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Title: Directives from the Guardian
Author: Shoghi Effendi, 1897-1957
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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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Directives from the Guardian

by Shoghi Effendi

Edition 1, (September 2006)

                           BAHA’I TERMS OF USE

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Baha’i Terms of Use
1: ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ (Stories About)
2: ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ’S MINISTRY (Re: World Objectives)
3: ADMINISTRATION--Attitude Towards (National Assembly’s Statement
4: ADMINISTRATION, BAHÁ’Í--(Rules and Regulations)
5: ADMINISTRATION (Study and Apply)
9: ALLÁH-U-ABHÁ (Bahá’í Greeting)
12: ARCHIVES (The Importance Of)
14: ASSEMBLIES--UNITY OF (Bahá’u’lláh’s Promise)
21: BAHÁ’Í DISPENSATION (Duration of)
22: BAHÁ’ÍS (Destiny of)
23: BAHÁ’ÍS--NEW (On Admittance of New Applicants)
24: BAHÁ’ÍS--NEW (On Presenting the Master’s Will to New Applicants)
25: BAHÁ’ÍS--NEW (Qualifications of a New Believer)
26: BAHÁ’ÍS--NEW (The “Two Extremes” in Bringing in New Bahá’ís)
27: BAHÁ’ÍS (Two Kinds of)
28: BAHÁ’Í WAY OF LIFE (The Strength of the Cause)
29: BAHÁ’U’LLÁH (In accepting)
30: BELIEVERS, NEW (Accept Cause Without Qualifications)
32: BIBLE (Authenticity of the)
35: CATASTROPHE (The Apocalyptic Upheaval)
36: CIVIL COURTS (Disputes)
37: CIVIL ELECTIONS (Voting in)
41: CONTRIBUTIONS (Lifting the Burden of Misery from Mankind)
43: COVENANT (Meaning of Bahá’í)
44: COVENANT BREAKERS (Expulsion and Reinstatement of)
51: DISPUTES, INDIVIDUAL--(Consultation with Assembly)
52: DRAMA--MANIFESTATIONS (Dramatic Works)
57: EDUCATION (On Inability of Modern Education to Produce a Mature Mind)
58: ELDERS (Four and Twenty)
59: ELECTION (Acceptance of)
61: ELECTIONS (BAHÁ’Í) (To Administrative Posts)
62: ELECTIONS (Assembly Voting)
63: ELECTIONS (The Character of Bahá’í)
64: ELECTION OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES (Radical Changes Not Advised)
65: ELECTIONS, REGARDING (In the United States)
67: ESPERANTO (The Subject of)
70: FAST (Necessary Permission For)
71: FASTING (The Ordinance of)
72: FAST (THE)
73: FEAST DAY (Changing Observance of)
74: FEAST (Nature of)
75: NAW-RÚZ FEAST (Observance of Feast Day Calendar)
77: FEAST (Time for Holding)
78: FEASTS (Attendance at)
80: FUND (How Every Believer Can Test the Measure of His Faith)
81: FUND (The Life-blood of these Nascent Institutions)
82: FUND (National Fund, Chief Obligation of)
83: FUND (We must be like the Fountain)
84: FUND (The Sacred Obligation)
85: FUNERAL (Bahá’í Funeral Service)
86: GREATEST NAME (Translation of Symbol of)
88: GUARDIAN (Infallibility of the)
89: GUIDANCE, DIVINE (Of Guardian)
90: GUIDANCE (Individual)
91: GUIDANCE (Question of)
92: HANDS OF THE CAUSE--INSTITUTIONS (Station and Function--When Mentioned
in Writing)
93: HAZÍRATU’L-QUDS (Functions of)
96: HIDDEN WORDS (Arabic)
99: HOLY SHRINE (Believers turn to the)
101: CORD (Meaning of)
103: ILLNESS (Cancer)
104: INHERITANCE (Division of)
105: INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE (Whole question of)
106: ISLÁM
107: JESUS (Virgin Birth of)
109: LOVE (Turn to Bahá’í Brothers and Sisters)
110: LOVE, CUSTODIANS OF (World Exceedingly Dark)
111: LOVE--UNITY (The Greatest Need)
112: MANIFESTATION--IN 1000 YEARS (Organic Unity)
113: MANIFESTATIONS (The Phrase--“His Holiness”)
114: MANIFESTATIONS (Return of the Qualities)
115: MANIFESTATIONS (Significance of the Remains of the Prophets)
116: MANIFESTATIONS (Station of)
118: MARRIAGE, BAHÁ’Í (Consent of Parents--duty of Assembly to ascertain
119: MARRIAGE--(Consent of Parents--Non-Bahá’í Participants)
121: MARRIAGES, BAHÁ’Í--(Reporting to the NSA)
122: MARRIAGE, BAHÁ’Í (re: Consent of Natural Parents)
124: MASONRY, FREE (Membership in)
125: MEDICAL SCIENCE (Leaving bodies to)
128: MEMBERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES, LSA (Residential Qualifications)
131: MILITARY DUTY (Status of Bahá’ís in relation to)
133: MORMONS (Religious sects--Associate with all--Show tolerance and
135: MUSIC
136: NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES (Authority of)
137: N.S.A. INVOLVEMENT (Appeals Prohibited)
139: NEW ASSEMBLIES (Formation of)
140: NEW ASSEMBLIES (Residence Qualifications)
141: NINE (Number)
9: religions of the world, that is ‘existing religions, we should not
143: ORIENTALS (Association with)
144: PACIFISM (Bahá’í View of)
145: PEACE
149: POLITICAL FIGURES (Non-Political Character of the Bahá’í Faith)
150: POLITICS (Loyalty to World Order of Bahá’u’lláh)
151: POLITICS (Non-Interference in)
152: POLITICS (Remain Aloof from Political Affairs)
153: POLITICS (Shun Politics Like the Plague)
154: PRAYER (Five Steps of)
156: PRAYER (Bahá’u’lláh’s in Dispensation)
159: PRAYERS (Daily)
160: PRAYERS (Daily Obligatory)
161: PRAYERS (Healing)
162: PRAYERS (To be Read as Revealed)
163: PREJUDICES (Racial)
164: PROPHETS (Many will appear)
169: PROMINENT FIGURES (Letters to Government Heads)
170: QUR’ÁN (‘Sales’ Translation Recommended)
171: QUR’ÁN--STUDY OF (Concerning School Program)
174: RESURRECTION (Explains the Passage on page 231 of the Gleanings)
176: SUMMER SCHOOLS, BAHÁ’Í (Importance of)
177: SUMMER SCHOOLS, BAHÁ’Í (Purpose of)
180: SOCIAL ASPECTS OF THE FAITH (A Single Divine and World-Embracing
181: SPIRITUALITY (The Troubles of This World Pass)
182: SUMMER SCHOOLS (The Bahá’í)
183: SUMMER SCHOOLS (Bahá’í Atmosphere in)
186: TEACHERS (Unqualified Loyalty)
188: TEACHERS, BAHÁ’Í (A Principle)
190: TEACHING (Love for Bahá’u’lláh)
192: TEACHING (Advent of Divine Justice)
193: TEACHING, CONCENTRATE ON (Source of Joy and Consolation)
194: TEACHING (The Concourse on High)
195: TEACHING (Direct)
196: TEACHING--Divine World Order--The Sole Panacea
197: TEACHING (Duty of Every Believer)
198: TEACHING (Give the Message)
199: TEACHING (Greater Unity Among the Friends)
200: TEACHING (Love and Unity)
201: TEACHING--BAHÁ’Í FAITH (What the Cause Now Requires)
202: TEACHING (Study Early History and Principles of the Faith)
203: TEACHING (The Utmost Effort)
204: TEACHING (In South)
214: VOTING--(Civil)
216: VOTING RIGHTS (Status of Individuals Deprived of)
218: WORK, DAILY--(Bahá’u’lláh’s Command Concerning Daily Work)
219: WORLD FEDERATION--(On Bahá’í Participation in International
220: YEAR NINE, The
221: YOUTH
222: YOUTH (Regarding the Age of Fifteen)
224: YOUTH, JUNIOR (Do Great Deeds)


“He would also urge you to attach no importance to the stories told about
‘Abdu’l-Bahá or to those attributed to Him by the friends. These should be
regarded in the same light as the notes and impressions of visiting
pilgrims. They need not be suppressed, but they should not also be given
prominent or official recognition.”


“As to the three aims which Shoghi Effendi has stated in his America and
the Most Great Peace to have been the chief objectives of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s
ministry, it should be pointed out that the first was: The establishment
of the Cause in America; the erection of the Bahá’í Temple in I_sh_qábád,
and the building on Mt. Carmel of a mausoleum marking the resting-place of
the Báb, were the two remaining ones.”


“He also wishes me to express his approval of your statement in the
November issue of the Bahá’í News to the effect of creating within the
Assemblies and individual believers a more positive and active attitude
towards the Administration. The need for positive action seems, indeed, to
be one of the most urgent needs of the Cause at present.”


“The various rulings and regulations recorded in the ‘Bahá’í
Administration’, and the supplementary statements already issued by the
National Assembly, he feels, are for the present sufficiently detailed to
guide the friends in their present-day activities... The American
believers, as well as their National representatives, must henceforth
direct their attention to the greater and vital issues which an already
established Administration is called upon to face and handle, rather than
allow their energies to be expended in the consideration of purely
secondary administrative matters.”


“Without the study and application of the administration the teaching of
the Cause becomes not only meaningless, but loses in effectiveness and


“Now that they (the American believers) have erected the administrative
machinery of the Cause they must put it to its real use--serving only as
an instrument to facilitate the flow of the spirit of the Faith out into
the world. Just as the muscles enable the body to carry out the will of
the individual, all Assemblies and committees must enable the believers to
carry forth the Message of God to the waiting public, the love of
Bahá’u’lláh, and the healing laws and principles of the Faith to all men.”


“He hopes that wherever it is possible the believers will make every
effort to contact African students and visitors, and to show them kindness
and hospitality. This may not only lead to the conversion of some while in
America, but will also make friends for the Faith in Africa.”


“The Faith is divided into three Ages: the Heroic, the Formative, the
Golden Age, as has been outlined in His Writings. The Heroic Age closed
with the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Formative Age is divided into
epochs. The first epoch lasted 25 years. We are now actually in the second
epoch of the Formative Age. How long the Formative Age will last is not
known, and there will probably be a number of epochs in it.

“The Divine Plan of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is divided into epochs. The first
Seven-Year Plan constituted the first stage of the first epoch; the second
Seven-Year Plan constitutes the second stage; while the Ten-Year Crusade
will constitute the third stage of the first epoch of the Divine Plan. The
first epoch of the Divine Plan will conclude with the conclusion of the
Ten-Year Crusade.”


“The Bahá’ís are free to greet each other with Alláh-u-Abhá when they
meet, if they want to, but they should avoid anything which to outsiders,
in a western country, might seem like some strange Oriental password. We
must be very firm on principles and laws, but very normal and natural in
our ways, so as to attract strangers.”


“I am deeply convinced that if the Annual Convention of the friends in
America, as well as the National Spiritual Assembly, desire to become
potent instruments for the speedy realization of the Beloved’s fondest
hopes for the future of that country, they should endeavor, first and
foremost, to exemplify, in an increasing degree, to all Bahá’ís and to the
world at large the high ideals of fellowship and service which Bahá’u’lláh
and the beloved Master repeatedly set before them.”


“In view of the importance of such a statement, he feels it is his duty to
explain that the Laws revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in the Aqdas are, whenever
practical and not in direct conflict with the Civil laws of the land,
absolutely binding on every believer or Bahá’í institution whether in the
East or in the West. Certain laws, such as fasting, obligatory prayers,
the consent of the parents before marriage, avoidance of alcoholic drinks,
monogamy, should be regarded by all believers as universally and vitally
applicable at the present time. Others have been formulated in
anticipation of a state of society destined to emerge from the chaotic
conditions that prevail today.

“When the Aqdas is published, this matter will be further explained and
elucidated. What has not been formulated in the Aqdas, in addition to
matters of detail and of secondary importance arising out of the
application of the laws already formulated by Bahá’u’lláh, will have to be
enacted by the Universal House of Justice. This body can supplement but
never invalidate or modify in the least degree what has already been
formulated by Bahá’u’lláh. Nor has the Guardian any right whatsoever to
lessen the binding effect much less to abrogate the provisions of so
fundamental and sacred a Book...”


“The importance of the institution of Bahá’í Archives is not due only to
the many teaching facilities it procures, but is especially to be found in
the vast amount of historical data and information it offers both to the
present-day administrators of the Cause, and to the Bahá’í historians of
the future. The institution of Bahá’í Archives is indeed a most valuable
storehouse of information regarding all the aspects of the Faith,
administrative as well as doctrinal. Future generations of believers will
be surely in a better position than we are to truly and adequately
appreciate the many advantages and facilities which the institution of the
Archives offers to individual believers and also to the community at
large. Now that the Cause is rapidly passing through so many different
phases of its evolution, is the time for the friends to exert their utmost
in order to preserve as much as they can of the sacred relics and various
other precious objects that are associated with the lives of the Founders
of the Faith, and particularly the Tablets They have revealed. Every
believer should realize that he has a definite responsibility to shoulder
in this matter, and to help, to whatever extent he can, in rendering
successful and valuable work which National and local Bahá’í Archives
committees are so devotedly accomplishing for the Faith in America.”


“The general principle should be that any object used by Him in person
should be preserved for posterity, whether in the local or National
Archives. It is the duty and responsibility of the Bahá’í Assemblies to
ascertain carefully whether such objects are genuine or not, and to
exercise the utmost caution in the matter.”


“Bahá’u’lláh has given the promise that in every Assembly where unity and
harmony prevail, there His glorious spirit will not only be present, but
will animate, sustain and guide all the friends in all their

“It is to unity that the Guardian has been continually calling the
friends: For where a united will exists, nothing can effectively oppose
and hamper the forces of constructive development.”


“The Spiritual Assembly must decide how often it should meet in order to
properly handle the affairs of the Cause under its jurisdiction. Twice a
week or twice a month is not the point, the point is that it should be
alert and carry on the work adequately.”


“...It is establishing a dangerous precedent to allow Assemblies to put a
time limit on non-attendance of their members at meetings of the S.A.,
beyond which that person is automatically dropped from the Assembly and a
vacancy declared ... there should be no time limit fixed by Assemblies
beyond which a person is dropped. Every case of prolonged absence from the
sessions of the Assembly should be considered separately by that Assembly,
and if the person is seen to not want to attend meetings or to be held
away from them indefinitely because of illness or travel, then a vacancy
could legitimately be declared and a new member be elected.”


“The Guardian wishes your Assembly to abandon the practice of appointing
associate members to some of the committees... Such a practice, he feels,
tends to create confusion and misunderstanding.”


“The Guardian has read very carefully the letters your Assembly has
received from the Spiritual Assemblies of Urbana and Chicago, reporting
the criticisms that have been advanced by Rev. John Elder, a missionary
from Iran. While he is certain that such attacks from church missionaries
are destined to increase in number and force in the future, he feels that
for the present they do not constitute a challenge so grave and widespread
as to justify any strong action by your Assembly. Later on, when the very
progress of the Cause on the one hand, and the corresponding decline in
ecclesiastical organizations on the other, will inevitably incite
Christian ecclesiastical leaders to vehemently oppose and undermine the
Faith, the believers will then have a real chance to defend and vindicate
the Cause. Under present conditions it would be inadvisable for the
American community to give such issues too much prominence.”


