At this early hour when the morning light is just breaking upon the Holy Land, whilst the gloom of the dear Master’s bereavement is still hanging thick upon the hearts, I feel as if my soul turns in yearning love and full of hope to that great company of His loved ones across the seas, who now share with us all the agonies of His separation.
It is idle for me to emphasize how much the sorrowful ladies of the Holy Household look forward to the work that lies before the friends in the American continent, who in the past have rendered so glorious a service to His Cause and will now, faithful to His special love for them, carry on their mission still more gloriously than ever before. True, the shock has been too terrible and sudden for us all to recover from in so short a time, but whenever we recall His Sayings and read His Writings, hope springs in our hearts and gives us the peace that no other material comfort can give.
How well I remember when, more than two years ago, the Beloved Master turning to a distinguished visitor of His, who was seated by Him in His garden, suddenly broke the silence and said:—“My work is now done upon this plane; it is time for me to pass on to the other world.” Did He not in more than one occasion state clearly and emphatically:—“Were ye to know what will come to pass after me, surely would ye pray that my end be hastened?” In a Tablet sent to Persia when the storm raised years ago by that Committee of Investigation was fiercely raging around Him, when the days of His incarceration were at their blackest, He reveals the following:—“Now in this world of being, the Hand of Divine Power hath firmly laid the foundations of this all-highest Bounty and this wondrous Gift. Gradually whatsoever is latent in the innermost of this Holy Cycle shall appear and be made manifest, for now is but the beginning of its growth and the dayspring of the revelation of its Signs. Ere the close of this Century and of this Age, it shall be made clear and manifest how wondrous was that Springtide and how heavenly was that Gift!”
With such assuring Utterances and the unmistakable evidences of His sure and clear knowledge that His end was nigh, is there any reason why the followers of His Faith, the world over, should be perturbed? Are not the prayers He revealed for us sufficient source of inspiration to every worker in His Cause? Have not His instructions paved before us the broad and straight Path of Teaching? Will not His now doubly effective power of Grace sustain us, strengthen us and confirm us in our work for Him? Ours is the duty to strive by day and night to fulfill our own obligations and then trust in His Guidance and never failing Grace. Unity amongst the friends, selflessness in our labors in His Path, detachment from all worldly things, the greatest prudence and caution in every step we take, earnest endeavor to carry out only what is His Holy Will and Pleasure, the constant awareness of His Presence and of the example of His Life, the absolute shunning of whomsoever we feel to be an enemy of the Cause … these, and foremost among them is the need for unity, appear to me as our most vital duties, should we dedicate our lives for His service. Should we in this spirit arise to serve Him, what surer and greater promise have we than the one His Glorious Father, Bahá’u’lláh, gives us in His Most Holy Book:—“Verily, We behold you from Our Realm of Effulgent Glory, and shall graciously aid whosoever ariseth for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Celestial Concourse and a company of Our chosen angels.”
How dearly all the Holy Leaves1 cherish that memory of the departed Master, as He commented upon the fresh tidings that poured in from that continent, admiring the untiring activity of the friends, the complete subordination of their material interests to those of the Cause, the remarkable spread of the Movement in their midst and their staunch firmness in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. It is these encouraging reflections of the Master about His loved ones in America and the tests intellectual rather than physical which He said He would send to them to purify them and make ever brighter than before—it is these comments and promises of His that make of the Movement in that land such a potential force in the world today. The Beloved Master’s cable to the friends in that region is a clear indication of the presence of those counteracting forces that may usher in those storms of tests that the Master Himself has said will ultimately be for the good of the Cause in that land.
And finally, the ladies of the Sacred Household and we, the rest of His kindred and family, will pray at His Hallowed Shrine for every one of you and He will surely watch over and enhance in the course of time that noble part of His heritage that He has bequeathed to His friends in the Far West; friends from whom in return He expects so much and whom He has loved and still doth love so dearly.
