Stories of 'Abdul-Baha and the Guardian
Stories of Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi (Curtis Kelsey Transcript)
00:00 There were many of you who weren't there last night, and that night, so I thought it might be a good idea to tell you something that you - about the faith - that you don't ordinarily read about as you read the Writings; and this will go back over quite a number of years and - actually it will go back to around 1910 so that's a long while, and the stories that I'll tell you are as clear in my mind and they almost* as the time they happened; and I think it's very interesting to see the environment from which many of us come and how we come into the faith and - so I'm going to be personal on* these stories and you'll just disregard the personal element because you can't tell the stories without being personal.
Mother, Mrs Latimer; Meets Roy Wilhelm
00:40 Latimer* - maybe somebody in the room will remember - they were early Bahá'ís in Port of Oregan and my mother and Mrs Latimer were members of the Gardening Society on the Pacific coast - my mother was president of that organisation - and Mrs Latimer knew something about the Bahá'í Faith but in 1910 it was very sparse, very little that they knew, they had type-written excerpts from the Writings - in matter of fact they didn't know who Abdu'l-Bahá was, they were used to referring to Him as a great Persian Philosopher, this was the term they used, and they referred to the Bahá'í Faith as a movement, a world movement - but she would tell my mother about the Bahá'í Faith and the movement, and mother would bring this material home to our house to try it out on the family, and I remember listening to her talk about it, but I'd say, Well you know mother I'm not interested in religion any more, and this material would usually go on the bookshelf or whatever we'd have; we had the Hidden Words at that time but the excerpts and Writings were usually type-written by friends in the East and they'd pass them all over the country that way. So I paid no attention to it. But one day my mother announced that there was a man from New York City, Roy C Wilhelm - he was a coffee-merchant, and he was coming to - we were living in Takoma at that time and she was going to have him speak on the Bahá'í movement and she wanted to know if I wouldn't come and listen to him and I told her, No mother, I says, you know I'm not interested in the subject of religion and I'd rather work in my shop. Well knowing my mother wasn't the kind of a person to take that kind of an answer, I went down in my shop all right into the basement of the house, but I heard her talking to Mr Wilhelm in the kitchen to go down in the basement and tell me about the Bahá'í movement. Well there was only one way out of our basement, so I knew I had to wait and take this when he came down. Well Roy came down the stairs and I was prepared to fence with him on the talking about the Bahá'í movement, and he never even said a word about it. He came over and he asked me about the lathe that I had and a band-saw and some other things, he got interested in the work that I was doing and we struck up quite a friendship, and as I looked him over I said, Well this fellah seems to be quite a guy, he isn't all cracked up on the subject of religion. Well the result was, I was quite friendly with him, and I would have been anyway, but I was quite friendly with him because I felt here's a man who isn't tied up in these things, and while we were talking down there he says, You know I'd like to have a shop like this in my home in New York and if you ever come to New York I'd like to have you come and help me set one up. Well I said Roy, you know, that's a long way, I don't see any chance of my ever going to New York; Well he said, You never know about those things; well I says if I ever come to New York I'll certainly be glad to see you, and he left.
03:31 Well about the month after that, things changed in my father's affair, he was a civil engineer and he went to New York to set up a business for a firm there in Seattle, and I had been working for Ford Motor Company on the Pacific Coast, and I transferred that next two months to Detroite, Michegan, you know, when they were paying the five dollar a day, which was quite an affair in those times, and you had to account for a half of that five dollars to the Ford Motor Company, you had to spend it on things worthwhile - furniture, clothing, things of that kind, if you didn't do it, why, the welfare worker came round, took two dollars and a half away from your five dollars.
Joining Church, Zia Baghdadi Speaks, Joins Father in New York
04:13 Well, while I was in Detroit at that time, I felt some need of going somewhere to some religious group, and I joined the Unitarian Church for a short period, more for a social background than anything else, and one after- - one sunny morning, the Minister announced that there was a man there, Persian, was present, who was going to talk to us on the Bahá'í movement - well my ears pricked up because here was this movement again, and he says anyone who'd like to stay after the service and listen to him is welcome to stay. Well the Church cleared out and I was one and another man, there were two of us stayed to hear, and this was Dr Zia Baghdadi, well you've perhaps heard of him. Well Dr Baghdadi if any of you have heard or read stories about him, or know anything about him, know he was a very hardened Bahá'í, it* didn't bother him that there were only two of us, he got up on the platform, even the Minister excused himself, he had another appointment, couldn't stay. But Dr Baghdadi got up on that platform and he talked to two of us about the Bahá'í Faith - and I don't remember this day what he said, I was so intrigued that here was somebody talking about the Bahá'í movement - and this passed off, [05:12] and then about a week after that, I got a letter from my father who was in New York and he wanted to know if I wouldn't come East to spend the Christmas holidays with him, and I made arrangements to go East and I just made the arrangement when the foreman who was working under there came to me, he says, Well Kelsey, he says, you will have to give up your vacation this year; well I says, Mr Probaski I'm sorry but I've made arrangements to go East and I can't give it up; well he says, You'll have to give it up, and I says, Why, I'm sorry, I can't give it up, I've made these arrangements. Well, he says, you won't get five dollars outside the Ford Motor Company, and I says, Well that settles it, now I'm not only going East but you can give me my time! and he says, Oh no you can't do that! because in those days you had to explain, if you quit Ford Motor Company, you had to go before the welfare board of Ford Motor Company explaining why you were leaving such a good job, and it took me five hours to get out of Ford Motor Company at that time while(?/well/and) I went on to New York, and of course I got a better job when I landed in New York, and worked with my father and I worked for him for a number of years after that.
Typhoid Fever, Orchestral Dream, Seeking Bahá'ís
06:09 Well I hadn't been home more than two or three weeks, and I came down with typhoid fever, and you see I didn't know anything about the Faith then except for I remembered the name, and I was intrigued by the name. And with this typhoid fever, you have a terrific headache that accompanies it, and we were living in Van Cortlandt Park in New York at the time and I remember my mother had made me very comfortable trying to relieve this severe headache that I had, she'd put icepacks on my head and she'd gone to bed and the family had gone to bed, but this pain was so terrific that I was turned over and trying to push my head in the pillow to relieve the pressure on my head, and as I did so, I heard a full piece orchestra in the room, all the instruments, of course there wasn't any physical instruments there, but I heard it just (?as if) they were a beautiful orchestra there and I swung around in bed to see what this was, because I'd never had anything like that happen to me, and it was as if it floated away and I started to follow it, listening to it you know, and this so surprised me I called out to my mother and she came running into the room thinking something seriously had happened to me and she found me sitting up in bed, and I told her what had happened and the first thing she did was go and get some Bahá'í books to find out what this was. Well, she sat up with me the rest of the night, and I was reading these books and looking them over, and one after another - Answered Questions, the Hidden Words and the Seven Valleys, and a few things like that - and as I began to read these things I says, Why haven't you told me about this before? She says, I've been trying to tell you this for nine years, but you wouldn't pay any attention to it! Well, this experience so intrigued me that I camped on every Bahá'í's doorstep that I could find, and I gave up my work; my father said, What's the matter, he says, can't you be satisfied with a little read*? No, I says, dad, I've got to get around and find out what this is about! And so I camped everywhere, and the Bahá'ís came in those two or three weeks I was sick there with the typhoid fever, I just had - even the doctor came in the next morning and he found me sitting up, he couldn't understand it. When the friends came in they tried to answer it they couldn't give me any information about this experience. So I went on everywhere to try to find - my interest was trying to find a reason for this experience, but at the same time by doing so I was absorbing the Bahá'í Writings. Well then the War came along.
