Cover, Baha'i World, 1925-1926
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, for forty years a prisoner in Palestine, because
of raising the Standard of the “Most Great Peace.”
Year Book
Volume One—April, 1925-April, 1926
Prepared under the supervision of the National Spiritual Assembly
of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada
with the approval of Shoghi Effendi.
Greatest Name
Bahá’í Publishing Committee
P. O. Box 348, Grand Central Station,
New York City, U. S. A.
Part One Page
“0 Army of Life!” 12
A Statement of the Purpose and Principles of the Bahá’í Faith 13
Outline of Bahá’í History 15
The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 19
Part Two
Extracts from Bahá’í Sacred Writings 35
A Statement on Present-day Administration of the Bahá’í Cause 45
Bahá’í Calendar and Festivals 56
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár 59
Brief History of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in America 64
Extracts from Mashriqu’l-Adhkár Report 71
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of ‘Ishqábád 79
Impressions of Haifa 81
Kunjangun 84
Old and New Paths at Green Acre 87
World Unity Conference 95
Part Three
National Spiritual Assemblies 101
Leading Local Bahá’í Centers 101
Bahá’í Periodicals 103
Bibliography 105
References to the Bahá’í Movement 115
European and American Cities Visited by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 130
Transliteration of Oriental Terms Frequently Used in Bahá’í Literature 131
Dr. J. E. Esslemont 133
Part Four
The Relation of the Bahá’í Cause to Modern Progressive Movements 139
The Unity of Civilization 141
Equality of Men and Women 147
Esperanto and the Bahá’í Teachings 153
Unity of Religions 157
Science and Religion 160
Universal Education 163
Racial Amity 165
The Economic Teaching of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 170
World Peace 173
Note: The editors regret that a few Oriental words and proper names appear with different spellings throughout the Year Book due to the fact that certain articles were written before the Oxford standard transliteration was adopted by the Baha'is. Also in other ways there has been no attempt to bring up to date the compilation of material, some of which covered a period of many years.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá Frontispiece
Original house occupied by the Báb 16
Avenue in Haifa leading to Mt. Carmel 22
Group of Bahá’ís in Baghdád, Iraq 34
Bahá’í Assembly of Port Said, Egypt 44
Delegates and friends attending Convention at Green Acre, Maine 52
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár 58
Mr. Bourgeois’ house-studio—exterior and interior 76
Terraced descent from Tomb of the Báb and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 82
Bahá’ís of Kunjangun, India 86
Fellowship house and tea house at Green Acre, Maine 90
Peace flag-raising at Green Acre and view of grounds 92
Floral emblem sent Major Imbrie 100
Bahá’í students at Beirut University 104
Jenab’i-Fadil at Santa Paula, California 106
Boys’ school at ‘Ishqábád, Russia 110
Girls’ school at ‘Ishqábád, Russia 116
Annual Feast at West Englewood, New Jersey 120
Bahá’í Feast given Miss Alexander at Seoul, Korea.   Buddhist College students at Seoul 122
Bahá’í Message carried to Alaska 124
Bahá’í teachers in Australia and New Zealand 126
Miss Effie Baker of Melbourne, Australia 128
Dr. J. E. Esslemont 132
Conference of Living Religions at London in 1924 138
Dr. and Mrs. K. M. Foujdar of Bombay, India 148
Esperanto students, Tokyo, Japan 156
Bahá’í Orphanage at Tokyo, Japan 168
Shoghi Effendi
Guardian of the Bahá’í Cause
this work is dedicated
in hope that it will assist
his efforts to promote
that spiritual unity
underlying and anticipating
the “Most Great Peace”
of Bahá’u’lláh
DURING February, 1924, the suggestion was made to Shoghi Effendi that the time seemed opportune for the organization of a committee of Bahá’í editors, chosen from the Orient, Europe and America, to gather together the necessary data, facts, and other information for an annual reference book on the Bahá’í Cause. During the eighty years that have passed since the announcement of the Báb, the movement has penetrated into many countries and made an indelible impression upon the thoughts of the age. If all the activities of the Bahá’ís could be gathered together, and the work of the Cause be properly edited each year, the result, it was felt , would be to advance the unified thought and action of the adherents of the Faith and disclose to others something of the significance of the world-wide movement called into being by the message of Bahá’u’lláh.
As the result of that suggestion, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada was requested, pending the formation of an international board of Bahá’í editors, to assume responsibility for the work.
The editors appointed by that body present this first Bahá’í Year Book in full knowledge that it falls all too short of the ideal. They request its readers to accept the book merely as a preliminary forecast and simple working model of an annual Bahá’í work of reference ihe facilities for which can be developed as time goes on.
Particularly do they regret the unavoidable emphasis placed upon the activities of the Bahá’ís in the United States and Canada in comparison with those of other countries. In future issues of the Year Book equal emphasis can be secured through closer co-operation with the other National Spiritual Assemblies than could be asked for or received in the brief space of time at the disposal of the editors this year.
Sympathizers with the ideals of the movement are asked to give special attention to Part Four, consisting of a series of contributed articles on those universal principles promulgated so lucidly by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and already generally accepted as the indications and proofs of a new day stirring in the heart of mankind. It is hoped that this section of the Bahá’í Year Book will develop into a true review and analysis of world events from a spiritual point of view—an interpretation surely most desirable and helpful to students and workers in all fields.
Suggestions and assistance leading to improvements in future volumes of the Year Book will be heartily welcomed from any source, particularly from the various National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the Bahá’í world. Correspondence on the subject should be addressed to Year Book Committee, care National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada, 48 West 10th Street, New York, N. Y., U. S. A.
Nellie S. French,
Mariam Haney,
Horace Holley,
Charles Mason Remey,
Albert Windust,
I.“0 Army of Life!”
II.A Statement of the Purpose and Principles of the Bahá’í Faith
III.Outline of Bahá’í History
IV.The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
OARMY OF LIFE! East and West have joined to worship stars of faded splendor and have turned in prayer unto darkened horizons. Both have utterly neglected the broad foundation of God’s sacred laws, and have grown unmindful of the merits and virtues of His religion. They have regarded certain customs and conventions as the immutable basis of the Divine Faith, and have firmly established themselves therein. They have imagined themselves as having attained the glorious pinnacle of achievement and prosperity when in reality they have touched the innermost depths of heedleness and deprived themselves wholly of God’s bountiful gifts.
    The corner-stone of the Religion of God is the acquisition of the Divine perfections and the sharing in His manifold bestowals. The essential purpose of Faith and Belief is to ennoble the inner being of man with the outpourings of grace from on high. If this be not attained, it is indeed deprivation itself. It is the torment of infernal fire.
    Wherefore it is incumbent upon all Bahá’ís to ponder this very delicate and vital matter in their hearts, that, unlike other religions, they may not content themselves with the noise, the clamor, the hollowness of religious doctrine. Nay, rather they should exemplify in every aspect of their lives those attributes and virtues that are born of God and should arise to distinguish themselves by their goodly behaviour. They should justify their claim to be Bahá’ís by deeds and not by name. He is a true Bahá’í who strives by day and by night to progress and advance along the path of human endeavor, whose most cherished desire is so to live and act as to enrich and illuminate the world, whose source of inspiration is the essence of Divine virtue, whose aim in life is so to conduct himself as to be the cause of infinite progress. Only when he attains unto such perfect gifts can it be said of him that he is a true Bahá’í. For in this holy Dispensation, the crowning glory of bygone ages and cycles, true Faith is no mere acknowledgment of the Unity of God, but rather the living of a life that will manifest all the perfections and virtues implied in such belief. . . .
"The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His glory! and this cannot be attained save through the knowledge of His divine Manifestation."—Bahá’u’lláh.
FOR more than eighty years, the Bahá’í Cause has been steadfastly presented to the world as the expression for this age of the same universal Spirit which in other ages spoke through Zoroaster, Muhammed, the Buddha, Moses, Christ, one Divine utterance and continuous purpose, giving forth one and the same message, albeit adapted to the conditions and human capacities of each time. In Bahá’u’lláh, according to His explicit text, the Message of God has been revealed to mankind in its fullness and universality, and the Bahá’í Cause accordingly represents the fulfillment of that which was but partially revealed in previous dispensations.
The objects of the Bahá’í Cause are identical with the true objects of all revealed religion: to raise man from the earthly to the heavenly condition; to substitute spiritual laws and realities for natural laws and realities operating in the darkness of unfaith; to initiate a new age and era of progress and attainment in the world of mind; to transform civilization into the glory of the Kingdom—but what has been partially revealed is now made complete and what has been cherished as the secret experience of a few souls is now established as the determining power molding the life of the world.
To achieve these objects, Bahá’u’lláh bestowed upon humanity a perfect model and criterion of a truth, first, in His own life, then in His written teachings. The life of Bahá’u’lláh shows forth the same providential destiny as the lives of those Manifestations who arose in ancient and later times. It was the same victory of the Spirit beset by ignorance and hate; the same sacrifice, the same glory. But Bahá’u’lláh was not slain nor prevented from giving His full message. The written text surviving Him guides the faithful follower into all truth.
The utterances of Bahá’u’lláh conveys the spirit of religion throughout the circle of the experiences of life. They enlarge the area of religion to include reality in all its forms. From them we derive science, philosophy and teachings on economic and governmental problems, as well as ethics and methods of spiritual purification and attainment.
“Bahá’u’lláh taught,” writes Dr. J. E. Esslemont, “that the Prophet, or ‘Manifestation of God,’ is the Light-bringer of the spiritual world, as the sun is the Light-bringer of the natural world. Just as the material sun shines over the earth and causes the growth and development of material organisms,
so also, through the Divine Manifestation, the Sun of Truth shines upon the world of heart
and soul, and educates the thoughts, morals and characters of men. And just as the rays of the natural sun have an influence which penetrates into the darkest and shadiest corners of the world, giving warmth and life even to creatures that have never seen the sun itself, so also, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the Manifestation of God influences the lives of all, and inspires receptive minds even in places and among peoples where the name of the Prophet is quite unknown. The advent of the Manifestation is like the coming of the Spring. It is a day of resurrection in which the spiritually dead are raised to new life, in which the Reality of the Divine Religions is renewed and re-established, in which appear ‘new heavens and a new earth.’
“But, in the world of nature, the Spring brings about not only the growth and awakening of new life, but also the destruction and removal of the old and effete; for the same sun, that makes the flowers to spring and the trees to bud, causes also the decay and disintegration of what is dead and useless; it loosens the ice and melts the snow of winter, and sets free the flood and the storm that cleanse and purify the earth. So is it also in the spiritual world. The spiritual sunshine causes similar commotion and change. Thus the Day of Resurrection is also the Day of Judgment, in which corruptions and imitations of the truth and outworn ideas and customs are discarded and destroyed, in which the ice and snow of prejudice and superstition, which accumulated during the season of winter, are melted and transformed, and energies long frozen and pent up are released to flood and renovate the world.”
Religion renews the spirit of faith and confirms the ideals of the previous Prophets and Messengers; but Religion also progresses and in each cycle discloses a new aspect of truth. That which the Bahá’í Cause contains not revealed in any existing religion is the principle of the Oneness of Mankind.
It is in the light of this principle that all the Bahá’í writings are to be viewed and the purpose of this Movement considered. That a spiritual Power has been breathed into the soul of humanity in this age which shall remove all causes of difference, misunderstanding, discord and disagreement—causes resident in customs and institutions as well as in personal opinions and emotions—and establish the means and methods as well as the desire of unity—is of the essence of the Bahá’í teaching and faith. The rapidly altering character of human life throughout the world is one of the proofs of the mission of Bahá’u’lláh.
The principle of oneness involves so many readjustments, mental, social and spiritual, that the wars and strifes of these latter times have been inevitable. In the life and writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá we have the supreme effort to prepare humanity for the understanding of Bahá’u’lláh and the power manifest in Him. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave to Bahá’u’lláh’s message an interpretation directly and immediately applying to the nature of those readjustments. The interpretation is one with the message, as the sunlight is one with the sun. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has revealed the significance of the Bahá’í Cause in setting forth the following Principles:
1. Unfettered search after truth and the abandonment of all superstition and prejudice.
2. The Oneness of Mankind: all are “leaves of one tree, flowers in one garden.”
3. Religion must be a cause of love and harmony, else it is no religion.
4. All religions are one in their fundamental principles.
5. Religion must conform with science. Faith and reason must be in full accord.
6. Universal Peace: the establishment of universal League of Nations, of international arbitration and an International Parliament.
7. The adoption of an auxiliary international language which shall be taught in all the schools of the world.
8. Compulsory education especially for girls, who will be the mothers and the first educators of the next generation.
9. Equal opportunities of development and equal rights and privileges for both sexes.
10. Work for all: no idle rich and no idle poor. “Work in the spirit of service is worship.”
11. Abolition of extremes of poverty and wealth: care for the needy.
12. Recognition of the Unity of God and obedience to His commands as revealed through His Divine Manifestations.
The history of the Bahá’í Cause, mirroring as it does the spiritual history of modern times, confirms these principles and shows how they have permeated the minds and hearts of its followers throughout the world.
