as these have any relationship or
spiritual connection whatever with the Beauty of the One true God, or that
they could be accounted as members of the Bahá’í community? Would not such
as these be only plucked-out eyes and palsied hands?

Look at the treatise that their second chief wrote, regarding their first
chief and his associates—in which he described, with his own pen, in
minute detail, their shameful purposes and actions relative to the Centre
of the divine Covenant—aims and acts that no perverse and godless tyrant
would consider permissible treatment for anyone. Their second chief tells
how, to a despotic and oppressive government, they brought false and
malicious accusations against ‘Abdu’l-Bahá; how they undertook to uproot
the holy Tree; how they forged Tablets, in Bahá’u’lláh’s name, that
denounced the Centre of His Covenant; how they altered and corrupted the
holy Texts to such a degree that he said his confidence in the reliability
of the holy Tablets was virtually shattered.(153) These and their other
shameless activities are all set forth; and strangest of all is this, that
he, their second chief—the very one who wrote the confession so full of
the abominable acts of their first chief and his associates—now cleaves to
the first one like flesh to bone.

They are setting the axe to the root of the Cause of God; nor are they in
the least ashamed, nor put to the blush, before the Lord God and His
watchful and perceptive servants. There even exists a paper in the hand of
_Sh_u’á’, son of their first chief, in which he tells of a person who was
commissioned and was ready and waiting to martyr the Centre of the
Covenant.

If I my tale could tell,
No bounds my pen would know;
My work would swell,
My book will grow,
For tons of scroll
Would bear my woe.

For over a period of thirty years, always increasing their efforts, they
inflicted extreme anguish on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá; and they did not, in all this
span, ever take one step nor draw a single breath to help the Faith. They
spent their entire time in attempts to wean to beloved of God away from
obedience to the Centre of the Covenant, and to undermine their
convictions, making them waver in their faith, and turning them cold; and
because of what they did, thousands of souls were veiled from the holy
Cause, and prevented from embracing it.

Such then is a glimpse of their aims and actions, which made them to be
cut off from the Holy Tree, and excluded them from glory and joy
everlasting. They lost out, both here and hereafter, and ‘this verily is
utter perdition’.(154)

O you men who stand fast and firm, you women who are steadfast and firm in
you faith! Whensoever I visit the Holy Shrines, I think of you, and in all
lowliness at His Threshold, I entreat the Almighty to send down upon you
all His invisible confirmations, and to let His endless bounties enwrap
each one of you—so that through the efforts of those chosen ones of God,
the lights of loyalty and sincerity and truth, and staunchness in the
divine Covenant, will be shed upon that town;(155) that it may be
delivered from the consequences of ill-omened disaffection and violation,
and that instead, a fortunate star may rise there out of the concealing
depths and mount upward to the heavens; that no scrolls of doubt, and of
calumnies against the divine Covenant, may remain therein; and that every
name there may be written down in the heavenly register of those who have
kept the faith.

O Lord, set their feet firm in Thy Covenant; let them hold fast to the
cord of steadfastness in Thy Cause. Protect them from the hosts of discord
and calumny, and cause them to come under the sheltering banner of Thy
Testament, that is raised high on the summits of the earth.

Light up then in their hearts the flame of severance from everything
except Thy love, and help them by Thine overwhelming might to labour for
Thy Teachings.

Verily Thou art the Generous. Verily Thou art He Whose bounty embraceth
all things.

May the lights and the splendours be shed upon all of you.



34: To the doves of faithfulness, ever since ...


(156) To the doves of faithfulness, ever since that most grievous of
disasters, the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, this world of dust has become a
cage, and a place of torment; and to the unrestrained nightingales it is
only a prison, narrow and dark.

Certainly, a pure soul will not bind his heart to this passing show, and
the gems of spiritual love will yearn only to be let go, out of this
world. Nevertheless, the all-compelling will of God and His
all-encompassing and irresistible purpose has desired that this dark earth
should become as the Abhá Kingdom, and this heap of dust be changed until
it becomes the envy of the rose gardens of Heaven.

This is why the Manifestations of God, the Day-springs of that
all-glorious Sun, have willingly accepted to bear, and take upon Their own
sacred and immaculate Selves, every trial and tribulation and calamity and
hurt. And They have established laws and ordinances, that assure the
flourishing and freedom and joy and salvation of all the human race. In
this way that primal purpose will be revealed, and that subtle mystery
divulged.

Thus too, have They trained certain souls, and reared them with the hands
of loving-kindness, that these should arise to perform the noble and
exalted task, and should devote their efforts toward carrying out this
duty, watering the Tree of life and serving all mankind.

Praise be to God, you are confirmed and flourishing in the Faith, and
partaking of your portion from that heavenly table, and are receiving your
benefits in both worlds.



35: The passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our lives ...


(157) The passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our lives be a sacrifice for His
meekness, was the ultimate calamity, the most great disaster. The light
has fled our hearts, and our souls are wedded to sorrow, and no power in
all the world can furnish any consolation, save only the power that comes
from the steadfastness of the believers and their deep-rooted faith, and
their unity, and their love for one another.

Only these can lessen the pain and quiet the anguish.

Although to outward seeming the Sun of the Covenant has hidden Himself
behind the clouds, and the Orb of the Testament is concealed, and on the
holy horizon of glory, He has now set, and is lost to view—still His rays
are shining from out His hidden place, and forever will His light shed
down its splendours.

For ever and ever will He, with all that invisible grace, and those
bestowals of the spirit, lead the seeker onward, and guide the yearning,
and ravish the hearts of the lovers.

The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is His decisive decree; it gathers
the believers together; it preserves their unity; it ensures the
protection of the Faith of God. It designates a specific Centre,
irrefutably and in writing establishing Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the
Faith and Chosen Branch, so that his name is recorded in the Preserved
Tablet, by the fingers of grace and bounty. How grateful should we be that
such a bounty was bestowed, and such a favour granted.

Now is the time to arise to serve the Faith with all our might, that our
loyalty may be clearly proven, and that we may perfectly, to the fullest
extent and in minutest detail, carry out the requirements of
self-sacrifice. It is my hope that one and all, we shall succeed in this.



36: The ascension of Him Who was the Temple ...


(158) The ascension of Him Who was the Temple of the Covenant, the setting
of Him Who was the Orb of harmony, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our lives be
sacrificed for the wrongs He suffered, was the most dire calamity, and the
most dread of ordeals. It dissolved our very hearts, it laid low the very
pillars of our being. It made our eyes to shed tears of blood, and our
sighs and the sound of our weeping reached upward to the Concourse on
High. Then did a sea of anguish roll up great waves of grief, and a
whirlwind of sorrow swept over the peoples of the earth.

That blessed soul, following the ascension of the sacred Abhá Beauty, may
our lives be sacrificed for the dust of His sacred threshold, and until
the hour when His own luminous spirit rose up to the realms on high, for a
period of thirty years had neither a peaceful day nor a night of quiet
rest. Singly and alone, He set about to reform the world, and to educate
and refine its peoples. He invited all manner of beings to enter the
Kingdom of God; He watered the Tree of the Faith; He guarded the celestial
Lote-Tree from the tempest; He defeated the foes of the Faith, and He
frustrated the hopes of the malevolent; and always vigilant, He protected
God’s Cause and defended His Law.

That subtle and mysterious Being, that Essence of eternal glory, underwent
trials and sorrows all the days of His life. He was made the target of
every calumny and malicious accusation, by foes both without and within.
His lot, in all His life, was to be wronged, and be subjected to toil, to
pain and grief. Under these conditions, the one and only solace of His
sacred heart was to hear good news of the progress of the Faith, and the
proclaiming of God’s Word, and the spreading of the holy Teachings, and
the unity and fervour of the friends, and the staunchness of His loved
ones. This news would bring smiles to His countenance; this was the joy of
His precious heart.

Meanwhile He trained a number of the faithful and reared them with the
hands of His grace, and rectified their character and behaviour, and
adorned them with the excellence of the favoured angels of Heaven—that
they might arise today with a new spirit, and stand forth with wondrous
power, and confront the forces of idle fancy, and scatter the troops upon
troops of darkness with the blazing light of long endurance and high
resolve; that they might shine out even as lighted candles, and moth-like,
flutter so close about the lamp of the Faith as to scorch their wings.

The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our souls be sacrificed for
His meekness, is our guiding light upon the path, it is the very bounty of
the Abhá Kingdom. This Text is the decisive decree, the way that leads
aright, the highest hope of all who stand firm in the Covenant of the Lord
of Lords. It is tidings of great joy; it is the ultimate bestowal.



37: We rejoiced greatly to learn of the unity ...


(159) We rejoiced greatly to learn of the unity among the friends, their
staunchness, their ardour, and the fact that they have established a
Spiritual Assembly. It is clear that the stronger grow the bonds of
yearning love among the believers, and the fiercer its fire, the more will
they find themselves embraced by the bounties of the Ancient of Days, and
receiving the continuous confirmations of the Greatest Name. Thus will the
Assemblies of the friends become reflections of the gardens of the
Concourse on High, mirroring forth the radiance of the Abhá Kingdom.

From Their supernal realms and Their immortal heights, He the exalted Báb,
and He Who is the Beauty of the All-Glorious, and the wondrous presence of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, all These are gazing down upon Their faithful loved ones,
beholding what they do under all conditions, their behaviour and conduct,
and all their words and ways, waiting to cry ‘Well done!’ when They see
the Teachings carried out, and ‘Blessed art thou!’ to whoso may excel in
doing the bidding of his Lord.

Those divine, those sacred and exalted Beings bore every grief, and They
accepted tyranny from every traitor, to make an Abhá Paradise out of this
dust heap of the world, and change this place of thorns and sorrows into
blossoming bowers of love. They trained Their loved ones, and fostered
them with the hands of grace, and sent them forth, with countless
treasures, with goodly gifts, and with the forces of Heaven massed behind
them—that they might become guides, and holy cup-bearers, of the living,
soft-flowing waters of divine bestowals.

God be thanked, the believers in that country are confirmed and blessed,
and have arisen to serve the Cause, and are straining every nerve to
spread the heavenly Teachings far and wide. They are faithful ministers at
the Holy Shrine of the Blessed Beauty, and true lovers at the sacred
Threshold of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.



38: That supreme affliction, the passing of ...


(160) That supreme affliction, the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, was the direst
of ordeals; it was an anguish of mourning. The parting with mankind’s
Beloved set fire to the hearts of all His lovers, and the souls of the
believers dissolved in its burning. Even the beauteous dwellers in the
Abhá Paradise cried out and wept, and in their empyrean abode the Maids of
Heaven moaned and lamented. The gems of holiness fell a prey to crushing
grief, the essences of sanctity bowed down in sorrow.

That One whom the world has wronged could rest neither day nor night. From
moment to moment, at the hands of every betrayer, yet another cruel arrow
was shot into His heart, and ever and again, from one or another
assailant, He was calumny’s target. In the dark of the night, out of the
depths of His bosom, could be heard His burning sighs, and when the day
broke, the wondrous music of His prayers would rise up to the denizens of
the realm on high.

That Prisoner, grievously wronged, would hide His pain, and keep His
wounds from view. In the depths of calamity He would smile, and even when
enduring the direst of afflictions He would comfort the hearts. Although
He was hemmed about with disasters, and living at the whirlwind’s core of
grief, He would still proclaim the Cause of God, and protect the Holy
Faith, and He brought God’s Word to the ears of those in East and West. He
trained and nurtured friends of such a kind that whensoever their names
were on His lips or spoken in His presence, His blessed face would glow
and His whole being would radiate with joy. Many and many a time He would
express His trust and confidence. In the gatherings held toward the close
of His days, He would repeatedly tell of the apostles of Jesus. Among
other things He would say that when the Spirit(161) left this nether world
and hastened away to the glorious Kingdom, He had but twelve disciples,
and even of these, one was cast off; and that this small number, because
they sacrificed all they had for Jesus, and immersed themselves in the
radiance of that sweet and comely Being, and lost themselves in Christ,
they lit the world. ‘Now when I depart,’ He would say, ‘I have loyal loved
ones that number 50,000 or more, and each one of these is a mighty
fortress to guard the edifice of God, each one, for the Ark of the Faith,
is strong as armour-plate. They are rooted firm as the high mountains,
they are bright and rising stars, they are jewels, they are pearls.’
Today, God be thanked, these qualities are radiating from the faces of the
righteous, and shining upon their brows.

That blessed Being perfected His bounties for the people of Bahá, and His
grace and favour were extended to those of all degrees. In the best of
ways, he manifested at the end what had been shown forth at the beginning,
crowning all His gifts with His Will and Testament, in which He clearly
made known the obligations devolving upon every stratum of the believers,
in language most consummate, comprehensive and sound, setting down with
His own pen the name of Shoghi Effendi, as Guardian of the Cause and
interpreter of the Holy Writ. The first of His bounties was the light He
shed, the last of His gifts was that He unravelled the secrets by lifting
the veil.

God be praised, all the beloved of God’s Beauty are immersed in an ocean
of bounty and grace, all are receiving abundant bestowals from the lights
that radiate from that Countenance of glory.



39: The good news that the Word of God is ...


(162) The good news that the Word of God is being raised up, and His Cause
glorified, and that His friends, on fire with love for Him, are arising to
spread His sweet savours abroad—is coming in steadily from every quarter
of the globe.

All are firmly rooted in the Faith, steadfast, turning with complete
devotion to him who is the appointed and designated Centre, the Guardian
of the Cause of God, the Chosen Branch, His Eminence Shoghi Effendi; are
founding Assemblies, conducting meetings, teaching most eloquently and
with all their energies, presenting proofs, disseminating the doctrines of
the Divine Beauty and the counsels of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. It is certain that ere
long the light of these Teachings will illumine the earth and gladden the
hearts of the people of Bahá.



40: All the virtues of humankind are summed ...


(163) All the virtues of humankind are summed up in the one word
‘steadfastness’, if we but act according to its laws. It draws to us as by
a magnet the blessings and bestowals of Heaven, if we but rise up
according to the obligations it implies.

God be praised, the house of the heart is lit by the light of unswerving
constancy, and the soul’s lodging is bedecked with the ornament of
faithfulness.

Steadfastness is a treasure that makes a man so rich as to have no need of
the world or any person or any thing that is therein. Constancy is a
special joy, that leads us mortals on to lofty heights, great progress,
and the winning of the perfections of Heaven. All praise be to the
Beloved’s holy court, for granting this most wondrous grace to His
faithful people, and to His favoured ones, this best of gifts.



41: It is clear how that most dire of calamities, ...


(164) It is clear how that most dire of calamities, that most great
disaster which was the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our souls be
sacrificed for His meekness, has set our hearts on fire and dissolved our
very limbs and members in grief. Darkness settled on our souls, of blood
were our tears. Even the essences of sanctity cried out in fear, and the
gems of holiness moaned and lamented, while our own inner selves fell to
ashes, and there was no peace left in the soul, no patience in the heart.

No more does the ardent nightingale carol its joyous songs, and the sweet
and holy melodies of the immortal dove are hushed. That gleaming Moon is
hidden now behind the clouds of everlasting life, that Orb of the high
heavens sank down at the setting point of glory and rose into the skies of
the world that we see not, and above the realm of the placeless He is
casting forth His rays.

With His departure, these afflicted ones were plunged into a sea of pain,
and beaten and blown about in a whirlwind of anguish more violent than the
spoken or the written word can tell. Our days wear away in tears, our
nights in sighing, and it is this storm of grief and regret and yearning
that has kept us from writing before now, even to send you our love.

