V: Letters of The Greatest Holy Leaf (continued)

Page 170

50. A physician treats every illness with a certain remedy and to every painful sore he applies a specially prepared compound. The more severe the illness, the more potent must be the remedy, so that the treatment may prove effective and the illness cured. Now consider, when the divine Physician1 determined to conceal His countenance from the gaze of men and take His flight to the Abhá Kingdom, He knew in advance what a violent shock, what a tremendous impact, the effect of this devastating blow would have upon His beloved friends and devoted lovers. Therefore He prepared a highly potent remedy and compounded a unique and incomparable cure—a cure most exquisite, most glorious, most excellent, most powerful, most perfect, and most consummate. And through the movement of His Pen of eternal bounty He recorded in His weighty and inviolable Testament the name of Shoghi Effendi —the bough that has grown from the two offshoots of the celestial glory, the branch that has branched from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees. Then He winged His flight to the Concourse on High and to the luminous horizon. Now it devolves upon every well-assured and devoted friend, every firm and enkindled believer enraptured by His love, to drink this healing remedy at one draught, so that the agony of bereavement may be somewhat alleviated and the bitter anguish of separation dissipated. This calls

1 `Abdu'l-Bahá.


for efforts to serve the Cause, to diffuse the sweet savours of God, to manifest selflessness, consecration and self-sacrifice in our labours in His Path.

51. I was very glad to know of your meeting with the Chinese students, and I am sure your effect and influence shall be great upon them because their fresh and receptive minds are ready to grasp the importance of this Manifestation; and when you go to China, which you may if you think it wise, your influence and success, I hope, will be still more.
      I pray God that He should confirm you in your teaching, and when you go to China, He should make you a pioneer in carrying the Message of this Dispensation to the farthermost countries of the world and to the most obscure.
      The members of the Holy Family join me in extending to you their love and Bahá'í greetings, and may the spirit of `Abdu'l-Bahá guide you and keep you.

52. We were delighted to receive your excellent letter ... and read it with joy. It gladdens our hearts to witness from its contents the evidences of loyalty and sincerity and perfect steadfastness in the Cause of God, and unshakeable constancy in His Covenant.
      I offered praise to my Lord, the All-Glorious, for His abundant blessings, the prodigality of His


bestowals, and His wondrous grace; for He has created such spiritual beings, such illumined essences, who attract bounty from the Sun of Truth, and are lit by its heavenly light, which unravels the mysteries, parts the curtains, and tears aside the veils. He has sent forth pure and holy souls whom the blame of the blamer cannot shut out from the Faith of God, nor frighten away from establishing the truth of His Teachings. These are they whose thirst is quenched, whose ills are healed, whose hearts are gladdened, whose minds are set at rest, whose souls are stirred, whose spirits rejoice, whose eyes find consolation by beholding the splendours of the beauty, and the graces of perfection, that come down, one following after another, from the firmament of glory. Well is it with them for such wondrous gifts, and bliss be to them for such blessings!
      As for me, acquainted with great grief as I am, subjected as I am to calamities, I have no solace in this dire ordeal that has suddenly come upon me to darken my days, save only to see happiness in the hearts of the believers; to breathe in the sweet scents of loving-kindness from the gardens of their hearts, and to behold the sparkling lights of unity amongst God's chosen ones, and to note how widespread are the breaths of fellow-feeling and love amongst the righteous, and how His teachings and the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá are being disseminated throughout those lands—always in accord with wisdom, as enjoined by the Almighty and set forth in the Writings.


      I beg of God, even as a pauper, and I implore Him with all lowliness, feebleness and contrition, to assist you all with His unseen favours, and open before your eyes the portals of His bounty and grace, and make ready for you whatsoever you desire out of His everlasting bestowals, and make all things easy for you, and fulfil your hopes—so that in serving the Faith of your Lord, the Glory of the All-Glorious, you will reach your furthermost goals. Verily is He the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving.
      I beg of Him too, that He will cause every difficulty to vanish away, and will dispel every cloud, until it becomes possible for you to present yourselves at this blessed, this luminous and fragrant Spot, and bow down your foreheads in the dust of this bright Threshold, and attain this ultimate goal, for the friends long to behold you.
      Again, I supplicate the Eternal Glory to send down His herald of holiness with the garment in his hands,1 that all eyes may be solaced and all hearts rejoiced by the return to this country of the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, Shoghi Effendi, in the briefest of times. This indeed is well within the reach of the bounties of our Almighty and All-Generous Lord.

53. Following the ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá to the Abhá Kingdom the only thing that can afford

1 See Qur'an 12:93.


consolation to the heart of this grief-stricken and wronged maidservant is to see the lovers of that luminous Countenance happy, joyful and radiant and to behold the diffusion of the sweet savours of God, the exaltation of His Word, and the growth of His Faith. Nothing else matters.
      The duty of the concourse of the faithful in this day should be but one duty, their purpose but one purpose, their aim but one aim, and the object of their endeavour but one object, and this is none other than to foster the spirit of unity and harmony, to serve and teach His Cause and to promote His Word. Such is the meaning of true faithfulness; and in this lies the good-pleasure of `Abdu'l-Bahá.

54. The letter that you wrote in your burning grief, on the passing of the world's Beloved, the Orb of the Covenant—wrote with weeping eyes and a heart afire, has come. Once again, it brings back the full force of this calamity, and renews our mourning. This was the most ruinous of disasters, the most dreaded of ordeals, the most hurtful of misfortunes. It was an earthquake that shook the pillars of the world; it caused a tumult and an uproar among the dwellers of earth and heaven. This terrible separation came upon us as an inescapable trial and a dismal decree. It destroyed all hopes of happiness, and all joy perished. By this departure, the sparkling stars were dimmed, and the heavens of mystic meaning split apart. It set the skies on fire, it


scorched the seven spheres. From this departure, sorrow enveloped all mankind, it brought pain and tears to all the peoples of the earth. The lightning bolt of it consumed the world and struck the hearts of its inhabitants, so that they put on sackcloth and poured ashes on their heads. This disaster, coming all unawares, made the morning dark, and turned bright noon to night. From our breasts rose burning sighs, and from our eyes streamed our life blood. Even the Concourse on High moaned and lamented, and their clamour rose to the highest Heaven, and the weeping denizens of the pavilions of glory, striking at their faces, raised their plaintive cries. Mourning, shedding tears, their garments rent, their heads uncovered, their feet bare, the Maids of Heaven hastened out of their lofty, immaculate chambers, and groaned and cried out.
      `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for His sacred dust, that peerless Beloved of the world, from the day that Bahá'u'lláh ascended until the hour of His own spotless soul's departure to the kingdom of light and the realm beyond, had neither a quiet night's rest nor a peaceful day, for thirty years. At all times His heart wept and sorrowed, and in the dark of the night from His anguished breast rose burning sighs, sorely wounded as He was by the arrows of the opposers and the rebellious. Then at first light, He would lift up His wondrous, melodious voice and commune with the dwellers in the high mansions of Heaven.
      He would face the storms of tribulation with a


