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Recollections of Pilgrimage:
Nine Days with the Guardian in 1957

by Bill Washington

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Chapter 9

Notes:

More detail of the lives and service of some of the believers mentioned here can be found in other publications:
    Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum – A Tribute to Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum,
    by Violette Nakhjavání – Bahá'í Canada Pub./Nine Pines (2000)
    Collis Featherstone - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XX, pp. 809-18
    Ugo Giachery - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XX, pp. 777-84
    Leroy Ioas - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XIV, pp. 291-300
    Leroy Ioas – Hand of the Cause of God, by Anita Ioas Chapman - George Ronald (1998)
    Sylvia Ioas - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XIX, pp. 611-13
    Jessie Revell - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XIV, pp, 300-303
    Ethel Revell - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XIX, pp. 626-633
    Dr Lotfullah Hakim - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XV, pp. 430-34
    Ben Weeden - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XV, pp. 478-9
    Gladys Weeden - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XVIII, pp. 692-6
    Sachiro Fujita - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XVII, pp. 406-08
    Saláh Jarráh - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XX, pp. 931-33
    Habib Sabet - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XX, pp. 961-3
    Fereydoun Khazrai - The Bahá'í World, 1993-94, p. 321
    Charles Dunning – The Bahá'í World, Vol. XIV, pp. 305-8
    Reginald Turvey - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XIV, pp. 385-7
    Marc Tobey - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XVII, pp. 401-04
    Bernard Leach - The Bahá'í World, Vol. XVIII, pp. 669-71

Transcript of notes from the Guardian's table

After completing these ‘recollections' which stirred in my mind some of the memories of that time, I have found and transcribed the original notes made each evening of points the Guardian had made during the general discussion over the dinner table. I attach these as an appendix, just to fill out the gaps.

The notes are not transcribed in chronological order, as the Guardian often referred to the same issue on several occasions, adding something new each time, so the notes are a collation of the Guardian's comments made over the seven evenings (two nights being spent at Bahji) – and they bear the same caution as applies to all such ‘Pilgrim Notes'.

It may also help you in reading these notes to understand something of the nature of the Guardianship, as I understand it. Shoghi Effendi was not omniscient, all-knowing, as were Bahá'u'lláh and ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. His fore-knowledge, like the Universal House of Justice, embraced what he needed to know of the future to perform the functions passed on to him by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. Some of his forecast of future events in these notes did not come to pass, and the reason for that is that he was speaking of a potential which the future held; he was not ‘predicting'.

As an example – he spoke of Japan as being a country where the Faith would witness a sudden increase in the number of enrolments: "Japan will witness the next great flourish of the Faith." Looking back, we can say that this did not happen, but we did see the ‘beginning' of this in a sudden surge of declarations amongst the Ainu people in Hokkaido during the early 1960s. But it died down – and I believe the reason for this was our own failing (there was strong rivalry amongst the pioneers there at the time, and where true unity does not exist, we are promised there will be little result). The Guardian saw the potential for this, but we failed him. As you read the notes, keep in mind the ‘rider' to the comment that Mr Sabet made (on page 30) – "if we deserve it."

It might also be helpful if I share with you a story from Mr Featherstone's pilgrimage several years earlier. Following the New Delhi conference in 1953, the one that launched the Ten Year Crusade, Collis and Madge Featherstone made the pilgrimage, and one story they told of this experience bears strongly on this issue of the Guardian's fore-knowledge.

One evening during their pilgrimage, the Guardian had sent a message to the pilgrims to begin dinner and he would join them a little later. They did so and during the meal, the Guardian came in, sat down and, before commencing to eat, as though he could not hold back the news any longer, burst out with an announcement of a series of changes he was planning to make to the administration of the Faith, including an extension of the institution of the Hands of the Cause who would have ‘deputies' (the Auxiliary Board members) and other developments. Suddenly the Guardian paused, and Rúhíyyih Khánum said, "But, Shoghi Effendi, you didn't say anything about this before." Perhaps realising the impact these sudden and far-reaching announcements were having on the pilgrims and the others at the dinner table, the Guardian bowed his head and replied, very softly: "I did not know before this evening – I am under the guidance of Bahá'u'lláh." All these new developments had come into his mind as a ready-made plan, through the guidance he was promised by the Master. This seems to be the way the Guardian operated.

