Vol. 1. Chicago (Jan. 19, 1911) Sultan No. 17
TABLETS FROM ABDUL-BAHA.
TO THE FRIENDS OF GOD AND THE MAID-SERVANTS OF
THE MERCIFUL IN NEW YORK CITY.
Upon them be Baha-el-ABHA!
HE IS GOD!O ye real friends and beloved maid-servants of God!
Your letter, through the maid-servant of God, Dr. Clock, was received and perused. Its contents imparted the utmost joy and happiness, for it indicated your advancement to the Kingdom of God, attraction with the love of God and supplication and prayer in the Threshold of God.
The friends and maid-servants of the Merciful must render service to the oneness of the human world and show love and affinity to all the children of men. They must deal with the utmost devotion, good-will, love and kindness with all the communities, religions and sects. Their aim and their work must be that the tree of their existence produce good fruits — and no fruit is greater than love and kindness toward all humanity. His Highness BAHA'O'LLAH addressing the world, says: "Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch." Therefore, the law of relationship, brotherhood, kinship, fatherhood and motherhood is established and proven among all the families of the human race. Endeavor ye with all your hearts and souls so that ye may live and act in accord with these teachings of His Highness BAHA'O'LLAH; to become an asylum to every oppressed one; to assist and uplift every vanquished one; to be a skilled physician to every sick one; to bestow a swift healing antidote to every wounded one; to inspire with confidence every fearful one; to grant tranquillity and composure to every agitated one; to gladden the heart of every depressed one; to become a salubrious water to every thirsty one; heavenly food to every hungry one; to become the
BAHAI NEWScause of glory to every fallen one and be charitable to all the poor ones. Beware! Beware! lest ye offend any heart! Beware! Beware! lest ye hurt any soul! Beware! Beware! lest ye deal unkindly toward any person! Beware! Beware! lest ye be the cause of hopelessness to any creature!
Should any soul become the cause of grief to any heart or despondency to any soul, it is better for him to hide himself in the lowest strata of the earth than to walk upon the earth. Should any soul desire the abasement of his kind, undoubtedly his non-entity is better for him, for his non-existence is better than his existence and his death better than his life.
Therefore, my advice to you is, endeavor as much as ye can to show kindness toward all men, deal with perfect love, affection and devotion with all the individuals of humanity. Remove from amongst yourselves racial, patriotic, religious, sectional, political, commercial, industrial and agricultural prejudices, so that you may become freed from all human restrictions and become the founders of the structures of the oneness of the world of humanity. All the countries are one country; all the nations are the children of one Father. The struggle for existence among the ferocious wolves has become the cause of all these differences and strifes; otherwise the expanse of the world is spacious and the table of the Bounties of the Almighty is spread in all the regions.
Upon ye be Baha-el-ABHA!
(Signed) ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS.
Translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Nov. 11, 1910.
TO DR. FAREED.
Upon him be Baha-el-ABHA!O thou servant of then essed Perfection!
Your epistle dated October 30th reached me at Ramleh. * * * Regarding my coming to America and the assignment and preparation of homes or of places for me, I wrote a letter not long since through you to the maid-servant of God Lua (Getsinger) wherein I mentioned that abiding places in the hearts are needed; that is, the beloved in America must become united and assembled in love so that it
BAHAI NEWSmay prove a magnet to attract Abdul-Baha. Thus will I journey to America with perfect love and zeal. When a fragrant breeze reaches my nostrils I will certainly come.
Convey my longing greetings to Mr. Kinney. Convey the utmost love to Mr. Lennon.
I am hopeful through the bounty of God that the assemblies which were visited by you in the company of Lua will flourish and grow in the spread of the glad-tidings.
Regarding the beloved and the maid-servants of the Merciful in New York, and their securing a home in My Name wherein they gather together — in reality I am present among them in life and heart though absent in body. * * *
Upon thee be greeting and praise!
(Signed) ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS.
TO HIS HONOR, MIRZA AHMAD SOHRAB.
UPON HIM BE BAHA'O'LLAH-El-ABHA!
HE IS GOD!O thou real beloved!
The letter which thou hast written in regard to the happiness and joy, beatitude and rejoicing of the American believers concerning the trip of Abdul-Baha to the country of Joseph of Canaan, and likewise their expectation of my going to America was perused. However, the latter event is depended upon several conditions which are already explained in a former Tablet. The attractive power is necessary.
We must all with the utmost joy and cheerfulness sacrifice our lives for the Truth! Consider how I have left aside a thousand works and with the greatest attraction am writing to thee with my own hand; so that in every moment thou mayst raise a wave and in devotion in the Love of God and the spending of thy life in the Cause, thou mayst make every possible effort.
I have written a Tablet with my own hand for the Star of the West. Print it in its pages.*
Upon thee be Baha!
(Signed) ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS.
Translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, December 24, 1910.
* See Tablet on editorial page.
ABDUL-BAHA IN EGYPT.
Fourth of a series of special news items pertaining to the sojourn of Abdul-Baha in Egypt.
