May 27, 2011

The Beloved of All Hearts - Shoghi Effendi -- a talk by Hand of the Cause Dhikru’llah Khadem

November, 1984
Ninth Annual Conference of the Association for Baha'i Studies
Ottawa, Canada 

I have been asked to speak of the beloved of all hearts, Shoghi Effendi. I will say a Persian poem: Tá'key bi-tammannáy-i-visál-i-Tu, Yigáneh Ashgam shavad az bar muzheh chun seyl raváneh. This is the English translation:

How long will this torrent of tears flood from each lash in my longing to meet thee?
O, the unique one, my beloved, Will the night of thy separation ever end?
O, thou, whose agony and tribulations have, as an arrow, pierced the hearts of thy lovers.
Multitudes are occupied in thy praise whilst thou art hidden from them.( Sheikh-i-Baha'i, Baha'i News, March, 1976; Ash’ar-i-parákandeh, Sheikh-i-Baha'i, 76)

Now we are all, as individuals in this multitude, occupied with the praise of the beloved Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of this glorious Manifestation. According to Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha such a dispensation as the Revelation of Baha'u'llah comes to the world only once in every 500,000 years. Only then will there be another Guardian of the Cause.

I remember the time I was in the presence of Shoghi Effendi when he spoke about the significance of twin [1] things in the Cause. In fact, he sent a cable about this to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the British Isles. In this cable, he told us about the significance of twin occurrences in this Cause. He told the Assembly that we have twin cities – holy cities -'Akka and Haifa; twin houses - the House of Shiraz and the House of Baghdad; twin Manifestations - the Manifestation of the Bab and that of Baha'u'llah. He continued, telling us everything is twin: twin festivals- the birthday of the Bab and that of Baha'u'llah; twin monuments - of the brother and mother of 'Abdu'l-Baha. During this time I was in his presence, the beloved Guardian was so exhilarated and happy. It gave me the courage to mention to him that we have two gardens: the garden of Ridvan and the garden of Firdaws. Then, the beloved Shoghi Effendi smiled and said, "You've noted that, but you have forgotten to say twin vistas: the view of the sea and the view of the mountain." After explaining these things, he paused and looked at me deeply and said, "In the Cause of God everything is twin." I have no doubt that he meant two Manifestations and two Interpreters: The Bab and Baha'u'llah, the two Manifestations of God; and 'Abdu'l-Baha and the beloved Shoghi Effendi, the two Interpreters.

May 10, 2011

Count Leo Tolstoy and the Baha’i Movement – by Martha L. Root

When I was in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1927, I met the secretary of Count Leo Tolstoy, Mr. Valentin Bulgakov; we had a long talk about Count Tolstoy and his contact with the Baha'i Movement. Later, in December, 1930, I met Miss Alexandra Tolstoy, the youngest daughter of this great Russian writer and humanitarian. She said to me then, "What Mr. Bulgaliov has told you about my father's interest in the Baha'i Movement is true. He was with him during the last four years of my father's life; he was his secretary and arranged his library." Then, too, I corresponded with Mrs. Isabel Grinevsky of Leningrad in 1927 and she wrote me about Count Tolstoy.

It is through these kind friends that I have the facts for this article. An added interest was given to the subject for me when only a few days ago, May 3 1, 1932, I interviewed the president of a Roman Catholic university in Poland who had met 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1914, in Haifa, Palestine. 'Abdu'l-Baha said to him that there was no greater writer in Europe than Count Leo Tolstoy. "What a pity that Tolstoy, who so admired the Teachings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, never had the privilege of meeting Him."

"Count Tolstoy knew the Baha'i Teachings through literature. I think he did not know any Baha'is personally," said Mr. Bulgakov in his talk with me. "He first heard of the Baha'i Movement in May, 1903, when Mrs. Isabel Grinevsky brought out in Leningrad (the former capital of Russia that then was called St. Petersburg) a great drama called Báb; it was in verse and gave the illumined history of the Forerunner of the Baha'i Movement, a young man called Báb and His disciples called Letters of the Living; the scenes were laid in Persia. This drama was played in one of the principal theatres of St. Petersburg, in January, 1904, and given a remarkable reception. Some of the critics went far in its praise. For example, the poet Fiedler (who afterward translated the drama into German) said: 'We receive from the five acts of the poetical drama Báb more information about the Baha'i Movement than from the deep, scientific researches of Professor Edward G. Browne, Gobineau and Russian scientists and historians. As the Herold has already published two full feuilletons about the poem, we shall speak only of the performance of the play. Rarely has the renown of any play preceded the performance as has this of Mrs. Grinevsky.' "

The Herold of January, 1904, printed the following: