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Abstract:
Biography, and talks by Faizi to the World Congress (1963) and Wilmette House of Worship (1974).

Conqueror of Hearts:
Talks by Hand of the Cause of God Abu'l-Qásim Faizí

by Shirley Macias and Abu'l-Qasim Faizi

published in Conqueror of Hearts
2002
Conqueror of Hearts table of contents


In the closing days of the year 1980, my beloved teacher, friend and guide departed this plane of existence and left an emptiness filled only with the memories of his loving kindness, encouraging letters, extraordinary humility, sincere love for humanity, complete devotion to the Cause of God, illuminating talks to the friends as he traveled extensively to many countries and islands, and his precious writings on various aspects of the history and teachings of the Cause. It has been my great joy to assemble some of his letters, talks and writings for your pleasure and study.

I met Mr. Faizí for the first time in 1963 while pioneering in Honduras. As secretary of that National Spiritual Assembly, one of my duties was to greet visitors when they arrived at the airport in Tegucigalpa. One day in February 1963 we received word that Mr. Faizí would be visiting our community for a few days. When I greeted him at the airport, it was truly love at first sight. It was as if I had found a long-lost relative. I really cannot describe the feeling, except to say that being in his presence filled me with the utmost joy and happiness.

He spent several days with the Bahá'ís in Tegucigalpa, sharing with us wonderful and deeply moving stories as he showed photographs from his "black notebook" of the early heroic believers and martyrs in Iran and Iraq. His next stop on his journey was to the neighboring country of Guatemala. With sadness at his departure, the small contingent of Bahá'ís (we were only a small handful then) went to the airport to bid him farewell. While waiting for his plane to arrive, we sat on the terrace of the terminal, had some coffee and took photographs. Suddenly Mr. Faizí became very concerned and said that he had misplaced his "black notebook." I immediately telephoned the hotel where he had stayed; they found the notebook and sent it to us by taxi. When they paged me to go to the front desk to retrieve it, he insisted on walking downstairs with me. As we were walking, he spoke about the beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, and said that all of the Hands of the Cause whom the Guardian had appointed had so many talents and qualities, and that each of them had one quality of the Guardian. He then began to speak of them (there were then twenty-seven living Hands of the Cause), describing their qualities and attributes. Then he said, "But I have no talent." I looked at him with amazement and said, "But Mr. Faizí, you have the greatest talent of them all; you have the talent of love." He then looked at me and said, "Yes, I guess I do."

He wrote to me a few days later saying, "I could get my black notebook, but what about my poor heart which is always hovering over all these places where our precious friends work for the beloved Faith? . . .There is nothing more in the world which possibly can make me happy except the little bit of chance of serving the friends in this very limited capacity that I have." This was the beginning of a correspondence spanning some seventeen years. His letters were always a source of joy to me and sustained me through many tests and trials.

I saw Mr. Faizí a few months later in Haifa. (I was privileged to attend the first International Convention as a delegate from Honduras to elect the Universal House of Justice.) One evening at the Pilgrim House, as the friends were sitting around, he walked toward me with an old torn string bag filled with many delightful gifts. He took them out of a string shopping sack, one by one, placing them in my hands. In the bag was a box of Persian sweets from his mother (who lived in Iran), which he said the doctors had forbidden him to eat (he suffered from diabetes). Also included were some photographs of dancers and postcards from India containing paintings and verses from Persian poets, a lovely green silk scarf from Iran, a few handkerchiefs, and the most wonderful gift of all, four photographs of Shoghi Effendi as a child and young boy (later published in Rúhíyyih Khánum's The Priceless Pearl). My arms were full and I was not able to carry all these precious gifts, so he said that I should take the sack to carry them in. I don't know why, but I asked him where the sack was from, and he said, "Oh, I just picked it up at the Master's house." Then I saw him again in London for the Centenary of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh. He was the last speaker at that historic World Congress. Among his words to the 6,000 Bahá'ís at Royal Albert Hall were these:

"A hundred years ago when Bahá'u'lláh was in Baghdád, one day He was pacing up and down in front of His House and rows of people were standing near Him. Some were Persian princes and some were from Arab noble families. Bahá'u'lláh asked, `What is the news of the town? What is the news of the martyrs?' And one of the Persian princes said, `How is it that when you are with your own people, you speak to them of such exalted subjects, but when you are with us, you only ask us of the news of the town and of the martyrs?' Bahá'u'lláh paced up and down and said, `People who can hear my words are not yet created.' He again paced up and down and started to tell them something. One of the things He said at that time was this: He said, `If there are pearls beneath seven seas, I will bring them out.' Who could ever realize in that hour what these words meant? But today we see with our eyes the fulfillment of these words. Bahá'u'lláh brought out pearls from seven seas, and brought jewels from beyond seven mountains and brought them all here, from the Pacific, the Atlantic, the mountains of Bolivia, all countries of the world. These are the pearls and jewels which Bahá'u'lláh desired to have.
                                   
