The Bahá'í MessageFernandina Beach News Leader
Fernandina Beach, Florida: 1927-1928
Document history: Transcribed from copies of a copy made at the US Bahá'í National Archives in 2006. Some content and dates were not legible. The original newspaper articles, most likely placed in the archives by Leona Barnitz, were not in the best shape. All dates were handwritten on the copies, presumably by Guy himself, except for one: July 15, 1927.
[Text "CITY OF FERNANDINA, Statement for the month of June 1927 and 6 months to date" appears below article.]
Dr. Walter B. Guy
Always from the beginning of time as we know it, to this day, the tree has been the symbol of human life.
The tree of knowledge of good and evil is the symbol of our humanity striving for goodness but alas ever prone to evil.
The tree of life is the symbol of God's Prophets and Messengers, the Sons of God, in whose protection of love and guidance man alone can find shelter, happiness and eternal life.
The leaves of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, are our individual lives. It is said, that though there may be myriads of leaves on a single tree, yet if closely examined every leaf has a distinctive difference none is exactly like another.
So too of humanity, although it is one family, one species, one creation, yet every individual has his distinctive personality.
The purpose of a tree, 'Abdu'l-Bahá said, is to bear fruit. Jesus Christ said, "a tree is known by its fruit."
To live a life where nothing but leaves is produced is to so live as to nullify the plan of the Creator, as far as we ourselves are concerned. Such lives are barren of results, without blossoms and without fruit, heedless, shallow, indifferent — fruitless — neither hot nor cold. Verily as the last day, the angel of Life "shall spew them out of His mouth."
A tree to produce fruit must first blossom. Blossoms are qualities and characteristics. It is well for everyone to examine themselves each day and by thought to take note of ones' qualities and deeds; are they good or are they bad? "Examine thy deeds each day, before thou art judged, for death will suddenly overtake thee, and then thy deeds shall judge thee," so said Bahá'u'lláh.
A fruitful tree manifests beauty in the springtime, its blossoms are vivid and harmonious, they delight the eyes, their perfume is pleasant to the nostrils; but the evil tree, its blossoms are repellent, its odor offensive. Do we not all wish to be a delight to others, to charm them by our presence, to attract their love and friendship? If so, then "we must adorn our lives with the crown of severance, our temples with the robe of virtue." Importance lies in striving to be tolerant, broad, generous, kind, chaste, courteous, just, sympathetic and wise. Persons with such qualities are ever desirable and welcome in all classes of society.
Narrowness, greed, impurity, slander and covetousness are blossoms malodorous and repellant to all.
After the blossoms in the springtime, comes the time of harvest. What has been produced, shall it be everlasting qualities and attributes of divine deeds, of kindness and love; or on the other hand, deeds of lust, avarice and greed, cruelty and injustice? Truly by their fruits do we know them.
A distinguished Persian Bahá'í teacher who spent some time in America. ... [something missing here; probable typesetting error]
Near East points the moral, "A robber, bandit and murderer once lived with his band in the passes of a mountainous region. He like the others of his band was a Muhammadan, therefore they believed in paradise and hell. As years went by thoughts of his future state beyond the grave became more and more insistent and upset the tenor of his happy and prosperous life. At last, much distraught he went to a Mullah and asked his advise [sic] and told him of his mode of life and of his fears. The Mullah was aghast. He told the man that he could see no way whereby his soul might be saved. After further conversation he said to the robber, [']come and see me again, I will consider your case, perhaps guidance will come to me.' After a while the bandit returned to the Mullah who said, 'Ah! I have discovered a way whereby you may gain entrance, at death, into paradise! ['] 'Tell it to me," [sic] said the bandit.
"'Down in the village!' the Mullah said, 'there is a baker and he is a Bahá'í; such a one most repugnant to God. Go and kill him and paradise is yours. " [? punctuation; should read yours.' ?]