Rúhíyyih Khánum once said – I think this, too, is in The Priceless Pearl – that the Guardian was like a finely-tuned radio. There are radio waves all around us, but we cannot hear them; it needs a properly tuned receiver to transform these waves into sound. Likewise, guidance from the Abhá Kingdom is all around us but we are insensitive, except on rare occasions when we pray intensely; but the Guardian was constantly ‘tuned' into this guidance – for that was promised by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament – promised for the Guardian and for the Universal House of Justice. And that, too, is how the Supreme Body makes its decision – decisions that are sometimes quite a surprise to the individual members.

Appendix I

Notes from the Guardian's table – January 1957

a transcript of notes made each evening of the Guardian's comments at the dinner table, 1 to 9 January 1957

The beloved Guardian spoke many times of God's Major Plan and of the Minor Plan which is our Administrative Order of the Faith. He pointed out that God's Major Plan may interrupt our own Minor Plan but this should be no cause for worry. God's Major Plan works in very mysterious ways – ways that we just cannot comprehend – and it uses upheavals, disasters and natural calamities as part of its means. We must not be upset if this Major Plan interferes with out own Minor Plan.

The mass acceptance of the Faith, which must come sooner or later, will be through the influence of this Major Plan, rather than as a result of the Minor Plan. God's Major Plan is not a thing to speculate upon because we just cannot comprehend it – we must go on striving to promote the Minor Plan of the Administrative Order and leave God's mysterious workings in His Own hands.

The most important phase of Bahá'í activity at present is the teaching of new believers. Bahá'ís have spread out over the whole world and have demonstrated the world-embracing scope of the Faith. Now the greatest importance must be placed on increasing the number of individual believers. The Faith's scope is universal but the number of believers is not satisfactory. Among those also are too many passive Bahá'ís – inactive and preoccupied. This is a great danger because many Bahá'ís have become blinded by their own preoccupation.

This matter of increasing the number of believers must be of prime importance to all the friends. The individual believers are the first step and are essential in the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies. These assemblies then are the foundation of the Administrative Order and on these foundations will be created the pillars – the National Spiritual Assemblies. And on these ‘pillars' will rest the ‘dome' of the Administrative Order – the Universal House of Justice and the World Centre of the Order of Bahá'u'lláh.

We have erected the first stone of this ‘dome' now on Mount Carmel – the new Archives building is the first stone of this Dome. It will form part of the World Centre of the Administrative Order. Later the other institutions of the Administrative Centre will be erected as time warrants – the Universal House of Justice, office for the Guardianship, and office for the Hands of the Cause.

The Holy Shrine of the Báb will be between two mighty edifices on Mount Carmel. To the east, the Administrative Arc, circling on the tomb of the Greatest Holy Leaf – the new Archives building is on the western end of this Arc, which is a semicircular path through the gardens on Mount Carmel, its base running east-west above the Tomb gardens. To the west will be the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár and its dependencies on the cliff promontory of Mount Carmel. This will form the twin centres of the Bahá'í World Faith – the administrative and spiritual centres.

These dual centres will in time be duplicated in all cities and villages, in accordance with the population of each centre. Two institutions will be created – the administrative centre of the Hazíratu'l-Quds which will be particular in its influence, for the service of the local community, and the spiritual centre of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár with its dependencies which will be universal in its influence, for the service of all mankind.

The Guardian several times stressed the importance of these future temples, both as spiritual focal points to which the believers will turn, and as silent teachers for the Faith.

The Guardian spoke of great calamities which must very soon strike the world. The new countries – the United States, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand – must particularly suffer. Large cities of the world are in great danger – the Holy Land is in great danger. Europe and America have been most difficult for the spread of the Faith in recent years and therefore will need to suffer. The continent of Africa has witnessed a great flourish in the growth of the Faith because it has already suffered much under colonization (see Guardian's cable read by Ruhíyyih Khánum at dedication of the Wilmette Temple re Africa).

