As the threat of still more violent convulsions assailing a travailing age increases, and the wings of yet another conflict, destined to contribute a distinct, and perhaps a decisive, share to the birth of the new Order which must signalize the advent of the Lesser Peace, darken the international horizon, the eyes of the divers communities, comprising the body of the organized followers of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the Eastern Hemisphere, are being increasingly fixed upon the progressive unfoldment of the tasks which the executors of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Mandate have been summoned to undertake in the course of the second stage of their world-girdling mission. Past experience, ranging over a period of many years, has taught them that no matter how formidable the external obstacles that have confronted them during the turbulent and eventful decades since the Master’s passing, and despite the strain and stress which internal crises, precipitated by enemies from within and by adverse economic circumstances afflicting their country, have imposed, the stalwart occupants of the citadel of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh have with extraordinary steadfastness, enviable fidelity and magnificent courage, not only shielded the interests, preserved the integrity and demonstrated the worthiness, of the Cause they have embraced, but have sallied forth, with dynamic and irrepressible energy, to implant its banner and establish its outposts in countries and continents far beyond the original scene of their operations.
Staunchness of American Believers
Neither the irreparable loss sustained by the termination of the earthly life of a vigilant Master, nor the acute distress caused by the financial collapse which suddenly swept their country, nor the unprecedented tragedy of a world crisis that swept their land and its people into its vortex, nor the perils and uncertainties, the exhaustion and the disillusionment associated with its aftermath nor even the soul-shaking tests which periodically assailed them, through the defection and the attacks of Covenant-breakers, occupying, by virtue of their kinship to, or their long association with, the Founder of their community, exalted positions at the World Center of the Faith, or in the land from which it sprang, or in their own country—none of these have succeeded in vitiating the hidden spring of their spiritual life, in deflecting them from their chosen course, or in even retarding the forward march and fruition of their enterprises. In the toilsome task of fixing the pattern, of laying the foundations, of erecting the machinery, and of setting in operation the Administrative Order of their Faith, in the execution of the successive stages in the erection and exterior ornamentation of their Temple, in the launching of the initial enterprise under ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Divine Plan, which enabled them to establish the structural basis of the Order, recently laid in their homeland, in every republic of Central and South America; in the sustained, the systematic and prodigious effort exerted for the enlargement of the administrative foundations of the institutions of their Faith in every state and province of the United States and the Dominion of Canada; in the parallel endeavors aimed at the widespread dissemination of its literature, and the proclamation of its verities and tenets to the masses; in the launching of the Second Seven Year Plan, which has extended the ramifications of the Divine Plan across the Atlantic to ten sovereign states of the European continent and which has already yielded a rich return through the formation of the first Canadian Bahá’í National Assembly and the convocation of the first European Teaching Conference; in the repeated, the timely, the spontaneous and generous contributions they have made, on numerous occasions, for the relief of the persecuted among their brethren, for the defense of their institutions, for the vindication of their rights, for the consolidation of their activities and the progress of their enterprises—in all these the champions of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh have, with ever-increasing emphasis, borne witness to the sublimity of the faith which burns within their breasts, to the radiance of the vision that shines clearly and steadily before their eyes, the sureness and rapidity that mark their gigantic strides, and the vastness and glory of the unique mission entrusted to their hands.
Milestones of historic significance have been successively reached and rapidly left behind. A still stonier stretch of road now lies before them. Rumblings of catastrophes yet more dreadful agitate with increasing frequency a sorely stressed and chaotic world, presenting a challenge to grapple with the unfinished tasks, a challenge graver and still more pressing than any hitherto experienced.
Press Forward on Temple Contracts
The present and remaining contracts, designed to consummate the magnificent enterprise, initiated almost fifty years ago, in the heart of the North American continent and complete an edifice consecrated for all time by the loving hands of the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, constituting the foremost symbol of the Faith, and incarnating the soul of the American Bahá’í Community in the Western Hemisphere, must be speedily and systematically carried out, however onerous the task may become, in consequence of the inevitable fluctuations to which the present economic conditions are subjected, in preparation for the jubilee that must mark the completion of that holy edifice. The recent broadening of the administrative basis of the Faith in a land that has served, and will long remain the base of the spiritual operations now being conducted in both hemispheres, in response to the ringing call of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, sounded three decades ago in His historic Tablets, must, no matter how arduous and insistent the tasks to be performed in Latin America and Europe, be fully maintained, and the process continually enlarged and steadily consolidated. The various agencies designed to carry the Message to the masses, and to present to them befittingly the teachings of its Author, must, likewise, be vigilantly preserved, supported and encouraged. The essential preliminaries, calculated to widen the basis of the forthcoming Latin American national Bahá’í assemblies, to familiarize the Latin American believers with the administrative duties and functions they will be called upon to discharge and to enrich and deepen their knowledge of the essentials of their Faith, its ideals, its history, its requirements and its problems, must be carried out with ever-increasing energy as the hour of the emergence of these Latin American communities into independent existence steadily and inexorably approaches. The necessary guidance, which can alone be properly insured through the maintenance of an uninterrupted extension of administrative assistance, through the settlement of pioneers and the visits of itinerant teachers to the daughter communities, must under no circumstances be completely withdrawn, after their independence has been achieved. Above all, the momentous enterprise initiated in the transatlantic field of service, so vast in conception, so timely, so arduous, so far-reaching in its potentialities, so infinitely meritorious, must in the face of obstacles, however insurmountable they may seem, be continually reinvigorated through undiminished financial support, through an ever-expanding supply of literature in each of the required languages, through frequent, and whenever possible prolonged, visits of itinerant teachers, through the continued settlement of pioneers, through the consolidation of the assemblies already established, through the early constitution of properly functioning assemblies in the few remaining goal countries as yet deprived of this inestimable blessing, and last but not least through the exertion of sustained and concentrated efforts designed to supplement these foci of Bahá’í national administrative activity with subsidiary centers whose formation will herald the inauguration of teaching enterprises throughout the provinces of each of these ten countries.