“In regard to the question submitted to your Assembly by the Bahá’í group
at Maui, Hawaii, concerning the passage on page 88 of the book ‘Bahá’í

“...The Guardian wishes me to inform you that the festivals of the
Declaration of the Báb and the birthday of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá referred to in
that passage as having been celebrated on the twenty-second of November,
1925, by the Bahá’ís of the Orient, are based on the lunar calendar. For
this reason the date of the celebration is not fixed, but shifts every
year. Eventually as the Master has explicitly stated, a uniform system
will have to be established by the International House of Justice.”


“May I also draw your attention to the fact that the Báb’s photograph
which appeared in Nicolas’ book, Siyyid ‘Alí Muhammad dit le Báb, many
years ago, is not authentic, although it presents great similarity to the
original drawings of the Báb’s portrait.”


“Concerning your question relative to the duration of the Bahá’í
Dispensation. There is no contradiction between Bahá’u’lláh’s statement in
the Íqán about the renewal of the City of God once every thousand years,
and that of the Guardian in the Dispensation to the effect that the Bahá’í
cycle will extend over a period of at least 500,000 years. The apparent
contradiction is due to the confusion of the terms cycle and dispensation.
For while the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh will last for at least one
thousand years, His Cycle will extend still farther, to at least 500,000

“The Bahá’í cycle is, indeed, incomparable in its greatness. It includes
not only the Prophets that will appear after Bahá’u’lláh, but all those
who have preceded Him ever since Adam. These should, indeed, be viewed as
constituting but preliminary stages leading gradually to the appearance of
this supreme Manifestation of God.”


“I, for my part, am determined to reinforce the impulse that impels its
members forward to meet their destiny. The Founders of their Faith survey
from the Kingdom on high the range of their achievements, acclaim their
progress, and are ever ready to speed their eventual triumph.”


“He has noted with care what you had written him regarding the question of
admittance of applicants into the Cause. This is certainly a matter which
calls for the utmost tact, wisdom and consideration on the part of Bahá’í
Assemblies. While, as he himself has repeatedly stressed, a uniform
procedure should be adopted and followed whereby every applicant should be
required to express his whole-hearted and unconditional acceptance of the
essential verities of the Cause, great care should also be taken not to
insist on matters of a secondary importance which the newcomer cannot, for
obvious reasons, fully grasp and apprehend at the beginning. Once the
applicant has been admitted in the Community with a clear understanding of
the duties and responsibilities, and essential implications which such
membership entails, there would be no difficulty for him in gradually
adjusting his whole ideas according to the requirements set forth in the
Teachings. The process of becoming a Bahá’í is necessarily slow and
gradual. The essential is not that the beginner should have a full and
detailed knowledge of the Cause, a thing which is obviously impossible in
the vast majority of cases, but that he should, by an act of his own will,
be willing to uphold and follow the truth and guidance set forth in the
Teachings, and thus open his heart and mind to the reality of the


“Concerning the best method of presenting the Master’s Will to the
newcomers, Shoghi Effendi is of the opinion that the N.S.A. should first
make some suitable extracts from the Testament and to send these to all
the local Assemblies for their use, so that there may be full unity in
circulating the provisions of the Will among the new believers. The
problem of choosing such excerpts is left entirely to the discretion of
the N.S.A. The main thing, as it appears to the Guardian, is that the full
station of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá be clearly explained and
that the origin, nature and working of the Administrative Order of the
Faith be clearly stated. The full implications of such a recognition are
evidently beyond the comprehension of any new believer. Such a knowledge
can be acquired gradually and only when the essentials of the Faith have
been clearly recognized and adequately understood.”


“When a person becomes a Bahá’í, he gives up the past only in the sense
that he is a part of this new and living Faith of God, and must seek to
pattern himself, in act and thought, along the lines laid down by
Bahá’u’lláh. The fact that he is by origin a Jew or a Christian, a black
man or a white man, is not important any more, but, as you say, lends
color and charm to the Bahá’í community in that it demonstrates unity in


“The believers must discriminate between the two extremes of bringing
people into the Cause before they have fully grasped its fundamentals and
making it too hard for them, expecting too much of them, before they
accept them. This requires truly keen judgment, as it is unfair to people
to allow them to embrace a movement the true meaning of which they have
not fully grasped. It is equally unfair to expect them to be perfect
Bahá’ís before they can enter the Faith. Many teaching problems arise out
of these two extremes...”


“There are two kinds of Bahá’ís, one might say: those whose religion is
Bahá’í and those who live for the Faith. Needless to say if we can belong
to the latter category, if we can be in the vanguard of heroes, martyrs
and saints, it is more praiseworthy in the sight of God.”


“It is good for the Bahá’ís to learn that being a Bahá’í is essentially an
inner thing, or way of life, and not dependent on fixed patterns.
Important as our organized Institutions are, they are not the Faith
itself. The strength of the Cause grows no matter how much disrupted its
activities may temporarily be. This we see over and over again, in lands
where the Faith has been temporarily banned; at times when the believers
are persecuted and even killed; where they are serving all alone or
scattered and isolated. So it has been a stimulating experience for the
American believers to be without their schools for a few years, rather
than a depressing one.”


“In accepting Bahá’u’lláh you have accepted Christ in His appearance as
the Father, as He Himself so clearly foretold. The Catholic Church does
not believe this; on the contrary, it still awaits the return of Christ.
If you decide, in order to be buried next to your dear husband, to return
to the Church, you either would have to, in good faith, deny Bahá’u’lláh
or you would be just using the church as a means to satisfy a desire of
your own, which would certainly not be an upright and conscientious thing
to do.

“When you think that your husband’s soul is now free of the limitations of
this world, and that he no doubt is beginning to see religious truth in
its true light and to appreciate the station of Bahá’u’lláh, you should
ask yourself whether he would wish you to leave the truth for this day and
re-enter the church just for the sake of your dust being near his dust.
Your spirit, when you pass away, will be near his spirit; of what
importance, then, is the body? He will pray for your guidance in this


“The believers, and particularly those who have not had sufficient
experience in teaching, should be very careful in the way they present the
teachings of the Cause. Sincerity, devotion and Faith are not the sole
conditions of successful teaching. Tactfulness, extreme caution and wisdom
are equally important. We should not be in a hurry when we announce the
message to the public and we should be careful to present the teachings in
their entirety and not to alter them for the sake of others. Allegiance to
the Faith cannot be partial and half-hearted. Either we should accept the
Cause without any qualification whatsoever or cease calling ourselves
Bahá’ís. The new believers should be made to realize that it is not
sufficient for them to accept some aspects of the teachings and reject
those which cannot suit their mentality in order to become fully
recognized and active followers of the Faith. In this way all sorts of
misunderstandings will vanish and the organic unity of the Cause will be


“Concerning the removal of believers I feel that such a vitally important
matter should be given the most serious consideration and preferably be
referred to the National Assembly for further consideration and final
decision. We should be slow to accept and reluctant to remove. I fully
approve and whole-heartedly and unreservedly uphold the principle to which
you refer that personalities should not be made centers around which the
community may revolve but they should be subordinated under all conditions
and however great their merits to the properly constituted Assemblies. You
and your co-workers can never over-estimate or over-emphasize this
cardinal principle of Bahá’í Administration.”


“As to the question raised by the Racine Assembly in connection with
Bahá’u’lláh’s statement in the Gleanings concerning the sacrifice of
I_sh_mael; although His statement does not agree with that made in the
Bible, Genesis 12:9, the friends should unhesitatingly, and for reasons
that are only too obvious, give precedence to the sayings of Bahá’u’lláh
which, it would be pointed out, is fully corroborated by the Qur’án, which
book is more authentic than the Bible, including both the New and Old
Testaments. The Bible is not wholly authentic, and in this respect not to
be compared with the Qur’án, and should be wholly subordinated to the
authentic Sayings of Bahá’u’lláh.”


“It is advisable to use both the Bahá’í dates, according to the Bahá’í
Calendar, and the usual Gregorian dates as well. The friends at present
are free to do as they please.”


“Both Caliphate and Imámate mean successorship. Either term could be


“We have no indication of exactly what nature the apocalyptic upheaval
will be; it might be another war ... but as students of our Bahá’í
Writings, it is clear that the longer the ‘Divine Physician’ (i.e.
Bahá’u’lláh) is withheld from healing the ills of the world, the more
severe will be the crisis, and the more terrible the sufferings of the


“The Guardian wishes to emphasize the importance of avoiding (reference to
civil courts) of cases of dispute between believers, even in non-Bahá’í
issues. It is the Assembly’s function to endeavor to settle amicably such
disputes, both in order to safeguard the fair name and prestige of the
Cause, and to acquire the necessary experience for the extension of its
functions in the future.”


“...No Bahá’í vote for an officer, no Bahá’í participation in the affairs
of the Republic, shall involve acceptance of a program or policy that
contravenes any vital principle, spiritual or social, of the Faith.

“...No vote cast, or office undertaken, by a Bahá’í should necessarily
constitute acceptance, by the voter or office holder, of the entire
program of any political party. No Bahá’í can be regarded as either a
Republican or Democrat, as such. He is above all else, the supporter of
the principles enunciated by Bahá’u’lláh, with which, I am firmly
convinced, the program of no political party is completely harmonious.”


“Regarding the non-appointment of Assembly members to membership on
National Committees, the Guardian firmly believes that no such principle
should be recognised. Those who are best fitted for the specific work
assigned to the Committees should be elected irrespective of their
membership on either National or local Assemblies. The greater the
pressure on those who shoulder both Committee and Assembly
responsibilities, the greater the reward and the richer the blessings
vouchsafed to those who willingly and gratefully sustain this double


“He feels that Committees must assume more responsibility and exercise
freedom of choice and judgment in electing their officers, and function as
a corporate body with a corporate spirit. More especially so as now that
the Cause is growing in numbers, and its responsibilities are being
multiplied, National committees are acquiring added importance and must
seek, ever increasingly, to follow the pattern of Bahá’u’lláh and assume
responsibility for the election of their officers. These committees must
develop, become mature, and forge ahead courageously relying more on
united effort and less on personal leadership, as is now the case with
Local and National Assemblies.”


“As to the idea of ‘giving what one can afford’, this does by no means put
a limit or even exclude the possibility of self-sacrifice. There can be no
limit to one’s contributions to the national fund. The more one can give
the better it is, especially when such offerings necessitate the sacrifice
of other wants and desires on the part of the donor. The harder the
sacrifice the more meritorious will it be of course in the eye of God. For
after all it is not so much the quantity of one’s offerings that matters,
but rather the measure of deprivation that such offerings entail.”


“...In the first place every believer is free to follow the dictates of
his own conscience as regards the manner in which to spend his own money.
Secondly, we must always bear in mind that there are so few Bahá’ís in the
world, relative to the world’s population, and so many people in need,
that even if all of us gave all we had, it would not alleviate more than
an infinitesimal amount of suffering. This does not mean we must not help
the needy, we should; but our contributions to the Faith are the surest
way of lifting once and for all time the burden of hunger and misery from
mankind, for it is only through the System of Bahá’u’lláh--Divine in
origin--that the world can be gotten on its feet, and want, fear, hunger,
war, etc., be eliminated. Non-Bahá’ís cannot contribute to our work or do
it for us; so really our first obligation is to support our own teaching
work, as this will lead to the healing of the nations.”


“In connection with the Institution of the National Fund and the budgetary
system set forth in the minutes of the National Spiritual Assembly, I feel
urged to remind you of the necessity of ever bearing in mind the cardinal
principle that all contributions to the Fund are to be purely and strictly
voluntary in character. It should be made clear and evident to every one
that any form of compulsion, however slight and indirect, strikes at the
very root principle underlying the formation of the Fund ever since its
inception. While appeals of a general character, carefully worded and
moving and dignified in tone are welcome under all circumstances, it
should be left entirely to the discretion of every conscientious believer
to decide upon the nature, the amount, and purpose of his or her
contribution for the propagation of the Cause.”


“As regards the meaning of the Bahá’í Covenant: The Guardian considers the
existence of two forms of Covenant both of which are explicitly mentioned
in the literature of the Cause. First is the Covenant that every Prophet
makes with humanity or, more definitely, with His people that they will
accept and follow the coming Manifestation who will be the reappearance of
His reality. The second form of Covenant is such as the one Bahá’u’lláh
made with His people that they should accept the Master. This is merely to
establish and strengthen the succession of the series of Lights that
appear after every Manifestation. Under the same category falls the
Covenant the Master made with the Bahá’ís that they should accept His
administration after Him.”

“The Most Great Covenant is different from the Everlasting Covenant.”


“The Guardian, like the Master before him, has not considered it advisable
to as yet permit any person or Assembly to put another person out of the
Cause of God. There is a sharp distinction between depriving a believer of
his voting rights, which is a severe disciplinary measure and not a
spiritual sanction, and pronouncing a former believer to be a truly
spiritually diseased soul, a soul in the condition the Master referred to
when, in His last cable to America before His ascension, He said: ‘He who
sitteth with a leper catcheth leprosy.’ The Guardian has, within the last
few years, considered the National Assemblies strong enough to wield the
instrument of sanction in the sense of depriving a Bahá’í of his voting
rights. But no one but himself can pronounce a person to be in that
diseased condition we call ‘Covenant Breaking’ and no one but he can
reinstate a Covenant Breaker. No National Assembly has been given this
right and cannot therefore review the question or reinstate anyone...”


“...Bahá’u’lláh and the Master in many places and very emphatically have
told us to shun entirely all Covenant breakers as they are afflicted with
what we might try and define as a contagious spiritual disease; they have
also told us, however, to pray for them. These souls are not lost forever.
In the Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh says that God will forgive Mírzá Yaḥyá if he
repents. It follows, therefore, that God will forgive any soul if he
repents. Most of them don’t want to repent, unfortunately. If the leaders
can be forgiven it goes without saying that their followers can also be

“Also, it has nothing to do with unity in the Cause; if a man cuts a
cancer out of his body to preserve his health and very life, no one would
suggest that for the sake of unity it should be reintroduced into the
otherwise healthy organism. On the contrary, what was once a part of him
has so radically changed as to have become a poison.”


“Unfortunately it would seem that the knowledge ‘which could largely
eliminate fear’ has not been disclosed or identified by Bahá’u’lláh, so we
do not know what it is.

“However, what Bahá’u’lláh did not elaborate but what He meant by the
‘world’ recorded in the Crimson Book was the power of the Covenant.

“The ‘Crimson Book’ refers to the Book of His Covenant, and the reference
above means the power for unity which the Covenant possesses and radiates.
On page 238 of ‘God Passes By’ you will find the cross-reference to the
‘Crimson Book’ and the ‘Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.’”


“When criticism and harsh words arise within a Bahá’í community, there is
no remedy except to put the past behind one, and persuade all concerned to
turn over a new leaf, and for the sake of God and His Faith refrain from
mentioning the subjects which have led to misunderstanding and inharmony.
The more the friends argue back and forth and maintain, each side, that
their point of view is the right one, the worse the whole situation

“When we see the condition the world is in today, we must surely forget
these utterly insignificant internal disturbances, and rush, unitedly, to
the rescue of humanity. You should urge your fellow Bahá’ís to support you
in a strong effort to suppress every critical thought and every harsh
word, in order to let the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh flow into the entire
community, and unite it in His love and in His service.”


“...Vicious criticism is indeed a calamity. But its root is lack of faith
in the system of Bahá’u’lláh, i.e., the Administrative Order--and lack of
obedience to Him--for He has forbidden it! If the Bahá’ís would follow the
Bahá’í laws in voting, in electing, in serving and in abiding by Assembly
decisions, all this waste of strength through criticizing others could be
diverted into cooperation and achieving the Plan...”


