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Ministry of the Custodians:
An Account of the Stewardship of the Hands of the Cause 1957-1963

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice and Ruhiyyih (Mary Maxwell) Khanum

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Chapter 3






To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Germany and Austria
[Similar letters were sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies, outlining to each the outstanding goals still to be achieved.]
January 6, 1959

Dearly beloved Friends:
These days are swiftly passing, and once gone, can never be recalled.
Only fifty-two months remain of the Ten Year Crusade our beloved Guardian gave to us as his last trust.
The Community of the Most Great Name has won many significant victories, but numerous as these have been, tremendous tasks remain to be accomplished by the Bahá'í world during these fast-fleeting months.
In opening the fourth phase of the Ten Year Crusade, upon which we are now embarked, the beloved Guardian called for
an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society, coupled with a corresponding increase in the number of Bahá'í centres ...
Let us concentrate our minds and all our efforts on the achievement of these supreme goals.
The Hands of the Faith in the Holy Land have analyzed the situation now confronting the friends, especially in relation to the establishment of Local Assemblies, the bedrock on which the pillars of the Universal House of Justice must rest. On the German home front (excluding Austria) a total of at least twelve new Local Assemblies must be established before 1963, and those now existing must be strengthened and maintained, and many new localities must be opened to the Faith.
These are the original home-front goals set by our beloved Guardian when he launched the world-embracing Spiritual Crusade, and now in the remaining months of the Plan, these objectives become the most vital unfinished tasks, upon the accomplishment of which total victory in the Holy Crusade itself now depends.
The Local Assemblies which must be created are the particular responsibility of your Assembly, and the most urgent task before you is the development of promising groups into Assemblies and the opening of new centres An intensive teaching campaign should be inaugurated, aimed at a steady increase in the number of Bahá'ís in these localities, so


that the required number of Assemblies may be speedily formed and new centres created.
We therefore urge your national body to study this pressing problem immediately, and select for prompt action those localities or centres which are most promising. Pioneers should be sent, either from your own areas if they are available, or help should be sought from other national communities. Arrangements should also be made for travelling teachers to visit these centres continuously.
Experience in other areas has proved that a strong National Teaching Committee, with a membership largely centred in one locality, is the best instrument through which a National Assembly can work to carry a teaching plan through to a successful conclusion. When the time element is so important, such committees should be able to meet frequently, and constantly follow up and encourage the various projects and activities aimed at accomplishment of the goals. We suggest you review your present teaching structure to see if any changes can be made which will enable it to function more effectively. We give you an instance of what we mean by this. A National or Regional Teaching Committee (as the case may be) may meet once a month and consider its own plans. If it has to get approval for major projects or expenditures from the National Spiritual Assembly before the Committee can put the project into operation, there may be a lapse of not only some weeks, but even months. Such time gaps between a sound project for creating Assemblies and starting a teaching campaign can mean months are lost in reaching the all-important goals.
When you have consulted on ways and means of carrying out the urgent task ahead, please write to us in detail, giving all the facts, and your plans and suggestions.
In this critical and fate-laden period which lies ahead, all National and Regional Assemblies must constantly guard against the ever-present danger of becoming too much involved in administrative details. They must constantly encourage the friends to show individual initiative in teaching, and remind them that Bahá'u'lláh has made the teaching of His Faith the foremost obligation of every believer. Now more than ever before these divinely-ordained administrative institutions of our precious Faith must fulfil the supreme purpose of their creation, which is to serve as instruments for the spread of the Divine Teachings, and the establishment of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.
The time has come when we must surge forward as one victorious army of light, each and every one of us aspiring for more glorious service than ever before, with our minds, our hearts, our resources, bent upon the single purpose of winning the sacred goals of the Crusade.
What service could be more meritorious than sacrificing for the establishment


of the Universal House of Justice, and what demonstration of love and devotion to the Guardian could be more wonderful than achieving all the objectives of his Ten Year Plan!
We live at an hour of great destiny. We pray that each one of us may valiantly play his or her part until total victory is won.
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

To the Hands of the Cause throughout the World
March 17, 1959

Dearly beloved Fellow-Hands:
As Naw-Rúz approaches and we start a new Bahá'í year, our thoughts are very much with you all and we know yours are with us also. It is almost four months since we all parted after our meeting in Bahji and we know you are eager for some news of what is going on here at the World Centre.
The work has been pressing and we try very hard not only to keep abreast of current problems and correspondence, but to do creative work, in the spirit of the decisions which we all made last November during our second Conclave, regarding expediting the execution of the Ten Year Plan.
As you no doubt know, Ugo Giachery, is in Central America on the mission we arranged for him. His reports have been most illuminating and show clearly a number of things: That the Faith is firmly founded in the hearts of the local Bahá'ís that they need encouragement and mature teachers very much; that there must be an influx of pioneers from outside if they hope to accomplish their goals; and that some of the Assemblies which existed on paper, according to the survey we presented to you at Bahji do not in fact exist at all, as they have less than nine members in the community. The picture is both grave and encouraging; grave because wide-scale action is required at once, encouraging because of the spirit of the friends and the firmness of the foundation laid in these countries by so many self-sacrificing American pioneers.
Hermann Grossmann has recently left on his trip to South America, and we are eagerly awaiting his reports. We assume his experience and observations will be much the same as those of Ugo.
Enoch Olinga, is travelling extensively in West Africa and meeting with great success in the teaching work. The progress of the Faith in the Cameroons has been extraordinary, and he reports that in the past month and a half alone, over two hundred have been enrolled, and since the


beloved Guardian's passing over seven hundred have embraced the Faith there.
Already the results of Enoch's visit to the Maoris of New Zealand is bearing fruit. Recently, at the request of some of the Maori leaders that a distinguished Bahá'í should visit them and tell them more of the Faith, Collis Featherstone has made a special trip to one of their largest centres and met with a most encouraging response on the part of some of the chiefs as well as the people. The Teachings are now being studied there.
John Robarts, after consultation with us, has now given up his business and is devoting his full time to the African work. Musa Banani will soon have much more help from 'Ali Nakhjavani in carrying on his share of the work of the Hands in Africa. We hope that the full-time efforts of these three Hands will now produce a momentum in the continental teaching work which will, in conjunction with the plans being undertaken by the Regional Assemblies, witness the inauguration of that great wave of mass conversion the beloved Guardian said must take place during this second half of the Ten Year Plan.
The National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa wrote us so encouragingly about the possibilities of large-scale teaching in their area, if the funds were available, that we responded by sending them ten thousand dollars from the Memorial Fund of the beloved Guardian. You will recall that we assured the Bahá'ís that any sum over and above the amount required to erect the monument on his grave would be expended for the teaching work, so dear to his blessed heart, and the construction of the Temples. We believe this may enable the first great wave of mass conversion in Africa to take place at this time. For the teaching of the Africans in the area under the jurisdiction of the South and West Africa Regional Assembly, we have sent three thousand dollars from this same Fund.
Adelbert Muhlschlegel, on the eve of his departure for the Scandinavian countries, suffered another heart attack, but, thank God, is recovering satisfactorily from its effects. We hope he will soon be able to start his work in the North. Horace Holley likewise suffered another heart attack, but is at home again and able to go on with his work. Bill Sears, pursuant to our decision taken in Bahji has proceeded to the United States and commenced his important work there as a Hand serving in the Western Hemisphere.
When there are so few of us, it is most regrettable that illness should hinder us from carrying on our all-important and sacred work of seeing the beloved Guardian's Plan effectively prosecuted and consummated. News has reached us that some other Hands have not been well enough to travel and carry on their duties. We ask you to join us in praying that they may soon recover sufficiently to go about the work of Shoghi Effendi during this all-important year.


We feel it will encourage you to know that our dear Milly Collins and Mason Remey, in spite of advanced years, and the acute suffering of the former through arthritic attacks, are both with us, serving devotedly. Tarazu'llah Samandari, in response to our appeal, is now visiting many centres in Persia-in spite of his age and rheumatism which causes him much pain. The younger Hands of the Faith have every reason to be proud of the older Hands and their wonderful example of steadfastness and perseverance.
Although the correspondence from you is more frequent than last year, we still feel that, with a few exceptions, we are not getting enough reports from you indicating the status of the Plan in various countries, the state of the believers, and making any recommendations you may have in mind. Please remember that the more help we get from you here, the more we can assist in the execution of the various pressing tasks confronting the Bahá'í world, and the better our own work of coordinating and stimulating the activities of the believers can go forward.
The flow of pilgrims here has been steady, and the spirit they bring with them deeply touches our hearts and gives us new energy to struggle on with our own work. They take away with them, in their turn, new strength, vision and enthusiasm, and we hope, as the beloved Guardian wished, that they will carry out to the Bahá'í world a fresh impetus and stimulate the friends to arise and speedily accomplish his goals.
Generally speaking, the news received here indicates a stirring throughout the National, Regional and Local Assemblies and the rank and file of the believers in the direction of more active execution of the Plan. However, it is still moving at such a slow tempo as to alarm us. We cannot urge you too strongly to constantly remind the National Assemblies and the friends of the need for haste at this critical hour-days are slipping by unperceived, and now only four years remain to us in which to win this Holy Crusade! The formation of Local Assemblies, we all know, is a lengthy and difficult process. When we realize that most of these new Assemblies must constitute pillars of the new National Assemblies, which in their turn are the pillars of the Universal House of Justice, we begin to appreciate how little time we have not only to build them, but to build them solidly. We do not wish to see some of the Assemblies on which the new National Spiritual Assemblies are built, and which thus form indirectly the foundations of the Universal House of Justice, crumble away as soon as that august Body is established. We must remember how painstakingly Shoghi Effendi-the Sign of God-built, and how much importance he attached to laying the widest and firmest possible foundation for National Assemblies.
The response to our recent letter to the European and Latin American


Regional Assemblies, asking them to choose specific goal cities in which to establish Spiritual Assemblies at the earliest possible date, is bearing fruit, and we are beginning to get encouraging reports from them indicating progress in settling these vital goals.
In view of the extreme urgency for immediate action in the teaching field, and the fact that in most places lack of funds is perhaps the most serious impediment, we have allocated for this specific purpose and the settlement of pioneers three thousand dollars to each of the four Latin American Regional Assemblies, and a similar sum to the German, Benelux, Scandinavian and Italo-Swiss Regional Assemblies, as well as one thousand dollars to the Iberian Assembly.
Reports received here indicate that Board members everywhere are not travelling sufficiently, primarily through lack of financial support. We are therefore making available to the Continental Funds of the Hands the following sums to assist you all in carrying out your work more effectively:
Please, beloved co-workers, let us receive more news of your activities and more reports of the work and progress being made in your region.
We send you our most loving Naw-Ruz greetings and we shall be praying for us all in the holy Shrines on that great Feast Day of the New Year. In the service of the beloved Guardian,