THE history of the past eighty years makes a startling record of momentous events, radical changes and new world issues emerging apparently without definite order and meaning, capable of many conflicting interpretations. But if one observes how action is expressive of thought, how thought is moved by will and desire, and how will and desire are formed by the quality of the personal or group understanding, it will become evident that an era so profoundly active in all directions and on all planes can only be accounted for by the presence of some Influence felt in the very soul of the world.
The history of the Bahá’í Cause is the explanation of this influence—its swift movement and penetration from the heights to the depths of humanity. The Bahá’í Cause is more than an incident in history;—it is a clear Light illuminating the spiritual powers to which peoples consciously or unconsciously, now respond. Apart from the Bahá’í Cause, modern world movements and tendencies seem sinister anarchy; but from within the Cause they assume perfect order and fullness of meaning.
The day will surely come when historians, working in the light of the life and teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, will produce the true and complete narrative of these significant years, a narrative coordinating the visible events with their subtler causes, and bringing into unity the mental and moral as well as social issues involved. Meanwhile, the simplest statement recording the conditions under which the Bahá’í Movement was born and developed will be deeply moving to those who would know life as the pathway to God.
To read this record aright, one must discern the fruit latent in the seed and shaping in the bud. Without Bahá’u’lláh, the episode of the Báb has no lasting result or outcome; without ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the influence of Bahá’u’lláh has no adequate instrument; without the application of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s final instructions His sacrifice would not serve to unify and renovate the world.
The first significant Bahá’í date is May 23, 1844.
View of the House of the Bab
description text
At that time evidences of the dawn of a new Day were visible on every hand. Witnesses to this dawn arose in all countries and among all peoples, testifying in the name of poetry, art, science, philosophy and religion to the presence of a new, transforming Spirit. Materialists worked in hope to reform the body of society, while mystics felt the nearness of their Lord. From farthest East to farthest West the surfaces of habit and tradition broke asunder, and people tended to center around new and higher ideals.
The supreme expression of this universal awakening revealed itself in the heart of a radiant Youth of Persia known now as the Báb (i.e. Gate or Door). To this Youth came the clear realization of His mission to proclaim the coming of a mighty Educator, the One longed for by all peoples, who would quicken the souls, illumine the minds, unify the consciences and remold the customs of mankind. The life of the Báb from May 23, 1844, to July 9, 1850, exemplified the pure spiritual destiny of the Prophets and Messengers of old. Through Him a large portion of the Muslim population of Persia became imbued with true faith, but against Him gathered the fanatic hatred of the Muslim clergy and the desperate fear of the civil rulers, and by their combined efforts and influence the Báb was soon confined in prison, and on July 9, 1850, publicly martyred in Tabriz.
Those who lament that this is an age of dominant materialism may well ponder the results of the Báb’s mission in the heroic sacrifice of His faithful followers, many thousands of whom were tortured and slain with incredible brutality. Because these events took place in a Muslim land, and in a land peculiarly remote from European and American experience, little attention was paid to the Bábí movement in the West.
The motive animating the faith of the Báb’s followers was that His being and mission fulfilled the spirit of their own religious prophecy.
With Bahá’u’lláh, whose advent the Báb had foretold, the new Movement left behind its peculiar Muslim aspect and assumed a world-wide purpose and meaning. Bahá’u’lláh arose after the death of the Báb, took upon Himself full responsibility for leading a Movement proscribed by the government, and became the target for all the bitterness engendered by failure to extinguish the new light of faith. Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned in Tihran with murderers and criminals, bastinadoed, condemned to death, exiled to Baghdád, then to Constantinople and Adrianople, and finaly confined for life in the desolate barracks of ‘Akká, a Turkish penal colony, facing Mount Carmel in the Holy Land.
On April 21, 1863, in a garden outside Baghdád, Bahá’u’lláh made known to a few followers that He was the One proclaimed and promised by the Báb. This announcement was made in His famous Epistles in Adrianople previous to the journey to ‘Akká, in 1868.
By this event the Bábí Movement was fulfilled in the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, the “Glory of God,” and the streams of Christian and Jewish prophecy united with the inner reality of the Muslim Religion.
Bahá’u’lláh gave the glad tidings to East and West that the Day of God had dawned, that the power of the Holy Spirit encompassed humanity in its time of greatest need, that a new and universal cycle had been established—the age of brotherhood, of peace, of the knowledge of God. This message was inscribed in Tablets or Epistles, written during His forty years of exile and imprisonment, to kings and rulers, to representatives of the several religions, to His own followers in response to
questions they had addressed to Him, and in a great number of books containing the essence of universal religion, science and philosophy. In the annals of the world, no spiritual revelation has been so complete, nor made under such conditions of personal oppression and hardship.
The effect of Bahá’u’lláh Himself upon His followers, even upon His enemies, was unique and indescribable. About Him emanated a majesty that glorified every suffering, an awe that penetrated to the rudest soul, a consecrated love that portrayed man in his ultimate perfection. Voluntarily sharing these fateful ordeals from very childhood was the son of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (“Servant of Baha”), whose confinement at ‘Akká, lasting forty years, was terminated at last in 1908 by the overthrow of the old regime by the Young Turks.
Bahá’u’lláh ascended in 1892, leaving a Testament naming ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the Head of His Cause, the Interpreter of His teachings and the Promulgator of His faith. The providential spirit guiding and protecting the Bahá’í Cause from its beginning, centered thereafter in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá served as the witness and proof of Bahá’u’lláh from 1892 until November 28, 1921. By His singleness of devotion, purity of life, tireless effort, humanitarian love and unfailing wisdom the Bahá’í Message slowly but surely spread to all parts of the world. From 1911 to 1913, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá journeyed through Europe and America, unfolding before numerous audiences the spirit of the age. His addresses explore the fundamental problems of religion as an attitude toward God reflected in life. In these addresses we find the message of Bahá’u’lláh developed in relation to the needs of civilization, and an organic harmony is created between religion, science, economics and social order. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá expanded the religion of spirit to include all the functions of life, destroying forever the antagonism between “religious” and “secular” matters. But this religion of spirit bears little resemblance to institutional creeds.
In these addresses also we find vivid and inspiring pictures of the latent possibilities of the human soul and the new civilization which shall arise from the influence of the Holy Spirit. The adaptability of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the particular audience or individual inquirer produced a true unity between groups and interests never reconciled before. No such source of education in the whole meaning of the word exists in the modern world outside the writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. In these writings the ideals of Christian, Jew and other religionists; of philosopher and scientist, of economist and reformer are abundantly realized.
At the time of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’ís existed in many countries of East and West. To these He left explicit instructions explaining and applying the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, concerning the method of unifying the believers and administering the work of the Cause. He appointed in His Will and Testament His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, as first Guardian of the Cause, and left directions for the election of an international Council (Baytu’l-‘Adl, i.e., House of Justice) based on the universal suffrage of the believers, which should in conjunction with him guide the development of the Movement and co-ordinate the activities of its followers in accordance with the principles laid down by Bahá’u’lláh.
Extracts from compilation prepared in January, 1922
By Lady Blomfield and Shoghi Effendi
IT is well known that the loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in every part of the world, are anxiously waiting to receive some details of the closing events of his unique and wonderful life. For this reason the present account is being written.
We have now come to realize that the Master knew the day and hour when, his mission on earth being finished, he would return to the shelter of heaven. He was, however, careful that his family should not have any premonition of the coming sorrow. It seemed as though their eyes were veiled by him, with his ever-loving consideration for his dear ones, that they should not see the significance of certain dreams and other signs of the culminating event. This they now realize was his thought for them, in order that their strength might be preserved to face the great ordeal when it should arrive, that they should not be devitalized by anguish of mind in its anticipation.
Out of the many signs of the approach of the hour when he could say of his work on earth, “It is finished,” the following two dreams seem remarkable. Less than eight weeks before his passing the Master related this to his family:
“I seemed to be standing within a great temple, in the inmost shrine, facing the east, in the place of the leader himself. I became aware that a large number of people were flocking into the temple; more and yet more crowded in, taking their places in rows behind me, until there was a vast multitude. As I stood I raised loudly the ‘Call to Prayer.’ Suddenly the thought came to me to go forth from the temple.
“When I found myself outside I said within myself, ‘For what reason came I forth, not having led the prayer? But it matters not; now that I have uttered the call to prayer, the vast multitude will of themselves chant the prayer.”
When the Master had passed away, his family pondered over this dream and interpreted it thus:—
He had called that same vast multitude—all peoples, all religions, all races, all nations and all kingdoms—to unity and peace, to universal love and brotherhood; and having called them, he returned to God the beloved, at whose command he had raised the majestic call, had given the divine message. This same multitude—the peoples, religions, races, nations and kingdoms—would continue the work, to which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had called them, and would of themselves press forward to its accomplishment.
A few weeks after the preceding dream the Master came in from the solitary room in the garden, which he had occupied of late, and said:-
“I dreamed a dream and behold the Blessed Beauty, (Bahá’u’lláh) came and said unto me, ‘Destroy this room!’ ”
The family, who had been wishing that he would come and sleep in the house, not being happy that he should be alone at night, exclaimed, “Yes, Master, we think your dream means that you should leave that room and come into the house.” When he heard this from us, he smiled meaningly as though not agreeing with our interpretation. Afterwards we understood that by the “room” was meant the temple of his body . . . .
In the same week he revealed a
Tablet to America, in which is the following prayer:—
“Yá Bahá’í-l-Abhá! (0 Thou the glory of glories) I have renounced the world and the people thereof, and am heartbroken and sorely afflicted because of the unfaithful. In the cage of this world I flutter even as a frightened bird, and yearn every day to take my flight unto Thy kingdom.
“ Yá Bahá’í-l-Abhá! Make me to drink of the cup of sacrifice and set me free. Relieve me from these woes and trials, from these afflictions and troubles. Thou art He that aideth, that succoureth, that protecteth, that stretcheth forth the hand of help.” . .
After lunch he dictated some Tablets, his last ones, to Rúhí Effendi. When he had rested he walked in the garden. He seemed to be in a deep reverie.
His good and faithful servant Ismá’íl Aqá, relates the following:—
“Some time, about twenty days before my Master passed away, I was near the garden when I heard him summon an old believer saying:—
“‘Come with me that we may admire together the beauty of the garden. Behold, what the spirit of devotion is able to achieve! This flourishing place was, a few years ago, but a heap of stones, and now it is verdant with foliage and flowers. My desire is that after I am gone the loved ones may all arise to serve the divine cause and, please God, so it shall be. Ere long men will arise who shall bring life to the world.’ . . .
“Three days before his ascension whilst seated in the garden, he called me and said, ‘I am sick with fatigue. Bring two of your oranges for me that I may eat them for your sake.’ This I did, and he having eaten them turned to me, saying ‘Have you any of your sweet lemons?’ He bade me fetch a few. . . Whilst I was plucking them, he came over to the tree, saying, ‘Nay, but I must gather them with my own hands.’ Having eaten of the fruit he turned to me and asked ‘Do you desire anything more?’ Then with a pathetic gesture of his hands, he touchingly, emphatically and deliberately said:—‘Now it is finished, it is finished!’
“These significant words penetrated my very soul. I felt each time he uttered them as if a knife were struck into my heart. I understood his meaning but never dreamed his end was so nigh.”
It was Ismá’íl Aqá who had been the Master’s gardener for well nigh thirty years and who, in the first week after his bereavement, driven by hopeless grief, quietly disposed of all his belongings, made his will, went to the Master’s sister and craved her pardon for any misdeeds he had committed. He then delivered the key of the garden to a trusted servant of the household and, taking with him means whereby to end his life at his beloved Master’s tomb, walked up the mountain to that sacred place, three times circled round it and would have succeeded in taking his life had it not been for the opportune arrival of a friend, who reached him in time to prevent the accomplishment of his tragic intention . . . .
During the evening ‘Abdu’l-Bahá attended the usual meeting of the friends in his own audience chamber.
In the morning of Saturday, November 26th, he arose early, came to the tea room and had some tea. He asked for the fur-lined coat which had belonged to Bahá’u’lláh. He often put on this coat when he was cold or did not feel well, he so loved it. He then withdrew to his room, lay down on his bed and said, “Cover me up. I am very cold. Last night I did not sleep well, I felt cold. This is serious, it is the beginning.”
After more blankets had been put
on, he asked for the fur coat he had taken off to be placed over him. That day he was rather feverish. In the evening his temperature rose still higher, but during the night the fever left him. After midnight he asked for some tea.
On Sunday morning (November 27th) he said:— “I am quite well and will get up as usual and have tea with you in the tea room.” After he had dressed he was persuaded to remain on the sofa in his room.
In the afternoon he sent all the friends to the tomb of the Báb, whereon the occasion of the anniversary of the declaration of the Covenant a feast was being held, offered by a Pársí pilgrim who had lately arrived from India.
At four in the afternoon being on the sofa in his room He said :— “Ask my sister and all the family to come and have tea with me.”