"'Ah!' the bandit said, 'that is easy, I have killed men before and I can easily kill a baker!' So down the village street the bandit goes and into the baker's shop. But the bandit could not kill in cold blood, that was too crude. No he must first of all make his intended victim angry So, at once he hurled vile epithets at the astonished Bahá'í. But instead of becoming angry the baker was very sweet and said:
"'My brother, do not talk so, Allah is a God of Love and we should love each other and be kind one to the other. Sit down my brother, let me get you some food.' Alas! it was no use, the bandit could not enrage him, and went away disappointed. Again the bandit came, but the Bahá'í baker was still more kind. And again the third time the Bahá'í after being struck in the face by the bandit insisted that his would-be murderer be seated and partake of refreshments. Then the Bahá'í told him of the Love of Allah; how much he too loved him until tears came and the robbers's heart was melted with fire of the Love of God. Standing up he said:
"'You are my brother; I too, wish to be a Bahá'í. Now I shall go and kill that Mullah.'"
"'Yes,' the baker said, 'kill him if you wish but only with love. Show him his evil ways.'"
Today that one-time bandit is a kind and gentle man, filled with love and meekness, ever seeking to serve and aid others. The fruit of Love from the lowly baker's heart had seeded, and who can tell how many trees of humanity will through him become laden with spiritual and luscious fruits! — Adv.
[Printed banner reads "FERNANDINA, FLA., FRIDAY, JULY 15, 1927"]
In his decisions they see great Bahá'í Wisdom. They are doing all in their power to support and aid him in his great work, strong in the assurance that this is the Cause of God and that its growth and spiritual victory over the irreligion of the world, with its superstition and misery, is assured and confirmed and cannot fail.
One of the questions the Bahá'ís are often asked is regarding the number of those who profess this faith. The strength of this Cause is a spiritual one, not to be measured numerically. Even were it possible to know the exact number of Bahá'ís in the world, this record would be valid but a short while, because the Cause is growing continually, interest in it is increasing and the hearts of people are daily becoming more attracted and more confirmed in the truth.
The Bahá'ís are widely distributed through the world. During the days of the Bab, his Cause was confined principally to Persia, although he had adherents also in neighboring countries. With the rise of Bahá'u'lláh this field of work was extended, the Bahá'í teachers went north in Caucasia, Russia and Turkestan, south into India, east into Burma, and later on into China. With Bahá'u'lláh's exile in Turkey, Roumelia [the Ottoman Balkans] and Syria, his Cause spread in those countries as well as in Egypt and in Arabia.
The establishment of the Bahá'í Cause in the West has been accomplished under the ministry of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. In the year 1894, a small group of people in the city of Chicago became interested in the revelation. Later, similar groups were formed in New York, Washington and San Francisco. In the winter of 1898-99, the first band of American Bahá'í pilgrims crossed the seas to visit 'Abdu'l-Bahá, then in exile in the Holy Land. Up to that time the communication between the American Bahá'ís and 'Abdu'l-Bahá had been by writing only. Then with the added impetus given by contract [sic] with 'Abdu'l-Bahá these American pilgrims returned to the West with renewed zeal and desire to spread the Cause.
From the enthusiasm of this first band of travelers, new centers for teaching were founded in France, England and America. From this nucleus have developed believers in all parts of the United States, in Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Japan and Australia, New Zealand and South America and the West Indies, as well as in various parts of Germany, Switzerland and Italy. — Adv.
[Handwritten: Oct. 7 — 1927 Fernandina, Fla.]
The Bahá'ís regard the Hebrew prophets as revealers of divene [sic] truth. Through these various channels the Word was revealed, souls were quickened with divine life and obeyed the divine laws, and the way was prepared for the coming of the Kingdom on earth. These prophets from the earliest, before Abraham, down to the last, Malachi, formed a complete chain. Each built upon the foundation of the teachings of his predecessors; each ministered to the spiritual needs of the people of his day, and each extended to humanity the promise of the coming of the Lord at the end of the days and of the righting of all things in the establishment of the reign of God among men. As one reads the Hebrew Scriptures, and prophecies of the coming of the triumphant Messianic dispensation are found to be the one great thread running through all. In this promise is heard the one divine voice of the Word of God speaking through the personalities of the many prophets or mouthpieces, or channels of truths.
In the Jewish holy books are found prophecies pertaining in particular to three holy ones to come in these latter days. The coming of Elijah before the appearance of the Lord, or "Ancient of Days;" the coming of the Lord and his Servant, "The Branch."