heart full of fervour and love; He would breast the waves of calamities and oncoming ordeals with overflowing joy. With the balm of His loving-kindness, He would remedy unhealing wounds, and the medicine of His unending grace was a cure for mortal ills. Through His tenderness and care the sorrowful found comfort, and through His Words the despairing received the blissful consolation of their incomparable Lord. He would hearten the despised and the rejected with outpourings of grace.
      In the pathway of Bahá'u'lláh, He made His holy breast a shield to bear adversities, made His beauteous face a target for the blows that rained upon Him from all sides. He, the Wronged One of the world, was compassed about by rebel hosts; the armies of treachery assailed Him from every direction. The disaffected were not remiss in their cruelty and aggression; never once did that arrogant crew fail to spread a calumny or to show their opposition and their malice. At every moment, they inflicted wounds upon Him, injured Him, brought fresh grief to His heart. Their sole aim was to bring down the structure of the Holy Faith and to destroy its very base and foundation. They did all in their power to split the Bahá'í community, and in their strivings to shatter the union of the believers, they neglected nothing. They joined hands with every enemy of the Faith, became boon companions of all who betrayed it. There was no mischief, no plot, no slander, no aspersion, that they would not allow


themselves, no individual so vile that they would not cleave to him.
      And thus, with all His own ordeals and cares, and banished from His home, He Whom the world wronged devoted Himself to counselling and nurturing the people with the utmost loving-kindness, divinely admonishing them, leading and guiding them at all times to complete and utter steadfastness in the Cause of God.
      From one direction He would ward off the assaults of the nations, from another He would hold back the people of hatred from tormenting the believers. Now He would scatter the waverers' clouds of doubt, again He would demonstrate the truth of the clear and manifest Verses, and at all times and seasons He would guard the Cause of God with His very life, and protect its Law.
      His fundamental purpose in enduring that continual toil and pain, and bearing those calamities, was to safeguard the divine and all-embracing Word, to shelter the tree of unity, to educate persons of capacity, to refine those who were pure in heart, and to transform the hearts of the receptive, to expound the mysteries of God and illumine the minds of the spiritual.
      All praise be to Bahá'u'lláh! The meaning of those bounties became apparent and the splendour of those bestowals was made manifest: that conclusive Text, the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, was given us, and what had been hidden at the


beginning was made known at the end. His infinite grace became clearly manifest, and with His own mighty pen He made a perfect Covenant, naming Shoghi Effendi the Chosen Branch and Guardian of the Faith. Thus, by God's bounty, what had been a concealed mystery and a well-guarded secret, was at last made plain.
      This greatest of bestowals came as a lightning-flash of glory to the righteous, but to those evil ones who broke the Covenant, it was the thunderbolt of God's avenging wrath.

55. Although the ascension of the beloved Centre of the Covenant was the ultimate calamity, the severest of ordeals, and the fire of that bereavement consumed our hearts and souls, and there were no eyes but wept their tears of blood to mourn Him, no breast but uttered fiery sighs—still, God be praised, the Will and Testament of that Wellspring of bounty and grace, and the designation by Him of the Centre of the Faith and the Covenant, quieted our burning grief and stilled our sighing, and came as balm to our sorely-wounded hearts.
      The power of the Faith prevailed, the awesome majesty of the Word of God flashed out, and day by day reveals in increasing measure its overpowering might.
      And now, to offer gratitude befitting such a bounty, we must prepare ourselves, gird ourselves for service, and rise up and live in accordance with the instructions of the Blessed Beauty and the


counsels of `Abdu'l-Bahá, for these are the life of the world and the salvation of its peoples. Thus, from every direction, will the portals of happiness and spirituality open before us all.
      The Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, Shoghi Effendi, because of the intense grief and suffering and pain inflicted by this terrible event, has desired to spend a period alone, in a quiet spot, where he can devote his time to prayer and supplication, and communion with God. He, therefore, left us sometime ago, but our hopes are high that in a very short time he will come home to the Holy Land. For the moment, then, this wronged and sad one has answered, however briefly, the letter from your distinguished Assembly.

56. You have offered up thanks to the Lord for appointing the Centre of His Cause and the Guardian of His Covenant, and have voiced your gratitude and expressed your spiritual sentiments, for this favour and grace.
      It is true, in all the world there could be no mercy greater than this, no bounty more abundant.
      `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for His sacred dust, has bestowed on us a wondrous gift, a most great favour. He has clearly shown us the highway of guidance and explicitly designated the Centre toward whom all the people of Bahá must turn, and with His own bounteous pen has written


down for us what will ensure prosperity and progress, and salvation and bliss, for evermore.
      Now is the time to arise and serve with all our powers, that we may grow happier day by day, and fill our hearts with warmth and joy.

57. The Ancient Beauty, the Most Great Name, has, through the splendours of His grace in this most glorious of all ages, made this world of dust to radiate light. The loving counsels of `Abdu'l-Bahá have turned the beloved of the Lord into signs and tokens of humility and lowliness. He has taught them selflessness, and freedom from material things, and detachment from the world, and has enabled them to understand the verities of Heaven.
      In that supernal realm we are all but motes; in the court of the Lord God's majesty we are but helpless shadows. He is the Shelter for all; He is the Protector of all; He is the Helper of all; He is the Preserver of all. Whensoever we look upon ourselves, we, one and all, despair; but He, with all His grace, His bestowals, His bounties, is the close Companion of each one.
      It is certain that tests and trials are inseparable from this life and a vital requirement thereof, especially for the human race and above all for those who claim to have faith and love. Only through trials can the genuine be known from the worthless, and purity from pollution, and the real from the false. The meaning of the sacred verse: 'Do men


think when they say 'We believe' they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?'1 prevails at all times and is applicable at every breath, and fire will only bring out the brightness of the gold.
      So it is my hope that with lowliness and a contrite heart, with supplications and prayers, with good intentions and faithfulness, with purity of heart and adherence to the truth, with rising up to serve and with the blessings and confirmations of the Lord, we may come into a realm, and arrive at a condition, where we shall live under His overshadowing mercy, and His helping hand shall come to our aid and succour.

58. After the construction of the Bab's Shrine on Mount Carmel, it was the wish and intention of `Abdu'l-Bahá—may our lives be sacrificed for His holy dust—to open a path that would lead directly from the Shrine to the German Avenue. Time and again He referred to this project and explained how it should be built. You are no doubt familiar with this matter. However, in those days many obstacles stood in the way, preventing the execution of this important project. Among them was a house located at the beginning of this path at the foot of the mountain, which belonged to one of the German settlers. This house had become a serious barrier, inasmuch as the owner had turned down every offer for the purchase of the property. The German

1 Qur'an 29:2.


community had adopted a policy in the administration of the real estate within the boundary of their settlement which required them not to sell any tract of land or any house within that area to outsiders, no matter how lucrative the payment might be. This ruling was strictly observed by them and had developed into an insurmountable barrier. Another obstacle was that the projected path would pass through tracts of land which belonged to different people, and some of them were unable to sell their property due to legal problems, while others deliberately would not sell since they had perceived that this path was exclusively intended for access to the Bahá'í Shrine and that the Bahá'ís would eventually be compelled, no matter when, to pay an enormous sum for the acquisition of this land. Thus immersed in the sea of visionary hopes and dreams they categorically refused to sell. So days and nights, and months and years passed by until the hand of divine power wrought a change in the whole situation, and the truth of the words: 'He shall establish His ascendancy over His dominion as He pleaseth' was fulfilled; for not long afterwards this territory was occupied by the equitable Government of Great Britain, and the local authorities, acting according to their own judgement, decided that the existence of the above house in that locality was undesirable. Therefore they demolished the house, cleared the site and carried away the stones. Then the Municipal Engineer prepared a design for the path, emphasizing that the opening of that path to the


Bahá'í Shrine was imperative. This design received the blessed attention of `Abdu'l-Bahá Who graciously approved it and expressed His satisfaction and appreciation to the Municipal Engineer. Later on, with the aid of divine confirmations, enough land was purchased from the remaining tracts through which the path passed.