As the dynamic forces, sweeping forward the First Seven Year Plan, on the last stages of its execution, rose rapidly to a crescendo, culminating in the nationwide celebrations marking the centenary of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh and synchronized with a further and still more precipitous decline in the fortunes of a war-torn bleeding society, so must every aggravation in the state of a world still harassed by the ravages of a devastating conflict, and now hovering on the brink of a yet more crucial struggle, be accompanied by a still more ennobling manifestation of the spirit of this second crusade, whose consummation might well coincide with a period of distress far more acute than the one through which humanity is now passing.
Not ours to speculate, or dwell upon the immediate workings of an inscrutable Providence presiding alike over the falling fortunes of a dying Order and the rising glory of a Plan holding within it the seeds of the world’s spiritual revival and ultimate redemption. Nor can we attempt as yet, whilst the second stage in the operation of such a Plan has not yielded its destined fruit, to visualize the nature of the tasks, or discern the character of the circumstances that will mark the progressive unfoldment of a third successive crusade, the successful termination of which must signalize the closing of the first historic epoch in the evolution of the Divine Plan. All we can be sure of, and confidently assert, is that upon the outcome of the assiduous efforts now being collectively exerted, in three continents, by the North American, the Latin and European believers, acting under the Mandate of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, associated with the one and only Plan conceived by Himself, aided by the agencies deriving their inspiration from His Will and Testament, and assured of the support promised by the pen of His Father, in His Most Holy Book, must solely depend the timing as well as the nature of the tasks which must be successfully carried out ere the closing of an epoch of such transcendent brightness and glory in the evolution of the mightiest Plan ever generated through the creative power of the Most Great Name, as manifested by the Will of the Center of His Covenant and the Interpreter of His Teaching.
There can be no doubt whatever that with every turn of the wheel, as a result of the operation of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Plan, and with every extension in the range of its evolution, a responsibility of still greater gravity and of wider import will have to be shouldered by its divinely chosen executors wherever its ramifications may extend and however oppressive the state of the countries and continents in which they may have to labor. They must strive, ceaselessly strive, ready for any emergency, steeled to meet any degree of opposition, unsatisfied with any measure of progress as yet achieved, prepared to make sacrifices far exceeding any they have already willingly made, and confident that such striving, such readiness, such resolution, such high-mindedness, such sacrifice will earn them the palm of a victory still more soul-satisfying and resounding in its magnificence than any as yet won since the inception of their mission.
May He Who called them into being and raised them up, Who fostered them in their infancy, Who extended to them the blessing of His personal support in their years of childhood, Who bequeathed to them the distinguishing heritage of His Plan, Whose Will and Testament initiated them, during the period of their adolescence, in the processes of a divinely appointed Administrative Order, Who enabled them to attain maturity through the inauguration of the first stage in the execution of His Plan, Who conferred upon them the privilege of spiritual parenthood at the close of the initial phase in the operation of that same Plan, continue through the further unfoldment of the second stage in its evolution to guide their steps along the path leading to the assumption of functions proclaiming the attainment of full spiritual manhood, and enable them eventually, through the long and slow processes of evolution and in conformity with the future requirements of a continually evolving Plan, to manifest before the eyes of the members of their sister communities, their countrymen and the whole world, and in all their plenitude, the potentialities inherent within them, and which in the fullness of time, must reflect in its perfected form, the glories of the mission constituting their birthright.
Approve committing community to amounts proposed for 1949 and 1950 in your letter of November 11. Urgent to curtail if necessary expenditure on Public Relations, National Programming and Radio during the next two years. Ardently praying for solution of problem, removal of difficulties, attainment of high objectives.
Welcome preliminary contracts for Temple and determination to ensure completion. Advise drastic reduction in appropriation for activities except budgets for Latin America and European campaign, if maximum sum for Temple is exceeded. Praying for removal of difficulties, continual divine guidance, wise conduct of manifold activities for Faith. Deepest love.
Convey to believers the joyful news of the safe delivery on Mt. Carmel of a consignment of thirty-two granite monolith columns, part of the initial shipment of material ordered for construction of the arcade of the Báb’s Sepulcher, designed to envelop and preserve the sacred previous structure reared by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá. Building operations are soon starting notwithstanding the difficulties of the present situation. I am supplicating the Almighty’s guidance and sustaining grace for successive stages of an enterprise envisaged sixty years ago by Bahá’u’lláh, initiated by the Center of His Covenant, designed to culminate as contemplated by Him in erection of a superstructure to be crowned by a golden dome marking the consummation at the heart of the Mountain of God of the momentous undertaking born through the generating influence of the Will of the Founder of our beloved Faith, so dear to the heart of His blessed Son, and dedicated to the memory of the Martyr-Prophet, the immortal Herald of the Bahá’í Dispensation.
Further drastic reduction in budget for next two years including temporary suspension of Public Relations, National Programming, radio activities; World Order, Bahá’í World publications permissible if necessary.
Advise plan two. Urge, however, maintain permanent entrance ways, vestibules and metal doors. Also permanent rubber tile or terrazzo floor. Considering soaring prices, shortness of period, weighty issues involved, approve still more drastic reduction of budget, complete suspension during two years of appropriations for activities unconnected with European project, Latin American work and assembly consolidation in United States.
(“Plan two” refers to a series of possible Temple construction schedules submitted to the Guardian.)
Budgets for activities in Europe, Latin America and consolidation work in United States should not be reduced owing to their vital relation to Second Seven Year Plan. All other activities, whether connected with proclamation of Faith, publications, Bahá’í Magazine, Bahá’í World or schools, should either be drastically curtailed or suspended during two years. Holding Annual Convention and maintenance of Bahá’í News essential.
Advise that you divert contributions for International Fund to Temple Fund, and suspend World Order Magazine.
Advise you to suspend magazine for next two years. Appeal on my behalf to subscribers in East and West to devote their subscription fee to Temple Fund. Owing to present emergency such action would be highly meritorious.
