testimonies which appeared in nearly two hundred newspapers of the United States and Canada, and which were subsequently translated and published in Europe, China, Japan, Australia, the Near East and the Islands of the seas.
In the first of these testimonies she affirmed that the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá are "a great cry toward peace, reaching beyond all limits of frontiers, above all dissensions about rites and dogmas... It is a wondrous message that Bahá'u'lláh and His Son `Abdu'l-Bahá have given us! They have not set it up aggressively, knowing that the germ of eternal truth which lies at its core cannot but take root and spread... It is Christ's message taken up anew, in the same words almost, but adapted to the thousand years and more difference that lies between the year one and today." She added a remarkable admonition, reminiscent of the telling words of Dr. Benjamin Jowett, who had hailed the Faith, in his conversation with his pupil, Prof. Lewis Campbell, as "the greatest light that has come into the world since the time of Jesus Christ," and cautioned him to "watch it" and never let it out of his sight. "If ever," wrote the Queen, "the name of Bahá'u'lláh or `Abdu'l-Bahá comes to your attention, do not put their writings from you. Search out their books, and let their glorious, peace-bringing, love-creating words and lessons sink into your hearts as they have into mine... Seek them and be the happier."
In another of these testimonies, wherein she makes a significant comment on the station of the Arabian Prophet, she declared: "God is all. Everything. He is the power behind all beings... His is the voice within us that shows us good and evil. But mostly we ignore or misunderstand this voice. Therefore, did He choose His Elect to come down amongst us upon earth to make clear His Word, His real meaning. Therefore the Prophets; therefore Christ, Muhammad, Bahá'u'lláh, for man needs from time to time a voice upon earth to bring God to him, to sharpen the realization of the existence of the true God. Those voices sent to us had to become flesh, so that with our earthly ears we should be able to hear and understand."
In appreciation of these testimonies a communication was addressed to her, in the name of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in East and West, and in the course of the deeply touching letter which she sent in reply she wrote: "Indeed a great light came to me with the Message of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá... My youngest daughter finds also great strength and comfort in the teachings of the beloved Masters. We pass on the Message from mouth to mouth, and all those we give it to see a light suddenly lighting before them, and much that was
obscure and perplexing becomes simple, luminous and full of hope as never before. That my open letter was a balm to those suffering for the Cause, is indeed a great happiness to me, and I take it as a sign that God accepted my humble tribute. The occasion given me to be able to express myself publicly was also His work, for indeed it was a chain of circumstances of which each link led me unwittingly one step further, till suddenly all was clear before my eyes and I understood why it had been. Thus does He lead us finally to our ultimate destiny ...Little by little the veil is lifting, grief tore it in two. And grief was also a step leading me ever nearer truth; therefore do I not cry out against grief!"
In a significant and moving letter to an intimate American friend of hers, residing in Paris, she wrote: "Lately a great hope has come to me from one `Abdu'l-Bahá. I have found in His and His Father, Bahá'u'lláh's Message of faith, all my yearning for real religion satisfied ...What I mean: these Books have strengthened me beyond belief, and I am now ready to die any day full of hope. But I pray God not to take me away yet, for I still have a lot of work to do."
And again in one of her later appreciations of the Faith: "The Bahá'í teaching brings peace and understanding. It is like a wide embrace gathering all those who have long searched for words of hope... Saddened by the continual strife amongst believers of many confessions and wearied of their intolerance towards each other, I discovered in the Bahá'í teaching the real spirit of Christ so often denied and misunderstood." And again, this wonderful confession: "The Bahá'í teaching brings peace to the soul and hope to the heart. To those in search of assurance the words of the Father are as a fountain in the desert after long wandering."
"The beautiful truth of Bahá'u'lláh," she wrote to Martha Root, "is with me always, a help and an inspiration. What I wrote was because my heart overflowed with gratitude for the reflection you brought me. I am happy if you think I helped. I thought it might bring truth nearer because my words are read by so many."
In the course of a visit to the Near East she expressed her intention of visiting the Bahá'í Shrines, and, accompanied by her youngest daughter, actually passed through Haifa, and was within sight of her goal, when she was denied the right to make the pilgrimage she had planned--to the keen disappointment of the aged Greatest Holy Leaf who had eagerly expected her arrival. A few months later, in June, 1931, she wrote in the course of a letter to Martha Root: "Both Ileana and I were cruelly disappointed at having been prevented going to the
holy Shrines ... but at that time we were going through a cruel crisis, and every movement I made was being turned against me and being politically exploited in an unkind way. It caused me a good deal of suffering and curtailed my liberty most unkindly... But the beauty of truth remains, and I cling to it through all the vicissitudes of a life become rather sad... I am glad to hear that your traveling has been so fruitful, and I wish you continual success knowing what a beautiful Message you are carrying from land to land."
After this sad disappointment she wrote to a friend of her childhood who dwelt near Akká, in a house formerly occupied by Bahá'u'lláh: "It was indeed nice to hear from you, and to think that you are of all things living near Haifa and are, as I am, a follower of the Bahá'í teachings. It interests me that you are living in that special house... I was so intensely interested and studied each photo intently. It must be a lovely place ... and the house you live in, so incredibly attractive and made precious by its associations with the Man we all venerate..."
Her last public tribute to the Faith she had dearly loved was made two years before her death. "More than ever today," she wrote, "when the world is facing such a crisis of bewilderment and unrest, must we stand firm in Faith seeking that which binds together instead of tearing asunder. To those searching for light, the Bahá'í teachings offer a star which will lead them to deeper understanding, to assurance, peace and goodwill with all men."