It is with words of regret and disappointment that I desire to open this letter because of my inability, in view of my manifold and pressing duties, to respond individually and in writing to the many messages of love and sympathy and of hope that you have so affectionately sent me since our Beloved’s passing from this World. I am sure I am voicing the sentiments of the bereaved ladies of the Household when I say that however desirous we may be to correspond separately with every one of you, the grave responsibilities and manifold duties now devolved upon us make it regrettably impossible to express in written messages to every friend what we constantly feel in our hearts, and pray for when visiting His sacred Shrine.
At this grave and momentous period through which the Cause of God in conformity with the Divine Wisdom is passing, it is the sacred duty of every one of us to endeavor to realize the full significance of this Hour of Transition, and then to make a supreme resolve to arise steadfastly for the fulfilment of our sacred obligations.
Great as is the love and paternal care which our beloved Master is extending to us from on High, and unique as is the Spirit that animates today His servants in the world, yet a great deal will depend upon the character and efforts of His loved ones on whom now rests the responsibility of carrying on His work gloriously after Him. How great is the need at this moment when the promised outpourings of His grace are ready to be extended to every soul, for us all to form a broad vision of the mission of the Cause to mankind, and to do all in our power to spread it throughout the world! The eyes of the world, now that the sublime Personality of the Master has been removed from this visible plane, are turned with eager anticipation to us who are named after His name, and on whom rests primarily the responsibility to keep burning the torch that He has lit in this world. How keenly I feel at this challenging hour in the history of the Cause the need for a firm and definite determination to subordinate all our personal likings, our local interests, to the interests and requirements of the Cause of God! Now is the time to set aside, nay, to forget altogether, minor considerations regarding our internal relationships, and to present a solid united front to the world animated by no other desire but to serve and propagate His Cause.
It is my firm conviction which I now express with all sincerity and candor, that the dignity and unity of the Cause urgently demands—particularly throughout the American continent—that the friends should in their words and conduct emphasize and give absolute prominence to the constructive dynamic principles of Bahá’u’lláh, rather than attach undue importance to His negative Teachings. With hearts cleansed from the least trace of suspicion and filled with hope and faith in what the spirit of love can achieve, we must one and all endeavor at this moment to forget past impressions, and with absolute good-will and genuine cooperation unite in deepening and diffusing the spirit of love and service that the Cause has thus far so remarkably shown to the world. To this attitude of good-will, of forbearance and genuine kindness to all, must be added, however, constant but unprovocative vigilance, lest unrestricted association with the peoples of the world should enable the very few who have been definitely pronounced by the Master as injurious to the body of the Cause, to make a breach in the Movement. Not until, however, an unmistakable evidence should appear, manifestly revealing the evil motives of a certain individual or group of individuals, is it advisable to make the matter public; for an untimely declaration that shall give rise to open differences among the friends is far more detrimental than forbearing still further with those who are suspected of evil intentions. As the Master so fully and consistently did throughout His lifetime, we must all make a supreme effort to pour out a genuine spirit of kindness and hopeful love to peoples of various creeds and classes, and must abstain from all provocative language that may impede the effect of what true and continued kindness can produce.
Does not ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wish us, as He looks down upon us with loving expectation from His glorious Station, to obliterate as much as possible all traces of censure, of conflicting discussions, of cooling remarks, of petty unnecessary observations that impede the onward march of the Cause, that damp the zeal of the firm believer and detract from the sublimity of the Bahá’í Cause in the eyes of the inquirer? In order, however, to insure fair and quick and vigorous action whenever such an evil activity is revealed and has been carefully ascertained, the best and only means would appear to be, for the careful observer, once he is assured of such an evil action, and has grown hopeless of the attitude of kindness and forbearance, to report it quietly to the Spiritual Assembly representative of the friends in that locality and submit the case to their earnest and full consideration. Should the majority of the members of that Assembly be conscientiously convinced of the case—and this being a national issue affecting the body of the friends in America—it should, only through the intermediary of that Assembly, be cautiously communicated to that greater body representing all the Assemblies in America, which will in its turn obtain all the available data from the local Assembly in question, study carefully the situation and reserve for itself the ultimate decision. It may, if it decides so, refer to the Holy Land for further consideration and consultation.