"One of the greatest prophecies about the Manifestation of Bahá'u'lláh ever mentioned in the Qur'án is this. He said, `On that day friends would be sitting on benches facing each other.' Here is the fulfillment of that great prophecy. All of you are sitting in absolute love and perfect harmony under the Tabernacle of Bahá'u'lláh on benches facing each other."[1]

I again saw Mr. Faizí about nine years later while serving at the Bahá'í National Center in Wilmette. (1973-1976). He had just been in Hawaii for a conference, was visiting Los Angeles and going from there to Canada. I spoke to him on the telephone asked whether he could visit us in Wilmette. He consented. One afternoon I had tea with him at the Evanston Hotel where we chatted for about an hour. (There he presented me with a gift of a lovely semiprecious stone, saying he loved to give gifts to the friends. Over the years, many friends gave him gifts, which he often passed on to the other friends.) Since we were planning to leave shortly for the conference in St. Louis, Missouri, to inaugurate the Four Year Plan, I asked whether he was going to attend. He said that he would very much like to, but only if the Universal House of Justice directed him to do so. (Mr. Faizí was completely and totally subservient to the wishes of the House of Justice.) Later that afternoon, I spoke with Charlotte Linfoot, a member of the National Assembly, and conveyed to her Mr. Faizí's response that he would be delighted to attend the conference, but only if the House of Justice would ask him to go. She cabled Haifa and shortly afterwards an invitation arrived from Haifa asking Mr. Faizí to join the other Hands of the Cause for that occasion (Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum, Zikru'lláh Khadem, William Sears and John Robarts). One evening during the St. Louis Conference, my dear friend Wendy Ayoub Lind and I spent a couple of hours with our beloved friend, Mr. Faizí, delighted to be in his presence.

They invited Mr. Faizí to speak to the Friends serving in Wilmette before the St. Louis Conference. The following is a transcript of his talk at Foundation Hall at the Bahá'í House of Worship on the evening of August 25, 1974.

"Alláh-u-Abhá, dear Friends. I have been looking forward to this occasion for many years, but because of circumstances, it has been retarded until now. I still cannot believe that I am in this congregation, and particularly to see Mr. Khadem here. I thought he was in St. Louis. Of course I expected to see his wife here, all alone, but unfortunately . . . [laughter].

"As you are going to the conference in St. Louis, which is specified for the youth, and as you are all here, and all of you are young, I would like to address to the young people. First of all, it is about four months that I am in a tour specified by the House of Justice, and my understanding of the condition of the Cause in all the parts that I have visited is that you can visibly, tangibly see and understand that the Cause of God is lifted on a higher level today, everywhere, in every center, even in every village, you will find a new creation of a new generation whose expectations are very much exalted these days. They want to know more, they want to do more sacrifices, and they want to deepen themselves in all the aspects of our Faith. And in all the parts of South America, Central America, and the Pacific Islands, they need teachers, young teachers who would sacrifice their future for the promotion of the Faith of God in these places where the friends are thirsty to know, to understand, and to serve. They want great examples to establish in all these centers that they can emulate.

"I want to congratulate the Bahá'í community of America for their wonderful pioneers all over the world, particularly those who are rendering unprecedented services in South America. hand-in- hand, with pioneers from other countries, they are opening new centers, establishing Assemblies, and deepening the natives. I don't remember their names, but all of them are excellent, wonderfully chosen, beautifully "missioned" to these different centers of the world and they are wholly, wholeheartedly, with determination, decided to do the protection of the Faith of God and for the propagation throughout their regions. We hope that pioneers will be sent to other parts of the world.

