Pages 93-95


Letters of


1.    O Leaf of Paradise!
      Loose your tongue at all times in gratitude for the blessings of the Beloved of the Worlds, for you are always mentioned in His Glorious and Sanctified Presence, and you are ever in the hearts of His maidservants. The pen is unable to describe the depths of our longing, nor can the tongue recount the love concealed within our hearts. Should you look into the mirror of your own heart, which is free from the defilements of this world of dust, you would clearly see the truth of what has been set forth.
      From the time of your departure no day passes without mention being made of your name. Please God you may in your days and nights hold fast to the sure handle of detachment, and be occupied in the remembrance of God, the Wondrous, the All-Glorious.
      There is no blessing greater than attainment unto His Holy Presence. Thank God you attained this bounty.


      May the spiritually-minded son, Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, God willing, be always safe in the stronghold of God's care and protection.

2.    I feel prompted to offer my sincere best wishes to you and to express the agony of separation that has deeply affected me. First of all let me say that I received with the hand of gratitude and thankfulness your kind letter which bore the full abundance of your love and amply portrayed the noble traits of your nature, so richly adorned with laudable characteristics. In truth, I always pay tribute to your excellent qualities and eagerly yearn to set my eyes upon your countenance. I often recall those days when I had the delightful pleasure of your company and indulged in the fruits of your brilliant sense of humour. Perhaps the days of reunion shall come again through the favour of the Lord of grace and bounty. I fervently pray that God—glorified and exalted be He—may endue your life with vigour and happiness and enable you to achieve your heart's desire. Moreover, I beseech Him—exalted is He—to grant me the pleasure of meeting you again very soon. Indeed, He is nigh and readily answers the call. I hereby offer my best greetings and befitting salutations to your revered person, and may God perpetuate your life. Every one here enquires about your distinguished self and sends high expressions of praise and compliment to you. May God prolong your life.


3. The letter in which that leaf had expressed the ardent longing of her heart and revealed the depth of her devotion has received my eager attention.
      Indeed, the voice of lamentation that the loved ones of God and His devoted servants have raised on the occasion of this terrible adversity, this grievous calamity, has caused the fire of His bereavement to rage more fiercely than ever. In reality no pen can depict the poignant feeling that surges in our hearts. Every expression would prove utterly inadequate, even less than the eye of a needle, inasmuch as words and syllables are incapable of conveying the intensity of this dire suffering. They are but a tiny drop compared to an ocean. Even in the vast immensity of inner significances and expositions nothing can portray this calamitous event. Moreover, the tale of how these prisoners have been consumed by the fire of bereavement is interminable. During this dark and dreadful calamity, and to this God bears me witness, our souls melted and our eyes unceasingly rained with tears.
      Nevertheless, when faced with the irrevocable decree of the Almighty, the vesture that best befitsus in this world is the vesture of patience and submission, and the most meritorious of all deeds is to commit our affairs into His hands and to surrender ourselves to His Will. Therefore, it behoves that leaf to take fast hold on the handle of resignation and radiant acquiescence and to strictly adhere to the cord of patience and long-suffering. God willing, through His aid and heavenly confirmation you may


be enabled to exalt His Word and to render exemplary service to His Cause, that perchance the ears of all created things may be purged of the tales of bygone ages and become endued with the capacity to hearken to the holy verses that the Lord of all men has proclaimed. Indeed, this is the underlying purpose of man's existence during the brief period of his earthly life. Please God, we may all be confirmed and aided to achieve this.
      Every manner of description that I use, and every form of symbolic expression that I conceive will fail to convey the extent of the ardent love and affection that I cherish for you; however, it causes the fire of love to glow more intensely and to burn more brightly. Therefore, I had better confine myself to these few lines.
      At the court of the presence of the Most Mighty Branch—may the lives of them that yearn after Him and are wholly devoted to Him be sacrificed for His holy presence—your name has been mentioned and you became the recipient of His special favours.

4. Despite our overwhelming sorrows and afflictions, our heart-burning and depth of woes, you are always in our thoughts and we call to mind your cheerful face. When we visit the Most Holy Shrine, the Point round which revolve the people of the world, we offer our prayers, and visit that Sacred Spot on your behalf, and on behalf of all the friends, particularly the well-assured, the faithful and loyal


handmaids of the Merciful. We have prayed and will continue to pray at the Threshold of the Tomb of the Blessed Beauty for your success, and that of your relatives. Likewise in the presence of 'Him Whom God hath purposed' you are always remembered. Several days ago He retired to the Cave of Khidr,1 and that verdant spot has been blessed by the steps of our Master, 'Him round Whom all names revolve'. He intends to stay there for a while, so that He may have some respite from His countless concerns and cares.
      For the most part your previous letters have been answered, but you have not acknowledged receipt. This letter is in reply to your recent missive, so that you will be confident that we are, under all conditions, thinking of you.
      Should you enquire about these bereaved ones, through the grace of the Lord and the bounties of His divine Mystery, we are all well, but our grief knows no bounds. We supplicate at the Threshold of the Eternal and Almighty Beloved that He may unlock before us the doors of delight, awaken the heedless and those in deep slumber, and grant the exponents of violation a sense of justice, so that its dust may settle down, that this dissension be wiped out, and once again we may taste the sweetness of the days of bliss.
      O Lord! Graciously enable this servant of Thine aswell as those who supplicate tearfully before Thy face and have turned towards Thee in their affliction

1 Elijah.


to achieve unity, harmony, friendliness and fellowship, that they may magnify Thy virtues in the daytime and in the night season, may chant Thy holy words, may recite verses from Thy heavenly Book, may eagerly set their hearts toward the retreats of Thy holiness, yearning to behold the vision of Thy grandeur. O Lord! Fulfil their hearts' desires, gladden their bosoms with the shining splendour of the Centre of Thy Covenant, illumine their eyes and rejoice their souls with the goodly gifts of the light of harmony. Verily Thou art the Lord of the Day of Judgement.

5. It is my earnest hope that you, His distinguished leaf, together with the other maidservants of the All-Merciful in that land, may be so enkindled by the flame set ablaze by the hand of God as to illumine the whole world through the quickening energy of the love of God, and that through the eloquence of your speech, the fluency of your tongue, and the confirmations of the Holy Spirit you will be empowered to expound divine wisdom in such manner that men of eloquence, and the scholars and sages of the world, will be lost in bewilderment. This indeed would not be hard for Him.

6. O exalted leaf, O distinguished friend! May the glory of God and His praise, His bounty and


blessing rest upon you inasmuch as you have remained faithful to the Covenant of God and His Testament.
      Your letter so fine and ornate, a gift from the Paradise of the love of God, and a dear token of the celestial Garden of divine knowledge, has been received, and perfumed with its spiritual and ethereal fragrance the nostrils of this maidservant of God, this yearning prisoner.
      Praise be to God that He has enabled you, His well assured leaf, to magnify at all times the glory of His gracious countenance, has sustained your life through the remembrance of His Beauty, has suffered you to rid yourself of all attachment to any one save Him that you may continually commune with His love. He has graciously assisted you to remain faithful to His weighty and irrefutable Testament, to cling tenaciously to the hem of the robe of the Centre of the Covenant of God, the All-Bountiful, and to fix your gaze entirely upon the luminous face of 'Him Whom God hath purposed', the One 'Who hath branched from the pre-existent Root'. In truth, a myriad praises and thanksgiving should be offered in appreciation of this outpouring of divine favours and blessings. We implore the Kingdom of our Lord, the All-Glorious, that He may continually waft upon you His vitalizing breaths, may enrapture you by the uplifting transports of His delight, may quicken you through His Holy Spirit and may grant you confirmation to serve His maidservants and His leaves.


7. May my life be sacrificed for those leaves who are steadfast in the Covenant of God—they whom the slander of the slanderer hinders not from holding fast to His divine Testament.
      I yield praise to God and offer thanksgiving to the Abhá Beloved—may my spirit be offered up for every atom of the dust of His holy Threshold—inasmuch as the animating breeze of holiness has wafted from the rose-garden of your love and fellowship. By this is meant that your letter—a letter fraught with expressions of loving-kindness that that loved one of my heart and soul penned with such tender affection—has been received. It brought immense happiness to the grief-stricken heart of this yearning prisoner and by perusing its contents my whole being has been flooded with ineffable gladness. Indeed, the nostrils of my heart have been perfumed by its sweet savours and the channel of my soul has become redolent with its vitalizing perfume, inasmuch as from its inner meaning the fragrances of heavenly praise and adoration were inhaled and from its words the sweet smell of attraction to the love of God was perceived. In truth, every letter which serves to magnify the glory of the Ancient Beauty or to extol the virtues of the Most Great Name is sweeter than honey, for it imparts sweetness to the palate of the soul.
      In brief, we all rejoice to know that you and the other handmaids of God in that region are enjoying good health, that they are all firm and steadfast in the Cause of God, are shining brightly and are enraptured


by His love; for this token of grace we have offered boundless praise at the Threshold of our forgiving Lord. We are well acquainted with the matters you have mentioned in your letter, and in the luminous and holy presence of the peerless Servant of His Threshold, our Master, `Abdu'l-Bahá—may my life be sacrificed for Him—your name and the names of all the handmaids of God and of His enraptured leaves have been mentioned and words of praise were expressed by Him in your favour. Be well assured that you are always remembered at the spiritual meetings and gatherings of the friends.

8. From this hallowed and snow-white Spot, this blessed, heavenly Garden, wherefrom the fragrance of God is diffused to all regions, I hail you with salutations, most tender, most wondrous, and most glorious, and impart to you the most joyful tiding. This tiding serves as the sweet-smelling savour of His raiment to them that long to behold His face, it represents the highest aspiration of His steadfast leaves, it is the animating impulse for the happiness of the world, it is the source of ineffable gladness to the people of Bahá, a remedy to the afflicted, and a refreshing draught for the thirsty. By the righteousness of God, O beloved friend, through this glad-tiding the ailing are cured and every mouldering bone is quickened. This most joyful tiding is the news of the good health and well-being of the


blessed, the exalted, the holy person of `Abdu'l-Bahá, 'He Whom God hath purposed'—may the life of all created things be offered up for His oneness.

9. A number of your spiritual sisters, namely the handmaidens who have embraced His Cause, have arrived here from Paris and the United States on pilgrimage. They recently reached this blessed and luminous Spot and have had the honour to prostrate themselves at His Holy Threshold and to behold the radiant face of `Abdu'l-Bahá, the Centre of the Covenant of Almighty God—may my life be offered up as a sacrifice for His sake. We have now the pleasure of their company and commune with them in a spirit of utmost love and fellowship. They all send loving greetings and salutations to you through the language of the heart.

