of both the United States and other countries, as to justify the hopes and expectations entertained for it by `Abdu'l-Bahá. Its model exhibited at Art centers, galleries, state fairs and national expositions-- among which may be mentioned the Century of Progress Exhibition, held in Chicago in 1933, where no less than ten thousand people, passing through the Hall of Religions, must have viewed it every day--its replica forming a part of the permanent exhibit of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago; its doors now thronged by visitors from far and near, whose number, during the period from June, 1932 to October, 1941 has exceeded 130,000 people, representing almost every country in the world, this great "Silent Teacher" of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, it may be confidently asserted, has contributed to the diffusion of the knowledge of His Faith and teachings in a measure which no other single agency, operating within the framework of its Administrative Order, has ever remotely approached.
"When the foundation of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár is laid in America," `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself has predicted, "and that Divine Edifice is completed, a most wonderful and thrilling motion will appear in the world of existence... From that point of light the spirit of teaching, spreading the Cause of God and promoting the teachings of God, will permeate to all parts of the world." "Out of this Mashriqu'l-Adhkár," He has affirmed in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, "without doubt, thousands of Mashriqu'l-Adhkárs will be born." "It marks," He, furthermore, has written, "the inception of the Kingdom of God on earth." And again: "It is the manifest Standard waving in the center of that great continent." "Thousands of Mashriqu'l-Adhkárs," He, when dedicating the grounds of the Temple, declared, "...will be built in the East and in the West, but this, being the first erected in the Occident, has great importance." "This organization of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár," He, referring to that edifice, has moreover stated, "will be a model for the coming centuries, and will hold the station of the mother."
"Its inception," the architect of the Temple has himself testified, "was not from man, for, as musicians, artists, poets receive their inspiration from another realm, so the Temple's architect, through all his years of labor, was ever conscious that Bahá'u'lláh was the creator of this building to be erected to His glory." "Into this new design," he, furthermore, has written, "...is woven, in symbolic form, the great Bahá'í teaching of unity--the unity of all religions and of all mankind. There are combinations of mathematical lines, symbolizing those of the universe, and in their intricate merging of circle into circle,
and circle within circle, we visualize the merging of all the religions into one." And again: "A circle of steps, eighteen in all, will surround the structure on the outside, and lead to the auditorium floor. These eighteen steps represent the eighteen first disciples of the Báb, and the door to which they lead stands for the Báb Himself." "As the essence of the pure original teachings of the historic religions was the same ... in the Bahá'í Temple is used a composite architecture, expressing the essence in the line of each of the great architectural styles, harmonizing them into one whole."
"It is the first new idea in architecture since the 13th century," declared a distinguished architect, H. Van Buren Magonigle, President of the Architectural League, after gazing upon a plaster model of the Temple on exhibition in the Engineering Societies Building in New York, in June 1920. "The Architect," he, moreover, has stated, "has conceived a Temple of Light in which structure, as usually understood, is to be concealed, visible support eliminated as far as possible, and the whole fabric to take on the airy substance of a dream. It is a lacy envelope enshrining an idea, the idea of light, a shelter of cobweb interposed between earth and sky, struck through and through with light--light which shall partly consume the forms and make of it a thing of faery."
"In the geometric forms of the ornamentation," a writer in the well-known publication "Architectural Record" has written, "covering the columns and surrounding windows and doors of the Temple, one deciphers all the religious symbols of the world. Here are the swastika, the circle, the cross, the triangle, the double triangle or six pointed star (Solomon's seal)--but more than this--the noble symbol of the spiritual orb ... the five pointed star; the Greek Cross, the Roman cross, and supreme above all, the wonderful nine pointed star, figured in the structure of the Temple itself, and appearing again and again in its ornamentation as significant of the spiritual glory in the world today."
"The greatest creation since the Gothic period," is the testimony of George Grey Barnard, one of the most widely-known sculptors in the United States of America, "and the most beautiful I have ever seen."
"This is a new creation," Prof. Luigi Quaglino, ex-professor of Architecture from Turin declared, after viewing the model, "which will revolutionize architecture in the world, and it is the most beautiful I have ever seen. Without doubt it will have a lasting page in history. It is a revelation from another world."