"The conference in Hawaii was a great, great success for the Bahá'í world, because they showed, they demonstrated their specific character of the Bahá'í youth in this age. While youth in other communities are undisciplined, uncontrolled, and free to do whatever they like, the youth at the conference in Hawaii demonstrated absolute spiritual discipline and it became a great lesson for the people of those islands, and for the people who came in contact with them. The moment the conference came to an end, and the friends departed for their respective countries, the youth hand-in-hand together started to arrange the hall, and give it back to the owners. And the owners of the hall were very proud to have these people in their hall, and they said that the Bahá'ís are always welcome to go there and have all sorts of celebrations. They said they had never seen any conference so beautifully organized, so quietly marching on toward the end, and with so much discipline among all the participants. And they were surprised how all these things could be done in such a smooth way. This is a great lesson for all the people of those countries. A lesson for the youth who participated, and I'm sure they all have already taken the spirit of that conference to all parts of the world.

"Now what I had in mind to really say this evening after what I said, and I felt it was a conscientious obligation for me to express this gratitude to the Bahá'í community of America. I would like again to turn my heart to the youth. Beloved friends, there is a very short letter written by one of the kings of France in the archives of French literature. The daughter of Louis XV, the king of France, at the age of eighteen all of a sudden decided to consecrate her life for the service of Christ in different Christian institutions. She wrote a letter to her father and asked for his permission and his blessings. The father wrote back a letter to this effect. He said, `My dear daughter. I am extremely glad that you are offering the morning of your life to the Cause of God, and I am extremely sorry that I am at the sunset of my life and I can't offer Him anything.' Now all of you are in the morning of your lives, and please do not wait for the time when you will be in the fire of remorse, and say to yourselves, `Why didn't I start this road of service when I was young, when I was in full capacity of all the bounties of God to me.' Think it over at present, and do it now.

"In the Qur'án there is a little story, but a great lesson to the whole of mankind, if mankind is ever ready to take lessons from the Words of the Prophets of God. It's written that when God appointed Adam as His viceroy on this planet, He called all the angels and said, "Prostrate to this one, because He is My Messenger on earth. I have taught Him everything. He knows things which all the angels together do not know." All of the angels prostrated, except one, whose name is mentioned in the Qur'án as Eblis, and in Western literature as Lucifer. And God asked him, "Why don't you obey My command? Why don't you prostrate?" He said, "How can I prostrate? I am made of fire and this Adam is made of earth. I am a higher and more sublime element than earth." Although this one was the head of all the angels and their teacher, because of this pride, he failed in one little test of God. And ever since that time, all of humanity has been divided into two different sections separate from each other. Those who have the characteristics, the nature of earth, and those who have the sense of fire.

"`Abdu'l-Bahá has explained many things in His writings, in His tablets, in His addresses, and even in His oral conversations with people, the explanation of the difference between two elements is the most excellent ever written by any pen on the pages of paper in the whole history of mankind. He says the earth is faithful, the earth is generous and the earth is very patient. These three characters of the earth are given by the pen of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Fire is greedy. Now He explains one by one. He says that the earth is faithful because you open the earth and entrust with the most valuable treasures, and cover it, and come back after half a century, it will give you back exactly as you have given it. It will not devour it. It will not spoil it. It will give you as you have given it. It is generous, `Abdu'l-Bahá says, because you give the earth one grain and it will give you back a harvest. You plant a stem, and the earth will give you back a fruitful tree. And it is patient, because you break the breast of the earth from all sides, and it gives you more fruit, more seeds. But as to the fire, He says its devours. Its tongues are stretched on all sides, and wants more and more. Give to the fire all the oil of the world, still it says "I want more." If you don't control it, it will destroy a village within some minutes, a town within hours, and perhaps the whole world. Therefore, this is the foremost duty of every Bahá'í youth to start life with a certain discipline which will give everyone of us a nature, an attitude, that we will be like the earth, not like the fire. Fire never achieves anything. But being like earth, then we will achieve many things in life.

"To do this we must walk in the path of `Abdu'l-Bahá You will remember that `Abdu'l-Bahá had been surrounded by Covenant-breakers. Whatever material benefit would come to `Abdu'l-Bahá he would feed these Covenant-breaker with these things, and still they wanted more. He fed them so perhaps they would keep quiet and no longer be dangerous for the Cause of God, and would not display themselves more than they had done in His time. But because of this great nature that `Abdu'l-Bahá had, He became the greatest example in the Bahá'í Faith in the history of this Cause of God. Let's understand the way that He lived on this planet. There are two standards given in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh for any group of Bahá'ís coming together, whether we are coming together in the form of a group, in the form of a Local Assembly, in the form of local committees, in the form of National Assemblies, national committees, International House of Justice, international committees, and international affairs. In all these affairs that we participate, the success of the gathering will be measured by one thing only. If at the end of the meeting we feel that we are more in love with each other, and we are closer to each other, that is a Bahá'í function. But God forbid that a heart may be broken in anything, in a committee, in a local assembly. That gathering had not been blessed by the presence of Bahá'u'lláh or by the confirmation of Bahá'u'lláh.