10. May the Light of Union radiate with greater clearness and brilliancy day by day among the people in your great country—for to this country God has given much and much is expected from it. But without harmony and love existing among those who call themselves Bahá'ís, nothing will be seen from it whatsoever; for verily the Believers


are the pivots upon which the fate of nations hang; and a difference among two believers is quite sufficient to consume and destroy a whole country. The one who works for harmony and union among the hearts of the people in these days will receive the greatest blessings and the most abundant bounties. There is no greater work for one to do upon this earth than to try and unite the hearts of the people—and especially those who are calling upon the Holy Name of God.

11. O my dear sister! I have read what you wrote, and as I became aware of the content, I wept bitter tears. Then I carried the letter itself to `Abdu'l-Bahá and He read it from beginning to end. These terrible events in Yazd call for cries and lamentation, and the shedding of tears of fire.
      Although 'Alí's foes, on the plains of Karbilá, came as a rushing torrent of affliction against the Prince of Martyrs,1 and even as ravening wolves, tore at the breasts of the favoured ones of the Court of Holiness, and wreaked their hate upon them and lifted their heads onto pikes—they leading out an expedition against the hapless victims, and carrying away all that these possessed—yet the span of that agony at Karbilá was but from the morning until noon, while the ordeal of the martyrs of Yazd lasted one entire month. And further, the companions of the Prince of Martyrs—may the souls of all those

1 The Imám Husayn.


killed on the holy Path be offered up for him!—made to defend themselves, and each one of them felled a number of those foes of 'Alí's House, spilled out the others' blood, before being martyred themselves. But these innocent victims of Yazd looked on their murderers with smiles, and gently welcomed them, and in exchange for the swords' blows offered honey and milk. Those set the blade to the victims' throats, but the martyrs presented them with sweets; those cursed and vilified them, while the martyrs implored God to forgive their murderers.
      Although the slain on God's path at Karbilá were truly victims, helpless, innocent, so that the Concourse on High wept fiery tears over what the tyrants did in the desert there, still, we know that before every one of those great martyrs, some who battled against them fell down and died. But the martyrs of Yazd, at the onslaught of the foe, and under the tyrant's sword, uttered not even an unseemly word...
      Truly the harried survivors of these wronged ones have been subjected to the severest of ordeals, nor can any balm be found to soothe their wound, nor is there any antidote against this lethal drink. For them, every new morning is a new martyrdom.
      Praise be to God, through the grace and favour of the Abhá Beauty—may all souls be offered up for those who are slain upon His path—the friends everywhere have arisen to do what they can for these survivors. But whatever we may do in such circumstances and however much we may sacrifice, it is


still not enough, and they merit more. I hope that, with the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom, we may be enabled to offer up our hearts and souls for the children of the martyrs, and think of ourselves as the servants of those noble ones.

12. Concerning the remnants of the martyrs' families, you have mentioned how eager they are to hear a word of commendation assuring them that this act of self-sacrifice and martyrdom will be acceptable in the sight of God. Therefore, I mentioned this matter in His holy presence and I am glad to say that, in compliance with His instructions, a compilation containing most of the Tablets which have been revealed in honour of the martyrs of Yazd and elsewhere has been prepared. I am now sending it to you together with this letter. You may peruse these Tablets and then recite them in the presence of the remnants of those who have offered up their lives in the path of God, that they may be fully aware that those martyrs are well-favoured at the exalted threshold of the Almighty, and that the merciful glances of `Abdu'l-Bahá—may our souls be His sacrifice—are at all times directed towards them.
      On behalf of this bereaved and eager prisoner, convey loving greetings and salutations to all the handmaids of God there, particularly the remnants of the martyrs' families—and give them the joyful tidings that the memory of those dear souls, who have laid down their lives in the arena of sacrifice,


has always been and will continue to be remembered at the fellowship meetings and in His holy presence.

13. O leaf that has been stirred by the breeze of God! O victim of oppression in the path of the Abhá Beauty!—may my soul and the souls of the handmaids of God be offered up as a sacrifice for the dust of His Holy Shrine.
      I earnestly hope that you may ever abide in peace and security within the shelter of the loving-kindness of the One true God, may labour diligently in those regions to serve His Cause and to diffuse the fragrance of holiness, that you may be confirmed at all times through His gracious assistance, and that, at the gatherings of the handmaids of God, you may shine forth as a bright candle, directing those loved ones of the Beauty of the All-Merciful to the path of divine guidance, exhorting them to be firm and steadfast, to be sanctified and detached so that they may, one and all, arise to fulfil that which is deemed worthy of these days, and by manifesting a goodly character and noble conduct cause that country to vie with the blissful Paradise.

14. All praise be to the Abhá Beauty, the Best-Beloved, the Desire of the world, for having enabled His well-assured leaves to remain firm in the Cause of God and steadfast in His love, even as immovable mountains, particularly the ladies


belonging to the household of the Afnan—the twigs of the celestial Tree, who are resident in the land of Ya [Yazd]—upon them be the glory of the Most Glorious. In these days when tempestuous winds of tests are blowing and an ocean of trials has risen high, they have rid themselves of all earthly attachments, set their affection on the sacred beauty of the True One and have turned their hearts to the celestial kingdom.
      The contents of your letter were highly appreciated. Praise be to God that from the rose-garden of its words and inner meanings the fragrance of spiritual fellowship was inhaled, and from the meadows of its pages the sweet melody of love, of remembrance and glorification of God was heard. It filled our hearts with immense joy, for it indicated that you were enjoying good health, and so were the saplings of the garden of God and the handmaids of the Merciful, particularly the remnants of the families of those who have offered up their lives in the path of the Lord of Mercy.

15. At the exalted Threshold of our Lord, the Best-Beloved of the world, I fervently beseech Him to graciously keep that assured leaf and the other handmaids of the Merciful safe and secure under the shelter of His bounty and grace.
      The love-laden letter penned by that dearly-loved handmaid of God has reached this yearning prisoner and its perusal has filled my heart with joy and


happiness, inasmuch as it indicates that you have turned in prayer and supplication to the Kingdom of God and been attracted to His divine fragrances. It imparted exceeding gladness and radiance, and thereby the hearts and spirits were inspired. Both at the sublime meetings convened in His presence and at the fellowship gatherings of the handmaids of the merciful Lord your name and the names of the beloved handmaids in India are often mentioned with high praise.
      Praised be God that after attaining the holy Threshold of the Merciful in this hallowed land, this luminous Spot, you were able to take back with you the gift of the divine fragrance of holiness, to perfume the nostrils of the handmaids of God, to refresh and stimulate, nay rather revive and quicken the lifeless bodies through the potency of His wondrous exhortations, His sublime counsels and teachings. To all the handmaids of God announce the joyful tidings that both at the blessed and luminous Shrine and in the holy presence of Him Who is the Mystery of God we continually pray for all of you, extol your noble virtues, call to mind the memory of the radiant faces of those faithful leaves, and from the exalted court of the Lord of Glory implore for every one of you unbounded heavenly assistance and confirmation.

16. On my return from Beyrouth I was sorry to find out that you had left for Italy and I missed seeing


you before you left. Not only I but all the holy household miss you very much. Though we miss you we are glad to learn that our Lord has directed you to go into the world and give the Glad Tidings of the Kingdom to the people and awaken the sleeping souls. How happy you must have been that you left with this thought in your mind that with the direction of our Lord you have gone. We hope that we soon will hear of your wonderful services in the Path of the Cause of God. Have no fear and be not down-hearted. Trust in Him. Be sure you will be successful at the end, for He has sent you and He will surely be with you and help you always.

17.  O my dear sister! Your excellent letter brought me much joy, testifying as it did to your ardour and pure intent, and to your being immersed in the ocean of God's heavenly love, and also to the harmony and concord among His handmaids—which indeed is the greatest of God's bestowals: for fellowship, closeness and love are glories of the Kingdom, and richest gifts from the Lord of dominion and might. We thank Him then for this great bounty.
      To the honoured handmaid of God, Miss Barney, give my many and fond wishes. I implore God to assist her and yourself to attain the greatest of all His favours in His mighty Kingdom.
      I conveyed the salutations from all of you, and your expressions of devoted servitude, to Him


Whom God hath purposed, the Centre of His ancient Covenant.
      From this imprisoned handmaid.

18. The Festival of Ridvan is come and the splendour of the light of God is shining from the invisible horizon of His mercy. The overflowing grace of the Lord of oneness is pouring down copiously from the unseen world and the glad-tidings of the Kingdom are coming in from all countries. The resplendent morn that betokens the advancement of the Cause of God and heralds the exaltation of His Word is dawning in every region.
      Praise be to God that the fame of the Ancient Beauty—may my life be offered up for His loved ones—has been noised abroad in the world and the glory of His Cause is spread far and wide throughout the East and the West. These joyous developments will indeed gladden the hearts of His loved ones.

19. You should not think that the record of those meetings can ever be blotted out from the pages of history or that the memory of those gatherings can fade from the face of the world. Nay every single act, every deed or utterance is a seed sown in the garden of life. Ere long it will grow and develop, yielding an abundant harvest even as a fruitful tree....


      Those sufferings were endured for the sake of God alone and for His love. They occurred during this century in which the Manifestation of God has appeared, and their underlying purpose was solely to glorify the Cause of the Abhá Beloved, and to exalt the Word of God. Indeed, a single deed performed in this Day is equivalent to the deeds of a thousand years.

20. Both in the Persian and Arabic Writings of the Primal Point—may the life of all men be offered up for Him—there are several, nay indeed numerous passages in which He directs His plea to the exalted court of Him Whom God shall make manifest, requesting Him to graciously protect the leaves of the Tree of the Bayan, that they may not fall away but rather attain their paradise which is the recognition of His Manifestation.
      The detailed account you had given about the services she1 has performed during the early days of the Faith is entirely true, and sufficient witness unto it is God. God willing, the services she has rendered and the hardships she has endured may yield excellent results. With the utmost humility and devotion we will pray for her at the Holy Shrine, beseeching divine confirmation and assistance. Likewise, in the sublime presence of Him Whom God has purposed we will beg earnestly for His tender solicitude and the outpouring of His special favours.

1 Elsewhere in this letter reference is made to one of the female relatives of the recipient.






25.  The hearts of the people of Bahá are intensely burning by reason of the great calamity, and their longing cries are rising up to the Concourse on High and the angelic dwellers in the Abhá Paradise, yet, this day is the day of service, and this time the time to spread the holy Teachings

1 Covenant-breakers.


far and wide; therefore must God's loved ones like unto a shining flame, rise up to serve the Cause of God with all their might and vie with one another in service. Let them, even as shooting stars, drive the disloyal out—so that in the Preserved Tablet of God, they may be recorded with that company who ever stood faithful to His Covenant and Testament.
      Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Chosen Branch and leader of the people of Bahá, as a result of intense and unceasing grief over this great bereavement, this supreme affliction, has determined to absent himself for a short period, in an effort to rest, and to regain his health, after which he will return to the Holy Land and resume his services and obligations to the Cause of God. During his absence, in accordance with his letter herewith enclosed,1 this prisoner is appointed to administer the affairs of the Faith, in consultation with the members of the Holy Household.
      For this reason I have temporarily made arrangements so that the persons named by Shoghi Effendi may meet and the affairs be conducted in consultation with them. It is my hope that during the period of his absence the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful will exert their efforts to advance the Cause and accelerate its growth. He is, verily, compassionate and merciful to His servants.