The first half of the opening decade of the second Bahá’í century is terminating. The great-minded, stout-hearted, high-spirited American Bahá’í Community, laden with the trophies accumulated in the course of its fifty years’ magnificent stewardship of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh is irresistibly embarking upon a two and a half year period unsurpassed in its fateful consequences by any previous stage traversed in the community’s eventful history.
Its members, without exception, are called upon to steel themselves without delay to face an unexpected emergency, seize a God-given opportunity, meet a supreme challenge, and show forth a tenacity of purpose, a solidarity in sacrifice, an austerity in everyday life, worthy the Martyr-Prophet of their Faith as well as their heroic spiritual forebears, the hundredth anniversary of whose agonizing tribulations, including captivity, sieges, betrayals, spoliation and martyrdom, is being commemorated during this same period.
No lesser tribute can be paid the memory of the glorious Báb, the immortal Quddús, the lion-hearted Mullá Ḥusayn, the erudite Vahíd, the audacious Hujjat, the illustrious seven martyrs of Ṭihrán and a host of unnumbered heroes whose lifeblood flowed so copiously in the course of the opening decade of the first Bahá’í century, by the privileged champion-builders of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh during the present critical stage in the unfoldment of the Formative Age of His Dispensation, than a parallel outpouring of their substance by the builders of the most holy House of Worship laboring in the corresponding decade of the succeeding century.
The American Bahá’í Community, exalted, singled out among sister communities of East and West through revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, is unavoidably approaching a testing period, crucial, prolonged, potent, purifying, clearly envisaged by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, different from but recalling in its severity the ordeals which afflicted the dawn-breakers in a former Age.
The anticipated trials will enable its members to plumb greater depths of consecration, soar to nobler heights of collective endeavor, and disclose in fuller measure the future glory of their destiny.
Might not the strain, the stress, of the strenuous period now being ushered in through inscrutable dispensations of Providence be productive of perspicuous benefits and blessings reminiscent of the incalculable outpourings of divine grace which followed closely in the train of the woeful trials immortalizing the initial, the bloodiest, the most dramatic period in the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation.
Convey to friends the joyful historic news of commencement of construction of arcade of the Báb’s Shrine coinciding with fortieth anniversary of the placing of His remains in marble sarcophagus in vault of the same shrine by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá.
The American Bahá’í Community, undefeated as yet in the performance of any task undertaken collectively by its members, in the course of its eventful history, is now entering a period of grave emergency, that will try the mettle of every single one of its members. Severe as the challenge will be, however prolonged the test, no matter how distracting the condition of the world about them, the issues which claim every ounce of their energy and call for their sustained, wholehearted, concentrated attention are so weighty that none can evaluate at present the influence they will exert on the course of the community’s future destiny.
There can be no doubt that the Second Seven Year Plan, the vital link binding the initial and concluding stages of the first epoch in the progressive evolution of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s long-term continually unfolding Plan, has reached its crucial phase—a phase on which hinge the fortunes not only of the Plan itself but of the community as a whole. The fourth objective of the Plan, the transatlantic project, on which its members have embarked, has, four years ahead of schedule, been, to all intents and purposes, victoriously achieved. The third objective has been partly attained, while its complete fulfillment, as a direct consequence of the marvelous success that has attended the valiant labors of the American pioneers and the newly enrolled native believers in Latin America, appears to be now fully assured. The attainment of the first objective has, as a result of the remarkable impetus given, during the opening years of the Plan, to the multiplication of spiritual assemblies and the proclamation of the Faith in North America, been greatly facilitated, and will, with steady effort, involving not too great an expenditure of energy, be insured in the course of the concluding phase of the Plan. The completion of the Mother Temple of the West, the sacredness of which neither the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the Bahá’í world, nor any future House of Worship to be erected by the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, in any country, at any future date, can rival, in time for the celebration of its Jubilee, is the one remaining objective that now hangs precariously in the balance. Owing to a combination of circumstances wholly beyond the control of its builders, this task has assumed a critical importance, and is of such vital urgency, that no prosecutor of the Plan, eager to witness its consummation, can afford to ignore for a moment.
The sacrifice demanded is such as to have no parallel whatsoever in the history of that community. The manifold issues inextricably interwoven with the campaign audaciously launched for the achievement of this high objective are of such a weighty character as to overshadow every enterprise embarked upon through the organized efforts of its members, in either the concluding years of the Heroic Age of the Faith or the first epoch of the Age which succeeded it. The two years during which this emergency will be most keenly felt coincide on the one hand with a period of increasing distraction occasioned by the uncertainties, the perils and fears of a steadily worsening international situation, and on the other with the centenary of one of the most turbulent, afflictive and glorious stages of Bahá’í history—a stage immortalized by an effusion of blood, a self-abnegation, a heroism unsurpassed not only in the annals of the Faith but in the world’s spiritual history. How meritorious, indeed, are the self-denying acts which this supremely challenging hour now calls forth, amidst the perplexities and confusion which present-day society is now experiencing! And yet, how trifling in comparison with the self-immolation of the most distinguished, the most precious heroes and saints of the Primitive Age of our glorious Faith! An outpouring of treasure, no less copious than the blood shed so lavishly in the Apostolic Age of the Faith by those who in the heart of the Asiatic continent proclaimed its birth to the world, can befit their spiritual descendants, who, in the present Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation, have championed the Cause, and assumed so preponderating a share in the erection of its Administrative Order, and are now engaged in the final stage of the building of the House that incarnates the soul of that Faith in the American continent. No sacrifice can be deemed too great to insure the completion of such an edifice—the most holy House of Worship ever to be associated with the Faith of the Most Great Name—an edifice whose inception has shed such a luster on the closing years of the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation, which has assumed a concrete shape in the present Formative stage in the evolution of our beloved Faith, whose dependencies must spring into existence in the course of successive epochs of this same Age, and whose fairest fruits will be garnered in the Age that is to come, the last, the Golden Age of the initial and brightest Dispensation of the five-thousand-century Bahá’í Cycle.