His four sons-in-law and Rúhí Effendi came to him after returning from the gathering on the mountain. They said to Him:— “The giver of the feast was unhappy because you were not there.” He said unto them:—
“But I was there, though my body was absent, my spirit was there in your midst. I was present with the friends at the tomb. The friends must not attach any importance to the absence of my body. In spirit I am, and shall always be, with the friends, even though I be far away.”
The same evening He asked after the health of every member of the household, of the pilgrims and of the friends in Haifa. “Very good, very good” He said when told that none were ill. This was His very last utterance concerning His friends.
At eight in the evening He retired to bed after taking a little nourishment,saying:—“I am quite well.”
He told all the family to go to bed and rest. Two of His daughters however stayed with Him. That night the Master had gone to sleep very calmly, quite free from fever. He awoke about 1.15 a. m., got up and walked across to a table where he drank some water. He took off an outer night garment, saying :—“I am too warm.” He went back to bed and when his daughter Rúhá Khánum, later on, approached, she found Him lying peacefully and, as He looked into her face, He asked her to lift up the net curtains, saying:—
“I have difficulty in breathing, give me more air.” Some rose water was brought of which He drank, sitting up in bed to do so, without any help. He again lay down, and as some food was offered Him, He remarked in a clear and distinct voice:
“You wish me to take some food, and I am going?” He gave them a beautiful look. His face was so calm, His expression so serene, they thought Him asleep.
He had gone from the gaze of His loved ones!
The eyes that had always looked out with loving-kindness upon humanity, whether friends or foes, were now closed. The hands that had ever been stretched forth to give alms to the poor and the needy, the halt and the maimed, the blind, the orphan and the widow, had now finished their labor. The feet that, with untiring zeal, had gone upon the ceaseless errands of the Lord of compassion were now at rest. The lips that had so eloquently championed the cause of the suffering sons of men, were now hushed in silence. The heart that had so powerfully throbbed with wondrous love for the children of God was now stilled. His glorious spirit had passed from the life of earth, from the persecutions of the enemies of righteousness, from the storm and stress of well nigh
Avenue Approaching Mt Carmel
eighty years of indefatigible toil for the good of others.
His long martryrdom was ended!
Early on Monday morning November 28th the news of this sudden calamity had spread over the city, causing an unprecedented stir and tumult, and filling all hearts with unutterable grief.
The next morning, Tuesday November 29th the funeral took place; a funeral the like of which Haifa, nay Palestine itself, had surely never seen; so deep was the feeling that brought so many thousands of mourners together, representative of so many religions, races and tongues.
The High Commissioner of Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, the Governor of Jerusalem, the Governor of Phoenicia, the chief officials of the government, the consuls of the various countries, resident in Haifa, the heads of the various religious communities, the notables of Palestine, Jews, Christians, Moslems, Druses, Egyptians, Greeks, Turks, Kurds, and a host of his American, European and native friends, men, women and children, both of high and low degree, all, about ten thousand in number, mourning the loss of their beloved one.
This impressive, triumphal procession was headed by a guard of honor, consisting of the City Constabulary Force, followed by the Boy Scouts of the Moslem and Christian communities holding aloft their banners, a company of Moslem choristers chanting their verses from the Qur’án, the chiefs of the Muslim community headed by the Muftí, a number of Christian priests, Latin, Greek and Anglican, all preceding the sacred coffin, upraised on the shoulders of His loved ones. Immediately behind it came the members of His family, next to them walked the British High Commissioner, the Governor of Jerusalem, and the Governor of Phoenicia. After them came the consuls and the notables of the land, followed by the vast multitude of those who reverenced and loved Him.
On this day there was no cloud in the sky, nor any sound in all the town and surrounding country through which they went, save only the soft, slow, rythmic chanting of Islám in the call to prayer, or the convulsed sobbing moan of those helpless ones, bewailing the loss of their one friend, who had protected them in all their difficulties and sorrows, whose generous bounty had saved them and their little ones from starvation through the terrible years of the “Great Woe.”
“0 God, my God!” the people wailed with one accord, “Our father has left us, our father has left us!”
O the wonder of that great throng! Peoples of every religion and race and color, united in heart through the manifestation of servitude in the life-long work of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá!
As they slowly wended their way up Mount Carmel, the Vineyard of God, the casket appeared in the distance to be borne aloft by invisible hands, so high above the heads of the people was it carried. After two hours walking, they reached the garden of the tomb of the Báb. Tenderly was the sacred coffin placed upon a plain table covered with a fair white linen cloth. As the vast concourse pressed around the tabernacle of His body, waiting to be laid in its resting place, within the vault, next to that of the Báb, representatives of the various denominations, Muslims, Christians and Jews, all hearts being ablaze with fervent love of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, some on the impulse of the moment, others prepared, raised their voices in eulogy and regret, paying their last homage of farewell to their loved one. So united
were they in their acclamation of Him, as the wise educator and reconciler of the human race in this perplexed and sorrowful age, that there seemed to be nothing left for the Bahá’ís to say.
The following are extracts from some of the speeches delivered on that memorable occasion.
The Muslim voicing the sentiments of his co-religionists spoke as follows:—
“O concourse of Arabians and Persians! Whom are ye bewailing? Is it He who but yesterday was great in this life and is today in His death greater still? Shed no tears for the one that hath departed to the world of eternity, but weep over the passing of virtue and wisdom, of knowledge and generosity. Lament for yourselves, for yours is the loss, whilst He, your lost one, is but a revered wayfarer, stepping from your mortal world into the everlasting home. Weep one hour for the sake of Him who, for well nigh eighty years, hath wept for you! Look to your right, look to your left, look East and look West and behold, what glory and greatness have vanished! What a pillar of peace hath crumbled! What eloquent lips are hushed! Alas! In this tribulation there is no heart but aches with anguish, no eye but is filled with tears. Woe unto the poor, for lo! goodness hath departed from them, woe unto the orphans, for their loving father is no more with them! Could the life of Sir ‘Abdu’l-Bahá-Abbás have been redeemed by the sacrifices of many a precious soul, they of a certainty would gladly have offered up their lives for His life. But fate hath otherwise ordained. Every destiny is predetermined and none can change the divine decree. What am I to set forth the achievements of this leader of mankind? They are too glorious to be praised, too many to recount. Suffice it to say, that He has left in every heart the most profound impression, on every tongue most wondrous praise. And He that leaveth a memory so lovely, so imperishable, He indeed, is not dead. Be solaced then, 0 ye people of Bahá! Endure and be patient; for no man, be he of the East or of the West, can ever comfort you, nay he himself is even in greater need of consolation.”
The Christian then came forward and thus spoke:—
“I weep for the world, in that my Lord hath died; others there are who like unto me, weep the death of the Lord . . . . O bitter is the anguish caused by this heart-rending calamity! It is not only our country’s loss but a world affliction. . . . He hath lived for well-nigh eighty years the life of the messengers and apostles of God. He hath educated the souls of men, hath been benevolent unto them, hath led them to the way of Truth. Thus he raised his people to the pinnacle of glory, and great shall be his reward from God, the reward of the righteous! Hear me 0 people! ’Abbás is not dead, neither hath the light of Bahá been extinguished! Nay, nay! this light shall shine with everlasting splendor. The Lamp of Bahá, ’Abbás, hath lived goodly life, hath manifested in him self the true life of the Spirit. And now He is gathered to glory, a pure angel, richly robed in benevolent deeds, noble in His precious virtues. Fellow Christians! Truly ye are bearing the mortal remains of this ever lamented one to His last resting place, yet know of a certainty that your ’Abbás will live forever in spirit amongst you, through His deeds, His words, His virtues and all the essence of His life. We say farewell to the material body of our ’Abbás and His material body vanisheth from our gaze, but His reality, our spiritual ’Abbás, will never leave our minds, our thoughts, our hearts, our tongues.
“O great revered Sleeper! Thou hast been good to us, Thou hast guided us, Thou hast taught us, Thou hast lived amongst us greatly, with the full meaning of greatness, Thou hast made us proud of Thy deeds and of Thy words. Thou hast raised the Orient to the summit of glory, hast shown loving kindness to the people, trained them in righteousness, and hast striven to the end, till Thou hast won the crown of glory. Rest Thou happily under the shadow of the mercy of the Lord Thy God, and He verily, shall well reward Thee.”
Yet another Moslem, the Muftí of Haifa, spoke as follows:—
“I do not wish to exaggerate in my eulogy of this great One, for His ready and helping hand in the service of mankind and the beautiful and wondrous story of His life, spent in doing that which is right and good, none can deny, save him whose heart is blinded . . . .
“O Thou revered voyager! Thou hast lived greatly and hast died greatly! This great funeral procession is but a glorious proof of Thy greatness in Thy life and in Thy death. But O, Thou whom we have lost! Thou leader of men, generous and benevolent! To whom shall the poor now look? Who shall care for the hungry? and the desolate, the widow and the orphan?
“May the Lord inspire all Thy household and Thy kindred with patience in this grievous calamity, and immerse Thee in the ocean of His grace and mercy! He verily, is the prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God .”
The Jew when his turn came, paid his tribute in these words:—
“Dans un siècle de positivisme exagéré et de matérialisme effréné, il est étonnant et rare de trouver un philosophe de grande envergure tel que regretté ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ’Abbás parler à notre coeur, à nos sentiments et surtout chercher à éduquer notre áme en nous inculquant les principes les plus beaux, reconnus comme étant la base de toute religion et de toute morale pure. Par ses écrits, par sa parole, par ses entretiens familiers comme par ses colloques celébrès avec les plus cultivés et les fervents adeptes des théories sectaires, il a su persuader, il a pu toujours convaincre. Les exemples vivants sont d’un autre pouvoir. Sa vie privée et publique était un exemple de dévouement et d’oubli de soi pour le bonheur des autres. . . .
“Sa philosophie est simple, direz vous, mais elle est grande par cette même simplicité, étant conforme au caractère humain qui perd de sa beauté lorsqu’il se trouve faussé par les préjugés et les superstitions . . . . ’Abbás est mort à Caiffa, en Palestine, la Terre Sacrée qui a produit les prophêtes. Devenue stérile et abandonnée dequis tant de siècles elle ressucite de nouveau et commence à reprendre son rang, et sa renommée primitive. Nous ne sommes pas les seuls à pleurer ce prophète, nous ne sommes pas les seuls à le glorifier. En Europe, en Amérique, que dis-je, dans tout pays habité par des hommes conscients de leur mission dans ce bas monde assoiffé de justice sociale, de fraternité, on le pleurera aussi. Il est mort après avoir souffert du despotisme, du fanatisme et de l’intolérance. Acre, la Bastille turque, lui a servi de prison pendant des dizaines d’années. Bagdad la capitale Abbasside a été aussi sa prison et celle de son père. La Perse, ancien berceau de la philosophie douce et divine, a chassé ses enfants qui ont concu leurs idées chez elle. Ne voiton pas là une volonté divine et une preférènce marquée pour la Terre Promise qui était et sera le berceau de toutes les idées généreuses et nobles? Celui qui laisse après lui un passé aussi glorieux n’est pas mort. Celui qui a écrit d’aussi beaux principes a agrandi sa famille parmi tous
ses lecteurs et a passé à la postérité, couronné par l'immortalité.”
The nine speakers having delivered their funeral orations, then came the moment when the casket which held the pearl of loving servitude passed slowly and triumphantly into its simple, hallowed resting place.
O the infinite pathos! that the beloved feet should no longer tread this earth! That the presence which inspired such devotion and reverence should be withdrawn!
Of the many and diverse journals that throughout the East and West have given in their columns accounts of this momentous event, the following stand as foremost among them:
“Le Temps,” the leading French paper, in its issue of December 19, 1921, under the title ‘Un Conciliateur’ (a Peace Maker), portrays graphically the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the following being some of its extracts:—
“Un prophéte vient de mourir en Palestine. Il se nommait Abdoul Baha, et il était fils de Bahaou’llah, qui créa le bahaisme, religion ‘unifiée’ qui n’est autre que le babisme qu’avait observé le Comte de Gobineau. Le Bab, Messie du Babisme, se proposait modestement de régénerer la Perse, ce qui lui couta la vie, en 1850. Bahaou’llah et son fils Abdoul Baha, “I’esclave de son père”, n’ambitionnaient pas moins que la régéneration du monde. Paris a connu Abdoul Baha. Ce viellard magnifique et débonnaire répandit parmi nous la parole sainte il y a quelque dix ans. Il était vêtu d’une simple robe vert olive et coffé d’un turban blanc. . . . Sa parole était douce et berceuse, comme une litanie. On l’écoutait avec un plaisir recueilli, encore qu’on ne le comprit point; car il parlait en persan. . . . Le bahaisme, c’est en somme la religion de la charité et da la simplicité. C’est en même temps, amalgamé, le judaisme, le christianisme, le protestantisme, et la libre pensée. Abdoul Baha se réclamait de Zoroastre, de Moise, de Mahomet et de Jésus. Peut-être jugerez vous que cette unification est la à la fois trop nombreuse et confuse. C’est qu’on ne comprend rien aux choses sacrées si l’on n’est inspiré par la foi. . . . Sous le turban blanc ses yeux reflétaient l’intelligence et la bonté. Il était paternal, effectueux et simple. Son pouvoir, semblait-il, lui venait de ce qu’il savait aimer less hommes et savait se faire aimer d’eux. Appelé a témoigner de l’excellence de cette religion naive et pure, nous pumes honnêtement confesser notre foi par cette formule: “Que les religions sont belles quand elles ne sont pas encore.”