First World War; Paris Restaurant
08:27 And of course, 1918, I had to take the - go into that, and I had an extra gas mask I took along with me, I had the books with me - Bahá'í books with me - and you know, what, what a reception you get when you try to give a bunch of soldiers the Bahá'í message! And - but one young man I gave the message to was quite interested and --- I'd only had a chance to talk with him about a week and different things and give him as little as I knew, which was very little at that time, and our lives separated and I went on over through the First World War, and then after the War I was in Paris, I was sitting in a restaurant, and I happened to look up and he was - this fellah I had given the message to - was sitting across the restaurant, and we both got up, met in the centre of the restaurant, and the first thing he says is, "I want to know more about the Bahá'í movement"! He became a Bahá'í.
Back to America With Roy; Sets Up Shop; Roy's Experience
09:21 Well then I came back to America, and I was down Wall Street visiting with my friend Mr Wilhelm who was a coffee merchant - he was known in the coffee market as the Tiffany of the Coffee Trade - he made these blends for Beech-nut and other of the leading coffee brands that you know of on the market; and he had his office down the foot of Wall Street; and Roy, when I was down there, you see, he said, You never know about these things, here we were in New York; and I'd gone out to his place to work on a shop, and we had got a shop started, and one day we were talking at noon there at lunch together, and he says, How would you like to go to Haifa? And I said, Roy, I'd like nothing better, but that's impossible. Well again he says, You never know about those things; I began to see there was some twist to this! Well he had written - Roy had the type of a Bahá'í that had come into the cause through a inner experience also, very dramatic experience that he'd had, and he was a very wonderful believer, he was a Hand of the Faith as you know, if you've known about him, and anything that Abdu'l-Bahá would ask him to do, he'd do, no matter what Abdu'l-Bahá would ask him.
Lighting the Shrines Plan; Kelsey to Haifa
So Roy had read a tablet of Abdu'l-Bahá's where Abdu'l-Bahá was speaking about the Bab Who was in prison in the fortress of Chihriq and where He didn't even have a candle light, if you've read that tablet, where it speaks about the Bab didn't even have a candle light, where it says, All the world is illumined with light and the One they're looking for is in prison Who doesn't even have a candle light. And this so impressed Roy, that he wrote to Abdu'l-Bahá and wanted to know if he couldn't send a lighting plant over there to light the Shrine of the Bab. And Abdu'l-Bahá wrote back and says, Yes, you can send three! Well Roy was the kind of a fellow who would send three, so he rightaway he sent the three, well, when he was talking about my going to Haifa, he had some plan in the back of [his mind] - have me go over, so when I told him I would like nothing better he wrote to Abdu'l-Bahá, and shortly after he wrote to Abdu'l-Bahá I got a cablegram from the Master, and which on it said "Curtis Kelsey permitted". Well with that cablegram I got the strongest impression that I must make every effort to go to Haifa as quickly as possible, and to get there within at least thirty days; this was the impression I got.
What I did though, I called the young man - I didn't have any money to mount anything, you spend what you earn, you know - and I had an old Model T Ford and we were living in New Rochelle at that time, and I drove down the one the grocery stores are, around six o'clock at night, where I knew several of the fellows, and I blew in at this busy hour and I said, Who'd like to buy my Ford? well they looked with this blank look and don't answer right away, and I felt kind of sheepish and I started to walk out, and one of the boys came running and "Wait a minute Curtis," he says, "If that'll climb a certain hill here, I'll give you 150 dollars for it!" and I had just cleaned the spark plugs that day, so we went over the hill and higher, and I got my first 150 dollars.
More Things Sold, Roy Contributes, Father's Permission
12:15 Then I sold a few other things, and I think I'd gotten about 250/300 dollars together, and I went down town shortly after that talking to Roy, and he says, How are you making out on this trip? and I said I'm making out pretty well, but not enough. He says, Well I'm going to give you 500 dollars more, so he gave me 500 dollars, and that was - then I said, Well now I've got to act on this, so I thought I'd better go and tell my father because he wasn't a Bahá'í, and he had no idea of what the Bahá'í Faith was, and when I told him, he was dead against my going halfway round the world at that time, but he wasn't the kind of man would oppose me, just said how foolish it was to go halfway around the world, and he says, You're going to do this work for this little old man Abdu'l-Bahá over there, and they aren't even going to pay you for it? Well I said, Dad I can't explain to you, but I simply have to go, and all I want is your permission. Well, he said, you can go, but don't expect any help from me, he says, I think it's a foolish move; here you are just getting started, and you're going halfway round the world!
Ticket Purchase, Boarding
Well, I was satisfied, I said, and I started out to buy my ticket and I went down to find out how quickly I could get there, and I tried to go to Paris and to Naples and to Alexandria, and anyway we went down by the railroad around Mount Carmel, and I said I had to get there in about thirty days, and they said, No it's impossible, you can't do that, in that time, at least three weeks before you can get a boat out of Naples. Well, I said, you give me a ticket that way anyway, and I'm going on that way, so they gave me the ticket and I went on the path* but before I left, down at the boat were a number of the friends who had messages to take to Abdu'l-Bahá, and my father was in the audience, and he came over to where I was, and he had bought me a Graflex camera and some film, and then he gave me an envelope and he says, You open this when you get on the boat, and when I got on the boat and opened this, was another 250 dollars in it. So he wasn't going to do anything, but he did!
Paris Landing, No Boat to Alexandria - One Found!
14:01 Well then we got on the - in the boat, and I were landed in Paris and I immediately tried to find out if I could get a sailing out of Naples, and they said no, there was no sailing out of there for at least two or three weeks. Well I said I'm going on down there, and he says why don't you just stay up here in Paris, there's a lot more fun here in Paris than down Naples; I says, No thanks, I'm going on down to Naples. So I went down to Naples, and I made enquiry for a sailing out of Naples, and they told me there was nothing out of there. So I said to the steamship man, I said, Well I'll be down to see you tomorrow; he says, No don't do that, he says, we know our business, and there's nothing out of here. He says, Where are you staying? and I said I'm staying in such-and-such a hotel; He said, I'll call you up if something happens, but it won't happen! And that satisfied me he'd call me up, so I went back to the hotel and when I was having dinner that night, they came in and said there was a phone call for me, and I went to the phone, and this was a steamship call for us, and he says, How did you know the Esperia was going to dock here? I said I didn't know; he says, Well they stopped here to let a sick passenger off, and if you want his pass...
On Ship to Alexandria; Missionaries
I says I'll take it! and the next morning I was on my way to Alexandria, and between Naples and Alexandria I met Charles ?Dane, the head of the American Missionary work in Europe; and he sought me out, because he wondered who was this young man who was going to the Near East, and I told him about the Bahá'í Faith; he says, Well I know quite a number of the students of the University of Beirut are very fine young men, and he says, One of the things that puzzles me is how the Bahá'í students are able to convince so many Mohammedans of the Christian faith! Well I says Mr - oh I forget his name now, I have mentioned it - Dane - and I said that's very simple, answer there is, that the Bahá'ís don't tear down the life of Muhammad. Well, he thought for a minute, and he ignored this, so I says, They accept Muhammad the same as they accept Jesus Christ. And he said, Do you mind if I go along with you all the way, I would like to see the Shrine on Mount Carmel, I've passed there, but I've never gone up, and I said, No [I don't mind], so he went with me all the way and went up to see the Shrine, and he went on to Beirut.