26.  We thank you most sincerely for your kind letters of sympathy, and we appreciate your loving

1 See III, 1, page 21.


Messages, which are as comforting balm to our wounded hearts.
      It would be our wish to answer each letter individually, but the shock of our bereavement was so sudden, and the work to which we were compelled to attend, was so overwhelming, that time failed us. Now, we wish you to realize that your words of steadfast faith and love were our greatest solace throughout the days of our grief, for we felt that you would each and all faithfully and loyally strive to carry on the work for which the life of our Beloved Master was spent.
      We are more than thankful to God that He has not left us without a leader, but that Shoghi Effendi is appointed to guide the administration of the Cause.
      We hope that the friends of God, the beloved and the handmaidens of the Merciful, will pray for us, that we may be enabled to help Shoghi Effendi in every way in our power to accomplish the Mission entrusted to him.


28. In this day, those holy souls are divinely confirmed who stand firm in the most sacred Cause of the Abhá Beauty, those who are steadfast, and loyal to the Covenant and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá.


      Praised be the undying glory of God that you and all His friends have attained this greatest of gifts. You stand fast-rooted in the divine Covenant, and you turn to the appointed Centre, the explicitly chosen Branch. In all the world, what conceivable bounty could ever be greater than this?

29.  It is not unknown to those who stand firm in the Covenant and Testament of God that the centre of violation and his associates, from the day of the ascension of the Ancient Beauty, may His Great Name be ever exalted, have been working night and day and continually putting forth all their efforts, to spread disorder and disrupt the Faith. At this time, because of our terrible affliction, the ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá—may the quintessence of our souls be sacrificed to His sacred resting-place—they are busying themselves more than ever with the circulation of false rumours and idle imaginings, their purpose being, one way or another, to instil doubts into the minds, and thus to achieve their vain and futile ends.
      Alas for them, however, there is no doubt at all that they will achieve nothing but the failure of their plans and the frustration of their hopes. Utter disappointment and a bitter end is all they will ever gain—just as `Abdu'l-Bahá—may our lives be sacrificed for His meekness—has foretold in His Will and Testament, where He clearly and unequivocally sets forth the dissidence, the mischief-making and


the wicked designs of that abominable band. And it is certain that through the never-ceasing confirmations of God, the light diffused by the loyalty of the true believers will scatter the darkness of the suspicions which the malicious have been spreading, and the brightness that streams from the believers' faces will dispel the gloom of the people of doubt.
      Briefly, for some time they had been applying to the various government agencies, in the hope that with the government's assistance they would be able to obtain legal support for their empty claims. However, God be praised, they were disappointed. Then came a day, Tuesday, January 30—that is, four months ago—when the disaffected gathered together at the Mansion of Bahji, invited in some of the rabble of 'Akká, and after joint consultation, determined to go to the Holy Tomb, forcibly wrest its key from the caretakers, and hand it over to the arch Covenant-breaker, pivot of the violation. Such was the plan, the disgraceful action, devised by the prime mover of mischief and his lieutenant.
      They then committed the brazen act. From the caretaker of the Holy Tomb, Aqa Siyyid Abu'l-Qasim, they took away the key by force, and he, unable to withstand their attack, at once dispatched his assistant, Aqa Khalil, to Haifa, to report to Shoghi Effendi what had taken place. The news reached Haifa about two hours after sunset, and the matter was instantly referred to the Governor. On his stringent orders, the key was surrendered that very night and placed in Government


custody until the matter could be fully investigated to determine the question of rightful ownership.       Now, after the passage of four months, the Government has rendered its verdict, to the effect that the question should be put to the Bahá'í community, and that whatever decision the Bahá'ís arrive at will be conclusive. If the Bahá'í community considers Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí to be excommunicated, then he has no rights whatever to the takeover. Therefore, wherever Bahá'ís reside, they must, through the given city's Spiritual Assembly, and bearing the signature of named individuals who are members of the elected body, inform the British authorities in Jerusalem, either by cable or letter sent through His Majesty's ambassadors or consuls, that the Bahá'í community, in conformity with the explicit writings and the Will and Testament of His Eminence `Abdu'l-Bahá, Sir Abbas Effendi, texts well known and available in His own hand—recognize His Eminence Shoghi Effendi as the one to whom all Bahá'ís must turn, and as the Guardian of the Cause of God, and that they have no connection whatever, either material or spiritual, with Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí, whom they consider to be excommunicated from the Bahá'í Faith, according to the explicit writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá.
      It should be the request, therefore, of Bahá'ís of all countries, both men and women, in every important centre, wherever they may reside throughout the world, that the officials of His


Britannic Majesty's Government in Palestine, its Headquarters being Jerusalem, issue a categorical order that the key of the Holy Tomb—which is the Point of Adoration and the sanctuary of all Bahá'ís in the world—be restored to His Eminence Shoghi Effendi, the Chosen Branch, and in this way to render the Bahá'í community, whether of the East or of the West, more appreciative than ever of British justice. The text of both cable and letter, together with the address, have been written on a separate sheet, as enclosed. The message is to be signed by the representatives and known followers of the Bahá'í Faith in that city.

30. This dire calamity, this great affliction, the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for His meekness, has shaken us to the very depths. Our lives lie in ruins. In our hearts, the stars of happiness have set, the lamps of joy have been put out. No more, from the rose-garden of the All-Glorious, does the nightingale warble those songs that fed the spirit in days gone by. From over the flower-beds of Heaven, the dove trills and coos no more. Now is the bright morning dark, and blazing noon is night, and the sea of woe has surged, and a storm of sorrow has overwhelmed mankind.
      Alas, alas, that luminous Moon, with His ravaged breast a thicket of arrows—darts of the evil-doers' taunts, their derision, their calumnies—and His heart grieved by the malevolence of His foes and the


rebellion of the violators, is now hidden behind heavy clouds, has departed from this world's horizons, and has risen upward to the realm of transcendent glory, to the all-highest Horizon.
      And now, at such a time as this, a time of our affliction and deep distress, the prime mover of mischief, the centre of sedition, thinking to profit by this eclipse of the Sun of the Covenant, the Moon of spiritual concord, has taken advantage of what he sees as a rare opportunity for himself, and has mounted a violent revolt, and with the support of their second chief, has begun to spread the most far-fetched of malicious accusations, and is busy day and night, stirring up trouble and carrying out plots and stratagems the details of which would take too long to enumerate here and which you will be informed of later on.
      Although they behold in every instance only grievous abasement and disappointment, failures and defeats, still their burning jealousy blazes up within them all the more, and their haughtiness and arrogance only increase. At this hour of turmoil and deep anguish and sudden, unexpected calamity, our only consolation lies in service to the Cause of God, and steadfastness in His Faith, and the guarding of His Law, and in the bonds of unity among the friends, and their fervour and joy, and in deeds that exemplify the holy Teachings of the Abhá Beauty, may His name be exalted, and the counsels of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our souls be sacrificed for His servitude. It is our hope that we all shall be helped to


achieve these things, which alone befit this sacred day.
      It appears from your letter that you had written prior to the receipt of the Will and Testament of the Centre of the Covenant. You have certainly perused it by now. This Text is His decisive decree; it constitutes the very life of those endued with understanding. In it the Pen of Bounty has set forth in the most powerful, comprehensive, clear and detailed manner the obligations devolving on every stratum of the Bahá'í community, and has hacked out the tree of violation by its root, and has caused the centre of it to be forlorn and disgraced. He has specifically named the centre to whom all must turn, thus solidly fixing and establishing the foundations of the Covenant, and has clearly appointed the centre, to whom all the people of Bahá must direct themselves, the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God. This great bestowal is one of the special characteristics of this supreme Revelation, which of all Dispensations is the noblest and most excellent. Goodly be this to the steadfast, glad-tidings to the staunch, blessings to those who win the day.
      Praise be to God, you have arisen to serve Him, and are actively teaching and spreading His Faith. Such a bounty merits thanks a thousand times over, and praises forever, in the hallowed sanctuary of the one Beloved.
      Convey my Bahá'í salutations to all the faithful.


31.  Although that supreme calamity, that great ordeal, the ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá, put the torch to the harvest of our hearts, and brought down both our outer and inner beings, wedding us to grief and ceaseless pain, yet praised be God, He Who is the Dayspring of the Covenant has appointed in writing a specific centre, and designated the Guardian of the Cause, Shoghi Effendi, as the one toward whom must turn all those who follow Bahá'u'lláh—His purpose being that the Faith of God and His Cause should remain secure and safe. For this greatest of gifts it is fitting that we should return a thousand thanks to the one Beloved, and offer a thousand praises to His court of holiness.
      Likewise, the hand of divine grace has reared blessed souls who are shining today like lamps of guidance in the assemblage of the Company on High, and who like luminous stars are casting their bright rays across the skies of faithfulness. How often we heard the Master, the Centre of the Covenant, say: 'At the time when Christ rose out of this mortal world and ascended into the Eternal Kingdom, He had twelve disciples, and even of these, one was cast off. But because that handful of souls stood up, and with selflessness, devotion and detachment, resolved to spread His holy Teachings and to scatter abroad the sweet fragrances of God, disregarding the world and all its peoples, and because they utterly lost themselves in Christ—they succeeded, by the power of the spirit, in capturing the cities of men's hearts, so that the splendour of the


one true God pervaded all the earth, and put the darkness of ignorance to flight.
      'Now when I shall depart from this world, I shall leave more than fifty thousand blessed individuals, every one of whom is staunch and firm as the high mountains, shining out over the earth like sparkling stars. These are the quintessence of loyalty and fellowship and love. They are the self-sacrificing watchers over the Cause, and they are the guides to all who seek after truth. Judge from this what the future will be!'
      It is certain that when we act in accordance with the Teachings of the Abhá Beauty and the counsels of `Abdu'l-Bahá, then will this world become the Abhá Paradise, and its thorns and brambles of cruelty will change into a blossoming garden of the faithful.
      May we all be enabled to achieve this end.

