October 29, 2010

Tribute to Shoghi Effendi – by Hand of the Cause Ruhiyyih Khanum, at Kampala Intercontinental Conference, January 26, 1958

Everybody who had the great privilege of knowing the Guardian recognized in him tremendous power; he not only had great spiritual and mental power which radiated from him, he had an electric something in his nature which was like being in the presence of a very powerful dynamo. I have been in electric plants where dynamos have generated electrical power for a whole city; the whole building shook and vibrated with the force that was being created in those generators. I have witnessed, myself, for twenty years, the strange force which emanated from Shoghi Effendi. This emanation from the Guardian was so strong that when he was not in the house, I felt less of it; when he was up on the mountain in the gardens of the Shrine, I would feel the force of it diminish; when he was in Bahji, I would feel still less of it; and if we were not in the same city, I would not feel it. It was a very extraordinary thing, and it was not my imagination.

Another thing about the Guardian, which I have sometimes wondered if those who were not closely associated with him ever realized, is that Shoghi Effendi was a very sensitive person. He was sensitive as a child. He was one of those children that, I believe in my long observation, should have always received encouragement. You know, there are children who don't need it; they are tough little plants. But there are other children who need to be told for everything they do, "My dear, you were sweet to think of it," "You are a wonderful person," "That was a wonderful idea," "How well you did it." The Guardian was like that -- he needed, not to mention what he deserved, to always be encouraged.

October 19, 2010

The Life of Baha’u’llah -- by Jinab-i-Fadil

[Please visit the Baha’i Heroes and Heroines for a brief write-up about Jinab-i-Fadil]

The province of Mazindaran in northern Persia, has played a most distinguished part in the history of that country. Reaching to the Caspian Sea, it is covered, in its northern portion, by a great forest of primeval trees where many nightingales sing their sweetest melodies, and thousands of varieties of fragrant flowers bloom in profusion. In the south are high mountains, upon whose peaks the snow never melts. This mountainous district, now the summer resort of the citizens of Tihran was in ancient times a place of retirement for the "herbod," the mystics and holy people. Here they went for meditation and prayer.

There are many legends regarding the province. It was said that here there would grow a celestial tree, with branches reaching to heaven. The fruit of this tree would be for the life of the nations. Many people traveled to this region hoping to find the wonderful tree. Another legend was that the king of war and hatred had been imprisoned in one of these high mountains. These stories were, of course, parables, describing in symbolic language the coming of the Universal Manifestation of God, whose teachings would encompass the earth and bring peace to all mankind.

In Nur, one of the districts of Mazindaran, dwelt the ancestors of Baha'u'llah. A manuscript has been found, giving his genealogy which goes back more than 1300 years, to the kings of ancient Persia. These ancestors were people of illumined mind, of great wealth and distinction. So preeminent were they among the people that they were regarded as a superior order of beings. They possessed immense estates and many cattle, and built for themselves a great palace on the side of the mountain where the magnificent view took in valley and river. In this palace they entertained in princely fashion their summer guests.

October 15, 2010

A Symbol of Victory -- excerpts from Address by 'Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanurn at the World Congress, May 2, 1963

Now we come to our beloved Guardian's grave and his passing. I don't want to go into detail about that because it will shatter me and I really can't bear thinking about it at this moment. But after I had gone out and visited his grave the day after his funeral, as I drove away -- it was very strange because I had no mind left, or anything at that point -- I saw before me in my mind's eye a column, and a globe, and an eagle, and the steps underneath it --the whole thing. And when I went back to Haifa and the Hands of the Cause met in such tragic circumstances with such broken hearts, in the Mansion of Baha'u'llah in Bahji, I showed them a little sketch and they were happy with it and approved, and that was what we built over Shoghi Effendi's resting-place.

Shoghi Effendi always wanted a column. And, well, he got it, evidently. But every time he saw a beautiful column: -- you know, Rome has very beautiful columns; sometimes when we passed through Rome in the old days, before there were so many Baha'is there, he used to look, and he would say, "You know, I think these columns are so beautiful. Where can I put a column on Mount Carmel?" "Well," I said, "Shoghi Effendi, I don't think you can, because you can't just stick a column up like that, you know; where would you put it?" And, well, that was that. But he didn't have a column, and he wanted one. And then he liked the Corinthian style very much. And so I think that perhaps influenced my thought that we should have a column, because he always wanted a column so much. And in the end he got one.

October 14, 2010

Sowing the Seeds -- excerpts from Address by Hand of the Cause Abu'l-Qasim Faizi at the Closing Session of the World Congress, May 2, 1963

Our thanks and gratitude to the pioneers, the national assemblies and the friends who made all these victories possible. I am sure that the pioneers who stand at their posts know the greatness of today. . . . Let us not leave all these opportunities which Baha'u'llah has left for us. Let us value and know the greatness of teaching. . . .

About a year ago I started on a world tour. Before going I was very much afraid of taking this responsibility, but one of the friends said, "Go to Latin America and just love them." . . . There was one question which was repeatedly asked me. I want to repeat it here, and the answer that I gave. In many places the friends -- having heard the news of India, of Africa, of Indonesia, of all parts of the world -- were really getting discouraged and saying, "What is wrong with us? We have been living here five years and there are only ten Baha'is. Is our method wrong? Aren't we as spiritual as those people of India? Is there anything wrong with us?"

I want to assure everybody that there is nothing wrong with the pioneers, nothing wrong with the method of their teaching, but there is this little misunderstanding. They think that India got all these results only this year -- or Africa, or Indonesia. No, beloved friends, this is the work of at least ninety years of struggle. Baha'u'llah Himself sent Jamal Effendi, who went to all the provinces of India and spoke about the Cause, and returned to Baha'u'llah apparently empty-handed. Baha'u'llah told him to go back, sow the seed -- "This is your function." The next time Jamall Effendi went to India he went to all the provinces, went to Burma, to Singapore, to Java, to the Philippines, and to some of the islands of the Pacific; and this teacher of the Cause, the most capable, died without having seen a single result of his activity.