Excerpts from a letter from Bernard Leach after his visit to Haifa
by Bernard Leach and Lucy Marshall1954-12
(from Lucy Marshall's notes)
I had long felt drawn as if by a magnet to the Tombs, but never anticipated the overwhelming sense of purity and power which threw me down in tears and adoration before the Bab when Dr. Hakim took me to His silent resting place.
Again when we drove, after a night at Bahji, with Ruhiyyih Khanum to the "Most Great Prison" (now a mad-house) and unlocked that corner room with the plaster from the walls fallen on the carpets and Dr. Hakim chanted amidst the crazy din outside, and as I looked out the windows where Bahá'u'lláh had waved a white handkerchief to the pilgrims from Persia, new windows were opened into one's soul.
I walked the slopes of Mount Carmel and realized that as the Guardian told us, Zoroaster, Elijah, Jesus and Muhammad, as well as Bahá'u'lláh and the Master all trod this limestone bastion of the joining of the Continents, this cradle of Humanity. I grasped for the first time the significance of the Adamic cycle. Indeed this is the mountain of God.
Here Shoghi Effendi is quietly and persistently laying the foundation of the future, "Most Great Peace", the inspired Theocracy of the unity and maturity of mankind. He constantly at supper time laid emphasis upon the Administrative Order. He said clearly that the Lesser Peace (prophesied for 1963)* would be a political peace instituted by the nations following upon the inevitable and necessary disaster approaching us. He confirmed my supposition that only by this means would Western Material Civilization be brought to that humility which is necessary prelude for a spiritual Civilization of the world.
He said that this was the formative period and that he was preparing the ground work of a nuclei of Bahá'ís spread all over the earth of institutions and regulations, and here in Haifa the actual buildings which will be used as the central hub.
It was illumination to hear Ruhiyyih Khanum talk about him and his character and strange intuitive faculties and directness of perception with such frankness, sincerity and humor, and at the same time deep reverence. He seems to be constantly guided by an inward propulsion of which he is the willing servant. She said that after 15 years with him, day and night, she does not know a Shoghi Effendi separate from the Guardian. The most remarkable features of his mild face are his brown soft eyes which wander, taking in things and people, looking through rather than at. At other times he looks straight at one with a penetrating and compelling glance but not from the eye. Ruhiyyih Khanum is delightful and full of fun and sunlight, no stuffy religiousity with her. She and Leroy Ioas confirmed what I have written above as from the Guardian.
[* This comment, about the Lesser Peace occurring in 1963, is apparently the interpretation of the typist, not of the Guardian himself. Many early Bahá'ís believed that the Lesser Peace would occur one hundred years after the announcement of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh (1863), but it has since become clear that this was an over-enthusiastic misreading. The Lesser Peace, or at least the Unity of Nations, is expected to come during the Twentieth Century. -J.W.]