Arrives Haifa, Dinner, Dinners, Hiding the Cat
Well in those days we came in a train, and down the train was Abdu'l-Bahá's high buck-board wagon - it's - there are four seats in the wagon, you may have seen pictures of it, and there was Fugita, you've heard of Fugita, the Japanese, was a young man at that time, he's my age now, and Dr Lotfullah Hakim, who's the treasurer of the International Council, was; and you've heard stories about him - well they were down there to meet me at the train, and then we drove up from the station down to --- the western pilgrim house, and the Mrs Graven - Inis Graven - was there, her name was Cook, you've perhaps heard of her in ?Lahoia, California; she was there with her/a sister, and Madame Stannard from India was there, and we had just passed the time of day when the door opened from the room and out came through the door Abdu'l-Bahá, in His long, flowing, camel's-hair robe and a white turban and a white beard, and there are no words to describe the majesty of this personage that came through the door as I looked on him as he came through the door and he walked over to the head of the table and seated people, and he didn't say a word to me, but when he sat down, I was sitting on this side of the table, he looked over to me and he said, Did you notice how easy it was for you to come here? - in English! And I had reached there within the thirty day period. Well then after dinner he bad us all goodbye and He said, Well we will see you at supper tonight, and for many days after that there were no pilgrims, and every day at noon and while I was in Haifa, the Master would come over at the table for dinner, and there would be just Khosraw and Ruhi Afnan and myself at the dinner table, and Abdu'l-Bahá would bring His mail and newspapers, and Abdu'l-Bahá had a brown cat, and Fugita and I would hide the cat, and the Master would come in the room, and when Master would come and open the door he would say, Let the cat out, and the cat would run over and rub up against the Master's feet as he'd pet it, and Abdu'l-Bahá would sit down at the dinner table there, these days, and He'd push His turban there back on His head and there was such a wholesome - in the full meaning of the word - simplicity, and all of that - Abdu'l-Bahá as a great person as He was, would read His mail daily there, and He would talk to us about the Faith at these times, and He would talk many times in Arabic or Persian to the boys, and many times He'd speak to me in English.
No Tasks for Fifteen Days, And Then Commences!
18:17 Well then for fifteen days He didn't let me go to work at anything: I came over there to set up these plants, these three light plants, to light up the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh and of Abdu'l-Bahá - the Bab on Mount Carmel - and the home of Abdu'l-Bahá. Well I busied myself trying to get everything ready, I got all the parts laid out, and ?????callas so I knew where to work, and someone had sent Abdu'l-Bahá a Cunningham car that was in the garage that didn't know how to operate it, and a Ford car that was in the garage ???(and he wouldn't have ??? of it) so I busied myself and got those in shape, was driving those around the streets. In those days if you went around a corner in one of the streets in Haifa, you had to back up twice to turn a corner. And I got those ready, and about at fifteen days I was getting worried, I wasn't starting on these light plants, and I knew it was going to take me a long time to get busy, but I didn't dare ask Abdu'l-Bahá, because I knew He knew. So I was standing out in front of Abdu'l-Bahá's home - if you've seen pictures of the street in front of Abdu'l-Bahá's house, there's a big stone gate, and you look through that gate to the porches - about 150 feet to the porch - and we? remember? in the street looking through this stone gate, and I was talking to His grandson, and I said, Ruhi, when do you think Abdu'l-Bahá's going to let me start on this work, I've got to get started if I ever go home! Well, he says, ??? (of course?), I don't know when He's going to let you start. And Ruhi hadn't any sooner as made that statement "I don't know when you're going to start" and Abdu'l-Bahá came out the door on His porch, and He called to us, "We will start tomorrow!" And He smiled and went back in the house. Well I was delighted to think we were going to get started tomorrow! And we had a room - a bedroom - in the Western Pilgrim House, it was about the size of this, square, and Dr Lotfullah had a bed there and Fugita and I had a bed in this corner, and Abdullah was in this corner, and before we could get out of bed the next morning, the Master stood in the door, and we all rushed to get up because it was about 5.30 in the morning. And He said, No, rest, and then He said to me, He says, I can't go to Akka today, what shall I do about it? Well the thought flashed in my mind and I repeated it to the Master, I says, Well whenever the Master's ready, I am ready. Now He'd said He couldn't go; well that afternoon, He sent word over we were going to Akka, to make arrangements for lighting in the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh.
Train From Haifa; Abdu'l-Bahá Waits on Platform
20:18 So at four o'clock, Ruhi Afnan and Khosraw and Abdu'l-Bahá and I went down to the railroad station in Haifa, and at that time the only way you went to Haifa was through, once a day, the night train from Haifa to Akka, a narrow-gauge Turkish railroad, or you drove in His high buck-board wagon by the way of the sea along the seashore; well, we were taking the train, the narrow-gauge Turkish railroad, and everything was on that train - chickens and goats and everything else that went along - and these people were going this one trip over at night to go into this city of Akka, and the train stopped about a quarter of a mile outside the city, the city - Akka's a walled city, and if you didn't get in there at six o'clock when the sun went down you, stayed outside the city at night. Well we weren't going to Akka that night, we were going two-and-a-half miles inland to Bahji, where the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh was. Well we went down the station into Haifa to start, and Abdu'l-Bahá didn't get on the train, He sat down in the railroad station and the conductor was quite concerned because he wanted the people on the train, and he knew that - he must have had this experience a number of times with Abdu'l-Bahá, because he didn't start the train but he took a look at his watch and he looked over at the station and he didn't go and say anything to Abdu'l-Bahá, but Abdu'l-Bahá just sat there and pretty soon I saw this Arab come leading a camel, and he walked into the station and sat down, and Abdu'l-Bahá started to talk with him and laughed together, and in a few minutes, and after He finished talking, then Abdu'l-Bahá got up and got on the train, and we were on our way!
Akka Arrival; The Little House
21:43 And we landed at Akka, and there was a most wonderful - it was one of those evenings when there was a full moon, and white clouds drifting by, and this full moon you know, just a really spring evening. And the train stopped, and all the people got out and went into Akka and Abdu'l-Bahá sat down in the station; and Ruhi Afnan and I stood outside waiting, and Abdu'l-Bahá didn't get up, He just sat there and pretty soon, coming through the desert, was this big Arab, with the -- black headress and cape hanging down over his shoulders, and he was walking alone, and through the sand, and he came into the station and he and Abdu'l-Bahá had a conversation, laughing and getting him talking, and while they were talking I saw Kalim come leading Abdu'l-Bahá's white donkey, and he'd come from Bahji; and when they got there at the station, Abdu'l-Bahá got up and got on the white donkey, and Ruhi Afnan and I walked alongside the donkey as they rode from the railroad station to Bahji, about two and a half miles, and Abdu'l-Bahá pulled His aba further in, and He said, Beautiful night, wonderful sky, beautiful moon, and He says, Are you finding it difficult to walk? And of course I wasn't even thinking about walking, while we were walking alongside of him. Well we reached Bahji and I don't remember, the time was so short, it was such a wonderful thing to be walking alongside of Abdu'l-Bahá, and at that time Bahji was not in the possession of the Bahá'ís, so we went down to the little house on the corner of the garden, we had to go up a flight of steps - you've seen them perhaps - and then this inner court with this room a little bigger than this, and off of the room was a garden with an orange tree in it, and then a kitchen where they cooked things on a charcoal stove.