“Regarding the Prophecy of Daniel: The passage in Esselmont should be
changed to state that this prophecy refers to the one-hundredth
anniversary of the Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh, in the Garden of Ridván,
Ba_gh_dád--reference to this can be found in ‘The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
in quotation from two of His Tablets.”


“With reference to ... the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh, he wishes me to
explain that although ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s station is not that of a
Manifestation of God, nevertheless supplications may be addressed to Him.
It is essential, however, that every believer should realize that while
doing so he is directing his thoughts toward the Master as an intermediary
between him and the Manifestation, and not as the Source of Divine
Revelation and Spiritual Guidance. Provided this distinction is clearly
established, there can be no harm or objection in addressing prayers to


“Regarding consultation: Any person can refer a matter to the Assembly for
consultation whether the other person wishes to or not. In matters which
affect the Cause the Assembly should, if it deems it necessary, intervene
even if both sides don’t want it to, because the whole purpose of the
Assemblies is to protect the Faith, the Communities and the individual
Bahá’ís as well.”


“With reference to your question whether the Figures of the Báb and
Bahá’u’lláh should be made to appear as characters in dramatic works
written by the believers, Shoghi Effendi’s opinion is that such an attempt
to dramatize the Manifestations would be highly disrespectful, and hence
should be avoided by the friends, even in the case of the Master. Besides
it would be practically impossible to carry out such a plan faithfully,
and in a dignified and befitting manner.”


“The Faith can certainly be dramatized, but two things must be remembered:
No personal presentation of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh or the Master, only their
Words can be used, but no figure must represent Them; great dignity must
be the keynote.”


“With regard to your wish for reorganizing your business along Bahá’í
lines, Shoghi Effendi deeply appreciates the spirit that has permitted you
to make such a suggestion. But he feels nevertheless that the time has not
yet come for any believer to bring about such a fundamental change in the
economic structure of our society, however restricted may be the field for
such an experiment. The economic teachings of the Cause, though well known
in their main outline, have not as yet been sufficiently elaborated and
systematized to allow anyone to make an exact and thorough application of
them even on a restricted scale.”


“As you say, the Writings are not so rich on this subject and many issues
at present baffling the minds of the world are not even mentioned. The
primary consideration is the spirit that has to permeate our economic
life, and this will gradually crystallize itself into definite
institutions and principles that will help to bring about the ideal
condition foretold by Bahá’u’lláh.”

“No, Bahá’u’lláh did not bring a complete system of economics to the
world. Profit sharing is recommended as a solution to one form of economic
problems. There is nothing in the teachings against some kind of
capitalism; its present form, though, would require adjustments to be

“There are practically no technical teachings on economics in the Cause,
such as banking, the price system, and others. The Cause is not an
economic system, nor its Founders be considered as having been technical
economists. The contribution of the Faith to this subject is essentially
indirect, as it consists of the application of spiritual principles to our
present-day economic system. Bahá’u’lláh has given us a few basic
principles which should guide future Bahá’í economists in establishing
such institutions which will adjust the economic relationships of the

“Social inequality is the inevitable outcome of the natural inequality of
man. Human beings are different in ability and should, therefore, be
different in their social and economic standing. Extremes of wealth and
poverty should, however, be abolished...

“The Master has definitely stated that wages should be unequal, simply
because that men are unequal in their ability and hence should receive
wages that would correspond to their varying capacities and resources.”


“As regards the activities of the economic committee of the National
Assembly; Shoghi Effendi fully sympathizes with the desire of some of the
members to see the Committee find ways and means to put into practice the
economic teachings of the Cause, as explained in some of the recorded
Writings and Sayings of Bahá’u’lláh and the Master. But he believes that
the time is not yet ripe for such activities. First we have to study the
economic teachings in the light of modern problems more thoroughly so that
we may advocate what the Founders of the Faith say and not what we
conjecture from Their Writings. There is great difference between sounding
a great general principle and finding its application to actual prevailing
conditions. Secondly, the Cause is not financially in a position to launch
itself in such undertakings at present. Such plans need great financial
backing to be worked out in a permanent form. In time, Shoghi Effendi
hopes all these things will come to pass. For the present we have to
consolidate our basic institutions and spread the teachings and spirit of
the Faith among the public.”


“People today indeed do tend to be very superficial in their thinking, and
it would seem as if the educational systems in use are sorely lacking in
ability to produce a mature mind in a person who has reached supposedly
adult life! All the outside influences that surround the individual seem
to have an intensely distracting effect, and it is a hard job to get the
average person to do any deep thinking or even a little meditation on the
problems facing him and the world at large.

“Over and over again Bahá’u’lláh cried out against the heedlessness of
humanity, and warns of the fate such an attitude must lead to. Did we not
know what God plans to, and will do, with the world in the future, we
should certainly be as hopeless as many of the best thinkers of our
generation have become.”


“Regarding the four and twenty elders: The Master, in a Tablet, stated
that they were the Báb, the eighteen Letters of the Living, and five
others who would be known in the future. So far we do not know who these
five others are.”


“Concerning the question of refusal by certain believers to accept
election to an administrative post: The Guardian strongly feels that
criticism, opposition, or confusion do not provide sufficient grounds for
either refusal or resignation. Only cases of physical or mental
incapacity, which, by their very nature, are extremely rare, constitute
valid reasons for such an act. The difficulties and tests involved in the
acceptance of Administrative posts, far from inducing the believers to
dissociate themselves from the work of the Cause, should spur them on to
greater exertions and to a more active participation in the privileged
task of resolving the problems that confront the Bahá’í community.

“Only in cases where individual believers, without any valid reason,
deliberately refuse the repeated exhortations, pleas, and warnings
addressed to them by their Assemblies, should action be taken in removing
them from the voting list. This is a measure designed to sustain the
institutions of the Faith at the present time, and to insure that the
abilities and talents of its, as yet, limited number of supporters are
properly consecrated to its service.

“The believers, for the sake of the Cause, now in the period of its
infancy, should accept their duties in a spirit a self-sacrifice, and
should be animated by the desire to uphold the verdict of the electorate,
and to lend their share of assistance however difficult the circumstances,
to the effective administration of the affairs of the Faith.

“The same sanction should apply to those who persistently refuse to
dissociate themselves from political and ecclesiastical activities. This
is a general principle which is being maintained throughout the Bahá’í


“I feel that reference to personalities before the election would give
rise to misunderstanding and differences. What the friends should do is
get thoroughly acquainted with one another, to exchange views, to mix
freely and discuss among themselves the requirements and qualifications
for such a membership without reference or application, however indirect,
to particular individuals. We should refrain from influencing the opinion
of others, of canvassing for any particular individual, but should stress
the necessity of getting fully acquainted with the qualifications of
membership referred to in our Beloved’s Tablets of learning more about one
another through direct, personal experience rather than through the
reports and opinions of our friends.”


“There is no objection in principle to an Assembly being re-elected
whether in toto or in part, provided the members are considered to be well
qualified for that post. It is individual merit that counts. Novelty, or
the mere act of renewal of elections, are purely secondary considerations.
Changes in Assembly membership would be welcome so far as they do not
prejudice the quality of such membership. Once Assembly elections are
over, the results should be conscientiously and unquestionably accepted by
the entire body of the believers, not necessarily because they represent
the Voice of Truth, or the Will of Bahá’u’lláh, but for the supreme
purpose of maintaining unity and harmony in the community.”


“With these Assemblies, Local as well as National, harmoniously,
vigorously and efficiently functioning throughout the Bahá’í world, the
only means for the establishment of the Supreme House of Justice will have
been assured. And when this Supreme Body will have been properly
established, it will have to consider afresh the whole situation, and lay
down the principle which shall direct, as long as it deems advisable, the
affairs of the Cause.

“Pending the establishment, and to insure uniformity throughout the East
and throughout the West, all Local Assemblies will have to be re-elected
once a year, during the first day of Ridvan, and the result of polling, if
possible, be declared on that day.”


“Let us recall His explicit and often-repeated assurance that every
Assembly elected in that rarified atmosphere of selflessness and
detachment is in truth, appointed of God, that its verdict is truly
inspired, that one and all should submit to its decision unreservedly and
with cheerfulness ... the elector ... is called upon to vote for none but
those whom prayer and reflection have inspired him to uphold... Hence it
is incumbent upon the chosen delegates to consider without the least trace
of passion and prejudice, and irrespective of any material consideration,
the names of only those who can best combine the necessary qualities of
unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of
recognized ability and mature experience... Nothing short of the
all-encompassing, all-pervading power of His Guidance and Love can enable
this newly enfolded order to gather strength and flourish amid the storm
and stress of a turbulent age, and in the fullness of time vindicate its
high claim to be universally recognized as the one Haven of abiding
felicity and peace.”


“Regarding your questions concerning the advisability of changing the
basis of the National Assembly’s election and confining it to the body of
delegates or of limiting the term of office: He feels that as any such
changes are of a radical nature and should therefore apply to the National
Spiritual Assemblies of other countries, they are inadvisable and
premature, both for this reason and because of their very nature.

“What is needed is to get the administration in its present form to run
more efficiently and at the same time to build up a higher sense of the
responsibility among the body of the believers. They should be encouraged
to think more, not only about the qualifications of their elected bodies,
but also about such things as you mention, the law of averages, the age
and indisposition of some of the members, etc.

“When we look back and see what the administration has accomplished in
twenty-odd years, indeed what it has done in the last seven years, we see
what strides forward have been made. Far greater tasks lie ahead, but the
Guardian does not feel that the way to meet them is to change the present
system but rather to perfect it by educating the believers and training
them, holding more conferences, publishing more news for Bahá’ís, getting
more people active.”


“The Guardian has written the National Assembly in detail and given them
the principle upon which he would like to see them act. He has asked them
to advise the friends accordingly and also to expound the principles so as
to apply to the local conditions in America.”

“To facilitate matters and avoid misunderstandings he prefers to refer you
and the individual friends to them (The National Assembly). He is sure
that you will obtain full satisfaction by putting the question to them.
The purpose of the Guardian in this is not to avoid the issue but only to
facilitate matters and eliminate misunderstandings. In all such matters
the friends should first approach the Local, then the National Assembly
and only in case they can obtain no satisfaction should they approach the
Guardian on these matters. This way many difficulties will be avoided.”


“In connection with your question regarding the reference made by
‘Abdu’l-Bahá to ‘His Highness Emmanuel’ in Vol. III of His Tablets; this
obviously refers to the Báb, as the text shows it clearly, and is in no
way a reference to Swedenborg.”


“Regarding the subject of Esperanto; it should be made clear to the
believers that while the teaching of that language has been repeatedly
encouraged by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, there is no reference either from Him or from
Bahá’u’lláh that can make us believe that it will necessarily develop into
the international auxiliary language of the future. Bahá’u’lláh has
specified in His Writings that such a language will either have to be
chosen from one of the existing languages, or an entirely new one should
be created to serve as a medium of exchange between the nations and
peoples of the world. Pending this final choice, the Bahá’ís are advised
to study Esperanto only in consideration of the fact that the learning of
this language can considerably facilitate intercommunication between
individuals, groups and Assemblies throughout the Bahá’í world in the
present stage of the evolution of the Faith.”


“You have asked as to what point in man’s evolution he becomes conscious
of self. This consciousness of self in man is a gradual process, and does
not start at a definite point. It grows in him in this world and continues
to do so in the future spiritual world.

“Man can certainly recall past experiences in his evolution, and even when
his soul leaves this world it will still remember the past.”


“Deep as are family ties, we must always remember that the spiritual ties
are far deeper; they are everlasting and survive death, whereas physical
ties, unless supported by spiritual bonds, are confined to this life. You
should do all in your power, through prayer and example, to open the eyes
of your family to the Bahá’í Faith, but do not grieve too much over their
actions. Turn to your Bahá’í brothers and sisters who are living with you
in the Light of the Kingdom.

“Indeed, the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other’s
strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with
tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not gain more from it
is because they have not learned to draw fully on these mighty forces of
love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith.”


“With reference to your son’s request for advice regarding the observance
of the Bahá’í Fast; much as the Guardian realizes the difficulty which a
believer of his position, attending a military school, will have to
encounter if he wishes to strictly conform to the regulations of the Fast,
he nevertheless would advise him to make every effort to obtain from the
school authorities the necessary permission. In case his request is
refused the only alternative for him would be to obey his superior.”


“As regards fasting, it constitutes, together with the obligatory prayers,
the two pillars that sustain the revealed Law of God. They act as
stimulants to the soul, strengthen, revive and purify it, and thus insure
its steady development.”

“The ordinance of fasting is, as is the case with these three prayers
(obligatory) a spiritual and vital obligation enjoined by Bahá’u’lláh upon
every believer who has attained the age of fifteen. In the Aqdas He thus
writes: ‘We have commanded you to pray and fast from the beginning of
maturity; this is ordained by God, your Lord and the Lord of your
forefathers. He has exempted from this those who are weak from illness or
age, as a bounty from His Presence, and He is the Forgiving, the

“And in another passage He says: ‘We have enjoined upon you fasting during
a brief period, and at its close have designated for you Naw-Rúz as a
Feast... The traveller, the ailing, those who are with child or giving
suck, are not bound by the Fast... Abstain from food and drink, from
sunrise to sundown, and beware lest desire deprive you of this grace that
is appointed in the Book.’

“Also in the ‘Questions and Answers’ that form an appendix to the Aqdas,
Bahá’u’lláh reveals the following: ‘Verily, I say that God has appointed a
Great station for fasting and prayer. But during good health its benefit
is evident, and when one is ill, it is not permissible to fulfill them.’
Concerning the age of maturity, He reveals in the appendix of that same
Book: ‘The age of maturity is in the fifteenth year; women and men are
alike in this respect.’ Regarding the vital character and importance of
the Divine ordinances and laws, and the necessity of complete obedience to
them by the believers, we thus read in the Gleanings, p. 175:

‘Know verily that the essence of justice and the source thereof are both
embodied in the ordinance prescribed by Him Who is the Manifestation of
the Self of God amongst men, if ye be of them that recognize this truth.
He doth verily incarnate the highest, the infallible standard of justice
unto all creation. Were His law to be such as to strike terror in the
hearts of all that are in heaven and on earth, that law is naught but
manifest justice. The fears and agitation which the revelation of this law
provoke in men’s hearts should indeed be likened to the cries of the
suckling babe weaned from his mother’s milk, if ye be of them that

“The fasting period, which lasts nineteen days starting as a rule from the
second of March every year and ending on the twentieth of the same month,
involves complete abstention from food and drink from sunrise till sunset.
It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual
recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary
readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the
spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are,
therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and
a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.”

72: FAST (THE)

“Regarding your question concerning the Fast: Travellers are exempt from
fasting, but if they want to fast while they are travelling, they are free
to do so. You are exempt the whole period of your travel, not just the
hours you are in a train or car, etc. If one eats unconsciously during the
fasting hours, this is not breaking the Fast as it is an accident. The age
limit is 70 years, but if one desires to fast after the age limit is
passed, and is strong enough to, one is free to do so. If during the Fast
period a person falls ill and is unable to fast, but recovers before the
Fast period is over, he can start to fast again and continue until the
end. Of course the Fast, as you know, can only be kept during the month
set aside for that purpose.”


“This is really a matter of secondary importance, and should be decided by
the Assembly. Meetings which have been publicly advertised for a certain
date cannot obviously be cancelled.”