The other continents must be purged by suffering, particularly America which has been named by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in His Divine Plan as the leader of the world, both materially and spiritually. The world must suffer before Justice can be achieved and this Most Great Justice must herald the Most Great Peace. [Some older statements about future "calamities" are best understood in light of the fact that Bahá'ís are urged to be well-wishers of their government and to work within, not against, the State system. -ed.]

The Lesser Peace will be achieved within this century – the 20th – and will be confirmed during the Formative Age by all the nations establishing a permanent agreement to abolish war and live in peace. This Lesser Peace will be established outside the orbit of the Faith's Administrative Order. Then the Most Great Peace will come during the Golden Age, towards the latter part of the thousand-year Bahá'í Dispensation, when the nations of the world, already united in the political sphere, will recognize and accept the Bahá'í Faith and come under the shadow of the World Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh.

[This scenario for the achievement of peace was confirmed later by Ruhíyyih Khánum. I had been relating the Guardian's comments about this to one of the old and experienced believers in Singapore on the return journey, and he had been adamant that the Lesser Peace was for 1963 and the Most Great Peace by the end of the century. Troubled by this, I had written to Ruhíyyih Khánum to seek clarification, and this is basically what she confirmed, slightly different from the notes I had taken.]

The beloved Guardian spoke of the rapid spread of the Faith and its achievements during the past four years of the Ten Year Plan. The Faith has now been established in over 4,000 centres throughout 250 countries, territories and islands. 1,500 of these centres are in America, and about 900 centres in Persia. The number of individual believers in Persia is far greater than America but those of the United States have dispersed their activities into more widely scattered centres.

About 120 of these territories had been named by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in His Divine Plan and 131 additional territories have been included in the Ten Year Plan. The Faith has spread to 102 islands, 40 of these being in the Pacific area and 70 of the total number opened during the past four years of the Crusade.

Of the 131 territories selected for opening under the Ten Year Plan, over 100 had been opened in the first year and now almost all the territories have been opened – with the exception of four islands: the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, Spitzbergen in the Arctic Ocean, Hainan and Sakhalin in the Pacific, and others under communist rule and approximately half the Soviet territories. As a comparison of the areas opened to the Faith: from 1844-53, during the ministry of the Báb, 2 countries; from 1853-92, the ministry of Bahá'u'lláh, 15 countries; from 1892-1921, ministry of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, 35 countries; up to 1944, under the Divine Plan, 78 countries; by 1952, 128 countries; in 1953, opening year of Crusade, 193 countries and by 1957, 250 countries.

The Faith has been carried by one pioneer to Thule, in Greenland, at a latitude of 77 degrees north and literature has been distributed amongst the Eskimos throughout Greenland. Literature has also been sent with a scientific expedition to McMurdo Island, approximately the same latitude south in Antarctica.

Bahá'í literature has now been translated into 220 languages, 60 of these in addition to those named as goals and comprising mainly Pacific Island, African and North American Indian languages. By 1870 the Christian Bible had been translated into 170 languages. Bahá'í literature is now in 220 languages in a little over 100 years. This stands silent proof that the world has now reached the stage when unity of mankind is possible and inevitable. Translations include the Kitáb-i-Íqán and the Dawnbreakers in Russian, already published.

The Faith now includes approximately 3,000 members of the black race, African negroes, and 2,000 members of the brown races, Polynesians from Gilbert and Ellice Islands and Indonesians from Mentawai Islands.

Achievements not named in the Ten Year Plan include the opening of four islands – Trinidad, in the Caribbean, off the South American coast, and Fernando Po, Corisco and Pemba, off the African coast. Additional temple sites have been purchased, Bahá'í burial grounds established and three regular Bahá'í schools established in Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Mentawai and the New Hebrides.

We have nearly completed the goals of the Ten Year Plan in the first four years, was the Guardian's summing up. Over 100 goals were opened in the first year. But this is only a start – the first plan; not the last. These nuclei must be firmly established and enlarged to assembly status – local assemblies and later national assemblies.