At the Little House; Nomad Knocks; The Orange Thief
23:28 And Khosrow had run on ahead and prepared the dinner for us; we had curried lamb in rice and saffron on it, and candied orange peel, and there was Persian melons and bowls of ?mustis which is like our yoghurt, with the greens - chopped up greens in it - and large bunches of grapes from Damascus on the table. The Master was talking about these wonderful grapes, they were so tender, that the skin, you didn't notice it when you ate them; He said you don't get grapes like this anywhere else. And while we were talking about the grapes, someone rattled across the door and there was a big crossbar across the door and Abdu'l-Bahá says Bismillah bifarmáyíd - come in in the Name of God - and someone rattled the door and Khosrow ran over and removed the crossbar, and here stood an Arab about six foot four - he stood there just grinning, didn't cross the threshhold, and Abdu'l-Bahá repeated Bismillah bifarmáyíd and he came in and Abdu'l-Bahá sat him down at the table - the right side of the table - and they began a conversation in Arabic, which I didn't know anything about - and Ruhi of course knew all about it, and was listening, and they were laughing - all of them were laughing at this conversation - and I was very intrigued to know what was going on, and then Ruhi afterwards told me what the conversation was, and this is what was going on. It seemed that somebody had been stealing Abdu'l-Bahá's sweet oranges, so Abdu'l-Bahá had said to this Arab, He said, Isn't there a tradition among the Arabs - he belonged to a nomad tribe, that they pitched their tents anywhere - and He says, Isn't there a tradition among the Arabs that if the father hasn't stolen something, his wife won't let him come in the tent that night; he says, Yes, that's true, and Abdu'l-Bahá says, Well, have you ever been kept out of the tent? And he said, no, he'd never been kept out of the tent, so Abdu'l-Bahá says, Have you ever tasted sour oranges? And the man said, No, I've never bothered with sour oranges; well Abdu'l-Bahá says, They're very good with sugar on! And the next day he began to steal Abdu'l-Bahá's sour oranges!
At Bahá'u'lláh's Shrine; Taking the Rugs into Akka; House of Abbud; Elderly Druze
25:25 Next morning we went into the Shrine of Abdu'l-Bahá - of Bahá'u'lláh - and I can see Him today, we were standing at the threshold of Bahá'u'lláh's Shrine, and Abdu'l-Bahá was chanting the Tablet of Visitation, and I stood behind Him about four paces, while He chanted this wonderful Tablet of Visitation; and then Abdu'l-Bahá said to Ruhi Afnan He wanted the rugs and things in the Shrine taken up and taken in to Akka. Well we didn't know why He was doing this, but we took up all those precious things that were in the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, and then we drove on to Akka and that evening for supper we stayed in the House of Abbud where Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Aqdas, the Book of Laws, and that evening at supper, the chiefs of the Druze came in with two of his sons, the chief was ninety-two, brought two of his sons in, and they were a very clean tribe of people in the Lebanon mountains. You can distinguish the Druze by their cleanliness, but the father, all during the table - the meal - was crying while Abdu'l-Bahá was talking to him and --- Abdu'l-Bahá was trying to comfort him, and I later learned that this father sensed that this is the last time he'd see Abdu'l-Bahá. They looked upon Abdu'l-Bahá as one of them, they felt that Abdu'l-Bahá had fulfilled the prophecies for them too. Well, dinner was over, and Abdu'l-Bahá embraced him and bid him goodbye,
Return to Haifa; Sunset on Carmel
and --- instead of going back on the train we rode back in this high buck-board wagon along the way of the sea, the Mediteranean Sea, and we were about half-way back from between --- Akka and Haifa, there was a beautiful sunset ???over Mount Carmel and I asked the Master if I could stop and take a photograph, and He said Yes, and we stopped the car and then I got one of the most wonderful shots of the sunset coming over Mount Carmel at the time. Then we drove back to Haifa;
and then Abdu'l-Bahá told me He wanted me to work two weeks on Mount Carmel, and two weeks in Bahji, so that I'd bring the lighting of the Shrines up at the same time, so that they'd be finished, so that they could turn the lights on on both Shrines at the same time; which meant I'd spend two weeks in Akka and then go back those two weeks to Haifa. Where were we?
Passing of Abdu'l-Bahá
27:36 Well during that - this is in November - one night, we were --- in bed, this is the middle of the night, someone banged on our door in the Western Pilgrim House and said "Get up! Get up! The Master! The Master!" and of course Fugita and Dr Lotfullah and I, we were so surprised, we were out of our room in no time flat, and went over to the Master's house to find out, and I walked into the room, the Master's room, and Dr Florian Krug was just closing the Master's eyes; He had just passed away. And you've read stories about the few minutes before He passed away, the daughter spoke to Him and asked Him if He wanted something to drink, and He said, You would ask me to drink when I am passing? The Master knew He was going, it was just as if He laid His coat aside and He passed away that quickly; and, of course, pandemonium broke loose when the Master passed, the people, if you've ever seen the Mohammadans, there was some of the Bahá'ís there wailing at the ??thing of that kind, there was just chaos around the hall, and I didn't seem to be affected by this; I loved the Master very much, but --- it didn't affect me emotionally; and I thought there was something personally wrong with me, and I was trying to affect this emotion, and while I was trying to think well I should affect this emotion, I got the thought came in, that no, this is the time to observe, so I looked around at what was going on, and to see everything that was there, and here was the Greatest Holy Leaf, the sister of the Master, and she was going around to this one and the other one, she took command and
Night Drive to Inform Akka Friends
[gap for tape switch: they drive to Akka to inform the friends] and we were all crying to at this thing and of course we went along the sand bar, I followed Khosraw and we got by all right and we got the next one, we got by the next sand bar, and we drove on to Akka and we informed the friends and Bahiyyih Khanum had told me to come back as quickly as possible, so we turned right round and started back, and we could see our tracks in the sand, so we didn't think it was necessary to find the sand bar, so I got over the first one all right, but when we came to the next one, the water had moved the sand bar and the Ford went down into the water, above the floor boards, and stalled the motor, rising everywhere out in the bay, and Fugita, you know, and Khosraw and I all jumped out to save the Ford ????? we just grabbed ??it's settling down in the sand, and we walked around the car and lifted one wheel up, and when they went to lift, went and bent over, their feet ??were flat out and they'd float in the water. Well this can't keep this up all night, so I sent Khosraw, who was very quick at running, down to find some fishermen, to have some fisherman --- and then Fugita and I kept going around, we were going around for a couple of hours, keeping the Ford from sinking, and this is early in the morning, and I knew these Arabs were fishing and throwing their nets out, and they were very husky men, and I could see them way down the coastline, they're fishing, and Khosraw ran down to get them, and as they came trotting back, you could hear their jabbing, ten or twelve of them coming running on the trot back along the seashore and they ran out in the water and they picked that Ford up bodily and carried it right onto the shore; and we cleaned the water out of the carburettor and drove back to Haifa.
