Inform friends that Ruhi, his mother, with Ruha, his aunt, and their families, not content with years of disobedience and unworthy conduct, are now showing open defiance. Confident that exemplary loyalty of American believers will sustain me in carrying overwhelming burden of cares afflicting me.
Feel moved to appeal to gallant, great-hearted American Bahá’í Community to arise on the eve of launching the far-reaching, historic campaign by sister Community of the British Isles to lend valued assistance to the meritorious enterprise undertaken primarily for the illumination of the tribes of East and West Africa, envisaged in the Tablets of the Center of the Covenant revealed in the darkest hour of His ministry.
I appeal particularly to its dearly beloved members belonging to the Negro race to participate in the contemplated project marking a significant milestone in the world-unfoldment of the Faith, supplementing the work initiated fifty years ago on the North American continent, forging fresh links binding the American, British and Egyptian Communities and providing the prelude to the full-scale operations destined to be launched at a later period of the unfoldment of the Divine Plan aiming at the conversion of the backward, oppressed masses of the swiftly awakening continent.
Though such participation is outside the scope of the Second Seven Year Plan, I feel strongly that the assumption of this added responsibility for this distant vital field at this crucial challenging hour, when world events are moving steadily towards a climax and the Centenary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s Mission is fast approaching, will further ennoble the record of the world-embracing tasks valiantly undertaken by the American Bahá’í Community and constitute a worthy response to ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s insistent call raised on behalf of the race He repeatedly blessed and loved so dearly and for whose illumination He ardently prayed and for whose future He cherished the brightest hopes.
My anguished heart is comforted by the unnumbered messages from communities, assemblies, groups, committees and individual American believers, replete with expressions of loving devotion, pledges of loyalty to ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Covenant, prayers on my behalf and assurances of rededication in service to the precious Faith.
The triple cord binding me to the American Community, outstanding in its affectionate and unfailing support in the course of my almost thirty years’ stewardship to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, is greatly reinforced. But for America’s multitudinous services and unparalleled record of achievements my burden of cares both past and present would be unbearable.
Far from complaining of the added weight of afflictions oppressing me at this hour I feel I cannot but welcome with feelings of thankfulness and humility such tribulations enabling me to taste the cup the Martyr-Prophet of our beloved Faith drained so heroically a hundred years ago.
Much as I desire to acknowledge separately all messages I regretfully find the task beyond the limits of my overtaxed strength. I ask, dearly beloved friends, to regard this message as addressed to each one personally, bearing to each and every one assurance of my constant awareness of their enfolding love and unfailing support as well as my everlasting gratitude and unalterable affection and immense pride in their unrivaled collective share in the world-wide furtherance of the Cause so dear, so precious to us all.
My heart is greatly relieved by the splendid, welcome evidences of the intensified activity on the home front, Europe and Latin America. Supplicating bountiful blessings on the manifold enterprises energetically and devotedly conducted by the exemplary American Bahá’í Community.
Badí’u’lláh, brother and chief lieutenant of archbreaker of divine Covenant, has miserably perished after sixty years’ ceaseless, fruitless efforts to undermine the divinely-appointed Order, having witnessed within the last five months the deaths of his nephews Shoa and Musa, notorious standard-bearers of the rebellion associated with the name of their perfidious father.
Temple not regarded as completed until all accessories are provided, including landscape gardening. Public announcement and worship must coincide with termination of plan.
Owing to paramount need of Shrine and Temple, advise that you postpone publication of magazine until 1953. Summer schools may be reopened.
Assistance to Africa project through financial contribution, participation of pioneers white and colored, and close consultation and cooperation with British Assembly necessary. Independent campaign not intended. Fervently praying the participation of British, American, Persian, and Egyptian National Assemblies in unique, epoch-making enterprise in African continent may prove prelude to convocation of first African Teaching Conference leading eventually to initiation of undertakings involving collaboration among all national assemblies of Bahá’í world, thereby paving way to ultimate organic union of these assemblies through formation of International House of Justice destined to launch enterprises embracing whole Bahá’í world. Acclaim simultaneous inauguration of crusade linking administrative machinery of four national assemblies of East and West within four continents and birth of first International Council at World Center of Faith, twin evidences of resistless unfoldment of embryonic, divinely appointed World Order of Bahá’u’lláh.
No change whatsoever in status of Bahá’ís in relation to active military duty. No compromise of spiritual principles of Faith possible, however tense the situation, however aroused public opinion.
The virtual termination of the interior ornamentation of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the West; the forthcoming formation of the twin national spiritual assemblies of Latin America, following upon the establishment of a corresponding institution in the Dominion of Canada; the full attainment of the prescribed goals on the European continent in accordance with the provisions of the Second Seven Year Plan and the consolidation already achieved in the North American continent, do not, under any circumstances, imply that the vast responsibilities shouldered by a valiant, an alert and resolute community, have been fully and totally discharged, or that its members can afford, as the plan draws to its conclusion, to sink into complacency or relax for one moment in their high endeavors.
The hour destined to mark the triumphant conclusion of the second stage in their historic, divinely conferred, world-encircling mission has not yet struck. Rumblings, loud and persistent, presaging a crisis of extreme severity in world affairs, confront them with a challenge which, in spite of what they have already accomplished, they cannot and must not either ignore or underrate. The rise of the World Administrative Center of their Faith, within the precincts and under the shadow of its World Spiritual Center, a process that has been kept in abeyance for well nigh thirty years, whilst the machinery of the national and local institutions of a nascent Order was being erected and perfected, presents them with an opportunity which, as the champion-builders of that Order and the torchbearers of an as yet unborn civilization, they must seize with alacrity, resolution and utter consecration. The initiation of momentous projects in other continents of the globe, and particularly in Africa, as a result of the growing initiative and the spirit of enterprise exhibited by their fellow-workers in East and West, cannot leave unmoved the vanguard of a host summoned by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, its Divine Commander, and in accordance with the provisions of a God-given Charter, to play such a preponderating role in the spiritual conquest of the entire planet. Above all, the rapid prosecution of an enterprise transcending any undertaking, whether national or local, embarked upon by the followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, destined to attain its consummation with the erection of the dome of the Báb’s holy Sepulcher, imposes an added obligation, owing to unforeseen circumstances, on the already multitudinous duties assumed by a community wholly absorbed in the various tasks it shoulders. In fact, as the Centenary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s prophetic Mission approaches, His American followers, not content with the successful conclusion, in their entirety, of the tasks assigned to them, must aspire to celebrate befittingly this historic occasion, as becomes the chosen recipients, and the privileged trustees, of a divinely conceived Plan, through emblazoning with still more conspicuous exploits, their record of stewardship to a Faith whose Author has issued such a ringing call to the rulers of the American continent, and the Center of Whose Covenant has entrusted the American Bahá’í Community with so glorious a mission. Indeed the present stage in the construction of the superstructure of so holy a shrine imperatively demands a concentration of attention and resources commensurate with the high position occupied by this community, with the freedom it enjoys and the material means at its disposal. The signing of two successive contracts, for the masonry of the octagon, the cylinder and the dome of the edifice, necessitated by a sudden worsening of the international situation, which might cut off indefinitely the provision of the same stones used for the erection of the arcade and the parapet of that Sepulcher, and amounting to no less than one hundred and ninety thousand dollars; the subsidiary contracts for the provision of steel and cement for the erection of the wrought iron balustrade and the metal window frames of both the octagon and the cylinder, involving an additional expenditure of no less than twenty thousand dollars, to which must be added the cost of the excavation for and the sinking of the eight piers designed to support the weight of the dome and the immediate construction of the octagon—these call for a stupendous effort on the part of all Bahá’í communities and a self-abnegation unprecedented in Bahá’í history. A drastic reduction of national and local budgets; the allocation of substantial sums by all national assemblies; the participation of individuals through sustained and direct donations to the first international and incomparably holy enterprise synchronizing with the birth of the International Bahá’í Council at the very heart and center of a world-encircling Faith can alone insure the uninterrupted progress of an undertaking which, coupled with the completion of the Mother Temple of the West, cannot fail to produce tremendous repercussions in the Holy Land, in the North American continent and throughout the world. A period of austerity covering the two-year interval separating us from the Centenary celebrations of the Year Nine, prolonging so unexpectedly the austerity period already traversed by the American Bahá’í Community, and now extended to embrace its sister communities throughout the Bahá’í world, is evidently not only essential for the attainment of so transcendent a goal, but also supremely befitting when we recall the nature and dimensions of the holocaust which a hundred years ago crimson-dyed the annals of our Faith, which posterity will recognize as the bloodiest episode of the most tragic period of the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation, which involved the martyrdom of that incomparable heroine Táhirih, which was immediately preceded by the imprisonment of Bahá’u’lláh in the subterranean dungeon of Ṭihrán, and which sealed the fate of thousands of men, women and children in circumstances of unspeakable savagery and on a scale unapproached throughout subsequent stages of Bahá’í history.