A CALL TO THE AMERICAN BAHAIS.
FROM MOHAMMED YAZDI.
Praise be to God! that Abdul-Baha has left the gloomy city of imprisonment for the freedom of the world. His only aim is to teach and raise the Standard of the Cause. When he was under the surveillance of the authorities in Acca and confined to a limited prison life, he created the spirit of happiness and joy in every heart, and never complained, neither did he show distress or sadness on account of that imprisonment. When freedom was proclaimed in Turkey, a constitution declared, the prisoners set free, and a new era of brotherhood and good fellowship ushered in among the various sects, Abdul-Baha while happy for the freedom of the people, longed for his own imprisonment. His opinion was that under all circumstances he ought to serve the world of humanity, and while living in Acca he served it effectively, even though a prisoner; but being freed, nothing was left for him to do in Acca, and, like a bird released from its cage, he soared to other climes and countries.
Abdul-Baha in all his divine characteristics, is intensely human and keenly alive to the joys and sorrows of existence. There is no one who feels more acutely the sufferings of humanity than he and no one loves his fellow-men more than he. Here, in Alexandria, he lives exactly like other men; he goes into the stores, into the mosques, into the churches, into the schools and into the prisons. He converses just as kindly and amiably with the humblest man in the street as with the highest in the land. His matchless and magnetic kindness attracts all, whether ignorant or wise, rich or poor; he is no respecter of persons and in some instances, after a half hour's conversation, his bitterest enemy has become his staunchest friend.
His coming into Egypt has added great enthusiasm and zeal to the hearts of the friends. He has uplifted them from a state of comparative oblivion to a world-wide celebrity. He is no more a possible myth or a fable; he is there, standing "powerful, mighty and supreme!" The sun of his presence radiates the light of love and compassion; people
BAHAI NEWSsee him, feel the wonderful influence of his presence, talk with him, walk with him as did the men of old walking with Jesus of Nazareth along the shores of Galilee. They can no longer doubt him and his Teachings.
When he first arrived in Egypt, a great cry and clamor was raised by the representatives of the people (the newspapers). All were expressing opinions of Abdul-Baha. No one could form a just and impartial view of him. Facts were exaggerated and misrepresentations abounded in every paper. One writer expressed the opinion that Abdul-Baha hates all religions, that his followers throughout the world are very few, and that his Teachings are destructive to the well-being and prosperity of human society.
Such were the conditions when Abdul-Baha with his might and his glory, his meekness and humility, entered the land of Pharaoh. But lo! after a short time the clouds of misrepresentation were dispelled and the light of reality shone forth with great splendor. So much so, that at present there is not one dissenting voice in the land of Egypt about the greatness of Abdul-Baha. Moggatam, one of the most influential Arabic newspapers, in a long article of November 28, 1910, comes out valiantly and defends in most eloquent terms the Teachings of Abdul-Baha. Not being satisfied with this, the editor quotes from the Book of Akdas wherein BAHA'O'LLAH commands all despotic rulers to lay aside their absolutism and accept the constitution and establish in their kingdoms the Houses of Justice. He even upbraids in the strongest terms the other newspaper writers, calling attention to the responsibilities and duties of their positions — that is, to mirror forth facts and realities and not falsehoods and accusations. He says that every writer has been reveling in a riotous feast of exaggeration and derision; that they have gone beyond the limit of politeness and courtesy, which attributes differentiate man from beast. Now, if we compare such articles with what first appeared concerning Abdul-Baha, we will find them as different as day from night.
Some people have expressed anxieties and fears because of Abdul-Baha's possible visit to America; they think that the newspapers will write sensational articles and ridicule the Cause. Such people are very short-sighted. They have not realized deeply,
BAHAI NEWSnor superficially, the force of Abdul-Baha's presence. Neither have they dreamed of the magnetic influence of his Highness (rather his Kindness, ah, me!). He is a man whose very appearance will solve all the perplexed anxieties of the visionaries of disaster. We as Bahais have nothing to be afraid of. We are the spiritual physicians of the world; we are the torch-bearers of the ideal civilization; we are the teachers of the Kingdom of ABHA. Should we be afraid to receive the One who is the source of all our inspiration and all our light? America must raise a gladsome voice of spiritual beatitude, spread a heavenly banquet and be prepared, for "he shall come as a thief in the night." Future historians will record the coming of Abdul-Baha to America as a great and momentous event. Broaden your vision and look into the future, when the nations of America shall celebrate, from one end of the continent to the other, the anniversary of the day when Abdul-Baha set foot upon "the land of the brave and the free!" Future generations will sing in anthems and songs the resplendent glory of such a day. Children will be taught to respect and love that day. America is on the threshold of a great spiritual awakening, and it must arise to fulfil the responsibilities of such a wonderful and glowing promise. Abdul-Baha has written to you in several Tablets that he will come as soon as the friends in that country are united as bands of steel or a golden chain of life. Now it depends upon you. You must show to the world that you are united, that you are worthy to receive him in your midst. Let not this opportunity slip from your grasp. Arise, work, band together, remove the difficulties from his path. This day is not for fretting and discontentment, nor imagining the possibility of ridicule by the masses. Have you not faith in him? Has he not grappled with and solved the greatest problems for the past sixty years? Has he not conversed with the wisest men of the age? Again we say, prepare the way for his coming! Let not your minds be troubled with outside questions. He is able to change the ridicule into praise, the enmity into friendship and the derision into exaltation. When he arrived in Alexandria we were not prepared to receive him. There is no need of preparing houses and establishments for his reception; the probability is that he will take a place for himself
BAHAI NEWSwhen he arrives. The first thing that he did when he arrived in Alexandria was to take a house, and all the friends from far and near flocked around him. He does not want your houses and palaces, but your hearts. Prepare your hearts, purify your hearts, cleanse your hearts, that he may find a place therein!