“Concerning the nature of the Nineteen-Day Feast, in the Aqdas,
Bahá’u’lláh clearly revealed the spiritual and social character of this
Institution. Its administrative significance, however, has been stressed
by the Guardian in direct response to the growing needs of the Bahá’í
Community in this formative period of the Bahá’í era for better training
in the principles and practice of Bahá’í administration.”


“The Naw-Rúz Feast should be held on March 21 before sunset and has
nothing to do with the 19-day Feast. The 19-day Feast is administrative in
function whereas the Naw-Rúz is our New Year, a Feast of hospitality and


“Regarding Naw-Rúz: If the vernal equinox falls on the 21st of March
before sunset, it is celebrated on that day. If at any time after sunset,
Naw-Rúz will then, as stated by Bahá’u’lláh, fall on the 22nd. As to which
spot should be regarded as the standard, this is a matter which the
Universal House of Justice will have to decided. The American NSA need not
therefore take any action in this matter at present.”


“Regarding the time for the holding of the Nineteen-Day Feasts and
elections; the Guardian would advise your Assembly to urge the friends to
hold such gatherings on the prescribed day before sunset. If impossible,
then it is permissible to hold them on the preceding day. In connection
with the nine holy days, however, the friends should consider it
obligatory to celebrate them on the prescribed day before sunset.”


“Attendance at 19-Day Feasts is not obligatory but very important, and
every believer should consider it a duty and a privilege to be present on
such occasions.”

“He wishes the Bahá’ís to press for recognition of their right to observe
their own Holy Days, and to observe them whenever possible in strict
accordance with our teachings.”


“The Bahá’í Day starts and ends at sunset, and consequently the date of
the celebration of Bahá’í Feasts should be adjusted to conform to the
Bahá’í Calendar Time...”


“He wishes you particularly to impress the believers with the necessity of
maintaining the flow of their contributions to the Temple, and also to
stress the importance of the Institution of the National Bahá’í Fund
which, in these early days of the administrative development of the Faith,
is the indispensable medium for the growth and expansion of the Movement.
Contributions to this fund constitute, in addition, a practical and
effective way whereby every believer can test the measure and character of
his Faith, and to prove in deeds the intensity of his devotion and
attachment to the Cause.”


“As the activities of the American Bahá’í Community expand, and its
world-wide prestige correspondingly increases, the Institution of the
National Fund, the bedrock on which all other Institutions must
necessarily rest and be established, acquires added importance, and should
be increasingly supported by the entire body of believers, both in their
individual capacities and through their collective efforts, whether
organized as groups or as Local Assemblies. The supply of funds, in
support of the National Treasury, constitutes, at the present time, the
life-blood of these nascent institutions you are laboring to erect. Its
importance cannot, surely, be overestimated. Untold blessings shall no
doubt crown every effort directed to that end.”


“Regarding his special contributions to the Teaching Fund; he feels that
this is a matter to be left entirely to the discretion of the N.S.A. He
feels that the continuous expenditure of a considerable sum to provide for
traveling expenses of teachers who are in need, constitutes in these days
the chief obligation of the National Fund. An effort should be made to
facilitate as much as possible, the extension of the teaching work by
helping those who are financially unable to reach their destination, and
once there to encourage them to settle and earn the means of their


“We must be like the fountain or spring that is continually emptying
itself of all that it has and is continually being refilled from an
invisible source. To be continually giving out for the good of our fellows
undeterred by fear of poverty and reliant on the unfailing bounty of the
Source of all wealth and all good--this is the secret of right living.”


“And as the progress and extension of spiritual activities is dependent
and conditioned upon material means, it is of absolute necessity that
immediately after the establishment of Local as well as National Spiritual
Assemblies, a Bahá’í Fund be established, to be placed under the exclusive
control of the Spiritual Assembly. All donations and contributions should
be offered to the Treasurer of the Assembly, for the express purpose of
promoting the interests of the Cause, throughout the locality or country.
It is the sacred obligation of every conscientious and faithful servant of
Bahá’u’lláh who desires to see His Cause advance, to contribute freely and
generously for the increase of that Fund...”


“Regarding the Bahá’í funeral service: It is extremely simple, as it
consists only of a congregational prayer to be read before burial. This
prayer will be made available to the friends when the Aqdas is translated
and published. In the meantime your N.S.A. should take great care lest any
uniform procedure or ritual in this matter be adopted or imposed upon the
friends. The danger in this, as in some other cases regarding Bahá’í
worship, is that a definite system of rigid rituals and practices be
developed among the believers. The utmost simplicity and flexibility
should be observed, and a selection from the Bahá’í Sacred Writing should
serve the purpose at the present time, provided this selection is not
rigidly and uniformly adopted on all such occasions.”

“There is no objection whatsoever to non-Bahá’ís being present when the
long prayer for the dead is read, as long as they respect our manner of
reading it by rising and standing as the Bahá’ís do on this occasion. Nor,
indeed, is there any objection to non-Bahá’ís being present during the
reading of any Bahá’í prayer for the departed.

“An official Bahá’í funeral service should only be given for a believer,
but there is no objection to the reading of Bahá’í prayers, or indeed, to
a Bahá’í conducting the funeral service of a non-Bahá’í if this has been


“He also wishes me to inform you that the symbol of the Greatest Name
represents an invocation which can be translated either as ‘O Glory of
Glories’ or ‘O Glory of the All-Glorious’. The word Glory used in this
connection is a translation of the Arabic term ‘Bahá, the name of


“...next to an isolated believer, any number of confirmed Bahá’ís less
than nine persons should be considered as automatically constituting a
Bahá’í Group...”


“The infallibility of the Guardian is confined to matters which are
related strictly to the Cause and interpretation of the teachings; he is
not an infallible authority on other subjects, such as economics, science,
etc. When he feels that a certain thing is essential for the protection of
the Cause, even if it is something that affects a person personally, he
must be obeyed, but when he gives advice, such as that he gave you in a
previous letter about your future, it is not binding; you are free to
follow it or not as you please.”


“He feels that if ... ponders more deeply about the fundamentals of Divine
Revelation, she will also come to understand the Guardianship. Once the
mind and heart have grasped the fact that God guides men through a
Mouthpiece, a human being, a Prophet, infallible and unerring, it is only
a logical projection of this acceptance to also accept the station of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Guardians. The Guardians are the evidence of the
maturity of mankind in the sense that at long last men have progressed to
the point of having one world, and of needing one world management for
human affairs. In the spiritual realm they have also reached the point
where God could leave, in human hands (i.e. the Guardians) guided directly
by the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, as the Master states in His Will, the affairs
of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by ‘this is the
day which will not be followed by night.’ In this Dispensation, divine
guidance flows on to us in this world after the Prophet’s ascension,
through first the Master, and then the Guardians. If a person can accept
Bahá’u’lláh’s function, it should not present any difficulty to them to
also accept what He has ordained in a Divinely guided individual in
matters pertaining to the Faith.”


“The questions you ask in your letter about individual guidance have two
aspects, one might say. It is good that people should turn to God and
beseech His aid in solving their problems and guiding their acts, indeed
every day of their lives, if they feel the desire to do so. But they
cannot possibly impose what they feel to be their guidance on anyone else,
let alone on Assemblies or Committees, as Bahá’u’lláh has expressly laid
down the law of consultation and never indicated that anything else
superseded it.”

“As to meditation: This also is a field in which the individual is free.
There are no set forms of meditation prescribed in the teachings, no plan
as such, for inner development. The friends are urged--nay enjoined--to
pray, and they also should meditate, but the manner of doing the latter is
left entirely to the individual.”


“The question of Guidance is a very subtle one. We cannot be positive that
an impulse or a dream is guidance. We can seek, through earnest prayer and
longing, sincerely to do God’s will, His guidance. We can try, as you say,
to emulate the Master and at all times live up to the teachings, but we
cannot be sure that doing these things we are still making no mistakes and
are perfectly guided. These things help us not to make so many mistakes
and to receive more directly the guidance God seeks to give us.”


“The rank and position of the Hands of the Cause are superior to the
position of the National Assemblies. In writing concerning the Hands,
therefore, when there is reference to the Institutions of the Faith, after
the Guardian should be mentioned the Hands, and then the National


“While the National Office in Wilmette, designated by the Guardian as
Hazíratu’l-Quds, is primarily an administrative center, its use should by
no means be confined to purely administrative work, but should include
such activities of a social and intellectual character, both local and
national, as can best establish its character as the foremost teaching and
administrative center of the Faith throughout the States.”

“As a teaching center, where Bahá’í lectures, conferences, meetings,
whether local, regional or national, could be held, the Hazíratu’l-Quds
can also prove of invaluable help, and the N.S.A. should indeed see to it
that the necessary facilities are provided in the building for that
purpose. But thus combining these three features, namely teaching,
administrative, and social the Hazíratu’l-Quds can best fulfill its
mission, as the visible symbol of the steadily-growing National Bahá’í
Community in Northern America, and as the chief rallying center for all
its activities and plans throughout that Continent.”


“The Guardian knows nothing about your kind of healing... But he can lay
down for your guidance certain broad principles: There is no such thing as
Bahá’í healers or a Bahá’í type of healing. In His Most Holy Book (the
Aqdas) Bahá’u’lláh says to consult the best physicians, in other words,
doctors who have studied a scientific system of medicine; He never gave us
to believe, He Himself would heal us through ‘Healers’ but rather through
prayer and the assistance of medicine and approved treatments. Now, as
long as your healing is in no opposition to these principles, as long as
you do not try and take the place of a regular doctor in trying to heal
others, but only give them your kind of help through constructive
suggestion--or whatever it may be--and do not associate this help with
being a channel of the direct grace of Bahá’u’lláh, the Guardian sees no
harm in your continuing your assistance to others. But you must
conscientiously decide whether, in view of the above, you are really
justified in continuing. He will pray for your guidance and happiness.”


“These, indeed, are the days when heroism is needed on the part of the
believers. Self-sacrifice, courage, indomitable hope and confidence are
characteristics they should show forth, because these very attributes
cannot but fix the attention of the public and lead them to enquire what,
in a world so hopelessly chaotic and bewildered, leads these people to be
so assured, so confident, so full of devotion? Increasingly, as time goes
by, the characteristics of the Bahá’ís will be that which captures the
attention of their fellow-citizens. They must show their aloofness from
the hatreds and recriminations which are tearing at the hearts of
humanity, and demonstrate by deed and word their profound belief in the
future peaceful unification of the entire human race.”


“As to the passage No. 13 of the Arabic Hidden Words: That which
Bahá’u’lláh declares we can find abiding within us is the power of the
Divine Spirit, the reflection of the light of His Revelation. This
reflection of the Divine Spirit, however, can in no way be compared to the
Revelation which God discloses to His Prophets and Messengers. The
similarity in the terminology should not confuse this distinction which is
most fundamental.”


“He wishes the Bahá’ís to press for recognition of their right to observe
their own Holy Days, and to observe them whenever possible in strict
accordance with our teachings.”

“He wishes also to stress the fact that, according to the Bahá’í laws,
work is forbidden on our nine Holy Days. Believers who have independent
businesses or shops should refrain from working on these days. Those who
are in government employ should, on religious grounds, make an effort to
be excused from work; all believers, whoever their employers, should do
likewise. If the government or other employers refuse to grant them these
days off, they are not required to forfeit their employment, but they
should make every effort to have the independent status of the Faith
recognized and their right to hold their own religious Holy Days


“As regards the celebration of the Christian Holiday by the believers; it
is surely preferable and even highly advisable that the friends should in
their relation to each other discontinue observing such holidays as
Christmas and New Years, and to have their festival gatherings of this
nature instead during the Intercalary Days and Naw-Rúz....”


“He feels the drawing of the hearts together, as the believers turn
towards the Holy Shrine, will produce a greater love and unity amongst the
friends, and attract the blessings of Bahá’u’lláh.”


“‘The Hosts of His Testament’ refers to those who are firm in the Will and
Testament of Bahá’u’lláh and who defend and uphold it.”


“The word ‘cord’ so often mentioned in the Teachings means both the Faith
itself and also the power of the Faith which sustains those who cling to


“Such hindrances (i.e., illness and other difficulties) no matter how
severe and insuperable they may at first seem, can and should be
effectively overcome through the combined and sustained power of prayer
and of determined and continued effort.”


“Cancer is such a terrible scourge in the world today! But when the
believers are called upon to go through such bitter ordeals they have the
Faith to sustain them, the love of their Bahá’í friends to comfort them,
and the glorious words of Bahá’u’lláh regarding immortality to give them
confidence and courage. Blessed are we, indeed, even in the midst of our
greatest trials.”


“To divide the inheritance as it is prescribed by Bahá’u’lláh we have to
divide it into 2,520 shares. But we can also divide it into 42 shares.
Then every one of the beneficiaries will take so many of these shares.
These numbers form like a highest denominator for the different fractions
which represent the shares of the different individuals that will benefit
in case of intestacy. In case of the non-existence of one class of
inheritors the Aqdas mentions how it should be divided. As a general rule
a part goes to the House of Justice, a part to the children.”


“Regarding the whole question of an International Language and its
relation to the Faith: We, as Bahá’ís, are very anxious to see a universal
auxiliary tongue adopted as soon as possible; we are not the protagonists
of any one language to fill this post. If the governments of the world
agree on an existing language, or a constructed, new tongue, to be used
internationally, we would heartily support it because we desire to see
this step in the unification of the human race take place as soon as

“Esperanto has been in wide use, more so than any similar language, all
over the world, and the Bahá’ís have been encouraged by both the Master
and the Guardian to learn it and to translate Bahá’í literature into it.
We cannot be sure it will be the chosen language of the future; but as it
is the one which has spread most, both East and West, we should certainly
continue to cooperate with its members learn to speak it, and translate
Bahá’í literature into it.”

106: ISLÁM

“Islám attained a very high spiritual state, but Western scholars are
prone to judging it by Christian standards. One cannot call one World
Faith superior to another, as they all come from God; they are
progressive, each suited to certain needs of the time.”


“With regard to your question concerning the Virgin Birth of Jesus; on
this point, as on several others, the Bahá’í teachings are in full
agreement with the doctrines of the Catholic Church. In the Kitáb-i-Íqán
(Book of Certitude) page 56, and in a few other Tablets still unpublished,
Bahá’u’lláh confirms, however indirectly, the Catholic conception of the
Virgin Birth. Also ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in ‘Some Answered Questions’, Chap. 12,
page 73, explicitly states that Christ found existence through the spirit
of God which statement necessarily implies, when reviewed in the light of
the text, that Jesus was not the son of Joseph.”

“We believe that Christ only was conceived immaculately. His brothers and
sisters would have been born in the natural way and conceived naturally.”


“Those who have never had any opportunity of hearing of the Faith but who
lived good lives will no doubt be treated with the greatest love and mercy
in the next world and reap their full reward.”


“Turn to your Bahá’í brothers and sisters, who are living with you in the
kingdom. Indeed, the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each
other’s love for strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of
God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not
gain more from it is because they have not learned to duly draw these
mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith.”


“The friends must, at all times, bear in mind that they are, in a way,
like soldiers under attack. The world is at present in an exceedingly dark
condition spiritually; hatred and prejudice of every sort are literally
tearing it to pieces. We, on the other hand, are the custodians of the
opposite forces, the forces of love, of unity, of peace and integration,
and we must continually be on our guard, whether as individuals or as an
Assembly or Community, lest through us these destructive, negative forces
enter into our midst. In other words, we must beware lest the darkness of
society become reflected in our acts and attitudes, perhaps all
unconsciously. Love for each other, the deep sense that we are a new
organism, the dawn-breakers of a new World Order, must constantly animate
our Bahá’í lives, and we must pray to be protected from the contamination
of society which is so diseased with prejudice.”