No sacrifice can be deemed too great, no expenditure of material resources, no degree of renunciation of worldly benefits, comfort and pleasures, can be regarded as excessive when we recall the precious blood that flowed, the many lives that were snuffed out, the wealth of material possessions that was plundered during these most tumultuous and cataclysmic years of the Heroic Age of our Faith.
Nor will the sacrifices willingly and universally accepted by the followers of the Faith in East and West for the sake of so noble a Cause, so transcendent an enterprise, fail to contribute their share towards the upbuilding of the World Administrative Center of that Faith, and the reinforcement of the ties already linking this Center with the recognized authorities of a state under the jurisdiction of which it is now functioning, ties which the newly formed International Bahá’í Council are so assiduously striving to cement.
Already the completion of the construction of the arcade of this majestic Sepulcher and of its ornamental parapet has excited the admiration, stimulated the interest, and enlisted the support, of both the local authorities and of the central government, as evidenced by the series of acts which, ever since the emergence of that state, have proclaimed the good will shown and the recognition extended by the various departments of that state to the multiplying international institutions, endowments, laws and ordinances of a steadily rising Faith.
The recognition of the sacred nature of the twin holy Shrines, situated in the plain of ‘Akká and on the slopes of Mount Carmel; the exemption from state and civic taxes, granted to the mansion of Bahjí adjoining the Most Holy Shrine, to the twin houses, that of Bahá’u’lláh in ‘Akká, and ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá in Haifa, to the twin archives, adjoining the Shrine of the Báb and the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf, and the twin pilgrim houses constructed in the neighborhood of that Shrine, and of the residence of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá; the delivery of the mansion of Mazra’ih by the authorities of that same state to the Bahá’í Community and its occupation after a lapse of more than fifty years; the setting apart, through government action, of the room occupied by Bahá’u’lláh in the barracks of ‘Akká, as a place of pilgrimage; the recognition of the Bahá’í marriage certificate by the District Commissioner of Haifa; the recognition of the Bahá’í holy days, in an official circular published by the Ministry of Education and Culture; the exemption from duty accorded by the Customs Department to all furniture received for Bahá’í holy places as well as for all material imported for the construction of the Báb’s Sepulcher, the exemption from taxes similarly extended to all international Bahá’í endowments surrounding the holy tomb on Mount Carmel, stretching from the ridge of the mountain to the Templar colony at its foot, as well as to the holdings in the immediate vicinity of the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf and her kinsmen—all these establish, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the high status enjoyed by the international institutions of a world Faith, in the eyes of this newborn state.
The construction of the mausoleum of the Báb, synchronizing with the birth of that state, and the progress of which has been accompanied by these successive manifestations of the good will and support of the civil authorities will, if steadily maintained, greatly reinforce, and lend a tremendous impetus to this process of recognition which constitutes an historic landmark in the evolution of the World Center of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh—a process which the newly formed Council, now established at its very heart, is designed to foster, which will gather momentum, with the emergence in the course of time of a properly recognized and independently functioning Bahá’í court, which will attain its consummation in the institution of the Universal House of Justice and the emergence of the auxiliary administrative agencies, revolving around this highest legislative body, and which will reveal the plenitude of its potentialities with the sailing of the Divine Ark as promised in the Tablet of Carmel.
I cannot at this juncture over emphasize the sacredness of that holy dust embosomed in the heart of the Vineyard of God, or overrate the unimaginable potencies of this mighty institution founded sixty years ago, through the operation of the Will of, and the definite selection made by, the Founder of our Faith, on the occasion of His historic visit to that holy mountain, nor can I lay too much stress on the role which this institution, to which the construction of the superstructure of this edifice is bound to lend an unprecedented impetus, is destined to play in the unfoldment of the World Administrative Center of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh and in the efflorescence of its highest institutions constituting the embryo of its future World Order.
The Center of Nine Concentric Circles
For, just as in the realm of the spirit, the reality of the Báb has been hailed by the Author of the Bahá’í Revelation as “The Point round Whom the realities of the Prophets and Messengers revolve,” so, on this visible plane, His sacred remains constitute the heart and center of what may be regarded as nine concentric circles, paralleling thereby, and adding further emphasis to the central position accorded by the Founder of our Faith to One “from Whom God hath caused to proceed the knowledge of all that was and shall be,” “the Primal Point from which have been generated all created things.”
The outermost circle in this vast system, the visible counterpart of the pivotal position conferred on the Herald of our Faith, is none other than the entire planet. Within the heart of this planet lies the “Most Holy Land,” acclaimed by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá as “the Nest of the Prophets” and which must be regarded as the center of the world and the Qiblih of the nations. Within this Most Holy Land rises the Mountain of God of immemorial sanctity, the Vineyard of the Lord, the Retreat of Elijah, Whose return the Báb Himself symbolizes. Reposing on the breast of this holy mountain are the extensive properties permanently dedicated to, and constituting the sacred precincts of, the Báb’s holy Sepulcher. In the midst of these properties, recognized as the international endowments of the Faith, is situated the most holy court, an enclosure comprising gardens and terraces which at once embellish, and lend a peculiar charm to, these sacred precincts. Embosomed in these lovely and verdant surroundings stands in all its exquisite beauty the mausoleum of the Báb, the shell designed to preserve and adorn the original structure raised by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá as the tomb of the Martyr-Herald of our Faith. Within this shell is enshrined that Pearl of Great Price, the holy of holies, those chambers which constitute the tomb itself, and which were constructed by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá. Within the heart of this holy of holies is the tabernacle, the vault wherein reposes the most holy casket. Within this vault rests the alabaster sarcophagus in which is deposited that inestimable jewel, the Báb’s holy dust. So precious is this dust that the very earth surrounding the edifice enshrining this dust has been extolled by the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, in one of His Tablets in which He named the five doors belonging to the six chambers which He originally erected after five of the believers associated with the construction of the Shrine, as being endowed with such potency as to have inspired Him in bestowing these names, whilst the tomb itself housing this dust He acclaimed as the spot round which the Concourse on high circle in adoration.
To participate in the erection of the superstructure of an edifice at once so precious, so holy; consecrated to the memory of so heroic a Soul; whose site no one less than the Founder of our Faith has selected; whose inner chambers were erected by the Center of His Covenant with such infinite care and anguish; embosomed in so sacred a mountain, on the soil of so holy a land; occupying such a unique position; facing on the one hand the silver-white city of ‘Akká, the Qiblih of the Bahá’í world; flanked on its right by the hills of Galilee, the home of Jesus Christ, and on its left, by the Cave of Elijah; and backed by the plain of Sharon and, beyond it, Jerusalem and the Aqsá mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islám—to participate in the erection of such an edifice is a privilege offered to this generation at once unique and priceless, a privilege which only posterity will be able to correctly appraise.