"Do you remember the days when `Abdu'l-Bahá was in London in the house of Lady Blomfield?[2] He had interviewed with journalists of those days and a very old, poor man came to the door and the doorkeeper said, "The Master is busy with more important people. He has no time for you." The poor man took his way back home, but at that moment, `Abdu'l-Bahá felt that a heart had been broken. He got up and said, "A heart is broken." He hastened to the door, called to the man, enveloped him in His cloak, in His aba, and brought him to the house and spent the rest of the time with this heart-broken man. One of the pilgrims at the time of `Abdu'l-Bahá told me that they were gathering in the room of `Abdu'l-Bahá on the upper story of His house. Suddenly `Abdu'l-Bahá went to the balcony and signed to somebody to come upstairs. When this man came, he was an Arab, all full of soil and dirt, as he had never washed himself. He had only a piece of cloth on his loins. `Abdu'l-Bahá entered and the friends were sitting there. He took this man to an enclosure. He showed to the friends that they did not have the patience to be with this Arab. But they sat on two sides of the table in such a way as the pilgrims would see him, and head to head, they started to converse. Suddenly they saw this Arab burst into laughter, got up and couldn't control his laughter. And `Abdu'l-Bahá was also in happiness and joy and gave him something and the Arab left. He said that one of us who knew Arabic followed that Arab and asked him what the Master had told him that he became so happy. He said, "After all the conversation, the Master said, `Why are you so dirty? Why don't you take a bath?' He laughed and then the Master said, `Now I tell you, marry then you will be obliged to take a bath.'"

"This is the way that the Master lived with all sorts of people. And if we as Bahá'ís cannot live together, even in this way, it will be a great misfortune for us. Therefore let's keep in mind to always try to follow the example of the Master. And I want to tell you a story of how to walk in the shoes of our Master. It is a very touching story. It's about a young man who in the very early hours of the days of the Báb embraced the Faith of the Báb. His name appears at the beginning of Nabíl's Narrative.[3] When the second Letter of the Living was sent to Mesopotamia by the Báb, this young man saw Him, because he had seen Him in his dreams, and embraced the Faith of the Báb. And you remember that his father became angry. Eventually he went to Baghdád and resided there.

"Bahá'u'lláh had been in Baghdád twice. Once He Himself went to Baghdád, and the other time, the second time, He had been exiled by the Government of Persia. In His first trip, He used to go almost every day to the shop of this young man by the name `Abdu'l-Vahháb. Suppose this is the little shop. Bahá'u'lláh would come and sit here, the owner of the shop would bring a chair, a little table, a cup of tea with some sweets, and he was going around and around the chair like moth around a candle. His whole life and happiness and joy had been limited in this little time that Bahá'u'lláh spent with him here. The day came when Bahá'u'lláh asked him a very mysterious question. He said, " `Abdu'l-Vahháb, can a moth be very far away from the candle?" And this man couldn't answer this mysterious question at that time. But he was bewildered. Why did Bahá'u'lláh ask him that question? The day after that Bahá'u'lláh did not appear near his shop. Weeks passed, and then he became impatient. He hastened to the houses of some of the Bábís who lived in Baghdád, and when he asked them, they informed him that Bahá'u'lláh had left Baghdád for Tihrán. He immediately departed for Tihrán from Baghdád on foot. After some months he reached Tihrán. Being well-known as a Bábí, and being also impatient to teach the Faith of the Báb, he was immediately arrested and taken to the Síyáh Chál. Now perhaps a little description of the Síyáh Chál is necessary at this point. Then we'll continue the story.