To Annual Bahá'í Conventions

Dearly beloved Friends:
The most glorious Feast of the Bahá'í Year, the "King of Festivals", the Ridvan commemoration of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh, "Whose Day every Prophet hath announced" and for Whose advent "the soul of every Divine Messenger hath thirsted", is once more upon us, the second Ridvan since the passing of our precious, our most beloved Guardian. No report from the World Centre can ever take the place of the wonderful stream of inspiring words he poured out in his great messages to us at this


period, when so many of the believers gather together at the Annual Bahá'í Conventions, and which conveyed to us not only the soul-stirring news of the progress the Faith had made during the past year, but called us to new heights of service, rallied our spirits and refreshed our souls with his own great vision of the future. Much as we long for his presence, his words, his inspiration, his loving care, we must realize that what has been given to us no man can take away. What Shoghi Effendi showered on us for thirty-six years of his Guardianship, what he built into the Faith and into its followers' hearts all over the world, is a permanent creation and one that has become on the one hand a part of history, and on the other a part of our personal lives. We must show our gratitude to him in a mighty renewal of deeds. We must rejoice over the continuing evidences of the never-failing grace of Bahá'u'lláh which carries the work of His Faith forward in spite of every test, trial and crisis.
This past year has witnessed the steady onward march of the Cause of God in every field. When we recall how grievous and shattering was the blow we received in November, 1957, we cannot but marvel at the evidences, so clear for friend or enemy to behold, of the indomitable strength of this Cause which the Guardian knit so firmly together, and the foundations of whose Administrative Order he laid so securely during his lifetime that the earthquake of his passing neither shattered the unity nor shook the confidence of the Community of the followers of the Most Great Name. Let us bow our heads humbly in gratitude to the Author of our Faith for His protection and manifold mercies showered upon us during these days of supreme test and suffering.
The monument erected on the grave of the beloved Guardian was completed just two days before the anniversary of his passing; the gleaming pillar of pure white Carrara marble, resting on a base of three steps and surmounted by a Corinthian capital bearing a globe of the world, all of the same stone, rose up against the grey autumn skies of London, in its simplicity and beauty a befitting memorial to that great being who himself created so much beauty on the slopes of Mt. Carmel and around the Holiest Spot on this planet, the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh. Perched, as if about to take off in flight, or just settling from the skies, a gilded bronze eagle, the emblem of so many victories, crowns the monument. A dignified white stone balustrade, surmounted at the four corners by ornate stone urns, encloses the inner garden where the grave lies; adjoining this sanctuary, and constituting its approach, is a second larger garden surrounded by a red brick wall; a red path stretches from the two white steps leading down from the inner garden straight to the beautiful gilded wrought iron gates at the bottom of the second garden-which constitute the main entrance to the Guardian's resting-place. On either side of these gates two


cypress trees, reminiscent of the hundreds of cypress trees the Guardian himself planted in the Shrine gardens at the World Centre of the Faith, stand guard. Two lovely weeping holly trees, two white pedestals with white Carrara marble vases planted with flowers, decorate the grounds as one approaches, through this outer garden, that sacred spot where the Beloved of our hearts is laid to rest. Many hundreds of Bahá'ís have already made a pilgrimage to this shrine. Many hundreds of non-Bahá'ís have likewise visited it, drawn by the powerful spirit they feel there, attracted by what they see in the faces of the believers who come there to pray, and by the abundance of radiant flowers which constantly surround the foot of the monument.
The tribute of the believers has been completed outwardly, but the mighty, invisible tribute to his memory continues to be built. The friends will recall that when they were invited to contribute to the Memorial Fund for the erection of this monument, the Hands of the Faith stated that any sum received above that required to construct the monument itself and embellish its precincts would be spent to carry on the teaching work and erect the Temples he specified should be constructed during the Crusade. Sums have been received from the believers all over the world, and now that this blessed grave has been befittingly completed, we could think of no work dearer to Shoghi Effendi's heart at this time than that of the new teaching campaigns being launched in Africa, and aimed at that mass conversion he said in his last message to the Bahá'í world, should be undertaken as part of the work of the remaining five years of the Ten Year Plan. The first expenditure from this Memorial Fund was therefore made to assist some of the Regional African Assemblies in launching an intensive teaching campaign in those areas most receptive to the Faith; many of the African teachers are now travelling amongst their own people, financed from this Fund. What better memorial to Shoghi Effendi can be erected, now that his physical resting-place has been suitably completed, than this mighty spiritual one which will endure in the hearts of men and will help lay the foundation of the Kingdom of God in such distant and promising lands?
Aware of how eager the friends are to receive from the World Centre a report of the progress the Faith has made during the past year and the status of the beloved Guardian's world-girdling Crusade, we are happy to share with the believers attending the thirty-one Annual Bahá'í Conventions now being held in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Europe and the Pacific region the following truly inspiring news, which testifies so eloquently to the greatness and the enduring quality of the work Shoghi Effendi achieved during his lifetime, and over which, we firmly believe, he constantly and lovingly watches from on High.


The number of countries, islands and dependencies where the Standard of Bahá'u'lláh has been unfurled now totals two hundred and fifty-five, as a result of the settlement during the past year of a pioneer in Spitzbergen the one remaining virgin goal outside the Soviet orbit. This feat, achieved by the Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Paul Adams, brings the total number of new territories opened to the Faith since the inception of the Ten Year Plan to one hundred and twenty-seven.
At the end of the sixth year of the Crusade the number of localities included within the pale of the Faith has reached the impressive total of over five thousand two hundred, fulfilling the wish of Shoghi Effendi expressed in his last Ridvan Message that ". . . strenuous efforts must be exerted for the purpose of multiplying the existing groups and isolated centres in all the continents of the globe, ensuring thereby the early attainment of the goal of five thousand Bahá'í centres in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres." Such a signal achievement represents an increase of almost seven hundred centres since his passing, centres referred to by him as pivots of Bahá'í teaching and administrative activity, and which have more than doubled since the launching of the World Crusade in 1953. This truly remarkable reflection of the victories won under the divinely-guided leadership of our Guardian has brought the number of such centres in the Goal Countries of Europe to over a hundred and twenty, in Germany and Austria to a hundred and thirty-five, in Australasia and in Canada, respectively, to nearly a hundred and forty-five, in the British Isles to nearly a hundred and fifty, in the Indian sub-continent to almost a hundred and seventy, in Latin America to nearly two hundred and forty, in the entire Pacific area to over four hundred and fifty, in the African continent to nearly nine hundred and fifty, in Persia to more than one thousand and fifty, and in the United States of America to more than one thousand five hundred.
The most striking increases during the past year, and indeed since the ascension of the beloved Guardian, have occurred in Africa and in the widely dispersed countries and islands of the Pacific-the two areas whose competition for "the palm of victory" brought such happiness to his heart in the last years and months of his precious life.
The formation during the current Ridvan period of the new National Spiritual Assemblies of Austria, Burma, and Turkey, and the Regional National Spiritual Assembly of the South Pacific, as specified by the beloved Guardian himself, brings the total of these forerunners and future pillars of the Universal House of Justice to thirty-one, sixteen of-which are now incorporated, four having achieved this status during the past year. The total number of Local Spiritual Assemblies established throughout the world, and constituting, in the words of our Guardian, "the foundation of


a rising Administrative Order", is now nearly twelve hundred and seventy-five, almost two hundred more than the number reported in last year's Convention Message. Over two hundred of these are now incorporated. Included in the substantial number of recent new registrations is that of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Port Victoria, Seychelles Islands, as a result of an enactment by the Legislative Council, and the approval of the Articles of Incorporation of the Local Assembly of Nuku'Alofa, Tonga Islands, representing significant victories won in important islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, respectively.
The number of languages into which Bahá'í literature has been translated now totals two hundred and sixty-one, an increase of one hundred and seventy-two in six years, over ninety of which represent supplementary languages added since the inception of the Crusade.
The acquisition of the Haziratu'l-Quds in Caracas, Venezuela, and the endowment in Brussels, Belgium during the past year completes the list of such properties originally specified as goals of the Ten Year Crusade. In addition to these, located in the capitals and chief cities which are or will be the seats of the National and Regional Assemblies to be established by 1963, a significant number of Haziratu'l-Quds have been acquired in recent years as supplementary goals in such widely scattered and important cities as Apia, Samoa; Osaka and Amagasaki, Japan; Callao, Peru; Kuching, Sarawak; Algiers, Algeria; Rabat, French Morocco; Larache, Spanish Morocco; Bathurst, Gambia; Victoria, British Cameroons; Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia; Rembang, Indonesia; Solano, Philippine Islands; and six in Viet Nam, including Saigon and Tourane. A number of supplementary endowments and sites for future Haziratu'l-Quds have also been acquired, including properties in Morocco, the Canary Islands, Liberia, Basutoland, the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Malaya, the Philippines, and Brazil.
Although not specified as goals of the Ten Year Plan, the establishment of separate Bahá'í burial grounds has given increasing emphasis to the independent status of the Faith and added to its prestige in the many different places where such properties have been acquired in recent years, such as Dar-es-Salaam, Tanganyika; Nairobi, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda; Rabat and Meknes, French Morocco; Tripoli, Libya; Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia; Khartoum North, in the Sudan; Djakarta, Indonesia; Singapore, Malaya; and Ashiya, Japan.
The independent character of the Faith is further attested by the growing number of countries, states, provinces and other governmental subdivisions where the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate is recognized. Such recognition has now been granted in over forty different jurisdictions throughout the five continents, the most recent being Poona, in Bombay


State, India, and the Province of British Columbia in Canada. The Bahá'í Holy Days have been recognized by the educational authorities in nearly seventy countries, states or provinces, and cities. Noteworthy during the past year has been the achievement of such recognition throughout Japan, as a result of the inclusion of such a provision in the document incorporating the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia.
The original Crusade goal calling for the acquisition of eleven Temple sites was fulfilled more than a year ago, with the purchase of the site of the future Mashriqu'l-Adkhar Stockholm. In anticipation of the day when Bahá'í Houses of Worship will be built, not only in every continent, but in many different countries, the beloved Guardian included the purchase of additional Temple sites in the subsidiary Plans which he assigned to the new National and Regional Assemblies formed since 1953. Seventeen of these supplementary sites have now been acquired throughout the world, eight during the past year, in Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay and Uruguay in Latin America; New Zealand in the Antipodes; and in Tunisia on the northern fringe of the African continent.
The steady consolidation and expansion of the Faith in the Pacific area and in Africa continues to furnish striking evidence that the rapid spiritual awakening which began in those regions in the last years of the blessed Guardian's life is continuing.
In the countries and islands under the jurisdiction of the four Regional National Assemblies of Africa, the number of declared believers is approaching nine thousand. This area now has almost three hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies, with a substantial increase assured during the current Ridvan period. Two hundred and forty-three African tribes are now represented in the Bahá'í Community, an increase of forty-three during the past year. In Central and East Africa, the total number of believers has more than quadrupled in the three years since the formation of the Regional Assembly in 1956. In North West Africa, a gain of fifty percent has occurred since Ridvan 1957. In the British Cameroons alone over seven hundred new Bahá'ís have been enrolled since the ascension of the beloved Guardian. In the southern part of the continent, in Swaziland, The Paramount Chief's Council, the legislative body for the Swazi nation, has recognized the Bahá'í Faith as one of the religions that can be taught in that country, and one of the prominent tribal chiefs has encouraged the teaching of the Faith amongst his people.
In the Pacific, exclusive of Australasia, the area where the beloved Guardian said that Bahá'í exploits bid fair to outshine the feats achieved in any other ocean, and indeed in every continent of the globe", the number of centres has now risen to well over three hundred, seventy-four of which constitute Local Spiritual Assemblies. The ranks of the believers