32.  O faithful servant of the Best-Beloved, the Most Glorious! O steadfast friend, flourishing in the garden of His luminous Beauty! The brief but informative letter you had written to Shoghi Effendi, the Chosen Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, has been received together with the scrolls of doubt you had enclosed. Indeed, men whose nostrils have been perfumed by the fragrance of the Abhá Paradise, whose ears have been exhilarated by the sweet melodies of the nightingale warbling in the rose-garden of immortality, and


whose souls have been refreshed and quickened by the reviving breaths of holiness, would surely be saddened to hear the screech of the raven and the croaking of the crow, and from them they would certainly endeavour to flee. For the disgusting odour of violation is like poisonous air, whose baneful effects upon the body and soul are injurious and harmful, nay rather it will eventually lead to terrible loss and perdition. Thus the way you have dealt with this matter is approved and acceptable.
      Since Shoghi Effendi has gone on a journey for a while, this lowly one was prompted to answer your letter. Convey wondrous Abhá greetings to all the lovers of the Blessed Beauty and the faithful friends of `Abdu'l-Bahá. And upon you be His glory.

33. O God, my God!
      Thou seest me immersed in the depths of grief, drowned in my sorrow, my heart on fire with the agony of parting, my inmost self aflame with longing. Thou seest my tears streaming down, hearest my sighs rising up like smoke, my never-ceasing groans, my cries, my shouts that will not be stilled, the useless wailing of my heart.
      For the sun of joy has set, has sunk below the horizon of this world, and in the hearts of the righteous the lights of courage and consolation have gone out. So grave this catastrophe, so dire this disaster, that the inner being crumbles away to dust,


and the heart blazes up, and nothing remains save only despair and anguish.
      Thou seest, O my God, in the midmost of this terrible event, this ultimate calamity, when the devoted never put aside their mourning dress, and the moaning and the tears never cease—how that malevolent band have, with all their powers, mounted an attack against Thy loved ones who are loyal to the Covenant, even as the assault of wolves upon the flock. They are striving, with all their strength, to bring down the mighty structure of Thy Covenant in ruins, and level Thy strong citadel to the ground, and turn away from Thy straight and clearly-marked path those Thou hast guided aright. O my Lord, I voice my complaint before Thee, and lay bare my griefs and sorrows, and supplicate at the door of Thy oneness, and whisper unto Thee, and weep and cry out.
      O my kind Lord! Thou didst make a clear compact and a Covenant explicit and firm, not in veiled and allusive language, that all should turn unto the Centre of Thy Covenant and the Protector of Thy Cause—so that no doubts whatever would remain for the hostile and the suspicious to exploit; and then Thy lone Servant rose up to lift Thy banner high, and carry the day for Thy Faith. For thirty years He summoned the people unto Thee, publicly, privately, and spread Thy Teachings and Thy principles to every corner, every country of the earth. Night and day, He fostered Thy loved ones in the cradle of divine knowledge and wisdom, and


endowed them with the qualities of the spirit. And all this time He bore, at the hands of that evil crew, not once but over and over again, every kind of outrage, and calumny, and oppression. For they were forever lying in wait for Him, were spying on Him at all times from their ambush, attacking Him in whatever manner they chose, swelling with their insolence and pride. And yet, through Thy strong support, Thine overwhelming confirmations, they were the losers in the end, and their strivings came to nothing in this world's life, and all they gained was their own ruin.
      Then, O my Lord, Thou didst make Him to ascend unto Thee, to place Him at Thy side, and by this the pillars of joy were shaken to their base, and the hearts of the devoted were terrified, and the smoke of their sorrow overspread the earth. At such a time that hate-filled band, seeing their advantage in the dire event, came in from every highway and byway, advancing on every side to topple over the throne of Thy Covenant, and lead Thy loved ones to perdition. They have laid their very being in ruins and they know not. How far, how very far have they gone in their ignorance!
      But the Centre of Thy complete and flawless Covenant, He Who occupies the seat of servitude to Thee in Thine exalted and all-glorious Cause, had written by Thy will and Thy power a Book that shall never be lost nor ever forgotten. Within it by Thy predestinating knowledge and might, He had set forth all that is essential and obligatory for the


upraising of Thy Cause in this world below. It is a book in which all things are explained in minute detail, in such wise that no matters whether small or great have been left out. And by Thy will and pleasure He designated therein, in place of His own Person, a Branch grown out from the Tree of Thy holiness, one fresh and tender, verdant and flourishing, arising to serve Thee, dwelling in the groves of Thine eternity, and Thine immortal gardens. And he, after turning to Thy gracious countenance and through Thine ancient succour, is inviting the people unto Thee and unto Thy Covenant, sound and firmly-established, and is spreading Thy commandments and Thy doctrines throughout Thy land, and guiding Thy servants to the path that leads aright.
      O my God, I beg of Thee by all the days which Thy Light, the Centre of Thy Covenant, did spend in scattering Thy sweet scents abroad, and by all the nights when that delicate and fragile Being rested not, but kept the long vigils, crying out unto Thee, expending His efforts to guard Thy Cause and Thy dear ones, exerting His utmost to spread out Thy bounties and bestowals—while the malevolent, comfortable against their pillows, rested in their beds—I entreat Thee, by the ordeals He endured, for the sake of exalting Thy Word, at the hands of those who join partners to God, and the deniers, and the deserters, to keep Thy loved ones safe from the arrows of the calumniators, and the doubts of those who mislead and betray. Hold them fast, then, in the


gardens and groves of Thy Covenant and Testament, and make them to enter the pavilions of Thy good pleasure, and shelter them in the refuge of Thy protection, and cast upon them the glance of Thy mercy's eye, and guard them from deviation and schism. Make them to live in unity and harmony, one with the others, and aid them to serve Thy Faith and to spread Thy Teachings far and wide.
      Verily Thou art the Living, the Eternal, the Watchful, the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
      O you true servants of the Holy Threshold, you faithful friends of `Abdu'l-Bahá!
      Our hearts are burning away with the intense emotions aroused by this most dreaded of calamities, and our souls are suffering the torments of this separation causing delay in correspondence with you, yet God be praised, you are all among the well-favoured at the divine Threshold, and are drinking from the winecup of the Eternal Covenant. To the holy summons, you have all replied 'Yea!'; you have seized the chalice of His Testament and held it high. You are enamoured of that world-adorning Face, your hearts are tightly bound to those curling locks, that waft the fragrance of the musk-deer's scent; you are held spellbound by that magic nature, and by the teachings like nectar on the tongue, refreshing the spirit; and all continually receiving divine bounties from the One alone beloved, and ministering at His Threshold, and sincere and pure of heart.


      The glories of that Sun are shining now from out the high, immortal realms, and His glance is resting on His loved ones. The portals of everlasting blessings are opened wide. The succouring armies are standing ready, waiting to behold what efforts the loved ones will exert as they carry out the holy Will, as they boil up and roar like waves of the sea. Let them rest not for a moment, nor wish for quiet and repose; let them carry out all His behests and thus prove their loyal gratitude for all His endless grace.
      Over a span of thirty years the Centre of God's Covenant rested not, nor was His human temple ever tranquil and at peace. By day, by night, He would be teaching and guiding stranger and friend alike, and protecting the Cause, and seeing to its progress, and for these things He sacrificed His life. Now does loyalty to Him require that the beloved should rise up in obedience to His instructions, and devote their efforts to teaching the Faith, and to passing around from one to the next this winecup tempered at the camphor fountain,1 and to protecting God's Cause from the evil suggestions and the mischief of the adversary, and to guarding the structure of the holy Covenant from disruption at the hands of the Covenant-breakers. Now is the time to stand as an impregnable rampart around the city of the Cause of God, to defend it from the

1 The word camphor derives from Arabic kafur, as in Qur'an 76:5. Camphor has been used as a refreshing tonic in Eastern medicine.


assaults of alienation and violation, that come against it like Gog and Magog.1
      Praised be God, those of His friends who have been cradled and fostered for many a year within His wisdom and His teachings, and have drunk deep from the soft-flowing waters of true and mystic knowledge, and whose eyes have been opened, whose ears are attentive, whose hearts are wise—these, in all that concerns faith and certitude and the abiding by His instructions, stand fixed and firm as the high mountains. They are even as the towering palm, the goodly tree 'its root firmly fixed, and its branches in the heavens.'2 Their roots run deep, and the fruits they yield are sweet. They know a mirage for what it is; they know, too, what will endure—for 'As to the foam, it is quickly gone: and as to what is useful to man, it remaineth on the earth.'3 They have heard and read of how the Covenant met with opposition and violation in the Dispensations of the past, and have both heard of and seen for themselves the storms of mischief and the tests that appeared in the early days of this Cause. They know how these trials are designed to sift and purify, and how the dense clouds of revolt and violation would gradually pass from its skies; for the errors and falsehoods of the violators can never

1 cf. Qur'an 18:93: 'Verily, Gog and Magog waste this land ...' The rampart here described was of iron and molten brass, so that Gog and Magog could neither scale it nor dig under it.
2 Qur'an 14:29.
3 Qur'an 13:18.


withstand the overwhelming power of the Covenant, nor can the mountains of diabolical suggestions ever stand under the rod of God's majesty and might.
      O faithful loved ones of `Abdu'l-Bahá! The centre of sedition, the focus of rebellion—whose evil character and passions, even in the days of the Ancient Beauty, made him known for his stubborn perversity and his ambition to lead—began to put forward certain claims, gathered about him a pitiful band, raised up the ensign of self-glorification and self-love, and considered himself to be a partner in authority with none other than Him Who was the True One, until in the end the hand of the Lord's omnipotence struck down his plans and hopes.
      For a period of thirty years, he opposed the Centre of the Covenant and, to bring down His structure in ruins, did everything that lay in his power. This in spite of the fact that the divine Beauty had made His Covenant so strong, and appointed its Centre so explicitly, in writing, unmistakably, that He had left no room for any questions or doubts. In the Most Holy Book of Aqdas, which in this most excellent of all ages is the Mother Book, and embraces all, and again in the Kitab-i-Ahdi,1 the last revealed Tablet by the Tongue of knowledge and wisdom, which contains the final wishes of God—the people of Bahá are directed with perfect clarity to turn their faces toward Him Whom God has purposed, and He is designated as the Interpreter of the Book,