This clearly places heavy responsibilities on the local as well as national Assemblies, which in the course of time will evolve, with the Master’s power and guidance, into the local and national Houses of Justice. Hence the vital necessity of having a local Spiritual Assembly in every locality where the number of adult declared believers exceeds nine, and of making provision for the indirect election of a Body that shall adequately represent the interests of all the friends and Assemblies throughout the American Continent.
A perusal of some of the words of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the duties and functions of the Spiritual Assemblies in every land (later to be designated as the local Houses of Justice), emphatically reveals the sacredness of their nature, the wide scope of their activity, and the grave responsibility which rests upon them.
Addressing the members of the Spiritual Assembly in Chicago, the Master reveals the following:—“Whenever ye enter the council-chamber, recite this prayer with a heart throbbing with the love of God and a tongue purified from all but His remembrance, that the All-powerful may graciously aid you to achieve supreme victory:—‘O God, my God! We are servants of Thine that have turned with devotion to Thy Holy Face, that have detached ourselves from all beside Thee in this glorious Day. We have gathered in this spiritual assembly, united in our views and thoughts, with our purposes harmonized to exalt Thy Word amidst mankind. O Lord, our God! Make us the signs of Thy Divine Guidance, the Standards of Thy exalted Faith amongst men, servants to Thy mighty Covenant. O Thou our Lord Most High! Manifestations of Thy Divine Unity in Thine Abhá Kingdom, and resplendent stars shining upon all regions. Lord! Aid us to become seas surging with the billows of Thy wondrous Grace, streams flowing from Thy all-glorious Heights, goodly fruits upon the Tree of Thy heavenly Cause, trees waving through the breezes of Thy Bounty in Thy celestial Vineyard. O God! Make our souls dependent upon the Verses of Thy Divine Unity, our hearts cheered with the outpourings of Thy Grace, that we may unite even as the waves of one sea and become merged together as the rays of Thine Effulgent Light; that our thoughts, our views, our feelings may become as one reality, manifesting the spirit of union throughout the world. Thou art the Gracious, the Bountiful, the Bestower, the Almighty, the Merciful, the Compassionate.’”
In the Most Holy Book is revealed:—“The Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of Justice be established wherein shall gather counsellors to the number of Bahá, and should it exceed this number it does not matter. It behooveth them to be the trusted ones of the Merciful among men and to regard themselves as the guardians appointed of God for all that dwell on earth. It is incumbent upon them to take counsel together and to have regard for the interests of the servants of God, for His sake, even as they regard their own interests, and to choose that which is meet and seemly. Thus hath the Lord your God commanded you. Beware lest ye put away that which is clearly revealed in His Tablet. Fear God, O ye that perceive.”
Furthermore, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá reveals the following:—“It is incumbent upon every one not to take any step without consulting the Spiritual Assembly, and they must assuredly obey with heart and soul its bidding and be submissive unto it, that things may be properly ordered and well arranged. Otherwise every person will act independently and after his own judgment, will follow his own desire, and do harm to the Cause.”
“The prime requisites for them that take counsel together are purity of motive, radiance of spirit, detachment from all else save God, attraction to His Divine Fragrances, humility and lowliness amongst His loved ones, patience and long-suffering in difficulties and servitude to His exalted Threshold. Should they be graciously aided to acquire these attributes, victory from the unseen Kingdom of Bahá shall be vouchsafed to them. In this day, assemblies of consultation are of the greatest importance and a vital necessity. Obedience unto them is essential and obligatory. The members thereof must take counsel together in such wise that no occasion for ill-feeling or discord may arise. This can be attained when every member expresseth with absolute freedom his own opinion and setteth forth his argument. Should any one oppose, he must on no account feel hurt for not until matters are fully discussed can the right way be revealed. The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions. If after discussion, a decision be carried unanimously, well and good; but if, the Lord forbid, differences of opinion should arise, a majority of voices must prevail.”