It is certain that the people of Bahá, who are the dwellers of the Crimson
Ark and breast the seas of the Lord, and who have attained to the bounties
of the Abhá realm, and who are steadfast in the Covenant—they, men and
women alike, young and old alike, share with these homeless ones the
anguish of our bereavement and this direst of ordeals. We could hear, with
the ear of the spirit, the wailing of those lovers of Him Who was the
Ravisher of hearts, those like us scorched by the fires of separation, and
from our own sad hearts we would lift our cries of sorrow to the heavens,
and weeping would send up our entreaties in such words as these, to the
threshold of the luminous Beauty of God:

O kind Lord! O Comforter of anguished hearts!

Send down Thy mercy upon us, and Thy grace, bestow upon us patience, give
us the strength to endure. With Thy generous hand, lay Thou a balm upon
our sores, grant us a medicine for this never-healing woe. Console Thou
Thy loved ones, comfort Thy friends and handmaids, heal Thou our wounded
breasts, and with Thy bounty’s remedy, restore our festering hearts.

With the gentle breeze of Thy compassion, make fresh and green again these
boughs, withered by autumn blasts; restore Thou to flourishing life these
flowers, shrivelled by the blight of bereavement.

With tidings of the Abhá Paradise, wed Thou our souls to joy, and rejoice
Thou our spirits with heartening voices from the dwellers in the realm of
glory.

Thou art the Bounteous, Thou art the Clement; Thou art the Bestower, the
Loving.

From the first dawning of the new light, that noble land shone with the
rays of the Great Announcement, and was lit by the sunbeams of the Ancient
Beauty. Like heavy rains, the bounties beat upon that sacred place, and
out of clouds of mercy, grace showered down upon that region of
resplendence, bringing freshness and new greenery, and the trees of being
then turned verdant, and there burst forth blossoms of the spirit, and
wind-flowers of true knowledge blew, and mystic myrtles grew and
flourished. And from out of that land came musk-laden gales, scenting with
their perfume the other lands as well, and scattering far and wide the
musk-deer sweetness of heavenly mysteries.

So it was that _Kh_urásán became the grove of the lions of God, and a
nesting-place for the birds of the Ridván Paradise. The Ancient Beauty
singled out that blessed land for special favour, extending to it
uncounted blessings and gifts. Now in wondrous and most sweet voice, again
with the tracings of His exalted pen, and on the head of each one of the
beloved in that bright region, He set a crown of imperishable glory, and
He robed each one with His bestowals and grace, and wrapped each one in a
mantle of spiritual perfections. Of them all He spoke the highest praise,
and to all He gave abundant blessings, as is proved by the text of His
scrolls and Tablets. And whenever that sacred King of all the world would
speak of _Kh_urásán, His being would stir for joy, and His luminous face
would grow still brighter with exceeding gladness. His bounties never
ceased, and from clouds of grace His favours continually showered down
upon that land.

Then came the era of the Covenant, and that full cup was passed from hand
to hand, and the Sun of the Covenant rose up, shedding abroad on the
horizon of unity the rays of servitude and thraldom, and lighting up the
hearts of humankind. New life was breathed into the body of the world, and
into the human soul came a fresh measure of delight. The hearts of the
people of Bahá rejoiced to hear the glad-tidings from the Abhá Kingdom,
and the minds of those who had sought shelter under the Tree of holiness
were illumined with beams of fidelity and faith. Once again, the loved
ones in that region were inebriated with the wine of the Primal Covenant,
and in their firmness and steadfastness and loyalty they led the field.
They showed forth such constancy as to astonish the mind, and they
manifested such power and endurance as to raze the piled-up doubts of the
doubters to the ground. Of the poisoned winds of violation there was no
trace left in all that land. The hopes of the disaffected were blighted,
and the centre of violation clearly witnessed the defeat of all his aims
and plans.

It is certain that those who have caught the fragrance blowing from the
Abhá Paradise, those who have heard the nightingale singing from the
immortal gardens and taken delight therein, those who have trembled for
joy, and whose souls have been renewed when the breezes of holiness out of
the bowers of the All-Merciful were wafted over them—will find the raven’s
croaking and cawing a wearisome thing, and can only turn from it and flee
away.

For thirty long years, from the hour of Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension until His
own immaculate spirit passed into the light of the all-highest realm,
‘Abdu’l-Bahá rested neither night nor day. Single and alone, a prisoner, a
victim of tyranny, He rose up to reform the world—to refine and train and
educate the human race. He watered the tree of the Faith, He sheltered it
from the whirlwind and the lightning bolt, He protected God’s holy Cause,
He guarded the divine law, He defeated its adversaries, He frustrated the
hopes of those who wished it ill.

All His life long, that quintessence of eternal glory, that subtle and
mysterious Being, was subjected to trials and ordeals. He was the target
of every calumny, of every false accusation, from enemies both without and
within. To be a victim of oppression was His lot in this world’s life, and
all He knew of it was toil and pain. In the dark of the night, He would
sigh out His grief, and as He chanted His prayers at the hour of dawn,
that wondrous voice of His would rise up to the inmates of Heaven.

Under such conditions, He trained and with His own hand fostered a number
of souls who would stand as a mighty fortress protecting the Cause, and as
armour-plate for the Ark of the Covenant. With awesome power, these would
scatter the forces of illusion, and with heavy blows, strike down the
false rumours of the people of doubt. God be praised, that labour bore
fruit, and the meaning of those toilsome efforts became plain. Those
blessed souls rose up in all their loyalty, and with their steadfastness
and long-suffering they served as shining examples for the children of
salvation.

His bounties, His favours to the people of Bahá were made perfect, and
extended to every class and kind. And as at the beginning, so at the end:
His final bestowal of all, a crowning adornment, was His Will and
Testament. Here, to Bahá’ís of every degree, in the clearest, most
complete, most unmistakable of utterances, He described the obligation of
each one, explicitly appointed, irrefutably and in writing, the Centre of
the Faith, designating the Guardian of the Cause and the interpreter of
the Holy Book, His Eminence Shoghi Effendi, appointing him, the Chosen
Branch, as the one toward whom all must turn. Thus He closed for all time
the doors of contention and strife, and in the best of ways and in a most
perfect method He pointed out the path that leads aright.

Thus by its very roots He pulled out the tree of mischief and dissension.
He razed the structure of violation to the ground. He left no margin for
error, no room for doubts. And thus He crowned the first of all His
loving-kindnesses with this last of them. Let us praise and thank God for
this supreme gift, this great bounty.

Following that disaster of His passing, that dire ordeal, Shoghi Effendi,
the Guardian of the Cause, was overwhelmed by such never-ending grief and
by his now heavy burden and supreme responsibility, that his sensitive
heart could bear it no more. And so, after making the necessary
arrangements, he sent out a letter expressing his wish to be alone for a
time, in a quiet and secluded place, away from the noise and turmoil of
everyday life—there to pray and supplicate and urgently beg for help from
the realm of the All-Glorious.

With this in mind, he has gone on a journey, leaving us to loneliness and
grief. Our hope is that very soon, the good results of this journey will
become apparent, and that the friends will rejoice to see the important
benefits that it will yield; that he will soon come home, and that once
again correspondence with him can be resumed, and the doors of access will
be opened wide.



42: All praise to the omnipotent Lord, that in ...


(165) All praise to the omnipotent Lord, that in this auspicious day He
Who is the Sun of bounty has shone out so fair and bright as to light up
the world of the hearts. He has burned away the veils of waywardness and
ignorance. He has struck off the fetters of baseless myths and ignoble
concepts that chained the people hand and foot. He has cleansed and
burnished the mirrors of men’s souls, sullied by the dust and rust of this
dark world. He has opened wide the door to that Celestial Tavern of
matchless wine, and He is freely pouring out the immortal draught of
knowledge and perception and love. He has hoisted the banner of oneness,
and destroyed the foundations of estrangement. Under the sway of His
unity, the many-coloured races and diverse religions have tasted the
rose-red wine of His love, and are aliens no more. Those pure in spirit
who have set eyes upon Him, and approached the place He dwells in,
reflecting Him have shone out like mirrors, and cleaving to Him alone,
they have detached their hearts from all else but Him. They have heard,
with their inner ears, His words, and they have noted His ways, and
forgotten all else. They are ever soaring upward, out of the lower world
to the world above, and they are fit to be told the mysteries, and they
understand them.

Such a day, then, is a day for praise and thanks, a time of benedictions
and blessings, a time to wash away the stains of earth’s defilement.

Let us turn our hearts to the world aloft, and cup our hands and
supplicate our matchless Loved One, and urgently entreat Him, saying:

O Thou Kind Bestower, O Nourisher of our souls and hearts!

We have no aim, except to walk Thy path; we have no wish, except to bring
Thee joy. Our souls are united, and our hearts are welded, each to each.
In offering Thee our thanks and praise, in following Thy ways and soaring
in Thy skies, we are all one.

We are helpless, stand Thou by us, and give us strength.

Thou art the Protector, the Provider, the Kind.



43: Indeed, you have adorned yourself with the ...


(166) Indeed, you have adorned yourself with the qualifications of
faithfulness and are striving to fulfil the requirements of servitude to
the Abhá Threshold. You have been inebriated with the wine of the love of
God, have quaffed your fill at the banquet of loyalty to His Faith and
have caused the seekers of truth, those that are sore athirst for the
life-giving waters of His grace, to drink from the heavenly stream of true
understanding. This was indeed most fitting and appropriate. For in this
grievous calamity, this distressing bereavement, the best consolation and
solace that the spiritual souls could offer is to dedicate themselves to
the service of the Cause, to diffuse widely the sweet savours of holiness,
to become wanderers in the path of that heavenly Best-Beloved, to let
their whole beings burn and melt, and be enkindled with the fire of His
love. Such indeed is the effective remedy, the most potent cure for this
irreparable agony, for this aching of the heart and soul. There is no
other remedy.

Praise be to God that the effusions of celestial aid from the Abhá Kingdom
are unceasing and the outpourings of heavenly grace from the Concourse on
High uninterrupted. You should not think that your memory may ever, even
for a moment, be removed from the minds of these oppressed ones, or that
your remembrance may fade from the hearts of these exiled servants. The
Abhá Beauty bears me witness and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is my testimony that no word
can possibly express how indissoluble are the ties of spiritual communion
and fellowship that bind us to the loved ones of God and to the handmaids
of the Merciful.



44: The deep heart’s love and the longing of the ...


(167) The deep heart’s love and the longing of the soul of this wronged
one for those spiritual beloved ones, and in particular for those who are
kin to the peerless Holy Tree of sanctity and oneness, cannot be told in
words, and my most ardent wish is that I might correspond with each one of
you, but our alarm and grief over this momentous happening, this terrible
affliction and ill-omened agony, this inexorable divine decree, the
passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—may our souls be offered up for all the wrongs He
bore!—has left us wretched, desolate, to such a degree that there is no
peace in the spirit, no will to endure in the heart.

This is an earthquake which shook the foundations of our lives, this is a
wailing and an uproar within the Company on High. The lightning bolt of
this departure has set the very world aflame, and the fires of this
leave-taking have scorched the whole earth.

The grieving dwellers in the courts of holiness have rent their garments
of long-suffering, and the household of the Most High have put on mourning
dress. Truly the people of Bahá and those who are kin to the divine
Lote-Tree are sharing with us the pangs of this bereavement, this direst
of torments, and are partners in anguish of those who suffer here.

Now that this dread event has come upon us all, it is to be hoped that new
stirrings and wondrous new vibrations will be felt; that a renewed
staunchness and fidelity, an ever more vigorous firmness and loyalty, will
take over and astound the world. Thus all will clearly understand that
even though that sacred and mysterious Being has laid aside the garment of
His mortal life, even though that Bird of eternity has abandoned the cage
of this earth, still is His spirit in our midst, still is He watching over
us all from the realm of the All-Glorious, ever is He gladdening the
hearts of the beloved, and to the souls of those who are fast-rooted in
the Covenant, ever is He bringing tidings of great joy.



45: The good news has come that the Will and ...


(168) The good news has come that the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,
may our lives be sacrificed for His meekness, has been read at the
meetings of the friends, and we here are rejoiced to learn of their unity
and their steadfastness and loyalty, and of their directing themselves
toward the designated Centre, the named and specified Guardian of the
Cause of God, the interpreter of the Book of God, the protector of His
Faith, the keeper of His Law, Shoghi Effendi. This news brought extreme
joy.

It is certain that enlightened and sensitive minds and spiritual hearts
will continually obtain illumination from the Centre of Mysteries, and beg
for bounties in abundance from Him Who is the Celestial Beauty
Unconstrained. The ear of their intellect is hearkening to the divine call
from the Company on High, and they drink the draught of faithfulness from
bounty’s cup. To them, all that is not the Beloved is nothing at all, and
from whatever is not the good-pleasure of God, they veil their eyes. They
worship truth, they seek reality, and they are intoxicated with the wine
of His love.

God be praised, you have attained these bestowals. Now is the time for
zeal and ardour, the season of fervour and joy. Thoughts must be focused
on one Centre, opinions united on a single point, to publish abroad the
Teachings of God and to act in accord with the counsels of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,
so that the light of divine confirmations may wax ever brighter, and the
bounties of divine favour and success appear on every side, and that in a
brief period, great progress will be made, and secrets now hidden will be
divulged, and joy and radiance will appear.

It is to be hoped that out of the concealed and manifest favour of the
Abhá Beauty, He will generate a new spirit in His loyal loved ones, and
make them to radiate a new and wondrous joy. This indeed does not seem far
from the outpourings of His bounties and bestowals.



46: In this noblest of all ages the Sun of grace ...


(169) In this noblest of all ages the Sun of grace and loving-kindness has
shone out from the divine day-spring with such resplendent glory and is
casting His beams so bright and far, that He has lit up all the earth and
made the hearts and minds of men to be as sanctified mirrors and
reflectors of holiness—this to such a degree that from turning their faces
unto that bright Orb, that Star of the loftiest heaven, those illumined
beings have received abundant grace and have been enabled to understand
the secret of God’s oneness, and the mystery of His unity, and to become
alert to subtle realities.

Praised be God the Beloved that He has disclosed, through His invisible
bounties and visible grace, such secrets, and drawn such veils aside.
Words have taken on new meaning, and meaning itself has been adorned with
the divine. A clear Covenant makes our duty plain; an explicit and lucid
Text explains the revealed Book; a specifically named Centre has been
designated, toward whom all must turn, and the pronouncement of him who is
the Guardian of the Cause and the interpreter of the Book has been made
the decisive decree. All this is out of the grace and favour of our
Beloved, the All-Glorious, and the loving-kindness of Him from the
splendours of Whose servitude earth and heaven were illumined.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for His meekness, has filled to
overflowing the cup of bounty for the people of Bahá, and encompassed with
His grace persons of every degree. He has destroyed the very basis of
disunity, ruined any attempts at dissension and mischief, and clearly
pointed out to all the highway of guidance, now and for evermore.

The hope is that we may arise with a new spirit and be confirmed with
bountiful blessings, and urge on our steeds in the field of service, of
purity and sincerity, and of high endeavour—nor is this much to ask of the
loving-kindness and grace of our exalted Lord.



47: The purport of your letter is highly indicative ...


(170) The purport of your letter is highly indicative of your
steadfastness in His Cause, of your unswerving constancy in the Covenant,
of having set your face toward Shoghi Effendi, the authorized Point to
whom all must turn, the Centre of the Cause, the Chosen Branch, the bough
that has branched out from the twin heavenly Trees. Indeed, this is the
essential thing, this is the meaning of true devotion, this is the
unshakable, the indubitable truth whereby the people of Bahá, the dwellers
of the Crimson Ark, are distinguished.