1 The Book of My Covenant.


the Resolver of all complex and difficult questions, and the Centre of the Faith. Therein as well are the other Branches, the Afnan and the rest of the believers bidden to direct themselves unto that One so that all might face one and the same Centre, and all be bound thereto. Thus would the basic foundation of God's Cause, which is unity, remain unassailable. Thus the root of heresy and rebellion would wither away, and just as in the days when He Who is the Truth was made manifest, so too in the day of His Covenant the light of unity would pervade all things, and put to flight the murk of disbelief and dualism and rebellion and opposition—and thus the tree of His holy Cause would grow and flourish, and the rich fruits borne by the holy Teachings would satisfy all needs and be sweet in the mouth of all mankind.
      This fact of there being only one Centre and of turning unto a single holy Being is, in the Kingdom of His Cause, as the shaft or spindle of a millstone, and all the other laws and ordinances must needs revolve around this one. In the temple of God's religion the Centre of the Cause can be likened to the heart, for upon it depends the life of the human body as one entity, as well as the relationships of its organs and their essential growth and vitality. In human society the Centre of the Cause can be compared to the sun, whose magnetic force controls the movements and orbits of the planets. The Centre of the Cause is also like the spine of a book, for by it the pages are all banded together into one book, and


without the spine the papers would become loose and scattered.
      Now each separate member of the community who is within the shelter of that blessed unity is, according to his rank and station, the recipient of grace; and that rank is respected and protected, in conformity with the verse: 'Not one of us but hath his clearly designated station.'1 Thus, in the body of man, the eye has a preordained station, one not belonging to some lesser members; and yet, should it once depart from the whole, and its connection with the centre be broken, then its membership in the body, and its very life, are ended, let alone its previous station and degree. Or should the eye be plucked from its place, torn out of the body, it would be deprived of life itself, how much less would it continue to enjoy the station that rightly belongs to the eye.
      How strange! With reference to one who smokes opium, the Ancient Beauty, the Most Great Name, has said: 'He is not of Me', making no distinction here between one enjoying God's special favour, and some other. If the smoking of opium, which is one of the secondary and lesser prohibitions, completely severs the smoker from membership in the community and from relationship to the Person of the Manifestation, then what must be the condition of him who refuses to acknowledge the Centre of the holy Covenant? In the words of Christ, 'If thine eye

1 Qur'an 37:164.


cause thee to stumble, pluck it out ... if thy hand offend thee, cut it off...'1
      O would that they had contented themselves with their refusal to recognize that shining Being—with their failure to obey Him and to be lowly before Him. But no, they beat upon rebellion's drum, and hoisted the flag of contumacy and spite, and blew the trumpet of calumnies across the world. In the hearts of the credulous they sowed seeds of disaffection, and inconstancy and opposition. They made common cause with the hostile, the biased, the mockers, who were arrayed against the Faith of the Blessed Beauty, flattering them and paying them bribes and holding out promises and hopes; they worked hand in glove with those occupying the seats of the judiciary, and those authorized to interpret the law and pronounce judgment, and those who sat on despots' thrones, and with still others who were engaged in affairs remote from God's; and by all manner of deceits and stratagems incited them to utterly extirpate the Covenant of Almighty God and the Centre of it. They even, with a liberal distribution of funds, hired assassins to shed the sacred blood of that Vicegerent of the Glorious Lord.
      Could any just person imagine that such as these have any relationship or spiritual connection whatever with the Beauty of the One true God, or that they could be accounted as members of the

1 cf.Matthew 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-7.


Bahá'í community? Would not such as these be only plucked-out eyes and palsied hands?
      Look at the treatise that their second chief wrote, regarding their first chief and his associates—in which he described, with his own pen, in minute detail, their shameful purposes and actions relative to the Centre of the divine Covenant—aims and acts that no perverse and godless tyrant would consider permissible treatment for anyone. Their second chief tells how, to a despotic and oppressive government, they brought false and malicious accusations against `Abdu'l-Bahá; how they undertook to uproot the holy Tree; how they forged Tablets, in Bahá'u'lláh's name, that denounced the Centre of His Covenant; how they altered and corrupted the holy Texts to such a degree that he said his confidence in the reliability of the holy Tablets was virtually shattered.1 These and their other shameless activities are all set forth; and strangest of all is this,

1 On p. 14 of 'An Epistle to the Bahai World' written by Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, translated by Dr Aminu'llah Farid, and published by the Bahá'í Publishing Society in Chicago in 1907, there is the following passage concerning the falsification by Muhammad-'Alí of a Tablet in which Bahá'u'lláh relates the misdeeds of Mírzá Yahya, to whom He refers as 'My brother'. Mírzá Badí'u'lláh writes: 'A few moments passed and I saw him [Muhammad-'Alí] take up the Tablet, erase "My brother" and replace it with "My Greatest Branch". Having seen this, I immediately said: "This deed is a great sin and a breach of trust. If you show this Tablet, this servant will divulge the whole account, will point out the interpolation, and this will cause all the writings in your possession to be considered unreliable. Hereafter whatsoever of the writings traced by the Supreme Pen you may show me, I will not accept as authentic until I have carefully compared the manuscript with the original handwriting which is elsewhere preserved and have examined the same with a magnifying glass."'


that he, their second chief—the very one who wrote the confession so full of the abominable acts of their first chief and his associates—now cleaves to the first one like flesh to bone.
      They are setting the axe to the root of the Cause of God; nor are they in the least ashamed, nor put to the blush, before the Lord God and His watchful and perceptive servants. There even exists a paper in the hand of Shu'a', son of their first chief, in which he tells of a person who was commissioned and was ready and waiting to martyr the Centre of the Covenant.

If I my tale could tell,
No bounds my pen would know;
My work would swell,
My book will grow,
For tons of scroll
Would bear my woe.
      For over a period of thirty years, always increasing their efforts, they inflicted extreme anguish on `Abdu'l-Bahá; and they did not, in all this span, ever take one step nor draw a single breath to help the Faith. They spent their entire time in attempts to wean to beloved of God away from obedience to the Centre of the Covenant, and to undermine their


convictions, making them waver in their faith, and turning them cold; and because of what they did, thousands of souls were veiled from the holy Cause, and prevented from embracing it.
      Such then is a glimpse of their aims and actions, which made them to be cut off from the Holy Tree, and excluded them from glory and joy everlasting. They lost out, both here and hereafter, and 'this verily is utter perdition'.1
      O you men who stand fast and firm, you women who are steadfast and firm in you faith! Whensoever I visit the Holy Shrines, I think of you, and in all lowliness at His Threshold, I entreat the Almighty to send down upon you all His invisible confirmations, and to let His endless bounties enwrap each one of you—so that through the efforts of those chosen ones of God, the lights of loyalty and sincerity and truth, and staunchness in the divine Covenant, will be shed upon that town;2 that it may be delivered from the consequences of ill-omened disaffection and violation, and that instead, a fortunate star may rise there out of the concealing depths and mount upward to the heavens; that no scrolls of doubt, and of calumnies against the divine Covenant, may remain therein; and that every name there may be written down in the heavenly register of those who have kept the faith.
      O Lord, set their feet firm in Thy Covenant; let them hold fast to the cord of steadfastness in Thy

1 Qur'an 22:11.
2 Khusif.


Cause. Protect them from the hosts of discord and calumny, and cause them to come under the sheltering banner of Thy Testament, that is raised high on the summits of the earth.
      Light up then in their hearts the flame of severance from everything except Thy love, and help them by Thine overwhelming might to labour for Thy Teachings.
      Verily Thou art the Generous. Verily Thou art He Whose bounty embraceth all things.
      May the lights and the splendours be shed upon all of you.

34. To the doves of faithfulness, ever since that most grievous of disasters, the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá, this world of dust has become a cage, and a place of torment; and to the unrestrained nightingales it is only a prison, narrow and dark.
      Certainly, a pure soul will not bind his heart to this passing show, and the gems of spiritual love will yearn only to be let go, out of this world. Nevertheless, the all-compelling will of God and His all-encompassing and irresistible purpose has desired that this dark earth should become as the Abhá Kingdom, and this heap of dust be changed until it becomes the envy of the rose gardens of Heaven.
      This is why the Manifestations of God, the Day-springs of that all-glorious Sun, have willingly accepted to bear, and take upon Their own sacred and immaculate Selves, every trial and tribulation


and calamity and hurt. And They have established laws and ordinances, that assure the flourishing and freedom and joy and salvation of all the human race. In this way that primal purpose will be revealed, and that subtle mystery divulged.
      Thus too, have They trained certain souls, and reared them with the hands of loving-kindness, that these should arise to perform the noble and exalted task, and should devote their efforts toward carrying out this duty, watering the Tree of life and serving all mankind.
      Praise be to God, you are confirmed and flourishing in the Faith, and partaking of your portion from that heavenly table, and are receiving your benefits in both worlds.

35. The passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our lives be a sacrifice for His meekness, was the ultimate calamity, the most great disaster. The light has fled our hearts, and our souls are wedded to sorrow, and no power in all the world can furnish any consolation, save only the power that comes from the steadfastness of the believers and their deep-rooted faith, and their unity, and their love for one another.
      Only these can lessen the pain and quiet the anguish.
      Although to outward seeming the Sun of the Covenant has hidden Himself behind the clouds, and the Orb of the Testament is concealed, and on the holy horizon of glory, He has now set, and is lost


to view—still His rays are shining from out His hidden place, and forever will His light shed down its splendours.
      For ever and ever will He, with all that invisible grace, and those bestowals of the spirit, lead the seeker onward, and guide the yearning, and ravish the hearts of the lovers.
      The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá is His decisive decree; it gathers the believers together; it preserves their unity; it ensures the protection of the Faith of God. It designates a specific Centre, irrefutably and in writing establishing Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Faith and Chosen Branch, so that his name is recorded in the Preserved Tablet, by the fingers of grace and bounty. How grateful should we be that such a bounty was bestowed, and such a favour granted.
      Now is the time to arise to serve the Faith with all our might, that our loyalty may be clearly proven, and that we may perfectly, to the fullest extent and in minutest detail, carry out the requirements of self-sacrifice. It is my hope that one and all, we shall succeed in this.

36. The ascension of Him Who was the Temple of the Covenant, the setting of Him Who was the Orb of harmony, `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for the wrongs He suffered, was the most dire calamity, and the most dread of ordeals. It dissolved our very hearts, it laid low the very pillars


of our being. It made our eyes to shed tears of blood, and our sighs and the sound of our weeping reached upward to the Concourse on High. Then did a sea of anguish roll up great waves of grief, and a whirlwind of sorrow swept over the peoples of the earth.
      That blessed soul, following the ascension of the sacred Abhá Beauty, may our lives be sacrificed for the dust of His sacred threshold, and until the hour when His own luminous spirit rose up to the realms on high, for a period of thirty years had neither a peaceful day nor a night of quiet rest. Singly and alone, He set about to reform the world, and to educate and refine its peoples. He invited all manner of beings to enter the Kingdom of God; He watered the Tree of the Faith; He guarded the celestial Lote-Tree from the tempest; He defeated the foes of the Faith, and He frustrated the hopes of the malevolent; and always vigilant, He protected God's Cause and defended His Law.
      That subtle and mysterious Being, that Essence of eternal glory, underwent trials and sorrows all the days of His life. He was made the target of every calumny and malicious accusation, by foes both without and within. His lot, in all His life, was to be wronged, and be subjected to toil, to pain and grief. Under these conditions, the one and only solace of His sacred heart was to hear good news of the progress of the Faith, and the proclaiming of God's Word, and the spreading of the holy Teachings, and the unity and fervour of the friends, and the staunchness of His loved ones. This news would


bring smiles to His countenance; this was the joy of His precious heart.
      Meanwhile He trained a number of the faithful and reared them with the hands of His grace, and rectified their character and behaviour, and adorned them with the excellence of the favoured angels of Heaven—that they might arise today with a new spirit, and stand forth with wondrous power, and confront the forces of idle fancy, and scatter the troops upon troops of darkness with the blazing light of long endurance and high resolve; that they might shine out even as lighted candles, and moth-like, flutter so close about the lamp of the Faith as to scorch their wings.
      The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our souls be sacrificed for His meekness, is our guiding light upon the path, it is the very bounty of the Abhá Kingdom. This Text is the decisive decree, the way that leads aright, the highest hope of all who stand firm in the Covenant of the Lord of Lords. It is tidings of great joy; it is the ultimate bestowal.