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

60. The adherents of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have, under all circumstances throughout the past sixty years or more, clearly proved themselves to be the well-wishers of all governments and peoples and have demonstrated that they are lovers of peace, are sincere, trustworthy and devoted. However, they often become the object of calumny and slander uttered by some foolish people. Indeed, such has ever been the way of God.
      From time immemorial even to this day the chosen ones of God have always been exposed to the


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

61. Regarding the Centre of Sedition1 and his scrolls of doubt, this individual, for a period of thirty years, both within and without the Cause, was busy with his mischief-making, and planting his seeds of contention and dissension. He had in mind but one concern, one single thought: to create discord in the Faith. All this is well known to everyone, it is clear as the noonday sun, and is set forth in the Writings of the Centre of the Covenant, including His Will and Testament,

1 Muhammad-'Alí.


where this person's evil intentions, satanic plots and diabolic acts are a matter of record, and there is no need to elaborate on them here.
      So things were until recent times, when we were subjected to this direst of all ordeals. Once again, the Centre of Sedition, believing that the field was his, and seizing the occasion, rose up and began to spread abroad his scrolls of doubt, heedless of the fact that the instructions and commandments of the Blessed Beauty, may His Name be glorified, and the counsels of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our souls be sacrificed for His meekness, had reinforced the base of the Cause, and firmly established the edifice of the Word of God, and They had, through God's favour and grace, drawn Their faithful loved ones into a realm where no power in all the world, nor the awesome majesty nor the onslaughts of the world's embattled armies, could so much as disturb the faith of a single Bahá'í child, nor make him to stray from the path that leads aright. How much less could such as he affect those noble personages every one of whom is rooted firm in the love of God, and stands immovable as the high mountains!
      God be praised, during all these long years, all this individual ever achieved was injury to himself, and the defeat of his plans, and the disappointment of his hopes. Nor will he ever have anything more.
      In recent times, especially, from whatever direction he mounted his attack, he discovered a solid barrier that proved impossible to assail, and found


his slings and arrows of doubt turned back against himself. Thus were fulfilled the words of `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, that 'The Centre of Sedition was ... confounded in his craftiness...' To whatsoever place this person addressed his evil treatises of doubt, these same treatises were sent straight back to him, some with a reply, some without, and thus he found it hopeless to make a breach in the Cause of God.

62. Your letter has come, and I myself and the Holy Family were infinitely grieved to learn of the sufferings you have undergone, being made as you were the targets of such injustice, malevolence and aggression.
      Since, however, you stood firm and steadfast and unchanging, as the arrows of tyranny came against you, and since this happened for the sake of the Blessed Beauty, and in the pathway of the One Beloved, it behoves you to thank God and praise Him, for having singled you out for this great bounty.
      For this clamour and uproar, the blows, the abuse, the taunts, the curses, when borne for love of the All-Bounteous Lord, are but festive days and times for jubilee.
      God be praised, you have been given a drop out of that ocean of tribulations that swept across the Exalted One and the Beauty of the All-Glorious,


you were granted a droplet out of the seas of calamity that engulfed `Abdu'l-Bahá.
      The evil ones did not destroy the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, nor will they ever; it was their own house that they brought down in ruins and gave to the winds. They did not burn down the school, they put the flame to their own roots.
      Lofty is the structure of the House of Worship; it is certain that you will build a new and greater one. Be you confident of the bestowals of the Blessed Beauty and the gifts and blessings of `Abdu'l-Bahá.

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

64. The letter you have written was received with the utmost joy for it was to us not only a


message of love and unity but a message of humble devotion and servitude at the divine Threshold. It was not only the cause of comfort to our broken hearts but also a divine balm to our souls and we are sure that the spirit which that letter bore is the one which reigns in the heart of each single member of that united assembly.
      You have written that your number is small; but it is decidedly true that it is not numbers that count, it is, rather, the sincerity and devotion of the hearts. It is the heart that, subduing within itself all earthly cares, shines forth resplendent in the realm of love and selflessness, attracting to itself the souls of the weary and depressed, soothing their wounds with the balm of this Message. This new Revelation has in reality been the water of life unto the thirsty, a sea of knowledge unto the searcher, a message of condolence to the weary and a new spirit and life to the whole world. And now it remains that we, the humble servants of our Lord should be confirmed, through our own effort and through His bounty to diffuse this light everywhere and to carry this Glad Tidings to every cottage and princely home.
      We ask God to make each one of that assembly a herald of love wherever he may go and that he may be accepted as a humble servant of His Lord.

65. All praise be unto the Court of Holiness, that God has drawn certain blessed souls, entities


delicate and pure, unto a realm where they have no desire save the good-pleasure of the Beloved; where, in the pathway of the Ancient Beauty and their devotion to `Abdu'l-Bahá, they yearn for naught and have no other aim but to offer themselves up, to serve, to guide humankind, and to wander, homeless and portionless, over the earth.
      Such promptings derive from the blessings and confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom. Such impulses come when a soul is cleaving fast to the eternal world.... As to your not being present in the Holy Land on the occasion of the anniversary of His Passing, nor able to take part with these bereaved ones in our mourning for the setting of the Sun of the Covenant: be assured that in that dread hour, that calamitous time, the souls of the people of Bahá were, one and all, circumambulating His resplendent resting-place, and the lamentation and wailing of this faithful band were continually rising up to the heavenly Throne. And that immaculate Spirit must have gazed down upon them from the realms on high, and bestowed upon them all His grace, and grieved over the grieving of them all, and consoled and soothed them all, and supplicated, even as He now supplicates, His Supreme Companion to grant unto every one of them fervour and joy, and ardour and bliss, and detachment from the world, and steadfast faith.
      It is our hope that we all shall be blessed and confirmed in whatever befits this day.


66. It has been demonstrated time and time again that whatever comes to pass only enhances the glory of God's Faith, and further proclaims His Word. This time it will be the same.
      However savage this tempest of trials, however battered by surging waves the Ark of the Faith may be, still, the Divine Mariner has taken into His own two powerful hands the helm of this Ark—and He, steady, calm and able, and endowed with all authority and might, is steering its course, and will bring it at last safe and secure to its glorious haven. Of this there can be no question.
      You have sent us the good news that the believers are arising to serve the Faith and are loyal and devoted to the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God. This news rejoiced our hearts.
      We pray for you most humbly at the Holy Thresholds, and beg of God to grant His ever-increasing confirmations and blessings to all of you.

67. The cheque for the amount of two hundred pounds that you had sent as your contribution to the Temple Fund has been received and duly forwarded to Chicago. Behold what a pervasive power this evidence of co-operation and support, this spirit of selfless consecration is bound to release in the realm of the heart and spirit. Consider to what extent the world of human virtues will be enriched and


adorned by this munificent act, and how glorious the light that this manifestation of unity and solidarity is likely to shed upon all regions. Indeed, this mighty endeavour has been accomplished despite the adverse economic situation in Persia, where the evidences of hardship, privation and depression are clearly apparent. But since the object of this noble enterprise and praiseworthy effort is to enhance the glory of the Cause of God, therefore it will unfailingly attract divine blessings and bounty.