Enumerating the obligations incumbent upon the members of consulting councils, the Beloved reveals the following:—“The first condition is absolute love and harmony amongst the members of the assembly. They must be wholly free from estrangement and must manifest in themselves the Unity of God, for they are the waves of one sea, the drops of one river, the stars of one heaven, the rays of one sun, the trees of one orchard, the flowers of one garden. Should harmony of thought and absolute unity be non-existent, that gathering shall be dispersed and that assembly be brought to naught. The second condition:—They must when coming together turn their faces to the Kingdom on High and ask aid from the Realm of Glory. They must then proceed with the utmost devotion, courtesy, dignity, care and moderation to express their views. They must in every matter search out the truth and not insist upon their own opinion, for stubbornness and persistence in one’s views will lead ultimately to discord and wrangling and the truth will remain hidden. The honored members must with all freedom express their own thoughts, and it is in no wise permissible for one to belittle the thought of another, nay, he must with moderation set forth the truth, and should differences of opinion arise a majority of voices must prevail, and all must obey and submit to the majority. It is again not permitted that any one of the honored members object to or censure, whether in or out of the meeting, any decision arrived at previously, though that decision be not right, for such criticism would prevent any decision from being enforced. In short, whatsoever thing is arranged in harmony and with love and purity of motive, its result is light, and should the least trace of estrangement prevail the result shall be darkness upon darkness.… If this be so regarded, that assembly shall be of God, but otherwise it shall lead to coolness and alienation that proceed from the Evil One. Discussions must all be confined to spiritual matters that pertain to the training of souls, the instruction of children, the relief of the poor, the help of the feeble throughout all classes in the world, kindness to all peoples, the diffusion of the fragrances of God and the exaltation of His Holy Word. Should they endeavor to fulfill these conditions the Grace of the Holy Spirit shall be vouchsafed unto them, and that assembly shall become the center of the Divine blessings, the hosts of Divine confirmation shall come to their aid, and they shall day by day receive a new effusion of Spirit.”
So great is the importance and so supreme is the authority of these assemblies that once ‘Abdu’l-Bahá after having himself and in his own handwriting corrected the translation made into Arabic of the Ishráqát (the Effulgences) by Sheikh Faraj, a Kurdish friend from Cairo, directed him in a Tablet to submit the above-named translation to the Spiritual Assembly of Cairo, that he may seek from them before publication their approval and consent. These are His very words in that Tablet:—“His honor, Sheikh Faraju’llah, has here rendered into Arabic with greatest care the Ishráqát and yet I have told him that he must submit his version to the Spiritual Assembly of Egypt, and I have conditioned its publication upon the approval of the above-named Assembly. This is so that things may be arranged in an orderly manner, for should it not be so any one may translate a certain Tablet and print and circulate it on his own account. Even a non-believer might undertake such work, and thus cause confusion and disorder. If it be conditioned, however, upon the approval of the Spiritual Assembly, a translation prepared, printed and circulated by a non-believer will have no recognition whatever.”
This is indeed a clear indication of the Master’s express desire that nothing whatever should be given to the public by any individual among the friends, unless fully considered and approved by the Spiritual Assembly in his locality; and if this (as is undoubtedly the case) is a matter that pertains to the general interest of the Cause in that land, then it is incumbent upon the Spiritual Assembly to submit it to the consideration and approval of the national body representing all the various local assemblies. Not only with regard to publication, but all matters without any exception whatsoever, regarding the interests of the Cause in that locality, individually or collectively, should be referred exclusively to the Spiritual Assembly in that locality, which shall decide upon it, unless it be a matter of national interest, in which case it shall be referred to the national body. With this national body also will rest the decision whether a given question is of local or national interest. (By national affairs is not meant matters that are political in their character, for the friends of God the world over are strictly forbidden to meddle with political affairs in any way whatever, but rather things that affect the spiritual activities of the body of the friends in that land.)
Full harmony, however, as well as cooperation among the various local assemblies and the members themselves, and particularly between each assembly and the national body, is of the utmost importance, for upon it depends the unity of the Cause of God, the solidarity of the friends, the full, speedy and efficient working of the spiritual activities of His loved ones.