"Suppose there is the mansion of the king, the Sháh of Persia. Near this mansion there was a beautiful round park, in the middle of which there was a round pond of water, always brimming with water. At that corner there was a corridor on the two sides of which there were some shops. The corridor was about 100 meters long. At the end there was a narrow gate. It would open to a flight of stairs. At the end of the stairs, there was another narrow gate which opened to the Síyáh Chál, and this young man was taken as a prisoner, was brought through the park, through this corridor, the gate, and then the second gate, and then was put into the dungeon which was absolutely dark, with no inlet for air or light. Within himself he had been very sad because he had not seen Bahá'u'lláh not because he was in prison. But after some minutes he heard a voice, telling him, "Now you see that the moth cannot be away from the candle." And he knew the voice and it was the voice of Bahá'u'lláh . He was directed by the great love that he had for Bahá'u'lláh to come to this dungeon and be with Him. Now he had the whole world with him. He was no more sad, no more felt lacking anything in life, because he had the whole world near him. And he made others also enthused with his love. He made others sing songs. He danced for them. He made them happy. Then it happened that one day he went to Bahá'u'lláh and said, "I dreamt last night that I was soaring in the air." And Bahá'u'lláh told him, "This is the day that you will go to the arena of martyrdom. Be steadfast." And he immediately started to go around, kissed every prisoner there, embraced Him and We encouraged him to be very steadfast and as we saw that he did not have shoes, we gave him Our own shoes." Therefore, in the shoes of Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu'l-Vahháb went and became one of the illustrious martyrs of the Cause of God.[4]

"Now Bahá'u'lláh in His Writings says, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá confirms and explains, that man has no enemy in the whole of creation except his own self, his own ego. If we can fight against this ego, if we can fight against this self, and win the battle, we will be martyrs. If we walk in the shoes of our Master, we can win this battle, especially when we contrast between serving the Cause of God, or following another profession. In this balance, all of you young people be careful and choose to walk in the shoes of your Master. Alláh-u-Abhá."

Following Mr. Faizí's talk, there was a question and answer session:
  1. Question about the meaning of dreams:

    "We have the world of the Creator and the world of creation. Now the Prophets of God belong to both worlds. This is what 'Abdu'l-Bahá says that They belong to the world of God and the world of humanity. They must be born in a human, physical temple, but must have something by which They receive the Message of God. You know that electricity comes from a certain factory to this lamp, but electricity is not light. There is something devised here which changes electricity to light. There is something in the Prophets of God which changes the Message of God into the words that they utter for us. Therefore they belong to both the world of the Creator and the world of creation. Is it clear?

    "This which I say is taken from the words of `Abdu'l-Bahá. He says to look at a pond of water. When this pond at night is absolutely calm and quiet, all the stars and the moon will be clearly reflected in this water. But if you take a leaf, a petal from a flower, and place on the surface of this pond of water, imperceptible ripples will be created, all the pictures will be shown, but confused. Therefore the clear vision, clear dreams, are the times when the soul is absolutely calm and quiet. And this scarcely happens in the life of man, because the world is too much with all of us. Another description is given by `Abdu'l-Bahá. He says to consider a wide piece of cloth. You paint it blue and then with yellow. Yellow and blue will make the cloth green. Now the original color was white; after three processes, this has become green. You dream something green. The one who would like to interpret this dream for you must analyze all these colors from each other and then know what has been the original state of the mind or heart or soul to have such a dream The dreams which are true you will either see in your life here, or in the world to come."

  2. Question: "Have the Hands of the Cause ever met to discuss the ways to teach the Indians, to bring the Faith to the Indians, to raise them to the station which is promised to them in this world?"

    "All such prophecies given by `Abdu'l-Bahá or Bahá'u'lláh in Their Writings about any nation, any group of people, or any race, is the birthright of these people given to them by the Pen of `Abdu'l-Bahá. The birthright means there is a distinct time for them to be born in the Bahá'í Faith, bringing all these qualities to the Faith of God. And the Hands independently cannot do anything, because we have only one Centre in the world, and that is the House of Justice. If the red Indians themselves would like to write to the House of Justice to please send them more hands so that they will help us in teaching the Indians, deepening the Indians, that will be the correct procedure. For example, about China. Now we have nothing in China. About China the beloved Guardian and the Master had said, this is the greatest treasure house of God, spiritually and materially. It doesn't mean that they are now like that. The time will come when they will prove all these qualities belong to them. And many, many other things have been said about other people. They must try to approach the light. They must try to open the doors and windows of their houses to the sunshine to come in and then they will get life, because of living under the sunshine of the Faith."