The life of Abdul-Baha is simple; his attitude is humble; his needs are very few. You think that if he should come to America you must have a house prepared and surround him with luxuries of modern civilization. Far from it! With love, unity and harmony, shining like stars of heaven in your midst, a little cottage is greater than the imperial palace of the kings. All through his life his sole purpose and aim has been to spread the fragrances of God, to serve the Kingdom of ABHA, and to sacrifice himself for the good of the world. He has done all these; nay, rather, his services to man cannot be measured by any criterion. His life, like unto a tempestuous sea, is ever in motion, casting pearls of significance and truth upon its shore. Humanity owes to him a debt that can never be paid with money or gratitude. Notwithstanding all he has done for the world, hearken to what he says in a recent Tablet:
"The invisible hand has opened the doors, and wisdom requires that Abdul-Baha hasten to the country of Egypt; for he is infinitely ashamed and chagrined that he has not yet been assisted in servitude. Perchance, through traveling in this land, he may be assisted in the future to some small service. Now we are living in the country of Canaan and are supplicating day and night at the Threshold of Mercifulness and beg confirmation and assistance for the friends of God, so that all of us may participate and become partners in the servitude of the Holy Threshold and be aided in accomplishing one service."
(Signed) MOHAMMED YAZDI.
FROM MR. SYDNEY SPRAGUE.
At present, I am in Alexandria with Abdul-Baha, who has given me many supplications from America to translate: also Mrs. Ford's new book, "The Oriental Rose," which I am translating with Mirza Mahmud of India. The book is finely written and ought to be of great help in attracting people to the Cause. I notice Mrs. Ford gives the number of oriental
BAHAI NEWSBahais as twelve millions. A movement which is growing every day cannot have statistics. No one knows how many there are, and to make a statement that there are many millions only opens us to criticism. If we are asked the number of Bahais in the world, is it not better to reply that it is impossible to know, and that we care much more about the quality of the believers than the quantity? This is the policy of Abdul-Baha, as the following incident will show:
Two nights ago, an American journalist, Mr. William Ellis, representing The Continent, came especially to Alexandria to interview Abdul-Baha. It was my privilege to be the translator on this occasion. One of the first questions Mr. Ellis asked was: "How many followers have you?" The answer was: "We have no statistics and we do not consider these things important. It is the quality of the believers we care for. If a few are characterized with the attributes of God and live according to the divine Teachings, it is praiseworthy. Five diamonds are worth more than five million stones." Again the journalist asked: "Have you not many followers in America?" "I have a few friends in different cities who love me," was the reply. "Is it not true that half of Persia is Bahai?" persisted the journalist. "No; it is not," replied Abdul-Baha, "but many there who are not Bahais, are influenced by our Teachings." "Are there not many followers in the Turkish Empire?" "No," and again Abdul-Baha reiterated the non-importance of numbers. The journalist seemed very much taken aback. He evidently expected Abdul-Baha to boast of a large following. What an example Abdul-Baha has set us!
Then Mr. Ellis asked briefly: "What are the Teachings of the Bahai Revelation and in what does it differ from other religions?" Abdul-Baha replied: "While all the other religions are hating and denouncing each other, the Bahais are the friends of all religions and the lovers of all peoples, and their aim is to unite and harmonize all." There were many other questions which drew forth wonderful, illuminating explanations from Abdul-Baha. I have not the time to write them now, but be on the lookout for an account of this interview in The Continent. Mr. Ellis is on his way to Persia to write articles about that country, so he may write of the Cause there.
There are two interesting English persons here, a Mr. and Mrs. Atwood, at one time prominent spiritualists in London. As Mr. Atwood is slightly paralyzed, Abdul-Baha went to see them, much to their great joy. They are now eager to serve the Cause.
There are pilgrims here from Persia, Russia, India and England, and every night we meet in Abdul-Baha's house and our cups are filled to overflowing. His health is good. When Mr. Ellis asked him if he was benefited by the change of air, he replied: "Certainly, one who has been a prisoner for forty years must be benefited to breathe another air." I thought to myself, can we Bahais realize what those forty years mean? The Christians think so much of the forty days Jesus fasted in the wilderness and observe a penitential season to commemorate this; but forty years — for every day a year!