Crowds in Haifa
And when we got to Haifa, there were thousands of people gathered around the Master's house there --- they came in from the villages for miles around, there were more than ten- twenty- twelve-thousand people around the city of Haifa at that time, and they had sent news to the High Commissioner in Jerusalem about the passing, and he sent word he would be there, and that morning, finally he came - you've seen pictures of the funeral --- in the old Stars of the West you'll see these sets of pictures that were taken; and as soon as the British High Commissioner came there, and the judges and other high officials of Akka came in to pay their respects, Abdu'l-Bahá's coffin moved out the door on the shoulders of the friends down the stairs just as if it floated on the air; and no group of people carried that coffin more than ten paces, they'd take it away from each other, that's the way they carried it, all the way down the steps and up Mount Carmel; and these were non-Bahá'ís that were carrying the Master's ???????? ?there; they took it away from the Bahá'ís; and when they got up the corner the Boy Scouts placed a Persian shawl on the casket, and a little further along the Boy Scouts placed a wreath on it, and finally they carried the coffin up Mount Carmel and they set it out on the table there, and there's where --- they gave those nine addresses about Abdu'l-Bahá. There was a Frenchman I remember, he was giving the eulogy about Abdu'l-Bahá and he says, "Don't weep for Abdu'l-Bahá, weep for those who He has left here." You remember if you read those nine addresses you'll see how wonderful they are, and he was so enthusiastic in talking about Abdu'l-Bahá that he started to fall off of the step - the stump, he was standing on the stump, speaking - and ??????????????? the same way back on the stump.
The Will; The Guardian's Response
Well, then of course, this passing of the Master was a terrific experience for the friends, no one knew what was going to happen to the Cause in those days, we had no idea of how the Cause was going to continue, and there were long days Shoghi Effendi was in London, and we knew there was a Will left by Abdu'l-Bahá, and no one knew what was in it, and so they waited for Shoghi Effendi to come back, and Shoghi Effendi arrived - it was about a month before he arrived, and when he arrived they opened - they read this Will - the Bahá'ís took/talked? about all day reading the Will and Testament of the Master, and Shoghi Effendi of course was appointed the Guardian in that Will; and this was a terrific shock to him, and he was ill for a couple of days, and he left Haifa --- two or three weeks after that and the Cause was in the hands of the Greatest Holy Leaf as you remember, you read that, she administers the Faith for that period that the Guardian was away. Well then these stories that Abdu'l-Bahá had told two or three days, we could see He had told us about His passing but none of us recognised it at the time.
The Caretaker Who Carried Abdu'l-Bahá
33:24 There was one - there was a caretaker of the Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel who was a big, husky man, and Abdu'l-Bahá had gone to him a couple of days before He passed and He said, I wish you could carry me away to a place where I could rest. Well, to the care- - to the gardener on top of the hill, He had told him - He had revealed the secret to him that He was going to pass, and He hadn't told anybody, but this man had been told where to open the floor of the Shrine for the body of Abdu'l-Bahá to be placed in the lower part of the Shrine, so he had opened the floor at that time, and I took a picture of this particular place, and when they lowered the coffin of Abdu'l-Bahá down through this opening in the floor, it was this man that Abdu'l-Bahá had told him to carry Him away to a place where he would rest, he was so strong, he bore the whole weight of that coffin as it was carried down through the floor some thirty or forty feet below the floor. So it's right in the direct centre of the Shrine of Mount Carmel, now, is where Abdu'l-Bahá is buried, and in the back three rooms in the centre is where the body of the Bab is - remains are buried.
Gardener Tries to End His Life
34:31 Then of course there was --- you may not had read this story, but I'll just tell you about it; the gardener who was taking care of Abdu'l-Bahá's garden was a very wonderful man, he saw Abdu'l-Bahá every day, and he just couldn't stand Abdu'l-Bahá's passing, and he went out up on Mount Carmel, and he went behind the Shrine of the Bab, and he cut his thoat from ear to ear, and he wanted to be sure he'd die, so he took his red turban and kept the blood bleeding to be sure he'd die; well Ruhi Afnan came running down to the Western Pilgrim House, and Dr Krug and I, and he told us about it and we jumped in the Ford and I drove up Mount Carmel to ?the back - we finally found him there, and Dr Krug raised his head like this and he was saying the Greatest Name; Dr Krug says this man will never live. We got him down the English hospital, the man recovered, and he went back to work, and he served the Guardian for many months after that; he lived. Now the sequel of this is, that many nights before that, Abdu'l-Bahá had been talking to us, and one of these nights where it was His custom to talk to us having had ???, about seven o'clock he had talked on suicide, and he said no one should ever take their life, because God never gave anyone a burden greater than they could bear, and this man was present who had taken his life, you know, cut his throat, and he didn't get away with it because he was healed, and he went back to serve the Guardian and passed away normally, working for the Guardian.
35:57 There were so many others, I was trying to think of some of the stories that came there.
[Indistinct question: Did he ever mention why he tried that?] Well the Teachings say that if we could actually see the next world - actually see the next world - there is nothing could keep us here. That God veiled us from the next step ahead of us so that we will fulfil the obligations and the job that we have here, and of course if one takes that step ahead of time of course the consequences of that step - the result that what would happen if one took that step ahead of time - because you would interfere with your destiny while you're living here.
Meetings in Abdu'l-Bahá's; Language of The Heart
We were out there... every night at seven o'clock, the men would meet in --- one of the rooms in Abdu'l-Bahá's house, and we'd sit around the wall and Abdu'l-Bahá would sit in the corner, and there might be twenty or more men there, you see, and they'd sit with their folded arms, they'd never speak unless Abdu'l-Bahá spoke to them, they were so happy to listen in a(/and) talk about the faith, and I used to sit on the wall opposite this corner, and this went on in Arabic or Persian, so I didn't understand much that was being said, but I always enjoyed being present while these talks were going on, and one evening he had the hall looked over and he said, Do you understand what is being said here? - in English - and I said, No Master, I don't; he says, Well your heart does, and the language of the heart is much more powerful than the language of words; so that you can see that - you sense when you talk to people, you don't have to say a word if you are really compatible and there's a real affinity between people, words are not necessary all the time. Riding all that way back from Haifa with the Master, He never said a word, but it was a wonderful experience just to be sitting along side me, riding back to Haifa.
37:52 I was a young man at that time, and we used to also - Sunday we used to go up at the Shrine of the Bab and sit in the front room where He would talk to us about the Faith; course this also was in Arabic, and there were a lot of things in the Faith that I was questioning, not that I doubted them, but that I couldn't understand them, and I would weigh these things in my mind, well I can't quite see this you know; this was the conversation that was going on in my mind, and while I was doing this, the thought passed my mind, Look up! and I looked up, and Abdu'l-Bahá was in the corner and He was looking directly at me, and He smiled and says, "Well I don't have any doubts", like that - He had caught my thought.
Lighting Turned On; Becomes a Lighthouse
38:32 And these things then, of course the Master had passed away, and I went back and finished the work, and when I finished the lighting of the Shrine, they were turned on at the same time - the one on Mount Carmel - I'd put a search light right on the Shrine of the Bab, that shone down Mount Carmel Avenue and a searchlight on the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, and the lights around the Shrine, you could see across, these two lights, and they hadn't seen electric light around that time, the children were so intrigued by this light they would play in the shadows of the searchlight on Mount Carmel Avenue, and? run up and down on the street; and it threw the ships off because the catholic monastary on the point of Mount Carmel wasn't bright enough, so actually the Shrine of the Bab became the lighthouse for the ships coming into the Bay of Haifa. [39:17] So they had to turn that light on at sunset to sunrise every night as a guide to the ships coming in to Haifa. So, actually, the Shrine of the Bab became a lighthouse for the ships coming in then.