“A most wonderful and thrilling motion will appear in the world of existence,” are ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s own words, predicting the release of spiritual forces that must accompany the completion of this most hallowed House of Worship. “From that point of light,” He, further glorifying that edifice, has written, “the spirit of teaching … will permeate to all parts of the world.” And again: “Out of this Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, without doubt, thousands of Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs will be born.” “It marks the inception of the Kingdom of God on earth.”
Again I repeat—and I cannot overrate the vital, the unique importance of the campaign now launched to insure the completion of such an edifice—the immediate destiny of the American Bahá’í Community is intimately and inescapably bound up with the outcome of this newly launched, this severely trying, soul-purging, spiritually uplifting campaign. The God-given mission, constituting the birthright, and proclaiming the primacy of a community whose members the Founder of that community, the Center of the Covenant Himself, has addressed as the “Apostles of Bahá’u’lláh,” can only be fulfilled if they befittingly obey the specific Mandate issued by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá in His Tablets of the Divine Plan. The execution of this Mandate is, in its turn, dependent upon the triumphant conclusion of the Second Seven Year Plan, the second stage in the series of specific plans formulated to insure the successful termination of the opening phase in the execution of that Mandate. Indeed, the successive plans, inaugurated since the birth of the second Bahá’í century, by the British, the Indian, the Persian, the Australia-New Zealand, the Iráqí, the German and the Egyptian National Assemblies, with the exception of the plan undertaken by the Canadian National Assembly, which forms an integral part of the Plan associated with the Tablets of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, are but supplements to the vast enterprise whose features have been delineated in those Tablets and are to be regarded, by their very nature, as regional in scope, in contrast with the world-embracing character of the mission entrusted to the community of the champion builders of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, and the torch-bearers of the civilization which that Order must eventually establish. As to the Second Seven Year Plan itself, its eventual success must depend on the attainment of its second and most vital objective. This objective, in its turn, cannot be achieved unless the two-year campaign, now launched by the elected representatives of this community, is successfully carried out. Nor can this campaign yield its richest fruit unless and until the community, in its entirety, participates in this nation-wide sacrificial effort. Nor can this collective effort be blessed, to the fullest extent possible, unless the contributions made by its members involve acts of self-abnegation, not only on the part of those of modest means, but also by those endowed with substantial resources. Nor, indeed, can these self-denying acts, by both the rich and the poor, be productive of the fullest possible benefit unless this sacrificial effort is neither momentary nor haphazard, but rather systematic and continuous throughout the period of the present emergency.
Then and only then will this holy edifice, symbol and harbinger of a world civilization as yet unborn, and the embodiment of the sacrifice of a multitude of the upholders of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, release the full measure of the regenerative power with which it has been endowed, shed in all its plenitude the glory of the Most Holy Spirit dwelling within it, and vindicate, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the truth of every single promise recorded by the pen of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá pertaining to its destiny.
No more befitting consummation for this magnificent enterprise can be envisaged than that this noble edifice, whose cornerstone has been laid by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s own hands, the preliminary measure for whose construction synchronized with the formal interment of the Báb’s remains on Mt. Carmel, within whose walls the first Centenary of the birth of His ministry has been celebrated, whose interior ornamentation has coincided with the construction of the arcade of His Sepulcher, should be vouchsafed the honor of having the Jubilee of its inception coincide with, and celebrated on the occasion of, the Centenary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s prophetic Mission in the Síyáh-Chál of Ṭihrán.
Desire to share with attendants at Forty-first American Bahá’í Convention feelings of joyous gratitude evoked by the steady acceleration of the dual process of expansion and consolidation of the Bahá’í World Community as well as the perspicuous evidences of divine protection vouchsafed the World Center of the Faith during the course of the third year of the Second Seven Year Plan. The number of countries included within the pale of the Faith is ninety-four. Languages into which Bahá’í literature is translated, and assemblies, local and national, incorporated, now total fifty-six and one hundred five, respectively. Bahá’í literature now being translated into fourteen additional languages. The number of centers in Latin America is one hundred and nine. The fourth objective of the present Plan has been achieved four years ahead of schedule through the formation of a spiritual assembly in each of the ten goal countries on the European continent. Centers established in these countries total thirty-one, newly enrolled native believers, one hundred fifty-four. Nearly a million dollar drive to complete the Mother Temple of the West has been auspiciously launched and construction of interior sections of the ornamentation initiated. Number of settlements in Greenland provided with Bahá’í scriptures raised to forty-eight, including Thule beyond the Arctic Circle and Etah near eightieth latitude. Number of American states, territories and federal districts recognizing Bahá’í marriage raised to eighteen. Restoration of the newly acquired German national Hazíratu’l-Quds at Frankfurt has been commenced. Formulation of five year plans for German and Egyptian National Assemblies, culminating at the Centenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s prophetic Mission, completes the number of national assemblies pledged to achieve within appointed time specified goals in five continents. The European Teaching Conference convened at Geneva inaugurating series of annual gatherings designed to consolidate the tremendously significant transatlantic project. Bahá’í observers accredited by United Nations participated in Conference on Human Rights, Geneva; United Nations General Assembly, Paris. Bahá’í representative attended Luxembourg general conference of world movement for world federation. First all red Indian Assembly consolidated at Macy, Nebraska. Building operations on arcade of Báb’s Sepulcher commenced forty years after official interment of His remains by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá. Prolonged hostilities ravaging Holy Land providentially terminated. Bahá’í holy places, unlike those belonging to other faiths, miraculously safeguarded. Perils no less grave than those which threatened the World Center of the Faith under ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd and Jamál Páshá and through Hitler’s intended capture of the Near East, averted. Independent sovereign state within confines of Holy Land established and recognized, marking termination of twenty-century-long provincial status. Formal assurance of the protection of Bahá’í holy sites and continuation of Bahá’í pilgrimage given by Prime Minister of newly emerged state. Official invitation extended by its government on the historic occasion of the opening of the state’s first parliament. Official record of Bahá’í marriage endorsed, Bahá’í endowments exempted by responsible authorities of the same state. Best wishes for the future welfare of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh conveyed in writing by the newly elected head of the state in reply to congratulatory message addressed him upon assumption of his office. Appeal to entire community, through assembled delegates, in thankful recognition of the manifold blessings vouchsafed the Faith and in response to the alert sounded for the present emergency, to arise and demonstrate more conspicuously than ever before, through greater austerity at home and increasing audacity in foreign fields, both in Latin America and Europe, their grim determination at whatever cost, no matter how crucial the test, however long the period, however herculean the labor, to carry forward unremittingly their task to its triumphant conclusion.