The London “Morning Post,” two days after his passing, among other highly favourable comments, concluded its report of the movement in the following words :
“The venerated Bahá’u’lláh died in 1892 and the mantle of his religious insight fell on his son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, when, after forty years of prison life, Turkish constitutional changes permitted him to visit England, France and America. His persistent messages as to the divine origin and unity of mankind were as impressive as the Messenger himself. He possessed singular courtesy. At his table Buddhist and Mohammedan, Hindu and Zoroastrian, Jew and Christian, sat in amity. “Creatures," he said, "were created through love; let them live in peace and amity.”
The “New York World” of December 1, 1921 publishes the following:—
“Never before ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did the leader of an Oriental religious movement visit the United States . . . As recently as June of this year a special correspondent of “The World” who visited this seer thus described him :—‘Having once looked upon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, his personality is indelibly impressed upon the mind: the majestic venerable figure clad in the flowing aba, his head crowned with a turban white as his head and hair;
the piercing deep set eyes whose glances shake the heart; the smile that pours its sweetness over all.’ . . .
“Even in the twilight of his life ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took the liveliest interest in world affairs. When General Allenby swept up the Coast from Egypt he went for counsel first to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. When Zionists arrived in their Promised Land they sought ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for advice. For Palestine he had the brightest hopes. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá believed that Bolshevism would prove an admonition to the irreligious world. He taught the equality of man and woman, saying: “The world of humanity has two wings, man and woman. If one wing is weak, then the bird cannot fly.” . . .
Nearly all representative American newspapers devoted attention to the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Evening Telegram, New York, December 4th, 1921, found in the international peace movement a complete vindicaion for the Bahá’í ideals. “In all countries of the world today can be found mourners of the prophet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. . . . Churches of all denominations in New York city and Chicago were thrown open to him for, unlike the leaders of many cults, he preached not the errors of present religions but their sameness.” The New York Tribune on December 2nd carried an editorial entitled 'Abdu'l-Baha. “A prophet, as his followers believe, and the son of a prophet, was Abdu'l-Baha, who is now at rest with all prophetic souls bygone. He lived to see a remarkable expansion of the quietist cult of which he was the head. . . . Bahá’u’lláh over sixty years ago set forth a peace plan not dissimilar to the aspirations of today.”
The magazine Unity, published in Chicago, included an article on the Master in its issue of December 22nd. “ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá voiced and made eloquent the sacred aspiration that yearns dumbly in the hearts of men. He embodied in glorious, triumphant maturity that ideal which in others lies imprisoned behind the veil. Men and women of every race, creed, class and color are united in devotion to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá because ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has been a pure, selfless mirror reflecting only the noblest qualities of each.”
The Sphinx, of Cairo, Egypt, on December 17th described ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as a great leader of men. “In his personality and influence ‘Abdu’l-Bahá embodied all that is highest and most striking in both the Christian and Moslem faiths; living a life of pure altruism, he preached and worked for inter-racial and inter-religious unity .. . When in the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá thoughtful inquirers soon realized that they were speaking to a man of unique personality, one endowed with a love and wisdom that had in it the divine quality.”
“The Times of India” in its issue of January 1922, opens one of its editorial articles as follows:—
“In more normal times than the present the death of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which was sorrrowfully referred to at the Bahá’í Conference in Bombay, would have stirred the feelings of many who, without belonging to the Bahá’í brotherhood, sympathize with its tenets and admire the life-work of those who founded it. As it is we have learned almost by chance of this great religious leader’s death, but that fact need not prevent our turning aside from politics and the turmoil of current events to consider what this man did and what he aimed at.”
Sketching then in brief an account of the history of the movement it concludes as follows:—
“It is not for us now to judge whether the purity, the mysticism and the exalted ideas of Bahá’ísm will continue unchanged after the loss of the great leader, or to speculate
on whether Bahá’ísm will some day become a force in the world as great or greater than Christianity or Islam; but we would pay a tribute to the memory of a man who wielded a vast influence for good, and who, if he was destined to see many of his ideas seemingly shattered in the world war, remained true to his convictions and to his belief in the possibility of a reign of peace and love, and who, far more effectively than Tolstoi, showed the West that religion is a vital force that can never be disregarded.”
Out of the vast number of telegrams and cables of condolence that have poured in, these may be mentioned:
His Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. Winston Churchill, telegraphing to His Excellency the High Commissioner for Palestine, desires him to convey to the Bahá’í community, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, their sympathy and condolence on the death of Sir ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Ábbas K. B. E.
On behalf of the Executive Board of the Bahá’í American Convention, this message of condolence has been received:
“He doeth whatsoever He willeth. Hearts weep at most great tribulation. American friends send through Unity Board radiant love, boundless sympathy, devotion. Standing steadfast, conscious of his unceasing presence and nearness.”
Viscount Allenby, the High Commissioner for Egypt, has wired the following message, through the intermediary of His Excellency the High Commissioner for Palestine, dated November 29, 1921:
“Please convey to the relatives of the late Sir ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ‘Abbas Effendi and to the Bahá’í community my sincere sympathy in the loss of their revered leader.”
The loved ones in Germany assure the Greatest Holy Leaf of their fidelity in these terms:
“All believers deeply moved by irrevocable loss of our Master’s precious life. We pray for heavenly protection of Holy Cause and promise faithfulness and obedience to Center of Covenant.”
An official message forwarded by the Council of Ministers in Baghdad, and dated December 8, 1921, reads as follows:
“His Highness Sayed Abdurrahman, the Prime Minister, desires to extend his sympathy to the family of His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in their bereavement.”
The Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force sent through His Excellency the High Commissioner for Palestine these words of sympathy:
“General Congreve begs that you will convey his deepest sympathy to the family of the late Sir ‘Abbás al-Bahá’í.”
The Theosophical Society in London communicated as follows with one of the followers of the Faith in Haifa:
“For the Holy Family Theosophical Society send affectionate thoughts.”
The thousands of Bahá’ís in Teheran, the capital of Persia, remembering their Western brethren and sisters in London and New York assure them of their steadfast faith in these words:
“Light of Covenant transferred from eye to heart. Day of teaching, of union, of self sacrifice.”
And lastly, one of the distinguished figures in the academic life of the University of Oxford, a renowned professor and an accomplished scholar, whose knowledge of the Cause stands foremost among that of his colleagues, in the message of condolence written on behalf of himself
and wife, expresses himself as follows:
“The passing beyond the veil into fuller life must be specially wonderful and blessed for one, who has always fixed his thoughts on high and striven to lead an exalted life here below.”
On the seventh day after the passing of the Master, corn was distributed in His name to about a thousand poor of Haifa, irrespective of race or religion, to whom He had always been a friend and a protector. Their grief at losing the “Father of the Poor” was extremely pathetic. In the first seven days also from fifty to a hundred poor were daily fed at the Master’s house, in the very place where it had been His custom to give alms to them.
On the fortieth day there was a memorial feast, given to over six hundred of the people of Haifa, ‘Akká and the surrounding parts of Palestine and Syria, people of various religions, races and color. More than a hundred of the poor were also fed on this day. The Governor of Phoenicia, many other officials and some Europeans were present.
The feast was entirely arranged by the members of the Master’s household. The long tables were decorated with trailing branches of bougainvilliers. Its lovely purple blooms mingled with the white narcissus, and with the large dishes of golden oranges out of the beloved Master’s garden made a picture of loveliness in those spacious lofty rooms, whose only other decoration was the gorgeous yet subdued coloring of rare Persian rugs. No useless trivial ornaments marred the exreme dignity of simplicity.
The guests received, each and all, the same welcome. There were no “chief places.” Here as always in the Master’s home, there was no respecting of persons.
After the luncheon the guests came into the large central hall, this also bare of ornament, save only for the portrait of Him they had assembled to honor and some antique Persian tapestries hung upon one wall. Before this was placed a platform from which the speeches were made to the wrapt and silent throng, whose very hearts were listening.
The Governor of Phoenicia, in the course of his address, spoke the following: . . .. “Most of us here have, I think, a clear picture of Sir ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ‘Abbás, of His dignified figure walking thoughtfully in our streets, of His courteous and gracious manner, of His kindness, of his love for little children and flowers, of His generosity and care for the poor and suffering. So gentle was He, and so simple that, in his presence, one almost forgot that He was also a great teacher and that His writings and His conversations have been a solace and an inspiration to hundreds and thousands of people in the East and in the West.”. . .
His detailed and powerfully written will and testament reveals the following words of general counsel to all his friends:—
“O ye beloved of the Lord! In this sacred Dispensation, conflict and contention are in no wise permitted. Every aggressor deprives himself of God’s grace. It is incumbent upon everyone to show the utmost love, rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and sincere kindliness unto all the peoples and kindreds of the world, be they friends or strangers. So intense must be the spirit of love and loving-kindness that the stranger may find himself a friend, the enemy a true brother, no difference whatsoever existing between them.
“For universality is of God and all limitations are earthly.”
“Thus man must strive that this reality may manifest virtues and perfections, the light whereof may shine upon everyone. The light of the sun
shineth upon all the world and the merciful showers of divine providence fall upon all peoples. The vivifying breeze reviveth every living creature, and all beings endued with life obtain their share and portion at His heavenly board. In like manner the affections and loving-kindness of the servants of the one true God must be bountifully and universally extended to all mankind. Regarding this, restrictions and limitations are in no wise permitted.
"Wherefore, O my loving friends! Consort with all the peoples, kindreds and religions of the world with the utmost truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness, kindliness, good-will and friendliness; that all the world of being may be filled with the holy ecstasy of the grace of Bahá; that ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor may vanish from the world, and the darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples and kindreds of the world may give way to the light of unity. Should other peoples and nations be unfaithful to you, show your fidelity unto them; should they be unjust towards you, show justice towards them; should they keep aloof from you, attract them to yourselves; should they show their enmity, be friendly towards them; should they poison your lives, sweeten their souls; should they inflict a wound upon you, be a salve to their sores. Such are the attributes of the sincere! Such are the attributes of the truthful!"
"O ye beloved of the Lord! Strive with all your heart to shield the Cause of God from the onslaught of the insincere, for such souls as these cause the straight to become crooked and all benevolent efforts to produce contrary results."
He prays for the protection of His friends:
"O Lord, my God! Assist Thy loved ones to be firm in Thy faith, to walk in Thy ways, to be steadfast in Thy Cause. Give them Thy grace to withstand the onslaught of self and passion, to follow the light of divine guidance. Thou art the powerful, the gracious, the self-subsisting, the bestower, the compassionate, the almighty, the all-bountiful!"
For His enemies this is His prayer:
"I call upon Thee, O Lord, my God! with my tongue and with all my heart, not to requite them for their cruelty and their wrong deeds, their craft and their mischief, for they are foolish and ignoble, and know not what they do. They discern not good from evil, neither do they distinguish right from wrong, nor justice from injustice. They follow their own desires and walk in the footsteps of the most imperfect and foolish amongst them. O my Lord! have mercy upon them, shield them from all afflictions in these troubled times, and grant that all trials and hardships may be the lot of this, Thy servant, that has fallen into this darksome pit. Single me out for every woe and make me a sacrifice for all Thy loved ones! O Lord, Most High! May my soul, my life, my being, my spirit, my all, be offered up for them! O God, my God, lowly, suppliant and fallen upon my face, I beseech Thee, with all the ardor of my invocation, to pardon whosoever hath hurt me, to forgive him that hath conspired against me and offended me, and to wash away the misdeeds of them that hath wrought injustice upon me. Vouchsafe unto them Thy goodly gifts; give them joy, relieve them from sorrow, grant them peace and prosperity; give them Thy bliss and pour upon them Thy bounty. Thou art the powerful, the gracious, the help in peril, the self-subsisting."
And now, what appeal more direct, more moving, with which to close this sad yet stirring account of his last days, than these his most touching, most inspiring words?
“Friends! The time is coming when I shall be no longer with you. I have done all that could be done. I have served the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh to the utmost of my ability. I have labored night and day, all the years of my life. O how I long to see the loved ones taking upon themselves the responsibilities of the Cause! Now is the time to proclaim the Kingdom of Bahá! Now is the hour of love and union! This is the day of the spiritual harmony of the loved ones of God! All the resources of my physical strength I have exhausted, and the spirit of my life is the welcome tidings of the unity of the people of Bahá. I am straining my ears toward the East and toward the West, toward the North and toward the South that haply I may hear the songs of love and fellowship chanted in the meetings of the faithful. My days are numbered, and, but for this, there is no joy left unto me. O how I yearn to see the friends united even as a string of gleaming pearls, as the brilliant Pleiades, as the rays of the sun, as the gazelles of one meadow!