  3. Question: "Is there such a thing as a spiritual mate?"

    "Please, dear friends, let us never entangle ourselves with such foolish, baseless, unfounded ideas. Please think that if we believe in soul mates, all the marriage bonds will be broken into pieces. [laughter and applause] I don't know if your cheering was for the happiness of this occasion, or not. I mean the moment a husband does not agree with his wife, the wife would say, "You're not my soul mate." [more laughter] And there is no soul mate waiting for us in the other world. Please get married and that marriage will be blessed by Bahá'u'lláh and you will be together eternally in the service of the Cause."

  4. Question: "Would Mr. Faizí mention some episodes with which he was connected teaching the Faith in Arabia such as stories of pioneers and other such?"

    "When the pioneers went to Arabia, the beloved Guardian sent four instructions to them. First, do not teach, lead a Bahá'í life, do not get married with the people of those countries, they are still living there, and they have proved to be the subject of confidence and trust among all the population. They all love them and respect them and they know that they are Bahá'ís. And the reason why we have four National Assemblies in Arabia is because we had more pioneers sent there. And these Arabians, when they are in need an accountant, a bookkeeper, somebody who would safeguard their merchandise in their hands, electricians, radio engineers, television engineers, all these things, they go to a Bahá'í and say, "We need five electric engineers, but we want them to be of your kind." You see, and then immediately the Bahá'í will say, "I will find them, but what about their passports and visas?" He will say, "I will arrange everything." And when he writes to Persia, or some other parts, and four or five people are ready to go, the passports, visas and everything will be arranged and they are settled there very well.

    "Now you know that in India we have a school, a Bahá'í school, which is a pride for India and America, because ever since we had the headmaster of the school sent from America community by the intervention of Dwight [Allen] here, the school started to make tangible progress in every respect. And you will surprised when you go there. You will find children from Mecca and Medina studying there. They speak Arabic and they come and salute you with the term, Alláh-u-Abhá, and they know the prayers, morning and evening prayers. I don't know what happens when they go home, but this is a Bahá'í legacy given to them and they take it to the place where the Bahá'ís are not allowed to talk about it. I believe if all the Bahá'ís of the world will lead a Bahá'í life, they will have this great success everywhere. But of course dear friends, pray for them all, because in most of the Arabian countries, we have great many difficulties for the Bahá'ís of those countries. Please, when you say prayers, have one verse, one little thing about them, so that they will be protected and stay at their goals and in their posts and will carry on the Message of Bahá'u'lláh until such time as they can openly declare."

  5. Question: "This is a request that Mr. Faizí explain or repeat what he told some pilgrims in Haifa why the prayers revealed by the Manifestation are more efficacious than the prayers which we make up ourselves."
         
    "The constitution of man is made by our Creator in such a way that the physical temple will be the dominion of the soul, and in order for the soul to make eternal progress in the endless worlds of God, must for the first time come to this body, settle in this body, and be ready for the future progress. The world itself is the embryo of the soul's spiritual birth in the world to come. Just as an infant as an embryo before physical birth to this world. How much we care for the physical birth of our children. How very often the ladies go to the doctors to see that everything is all right, and God forbid if the child is born with the least deficiency in his physical temple. Suppose one little part of this finger is missing, the whole family will lament because there is a deficiency in the body of the child. Now the soul is here as a stranger. This is the expression used by Bahá'u'lláh. To understand this, I would like to give you an example.
         