(Signed) SYDNEY SPRAGUE.
NEWS FROM THE ORIENT.
RANGOON. — We are pleased to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of copies of the booklet in Persian pertaining to the second convention of the Mashrak-el-Azkar in America, and we wish to express our deep sense of appreciation of the valuable service rendered to the Cause. The long list of cities where these booklets have been sent show conclusively the wide range of this noble work in the Vineyard of ABHA. We also tender our sincerest thanks for sending us regularly the BAHAI NEWS of all issues up to this date.
The English language is understood more universally by the Indian public than any particular Indian dialect, which is spoken only by the people residing within a certain local area. Hence, having regard to the countless dialects, the importance of delivering the Message in English is quite manifest. We trust this will explain the necessity of American or English-speaking teachers in India and Burma. A Tablet to this effect published in No. 11 issue of the BAHAI NEWS has been read by us with great delight and we earnestly hope our Western Bahai brothers will respond to the call of the hour and ere long take some practical measures in this direction.
The Cause here is growing day by day. Janabe Syed Mustafa Roumie has very successfully sown seeds in Upper Burma, which we hope will fructify before long. The school at Deadnow looks very promising, and if it can be brought under the excellent arrangements of the Persian-American Educational Society, many happy results will undoubtedly ensue and the boys and girls, when properly trained, will not only prove themselves highly useful members of the Bahai society, but also become good citizens, and thus the Movement will be looked upon with favor by the Government. The number of students is swelling remarkably, and we are thinking of rebuilding the school premises, covering a larger area. The sight of the boys and girls, their Bahai greetings, and the earnestness with which they take interest in the Cause, is very impressive. The school, as it is situated close to the Mashrak-el-Azkar of Kunjangon, has proved a great attraction to many.
PORT SAID. — Many pilgrims from different parts of the world are arriving and leaving here for Alexandria to meet Abdul-Baha.
Letters received here from various parts give glowing descriptions of the progress and advancement of the Cause everywhere.
We have received the sad news of the death of Mohammed Mostafa Bagdadi, who lived for many years in Beirut, Syria. He was one of the earliest followers of the Bab and BAHA'O'LLAH. His countless services in many ways would fill
— PHOTO —MOHAMMED MOSTAFA BAGDADI. many pages. Throughout his life he was firm and full of zeal. His house was at the disposal of all pilgrims and his services to them were invaluable. Many of the American friends, passing through Beirut to visit Abdul-Baha in Acca and Haifa, bear testimony to the nobility of his spirit and the strength of his character.
In him the Cause has lost a great and useful servant. All loved and revered him and looked up to him as one of the spiritual souls of the earlier days. His winsome manner and gentleness of heart attracted all those who came in contact with him and carried away the sweet fragrance of his life.
He has left three sons, Hussein Ikbal, Ali Ihsan and Zia Bagdadi, who have studied modern sciences and are active servants in the Cause. Zia Bagdadi, who is loved and respected by all the friends for his earnestness and enthusiasm,
BAHAI NEWSis at present studying medicine in Chicago. We believe his stay in America will be to the advancement of the Cause and pray that he may become a shining star in the Kingdom of ABHA.
BOMBAY. — Mr. V. R. Sindhe, B. A., the secretary of the Pearthana Samaj of this city, delivered a lecture recently on Bahaism, in Marathi, on the anniversary of the Pearthana Samaj. He gave the history of the Cause beginning with the Bab and ending with Abdul-Baha. He spoke very favorably and very justly. The lecture appeared in one of the Marathi newspapers in full. The Society is now contemplating printing copies of it for free distribution. This, we believe, from a non-Bahai will help the Cause and attract many souls.
We are glad to be in touch with the Western Bahais through the medium of the Star of the West. There is no doubt that it will make great progress in the future, for its aim is pure and unselfish, and its only desire is to serve the Bahais in all parts of the world.
Tokyo. — Congratulations to the Star of the West for the great service it is rendering to the Bahai Cause. The Islamic Fraternity wishes to thank its contemporary for its encouraging words.
The presence of Mr. Charles Mason Remey and Mr. Howard C. Struven in this part of the world has been a great help. Many people became interested in the Bahai Revelation through Mr. Remey's public lecture.
BANDAR ABBAS. — A copy of the report of the second convention of the Mashrak-el-Azkar in America was sent to us by Seyad Assadollah Gomi. We read it in our Assembly and became very happy, because of this great service rendered by those American friends. At the conclusion of this report we noted that a magazine is to be started in America by the Bahais. We desire very much to subscribe for it and hope a few copies will be sent to us every month.
ESPHANAN. — Mirza Anayetollah Sohrab has left this city for Abade to organize the school for children. Being a graduate from the American College in Teheran, it is hoped that he will organize the school along modern lines and much good may be the outcome.
We have just heard that two of our American sisters have arrived at Teheran. We hope that through their endeavor and service the problem of women's education will find new inspiration in Persia.