“The mystic nightingale is warbling for them all; will they not listen? The bird of paradise is singing; will they not heed? The angel of Abbá is calling to them; will they not hearken? The herald of the Covenant is pleading ; will they not obey?
“Ah me, I am waiting, waiting, to hear the joyful tidings that the believers are the very embodiment of sincerity and truthfulness, the incarnation of love and amity, the living symbols of unity and concord. Will they not gladden my heart? Will they not satisfy my yearning? Will they not manifest my wish? Will they not fulfill my heart’s desire? Will they not give ear to my call?
“I am waiting, I am patiently waiting.”
I.Extracts from Bahá’í Sacred Writings
II.A Statement on Present-day Administration
of the Bahá’í Cause
III.Bahá’í Calendar and Festivals.
IV.The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár
V.Brief History of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in America
VI.Extracts from Mashriqu’l-Adhkár Report.
VII.The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of ’Ishqábád.
VIII.Impressions of Haifa.
X.Old and New Paths at Green Acre.
XI.World Unity Conference.
Friends in Avashiq
Translated by Shoghi Effendi
WE exhort mankind in these days when the countenance of Justice is soiled with dust, when the flames of unbelief are burning high and the robe of wisdom rent asunder, when tranquillity and faithfulness have ebbed away and trials and tribulations waxed severe, when covenants are broken and ties are severed, when no man knoweth how to discern light and darkness or to distinguish guidance from error.
O peoples of the world! Forsake all evil, hold fast that which is good. Strive to be shining examples unto all mankind, and true reminders of the virtues of God amidst men. He that riseth to serve My Cause should manifest My wisdom, and bend every effort to banish ignorance from the earth. Be united in counsel, be one in thought. Let each morn be better than its eve, each morrow richer than its yesterday. Man’s merit lies in service and virtue and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches. Take heed that your words be purged from idle fancies and worldly desires and your deeds be cleansed from craftiness and suspicion. Dissipate not the wealth of your precious lives in the pursuit of evil and corrupt affection, nor let your endeavors be spent in promoting your personal interest. Bestow in your days of plenty, be patient in the hour of loss. Adversity is followed by success, and rejoicings follow woe. Guard against idleness and sloth, and cling unto that which profiteth mankind, whether young or old, whether high or low. Beware lest ye sow tares of dissension among men or plant the thorns of doubt in pure and radiant hearts. O ye beloved of the Lord! Commit not that which defileth the limpid stream of love or destroyeth the sweet fragrance of friendship. By the righteousness of the Lord! ye were created to show love one to another and not perversity and rancor. Take pride not in love for yourselves but in love for your fellow-creatures. Glory not in love for your country but in love for all mankind. . . . .
Let your eye be chaste, your hand trustworthy, your tongue sincere and your heart heedful. . . .Set your reliance on the army of justice, put on the armor of wisdom, let your adorning be forgiveness and mercy. . . . . Regard not the children of the world and all their doings but fix your gaze upon God and His never-ending dominion. . . . Endeavor to the uttermost of your powers to establish the word of truth with eloquence and wisdom and to dispell falsehood from the face of the earth. . .   (Lawh-i-Hikmat: Bahá’u’lláh)
The purpose of every Divine Revelation is the knowledge of God and the promotion of amity and concord amidst men; yet behold how in these days the law of God hath been made the cause of perversity and hate! Many, alas, have clung to their own ways and remained oblivious and unmindful of the Way of God . . . O peo-
ple of Bahá! Gird up the loins of endeavor, haply sectarian contention and strife may be removed, nay utterly banished from the face of the earth. Arise in the love of God and of His servants for the triumph of this mighty Cause. Religious enmity and hate are a world-consuming fire the flames whereof are hard to quench. What but the Hand of Divine power can save the peoples of the world from this devastating calamity?. . . Beware lest ye be shedders of blood; unsheath the sword of your tongue from the scabbard of utterance for therewith ye shall conquer the citadels of men’s hearts. We have annulled the command to slay men for unbelief; verily His mercy hath encompassed all created things could ye but perceive. . . . Kindle not discord on earth, shed not the blood of any soul, consume not the substance of your neighbor and be not the follower of every command and clamorous seducer . . . . As the pillars of religion have tottered so hath the power of the foolish, their temerity and arrogance waxed great. Whatsoever doth lower the exalted station of Religion will surely increase the heedlessness of the ungodly, and this in the end can lead but to confusion and chaos. Give ear, O discerning ones; and ye that perceive, take heed. . . . Hold fast unto chastity, cling ye to trustworthiness and faith. Show the utmost regard to the true interests of humanity, and seek not to gratify your personal desire. O ye who follow Him whom the world hath wronged! Ye are the shepherds of mankind; protect the fold from the wolves of evil and selfish desires and adorn it with the fear of God. . . . By the righteousness of the Lord, the Sword of Virtue and goodly behaviour is keener than blades of steel.   (Epistle to the son of Shaykh Báqir: Bahá’u’lláh.)
The sovereigns of the world (may the Lord assist them with His grace) must with one accord hold fast unto the Most Great Peace-the greatest of all means for the protection of mankind. Our hope is that they will arise to promote that which is conducive to the tranquillity of all peoples. It is incumbent upon them to convene a universal assembly, to attend it in person or delegate their ministers, to enforce such measures as will secure the establishment of unity and concord, and to turn from destructive armaments to the betterment of mankind. Should one sovereign rise against another, let all the rest arise to withstand him. In this manner will armies and instruments of war be rendered unnecessary save in such measure as is needful for national security. If the sovereigns of the world attain unto this most great boon, the peoples of every nation will joyfully and in peace engage in the pursuit of their own affairs and the lamentations and wailing of the many will thereby cease. We beseech God that He may graciously assist them to do that which is His Will and Pleasure, and He verily is the Lord of the throne above and of the dust beneath, the King of this world and the next. It is better and preferrable that the honoured sovereigns attend this assembly in person and lay down such measures as are necessary. Whoever among them doth arise to fulfill this command, he verily is the Prince of sovereigns in the sight of God. Happy and blessed is he.   (Epistle to the son of Shaykh Báqir: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O peoples of the world! Verily, verily I declare: This wronged One hath not sought neither doth He seek leadership. His one purpose hath ever been to banish that which causeth difference among the kindreds of the earth and leadeth to the separa-
tion of peoples; that all may have peace and freedom to pursue that which profiteth them. We entreat Our friends not to defile the purity of the Cause with the dust of falsehood, nor abase its exalted and sanctified station by recounting marvels and miracles of which they may hear. Gracious God! This is the day when the wise should seek the counsel of this wronged One and supplicate the Almighty to grant them that which is the cause of abiding tranquillity and glory. Yet behold! how on the contrary they have striven with all their power to extinguish this brilliant and shining light. . . . In the face of all they have spoken We have remained patient at all times. We have left them in the hands of God.   (Epistle to the son of Shaykh Báqir: Bahá’u’lláh.)
The Luminary of true understanding adorns this day the firmament of knowledge; well is it with him that beholds and turns thereunto. All that hath been foretold is made manifest in this day. Say, O friends! choose not to stay afar from the Ocean of God’s forgiveness for lo! He is so nigh unto you. He who was hidden from sight is come and now appears in all His glory. In one hand He bears the Water of Life, in the other He brings the Message of true liberty. Lay down and hold fast: lay down all that pertains to this earth, hold fast unto that which His generous Hand doth bestow. He, the like of Whom the eyes of the world have not seen, is now come. O friends! hasten, hasten unto Him; hearken, hearken to His call. The doings of the divines have turned the people away from God, and in the place of pious devotion malice reigns. They have strayed from God’s holy way; they have erred grievously and still claim to lead the way. We have instructed those leaders, called upon them to bear witness unto this day, and lead the servants unto God, the Most Holy. Say, O ye divines! Awake from your slumber, shake off your heedlessness, and be straightway mindful.   (Epistle to Mihrabán: Bahá’u’lláh.)
The world is in turmoil and its agitation waxeth day by day. Its face is turned toward waywardness and irreligion. So grievous shall be its plight that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Many a day shall pass ere it be relieved from its sore travail. And in the fulness of time there shall appear all of a sudden that which will cast terror into the very heart of mankind; then and only then will the Divine Standard be unfurled, then will the Nightingale of Holiness warble its melody upon the Tree of Life.   (Prophetic utterances of Bahá’u’lláh revealed in Shavval 1925 A. H.—(circa 1878 A. D.)
O SON OF MAN! If thou lovest Me turn away from thyself, and if thou seekest My pleasure regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I eternally live in thee.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF BEING! My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure, and he that turneth away shall surely stray and perish.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF SPIRIT! I created thee rich, why dost thou impoverish thyself? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I manifested thee, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Of the clay of love I moulded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself that thou
mayest find Me abiding in thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF SPIRIT! Vaunt not thyself over the poor for I lead him on his way and behold thee in thine evil plight and confound thee evermore.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF BEING! How couldest thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Who doeth this is accursed of Me.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF MAN! Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command accursed art thou and to this I testify.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF MAN! My calamity is My providence; outwardly it is fire and vengeance but inwardly it is light and mercy. Hasten thereuntothat thou mayest become an eternal light and an immortal spirit. This is My command unto thee, do thou observe it.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF BEING! Busy not thyself with this world for with fire We test the gold and with gold We test Our servants.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF MAN! Bestow My wealth upon My poor, that in heaven thou mayest draw from spheres of unfading splendour and treasures of imperishable glory. But by My life! to offer up thy soul is a more glorious thing couldst thou but see with Mine eye.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you from one clay? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We created you all from one same substance it behooveth you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land; that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. This is My counsel unto you, O Concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF DUST! Verily I say unto thee, of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say: O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SONS OF EARTH! Know verily the heart wherein lingers the least trace of envy shall never attain My everlasting Dominion, nor inhale the fragrance of sanctity breathing from My holy Kingdom.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O LIVING DUST! I am in communion with thee, yet thou wouldst have no trust in Me. The sword of rebelliousness hath cut down the tree of thy hope. I am at all times near unto thee but thou art ever far from Me. Imperishable glory have I chosen for thee, yet boundless degradation hast thou chosen for thyself. While there is yet time return and lose not thy chance.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh. )
O YE THAT ARE FOOLISH YET HAVE A NAME TO BE WISE! Wherefore wear ye the guise of the sheperd yet inwardly are but wolves intent upon My fold? Ye are even as
the star that preceedeth the dawn which appeareth radiant and luminous yet leadeth the wayfarers of My city astray into paths of perdition.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O FAIR IN SEMBLANCE YET INWARDLY FOUL! Ye are even as clear yet bitter water which to outward seeming is crystal pure but when proved by the Divine Assayer not a drop thereof shall be accepted. Yea, the sunbeam falleth alike upon the mirror and the dust, yet differ they in reflection even as doth the star from the earth, nay immeasurable is the difference!   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O SON OF DUST! All that is in heaven and on earth I have destined for thee except the hearts of men which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory; yet thou didst give My home and dwelling to another than Me. And whensoever the manifestation of My holiness repaired unto His abode a stranger found He there, and, homeless, hastened unto the sanctuary of the Beloved. Notwithstanding, I revealed not thy secret and desired not thy shame.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O CHILDREN OF DUST! Tell the rich of the midnight sighing of the poor lest negligence lead them unto destruction and deprive them of their share of the Tree of wealth. Bounty and Generosity are attributes of Mine; well is it with him that adorneth himself with My attributes.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O RICH ONES OF THE EARTH! The poor among you are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not wholly occupied with your own ease.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O MY FRIEND! Thou art the day-star of the heavens of My holiness, let not the defilement of the world eclipse thy splendour. Rend asunder the veil of negligence, that from behind the clouds thou mayest emerge resplendent and adorn all beings with the robe of Life.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O CHILDREN OF NEGLIGENCE! Set not your affections on mortal sovereignty and rejoice not therein. Ye are even as the heedless bird that with entire abandon warbleth upon the bough, when of a sudden the fowler Death doth hurl it upon the dust. Then will no trace remain of its melody, its form or colour. Wherefore, take heed, O bond-slaves of passion!   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O MY SERVANTS! Ye are the trees of My garden; ye must bring forth goodly and wondrous fruits, that ye yourselves and others may profit therefrom. Thus it is encumbent upon everyone to engage in crafts and professions, for therein lies the secret of wealth, O men of understanding!. . . Trees that yield no fruit have been and will ever be fit for fire.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O MY SERVANT! The basest of men are they that yield no fruit upon the earth. They are counted as dead; nay better are the dead in the sight of God than these idle and worthless souls.   (Hidden Words: Bahá’u’lláh.)
The source of all good is trust in God, submission unto His command, and contentment with His holy will and pleasure. . .
True reliance consists in pursuing one’s calling and profession in this
world, holding fast unto God and seeking naught but His grace, inasmuch as in His hands is the destiny of His servants. . .
True courage and power is to promote the Word of God and stand steadfast in His love. . .
The source of true wealth is love for Me; whoso loveth Me is the possessor of all things, and he that loveth Me not is indeed of the poor and needy. . .
