Recorded in the following pages are personal recollections of meetings with several of the Hands of the Cause of God – those "Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth ..."
In each Dispensation there are a few individuals – a small handful - amongst the early followers of the Manifestation who are endowed with a special station and function. History records the ‘Disciples’ or ‘Apostles’ of Christ whose lives spanned the first and perhaps second generation of the early Christian community; Muhammad was succeeded by the Caliphate and a hereditary line of Imams whose lives spanned some 260 years of that Dispensation.
During His lifetime Bahá’u’lláh appointed four individuals as Hands of His Cause – creating thereby an appointed institution of individuals whose station and functions were clarified in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, with further appointments flowing from the pen of Shoghi Effendi during his 36 years ministry – some named posthumously, some appointed during their lifetime, 27 of whom were carrying out their vital duties at the time of his passing in 1957. These individuals continued to serve the Cause with unremitting energy during the next half-century – until the eventual passing of the last of the Hands, Dr Ali-Muhammad Varqá, in September 2007 – B.E. 163.
This has provided an opportunity for many of the believers of the present generation to know, to meet with and experience some of the bounties that these special individuals showered upon our nascent community, still very young in terms of its destined span of influence on mankind’s social evolution. It is of great value to us in this generation, and to those that come after us, that these experiences, this fleeting contact with the Hands of the Cause who have served the Faith in whichever generation, be recorded in some fashion – and it is with this in mind, simply and purely the value of having some record of the effect that these very special souls have had on our communities, that the following has been penned.
Each of the Hands of the Cause appointed by Shoghi Effendi have bestowed some special gift on our community, have had some characteristic of their nature and their service to the Cause that is special and individual – some have highlighted prayer, some the importance of ‘teaching’ the Faith, some of living the life – and each has shown us the pathway to develop some of the divine attributes that are essential to Bahá’í life and the transformation of our world community – and together, as a body, they have carried the Faith securely through its time of greatest testing, following the passing of the beloved Guardian in 1957. For that single service alone, they deserve our undying gratitude and that of the whole of humanity, and historians of the future will no doubt record and pay tribute to their service in that field.
The following notes are simply the humble record of one individual’s brief contact with some of these special believers, these spiritual ‘giants’ – recording the small things of life, incidents which reflect the station, the nature and the service of these Hands of the Cause.
— Bill Washington
September 10, 2014
About these notes
I never met Australian Baha’i Bill Washington while he was alive. In 2013 I think it was, he contacted me by email to tell how much he appreciated reading my study of the Guardian’s writings A Celestial Burning.
He told me that he had made the pilgrimage in 1957 when he was a young man and a fairly new Baha’i. Bill was a journalist by profession.
Our email contact was confined to a few exchanges. Then maybe six months ago, I received an email from Bill, informing me that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and that he was on his way to the Abha Kingdom. “A free ticket,” he called it. He asked me if I would have his pilgrim’s notes posted on the internet, along with his impressions of the Hands of the Cause he had met. I promised him that I would, but that I would have to rely on Jonah Winters to execute the task since my internet skills are minimal. Their electronic publication makes this set of pilgrim’s notes more widely available for the first time.
Read this in the knowledge that in doing so you are participating in the fulfillment of the final wishes of a dedicated Baha’i who had the privilege of attaining the presence of the “Sign of God on earth” and who very much wanted his fellow Baha’is to share what they could of that same privilege. [from About "Recollections of the Guardian"]
— Jack McLean