Large issues in such spiritual activities that affect the Cause in general in that land, such as the management of the “Star of the West” and any periodical which the National Body may decide to be a Bahá’í organ, the matter of publication, or reprinting Bahá’í literature and its distribution among the various assemblies, the means whereby the teaching campaign may be stimulated and maintained, the work of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, the racial question in relation to the Cause, the matter of receiving Orientals and association with them, the care and maintenance of the precious film exhibiting a phase of the Master’s sojourn in the United States of America as well as the original matrix and the records of His voice, and various other national spiritual activities, far from being under the exclusive jurisdiction of any local assembly or group of friends, must each be minutely and fully directed by a special board, elected by the National Body, constituted as a committee thereof, responsible to it and upon which the National Body shall exercise constant and general supervision.
The time is indeed ripe for the manifold activities, wherein the servants and handmaids of Bahá’u’lláh are so devoutly and earnestly engaged, to be harmonized and conducted with unity, cooperation and efficiency, that the effect of such a combined and systematized effort, through which an All-powerful Spirit is steadily pouring, may transcend every other achievement of the past, however glorious it has been, and may stand, now that, to the eyes of the outside world the glorious Person of the Master is no more, a convincing testimony of the potency of His everliving Spirit.
This servant, after that grievous event and great calamity, the ascension of His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Abhá Kingdom, has been so stricken with grief and pain and so entangled in the troubles (created) by the enemies of the Cause of God, that I consider that my presence here, at such a time and in such an atmosphere, is not in accordance with the fulfilment of my important and sacred duties.
For this reason, unable to do otherwise, I have left for a time the affairs of the Cause both at home and abroad, under the supervision of the Holy Family and the headship of the Greatest Holy Leaf1 until, by the Grace of God, having gained health, strength, self-confidence and spiritual energy, and having taken into my hands, in accordance with my aim and desire, entirely and regularly the work of service I shall attain to my utmost spiritual hope and aspiration.
May I also express my heartfelt desire that the friends of God in every land regard me in no other light but that of a true brother, united with them in our common servitude to the Master’s Sacred Threshold, and refer to me in their letters and verbal addresses always as Shoghi Effendi, for I desire to be known by no other name save the one our Beloved Master was wont to utter, a name which of all other designations is the most conducive to my spiritual growth and advancement.
Now that my long hours of rest and meditation are happily at an end, I turn my face with renewed hope and vigor to that vast continent the soil of which is pregnant with those seeds that our beloved Master has so tenderly and so profusely scattered in the past. Prolonged though this period has been, yet I have strongly felt ever since the New Day has dawned upon me that such a needed retirement, despite the temporary dislocations it might entail, would far outweigh in its results any immediate service I could have humbly tendered at the Threshold of Bahá’u’lláh.
I am now confident that the energies of my beloved brethren and sisters across the seas, far from being damped by my sudden disappearance from the field of service, will henceforth be fully maintained, nay redoubled in their intensity, that we may all together carry triumphantly to the uttermost corners of the world the glorious Standard of Bahá.
Bereft of all news whatsoever during my hours of restful seclusion, I now feel the more the thrill of the various tidings, few but indeed promising, that have been awaiting my return to the Holy Land. The work of the noble Edifice that the mighty hands of the All-wise Master has reared in this world can suffer no delay, nor can its foundations be made to totter, whatever the apparent obstacles its enemies in their impotent wrath and despair may throw in its way. We need not wait too long, for already from various quarters there comes the news that the awful promises of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá regarding the Covenant-breakers have been strikingly fulfilled!
But it behooves us not to dwell for a moment on these doomed and darkened efforts, for the shining light of the Master’s unfailing guidance is beckoning us to more constructive service, to nobler and worthier achievements.
We have, not a long time ago, with tearful eyes commemorated the world over the passing hour of our beloved Master. Would to God it has marked in our lives, which we all have consecrated to His service, a fresh, solemn and unswerving resolution of devotion and fidelity to His Cause
To have been unable, owing to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, to correspond with you ever since you entered upon your manifold and arduous duties is to me a cause of deep regret and sad surprise! I am however assured and sustained by the conviction, never dimmed in my mind, that whatsoever comes to pass in the Cause of God, however disquieting in its immediate effects, is fraught with infinite Wisdom and tends ultimately to promote its interests in the world. Indeed, our experiences of the distant past, as well as of recent events, are too numerous and varied to permit of any misgiving or doubt as to the truth of this basic principle—a principle which throughout the vicissitudes of our sacred mission in this world we must never disregard or forget.