The essence of faith is fewness of words and abundance of deeds; he whose words exceed his deeds, know verily his death is better than his life . . . .
The root of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His glory, and this can never be attained save through the knowledge of His Divine Manifestation . . . .
The essence of all that We have revealed for thee is Justice—to free one’s self from idle fancy and imitation, to discern with the eye of oneness His glorious handiwork, and look into all things with a searching eye . .   (Words of Wisdom: Bahá’u’lláh.)
Consider man even as a mine that holdeth stones of precious beauty. Education alone can reveal its treasures and bestow its benefit upon mankind . . .
The Lord, exalted be His glory, hath desired naught for Himself. The allegiance of mankind profiteth Him not, neither doth its disobedience bring Him loss. At every moment doth the Bird of the realm of utterance voice the call: “All things have I desired for thee, and thee for thine own self.” Should the worldy-wise-men of the day suffer the peoples of the world to inhale the fragrance of love and unity, then will men of understanding learn the meaning of true liberty and attain unto perfect tranquillity and peace. . .
Would to God that His grace and bounty may be vouchsafed unto the peoples of the world, that He may guide the kindreds of the earth and direct their steps to the path of His good-pleasure. Behold! Years have passed away and neither the world nor they that dwell therein have yet attained to peace and quiet. At one time they are in the throes of war, at another they fall victims to unforseen afflictions. Woes and tribulations have encompassed the world, and yet no one doth perceive the cause. And if the true Counsellor utter a word, they deem Him a stirrer of strife and reject His counsel. Man is bewildered and knoweth not what to think and say. . .
It is incumbent upon the leaders of the world to observe moderation in all things, and whatsoever exceedeth this will be rendered void of value. Consider: liberty, civilization and the like, though acclaimed by men of learning, will if carried to excess result in the utmost harm . . .   (Epistle to Maqsúd: Bahá’u’lláh.)
When the Day-star of Wisdom rose above the horizon of God’s holy Dispensation it voiced this all-glorious utterance: They that are possessed of wealth and invested with authority and power must show the profoundest regard for Religion. In truth, Religion is a radiant light and an impregnable stronghold for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the world, for the fear of God impelleth man to hold fast to that which is good and shun all evil. Should the lamp of Religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will en-
sue, and the lights of fairness and justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine. Unto this will bear witness every man of true understanding.   (Ishráqát: Bahá’u’lláh.)
We have enjoined upon all mankind the Most Great Peace—the surest of all means for the protection of humanity. The sovereigns of the world should with one accord hold fast thereunto, for this is the supreme instrument that can ensure the security and welfare of all peoples and nations. They verily are the manifestations of the power of God and the daysprings of His authority. We beseech the Almighty that He may graciously assist them in that which leadeth to the well-being of their subjects.   (Ishráqát: Bahá’u’lláh.)
It is incumbent upon everyone to observe God’s holy commandments inasmuch as they are the well-spring of life unto the world. The firmament of Divine Wisdom is illumined with the twin orbs of Counsel and Compassion, and the canopy of world order is upraised upon the two pillars of Reward and Punishment.   (Ishráqát: Bahá’u’lláh.)
The triumphant hosts of this Divine Dispensation are laudable deeds and praiseworthy character, and the leader and marshal thereof is the fear of God. Verily this comprehendeth and ruleth all things.   (Ishráqát: Bahá’u’lláh.)
Governments should fully acquaint themselves with the conditions of those they govern, and confer upon them positions according to desert and merit. It is enjoined upon every ruler and sovereign to consider this matter with the utmost care that the traitor may not usurp the position of the faithful nor the despoiler rule in the place of the trustworthy.   (Ishráqát: Bahá’u’lláh.)
From the beginning of time the light of unity hath shed its Divine radiance upon the world, and the greatest means for the promotion of that unity is for the peoples of the world to understand one another’s writing and speech. In former Epistles We have enjoined upon the Trustees of the House of Justice either to choose one language from among those now existing or to adopt a new one, and in like manner to select a common script, both of which should be taught in all the schools of the world. Thus will the earth be regarded as one country and one home. The most glorious fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is this exalted Word: “Of one tree are all ye the fruit, and of one bough the leaves.” “Let not man glory in that he loves his country, let him rather glory in this that he loves his kind.”   (Ishráqát: Bahá’u’lláh.)
The Pen of Glory counselleth everyone regarding the instruction and education of children. . . . It is enjoined upon every father to provide for the instruction of his sons and daughters in the art of learning and writing and in that which hath been prescribed in My Epistles. He that neglecteth that whereunto he is bidden, if he be wealthy, the Trustees are to take from him that which is required for their education, and if he be poor, the matter shall devolve upon the House of Justice. Verily have We made it a shelter for the poor and a refuge for the needy. He that bringeth up his own son or the son of another, it is as though he had brought up a child of Mine own; upon him rest My glory, My loving-kindness and My mercy that encompasseth all mankind.   (Ishráqát: Bahá’u’lláh.)
The Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of Justice be established, wherein shall gather counsellors to the number of Baha (9), and should this number be exceeded it shall not matter. When gathered together they should remember the Presence of God in their midst. It behooveth them to be the trusted ones of the Merciful amongst men and the ministers of God to all that dwell on earth. It is incumbent upon them to take counsel together and care for the interests of the servants of God, for His sake, even as they care for their own and to choose that which God hath chosen.   (Kitáb-i-Aqdas: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O servants of the Merciful! Arise to serve the Cause of God in such wise that cares and sorrows caused by them that have disbelieved in the Dayspring of the si!gns of God may not afflict you. . . . Lament not in your hours of trial, neither rejoice therein; seek ye the middle way which is remembrance of Me in your afflictions and meditation on that which may hereafter befall you . . . .   (Kitáb-i-Aqdas: Bahá’u’lláh.)
True liberty lies in observing My commandments, did ye but know. Were men to follow that which We have revealed unto them from the heaven of Revelation, they would of a certainty attain unto absolute freedom. Well is it with him that hath known the purpose of God in that which hath been revealed from the heaven of His will that transcendeth all mankind. Say: the liberty that profiteth you is to be found only in servitude to God, the True One, and whoso hath tasted the sweetness thereof will never barter it for all the dominion of heaven and earth . . .   (Kitáb-i-Aqdas: Bahá’u’lláh.)
O people of Baha! Be as the cloud that from you may be showered that which will refresh and animate the earth. . . . Ponder God in your heart, reflect on His Manifestations, and be not of them that are devoid of understanding. . . . I came not to proclaim that which ye already possess. Verily, verily, this day is a new day; He that hath come is the Wondrous, and His bidding the wonder of all that is in heaven and on earth. . . . We have desired naught for ourselves, but desired for you that which will profit you in the Kingdom of God, the Gracious, the All-Bountiful. . . . Glory is not his that proclaimeth his faith, but glory is his that doeth that which the All-Merciful hath revealed in His wondrous Book. . . . 0 people of the world! Hearken to the call of the Lord, the King of eternity. He biddeth you to follow righteousness, to do that which giveth you peace and exalteth your station. He verily is the faithful Counsellor. . . . Regard not the world and its fleeting shadows, but fix your gaze upon God and His signs that have encompassed all creation . . Detachment is as the sun; in whatsoever heart it doth shine it quencheth the fire of covetousness and self. He whose sight is illumined with the light of understanding will assuredly detach himself from the world and the vanities thereof. . . . Let not the world and its vileness grieve you. Happy is he whom riches fill not with vain-glory, nor poverty with sorrow. . . . O concourse of rulers! Turn unto the poor; verily God hath created them and you from the selfsame substance. Let a portion of your wealth be shared by them. This is that which will profit you throughout all times and ages. Bestow a part of that which God in His grace hath given you; for thereby will your wealth be increased . . . . Unfaithful is the world. . . . Were it worthy of regard or acceptable in the sight of God, they
that were the Manifesta-
tions of Justice would not have fallen victims to the talons of tyranny. What greater proof of the baseness of the world and its degradation in the eyes of the Almighty?. . . Exalted is the station of man, if he be adorned with the true attributes of humanity; otherwise he is counted as the basest of all creatures. . . . O My loved ones! Ye are the world’s spiritual physicians. It is incumbent upon you, through the power and might of God, to heal by the sovereign remedy of the Most Great Name the soul-sickness of the kindreds of the earth and clarify the vision of all mankind. . . . Give ear to the voice of the Ancient Beauty calling you aloud from this most great Prison. Forsake oppression and cruelty, cling to the fear of God. Purge yourselves from satanic deeds, be adorned with the virtues of God. Verily, strife and sedition beseem not the people of God. Eschew wicked works, and walk in the ways of holiness, of resignation and contentment. . . . Be calm and self-dependent in your relations with your fellow-men, and deal with them in fairness and justice. Turn treachery to trust, slander to brotherly counsel, oppression to justice, heedlessness to the remembrance of God.   (Extracts from the Epistles of Bahá’u’lláh.)
It behoveth him that desireth to teach the Cause of his Lord to adorn his head with the crown of detachment and the temple of his body with the fear of God. . . . Happy are the righteous that have attained unto the most great truth; happy are the wise that have recognized the straight path of God and turned unto His Kingdom; happy are the glad and sincere, the lamps of whose hearts burn with the knowledge of the All-Merciful and are protected by self-abnegation from the rough winds of test and sorrows; happy are the brave whose hearts the power of the oppressor cannot daunt; happy are the clear-sighted that have learned to distinguish the transitory from the eternal, that have turned their face to the Imperishable and are named among the Immortals in the realm of power and glory. . . . O friends! The thief and the traitor are lying in wait; beware lest ye be heedless, O bearers of God’s trust! Protect from the robber’s hand the pearls of the love of God. . . . In this day, whosoever rendeth not asunder the veil of his idle imaginings will assuredly fail to hear the Voice of God. Well is it with them that with the aid of the power of God have shattered the idols of their fancies and, with ear attentive to His call, have risen from the dead. . . . Words must be followed by deeds; words without deed are as bees that yield no honey, as trees that bear no fruit. . . Regard not the Cause of God as child’s play, neither be unmindful of His all-embracing, all-discerning wisdom. Distinquish yourselves one and all among mankind by the radiance of your countenance, the sincerity of your speech, the purity of your heart, the steadfastness of your purpose, the trustworthiness of your conduct, the sanctity of your soul, the blamelessness of your life. . .   (Extracts from the Epistles of Bahá’u’lláh.)
O ye beloved of the Lord! In this sacred Dispensation conflict and contention are in no wise permitted. Every aggressor deprives himself of God’s grace. It is incumbent upon everyone to show the utmost love, righteousness, straightforwardness and heartfelt kindliness unto all the peoples and kindreds of the world, be they friends or strangers. Nay, the spirit of affection and loving kindness must so prevail that the stranger may find himself a friend, the enemy a true companion, and every least
Assembly of Port Said
trace of difference be removed. For universality is of God and all limitations earthly. Hence man must strive to show forth such virtues and perfections as may illumine all mankind. The light of the sun shineth upon all the world and the merciful showers of Providence fall upon all peoples. The life-giving breeze reviveth every soul and all living creatures obtain their share and portion at His heavenly board. In like manner the affections and loving kindness of the servants of the One True God must be bountifully and universally extended to all mankind. Regarding this, restrictions and limitations are in no wise permitted.
Wherefore, 0 my loving friends! Consort with all the peoples and kindreds and religions of the world with the utmost truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness, kindliness, good-will and friendliness; that all the world of being may be filled with the holy ecstasy of the grace of Bahá, that ignorance, enmity, hate and malice may vanish from the world and the darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples and kindreds of the world may be turned into the light of unity. Should other peoples and nations be unfaithful show fidelity unto them, should they be unjust be just unto them, should they avoid you attract them, should they show enmity be friendly, should they poison you sweeten their lives, should they inflict a wound upon you be a salve to their sores. Such are the attributes of the sincere! Such are the attributes of the truthful!. . .
The disciples of Christ forgot themselves and all earthly things, forsook all their cares and belongings, purged themselves of self and passion, and with absolute detachment scattered far and wide, and engaged in calling the peoples of the world to the light of Guidance, till at last they made the world another world, illumined the surface of the earth, and even to their last hour proved self-sacrificing in the pathway of that beloved One of God. Finally in various lands, they suffered glorious martyrdom. Let them that are men of action follow in their footsteps!   (The Will and Testament: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.)
By Horace Holley
IT has been the general characteristic of religion that organization marks the interruption of the true spiritual influence and serves to prevent the original impulse from being carried into the world. The organization has invariably become a substitute for religion rather than a method or an instrument used to give the religion effect. The separation of peoples into different traditions unbridged by any peaceful or constructive intercourse has made this inevitable. Up to the present time in fact, no founder of a revealed religion has explicitly laid down the principles that should guide the administrative machinery of the Faith He has established.
In the Bahá’í Cause, the principles of world administration were expressed by Bahá’u’lláh, and these principles were developed in the writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, more especially in his Will and Testament.