The Chosen Trustees of a Divine Plan
In this supreme, this sacred and international undertaking in which the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, in all the continents of the globe, are summoned to show forth the noblest spirit of self-sacrifice, the members of the American Bahá’í Community must by virtue of the abilities they have already demonstrated and of the primacy conferred upon them as the chosen trustees of a Divine Plan, play a preponderating role, and, together with their brethren residing in the cradle of their Faith, who are linked by such unique ties with its Herald, set an example of self-abnegation worthy to be emulated by their fellow-workers in every land.
Whilst the members of this privileged community, laboring so valiantly in the Western Hemisphere, are widening the range of their manifold activities, and thereby augmenting their responsibilities, in both the Holy Land and the African continent, the original tasks, associated with the prosecution of the Second Seven Year Plan, must, simultaneously with this added and meritorious effort which is being exerted, in memory of the beloved Báb, and for the spiritual emancipation of the downtrodden races of Africa, be carried to a triumphant conclusion. Though the present deficit in their National Fund may, in a sense, register a failure on their part to meet their pressing obligations, and may arouse in their hearts feelings of self-reproach and anxiety, I can confidently assert that the supplementary duties they have discharged, and the material support they have extended, and are now extending, for the conduct of activities, not falling within the original scope of their Plan, not only fully compensate for an apparent shortcoming, but constitute, instead of a stain on their record of service, additional embellishments to the scroll already inscribed with so many exploits for the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.
Assured that no blot has marred so splendid a record of service; confident of their destiny; reliant on the unfailing guidance of the Founder of their Faith as well as on His sustaining power, let them address themselves, with unrelaxing vigilance and undiminished vigor, to the task of rounding off the several missions undertaken by them in Latin America, and in the North American and European continents.
The extension of the necessary material support and administrative guidance to the forthcoming national assemblies of Central and South America that will enable them to develop along sound lines and without any setback in the course of their unfoldment; the steady consolidation of the victories already won in the ten goal countries of Europe; the maintenance, at its present level and at whatever cost, of the status of the assemblies and groups so laboriously built up; the provision of whatever is required to fully complete the interior of the Temple and beautify the grounds surrounding it, in preparation for its formal inauguration and its use for public worship—these should be regarded as the essential objectives of the American Bahá’í Community during the two-year interval separating us from the Centenary celebrations of the prophetic mission of the Founder of our Faith.
Time is running short. The effort required to discharge the manifold responsibilities now challenging the members of a lion-hearted community is truly colossal. The issues at stake, demanding every ounce of their energy, are incomparably glorious. An ominous international situation emphasizes this challenge and reinforces the urgency of these issues. In the Holy Land, amid the tribes of a dark continent, over the wide expanses stretching from Panama to the extremity of Chile, in the heart of its own homeland, as well as in the new European field, marking the projection of its world mission across the seas, the American Bahá’í Community must deploy its forces, hoist still higher its pennants, and erect still more glorious memorials to the heroism, the constancy and the devotion of its members. ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, Whose Plan they are executing in both hemispheres, and to Whose summons they are now responding in the African continent; the Báb, Whose Sepulcher they are helping to erect; above all Bahá’u’lláh, Whose embryonic World Order they are building in the Holy Land and in other continents of the globe, look down upon them from Their retreats of glory, applauding their acts, guiding their footsteps, vouchsafing Their blessings, and laying up, in the storehouses of the Abhá kingdom such treasures as only They can bestow.
May the members of this community prove themselves, as they forge ahead and approach yet another milestone on the broad highway of their mission, worthy of still greater prizes, and fit to launch still mightier enterprises, for the glory of the Name they bear, and in the service of the Faith they profess.
Rejoice at departure of first pioneer to Africa; urge acceleration of historic process now set in motion. Time is short, tasks ahead manifold, pressing, momentous. Praying ardently for increasing response and befitting discharge of mighty supplementary task shouldered by valorous community.
Advise assembled friends to focus attention on vital, pressing, paramount needs of National Fund at this critical juncture. Hour is ripe to recall unnumbered tribulations, sacrifices heroically endured by the dawn-breakers, culminating in Bahá’u’lláh’s afflictive imprisonment in Síyáh Chál, Centennial of which is now approaching. Urge deepening realization of sacredness, preeminent importance of twin purposes which individual resolves serve. Appeal for immediate, unanimous, sustained, decisive response, safeguard thereby American Community’s share in tribute to memory of Founder of Faith on occasion of forthcoming Jubilee of Birth of glorious Mission. Praying for befitting answer to heartfelt plea.
The brief interval separating the hard-pressed, valiantly struggling, resistlessly expanding American Bahá’í Community from the anticipated consummation of the second, fate-laden collective enterprise launched so auspiciously by its national elected representatives is speedily drawing to a close. The sixteen months that still lie ahead constitute in view of the tasks that still remain to be achieved, and the sacrifices still to be made, a period at once critical and challenging. This memorable period commemorates, if we pause and call to mind the stirring events and bloody episodes linking the Dispensation of the Báb with the dawning Mission of the Founder of our Faith, the centenary of what may be truly regarded as the darkest, the most tragic, the most heroic, period in the annals of a hundred-year-old Revelation. This period, moreover, affords the last and irretrievable chance to a ceaselessly striving, repeatedly victorious community of setting the seal of triumph upon a momentous undertaking, on whose fate hinges the launching of yet another glorious Crusade, the consummation of which will mark the successful conclusion of the initial epoch in the unfoldment of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Divine Plan—an evolution that must continue to blossom and fructify in the course of successive epochs of the Formative Ages of the Faith, and yield its fairest fruit in the Golden Age that is yet to come.
A Period of Historic Significance
The historic significance of this period cannot indeed be overestimated. For it was a hundred years ago that a Faith, which had already been oppressed by a staggering weight of untold tribulations; which had sustained shattering blows in Mázindarán, Nayríz, Ṭihrán and Zanján, and indeed throughout every province in the land of its birth; which had lost its greatest exponents through the tragic martyrdom of most of the Letters of the Living, and particularly of the valiant Mullá Ḥusayn and of the erudite Vahíd and which had been afflicted with the supreme calamity of losing its Divine Founder; was being subjected to still more painful ordeals—ordeals which robbed it of both the heroic Hujjat and of the far-famed Táhirih; which caused it to pass through a reign of terror, and to experience a blood-bath of unprecedented severity, which inflicted on it one of the greatest humiliations it has ever suffered through the attempted assassination of the sovereign himself, and which unloosed a veritable deluge of barbarous atrocities in Ṭihrán, Mázindarán, Nayríz and Shíráz before which paled the horrors of the siege of Zanján, and which swept no less a figure than Bahá’u’lláh Himself—the last remaining pillar of a Faith that had been so rudely shaken, so ruthlessly denuded of its chief buttresses—into the subterranean dungeon of Ṭihrán, an imprisonment that was soon followed by His cruel banishment, in the depths of an exceptionally severe winter, from His native land to ‘Iráq. To these tribulations He Himself has referred as “afflictions” that “rained” upon Him, whilst the blood shed by His companions and lovers He characterized as the blood which “impregnated” the earth with the “wondrous revelation” of God’s “might.”