The prophecies regarding the coming of these three holy personages were fulfilled in the coming of the Bab, of Bahá'u'lláh and of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It was through the study of the prophecies regarding the second coming, as recorded by the prophet Daniel, that the Millerites learned that the lord was to come in the year 1844. They expected His miraculous appearance in the clouds and were disappointed. The Bab came, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá were born at this appointed time, fulfilling prophecy, but in a manner not anticipated by men. The country of Carmen and Sharon in the Holy Land, to which Bahá'u'lláh was sent in exile and where he lived and taught, was the place designated by the ancient seers of Biblical fame where the "Ancient of Days" would appear. The glory of the Lord of Hosts to come, and the power and majesty of his spiritual rule upon earth, are testified to by prophet and psalmist in the most inspiring passages of Hebrew sacred writ; while the peace, prosperity and general upliftment of humanity resulting there from are most vividly depicted.
The mission of the Jewish people was a religious one. From the seed of the prophet Abraham, the progenitor of these people, have come the founders of great religions of the past, as well as the founders of the great religion of the present. — Adv.
[Handwritten: Nov.?, 18 - '27]
To be alive in the spiritual sense is to be quickened by, and to be conscious of, the Spirit of God manifest, to believe in him and to do according to his will.
Through the divine mission of the prophet of God, or of "the Manifestation" of God, the soul of natural man is quickened with divine or eternal life, which is as a new and higher dimension added to his human nature. By virtue of this divine quickening, and through turning to the Manifestation, the newly spiritually born soul comes directly under divine guidance. Although in the world, yet such a divinely quickened soul lives in a higher realm then before, — the divine realm — from which it receives life and a force that characterize it with divine qualities. Thus, through the baptism of the Spirit or the Word of God revealed, the soul passes from the condition of spiritual ignorance or death, into that of spiritual awakeness or eternal life. Eternal life is not a condition to which the soul attains through its own virtue augmentative or through evolution from the natural plane. Man's capacity to receive this awakening must have its impetus through desire to know God. Eternal life is a gift and a bounty from God, bestowed upon natural man through the channel of revelation. It is given through God's mercy and favor to mankind.
There is evolution upon the natural place [plane?], but this evolution is confined to that plane. There is also evolution upon the spiritual planes, but there is [no?] evolution from the lower plane to the higher save through the intermediary of the life-giving Spirit which proceeds from the Manifestation. In the divine kingdom, before as well as after the physical death, there is progression towards perfection of the type of perfect spiritual manhood; for spiritual-man is the highest being of God's creation, above which there is no creation. Male and female are conditions of the physical realm and not the eternal kingdom. By virtue of the holy Spirit, manifesting through the revealer, the souls of his followers are lifted from the lower plane to the higher plane: from natural manhood; they become characterized with divine qualities, and they show forth in their lives the fruits of the Spirit.
As metal is heated in the fire and so partakes of the characteristics of the fire until it is like the fire, so the soul, through the revealed word, becomes characterized by divine qualities. As with the heated metal, the source of the heat being outside of it, when it is removed from the fire it loses the characteristics of the fire. — Adv.
[Handwritten: Friday Jan. 13, 1928]
Each of the world's civilizations had its birth in a religious movement. Civilization has always been the fruit of the spiritual awakening of a people or peoples. In this day geographic, political and social barriers have, through travel and communication, been obliterated, until now man is limited only by the confines of this planet. We are on the threshold of a universal epoch. That which affects one people politically, socially or financially, affects the whole world, and the great universal civilization so rapidly advancing is casting its signs before. In the Bahá'í teachings is the spiritual power to unite souls. It is forming a spiritual nucleus from which will spring the universal civilization to be, the magnitude of which we can now form no conception.
Today a new order of things has begun upon the earth. Mankind is attaining spiritual maturity and is demanding more spiritual food than the old forms and dogmas of religious superstitions can give him. Through spiritual enlightenment, ignorance is being dispelled, causing a change of soul, a change in man's nature, and this change is being felt the world around. The mission and object of the Bahá'í Cause is the uniting of men of all nations, religions and races in the love of God and the brotherhood of man. Its teaching is constructive. It fulfills the highest hopes of the religions of the past and is uniting all men in the great universal religion of the future.