“The greatest need it seems everywhere inside the Cause is to impress upon
the friends the need for love among them. There is a tendency to mix up
the functions of the Administration and try to apply it in individual
relationships, which is abortive, because the Assembly is a nascent House
of Justice and is supposed to administer, according to the Teachings, the
affairs of the Community. But individuals towards each other are governed
by love, unity, forgiveness and a sin-covering eye. Once the friends grasp
this they will get along much better, but they keep playing Spiritual
Assembly to each other and expect the Assembly to behave like an


“As to the meaning of the quotation, ‘My fears are for Him Who will be
sent down unto you after Me,’ this refers to the Manifestation who is to
come after a thousand or more years, who like all previous Messengers of
God will be subjected to persecutions, but will eventually triumph over
them. For men of ill-will have been and will always continue to be in this
world, unless mankind reaches a state of complete and absolute
perfection--a condition which is not only improbable but actually
impossible to attain. The fundamental difference, however, between this
Dispensation and all previous ones is this, that in this Revelation the
possibility of permanent schism between the followers of the Prophet has
been prevented through the direct and explicit instructions providing for
the necessary instruments designed to maintain the organic unity of the
body of the Faithful.”


“In Persian it is impolite not to use the word Hadrat before the name of
the Prophet, so that strictly speaking, a proper translation should always
have ‘His Holiness Moses’ etc.; however, as this seems peculiar in
English, and not in the best usage of our language, he feels it can be
dispensed with. Pronouns referring to the Manifestation, or the Master,
should, however, invariably be capitalized.”


“The reflection of the qualities of holy souls can take place at any time;
it is not confined to the period when the Manifestation is on earth.”


“There is no special physical significance in the remains of the Prophets
or relics of Their Persons. But there is a profound spiritual significance
in the sense that Their dust was the physical mirror of the greatness of
God. In other words we know God through His Prophets, Who have bodies;
these bodies--Their very dust--are precious through association. It is
natural for people to be touched by a lock of hair or some token of one
they loved; how much more should we treasure and feel moved by a relic of
the Beloved of God?

“The Báb has told us to bury the dead in silk (if possible) in coffins of
crystal. Why? Because the body, though now dust, was once exalted by the
immortal soul of man! The portrait of the Báb should be regarded as an
inestimable privilege and blessing to behold, as past generations were
denied a glimpse of the Face of the Manifestation, once He had passed on.”

“The atoms of the Prophets are just atoms, like all others, but the
association of this great spiritual power with them leaves in the place
they are laid to rest a spiritual atmosphere, if one can use this
expression. They are, no doubt, endowed with a tremendous spiritual
influence and far-reaching power. But the physical character of their
atoms are not different from other people’s, any more than their bodies
and physical functions are different.”


“The Manifestations no doubt had some consciousness of their station, but
what the nature of that consciousness was we do not know.”


“In regard to your question concerning the nature and character of Bahá’í
marriage. As you have rightly stated, such a Marriage is conditioned upon
the full approval of all four parents. Also your statement to the effect
that the principle of the oneness of mankind prevents any true Bahá’í from
regarding race itself as a bar to union is in complete accord with the
Teachings of the Faith on this point. For both Bahá’u’lláh and
‘Abdu’l-Bahá never disapproved of the idea of interracial marriage, nor
discouraged it. The Bahá’í Teachings, indeed, by their very nature
transcend all limitations imposed by race, and as such can and should
never be identified with any particular school of racial philosophy.”


“With reference to the matter of the consent of the parents to a Bahá’í
marriage: As this is a vital binding obligation, it is the duty of the
Assemblies to ascertain, before giving their sanction, that the consent
obtained has been given freely by the parents themselves.”


“Regarding the question whether it is necessary to obtain the consent of
the parents of a non-Bahá’í participant in a marriage with a Bahá’í; as
Bahá’u’lláh has stated that the consent of the parents of both parties is
required in order to promote unity and avoid friction, and as the Aqdas
does not specify any exceptions to this rule, the Guardian feels that
under all circumstances the consent of the parents of both parties is


“The general principle in regard to the marriage of a Bahá’í to a
non-Bahá’í is as follows:

“If a Bahá’í marries a non-Bahá’í who wishes to have the religious
ceremony of his own sect carried out, it must be quite clear that, first,
the Bahá’í partner is understood to be a Bahá’í by religion, and not to
accept the religion of the other party to the marriage through having his
or her religious ceremony; and second, the ceremony must be of a nature
which does not commit the Bahá’í to any declaration of faith in a religion
other than his own. Under these circumstances the Bahá’í can partake of
the religious ceremony of his non-Bahá’í partner.

“The Bahá’í should insist on having the Bahá’í ceremony carried out before
or after the non-Bahá’í one, on the same day.”


“In reporting Bahá’í marriages it is much better to mention that the
ceremony was performed by the Assembly, as this is the proper thing to do,
and an individual only acts for the Assembly on this occasion. As a
funeral is not a legal ceremony more latitude can be allowed, especially
as the family of the deceased may want some particular Bahá’í friend to


“Our beloved Guardian made it clear that it was the responsibility of the
Bahá’í body performing the marriage ceremony to confirm without question
the fact that the living natural parents of the two individuals who are
being married have given their consent to the marriage. It is preferable
that this consent be given in writing, but if this is not possible, or
inadvisable for some reason, verbal consent in the present of witnesses is
sufficient.”... “Regarding your question of applying the sanction of
suspension of voting rights to people who marry without the consent of
parents, this should be done from now on. The laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
are explicit and not open to any ambiguity at all. As long as the parents
are alive, the consent must be obtained; it is not conditioned on their
relationship to their children. If the whereabouts of the parents is not
known legally, in other words, if they are legally dead, then it is not
necessary for the children to obtain their consent, obviously. It is not a
question of the child not knowing the present whereabouts of the parents,
it is a question of a legal thing--if the parents are alive, they must be


“It would, however, be very helpful for the friends to know that the
question which the above-mentioned missionary has raised in connection
with the marriage of Bahá’u’lláh and the provisions in the Aqdas regarding
the institution of marriage have been explained by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in a
Tablet which the Guardian hopes to have translated and published in
conjunction with the Aqdas. Moreover, as regards Bahá’u’lláh’s marriage,
it should be noted that His three marriages were all contracted before He
revealed His Book of Laws, and even before His declaration in Ba_gh_dád,
at a time when Bahá’í marriage laws had not yet been made known, and the
Revelation not yet disclosed.”


“Disapprove membership (in) Freemasonry.” “Any Bahá’í determined retain
membership (in) Freemasonry loses voting rights.”

“The directive regarding membership in Freemasonry should be carried out
by your Assembly in all areas under your Assembly’s jurisdiction.”


“There is nothing in the Teachings against leaving our bodies to Medical
Science. The only thing we should stipulate is that we do not wish to be
cremated, as it is against Bahá’í Law.”

“As many people make arrangements to leave their bodies to Medical Science
for investigation, he suggests that you inquire, either through some
lawyer friend or through some hospital, how you could do this and then
make the necessary provision in your will, stipulating that you wish your
body to be of service to mankind in death, and that, being a Bahá’í, you
request that your remains not be cremated and not be taken more than an
hour’s journey from the place you die.”

“The spirit has no more connection with the body after it departs, but as
the body was once the temple of the spirit, we Bahá’ís are taught that it
must be treated with respect.”


“Through meditation doors of deeper knowledge and inspiration may be
opened. Naturally, if one meditates as a Bahá’í he is connected with the
Source;... Meditation is very important, and the Guardian sees no reason
why the friends should not be taught to meditate, but they should guard
against superstitions or foolish ideas creeping into it.”


“Regarding your question as to the advisability of holding Bahá’í meetings
at a time coinciding with church meetings; the Guardian would advise the
friends to avoid such a coincidence, as otherwise many church people may
feel offended, and this may lead to unnecessary and even harmful
misunderstandings and developments which may injure the Cause and affect
its prestige in the eyes of the public. The friends should, under all
circumstances, be careful not to arouse unnecessarily any feelings of
religious antagonism.”


“...it is only too obvious that unless a member can attend regularly the
meetings of his local Assembly, it would be impossible for him to
discharge the duties incumbent upon him, and to fulfill his
responsibilities, as a representative of the community. Membership in a
Local Spiritual Assembly carries with it, indeed, an obligation and
capacity to remain in close touch with local Bahá’í activities, and
ability to attend regularly the sessions of the Assembly.”


“He feels sure this offering, expended in memory of your dear ones, will
rejoice their spirits, and aid them to progress in the world beyond.”


“Regarding persons whose condition has not been defined by the civil
authorities after medical diagnosis, the Assembly on the spot must
investigate every case that arises and, after consultation with experts,
deliver its verdict. Such a verdict, however, should, in important cases,
be preceded by consultation with the NSA. No doubt, the power of prayer is
very great, yet consultation with experts is enjoined by Bahá’u’lláh.
Should these experts believe that an abnormal case exists, the withholding
of voting rights is justified.”


“No change whatsoever (in) status (of) Bahá’ís (in) relation (to) active
military duty. No compromise (of) spiritual principles (of) Faith possible
however tense (the) situation, however aroused public opinion.”


“As there is neither an International Police Force nor any immediate
prospect of one coming into being, the Bahá’ís should continue to apply,
under all circumstances, for exemption from any military duties that
necessitate the taking of life. There is no justification for any change
of attitude on our part at the present time.”


“The Bahá’ís should deal with the members of all religious sects, however,
with the greatest tolerance and friendliness, and try to point out to them
the significance of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh to the world in this
Great Day. The Guardian would advise you to teach the Mormons, like
everyone else, the Faith, when you find them receptive. They have many
great principles and their teachings regarding charity, not drinking or
smoking, etc., are quite similar to ours and should form a point of common


“With regard to Munírih _Kh_ánum’s account of her life, concerning which
certain questions have been raised by one of the believers; what has been
written by Munírih _Kh_ánum herself in that account, and also the
references to the subject made by Nabíl in his Narrative should be taken
as the accurate standard and not what has been reported in Dr. Esslemont’s

135: MUSIC

“Music, as one of the arts, is a natural cultural development, and the
Guardian does not feel that there should be any cultivation of ‘Bahá’í
Music’ any more than we are trying to develop a Bahá’í school of painting
or writing. The believers are free to paint, write or compose as their
talents guide them. If music is written incorporating the Sacred Writings,
the friends are free to make use of it, but it should never be considered
a requirement at Bahá’í meetings to have such music. The farther away the
friends keep from any set forms, the better, for they must realize that
the Cause is absolutely universal, and what might seem a beautiful
addition to their mode of celebrating a Feast, etc., would perhaps fall on
the ears of people of another country as unpleasant sounds--and vice
versa. As long as they have music for its own sake it is all right, but
they should not consider it ‘Bahá’í Music’.”


“I wish to reaffirm in clear and categorical language, the principle
already enunciated upholding the supreme authority of the National
Assembly in all matters that affect the interests of the Faith in that
land. There can be no conflict of authority, no duality under any form or
circumstances in any sphere of Bahá’í jurisdiction whether local, national
or international. The National Assembly, however, although the sole
interpreter of its Declaration of Trust and By-Laws, is directly and
morally responsible if it allows any body or institution within its
jurisdiction to abuse its privileges or to decline in the exercise of its
rights and privileges. It is the trusted guardian and the mainspring of
the manifold activities and interests of every national community in the
Bahá’í world. It constitutes the sole link that binds these communities to
the International House of Justice, the supreme administrative body in the
Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh.”


“Anything whatsoever affecting the interests of the Cause and in which the
National Assembly as a body is involved should, if regarded as
unsatisfactory by Local Assemblies and individual believers, be
immediately referred to the National Assembly itself. Neither the general
body of the believers, nor any Local Assembly, nor even the delegates to
the annual Convention, should be regarded as having any authority to
entertain appeals against the decision of the National Assembly. Should
the matter be referred to the Guardian it will be his duty to consider it
with the utmost care and to decide whether the issues involved justify him
to consider it in person, or to leave it entirely to the discretion of the
National Assembly.

“This administrative principle which the Guardian is now restating and
emphasizing is so clear, so comprehensive and simple that no
misunderstanding as to its application, he feels, can possibly arise.
There are no exceptions whatever to this rule, and the Guardian would
deprecate any attempt to elaborate or dwell any further upon this
fundamental and clearly enunciated principle.”


“The N.S.A.’s final jurisdiction over both the National Teaching Committee
and the Regional Teaching Committees is certainly indisputable, and is of
the same nature and character as the authority to which it is entitled
over all other national committees.”


“Regarding the formation of Local Assemblies, the Guardian does not advise
any departure from the principle that every civil community should have
its own independent Assembly.”


“In connection with the formation of new Assemblies and the maintenance of
their Assembly status, the Guardian wishes to reaffirm the general
principle that only those who reside within the city limits of any given
locality have the right to either vote or be elected as member of the
Assembly, even though this may involve frequent dissolution of the
Assembly owing to insufficient number of members. It will, on the other
hand, serve as a stimulus to those outside these limits to establish a
group and eventually an Assembly of their own. This principle should be
closely adhered to, otherwise it will lead to confusion and overlapping.”


“The number nine, which in itself is the number of perfection, is
considered by the Bahá’ís as sacred, because it is symbolic of the
perfection of the Bahá’í Revelation which constitutes the ninth in the
line of existing religions, the latest and fullest Revelation which
mankind has ever known. The eighth is the religion of the Báb and the
remaining seven are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism,
Christianity, Islám, and the religion of the Sabaeans. These religions are
not the only true religions that have appeared in the world but are the
only ones still existing. There have always been Divine Prophets and
Messengers, to many of whom the Qur’án refers. But the only ones existing
are those mentioned above.”

“The Guardian feels that with intellectuals and students of religion the
question of exactly which are the nine existing religions is
controversial, and it would be better to avoid it. He does not want the
friends to be rigid in these matters, but use their judgment and tact,
sometimes one statement is exactly the right thing for one type of mind
and the wrong thing for another.

“Strictly speaking the 5-pointed star is the symbol of our Faith, as used
by the Báb and explained by Him. But the Guardian does not feel it is wise
or necessary to complicate our explanations of the Temple by adding this.”

“Nine is the highest digit, hence symbolizes comprehensiveness,
culminations; also, the reason it is used in the Temple’s form is because
9 has exact numerical value of ‘Bahá (in the numerology connected with the
Arabic alphabet) and ‘Bahá is the name of the Revealer of our Faith,
Bahá’u’lláh. The 9-pointed star is not a part of the teachings of our
Faith, but only used as an emblem representing ‘9’. In telling people of


give this as the reason the Temple has nine sides. This may have been an
idea of the architect, and a very pleasing idea, which can be mentioned in
passing, but the Temple has 9 sides because of the association of 9 with
perfection, unity and ‘Bahá.”


“As regards those Persian or Oriental non-believers who become genuinely
interested in the Cause in America, they can be admitted to study classes,
but every care should be taken by the Assemblies to fully test their
sincerity and the genuineness of their desire to join the Community before
they are given the necessary facilities that will enable them eventually
to be regarded as voting members of the Faith.”