The loved ones of the All-Merciful are those that have truly served the
Most Exalted One,(171) have been nurtured by the hand of the Abhá Beauty,
have received training under the care of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—may our life be
sacrificed for the wrongs suffered by Them. Such souls have drunk from the
soft-flowing river of true understanding, have quaffed their fill from the
living waters of assurance, have set their affection on the one true God,
and have rid themselves of all attachment to aught except Him. They tread
the straight path of truth and stride along His undeviating way. They
incline their attentive ears to the Call of the Concourse on High and are
attracted to the Celestial Voice ringing from the realms of glory. Great
indeed is their blessedness, and may they meet with a good ending.

We earnestly hope that through the bounty of the Lord of eternity a fresh
measure of His confirmations may soon appear and you may be encompassed by
His pervasive aid and assistance.



48: At this hour while yet the heart burns with ...


(172) At this hour while yet the heart burns with the anguish of sorrow,
and the gloom of bereavement still hangs low, my thoughts turn in loving
remembrance to my sincere beloved sisters and brothers in the Cause.

The news of your firmness in the Covenant, of your endeavour to work in
unity and harmony, and of your untiring zeal and devotion in the Path of
Service, has been a source of untold joy to me. For now my sole comfort
lies in the loyalty and faithfulness of the friends, and my one joy in the
progress of the Cause.

Dear friends! At this critical time through which the Cause is passing the
responsibility that has fallen on every individual Bahá’í is great, and
his duties are pressing and manifold. Now that the Sun of the Covenant has
set on the horizon of the world, the eyes of all the people are turned
expectant upon us. Now the time has come for the faithful friends of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who have been the recipients of the Glorious Light, to shine
forth even as brilliant stars. The radiance of our Faith must be such as
to dispel the clouds of doubt and guide the world to the Day-spring of
Truth.

Our firmness must be such as to cause him who wavers and errs to turn back
penitent unto the fold; our unity and love must be such as to cause the
peoples of the world to join hands in amity and brotherhood; and our
activity in service must be such as to have all parts of the world resound
with the echoes of ‘YA-BAHA’U’L-ABHA!’.

For inspiration and guidance let us turn unto His life-imparting
exhortations: ‘O friends, show forth your fidelity! O my loved ones,
manifest your steadfastness and your constancy! O ye who invoke His Name,
turn ye and hold fast unto Him! O ye who lift up your hearts and implore
His aid, cling to Him and walk in His ways! It is incumbent upon every one
of us to encourage each other, to exert our utmost endeavour to diffuse
His divine fragrances and engage in exalting His Word. We must, at all
times, be stirred by the breeze that bloweth from the rose-garden of His
loving-kindness, and be perfumed with the fragrances of the mystic flowers
of His grace.’

Thus does ‘Abdu’l-Bahá still call to us from His realm of effulgent glory.
Will not each of us hearken unto His voice, and exert the utmost endeavour
to fulfil His hopes?

Dear friends, this is the day of faithfulness; this is the day of unity;
this is the day of service. Let us not wait, nor ponder, but, detached
from the world and its concerns, clad in the armour of faith, filled with
the divine spirit of love, and quickened by His life-giving exhortations,
let us arise in utmost love and harmony, hasten to the field of service,
and subdue the domain of hearts with the arms of the love of God and the
sword of peace and brotherhood.

For all inspiration and assurance let us turn unto Bahá’u’lláh’s promise:
‘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.’

Dear friends! A great obligation of every Bahá’í is vigilance to protect
and shield the stronghold of the Faith from the onslaught of the enemies.
In these days their activity has waxed strong. They are constantly on the
alert, and exert the utmost endeavour to cause such harm as would impede
the onward march of the Cause.

Association with such people will cause discord and unrest among the
friends and will be detrimental to the progress of the Cause. Therefore it
is urgent that the friends exercise great wisdom and vigilance lest
through the evil schemes of the enemies a breach be made in the Faith. The
few people whom ‘Abdu’l-Bahá pronounced as injurious to the Cause must be
shunned by all the friends, as Shoghi Effendi himself tells us to do in
his second letter to the American believers.



49: O steadfast ones, gathered beneath the ...


(173) O steadfast ones, gathered beneath the Abhá Beauty’s standard of
oneness, O faithful lovers of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá! Sad news has come to us out of
Iran in recent days, and it has intensely grieved the entire Bahá’í world:
they have, in most parts of that land, set bonfires of envy and
malevolence, and hoisted the banner of aggression against this
much-wronged community; they have left no means untried, no plot or
strategy neglected, and have arisen with extreme hostility and spite to
pull out by their very roots the trees of this garden of God.

From every side, they are aiming their arrows at hearts that rejoice in
the knowledge of God and are filled with the love of Him. From every
ambush, they are hunting down gazelles that pasture in the meadows of His
unity. They are taking the men and women believers captive, and making
orphans of the children. They are plundering the believers’ property,
sacking their hearths and homes.

Those, however, who have been trained and educated in the school of God,
even when coming to such a pass, are resignation itself, and to the brutal
aggressor they are as the living waters of Heaven. They are rivers of pure
mercy and peace. Though powerful and well able to defend themselves, they
never raise a hand to strike, nor do they open their lips to protest. They
confront the others’ taunts and curses with prayers that God will forgive
them, and their reply to the wounds of bullet and sword is to offer milk
and honey. They kiss the murderer’s hand; as intoxicated lovers, they
drain the martyr’s cup.

Such is the way of those who are attracted to His Kingdom, and that other
is the behaviour of the foolish, the heedless of God. So has it been, at
the time when the Manifestations of God appeared: the heedless and the
ignorant turned upon their heavenly Teachers, and the diseased harried and
tortured their loving Physicians in the spirit, idly thinking that they
were acquiring merit thereby. Thus have their imaginings always been, at
the outset of every Faith: that by such cruel acts they could destroy that
seed, the Word of God; or that by blowing against it, they could put out
the lamp that He has lit; or that by directing a storm of denial against
them, they could bring down His trees, so flourishing, so firmly rooted in
His Kingdom, or lay His fair gardens in ruins.

But as, time and again, experience has shown, in every age they have only
seen verified the Blessed Beauty’s assurance that calamity’s rushing rain
is the greening of His planted field, and afflictions are the oil that
feeds and adds to the radiance of the lamp of God. And then, as the days
go by, and they see with their own eyes the Day-Star in its noonday
splendour, witness the bewildering richness of the fields that God has
sown, behold His great and all-pervading Cause—then the fires of hatred
and envy flame out of the hell of their natures; they can contain
themselves no longer, and the truth of the holy words is proved, that God
will not bring down a people from their station unless they have corrupted
their good qualities themselves, and it becomes clearly shown that God
brings on the downfall of the heedless little by little and in ways that
they know not.

During occurrences of this kind, it is incumbent upon the believers in
other countries to immediately adopt prudent and reasonable measures, that
through wise methods such fires may be put out. Let them not allow the
claws of ravening wolves to be reddened with their brothers’ blood; let
them defend God’s lambs from the hungry leopard’s knife-sharp teeth; let
them guard the members of the one and single Bahá’í family from the
poisoned sting of scorpions and snakes.

This is the unique obligation of the Bahá’ís of the world. Addressing the
believers, Baha’u’llah says: ‘Be ye as the fingers of one hand, the
members of one body.’ This means that just as each member safeguards the
rest, warding off any threatened harm, so too must the individual Bahá’ís
do, whether in the East or the West. At this time it is urgently needful,
and it is the request of this grieving servant, that the assembly of the
believers in that area act at once, and take the case to the ambassador of
the Iranian government. Let them tell him, ‘The holy Cause of Bahá’u’lláh
has so unified us who are His world-wide followers, and has brought us so
close together, that we have become like a single body. If the foot of a
Bahá’í, in the farthest Eastern land, is so much as scratched by a thorn,
it is even as if we Bahá’ís here in the West had suffered the same. We
have now received word from Írán that in _Sh_íráz, in Sulṭánábád, in
Hamadán, in Ká_sh_án, even in Ṭihrán, and in other places as well, the
fanaticism of the ignorant and heedless has been fanned into flame, and
that agitators are stirring up the populace—with the result that our
brothers and sisters, who are but well-wishers of all humankind and are
indeed the world’s only hope for peace, and are obedient and helpful
citizens of Iran and her government, find themselves under attack and
pushed into the heart of the fire.

‘We therefore request the representative of Iran to ask his government to
safeguard our brothers in Iran from the aggressions of their enemies, and
to deliver that flock of God’s lovers from the claws of the wolf, and
provide for their security and well-being. By bringing us word of this
outcome, Írán will earn the deep and heartfelt gratitude of thousands of
Bahá’ís who reside in these countries, and widespread appreciation will be
voiced by us in our many gatherings, of her government’s good offices on
our behalf.’

And further, if it be possible, you should make this same representation
through your own ambassador in Ṭihrán, so that he may direct the attention
of the Iranian authorities to these persecutions, and awaken that
government to the possibility of divine retribution and to the shameful
stigma occasioned by such actions directed against this innocent community
by the heedless and ignorant amongst the mass of the people.

Let him make them aware that there are thousands of adherents of this
Faith of the love of God around the world, who are gazing in astonishment
and disbelief at the savage acts now being perpetrated against their
brothers, and are eagerly waiting to hear that the government has come to
the rescue of this unique, this law-abiding people, who are the
well-wishers of mankind, from the attacks of the ravening wolves.

I pray for you continually at the Holy Threshold, and call upon Him on
behalf of each one of you, and beg that He will bestow on you the
blessings of the Kingdom.

Upon you, men and women alike, be the Glory of the All-Glorious.



50: A physician treats every illness with a ...


(174) A physician treats every illness with a certain remedy and to every
painful sore he applies a specially prepared compound. The more severe the
illness, the more potent must be the remedy, so that the treatment may
prove effective and the illness cured. Now consider, when the divine
Physician(175) determined to conceal His countenance from the gaze of men
and take His flight to the Abhá Kingdom, He knew in advance what a violent
shock, what a tremendous impact, the effect of this devastating blow would
have upon His beloved friends and devoted lovers. Therefore He prepared a
highly potent remedy and compounded a unique and incomparable cure—a cure
most exquisite, most glorious, most excellent, most powerful, most
perfect, and most consummate. And through the movement of His Pen of
eternal bounty He recorded in His weighty and inviolable Testament the
name of Shoghi Effendi—the bough that has grown from the two offshoots of
the celestial glory, the branch that has branched from the two hallowed
and sacred Lote-Trees. Then He winged His flight to the Concourse on High
and to the luminous horizon. Now it devolves upon every well-assured and
devoted friend, every firm and enkindled believer enraptured by His love,
to drink this healing remedy at one draught, so that the agony of
bereavement may be somewhat alleviated and the bitter anguish of
separation dissipated. This calls for efforts to serve the Cause, to
diffuse the sweet savours of God, to manifest selflessness, consecration
and self-sacrifice in our labours in His Path.



51: I was very glad to know of your meeting ...


(176) I was very glad to know of your meeting with the Chinese students,
and I am sure your effect and influence shall be great upon them because
their fresh and receptive minds are ready to grasp the importance of this
Manifestation; and when you go to China, which you may if you think it
wise, your influence and success, I hope, will be still more.

I pray God that He should confirm you in your teaching, and when you go to
China, He should make you a pioneer in carrying the Message of this
Dispensation to the farthermost countries of the world and to the most
obscure.

The members of the Holy Family join me in extending to you their love and
Bahá’í greetings, and may the spirit of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá guide you and keep
you.



52: We were delighted to receive your excellent ...


(177) We were delighted to receive your excellent letter ... and read it
with joy. It gladdens our hearts to witness from its contents the
evidences of loyalty and sincerity and perfect steadfastness in the Cause
of God, and unshakeable constancy in His Covenant.

I offered praise to my Lord, the All-Glorious, for His abundant blessings,
the prodigality of His bestowals, and His wondrous grace; for He has
created such spiritual beings, such illumined essences, who attract bounty
from the Sun of Truth, and are lit by its heavenly light, which unravels
the mysteries, parts the curtains, and tears aside the veils. He has sent
forth pure and holy souls whom the blame of the blamer cannot shut out
from the Faith of God, nor frighten away from establishing the truth of
His Teachings. These are they whose thirst is quenched, whose ills are
healed, whose hearts are gladdened, whose minds are set at rest, whose
souls are stirred, whose spirits rejoice, whose eyes find consolation by
beholding the splendours of the beauty, and the graces of perfection, that
come down, one following after another, from the firmament of glory. Well
is it with them for such wondrous gifts, and bliss be to them for such
blessings!

As for me, acquainted with great grief as I am, subjected as I am to
calamities, I have no solace in this dire ordeal that has suddenly come
upon me to darken my days, save only to see happiness in the hearts of the
believers; to breathe in the sweet scents of loving-kindness from the
gardens of their hearts, and to behold the sparkling lights of unity
amongst God’s chosen ones, and to note how widespread are the breaths of
fellow-feeling and love amongst the righteous, and how His teachings and
the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá are being disseminated throughout
those lands—always in accord with wisdom, as enjoined by the Almighty and
set forth in the Writings.

I beg of God, even as a pauper, and I implore Him with all lowliness,
feebleness and contrition, to assist you all with His unseen favours, and
open before your eyes the portals of His bounty and grace, and make ready
for you whatsoever you desire out of His everlasting bestowals, and make
all things easy for you, and fulfil your hopes—so that in serving the
Faith of your Lord, the Glory of the All-Glorious, you will reach your
furthermost goals. Verily is He the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving.

I beg of Him too, that He will cause every difficulty to vanish away, and
will dispel every cloud, until it becomes possible for you to present
yourselves at this blessed, this luminous and fragrant Spot, and bow down
your foreheads in the dust of this bright Threshold, and attain this
ultimate goal, for the friends long to behold you.

Again, I supplicate the Eternal Glory to send down His herald of holiness
with the garment in his hands,(178) that all eyes may be solaced and all
hearts rejoiced by the return to this country of the Chosen Branch, the
Guardian of the Cause of God, Shoghi Effendi, in the briefest of times.
This indeed is well within the reach of the bounties of our Almighty and
All-Generous Lord.



53: Following the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ...


(179) Following the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Abhá Kingdom the only
thing that can afford consolation to the heart of this grief-stricken and
wronged maidservant is to see the lovers of that luminous Countenance
happy, joyful and radiant and to behold the diffusion of the sweet savours
of God, the exaltation of His Word, and the growth of His Faith. Nothing
else matters.

The duty of the concourse of the faithful in this day should be but one
duty, their purpose but one purpose, their aim but one aim, and the object
of their endeavour but one object, and this is none other than to foster
the spirit of unity and harmony, to serve and teach His Cause and to
promote His Word. Such is the meaning of true faithfulness; and in this
lies the good-pleasure of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.



54: The letter that you wrote in your burning ...


(180) The letter that you wrote in your burning grief, on the passing of
the world’s Beloved, the Orb of the Covenant—wrote with weeping eyes and a
heart afire, has come. Once again, it brings back the full force of this
calamity, and renews our mourning. This was the most ruinous of disasters,
the most dreaded of ordeals, the most hurtful of misfortunes. It was an
earthquake that shook the pillars of the world; it caused a tumult and an
uproar among the dwellers of earth and heaven. This terrible separation
came upon us as an inescapable trial and a dismal decree. It destroyed all
hopes of happiness, and all joy perished. By this departure, the sparkling
stars were dimmed, and the heavens of mystic meaning split apart. It set
the skies on fire, it scorched the seven spheres. From this departure,
sorrow enveloped all mankind, it brought pain and tears to all the peoples
of the earth. The lightning bolt of it consumed the world and struck the
hearts of its inhabitants, so that they put on sackcloth and poured ashes
on their heads. This disaster, coming all unawares, made the morning dark,
and turned bright noon to night. From our breasts rose burning sighs, and
from our eyes streamed our life blood. Even the Concourse on High moaned
and lamented, and their clamour rose to the highest Heaven, and the
weeping denizens of the pavilions of glory, striking at their faces,
raised their plaintive cries. Mourning, shedding tears, their garments
rent, their heads uncovered, their feet bare, the Maids of Heaven hastened
out of their lofty, immaculate chambers, and groaned and cried out.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for His sacred dust, that
peerless Beloved of the world, from the day that Bahá’u’lláh ascended
until the hour of His own spotless soul’s departure to the kingdom of
light and the realm beyond, had neither a quiet night’s rest nor a
peaceful day, for thirty years. At all times His heart wept and sorrowed,
and in the dark of the night from His anguished breast rose burning sighs,
sorely wounded as He was by the arrows of the opposers and the rebellious.
Then at first light, He would lift up His wondrous, melodious voice and
commune with the dwellers in the high mansions of Heaven.