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

69. We beseech God—exalted be His glory—to grant awareness and insight to the men of wisdom as well as to those who hold in their grasp the reins of

192 power in Persia, that they may be able to distinguish the right way from the crooked and devious path and may clearly discern the well-wisher from the ill-wisher with a true and genuine sense of discrimination.
      As regards the amelioration of your own affairs, let us entrust the whole matter to the Blessed Beauty. He is the best Benefactor, unsurpassed in His bounty.

70. Your letter of 12th October 1922 is just

received and refreshed in our memory the many beautiful days that you spent here when the Beloved Lord, `Abdu'l-Bahá, was still on this earth. Those are days that many events of history could never efface from the hearts, nay rather the further we go in the scale of life the deeper become the impressions thereof within the meshes of our inner life.
      I read your letter with full attention and in the course of the reading the words of the Master were ringing in my ear; words that have descended like showers on all souls and hearts that could understand. Now is the time when we should forget everything and concentrate our thoughts upon the advancement of the Cause of God and strive day and night that the principles and teachings of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh and the words of the Master may find full expression in the hearts of the true friends.


      When I think over the history of the Cause and the many difficulties that all its promoters have undergone I unhesitatingly am convinced that the sincere friends who have watched the events will not lose a moment but will with all their hearts and souls sacrifice everything of worth in order to realize that for which the Divine plan has been working.
      Have all your thoughts directed to the Master and heed not what you hear from here or there. We hope that soon beloved Shoghi Effendi will come back to Haifa and things will resume their natural course. What we need today is complete unity amongst the friends and this will attract the Divine assistance from the Abhá Kingdom.
      All the members of the Holy family remember you and pray for you at the Holy Shrines. We hope to hear much good news from you; this will be the Cause of the Master's happiness as He always wished to hear from you good news. Convey my Abhá greetings to all the brothers and sisters there.

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


      God be thanked, the spirits rejoice, the hearts are full of fervour, the souls are held spellbound by that shining Face. The Blessed Beauty's sea of bounty is rolling up great waves; He is casting the rays of His grace over the world and all its peoples; the clouds of His liberal bestowals are showering down, the sun of His generosity is shining bright.
      In its every aspect, this noblest of Dispensations and greatest of eras is something set apart, for it is most exalted, most glorious, and distinguished from the past. In no wise is it to be compared with the ages gone before. So plainly, in this mighty day, have the mysteries been laid bare, that to the perceptive and the initiated and those who have attained the knowledge of divine secrets, they appear as tangible realities. In this new Day the stars of allusions and hints have fallen, for the Sun of explicit texts has risen, and the Moon of expositions and interpretations has shone above all horizons.       As expressly stated in the Holy Text, a specific Centre has been give us. With His own pen has `Abdu'l-Bahá, the Centre of the Covenant, selected and appointed Shoghi Effendi, the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the interpreter of the Book of God, so that the highway of divine guidance has been clearly marked out and lighted up for all the ages to come. This bounty is one of the distinguishing features of this mightiest of Dispensations, a special grace allotted to this age.
      It is my hope that we all shall arise, thus to prove our gratitude for all these rich bestowals and gifts,


and serve the Cause of God and spread the holy Teachings and speedily carry out the instructions of `Abdu'l-Bahá—so that day by day the limits of the Faith will be extended, and the seekers will find their goal, and the lovers reach the beauty of the Beloved, and the thirsty come to crystal waters, and spiritual joys embrace mankind, and every heart be gladdened.

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


the love with which you taught them and will never stop giving this Glad Tidings to every soul they meet.

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


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

74. Your letter was received and its contents were perused. The scrolls you had enclosed were clearly understood. They are of no consequence whatsoever, nor are they worthy of any attention. The letter you have written in reply, although brief, is adequate and conclusive. What you have written, even as the tablet of your heart, is illumined with the light of constancy and steadfastness, and indicates your firmness and determination in upholding His Covenant. In truth this is the essential thing.
      Following the ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá—may our lives be offered up for His holy Dust—the Covenant-breakers, using every means in their power, busied themselves in spreading false reports. No calumny, no slander did they spare. Likewise,


after the ascension of the Ancient Beauty, the Most Great Name—may the life of all created things be sacrificed for His holy dust—the people of doubt and hesitation seized upon every means and arose to destroy the edifice of the Cause, to profane the honour of the Lord and to violate His Covenant. Yet, during all this time and under all conditions these bereaved and oppressed ones, with faces set towards His luminous Threshold, held fast to the cord of patience and resignation, engaged themselves in offering fervent prayers and supplications and committed all their affairs to the care of the Blessed Beauty. For in truth He is the Refuge of the oppressed and the unfailing Comforter of the anguished, whereas the Centre of Sedition and his following have gathered no fruit from their rebellious acts save despondency and utter loss.

75. It was sometime ago that I received your kind and encouraging letter through your honourable secretary. And although in a joyless world, the love and unity of the friends in Yonkers imparted the utmost joy to this bereaved family. Great indeed as was my desire to reciprocate those kind sentiments so beautifully expressed in your letter, it is truly unfortunate that I should have delayed the answer so long.
      For the last few weeks we have all been happy over Shoghi Effendi's safe arrival and we really miss all our beloved brethren and sisters in this little town


of Haifa. Last night's sad and solemn occasion was passed in prayer and meditation. The loved ones of that dear Master had all gathered from the countries near by to join His family in commemorating the anniversary of His passing. In a night of utter silence with the rich moonlight flooding the precincts of His Shrine, the humble devotees of `Abdu'l-Bahá had gathered in a little group just near His Tomb; and in prayerful supplications they outpoured with their tears the woe of their hearts refilling them again with faith in His loving-kindness and high hopes for the future.
      On such an occasion, dear friends, what better can we do than to realize one and all that our dear Master has for ever gone from our midst, and yet with the surest faith in His tender Spirit we should arise with one accord, aided and guided by our beloved Guardian, to dedicate our lives to the Cause for which He was a living sacrifice. Deep and painful as that thought may be, it should fill our hearts with faith in the Lord. Then and only then can we lead His Cause into a glorious victory.

76. You quite well realize, I presume, that Shoghi Effendi has always cherished the fondest hopes for your services to the Cause of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and I am sure that your achievements will be great, shining brilliantly as a star. The field is world-wide and with but a noble spirit and


faith in the Lord we can carry to every home this Message of peace and brotherhood.

77. The Pen of the divine Ordainer has so decreed that this house of sorrows should be encompassed by unending calamity and pain. Even before the dark clouds of one disaster are scattered, the lowering storm of yet a new grief takes over, casting its darkness across the inner skies of the heart. Such has been the lot of this broken-hearted one and the other leaves of the Holy Tree, from earliest childhood until this hour; such has been the fruit we have plucked from the tree of our lives.
      We can see before us the Holy Shrine where lies the blessed, riddled body of the Primal Point, and memory of the delicate and tender remains of other martyrs passes before our eyes. The remembrance of the Ancient Beauty's dungeon in Tihrán, and that most noble Being's exile from city to city, culminating in the murk of the 'Akká prison, is engraved upon our minds. The calamities, the massive afflictions, endured by `Abdu'l-Bahá throughout His entire life, and His wailing at the break of dawn are recorded for all time upon the tablets of the soul, and those cries that rose out of His luminous heart will linger on in the mind's ear.
      It is clear, too, how the most dire of all ordeals, the ascension of the divine Beauty, made the structure of our existence to topple down; how being deprived of Him consumed the very limbs of our