“In this connection, the Guardian wishes to draw once more your attention
to the all-importance of his instructions to the Western believers
regarding association with Orientals. The friends in the West must be wide
awake, and be extremely cautious when dealing with Easterners,
particularly with those who in the name of the Cause desire to satisfy
their own desires and ambitions. The first step which they should take in
protecting themselves against such mischief-makers is to insist that they
should obtain proper credentials from the Assembly of the locality in
which they live. This measure, he feels, is absolutely essential and there
can be no exception whatever to it.”


“With reference to the absolute pacifists, or conscientious objectors to
war; their attitude, judged from the Bahá’í standpoint is quite
anti-social and due to its exaltation of the individual conscience leads
inevitably to disorder and chaos in society. Extreme pacifists are thus
very close to the anarchists, in the sense that both of these groups lay
an undue emphasis on the rights and merits of the individual. The Bahá’í
conception of social life is essentially based on the subordination of the
individual will to that of society. It neither suppresses the individual
nor does it exalt him to the point of making him an anti-social creature,
a menace to society. As in everything, it follows the ‘golden mean’. The
only way that society can function is for the minority to follow the will
of the majority.

“The other main objection to the conscientious objectors is that their
method of establishing peace is too negative. Non-cooperation is too
passive a philosophy to become an effective way for social reconstruction.
Their refusal to bear arms can never establish peace. There should first
be a spiritual revitalization which nothing, except the Cause of God, can
effectively bring to every man’s heart.”

145: PEACE

“...I might add that he does not believe any radiations of thought or
healing, from any group, is going to bring peace. Prayer, no doubt, will
help the world, but what it needs is to accept Bahá’u’lláh’s system so as
to build up the World Order on a new foundation, a divine foundation!”


“It is quite important that the Greatest Name or a picture of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
be placed in a dignified position. They should not be placed on the floor
nor, on the other hand, should they be held above the heads of the people
in the photograph. It would seem that the proper position would be for
them to be held about chest height.”


“Regarding the notes taken by pilgrims at Haifa. The Guardian has stated
that he is unwilling to sign the notes of any pilgrim, in order that the
literature consulted by the believers shall not be unduly extended... This
means that the notes of pilgrims do not carry the authority resident in
the Guardian’s letters written over his own signature. On the other hand,
each pilgrim brings back information and suggestions of a most precious
character, and it is the privilege of all the friends to share in the
spiritual results of these visits.”


“...Sometimes people strive all their lives to render outstanding service.
Here is the time and opportunity to render historic services; in fact the
most unique in history, aiding in the fulfillment of Daniel’s Prophecies
of the Last Day, and the 1335 days, when men are to be blessed by the
Glory of the Lord, covering the entire globe--which is the real goal of
the Ten Year Crusade.

“In other words, when we fulfill the Ten Year Crusade we will have brought
into fulfillment Daniel’s great prophecy of ’Blessed is he who waits and
comes to the 1335 days.’ What could be more wonderful than taking part in
the fulfillment of religious prophecy of over 3,000 years!”

“The pioneers themselves must realize that not only are they fulfilling
the wishes of Bahá’u’lláh, and doing that which the Master Himself said He
longed to do; namely, to go, if necessary on foot, and carry His Father’s
Message to all the regions of the earth; but they are enhancing the
prestige of the Faith to a remarkable degree in the eyes of the public,
and specially in the eyes of the officials. There is no doubt that the
rapid forward march of the Faith recently has attracted a far greater
measure of attention on the part of the thoughtful people, and people of
position in society and in educational fields, than has been the case for
almost one hundred years.

“Therefore, each pioneer must feel his responsibility very heavily, and
understand that his calling is far above the average service; and his duty
to remain at his post a very pressing one indeed.”


“The Guardian wishes me to draw the attention of the friends through you
that they should be very careful in their public utterance not to mention
any political figures ... either side with them or denounce them. This is
the first thing to bear in mind. Otherwise they will involve the friends
in political matters, which is definitely dangerous for the Cause.”


“Loyalty (to the) World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, security of its basic
institutions, both imperatively demand all its avowed supporters ... in
these days when sinister uncontrollable forces are deepening (the)
cleavage sundering peoples, nations, creeds (and) classes, (to) resolve,
despite (the) pressure (of) fast crystallizing public opinion, (to)
abstain individually and collectively, in word (and) action, informally as
well as in all official utterances and publications, from assigning blame,
taking sides, however indirectly, in recurring political crises now
agitating (and) ultimately engulfing human society. Grave apprehension
lest cumulative effect (of) such compromises (should) disintegrate (the)
fabric, clog (the) channel of grace that sustains (the) system of God’s
essentially supranational, supernatural order so laboriously evolved, so
recently established.”


“The attitude of the Bahá’ís must be two-fold, complete obedience to the
government of the country they reside in, and no interference whatsoever
in political matters or questions. What the Master’s statement really
means is obedience to a duly constituted government, whatever that
government may be in form. We are not the ones, as individual Bahá’ís, to
judge our government as just or unjust--for each believer would be sure to
hold a different viewpoint, and within our own Bahá’í fold a hotbed of
dissension would spring up and destroy our unity. We must build up our own
Bahá’í system, and leave the faulty systems of the world to go their way.
We cannot change them through becoming involved in them; on the contrary,
they will destroy us.”


“We should--every one of us--remain aloof, in heart and in mind, in words
and in deeds, from the political affairs and disputes of the Nations and
of Governments. We should keep ourselves away from such thoughts. We
should have no political connection with any of the parties and should
join no faction of these different and warring sects.

“Absolute impartiality in the matter of political parties should be shown
by words and by deeds, and the love of the whole humanity, whether a
Government or a nation, which is the basic teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, should
also be shown by words and by deeds...

“According to the exhortations of the Supreme Pen and the confirmatory
explanations of the Covenant of God Bahá’ís are in no way allowed to enter
into political affairs under any pretense of excuse; since such an action
brings about disastrous results and ends in hurting the Cause of God and
its intimate friends.”


“The cardinal principle which we must follow ... is obedience to the
government prevailing in any land in which we reside....

“We see therefore that we must do two things--Shun politics like the
plague, and be obedient to the Government in power in the place where we
reside... We must obey in all cases except where a spiritual principle is
involved, such as denying our Faith. For these spiritual principles we
must be willing to die. What we Bahá’ís must face is the fact that society
is disintegrating so rapidly that moral issues which were clear a half
century ago are now hopelessly confused and what is more, thoroughly mixed
up with battling political interests. That is why the Bahá’ís must turn
all their forces into the channel of building up the Bahá’í Cause and its
Administration. They can neither change nor help the world in any other
way at present. If they become involved in the issues the Governments of
the world are struggling over, they will be lost. But if they build up the
Bahá’í pattern they can offer it as a remedy when all else has failed.”


“Regarding the five steps of prayer outlined by the Guardian, and recorded
by Mrs. Moffett in her booklet, the ‘Call to Prayer’, these, he wishes me
to explain, are merely personal suggestions and need not, therefore, be
adopted strictly and universally by the believers.”


“In the matter of the use and distribution of prayer beads, in this and
other matters of secondary importance he does not wish that any hard and
fast rules be set up. The believers should not be required to use prayer
beads, nor should they be prevented from doing so, as the Teachings do not
contain any specific instruction on the subject.”


“The names of those cited in Bahá’u’lláh’s Prayer in the Dispensation are
quite correct as you gave them, (Abraham, Moses, Joseph, John the Baptist,
Christ, Muhammad, Imám Husayn, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.)

“The Prophets ‘regarded as one and the same person’ include the lesser
Prophets as well, and not merely those who bring a ‘Book’. The station is
different, but They are Prophets and Their nature thus different from that
of ours.

“In the prayer mentioned above Bahá’u’lláh identifies Himself with Imám
Husayn. This does not make him a Prophet, but his position was very
unique, and we know Bahá’u’lláh claims to be the ‘return’ of the Imám
Husayn. He, in other words, identifies His Spirit with these Holy Souls
gone before, that does not, of course, make Him in any way their
re-incarnation. Nor does it mean all of them were Prophets.”


“You have asked whether our prayers go beyond Bahá’u’lláh; It all depends
whether we pray to Him directly or through Him to God. We may do both, and
also can pray directly to God, but our prayers would certainly be more
effective and illuminating if they are addressed to Him through His
Manifestation Bahá’u’lláh.

“Under no circumstances, however, can we, while repeating the prayers,
insert the name Bahá’u’lláh where the word ‘God’ is used. This would be
tantamount to blasphemy.”

“In quoting prayers any part may be used, but should be quoted as it is,
however short.”


“He is indeed pleased to know that the Book of Prayers and Meditations by
Bahá’u’lláh has been out in time to enable the friends to read it during
the Fast, and he has every hope that the perusal of such a precious volume
will help to deepen more than any other publication, the spirit of
devotion and faith in the friends, and thus charge them with all the
spiritual power they require for the accomplishment of their tremendous
duties towards the Cause...”


“The daily prayers are to be said each one for himself, aloud or silent
makes no difference. There is no congregational prayer except that for the
dead. We read healing and other prayers in our meetings, but the daily
prayer is a personal obligation, so someone else reading it is not quite
the same thing as saying it for yourself.

“If you find you need to visualize someone when you pray, think of the
Master. Through Him you can address Bahá’u’lláh. Gradually try to think of
the qualities of the Manifestation, and in that way a mental form will
fade out, for after all the body is not the thing, His Spirit is there and
is the essential, everlasting element.”


“The daily obligatory prayers are three in number. The shortest one
consists of a single verse which has to be recited once in every
twenty-four hours and at midday. The medium (prayer) which begins with the
words: ‘The Lord is witness that there is none other God but He,’ has to
be recited three times a day, in the morning, at noon and in the evening.
The long prayer which is the most elaborate of the three has to be recited
once in every twenty-four hours, and at any time one feels inclined to do

“The believer is entirely free to choose any one of those three prayers
but is under the obligation of reciting one of them, and in accordance
with any specific directions with which they may be accompanied.

“These daily obligatory prayers, together with a few other specific ones,
such as the Healing Prayer, the Tablet of Ahmad, have been invested by
Bahá’u’lláh with a special potency and significance, and should therefore
be accepted as such and be recited by the believers with unquestioned
faith and confidence, that through them they may enter into a much closer
communion with God, and identify themselves more fully with His Laws and


“The healing prayers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh can be effective even though
used by non-believers. But their effectiveness is of course greater in the
case of those who fully accept the Revelation.”


“Regarding your question as to the changing of pronouns in Bahá’í prayers:
The Guardian does not approve of such changes, either in the specific
prayers or in any others. They should be read as printed without changing
a single word.”


“Regarding the solution of the racial problem; the believers should of
course realize that the principle of the oneness of mankind which is the
cornerstone of the message of Bahá’u’lláh is wholly incompatible with all
forms of racial prejudice. Loyalty to this foundation principle of the
Faith is the paramount duty of every believer and should be therefore
wholehearted and unqualified. For a Bahá’í, racial prejudice, in all its
forms, is simply a negation of Faith, an attitude wholly incompatible with
the very spirit and actual teachings of the Cause.

“But while the friends should faithfully and courageously uphold this
Bahá’í principle of the essential unity of all human races, yet in the
methods they adopt for its application and further realization on the
social plane they should act with tact, wisdom and moderation. These two
attitudes are by no means exclusive. Bahá’ís do not believe that the
spread of the Cause and its principles and teachings can be effected by
means of radical and violent methods. While they are loyal to all those
teachings, yet they believe in the necessity of resorting to peaceful and
friendly means for the realization of their aims.

“As regards the meaning of the passage on page 188 of the Gleanings it is
an emphasis by Bahá’u’lláh on the importance of maintaining differences of
station and classes in society and does not refer to the question of


“After Bahá’u’lláh many Prophets will, no doubt, appear but they will be
under His Shadow. Although they may abrogate the laws of this Dispensation
in accordance with the needs and requirements of the age in which they
appear, they nevertheless draw their spiritual force from this mighty
Revelation. The Faith of Bahá’u’lláh constitutes, indeed, the stage of
maturity in the development of mankind. His appearance has released such
spiritual forces which will continue to animate, for many long years to
come, the world in its development. Whatever progress may be achieved, in
later ages, after the unification of the whole human race is achieved,
will be but improvement in the machinery of the world. For the machinery
itself has been already created by Bahá’u’lláh. The task of continually
improving and perfecting this machinery is one which later Prophets will
be called upon to achieve. They will thus move and work within the orbit
of the Bahá’í Cycle.”


“There is nothing in our teachings about Freud and his method. Psychiatry
treatment in general is no doubt an important contribution to medicine,
but we must believe it is still a growing rather than a perfected science.
As Bahá’u’lláh has urged us to avail ourselves of the help of good
physicians Bahá’ís are certainly not only free to turn to psychiatry for
assistance but should, when available, do so. This does not mean
psychiatrists are always wise or always right; it means we are free to
avail ourselves of the best medicine has to offer us.”


“With reference to psychic phenomena referred to in your letter; these, in
most cases, are an indication of a deep psychological disturbance. The
friends should avoid as much as possible giving undue consideration to
such matters.”


“Those who have never had any opportunity of hearing of the Faith but who
lived good lives will no doubt be treated with the greatest love and mercy
in the next world, and reap their full rewards.”


“We have nothing in our Bahá’í Writings about the so-called Prophecies of
the Pyramids; so he (the Guardian) does not think you need attach any
importance to them.”


“The Guardian feels that any communications addressed to international
figures of this nature, particularly in connection with political
proposals of any one group, should not be written unless approved by him.
He feels matters of this type so important that he does not wish such
communications sent without his prior consideration and approval. It may
lead to quite difficult and embarrassing situations, especially when the
letters are made public...”


“As to the question raised by the Spiritual Assembly of Los Angeles
concerning the best English translation of the Qur’án, the Guardian would
recommend ‘Sales’ translation which is the most accurate rendering
available, and is the most widespread.”


“With regard to the school’s program (Louhelen) for the next summer; the
Guardian would certainly advise, and even urge the friends to make a
thorough study of the Qur’án, as the knowledge of this sacred Scripture is
absolutely indispensable for every believer who wishes to adequately
understand and intelligently read, the writings of Bahá’u’lláh. Although
there are very few persons among Western Bahá’ís who are capable of
handling such a course in a scholarly way, the mere lack of such competent
teachers should encourage and stimulate the believers to get better
acquainted with the Sacred Scriptures of Islám. In this way, there will
gradually appear some distinguished Bahá’ís who will be so well versed in
the teachings of Islám as to be able to guide the believers in their study
of that religion.”


“It is certainly most difficult to thoroughly grasp all the Súrihs of the
Qur’án, as it requires a detailed knowledge of the social, religious and
historical background of Arabia at the time of the appearance of the
Prophet. The believers can not possibly hope, therefore, to understand the
Súrihs after the first or even second or third reading. They have to study
them again and again, ponder over their meaning, with the help of certain
commentaries and explanatory notes as found, for instance, in the
admirable translation made by SALE, endeavor to acquire as clear and
correct understanding of their meaning and import as possible. This is
naturally a slow process, but future generations of believers will
certainly come to grasp it. For the present, the Guardian agrees, that it
would be easier and more helpful to study the Book according to subjects,
and note verse by verse and also in the light of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s interpretation which throw such floods of light on the
whole of the Qur’án.”