in the Mentawai Islands alone have swelled to more than three thousand; in all of Indonesia, including Mentawai, the number of declared Bahá'ís has more than trebled since Ridvan 1957; and in Viet Nam the rate of gain has been even more striking. a seventh Bahá'í School has been opened in Mentawai, and two more schools have been established in Viet Nam in the past year. The extraordinary progress the Faith has made throughout the highly promising Pacific region has been markedly reinforced by the translation of Bahá'í literature into nearly seventy-five indigenous languages.
Throughout the Western Hemisphere, the Community of the Most Great Name now comprises over nineteen hundred Bahá'í centres In Central and South America and the neighbouring islands, where a total of twenty new National Spiritual Assemblies must be formed before 1963, there are nearly two hundred and forty centres sixty-five of which have their own Local Spiritual Assemblies. Since the beginning of the World Crusade, contact has been established with nearly sixty Indian tribes in North, Central and South America, of which nearly thirty are now represented in the Faith. The steady advancement in this field, to which the beloved Guardian attached so much importance, is evinced by the formation of the second all-Indian Local Spiritual Assembly in South America last Ridvan in Vilcollo, Bolivia. Among many other evidences of the expansion of Bahá'í institutions throughout the Americas during the past year may be mentioned the inauguration of the first Summer School in Alaska; the beginning of active publication by the newly-established Bahá'í Publishing Trust in Buenos Aires; the first dependency of the Mother Temple of the West, the Bahá'í Home for the Aged, was officially opened a few months ago, an event of undoubted historic importance exemplifying those institutions of humanitarian service which Bahá'u'lláh Himself specified should cluster about the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in every city-and demonstrate the spirit of His Teachings.
As the friends will recall, the beloved Guardian attached such great importance to the various teaching conferences and institutes held all over the world that he included an enumeration of them in his annual Ridvan Message. The following list of some of those held during the past year is most impressive, not only from the standpoint of the very large number of such gatherings which took place, but also in their wide geographical range.
The Conference held by the European Hands of the Cause in Brussels, Belgium, attended by their Auxiliary Board members and representatives of the National and Regional Assemblies of that continent; the National Teaching Conference in Blackpool, England; the Scottish Regional Teaching Conference in Glasgow; the Northern Ireland Regional Teaching


Conference in Bangor; and the Northwest Regional Teaching Conference in Manchester, as well as numerous week-end schools held throughout the British Isles; the teaching and study conferences held in the Benelux countries, in Charleroi, Liege, Antwerp, Brussels, and two at The Hague; the National Teaching Conference of France in Lyon, and of Italy in Rome, as well as the Swiss Teaching Conference in Bern; the Regional Teaching Conferences held in Germany, in Heilbronn, Wiesbaden, Tulungen, Koln, Darmstadt, Ludwigsburg, in Goppingen, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe and Ulm, as well as the three held in Nurnberg, and the two in Hannover; the teaching conferences held in India and Burma, in the cities of Rangoon, Devlali, Bangalore and Daidanaw, and in Colombo, Ceylon; the All-Pakistan Teaching Conference in Karachi; the many teaching conferences held throughout the length and breadth of the African continent and the surrounding islands, including two in Mauritius, one in Southern Rhodesia, four in South Africa, and one in the British Cameroons, in Tangiers, International Zone of Morocco, in Rabat, French Morocco, in Monrovia, Liberia, and in Mogadiscio, Italian Somaliland, as well as the seventeen week-end schools held in Central and East Africa; the Western Canada Summer Conference in Banff, the Maritimes Summer Conference in Shediac, New Brunswick, the Canadian Summer Teaching Conferences in Beaulac, Quebec, and in Ontario, as well as nearly twenty other teaching conferences held throughout the Dominion of Canada, from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia; the teaching conferences in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Ketchikan, the four major Bahá'í centres in Alaska; the Regional Teaching Conferences held in Rosario, Argentina, and in Quilpue, Chile, as well as the teaching conferences held in Asuncion, Paraguay and in Montevideo, Uruguay; the Teaching Conference of Venezuela in Caracas, the All-Brazil Teaching Conference in Jundiai, and the International School held in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; to which should be added the teaching conferences and week-end schools held throughout the United States, too numerous to mention.
The work at the heart and nerve centre of the Faith has progressed steadily during the period from last Ridvan. In November the plenary meeting of the Hands of the Cause was held, at Bahji -- the second since the sudden passing of the beloved Guardian forced upon the Chief Stewards of the Faith such crushing responsibility. The mighty institution of Bahá'í pilgrimage, which began in the days of the Manifestation of God Himself, has been reopened, and a steady stream of friends from East and West has poured into the twin Holy Cities of Haifa and 'Akka, to kneel at the Threshold of the sacred Shrines, to visit the historic sites located here, to gaze in reverence at the relics so carefully collected and preserved by


the beloved Guardian, to marvel at the beauty of the Shrine of the Bab. and the International Archives Building erected under his direction and according to his own matchless taste, as well as to enjoy the wonderful gardens he designed and created on the slopes of Mt. Carmel and in the plain of 'Akka, four thousand square metres of land on the ridge of Mount Carmel overlooking the resting-place of the Herald of the Faith, have been registered in the name of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Iran the sixty-six thousand square metres of land facing the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji negotiations for the purchase of which were carried out at the Guardian's instruction during his lifetime, have now been registered in the name of the Israel Branch of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, in accordance with his wishes; the third terrace at Bahji artificially created, and which enables the visitor to obtain an imposing view of the Holy Shrine and its gardens, was built according to his own plan on top of the two he had himself completed, and the strip of garden to the cast of the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh which he had planned to develop, was likewise completed, thus adding to the landscaped area at Bahji another four thousand square metres of garden; the visitors to the Bahá'í Holy Places in both Haifa and 'Akka, continue to pour in, the impressive number of over a hundred thousand having been received since last Ridvan. During the past eighteen months, six Hands of the Cause have acted as substitutes for those who were permanently selected to serve in the Holy Land, but were temporarily absent either on some special mission or for reasons of health; five of the Hands of the Cause have, at the request of the Hands residing in the Holy Land, undertaken special teaching missions to assist the friends and their elected representatives in areas where either the need, or the promise of results, was the greatest.
The last three of the five mighty Intercontinental Conferences, called for by the beloved Guardian at the midway point of the World Crusade, were held in Chicago, Frankfurt and Singapore, and proved the vehicles for a communion of heart amongst the sorrowing believers the world over such as had never before been experienced in Bahá'í history. Over six thousand of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh attended these Conferences, the greatest number being present at the one held in Europe on German soil, at which over twenty-five hundred Bahá'ís from Europe and Asia assembled; the next largest Conference was the one held in the heart of the North American continent, where almost two thousand were gathered, largely representative of believers from the Western Hemisphere; the African Intercontinental Conference, with the exception of some believers from Europe and America, and at which nine hundred friends assembled, was divided almost equally between African and Persian


believers; at the Asian Intercontinental Conference about five hundred Bahá'ís highly representative of the peoples of South East Asia and the North Pacific area, were able to view the portrait of Bahá'u'lláh, whose Faith they have espoused, and to have a share in the bounties of the Conference the beloved Guardian had called for them, whilst in far-off Australia an attendance of almost three hundred Bahá'ís some of them from such distant places as Japan, Persia and the United States, reflected the progress the Cause of God has made in the Antipodes.
At all of these Conferences, in spite of the deep shadow of sorrow upon them, the believers, mindful of the beloved Guardian's words, praised and thanked the Founder of their Faith for His manifold blessings; reverently viewed His portrait, sent to them for this purpose as an act of loving-kindness, by the Guardian himself, consulted on ways and means of rapidly achieving the remaining goals of the Crusade; reviewed its great victories to date and poured forth over half a million dollars in contributions and pledges for the building of the Mother Temples of Africa, Australia and Europe, and the general work of the Ten Year Plan. So great has been the response to the beloved Guardian's appeal to the friends to rapidly build these sacred Houses of Worship that the Kampala Temple and the Sydney Temple, the cornerstones of which were laid during the African and Australian Intercontinental Conferences, respectively, are expected to be completed before Naw-Ruz 1960, and a large sum is now available for the construction of the European Mother Temple.
There can be no doubt in anyone's mind, as we survey the status of the Cause of God six years after the inception of the World Crusade, that the most imposing and in many ways the most difficult part of its tasks were accomplished in the Guardian's own lifetime. One hundred and twenty-seven new territories have been included in the orbit of the Faith as a result of the departure of a veritable army of pioneers to all parts of the world. The Guardian, in the early years of the Ten Year Plan stated that this extraordinary achievement, "the most vital and spectacular objective of the Ten Year Plan", had been "virtually attained ere the termination of the first year of this decade-long, stupendous enterprise" through the opening of one hundred countries and islands. The dedication of two of the three Mother Temples called for in the provisions of this globe-encircling Plan will take place in the near future, and permission to build the third in Langenhain, near Frankfurt, has just been received from the County Council. All the Haziratu'l-Quds, all the endowments, all the Temple sites originally called for in the World Crusade have been acquired. The Bahá'í Publishing Trusts enumerated by the beloved Guardian have been established. The number of Israel branches of various National Spiritual