bodies. And when our fiery tears brought on by this were not yet dried, and the heart's wound had not healed over, then the bearer of God's decree called us to yet another anguish, that dire calamity, that terrible disaster, the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Then were we, the sorrow-stricken, thrust again into the fires of separation, and the pitch darkness of deep mourning enshrouded this family.
      Beloved friends of the Blessed Beauty: what could have been the purpose of those holy Beings in enduring such agonies? Why did those precious and luminous souls accept all that hardship and pain? Any just observer will acknowledge that They had no other end in view but to better the human race, and cleanse it from the imperfections of this contingent world, and see to its advancement, and endow all peoples with the wondrous virtues of humankind. Thanks be to God's bounties, the signs of such perfections, the lights of such bestowals, have become clearly manifest throughout the world. The tree of His Cause grows ever more massive, day by day, and heavier with fruit, and from moment to moment taller, and it shall cast its wondrous shade over all who seek its shelter.
      The fruit of these boughs is plain to see: this Tree will bear sincere love and true friendship, traits of Heaven and qualities of God. This immortal Tree will yield kindness and humbleness, learning and wisdom, and the divine virtues.
      The aim of those blessed Ones, then, those Temples of holiness, in enduring, over a whole


century, all Their trials and tribulations, was to firmly establish a way of life whereby human character in general and that of God's loved ones in particular would be rectified. To such a degree must this come to pass that from their very breathing and walking, their rising up, sitting still, moving about, their every act—it can clearly be seen that they are different from those others who are neglectful of God and veiled away from Him: that they can be distinguished from the others as easily as you can tell the day-star from the dark.
      Although through the mighty influence of the Word of God the inner self of each of the friends and of those who are steadfast in His perfect Covenant is held fast by the magnet of His love, and they are known in every land by this distinguishing characteristic and are everywhere illumined by this light —still the thing to remember is this: until the accidental events which arise from the world of the trivial and the personal are completely lost in the world of the universal, that is, in the bounties and attributes of the Merciful—that true and primal glory can never be revealed as it merits, nor ever show forth the beauty with which it is endowed. Let every steadfast soul ever bear in mind the anguish of those holy Beings and the trials They endured, and because of the wrongs They suffered, and the blood of the martyrs in His path, out of pity for what has befallen God's Cause and His Law, put the good of the Cause before any other good, and its honour before any other. Let him face every problem,


whether minor or major, with goodwill and purity of motive. Let him not make of God's Law, created as it was to bring about unity and love, a means of discord. `Abdu'l-Bahá says: 'If religion be the cause of disunity, then irreligion is surely to be preferred.'
      Today as well, the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, is at all times waiting expectantly —and indeed, it is the most cherished desire of his heart—to see this reality, this proof of serious effort, this feature that distinguishes the Bahá'ís from all others, clearly and unmistakably revealed in the life of every single Bahá'í.
      As is well known, at the time when the Day-Star of the Covenant did set, the Chosen Branch was absent from this luminous Spot, and when he received the terrifying news of that direst of ordeals, he was overcome by a grief such as no words can describe. Broken in health, his heart brimful of sorrows, he returned to this blessed place. At that time the unfaithful, with extreme perversity and at a high point of rebellion, were openly and secretly spreading their calumnies, and this behaviour of theirs added still more to the Guardian's burden of grief. He left, therefore, and spent some time in seclusion, carrying on the affairs of the Faith, seeing to its interests and its institutions, communing with God, and imploring His help.
      The Lord be praised, because of the divine bounties, during his absence there were such evidences of staunchness and loyalty and high resolve and unity and love and fervour among all the


friends, men and women alike, both of East and West, and in the Holy Land—that on the one hand the Centre of Sedition, and the arrogant and the malevolent, found themselves utterly defeated, their hopes of making a breach in the Faith bitterly disappointed, while on the other, the exemplary quality and sound condition of the believers, as referred to, was a comfort to the Guardian's heart. Thus he was able, happy now and in perfect health, to return to this Spot, and to carry out his sacred obligations.
      By this time a great many matters of the utmost importance had accumulated, and letters were coming in continuously from individuals and communities, which for lack of time could not be dealt with individually. The Guardian therefore dispensed with replies to individuals and sent out general letters to the Spiritual Assemblies, in which in the clearest terms he set forth the obligations devolving upon all, and gave the friends his instructions. These basic spiritual guidelines were received by the believers with great delight and the utmost joy; they immediately put them into practice, and thus the preliminary steps were taken, and in every area progress was being made to an ever-increasing degree.
      Now, however, as the letters continually streamed in, the contents of one or two of them showed that among some of the believers a certain ill-feeling had arisen, and further, that some did not, as they should, respect and duly defer to their


Spiritual Assembly. It is obvious what an effect this kind of news, whether implied or clearly stated, had on the Guardian's heart, and what an unfavourable reaction it produced. The result was that for the second time his health failed, and then, at the importunity of this evanescent soul and the urgent entreaties of the Holy Household and the repeated appeals of those in close association with him—he went away last summer.
      This proved of the greatest benefit to him, and his health was completely restored. And then, one following the next, there came in good reports from Spiritual Assemblies everywhere, and other gatherings and groups, and also individuals, and this brought him great joy; so much so that following that summer's journey, out of his intense love for the believers, he began to correspond even with individuals; and continually, in the various meetings, he would express his satisfaction with and praise of all the servants of the Blessed Beauty's Threshold and the loyal friends of `Abdu'l-Bahá.
      Alas, however, once again in some communities, he noted from certain letters an absence of spirituality and good-fellowship among some of the friends, and a lack of respect among some for their Assemblies. Once more, as a result of this, his heart was filled with sorrow and once again he decided on departure. This lowly maidservant and the other members of the Household and all the Holy Leaves did all we could to blot away this grief from his radiant spirit. When in his presence, we would bring


up all the good news that by the grace of God continued to pour in, and to speak of the staunchness, the loyalty, the love, the sacrifices of the believers both of East and West. We begged him to reconsider his decision—but to no avail.
      He told us: 'My heart is sensitive. Just as I feel the ill-feeling that exists between individuals, and am injured by it, so too do I treasure the excellent qualities of the believers; indeed, I hold these dearer than words can tell. After that most dread ordeal, the one and only solace of my heart was the loyalty, the staunchness, the love of the friends for the Blessed Beauty and for `Abdu'l-Bahá. Nothing can ever detract from the value of such excellent qualities, and I am deeply grateful to all the friends, men and women alike, for this. And yet, this love of theirs, with all its fervour, can never, by itself, bring the Ark of the Faith to the longed-for shore. It can never prove the claims of the people of Bahá to the people of the world. To safeguard the religion of God and reinforce its power, the friends must make use of effective means: their love must be so great that they worship one another, and shut any mutual ill-feeling out of their hearts.
       'If, for example, the non-Bahá'ís should ask the friends, "What differentiates you from all the rest?", and if, to this, the friends answer, "In the pathway of our love for the Centre of our Faith, we would sacrifice our lives and possessions," those of the civilized world would never be content with such a


reply. They would merely say: "Your love, your sacrifice for a single individual cannot possibly serve as a remedy for the chronic ills which plague society today." If the friends then answer: "Our religion provides principles and moral teachings whose value the wisest of the day cannot deny," this will be the response: "Noble principles and teachings will produce an effect on human character, and heal the mortal sicknesses which afflict society, only at such time when those who claim to believe in and support them are themselves the first to act upon them, and to demonstrate and incorporate the value and the benefits of them in their own everyday transactions and lives." Unless this comes about, there is nothing to distinguish the Bahá'ís from the rest.'
      He also told us: 'The people of the world are carefully watching the Bahá'ís today, and minutely observing them. The believers must make every effort, and take the utmost care to ward off and remove any feelings of estrangement, and consider themselves duty-bound to comply with the decisions of their Spiritual Assemblies. To the same degree that ill-feeling among some of the believers has cast its shadow on my heart, to that same degree will my heart reflect their mutual agreement, understanding and loving affection, and their deference to the authority of their Spiritual Assemblies. And whenever I shall feel such lights reflected, I will at once return to the Holy Land and engage in the fulfilment of my sacred obligations.