We wish to install a telephone system in this city and any practical information pertaining thereto will be appreciated.
GOM. — During the past week the affairs in this city have been very chaotic. Several times a mob has tried to pillage the houses of the Bahais and to kill them. We have petitioned the governor to stop these persecutions, but nothing has as yet been forthcoming. They say that because the Bahais live in this city all blessings and prosperity have departed from them and they clamor for us to leave, threatening us severe persecution if we do not do so. It is three days since we have been closely confined in our houses and all doors of deliverance are apparently closed. Because of these awful anxieties two of the Bahai children have died and three are very ill. Three times they have surrounded the houses and have tried to destroy our lives and property, but the police have prevented them. We pray that God in His Bounty and Mercy may waft the breezes of justice from the direction of the Kingdom of ABHA, and uplift the people of Persia with the spirit of love and union.
MASHAD. — The booklet containing the news of the second annual convention for the Mashrak-el-Azkar in America, was received and read in our different Assemblies, and it created great joy and happiness.
Continued on Page 15
ALBERT R. WINDUST — EDITORS — GERTRUDE BUIKEMA
Address all communications to
BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P.O. Box 283, Chicago, Ill., U.S.A.
Persian Editor. — MIRZA AHMAD SOHRAB, 1800 Belmont Road, Washington, D. C.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE PER YEAR
Sent postpaid throughout North America, including Canal Zone and Panama; and following islands: Cuba, Porto Rico, Hawaii, Philippines; also England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, and Shanghai City (China); Unsealed $1.00; single copy 10c. Sealed $1.25; single copy 12c.
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VOL. I. Chicago, (Jan. 19, 1911) Sultan No. 17
Beginning with issue No. 1, Volume II, both the English and Persian sections of the BAHAI NEWS will bear the title:
STAR OF THE WEST.This we believe to be the wish of Abdul-Baha, who has revealed the following Tablet for this publication: Tablet revealed by Abdul-Baha to the Star of the West. The original, which is reproduced herewith, is in his own handwriting:
HE IS GOD!O thou Star of the West!
Be thou happy! Be thou happy! Shouldst thou continue to remain firm and eternal, ere long thou shalt become the Star of the East and shalt spread in every country and clime. Thou art the first paper of the Bahais which is organized in the country of America. Although for the present thy subscribers are limited, thy form is small and thy voice weak, yet shouldst thou stand unshakable, become the object of the attention of the friends and the center of the generosity of the leaders of the faith who are firm in the Covenant, in the future thy subscribers will become hosts after hosts like unto the waves of the sea; thy volume will increase, thy arena will
BAHAI NEWSbecome vast and spacious and thy voice and fame will be raised and become world-wide — and at last thou shalt become the first paper of the world of humanity. Yet all these depend upon firmness, firmness, firmness!
(Signed) ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS.
Translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Dec. 24, 1910.
— PHOTO —REPRODUCTION OF ORIGINAL TABLET TO THE "STAR OF THE WEST."
The function of a "Star" is to shine. Should the friends throughout the world comply with what is outlined in the foregoing Tablet and concentrate their wealth of heart, mind and goods upon it for one brief moment, its "rays" would become so intense that it could penetrate and become effective in all regions.
The appearance of this "Star" upon the horizon of the Cause is deeply significant at this time of the sojourn of Abdul-Baha in Egypt. God willing, it shall lead many searching and expectant souls to Him!
The news of disturbed conditions in some of the cities of Persia, especially Mashad, will be received with regret by all the friends in the East and West. On behalf of all, we extend to our persecuted spiritual brothers and sisters, heartfelt love and sympathy,
BAHAI NEWSand pray that these awful tests and ordeals will soon cease forever.
It is a cause of astonishment that there are still to be found those who could be incited by such a false and unfounded pretext that the Bahais are against the parliament, when it is so generally known that the Bahai Revelation is on the side of lawful government and has proclaimed these principles in its Books and Tablets for the past fifty years.
As to the misrepresentation that the BAHAI NEWS contained articles against the constitution and government: From the very first number, articles have appeared in the Persian section, devoted to the elucidation of the principles of the Bahai Revelation. Had the Mohammedan clergy, who confiscated our paper, read these articles they would know that everything expressed therein is in accord with the purest and noblest teaching of Mohammed, for we frequently quoted from his writings and traditions to demonstrate our point.
Permit us to ask a few questions of the clergy: Did Mohammed encourage ignorance? Did he teach men to kill their brothers? Did he instruct anyone to lay waste the homes of his countrymen? Are not these Bahais your brothers? Are they not your flesh and blood? Should not brothers live together in peace and harmony, and save the country from disunion and disruption? Even we in the West, who have come to believe in the Prophethood of Mohammed through the Teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH are perplexed at such an interpretation of the teachings of the Prophet, and believe that were the spiritual insight opened you would behold Mohammed weeping at such injustice done in his name! What has caused the friends in the West to become the lovers of Persia? Is it not the Teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH? Could the Mohammedan clergy bring about this union? Only the Power of God can thus transform the hearts! And if it be the Power of God behind this Movement, nothing can prevent it from accomplishing its purpose, which is "the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; that all nations become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men be strengthened; that diversity of religion cease and difference of race be annulled, and the Most Great Peace come!"