Assemblies to be formed in the Holy Land has been exceeded. The resting-place of the remains of the father of Bahá'u'lláh has been identified. Bahá'í women in Persia have been elected to the National and the Local Assemblies. The translation of Bahá'í literature into various languages has already exceeded the original objective set in 1953. Almost a third of the new National and Regional Assemblies which must be established before 1963 will have come into existence by the end of this Ridvan.
This impressive tally of victories cannot but lift the hearts of all the believers and fill them with fresh courage to arise and win the remaining goals of the Crusade, in the name and for the sake of their beloved Guardian. Although the work before us may be less spectacular than that already accomplished, there can be no doubt in anyone's mind that upon its successful conclusion depends the ultimate triumph or failure of the entire Crusade. It constitutes no less than the bedrock of future Bahá'í activities for centuries to come, for upon it depends the erection, on a firm and lasting foundation, of those new National Assemblies which are to be among the first pillars of that mighty institution of Bahá'u'lláh, the Universal House of Justice. The task is a two-fold one: In the republics of Latin America and the ten Goal Countries of Europe immediate action must be taken to reinforce and bring to Assembly status those groups which are at the present time the most promising nuclei for new Assemblies, and without the multiplication of which the new independent National Assemblies will lack the foundation the Guardian specified as prerequisites for their election. On the home front of such old and tried Bahá'í communities as Persia, the United States, Germany, Great Britain, Australia, India, Canada, Egypt and 'Iraq the same process must take place-promising groups must be immediately raised to Assembly status.
Careful consideration of the nature of the work facing the Bahá'í world during the coming four years reveals that the paramount need, one might almost say the sole need, is to raise a second glorious all-conquering army of pioneers, who will arise and go forth with the same rapidity, dedication and zeal as did that first glorious army in the opening years of the Crusade, and this time conquer, not new territories and islands, but new cities, towns and villages in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Asia, North Africa and the Antipodes. We feel the Bahá'ís should have placed before them a factual picture of the work to be done in this field: In the United States, termed by our Guardian the base for operations in every continent of the globe, a hundred and three new Local Spiritual Assemblies must be formed; in the Dominion of Canada, thirty-two; in Latin America, over twenty; in the British Isles, twenty-five; in Germany,


twelve; in the European Goal Countries, forty-five; in Persia, the Cradle of the Faith, a hundred and ten; in India, at least twenty-five; and in Australia and New Zealand, over twenty. This presents to each and every Bahá'í a tremendous personal challenge. Is he or she going to have a part, before it is too late, in the Guardian's Global Crusade, the purpose of which is primarily to lay that lasting foundation for the Universal House of Justice created in His Most Holy Book by Bahá'u'lláh? There is no longer time for hesitation, the sands of the Crusade are rapidly running out and with them each one's own great personal opportunity, never to recur. Every single believer must hold before himself the goal of either personally being responsible for the attainment of these objectives, through arising to pioneer himself, or through assisting his fellow-Bahá'ís to do so, and thus be instrumental in ensuring that by 1963 the followers of Bahá'u'lláh will be found in firmly grounded, well informed, actively functioning communities in every area where a National or Regional Assembly exists, and in many of the territories and major islands where His Cause has been established during the World Crusade.
We must face the fact that in Europe and Latin America where the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Plan requires that Regional Assemblies must be replaced by thirty-one National Assemblies, the needs of the various home fronts cannot be met locally. Bahá'u'lláh Himself has exhorted His followers to "Centre your energies in the propagation of the Faith of God. Whoso is worthy of so high a calling, let him arise and promote it. Whoso is unable, it is his duty to appoint him who will, in his stead, proclaim this Revelation, whose power hath caused the foundations of the mightiest structures to quake, every mountain to be crushed into dust, and every soul to be dumbfounded." The Hands of the Cause, mindful of these words, have recently proposed a joint deputization project to the Assemblies representative of the two strongest Bahá'í communities in the world, namely, Persia and America. The oppressed, steadfast and devoted Persian friends are ready and eager to go forth as pioneers in large numbers, but the barrier of language and many other complications such as obtaining visas for the countries where pioneers are required prevent them from doing so. The North American believers are, on the contrary, because of their citizenship, in a much better position to gain entry to these places so urgently in need of teachers and settlers; therefore this great joint undertaking, the first of its kind between the East and the West, has been set in motion, whereby the friends in the Cradle of the Faith can deputize their Bahá'í brothers and sisters who are, as the Guardian said, the spiritual descendants of the Dawn-breakers, to go forth and help win the Crusade. The Persian believers are now raising a fund to be transmitted through their National Assembly to the American National


Assembly for this express purpose. It is our ardent hope that a tremendous response will be forthcoming, and that the North American Bahá'ís mindful of the truly extraordinary role the Guardian himself has said they must play as "the champion-builders of a divinely conceived Administrative Order, the standard-bearers of the all-conquering army of the Lord of Hosts, the torch-bearers of a future divinely inspired world civilization" will arise in large numbers and place themselves at the disposal of the committee responsible for this mass migration, ere it is too late, and not only cover themselves with imperishable glory, but by doing so, share the lustre of this achievement and sacrifice with their devoted brethren who have suffered so much and so long in Bahá'u'lláh's native land.
No message from the World Centre of the Faith would be complete that did not call upon the pioneers, whoever and wherever they are, be they serving in foreign fields or on the home fronts, be they old or young, robust or in frail health, of the Negro, the white or the brown race, to remain at their posts at this critical hour. There can be no doubt that in the sight of Shoghi Effendi it was the pioneers who accomplished the most difficult tasks of the Crusade, and because of the sacrifices, the consecration and the enthusiasm of these devoted souls, one hundred and twenty-seven territories of the globe, as well as hundreds of cities and localities on various home fronts received the light of Bahá'u'lláh. The importance the Guardian attached to the opening of these virgin areas and to the work of consolidation in those countries already possessing National Assemblies cannot be sufficiently emphasized. How dear to his heart were the services the pioneers rendered! How he cherished each one labouring in this vast field, often at the cost of great personal sacrifice! It is not possible for us to describe the wistful sadness and the look of concern and care that would pass over his blessed face when he received news that a goal had been abandoned for whatever reason, and was lacking a pioneer. We therefore appeal to the friends to remain at their posts, however great the difficulties confronting them, and to persevere in this vital field of service in order to fulfil the wishes of their beloved Guardian and to gladden his spirit in the Kingdom on High.
It is, we firmly believe, the supreme duty of all National and Regional Assemblies to concentrate their undivided attention during this particular year of the Crusade on procuring new pioneers and settling them with no delay whatsoever in those spots where their presence in the chosen objectives abroad or in the goal cities of the various home fronts will enable new Assemblies to be formed next Ridvan. There can be no doubt that upon the success of such steps taken immediately depends the fortunes of our Guardian's Crusade, a Crusade which in its world-embracing scope, has carried the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá a mighty step forward in its


unfoldment, and which must inevitably lead to the spiritual conquest of the entire planet.
The financial resources of the Bahá'í world must be mustered and expended at this time for the attainment of this mighty purpose. We can do no better than appeal to each and every individual believer in the Guardian's own words: "Let them resolve, instantly and unhesitatingly, to place, each according to his circumstances, his share on the altar of Bahá'í sacrifice, lest, on a sudden, unforeseen calamities rob them of a considerable portion of the earthly things they have amassed."
Victories, however glorious, won in other fields, will be empty of their meaning if this most great victory is not achieved. Every follower of the Faith is aware of that great spiritual truth that God in His mercy and all-encompassing love does not require of His creatures something that He will not empower them to do. We cannot and must not fail. How many times have we been assured that the Concourse on High is ready and eager to rush forth and assist us to seize the palm of victory. Our Guardian never doubted our ability to accomplish the Plan he set for us; he entrusted it to our care and left this world, after so many years of sorrow and toil, for realms where his spirit could operate more freely. We cannot betray his sacred trust, we cannot disappoint the hopes he pinned on us or prove unworthy of the supreme confidence he showed us! Let us arise and win his Crusade and meet the challenge and fulfil the promise enshrined in one of his last messages: "The heights its champions must scale are indeed formidable. The pitfalls that bestrew their path are still numerous. The road leading to ultimate and total victory is tortuous, stony and narrow", he tells us. "Theirs, however, is the emphatic assurance, revealed by the Pen of the Most High-the Prime Mover of the forces unleashed by this world-girdling Crusade-that 'Whosoever ariseth to aid our Cause God will render him victorious over ten times ten thousand souls, and, should he wax in his love for Me, him will We cause to triumph over all that is in heaven and all that is on earth.'
"Putting on the armour of His love, firmly buckling on the shield of His mighty Covenant, mounted on the steed of steadfastness, holding aloft the lance of the Word of the Lord of Hosts, and with unquestioning reliance on His promises as the best provision for their journey, let them set their faces towards those fields that still remain unexplored and direct their steps to those goals that are as yet unattained, assured that He Who has led them to achieve such triumphs, and to store up such prizes in His Kingdom, will continue to assist them in enriching their spiritual birthright to a degree that no finite mind can imagine or human heart perceive."



Election of the Independent National Spiritual Assembly of Turkey
Ridvan 1959

To the First Convention of the Bahá'ís of Turkey

Beloved Friends:
The hearts of the followers of Baha'u'ah are uplifted in thanksgiving upon the occasion of the historic election of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Turkey. Next to the formation of the National Assembly of the Community of the Most Great Name in the Cradle of the Faith, and the National Assembly of the Bahá'ís of 'Iraq the land which witnessed the unveiling of the station of the Blessed Beauty, no country, with the exception of the Holy Land, is more deeply associated with the sufferings of the Manifestation of God, and the revelations of His grandeur, than this former stronghold of Islam, and one-time seat of the Ottoman Empire.
It is well for us to recall in the midst of our rejoicing that the fruit of this hour was watered with the very blood of the heart of the Divine Beloved. It was from the City of Constantinople that Bahá'u'lláh set out, in the dead of winter, for the "Land of Mystery" (Adrianople), that grievous city on the European shores of Turkey, which He Himself wrote, in His protest to the Sultan against the wanton cruelty and injustice of this further exile, is a "place which none entereth except such as have rebelled against the authority of the sovereign". "They expelled us", He declared in the Suriy-i-Muluk, "from thy city (Constantinople) with an abasement with which no abasement on earth can compare." "Neither My family, nor those who accompanied Me had the necessary raiment to protect them from the cold in that freezing weather." "The eyes of Our enemies wept over Us, and beyond them those of every discerning person." The twelve-day journey over the blizzard-swept countryside was but the prelude to the years of the greatest sorrow in His life, when the "most great separation" took place and "the most grievous veil" was torn asunder-the "Days of stress", as He characterized them, when His faithless brother, whom He designated the "Most Great Idol", openly defied Him, calumniated Him, humiliated Him and finally made the attempt on His life which left its marks upon His health until the end of His days. It was in Adrianople that He wrote to one of His friends: "The cruelties inflicted by My oppressors have bowed Me down, and turned My hair white. Shouldst thou present thyself before My throne, thou wouldst fail to recognize the Ancient Beauty, for the freshness of His countenance is altered, and its brightness hath faded, by reason of the oppression of the infidels. I swear by God! His heart, His soul, and His vitals are melted!"