The purpose of this organization is to make possible a true and lasting unity among people of different
races, classes, interests, characters, and inherited creeds. A close and sympathetic study of this aspect of the Bahá’í Cause will show that the purpose and method of Bahá’í administration is so perfectly adapted to the fundamental spirit of the Revelation that it bears to it the same relationship as body to soul. In character, the principles of Bahá’í administration represent the science of co-operation; in application, they provide for a new and higher type of morality world-wide in scope. In the clash and confusion of sectarian prejudice, the Bahá’í Movement is impartial and sympathetic, offering a foundation upon which reconcilation can be firmly based. Amid the complex interrelations of governments, the Movement stands absolutely neutral as to political purposes and entirely obedient to all recognized authority. It will not be overlooked by the student that Bahá’u’lláh is the only religious teacher making obedience to just governments and rulers a definite spiritual command.
In this brief analysis of the several features of the Bahá’í system of administration the purpose is rather to place in the hands of the believers themselves a convenient summary of the available instructions than to clarify this aspect of the Movement to the non-Bahá’í. Until one has made contact with the spirit of the Bahá’í teachings and desires to co-operate whole-heartedly with their purpose, the administrative phase of the Movement can have little real meaning or appeal.
At the time of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the organization was fully defined but not yet established among his followers. The responsibility for carrying out the instructions was placed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá upon his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, to whom was assigned the function of Guardian of the Cause. Obedience to the authority of the Guardian was definitely enjoined upon all Bahá’ís by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, but this authority carries with it nothing of an arbitrary or personal character, being limited as to purpose and method by the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Guardian unifies the efforts to bring into complete application those principles of world administration already clearly defined.
To assist the Guardian in his manifold responsibilities and duties and particularly in the promotion of the Teaching work, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá provided for the appointment of a group of co-workers to be known as “The Hands of the Cause of God.” The appointment of this body is a function of the Guardian, and these from their own number are to elect nine persons who will be closely associated with the Guardian in the discharge of his duties. It is the function of the Guardian also to appoint his own successor, this appointment to be ratified by the nine Hands of the Cause.
It is the genius of the Bahá’í Cause that the principle underlying the administration of its affairs aims to improve the life and up-build the character of the individual believer in his own local community, wherever it may be, and not to enhance the prestige of those relatively few who, by election or appointment, hold positions of higher authority. Bahá’í authority is measured by self-sacrifice and not by arbitrary power. This fundamental aim can be seen clearly on studying the significant emphasis which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá placed upon the local Bahá’í community. The local group, involving as it does men and women in all the normal activities and relations of life, is the foundation upon which rests the entire evolution of the Cause. The local Bahá’í community is given official recognition only after its number of adult declared believers exceeds nine. Up to this point, the com-
munity exists as a voluntary group of workers and students of the Cause.
In this connection, the word ‘community’ is not used in the sense of any locality exclusively Bahá’í in membership, nor of any manner of living differing outwardly from the general environment, such as has been attempted by religionists and also members of philosophic and economic movements in the past. A Bahá’í community is a unity of minds and hearts, an association of people entirely voluntary in character, established upon a common experience of devotion to the universal aims of Bahá’u’lláh and agreement as to the methods by which these aims can be advanced.
A Bahá’í community differs from other voluntary gatherings in that its foundation is so deeply laid and broadly extended that it can include any soul. Whereas other associations are exclusive, in effect if not in intention, and from method if not from ideal, Bahá’í association is inclusive, shutting the gates of fellowship to no sincere soul. In every gathering there is latent or developed some basis of selection. In religion this basis is a creed limited by the historical nature of its origin; in politics this is party or platform; in economics this is a mutual misfortune or mutual power; in the arts and sciences this basis consists of special training or activity or interest. In all these matters, the more exclusive the basis of selection, the stronger the movement—a condition diametrically opposed to that existing in the Bahá’í Cause. Hence the Cause, for all its spirit of growth and progress, develops slowly as regards the numbers of its active adherents. For people are accustomed to exclusiveness and division in all affairs. The important sanctions have ever been warrants and justifications of division. To enter the Bahá’í Movement is to leave these sanctions behind, an experience which at first invariably exposes one to new trials and sufferings, as the human ego revolts against the supreme sanction of universal love. The scientific must associate with the simple and unlearned, the rich with the poor, the white with the colored, the mystic with the literalist, the Christian with the Jew, the Muslim and the Parsee: and on terms removing the advantage of long established presumptions and privileges.
But for this difficult experience there are glorious compensations. Let us remember that art grows sterile as it turns away from the common humanity, that philosophy likewise loses its vision when developed in solitude, and that politics and religion never succeed apart from the general needs of mankind. Human nature is not yet known, for we have all lived in a state of mental, moral, emotional or social defense, and the psychology of defense is the psychology of inhibition. But the love of God removes fear; the removal of fear establishes the latent powers, and association with others in spiritual love brings these powers into vital, positive expression. A Bahá’í community is a gathering where this process can take place in this age, slowly at first, as the new impetus gathers force, more rapidly as the members become conscious of the powers unfolding the flower of unity among men.
Where the community is small and insignificant, in comparison with the population of the city or town, the first condition of growth is understanding of the Manifestation of Bahá’u’lláh, and the next condition is that of true humility. If these two conditions exist, the weakest soul becomes endowed with effective power in service to the Cause. The result
of unity, in fact, is to share the powers and faculties of all with each.
The responsibility for and supervision of local Bahá’í affairs is vested in a body known as the Spiritual Assembly. This body (limited to nine members) is elected annually on April 21st, the first day of Ridván (The Festival commemorating the declaration of Bahá’u’lláh) by the adult declared believers of the community, the voting list being drawn up by the out-going Spiritual Assembly. Concerning the character and functions of this body, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written as follows:
“It is incumbent upon everyone (every believer) not to take any step (of Bahá’í activity) without consulting the Spiritual Assembly, and they must assuredly obey with heart and soul its bidding and be submissive unto it, that things may be properly ordered and well arranged. Otherwise every person will act independently and after his own judgment, will follow his own desire, and do harm to the Cause.
“The prime requisites for them that take counsel together are purity of motive, radiance of spirit, detachment from all else save God, attraction to His divine fragrances, humility and lowliness amongst His loved ones, patience and long-suffering in difficulties and servitude to His exalted Threshold. Should they be graciously aided to acquire these attributes, victory from the unseen Kingdom of Bahá shall be vouchsafed to them. In this day, assemblies of consultation are of the greatest importance and a vital necessity. Obedience unto them is essential and obligatory. The members thereof must take counsel together in such wise that no occasion for ill-feeling or discord may arise. This can be attained when every member expresses with absolute freedom his own opinion and setteth forth his argument. Should anyone oppose, he must on no account feel hurt, for not until matters are fully discussed can the right way be revealed. The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions. If after discussion a decision be carried unanimously, well and good; but if, the Lord forbid, differences of opinion should arise, a majority of voices must prevail.
“The first condition is absolute love and harmony amongst the members of the Assembly. They must be wholly free from estrangement and must manifest in themselves the Unity of God, for they are the waves of one sea, the drops of one river, the stars of one heaven, the rays of one sun, the trees of one orchard, the flowers of one garden. Should harmony of thought and absolute unity be non-existent, that gathering shall be dispersed and that assembly be brought to naught. The second condition:—They must when coming together turn their faces to the Kingdom on high and ask aid from the realm of Glory. . . . Discussions must all be confined to spiritual matters that pertain to the training of souls, the instruction of children, the relief of the poor, the help of the feeble throughout all classes in the world, kindness to all peoples, the diffusion of the fragrances of God and the exaltation of His holy Word. Should they endeavor to fulfill these conditions the grace of the Holy Spirit shall be vouchsafed unto them, and that assembly shall become the center of the divine blessings, the hosts of divine confirmation shall come to their aid, and they shall day by day receive a new effusion of spirit.”
The letters of Shoghi Effendi quote the fundamental instructions contained in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and
‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the character of Bahá’í administration, and give them definite application. “A careful study
of Bahá’u’lláh’s and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s
Tablets will reveal that other duties (besides teaching the Cause), no less vital to the interests of the Cause, devolve upon the elected representatives of the friends in every locality.
“They must endeavor to promote amity and concord amongst the friends and secure an active and whole-hearted co-operation for the service of the Cause.
“They must do their utmost to extend at all times the helping hand to the poor, the sick, the disabled, the orphan, the widow, irrespective of color, caste and creed.
“They must promote by every means in their power the material as well as spiritual enlightenment of youth, the means for the education of children, institute, whenever possible, Bahá’í educational institutions, organize and supervise their work, and provide the best means for their progress and development.
“They must make an effort to maintain official, regular and frequent correspondence with the various Bahá’í centers throughout the world, report to them their activities, and share the glad tidings they receive with all their fellow-workers in the Cause.
“They must bend every effort to promote the interests of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár*, and hasten the day when the work of this glorious edifice will have been consummated.
“They must encourage and stimulate by every means at their command, through subscriptions, reports and articles, the development of the various Bahá’í magazines.
“They must undertake the arrangement of the regular meetings of the friends, the feasts and anniversaries, as well as the special gatherings designed to serve and promote the social, intellectual and spiritual interests of their fellowmen.
“They must supervise in these days when the Cause is still in its infancy all Bahá’í publications and translations, and provide in general for a dignified and accurate presentation of all Bahá’í literature and its distribution to the general public.
“These rank among the most outstanding obligations of the members of every Spiritual Assembly. In whatever locality the Cause has sufficiently expanded, and in order to insure efficiency and avoid confusion, each of these manifold functions will have to be referred to a special Committee, responsible to that Assembly, elected by it from among the friends in that locality, and upon whose work the Assembly will have to exercise constant and general supervision.
“In every locality, be it city or hamlet, where the number of adult declared believers exceed nine, a local Spiritual Assembly must be forthwith established.
“As the progress and extension of spiritual activities is dependent and conditioned upon material means, it is of absolute necessity that immediately after the establishment of local as well as national Spiritual Assemblies, a Bahá’í Fund may be established, to be placed under the exclusive control of the Spiritual Assembly. All donations and contributions should be offered to the Treasurer of the Assembly, for the express purpose of promoting the interests of the Cause throughout that locality or country. It is the sacred obligation of every conscientious and faithful servant of Baha'u'llah, who desires to see His Cause advance, to contribute freely and generously for the increase of that Fund. The members of the Spiritual Assembly will at their own discretion expend it to promote the teaching campaign, to help the needy, to establish educational Bahá’í institutions, to extend in every way their sphere of service.
* Referring particularly to Assemblies in America.
“Nothing whatever should be given to the public by any individual among the friends, unless fully considered and approved by the Spiritual Assembly in his locality; and if this (as is undoubtedly the case) is a matter that pertains to the general interests of the Cause in that land, then it is incumbent upon the Spiritual Assembly to submit it to the consideration and approval of the national body representing all the various local assemblies. Not only with regard to publication, but all matters without any exception whatsoever, regarding the interests of the Cause in that locality, individually or collectively, should be referred exclusively to the Spiritual Assembly in that locality, which shall decide upon it, unless it be a matter of national interest, in which case it shall be referred to the national (Bahá’í) body. With this national body also will rest the decision whether a given question is of local or national interest. (By national affairs is not meant matters that are political in their character, for the friends of God the world over are strictly, forbidden to meddle with political affairs in any way whatever, but rather things that affect the spiritual activities of the body of the friends in that land.)
“Full harmony, however, as well as co-operation among the various local assemblies and the members themselves, and particularly between each assembly and the National body is of the utmost importance, for upon it depends the unity of the Cause of God, the solidarity of the friends, the full, speedy and efficient working of the spiritual activities of His loved ones.
“The various Assemblies, local and national, constitute today the bedrock upon the strength of which the Universal House is in future to be firmly established and raised. Not until these function vigorously and harmoniously can the hope for the termination of this period of transition be realized. . . . Bear in mind that the keynote of the Cause of God is not dictatorial authority, but humble fellowship; not arbitrary power, but the spirit of frank and loving consultation. Nothing short of the spirit of a true Bahá’í can hope to reconcile the principles of mercy and justice, of freedom and submission, of the sanctity of the right of the individual and of self-surrender, of vigilance, discretion and prudence on the one hand, and fellowship, candor, and courage on the other.”
Experience in the life of a Bahá’í community and participation in the details of its several activities impresses one with the fact that Bahá’í unity has in it new elements which work powerfully to expand one’s area of sympathy, deepen one’s insight, develop one’s character and bring order and stability into all of one’s affairs. There can be no higher privilege than the experience of attempting to serve faithfully upon a Spiritual Assembly, conscious as its members are of the unique standard upheld by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and bringing as it does the opportunity of dealing with a large range and diversity of human problems from an impersonal point of view. It is inevitable that the nine elected members shall exemplify diverse interests and types of character, with the result that unity of heart and conscience with the other eight members is a direct training to enter into spiritual unity with the larger body of mankind. No such schools of discipline and inspiration exist on earth today, for one must bear in mind that a Bahá’í community can never be an exclusive group nor a closed circle of interests but, on the contrary, its fundamental purpose is to unify and co-operate with every possible element in the surrounding population.
The local Spiritual Assembly after election organizes by electing from its own number a chairman, corresponding secretary, recording secretary and treasurer. It should appoint from its own members or from the local Bahá’í community working committees responsible for the various permanent activities of the Cause.