Greatly welcome, much impressed by remarkable feat of initial victory collectively achieved by self-sacrificing efforts of invincible, far-visioned, forward-marching American Bahá’í Community. Ultimate victory now in sight bidding fair to bring present emergency period to triumphant conclusion, seal fate of Second Seven Year Plan and open prospect of glorious inauguration at appointed time of third collective Plan designed to terminate initial chapter in story of mysterious unfoldment of Divine Plan. Rejoice particularly at formulation of teaching plans so vitally linked with immediate destiny of Temple enterprise. Owing to relaxation of pressure occasioned by critical situation advise direct special attention to invigorate activities conducted in Latin America and European continent. Need for voluntary, self-supporting, wholly dedicated pioneers calculated to supplement newly launched undertaking in both fields is still pressing and acquiring greater urgency owing to approaching emergence of Latin American national assemblies and necessity to consolidate swiftly the newly-formed local assemblies in ten European goal countries. Heart uplifted at contemplation of mighty range of accomplishments embracing so vast a field in both hemispheres. Prayers continually ascending to Abhá throne both in thanksgiving for marvelous bounties already vouchsafed and in supplication for renewal of strength for attainment of future goals.
Delighted by progress of Temple work. Highly approve, deeply appreciate suggestion to defray expenses of German representative to Brussels conference. Supplicating Almighty’s blessing for manifold activities pursued, unrelaxing vigilance, unflinching determination, exemplary self-sacrifice in three continents by divinely sustained American Bahá’í Community.
Inform friends of commencement of construction on three corners of arcade of Shrine. Six granite pilasters already erected, twelve columns will be raised shortly. Forwarding photographs for publicity purposes.
The efforts exerted, and the results achieved, by the members of the American Bahá’í Community during the opening months of the two-year emergency period are such as to merit the highest commendation and praise. They will, if the effort be sustained, evoke the admiration of the entire Bahá’í world, which is now watching, with feelings of wonder and expectancy, the outcome of the tremendous labor of this community now confronted with one of the most challenging, arduous and far-reaching tasks ever undertaken in its history.
The great forward stride that has already been undertaken, during so short a period, augurs well for the ultimate victory, now within sight—a victory which will pave the way for the successful execution of a seven-year enterprise, destined, in its turn, to enable its executors to launch, at the appointed time, the third and most glorious stage in the initial unfoldment of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s unique and grand design for that privileged and conspicuously blessed community.
No less striking has been the achievement of the representatives of this community in the vast and most recent field of their historic and highly meritorious endeavors, exerted beyond the confines of their homeland, where over so vast a territory, on a continent so agitated, and amidst peoples so disillusioned, so varied in race, language and outlook, so impoverished spiritually, so paralyzed with fear, so confused in thought, so abased in their moral standards, so rent by internal schisms, victories so rich in promise, so startling in their rapidity, so magnificent in their range, have been won, and ennobled, to such a marked degree, the deathless record of American Bahá’í service to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.
Now that so prodigious and successful an effort has been exerted on behalf of the historic and sacred Temple, whose completion constitutes so vital an objective of the Second Seven Year Plan, and so conspicuous a triumph won in the transatlantic sphere of its operation, its needs and other vital objectives, both at home and in the Latin American field, must receive, in the months immediately ahead, the particular attention of both the national elected representatives of the community who supervise the working of the Plan and the mass of believers who participate in its execution.
While the financial requirements of the Mother Temple of the West are being met with unabated heroism by rich and poor alike in the critical months that lie ahead, and the measures to ensure the undiminished support, and the uninterrupted consolidation of the European enterprise are being assiduously carried out, a parallel effort, no less strenuous and sustained should be simultaneously exerted in the North American continent and in Central and South America, for the purpose of preserving the prizes already won over the length and breadth of the Western Hemisphere, where the initial impulse of this mighty and Divine Plan has been felt and its initial victories in foreign fields registered.
The assemblies of the North American continent, constituting the base for the gigantic operations destined to warm and illuminate, under American Bahá’í auspices, the five continents of the globe, must, at no time and under no circumstances, be allowed to diminish in number or decline in strength and in influence. The movement of pioneers, whether settlers or itinerant teachers, which in fields so distant from this base, has exhibited so marvelous a vitality, must, within the limits of the homeland itself, be neither interrupted nor suffer a decline. The groups and isolated centers so painstakingly formed and established must, conjointly with this highly commendable and essential duty, be maintained, fostered and if possible multiplied.
No less attention, while this emergency period taxes, to an unprecedented degree, the combined resources of the envied trustees of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Divine Plan, should be directed to the vast network of Bahá’í enterprises initiated throughout Latin America, where the work so nobly conceived, so diligently prosecuted, so conspicuously blessed, is rapidly nearing the first stage of its fruition. The flow of pioneers, so vital in all its aspects, and which has yielded such inestimable benefits at the early stages of this widely ramified enterprise, must, however urgent the other tasks already shouldered by an overburdened yet unfailingly protected community, be neither arrested nor slacken. The outpost of the newly born communities, established in the Straits of Magallanes in the South, must be held with undiminished vigor and determination. The major task of ensuring the breadth and solidity of the foundations laid for the establishment of two national Bahá’í assemblies, through the preservation of the present assemblies, groups and isolated centers, and the restoration of any of these vital centers, now dissolved, to their former status, must be scrupulously watched and constantly encouraged. The process of the dissemination of Bahá’í literature, of Bahá’í publication and translation, must continue unabated, however much the sacrifice involved. The newly fledged institutions of teaching and regional committees, of summer schools and of congresses, must be continually encouraged and increasingly supported by teachers as well as administrators, by pioneers from abroad, as well as by the native believers themselves. The highly salutary and spiritually beneficent experiment of encouraging a more active participation by these newly won supporters of the Faith in Latin America, and a greater assumption of administrative responsibility on their part, in the ever expanding activities to be entrusted wholly to their care in the years to come, should be, in particular, developed, systematized and placed on a sure and unassailable foundation. Above all, the paramount duty of deepening the spiritual life of these newly fledged, these precious and highly esteemed co-workers, and of enlightening their minds regarding the essential verities enshrined in their Faith, its fundamental institutions, its history and genesis—the twin Covenants of Bahá’u’lláh and of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, the present Administrative Order, the future World Order, the Laws of the Most Holy Book, the inseparable institutions of the Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice, the salient events of the Heroic and Formative Ages of the Faith, and its relationship with the Dispensations that have preceded it, its attitude toward the social and political organizations by which it is surrounded—must continue to constitute the most vital aspect of the great spiritual Crusade launched by the champions of the Faith from among the peoples of their sister republics in the South.