He would face the storms of tribulation with a heart full of fervour and
love; He would breast the waves of calamities and oncoming ordeals with
overflowing joy. With the balm of His loving-kindness, He would remedy
unhealing wounds, and the medicine of His unending grace was a cure for
mortal ills. Through His tenderness and care the sorrowful found comfort,
and through His Words the despairing received the blissful consolation of
their incomparable Lord. He would hearten the despised and the rejected
with outpourings of grace.

In the pathway of Bahá’u’lláh, He made His holy breast a shield to bear
adversities, made His beauteous face a target for the blows that rained
upon Him from all sides. He, the Wronged One of the world, was compassed
about by rebel hosts; the armies of treachery assailed Him from every
direction. The disaffected were not remiss in their cruelty and
aggression; never once did that arrogant crew fail to spread a calumny or
to show their opposition and their malice. At every moment, they inflicted
wounds upon Him, injured Him, brought fresh grief to His heart. Their sole
aim was to bring down the structure of the Holy Faith and to destroy its
very base and foundation. They did all in their power to split the Bahá’í
community, and in their strivings to shatter the union of the believers,
they neglected nothing. They joined hands with every enemy of the Faith,
became boon companions of all who betrayed it. There was no mischief, no
plot, no slander, no aspersion, that they would not allow themselves, no
individual so vile that they would not cleave to him.

And thus, with all His own ordeals and cares, and banished from His home,
He Whom the world wronged devoted Himself to counselling and nurturing the
people with the utmost loving-kindness, divinely admonishing them, leading
and guiding them at all times to complete and utter steadfastness in the
Cause of God.

From one direction He would ward off the assaults of the nations, from
another He would hold back the people of hatred from tormenting the
believers. Now He would scatter the waverers’ clouds of doubt, again He
would demonstrate the truth of the clear and manifest Verses, and at all
times and seasons He would guard the Cause of God with His very life, and
protect its Law.

His fundamental purpose in enduring that continual toil and pain, and
bearing those calamities, was to safeguard the divine and all-embracing
Word, to shelter the tree of unity, to educate persons of capacity, to
refine those who were pure in heart, and to transform the hearts of the
receptive, to expound the mysteries of God and illumine the minds of the
spiritual.

All praise be to Bahá’u’lláh! The meaning of those bounties became
apparent and the splendour of those bestowals was made manifest: that
conclusive Text, the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, was given us, and
what had been hidden at the beginning was made known at the end. His
infinite grace became clearly manifest, and with His own mighty pen He
made a perfect Covenant, naming Shoghi Effendi the Chosen Branch and
Guardian of the Faith. Thus, by God’s bounty, what had been a concealed
mystery and a well-guarded secret, was at last made plain.

This greatest of bestowals came as a lightning-flash of glory to the
righteous, but to those evil ones who broke the Covenant, it was the
thunderbolt of God’s avenging wrath.



55: Although the ascension of the beloved ...


(181) Although the ascension of the beloved Centre of the Covenant was the
ultimate calamity, the severest of ordeals, and the fire of that
bereavement consumed our hearts and souls, and there were no eyes but wept
their tears of blood to mourn Him, no breast but uttered fiery
sighs—still, God be praised, the Will and Testament of that Wellspring of
bounty and grace, and the designation by Him of the Centre of the Faith
and the Covenant, quieted our burning grief and stilled our sighing, and
came as balm to our sorely-wounded hearts.

The power of the Faith prevailed, the awesome majesty of the Word of God
flashed out, and day by day reveals in increasing measure its overpowering
might.

And now, to offer gratitude befitting such a bounty, we must prepare
ourselves, gird ourselves for service, and rise up and live in accordance
with the instructions of the Blessed Beauty and the counsels of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, for these are the life of the world and the salvation of its
peoples. Thus, from every direction, will the portals of happiness and
spirituality open before us all.

The Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, Shoghi Effendi,
because of the intense grief and suffering and pain inflicted by this
terrible event, has desired to spend a period alone, in a quiet spot,
where he can devote his time to prayer and supplication, and communion
with God. He, therefore, left us sometime ago, but our hopes are high that
in a very short time he will come home to the Holy Land. For the moment,
then, this wronged and sad one has answered, however briefly, the letter
from your distinguished Assembly.



56: You have offered up thanks to the Lord for ...


(182) You have offered up thanks to the Lord for appointing the Centre of
His Cause and the Guardian of His Covenant, and have voiced your gratitude
and expressed your spiritual sentiments, for this favour and grace.

It is true, in all the world there could be no mercy greater than this, no
bounty more abundant.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for His sacred dust, has
bestowed on us a wondrous gift, a most great favour. He has clearly shown
us the highway of guidance and explicitly designated the Centre toward
whom all the people of Bahá must turn, and with His own bounteous pen has
written down for us what will ensure prosperity and progress, and
salvation and bliss, for evermore.

Now is the time to arise and serve with all our powers, that we may grow
happier day by day, and fill our hearts with warmth and joy.



57: The Ancient Beauty, the Most Great Name, ...


(183) The Ancient Beauty, the Most Great Name, has, through the splendours
of His grace in this most glorious of all ages, made this world of dust to
radiate light. The loving counsels of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have turned the beloved
of the Lord into signs and tokens of humility and lowliness. He has taught
them selflessness, and freedom from material things, and detachment from
the world, and has enabled them to understand the verities of Heaven.

In that supernal realm we are all but motes; in the court of the Lord
God’s majesty we are but helpless shadows. He is the Shelter for all; He
is the Protector of all; He is the Helper of all; He is the Preserver of
all. Whensoever we look upon ourselves, we, one and all, despair; but He,
with all His grace, His bestowals, His bounties, is the close Companion of
each one.

It is certain that tests and trials are inseparable from this life and a
vital requirement thereof, especially for the human race and above all for
those who claim to have faith and love. Only through trials can the
genuine be known from the worthless, and purity from pollution, and the
real from the false. The meaning of the sacred verse: ‘Do men think when
they say ‘We believe’ they shall be let alone and not be put to
proof?’(184) prevails at all times and is applicable at every breath, and
fire will only bring out the brightness of the gold.

So it is my hope that with lowliness and a contrite heart, with
supplications and prayers, with good intentions and faithfulness, with
purity of heart and adherence to the truth, with rising up to serve and
with the blessings and confirmations of the Lord, we may come into a
realm, and arrive at a condition, where we shall live under His
overshadowing mercy, and His helping hand shall come to our aid and
succour.



58: After the construction of the Báb’s Shrine ...


(185) After the construction of the Báb’s Shrine on Mount Carmel, it was
the wish and intention of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—may our lives be sacrificed for His
holy dust—to open a path that would lead directly from the Shrine to the
German Avenue. Time and again He referred to this project and explained
how it should be built. You are no doubt familiar with this matter.
However, in those days many obstacles stood in the way, preventing the
execution of this important project. Among them was a house located at the
beginning of this path at the foot of the mountain, which belonged to one
of the German settlers. This house had become a serious barrier, inasmuch
as the owner had turned down every offer for the purchase of the property.
The German community had adopted a policy in the administration of the
real estate within the boundary of their settlement which required them
not to sell any tract of land or any house within that area to outsiders,
no matter how lucrative the payment might be. This ruling was strictly
observed by them and had developed into an insurmountable barrier. Another
obstacle was that the projected path would pass through tracts of land
which belonged to different people, and some of them were unable to sell
their property due to legal problems, while others deliberately would not
sell since they had perceived that this path was exclusively intended for
access to the Bahá’í Shrine and that the Bahá’ís would eventually be
compelled, no matter when, to pay an enormous sum for the acquisition of
this land. Thus immersed in the sea of visionary hopes and dreams they
categorically refused to sell. So days and nights, and months and years
passed by until the hand of divine power wrought a change in the whole
situation, and the truth of the words: ‘He shall establish His ascendancy
over His dominion as He pleaseth’ was fulfilled; for not long afterwards
this territory was occupied by the equitable Government of Great Britain,
and the local authorities, acting according to their own judgement,
decided that the existence of the above house in that locality was
undesirable. Therefore they demolished the house, cleared the site and
carried away the stones. Then the Municipal Engineer prepared a design for
the path, emphasizing that the opening of that path to the Bahá’í Shrine
was imperative. This design received the blessed attention of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Who graciously approved it and expressed His satisfaction and appreciation
to the Municipal Engineer. Later on, with the aid of divine confirmations,
enough land was purchased from the remaining tracts through which the path
passed.



59: At the Threshold of the Lord of Mercy we ...


(186) At the Threshold of the Lord of Mercy we supplicate Him to grant
perception and understanding to the ignorant, to awaken and bestow
awareness upon those who are fast asleep and to give the eye of insight to
the men of authority who conduct the affairs of the people, so that they
may clearly distinguish the peace-maker from the mischief-maker, the
faithful from the traitor, and the well-wisher from the ill-wisher.



60: The adherents of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh ...


(187) The adherents of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh have, under all
circumstances throughout the past sixty years or more, clearly proved
themselves to be the well-wishers of all governments and peoples and have
demonstrated that they are lovers of peace, are sincere, trustworthy and
devoted. However, they often become the object of calumny and slander
uttered by some foolish people. Indeed, such has ever been the way of God.

From time immemorial even to this day the chosen ones of God have always
been exposed to the woes and sufferings that the disdainful have inflicted
upon them. They have been made the targets of the darts and spears of
hatred and enmity that the heedless have unloosed upon them. Yet it is
clear and evident that the loved ones of God will always, with the whole
affection of their hearts and souls, welcome every tribulation in the path
of the peerless Beloved and will, with utmost joy and love, accept the
pain of every grievous wound for the sake of the incomparable One. Far
from grieving or complaining, they offer praise and thanksgiving to Him
Who is the Sovereign Lord of all. They commit their affairs to the care of
the Lord of all mankind and surrender everything to Him Whose power is
irresistible. He is the Potent, the Powerful, the Avenger, the
All-Compelling.



61: Regarding the Centre of Sedition and his ...


(188) Regarding the Centre of Sedition(189) and his scrolls of doubt, this
individual, for a period of thirty years, both within and without the
Cause, was busy with his mischief-making, and planting his seeds of
contention and dissension. He had in mind but one concern, one single
thought: to create discord in the Faith. All this is well known to
everyone, it is clear as the noonday sun, and is set forth in the Writings
of the Centre of the Covenant, including His Will and Testament, where
this person’s evil intentions, satanic plots and diabolic acts are a
matter of record, and there is no need to elaborate on them here.

So things were until recent times, when we were subjected to this direst
of all ordeals. Once again, the Centre of Sedition, believing that the
field was his, and seizing the occasion, rose up and began to spread
abroad his scrolls of doubt, heedless of the fact that the instructions
and commandments of the Blessed Beauty, may His Name be glorified, and the
counsels of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may our souls be sacrificed for His meekness,
had reinforced the base of the Cause, and firmly established the edifice
of the Word of God, and They had, through God’s favour and grace, drawn
Their faithful loved ones into a realm where no power in all the world,
nor the awesome majesty nor the onslaughts of the world’s embattled
armies, could so much as disturb the faith of a single Bahá’í child, nor
make him to stray from the path that leads aright. How much less could
such as he affect those noble personages every one of whom is rooted firm
in the love of God, and stands immovable as the high mountains!

God be praised, during all these long years, all this individual ever
achieved was injury to himself, and the defeat of his plans, and the
disappointment of his hopes. Nor will he ever have anything more.

In recent times, especially, from whatever direction he mounted his
attack, he discovered a solid barrier that proved impossible to assail,
and found his slings and arrows of doubt turned back against himself. Thus
were fulfilled the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, that
‘The Centre of Sedition was ... confounded in his craftiness...’ To
whatsoever place this person addressed his evil treatises of doubt, these
same treatises were sent straight back to him, some with a reply, some
without, and thus he found it hopeless to make a breach in the Cause of
God.



62: Your letter has come, and I myself and the ...


(190) Your letter has come, and I myself and the Holy Family were
infinitely grieved to learn of the sufferings you have undergone, being
made as you were the targets of such injustice, malevolence and
aggression.

Since, however, you stood firm and steadfast and unchanging, as the arrows
of tyranny came against you, and since this happened for the sake of the
Blessed Beauty, and in the pathway of the One Beloved, it behoves you to
thank God and praise Him, for having singled you out for this great
bounty.

For this clamour and uproar, the blows, the abuse, the taunts, the curses,
when borne for love of the All-Bounteous Lord, are but festive days and
times for jubilee.

God be praised, you have been given a drop out of that ocean of
tribulations that swept across the Exalted One and the Beauty of the
All-Glorious, you were granted a droplet out of the seas of calamity that
engulfed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

The evil ones did not destroy the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, nor will they
ever; it was their own house that they brought down in ruins and gave to
the winds. They did not burn down the school, they put the flame to their
own roots.

Lofty is the structure of the House of Worship; it is certain that you
will build a new and greater one. Be you confident of the bestowals of the
Blessed Beauty and the gifts and blessings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.



63: The sad news about the death of your ...


(191) The sad news about the death of your husband has just reached us; we
fully sympathize with you. When one meditates over the general trend of
affairs and drinks deep from the fountain of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh
and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá he is bound to come to the conclusion that this world is
no world of attachment; nay rather it constantly gives us the lesson of
keeping aloof as far as possible from it. This point becomes clearer now
that the physical body of the Master is taken away from us. We should
really congratulate the departing ones because they leave this world of
pains and troubles and enter the eternal bliss of being with holy spirits
which have been working to detach humanity from the ephemeral world.



64: The letter you have written was received ...


(192) The letter you have written was received with the utmost joy for it
was to us not only a message of love and unity but a message of humble
devotion and servitude at the divine Threshold. It was not only the cause
of comfort to our broken hearts but also a divine balm to our souls and we
are sure that the spirit which that letter bore is the one which reigns in
the heart of each single member of that united assembly.

You have written that your number is small; but it is decidedly true that
it is not numbers that count, it is, rather, the sincerity and devotion of
the hearts. It is the heart that, subduing within itself all earthly
cares, shines forth resplendent in the realm of love and selflessness,
attracting to itself the souls of the weary and depressed, soothing their
wounds with the balm of this Message. This new Revelation has in reality
been the water of life unto the thirsty, a sea of knowledge unto the
searcher, a message of condolence to the weary and a new spirit and life
to the whole world. And now it remains that we, the humble servants of our
Lord should be confirmed, through our own effort and through His bounty to
diffuse this light everywhere and to carry this Glad Tidings to every
cottage and princely home.

We ask God to make each one of that assembly a herald of love wherever he
may go and that he may be accepted as a humble servant of His Lord.



65: All praise be unto the Court of Holiness, ...


(193) All praise be unto the Court of Holiness, that God has drawn certain
blessed souls, entities delicate and pure, unto a realm where they have no
desire save the good-pleasure of the Beloved; where, in the pathway of the
Ancient Beauty and their devotion to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, they yearn for naught
and have no other aim but to offer themselves up, to serve, to guide
humankind, and to wander, homeless and portionless, over the earth.