The crises of Adrianople, however, gave rise to evidences of the incomparable greatness of the Faith and the glory of the station of Bahá'u'lláh. It was in Adrianople that the believers began to be known as Bahá'ís that the greeting "Allah-u-Abha" was first used, that the pilgrimage to the Presence of the newly revealed Manifestation of God began, that the Proclamation of the Faith took place, and it was there also that the majority of the challenging and mighty Tablets to the Kings and Rulers of the world were revealed. Therefore we see how great is the blessedness of this country, which the beloved Guardian often stated is under the direct shadow of the Holy Land itself, and which is now to receive, after the lapse of almost one hundred years, the crowning blessing of its own National Spiritual Assembly.
The friends gathered at this first Convention held on Turkish soil, are particularly blessed in that the beloved Guardian himself, during the last days of his life, made note that in 1959 the election of this pillar of the future Universal House of Justice should take place. As the Turkish Community emerges into its independent national Bahá'í life, it carries therefore a special gift of confirmation from the Guardian of the Faith, and the knowledge of this added bounty must gladden the hearts of all those present on this memorable occasion, and encourage the members of the new Assembly to arise to great heights of service in their stewardship of the affairs of this glorious Faith in that country so dear to the hearts of all the believers the world over.
It is quite evident that the first concern of this new national body must be to protect the Faith. The greatest wisdom and circumspection must guide them in their management of Bahá'í affairs. They must likewise constantly remember that to their care must be entrusted some of the most sacred sites in the entire Bahá'í world, located and purchased at the instigation of the beloved Guardian himself, protected with such great difficulty and at the cost of so much effort and self-sacrifice, and to which he attached the greatest importance.
The most important task confronting the new National Assembly is undoubtedly the teaching work; all efforts in this field should be carried out in conformity with instructions already given by the beloved Guardian himself, in previous messages to the friends who undertook this mighty service to the Cause of God. With what eagerness the beloved Guardian encouraged the pioneers to establish Assemblies in every one of those blessed and historic centres through which the Abha Beauty passed on His way to Constantinople; how much he rejoiced when news reached him of the settlement of one of these towns and the formation of a group or Assembly. It is as if he had visualized the map of Turkey with a pathway winding across it-the journey of Bahá'u'lláh-pricked out in


lights, each light an Assembly shining in His Name and radiating the splendour of His Faith. To keep these lights burning, to enkindle new ones, to increase their brilliance, is the foremost duty of the new national body. Its members must likewise constantly bear in mind that the beloved Guardian enjoined all pioneers and all travelling teachers to concentrate their attention on confirming the native people of the land; any community in which the local people do not comprise the majority of the Bahá'ís is a community whose foundations are insecure. The Persian pioneers, who heeded the appeals of the beloved Guardian, left their homes, and sacrificed so much in order to diffuse the Teachings of the Blessed Beauty throughout that land, must concentrate all their efforts on winning over the hearts of the Turkish people; they must learn their language, become a part of the life of that country, adopt its ways and thus predispose a naturally reserved and conservative people to listen to the Divine Glad-Tidings of which they are the bearers.
The newly elected National Spiritual Assembly of Turkey should, we feel, form a supplementary Four Year Plan for the purpose of swelling the number of believers in that historic land, in accordance with the instructions of the beloved Guardian; consolidating the work already achieved; markedly increasing the number of Spiritual Assemblies, groups and isolated centres throughout the country; incorporating, if circumstances permit, the new national body as well as those Local Assemblies which are firmly grounded; expanding the translation of Bahá'í literature into the Turkish language, in anticipation of the time when publishing can be undertaken; initiating if possible a Bahá'í summer school; completing the purchase of a suitable site for the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar to be erected in Constantinople; and inaugurating an independent National Fund.
Well knowing the difficulties that confront it and the enthusiasm with which its newly elected members plan to carry forward the work of our glorious Faith in that promising region, a land so infinitely blessed and rich in promise, we are placing at its disposal in the name of our most beloved Guardian the sum of one thousand dollars as an inaugural gift to the new National Fund. We feel sure this reminder of the constant love of Shoghi Effendi of the high hopes he cherished for the future of the Faith there and the rapid unfoldment of its institutions under the aegis of this new national body will serve to stimulate the friends to shoulder a greater measure of responsibility, to rise to fresh heights of service and self-sacrifice and to prove worthy of all the blessings showered upon them by that wonderful being who served them with such selfless and self-sacrificing devotion for thirty-six years.
As the Turkish Bahá'í Community enters this new phase of its development, which marks its coming of age in the Administrative Order of the


Faith, we cannot but recall those prophetic words of Bahá'u'lláh: "... this Youth hath departed out of this country and deposited beneath every tree and every stone a trust, which God will 'Erelong bring forth through the power of truth." Already some of those sacred "trusts" have been found, the establishment of the Turkish National Spiritual Assembly doubtless being one of them. That many more of these inestimable bounties of Bahá'u'lláh may soon be brought to light, and the country which witnessed some of His greatest moments of agony blossom in the Faith like a goodly tree and bring forth in days to come the full harvest He planned for its people, is the ardent prayer and hope of every believer.
Let those whose future is now associated with this new phase of the development of Bahá'u'lláh's mighty Faith in that land recall the glorious promise enshrined in His words: "Whoso openeth his lips in this day, and maketh mention of the name of his Lord, the hosts of Divine inspiration shall descend upon him from the heaven of My name, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. On him shall also descend the Concourse on High, each bearing aloft a chalice of pure light." "Arise, therefore, and, with the whole enthusiasm of your hearts, with all the eagerness of your souls, the full fervour of your will, and the concentrated efforts of your entire being, strive to attain the paradise of His presence, and endeavour to inhale the fragrance of the incorruptible Flower, to breathe the sweet savours of holiness, and to obtain a portion of this perfume of celestial glory." "I swear by God! That which hath been destined for him who aideth My Cause excelleth the treasures of the earth."
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

Election of the South Pacific Regional National Spiritual Assembly
Ridvan 1959

To the First Convention of the Bahá'ís of the South Pacific Islands

Dearly beloved Friends:
On the occasion of the historic formation of the South Pacific Regional National Spiritual Assembly the hearts of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh are uplifted in thanksgiving for this great victory which testifies to the progress of His world-encompassing Faith and to the powers He has released in this age, which will inevitably enable mankind to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth foretold by the Prophets of God in past Dispensations.
This latest achievement in the promulgation of the Divine Plan revealed


by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself, and set in motion by our beloved Guardian through successive detailed plans, cannot but release untold blessings in that area of the world so dear to his heart and which absorbed so much of his attention during the last years of his life.
In the darkest period of the First World War, 'Abdu'l-Bahá called upon the members of the North American Bahá'í Community, in His Tablets of the Divine Plan, to "travel through the three great Island groups of the Pacific Ocean-Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, and . . . with hearts overflowing with the love of God ... deliver the Glad Tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people." The first results of His ringing appeal were witnessed in the opening of Australia and New Zealand to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, the carrying of His Message to the Society Islands and the formation of a strong community in Hawaii, thus establishing a bridge of centres stretching from San Francisco to Sydney, and paving the way for the tremendous victories which have been won in this area under the direct guidance of the beloved Guardian during the first six years of his ten-year globe-encircling Plan. With the inception of this World Crusade in 1953 and the allocation amongst the National Spiritual Assemblies of America, Canada, Persia and Australia of the major islands and island groups of the Pacific, the teaching work began to stride forward at a formidable pace. Pioneers from the older communities poured into the Pacific region and it is primarily due to the dedication, perseverance, self-sacrifice and initiative of these consecrated souls that this first Convention is being held just one year after the passing of the midway point of the Crusade. Great as is this fruition of their labours, we must not forget for a moment that the greatest achievement we are witnessing on this happy occasion is the fact that the delegates chosen to elect this first Regional Pacific Bahá'í Assembly are representative of the peoples of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia who have become afire with the love of Bahá'u'lláh, embraced His Faith and risen to establish it in their home islands. This is the glorious victory of our beloved Shoghi Effendi the realization of his hopes, the consummation of his plan for this part of the world.
The extraordinary progress made throughout the Pacific region is evident to all, and must be a great source of pride and joy to those gathered together during these blessed Ridvan days to hold their first Annual Convention. Let us recall some of the milestones that have led up to this crowning event: Your National Headquarters, the seat of your Assembly, has been purchased according to the beloved Guardian's own Plan and your national Bahá'í endowment, registered in the name of the Suva Assembly and likewise situated in Fiji, has been acquired as one of the goals of that same Plan; the rapid spread of the Faith in the Gilbert and


Ellice Islands, which led to the establishment of the first Bahá'í school in the entire Pacific area, on land contributed by one of the Gilbert Islanders and built through the efforts of the Bahá'ís themselves; the founding of the second Bahá'í school in this region-which has recently completed its new building on its own land-in the New Hebrides; the construction in Samoa of the first local Haziratu'l-Quds of the South Pacific and the holding there of a Bahá'í summer school; the large and rapidly increasing number of Spiritual Assemblies, groups and isolated centres which have been established in such widely-scattered areas as Tonga, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Samoa, the Solomons, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, the Cook Islands, the Loyalty and Marshall Islands and Fiji, all of which will now come under the guidance of their own Regional Assembly; the many translations of Bahá'í literature into the languages spoken throughout these island groups-when we recall all these evidences of the onward march of the Faith, our hearts are lifted up in thanksgiving to Bahá'u'lláh, Who made these victories possible, victories which bear eloquent testimony to the great spiritual promise this area of the globe holds for the future and lead us to believe that 'Erelong its peoples will contribute, in the World Bahá'í Community, a particular, unique and important share to its counsels and render it great services in both the teaching and administrative fields.
The words of the beloved Guardian, so often reiterated in the last years of his life, that the continent of Africa and the Pacific Islands were vying with each other for the palm of victory in the teaching field, are still ringing in our ears. We have recently seen during the visit of an African Hand of the Faith to that area how electric is the effect produced on the minds and hearts when a representative of a different race, from a distant land, travels amongst Bahá'í communities of another region. It forecast that happy day when Bahá'í teachers from the great ethnic groups of the Pacific will arise and travel to the far comers of the world, teaching the people the Glad-Tidings of this Divine Message, exchanging visits with their African brethren and, like bees in a garden of flowers, pollinating the hearts of men the world over with the love of Bahá'u'lláh.
The new Regional Assembly of the South Pacific should, we feel, form a supplementary Four Year Plan for the purpose of rapidly swelling the number of the adherents of the Faith throughout the area of its jurisdiction; consolidating the historic work already achieved in these newly opened territories; markedly increasing the number of Spiritual Assemblies, groups and isolated centres in the ten island territories which it represents; incorporating, whenever possible, those Local Assemblies which are firmly grounded; multiplying the translations of Bahá'í literature in the languages spoken in that region; founding additional local