Nor should the momentous character of the unique event, that may be regarded as the climax and consummation of this tragic period, be overlooked or underestimated, inasmuch as its centenary synchronizes with the termination of the sixteen-month interval separating the American Bahá’í Community from the conclusion of its present Plan. This unique event, the centenary of which is to be befittingly celebrated, not only in the American continent but throughout the Bahá’í world, and is destined to be regarded as the culmination of the Second Seven Year Plan, is none other than the “Year Nine,” anticipated 2,000 years ago as the “third woe” by St. John the Divine, alluded to by both Shaykh Aḥmad and Siyyid Kázim—the twin luminaries that heralded the advent of the Faith of the Báb—specifically mentioned and extolled by the Herald of the Bahá’í Dispensation in His Writings, and eulogized by both the Founder of our Faith and the Center of His Covenant. In that year, the year “after Hin” (68), mentioned by Shaykh Aḥmad, the year that witnessed the birth of the Mission of the promised “Qayyúm,” specifically referred to by Siyyid Kázim, the “requisite number” in the words of Bahá’u’lláh “of pure, of wholly consecrated and sanctified souls” had been “most secretly consummated.” In that year, as testified by the pen of the Báb, the “realities of the created things” were “made manifest,” “a new creation was born” and the seed of His Faith revealed its “ultimate perfection.” In that year, as borne witness by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, a hitherto “embryonic Faith” was born. In that year, while the Blessed Beauty lay in chains and fetters, in that dark and pestilential pit, “the breezes of the All-Glorious,” as He Himself described it, “were wafted” over Him. There, whilst His neck was weighted down by the Qará-Guhar, His feet in stocks, breathing the fetid air of the Síyáh-Chál, He dreamed His dream and heard, “on every side,” “exalted words,” and His “tongue recited” words that “no man could bear to hear.”
There, as He Himself has recorded, under the impact of this dream, He experienced the onrushing force of His newly revealed Mission, that “flowed” even as “a mighty torrent” from His “head” to His “breast,” whereupon “every limb” of His body “would be set afire.” There, in a vision, the “Most Great Spirit,” as He Himself has again testified, appeared to Him, in the guise of a “Maiden” “calling” with “a most wondrous, a most sweet voice” above His Head, whilst “suspended in the air” before Him and, “pointing with her finger” unto His head, imparted “tidings which rejoiced” His “soul.” There appeared above the horizon of that dungeon in the city of Ṭihrán, the rim of the Orb of His Faith, whose dawning light had, nine years previously, broken upon the city of Shíráz—an Orb which, after suffering an eclipse of ten years, was destined to burst forth, with its resplendent rays, upon the city of Baghdád, to mount its zenith in Adrianople, and to set eventually in the prison-fortress of ‘Akká.
Such is the year we are steadily approaching. Such is the year with which the fortunes of the Second Seven Year Plan have been linked. As the tribulations, humiliations and trials inflicted on the Cause of God in Persia, a century ago, moved inexorably towards a climax, so must the present austerity period, inaugurated a hundred years later, in the continent of America, to reflect the privations and sacrifices endured so stoically by the dawn-breakers of the Heroic Age of the Faith witness, as it approaches its culmination, a self-abnegation on the part of the champion-builders of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, laboring in the present Formative Age of His Faith, which, at its best, can be regarded as but a faint reflection of the self-sacrifice so gloriously evinced by their spiritual forbears.
Objectives of Second Seven Year Plan Largely Attained
The objectives of the Second Seven Year Plan, the concluding phase of which has synchronized with this period of nation-wide austerity, have, it must be recognized, been in the main, attained. The pillars which must needs add their strength in supporting the future House of Justice have, according to the schedule laid down, been successively erected in the Dominion of Canada and in Latin America. The European Teaching Campaign—the second outstanding enterprise launched, beyond the confines of the North American continent, in pursuance of the Mandate, issued by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá to Bahá’u’lláh’s valiant “Apostles”—has not only achieved its original aims, but exceeded all expectations through the formation of a local spiritual assembly in the capital city of each of the ten goal countries included within its scope. The interior ornamentation of the Mother Temple of the West has, before its appointed time, been completed. Other tasks, no less vital, still remain to be carried, in the course of a fast shrinking period, to a successful conclusion. The landscaping of the area surrounding a structure whose foundations and exterior and interior ornamentation have demanded, for so many years, so much effort and such constant sacrifice, must, under no circumstances, and while there is yet time, be neglected, lest failure to achieve this final task mar the beauty of the approaches of a national shrine which provide so suitable a setting for an edifice at once so sacred and noble. The responsibilities solemnly undertaken to consolidate and multiply the administrative institutions throughout all the states of the Union—a task that has of late been allowed to fall into abeyance, and has been eclipsed by the spectacular success attending the shining exploits of the American Bahá’í Community in foreign fields—must be speedily and seriously reconsidered, for upon the constant broadening and the steady reinforcement of this internal administrative structure, which provides the essential base for future operations in all the continents of the globe, must depend the vigor, the rapidity and the soundness of the future crusades which must needs be launched in the service, and for the glory of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, and in obedience to the stirring summons issued by the Center of His Covenant in some of His most weighty Tablets. Above all, the accumulating deficit which has lately again thrown its somber shadow on an otherwise resplendent record of service, must, through a renewed display of self-abnegation, which, though not commensurate with the sacrifice of so many souls immolated on the altar of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, may at least faintly reflect its poignant heroism, be obliterated, once and for all, from the record of a splendid stewardship to His Faith.
There can be no doubt—and I am the first to proudly acknowledge it—that, ever since the launching of the Second Seven Year Plan, and in consequence of unexpected developments both in the Holy Land and elsewhere, the American Bahá’í Community, ever ready to bear the brunt of responsibility, under the stress of unforeseen circumstances, has considerably widened the scope of its original undertakings and augmented the weight shouldered by its stalwart members. At the World Center of the Faith, in response to the urgent call for action, necessitated by the imperative needs of the rising Sepulcher of the Báb, the formation of the Bahá’í International Council, and the establishment of the State of Israel, as well as in the continent of Africa, where the appointed, the chief trustees of a divinely conceived, world-encompassing Plan could not well remain unmoved by the sight of the first attempts being made to introduce systematically the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh and to implant its banner amongst its tribes and races, the American Bahá’í Community have assumed responsibilities well exceeding the original duties they had undertaken to discharge. This twofold opportunity that providentially presented itself to them, to contribute to the rise and consolidation of the World Center of their Faith, and to the spiritual re-awakening of a long-neglected continent, must, however, be exploited to the fullest extent, if the early completion of the most sacred edifice, next to the Qiblih of the Bahá’í world, is to be assured, and if the executors of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Plan are to retain untarnished the primacy conferred upon them by its Author.
That primacy will be demonstrated and re-emphasized as the representatives of this privileged community take their place, and assume their functions, at each of the four Intercontinental Bahá’í Teaching Conferences which are to be convened in the course of, and which must signalize, the world-wide celebrations of the Centenary of the Year Nine. Playing a preponderating role, as the custodians of a Divine Plan, in the global crusade which all the Bahá’í national spiritual assemblies, without exception, must, in various degrees and combinations, launch on the morrow of the forthcoming Centenary, and during the entire course of the ten-year interval separating them from the Most Great Jubilee, they must, upon the consummation of their present Plan, deliberate, together with their ally the Canadian National Assembly, and their associates, the newly formed National Spiritual Assemblies of Central and South America, on the occasion of the convocation of the approaching All-American Teaching Conference, on ways and means whereby they can best contribute to the establishment of the Faith, not only throughout the Americas and their neighboring islands, but in the chief sovereign states and dependencies of the remaining continents of the globe.
Scope of Third Seven Year Plan Widened
For unlike the First and Second Seven Year Plans, inaugurated by the American Bahá’í Community, the scope of the Third Seven Year Plan, the termination of which will mark the conclusion of the first epoch in the evolution of the Master Plan designed by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, will embrace all the continents of the earth, and will bring the central body directing these widely ramified operations into direct contact with all the national assemblies of the Bahá’í world, which, in varying degrees, will have to contribute their share to the world establishment of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, as prophesied by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá and envisioned by Daniel—a consummation that, God willing, will be befittingly celebrated on the occasion of the Most Great Jubilee commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the formal assumption by Bahá’u’lláh of His Prophetic Office.