Picture of Abdu'l-Bahá in The Coffin; Asked to be Destroyed
Well one day, the Greatest Holy Leaf had asked me at the passing of the Master if I'd take a picture of - I can understand why she didn't want a picture of Abdu'l-Bahá when He lay in the bed after His passing - and I had this Graflex and she'd called in the town photographer to take it, and he set up his camera, so I had to hold up over my head, so I got two very wonderful pictures of Abdu'l-Bahá as He lay there, and He had a green turban on - they'd placed a green turban on Him - because this green turban was - there was a tradition among the Muhammadans that the Great One will wear this green turban, and these pictures turned out wonderfully, and the photographer who took a picture, while he was looking at his plate to see if it was good it dropped out of his hand and broke in a number of pieces so he couldn't use it, well I had the two negatives; well when Shoghi Effendi came back, he said he heard I had these pictures, he asked me to come over to see him, and I went over, and he told me about these pictures, and I said do you want to see them? and he said no, he'd prefer not to see them, and he says he wish I would destroy them; so I said, all right Shoghi Effendi, I'll be glad to destroy them, but can I take them back and show them to Mr Wilhelm? And he says, Yes you can do that, and let me know when they're destroyed. So I took them back to West Englewood, New Jersey, with me and showed them to Mr Wilhelm, because I knew he'd be interested in all these things, and we looked at them, and then we burned them up together, and I wrote on the sheet that this was done, this file in the archive there at the West Englewood Assembly, and a copy of this was sent to the Guardian.
40:44 Then it came time for me to leave Haifa after about eight months there, and I had all - well I'll come back and tell you this story that comes to me, because I didn't tell this the other night, it's a very interesting one.
Fugita, this young Japanese boy, had been an associate of the famous Japanese actor that came to this country, Sosaya I think his name was; in California they were living together, their fathers had sent them to this country to go to school and neither one of them were going to school, they were taking the money and having a (??)have-I-all time! And Fugita met Mrs Goodall, Mrs Cooper, in California, and she gave them the Message. Well when she gave Fugita the message, Abdu'l-Bahá wrote him a Tablet, and these Tablets you can read there, where He speaks about - and He called attention to all the virtues that Fugita had, and told him that this knowledge that he had was much greater than ruling as the Micado of Japan, and Fugita read this Tablet and he tells me he says, This isn't me; but the Master was telling him it was him; and he says this was different, totally different to what I am, so I put the Tablet aside, and about two months later he got another Tablet from Abdu'l-Bahá, and he did the same thing with it; and a third Tablet came to Fugita about how wonderful he was, and so forth, and Fugita says, Well, he says, I'd better act on this, because something will happen, so he didn't tell the fellahs he was living with what he was going to do; he packed up his bags secretly, and went back to school and ??????? Michegan, to finish his schooling, and when Abdu'l-Bahá came to America he sent for Fugita and Fugita travelled across the country with Him, and He told Fugita to study certain subjects in ?????Manharbour and one day He'd send for him to come to Haifa. So Fugita did this faithfully, and --- after the War ended in 1914, He sent for - it was 1918 wasn't it ---- well anyway when the First World War ended, He sent for Fugita, and Fugita went to Haifa, and Abdu'l-Bahá put him in charge of the Western Pilgrim House, as a servant. He waited on, he cooked the breakfast for whoever was there, and every morning he'd have to go over and have tea with Abdu'l-Bahá, early in the morning, which was a wonderful thing, and he was a little fellah, and Abdu'l-Bahá had him get the dress of a Judge which would say he was a Mullah, which was this long white robe, with a white turban, and he --- told him to grow this beard, and this beard was what I call a moth-eaten beard because there were a few hairs here and a few hairs there, and Abdu'l-Bahá used to laugh at Fugita and get a great deal of happiness and joking with him; and the people all over the City of Haifa loved Fugita, they knew he was closely associated with Abdu'l-Bahá, and - but Fugita was quite worried, that here he had gone to college and prepared himself as Abdu'l-Bahá had told him, and Abdu'l-Bahá was having him do this work; so he had a whole trunk full of tuxedo and clothes of that time, and every once in a while in the room I'd see Fugita sit down on his trunk and he'd open that trunk up and he'd --- look at all those clothes, and this stuff and nowhere to go! So one day I --- needed some special wire in wiring the Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel, I didn't want to put this black wire with the porcelain ???plube to hold fast the wire on the inner of the Shrine, so I asked Abdu'l-Bahá if He'd let me go to Cairo and pick up some lead wire I could encase in the dome of the building so it would all be concealed and ???switches; and Abdu'l-Bahá says, Yes, you can take Fugita with him; He knew this would be something for Fugita and so we were delighted we were going to Cairo, Egypt, to find this material, and Fugita and I started out, and he took his tuxedo with him - because he was going to wear that tuxedo! Well we got off the train at pitch dark in Cairo, we didn't know where we were going to go, they hadn't told us where to go, we'd find some hotel, and we were talking, Fugita and I, talking in ?Bararo Station and it was dark together, and Fudge says - I call him Fudge - I said, Fudge, where do you think it is? I don't know, we'll walk up town and find some hotel; and while we were talking, some woman came over close to us, she says, Allah-u-Abha! And I looked around, and this was Mrs Norris of Western D.C. She had her two sons and her daughter with her; and she says, What are you boys doing here in Cairo? And I says, Well, we've come here to buy some material for Abdu'l-Bahá, and she says, Where are you going? Well we don't know, we're going up... You're going right with me! she said; so she took us to the Shepherd Hotel in Cairo; it's one of many hotels there; a bautiful hotel; and she got us a room, I'd say it was twice the size of this room, and in it was two big beds, and the bed was this high off the floor. Well, if you could see Fugita when we opened the door of that bedroom! We were sleeping in on beds at Haifa, that would just had a three-quarter inch mattress and boards, and mosquito around these iron beds. Fugita had been sleeping in those kind of beds for months; well when he looked - he was carrying the bags as we went through the door of the room - he dropped the bags right in his tracks, and he let out a ???waho and he took a nose dive right over the bed and landed in the middle of the bed and had fallen right off over it! And I stood looking at him, and here all I could see was this little head with a beard sticking out! And Mrs Moore told us to hurry up and come down to dinner she was going to get ready and come down to dinner in the hotel, and so after Fudge looked around and enjoyed this nice soft feather bed, he got out of bed, and he got dressed in his tuxedo and we went down to this magnificant dining room in the Shepherd Hotel, and of course all eyes were on Fugita, who was this little Japanese with this smartly dressed tuxedo and so forth, and he ushered us into a central table in the dining room and everybody was watching us, and pretty soon in comes the man with - he was sort of an advance guard of some person --- important person with a very colourful uniform on, he came over to the table and asked for Fugita, and he said there was someone out there - some Persian friend who wished to see Fugita; so Fugita got up and you know the Japanese bows very graciously to this man and he walks out there with everybody watching through the door, and as he stepped through the door of the dining room, some Persian grabbed him and lifted him right up and kissed his beard! This man had known Abdu'l-Bahá had always pulled Fugita's beard, and then this Persian who knew Abdu'l-Bahá had done this he just kissed this beard of Fugita, and then he put him down and talked to him, and Fugita wasn't at all embarrassed and --- of course this intrigued the people more to see what was going on. Well we finally had this visit over with, meeting a number of people, and we went back to Haifa and arrived back there;
Back in Haifa - Plans to Leave Without Money but is Given Some
47:32 and as I say then the time came for me to leave to go home, and I'd spent all my money, except enough to buy deck-passes from Constantinople [=Istanbul] - to Constantinople, from Haifa to Constinople; it's on the northern part of the Mediterranean, you know. And as all young men I felt that the world was my oyster, I could work to find my way to get back, and take a job in Constantinople and find enough money to get back home. And when I had made up to do this - I've got to come back and tell you about Fugita too, because it's another interesting story, but I'll go on to finish this one first - so I made up my mind, and I'd go to Constantinople and I'd earn enough money to get home from there; well after I did that, the Greatest Holy Leaf sent word to me to come over to the house - the sister of Abdu'l-Bahá - and I went in the room, and here we were in the room where the Master used to talk every evening, and the four daughters of the Master and the Greatest Holy Leaf surrounded me and I was right in the centre, and they began to tell me how much the Master would appreciate the work of lighting the Shrines and I was apologising for I enjoyed it, I wasn't in no hurry to do it, sort of thing, and finally one of the daughters says, And Kelsey, you need some money to return to America, and I said, Oh, no thank you, everything's been taken care of, I don't need any money, in fact... and the other daughter says, Kelsey, you need some money to return to America; I turned around, I says, No thanks I don't need any money, it's all taken care of. Then the Greatest Holy Leaf says, Kelsey, you need some money to return to America, and I said No to her too, but finally she reached out and she took my hand and she says, Kelsey, you need some money to return to America, and you must take this money; and I says, well, I didn't dare tell the Greatest Holy Leaf I couldn't take the money, so I said to her, Well, I'll take it on one understanding, if you'll let me return it when I get back home; she said, No, she says, this is the money for you to return to America. Then I had a ticket, and what I had and what she gave me landed me back in New York City, and I hadn't told anybody about that.