The Guardian said it was of greatest importance now to stress the universality of the Faith and its non-political character – particularly that it has no connection with communism. He warned that Bahá'ís must be careful not to criticise communism, but must stress that the Faith has absolutely no connection with communism. We must remember that we now have Bahá'ís in communist territories; 8 of the 16 Soviet satellite nations have now been opened to the Faith, as well as Tibet. These territories include Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, and other satellites in the western zone of Soviet influence. The communist governments are well aware of the existence of these small groups of Bahá'ís but do not consider them of any importance or danger, sufficient to warrant action. We must be careful, therefore, not to arouse their antagonism, because of the great importance of having these nuclii centres established within the Soviet orb. Once these centres are enlarged, the Soviet authorities will oppose and persecute them, but not while they remain small centres. We must also be careful for our Temple in Ishqábád which has so far been left intact now for 40 years. The Bahá'í Faith has also been established in Siberia, where early believers were deported.

Under the Ten Year Plan the responsibility for opening all the Soviet territories has been placed in the hands of the United States, who will penetrate from the north-east through Alaska; Germany, who will enter from the west, and Persia from the south.

The Guardian spoke on two occasions about the prophecies of Daniel and stressed that Daniel and Isaiah were the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, for prophecy. Daniel had made five major prophecies – the date of the advent of Christ; two prophecies on the declaration of the Báb, the date of Bahá'u'lláh's declaration and the 100th anniversary of that declaration.

This last prophecy of Daniel has been explained by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in a tablet and refers to 1963, not 1957 as stated in Esslemont's book, or approximately that year as it is to be calculated on the lunar calendar and not the solar; and the two calendars do not coincide exactly on 1963. That year – 1963 – will witness the spread of the Faith over the entire world in its initial stage. The ascendency and triumph of the Bahá'í Faith will then be apparent.

The beloved Guardian spoke also of the lineage of Bahá'u'lláh. He was not only descended from the Semitic prophet, Abraham, but also – according to Abu'l-Fadl, who had made a thorough and intense study of this – from Zoroaster and the Sassanian dynasty of ancient Persia who were pure Aryans. Thus Bahá'u'lláh, in His person, unites the two major prophetic lines – the Semitic of Abraham, Moses, Christ and Muhammad and the Aryan of Krishna, Zoroaster and Buddha.

Very little is known of these Aryan religions of the older prophets. We have none of their authentic writings and most of their religious dogma has been man-created by their followers in ages since. One such dogma is the reincarnation of the Hindus and Buddhists. Neither Krishna nor Buddha taught this doctrine. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá has elucidated on this theme, explaining that the reincarnation referred to by the prophets of ages past is that of the spirit and attributes but not of the soul. Once the soul has left the cage of the human body, it does not return to another cage but continues to progress in the other worlds of God.

The centre of the Buddhist Faith is now in Tibet where the Bahá'í Faith has been established. The Chinese and Japanese peoples have a very corrupt version of Buddhism. The Bahá'í Faith will one day clash very violently with the Buddhist hierarchy of Tibet.

The Faith had first been persecuted by Shí'ih Islám and then Sunni Islám. It will soon face persecution from the Protestants and Catholics of Christianity. Later opposition will move to the east – the Hindus of India and then the Buddhists of Tibet, China and Japan. As soon as these established religious hierarchies oppose and persecute the Faith, they will be doomed to destruction as were Shí'ih and Sunni Islám. By opposing the Faith, they will be signing their own death warrants.

The Guardian also spoke about the inevitable downfall of the Catholic Papacy and communism. This will be effected as soon as they actually oppose and persecute the Faith.

The Guardian stressed that Australia's foremost task now is to concentrate on the Pacific Islands, particularly Cocos and the Loyalty Islands which have become vacant goals. The Australian believers must strive to resettle these goals and keep them settled.

The Guardian also repeatedly stressed the importance of racial minorities – the Eskimos, American Indians, the Maoris of New Zealand and the Aborigines of Australia. Because the Aborigines live mainly on mission stations, we must arouse the opposition of these missions. It will be good for the Faith to have the opposition of the missionaries – to upset them. We must do this. We should invite criticism from the clergy, particularly the missionaries who hold influence over the Aborigines. The Faith must be opposed by the church.

Japan and Australia are to be the spiritual leaders in the Pacific region. Australia has a great future – it is the southern magnetic pole of the Pacific; Japan is the northern magnetic pole. The Faith had been established in both Australia and Japan during the lifetime of the Master and, because of this, they will be spiritual leaders of the Pacific region. It is their destiny. To do this they must work in close harmony and cooperation, and relinquish all racial prejudice.