The vision now disclosed to the eyes of this community is indeed enthralling. The tasks which, if that vision is to be fulfilled, must be valiantly shouldered by its members are staggering. The time during which so herculean a task is to be performed is alarmingly brief. The period during which so gigantic an operation must be set in motion, prosecuted and consummated, coincides with the critical, and perhaps the darkest and most tragic, stage in human affairs. The opportunities presenting themselves to them are now close at hand. The invisible battalions of the Concourse on High are mustered, in serried ranks, ready to rush their reinforcements to the aid of the vanguard of Bahá’u’lláh’s crusaders in the hour of their greatest need, and in anticipation of that Most Great, that Wondrous Jubilee in the joyfulness of which both heaven and earth will partake. ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, the Founder of this community and the Author of the Plan which constitutes its birthright, to Whose last wishes its members so marvelously responded; the Báb, the Centenary of Whose Revelation this same community so magnificently celebrated, and to the building of whose Sepulcher it has given so fervent a support; Bahá’u’lláh Himself, to the glory of Whose Name so stately an edifice it has raised, will amply bless and repay its members if they but persevere on the long road they have so steadfastly trodden, and pursue, with undimmed vision, with unrelaxing resolve and unshakable faith, their onward march towards their chosen goal.
That this community, so young in years, yet withal so rich in exploits, may, in the months immediately ahead, as well as in the years immediately following this coming Jubilee, maintain, untarnished and unimpaired, its record of service to our beloved Faith, that it may further embellish, through still nobler feats, its annals, is the dearest wish of my heart, and the object of my constant supplications at the Holy Threshold.
Deeply touched by reconsecration and readiness to sacrifice. Praying for fulfilment of your hopes. Advise allocate substantial portion of budget to meet continual needs arising at International Center of Faith.
My soul is uplifted in joy and thanksgiving at the triumphant conclusion of the Second Seven Year Plan immortalized by the brilliant victories simultaneously won by the vanguard of the hosts of Bahá’u’lláh in Latin America, in Europe and in Africa—victories befittingly crowned through the consummation of a fifty year old enterprise, the completion of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the western world. The signal success that has attended the second collective enterprise undertaken in the course of American Bahá’í history climaxes a term of stewardship to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, of almost three score years’ duration—a period which has enriched the annals of the concluding epoch of the Heroic, and shed luster on the first thirty years of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation. So fecund a period has been marked by teaching activities unexcelled throughout the western world and has been distinguished by administrative exploits unparalleled in the annals of any Bahá’í national community whether in the East or in the West. I am impelled, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Most Great Festival, coinciding with a triple celebration—the dedication of the Mother Temple of the West, the launching of a World Spiritual Crusade and the commemoration of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s Mission—to pay warmest tribute to the preeminent share which the American Bahá’í Community has had in the course of over half a century in proclaiming His Revelation, in shielding His Cause, in championing His Covenant, in erecting the administrative machinery of His embryonic World Order, in expounding His teachings, in translating and disseminating His Holy Word, in dispatching the messengers of His Glad Tidings, in awakening royalty to His Call, in succoring His oppressed followers, in routing His enemies, in upholding His Law, in asserting the independence of His Faith, in multiplying the financial resources of its nascent institutions and, last but not least, in rearing its greatest House of Worship—the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the western world.
The hour is now ripe for this greatly gifted, richly blessed community to arise and reaffirm, through the launching of yet another enterprise, its primacy, enhance its spiritual heritage, plumb greater depths of consecration and capture loftier heights in the course of its strenuous and ceaseless labors for the exaltation of God’s Cause.
The Ten Year Plan, constituting the third and final stage of the initial epoch in the evolution of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Master Plan, which, God willing, will raise to greater heights the fame of the stalwart American Bahá’í Community, and seat it upon “the throne of an everlasting dominion,” envisaged by the Author of the Tablets of this same Plan, involves:
First, the opening of the following virgin territories, eleven in Africa: Cape Verde Islands, Canary Islands, French Somaliland, French Togoland, Mauritius, Northern Territories Protectorate, Portuguese Guinea, Reunion Island, Spanish Guinea, St. Helena and St. Thomas Island; eight in Asia: Caroline Islands, Dutch New Guinea, Hainan Island, Kazakhstan, Macao Island, Sakhalin Island, Tibet and Tonga Islands; six in Europe: Andorra, Azores, Balearic Islands, Lofoten Islands, Spitzbergen and Ukraine; and four in America: Aleutian Islands, Falkland Islands, Key West and Kodiak Island.
Second, the consolidation of the Faith in the following territories, six in Asia: China, Formosa, Japan, Korea, Manchuria, Philippine Islands; two in Africa: Liberia and South Africa; twelve in Europe: the ten goal countries, Finland and France; three in America: the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska and Puerto Rico.
Third, the extension of assistance to the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá’ís of Central and South America, as well as to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Italy and Switzerland in forming twenty national spiritual assemblies in the republics of Latin America and two in Europe, namely in Italy and Switzerland; the extension of assistance for the establishment of a national Hazíratu’l-Quds in the capital of each of the aforementioned countries as well as of national Bahá’í endowments in these same countries.
Fourth, the establishment of ten national spiritual assemblies in the following European countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, France and Finland.
Fifth, the establishment of a national spiritual assembly in Japan and one in the South Pacific Islands.
Sixth, the establishment of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Alaska.
Seventh, the establishment of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of South and West Africa.
Eighth, the incorporation of each of the fourteen above-mentioned national spiritual assemblies.
Ninth, the establishment of national Bahá’í endowments by these same national spiritual assemblies.
Tenth, the establishment of a national Hazíratu’l-Quds in the capital city of each of the eleven of the aforementioned countries, as well as one in Anchorage, one in Suva, and one in Johannesburg.
Eleventh, the erection of the first dependency of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the western world.
Twelfth, the extension of assistance for the purchase of land for four future Temples, two in Europe: in Stockholm and Rome; one in Central America, in Panama City; and one in Africa, in Johannesburg.
Thirteenth, the completion of the landscaping of the grounds of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Wilmette.
Fourteenth, the raising to one hundred of the number of incorporated local assemblies within the American Union.
Fifteenth, the raising to three hundred of the number of local spiritual assemblies in that same country.
Sixteenth, the incorporation of spiritual assemblies in the leading cities of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Spain and Portugal, as well as of the Spiritual Assemblies of Paris, of Helsingfors, of Tokyo, of Suva and of Johannesburg.
Seventeenth, the quadrupling of the number of local spiritual assemblies and the trebling of the number of localities in the aforementioned countries.
Eighteenth, the translation of Bahá’í literature into ten languages in Europe, (Basque, Estonian, Flemish, Lapp, Maltese, Piedmontese, Romani, Romansch, Yiddish and Ziryen; ten in America: Aguaruna, Arawak, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Iroquois, Lengua, Mataco, Maya, Mexican and Yahgan.
Nineteenth, the conversion to the Faith of members of the leading Indian tribes.
Twentieth, the conversion to the Faith of representatives of the Basque and Gypsy races.
Twenty-first, the establishment of summer schools in each of the Scandinavian and Benelux countries, as well as those of the Iberian Peninsula.
Twenty-second, the proclamation of the Faith through the press and radio throughout the United States of America.
Twenty-third, the establishment of a Bahá’í Publishing Trust in Wilmette, Illinois.
Twenty-fourth, the formation of an Asian teaching committee designed to stimulate and coordinate the teaching activities initiated by the Plan.
May this community—the spiritual descendants of the dawn-breakers of the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Faith, the chief repository of the immortal Tablets of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Divine Plan, the foremost executors of the Mandate issued by the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, the champion-builders of a divinely conceived Administrative Order, the standard-bearers of the all-conquering army of the Lord of Hosts, the torchbearers of a future divinely inspired world civilization—arise, in the course of the momentous decade separating the Great from the Most Great Jubilee to secure, as befits its rank, the lion’s share in the prosecution of a global crusade designed to diffuse the light of God’s revelation over the surface of the entire planet.