I cannot refrain from expressing in this, my first letter to you my deep gratitude and great pleasure in learning how promptly, thoroughly and admirably you have conducted the affairs of the Cause in that land. Of the sincerity of your efforts, of the determination with which you have faced your delicate and difficult task, I have never doubted for a moment, as I knew too well of the ardent spirit of service and fellowship which the sudden passing of our Beloved had infused in all his followers everywhere. But great was my surprise to know how the ever-present Hand of the Master has removed so speedily all the difficulties in our way and how the light of His Divine Guidance caused the darkness of doubts, of fears and mistrust to vanish.
The efficient manner in which you have carried out my humble suggestions has been a source of great encouragement to me and has revived confidence in my heart. I have read and re-read the reports of your activities, have studied minutely all the steps you have taken to consolidate the foundations of the Movement in America, and have learned with a keen sense of satisfaction the plans you contemplate for the further rise and spread of the Cause in your great country. I very highly approve of the arrangements you have made for centralizing the work in your hands and of distributing it to the various committees, who each in its own sphere, have so efficiently and thoroughly undertaken the management of their own affairs.
What has given me still greater pleasure is to learn that the members of this Central Body which has assumed so grave a responsibility and is facing such delicate and difficult tasks, command individually and collectively not only the sympathy of their spiritual brethren and sisters but who also can confidently rely on their active and whole-hearted support in the campaign of service to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. It is indeed as it should be, for if genuine and sustained cooperation and mutual confidence cease to exist between individual friends and their local and national assemblies, the all-beneficent work of the Cause must cease and nothing else can enable it to function harmoniously and effectively in future.
True, the Cause as every other movement has its own obstacles, complications and unforeseen difficulties, but unlike any other human organization it inspires a spirit of Faith and Devotion which can never fail to induce us to make sincere and renewed efforts to face these difficulties and smooth any differences that may and must arise.
I look forward with fervent hope to hear of these renewed efforts on your part and of the strong determination which you will never suffer to slacken, to maintain at any cost the unity, the effectiveness and the dignity of the Cause.
May I through you express my heartfelt gratitude to the members of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár Building Committee, Mr. Alfred E. Lunt, Mrs. Corinne True, Dr. Zia Bagdadi, Mr. Charles Mason Remey, Mr. Louis Bourgeois, Mr. Leo Perron for their incessant labors in speeding the work of this noble Edifice which when raised and completed will prove to be the most powerful factor in the promulgation of the Cause in America.
Will you also extend to the members of the Publishing and Reviewing Committees, Mr. William H. Randall, Mr. Mountfort Mills, Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, Mr. Albert R. Vail, Miss Edna True, Mrs. Marjory Morten and Mr. Alfred E. Lunt, my high appreciation for the very efficient management of their departments and their devotion to a work which if consistently maintained cannot fail to impress and attract a vast number of the enlightened public. Regarding the Star of the West, I wish to congratulate in particular the members of the Publishing Committee on the quality of their work. I have perused with particular interest the last numbers of the Magazine and am glad to note an encouraging improvement in its management, its style, its general presentation and the nature and number of its articles.
To the members of the Teaching Committee, Mr. William Randall, Mrs. Agnes S. Parsons, Mr. Albert Vail, Mr. Louis G. Gregory and Mrs. Mariam Haney I offer my very best wishes and assure them of my constant prayers on their behalf, that their services to such a vital department in the affairs of the Cause, so primary and immediate in its importance, may be crowned with brilliant success.
For the members of the Children’s Educational Work Committee, Mrs. Grace Ober, Mrs. Louise Boyle, Mrs. Victoria Bedikian, Mrs. Hebe Struven, Mrs. Grace Foster, Mr. Stanwood Cobb and Mr. Allen McDaniel, I supplicate Divine Assistance, that He may graciously aid them in a work which was so near and dear to the Master’s heart and enable them to assist in the rise of future devoted and efficient servants to the Cause of God.