The magnitude of the tasks these heroes and champions of the Faith are summoned, at this hour, crowded with destiny, to discharge from the borders of Greenland to the southern extremity of Chile in the Western Hemisphere, and from Scandinavia in the north, to the Iberian peninsula in the south of the European continent, is, indeed, breath-taking in its implications and back-breaking in the strain it imposes. The sacrifices they are called upon to voluntarily make for the successful performance of such herculean, such holy, such epoch-making tasks, are comparable to none but those which their spiritual forbears have willingly accepted at the hour of the birth of their Faith more than a hundred years ago. Theirs is the privilege, no less meritorious and perhaps as epoch-making, to preside, in their own homeland and its neighboring continents, over, and direct the forces generated by, the birth of an order that posterity will acclaim as both the offspring of that Faith, and the precursor of the Golden Age in which that same Faith must, in the fullness of time, find its fullest expression and most glorious consummation.
How great the opportunity which the present hour, so dark in the fortunes of mankind and yet so bright in the ever-unfolding history of their Faith, offers them. How unspeakably precious the reward which they who serve it will reap! How pitiful and urgent the need of the waiting multitudes of these continents, summoned to sustain the initial impact of the operation of a divinely impelled Plan which no force can resist and no power can rival!
For what this superbly equipped community, this irresistibly advancing army of the chosen warriors of Bahá’u’lláh, battling under His banner, operating in conformity with the explicit Mandate voiced by His beloved Son, has already achieved, over so extensive a field, in such a brief time, at such great sacrifice, for so precious a Cause, and in the course of such turbulent years, I cannot but feel the deepest sense of gratitude the like of which no achievement, single or collective, rendered in any other part of the globe, by any community associated with the Cause of the Most Great Name has evoked. For what it will and must achieve in the future I entertain feelings of warm expectation and serene confidence. For it, I will continue, from the depths of a loving and grateful heart to supplicate blessings immeasurably richer than any it has yet experienced.
Delighted at progress of Temple work; urge uninterrupted reinforcement of Latin American and European enterprises through steady flow of pioneers, continued self-sacrifice; praying for increasing success of your high endeavors. Deepest loving appreciation.
Announce to the friends that six hundred tons of stones destined for the arcade of the Báb’s Shrine, received in successive shipments to the Holy Land, have been safely transported to its precincts despite repeated accidents—the sinking of a lighter in the harbor and outbreak of fire in the hold of the ship. An additional two hundred tons of material including carved marble mosaic have been ordered through recent contract for erection of parapet designed to crown the columns and arches of the arcade. North and east sides of structure with three corners virtually completed. Construction of cornice and roof, last stage in erection of the arcade, will soon be undertaken. Majesty and beauty of the colonnade enveloping the central holy edifice built by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s hands steadily unfolding, presaging revelation of the full glory of the completed Sepulcher manifesting the plenitude of the splendor of the constructed dome.
Faithless brother Hussein, already abased through dishonorable conduct over period of years followed by association with Covenant-breakers in Holy Land and efforts to undermine Guardian’s position, recently further demeaned himself through marriage under obscure circumstances with lowborn Christian girl in Europe. This disgraceful alliance, following four successive marriages by sisters and cousins with three sons of Covenant-breaker denounced repeatedly by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá as His enemy, and daughter of notorious political agitator, brands them with infamy greater than any associated with marriages contracted by old Covenant-breakers whether belonging to family of Muḥammad-‘Alí or Badí’u’lláh.
Delighted by progress in Latin-American field, Temple construction and publicity activities. Announce arrival of first shipment of parapet panels. Anticipate early completion of eastern façade of Shrine including mosaic panels. Urge maintenance of momentum in triple field, home, intercontinental enterprises. Praying for bountiful blessings from the Almighty.
Announce to the friends the completion, on the eve of Naw-Rúz, of the erection of parapet crowning the eastern façade of Holy Shrine one year after placing the first threshold stones upon the foundation of the arcade. The beauty and majesty of the finely carved panels surmounting the soaring arches spanning the rosy monolith columns, emblazoned with emerald green and scarlet mosaic symbolizing the Báb’s lineage and martyrdom, are strikingly revealed. The original pearl-like structure raised by the hands of the Center of the Covenant, enshrining the remains of the Martyr-Prophet of the Faith, acquiring, through construction of the shell designed for its embellishment and preservation, additional height by one-third, additional width by one-fifth, enhancing the massiveness of the edifice embosomed in the Mountain of God, heralding the erection of the lofty gilded dome that will eventually shine forth in solitary splendor from its heart.
Approved recommendation regarding treatment of walls. Meeting deficit budget must have precedence over purchase of land near Hazírá owing to critical situation in Latin America and vital needs in Europe. Steady flow of pioneers to both continents is the imperative, urgent, sacred task of the present hour.
Announce to friends that central panel of north façade, adorned with green mosaic with gilded Greatest Name, the fairest gem set in crown of arcade of Shrine, clearly visible from city by day, floodlit by night, is now in position.