    "Suppose you are alone in the middle of Brazil where everybody speaks Portuguese. You go from one street to the other, one village to the other, town to town, and you do not find anyone who speaks English. Lo and behold, one day you find somebody who speaks your language. What do you feel in your heart? You feel relieved. You understand the language. You can converse now. You can be warmed up because your language is spoken to you. Now this soul a stranger here in the human temple and as a stranger it belongs to a higher realm. Therefore when the Prophets of God reveal words by Their own pen, They speak the language of the soul, and that's why when you read them, the soul gets enthused, warmed up, and then will be free and be more ready to serve. Other words will not affect it. Do you remember in the first part of the Long Obligatory Prayer, we raise our hands and say, "Oh God, see this stranger desires to go to his original abode." This refers to our soul. A stranger here always fluttering within the physical constitution to reach his own exalted realm in the presence of God. In Persian literature, there is a book the equivalent of which can never be found in any other literature. Even in Persian, it is unique by itself. It is the second book to the Qur'án in Persian literature, even among all the Muslims. The book starts with this verse: "Listen to the music of the flute. It gives you the stories of separation. Listen to its complaints." Because it tells you the stories that it had belonged to an orchard. It has been taken away from the orchard and is here lonely, forsaken and a stranger. This little verse at the beginning of this book is the description of our soul. The soul belongs to another realm. Now it says to come here and there is nobody to talk to. Now because it is in the shape of a flute, it must go through two processes so that it will become perfect here. We must go through these two processes. First is the process of purification. We take the reed from the shores of rivers, and bring it home, and it is completely filled with pith. You blow into it, there is no resonance. Therefore you must take an iron bar and press it inside many times until all these unnecessary extra materials will be taken out of the body of the reed. This is the process of purification. It becomes pure. Then it must go through a process of suffering. You put the same iron bar into the fire, and when it is red hot, you place it on the reed on several spots, seven or eight spots. After that, it is ready to placed on the lips of the master musician. Then whatever music you hear from that reed is not from the reed, it is from the mouth of the musician.[5] If we go through these two processes in the Cause of God, purification and suffering in His path, then our mouth will be the flute in which Bahá'u'lláh plays. If we surrender our will to His will, if we make ourselves ready for the accomplishment of His desire in this physical world, believe me, you will be so near to the beloved Guardian, that you will often feel his hand is pushing you on and on, and his voice, his sweet voice, will tell you not to worry, to go to the end of your goal, and you will be forever successful. And the Guardian said that up until now, the people of the world had no permission to test God, but now it is permitted. Let them try and see how Bahá'u'lláh will help them to the end of their lives, to the end of their goals. This is the meaning of the prayers revealed by Their Pens and inspired by God. [applause]

  6. Question: "Sometimes some Bahá'ís prefer to live the Bahá'í life in private and don't want to get involved with any other kind of Bahá'í activity. Others want to teach the Faith, are extremely active, but don't pay too much attention to the Bahá'í life. [laughter} What happens then?"

    "I am glad that such questions are asked so that we can direct or reorient our ideas. The question is excellent, but is based on a wrong conception. Bahá'í life means everything, and the best description of Bahá'í life is given by `Abdu'l-Bahá. He says Bahá'í life is water for the fish. Therefore you must always be in water, not separate from it. You will never be able to teach, to be able to be a good member of a Local Assembly or a National Assembly if you are out of the Bahá'í life. If the fish goes out of the water, death is waiting for it. If we are out of the Bahá'í life, spiritual death is waiting for us. It is something in which we always live. We must always live there. `Abdu'l-Bahá goes to another level of this question, because He foresaw that the question would come to Him. He said even if the water is full of mud, which is better for the fish, out or in? Still he must stay inside that muddy water. Therefore Bahá'í life is like the atmosphere covering us from all sides. Out of this atmosphere is death. We must create this atmosphere for all of us in which we can live happily, teach happily, and cooperate together like excellent parts of one great plan of God. In the same book that mentioned, it says that once a fish was thrown out of the ocean into a well. This fish was very sad, grumbling. The other fish surrounded him and asked, "What's the matter? You want water and here is water." He said, "But you don't know in what kind of water I was living. It was immense." The other asked, "Was it twice the size of this well?" "No, no, no." "Ten times this well?" "Impossible. No, no, endless." Then they said, "He is mad." Because how could there be more water than this. Now we must have the same regard for the Bahá'í life. It's an ocean now. Throughout the world, wherever you go, there are people who belong to the Tabernacle of Bahá'u'lláh and we immerse ourselves in the ocean of the love of the friends wherever we go. Never keep apart from it for any purpose. (applause)

  7. Question: Whether the Manifestations, before They became the recipients of Revelation, had the freedom of will to accept to become Manifestations, or whether They could reject that?

    "There are many aspects to this question. If you have patience, we'll go into them. First of all, these people, these individuals, are singled out by the Creator to be His Messengers on this planet. There is no change in Them. You see at the time of Moses, how many thousands of the children of Israel had been killed, so that the one who was chosen by God would be martyred. At the time of Jesus, how many thousands of the Jewish children were killed so that Jesus would be killed, and He was protected. Because it's not easy for God to make one person like Jesus, Muhammad or Bahá'u'lláh every day. (laughter) You know, They are the creations of centuries, centuries of generations of men, bringing individuals into existence until such time as the whole world will come to a fruition and that fruit is right here in our hands by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, by the name of Muhammad, or by the name of Mírzá Husayn-`Alí in Tihrán, or Siyyid `Ali-Muhammad in Shíráz.