Martha Root's own illuminating record is given in one of her articles as follows: "For ten years Her Majesty and her daughter, H.R.H. Princess Ileana (now Arch-Duchess Anton) have read with interest each new book about the Bahá'í Movement, as soon as it came from the press... Received in audience by Her Majesty in Pelisor Palace, Sinaia, in 1927, after the passing of His Majesty King Ferdinand, her husband, she graciously gave me an interview, speaking of the Bahá'í teachings about immortality. She had on her table and on the divan a number of Bahá'í books, for she had just been reading in each of them the Teachings about life after death. She asked the writer to give her greeting to ... the friends in Iran and to the many American Bahá'ís, who she said had been so remarkably kind to her during her trip through the United States the year before... Meeting the Queen again on January 19, 1928, in the Royal Palace in Belgrade, where she and H.R.H. Princess Ileana were guests of the Queen of Yugoslavia--and they had brought some of their Bahá'í books with
them--the words that I shall remember longest of all that her dear Majesty said were these: `The ultimate dream which we shall realize is that the Bahá'í channel of thought has such strength, it will serve little by little to become a light to all those searching for the real expression of Truth'... Then in the audience in Controceni Palace, on February 16, 1934, when her Majesty was told that the Rumanian translation of `Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era' had just been published in Bucharest, she said she was so happy that her people were to have the blessing of reading this precious teaching... And now today, February 4, 1936, I have just had another audience with Her Majesty in Controceni Palace, in Bucharest... Again Queen Marie of Rumania received me cordially in her softly lighted library, for the hour was six o'clock... What a memorable visit it was!... She also told me that when she was in London she had met a Bahá'í, Lady Blomfield, who had shown her the original Message that Bahá'u'lláh had sent to her grand-mother, Queen Victoria, in London. She asked the writer about the progress of the Bahá'í Movement, especially in the Balkan countries... She spoke too of several Bahá'í books, the depths of "Íqán," and especially of "Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh," which she said was a wonderful book! To quote her own words: `Even doubters would find a powerful strength in it, if they would read it alone, and would give their souls time to expand.' ...I asked her if I could perhaps speak of the brooch which historically is precious to Bahá'ís, and she replied, `Yes, you may.' Once, and it was in 1928, Her dear Majesty had given the writer a gift, a lovely and rare brooch which had been a gift to the Queen from her royal relatives in Russia some years ago. It was two little wings of wrought gold and silver, set with tiny diamond chips, and joined together with one large pearl. `Always you are giving gifts to others, and I am going to give you a gift from me,' said the Queen smiling, and she herself clasped it onto my dress. The wings and the pearl made it seem `Light-bearing' Bahá'í! It was sent the same week to Chicago as a gift to the Bahá'í Temple ... and at the National Bahá'í Convention which was in session that spring, a demur was made--should a gift from the Queen be sold? Should it not be kept as a souvenir of the first Queen who arose to promote the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh? However, it was sold immediately and the money given to the Temple, for all Bahá'ís were giving to the utmost to forward this mighty structure, the first of its kind in the United States of America. Mr. Willard Hatch, a Bahá'í of Los Angeles, Calif., who bought the exquisite brooch, took it to Haifa, Palestine, in 1931, and placed it in the
Archives on Mt. Carmel, where down the ages it will rest with the Bahá'í treasures..."
In July, 1938, Queen Marie of Rumania passed away. A message of condolence was communicated, in the name of all Bahá'í communities in East and West, to her daughter, the Queen of Yugoslavia, to which she replied expressing "sincere thanks to all of Bahá'u'lláh's followers." The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Persia addressed, on behalf of the followers of the Faith in Bahá'u'lláh's native land, a letter expressive of grief and sympathy to her son, the King of Rumania and the Rumanian Royal Family, the text of which was in both Persian and English. An expression of profound and loving sympathy was sent by Martha Root to Princess Ileana, and was gratefully acknowledged by her. Memorial gatherings were held in the Queen's memory, at which a meed of honor was paid to her bold and epochal confession of faith in the Fatherhood of Bahá'u'lláh, to her recognition of the station of the Prophet of Islám and to the several encomiums from her pen. On the first anniversary of her death the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada demonstrated its grateful admiration and affection for the deceased Queen by associating itself, through an imposing floral offering, with the impressive memorial service, held in her honor, and arranged by the Rumanian Minister, in Bethlehem Chapel, at the Cathedral of Washington, D.C., at which the American delegation, headed by the Secretary of State and including government officials and representatives of the Army and Navy, the British, French and Italian Ambassadors, and representatives of other European embassies and legations joined in a common tribute to one who, apart from the imperishable renown achieved by her in the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh, had earned, in this earthly life, the esteem and love of many a soul living beyond the confines of her own country.
Queen Marie's acknowledgment of the Divine Message stands as the first fruits of the vision which Bahá'u'lláh had seen long before in His captivity, and had announced in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas. "How great," He wrote, "the blessedness that awaits the King who will arise to aid My Cause in My Kingdom, who will detach himself from all else but Me!... All must glorify his name, must reverence his station, and aid him to unlock the cities with the keys of My Name, the Omnipotent Protector of all that inhabit the visible and invisible kingdoms. Such a king is the very eye of mankind, the luminous ornament on the brow of creation, the fountain-head of blessings unto the whole world.
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