Such promptings derive from the blessings and confirmations of the Abhá
Kingdom. Such impulses come when a soul is cleaving fast to the eternal
world.... As to your not being present in the Holy Land on the occasion of
the anniversary of His Passing, nor able to take part with these bereaved
ones in our mourning for the setting of the Sun of the Covenant: be
assured that in that dread hour, that calamitous time, the souls of the
people of Bahá were, one and all, circumambulating His resplendent
resting-place, and the lamentation and wailing of this faithful band were
continually rising up to the heavenly Throne. And that immaculate Spirit
must have gazed down upon them from the realms on high, and bestowed upon
them all His grace, and grieved over the grieving of them all, and
consoled and soothed them all, and supplicated, even as He now
supplicates, His Supreme Companion to grant unto every one of them fervour
and joy, and ardour and bliss, and detachment from the world, and
steadfast faith.

It is our hope that we all shall be blessed and confirmed in whatever
befits this day.



66: It has been demonstrated time and time ...


(194) It has been demonstrated time and time again that whatever comes to
pass only enhances the glory of God’s Faith, and further proclaims His
Word. This time it will be the same.

However savage this tempest of trials, however battered by surging waves
the Ark of the Faith may be, still, the Divine Mariner has taken into His
own two powerful hands the helm of this Ark—and He, steady, calm and able,
and endowed with all authority and might, is steering its course, and will
bring it at last safe and secure to its glorious haven. Of this there can
be no question.

You have sent us the good news that the believers are arising to serve the
Faith and are loyal and devoted to the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the
Cause of God. This news rejoiced our hearts.

We pray for you most humbly at the Holy Thresholds, and beg of God to
grant His ever-increasing confirmations and blessings to all of you.



67: The cheque for the amount of two hundred ...


(195) The cheque for the amount of two hundred pounds that you had sent as
your contribution to the Temple Fund has been received and duly forwarded
to Chicago. Behold what a pervasive power this evidence of co-operation
and support, this spirit of selfless consecration is bound to release in
the realm of the heart and spirit. Consider to what extent the world of
human virtues will be enriched and adorned by this munificent act, and how
glorious the light that this manifestation of unity and solidarity is
likely to shed upon all regions. Indeed, this mighty endeavour has been
accomplished despite the adverse economic situation in Persia, where the
evidences of hardship, privation and depression are clearly apparent. But
since the object of this noble enterprise and praiseworthy effort is to
enhance the glory of the Cause of God, therefore it will unfailingly
attract divine blessings and bounty.



68: It is clear and evident that the body of ...


(196) It is clear and evident that the body of mankind in this day stands
in dire need of such members and organs as are capable, useful and active,
so that their movements and activities, their bearing and behaviour, their
tender feelings, lofty sentiments and noble intentions may at all times
reflect heavenly virtues and perfections and become the expressions of
divine attributes and saintly characteristics, thus breathing a new life
and spirit into all the dwellers of the world and causing the inner ties
and spiritual relationships to be fostered and fortified in all fields of
human endeavour.



69: We beseech God—exalted be His glory—to ...


(197) We beseech God—exalted be His glory—to grant awareness and insight
to the men of wisdom as well as to those who hold in their grasp the reins
of power in Persia, that they may be able to distinguish the right way
from the crooked and devious path and may clearly discern the well-wisher
from the ill-wisher with a true and genuine sense of discrimination.

As regards the amelioration of your own affairs, let us entrust the whole
matter to the Blessed Beauty. He is the best Benefactor, unsurpassed in
His bounty.



70: Your letter of 12th October 1922 is just ...


(198) Your letter of 12th October 1922 is just received and refreshed in
our memory the many beautiful days that you spent here when the Beloved
Lord, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, was still on this earth. Those are days that many
events of history could never efface from the hearts, nay rather the
further we go in the scale of life the deeper become the impressions
thereof within the meshes of our inner life.

I read your letter with full attention and in the course of the reading
the words of the Master were ringing in my ear; words that have descended
like showers on all souls and hearts that could understand. Now is the
time when we should forget everything and concentrate our thoughts upon
the advancement of the Cause of God and strive day and night that the
principles and teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh and the words of the
Master may find full expression in the hearts of the true friends.

When I think over the history of the Cause and the many difficulties that
all its promoters have undergone I unhesitatingly am convinced that the
sincere friends who have watched the events will not lose a moment but
will with all their hearts and souls sacrifice everything of worth in
order to realize that for which the Divine plan has been working.

Have all your thoughts directed to the Master and heed not what you hear
from here or there. We hope that soon beloved Shoghi Effendi will come
back to Haifa and things will resume their natural course. What we need
today is complete unity amongst the friends and this will attract the
Divine assistance from the Abhá Kingdom.

All the members of the Holy family remember you and pray for you at the
Holy Shrines. We hope to hear much good news from you; this will be the
Cause of the Master’s happiness as He always wished to hear from you good
news. Convey my Abhá greetings to all the brothers and sisters there.



71: All praise to the beloved Abhá Beauty, ...


(199) All praise to the beloved Abhá Beauty, that those nightingales of
the gardens of knowledge, those doves of the fragrant bowers of certitude,
are singing the holy verses on the boughs of grace and bounty, celebrating
the praise and glory of the Lord of the worlds, chanting His holy words,
carolling to Him hymns of love, and extolling and lauding His blessed
name.

God be thanked, the spirits rejoice, the hearts are full of fervour, the
souls are held spellbound by that shining Face. The Blessed Beauty’s sea
of bounty is rolling up great waves; He is casting the rays of His grace
over the world and all its peoples; the clouds of His liberal bestowals
are showering down, the sun of His generosity is shining bright.

In its every aspect, this noblest of Dispensations and greatest of eras is
something set apart, for it is most exalted, most glorious, and
distinguished from the past. In no wise is it to be compared with the ages
gone before. So plainly, in this mighty day, have the mysteries been laid
bare, that to the perceptive and the initiated and those who have attained
the knowledge of divine secrets, they appear as tangible realities. In
this new Day the stars of allusions and hints have fallen, for the Sun of
explicit texts has risen, and the Moon of expositions and interpretations
has shone above all horizons.

As expressly stated in the Holy Text, a specific Centre has been give us.
With His own pen has ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Centre of the Covenant, selected
and appointed Shoghi Effendi, the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause
of God, the interpreter of the Book of God, so that the highway of divine
guidance has been clearly marked out and lighted up for all the ages to
come. This bounty is one of the distinguishing features of this mightiest
of Dispensations, a special grace allotted to this age.

It is my hope that we all shall arise, thus to prove our gratitude for all
these rich bestowals and gifts, and serve the Cause of God and spread the
holy Teachings and speedily carry out the instructions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—so
that day by day the limits of the Faith will be extended, and the seekers
will find their goal, and the lovers reach the beauty of the Beloved, and
the thirsty come to crystal waters, and spiritual joys embrace mankind,
and every heart be gladdened.



72: Your kind and loving letter written with an ...


(200) Your kind and loving letter written with an unbounded love and a
sincere devotion for our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His Cause has been duly
received. It spoke of that painful story where earthly cares and physical
illnesses have prevented blessed souls, so overflowing with love, to shine
in this dark and dismal world. Nevertheless, dear sister, rest assured and
never be sorrowful. It is in one of the foremost Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh
that He says: ‘Verily God hath made adversity as a morning dew upon His
green pasture, and a wick for His lamp which lighteth earth and heaven.’
Meaning thereby that physical illnesses and misfortunes certainly make a
person nearer and nearer to his Lord. Why then should we sorrow over
earthly hindrances when we have done what we possibly could, and when we
are sure that this, our little service, will certainly be acceptable in
His Sight?

I was very glad to know that even with all these hindrances you could give
the Message to certain souls and I eagerly hope that they in turn will
acquire the love with which you taught them and will never stop giving
this Glad Tidings to every soul they meet.



73: Praise be to God that through the gracious ...


(201) Praise be to God that through the gracious assistance of the Abhá
Kingdom those devoted friends have been enabled to achieve that which
befits the glory of the Cause of God and the protection of the community
of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh. This is none other than to foster unity
and fellowship under all conditions, to strengthen the bonds of harmony
and concord in all things, and to avoid political matters. It is
particularly important to refrain from making unfavourable remarks or
statements concerning the friends and the loved ones of God, inasmuch as
any expression of grievance, of complaint or backbiting is incompatible
with the requirements of unity and harmony and would dampen the spirit of
love, fellowship and nobility. Therefore it is incumbent upon the members
of the exalted Spiritual Assembly to exercise the utmost care with firm
determination and not to allow the doors of complaint and grievance to be
opened, or permit any of the friends to indulge in censure and backbiting.
Whoever sets himself to do so, even though he be the very embodiment of
the Holy Spirit, should realize that such behaviour would create
disruption among the people of Bahá and would cause the standard of
sedition to be raised.

In these days when the peoples of the world are thirsting for the
teachings of the Abhá Beauty—teachings that provide the incomparable,
life-giving waters of immortality—when we Bahá’ís have pledged ourselves
to proffer these living waters to all mankind and are known to be prepared
to endure every suffering and tribulation, how pitiful it would be if,
despite all this, we were to neglect our binding obligations and
responsibilities and to occupy ourselves with disagreeable discussions
that provoke irritation and distress and to turn our attention to matters
that lead to ill-feeling, to despondency and unhappiness and reduce the
penetrating influence of the Word of God.



74: Your letter was received and its contents ...


(202) Your letter was received and its contents were perused. The scrolls
you had enclosed were clearly understood. They are of no consequence
whatsoever, nor are they worthy of any attention. The letter you have
written in reply, although brief, is adequate and conclusive. What you
have written, even as the tablet of your heart, is illumined with the
light of constancy and steadfastness, and indicates your firmness and
determination in upholding His Covenant. In truth this is the essential
thing.

Following the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—may our lives be offered up for
His holy Dust—the Covenant-breakers, using every means in their power,
busied themselves in spreading false reports. No calumny, no slander did
they spare. Likewise, after the ascension of the Ancient Beauty, the Most
Great Name—may the life of all created things be sacrificed for His holy
dust—the people of doubt and hesitation seized upon every means and arose
to destroy the edifice of the Cause, to profane the honour of the Lord and
to violate His Covenant. Yet, during all this time and under all
conditions these bereaved and oppressed ones, with faces set towards His
luminous Threshold, held fast to the cord of patience and resignation,
engaged themselves in offering fervent prayers and supplications and
committed all their affairs to the care of the Blessed Beauty. For in
truth He is the Refuge of the oppressed and the unfailing Comforter of the
anguished, whereas the Centre of Sedition and his following have gathered
no fruit from their rebellious acts save despondency and utter loss.



75: It was sometime ago that I received your ...


(203) It was sometime ago that I received your kind and encouraging letter
through your honourable secretary. And although in a joyless world, the
love and unity of the friends in Yonkers imparted the utmost joy to this
bereaved family. Great indeed as was my desire to reciprocate those kind
sentiments so beautifully expressed in your letter, it is truly
unfortunate that I should have delayed the answer so long.

For the last few weeks we have all been happy over Shoghi Effendi’s safe
arrival and we really miss all our beloved brethren and sisters in this
little town of Haifa. Last night’s sad and solemn occasion was passed in
prayer and meditation. The loved ones of that dear Master had all gathered
from the countries near by to join His family in commemorating the
anniversary of His passing. In a night of utter silence with the rich
moonlight flooding the precincts of His Shrine, the humble devotees of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá had gathered in a little group just near His Tomb; and in
prayerful supplications they outpoured with their tears the woe of their
hearts refilling them again with faith in His loving-kindness and high
hopes for the future.

On such an occasion, dear friends, what better can we do than to realize
one and all that our dear Master has for ever gone from our midst, and yet
with the surest faith in His tender Spirit we should arise with one
accord, aided and guided by our beloved Guardian, to dedicate our lives to
the Cause for which He was a living sacrifice. Deep and painful as that
thought may be, it should fill our hearts with faith in the Lord. Then and
only then can we lead His Cause into a glorious victory.



76: You quite well realize, I presume, that ...


(204) You quite well realize, I presume, that Shoghi Effendi has always
cherished the fondest hopes for your services to the Cause of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and I am sure that your achievements will be great, shining
brilliantly as a star. The field is world-wide and with but a noble spirit
and faith in the Lord we can carry to every home this Message of peace and
brotherhood.



77: The Pen of the divine Ordainer has so ...


(205) The Pen of the divine Ordainer has so decreed that this house of
sorrows should be encompassed by unending calamity and pain. Even before
the dark clouds of one disaster are scattered, the lowering storm of yet a
new grief takes over, casting its darkness across the inner skies of the
heart. Such has been the lot of this broken-hearted one and the other
leaves of the Holy Tree, from earliest childhood until this hour; such has
been the fruit we have plucked from the tree of our lives.

We can see before us the Holy Shrine where lies the blessed, riddled body
of the Primal Point, and memory of the delicate and tender remains of
other martyrs passes before our eyes. The remembrance of the Ancient
Beauty’s dungeon in Ṭihrán, and that most noble Being’s exile from city to
city, culminating in the murk of the Akká prison, is engraved upon our
minds. The calamities, the massive afflictions, endured by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
throughout His entire life, and His wailing at the break of dawn are
recorded for all time upon the tablets of the soul, and those cries that
rose out of His luminous heart will linger on in the mind’s ear.

It is clear, too, how the most dire of all ordeals, the ascension of the
divine Beauty, made the structure of our existence to topple down; how
being deprived of Him consumed the very limbs of our bodies. And when our
fiery tears brought on by this were not yet dried, and the heart’s wound
had not healed over, then the bearer of God’s decree called us to yet
another anguish, that dire calamity, that terrible disaster, the passing
of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Then were we, the sorrow-stricken, thrust again into the
fires of separation, and the pitch darkness of deep mourning enshrouded
this family.

Beloved friends of the Blessed Beauty: what could have been the purpose of
those holy Beings in enduring such agonies? Why did those precious and
luminous souls accept all that hardship and pain? Any just observer will
acknowledge that They had no other end in view but to better the human
race, and cleanse it from the imperfections of this contingent world, and
see to its advancement, and endow all peoples with the wondrous virtues of
humankind. Thanks be to God’s bounties, the signs of such perfections, the
lights of such bestowals, have become clearly manifest throughout the
world. The tree of His Cause grows ever more massive, day by day, and
heavier with fruit, and from moment to moment taller, and it shall cast
its wondrous shade over all who seek its shelter.

The fruit of these boughs is plain to see: this Tree will bear sincere
love and true friendship, traits of Heaven and qualities of God. This
immortal Tree will yield kindness and humbleness, learning and wisdom, and
the divine virtues.

The aim of those blessed Ones, then, those Temples of holiness, in
enduring, over a whole century, all Their trials and tribulations, was to
firmly establish a way of life whereby human character in general and that
of God’s loved ones in particular would be rectified. To such a degree
must this come to pass that from their very breathing and walking, their
rising up, sitting still, moving about, their every act—it can clearly be
seen that they are different from those others who are neglectful of God
and veiled away from Him: that they can be distinguished from the others
as easily as you can tell the day-star from the dark.

Although through the mighty influence of the Word of God the inner self of
each of the friends and of those who are steadfast in His perfect Covenant
is held fast by the magnet of His love, and they are known in every land
by this distinguishing characteristic and are everywhere illumined by this
light—still the thing to remember is this: until the accidental events
which arise from the world of the trivial and the personal are completely
lost in the world of the universal, that is, in the bounties and
attributes of the Merciful—that true and primal glory can never be
revealed as it merits, nor ever show forth the beauty with which it is
endowed. Let every steadfast soul ever bear in mind the anguish of those
holy Beings and the trials They endured, and because of the wrongs They
suffered, and the blood of the martyrs in His path, out of pity for what
has befallen God’s Cause and His Law, put the good of the Cause before any
other good, and its honour before any other. Let him face every problem,
whether minor or major, with goodwill and purity of motive. Let him not
make of God’s Law, created as it was to bring about unity and love, a
means of discord. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says: ‘If religion be the cause of
disunity, then irreligion is surely to be preferred.’