Japan will very soon witness a rapid growth of the Faith because they have suffered greatly. Japan will witness the next great flourish of the Faith. The last countries to be opened will be Russia and China. The Faith will then spread rapidly there because these countries will have suffered greatly.

The Guardian spoke often and very lovingly of Mother Dunn. She must be very proud of her spiritual children in Australia and New Zealand, and now in the Pacific Islands. Hyde and Mother Dunn had come out from America to establish the Faith in the time of the Master and were faced with many and great difficulties. Now Mother Dunn has many spiritual children and, despite her age, even now travels widely, even flying to New Zealand.

In response to a question I had asked the Guardian on behalf of one of the youth believers in Australia, the Guardian stressed that serving the Faith was most important; it was very worthy to acquire knowledge so long as it can be used in the service of the Faith. Consideration for serving the Faith must always take precedence. When our learning exceeds its usefulness to the Faith, then it becomes of secondary importance. It is very worthy but the Faith must always come first.

[Bearing on this same issue, I recall Rúhíyyih Khánum saying one evening, when the pilgrims were speaking about the pioneers who had gone out during the first year of the Ten Year Plan, many unskilled and unlearned, that there would be "no use for a degree in astrophysics in the next world".]

Appendix II

Information gleaned from the Guardian's comments

The Seven Candles of Unity referred to by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá are not to be achieved in the order quoted. This order has no significance and their achievement will not be effected in this order.

The sages of China are to be regarded only as reforming philosophers – Confucius, Mencius and so on.

No limit has been set for the size or population of cities in the future.

There are five characteristics which must be sought by the believers in the election of members to assemblies – local and national: unquestioned loyalty; selfless devotion; a well-trained mind; recognised ability; mature experience.

Bahá'ís should take administrative positions with the government, but not political.

The formation of national committees for Child Welfare and Education are now most important. This is one phase of the administration that should be attended to by the Australian believers, as well as in other areas where it has not already been carried out.

Words of the Báb, addressed to Bahá'u'lláh, are to be inscribed by experts in Kufic script on the panels of the colonnade of the Shrine of the Báb.

Three doors to the rooms added to the original Shrine by the Guardian have been named by him: northern door – Sutherland Maxwell; western door – Ugo Giachery; eastern door – Hájí Mahmúd Qassabchí (a believer of Iraq who had assisted the Guardian with the erection of this extension to the Shrine of the Bab, and also in the protection and restoration of the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdád.) An access door in the octagon has been named for Leroy Ioas, as tribute to his services.

The Hands of the Cause will evolve into an institution for ‘teaching'; the National Assemblies will be for ‘administration'.

The stages in the emergence of the Cause will be: 1. obscurity; 2. persecution; 3. emancipation; 4. recognition – by the authorities, as equal to other world religions; 5. the state religion; 6. it will then evolve into the Bahá'í State; 7. the emergence of the Bahá'í World Commonwealth – the Most Great Peace.

The Lesser Peace – the non-Bahá'í ‘peace' – will see the reconciliation of the nations of the world and their governments to the idea of peace.

The world super state and the Bahá'í World Faith will both exist during the Formative period.

The end of the Ten Year Plan will see the completion of one Epoch in the evolution of the Divine Plan of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá.

There are two processes in operation: one is for the unfoldment of the Faith (the Major Plan) and the other is the Divine Plan of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. Coming world events may disrupt or interfere with the development of the Divine Plan.

The Shrine of the Báb embodies nine concentric circles:

1. The entire plant, the globe.
2. The Most Holy Land – the heart of the planet, the Nest of the Prophets,
3. Mount Carmel – the heart of the Holy Land and Mountain of God.
4. The gardens surrounding the Shrine, the Bahá'í endowments and properties in the precinct.
5. The Mausoleum – the heart of the gardens.
6. The Holy of Holies – in the heart of the six rooms built by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá.
7. The vault of the tomb – within the Holy of Holies in the middle chamber, the crypt.
8. The marble sarcophagus that contains the remains of the Báb.
9. The Holy Dust itself – the dust of the Báb's remains

Other ‘gems' recorded in pilgrim notes

these include explanations given by Rúhíyyih Khánum, Leroy Ioas, Jessie and Ethel Revell, and
Dr Lotfullah Hakim, which would have been based on their understanding of the Guardian's words

Bahá'u'lláh represents the return of Jesus Christ; the Báb the return of Elijah the Prophet.