In the light of these Words of BAHA'O'LLAH just quoted, it is evident that the BAHAI NEWS, which is the proclaimer of His Teachings, has as its motive the desire to serve and assist all nations and peoples in attaining this ultimate goal of the "Most Great Peace" — especially Persia, the dawning-place of the Light in this Great Day of God.
NEWS FROM THE ORIENT.
Continued from page 11
Eight copies of the same booklet were confiscated by the postal authorities and delivered to the head of the Mohammedan clergy; also, the BAHAI NEWS was taken to the acting governor. The clergy raised a great cry, saying that they contained articles against the constitution of the government and demanded that all Bahais should be expelled from the province; but the acting governor declined, saying, that if such a course were to be taken, thousands of persons would suffer from the consequences.
We have written a petition to the governor stating that if it is his desire that we leave Persia for foreign countries we will do it, but if he wishes us to remain in our native country, he should prevent these persecutions and put an end to such deplorable conditions of one day killing this one, another day expelling that one, another day pillaging the property of the Bahais, and then endeavoring to exonerate the perpetrators of such deeds; that these actions are against law and in contradiction to the fundamental principles of the constitution.
The head of the clergy has issued an edict, ordering that everything coming from America should not be delivered, and according to a report from Subsabzavar, the BAHAI NEWS NO. 11 is confiscated. The conditions are so bad that we have ceased to hold meetings except the spiritual meeting and one for teaching. These difficulties, however, have increased the fire of enthusiasm and added to the zeal of the friends.
A certain man, who has instituted a small rebellion against the government and gathered around him a number of men, went, last week, to Faran, killed a policeman and sent a message to one of the prominent Bahais asking him to give him a thousand dollars or he would take his head and that of his son and send it to his chief as a gift. After much parleying, he agreed to accept four hundred dollars and spare the heads, but with the understanding that he extort fifty dollars from every Bahai. Such are the awful persecutions we are undergoing. They consider the killing of Bahais as the greatest worship of God, to pillage their property as lawful and to persecute them as just.
Regarding our schools, the following incident will illustrate the situation: We have lately heard that the Mohammedan clergy of this province are discussing the question of withholding books of geography from the children, claiming they will become too familiar with the existing conditions in other parts of the world, and this is harmful to Islam. There is, therefore, no modern school for boys, much less for girls.
NAJAF ABAD. — This is a town of twenty thousand inhabitants, situated about twenty miles from Esphahan. For years we have been a growing Bahai centre. Janabe Zain, the famous Bahai penman and disciple of BAHA'O'LLAH, who departed this life a few years ago and whose sons are the secretaries of Abdul-Baha, was a native of this town. Recently we received a copy of the BAHAI NEWS, which created great activity and happiness among us. In order to be in touch with the news of the Cause, our Assembly has appointed Mirza Abdul Vahlab as correspondent, that we may write you every nineteen days. He has agreed to go to Esphahan every
BAHAI NEWSmonth to receive the BAHAI NEWS and bring it to us. During the past few months, two of the believers visited Abdul-Baha.
SEMNAN. — It was with great astonishment and happiness that we received copies of the Star of the West. We have wept tears of happiness for this great bounty and offer a hundred thousand thanks to God that the sun of prosperity from the East has appeared from the West, and that it has become the dawning-place of the diffusion of the commands of God. We hope that through the endeavor of the American brothers and sisters, the spirit of love and unity may be breathed into the body of the world, and the hosts of ignorance, blindness, pride and selfishness be discomforted. The signs of this hitherto unheard of victory are manifest, in that His verses are spread throughout the world to such an extent, that this means of communication became opened between the American cities and one of the smallest villages of Khorassan.
SHIRAZ. — Two hundred copies of the booklets concerning the second convention for the Mashrak-el-Azkar in America, were recently received and widely distributed throughout the surrounding villages. The Star of the West has been regularly received and some of the friends have subscribed for it;
There is great internal confusion and trouble. The Jewish quarters have already been pillaged and many killed — their loss reaching one million and a half dollars. After the persecution of the Jews the enemies started to molest the Bahais. We have various committees but these troubles have affected the workings of these committees. Three nights ago a thief entered the house of Gholam Hossein Mirza and stole eighty dollars.
Lately, we have heard from Neiriz, a quarter of whose inhabitants are Bahais, that an enemy has sent a man to gather revenues, without any reason. This man has hounded and taxed the Bahais there to such a degree that the majority of them have been forced to leave the city and roam in the desert. Worse than that, the desert held no peace and security for them, for as soon as they emerged into the open they were pillaged by bandits. This man killed and destroyed many Bahais last year; but this year when they fled into the mountains they were followed by the enemies, apprehended and brought back to the city. Being ordered to cut them to pieces, they found green grass in their stomachs. Thus, for days, having eaten nothing but grass, they became easy prey for these ruthless fiends. These are the conditions which many of the Bahais are enduring in various cities in this district.