Today as well, the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, is at
all times waiting expectantly—and indeed, it is the most cherished desire
of his heart—to see this reality, this proof of serious effort, this
feature that distinguishes the Bahá’ís from all others, clearly and
unmistakably revealed in the life of every single Bahá’í.

As is well known, at the time when the Day-Star of the Covenant did set,
the Chosen Branch was absent from this luminous Spot, and when he received
the terrifying news of that direst of ordeals, he was overcome by a grief
such as no words can describe. Broken in health, his heart brimful of
sorrows, he returned to this blessed place. At that time the unfaithful,
with extreme perversity and at a high point of rebellion, were openly and
secretly spreading their calumnies, and this behaviour of theirs added
still more to the Guardian’s burden of grief. He left, therefore, and
spent some time in seclusion, carrying on the affairs of the Faith, seeing
to its interests and its institutions, communing with God, and imploring
His help.

The Lord be praised, because of the divine bounties, during his absence
there were such evidences of staunchness and loyalty and high resolve and
unity and love and fervour among all the friends, men and women alike,
both of East and West, and in the Holy Land—that on the one hand the
Centre of Sedition, and the arrogant and the malevolent, found themselves
utterly defeated, their hopes of making a breach in the Faith bitterly
disappointed, while on the other, the exemplary quality and sound
condition of the believers, as referred to, was a comfort to the
Guardian’s heart. Thus he was able, happy now and in perfect health, to
return to this Spot, and to carry out his sacred obligations.

By this time a great many matters of the utmost importance had
accumulated, and letters were coming in continuously from individuals and
communities, which for lack of time could not be dealt with individually.
The Guardian therefore dispensed with replies to individuals and sent out
general letters to the Spiritual Assemblies, in which in the clearest
terms he set forth the obligations devolving upon all, and gave the
friends his instructions. These basic spiritual guidelines were received
by the believers with great delight and the utmost joy; they immediately
put them into practice, and thus the preliminary steps were taken, and in
every area progress was being made to an ever-increasing degree.

Now, however, as the letters continually streamed in, the contents of one
or two of them showed that among some of the believers a certain
ill-feeling had arisen, and further, that some did not, as they should,
respect and duly defer to their Spiritual Assembly. It is obvious what an
effect this kind of news, whether implied or clearly stated, had on the
Guardian’s heart, and what an unfavourable reaction it produced. The
result was that for the second time his health failed, and then, at the
importunity of this evanescent soul and the urgent entreaties of the Holy
Household and the repeated appeals of those in close association with
him—he went away last summer.

This proved of the greatest benefit to him, and his health was completely
restored. And then, one following the next, there came in good reports
from Spiritual Assemblies everywhere, and other gatherings and groups, and
also individuals, and this brought him great joy; so much so that
following that summer’s journey, out of his intense love for the
believers, he began to correspond even with individuals; and continually,
in the various meetings, he would express his satisfaction with and praise
of all the servants of the Blessed Beauty’s Threshold and the loyal
friends of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Alas, however, once again in some communities, he noted from certain
letters an absence of spirituality and good-fellowship among some of the
friends, and a lack of respect among some for their Assemblies. Once more,
as a result of this, his heart was filled with sorrow and once again he
decided on departure. This lowly maidservant and the other members of the
Household and all the Holy Leaves did all we could to blot away this grief
from his radiant spirit. When in his presence, we would bring up all the
good news that by the grace of God continued to pour in, and to speak of
the staunchness, the loyalty, the love, the sacrifices of the believers
both of East and West. We begged him to reconsider his decision—but to no
avail.

He told us: ‘My heart is sensitive. Just as I feel the ill-feeling that
exists between individuals, and am injured by it, so too do I treasure the
excellent qualities of the believers; indeed, I hold these dearer than
words can tell. After that most dread ordeal, the one and only solace of
my heart was the loyalty, the staunchness, the love of the friends for the
Blessed Beauty and for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Nothing can ever detract from the
value of such excellent qualities, and I am deeply grateful to all the
friends, men and women alike, for this. And yet, this love of theirs, with
all its fervour, can never, by itself, bring the Ark of the Faith to the
longed-for shore. It can never prove the claims of the people of Bahá to
the people of the world. To safeguard the religion of God and reinforce
its power, the friends must make use of effective means: their love must
be so great that they worship one another, and shut any mutual ill-feeling
out of their hearts.

‘If, for example, the non-Bahá’ís should ask the friends, “What
differentiates you from all the rest?”, and if, to this, the friends
answer, “In the pathway of our love for the Centre of our Faith, we would
sacrifice our lives and possessions,” those of the civilized world would
never be content with such a reply. They would merely say: “Your love,
your sacrifice for a single individual cannot possibly serve as a remedy
for the chronic ills which plague society today.” If the friends then
answer: “Our religion provides principles and moral teachings whose value
the wisest of the day cannot deny,” this will be the response: “Noble
principles and teachings will produce an effect on human character, and
heal the mortal sicknesses which afflict society, only at such time when
those who claim to believe in and support them are themselves the first to
act upon them, and to demonstrate and incorporate the value and the
benefits of them in their own everyday transactions and lives.” Unless
this comes about, there is nothing to distinguish the Bahá’ís from the
rest.’

He also told us: ‘The people of the world are carefully watching the
Bahá’ís today, and minutely observing them. The believers must make every
effort, and take the utmost care to ward off and remove any feelings of
estrangement, and consider themselves duty-bound to comply with the
decisions of their Spiritual Assemblies. To the same degree that
ill-feeling among some of the believers has cast its shadow on my heart,
to that same degree will my heart reflect their mutual agreement,
understanding and loving affection, and their deference to the authority
of their Spiritual Assemblies. And whenever I shall feel such lights
reflected, I will at once return to the Holy Land and engage in the
fulfilment of my sacred obligations. Convey this message of mine to all
the friends.’

It is now two weeks since he made this touching statement and left the
Holy Land.

O dearly-loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá! We know from His sacred Will that we
must ‘Take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi ... that no dust of
despondency and sorrow may stain his radiant nature’ and that the tree of
his spiritual being may bear fruit. We must ever keep this in mind, and
from hour to hour we must develop our heedfulness, our love and affection,
our sagacity and magnanimity.

It is the hope of this writer that the friends of God will put forth such
efforts, and will so radiate their love for Him, as to light up the world;
a love that will make the heart of the Guardian leap for joy, and then,
God willing, he will soon come back again, so that before I close my eyes
upon this life, the separation I endure will be over, and I can bid you
all farewell with a happy heart.

My only joy, in these my numbered days, and the joy of the Master’s
consort, rests in the hands of those well-loved friends of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Upon you be the glory of the All-Glorious.



78: ‘O God, My God! Thou hast lighted the lamp of ...


(206) ‘O God, My God! Thou hast lighted the lamp of Thy Cause with the oil
of wisdom; protect it from contrary winds. The lamp is Thine and the glass
is Thine, and all things in the heavens and on earth are in the grasp of
Thy power.’(207)

O servants of the Abhá Beauty’s sacred Threshold, O beloved friends of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá!

It is well known that from the earliest dawning of the Sun of Revelation,
until the setting of the holy Covenant’s Orb, the Ark of the Faith has
continuously been battered by great waves of affliction, and beaten by
calamity’s storms. Tempest and whirlwind have ever assailed this holy
Tree.

Still, the exalted Star has continued on its destined journey, and despite
the piled-up clouds of hate and error, its rays of grace have illumined
the whole earth.

The Ark of Salvation was made the safe refuge of the righteous, and the
holy Tree was hung with bright, immortal fruit, so that the honeyed yield
of the love of God is sweet on the lips of His people. Out of the grace of
the Blessed Beauty, eyes began to see, and ears to hear, and through the
bounty of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the spirits turned vigilant, and souls awoke, and
to the hearts were divine mysteries confided, and individuals became
day-springs of light.

And for ever and ever, time without end, the glance of God’s bounty and
bestowal is, from the hidden world above, unceasingly cast down, and He
watches over us with favour and grace. It behoves us, then, to offer up
thanks with every breath, and to be blissful at all times.

Although the towering citadel of God’s Cause is upraised on foundations of
iron, and His Word is founded on authority and power, and the loyal and
firm in His Covenant, through the blessings of the Abhá Paradise, stand
immovable as the mountains, and are fast-rooted in their love—still, the
hurricanes of tests are mighty as well, and from every side comes the
thundering roar of violent commotions and bitter trials. From these, at
every moment each one of us should beg of God to defend and protect us.

Let us call to mind the clear statements and the warnings revealed by the
Blessed Beauty, and the explanations and commentaries of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,
particularly as found in His Will and Testament. This Testament was the
last song of that Dove of the Rose-garden of Eternity, and He sang it on
the branch of the Tree of bestowal and grace. It was His principal gift,
indeed the greatest of all splendours that radiated forth from that
Day-Star of bounty, out of the firmament of His bestowals. This Testament
was the strong barricade built by the blessed hands of that wronged, that
peerless One, to protect the garden of God’s Faith. It was the mighty
stronghold circling the edifice of the Law of God. This was an overflowing
treasure which the Beloved freely gave, a goodly and precious legacy, left
by Him to the people of Bahá. In all the world, no gift could equal this;
no dazzling gem could rival such a precious pearl.

With His own pen, He designated as Guardian of the Cause of God, Shoghi
Effendi Rabbani, the Chosen Branch, and made him the ‘blest and sacred
bough that hath branched out from the Twin Holy Trees,’ to be the one to
whom all must turn, the centre and focus of all on earth.

In unmistakable terms did He set forth the obligations and elucidated the
nature of the institutions of God’s Holy Faith. He laid hold of discord’s
tree and brought it down. He for ever shut the door on conflicting
interpretations and views. With every breath ought we to offer praise and
thanks to the God of Grace for this bestowal. It is incumbent upon us to
read and meditate on the contents of the Will and Testament at all times,
and implore God at His Holy Threshold that He will aid us to carry out
whatsoever it ordains.

A few days ago I sent out a general letter. A detailed, and recent, letter
from the Guardian to all the people of Bahá was likewise sent out, and it
is certain that you will be reading it; it is essential to circulate it
among all the friends. What I mean is, that because of my great and
spiritual love for you, the steadfast lovers of God and His Covenant, I
have now set about writing this present letter as well.

I would like to remind the friends of these words from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will
and Testament, as written down by His pen of bounty: ‘No doubt every
vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly
declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, would he seize
upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the
gathering of the people of Bahá.’

In another Tablet He calls on us to understand the intent of every
individual by the course of his speech, and to see through his purpose.
And from the Blessed Beauty: ‘Place not your trust in every new arrival,
and believe not every speaker.’

Over and over, in countless Tablets, do we find the like of these
precepts. It is obvious that the purpose behind them is to awaken and warn
the people of Bahá, so that the mighty citadel of the Cause will remain
safe and secure from the plottings of those with evil intent, and the
bright lamp of His Word will be shielded from the contrary winds unloosed
by those who follow their evil passions and corrupt desires.

It is irrevocably decreed that whatsoever has been revealed and written
down by the Supreme Pen and the holy hand of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will come to
pass and be fully realized in this world, wherefore does it behove the
people of Bahá, the souls attracted to His Splendour, to become all eyes
and ears, and to be in body and soul and limbs and members all sagacity
and prudence. Addressing the believers, Christ tells them: ‘Be ye harmless
as the submissive dove, and wise as the serpent.’(208)

In this momentous matter there must be no laxity, no inattention, for a
whisper might become an axe laid to the root of the Tree of the Faith—a
word from an ambitious soul could be a spark tossed into the harvest of
the people of Bahá. We take refuge with God! May He guard us ever, from
the recklessness of the insistent self.

For the harbouring of an evil purpose is a disease which shuts out the
individual from all the blessings of Heaven, and casts him deep into the
pit of perdition, of utter ruin. The point to make is that anyone, high or
low, rich or poor, learned or unlettered, although to all appearances he
may be a jewel among men, and the fine flower of all that is best—if he
gives utterance to some pronouncement or speaks some word from which can
be detected the scent of self-worship, or a malicious and evil purpose,
his aim is to disintegrate the Word of God and disperse the gathering of
the people of Bahá. From such individuals it is a solemn obligation to
turn away; it is an inescapable duty to pay no heed whatever to their
claims.

The clear promises of God, both His tidings of joy and His warnings, are
being fulfilled, and it is inevitable that just as the sweet musk-laden
winds of the Abhá Paradise are beginning to blow, and the flames of God’s
love to spread, so too must wintry blasts and icy breaths begin to fill
the air. You must therefore exert superhuman powers to guard the Cause of
God, and beg humbly and with a contrite heart for help from the Kingdom on
High.

Although up to now, because of the dictates of wisdom, the Will and
Testament has not been in general circulation, and has been entrusted only
to the Spiritual Assemblies of the various countries, at this time a
photocopy has been made from the Master’s original Text, which is in His
own hand, and it will soon be sent out, to increase the spiritual joy of
you who are essences of loyalty and trust, that every individual believer,
every steadfast one in the Covenant who so desires, may read it and make a
copy of it. Upon you be the Glory of the All-Glorious.



79: The tongue of this lowly and grief-stricken ...


(209) The tongue of this lowly and grief-stricken maidservant is powerless
to praise those loved ones of God, and the words uttered by her are wholly
inadequate to pay a worthy tribute to the staunch firmness and constancy,
to the spirit of love, enthusiasm and devotion that those servants of the
Kingdom of God are now manifesting.

Praise be to God that through the unfailing grace of the Beauty of the
All-Glorious and the manifold blessings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá each one of them
is radiant as a star and shining like the moon in the plenitude of its
splendour. That glorious Being, the incomparable Best-Beloved, graciously
caused every one of His true servants to become as a brilliant lamp; while
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that matchless Beloved, transmuted the hearts of all those
who stand unswervingly firm in His Covenant and Testament into a garden of
roses—a garden embellished with the flowers of true knowledge, faith and
assurance. Such evidences of divine bounty call for thanksgiving, and in
appreciation for this heavenly grace and mercy it is essential to yield
praise and adoration to the Peerless Lord.

Although the leaflets prepared by that faithless person,(210) teeming with
falsehood, slander and calumny, proved to be a tempest of trials that
swept over those regions, yet it was powerless to do any harm to trees
that are deep-rooted, firm, and fixed, nor could it inflict damage on
structures that are solid, mighty and strong. The blessed, the potent
spirit of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will always protect and shield the holy and
sanctified beings, will assist them, watch over them, and empower them to
remain firm as immovable mountains.

Truly that which you have done is appropriate and the way you have reacted
is highly fitting and proper, because in the Will and Testament primary
emphasis has been laid on guarding and protecting the Cause of God. Thus
it has been revealed: ‘O ye beloved of the Lord! The greatest of all
things is the protection of the true Faith of God, the preservation of His
Law, the safeguarding of His Cause and service unto His Word.’ Praise be
to God that those blessed and enraptured souls who are enkindled with the
fire of His love have been graciously assisted to preserve and shield the
Faith of God.

You must have glanced at the idle words of that faithless person—words
that are wholly motivated by selfish and personal interests. They are so
futile, senseless and absurd that even the babes of this glorious
Dispensation, rocked in their cradles, would recognize how vain and
preposterous, how impregnated with subtle machinations they are. How much
keener then must be the discernment of those distinguished beings whose
substance of life has been moulded by the gracious and bountiful fingers
of the Blessed Beauty and whose tree of existence has been watered and fed
by the heavenly stream of His favour and providence. Surely those luminous
gems whose nostrils are perfumed by the imperishable fragrance of holiness
and are endued with a keen sense of perception will readily distinguish a
loathsome odour, no matter how slight it may be, from the sweet-scented
breeze blowing from the rose-garden of His Oneness. They will easily
recognize the words of a conceited and malevolent one, though his words be
wrapped up in delicate terms and phrases or take the guise of
fellow-feeling, sympathy and kindly wishes, from the genuine expressions
of truth and sincerity, of devotion, piety and faithfulness.