Haziratu'l-Quds, Bahá'í schools and summer schools; purchasing the site of the future Mother Temple of the South Pacific to be erected in Suva; and inaugurating an independent National Fund.
Well knowing the difficulties that confront it and the enthusiasm with which its newly elected members plan to carry forward the work of our glorious Faith in that promising area, we are placing at its disposal, in the name of our most beloved Guardian, the sum of one thousand dollars as an inaugural gift to its new National Fund. We feel sure this reminder of the constant love of Shoghi Effendi of the high hopes he cherished for the future of the. Faith there and the rapid unfoldment of its institutions under the aegis of this new Regional Assembly, will serve to stimulate the friends to shoulder a greater measure of responsibility, to rise to fresh heights of service and self-sacrifice, and to prove worthy of all the blessings showered upon them by that wonderful being who served them with such selfless and self-sacrificing devotion for thirty-six years.
You are now launching the barque of your own independent administrative existence. Although the American National Assembly -your Mother Assembly -will always be ready to give you advice and assistance, and although your fellow-Bahá'ís all over the world will surround you with their loving thoughts and moral encouragement, your destiny is nevertheless now in your own hands, the hands of the peoples of these islands who have become Bahá'ís and who are the electors of this historic Regional South Pacific Assembly. We feel confident that, just as you have already produced from amongst yourselves many Bahá'í teachers, you will in the future, with the help of the devoted pioneers who have come to live amongst you, ever increasingly carry on your own work, and teach this Faith to the people in hundreds of the larger islands throughout this area. Your activities will gladden the soul of our beloved Guardian, vindicate the confidence he placed in you and the high hopes he cherished for your future, and attract upon you the blessings of the Author of our Faith.
We can do no better than recall some of Bahá'u'lláh's gem-like utterances when He appealed to His followers to arise and teach His Faith: "Be unrestrained as the wind, while carrying the Message of Him Who hath caused the Dawn of Divine Guidance to break. Consider how the wind, faithful to that which God hath ordained, bloweth upon all the regions of the earth, be they inhabited or desolate. Neither the sight of desolation, nor the evidences of prosperity, can either pain or please it. It bloweth in every direction, as bidden by its Creator." "0 ye beloved of God! Repose not yourselves on your couches, nay bestir yourselves as soon as ye recognize your Lord, the Creator, and hear of the things which have befallen Him, and hasten to His assistance. Unloose your tongues, and proclaim unceasingly His Cause." "Blessed is the spot, and the


house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified." "Please God ye may all be strengthened to carry out that which is the Will of God, and may be graciously assisted to appreciate the rank conferred upon such of His loved ones as have arisen to serve Him and magnify His name. Upon them be the glory of God, the glory of all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth, and the glory of the inmates of the most exalted Paradise, the heaven of heavens."
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

Election of the Independent National Spiritual Assembly of Burma
Ridvan 1959

To the First Convention of the Bahá'ís of Burma

Dearly beloved Friends:
The hearts of the believers all over the world rejoice with you on this glorious occasion of the formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Burma. Many have been the blessings showered upon this Community, from the inception of its existence over four score years ago, blessings which began with the arrival of Jamal Effendi who journeyed to India and Burma in 1875 at the command of the Blessed Perfection Himself, to carry the Message of God to its peoples. You have never ceased to be under the watchful and loving care of the Supreme Manifestation, of the Centre of His Covenant and of the Guardian of His Faith. After the setting of the Sun of Truth, the beloved Master constantly fostered your development and encouraged you through the Messages He sent you, through Tablets revealed to the early believers amongst you, through the dispatch of travellers and teachers, from both the East and the West, through the honour He conferred on the Mandalay Bahá'ís of being permitted to construct the alabaster sarcophagus for the remains of the Primal Point in which they are now laid to rest on Mt. Carmel. It was in the days of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, almost sixty years ago, that the Illumined and dedicated teacher of the Cause, Siyyid Mustafa Rumi carried the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to Daidanaw, which became the first all-Bahá'í village in the world outside the Cradle of the Faith, and was a great source of joy to the beloved Master.
After His Ascension, the beloved Guardian continued to shower that same love and care upon you. How often he praised the activities and


spirit of the friends of Burma to Bahá'ís of other lands, extolling you as examples of purity of heart and steadfastness, encouraging many teachers to visit you, giving you a special objective of your own-namely, the formation of your National Assembly in the World Crusade. How greatly he grieved to learn of your sufferings during the war, the destruction of the Bahá'í school and Haziratu'l-Quds in Daidanaw, the assassination of some of the believers, the wide-scale spoliation that took place, and particularly of the ruthless murder of your beloved teacher, Siyyid Mustafa Rumi, that "distinguished pioneer", that "high-minded and noble soul as he so beautifully characterized him, whom he elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause, whom he affirmed had attained the station of martyrdom, and whose resting-place he declared was the "foremost shrine" of the Burmese Bahá'í Community. And last but not least, how blessed you have been to have had the date for the election of your historic National Assembly fixed by the beloved Guardian himself just a short time before his passing.
Gathered in this first historic Convention of your own, your hearts no doubt turn in praise and thanksgiving to Bahá'u'lláh for these manifold and repeated evidences of His love and His all-encompassing grace. The formation of the Burmese National Spiritual Assembly must inevitably witness a new quickening in the Community of the Most Great Name there, and release forces which will enable the friends to spread the Faith much faster in their native land.
As the community emerges into independent national Bahá'í life, the thoughts of its elected representatives must turn to the mighty tasks that lie ahead. It is our conviction that the beloved Guardian would wish the members of the new National Spiritual Assembly of Burma to formulate a supplementary Four Year Plan in order to carry out, within their own area, the general provisions of the World Crusade. They should purchase, however modest in size, a plot of land in Rangoon to serve as the site of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the capital city of Burma; they should concentrate the efforts of all of the believers on carrying forward an active and comprehensive teaching plan, aimed at the establishment of new Assemblies and groups, the multiplication of isolated centres and above all, at increasing at a rapid rate the number of Bahá'ís in their native land; they should carefully consolidate the historic work already most painstakingly achieved in a period of almost four score years; they should make every effort to translate and print a wider range of the literature of the Faith in order to reinforce their teaching work and strengthen the friends in their understanding of the fundamental verities underlying the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh; they should plan and hold Bahá'í summer schools for the education of the believers and close contacts; they should take the steps


necessary to incorporate the new national body, as well as those Local Assemblies which are firmly established; and they should immediately inaugurate a National Bahá'í Fund to finance the work of the Cause in Burma, and encourage the followers of the Faith to support this essential Bahá'í institution.
Well knowing the difficulties that confront this new Assembly and the enthusiasm with which its elected members plan to carry forward the work of our glorious Faith in that promising region, we are placing at its disposal in the name of our most beloved Guardian the sum of one thousand dollars as an inaugural gift to its new National Fund, We feel sure this reminder of the constant love of Shoghi Effendi of the high hopes he cherished for the future of the Faith there and the rapid unfoldment of its institutions, will serve to stimulate the friends to shoulder a greater measure of individual responsibility, and to rise to fresh heights of service and self-sacrifice.
We know from the words of the Founders of our Faith that all Asia must be set ablaze with the fire of this supreme Revelation given to mankind at the time of its coming of age. We feel sure that the Burmese Bahais -- members of a nation which forms a bridge between the peoples of the Indian sub-continent and the teeming millions of Mongolian extraction who are as yet, for the most part, unaware of the existence of this glorious Cause, and are in sore need of its life-giving teachings-will play their part in spreading the Faith, not only amongst their countrymen, but amongst the peoples of those countries lying eastward and southward of their homeland.
Let each one recall the touching and wonderful words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá when He voiced His longing to teach His Father's Faith and expressed the hope His followers might arise and accomplish it in His stead: "O, that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of 'Ya Baha'u'l-Abha in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it." "Whosoever ariseth to aid Our Cause", is Bahá'u'lláh's Own emphatic promise, "God will render him victorious over ten times ten thousand souls, and, should he wax in his love for Me, him will We cause to triumph over all that is in heaven and all that is on earth." "Let trust in God be his shield, and reliance on God his provision, and the fear of God his raiment. Let patience be his helper, and praiseworthy conduct his succourer, and goodly deeds his army. Then will the Concourse on High sustain him. Then will the denizens of the Kingdom of Names march forth with him, and the banners of Divine guidance and inspiration be unfurled on his right hand and before him."



Election of the Independent National Spiritual Assembly of Austria
Ridvan 1959

To the First Convention of the Bahá'ís of Austria

Dearly beloved Friends:
On the occasion of the holding of the first Austrian National Convention in the city of Vienna, our thoughts inevitably go back not only to the many associations this capital city has had with the progress of our Faith on the European continent, but to its historic past as a meeting point, down through the centuries, between East and West. During His visit to the occidental world 'Abdu'l-Bahá travelled to this city and blessed it with His presence; from that time until this day of spiritual victory it has been the object of the solicitous care and interest of both the Master and Shoghi Effendi -- an interest which culminated, during the last days of the Guardian's life, by his noting that in Ridvan 1959 the National Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Austria should be elected. The Community in this country has therefore received a special blessing and impetus from Shoghi Effendi himself on the eve of its independent existence as it takes its place among the family of National Assemblies responsible for the organized work of the Cause of God, and the election of that Supreme Administrative Body which, we confidently hope, will come into being as the culmination of all Bahá'í endeavours exerted during the Ten Year Plan, and thus worthily crown the glorious global Crusade inaugurated by our beloved Guardian.
Many are the tasks which must face this new national body. Hitherto the Austrian Bahá'í Community has received its main impetus from its sister community in Germany; it has shared the same National Assembly, been served by the same committees, been financed from the same fund, and partaken of a joint community life. Now the new National Spiritual Assembly of Austria must shoulder independently its own load of responsibility, guide its own affairs, appoint its own committees, establish its own National Fund. This presents at once a tremendous challenge to its members and a glorious opportunity to vindicate the hopes cherished for it by the Guardian.
Undoubtedly the primary obligation of this new body is in the teaching field. Due to the self-sacrificing efforts of a great many pioneers-the vast majority of which are of Persian extraction-the formation of this Assembly has been made possible and its foundation, the Local Spiritual Assemblies, been firmly laid. A wonderful spirit of dedication to the Faith and obedience to the call of the Guardian for pioneers characterizes the Austrian Bahá'í Community, but in spite of this great spiritual vitality, its


position is not as strong as it should be because the majority of the believers are not native Austrians. If the political situation in the world changes, if the antagonism of the ecclesiastical powers becomes focused on the Cause at this critical stage in its development there, the devoted pioneers and settlers from abroad may find themselves forced to leave, the painstakingly erected new pillar of the Universal House of Justice be suddenly undermined, and the work of half a century placed in jeopardy. It is therefore evident that the first and paramount duty of the new National Spiritual Assembly is to concentrate its attention on teaching the Faith to the Austrian people and reversing the present precarious situation in which they constitute the minority instead of the majority of the Bahá'í Community in that country.
The National Spiritual Assembly of Austria should, we firmly believe, formulate a supplementary Four Year Plan for the purpose of consolidating the work already achieved; rapidly increasing the number of adherents of the Faith among the Austrian people; founding new Assemblies and groups, as well as isolated centres incorporating as soon as feasible the new national body, and those Local Assemblies which are firmly grounded; registering the site of the future Mother Temple of Austria in the name of the National Assembly; and inaugurating an independent National Fund.
Well knowing the difficulties that confront it and the enthusiasm with which its newly elected members plan to carry forward the work of our glorious Faith in that historic country, we are placing at its disposal in the name of our most beloved Guardian the sum of one thousand dollars as an inaugural gift to its new National Fund. We feel sure this reminder of the constant love of Shoghi Effendi of the high hopes he cherished for the future of the Faith there and the rapid unfoldment of its institutions, will serve to stimulate the friends to shoulder a greater measure of responsibility, to rise to fresh heights of service and self-sacrifice, and to prove worthy of all the blessings showered upon them by that wonderful being who led us from victory to victory with such selfless and self-sacrificing devotion for thirty-six years.
The bonds of long and close association with the sister community of Germany must not be severed; on the contrary these two great German speaking countries should continue to cooperate in the teaching work, in the field of Bahá'í publications, and in the tasks allotted to them by the Master, as well as the Guardian, at the time when they formed one unit, namely, the propagation of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh not only throughout Europe but particularly in the Balkan area and eastwards into the Russian zone of influence and the Soviet Republic itself.
In their constant efforts to propagate the Cause of God in a land that forms a meeting place between East and West, where ancient customs