Were we to write about the troubles and the vicissitudes of the friends in the villages and towns every heart would weep tears of sorrow and sadness. The pen and tongue are powerless to express the awful suffering your spiritual brothers and sisters must pass through. It is impossible for you who live in a country of freedom and comfort, to conceive, even faintly, how the believers bravely bear these hardships and trials. To an outsider these conditions are worse than Dante's "Inferno," but to the spiritual soul, endowed with spiritual insight, it is the bliss of Paradise.
TABRIZ. — We have just heard that Abdul-Baha has approved the publication of the Star of the West. Many believers were anxiously expecting to hear this news and they are delighted that such an organ has been started in the West.
The booklet concerning the second Mashrak-el-Azkar convention was received and circulated throughout all parts of Azarbayajan. Its glowing contents and eloquent expressions have stimulated us to greater activity and service. We pray that the foundation of the Mashrak-el-Azkar of Chicago will soon be laid, thereby making the heart of Abdul-Baha glad.
There are two commercial possibilities here. One is the desire for all kinds of photographic appliances, kodaks, films, etc.; the other is the need for looms and machinery for weaving cotton and silk. We hope that through the medium of the Star of the West the commercial relations of the East and West will be brought nearer together.
TEHERAN. — The Orient-Occident Unity* committee are holding business sessions every week and practical results have been accomplished. We have had to remove the school of Tarbiat to larger and more commodious quarters, and have made a few changes and improvements in our methods of teaching. The department for girls will soon be opened. At a feast, recently held in the school, all the students were treated with a bag of candies — a present from one of the American friends.
According to news received from Egypt, Mr. Sydney Sprague will not return and we desire another American teacher. We are sad indeed to lose our dear brother, for his services to this school have been invaluable. It is essential for the progress of the school and the advancement of the Orient-Occident Unity to have an American representative here.
The library of the school is well organized, the books received from America are catalogued and anyone who so desires, may read them at the library or take them home for a few days. We need a series of primers and a few books of geography containing maps and descriptions of all countries of the world.
The girls school of Saar Gabri Aga is progressing finely. Through the kindness of an American friend a new sewing machine has been donated which will be used to teach the girls in sewing. This school is also looking forward to the coming of a woman teacher from America.
A committee has been organized in this city to take up commercial matters between Persia and other countries and to endeavor to bring about a greater economic and commercial interchange. This organization has written to Washington, D. C., to learn the plans and aims of the commercial department of the Orient-Occident Unity.
Mirza Habibollah has just arrived from Alexandria.
BAKOU. — The news of the troubles in Mashad has just reached us and they have asked us to communicate with the Star of the West so that it may take the necessary steps for the moral defense of our spiritual brothers and sisters. They look upon it as their defender and expect it will arise to assist at this crucial moment. There is great need of reforms in Persia, not only in the various governmental departments, but a higher reform is needed, which is the changing of brutal souls into human spirits, dogmatism into tolerance, religious formality into holiness, and enmity into love.
A drama of the history of the Bab and BAHA'O'LLAH has been composed by an eminent lady writer and dramatist. This book has created great interest among Russian poets and authors, and many people have been awakened by the call of this Great Revelation. After its publication several misrepresentations were found therein which Abdul-Baha requested her to correct. Having done so, she received permission to go to Alexandria to visit him. On November 20th she gave a public lecture on the Bahai Revelation before a noteworthy gathering of authors, writers, poets, philosophers, and a number of Russian princes. Her eloquent words and forceful utterances created among her listeners, a powerful effect. On the following day many articles appeared in the newspapers commenting favorably upon her speech.
We were much interested in an article recently published in the Star of the West, concerning a universal Bahai language, in which an exposition of Esperanto was made. We are anxious to take up its study, and wish you to send us some text books and general information regarding it.
BATOUM. — The eyes are brightened and the hearts are gladdened through the appearance of the Star of the West. We
* Successor of the Persian-American Educational Society.
BAHAI NEWShope that it may increase its size and number of pages and become an active force in enlightening public opinion in regard to the Bahai Revelation. The news of the organization of the Orient-Occident Unity has reached us and we are all anxious to receive a copy of its constitution.
SAMARKAND. — Through the appearance of the Star of the West a new spirit has been infused into the hearts of the Oriental Bahais. Praise be to God! that the Words of Truth are promulgated, the friends and strangers become as one, and the principles of this Cause and the Teachings of this Universal Religion became known to all the inhabitants of the world. When this publication appeared among us we realized the foundation of the Bahai community had been laid, for a community without a literary organ is like an illiterate man, who cannot express the thoughts of his mind and the emotions of his heart. We hope that through it, the East and the West, the North and the South become united, and that unity and love be established among the children of men, that all the believers of the earth become like links of one chain and perfume the nostrils like until a bouquet of hyacinths and roses.