Indeed, it is true to say that malice will cause one’s intelligence and
understanding to fade, and the king of reason to become subservient to the
satanic self and its promptings. Time and again has this matter been put
to proof and the following blessed passage from the Will and Testament
amply demonstrates this significant truth and serves to heighten the sense
of alertness and vigilance. How wondrous is His Word: ‘No doubt every
vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly
declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, would he seize
upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the
gathering of the people of Bahá.’

The essential point is this: praise be to God, the way of His holy Faith
is laid straight, the Edifice of the Law of God is well-founded and
strong. He to whom the people of Bahá must turn, the Centre on which the
concourse of the faithful must fix their gaze, the Expounder of the Holy
Writings, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Chosen Branch, Shoghi
Effendi, has been clearly appointed in conformity with explicit,
conclusive and unmistakable terms. The Religion of God, the laws and
ordinances of God, the blessed teachings, the obligations that are binding
on everyone—all stand clear and manifest even as the sun in its meridian
glory. There is no hidden mystery, no secret that remains concealed. There
is no room for interpretation or argument, no occasion for doubt or
hesitation. The hour for teaching and service is come. It is the time for
unity, harmony, solidarity and high endeavour.

At the blessed Holy Shrines we earnestly pray that divine assistance and
confirmation be vouchsafed to all of us. We continually receive joyous
news of the health and well-being of the Guardian of the Cause of God and
eagerly hope that the night of separation may come to an end, that the
period of bereavement may soon expire and his blessed person may return to
this hallowed Spot with utmost joy and radiance. All the blessed leaves
join this lowly maidservant in sending wondrous expressions of greeting to
those loved ones of God and the handmaids of the Merciful. May the glory
of the All-Glorious rest upon you!



80: The question of Avárih has surely come to ...


(211) The question of Avárih has surely come to your attention. In spite
of the fact that last year, the first time that he visited this sacred
Spot, he was shown the greatest kindness and love, and he was the object
of every consideration and care, and everything was done to help him in
every way; that when he left for Europe, as the reason for his visit was
to teach the Faith, and he was favoured and praised by the Guardian, the
friends in England showed him reverence to what was really an exaggerated
degree, and received him with the warmest hospitality—that is, no one
failed in showing him the utmost regard—still, when he returned to Cairo
and busied himself with publishing his book, as it became apparent later
on, he put the Assembly and the friends at odds, stirred up the mischief
himself and then secretly wrote here and there that there was trouble in
Cairo, and presented the situation so as to further his own ends.

The beloved Guardian at once laid hold of every possible means to quiet
the dissension in Cairo, but it proved impossible because Avárih, using
all kinds of devices, prevented the reconciliation of the Assembly and the
friends in that city. When the Guardian could endure this no longer and
there was nothing more that he could do, with deep regret he left the Holy
Land. His letter clearly shows how heavy was his heart.

Later, Avárih left Egypt and came again to the Holy Land, and the
interesting thing is that the moment he left, the misunderstandings among
the friends in Cairo disappeared, and Bahá’í affairs went forward again in
proper fashion, so that it became perfectly clear that he had been the
cause of the disruption.

From here, too, he began to send out letters, and it would only grieve you
to tell of the falsehoods and calumnies they contained. In Beirut, too,
his talks and his actions were the same, and he spread the word that, God
forbid, there is dissension everywhere. Accordingly, in order to protect
the Cause of God, a telegram was sent to Ba_gh_dád, citing these words of
the Ancient Beauty—exalted be His glory: ‘Place not your trust in every
new arrival, and believe not every speaker.’ As a result, when he reached
Ba_gh_dád, and wished to stir up mischief there, the friends, with great
dignity and firmness, restrained him, and avoided his company.

The point is that although such talk and such behaviour have no effect and
no importance whatsoever, and do not merit our attention, still this
disloyalty of his in these days of trial and sorrow is such that, unable
to bear the situation any longer, this grieved and helpless one has felt
obliged to set down a brief account of what actually took place.



81: Praise be to God that through His gracious ...


(212) Praise be to God that through His gracious bounty you were enabled
to visit His exalted, His sacred and luminous Threshold, to refresh and
perfume your nostrils with the sweet-scented fragrances of God diffused
from these imperishable, holy Places. This wondrous gift calls for
thanksgiving, and this heavenly bestowal warrants praise and
glorification. And such praise is best expressed when one’s pilgrimage,
one’s honour at attaining His holy Court and becoming the recipient of His
favours and loving-kindness produce a profound effect and influence upon
every aspect of one’s life, upon one’s bearing and demeanour, and one’s
activities. There is no doubt that it will be so.



82: It is a very long time since we have had any ...


(213) It is a very long time since we have had any news from you and we
are quite longing to have one of your interesting and beautiful letters,
that brings us always comfort because of your sincerity, your love for the
Cause and your constant energy in the work for the Cause. You have ever
been one of the Master’s best friends, you are one of the oldest American
believers, one of the firm and enthusiastic workers, and we are always
happy to hear from you. The joy of our hearts is to hear that the friends
are active and sincere in the spreading of the teachings.

We always long to hear about the friends, to know that in America they are
arising with sincere energy to assist our beloved Guardian, to make his
heart happy so that he may return to the Holy Land and again take up, with
renewed vigour, the burdens that are too great when he feels that the
friends are not uniting with him to carry out the instructions of the
Beloved. We know that these instructions and teachings are the balm for
the wounds and ills of the world, and if the friends are not firm, sincere
and united in the principles as given by Bahá’u’lláh, explained and
amplified by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and do not teach them clearly and keep them
pure and unadulterated, then how can the ills of mankind be alleviated?
All other teachings have failed to eliminate the existing prejudices
between peoples and religions and unite them upon the basis of pure truth,
and now that we have this blessed remedy which is a divine solvent, let us
not be blind or neglectful, but energetically and courageously stand forth
as true heralds of this Divine Remedy.



83: Your short and loving note of June 25th has ...


(214) Your short and loving note of June 25th has been received. Its
contents, though short, gave me and the ladies of the Household great joy,
because they indicate that the dear friends have, with willing efforts,
arisen to strengthen the foundation of love and harmony in their hearts.
This will surely release our beloved Shoghi Effendi from his grief, fill
his dear heart with joy and bring him to us again.

Since my last affectionate appeal to the beloved of God and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s
spiritual children, the dear friends in every land have indeed shown a
wonderful spirit which has inspired us all with joy and gratitude. For
their confirmation and success we ardently pray at the Holy Shrines. I
hope and pray that your National Spiritual Assembly will this year be
favoured with divine support and unprecedented prosperity.



84: Your charming letter of June 20th has ...


(215) Your charming letter of June 20th has arrived and with it the
spiritual waves of your love and devotion to the welfare of the Cause of
God and to the prosperity of the dear friends throughout America.

I pray at the Holy Shrine of our beloved Lord, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, to favour you
with the realization of the desire of your heart which contributes to the
joy and happiness of the beloved Guardian of the Cause, that is, service
towards the unity of the dear friends and the promulgation of the divine
Teachings which alone can redeem this lifeless world.

I am glad to tell you that the Guardian of the Cause of God is in good
health. The splendid attitude of the beloved friends in the East and the
West and their wonderfully sacrificial efforts in the service of the Cause
have greatly lightened the burden of grief upon his loving heart and so,
he may return to the Holy Land towards the end of summer when his entire
grief, we hope, will be replaced with joy and fragrances which are being
wafted to his dear heart.



85: Your numerous letters written to the ...


(216) Your numerous letters written to the beloved Guardian and myself
have all arrived and brought with them the sweet perfume of your devotion,
sincerity, strong faith and active and beautiful services you are
inexhaustibly rendering to the Cause of God. You should be happy, dear
Bahá’í sister in being so wonderfully confirmed in your spiritual life.

The beloved Guardian of the Cause is nowadays in good health and through
the magnificent efforts the friends are exerting in every country to
strengthen and augment their bond of unity and love for one another, his
grief has been lightened and so we have great hope that he will return to
the Holy Land before long. Here he will resume his personal touch with the
friends the world over and will inspire them with his guidance to still
greater activity.

The Ladies of the Holy Family and I are always remembering you dear
friends of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and praying for your confirmation and happiness. I
am thankful to all the dear friends who so faithfully and lovingly
responded with their excellent deeds to my affectionate appeal for greater
unity and love. May the Blessed Beauty and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá reward them richly
and crown their sincere services with great results.



86: From this hallowed Spot I send heavenly ...


(217) From this hallowed Spot I send heavenly greetings to those two
faithful servants of the holy Threshold of the Abhá Beauty. Indeed, no
word of compliment could be compared to this expression of praise and
commendation, whereby, thanks be to God, you both have distinguished
yourselves as the devoted servants of His divine Threshold and as the
sincere, the self-sacrificing bond-slaves serving at the door of His
mercifulness. You have always proved yourselves untiring in your noble
efforts and are continually striving with utmost endeavour to discharge
your important and glorious duties. This can be attributed to naught save
to the unfailing bounties of the Abhá Beauty and to the invisible aid that
‘Abdu’l-Bahá has graciously accorded you.



87: In this Day nothing is so important as service. ...


(218) In this Day nothing is so important as service. Did not ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
voluntarily call Himself the ‘Servant’ of Bahá, manifesting also in His
life the perfections of servitude to God and man?

We, wishing to follow the commands left by Bahá’u’lláh, spread and lived
by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, we can take no greater step toward the Heavenly
Kingdom—can give no greater joy to the present beloved Guardian of the
Cause, Shoghi Effendi—than that of loving service to all mankind.



88: It always cheers my heart to hear from the ...


(219) It always cheers my heart to hear from the dear friends whose hearts
are so full of love and devotion, and desire to serve this Blessed Cause
which has been proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh to all the world, so that all
national, racial, and religious prejudices will be abolished, and the
world of humanity recognized as one home, and all men as brothers.

I certainly shall pray specially for you that you may be richly blessed in
your work and service to the Blessed Cause. One soul who becomes entirely
selfless and devoted and filled to overflowing with the spirit of love and
service will do much for the progress of the Cause in whatever locality he
is. Be assured, if you arise to serve, the Beloved Master says Nothing
shall be impossible to you if you have faith. As ye have faith so shall
your powers and blessings be. I convey to you the warm love and Bahá’í
greetings of Shoghi Effendi, and all the family, and again assure you of
our earnest prayers that you will be enabled to render much service to the
Kingdom.



89: My heart is always cheered when I meet or ...


(220) My heart is always cheered when I meet or hear from the dear friends
in America, for the Beloved Master spoke so much to us about His visit to
your land, and we feel confident that the teachings of the Blessed
Perfection which He heralded forth have not fallen on barren soil and the
day is not far distant when a rich harvest will be garnered therefrom.



90: At the holy Threshold of the Abhá Beauty ...


(221) At the holy Threshold of the Abhá Beauty we fervently pray at all
times for outstanding success to attend that exalted body.(222) Indeed, by
virtue of the brilliant achievements won and the distinguished services
rendered by those blessed souls, the heart of this lowly one is filled
with utmost joy and assurance, and there is no doubt that through the
loving-kindness of God this measure of joy and happiness will be
multiplied day by day.

You have asked me about my own knowledge and recollections concerning the
holy Houses in Ṭihrán. Unfortunately, due to my tender age at that time,
those blessed places and quarters have faded from my memory.

Upon you be His glory and praise.



91: O dear sisters, ardent lovers of Bahá’u’lláh, ...


(223) O dear sisters, ardent lovers of Bahá’u’lláh, may my soul be offered
up for your devotion, your staunchness, and your steadfastness!

The letter from the honoured members of that spiritual assemblage, telling
of the women of that land, their fervour, their fiery love for God, their
services to His Cause, their unity and mutual kindness and loving
fellowship, their grieving over the departure of the world’s Day-Star—has
reached this afflicted one. Reading it, I begged most humbly of our Living
and Eternal Lord, to aid and bless those handmaids at all times and under
all conditions. He is verily the One Who is near to us all, and answers
our prayers.

To us who sorrow here, there is truly no joy in life save only the good
news that the lovers of God and of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may my life be sacrificed
for the Spot which enshrines His holy Dust, are steadfast and firm, and
that those loyal handmaids have girded themselves to serve the Faith, and
casting aside on the pathway of God their ease and comfort, are
proclaiming the Teachings, calling souls to life, and making sure that the
sacred blood of the Primal Point, the afflictions and the captivity of the
Abhá Beauty, the anguish of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá shall through you, men and women
alike, through your steadfastness today, yield goodly fruit for all on
earth to see.

I presented your letter to the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Faith,
Shoghi Effendi, and upon reading it he expressed great joy and
satisfaction. He expressed gratitude to the Lord that men and women have
been raised up and are gathered beneath the banner of the Covenant, every
one of whom, in the field of divine knowledge, can put armies of error to
flight. Through souls such as these is God’s promise fulfilled: ‘We 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.’



92: Your letter, laden with many a graceful ...


(224) Your letter, laden with many a graceful phrase, many a wondrous
inner meaning, has been received. Its perusal brought composure and
tranquillity to my soul and gladness to my heart, inasmuch as from between
its lines I could discern the tokens of your unswerving constancy in God’s
Mighty Cause and of your intense devotion to the almighty Lord. I beseech
God to illumine your heart with the light of His love, to unloose your
tongue in magnifying His praise and in extolling His glory, to strengthen
you with so mighty a power that you may vindicate the truth of His Faith
by expounding infallible proofs and conclusive testimonies.

You have told me about your taking part in special gatherings for the
training of Persian and American Bahá’í children. Excellent indeed is what
you have done. Rest well assured, O handmaid of God, in the gracious
favour of your Lord. Verily He will sustain you in your efforts for the
advancement of His Cause and in rendering service to the world of
humanity. Exert your utmost endeavour, and expend whatever is dear to you
in this glorious path that you may earn the crown of righteousness,
imperishable and everlasting.

Indeed the peoples of the world spend their days in idle imaginings,
wholly oblivious to the Truth. Know of a certainty that the ornament of
life is to be arrayed with the vesture of praiseworthy conduct and be
attired with the crown of goodly deeds.

All the members of the family and myself are enjoying excellent health and
we send our loving greetings and best wishes to you and to all the beloved
friends there. I earnestly beseech from His holy Threshold that He may
purge you from every affliction, grant you perfect health and may aid you
to serve His sublime Cause in this glorious Day.



FOOTNOTES


    1 Dedicatory Passage. From a Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy
      Leaf, inscribed in the original Arabic on her Monument. (See The
      Bahá’í World, vol. V, p. 171)

    2 From a Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf. (See The Bahá’í
      World, vol. V, p. 171)

    3 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

    4 From a Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf. (See The Bahá’í
      World, vol. V, pp. 171–172)

    5 From a Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf. (See The Bahá’í
      World, vol. V, p. 172)

    6 From a Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf. (See The Bahá’í
      World, vol. V, p. 172)

    7 From a Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf. (See The Bahá’í
      World, vol. V, p. 172)

    8 From a Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf. (See The Bahá’í
      World, vol. V, p. 172)

    9 From a Tablet addressed to Munírih _Kh_ánum, the wife of
      ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. (See The Bahá’í World, vol. V, p. 172)

   10 From a Tablet addressed to Diya’íyyih _Kh_ánum, eldest daughter of
      ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. (See The Bahá’í World, vol. V, p. 172)

   11 Daughter of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

   12 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   13 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   14 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   15 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   16 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   17 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to Ḥájí Mírzá
      Ḥasan-i-_Kh_urásání

   18 Ḥájí Mírzá Ḥasan-i-_Kh_urásání (see H. M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp.
      86, 124).