Three corner panels bearing symbol of ringstone erected, presaging completion of both parapet and arcade on the occasion of approaching Centenary of martyrdom of the Blessed Báb.
Moved to share with assembled representatives of American Bahá’í Community gathered beneath the dome of the Most Holy House of Worship in the Bahá’í world, feelings of profound emotion evoked by this historic occasion of the world-wide commemoration of the First Centenary of the Martyrdom of the Blessed Báb, Prophet and Herald of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Dispensation marking the culmination of the six thousand year old Adamic Cycle, Inaugurator of the five thousand century Bahá’í Cycle.
Poignantly call to mind the circumstances attending the last act consummating the tragic ministry of the Master-Hero of the most sublime drama in the religious annals of mankind, signalizing the most dramatic event of the most turbulent period of the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation, destined to be recognized by posterity as the most precious, momentous sacrifice in the world’s spiritual history. Recall the peerless tributes paid to His memory by the Founder of the Faith, acclaiming Him Monarch of God’s Messengers, the Primal Point round Whom the realities of all the Prophets circle in adoration. Profoundly stirred by the memory of the agonies He suffered, the glad-tidings He announced, the warnings He uttered, the forces He set in motion, the adversaries He converted, the disciples He raised up, the conflagrations He precipitated, the legacy He left of faith and courage, the love He inspired. Acknowledge with bowed head, joyous, thankful heart the successive, marvelous evidence of His triumphant power in the course of the hundred years elapsed since the last crowning act of His meteoric ministry.
The creative energies released at the hour of the birth of His Revelation, endowing mankind with the potentialities of the attainment of maturity are deranging, during the present transitional age, the equilibrium of the entire planet as the inevitable prelude to the consummation in world unity of the coming of age of the human race. The portentous but unheeded warnings addressed to kings, princes, ecclesiastics are responsible for the successive overthrow of fourteen monarchies of East and West, the collapse of the institution of the Caliphate, the virtual extinction of the Pope’s temporal sovereignty, the progressive decline in the fortunes of the ecclesiastical hierarchies of the Islámic, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Hindu Faiths.
The Order eulogized and announced in His writings, whose laws Bahá’u’lláh subsequently revealed in the Most Holy Book, whose features ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá delineated in His Testament, is now passing through its embryonic stage through the emergence of the initial institutions of the world Administrative Order in the five continents of the globe. The clarion call sounded in the Qayyúmu’l-Asmá’, summoning the peoples of the West to forsake their homes and proclaim His message, was nobly answered by the communities of the Western Hemisphere headed by the valorous, stalwart American believers, the chosen vanguard of the all-conquering, irresistibly marching army of the Faith in the western world.
The embryonic Faith, maturing three years after His martyrdom, traversing the period of infancy in the course of the Heroic Age of the Faith is now steadily progressing towards maturity in the present Formative Age, destined to attain full stature in the Golden Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation.
Lastly the Holy Seed of infinite preciousness, holding within itself incalculable potentialities representing the culmination of the centuries-old process of the evolution of humanity through the energies released by the series of progressive Revelations starting with Adam and concluded by the Revelation of the Seal of the Prophets, marked by the successive appearance of the branches, leaves, buds, blossoms and plucked, after six brief years by the hand of destiny, ground in the mill of martyrdom and oppression but yielding the oil whose first flickering light cast upon the somber, subterranean walls of the Síyáh-Chál of Ṭihrán, whose fire gathered brilliance in Baghdád and shone in full resplendency in its crystal globe in Adrianople, whose rays warmed and illuminated the fringes of the American, European, Australian continents through the tender ministerings of the Center of the Covenant, whose radiance is now overspreading the surface of the globe during the present Formative Age, whose full splendor is destined in the course of future milleniums to suffuse the entire planet.
Already the crushing of this God-imbued kernel upon the anvil of adversity has ignited the first sparks of the Holy Fire latent within it through the emergence of the firmly knit world-encompassing community constituting no less than twenty-five hundred centers established throughout a hundred countries representing over thirty races and extending as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as the Straits of Magallanes, equipped with literature translated into sixty languages and possessing endowments nearing ten million dollars, enriched through the erection of two Houses of Worship in the heart of the Asiatic and North American continents and the stately mausoleum reared in its World Center, consolidated through the incorporation of over a hundred of its national and local assemblies and reinforced through the proclamation of its independence in the East, its recognition in the West, eulogized by royalty, buttressed by nine pillars sustaining the future structure of its supreme administrative council, energized through the simultaneous prosecution of specific plans conducted under the aegis of its national councils designed to enlarge the limits and extend the ramifications and consolidate the foundations of its divinely appointed Administrative Order over the surface of the entire planet.
I appeal on this solemn occasion, rendered doubly sacred through the approaching hundredth anniversary of the most devastating holocaust in the annals of the Faith, at this anxious hour in the fortunes of this travailing age, to the entire body of the American believers, the privileged occupants and stout-hearted defenders of the foremost citadel of the Faith, to rededicate themselves and resolve, no matter how great the perils confronting their sister communities on the European, Asiatic, African and Australian continents, however somber the situation facing both the cradle of the Faith and its World Center, however grievous the vicissitudes they themselves may eventually suffer, to hold aloft unflinchingly the torch of the Faith impregnated with the blood of innumerable martyrs and transmit it unimpaired so that it may add luster to future generations destined to labor after them.
