April 29, 2015

The ninth cycle of the Bahá’í calendar and its relationship to the teaching work – by ‘Ali Nakhjavani, former member of the Universal House of Justice

[‘Alí Nakhjavání, now a resident of France, served for 40 years as a member of the Universal House of Justice.]

The letter of the Universal House of Justice dated July 10, 2014, with its attachment about the Bahá’í calendar, was a great surprise to many of the friends in the Bahá’í world. To clarify several technical issues involved and to appreciate the timing and understand the implications of this message, this article is offered to the readership of this eminent journal.

In this epoch-making message that launches a unified Bahá’í calendar, the Universal House of Justice pointed out to us: “The adoption of a new calendar in each dispensation is a symbol of the power of Divine Revelation to reshape human perception of material, social, and spiritual reality. Through it, sacred moments are distinguished, humanity’s place in time and space reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast.” The same message drew attention to the fact that the launching of the new calendar will further “unite” the Bahá’í world.

Why is the Bahá’í calendar associated with a lunar calendar?

The friends in the West had always known, through books such as God Passes By and The Dawn-Breakers, that many Bahá’í historical dates were recorded and mentioned based on the lunar calendar of Islam. They had been also aware that a few Bahá’í anniversaries were being observed in some countries in the East in accordance with the lunar calendar, while the rest adhered to the dates of the solar calendar.

To provide for resolving this disparity, the Bahá’í texts stipulated that the Universal House of Justice had to determine the locality in the world that should be used as the Bahá’í meridian and the manner in which the Bahá’í calendar could be adjusted to enable the Birthdays of Bahá’u’lláh and of the Báb to occur on two consecutive days, as indicated in Bahá’í texts attributed to Bahá’u’lláh Himself.

April 26, 2015

Simultaneous Process of Expansion and Consolidation – an explanation by Hand of the Cause 'Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum

[In 1964 Hand of the Cause 'Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum spent several months in India and in the nearby countries of Ceylon, Nepal and Sikkim. While in India she participated extensively in the mass teaching program being carried on in the villages in all parts of that land. The following comments written on her return to the Holy Land give much food for thought among all the Baha'is of the world who wish to see their beloved Faith grow and expand among the multitudes not yet touched by the Word of Baha'u'llah.]

The entire Baha'i world is watching the progress being made in India. Her teaching activities and the remarkable rate of increase in the number of believers in that country during the last five years, are the envy and admiration of her sister communities. But I feel a word of advice is in order here. Often, the active workers inside a community, who are bearing the full weight of teaching, administering and supporting it, get the idea that they should slow down on 'expansion' and 'consolidate.' This is a dangerous idea - a very dangerous idea.

It was our beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, who first used these terms; we learned them from him; but he never separated the two things. To him expansion was constant teaching, according to the express command of Baha'u'llah, like an army that is marching to conquer, never losing an advantage, never ceasing to go on. Consolidation is what comes behind the army; the food supply, the education of the conquered people, the establishment of garrisons. It would be a sorry army indeed that sat down to enjoy the luxuries of inaction when it had the advantage! There are other armies on the march in these days, ominous, terrible, destructive armies, not only physical ones (perhaps the least dangerous of all) but ideological ones; materialism is on the march at a terrifying rate, godlessness is advancing with frightening swiftness, inadequate political ideologies, whether from the East or from the West, are seeking to conquer the minds of men.

April 12, 2015

The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha – from a letter by Emogene Hoagg to Nellie French dated January 2, 1922

[Emogene Hoagg was an early believer who made her way from Italy to Haifa soon after she received a cable announcement of the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. For a very brief account of her life please visit We are Baha’is]

Haifa, Palestine
2nd January 1922

My dearest Nelly:

Your letter of December 14th has just reached me here in this blessed spot. Needless to say why I am here, for you will have realized that no other thought could have possessed me after getting the cable of the ascension of our beloved Master.

As you said you felt, I also felt. The world seemed to have lost its axis, and I seemed to be living without a support. I had planned to go to Genoa, but had no heart nor strength to continue the work at that time. I left Torino, from where I wrote you, returned to Milano and took the first steamer from Trieste which was on December 16th. The trip was a calm one and I arrived here on the 21st.