   19 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   20 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   21 Tiberias.

   22 Jesus.

   23 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   24 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   25 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   26 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   27 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf

   28 From an unpublished Tablet addressed to Munírih _Kh_ánum

   29 April 1922, announcement to the Bahá’ís in the west. (Translated
      from the Persian) (See Star of the West, vol. 13, pp. 81–82, and
      Bahá’í Administration, p. 25)

   30 21 March 1932, to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada. (See
      The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 67–68)

   31 Construction of the House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois.

   32 15 July 1932, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      the United States and Canada. (See Messages to America, p. 1)

   33 15 July 1932, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      the British Isles

   34 3 Kalímát 89 (15 July 1932 A.D.), to the Bahá’ís of the East.
      (Translated from the Persian)

   35 The numerical value of the letters composing ‘Ḥin’ indicates 1268
      A.H. or 1851–52 A.D.

   36 Adrianople.

   37 Akká.

   38 17 July 1932, to the Bahá’ís of the West. (See Bahá’í
      Administration, 1974 edn., pp. 187–196)

   39 18 July 1932, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      the United States and Canada

   40 18 July 1932

   41 1 August 1932, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      the United States and Canada

   42 15 August 1932

   43 23 August 1932

   44 23 August 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Yonkers,
      N.Y.

   45 25 August 1932

   46 30 August 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      Berkeley, California

   47 30 August 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Racine,
      Wisconsin

   48 1 September 1932, to the Bahá’ís of Washington, D.C.

   49 1 September 1932, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís
      of the United States and Canada

   50 5 September 1932. (Translated from the Persian)

   51 10 September 1932, to the Bahá’ís of Glendale, California

   52 10 September 1932, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís
      of the United States and Canada

   53 10 September 1932

   54 11 October 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      Teaneck, New Jersey

   55 27 October 1932, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís
      of the United States and Canada

   56 2 Masa’il 89 (13 December 1932 A.D.), to the Bahá’ís of Iran.
      (Translated from the Persian)

   57 14 January 1933, to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

   58 Included in Sections I and II.

   59 21 April 1933, to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada. (See
      The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 81–82)

   60 From the West, after the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh.

   61 8 February 1934, to the Bahá’ís of the West. (See The World Order of
      Bahá’u’lláh, p. 98)

   62 25 December 1938, to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada.
      (See The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 37)

   63 5 December 1939, to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

   64 25 December 1939, to the Bahá’ís of the East. (Translated from the
      Persian)

   65 The remains of the Purest Branch and those of Navváb.

   66 Munírih _Kh_ánum.

   67 1944, God Passes By, p. 108

   68 Bahá’u’lláh’s.

   69 The Most Exalted Leaf.

   70 1944, God Passes By, p. 347

   71 27 November 1954, to the Bahá’ís of the World. (See Messages to the
      Bahá’í World, p. 74)

   72 The International Archives Building.

   73 15 August 1932

   74 Members of the Holy Family.

   75 Refers to the Annual Convention held in April 1932, at which the
      delegates and friends responded in an impressive manner to the need
      of the Fund associated with the name of the Greatest Holy Leaf,
      initiated in order to complete the exterior ornamentation of the
      House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois. Mrs Parsons spontaneously
      removed a valuable pearl necklace from her neck to assist in meeting
      the Fund’s goal. See Bahá’í News, No. 62, May 1932 for a report of
      that Convention.

   76 23 August 1932

   77 23 August 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Yonkers,
      N.Y.

   78 25 August 1932

   79 30 August 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      Berkeley, California

   80 30 August 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Racine,
      Wisconsin

   81 30 August 1932

   82 1 September 1932, to the Bahá’ís of Washington, D.C.

   83 5 September 1932. (Translated from the Persian)

   84 9 September 1932. (Translated from the Persian)

   85 9 September 1932. (Translated from the Persian)

   86 10 September 1932, to the Bahá’ís of Jacksonville, Florida

   87 10 September 1932, to the Bahá’ís of Monroe, Washington

   88 10 September 1932, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís
      of the United States and Canada

   89 15 September 1932. (Translated from the Persian)

   90 15 September 1932. (Translated from the Persian)

   91 15 September 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      _Sh_íráz. (Translated from the Persian)

   92 15 September 1932, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís
      of the United States and Canada

   93 4 October 1932, to the Bahá’ís of Australia

   94 4 October 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Phoenix,
      Arizona

   95 6 October 1932

   96 7 October 1932

   97 8 October 1932, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      Adelaide, Australia

   98 10 October 1932

   99 11 October 1932, to the Bahá’ís of Teaneck, New Jersey

  100 18 October 1932

  101 29 October 1932

  102 9 November 1932

  103 9 November 1932

  104 30 November 1932

  105 15 March 1933

  106 29 May 1933, to the Bahá’ís of Bournemouth, England

  107 6 March 1945. (Translated from the Persian)

  108 See facsimile of original, facing page 157

  109 12 Muharram 1307 A.H. (8 September 1889 A.D.)

  110 14 _Sh_avval 1310 A.H. (1 May 1893 A.D.)

_  111 Dh_i’l-Qádih 1314 A.H. (3 April-2 May 1897 A.D.)

  112 Elijah.

  113 9 Muharram 1315 A.H. (10 June 1897 A.D.)

_  114 Dh_i’l-Hijjih 1316 A.H. (12 April-11 May 1899 A.D.)

_  115 Dh_i’l-Hijjih 1316 A.H. (12 April-11 May 1899 A.D.)

  116 7 Muharram 1317 A.H. (18 May 1899 A.D.)

_  117 Dh_i’l-Qádih 1318 A.H. (20 February-21 March 1901 A.D.)

  118 Undated, postmarked 9 April 1901

_  119 Dh_i’l-Qádih 1321 A.H. (19 January-17 February 1904 A.D.), to a
      believer in Ṭihrán

  120 The Imám Ḥusayn.

  121 Jamádiyu’_th_-_Th_ání 1322 A.H. (13 August-10 September 1904 A.D.),
      to a Bahá’í family

  122 Safar 1323 A.H. (7 April-5 May 1905 A.D.)

_  123 Dh_i’l-Qádih 1323 A.H. (28 December 1905–26 January 1906 A.D.), to
      a believer in Yazd

  124 Safar 1325 A.H. (16 March-13 April 1907 A.D.)

  125 1 January 1921

  126 Undated, to the President of the Bahá’í Women’s Society in Chicago

  127 Undated

  128 Undated

  129 Undated

  130 Elsewhere in this letter reference is made to one of the female
      relatives of the recipient.

  131 28 November 1921, to the Executive Board of Bahá’í Temple Unity

  132 14 December 1921 (date received), to the Executive Board of Bahá’í
      Temple Unity

  133 Covenant-breakers.

  134 22 December 1921 (date received), to the Executive Board of Bahá’í
      Temple Unity

  135 17 January 1922 (date received), to the Executive Board of Bahá’í
      Temple Unity

_  136 Sh_a’bán 1340 A.H. (30 March-28 April 1922 A.D.), to the Servants
      of the Blessed Beauty and the dear friends of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. (See
      Star of the West, vol. 13, pp. 82–83)

  137 See III, 1, page 21.

  138 Feast of Ridván 1922 (21 April-2 May 1922 A.D.), to the friends in
      America. (See Star of the West, vol. 13, pp. 88)

  139 1 May 1922 (date received), to the National Spiritual Assembly of
      the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

  140 Ramadán 1340 A.H. (28 April-27 May 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      Ṭihrán

  141 Ramadán 1340 A.H. (28 April-27 May 1922 A.D.), to the Bahá’ís in
      Iran

  142 Ramadán 1340 A.H. (28 April-27 May 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      Tabríz

  143 Ramadán 1340 A.H. (28 April-27 May 1922 A.D.), to a Bahá’í family in
      Tabríz

  144 Ramadán 1340 A.H. (28 April-27 May 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      Qazvín

  145 Ramadán 1340 A.H. (28 April-27 May 1922 A.D.), to the Spiritual
      Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Tabríz

  146 The word camphor derives from Arabic kafur, as in Qur’án 76:5.
      Camphor has been used as a refreshing tonic in Eastern medicine.

  147 cf. Qur’án 18:93: ‘Verily, Gog and Magog waste this land ...’ The
      rampart here described was of iron and molten brass, so that Gog and
      Magog could neither scale it nor dig under it.

  148 Qur’án 14:29.

  149 Qur’án 13:18.

  150 The Book of My Covenant.

  151 Qur’án 37:164.

  152 cf.Matthew 18:8–9; Mark 9:43–7.

  153 On p. 14 of ‘An Epistle to the Bahai World’ written by Mírzá
      Badí’u’lláh, translated by Dr Amínu’lláh Farid, and published by the
      Bahá’í Publishing Society in Chicago in 1907, there is the following
      passage concerning the falsification by Muḥammad-‘Alí of a Tablet in
      which Bahá’u’lláh relates the misdeeds of Mírzá Yaḥyá, to whom He
      refers as ‘My brother’. Mírzá Badí’u’lláh writes: ‘A few moments
      passed and I saw him [Muḥammad-‘Alí] take up the Tablet, erase “My
      brother” and replace it with “My Greatest Branch”. Having seen this,
      I immediately said: “This deed is a great sin and a breach of trust.
      If you show this Tablet, this servant will divulge the whole
      account, will point out the interpolation, and this will cause all
      the writings in your possession to be considered unreliable.
      Hereafter whatsoever of the writings traced by the Supreme Pen you
      may show me, I will not accept as authentic until I have carefully
      compared the manuscript with the original handwriting which is
      elsewhere preserved and have examined the same with a magnifying
      glass.”’

  154 Qur’án 22:11.

  155 Khusif.

_  156 Sh_avval 1340 A.H. (28 May-25 June 1922 A.D.), to the Bahá’ís in
      _Kh_usif

_  157 Sh_avval 1340 A.H. (28 May-25 June 1922 A.D.)

_  158 Sh_avval 1340 A.H. (28 May-25 June 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      Tabríz

_  159 Sh_avval 1340 A.H. (28 May-25 June 1922 A.D.), to the Spiritual
      Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ardikán

_  160 Sh_avval 1340 A.H. (28 May-25 June 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      Karachi

  161 Jesus.

  162 26 _Sh_avval 1340 A.H. (22 June 1922 A.D.), to a believer in Qazvín

_  163 Dh_i’l-Qádih 1340 A.H. (26 June-25 July 1922 A.D.), to a believer
      in Míyánáj

_  164 Dh_i’l-Qádih 1340 A.H. (26 June-25 July 1922 A.D.), to a believer
      in _Sh_íráz

_  165 Dh_i’l-Qádih 1340 A.H. (26 June-25 July 1922 A.D.), to the Bahá’ís
      in _Kh_urásán

_  166 Dh_i’l-Qádih 1340 A.H. (26 June-25 July 1922 A.D.), to the Friends
      of God

_  167 Dh_i’l-Qádih 1340 A.H. (26 June-25 July 1922 A.D.), to a believer
      in _Kh_urásán

  168 12 _Dh_i’l-Qádih 1340 A.H. (7 July 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      Tákúr, Núr

  169 15 _Dh_i’l-Qádih 1340 A.H. (10 July 1922 A.D.), to the Bahá’ís of
      Ḥusayn-Ábád, Yazd

  170 19 _Dh_i’l-Qádih 1340 A.H. (14 July 1922 A.D.), to the Bahá’ís of
      Míyánáj

  171 The Báb.

  172 22 _Dh_i’l-Qádih 1340 A.H. (17 July 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      I_sh_qábád, Turkistán

  173 20 July 1922, to the Bahá’ís in America

  174 4 August 1922, to the Bahá’ís in the West

  175 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

  176 15 _Dh_i’l-Hijjih 1340 A.H. (8 August 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      Ṭihrán

  177 9 August 1922

  178 See Qur’án 12:93.

  179 10 August 1922, to a believer in Alexandria, Egypt

  180 20 Muharram 1341 A.H. (12 September 1922 A.D.)

  181 22 Muharram 1341 A.H. (14 September 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      _Kh_urásán

  182 22 Muharram 1341 A.H. (14 September 1922 A.D.), to the members of
      the Spiritual Assembly of _Sh_í_sh_áván, a village in Á_dh_irbayján

  183 24 Muharram 1341 A.H. (16 September 1922 A.D.), to the Bahá’ís of
      Gáv-Gán, a village near Tabríz

  184 Qur’án 29:2.

  185 1 Safar 1341 A.H. (23 September 1922 A.D.), to a believer in Ṭihrán

  186 22 Safar 1341 A.H. (14 October 1922 A.D.), to a believer in Ṭihrán

  187 2 Rabí’u’l-Avval 1341 A.H. (23 October 1922 A.D.)

  188 2 Rabí’u’l-Avval 1341 A.H. (23 October 1922 A.D.), to the Spiritual
      Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ṭihrán

  189 Muḥammad-‘Alí.

  190 5 Rabí’u’l-Avval 1341 A.H. (26 October 1922 A.D.), to a believer in
      Iṣfáhán

  191 5 Rabí’u’l-Avval 1341 A.H. (26 October 1922 A.D.), to the
      Maidservants of the Blessed Beauty in Sang-i-Sar

  192 25 November 1922

  193 Undated, to the friends in Yonkers, New York. (See Star of the West,
      vol. 13, p. 220, of November 1922)

  194 2 December 1922, to a believer in Egypt

  195 15 Rabí’u’_th_-_Th_ání 1341 A.H. (5 December 1922 A.D.), to a
      believer in Ṭihrán

  196 15 Rabí’u’_th_-_Th_ání 1341 A.H. (5 December 1922 A.D.), to the
      members of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ṭihrán

  197 15 Rabí’u’_th_-_Th_ání 1341 A.H. (5 December 1922 A.D.), to the
      members of the Chicago Temple Fund Committee in Ṭihrán

  198 25 Rabí’u’_th_-_Th_ání 1341 A.H. (15 December 1922 A.D.)

  199 11 December 1922

  200 23 July 1923

  201 9 Safar 1342 A.H. (21 September 1923 A.D.), to the members of the
      Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of _Sh_íráz

  202 4 Rabí’u’_th_-_Th_ání 1342 A.H. (14 November 1923 A.D.), to a
      believer in Ṭihrán

  203 28 November 1923, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
      Yonkers, New York

  204 3 December 1923

  205 21 _Sh_a’bán 1342 A.H. (28 March 1924 A.D.), to the members of the
      Spiritual Assemblies and all the Friends of God in the East

  206 3 _Sh_avval 1342 A.H. (8 May 1924 A.D.), to the Friends of God and
      the Maidservants of the Merciful

  207 Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 104.

  208 cf. Matthew 10:16.

  209 27 May 1924, to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Hamadán

  210 ‘Abdu’l-Ḥusayn Avárih (see Bahá’í Administration, Bahá’í Publishing
      Trust, Wilmette, pp. 137–139).

  211 24 _Sh_avval 1342 A.H. (29 May 1924 A.D.), to a believer in Ṭihrán

  212 14 August 1924

  213 28 June 1924

  214 19 July 1924

  215 19 July 1924

  216 18 August 1924

  217 15 June 1925, to a Bahá’í couple in Stuttgart, Germany

  218 8 October 1924

  219 13 May 1928

  220 12 March 1929

  221 4 Jamádiyu’l-Avval 1348 A.H. (8 October 1929 A.D.), to the Spiritual
      Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ṭihrán

  222 The Local Spiritual Assembly of Ṭihrán.

  223 Undated, to the Maidservants of the Merciful in Ábádih

  224 Undated





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