Some Elements of the Bahá'í Philosophy
The Bahá'ís teach the existence of five kingdoms:
[Handwritten: Mar. ?, 1928]
The Bahá'í faith is a world-wide movement, the spirit of which is working unhindered and unbound by confines and barriers of sect and "ism." The Bahá'ís see and recognize truth and spiritual beauty wherever found, and through this attitude of love for all they find at ever hand, among the people of other religious bodies, the opportunity to share the spirit of their faith.
To him who has traveled and lived among the Bahá'ís the world around, and has seen the effect of this Cause upon the lives of people of every race and religion, there can be no doubt as to the divine source of its teachings, for in the fruits there is manifest its truth. Among the Bahá'ís there is a practical demonstration of a combined religious and secular unity. Good works are not done under the name of "charity" or "philanthropy." Rather it is "reciprocation" and "interdependence." Each gives what he has to give, and through the spirit of giving and doing in loving service one's own nature unfolds and he himself receives abundantly.
It has been the writer's privilege to travel and associate with the Bahá'ís in many foreign countries, and he can testify to the spiritual qualities manifested in the lives of these people. Often he has been in a position where he has been obliged to place himself entirely in the hands of strange men, whose language he could not speak, the only thing which they had in common being their faith. The connecting link was their faith, yet this was everything, because that faith was large enough to encompass all creatures.
Some western travelers whom he has met in the oriental countries were surprised that he trusted himself in out of way places and along unfrequented routes of travel with oriental people as his sole companions and friends. When one is surrounded by friends, his personal welfare is seldom a subject of worry. The writer can truthfully state that never has he felt more at ease and free from care than when he has been with oriental Bahá'ís. Wherever he has been with them, he has always had a warmth of hospitality and kindness lavished upon him. This was not because of any other reason than that he was of their faith.
Between the Bahá'ís of the East and those of the West there exists the strongest tie. Since it was through the suffering, pain, and trials of the Bahá'ís of the Orient that this faith had its first impulse and was brought to the West, the western Bahá'ís have in their souls a strong love and gratitude for the eastern Bahá'ís and a burning desire to go to them, and to share with them all the practical things of the western civilization — Adv.
Upon the other hand, in the growth of the Bahá'í Cause in the western world the oriental Bahá'ís see the result of their labors, for the believers here are their spiritual offspring. In us do they see the fruit of their bloody persecution and great sufferings, and with open and joyful hearts they are anxious to receive into their very lives their western brothers and sisters, learn from them and in turn pour out upon them all of that wealth of devotion, love and spiritual assurance which the people of the East have, and which the people of the West need.
Particularly in the Orient the contrast between the Bahá'ís and other people is very striking. There the average Orientals and Occidentals meet without mingling, each remaining foreign to the other; but the opposite is true with these very same people when they are touched by the Bahá'í spirit, for then we see them associating with one another as members of one family, having the same interests and desires, and united in the same works.
Among the oriental Bahá'ís there is a love and a devotion to this Cause and its principles impossible to describe. It is beyond comprehension yet one recognizes it.
In many countries and among people of different races and religions in whose hearts the Bahá'í teachings had penetrated the writer found such a warm welcome and had such friendship and devotion showered upon him, that he realized the blending process at work, which is now uniting the East and the West. This is a force working independently of material conditions and surroundings, it reaches alike the half-naked jungle man living in his hut, and the cultured man of wealth dwelling in his palace. This spiritual love, which is of God, is the strongest power in creation. In its uniting force is the foundation of accord and harmony upon which the Orient and the Occident are meeting. From this Cause will appear, as fruits, all of those social institutions between the East and the West which will materially demonstrate the truths which the Bahá'ís now witness as spiritual realities.
The Bahá'í teaching encourages marriage, while asceticism and celibacy are discouraged. Monogamy is taught, and among the believers in the Orient is gradually replacing the systems of polygamy, which, from time immemorial, have existed in those countires [sic]. The human body should be developed, not mortified, because it is the medium through which the spirit works. A good and perfect body is desirable as a means for serving God. — Adv.