and new philosophies meet, and where they must seek to attract people from all walks of life, the members of this community can find no better guidance than in these inspiring words of their Guardian: "They must be neither provocative nor supine, neither fanatical nor excessively liberal, in their exposition of the fundamental and distinguishing features of their Faith. They must be either wary or bold, they must act swiftly or mark time, they must use the direct or indirect method, they must be challenging or conciliatory, in strict accordance with the spiritual receptivity of the soul with whom they come in contact, whether he be a nobleman or a commoner ... a layman or a priest, a capitalist or a socialist, a statesman or a prince, an artisan or a beggar. In their presentation of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh they must neither hesitate nor falter. They must be neither contemptuous of the poor nor timid before the great. In their exposition of its verities they must neither overstress nor whittle down the truth which they champion, whether their hearer belong to royalty, or be a prince of the church, or a politician, or a tradesman, or a man of the street. To all alike, high or low, rich or poor, they must proffer, with open hands, with a radiant heart, with an eloquent tongue, with infinite patience, with uncompromising loyalty, with great wisdom, with unshakeable courage, the Cup of Salvation at so critical an hour, to the confused, the hungry, the distraught and fear-stricken multitudes, in the north, in the west, in the south and in the heart, of that sorely tried continent."
Bahá'u'lláh has promised them victory; let them go forward with His assurance in their hearts: "This is the Day in which God's most excellent favours have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things." "This is the Day whereon the Ocean of God's mercy hath been manifested unto men, the Day in which the Day Star of His loving-kindness hath shed its radiance upon them, the Day in which the clouds of His bountiful favour have overshadowed the whole of mankind." "Speed ye forth from the horizon of power, in the name of your Lord, the Unconstrained, and announce unto His servants, with wisdom and eloquence, the tidings of this Cause, whose splendour hath been shed upon the world of being."

JUNE 7,1959




JUNE 14,1959


To the Hands of the Cause throughout the World
June 30, 1959
Beloved Co-workers:
As you know, it is the responsibility of the Custodians to call the


Annual Meeting of the Hands of the Cause. After prayerful consultation we have selected the period of October 23 -- November 1, 1959 (both dates inclusive) as the time for this year's Conclave.
This is just a brief notice to enable all of you to make your plans. Later we shall send you a suggested agenda for this important meeting.
With our warmest greetings and loving prayers,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,
To the National Spiritual Assemblies formed during Ridvan, 1959
September 2, 1959

Dear Bahá'í Friends:
Shortly after the passing of the beloved Guardian, the Hands in the Holy Land, acting upon the advice of our attorney, secured from each of the National Assemblies then in existence a letter recognizing the body of nine Hands serving in the Holy Land as the supreme body of the Faith, pending the establishment of the Universal House of Justice.
We enclose a photostat of a legal document, signed by the twenty-six Hands of the Cause present at the Conference in the Mansion of Bahji in November, 1957, setting up the body of nine Hands to act on behalf of all the Hands of the Cause, under the legal title "The Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith".
Our attorney advises us that we should have a similar letter from each new National Assembly after it is formed. We therefore request that your Assembly adopt such a resolution, which should include the following sentence:
We pledge our full support, faith and allegiance to the body of the Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith selected by the Hands of the Cause.
This should be incorporated in a letter sent to us by your Assembly, signed by the Chairman and the Secretary.
The names of the nine Hands originally chosen appear on the photostat enclosed. The Custodians are empowered to call upon any of the other Hands to serve temporarily as a substitute for those unable for the time being to be present in the Holy Land.
Please keep the enclosed photostat in a safe place, but we ask you not to display it or give it general circulation.
With warm Bahá'í love,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,




To the Hands of the Cause of God throughout the World
September 11, 1959

Beloved Co-workers:
Enclosed is a suggested agenda for this year's Annual Meeting of the Hands of the Cause. The Custodians have prepared this tentative list of subjects in order that all of the Hands may give prayerful thought, in advance of the meeting, to the many matters upon which we must consult.
For obvious reasons this agenda should be kept completely confidential, and we request each of you to take special care that only the Hands themselves see it, or have knowledge of its contents.
We look forward to seeing you all in Haifa next month, and eagerly await the opportunity of consulting on ways and means of winning all the goals of our beloved Guardian's Plan.
Meanwhile we send you our warmest greetings and loving prayers.
In the service of the beloved Guardian,






Local Assemblies
Formation of National Spiritual Assemblies
Other Unfinished Goals

The Custodians
Functions of the Hands
Auxiliary Boards
Travel of Hands

To the National Spiritual Assemblies Formed in Recent Years
October 8, 1959
Dear Bahá'í Friends:
In connection with the plans formulated by your Assembly for the progress of the work in your area during the remaining years of the Crusade, we would like to call your attention to the fact that, although the beloved Guardian himself encouraged some of the Assemblies elected after the commencement of the Crusade to purchase Temple sites, he made it amply clear that such Temple sites should be in the nature of token purchases of land.
In other words, it is not necessary at the present stage of the unfoldment of the Faith all over the world, when the principal objectives of the World Bahá'í Community are to spread the Cause of God and establish new Assemblies and national bodies, that the Temple sites purchased be considered permanent in nature. A small area-even as little as two or three acres-would fulfil this goal for the time being. It could be purchased for a modest sum, and at a future date, if the situation were suitable, it could be added to by further purchases of land, or the original plot could be sold or exchanged, and a better site obtained by the believers.
We feel that it is very important for the elected representatives of the Bahá'ís to bear this instruction of the beloved Guardian in mind, so that the limited financial resources of the Faith can be used during the remaining


years of the Crusade for the attainment of those objectives which are absolutely essential and were specified by him in the Ten Year Plan.
With warm Bahá'í greetings,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

P.S. It should also be clearly understood that the financing of supplementary goals such as Temple sites must be assumed by the National Assemblies to whom these goals were assigned, without calling upon outside sources.

OCTOBER 9,1959




To All National Spiritual Assemblies
November 7, 1959

Beloved Friends:
Enclosed is the Message sent by the body of the Hands of the Cause of God to the Bahá'ís of East and West from their third historic meeting in the Holy Land.


The vital decisions announced in this communication, affecting the course of Bahá'í history for centuries to come, will be such a source of joy to all the friends in your area that we ask you to share it with them immediately through your News Letter, or otherwise.
We are confident that the friends everywhere will now arise to make still greater sacrifices in the path of service and, with renewed zeal and dedication, carry forward the Holy Crusade of our beloved Guardian to total victory, and that glorious consummation which is promised for 1963.
With warm Bahá'í love,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

From the Hands of the Cause to the Bahá'ís of East and West
Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh
Bahji 'Akká, Israel
November 4,1959

Beloved Friends:
The Hands of the Cause gathered in the precincts of the holiest spot on the entire planet have, after long and prayerful deliberations, made plans embracing those final steps which they feel must be taken by all the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in East and West in order to bring to a successful conclusion the World Crusade of our beloved Guardian.
Alarmingly little time is now left to us in which to accomplish his design. Well aware of the fact that this great Faith of Bahá'u'lláh stands in sore need of the erection of that infallible and supreme legislative Body which in the words of the Centre of the Covenant Himself "God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error", and which the Guardian said "posterity will regard as the last refuge of a tottering civilization", we have fixed the date for the election of the Universal House of Justice as Ridvan 1963, coinciding with the termination of our glorious World Crusade and the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh.
As we look back over the past two years which have elapsed since that unforgettable and heart-breaking moment when we realized our beloved Guardian had been taken from us, we cannot but marvel at the protection which has been vouchsafed this Holy Cause. As one man the


believers have rallied to the support of their Faith, closed their ranks, stood firm in the hour of supreme test and arisen to carry forward the World Crusade. The enemies of the Cause have been powerless to harm it, so complete has been the unity between the Bahá'ís of the world, so strong the confidence and support with which they have surrounded the Hands of the Cause. The numerous properties and resources of the Faith have been completely protected; the Government authorities of the State in which the World Centre is situated have acknowledged the stewardship of the Faith as represented by the Hands of the Cause serving in the Holy Land on behalf of the Chief Stewards; the National and Regional Assemblies have supported, assisted and worked in the closest cooperation with this nucleus of Hands resident at the World Centre; a great wave of pioneers unprecedented since the inception of the Crusade, has arisen and is even now beginning to pour out to those goals most urgently in need of settlers and teachers; the Temples, so dear to the heart of the beloved Guardian, are in two continents rapidly reaching completion, and in a third, plans for its erection are now at long last being implemented. Profoundly thankful and encouraged as we are for these manifold blessings showered on us from on High in our hour of greatest darkness and need, we are nevertheless aware that from this instant until the end of the World Crusade there can be no rest for any of us if we are to achieve the goals of the Crusade.
We have therefore formulated the following plan of action which will enable the Bahá'í world to establish the Universal House of Justice in 1963, and which we now share with our fellow-believers.
We call for the election in Ridvan 1961 of the twenty-one National Spiritual Assemblies of Latin America which will constitute some of the pillars of the Universal House of Justice in that region. This historic decision is based on the fact that we have every reason to hope and believe that the devoted band of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in those countries will succeed during the Ridvan period of 1960 in forming those Spiritual Assemblies required of them by our beloved Guardian in the specific provisions he laid down for them in the World Crusade. Reports we have received from the Hands of the Cause who have visited those countries during the past year, as well as from the four Regional Assemblies responsible for the work in that area, have convinced us the time is ripe to make this joyous announcement to the Bahá'í world. We therefore urge the two Regional Assemblies of South America and the Regional Assembly of Central America as well as that of the Greater Antilles, in collaboration with the Hands of the Cause in the Western Hemisphere and the National Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, to concentrate their attention, during the remaining months of this Bahá'í year, on


ensuring that those Local Assemblies which form the bedrock of these future national bodies may be formed next April.
In studying the world-wide state of the Ten Year Plan, we have been forced to realize that the election of the eleven independent National Assemblies which must, in accordance with the Plan of the Guardian, be established in the European continent before the end of the Crusade, is much more difficult and presents a greater challenge than is the case in Latin America as the Local Assemblies must be quadrupled rather than doubled. We have therefore set the date for the election of these European national bodies for Ridvan 1962. It is our conviction that with constant and concentrated effort and sacrifice, our objectives can be accomplished there and the requisite number of Local Assemblies be brought into being by Ridvan 1961. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ceylon will likewise be elected in 1962.
With the formation of these national bodies, and we trust, circumstances permitting, of the two others specified in the provisions of the Ten Year Plan, a wide and representative foundation for the Universal House of Justice will have been laid.
We are also happy to announce that another milestone in Bahá'í history will be reached with the election of the International Bahá'í Council during Ridvan 1961. The embryonic institution established and so highly extolled by the beloved Guardian will thus enter its final stage preceding the election of the Universal House of Justice. The members of all the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í world, duly constituted in Ridvan 1960, will take part in a postal ballot to elect nine members to the International Council. This International Bahá'í Council is to work under the direction and supervision of the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land, serve a two year term of office, and cease to exist upon the occasion of the election of the Universal House of Justice. All the Bahá'ís of the world, men and women alike, are eligible for election. As the Chief Stewards of the Faith are wholly occupied with specific tasks assigned them by the beloved Guardian and perforce assumed since his passing, they should not be considered for election to this Council. Two of the functions originally allotted to the Council by the beloved Guardian, namely, to forge links with authorities of the State in which the World Centre is situated, and to conduct negotiations related to matters of personal status with civil authorities will still be discharged, and to them are added the following: To assist the Hands of the Cause in the care of the properties at the World Centre, and in the establishment of the Universal House of Justice; and in any other functions which the Hands may assign from time to time.
We wish to assure the believers that every effort will be made to