37. We rejoiced greatly to learn of the unity among the friends, their staunchness, their ardour, and the fact that they have established a Spiritual Assembly. It is clear that the stronger grow the bonds of yearning love among the believers, and the fiercer its fire, the more will they find themselves embraced by the bounties of the Ancient of Days,


and receiving the continuous confirmations of the Greatest Name. Thus will the Assemblies of the friends become reflections of the gardens of the Concourse on High, mirroring forth the radiance of the Abhá Kingdom.
      From Their supernal realms and Their immortal heights, He the exalted Bab, and He Who is the Beauty of the All-Glorious, and the wondrous presence of `Abdu'l-Bahá, all These are gazing down upon Their faithful loved ones, beholding what they do under all conditions, their behaviour and conduct, and all their words and ways, waiting to cry 'Well done!' when They see the Teachings carried out, and 'Blessed art thou!' to whoso may excel in doing the bidding of his Lord.
      Those divine, those sacred and exalted Beings bore every grief, and They accepted tyranny from every traitor, to make an Abhá Paradise out of this dust heap of the world, and change this place of thorns and sorrows into blossoming bowers of love. They trained Their loved ones, and fostered them with the hands of grace, and sent them forth, with countless treasures, with goodly gifts, and with the forces of Heaven massed behind them—that they might become guides, and holy cup-bearers, of the living, soft-flowing waters of divine bestowals.
      God be thanked, the believers in that country are confirmed and blessed, and have arisen to serve the Cause, and are straining every nerve to spread the heavenly Teachings far and wide. They are faithful ministers at the Holy Shrine of the Blessed Beauty,


and true lovers at the sacred Threshold of `Abdu'l-Bahá.

38. That supreme affliction, the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá, was the direst of ordeals; it was an anguish of mourning. The parting with mankind's Beloved set fire to the hearts of all His lovers, and the souls of the believers dissolved in its burning. Even the beauteous dwellers in the Abhá Paradise cried out and wept, and in their empyrean abode the Maids of Heaven moaned and lamented. The gems of holiness fell a prey to crushing grief, the essences of sanctity bowed down in sorrow.
      That One whom the world has wronged could rest neither day nor night. From moment to moment, at the hands of every betrayer, yet another cruel arrow was shot into His heart, and ever and again, from one or another assailant, He was calumny's target. In the dark of the night, out of the depths of His bosom, could be heard His burning sighs, and when the day broke, the wondrous music of His prayers would rise up to the denizens of the realm on high.
      That Prisoner, grievously wronged, would hide His pain, and keep His wounds from view. In the depths of calamity He would smile, and even when enduring the direst of afflictions He would comfort the hearts. Although He was hemmed about with disasters, and living at the whirlwind's core of grief, He would still proclaim the Cause of


God, and protect the Holy Faith, and He brought God's Word to the ears of those in East and West. He trained and nurtured friends of such a kind that whensoever their names were on His lips or spoken in His presence, His blessed face would glow and His whole being would radiate with joy. Many and many a time He would express His trust and confidence. In the gatherings held toward the close of His days, He would repeatedly tell of the apostles of Jesus. Among other things He would say that when the Spirit1 left this nether world and hastened away to the glorious Kingdom, He had but twelve disciples, and even of these, one was cast off; and that this small number, because they sacrificed all they had for Jesus, and immersed themselves in the radiance of that sweet and comely Being, and lost themselves in Christ, they lit the world. 'Now when I depart,' He would say, 'I have loyal loved ones that number 50,000 or more, and each one of these is a mighty fortress to guard the edifice of God, each one, for the Ark of the Faith, is strong as armour-plate. They are rooted firm as the high mountains, they are bright and rising stars, they are jewels, they are pearls.' Today, God be thanked, these qualities are radiating from the faces of the righteous, and shining upon their brows.
      That blessed Being perfected His bounties for the people of Bahá, and His grace and favour were extended to those of all degrees. In the best of ways, he manifested at the end what had been shown forth

1 Jesus.


at the beginning, crowning all His gifts with His Will and Testament, in which He clearly made known the obligations devolving upon every stratum of the believers, in language most consummate, comprehensive and sound, setting down with His own pen the name of Shoghi Effendi, as Guardian of the Cause and interpreter of the Holy Writ. The first of His bounties was the light He shed, the last of His gifts was that He unravelled the secrets by lifting the veil.
      God be praised, all the beloved of God's Beauty are immersed in an ocean of bounty and grace, all are receiving abundant bestowals from the lights that radiate from that Countenance of glory.

39. The good news that the Word of God is being raised up, and His Cause glorified, and that His friends, on fire with love for Him, are arising to spread His sweet savours abroad—is coming in steadily from every quarter of the globe.
      All are firmly rooted in the Faith, steadfast, turning with complete devotion to him who is the appointed and designated Centre, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Chosen Branch, His Eminence Shoghi Effendi; are founding Assemblies, conducting meetings, teaching most eloquently and with all their energies, presenting proofs, disseminating the doctrines of the Divine Beauty and the counsels of `Abdu'l-Bahá. It is certain that ere long


the light of these Teachings will illumine the earth and gladden the hearts of the people of Bahá.

40. All the virtues of humankind are summed up in the one word 'steadfastness', if we but act according to its laws. It draws to us as by a magnet the blessings and bestowals of Heaven, if we but rise up according to the obligations it implies.
      God be praised, the house of the heart is lit by the light of unswerving constancy, and the soul's lodging is bedecked with the ornament of faithfulness.
      Steadfastness is a treasure that makes a man so rich as to have no need of the world or any person or any thing that is therein. Constancy is a special joy, that leads us mortals on to lofty heights, great progress, and the winning of the perfections of Heaven. All praise be to the Beloved's holy court, for granting this most wondrous grace to His faithful people, and to His favoured ones, this best of gifts.

41. It is clear how that most dire of calamities, that most great disaster which was the ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our souls be sacrificed for His meekness, has set our hearts on fire and dissolved our very limbs and members in grief. Darkness settled on our souls, of blood were our tears. Even the essences of sanctity cried out in fear, and the gems of holiness moaned and lamented, while our


own inner selves fell to ashes, and there was no peace left in the soul, no patience in the heart.
      No more does the ardent nightingale carol its joyous songs, and the sweet and holy melodies of the immortal dove are hushed. That gleaming Moon is hidden now behind the clouds of everlasting life, that Orb of the high heavens sank down at the setting point of glory and rose into the skies of the world that we see not, and above the realm of the placeless He is casting forth His rays.
      With His departure, these afflicted ones were plunged into a sea of pain, and beaten and blown about in a whirlwind of anguish more violent than the spoken or the written word can tell. Our days wear away in tears, our nights in sighing, and it is this storm of grief and regret and yearning that has kept us from writing before now, even to send you our love.
      It is certain that the people of Bahá, who are the dwellers of the Crimson Ark and breast the seas of the Lord, and who have attained to the bounties of the Abhá realm, and who are steadfast in the Covenant —they, men and women alike, young and old alike, share with these homeless ones the anguish of our bereavement and this direst of ordeals. We could hear, with the ear of the spirit, the wailing of those lovers of Him Who was the Ravisher of hearts, those like us scorched by the fires of separation, and from our own sad hearts we would lift our cries of sorrow to the heavens, and weeping would send up our entreaties in such words as these, to the threshold of the luminous Beauty of God:


      O kind Lord! O Comforter of anguished hearts!
      Send down Thy mercy upon us, and Thy grace, bestow upon us patience, give us the strength to endure. With Thy generous hand, lay Thou a balm upon our sores, grant us a medicine for this never-healing woe. Console Thou Thy loved ones, comfort Thy friends and handmaids, heal Thou our wounded breasts, and with Thy bounty's remedy, restore our festering hearts.
      With the gentle breeze of Thy compassion, make fresh and green again these boughs, withered by autumn blasts; restore Thou to flourishing life these flowers, shrivelled by the blight of bereavement.
      With tidings of the Abhá Paradise, wed Thou our souls to joy, and rejoice Thou our spirits with heartening voices from the dwellers in the realm of glory.
      Thou art the Bounteous, Thou art the Clement; Thou art the Bestower, the Loving.
      From the first dawning of the new light, that noble land shone with the rays of the Great Announcement, and was lit by the sunbeams of the Ancient Beauty. Like heavy rains, the bounties beat upon that sacred place, and out of clouds of mercy, grace showered down upon that region of resplendence, bringing freshness and new greenery, and the trees of being then turned verdant, and there burst forth blossoms of the spirit, and wind-flowers of true knowledge blew, and mystic myrtles grew and flourished. And from out of that land came musk-laden gales, scenting with their perfume the other


lands as well, and scattering far and wide the musk-deer sweetness of heavenly mysteries.
      So it was that Khurasan became the grove of the lions of God, and a nesting-place for the birds of the Ridvan Paradise. The Ancient Beauty singled out that blessed land for special favour, extending to it uncounted blessings and gifts. Now in wondrous and most sweet voice, again with the tracings of His exalted pen, and on the head of each one of the beloved in that bright region, He set a crown of imperishable glory, and He robed each one with His bestowals and grace, and wrapped each one in a mantle of spiritual perfections. Of them all He spoke the highest praise, and to all He gave abundant blessings, as is proved by the text of His scrolls and Tablets. And whenever that sacred King of all the world would speak of Khurasan, His being would stir for joy, and His luminous face would grow still brighter with exceeding gladness. His bounties never ceased, and from clouds of grace His favours continually showered down upon that land.
      Then came the era of the Covenant, and that full cup was passed from hand to hand, and the Sun of the Covenant rose up, shedding abroad on the horizon of unity the rays of servitude and thraldom, and lighting up the hearts of humankind. New life was breathed into the body of the world, and into the human soul came a fresh measure of delight. The hearts of the people of Bahá rejoiced to hear the glad-tidings from the Abhá Kingdom, and the minds of those who had sought shelter under the