[Handwritten: March 16 — '28]
Bahá'u'lláh strongly denounced the taking of opium and kindred drugs. The Bahá'ís do not use intoxicating liquors as beverages, and among them even the use of tobacco is discouraged. Gambling is forbidden as having a demoralizing effect upon the people. In fact, all excesses tending to weaken the body and the moral force of man should be eschewed by him.
Individual advancement and personal incentive are to be fostered and encouraged, but the general weal of the mass is even more to be considered. The weak and unfortunate ones are to be protected from the greedy ones. Profit in business is to be sought, but one person has no right to enrich himself at the expense of others. When the ordinances of Bahá'u'lláh are established, there will be fewer extremes of wealth and poverty. All the people will be more tranquil and secure than they are at present. The Bahá'í Cause is prepared to meet and to reform the many human ills that the humanitarians and workers of the day are striving to eradicate. This is being accomplished through the spiritualizing method of changing the natural hardness of man's heart by infusing into it the love of God.
As people know and understand the wisdom of the precepts of Bahá'u'lláh, they will form volition and for their own welfare and that of those about them desire to live according to his advice. Perfect liberty and freedom in religious thought and belief is allowed everyone. The Bahá'ís are exhorted to mingle freely with people of all creeds, and in no way to shut themselves off from those of other beliefs. neither should they criticize nor denounce the teachings not the followers of other religious movements. Through fraternal intercourse, kindness and loving service to all humanity, the believers in this latter-day revelation will eventually demonstrate its truth to all the world.
Often people inquire whether affiliation with the Bahá'í Cause necessitates the giving up of church membership. The advice is always that no human or religious relation should be severed, but that these relations should become as avenues for the giving forth of the new message, and the spirit of the Bahá'ís having church relations should continue to mingle with church people. However, they do not remain silent about the new light which has come to them. When they meet people who are seeking the [and?] hungry for the teachings they give to each to the limit of his or her capacity. Where people are satisfied with their own religious opinions, they give them what they can without arousing their antagonism, allowing the seeds of the message to enter as leaven into their thoughts, with the assurance that in time spiritual fruits will be forthcoming. — Adv.
For over a year before I first met 'Abdu'l-Bahá, I had been a believer in the Bahá'í Cause, so when I went to him it was not to have my faith established, but rather to have a spiritual confirmation and to gain more knowledge. From the moment I met him I realized that he knew my innermost soul, thus a spiritual bond was established which has never ceased to be a source of joy, delight and help to me. Successive visits with him, and each tablet (letter) and message received from him, strengthened this understanding and demonstrated to me again and again 'Abdu'l-Bahá's penetrating spiritual insight and wisdom. Notwithstanding the distance and circumstances which separated 'Abdu'l-Bahá from his friends, when they received this tablets they found advices and admonitions peculiarly applicable to them in their needs of that moment; and even now that he has departed from this world one finds this spiritual nearness or connection to be ever very real and powerful: one attaining to it in proportion as he arises to serve in the path of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, according to the teachings and behests.
During the eleven days I remained in Haifa on my first visit, I had 'Abdu'l-Bahá's personality and spirit deeply engraved on my consciousness. All was not easy to understand; I had many questions; but shortly before I left him everything seemed to become very clear — my spiritual rapport with him was established. The moment of our parting was a most happy one, rather than distressing for me. I felt that I was carrying away with me something which would never be destroyed, a spiritual friendship which would grow eternally both here and in the realms beyond.
Early in the summer of 1901, shortly after my first visit, conditions arose which necessitated the return of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the prison city of Akka. There he remained for seven years, with the exception of short periods upon several occasions when he visited the tomb of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji, a mile or two beyond the city gates. During this period of imprisonment it was at times with the utmost difficulty that pilgrims were able to see him; nevertheless this was a time of great growth in the Cause. Abdu'l-Bahá worked very diligently with his pen directing the onward march of the Cause in distant lands and the result of his labors became apparent among the Bahá'ís in all parts of the world: they were receiving from him that quickening spirit of religious enthusiasm and faith which is now so clearly manifest in the growth of his Cause in many parts of the Orient and the Occident. — adv.