establish a Bahá'í Court in the Holy Land prior to the date set for this election. We should however bear in mind that the Guardian himself clearly indicated this goal, due to the strong trend towards the secularization of Religious Courts in this part of the world, might not be achieved.
At this turning-point in the Crusade when all our forces must be unitedly concentrated on winning its goals, the friends should not be deflected from the vital tasks confronting them by discussion of such subjects as can only be considered when the Universal House of Justice is established. Therefore we feel it is necessary to recall the words in the Proclamation we sent out after the passing of the beloved Guardian: "When that divinely-ordained Body comes into existence, all the conditions of the Faith can be examined anew and the measures necessary for its future operation determined in consultation with the Hands of the Cause." This includes the subject of the Guardianship.
Aside from the pressing demands of the world-wide work of the Faith which must be met and administered from the Holy Land, and which require so much attention on the part of the Chief Stewards, plans are being formulated for the Hands to travel to various countries and lend the National Spiritual Assemblies their personal assistance during the months immediately ahead and indeed until the end of the Crusade. These plans include visits to the Cradle of the Faith, where the vast majority of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh reside, to the Bahá'í communities in the United States and Canada, who constitute the chief prosecutors of the Divine Plan, to the Latin American countries where by 1961 so many National Assemblies must be formed, and to Europe, where another eleven of the future pillars of the Universal House of Justice must be erected by 1962.
In addition to these plans, the Hands, pursuant to the wishes of our beloved Guardian, are contemplating a much more intensive and wider use of the Auxiliary Board members in carrying out the work of the World Crusade, and a much closer cooperation between the Institution of the Hands and the National Spiritual Assemblies.
The importance of the plans made for the election of these National Assemblies as well as that of the International Bahá'í Council cannot be overestimated, because the above plans constitute the end of a forty-two-year-long prelude to that glorious consummation which will take place with the election of the Universal House of Justice in Ridvan 1963. Through the creation of this mighty Institution, the Formative Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, will have entered a now stage in its development; the thirty-six years of Shoghi Effendi's heart-breaking, self-sacrificing ministry will bear one of its fairest fruits, and that wondrous prophecy of Bahá'u'lláh be fulfilled: "Verily this is the Day in which both land and sea rejoice at this announcement, the Day for which have been laid up


those things which God, through a bounty beyond the ken of mortal mind or heart, hath destined for revelation. 'Erelong will God sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the people of Baha) who have been mentioned in the Book of Names."
On the eve of the great victories which lie ahead and which we will befittingly celebrate on the occasion of the "Most Great Festival", the "King of Festivals", the "Festival of God" Himself, let us recall the glorious appeal and promise in these words of our Guardian: "Dearly beloved friends! ... Ours is the duty to fix our gaze with undeviating attention on the duties and responsibilities confronting us at this present hour, to concentrate our resources, both material and spiritual, on the tasks that lie immediately ahead, to ensure that no time is wasted, that no opportunity is missed, that no obligation is evaded, that no task is halfheartedly performed, that no decision is procrastinated. The task summoning us to a challenge, unprecedented in its gravity and force, is too vast and sacred, the time too short, the hour too perilous, the workers too few, the call too insistent, the resources too inadequate, for us to allow these precious and fleeting hours to slip from our grasp, and to suffer the prizes within our reach to be endangered or forfeited. So much depends upon us, so pregnant with possibilities is the present stage in the evolution of the Plan, that great and small, individuals, groups and Assemblies, white and coloured, young and old, neophytes and veterans, settlers, pioneers, itinerant teachers and administrators, as isolated believers, as organizers of groups, and as contributors to the formation of Local or National Assemblies, as builders of the Temple, as labourers on the home teaching front ... all, without exception and in every sphere of activity, however modest, restricted, or inconspicuous, must participate and labour, assiduously and continually, until every ounce of our energy is spent, until, tired but blissful, our promised harvest is brought in, and our pledge to our Beloved fully redeemed."
[Signed as follows]
RúhíyyihA. Furutan
Amelia CollinsZikrullah Khadem
Leroy IoasWilliam Sears
Horace HolleyJohn Robarts
Sh. AlaiJohn Ferraby
Ugo GiacheryJalal Khazeh
Adelbert MuhlschlegelEnoch Olinga
H. Collis FeatherstoneAgnes B. Alexander
Paul E. HaneyTarazu'llah Samandari
A. Q. FaiziM. B. [Musa Banani]
Hermann GrossmannHasan M. Balyuzi


To All National Spiritual Assemblies
December 4, 1959

Dear Bahá'í Friends:
Since the passing of our dearly beloved Guardian, we feel ever increasingly the necessity of protecting the many invaluable instructions and interpretations which he gave to the Bahá'ís all over the world during the thirty-six years of his Guardianship. No copies for the most part were kept by him of his letters, whether written in handwriting or typed by his various secretaries. This includes the precious postscripts on these letters which were written in his own handwriting.
This sacred reservoir of his guidance must be preserved for posterity, and we feel no time should be lost in making fresh appeals to the believers to send immediately either the original letters they have received from Shoghi Effendi regardless of subject matter, or authenticated copies to your National Assembly for preservation in your archives.
We would like you to send a duplicate copy or the original, whichever you prefer, to us of any material of this nature you receive, so that it can be preserved in the International Archives here.
We also take this opportunity of asking your Assembly to take immediate steps to see that all copies of his letters to your body are forwarded to the World Centre for our information and for careful preservation here.
We know that in many cases in the history of our Faith, words of supreme importance regarding the conduct of its affairs were written by the Founders of our Faith, the Master and the Guardian in letters to individuals and Assemblies. Now that the time is drawing near for the formation of the Universal House of Justice, all material available pertaining to the Cause, its direction, the interpretation of its teachings etc. is urgently needed for future reference. We request you therefore to start collecting such material yourself at once and send copies on to us as soon as possible.
With loving greetings,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

To the Hands of the Cause of God and the National Assemblies of the Bahá'í World
December 22, 1959

Dearly loved Friends:
Forty months are left to us to finish our beloved Guardian's holy Crusade. In these months that lie immediately ahead we have to bend


every effort in order to achieve that supreme task. Time is swiftly passing, and every moment of these fast-fleeting days is immeasurably precious. That which stands supremely important over and above everything else, to which we must look every day of the year until the appointed time is reached, is the fulfilment of the goals of the Ten Year Crusade.
Forty years ago in the darkest days of the First World War, the Master revealed the Tablets of the Divine Plan. The beloved Guardian laboured over thirty-six agony-laden years to raise the Administrative Order and make it a fit instrument for the implementation of the Plan which the Master had laid down for us. "The most important of all things", says 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, "is the guidance of the nations and peoples of the world. Teaching the Cause is of utmost importance for it is the head corner-stone of the foundation itself." For the accomplishment of this paramount purpose, the beloved Guardian assiduously built the Local and the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í world. He often reminded us that the perfecting of the Administrative Order and the administrative procedure, was not to be an end in itself.
Our Beloved in the very last message which he sent to the Bahá'ís of the World, in October, 1957, told us that we were about to enter the fourth phase of the Crusade, and in that weighty, vital and fate-laden message, his last command and his last behest was that this fourth phase "must be immortalized ... by an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the countries of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society, coupled with a corresponding increase in the number of Bahá'í centres . . ." To the accomplishment of this command, and the fulfilment of this behest, we must now direct our undivided attention. Thus we will be assured of victory everywhere, in new fields as well as old, in countries whose goal is to establish independent National Assemblies, as well as those where the home-front goals are themselves a major task. Whilst valiant pioneers go out, determined and dedicated, to their posts, a movement that must be well planned and urgently accelerated, every effort must be made to greatly intensify the work of teaching everywhere. It is the sacred duty of every Bahá'í to teach. It is also the inescapable duty of all Assemblies, Local and National, not only to organize the work of teaching, but to give all possible assistance to individuals who arise to carry out this pre-eminent task.
We should bear in mind that by naming the Hands of the Cause the "Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth", the beloved Guardian has conferred upon them, as the last act of his life, specific and particular responsibilities which they must discharge. But another specific duty which devolves equally and unequivocally upon


both the Hands of the Cause of God and the National Spiritual Assemblies, is to implement fully and immediately the instruction of the beloved Guardian, contained in his message of June 4th, 1957:
"Call upon Hands and National Assemblies, each continent separately, to establish henceforth direct contact and deliberate, whenever feasible, as frequently as possible, to exchange reports to be submitted by their respective Auxiliary Boards and national committees, to exercise unrelaxing vigilance and carry out unflinchingly their sacred, inescapable duties. The security of our precious Faith, the preservation of the spiritual health of the Bahá'í communities, the vitality of the faith of its individual members, the proper functioning of its laboriously erected institutions, the fruition of its world-wide enterprises, the fulfilment of its ultimate destiny, all are directly dependent upon the befitting discharge of the weighty responsibilities now resting upon the members of these two institutions, occupying, with the Universal House of Justice, next to the Institution of the Guardianship, foremost rank in the divinely ordained administrative hierarchy of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh."
The words of the beloved Guardian and the action they indicate, are manifestly clear. The Hands of the Cause and the National Spiritual Assemblies must for the welfare of our beloved Faith and in compliance with our Guardian's instruction, establish this close collaboration at the earliest possible moment. Meeting as frequently as possible, they should at the same time exchange their reports, and keep one another informed of all the developments in every aspect of the work so dear to all our hearts. These two institutions must therefore assist each other in every way to speedily accomplish the remaining goals of the Crusade.
We are on the last lap, and the road that leads to the completion of the Beloved's Holy Crusade, to total triumph, to the Most Great Jubilee, to the crowning glory of the establishment of the Universal House of Justice, is indeed difficult and beset by many formidable obstacles. But the beam of our Guardian's guidance shines as bright as ever, and as long as we keep within the path of that light and follow its course, there is nothing to fear and we are assured of victory.
The requisites of this pressing hour are unwavering resolve, clear vision, prompt action. We pray ardently at the Sacred Thresholds that our combined efforts may be blessed, and that we may all give adequate expression in our deeds, to the love that we bear in our hearts for our Guardian.
With deepest love,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,



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