    "Now They know They are the Prophets of God from Their childhood. There is no doubt about it. But the reason why They do not say anything is because of this. The light is here burning, but we have an iron cover. Iron prevents the light to go out, but within itself it is full of light. The iron of the will of God is over this light. Therefore the Báb does not declare. Even as Mullá Husayn is sitting in front of Him, He does not declare until two hours and eleven minutes after sunset and then says, "I am the one." It is the will of God which pulls off the cover. At that time Mullá Husayn sees the light and says, "Yes." Bahá'u'lláh Himself has many things written about His childhood, and He says, "I have not studied reading and writing, but by the power of God, not it is determined for me to write this and I wrote it." He says that at the age of twelve they were reading a certain story of the wars in Arabia, that some hundred people had been killed, and Bahá'u'lláh's sensitive heart became so sad. "Why should all these people be killed?" He says that from then on, waves of inspiration and utterances were issued until such time in the Síyáh-Chál it reached the proper and right time. In the Tablet to the King of Persia, He says (and please take this as a standard for all the life of Bahá'u'lláh, and if you have any question about particulars of His life, you can solve it by this): He says, "I am like a leaf standing against a tempest of the will of God. How can I stand against it? It moves me in any way it likes. I am like a dead man in the hands of an undertaker who turns me in any way He likes."[6] Therefore, They have no choice of their own. They are always, always in the hand of God, and absolutely surrendered to the will of God, and nothing else. All of the events of the life of Bahá'u'lláh, the Báb and all of the Messengers took place within this life. Is it clear now?

    "Please, let us go back to the story of all of the Prophets of God. It's a very interesting point. It will teach us something very important in the history of all religions. It teaches us that the Trinity does not belong only to Christianity; it the basis of all the religions of God. There is always God and the Prophet of God, but there is some means by which the Prophets receive the Message, something to go in between. And now I will enumerate them and find out the beauty of it.

    "At the time of Moses, there was Moses and Jehovah, and He heard the voice of Jehovah through a Burning Bush. Jesus, the Dove, the Father. Muhammad, the angel Gabriel in the form of a man, and Alláh. Bahá'u'lláh, the Maid of Heaven, and God. When you write these points down, don't you see the progressive revelation in this? First the vegetable kingdom, the burning bush; second the animal kingdom, the dove; third the human kingdom, and above all kingdoms, the kingdom of women." [laughter and applause.]


Notes:

[1]   And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury: (They will be) brothers (joyfully) facing each other on thrones (of dignity)." Qur'án 15:47, translated by A. Yusuf `Alí.
[2]   Lady Sara Blomfield of England, named Sitarih Khánum by `Abdu'l-Bahá, compiler and author of The Chosen Highway. (See, Roger White, A Compendium of Volumes of The Bahá'í World, pp. 536-540, for a brief biography.
[3]   Mírzá `Abdu'l-Vahháb-i-Shírází. See The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 87-90. Also, Balyuzi, Bahá'u'lláh, The King of Glory, "The Story of a Shírází Youth," pp. 94-98.
[4]   Paraphrased from The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 633-634.
[5]   Here, I believe Mr. Faizí is referring to the Súfí poet and mystic, Jalalu'l-Dín Rúmí and his epic work, the Mathnawi, the first verse of which is as follows, as translated by Reynold A. Nicholson, Rúmí, Poet and Mystic 1207-1273 (London, George Allen 1964), p. 31:
Hearken to this Reed forlorn,
Breathing, even since `twas torn
From its rushy bed, a strain
Of impassioned love and pain.
The secret of my song, though near
None can see and none can hear
Oh, for a friend to know the sign
And mingle all his soul with mine!
`Tis the flame of Love that fired me,
`Tis the wine of Love inspired me.
Wouldst thou learn how lovers bleed,
Hearken, hearken to the Reed!

[6]   "This is but a leaf which the winds of the will of thy Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised have stirred. Can it be still when the tempestuous winds are blowing?. . .I was indeed as one dead when His behest was uttered. The hand of the will of thy Lord, the Compassionate, the Merciful, transformed Me." Bahá'u'lláh, "Tablet to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh," The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 57.

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