After a visit among these people, one feels spiritually better and stronger than before, absorbing a force from them which gives spiritual courage in moments of weakness, and guidance in moments of strength. This is the spirit which abides with those who are in reality severed from all save God. It is this spirit which is manifest in the life and teaching of the revelators of this Cause, and in the lives of those who in spirit follow the principles for which they stand.
In the preceding articles of this series I have attempted to give a general resume of the history and teaching of the Bahá'í Cause, and the work now being accomplished by its teachers in various parts of the world. In conclusion I desire to relate a few of my own experiences in connection with this Cause. During the past twenty-five years it was my privilege to be in intimate contact with the workings of the Movement, having been permitted to visit 'Abdu'l-Bahá several times, and to travel extensively among the Bahá'ís in foreign lands. It is with the desire of sharing the inspiration received from 'Abdu'l-Bahá and from his followers that I am presuming to record these personal observations.
My first visit to 'Abdu'l-Bahá was in the winter of 1901. At that time the Cause in the West was in its infancy. But few of the works of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá had been translated, and the then few believers, though fired with faith and a great desire to disseminate the teachings, had as yet learned but little of the teachings and spiritual principles of the Cause, with which philosophy many are now familiar.
At that time 'Abdu'l-Bahá was in comparative freedom. Having been allowed to leave the prison city of Akka with its unhealthy climate, he was spending the winter in the neighboring town of Haifa. Not withstanding this statement in the conditions of his daily life, one felt the weight which was upon his soul, and one saw how taxed he was in this many endeavors and continued efforts in teaching and training the people in the path of Bahá'u'lláh. Receiving people by day and carrying on a large correspondence which necessitated his laboring far into the night, one marveled at his powers of physical and mental endurance; but as one obtained glimpses of and received the spiritual fragrance from the great soul of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, one had moments of realization that his strength was not from the human man, but flowed through him as through a channel, coming from the invisible power of Bahá'u'lláh which he always testified was the source of his inspiration. — Adv.
'Abdu'l-Bahá entered into the lives of all about him. Through this contact he undoubtedly suffered much, nevertheless he as enabled thus to reach the people and to minister to them. His life was a lesson to all, for in this method one saw the way in which the Bahá'ís must live in ordtr [sic] to do their work among men.
My next visit to 'Abdu'l-Bahá was during the climax of his troubles and difficulties, just previous to the fall of the old despotic Ottoman power and the re-establishment of the constitutional government in the mid-summer of 1908. Upon arriving in Haifa I found that some recent American pilgrims had not been able to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá, but had returned to America happy in having seen him from a distance as he walked upon an elevated balcony on this house within the fortifications of Akka. Four Arabs, recent converts to the faith, had for several months been confined in the prison fortress on account of their belief. Others of the Bahá'ís, in order to avoid pending trouble, had by the Master's advice sough temporary refuge in Egypt; while those remaining in Syria were all but panic stricken by the trouble and persecutions which were daily descending upon the Bahá'í community from the hands of the unscrupulous government officials.
After I had waited several days in Haifa, word came from 'Abdu'l-Bahá for me to go to Akka and proceed to the house of a certain Persian, one of the oldest and most faithful of the believers. In the guise of a native Syrian, wearing fez and aba, with the assistance of one of the oriental Bahá'ís, I entered the prison city, passing through the guarded gates along with a small crowd of comers and goers without being halted. Once established in the privacy of the house of the Persian friend, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, having the freedom of the city within the fortifications, came to see me several times. Although under the most severe physical difficulties, he was visibly in the greatest spiritual strength and power. In strong contrast with the fear and terror of his followers for his safety, impossible to describe, 'Abdu'l-Bahá stood forth in the greatest joy of soul and tranquility of spirit. He radiated calmness and assurance and through his strength the community of the friends was saved from despair. The situation was dramatic in the extreme. It was shortly followed by the tragic downfall of the government that for forty years had held 'Abdu'l-Bahá a prisoner.
Several months later I was again permitted to travel in Syria and visit 'Abdu'l-Bahá. — Adv.