49:39 And then I'll come back and tell you this one of Fugita. When Fugita was so upset that he'd come over to Haifa and Abdu'l-Bahá hadn't used him and his talents that he thought that wasn't used, he just figured out, Well I just made a dope of myself, I've come over here, and he says, Maybe I've been fooled by coming to Haifa, he says, I'm going to go back home to America; and this was when Abdu'l-Bahá was living there; and when he decided he was going to pack up and go back to America, Ruhi Afnan came over to the Western Pilgrim House and he says, Fugita, Abdu'l-baha wishes to see you! So Fugita trots over to Abdu'l-Bahá's house, and he goes in the room, and Abdu'l-Bahá says, Fugita, what's the matter? Well, he says, When you were in America - This was Fugita: When you were in America, Abdu'l-Bahá, you told me to study certain things and when you needed me you'd send for me to come to Haifa and I'd come over here and all you're doing is letting me take care of the Western Pilgrim House, and I can't do any of my work as you were doing; and Abdu'l-Bahá smiled at him and said, Well, he says, Fugita, if I wish a mechanic, and I wish this, I can get any of these people but what you're doing is the work Abdu'l-Bahá wishes of you. Fugita says, That's perfectly all right with me, he says, even if I'm shining the Master's shoes, that's perfectly satisfying, and he never made a - he went right back to it and he was very happy there. He went to Japan for a while and later Shoghi Effendi sent for him, and now he's in Haifa now. But I had to laugh where/why? he was so concerned about going back to America.
51:02 Well those are some of the wonderful stories, there are many others I could tell you but it would take all night to keep on with it.
Shoghi Effendi Stories
Water Pump for World Centre
I'll tell you about our Beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi. I had met him there in 1921, right after he became the Guardian, and had several very nice visits with him, and then in 1953 - I'll come up before that - In Haifa - in New York City, as I had become a very close friend of Mr Wilhelm, Roy was always doing things for Abdu'l-Bahá, he was always doing the same things for the Guardian; and one day Roy said to me, he said, I want you to figure out a cost of a pump, because Ruhiyyih Khanum and I are talking about bringing water to the Shrine on Mount Carmel - the gardens around the Shrine of the Bab - I don't know anything about that, and he says, You work out the details and he says when you get this all worked out, and the price of the pump, he says, when we hear from Shoghi Effendi, he says, you buy the equipment and I'll pay you for it. So I corresponded with an engineer in Tel Aviv, and got the physical situation there --- where the ???elevases were - Abdu'l-Bahá had a well on his yard, it was 160 feet deep, that meant we had to lift water from this well some 300 feet up Mount Carmel to the gardens around the Shrine of the Bab, that's nearly 500 feet lifting of water, so I had worked out this plan and a kind of pump, a foolproof pump, so that they wouldn't have any trouble with it, and worked this out and got everything ready and we sat quiet. Well in the meantime Roy had contracted cancer and was practically dying with cancer, and a few days before he passed away, we received a cablegram from the Guardian, he did(n't?), this was North Level Main, now this was just conversation between Roy and I, at the time, about this pump, the Guardian knew nothing about it, we hadn't talked to the Guardian about it - I like to tell these stories because some people say Shoghi Effendi didn't know the ???scene the same way the Master did, so this cable came and Roy was so sick Hebe Struven, who was a sister of Lua Getsinger, she said Roy was so ill she got down and whispered this cablegram into Roy's ear, that was how ill he was, and he said, Hebe, you tell Curtis about it, he knows just what to do, and the next day he passed away. Well Hebe told me, she says, Don't come up here Curtis for the money, because Roy made no provisions to pay for that pump and you'd better not buy it. Well I says, Hebe, Roy told me to buy it so I'm going to buy it; she says, Well don't come up here for the money because there's no provisions for it; and I says nevertheless, I'll go and buy the pump; and I remember my wife says to me, Well how are you going to pay for it? I says, I don't know, but I'll buy the pump, that'll take care of itself. So I ordered the pump, knowing that I had 60/90 days to pay for it and I'd find some way to pay for it; and I sat quiet, and about two weeks after I bought that pump, Leroy Ioas who was then treasurer of the National Spiritual Assembly, he called me up from Chicago and I had my ????(office Mr Woolworth) going that time, and he said, Are you going to Haifa, Curtis? And I said, No, I'm not going to Haifa, I says, What makes you think I'm going to Haifa? He says, Well, you've got a very interesting cable from Shoghi Effendi! I said, What is it? Well, he says, he cabled us to send you ten thousand dollars! And now what do you want us to do with it? Well I says, Well if he said there's ten to me, you'd better send it to me! So the next day I got a certified check in the air mail for ten thousand dollars, and I didn't know what this was for, and so I --- opened up an account in the Irwin Trust Company there in the name of the Guardian and the National Spiritual Assembly and if anything happened they'd have the money. A couple of weeks went by, and I got a letter from the Guardian, and he said, This money he'd sent me would pay for the pump and other things he was going to buy; and from that point on he sent me about fifty thousand dollars to buy things, different times - floodlights and wire and paint, and everything that they did around the properties, on Mount Carmel, and at the Bahji;
Paying 600 Dollars
then one day I got a letter from the Guardian, and he says, Take six hundred dollars and go and pay this man - he gave me his name - no address, just the name of the man - and I can remember the date; I was talking to my secretary, she says, Well Curtis, how you going to find this man? It was something like Smith; it wasn't Smith, it was that kind of a name in the telephone book! So I says, we'll just go down the telephone book, and I went down the telephone book two or three times and says I think I'll call this man up; and I called this man up, and I says, do you know His Eminence Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, and he says, Yes - first man I ever called - I says, Well I have a message for you from him, could you come down to my office? And he said, Well I'm sorry Mr Kelsey, he said after I had introduced myself, I can't come down, I can't explain to you over the phone; but I'd like to have you come up to my office. Well I says I'll do that, and I got on the subway and went up to Sixth Avenue Forty-Sixth Street, and it was the diamond market up there, and I went up to the fifth floor of this building, and I went into a little room which was like a doctor's office, it was, because there was a lamp, and a reading table, and some magazines, and there was a door in the back wall with a peephole in it, and when I was in the room this man opened the peephole and he said, Just a minute; he closed the peephole and the door automatically opened and I went in this room; and the door automatically closed behind me and locked; and as soon as the door locked, he stepped out from another door and introduced himself and he pulled out a tray and in it he had 250,000 dollars worth of diamonds; and he says, This is the reason I couldn't come down to your office, because we transact our business here, and that's why it was behind locked doors; and he introduced himself and gave me some identification and I gave him the 600 dollars and I sent a letter to the Guardian, and never heard another word from him.