Convey this message of mine to all the friends.'
      It is now two weeks since he made this touching statement and left the Holy Land.
      O dearly-loved ones of `Abdu'l-Bahá! We know from His sacred Will that we must 'Take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi ... that no dust of despondency and sorrow may stain his radiant nature' and that the tree of his spiritual being may bear fruit. We must ever keep this in mind, and from hour to hour we must develop our heedfulness, our love and affection, our sagacity and magnanimity.
      It is the hope of this writer that the friends of God will put forth such efforts, and will so radiate their love for Him, as to light up the world; a love that will make the heart of the Guardian leap for joy, and then, God willing, he will soon come back again, so that before I close my eyes upon this life, the separation I endure will be over, and I can bid you all farewell with a happy heart. My only joy, in these my numbered days, and the joy of the Master's consort, rests in the hands of those well-loved friends of `Abdu'l-Bahá.
      Upon you be the glory of the All-Glorious.

78. 'O God, My God! Thou hast lighted the lamp of Thy Cause with the oil of wisdom; protect it from contrary winds. The lamp is Thine and the glass is Thine, and all things in the heavens and on earth are in the grasp of Thy power.'1

1 Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 104.


      O servants of the Abhá Beauty's sacred Threshold, O beloved friends of `Abdu'l-Bahá!
      It is well known that from the earliest dawning of the Sun of Revelation, until the setting of the holy Covenant's Orb, the Ark of the Faith has continuously been battered by great waves of affliction, and beaten by calamity's storms. Tempest and whirlwind have ever assailed this holy Tree.
      Still, the exalted Star has continued on its destined journey, and despite the piled-up clouds of hate and error, its rays of grace have illumined the whole earth.
      The Ark of Salvation was made the safe refuge of the righteous, and the holy Tree was hung with bright, immortal fruit, so that the honeyed yield of the love of God is sweet on the lips of His people. Out of the grace of the Blessed Beauty, eyes began to see, and ears to hear, and through the bounty of `Abdu'l-Bahá the spirits turned vigilant, and souls awoke, and to the hearts were divine mysteries confided, and individuals became day-springs of light.
      And for ever and ever, time without end, the glance of God's bounty and bestowal is, from the hidden world above, unceasingly cast down, and He watches over us with favour and grace. It behoves us, then, to offer up thanks with every breath, and to be blissful at all times.
      Although the towering citadel of God's Cause is upraised on foundations of iron, and His Word is founded on authority and power, and the loyal and


firm in His Covenant, through the blessings of the Abhá Paradise, stand immovable as the mountains, and are fast-rooted in their love—still, the hurricanes of tests are mighty as well, and from every side comes the thundering roar of violent commotions and bitter trials. From these, at every moment each one of us should beg of God to defend and protect us.
      Let us call to mind the clear statements and the warnings revealed by the Blessed Beauty, and the explanations and commentaries of `Abdu'l-Bahá, particularly as found in His Will and Testament. This Testament was the last song of that Dove of the Rose-garden of Eternity, and He sang it on the branch of the Tree of bestowal and grace. It was His principal gift, indeed the greatest of all splendours that radiated forth from that Day-Star of bounty, out of the firmament of His bestowals. This Testament was the strong barricade built by the blessed hands of that wronged, that peerless One, to protect the garden of God's Faith. It was the mighty stronghold circling the edifice of the Law of God. This was an overflowing treasure which the Beloved freely gave, a goodly and precious legacy, left by Him to the people of Baha. In all the world, no gift could equal this; no dazzling gem could rival such a precious pearl.
      With His own pen, He designated as Guardian of the Cause of God, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, the Chosen Branch, and made him the 'blest and sacred bough that hath branched out from the Twin Holy


Trees,' to be the one to whom all must turn, the centre and focus of all on earth.
      In unmistakable terms did He set forth the obligations and elucidated the nature of the institutions of God's Holy Faith. He laid hold of discord's tree and brought it down. He for ever shut the door on conflicting interpretations and views. With every breath ought we to offer praise and thanks to the God of Grace for this bestowal. It is incumbent upon us to read and meditate on the contents of the Will and Testament at all times, and implore God at His Holy Threshold that He will aid us to carry out whatsoever it ordains.
      A few days ago I sent out a general letter. A detailed, and recent, letter from the Guardian to all the people of Bahá was likewise sent out, and it is certain that you will be reading it; it is essential to circulate it among all the friends. What I mean is, that because of my great and spiritual love for you, the steadfast lovers of God and His Covenant, I have now set about writing this present letter as well.
      I would like to remind the friends of these words from `Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament, as written down by His pen of bounty: 'No doubt every vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, would he seize upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the gathering of the people of Baha.'
      In another Tablet He calls on us to understand the intent of every individual by the course of his


speech, and to see through his purpose. And from the Blessed Beauty: 'Place not your trust in every new arrival, and believe not every speaker.'
      Over and over, in countless Tablets, do we find the like of these precepts. It is obvious that the purpose behind them is to awaken and warn the people of Baha, so that the mighty citadel of the Cause will remain safe and secure from the plottings of those with evil intent, and the bright lamp of His Word will be shielded from the contrary winds unloosed by those who follow their evil passions and corrupt desires.
      It is irrevocably decreed that whatsoever has been revealed and written down by the Supreme Pen and the holy hand of `Abdu'l-Bahá will come to pass and be fully realized in this world, wherefore does it behove the people of Baha, the souls attracted to His Splendour, to become all eyes and ears, and to be in body and soul and limbs and members all sagacity and prudence. Addressing the believers, Christ tells them: 'Be ye harmless as the submissive dove, and wise as the serpent.'1
      In this momentous matter there must be no laxity, no inattention, for a whisper might become an axe laid to the root of the Tree of the Faith—a word from an ambitious soul could be a spark tossed into the harvest of the people of Baha. We take refuge with God! May He guard us ever, from the recklessness of the insistent self.
      For the harbouring of an evil purpose is a disease

1 cf. Matthew 10:16.


which shuts out the individual from all the blessings of Heaven, and casts him deep into the pit of perdition, of utter ruin. The point to make is that anyone, high or low, rich or poor, learned or unlettered, although to all appearances he may be a jewel among men, and the fine flower of all that is best—if he gives utterance to some pronouncement or speaks some word from which can be detected the scent of self-worship, or a malicious and evil purpose, his aim is to disintegrate the Word of God and disperse the gathering of the people of Baha. From such individuals it is a solemn obligation to turn away; it is an inescapable duty to pay no heed whatever to their claims.
      The clear promises of God, both His tidings of joy and His warnings, are being fulfilled, and it is inevitable that just as the sweet musk-laden winds of the Abhá Paradise are beginning to blow, and the flames of God's love to spread, so too must wintry blasts and icy breaths begin to fill the air. You must therefore exert superhuman powers to guard the Cause of God, and beg humbly and with a contrite heart for help from the Kingdom on High.
      Although up to now, because of the dictates of wisdom, the Will and Testament has not been in general circulation, and has been entrusted only to the Spiritual Assemblies of the various countries, at this time a photocopy has been made from the Master's original Text, which is in His own hand, and it will soon be sent out, to increase the spiritual


joy of you who are essences of loyalty and trust, that every individual believer, every steadfast one in the Covenant who so desires, may read it and make a copy of it. Upon you be the Glory of the All-Glorious.