[Handwritten: May 18 -'28]
Almost two years after 'Abdu'l-Bahá left America, I was privileged to visit him again in the Holy Land, to find him calm and unagitated in the midst of troublous and tumultuous human conditions. It was in the fall of 1914. The war was on. Turkey was getting ready to enter the combat, and Syria, then a Turkish domain, was all confusion and disorder, torn by opposing and conflicting war propaganda, with the people in a deplorable state of fear, anxiety and terror. Amidst all this confusion the Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá stood for calmness, assurance, and the protection of the people.
I left Haifa shortly before Turkey went into the war, and it was not until January 1921, over six years later, that I saw 'Abdu'l-Bahá again, and for the last time. The strain of the terrible years of the war with its psychological tensions and physical privations had left its traces written upon his beaming countenance. But now all was different in the Holy Land and a new epoch of tranquility for the Bahá'ís had arrived. The English Government in acknowledgment of the services of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the people, and his influence in maintaining harmonious relations between adherents of the many clashing and opposing religious interests in Palestine, had tendered him the order of Knighthood of the British Empire, and this he had graciously accepted. From that time he became officially known as Sir Abbas II-Bahá'í.
This was the evening of the Master's thirty-year mission, but he was in no way resting from labor. His great work had been done; people now were flocking to him from all parts of the world, each day bringing pilgrims singly and in groups. Under these conditions he was busier than I had seen him on any of my previous visits. It was superhuman strength that permitted him to stand the strain of the many interviews and visits, the multitudinous details of the now expanding Cause which necessitated his working late into the night and arising early in the morning in order to carry on his correspondence alone. Through the human veils of this busy existence one saw towering within him the spiritual forces of El Abha, and at times one seemed to get a fleeting glimpse into the depths of his wisdom. Ephemeral and evanescent as was this impression one felt the profoundness of the power of the Spirit within him and one was awed in Its presence.
The Master had gone to Tiberias in Galilee when he had work to do, and from there he called me and my brother from Haifa for a two-days visit with him before sending us back to America. Our route took us to a point on the southern end of the lake where we embarked in a boat which took us to the town of Tiberias, about midway up the lake on its western side. — Adv.
THE BAHAI MESSAGE
Handwritten: [June 8 — 1928]
Yet, ever victorious and triumphant. We call them various names, such as Adam, Abraham, Moses or Jesus, but although the lamps are many, yet the Light is ever One Indivisible and inseparable.
We are today in the midst of a new Spring time. Following the darkness and chaos of the Eighteenth Century, in the darkest place of the earth, and amidst the most fanatical of people, His Holiness, Bahá'u'lláh arose in Persia, with unrivaled splendor, and ushered in this New Day of God. Although imprisoned, tortured and exiled, immured behind bars in the Most Great Prison, (in Acca) surrounded by walls, and armed guards, His Light has indeed, pierced the veils of darkness and is shining in every land. The ways [rays?] of this Spiritual Sun are mounting higher, higher. Its warmth is ever stimulating mankind to a larger consciousness of the Love, Light and Power of God. Greater and still greater Unity, is the message Bahá'u'lláh brings to every heart — higher achievement, greater love, amity and co-operation; nobler lives dedicated and consecrated to universal peace and justice amount [among?] all mankind.
His followers, just as the disciples of the Masters of old, have today the supreme privilege of raising aloft His Banner; to follow in His steps; to proclaim His Station, and to point the Way to the Heavenly Kingdom.
Light and more Light is needed. Light that shall shine into the dark places of the Earth; disclose to the eye of Justice and Retribution the centres of oppression and vice; disclose the cruelties of industrial and imperialistic slavery; disclose the intrigues of unsurprising powers; and make manifest the hate, prejudice [, and] bad injustice in the dark places of the world.
Not many years ago, in the city of London, was a Court in the East End where vice and robery [sic] reigned. No policeman dared at night to venture there alone, no way seemed possible to clean up this plague spot in the City. At last it was decided to place a powerful electric light in the middle of the Court. The result was miraculous. Deprived of darkness, crime could no longer lurk in the shadows and creep unseen upon the passerby. No longer could people be inveigled into entering its dens of vice.