Impressions of the Guardian; International Conferences
So when they tell you that the Guardian doesn't know, then just remember that while the station of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani the Guardian of the Faith - this is a step down from Bahá'u'lláh to Abdu'l-Bahá to the Guardian and the robe is with the Guardian just the same, and the distance is great but the Spirit and the Power was there with the Guardian just the same; and I could tell you that Shoghi Effendi was such and such a height and things, so forth, this wouldn't give you any concept of who Shoghi Effendi was. I can only say to you that when you're in the presence of the Master or the Guardian, you were in your own home; you felt here was - this was your home, and such love went to anyone who sat in the presence of the Guardian if you couldn't but feel it, ?to know.
Pilgrimage; Fitting the Pumps; Institutions Described
57:21 One day he was talking to me - oh, then came 1953, and I'll close with this, I wrote to the Guardian and wanted to know if I could go to the Kampala Conference; you know he was asking us to take ???(these and/in) these International Conferences, and he wrote back and says, Postpone pilgrimage; and I hadn't been talking about a pilgrimage, but then a couple of weeks later I got a letter from the Guardian, he said he hadn't answered my letter right away because he felt I couldn't come; well if I had accepted the invitation and come on a roll, I couldn't've come because something came up in my business. But then Mrs Kelsey and I went in 1953 and I was sitting across from the table from Shoghi Effendi and I could see the same shoulders and the head, almost the personality of the Master as I looked at him, and he talked and acted in lots of ways, and he'd see and talk to you as if he's looking through the air and seeing what he was telling you about. He talked and described the International House of Justice and described the Institutions, and you could see it in (his) being as he talked how animated he was, you just hung on everything he said; well I went over there with the usual nine-day pilgrimage, the people were supposed to go, thinking I would be there for the nine days, and the second day Shoghi Effendi said, I'm going to extend your stay here; last time you were here was to put in the lighting of the Shrine, and this time it will be furnishing water for the gardens - and they'd kept that pump over there till I got over there and we set this pump up running pipes around and building a little reservoir carrying the water around the Shrine gardens of Bahji, and so forth; so that kept me there twenty six days, and when I looked at him, I saw him for twelve nights straight, and he never once talked to me about any calamity; he talked about the Institutions - the Divine Institutions - I wasn't interested in calamity, I was interested in the teachings, and he talked to me about the Local Spiritual Assemblies, how they would evolve, and how the International House of Justice would come into being, how the Institution of the Guardianship would come into being, how there would be an International School on Mount Carmel; and he gave me permission to copy a drawing that he brought to the table that night, of the World Centre as it will develop on the side of Mount Carmel, there will be... the first was the International Archives which we have up, then there will be a building which will house the papers and the material for the Station of the Guardianship, then there will be a school for the higher scientist, and then he says these other two buildings he had drawn, the Bahá'ís will know about those later on; and it was just wonderful the way he'd talk to us about the Faith, you could just see, one day, he said to me, he said, When people say to you that these Institutions, these Bahá'í [tape gap] and the Institutions that humanity has had in the past are manmade, and this is the first time in the history as you know of religion that we have institutions that are embodying the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, and he says there's a vast difference between a divine institution and a human institution.
60:30 So I think, friends, these stories will bring you closer to the central figures of the Faith and give you a glimpse of what the wonderful day we have the bounty of living in, and we can never be thankful enough or grateful enough for having been brought to the ???concepts of this revelation. The Master said that if we were to thank God a thousand times with every breath, we couldn't be grateful enough for having been given this message in this time.
On the Orchestral Inner Experience; Firmness and Friendship
61:10 Well I didn't tell you about that inner experience that I had; I was sitting at the table one night with the Master, and --- the conversation came up and He told me this music I had heard back in New York was the Music of the Kingdom, and it had caused my spirit to become awakened. Now you see when you get away from religion, I wasn't even ?affected - this is the thing that attracted my attention, and this is exactly what it did; it awakened my interest to the point where I understood what the Faith was; and I can honestly say after some fifty years in contact with the Faith, that each day as you live grows happier and more enjoyable and you look forward to the expanding of the Faith and the glorious things that are ahead for all of us and for humanity, and Shoghi Effendi said, You tell the friends in America that nothing can happen to them or to the Cause which isn't in its best interests, and that we should go ahead as if nothing was going to happen; so you can see that, if we act with this enthusiasm for the Cause and we stand on the two principles of firmness in the Covenant and love for the friends, this thing will attract other people to our effort, and we will be confirmed in the service to the Cause if we just keep those two facts in mind: firmness in the teachings of the Faith, which is the Covenant of God, and love and fellowship among the friends; and our Beloved Guardian has said nothing else will attract the people than (the) way this mirrors from us from our own inner life; we cannot fool people by taking the name Bahá'í; this is the day when it's impossible for a person to carry the name of religion without the action follows. Faith today as the Master said is conscious knowledge, plus the action - it's impossible to have action - the Faith - if the action doesn't follow.
62:49 So I'm very happy to be in your midst and I want to say to you that the Hands of the Cause, Goldsiers and Mr Khadem advise me to be sure and extend their love and appreciation to you, and they're praying for your efforts and they'll be very happy to hear my report as I give them back of meeting with the friends. We had a meeting just recently with the Hands of the Faith in the Western Hemisphere and all the Auxiliary Board members in the United States and Canada at the Temple last thirty-first of December and January first, and we spent these two days in consultation on the urgency of the hour where we are now, in - achieve the goals that are remaining in the next fourteen months to establish these Assemblies so that next year we will have our 300 Assemblies and all these goals; and Mr Khadem explained to us the meaning of the word Crusade, which was a very wonderful explanation we had, and he said the Guardian wasn't pleased with this word Crusade, but it was the only English word that was the equivalent of the meaning that was in Arabic which means Jihad which means Holy War, but this if we'd used Holy War in the West they'd misunderstood it, but what is meant by Holy War is to strive - to strive with ourselves to overcome every deficiency in our life, to crusade with our own lives, so that we reflect the qualities and as we Crusade with our own selves....... continues (64:10 to 71:10)