There will be three distinct centres of pilgrimage on Mount Carmel:

1. the Shrine of the Báb – the focus for pilgrimage;
2. the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár – for worship; and
3. the Administrative Arc – for service.

The order of pilgrimage in time to come will be:

Haifa-'Akká - the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh; the Shrine of the Báb, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár on Mount Carmel; and then the World Administrative Centre.
Iraq – the Most Holy House of Bahá'u'lláh and the Garden of Ridván, and the shrines of the Imáms, the true successors of the Prophet.
> Iran – the House of the Báb in Shíráz; the House of Bahá'u'lláh and the Siyáh-Chál in Tehran.

Rites of pilgrimage have been revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas for the Most Holy House in Baghdád and the House of the Báb in Shíráz. The Guardian says the full glory of the pilgrimage will be revealed when pilgrims reach these holy places.

Bahá'u'lláh designated two places of pilgrimage: the Most Great House of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdád and the Báb's House in Shíráz; ‘Abdu'l-Bahá added the Qiblih (Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji-'Akká, which – along with Haifa – will form one metropolis in the future.

The ‘Arc' mentioned in the Tablet of Carmel is the Administrative Order, and the laws of the Faith. The ‘Ark' referred to in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Bahá'u'lláh) is the spiritual ark – the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'u'lláh is the ‘captain' of the ark.

The Siyáh-Chál is regarded as the ‘lesser prison'; the Most Great Prison at 'Akká was so named because of the enemies without and within the Faith, and because the Message of Bahá'u'lláh had been definitely refused by the rulers; the Cause of God was ‘in prison'.

The components of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji are:

The Haram-i-Aqdas – the ‘outer' sanctuary, or the gardens surrounding the Shrine.
The sanctuary gardens – the "Most Great Precinct".
The inner gardens – the ‘inner sanctuary – the area under the glassed-in roof.
The entrance to the Tomb chamber – the "Most Holy Threshold".
The Tomb itself – the "Most Holy Shrine", the "Holy of Holies".

The 54th chapter of the book of Isaiah tells of the suffering of the Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahíyyih Khánum, at the hands of the Covenant-breakers.

The Tomb of the Greatest Holy Leaf symbolises:

The circular base – the Local Spiritual Assemblies
The nine pillars – the National Spiritual Assemblies
The circular dome on top – the Universal House of Justice

Dr Lotfullah Hakim added a "fourth" in explaining the symbolism of the monument: the cap on the top of the dome represents the Guardian.

The Tomb of the Greatest Holy Leaf faces to 'Akká, and the nine pillars are so placed that one looking through them can see 'Akká.

With the statement that there will be no further Manifestation before the lapse of a full 1,000 years, ‘Abdu'l-Bahá has clarified that the 1,000-year period dates from the year 9 – the time of the revelation of His station to Bahá'u'lláh in the Siyáh-Chál.

Plans currently operating in the world –

God's Major Plan for the development of the Faith – of which we know so little.
The Minor Plan of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá – its charter is the Tablets of the Divine Plan, now in the third stage of the 1st Epoch:
  1. First Seven Year Plan – 1937-44
  2. Second Seven Year Plan – 1946-53
  3. Ten Year Plan – 1953-63
The Second Epoch of the Divine Plan will commence in 1963

Another Plan is for the development of the Faith at the World Centre – its charter is the Tablet of Carmel. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá is the Charter for the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.

The Guardian referred one night to the South African goals which had been settled very early and later vacated: "They have recovered their virginity. That is something only possible in the Bahá'í Faith. But we must not let our goals recover their virginity."

Rúhíyyih Khánum related one evening after dinner, in the lounge room of the Pilgrim House, that ‘Abdu'l-Bahá had once told Shoghi Effendi – His favourite grandson and the one whom He must have then known would succeed Him as Guardian – to never touch a bite of food or a drop of drink in any house in 'Akká, either Bahá'í or non-Bahá'í.

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