Let us then, have more and more Light. Light not alone in the dark places of the world, but Light that shall, alone penetrate into every human heart. Light that shall disclose unto each one the dark places and corners unseen without it, that will show to each one the lurking greed, the impure desires, the shadows of prejudice, intolerance, pride and selfishness in our own souls; so that affrighted and ashamed we shall turn to that true Light for aid. And, as the slum was regenerated by those searching rays, so shall our souls become regenerate in His Light. He came, suffered, and gave His all that we might become children of the Light. — Adv.
[Handwritten: Aug. (?) 3 - 1928]
The Divine prophets are conjoined in the perfect state of love. Each one has given the glad tidings of his successor's coming, and each successor has sanctioned the one who preceded him. They were in the utmost unity but their followers are in strife. For instance, Moses gave the message of the glad tidings of Christ, and Christ confirmed the prophethood of Moses. Therefore, between Moses and Christ there is no variation or conflict. They are in perfect unity but between the Jew and the Christian there is conflict. Now, therefore, if the Christain [sic] and Jewish peoples investigate the reality underlying their prophets' teachings, they will become kind in their attitude toward each other and associate in the utmost love, for reality is one and not dual or multiple. If this investigation of the reality becomes universal, the divergent nations will ratify all the divine prophets and confirm all the Holy Books. No strife or rancor will then remain and the world will become united. Then will we associate in the reality of love. We will become as fathers and sons, as brothers and sisters living together in complete unity, love and happiness, for this century is the century of light. It is not like former centuries. Former centuries were epochs of oppression. Now human intellects have developed and human intelligence has increased.
When the holy, divine Manifestations or prophets appear in the world, a cycle of radiance, an age of mercy dawns. Everything is renewed. Minds, hearts and all human forces are re-formed, perfections are quickened, sciences, discoveries and investigations are stimulated afresh and everything appertaining to the virtues of the human world is revitalized.
Consider this present century of radiance and compare it with past centuries. What a vast difference exists between them. How minds have developed! How perceptions have deepened! How discoveries have increased! What great projects have been accomplished! How many realities have become manifest! How many mysteries of creation have been probed and penetrated!
What is the cause of this? It is through the efficacy of the spiritual springtime in which we are living. Day by day the world attains a new bounty. In this radiant century neither the old customs nor the old science, crafts, laws and regulations have remained.
When this reformation affects every degree, there will come the very Day of the Lord of which all the prophets have spoken. That is the day wherein the whole world will be regenerated. — Adv.
Beautiful to behold, giving to him as wife a most wonderful woman, the perfection of creation. Buddha, becoming tired of all these things, said: "I want to go and see the world." He bade good bye to his child and wife, and started on his journey. The first thing that he encountered along the road was an old man. So decrepit and feeble was he, that the young man comparing this old man with the youth and agility of himself, began to ask, "What can be the cause of this condition — this old age?" In deep thought he went on his way. Soon he looked up to see a man lying on the ground. As [?]ared this human object he [unitelligible] that he was ill and crying. Again he asked himself the reason for this ill health. As he journeyed on he saw many people crying and weeping. In front of them was being drawn a hearse, and when he enquired the meaning of this, they told him that the man had died and that they were on the way to inter the body in the cemetery. This disturbed the young man very much; he could not fathom these ups and downs of life. All these sights grieved him to such and extent that he decided to travel around the world in search of a remedy for these ills. He would find eternal youth and return to give it to all of humanity that no one may lose their sight; that no one may become deaf; that everyone may keep his youth, his beauty and strength and live forever. After a search of many years, meeting many masters and many teachers and speaking with great philosophers and thinkers, he came to the conclusion that these very events are the unalterable laws of nature; that every birth is succeeded by death; every youth is followed by old age; every beauty must give place to wrinkled faces and foreheads. He realized that, were it not for these laws. instituted by God himself from the beginning of creation, the world could not be renovated, could not be changed, and that by this time it would have been filled with a race of greedy people, thinking only of the perfection of themselves and their qualities. Then the thought came to his mind — How are we going to do away with sorrow and pain; how are we going to do away with the suffering of humanity because wherever there is man, these sufferings and pain follow him as his shadow. — Adv.