Tree of holiness were illumined with beams of fidelity and faith. Once again, the loved ones in that region were inebriated with the wine of the Primal Covenant, and in their firmness and steadfastness and loyalty they led the field. They showed forth such constancy as to astonish the mind, and they manifested such power and endurance as to raze the piled-up doubts of the doubters to the ground. Of the poisoned winds of violation there was no trace left in all that land. The hopes of the disaffected were blighted, and the centre of violation clearly witnessed the defeat of all his aims and plans.
      It is certain that those who have caught the fragrance blowing from the Abhá Paradise, those who have heard the nightingale singing from the immortal gardens and taken delight therein, those who have trembled for joy, and whose souls have been renewed when the breezes of holiness out of the bowers of the All-Merciful were wafted over them —will find the raven's croaking and cawing a wearisome thing, and can only turn from it and flee away.
      For thirty long years, from the hour of Bahá'u'lláh's ascension until His own immaculate spirit passed into the light of the all-highest realm, `Abdu'l-Bahá rested neither night nor day. Single and alone, a prisoner, a victim of tyranny, He rose up to reform the world—to refine and train and educate the human race. He watered the tree of the Faith, He sheltered it from the whirlwind and the lightning bolt, He protected God's holy Cause, He


guarded the divine law, He defeated its adversaries, He frustrated the hopes of those who wished it ill.
      All His life long, that quintessence of eternal glory, that subtle and mysterious Being, was subjected to trials and ordeals. He was the target of every calumny, of every false accusation, from enemies both without and within. To be a victim of oppression was His lot in this world's life, and all He knew of it was toil and pain. In the dark of the night, He would sigh out His grief, and as He chanted His prayers at the hour of dawn, that wondrous voice of His would rise up to the inmates of Heaven.
      Under such conditions, He trained and with His own hand fostered a number of souls who would stand as a mighty fortress protecting the Cause, and as armour-plate for the Ark of the Covenant. With awesome power, these would scatter the forces of illusion, and with heavy blows, strike down the false rumours of the people of doubt. God be praised, that labour bore fruit, and the meaning of those toilsome efforts became plain. Those blessed souls rose up in all their loyalty, and with their steadfastness and long-suffering they served as shining examples for the children of salvation.
      His bounties, His favours to the people of Bahá were made perfect, and extended to every class and kind. And as at the beginning, so at the end: His final bestowal of all, a crowning adornment, was His Will and Testament. Here, to Bahá'ís of every degree, in the clearest, most complete, most unmistakable of utterances, He described the obligation of


each one, explicitly appointed, irrefutably and in writing, the Centre of the Faith, designating the Guardian of the Cause and the interpreter of the Holy Book, His Eminence Shoghi Effendi, appointing him, the Chosen Branch, as the one toward whom all must turn. Thus He closed for all time the doors of contention and strife, and in the best of ways and in a most perfect method He pointed out the path that leads aright.
      Thus by its very roots He pulled out the tree of mischief and dissension. He razed the structure of violation to the ground. He left no margin for error, no room for doubts. And thus He crowned the first of all His loving-kindnesses with this last of them. Let us praise and thank God for this supreme gift, this great bounty.
      Following that disaster of His passing, that dire ordeal, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Cause, was overwhelmed by such never-ending grief and by his now heavy burden and supreme responsibility, that his sensitive heart could bear it no more. And so, after making the necessary arrangements, he sent out a letter expressing his wish to be alone for a time, in a quiet and secluded place, away from the noise and turmoil of everyday life—there to pray and supplicate and urgently beg for help from the realm of the All-Glorious.
      With this in mind, he has gone on a journey, leaving us to loneliness and grief. Our hope is that very soon, the good results of this journey will become apparent, and that the friends will rejoice to


see the important benefits that it will yield; that he will soon come home, and that once again correspondence with him can be resumed, and the doors of access will be opened wide.

42. All praise to the omnipotent Lord, that in this auspicious day He Who is the Sun of bounty has shone out so fair and bright as to light up the world of the hearts. He has burned away the veils of waywardness and ignorance. He has struck off the fetters of baseless myths and ignoble concepts that chained the people hand and foot. He has cleansed and burnished the mirrors of men's souls, sullied by the dust and rust of this dark world. He has opened wide the door to that Celestial Tavern of matchless wine, and He is freely pouring out the immortal draught of knowledge and perception and love. He has hoisted the banner of oneness, and destroyed the foundations of estrangement. Under the sway of His unity, the many-coloured races and diverse religions have tasted the rose-red wine of His love, and are aliens no more. Those pure in spirit who have set eyes upon Him, and approached the place He dwells in, reflecting Him have shone out like mirrors, and cleaving to Him alone, they have detached their hearts from all else but Him. They have heard, with their inner ears, His words, and they have noted His ways, and forgotten all else. They are ever soaring upward, out of the lower


world to the world above, and they are fit to be told the mysteries, and they understand them.
      Such a day, then, is a day for praise and thanks, a time of benedictions and blessings, a time to wash away the stains of earth's defilement.
      Let us turn our hearts to the world aloft, and cup our hands and supplicate our matchless Loved One, and urgently entreat Him, saying:
      O Thou Kind Bestower, O Nourisher of our souls and hearts!
      We have no aim, except to walk Thy path; we have no wish, except to bring Thee joy. Our souls are united, and our hearts are welded, each to each. In offering Thee our thanks and praise, in following Thy ways and soaring in Thy skies, we are all one.
      We are helpless, stand Thou by us, and give us strength.
      Thou art the Protector, the Provider, the Kind.

43. Indeed, you have adorned yourself with the qualifications of faithfulness and are striving to fulfil the requirements of servitude to the Abhá Threshold. You have been inebriated with the wine of the love of God, have quaffed your fill at the banquet of loyalty to His Faith and have caused the seekers of truth, those that are sore athirst for the life-giving waters of His grace, to drink from the heavenly stream of true understanding. This was indeed most fitting and appropriate. For in this grievous calamity, this distressing bereavement, the

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Bahíyyih Khánum, circa 1890
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Bahíyyih Khánum, October 1919
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Bahíyyih Khánum, an early photograph
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Facsimile of Bahíyyih Khánum's handwriting
      (for translation, see p. 95)


best consolation and solace that the spiritual souls could offer is to dedicate themselves to the service of the Cause, to diffuse widely the sweet savours of holiness, to become wanderers in the path of that heavenly Best-Beloved, to let their whole beings burn and melt, and be enkindled with the fire of His love. Such indeed is the effective remedy, the most potent cure for this irreparable agony, for this aching of the heart and soul. There is no other remedy.
      Praise be to God that the effusions of celestial aid from the Abhá Kingdom are unceasing and the outpourings of heavenly grace from the Concourse on High uninterrupted. You should not think that your memory may ever, even for a moment, be removed from the minds of these oppressed ones, or that your remembrance may fade from the hearts of these exiled servants. The Abhá Beauty bears me witness and `Abdu'l-Bahá is my testimony that no word can possibly express how indissoluble are the ties of spiritual communion and fellowship that bind us to the loved ones of God and to the handmaids of the Merciful.

44. The deep heart's love and the longing of the soul of this wronged one for those spiritual beloved ones, and in particular for those who are kin to the peerless Holy Tree of sanctity and oneness, cannot be told in words, and my most ardent wish is that I might correspond with each one of you, but our alarm and grief over this momentous happening,


this terrible affliction and ill-omened agony, this inexorable divine decree, the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá —may our souls be offered up for all the wrongs He bore!—has left us wretched, desolate, to such a degree that there is no peace in the spirit, no will to endure in the heart.
      This is an earthquake which shook the foundations of our lives, this is a wailing and an uproar within the Company on High. The lightning bolt of this departure has set the very world aflame, and the fires of this leave-taking have scorched the whole earth.
      The grieving dwellers in the courts of holiness have rent their garments of long-suffering, and the household of the Most High have put on mourning dress. Truly the people of Baha and those who are kin to the divine Lote-Tree are sharing with us the pangs of this bereavement, this direst of torments, and are partners in anguish of those who suffer here.
      Now that this dread event has come upon us all, it is to be hoped that new stirrings and wondrous new vibrations will be felt; that a renewed staunchness and fidelity, an ever more vigorous firmness and loyalty, will take over and astound the world. Thus all will clearly understand that even though that sacred and mysterious Being has laid aside the garment of His mortal life, even though that Bird of eternity has abandoned the cage of this earth, still is His spirit in our midst, still is He watching over us all from the realm of the All-Glorious, ever is He gladdening the hearts of the beloved, and to the


souls of those who are fast-rooted in the Covenant, ever is He bringing tidings of great joy.

45. The good news has come that the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for His meekness, has been read at the meetings of the friends, and we here are rejoiced to learn of their unity and their steadfastness and loyalty, and of their directing themselves toward the designated Centre, the named and specified Guardian of the Cause of God, the interpreter of the Book of God, the protector of His Faith, the keeper of His Law, Shoghi Effendi. This news brought extreme joy.
      It is certain that enlightened and sensitive minds and spiritual hearts will continually obtain illumination from the Centre of Mysteries, and beg for bounties in abundance from Him Who is the Celestial Beauty Unconstrained. The ear of their intellect is hearkening to the divine call from the Company on High, and they drink the draught of faithfulness from bounty's cup. To them, all that is not the Beloved is nothing at all, and from whatever is not the good-pleasure of God, they veil their eyes. They worship truth, they seek reality, and they are intoxicated with the wine of His love.
      God be praised, you have attained these bestowals. Now is the time for zeal and ardour, the season of fervour and joy. Thoughts must be focused on one Centre, opinions united on a single point, to publish abroad the Teachings of God and to act in


accord with the counsels of `Abdu'l-Bahá, so that the light of divine confirmations may wax ever brighter, and the bounties of divine favour and success appear on every side, and that in a brief period, great progress will be made, and secrets now hidden will be divulged, and joy and radiance will appear.
      It is to be hoped that out of the concealed and manifest favour of the Abhá Beauty, He will generate a new spirit in His loyal loved ones, and make them to radiate a new and wondrous joy. This indeed does not seem far from the outpourings of His bounties and bestowals.