“Concerning membership in non-Bahá’í religious associations, the Guardian
wishes to re-emphasize the general principle already laid down in his
communications to your Assembly and also to the individual believers that
no Bahá’í who wishes to be a whole hearted and sincere upholder of the
distinguishing principles of the Cause can accept full membership in any
non-Bahá’í ecclesiastical organization. For such an act would necessarily
imply only a partial acceptance of the Teachings and Laws of the Faith,
and an incomplete recognition of its independent status, and would thus be
tantamount to an act of disloyalty to the verities it enshrines. For it is
only too obvious that in most of its fundamental assumptions the Cause of
Bahá’u’lláh is completely at variance with outworn creeds, ceremonies, and
institutions. To be a Bahá’í and at the same time accept membership in
another religious body is simply an act of contradiction that no sincere
and logically-minded person can possibly accept. To follow Bahá’u’lláh
does not mean accepting some of His teachings and rejecting the rest.
Allegiance to His Cause must be uncompromising and whole-hearted. During
the days of the Master the Cause was still in a stage that made such an
open and sharp disassociation between it and other religious
organizations, and particularly the Muslim Faith not only inadvisable but
practically impossible to establish. But since His passing, events
throughout the Bahá’í World and particularly in Egypt where the Muslim
religious courts have formally testified to the independent character of
the Faith, have developed to a point that have made such an assertion of
the independence of the Cause not only highly desirable but absolutely


“‘From it (the earth) have We created you’, etc., this is a verse from the
Qur’án and the quotation mark has been wrongly omitted from the text and
should be added after ‘time’. Bahá’u’lláh in quoting this passage seeks to
refute the argument of the Muslims, who attach a purely literal
interpretation to this verse of the Qur’án, and therefore consider it as
implying bodily resurrection. To these Muslims, He says, that you who
literally believe that the human body will return to dust and will be
raised from it again, and therefore attach so much importance to this
mortal world, how then can you wax so proud, and boast over things which
are but perishable and consequently void of any true and lasting value.”


“In regard to the use of ringstones and burial stones, the Guardian leaves
this matter at present entirely to the discretion of the believers, and
has no objection if your Assembly provides facilities for their purchase
by the friends. When the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is published the necessary
instructions will be given regarding this matter.”


“He fervently hopes that through the earnest and sustained efforts of your
committee these annual gatherings will acquire increasing importance in
the eyes of the public, and will constitute an effective medium for the
dissemination of the Teachings. He feels that in your next summer meetings
continued emphasis should be laid upon the teaching of the Administration,
especially in its relation to the outside world, so as to impress the
non-Bahá’í attendants at the school with the nature, character, and
world-significance of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh.”


“The basic purpose of all Bahá’í Summer Schools, whether in East or West,
is to give the believers the opportunity to acquaint themselves, not only
by mere study but through whole-hearted and active collaboration in
various Bahá’í activities with the essentials of the administration and in
this way enable them to become efficient and able promoters of the Cause.
The teaching of the Administration is therefore, an indispensable feature
of every Bahá’í Summer School and its special significance can be better
understood if we realize the great need of every believer today for a more
adequate understanding of the social principles and laws of the Faith.”

“How wonderful it would be if all the friends could arrange to spend at
least a few days in one of these summer schools and take an active part in
their development. These centers could attract many souls if properly
arranged and made interesting; those non-Bahá’ís who visit them will then
have some time to get into the spirit of the place and make a study of the
Cause... We constantly receive letters from people who became Bahá’í by
visiting one of these centers and obtaining the Message there.”


“He feels that, although your desire to partake actively of the dangers
and miseries afflicting so many millions of people today, is natural, and
a noble impulse, there can be no comparison between the value of Bahá’í
work and any other form of service to humanity.

“If the Bahá’ís could evaluate their work properly they would see that
whereas other forms of relief work are superficial in character,
alleviating the sufferings and ills of men for a short time at best, the
work they are doing is to lay the foundation of a new Spiritual Order in
the world founded on the Word of God, operating according to the Laws He
has laid down for this age. No one else can do this work except those who
have fully realized the meaning of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh, where as
almost any courageous, sincere person can engage in relief work, etc.

“The believers are building a refuge for mankind. This is their supreme,
sacred task and they should devote every moment they can to this task.”


“The seven lights of Unity will not necessarily come in the order given. A
product of the second may well be universal culture.”


“Concerning the idea of the Bahá’í World Order and the proper emphasis
which should be laid on the social aspect of the Faith; the Guardian feels
the necessity for all teachers to stress the fact that the World Order of
Bahá’u’lláh can, under no circumstances, be divorced from the spiritual
principles and teachings of the Cause; that the social laws and
institutions of the Faith are inseparably bound up and closely interwoven
with the moral and spiritual principles enunciated by Bahá’u’lláh, Who,
Himself, indeed, has time and again emphasized the underlying oneness and
the identity of purpose of all His spiritual, doctrinal, and social
teachings. The Friends, while emphasizing both of these aspects, should,
in particular, point out that they constitute parts of one and the same
plan, and elements of a single, divine and world-embracing system.”


“As we suffer these misfortunes we must remember that the Prophets of God
Themselves were not immune from these things which men suffer. They knew
sorrow, illness and pain too. They rose above these things through Their
spirits, and that is what we must try and do too, when afflicted. The
troubles of this world pass, and what we have left is what we have made of
our souls; so it is to this we must look--to becoming more spiritual,
drawing nearer to God, no matter what our human minds and bodies go


“Definite courses should be given along the different phases of the Bahá’í
Faith and in a manner that will stimulate the students to proceed in their
studies privately once they return home, for the period of a few days is
not sufficient to learn everything. They have to be taught the habit of
studying the Cause constantly, for the more we read the Words the more
will the truth they contain be revealed to us.”


“He (the Guardian) thinks the less time spent on such topics as ‘Current
Events in the light of the Bahá’í Faith’, and ‘The Bahá’í Faith and Modern
Science’ the better. There is no harm in having an evening lecture by a
qualified speaker once on each of these subjects, but he certainly does
not feel that much time should be spent on them, for the very simple
reason that there is so little that can be said on the subject.”

“The Bahá’ís must realize that they belong to a world-wide Order, and not
an American civilization. They must try and introduce the Bahá’í
atmosphere of life and thought into their Summer Schools, rather than
making the Summer School an episode and a pleasant vacation period, during
which they learn a little more about the Faith.”


“The Supreme Tribunal is an aspect of a world Superstate; the exact nature
of its relationship to that state we cannot at present foresee. Supreme
Tribunal is the correct translation; it will be a contributing factor in
establishing the Lesser Peace. There is no statement in the teachings
indicating that the Lesser Peace will definitely be established by 1957 or


“The work of collecting and publishing the Tablets is one of the most
important tasks that this generation has to undertake for upon it depends
our true understanding of the Cause and its principles. Only Tablets with
the Master’s signature and in the original tongue should be recognised.
Any translation or copies of them fail having real authority. This shows
the importance of collecting the original Tablets that bear the Master’s


“In connection with the problems facing the friends in their teaching
work; these, the Guardian is well aware, are by no means easy to overcome,
specially in view of the limited number and resources of the believers.
But in the field of Bahá’í service, as the history of the Cause abundantly
demonstrates, there is no obstacle that can be said to be unsurmountable.
Every difficulty will, in due time, be solved. But continued and
collective effort is also needed. The Bahá’í teacher should not get
discouraged at the consciousness of the limitations within or without him.
He should rather persevere, and be confident, that no matter how numerous
and perplexing the difficulties that confront him may appear, he is
continually assisted and guided through Divine Confirmations. He should
consider himself as a mere instrument in the Hands of God, and should,
therefore, cease looking at his own merits.

“The first and most important qualification of a Bahá’í Teacher is,
indeed, unqualified loyalty and attachment to the Cause. Knowledge is, of
course essential; but compared to devotion it is secondary in importance.”


“Regarding the statement made by the Guardian ... concerning the fact that
believers can serve both as teachers and administrators. Shoghi Effendi
would approve your Assembly making this fact known to all the friends. For
although it is essential for the believers to maintain always a clear
distinction between teaching and administrative duties and functions, yet
they should be careful not to be led to think that these two types of
Bahá’í activity are mutually exclusive in their nature and as such cannot
be exercised by one and the same person. As a matter of fact, the friends
should be encouraged to serve in both the teaching and the administrative
fields of Bahá’í service. But as there are always some who are more
specially gifted along one of these two lines of activity it would seem
more desirable that they should concentrate their efforts in acquiring the
full training for that type of work for which they are best suited by
nature. Such a specialization has the advantage of saving time and of
leading to greater efficiency, particularly at this early stage of our
development. The great danger, however, lies in that by so doing the
friends may tend to develop a sort of class consciousness which is
fundamentally contrary to both the spirit and actual teachings of the

“It is precisely in order to overcome such a danger that the Guardian
thinks it advisable that the friends should be encouraged to serve from
time to time in both the teaching and the administrative spheres of Bahá’í
work, but only whenever they feel fit to do so.”


“Regarding the principle that the Cause must not be allowed to center
around any Bahá’í personality, the Guardian wishes to make it clear that
it was never intended that well qualified individual teachers should not
receive from local Assemblies every encouragement and facilities to
address the public. What the Guardian meant was that the personality and
popularity of such a speaker should never be allowed to eclipse the
authority or detract from the influence of the body of the elected
representatives in every local community. Such an individual should not
only seek the approval, advice and assistance of the body that represents
the Cause in his locality, but should strive to attribute any credit he
may obtain, to the collective wisdom and capacity of the Assembly under
whose jurisdiction he performs his services. Assemblies and not
individuals constitute the bedrock on which the Administration is built.
Everything else must be subordinated to, and be made to serve and advance
the best interests of these elected custodians and promoters of the laws
of Bahá’u’lláh.”


“The Cause of God is developing rapidly in the virgin areas of the
Crusade; but on the home front we seem to be not so successful. No doubt
this is due to the fact that the friends at home are not as diligently
taking advantage of every teaching opportunity as the pioneers do in
foreign lands. Success will crown the efforts of the friends on the home
front when they meditate on the teaching, pray fervently for divine
confirmations for their work, study the teachings so they may carry the
spirit to the seeker, and then act,--and above all persevere in action.
When these steps are followed, and the teaching work carried on
sacrificially and with devoted enthusiasm, the Faith will spread rapidly.”


“...Without the spirit of real love for Bahá’u’lláh, for His Faith and its
Institutions, and the believers for each other, the Cause can never really
bring in large numbers of people. For it is not preaching any rules the
world wants, but love and action...”


“Shoghi Effendi would urge every Bahá’í who feels the urge to exercise his
right of teaching unofficially the Cause, to keep in close touch with the
Local Spiritual Assembly of the locality in which he is working. The Local
Spiritual Assembly, while reserving for itself the right to control such
activities on the part of individual Bahá’ís, should do its utmost to
encourage such teachers and to put at their disposal whatever facilities
they would need in such circumstances. Should any differences arise, the
National Spiritual Assembly would naturally have to intervene and adjust


“In the matter of teaching, as repeatedly and emphatically stated,
particularly in his ‘Advent of Divine Justice’, the Guardian does not wish
the believers to make the slightest discrimination, even though this may
result in provoking opposition or criticism from any individual, class or
institution. The Call of Bahá’u’lláh, being universal, should be addressed
with equal force to all the peoples, classes and nations of the world,
irrespective of any religious, racial, political or class distinction or


“We all have our petty material obstacles in this life. We cannot totally
get rid of them. The best thing to do, after all our efforts have failed
to deliver us, is to concentrate on that which can alone bring real
happiness and peace to our heart. And you should be thankful to God for
having enabled you to recognize and accept His Faith. For this is,
assuredly, the only source of joy and consolation you can have in your
moments of suffering. Is there anything more worthwhile to work for than
the Teachings of the Message?”


“The invisible battalions of the Concourse on High, are mustered, in
serried ranks, ready to rush their reinforcements to the aid of the
vanguard of Bahá’u’lláh’s crusaders in the hour of their greatest need,
and in anticipation of that Most Great, that Wondrous Jubilee in the
joyfulness of which both heaven and earth will partake.”


“He approves of your desire to teach the principles of the Faith through
radio. But he urges you to do all you can to always, however small the
reference you are able to make to it may be, clearly identify or associate
what you are giving out with Bahá’u’lláh. The time is too short now for us
Bahá’ís to be able to first educate humanity and then tell it that the
source is this new World Faith. For their own spiritual protection people
must hear of the name Bahá’í--then, if they turn blindly away they cannot
excuse themselves by saying they never even knew it existed! For dark days
seem still ahead of the world, and outside this Divine Refuge the people
will not, we firmly believe, find inner conviction, peace and security. So
they have a right to at least hear of the Cause as such.”


“In connection with your teaching work: What the Guardian wishes you to
particularly emphasize in all your talks is the supreme necessity for all
individuals and nations in this day to adopt in its entirety the social
program given by Bahá’u’lláh for the reconstruction of the religious,
economic and political life of mankind. He wishes you to explain and
analyze the elements that help in raising this Divine World Order in the
light of the present-day events and conditions in the world. Special
stress, he feels, should be laid on the impending necessity of
establishing a super-national, and sovereign world state, as the one
described by Bahá’u’lláh. With the world becoming increasingly subject to
tumults and convulsions never experienced before, the realization of such
a necessity is entering into the consciousness of not only the wise and
learned, but of the common people as well. The believers should,
therefore, seize this opportunity to make a supreme effort to present, in
convincing and eloquent language, those social and humanitarian teachings
of the Faith which we believe to constitute the sole panacea for the
innumerable ills afflicting our present-day world.”


“Indeed to bring this message to mankind in its darkest hour of need is
the paramount duty of every believer. All the agony, the suffering,
privation and spiritual blindness afflicting people today everywhere in
the world, to a greater or lesser degree, is because they are unaware of,
or indifferent to, the Remedy God has sent them. Only those who are aware
of it can carry its healing knowledge to others, so that each Bahá’í has
an inescapable and sacred duty to perform.”


“The believers ought to give the message even to those who do not seem
ready for it, because they can never judge the real extent to which the
Word of God can influence the hearts and minds of the people, even those
who appear to lack any power of receptivity to the teachings.”


“Regarding your question about the need for greater unity among the
friends, there is no doubt that this is so, and the Guardian feels that
one of the chief instruments for promoting it is to teach the Bahá’ís
themselves, in classes and through precepts, that love of God, and
consequently of men, is the essential foundation of every religion, our
own included. A greater degree of love will produce a greater unity,
because it enables people to bear with each other, to be patient and


“The most important thing for the believers is, of course, to be united
and to really love each other for the sake of God, (Otherwise it is not
possible to love everyone). However, if communities wait until love and
complete harmony are established before teaching, the teaching work will
come to a standstill. Both sides must be cultivated; whilst actively
teaching the friends must themselves be taught and deepened in the spirit
of the Faith, which brings love and unity.”


“What the Cause now requires is not so much a group of highly cultured and
intellectual people who can adequately present its Teachings, but a number
of devoted, sincere and loyal supporters, who, in utter disregard of their
own weaknesses and limitations, and with hearts afire with the love of
God, forsake their all for the sake of spreading and establishing His
Faith. In other words, what is mostly needed nowadays is a Bahá’í pioneer
and not so much a Bahá’í philosopher or scholar. For the Cause is not a
system of philosophy; it is essentially a way of life, a religious faith
that seeks to unite all people on a common basis of mutual understanding
and love, and in a common devotion to God.

“Bahá’í scholars and writers will, no doubt, gradually appear, and will as
promised by Bahá’u’lláh lend a unique support to the Faith. But in the
meantime, we should not tarry, or slacken in our efforts.”


“I wish to urge the necessity of concentrating at your next summer
session, on the systematic study of the early history and principles of
the Faith, on public speaking, and on a thorough discussion, both formally
and informally, of various aspects of the Cause. These I regard as
essential preliminaries to a future intensive campaign of teaching in
which the rising generation must engage, if the spread of the Cause is to
be assured in that land.”