79. The tongue of this lowly and grief-stricken maidservant is powerless to praise those loved ones of God, and the words uttered by her are wholly inadequate to pay a worthy tribute to the staunch firmness and constancy, to the spirit of love, enthusiasm and devotion that those servants of the Kingdom of God are now manifesting.
      Praise be to God that through the unfailing grace of the Beauty of the All-Glorious and the manifold blessings of `Abdu'l-Bahá each one of them is radiant as a star and shining like the moon in the plenitude of its splendour. That glorious Being, the incomparable Best-Beloved, graciously caused every one of His true servants to become as a brilliant lamp; while `Abdu'l-Bahá, that matchless Beloved, transmuted the hearts of all those who stand unswervingly firm in His Covenant and Testament into a garden of roses—a garden embellished with the flowers of true knowledge, faith and assurance. Such evidences of divine bounty call for thanksgiving, and in appreciation for this heavenly grace and mercy it is essential to yield praise and adoration to the Peerless Lord.


      Although the leaflets prepared by that faithless person,1 teeming with falsehood, slander and calumny, proved to be a tempest of trials that swept over those regions, yet it was powerless to do any harm to trees that are deep-rooted, firm, and fixed, nor could it inflict damage on structures that are solid, mighty and strong. The blessed, the potent spirit of `Abdu'l-Bahá will always protect and shield the holy and sanctified beings, will assist them, watch over them, and empower them to remain firm as immovable mountains.
      Truly that which you have done is appropriate and the way you have reacted is highly fitting and proper, because in the Will and Testament primary emphasis has been laid on guarding and protecting the Cause of God. Thus it has been revealed: 'O ye beloved of the Lord! The greatest of all things is the protection of the true Faith of God, the preservation of His Law, the safeguarding of His Cause and service unto His Word.' Praise be to God that those blessed and enraptured souls who are enkindled with the fire of His love have been graciously assisted to preserve and shield the Faith of God.
      You must have glanced at the idle words of that faithless person—words that are wholly motivated by selfish and personal interests. They are so futile, senseless and absurd that even the babes of this glorious Dispensation, rocked in their cradles, would recognize how vain and preposterous, how

1 `Abdu'l-Husayn Ávárih (see Bahá'í Administration, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, pp. 137-139).


impregnated with subtle machinations they are. How much keener then must be the discernment of those distinguished beings whose substance of life has been moulded by the gracious and bountiful fingers of the Blessed Beauty and whose tree of existence has been watered and fed by the heavenly stream of His favour and providence. Surely those luminous gems whose nostrils are perfumed by the imperishable fragrance of holiness and are endued with a keen sense of perception will readily distinguish a loathsome odour, no matter how slight it may be, from the sweet-scented breeze blowing from the rose-garden of His Oneness. They will easily recognize the words of a conceited and malevolent one, though his words be wrapped up in delicate terms and phrases or take the guise of fellow-feeling, sympathy and kindly wishes, from the genuine expressions of truth and sincerity, of devotion, piety and faithfulness.
      Indeed, it is true to say that malice will cause one's intelligence and understanding to fade, and the king of reason to become subservient to the satanic self and its promptings. Time and again has this matter been put to proof and the following blessed passage from the Will and Testament amply demonstrates this significant truth and serves to heighten the sense of alertness and vigilance. How wondrous is His Word: 'No doubt every vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly declare his evil purposes,


nay rather, even as impure gold, would he seize upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the gathering of the people of Baha.'
      The essential point is this: praise be to God, the way of His holy Faith is laid straight, the Edifice of the Law of God is well-founded and strong. He to whom the people of Bahá must turn, the Centre on which the concourse of the faithful must fix their gaze, the Expounder of the Holy Writings, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Chosen Branch, Shoghi Effendi, has been clearly appointed in conformity with explicit, conclusive and unmistakable terms. The Religion of God, the laws and ordinances of God, the blessed teachings, the obligations that are binding on everyone—all stand clear and manifest even as the sun in its meridian glory. There is no hidden mystery, no secret that remains concealed. There is no room for interpretation or argument, no occasion for doubt or hesitation. The hour for teaching and service is come. It is the time for unity, harmony, solidarity and high endeavour.
      At the blessed Holy Shrines we earnestly pray that divine assistance and confirmation be vouchsafed to all of us. We continually receive joyous news of the health and well-being of the Guardian of the Cause of God and eagerly hope that the night of separation may come to an end, that the period of bereavement may soon expire and his blessed person may return to this hallowed Spot with utmost joy and radiance. All the blessed leaves join this lowly maidservant in


sending wondrous expressions of greeting to those loved ones of God and the handmaids of the Merciful. May the glory of the All-Glorious rest upon you!

80. The question of Ávárih has surely come to your attention. In spite of the fact that last year, the first time that he visited this sacred Spot, he was shown the greatest kindness and love, and he was the object of every consideration and care, and everything was done to help him in every way; that when he left for Europe, as the reason for his visit was to teach the Faith, and he was favoured and praised by the Guardian, the friends in England showed him reverence to what was really an exaggerated degree, and received him with the warmest hospitality—that is, no one failed in showing him the utmost regard—still, when he returned to Cairo and busied himself with publishing his book, as it became apparent later on, he put the Assembly and the friends at odds, stirred up the mischief himself and then secretly wrote here and there that there was trouble in Cairo, and presented the situation so as to further his own ends.
      The beloved Guardian at once laid hold of every possible means to quiet the dissension in Cairo, but it proved impossible because Ávárih, using all kinds of devices, prevented the reconciliation of the Assembly and the friends in that city. When the Guardian could endure this no longer and there was


nothing more that he could do, with deep regret he left the Holy Land. His letter clearly shows how heavy was his heart.
      Later, Ávárih left Egypt and came again to the Holy Land, and the interesting thing is that the moment he left, the misunderstandings among the friends in Cairo disappeared, and Bahá'í affairs went forward again in proper fashion, so that it became perfectly clear that he had been the cause of the disruption.
      From here, too, he began to send out letters, and it would only grieve you to tell of the falsehoods and calumnies they contained. In Beirut, too, his talks and his actions were the same, and he spread the word that, God forbid, there is dissension everywhere. Accordingly, in order to protect the Cause of God, a telegram was sent to Baghdád, citing these words of the Ancient Beauty—exalted be His glory: 'Place not your trust in every new arrival, and believe not every speaker.' As a result, when he reached Baghdád, and wished to stir up mischief there, the friends, with great dignity and firmness, restrained him, and avoided his company.
      The point is that although such talk and such behaviour have no effect and no importance whatsoever, and do not merit our attention, still this disloyalty of his in these days of trial and sorrow is such that, unable to bear the situation any longer, this grieved and helpless one has felt obliged to set down a brief account of what actually took place.