Strongly urge intending pioneers to scatter as widely as possible, settle even territories, islands not specifically assigned to United States. Prompt opening of virgin territories is highly meritorious, extremely urgent, vital prerequisite to insure triumphant conclusion of opening phase of Global Crusade, prerogative of chief executors of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Plan. May enrolled pioneers arise and confirm primacy of American Bahá’í Community playing preponderating role in initial stage of spiritual conquest of unopened territories and islands of the planet.
My soul is thrilled and my heart is filled with gratitude as I contemplate—looking back upon six decades of eventful American Bahá’í history—the chain of magnificent achievements which, from the dawn of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the West until the present day, have signalized the birth, marked the rise and distinguished the unfoldment of the glorious mission of the American Bahá’í Community. Of all Bahá’í communities in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, with the sole exception of its venerable sister community in Bahá’u’lláh’s native land, it alone may well claim to have released forces, and set in motion events, which stand unparalleled in the annals of the Faith; while in the course of the last fifty years, comprising the concluding years of the Heroic and the opening epochs of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation, it can confidently boast of a record of stewardship which, for its scope, effectiveness and splendor, is unmatched by that of any other community in the entire Bahá’í world.
The first to awaken to the call of the New Day in the western world; the first to spontaneously arise to befittingly erect the Mother Temple of the West; the first to grasp the implications, evolve the pattern and lay the basis of the structure of the Bahá’í Administrative Order in the entire Bahá’í world; the first to openly and systematically proclaim the fundamental principles of the Faith, to adopt effectual measures for its defense, to invite the attention of royalty to its teachings, to devise an adequate machinery for the translation, the publication and the dissemination of its literature and to provide the means for the creation of its subsidiary institutions; the first to champion the cause of the oppressed and to generously contribute to the alleviation of the sufferings of the needy and persecuted among the followers of Bahá’u’lláh; the first to inaugurate collective enterprises for the propagation of His Cause; the first to assert its independence in the West; the first to lay an unassailable foundation for the erection of auxiliary institutions designed to multiply its financial resources; and, more recently, the first to achieve, as befits its primacy, the initial task devolving upon it in pursuance of the newly launched World Spiritual Crusade, this community has abundantly merited, by the quality of its deeds and the magnitude of its exploits, the distinctive titles of the cradle of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, of the vanguard of His world-conquering host, of the standard-bearers of the oneness of mankind, of the chief trustees of the Plan devised by the Center of the Covenant and of the torch-bearers of an as yet unborn world civilization.
Recent Services Deserving Mention
The services rendered by this same community in recent years, in its capacity as the chief executors of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Divine Plan, in the course of the second stage of the initial epoch in its evolution, are of such importance and significance as to deserve particular mention at this time. In the North American continent, throughout the republics of Latin America, in the ten goal countries of Europe, on the shores and in the heart of the African continent, the members of this community have, in conformity with the provisions of the Second Seven Year Plan, performed feats of such noble and enduring heroism as to enhance immensely their prestige, demonstrate unmistakably the caliber of their faith and qualify them to assume a preponderating share in the prosecution of the Ten Year Plan whose operations are to extend over the entire surface of the globe.
In the multiplication and consolidation of Bahá’í administrative institutions and their auxiliary agencies throughout Central America, the Antilles and every South American republic—a task supplementing the initial enterprise undertaken, in pursuance of the first Seven Year Plan, in connection with the introduction of the Faith into the republics of Latin America; in the even more rapid development of nascent institutions of the Faith in Scandinavia, in the Benelux countries, in Switzerland, in the Italian and Iberian Peninsulas; in the laying of the administrative basis of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh in the capital and in some of the major cities of each of the ten European sovereign states included within the scope of the Plan; in the convocation of a series of historic teaching conferences in the north and in the heart of the European continent—heralding the convocation of the recently held, epoch-making Intercontinental Teaching Conferences; in the translation, the publication and dissemination of Bahá’í literature in various European languages; in the still more dramatic evolution of the Faith in the African continent, culminating in the convocation of the first Intercontinental Teaching Conference of the Holy Year in the heart of Africa; in the tremendous sacrifices spontaneously and repeatedly made to broaden and reinforce the foundations of the Faith in the North American continent, to sustain the campaigns undertaken in Latin America, Europe and Africa, and to meet the many demands of the Bahá’í Temple, rapidly nearing completion in Wilmette; in the successive emergence of three national spiritual assemblies in the Western Hemisphere—an outstanding contribution to the evolution and consolidation of the structure of the world Administrative Order of the Faith; in the completion of the interior ornamentation of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the West, the provision of its accessories and the initiation of the landscaping of its grounds; in the support extended to the development of the institutions of the World Center of the Faith; in the role played by its representatives, whether as Hands of the Cause or members of the International Bahá’í Council; in the financial aid unhesitatingly given to hasten the construction, and insure the completion, of the superstructure of the Báb’s Sepulcher on Mt. Carmel—above all, in the share its national elected representatives have assumed in providing the means for the convocation of the second Intercontinental Teaching Conference of the Holy Year; in commemorating worthily the dedication to public worship of the Mother Temple of the West, on the occasion of its Jubilee; in befittingly inaugurating the launching of the World Spiritual Crusade, and in celebrating the climax of the Holy Year marking the centenary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s Mission—in all these the American Bahá’í Community has fully deserved the praise and gratitude of posterity, has merited the applause of the Concourse on High and earned a full measure of the divine blessings and of the celestial sustenance of which it will stand in such great need in the course of the prosecution of still mightier and more glorious enterprises in the days to come.
Added Responsibilities in Propagating the Divine Plan
The stage is now set, and the hour propitious, for a deployment of forces, and for the revelation of the indomitable spirit animating this community, on a scale and to a degree unprecedented in the entire course of American Bahá’í history. To the Antilles and the seventeen republics of Central and of South America—the scene of the initial exploits of a community inaugurating the opening phase of its world-girding mission—to the ten sovereign states of Europe which, at a subsequent stage in the unfoldment of that mission, the members of this community enthusiastically and determinedly arose to open up and conquer; to the African territories which, in addition to their allocated task under the Second Seven Year Plan, they spontaneously endeavored to win to the all-conquering Cause of Bahá’u’lláh—to these numerous islands and archipelagos, bordering the American, the European and African continents; dependencies extensive, well-nigh inaccessible, and remote from the base of their operations throughout the Asiatic continent; lastly, the South Pacific area, the home of the one remaining race not as yet adequately represented in the Bahá’í world community, occupying spiritually so strategic a position owing to its proximity to the Bahá’í communities already firmly entrenched in South America, in the Indian subcontinent and in Australasia, at once challenging the resources of no less than eight national spiritual assemblies, and the theater destined to witness the noblest and the most resounding victories which the chosen executors of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s Divine Plan have been called upon to win in the service of the Cause of God—all these have now, in accordance with the requirements of an irresistibly unfolding Plan, been added, completing thereby the full circle of the world-wide obligations devolving upon a community invested with spiritual primacy by the Author of the immortal Tablets constituting the Charter of the Master Plan of the appointed Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant.
“The moment this Divine Message,” He Who penned these Tablets and conferred this primacy has most significantly affirmed, “is propagated through the continents of Europe, of Asia, of Africa and of Australasia, and as far as the islands of the Pacific, this community will find itself securely established upon the throne of an everlasting dominion.” Then, and only then, will, as He Himself has so remarkably prophesied, “the whole earth” “resound with the praises of its majesty and greatness.”