On behalf of all the members of these Committees, I shall pray at the Three Hallowed Shrines, that they may become purified channels of His Grace and instruments of His Divine Plan for this world. For my part, I shall not fail to offer my humble share of help and assistance to every one of them in their respective work and would welcome from each a special report on their present activities and of their plans for the future.
Awaiting from you all the joyous news of the deepening as well as the spreading of the Cause for which our beloved Master has given His time, His life, His all, and remembering your labors of love and service every time I lay my head upon the Sacred Thresholds,
P.S. I would be pleased and gratified if you could inform all the various local spiritual assemblies of my wish and desire to receive as soon as possible from every local assembly a detailed and official report on their spiritual activities, the character and organization of their respective assemblies, accounts of their public and private gatherings, of the actual position of the Cause in their province, and of their plans and arrangements for the future. Pray convey to all of them my best wishes and the assurance of my hearty assistance in their noble work of service to mankind.
In the midst of your unceasing labors for the progress of the Movement in that country, I am sure you would welcome every now and then such news as shall breathe a fresh spirit into your activities and stimulate you to further effort for the promotion of His Cause.
Only the other day, in the course of my study of various Bahá’í documents, I came, as if by mere chance, across a very important message from our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, bearing no date, and revealing no sign as to exactly where, how and to whom it was given, written in the Master’s own handwriting upon a leaflet that seemed ordinary and ill-preserved in appearance but which on close study proved of the profoundest interest to all believers in the East as well as in the West. As to the authenticity of these remarkable words, so clearly and forcibly written, there is no doubt whatsoever, and the measure of assurance it shall inspire in the loved ones of Persia and the spirit of hopeful encouragement it shall breathe in the friends of the West, have urged me to communicate it to you, that subject to your consideration and consent, it may be published1 amongst the friends and redouble their confidence in the very remarkable share the West is destined to contribute to the immediate spread of the Movement throughout the world.
May I also mention in passing the fact that since my return to the Holy Land I have directed and emphatically urged in my letters, the friends in Persia, Turkestan, Caucasus, Great Britain, India, Egypt and Syria to subscribe, through their respective Assemblies, to the Star of the West, report regularly to that paper and through their Assemblies the news of their activity and contribute every now and then carefully written articles approved and sanctioned by the same Assemblies.
Our dear friend, Jináb-i-Fádil-i-Mázindarání, accompanied by his family, has gladly and gratefully responded to the kind invitation of the American friends to visit them once more and extend his helping hand to the many friends who are so faithfully laboring throughout that continent for the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.
Deeply appreciative of the sentiments of warm and abiding affection which his co-workers of that land have abundantly shown him in the past, fired with the zeal of service which the passing of our Beloved has kindled in every heart and hopeful of the immediate future of the Cause in those regions, he is proceeding to America with the sole purpose of promoting far and wide and with greater efficiency and vigor the all-important work of teaching.
As to the extent of his sojourn, the details of his travel, his plan for visiting the various spiritual centers and all other matters related to his visit, I have left them all to his own discretion, that he may, after consultation with the various Spiritual Assemblies, do as he deems best and most serviceable to the interests of the Cause in that land.
That all the friends may realize more fully the urgent and supreme necessity of teaching the Cause in these days; that they may arise to inaugurate a more strenuous, systematized and extensive campaign of service—these are the high aims he has set before himself and which he intends, with the unfailing help and wholehearted support of every believer in America, to achieve in the immediate future.
It is a great pleasure for me to share with you the translation1 of some of the prayers and Tablets of our beloved Master, the reading of which I trust will inspire you and strengthen you in your work of service to His Cause.
I trust that in the course of time I will be enabled to send you regularly correct and reliable translations of the various prayers and Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which will unfold to your eyes a new vision of His Glorious Mission on earth and give you an insight into the character and meanings of His Divine Teachings.
I shall await very eagerly any suggestions you would like to give me on this point and on all other matters that pertain to the interests of the Cause in America, and I assure you again of my readiness and wish to be of help and service to those faithful and devoted servants of Bahá’u’lláh in that land.