46. In this noblest of all ages the Sun of grace and loving-kindness has shone out from the divine day-spring with such resplendent glory and is casting His beams so bright and far, that He has lit up all the earth and made the hearts and minds of men to be as sanctified mirrors and reflectors of holiness—this to such a degree that from turning their faces unto that bright Orb, that Star of the loftiest heaven, those illumined beings have received abundant grace and have been enabled to understand the secret of God's oneness, and the mystery of His unity, and to become alert to subtle realities.
      Praised be God the Beloved that He has disclosed, through His invisible bounties and visible grace, such secrets, and drawn such veils aside. Words have taken on new meaning, and meaning itself has been adorned with the divine. A clear Covenant makes


our duty plain; an explicit and lucid Text explains the revealed Book; a specifically named Centre has been designated, toward whom all must turn, and the pronouncement of him who is the Guardian of the Cause and the interpreter of the Book has been made the decisive decree. All this is out of the grace and favour of our Beloved, the All-Glorious, and the loving-kindness of Him from the splendours of Whose servitude earth and heaven were illumined.
      `Abdu'l-Bahá, may our lives be sacrificed for His meekness, has filled to overflowing the cup of bounty for the people of Baha, and encompassed with His grace persons of every degree. He has destroyed the very basis of disunity, ruined any attempts at dissension and mischief, and clearly pointed out to all the highway of guidance, now and for evermore.
      The hope is that we may arise with a new spirit and be confirmed with bountiful blessings, and urge on our steeds in the field of service, of purity and sincerity, and of high endeavour—nor is this much to ask of the loving-kindness and grace of our exalted Lord.

47. The purport of your letter is highly indicative of your steadfastness in His Cause, of your unswerving constancy in the Covenant, of having set your face toward Shoghi Effendi, the authorized Point to whom all must turn, the Centre of the Cause, the Chosen Branch, the bough that has branched out from the twin heavenly Trees. Indeed, this is the


essential thing, this is the meaning of true devotion, this is the unshakable, the indubitable truth whereby the people of Baha, the dwellers of the Crimson Ark, are distinguished.
      The loved ones of the All-Merciful are those that have truly served the Most Exalted One,1 have been nurtured by the hand of the Abhá Beauty, have received training under the care of `Abdu'l-Bahá —may our life be sacrificed for the wrongs suffered by Them. Such souls have drunk from the soft-flowing river of true understanding, have quaffed their fill from the living waters of assurance, have set their affection on the one true God, and have rid themselves of all attachment to aught except Him. They tread the straight path of truth and stride along His undeviating way. They incline their attentive ears to the Call of the Concourse on High and are attracted to the Celestial Voice ringing from the realms of glory. Great indeed is their blessedness, and may they meet with a good ending.
      We earnestly hope that through the bounty of the Lord of eternity a fresh measure of His confirmations may soon appear and you may be encompassed by His pervasive aid and assistance.

48. At this hour while yet the heart burns with the anguish of sorrow, and the gloom of bereavement still hangs low, my thoughts turn in loving remembrance to my sincere beloved sisters and brothers in the Cause.

1 The Báb.


      The news of your firmness in the Covenant, of your endeavour to work in unity and harmony, and of your untiring zeal and devotion in the Path of Service, has been a source of untold joy to me. For now my sole comfort lies in the loyalty and faithfulness of the friends, and my one joy in the progress of the Cause.
      Dear friends! At this critical time through which the Cause is passing the responsibility that has fallen on every individual Bahá'í is great, and his duties are pressing and manifold. Now that the Sun of the Covenant has set on the horizon of the world, the eyes of all the people are turned expectant upon us. Now the time has come for the faithful friends of `Abdu'l-Bahá, who have been the recipients of the Glorious Light, to shine forth even as brilliant stars. The radiance of our Faith must be such as to dispel the clouds of doubt and guide the world to the Day-spring of Truth.
      Our firmness must be such as to cause him who wavers and errs to turn back penitent unto the fold; our unity and love must be such as to cause the peoples of the world to join hands in amity and brotherhood; and our activity in service must be such as to have all parts of the world resound with the echoes of 'YÁ-BAHÁ'U'L-ABHÁ!'.
      For inspiration and guidance let us turn unto His life-imparting exhortations: 'O friends, show forth your fidelity! O my loved ones, manifest your steadfastness and your constancy! O ye who invoke His Name, turn ye and hold fast unto Him! O ye who lift up your


hearts and implore His aid, cling to Him and walk in His ways! It is incumbent upon every one of us to encourage each other, to exert our utmost endeavour to diffuse His divine fragrances and engage in exalting His Word. We must, at all times, be stirred by the breeze that bloweth from the rose-garden of His loving-kindness, and be perfumed with the fragrances of the mystic flowers of His grace.'
      Thus does `Abdu'l-Bahá still call to us from His realm of effulgent glory. Will not each of us hearken unto His voice, and exert the utmost endeavour to fulfil His hopes?
      Dear friends, this is the day of faithfulness; this is the day of unity; this is the day of service. Let us not wait, nor ponder, but, detached from the world and its concerns, clad in the armour of faith, filled with the divine spirit of love, and quickened by His life-giving exhortations, let us arise in utmost love and harmony, hasten to the field of service, and subdue the domain of hearts with the arms of the love of God and the sword of peace and brotherhood.
      For all inspiration and assurance let us turn unto Bahá'u'lláh's promise: 'Be not dismayed, O peoples of the world, when the day-star of My beauty is set, and the heaven of My tabernacle is concealed from your eyes. Arise to further My Cause, and to exalt My Word amongst men. We are with you at all times, and shall strengthen you through the power of truth. We are truly almighty.'
      Dear friends! A great obligation of every Bahá'í


is vigilance to protect and shield the stronghold of the Faith from the onslaught of the enemies. In these days their activity has waxed strong. They are constantly on the alert, and exert the utmost endeavour to cause such harm as would impede the onward march of the Cause.
      Association with such people will cause discord and unrest among the friends and will be detrimental to the progress of the Cause. Therefore it is urgent that the friends exercise great wisdom and vigilance lest through the evil schemes of the enemies a breach be made in the Faith. The few people whom `Abdu'l-Bahá pronounced as injurious to the Cause must be shunned by all the friends, as Shoghi Effendi himself tells us to do in his second letter to the American believers.

49. O steadfast ones, gathered beneath the Abhá Beauty's standard of oneness, O faithful lovers of `Abdu'l-Bahá! Sad news has come to us out of Iran in recent days, and it has intensely grieved the entire Bahá'í world: they have, in most parts of that land, set bonfires of envy and malevolence, and hoisted the banner of aggression against this much-wronged community; they have left no means untried, no plot or strategy neglected, and have arisen with extreme hostility and spite to pull out by their very roots the trees of this garden of God.
      From every side, they are aiming their arrows at hearts that rejoice in the knowledge of God and are


filled with the love of Him. From every ambush, they are hunting down gazelles that pasture in the meadows of His unity. They are taking the men and women believers captive, and making orphans of the children. They are plundering the believers' property, sacking their hearths and homes.
      Those, however, who have been trained and educated in the school of God, even when coming to such a pass, are resignation itself, and to the brutal aggressor they are as the living waters of Heaven. They are rivers of pure mercy and peace. Though powerful and well able to defend themselves, they never raise a hand to strike, nor do they open their lips to protest. They confront the others' taunts and curses with prayers that God will forgive them, and their reply to the wounds of bullet and sword is to offer milk and honey. They kiss the murderer's hand; as intoxicated lovers, they drain the martyr's cup.
      Such is the way of those who are attracted to His Kingdom, and that other is the behaviour of the foolish, the heedless of God. So has it been, at the time when the Manifestations of God appeared: the heedless and the ignorant turned upon their heavenly Teachers, and the diseased harried and tortured their loving Physicians in the spirit, idly thinking that they were acquiring merit thereby. Thus have their imaginings always been, at the outset of every Faith: that by such cruel acts they could destroy that seed, the Word of God; or that by blowing against it, they could put out the lamp that


He has lit; or that by directing a storm of denial against them, they could bring down His trees, so flourishing, so firmly rooted in His Kingdom, or lay His fair gardens in ruins.
      But as, time and again, experience has shown, in every age they have only seen verified the Blessed Beauty's assurance that calamity's rushing rain is the greening of His planted field, and afflictions are the oil that feeds and adds to the radiance of the lamp of God. And then, as the days go by, and they see with their own eyes the Day-Star in its noonday splendour, witness the bewildering richness of the fields that God has sown, behold His great and all pervading Cause—then the fires of hatred and envy flame out of the hell of their natures; they can contain themselves no longer, and the truth of the holy words is proved, that God will not bring down a people from their station unless they have corrupted their good qualities themselves, and it becomes clearly shown that God brings on the downfall of the heedless little by little and in ways that they know not.
      During occurrences of this kind, it is incumbent upon the believers in other countries to immediately adopt prudent and reasonable measures, that through wise methods such fires may be put out. Let them not allow the claws of ravening wolves to be reddened with their brothers' blood; let them defend God's lambs from the hungry leopard's knife-sharp teeth; let them guard the members of the one and single Bahá'í family from the poisoned sting of scorpions and snakes.


      This is the unique obligation of the Bahá'ís of the world. Addressing the believers, Bahá'u'lláh says: 'Be ye as the fingers of one hand, the members of one body.' This means that just as each member safeguards the rest, warding off any threatened harm, so too must the individual Bahá'ís do, whether in the East or the West. At this time it is urgently needful, and it is the request of this grieving servant, that the assembly of the believers in that area act at once, and take the case to the ambassador of the Iranian government. Let them tell him, 'The holy Cause of Bahá'u'lláh has so unified us who are His world-wide followers, and has brought us so close together, that we have become like a single body. If the foot of a Bahá'í, in the farthest Eastern land, is so much as scratched by a thorn, it is even as if we Bahá'ís here in the West had suffered the same. We have now received word from Iran that in Shíráz, in Sultánábád, in Hamadán, in Káshán, even in Tihrán, and in other places as well, the fanaticism of the ignorant and heedless has been fanned into flame, and that agitators are stirring up the populace—with the result that our brothers and sisters, who are but well-wishers of all humankind and are indeed the world's only hope for peace, and are obedient and helpful citizens of Iran and her government, find themselves under attack and pushed into the heart of the fire.
      'We therefore request the representative of Iran to ask his government to safeguard our brothers in Iran from the aggressions of their enemies, and to deliver that flock of God's lovers from the claws of


the wolf, and provide for their security and well-being. By bringing us word of this outcome, Iran will earn the deep and heartfelt gratitude of thousands of Bahá'ís who reside in these countries, and widespread appreciation will be voiced by us in our many gatherings, of her government's good offices on our behalf.'
      And further, if it be possible, you should make this same representation through your own ambassador in Tihrán, so that he may direct the attention of the Iranian authorities to these persecutions, and awaken that government to the possibility of divine retribution and to the shameful stigma occasioned by such actions directed against this innocent community by the heedless and ignorant amongst the mass of the people.
      Let him make them aware that there are thousands of adherents of this Faith of the love of God around the world, who are gazing in astonishment and disbelief at the savage acts now being perpetrated against their brothers, and are eagerly waiting to hear that the government has come to the rescue of this unique, this law-abiding people, who are the well-wishers of mankind, from the attacks of the ravening wolves.
      I pray for you continually at the Holy Threshold, and call upon Him on behalf of each one of you, and beg that He will bestow on you the blessings of the Kingdom.
      Upon you, men and women alike, be the Glory of the All-Glorious.


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