Now, indeed, is the time, after the lapse of two score years; following the triumphant conclusion of two successive historic Plans, marking the opening stages of the first epoch in the unfoldment of that same Master Plan; on the morrow of the brilliant celebrations climaxing the world-wide festivities of a memorable Holy Year; and while a triumphant community, in the first flush of enthusiasm, has just garnered the first fruits of its campaigns in four continents of the globe and is laden with its freshly won trophies, for this community to bestir itself, and, assuming its rightful preponderating share in the conduct of a newly launched World Spiritual Crusade, to demonstrate, through a supreme and sustained effort embracing the entire surface of the planet, its ability to safeguard that primacy, to enrich immeasurably the record of its stewardship and to bring to a majestic conclusion the opening epoch in the evolution of a Plan destined to reveal the full measure of its potentialities, not only throughout the successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, but in the course of the vast reaches of time stretching into the Golden, the last Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation.
A Lasting Influence on American Community and Nation
This decade-long global Crusade must mark a veritable turning point in American Bahá’í history. It must prove itself to be, as it develops, a force so pervasive and revolutionary in its character as to leave a lasting imprint not only on the destinies of the American Bahá’í Community but on the fortunes of the American nation as well. It must, even as a baptismal fire, so purge its members from self as to enable them to scale heights never as yet attained. It must, in its initial stages, witness a dispersal, combined with a consecration, reminiscent of the dawn of the Heroic Age in Bahá’u’lláh’s native land. It must, as it gathers momentum, awaken the select and gather the spiritually hungry amongst the peoples of the world, as well as create an awareness of the Faith not only among the political leaders of present-day society but also among the thoughtful, the erudite in other spheres of human activity. It must, as it approaches its climax, carry the torch of the Faith to regions so remote, so backward, so inhospitable that neither the light of Christianity or Islám has, after the revolution of centuries, as yet penetrated. It must, as it approaches its conclusion, pave the way for the laying, on an unassailable foundation, of the structural basis of an Administrative Order whose fabric must, in the course of successive crusades, be laboriously erected throughout the entire globe and which must assemble beneath its sheltering shadow peoples of every race, tongue, creed, color and nation.
Seconded by the neighboring fully fledged Canadian Bahá’í Community flourishing beyond the northern frontier of its homeland; supported by the newly emerged Latin American communities established in the Antilles and in each of the central and southern republics of the Western Hemisphere; ably aided by its sister community vigorously functioning in the heart of a far-flung empire, and destined to lend its inestimable assistance in the spiritual conquest of the numerous and widely scattered dependencies of the British Crown; reinforced by the oldest and youngest national Bahá’í communities on the European mainland which are to play a prominent part in the eastern and southern regions, and across the frontiers of Europe, along the shores and in the islands of the Mediterranean; assisted by its venerable sister community in the cradle of the Faith and by the second oldest national community in the Bahá’í world actively engaged in the propagation of the Faith in the Asiatic continent; confident of the help of its Egyptian and Indian sister communities, whose destiny is closely linked with the African continent and southeast Asia respectively, and, lastly, assured of the unfailing cooperation of yet another national community in the Antipodes which, owing to its geographical position, is bound to assume a notable share in the introduction of the Faith in the islands of the South Pacific Ocean, the American Bahá’í Community must, as befits its rank as the chief executor of the Divine Plan, play a dominant and decisive role in the direction and control of the manifold operations involved in the prosecution of the North American, the Latin American, the European, the African, the Asian and the South Pacific campaigns of this World Crusade, and insure, by every means at its disposal and in conjunction with its junior partners, its ultimate and total success.
Within its own sphere, extending to every continent of the globe, embracing no less than twenty-nine virgin territories and islands, the members of this stalwart and preeminent community are called upon, among other things and within the relatively brief span of a single decade, to create nuclei, around which will crystallize future assemblies, in no less than eleven territories and islands of Africa, eight of Asia, six of Europe, four of America; to inaugurate the establishment of the future dependencies of the Mother Temple of the West, and to terminate the landscaping of its grounds; to consolidate and broaden the basis of the Administrative Order already laid in twenty-three territories and islands distributed in four continents of the globe and situated in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; to assist in the erection of no less than thirty-six pillars, twenty in Latin America, twelve in Europe, two in Asia, one in the North American continent and one in Africa, designed to help in sustaining the weight of the crowning unit of the Bahá’í Administrative Order, and in the establishment of national Bahá’í headquarters, of national endowments, and of national incorporations in all of these continents; to lend its aid for the acquisition of land in anticipation of the erection of four Temples, two in Europe, one in Africa and one in Central America; to lend an impetus to the progress of the Faith in its homeland through raising to three hundred the number of local spiritual assemblies and to one hundred the number of incorporated assemblies, as well as through the founding of a Bahá’í Publishing Trust and the proclamation of the Faith through the press and radio; to enroll in the ranks of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh members of the Indian, of the Basque and Gypsy races; to assume responsibility for the translation and publication of Bahá’í literature in twenty languages, ten in the Americas and ten in Europe; and to contribute to the consolidation of the Faith in eight of the European goal countries through the establishment of local incorporations, as well as through the quadrupling of the number of local assemblies and the trebling of the number of local Bahá’í centers in each one of them.
While this colossal task, which in its magnitude and potentialities transcends any previous collective enterprise launched in the course of American Bahá’í history, is being energetically carried out, it should be constantly borne in mind—and this applies to all communities without exception participating in this World Crusade—that the twofold task of extension and consolidation must be supplemented by continuous and strenuous efforts to increase speedily not only the number of the avowed followers of the Faith in both the virgin and opened territories and islands included within the scope of the Ten Year Plan, but also to swell the ranks of its active supporters who will consecrate their time, resources and energy to the effectual spread of its teachings and the multiplication and consolidation of its administrative institutions.
The movement of pioneers, the opening of virgin territories, the initiation of Houses of Worship and of administrative headquarters, the incorporation of local and national elective bodies, the multiplication of assemblies, groups and isolated centers, the increase in the number of races represented in the world Bahá’í fellowship, the translation, publication and dissemination of Bahá’í literature, the consolidation of administrative agencies and the creation of auxiliary bodies designed to support them, however valuable, essential and meritorious, will in the long run amount to little and fail to achieve their supreme purpose if not supplemented by the equally vital task—which is one that primarily concerns continually and challenges each single individual believer whatever his rank, capacity or origin—of winning to the Faith fresh recruits to the slowly yet steadily advancing army of the Lord of Hosts, whose reinforcing strength is so essential to the safeguarding of the victories which the band of heroic Bahá’í conquerors are winning in the course of their several campaigns in all the continents of the globe.
Such a steady flow of reinforcements is absolutely vital and is of extreme urgency, for nothing short of the vitalizing influx of new blood that will reanimate the world Bahá’í community can safeguard the prizes which, at so great a sacrifice involving the expenditure of so much time, effort and treasure, are now being won in virgin territories by Bahá’u’lláh’s valiant Knights, whose privilege is to constitute the spearhead of the onrushing battalions which, in diverse theaters and in circumstances often adverse and extremely challenging, are vying with each other for the spiritual conquest of the unsurrendered territories and islands on the surface of the globe.
This flow, moreover, will presage and hasten the advent of the day which, as prophesied by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, will witness the entry by troops of peoples of divers nations and races into the Bahá’í world—a day which, viewed in its proper perspective, will be the prelude to that long-awaited hour when a mass conversion on the part of these same nations and races, and as a direct result of a chain of events, momentous and possibly catastrophic in nature, and which cannot as yet be even dimly visualized, will suddenly revolutionize the fortunes of the Faith, derange the equilibrium of the world, and reinforce a thousandfold the numerical strength as well as the material power and the spiritual authority of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.