“I cannot refrain from adding a few words to renew and reaffirm my fervent
plea to you, and through you to every individual member of the American
Bahá’í Community, to exert the utmost effort in order to further the Cause
of Teaching throughout the American Continent. Every possible assistance,
whether moral, financial, or administrative, should be continuously,
generously, and systematically extended to this most urgent, this sacred
and meritorious Cause. My heart yearns to learn of any speedy and
effective action which the valiant members of that community may
determine, whether collectively or severally, to undertake. The invisible
hosts of the Abhá Kingdom are arrayed and ready to rush forth and ensure
the triumph of every stout-hearted and persevering herald of the Faith of


“Regarding the whole manner of teaching the Faith in the South; the
Guardian feels that, although the greatest consideration should be shown
the feelings of white people in the South whom we are teaching, under no
circumstances should we discriminate in their favour, consider them more
valuable to the Cause than their Negro fellow-southerners, or single them
out to be taught the Message first. To pursue such a policy, however
necessary and even desirable it may superficially seem, would be to
compromise the true spirit of our Faith, which permits us to make no such
distinctions in offering its tenets to the world. The Negro and white
races should be offered, simultaneously, on a basis of equality, the
Message of Bahá’u’lláh. Rich or poor, known or unknown, should be
permitted to hear of this Holy Faith in this, humanity’s greatest hour of

“This does not mean that we should go against the laws of the State,
pursue a radical course which will stir up trouble, and cause
misunderstanding... Even in places where the two races can meet together
in the South, he feels it would be, in certain cases, preferable to teach
them separately until they are fully confirmed and then bring them


“The same thing is true of teaching methods; no system, for teachers to
practice, exists. But obviously the more people know about the teachings
and the Cause, the better they will be to present the subject. If some
people find that prayer and placing all their trust in God, releases in
them a flood of inspiration, they should be left free to pursue this
method if it is productive of results.

“The inspiration received through meditation is of a nature that one
cannot measure or determine. God can inspire into our minds things that we
had no previous knowledge of, if He desires to do so.

“We cannot clearly distinguish between personal desire and guidance, but
if the way opens, when we have sought guidance, then we may presume God is
helping us.”


“As regard the chanting of Tablets in the Temple, Shoghi Effendi wishes in
this connection to urge the friends to avoid all forms of rigidity and
uniformity in matters of worship. There is no objection to the recital or
chanting of prayers in the Oriental language, but there is also no
obligation whatsoever of adopting such a form of prayer at any devotional
service in the auditorium of the Temple. It should neither be required nor
prohibited. The important thing that should always be borne in mind is
that with the exception of certain specific obligatory prayers,
Bahá’u’lláh has given us no strict or special rulings in matters of
worship, whether in the Temple or elsewhere. Prayer is essentially a
communion between man and God, and as such transcends all ritualistic
forms and formulae.”


“Ultimately all the battle of life is within the individual. No amount of
organization can solve the inner problems or produce or prevent, as the
case may be, victory or failure at a crucial moment. In such times as
these particularly, individuals are torn by great forces at large in the
world and, we see some weak ones strong, and strong ones fail--we can only
try, through loving advice, as your Committee has done, to bring about the
act on the part of the believer which will be for the highest good of the
Cause. Because obviously something bad for the Cause cannot be the highest
good of the individual Bahá’í.”


“What the Guardian was referring to was the Theocratic systems, such as
the Catholic Church and the Caliphate, which are not divinely given as
systems, but man-made and yet, having partly derived from the teachings of
Christ and Muhammad are, in a sense, theocracies. The Bahá’í theocracy, on
the contrary, is both divinely ordained as a system and, of course, based
on the teachings of the Prophet Himself... Theophany is used in the sense
of Dispensation...”


“In regard to your question regarding the use of the Greatest Name on
tombstones of Bahá’ís, the Guardian considers this too sacred to be placed
in such a position in general use, and the friends should not use it on
their tombstones. They can use quotations from the Teachings, if they wish
to, but not the Greatest Name. Naturally, if anyone has already used it,
it does not matter.”


“Approve star for graves.” Cable of October 22, 1954.


“...the faithful spelling of which by all the Western friends will avoid
confusion in future, and insure in this matter a uniformity which is
greatly needed at present in all Bahá’í literature... I feel confident
that all the friends will from now on follow this system and adhere
scrupulously and at all times to this code in all their writings.

“The preparation of Bahá’í articles, committee reports, etc., should
therefore employ the system of transliteration which the Guardian has


“As regards your question concerning the membership of the Universal House
of Justice, there is a Tablet from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in which He definitely
states that the membership of the Universal House is confined to men and
that the wisdom of it will be fully revealed in the future. In the local,
as well as the National Houses of Justice, however, women have the full
right of membership. It is therefore, only to the International House that
they cannot be elected. The Bahá’ís should accept this statement of the
Master in a spirit of deep faith, confident that there is a divine
guidance and wisdom behind it, which will be gradually unfolded to the
eyes of the world.”

“Regarding your question, the Master said the wisdom of having no women on
the International House of Justice, would become manifest in the future.
We have no other indication than this.

“At present there are women on the International Council, and this will
continue as long as it exists, but when the International House of Justice
is elected, there will only be men on it, as this is the law of the


“Regarding your question about vaccination:

“These are technical matters which have not been specifically mentioned in
the Teachings, and consequently, the Guardian cannot make any statement
about them. No doubt medical science will progress tremendously as time
goes by and the treatment of disease becomes more perfect.”


“There is a fundamental difference between Divine Revelation as vouchsafed
by God to His Prophets, and the spiritual experiences and visions which
individuals may have. The latter should, under no circumstances, be
construed as constituting an infallible source of guidance, even for the
person experiencing them.”


“The friends may vote, if they can do it, without identifying themselves
with one party or another. To enter the arena of party politics is surely
detrimental to the best interests of the Faith and will harm the Cause. It
remains for the individuals to so use their right to vote as to keep aloof
from party politics, and always bear in mind that they are voting on the
merits of the individual, rather than because he belongs to one party or
another. The matter must be made perfectly clear to the individuals, who
will be left free to exercise their discretion and judgment. But if a
certain person does enter into party politics and labors for the
ascendency of one party over another, and continues to do it against the
expressed appeals and warnings of the Assembly, then the Assembly has the
right to refuse him the right to vote in Bahá’í elections.”


“I feel I must reaffirm the vital importance and necessity of the right of
voting--a sacred responsibility of which no adult recognized believer
should be deprived, unless he is associated with a community that has not
as yet been in a position to establish a Local Assembly. This
distinguishing right which the believer possesses, however, does not carry
with it nor does it imply an obligation to cast his vote, if he feels that
the circumstances under which he lives do not justify or allow him to
exercise that right intelligently and with understanding. This is a matter
which should be left to the individual to decide himself according to his
own conscience and discretion.”


“Concerning your question as to the status of those individuals whom the
Local Assembly or the N.S.A. have considered it necessary to deprive of
the voting right and to suspend from local meetings and gatherings; such
action which Local and National Assemblies have been empowered to take
against such recalcitrant members, however justified and no matter how
severe, should under no circumstances be considered as implying the
complete expulsion of the individuals affected from the Cause. The
suspension of voting and other administrative rights of an individual,
always conditional and therefore temporary, can never have such far
reaching implications, since it constitutes merely an administrative
sanction; whereas his expulsion or ex-communication from the Faith, which
can be effected by the Guardian alone in his capacity as the supreme
spiritual head of the community, has far-reaching spiritual implications
affecting the very soul of that believer. The former, as already stated,
is an administrative sanction, whereas the latter is essentially
spiritual, involving not only the particular relationship of a believer to
his local or National Assembly, but his very spiritual existence in the
Cause. It follows, therefore, that a believer can continue calling himself
a Bahá’í even though he may cease to be a voting member of the community.
But in case he is excluded from the body of the Cause by an act of the
Guardian he ceases to be a believer and cannot possibly identify himself
even nominally with the Faith.”


“If the believers could properly evaluate the work they are doing they
would be astonished at its importance, but they are in the position of not
being able to see the forest for the trees; they are too close to it to
realize its true import.”


“With reference to Bahá’u’lláh’s command concerning the engagement of the
believers in some sort of profession; the teachings are most emphatic on
this matter, particularly the statement in the Aqdas to this effect which
makes it quite clear that idle people who lack the desire to work can have
no place in the new World Order. As a corollary of this principle,
Bahá’u’lláh further states that mendicity should not only be discouraged
but entirely wiped out from the face of society. It is the duty of those
who are in charge of the organization of society to give every individual
the opportunity of acquiring the necessary talent in some kind of
profession, and also the means of utilizing such a talent, both for its
own sake and for the sake of earning the means of his livelihood. Every
individual, no matter how handicapped and limited he may be, is under the
obligation of engaging in some work or profession, for work, especially
when performed in the spirit of service, is according to Bahá’u’lláh, a
form of worship. It has not only a utilitarian purpose, but has a value in
itself, because it draws us nearer to God, and enables to better grasp His
purpose for us in this world. It is obvious, therefore, that the
inheritance of wealth cannot make anyone immune from daily work. As to the
question of retirement from work for individuals who have reached a
certain age, this is a matter on which the International House of Justice
will have to legislate as there are no provisions in the Aqdas concerning


“He feels that the statement which your assembly made in your letter to
him ... regarding Bahá’ís cooperating with peace and world unity
conferences, covers the subject adequately. There is no reason to draw a
line of demarcation as to whether the type of world federation being
promoted by a certain society involves governments or peoples. The point
is that if it is not allied to any particular political faction, and is
not either Eastern or Western in its projects, the Bahá’ís may appear as
speakers on its platform and give it moral support.”


“The ‘Year Nine’ is an abbreviation of 1269 A.H. The beginning of the Year
Nine occurred about two months after His (Bahá’u’lláh’s) imprisonment in
that dungeon. We do not know the exact time He received this first
intimation... We therefore regard the entire Year Nine as a Holy Year, and
the emphasis should be placed ... on the entire year, which started in
October, 1852. This means our Centenary Year of Celebration will be from
October, 1952 to October, 1953.”

221: YOUTH

“He quite agrees that the dangers facing the modern youth are becoming
increasingly grave, and call for immediate solution. But, as experience
clearly shows, the remedy to this truly sad and perplexing situation is
not to be found in traditional and ecclesiastical religion. The dogmatism
of the Church has been discarded once for all. What can control youth and
save it from the pitfalls of the crass materialism of the age is the power
of a genuine, constructive and living Faith such as the one revealed to
the world by Bahá’u’lláh. Religion as in the past, is still the world’s
sole hope, but not that form of religion which our ecclesiastical leaders
strive vainly to preach. Divorced from true religion, morals lose their
effectiveness and cease to guide and control man’s individual and social
life. But when true religion is combined with true ethics, then moral
progress becomes a possibility and not a mere ideal.

“The need of our modern youth is for such a type of ethics founded on pure
religious faith. Not until these two are rightly combined and brought into
full action can there be any hope for the future of the race.”

“The world that lies ahead of us after this war is going to be in a
terrible condition, and if the believers are going to accomplish their
duty and present the Divine Solution to mankind, they must prepare
themselves for the great tasks that lie ahead. This particularly applies
to Bahá’í youth. Young men and women in the Faith must be deep and
thoughtful scholars of its teachings, so that they can teach in a way that
will convince people that all the problems facing them have a remedy. They
must grasp the Administration, so that they can wisely and efficiently
administer the ever-growing affairs of the Cause; and they must exemplify
the Bahá’í way of living. All this is not easy--but the Guardian is always
greatly encouraged to see the spirit animating such young believers as
yourself. He has high hopes of what your generation will accomplish.”


“Regarding the age of fifteen fixed by Bahá’u’lláh: This relates only to
purely spiritual functions and obligations and is not related to the
degree of administrative capacity and fitness which is a totally different
thing, and is, for the present, fixed at twenty-one.”

“Bahá’í youth under twenty-one may serve on Committees.

“The question of young Bahá’ís being permitted to serve on committees
other than the Youth Committee has been raised in a number of letters
recently, and in considering the matter he felt that Bahá’í young people
under twenty-one should not be denied the privilege of committee work.
Though they cannot be voting members of Bahá’í communities (or exercise
the electoral vote at all until they reach that age), and though they
cannot, likewise, be elected to Assemblies, there is no reason why they
should not serve the Cause on various committees as all committees,
national or local, are subordinate to Assemblies and their members not
elected but appointed, and appointed by Assemblies. We have many devoted
and talented young believers who can be of great assistance to the Cause
even though not yet legally of age.”

“This Cause, although it embraces with equal esteem people of all ages,
has a special message and mission for the youth of your generation. It is
their charter for their future, their hope, their guarantee of better days
to come. Therefore the Guardian is especially happy that the young Bahá’ís
are active in the pioneer work.”

“The importance of young Bahá’ís to become thoroughly steeped in every
branch of the teachings can not be over-emphasized, as they have great
teaching tasks ahead of them to accomplish.”


“The problem with which you are faced is one which concerns and seriously
puzzles many of our present-day youth. How to attain spirituality is
indeed a question to which every young man and woman must sooner or later
try to find a satisfactory answer. It is precisely because no such
satisfactory answer has been given or found, that the modern youth finds
itself bewildered, and is being consequently carried away by the
materialistic forces that are so powerfully undermining the foundations of
man’s moral and spiritual life.

“Indeed the chief reason for the evils now rampant in society is the lack
of spirituality. The materialistic civilization of our age has so much
absorbed the energy and interest of mankind that people in general do no
longer feel the necessity of raising themselves above the forces and
conditions of their daily material existence. There is not sufficient
demand for things that we call spiritual to differentiate them from the
needs and requirements of our physical existence.

“The universal crisis affecting mankind is, therefore, essentially
spiritual in its causes. The spirit of the age, taken on the whole, is
irreligious. Man’s outlook on life is too crude and materialistic to
enable him to elevate himself into the higher realms of the spirit.

“It is this condition, so sadly morbid, into which society has fallen,
that religion seeks to improve and transform. For the core of religious
faith is that mystic feeling which unites Man with God. This state of
spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of
meditation and prayer. And this is the reason why Bahá’u’lláh has so much
stressed the importance of worship. It is not sufficient for a believer
merely to accept and observe the teachings. He should, in addition,
cultivate the sense of spirituality which he can acquire chiefly by means
of prayer. The Bahá’í Faith, like all other Divine Religions, is thus
fundamentally mystic in character. Its chief goal is the development of
the individual and society, through the acquisition of spiritual virtues
and powers. It is the soul of man which has first to be fed. And this
spiritual nourishment prayer can best provide.

“Laws and institutions, as viewed by Bahá’u’lláh, can become really
effective only when our inner spiritual life has been perfected and
transformed. Otherwise religion will degenerate into a mere organization,
and becomes a dead thing. The believers, particularly the young ones,
should therefore fully realize the necessity of praying. For prayer is
absolutely indispensable to their inner spiritual development, and this,
as already stated, is the very foundation and purpose of the religion of


“He urges you to make up your minds to do great, great deeds for the
Faith; the condition of the world is steadily growing worse, and your
generation must provide the saints, heroes, martyrs and administrators of
future years. With dedication and will power you can rise to great

“He appreciates very much the devoted and determined spirit with which you
are facing the future and all the Bahá’í responsibility it will bring you
increasingly. The part of youth is very great; you have the opportunity to
really determine to exemplify in word and deed the Teachings of
Bahá’u’lláh, and to show your generation that the New World Order He has
brought is a tangible reality in the lives of His followers.”

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