Although, in the beginning, some difficulties may arise, yet with firmness great services will be accomplished, the seed will produce a harvest and the branch will grow into a mighty tree. God willing, the organizers of this publication should not encounter many difficulties for undoubtedly all the Bahais will endeavor to support it, that it may become the first publication in the world.
We have four meetings every week, two for the public and two for the believers. Our women's assembly is composed of energetic and loving souls and they are very anxious to correspond with their sisters in the West.
PERSIAN-AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY.
Since the last report of the Society, published in the BAHAI NEWS, there has been considerable activity at headquarters. We desire to acknowledge the valuable assistance rendered by Mr. Frank D. Clark, of Buffalo, who submitted a proposed Constitution, carefully indexed, and from which suggestions were embodied in the proposed plan of the Orient-Occident Unity.
The sub-committee on new Constitution and reorganization met on Saturday, October 22d, at the apartment of Mrs. Coles. Following this, weekly meetings were held until the Constitution was ready. Copies of the draft have been mailed to various interested friends, for their suggestions.
Circular letters calling for books, etc., the Library of the Tarbiat School, have been mailed broadcast, and all the friends are urged to contribute in this manner toward the library in Teheran. News comes from that city to the effect that they are receiving books from America, and are numbering and indexing them.
A weekly journal in Teheran, Civilization, recently devoted six pages to an account of the P. A. E. S. Also the newspaper Tchere Nema, of Cairo, in two recent numbers gives a complete account. The East is just beginning to realize the immense energy and dynamic force stored in this association.
As the "Temple Unity" Convention will be held during the latter part of April, 1911, it has been decided that the first annual meeting of the P. A. E. S. shall be called for the first Monday in May. At that time the new Constitution will be submitted for adoption, and the officers for the ensuing year will be elected.
The friends in Shiraz advise us that they wish to open a branch School of Tarbiat. The Society has promised to send them primary books on geography, mathematics, reading, etc., for twenty pupils. They have the funds for furniture, room, etc. All those desiring to help in this movement are asked to contribute small sums of money for these books, which
BAHAI NEWSshould be purchased and mailed as soon as possible. The funds from active memberships are, according to the Constitution, devoted to scholarships.
The new school for girls in Teheran is in the process of formation, and its doors will soon be opened.
Consideration is now being given to an important subject, concerning which we desire the opinion of the friends in general, and some assurances of co-operation. Reference is had to a plan of educating each year in America one Persian student, under the auspices of the Society. It will be necessary to provide a home for this student, and any of the friends who are willing to support a scholar will greatly facilitate our work if they will notify the Secretary. It is understood that the traveling expenses of the student will be defrayed by the friends in Persia. When we have the necessary assurance here, we can then draw up rules which will be a guide in choosing the holder of the scholarship. For example: (1) He should know his own language well. (2) He should be recommended by the Executive Committee of the Association in Teheran. (3) He should speak and write English sufficiently to have no difficulty in making himself understood here. (4) His traveling expenses are to be paid by the Persians friends. (5) He should be between 14 and 20 years of age. (6) He should have a fair knowledge in primary education. (7) When his education shall have been completed, he should return to Persia and serve or teach in the schools for a term of years, according to the decision of the Committee, etc.
It is desired to know in advance whether the active members of last year are willing to renew their scholarships. Information to this effect should be in the hands of the Secretary soon, so that preparations may be made accordingly. Mr. William Remy and Mrs. May Maxwell have already renewed their scholarships for 1911.
A new scholarship has been received since the last report. No. 56, from the Women's Assembly of Kenosha, Wis.
More Associate members are needed, to meet the increasing expenses of the Society, while active members are in urgent demand.
The commercial aspect of the Society is developing. For example, an inquiry has just been received from Esphahan concerning the installation of American telephones in the city; also concerning a typewriter having Persian characters. The Society is endeavoring to furnish this information and trying thus to open the door of commercial intercourse.
The inauguration of the Orient-Occident Unity, the successor to the P. A. E. S. in May, will necessitate some expense, and contributions for that purpose will be most welcome.
The return of Mr. Sydney Sprague, who is now in Alexandria, to Teheran, is much doubted, and the latest news from one of the members of the Executive Committee in Teheran is that they may call upon us at an early date to find them an American Bahai teacher who can fill the post. There is a salary attached to this position.
It is possible that Mirza Azizollah Khan, with whom Mr. Sprague lived during his stay in Teheran, may come to America as a Persian delegate to the P. A. E. S. General Annual Meeting, and also attend the Mashrak-el-Azkar Convention as a delegate from the Oriental Bahais.
The circle of activity and the influence of the Society is widening daily. It is assured that with the active co-operation of the friends and the assistance of all far-sighted men and women it will soon become what Abdul-Baha prophetically says: "The greatest Society of the world; produce inexhaustible results and benefits; become the tree of the oneness of the realm of humanity and cast its all-encircling shade over the people of the East and the West."
JOSEPH H. HANNEN, Corresponding Secretary.
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