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

82. It is a very long time since we have had any news from you and we are quite longing to have one of your interesting and beautiful letters, that brings us always comfort because of your sincerity, your love for the Cause and your constant energy in the work for the Cause. You have ever been one of the Master's best friends, you are one of the oldest American believers, one of the firm and enthusiastic workers, and we are always happy to hear from you. The joy of our hearts is to hear that the friends are active and sincere in the spreading of the teachings.
      We always long to hear about the friends, to know that in America they are arising with sincere energy to assist our beloved Guardian, to make his heart happy so that he may return to the Holy Land and


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

83. Your short and loving note of June 25th has been received. Its contents, though short, gave me and the ladies of the Household great joy, because they indicate that the dear friends have, with willing efforts, arisen to strengthen the foundation of love and harmony in their hearts. This will surely release our beloved Shoghi Effendi from his grief, fill his dear heart with joy and bring him to us again.
      Since my last affectionate appeal to the beloved of God and `Abdu'l-Bahá's spiritual children, the dear friends in every land have indeed shown a wonderful spirit which has inspired us all with joy and gratitude.


For their confirmation and success we ardently pray at the Holy Shrines. I hope and pray that your National Spiritual Assembly will this year be favoured with divine support and unprecedented prosperity.

84. Your charming letter of June 20th has arrived and with it the spiritual waves of your love and devotion to the welfare of the Cause of God and to the prosperity of the dear friends throughout America.
      I pray at the Holy Shrine of our beloved Lord, `Abdu'l-Bahá, to favour you with the realization of the desire of your heart which contributes to the joy and happiness of the beloved Guardian of the Cause, that is, service towards the unity of the dear friends and the promulgation of the divine Teachings which alone can redeem this lifeless world.
      I am glad to tell you that the Guardian of the Cause of God is in good health. The splendid attitude of the beloved friends in the East and the West and their wonderfully sacrificial efforts in the service of the Cause have greatly lightened the burden of grief upon his loving heart and so, he may return to the Holy Land towards the end of summer when his entire grief, we hope, will be replaced with joy and fragrances which are being wafted to his dear heart.


85. Your numerous letters written to the beloved Guardian and myself have all arrived and brought with them the sweet perfume of your devotion, sincerity, strong faith and active and beautiful services you are inexhaustibly rendering to the Cause of God. You should be happy, dear Bahá'í sister in being so wonderfully confirmed in your spiritual life.
      The beloved Guardian of the Cause is nowadays in good health and through the magnificent efforts the friends are exerting in every country to strengthen and augment their bond of unity and love for one another, his grief has been lightened and so we have great hope that he will return to the Holy Land before long. Here he will resume his personal touch with the friends the world over and will inspire them with his guidance to still greater activity.
      The Ladies of the Holy Family and I are always remembering you dear friends of `Abdu'l-Bahá and praying for your confirmation and happiness. I am thankful to all the dear friends who so faithfully and lovingly responded with their excellent deeds to my affectionate appeal for greater unity and love. May the Blessed Beauty and `Abdu'l-Bahá reward them richly and crown their sincere services with great results.

86. From this hallowed Spot I send heavenly greetings to those two faithful servants of the holy Threshold of the Abhá Beauty. Indeed, no word of


compliment could be compared to this expression of praise and commendation, whereby, thanks be to God, you both have distinguished yourselves as the devoted servants of His divine Threshold and as the sincere, the self-sacrificing bond-slaves serving at the door of His mercifulness. You have always proved yourselves untiring in your noble efforts and are continually striving with utmost endeavour to discharge your important and glorious duties. This can be attributed to naught save to the unfailing bounties of the Abhá Beauty and to the invisible aid that `Abdu'l-Bahá has graciously accorded you.

87. In this Day nothing is so important as service. Did not `Abdu'l-Bahá voluntarily call Himself the 'Servant' of Baha, manifesting also in His life the perfections of servitude to God and man?
      We, wishing to follow the commands left by Bahá'u'lláh, spread and lived by `Abdu'l-Bahá, we can take no greater step toward the Heavenly Kingdom—can give no greater joy to the present beloved Guardian of the Cause, Shoghi Effendi— than that of loving service to all mankind.

88. It always cheers my heart to hear from the dear friends whose hearts are so full of love and devotion, and desire to serve this Blessed Cause which has been proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh to all the world, so that all national, racial, and religious


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

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

90. At the holy Threshold of the Abhá Beauty we fervently pray at all times for outstanding success to attend that exalted body.1 Indeed, by virtue of the

1 The Local Spiritual Assembly of Tihrán.


brilliant achievements won and the distinguished services rendered by those blessed souls, the heart of this lowly one is filled with utmost joy and assurance, and there is no doubt that through the loving-kindness of God this measure of joy and happiness will be multiplied day by day.
      You have asked me about my own knowledge and recollections concerning the holy Houses in Tihrán. Unfortunately, due to my tender age at that time, those blessed places and quarters have faded from my memory.
      Upon you be His glory and praise.

91. O dear sisters, ardent lovers of Bahá'u'lláh, may my soul be offered up for your devotion, your staunchness, and your steadfastness!
      The letter from the honoured members of that spiritual assemblage, telling of the women of that land, their fervour, their fiery love for God, their services to His Cause, their unity and mutual kindness and loving fellowship, their grieving over the departure of the world's Day-Star—has reached this afflicted one. Reading it, I begged most humbly of our Living and Eternal Lord, to aid and bless those handmaids at all times and under all conditions. He is verily the One Who is near to us all, and answers our prayers.
      To us who sorrow here, there is truly no joy in life save only the good news that the lovers of God and of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may my life be sacrificed for the


Spot which enshrines His holy Dust, are steadfast and firm, and that those loyal handmaids have girded themselves to serve the Faith, and casting aside on the pathway of God their ease and comfort, are proclaiming the Teachings, calling souls to life, and making sure that the sacred blood of the Primal Point, the afflictions and the captivity of the Abhá Beauty, the anguish of `Abdu'l-Bahá shall through you, men and women alike, through your steadfastness today, yield goodly fruit for all on earth to see.
      I presented your letter to the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi, and upon reading it he expressed great joy and satisfaction. He expressed gratitude to the Lord that men and women have been raised up and are gathered beneath the banner of the Covenant, every one of whom, in the field of divine knowledge, can put armies of error to flight. Through souls such as these is God's promise fulfilled: 'We shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favoured angels.'

92. Your letter, laden with many a graceful phrase, many a wondrous inner meaning, has been received. Its perusal brought composure and tranquillity to my soul and gladness to my heart, inasmuch as from between its lines I could discern the tokens of your unswerving constancy in God's Mighty Cause and of your intense devotion to the


almighty Lord. I beseech God to illumine your heart with the light of His love, to unloose your tongue in magnifying His praise and in extolling His glory, to strengthen you with so mighty a power that you may vindicate the truth of His Faith by expounding infallible proofs and conclusive testimonies.
      You have told me about your taking part in special gatherings for the training of Persian and American Bahá'í children. Excellent indeed is what you have done. Rest well assured, O handmaid of God, in the gracious favour of your Lord. Verily He will sustain you in your efforts for the advancement of His Cause and in rendering service to the world of humanity. Exert your utmost endeavour, and expend whatever is dear to you in this glorious path that you may earn the crown of righteousness, imperishable and everlasting.
      Indeed the peoples of the world spend their days in idle imaginings, wholly oblivious to the Truth. Know of a certainty that the ornament of life is to be arrayed with the vesture of praiseworthy conduct and be attired with the crown of goodly deeds.
      All the members of the family and myself are enjoying excellent health and we send our loving greetings and best wishes to you and to all the beloved friends there. I earnestly beseech from His holy Threshold that He may purge you from every affliction, grant you perfect health and may aid you to serve His sublime Cause in this glorious Day.


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