You may imagine the grief of the Holy Family. All was so sudden, so unexpected, that the shock to them as well as to all the friends was extreme. For the first week after getting here I had no head to use for anything, but since then have been very busy helping in the translation of some important Tablets. This has left no time for letter writing, which accounts for your not hearing from me before, as well as other friends whom I am sure are anxious for details. There is so much to tell it would take days to write it all, but later a full account is to be sent to all. Lady Bloomfield is here and is now compiling an accurate account of the few days prior to the Beloved's departure, of the cortege up the mountain to the Tomb of the Bab, and the fifth, ninth and fortieth days after the ascension.

April 7, 2015

Interview of Sachiro Fujita, - by Sylvia Ioas, 1975

Fujita 1971
Note: Sachiro Fujita was born in Yanai, Japan, April 15, 1886, and died in Haifa May 7, 1976. He is buried at the Bahá'í cemetery at the foot of Mt. Carmel. The following is inscribed atop his grave (from a photo taken by Robert Stauffer in 1978):

"Thou wilt render a great service and this will become the cause of thy everlasting glory."
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Mount Carmel, November 24th, 1965

Would you like to know something about my life? I, I left Japan 1903, and, ah, landed in San Francisco November 9th, 1903, and, ah, remained in San Francisco about a year. Then I happened to meet Mrs. Kathryn Frankland in Oakland. There I received Message, Bahá'í Message.

("You were how old?")

Fujita 1928
About 17. In Oakland about 5 years. I finished my, ah, high school in California, then I went from there to Cleveland, Ohio. From there I, ah, wish to attend, ah, University of Michigan, but, ah, 1912, 'Abdu'l-Bahá came to United States. From, uh, then I went to Chicago to meet Him. That's when really my Bahá'í, ah, life began.

I was in Cleveland, Ohio, there was a Bahá'í, Doctor Barton-Peek. She informed me 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Cleveland, and I was away. I didn't get the message the next morning. Then, immediately, I went Doctor Barton-Peek's office. I ask, message just received, I can call or not. She says, "Well, too bad that `Abdu'l-Bahá just left." I says, "Well, I'm very sorry I was away, I couldn't meet Him. When can I make contact with 'Abdu'l-Bahá?" Says, "The best thing is you can wire to Mr. Windust in Chicago, maybe he will tell you just when to come to Chicago." So immediately, I wired to Mr. Windust, he says he's waiting for any time for arrival of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. So, I took opportunity, I went to Chicago.

About 8 o'clock in the evening He arrive in Chicago. He was very nice. At the front of LaSalle Station, embrace me, "My Japanese." And then, He says, "You follow Me." He is going to, ah, Mrs. True's home. He give a lecture. We had a wonderful time in Mrs. True's home. From there to Kenosha, I went Kenosha, you know? There's some Bahá'í there. `Abdu'l-Bahá spend overnight. That's where 'Abdu'l-Bahá asked me to join His party to go to California.

April 4, 2015

Teaching the Cause of God: A Two-Edged Sword – by Ali Nakhjavani

In one of his letters Shoghí Effendí has explained to us that one of the distinctive features of our Faith is that we cannot separate the spiritual life of the individual from the spiritual life of the community. Mutual reactions exist between the two. Under the influence of the divine teachings, the hearts of the individual believers bring into being and shape the community. In turn, the community provides an atmosphere where the individual believers develop and grow spiritually. Our teachings are designed so that the spiritual life of the individual Bahá’í, and the collective life of the community, complement each other. Let us look at some examples:
  • Bahá’u’lláh calls on Bahá’ís to observe individual obligatory prayers, but at the same time He ordains that Houses of Worship for community prayers be established.
  • We see that Bahá’u’lláh calls on parents to be the first educators of their children, but at the same time He anticipates that every local Bahá’í House of Worship will have a school, and He praises the work of teachers.
  • He calls on the individual believer to teach His Cause and protect Its interests, but simultaneously Bahá’í institutions are given parallel assignments to provide for the teaching and protection of His Faith.
In the messages of the Universal House of Justice we read that the time has come for all Bahá’í communities to develop with greater confidence and self-reliance a culture of thinking which is fundamentally different from the community activities of other religions. Unlike other religions, there is no professional clergy in the Faith to lead the community. Leadership and authority are vested in elected institutions. Thus leadership is self-generated and home-grown through democratic methods, and every individual member of the community should be concerned with its welfare and healthy growth.