Most Vital Objective in the Crusade’s Opening Year
Of all the objectives enumerated in my message to the representatives of this community, assembled on the occasion of the celebration of the climax of the Holy Year, of the convocation of the second Intercontinental Teaching Conference, of the inauguration of the Mother Temple of the West and of the launching of the World Spiritual Crusade, the most vital, urgent and meritorious, in this the opening year of the initial phase of this world-embracing enterprise, is, without doubt, the settlement of pioneers in all the virgin territories and islands assigned to this community in all the continents of the globe, with the exception of the few which, owing to present political obstacles, cannot as yet be opened to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. This process already so auspiciously inaugurated, which, in the course of the first eight months of the Holy Year has gathered such splendid momentum, and which bids fair to astonish, stimulate and inspire the entire Bahá’í world, must, during the concluding months of this same year and the one succeeding it, be so accelerated as to insure the attainment of this paramount objective before the lapse of two years from the official launching of this World Crusade.
While this goal is being vigorously pursued, close attention must be directed to the preliminary measures for the establishment of the first dependency of the Mother Temple of the West, as well as to the completion of the landscaping of its grounds, a double task that will, on the one hand, mark the termination of the fifty-year-old process of the construction of the central Bahá’í House of Worship, and proclaim, on the other, the commencement of another designed to culminate in the establishment in its plenitude of the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár as conceived by Bahá’u’lláh and envisaged by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá. Moreover, immediate consideration should be given to two other issues of prime importance, namely the purchase of land, which need not exceed for the present one acre, in anticipation of the construction of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of South Africa, and the prompt translation of a suitable Bahá’í pamphlet into the American and European languages allocated to your assembly, and its publication and wide dissemination among the peoples and tribes for whom it has been primarily designed.
The followers of the Most Great Name, citizens of the great republic of the West; constituting the majority and the oldest followers of His Faith in a continent wherein, in the words of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, “the splendors of His (Bahá’u’lláh’s) Light shall be revealed” and “the mysteries of His Faith shall be unveiled,” addressed by Him in His Tablets of the Divine Plan as the “Apostles” of His Father; the recipients of the overwhelming majority of these same Tablets constituting the Charter of that Plan; conquerors of most of the territories, whether sovereign states or dependencies, already included within the pale of the Faith; the champion-builders of a world administrative system which posterity will regard as the harbinger of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, must, if they wish to retain their primacy and enrich their heritage, insure that, ere the opening of the second phase of this World Crusade, the names of the first American Bahá’í conquerors to settle in virgin territories and islands will, as befits their primacy, be inscribed on the Scroll of Honor, now in process of preparation, and designed to be permanently deposited at the entrance door of the Inner Sanctuary of Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Holy Tomb, that the limited area of land required for the erection of four future Bahá’í Temples, in Rome, Stockholm, Panama City and Johannesburg, will be bought, that the landscaping of the grounds of the Temple in Wilmette will be completed, and that the translation and the publication of the aforementioned pamphlet in the specified languages will be accomplished.
The two years that lie ahead, three months of which have already elapsed, will swiftly and imperceptibly draw to a close. Tasks even more onerous, equally weighty and requiring in a still greater measure the expenditure of effort and substance, lie ahead, which will brook no delay, which will carry the Faith to still higher levels of achievement and renown, which will enlarge, through the forging of fresh instruments, the framework of a steadily rising world Administrative Order, and which will eventually, if worthily discharged, seal the triumph of the most prodigious, the most sublime, the most sacred collective enterprise launched by the adherents of the Cause of God in both hemispheres since the early days of the Heroic Age of the Faith—an enterprise which in its vastness, organization and unifying power, has no parallel in the world’s spiritual history.
An Appeal to All Engaged in the Crusade
To them, and indeed to the entire body of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, engaged in this global Crusade, I direct my appeal to arise and, in the course of these fast-fleeting years, in every phase of the campaigns that are to be fought in all the continents of the globe, prove their worth as gallant warriors battling for the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. Indeed, from this very hour until the eve of the Most Great Jubilee, each and every one of those enrolled in the Army of Light must seek no rest, must take no thought of self, must sacrifice to the uttermost, must allow nothing whatsoever to deflect him or her from meeting the pressing, the manifold, the paramount needs of this preeminent Crusade.
“Light as the spirit,” “pure as air,” “blazing as fire,” “unrestrained as the wind”—for such is Bahá’u’lláh’s own admonition to His loved ones in His Tablets, and directed not to a select few but to the entire congregation of the faithful—let them scatter far and wide, proclaim the glory of God’s Revelation in this Day, quicken the souls of men and ignite in their hearts the love of the One Who alone is their omnipotent and divinely appointed Redeemer.
Bracing the fearful cold of the Arctic regions and the enervating heat of the torrid zone; heedless of the hazards, the loneliness and the austerity of the deserts, the far-away islands and mountains wherein they will be called upon to dwell; undeterred by the clamor which the exponents of religious orthodoxy are sure to raise, or by the restrictive measures which political leaders may impose; undismayed by the smallness of their numbers and the multitude of their potential adversaries; armed with the efficacious weapons their own hands have slowly and laboriously forged in anticipation of this glorious and inevitable encounter with the organized forces of superstition, of corruption and of unbelief; placing their whole trust in the matchless potency of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings, in the all-conquering power of His might and the infallibility of His glorious and oft-repeated promises, let them press forward, each according to his strength and resources, into the vast arena now lying before them, and which, God willing, will witness, in the years immediately lying ahead, such exhibitions of prowess and of heroic self-sacrifice as may well recall the superb feats achieved by that immortal band of God-intoxicated heroes who have so immeasurably enriched the annals of the Christian, the Islamic and Bábí Dispensations.
On the members of the American Bahá’í Community, the envied custodians of a Divine Plan, the principal builders and defenders of a mighty Order and the recognized champions of an unspeakably glorious and precious Faith, a peculiar and inescapable responsibility must necessarily rest. Through their courage, their self-abnegation, their fortitude and their perseverance; through the range and quality of their achievements, the depth of their consecration, their initiative and resourcefulness, their organizing ability, their readiness and capacity to lend their assistance to less privileged sister communities struggling against heavy odds; through their generous and sustained response to the enormous and ever-increasing financial needs of a world-encompassing, decade-long and admittedly strenuous enterprise, they must, beyond the shadow of a doubt, vindicate their right to the leadership of this World Crusade.
Now is the time for the hope voiced by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá that from their homeland “heavenly illumination” may “stream to all the peoples of the world” to be realized. Now is the time for the truth of His remarkable assertion that that same homeland is “equipped and empowered to accomplish that which will adorn the pages of history, to become the envy of the world and be blest in both the East and the West,” to be strikingly and unmistakably demonstrated. “Should success crown” their “enterprise,” He, moreover, has assured them, “the throne of the Kingdom of God will, in the plenitude of its majesty and glory, be firmly established.”
Would to God that this community, boasting already of so superb a record of achievements both at home and overseas, and elevated to such dazzling heights by the hopes cherished and the assurance given by the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, may prove itself capable of performing deeds of such distinction, in the course of the opening, as well as the succeeding phases of this World Spiritual Crusade, as will outshine the dedicated acts which have already left their indelible mark on the Apostolic Age of the Faith in the West; will excel the enduring, the historic achievements associated, at a later period, with this community’s memorable contribution to the rise and establishment of the world Administrative Order of Bahá’u’lláh; will surpass the magnificent accomplishments which, subsequently, as the result of the operation of the first Seven Year Plan, illuminated the annals of the Faith in both the North American continent and throughout Latin America and will eclipse the even more dramatic exploits which, during the opening years of the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Faith, and in the course of the prosecution of the Second Seven Year Plan, have exerted so lasting an influence on the fortunes of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the Antilles, throughout the republics of Central America, in each of the ten republics of South America, in no less than ten sovereign states in the continent of Europe, and in various dependencies on the eastern and western shores, as well as in the heart of the African continent.