The first half of the two-year austerity period, inaugurated at so anxious an hour in the fortunes of the Second Seven Year Plan, has been successfully traversed, and deserves to be regarded as a memorable episode in the history of the Faith and the unfoldment of the Plan in the North American continent. An effort, prodigious, nation-wide, sustained, and reminiscent in its heroism and consecration of the immortal exploits of the dawn-breakers of the Apostolic Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation, has been exerted by their spiritual descendants, in circumstances which, though totally different in character, are yet no less challenging and for a cause as meritorious—an effort that has indeed outshone the high endeavors that have distinguished for so long the record of service associated with the American Bahá’í Community. All of its members who have participated in this collective undertaking should be heartily congratulated, particularly those who, by their acts of self-abnegation, have emulated the example of the heroes of our Faith at the early dawn of its history. The entire Bahá’í world is stirred when contemplating the range of such an effort, the depth of consecration reached by those who have participated in it, the results it has achieved, the noble purpose it has served. My heart overflows with gratitude for the repeated evidences of worthiness demonstrated by this generous-hearted, valiant and dedicated community which has, no matter how onerous the task, how challenging the issue, how distracting the external circumstances with which it has been surrounded, never shirked its duty or hesitated for a moment.
The high watermark of so gigantic an exertion, however, still remains to be reached. The year now entered, ushered in and consecrated by the Centenary of the tragic execution of the Martyr-Prophet of our Faith, and packed with poignant memories of the persecutions of Zanján which stained its history a hundred years ago and carried its fortunes to almost its lowest ebb, and were a prelude to the most ghastly holocaust ever experienced by its followers, must witness as it rolls forward to its close, a still more striking demonstration of the tenacity of the members of this community, a still nobler display of acts of self-sacrifice, a still more inspiring manifestation of solidarity, and evidences of a grimmer determination, of a greater courage and perseverance in response to the triple call of this present hour.
The vital needs of the most holy House of Worship reared in the service and for the glory of the Most Great Name, though virtually met, still require the last exertions to ensure its completion as the hour of its Jubilee approaches. The Latin-American enterprise, initiated thirteen years ago, and marking the initial collective undertaking launched by the American Bahá’í Community beyond the confines of the great republic of the West, and under the mandate of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Divine Plan, still in a state of emergency and rapidly advancing towards its initial fruition, demands unrelaxing vigilance, and calls for still more strenuous exertions and self-sacrifice on the part of those who have so enthusiastically embarked upon it, who have so conscientiously and painstakingly shepherded it along its destined course and throughout the early stages of its unfoldment, and who are now, as a result of their ceaseless exertions, witnessing the first efflorescence of their mammoth pioneer labors. The construction of the superstructure of the Holy Sepulcher of the Blessed Báb, now, at this anxious and urgent hour, superimposed on the manifold responsibilities shouldered by members of the American Bahá’í Community, affording them the first historic opportunity of directly sustaining, through their contributions, the most sacred enterprise ever undertaken in the history of the Faith, the first and most holy edifice reared at its World Center, and the initial international institution heralding the establishment of the supreme legislative body at the World Administrative Center, requires the immediate and sustained attention of the members of a community whose destiny has been linked, ever since its inception, with the various stages marking the rise and consolidation of this divinely appointed, unspeakably holy enterprise.
The hour is critical, laden with fate. Responsibilities numerous and varied, as well as urgent and sacred, are crowding, in quick succession, upon a community youthful and valorous in spirit, rich in experience, triumphant in the past, sensible of its future obligations, keenly aware of the sublimity of its world mission, inflexibly resolved to follow with unfaltering steps the road of its destiny. The world situation is perilous and gloomy. Rumblings from far and near bode evil for the immediate fortunes of a sadly distracted society. The Second Seven Year Plan is now approaching its conclusion. The Centenary of the Martyrdom of the Báb with all its poignant memories is upon us. We are entering a period crowded with the centenaries of the direst calamities—massacres, sieges, captivities, spoliations and tortures involving thousands of heroes—men, women and children—the world’s greatest Faith has ever experienced. Another centenary commemorating an event as tragic and infinitely more glorious is fast approaching. Time is short. Opportunities, though multiplying with every passing hour, will not recur, some for another century, others never again. However severe the challenge, however multiple the tasks, however short the time, however somber the world outlook, however limited the material resources of a hard-pressed adolescent community, the untapped sources of celestial strength from which it can draw are measureless, in their potencies, and will unhesitatingly pour forth their energizing influences if the necessary daily effort be made and the required sacrifices be willingly accepted.
Nor should it be forgotten that in the hour of adversity and in the very midst of confusion, peril and uncertainty, some of the most superb exploits, noising abroad the fame of this community have been achieved. The construction of the superstructure of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár during one of the severest depressions experienced by the people of the United States in this century; the inauguration of the first Seven Year Plan on the eve of and during the anxious years preceding the second world conflagration; its vigorous prosecution during its darkest days and its triumph before its conclusion; the launching of the European campaign on the morrow of the most devastating conflict that rocked the continent of Europe to its foundation—these stand out as shining evidences of the unfailing protection, guidance and sustaining power vouchsafed its members, so readily and so abundantly, in the hour of their greatest need and danger.
To consolidate the victories won, and reinforce the foundations of the unnumbered institutions so diligently established, in the North American continent; to rear the twin pillars of the Universal House of Justice in Latin America, with their concomitant administrative agencies functioning in no less than twenty republics of Central and South America; to maintain in their present strength the strongholds of the Faith in the ten goal countries of Europe; to complete the interior ornamentation of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the West, and its Mother Temple, in preparation of its Jubilee; to assist in the erection of the superstructure of a still holier edifice, envisaged by its Founder and established by the Center of His Covenant on God’s holy mountain, at the very heart and center of our beloved Faith, would indeed constitute, by virtue of their scope, origin and character, embracing three continents and including within their range the World Center of the Faith itself, a worthy, befitting five-fold offering placed on the altar of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, on the occasion of the Centenary of the birth of His Mission by a community which, more than any sister community, in East or West, has contributed, since the inception of the Formative Age of His Faith to the enlargement of its limits, the rise and establishment of its Administrative Order and the spread of its fame, glory and power.
That this community may, in the course of these three coming years, discharge its five-fold task—now assuming, through the stress of circumstances, still vaster proportions, and investing itself with still greater blessedness and merit, than originally envisaged—with a spirit outshining any hitherto shown in the course of its half-century stewardship to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, is my most fervent wish and the object of my special and ardent prayers at this time when my heart and mind are fixed upon the sufferings and passion of the Báb on the occasion of the Centenary of His Martyrdom.