"Americans," wrote Sherwin Cody, in the magazine section of the
New York Times, of the model of the Temple, when exhibited in the Kevorkian Gallery in New York, "will have to pause long enough to find that an artist has wrought into this building the conception of a Religious League of Nations." And lastly, this tribute paid to the features of, and the ideals embodied in, this Temple--the most sacred House of Worship in the Bahá'í world, whether of the present or of the future--by Dr. Rexford Newcomb, Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois: "This 'Temple of Light' opens upon the terrain of human experience nine great doorways which beckon men and women of every race and clime, of every faith and conviction, of every condition of freedom or servitude to enter here into a recognition of that kinship and brotherhood without which the modern world will be able to make little further progress ...The dome, pointed in form, aiming as assuredly as did the aspiring lines of the medieval cathedrals toward higher and better things, achieves not only through its symbolism but also through its structural propriety and sheer loveliness of form, a beauty not matched by any domical structure since the construction of Michelangelo's dome on the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome."
Attacks on Bahá'í Institutions
The institutions signalizing the rise and establishment of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh did not (as the history of their unfoldment abundantly demonstrates) remain immune against the assaults and persecutions to which the Faith itself, the progenitor of that Order, had, for over seventy years, been subjected, and from which it is still suffering. The emergence of a firmly knit community, advancing the claims of a world religion, with ramifications spread over five continents representing a great variety of races, languages, classes and religious traditions; provided with a literature scattered over the surface of the earth, and expounding in several languages its doctrine; clear-visioned, unafraid, alert and determined to achieve at whatever sacrifice its goal; organically united through the machinery of a divinely appointed Administrative Order; non-sectarian, non-political, faithful to its civil obligations yet supranational in character; tenacious in its adherence to the laws and ordinances regulating its community life--the emergence of such a community, in a world steeped in prejudice, worshipping false gods, torn by intestine divisions, and blindly clinging to obsolescent doctrines and defective standards, could not but precipitate, sooner or later, crises no less grave, though less spectacular, than the persecutions which, in an earlier age, had raged around the Founders of that community and their early disciples. Assailed by enemies within, who have either rebelled against its God-given authority or wholly renounced their faith, or by adversaries from without, whether political or ecclesiastical, the infant Order identified with this community has, since its inception, and throughout every stage in its evolution, felt severely the impact of the forces which have sought in vain to strangle its budding life or to obscure its purpose.
To these attacks, destined to grow in scope and severity, and to arouse a tumult that will reverberate throughout the world, `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself had already, at the time the outlines of that Divine order were being delineated by Him in His Will, significantly alluded: "Erelong shall the clamor of the multitude throughout Africa, throughout America, the cry of the European and of the Turk, the
groaning of India and China, be heard from far and near. One and all, they shall arise with all their power to resist His Cause. Then shall the knights of the Lord ... reinforced by the legions of the Covenant, arise and manifest the truth of the verse: `Behold the confusion that hath befallen the tribes of the defeated!'"
Already in more than one country the trustees and elected representatives of this indestructible world-embracing Order have been summoned by civil authorities or ecclesiastical courts, ignorant of its claims, or hostile to its principles or fearful of its rising strength, to defend its cause, or to renounce their allegiance to it, or to curtail the range of its operation. Already an aggressive hand, unmindful of God's avenging wrath, has been stretched out against its sanctuaries and edifices. Already its defenders and champions have, in some countries, been declared heretics, or stigmatized as subverters of law and order, or branded as visionaries, unpatriotic and careless of their civic duties and responsibilities, or peremptorily ordered to suspend their activities and dissolve their institutions.
In the Holy Land, the world seat of this System, where its heart pulsates, where the dust of its Founders reposes, where the processes disclosing its purposes, energizing its life and shaping its destiny all originate, there fell, at the very hour of its inception, the first blow which served to proclaim to high and low alike the solidity of the foundations on which it has been established. The Covenant-breakers, now dwindled to a mere handful, instigated by Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí, the Arch-rebel, whose dormant hopes had been awakened by `Abdu'l-Bahá's sudden ascension, and headed by the arrogant Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, seized forcibly the keys of the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh, expelled its keeper, the brave-souled Abu'l-Qásim-i-Khurásání, and demanded that their chief be recognized by the authorities as the legal custodian of that Shrine. Unadmonished by their abject failure, as witnessed by the firm action of the Palestine authorities, who, after prolonged investigations, instructed the British officer in Akká to deliver the keys into the hands of that same keeper, they resorted to other methods in the hope of creating a cleavage in the ranks of the bereaved yet resolute disciples of `Abdu'l-Bahá and of ultimately undermining the foundations of the institutions His followers were laboring to erect. Through their mischievous misrepresentations of the ideals animating the builders of the Bahá'í Administrative Order; through the maintenance, though not on its original scale, of a subversive correspondence with individuals whose loyalty they hoped they could sap; through deliberate distortions of the truth in their
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