Since a Spiritual Assembly is established upon a new and higher ideal, the character, knowledge and purity of its members is essential to success. Wherever personal ambition, narrowness or impurity enters a Spiritual Assembly, the results are invariably to check the growth of the Cause and, if these conditions are prolonged, to destroy the foundation already laid. The careful student of the teachings will accept this result as one more vindication of the all-surrounding spirit protecting this Faith. The elimination of an unworthy group from the Cause would be a bitter disappointment but not an evidence that the Cause had failed. On the contrary, the Cause could only be declared a failure if personal ambition, pride, narrowness and impurity should so prevail as to build a world-wide organization able to pervert the original purpose.
The local Spiritual Assemblies of a country are linked together and co-ordinated through another elected body of nine members, the National Spiritual Assembly. This body comes into being by means of an annual election held by elected delegates representing the local communities. The delegates are elected by all the adult declared believers of a community in which a Spiritual Assembly exists. The National Convention in which the delegates are gathered together is composed of an elective body based upon the principle of proportional representation. The total number of delegates is fixed by Shoghi Effendi for each country, and this number is fulfilled by assigning to each local community the number of delegates called for by its relative numerical strength. These National Conventions are preferably held during the period of Ridván, the twelve days beginning April 21st which commemorate the Declaration made by Bahá’u’lláh in the Garden of Ridván near Baghdád. The recognition of delegates is vested in the out-going National Spiritual Assembly.
A National Convention is an occasion for deepening one’s understanding of activities and of sharing reports of national and local activities for the period of the elapsed year. It has been the custom to hold a public Bahá’í Congress in connection with the Convention. The function of a Bahá’í delegate is not limited to attendance at the National Convention and participation in the election of the new National Spiritual Assembly. While gathered together, the delegates are a consultative and advisory body whose recommendations are to be carefully considered by the members of the elected national assembly. Even after the Convention, this consultative function continues throughout the year, and by the close and intimate association of the deliberations of the National Spiritual Assembly with the delegates, the national body is enabled to be more representative of the entire Bahá’í community of the land. Delegates unable to attend the Convention in person are permitted to vote for the new National Spiritual Assembly by mail.
The relation of the National Spiritual Assembly to the local Spiritual Assemblies and to the body of the believers in the country is thus defined in the letters of the Guardian of the Cause:—
“Regarding the establishment of National Assemblies, it is of vital importance that in every country, where
Convention, Congress, United States and Canada, 1925
the conditions are favorable and the number of the friends has grown and reached a considerable size—that a National Spiritual Assembly be immediately established, representative of the friends throughout that country.
“Its immediate purpose is to stimulate, unify and co-ordinate, by frequent personal consultations, the manifold activities of the friends as well as the local Assemblies; and by keeping in close and constant touch with the Holy Land, initiate measures, and direct in general the affairs of the Cause in that country.
“It serves also another purpose, no less essential than the first, as in the course of time it shall evolve into the National House of Justice (referred to in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will as the "secondary House of Justice") which according to the explicit text of the Testament will have, in conjunction with the other National Assemblies throughout the Bahá’í world, to elect directly the members of the International House of Justice, that Supreme Council that will guide, organize and unify the affairs of the Movement throughout the world.
“This National Spiritual Assembly which, pending the establishment of the Universal House of Justice, will have to be re-elected once a year, obviously assumes grave responsibilities for it has to exercise full authority over all the local Assemblies in its province, and will have to direct the activities of the friends, guard vigilantly the Cause of God, and control and supervise the affairs of the Movement in general.
“Vital issues, affecting the interests of the Cause in that country, such as the matter of translation and publication, the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, the teaching work, and other similar matters that stand distinct from strictly local affairs, must be under the full jurisdiction of the National Assembly.
“It will have to refer each of these questions, even as the local Assemblies, to a special Committee, to be elected by the members of the National Spiritual Assembly from among all the friends in that country, which will bear to it the same relations as the local committees bear to their respective local Assemblies.
“With it, too, rests the decision whether a certain point at issue is strictly local in its nature, and should be reserved for the consideration and decision of the local Assembly, or whether it should fall under its own province and be a matter which ought to receive its special attention.
“It is the bounden duty, in the interest of the Cause we all love and serve, of the members of the incoming National Assembly, once elected by the delegates at Convention time, to seek and have the utmost regard, individually as well as collectively, for the advice, the considered opinion and the true sentiments of the assembled delegates. Banishing every vestige of secrecy, of undue reticence, of dictatorial aloofness from their midst, they should radiantly and abundantly unfold to the eyes of the delegates by whom they were elected, their plans, their hopes and their cares. They should familiarize the delegates with the various matters that will have to be considered in the current year, and calmly and conscientiously study and weigh the opinions and judgments of the delegates. The newly elected National Assembly, during the few days when the Convention is in session, and after the dispersion of the delegates, should seek ways and means to cultivate understanding, facilitate and maintain the exchange of views, deepen confidence, and vindicate by every tangible evidence their one de-
sire to serve and advance the common weal.
“The National Spiritual Assembly, however, in view of the unavoidable limitations imposed upon the convening of frequent and long-standing sessions of the Convention, will have to retain in its hands the final decision on all matters that affect the interests of the Cause—such as the right to decide whether any local Assembly is functioning in accordance with the principles laid down for the conduct and the advancement of the Cause.
“The seating of delegates to the Convention, i. e., the right to decide upon the validity of the credentials of the delegates at a given Convention, is vested in the outgoing National Assembly, and the right to decide who has the voting privilege is also ultimately placed in the hands of the National Spiritual Assembly, either when a local Spiritual Assembly is for the first time being formed in a given locality, or when differences arise between a new applicant and an already established local Assembly.
“Were the National Spiritual Assembly to decide, after mature deliberation, to omit the holding of the Bahá’í Convention and Congress in a given year, then they could, only in such a case, devise ways and means to insure that the annual election of the National Spiritual Assembly should be held by mail, provided it can be conducted with sufficient thoroughness, efficiency and dispatch. It would also appear to me unobjectionable to enable and even to require in the last resort such delegates as cannot possibly undertake the journey to the seat of the Bahá’í Convention to send their votes, for the election of the National Spiritual Assembly only, by mail to the National Secretary.”
Concerning the matter of drawing up the voting list to be used at the annual local Bahá’í elections, the responsibility for this is placed upon each local Spiritual Assembly, and as a guidance in the matter the Guardian has written the following:
“To state very briefly and as adequately as present circumstances permit, the principal factors that must be taken into consideration before deciding whether a person may be regarded a true believer or not. Full recognition of the station of the Forerunner, the Author and the True Exemplar of the Bahá’í Cause, as set forth in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá‘s Testament; unreserved acceptance of and submission to whatsoever has been revealed by their Pen; loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will; and close association with the spirit as well as the form of the present day Bahá’í administration—these, I conceive, to be the fundamental and primary considerations that must be fairly, discreetly and thoughtfully ascertained before reaching such a vital decision.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá‘s instructions provide for the further development of Bahá’í organization through an International Spiritual Assembly to be elected by the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies. This international body has not yet come into existence, but its special character has been clearly defined;
“And now, concerning the Assembly (Baytu’l-’Adl) which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error, it must be elected by universal suffrage, that is, by the believers. Its members must be manifestations of the fear of God, and daysprings of knowledge and understanding, must be steadfast in God’s Faith, and the well-wishers of all mankind. By this assembly is meant the Universal Assembly: that is,
in each country a secondary
Assembly must be insti-
tuted, and these secondary Assemblies must elect the members of the Universal one.
“Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved, and the Guardian of the Cause is its sacred head and the distinguished member, for life, of that body. Should he not attend in person its deliberations, he must appoint one to represent him. . . This Assembly enacteth the laws and the executive enforceth them. The legislative body must reinforce the executive, the executive must aid and assist the legislative body, so that, through the close union and harmony of these two forces, the foundation of fairness and justice may become firm and strong, that all the regions of the world may become even as Paradise itself.
“Unto the Most Holy Book everyone must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal Assembly. That which this body, either unanimously or by a majority, doth carry, that is verily the truth and the purpose of God Himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice, and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant.”
Even at the present time, the Bahá’ís in all parts of the world maintain an intimate and cordial association by means of regular correspondence and individual visits. This contact of members of different races, nationalities and religious traditions is concrete proof that the burden of prejudice and the historical factors of division can be entirely overcome through the spirit of oneness established by Bahá’u’lláh.
The general student of religion will not fail to note four essential characteristics of Bahá’í administration. The first is its completely successful reconciliation of the usually opposed claims of democratic freedom and unanswerable authority. The second is the entire absence from the Bahá’í Cause of anything approaching the institution of a salaried professional clergy. The Bahá’í conception of religion is one which combines mysticism, which is a sacred personal experience, with practical morality, which is a useful contact between the individual and his fellow man. In the nature of things, some souls are more advanced than others, and the function of spiritual teaching is given special importance in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Bahá’í teacher, however, has no authority over the individual conscience. The individual conscience must be subordinated to the decisions of a duly elected Spiritual Assembly, but this relationship is entirely different in character and results from the relationship of an individual with minister or priest.
The third characteristic is the absence of internal factionalism, that bane of all organized effort, and the sure sign of the presence of spiritual disease. The predominant spirit of unity which distinguishes the Bahá’í Cause in its relation to the world, making its followers strive for reconciliation rather than partisan victory, creates an internal condition, unlike that which exists in movements which accept partisan victory, in one or another form, as their very reason for being. Such movements can but disintegrate from within; the Bahá’í Movement can but grow.
Significant also is the fourth characteristic, namely that the Bahá’í Cause has within it an inherent necessity operating slowly but surely to bring its administration into the hands of
those truly fitted for the na-
ture of the work. The lesser vision gives way invariably for the larger vision, itself replaced by the still larger vision in due time. The result is an inevitable improvement in the qualities placed at the service of the Cause, until the highest attributes of humanity will be enrolled. In the Bahá’í Cause we are actually witnessing the fulfilment of that strange and cryptic saying: The meek shall inherit the earth.
That the administrative machinery is not an end in itself but merely the means to spread everywhere the light of faith and brotherhood, is frequently expressed by the Guardian in his general letters, and this brief survey may well close with one of those passages: “Not by the force of numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of teaching—no matter how world-wide and elaborate in its character—not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and sceptical age the supreme claim of the Abhá Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh.”
From “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era,” pages 155-156
By Dr. J. E. Esslemont
AMONG different peoples and at different times many different methods have been adopted for the measurement of time and fixing of dates, and several different calendars are still in daily use, e. g., the Gregorian in Western Europe, the Julian in many countries of Eastern Europe, the Hebrew among the Jews, and the Muhammadan in Muslim countries.
The Báb signalized the importance of the dispensation which He came to herald, by inaugurating a new calendar. In this, as in the Gregorian Calendar, the lunar month is abandoned and the solar year is adopted.
The Bahá’í year consists of 19 months of 19 days each (i. e., 361 days), with the addition of certain “Intercalary Days” (four in ordinary and five in leap years) between the eighteenth and nineteenth months in order to adjust the calendar to the solar year. The Báb named the months after the attributes of God. The Bahá’í New Year, like the ancient Persian New Year, is astronomically fixed, commencing at the March equinox (March 21st), and the Bahá’í era commences with the year of the Báb’s declaration (i. e., 1844 A. D., 1260 A. H.)
In the not far distant future it will be necessary that all peoples in the world agree on a common calendar.
It seems, therefore, fitting that the new age of unity should have a new calendar free from the objections and associations which make each of the
older calendars unacceptable to large sections of the world’s population, and it is difficult to see how any other arrangement could exceed in simplicity and convenience that proposed by the Báb.
The months in the Báb’s Calendar are as follows:
Month Arabic Name Translation First Days
1st Bahá Splendor March 21st
2nd Jalál Glory April 9th
3rd Jamál Beauty April 28th
4th ‘Azamat Grandeur May 17th
5th Núr Light June 5th
6th Rahmat Mercy June 24
7th Kalimát Words July 13th
8th Asmá’ Names August 1st
9th Kamál Perfection August 20th
10th ‘Izzat Might September 8th
11th Mashíyyat Will September 27th
12th ‘Ilm Knowledge October 16th
13th Qudrat Power November 4th
14th Qawl Speech November 23rd
15th Masá’il Questions December 12th
16th Sharaf Honor December 31st
17th Sultán Sovereignty January 19th
18th Mulk Dominion February 7th
19th ‘Ulá Loftiness March 2nd
Intercalary Days, Feb. 26th to March 1st, inclusive
Feast of Nawrúz (New Year), March 21.
Feast of Ridván (Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh), April 21 to May 3, (1863).
Declaration of the Báb, May 23, (1844).
Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, May 28, (1892).
Martyrdom of the Bab, July 9, (1850).
Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, November 12, (1817).
Fete Day of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, November 26.
Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, November 28, (1921).
Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, Wilmette, Illinois
Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in course of construction at Wilmette, suburb of
Chicago, Illinois.
“The Dawning Place of God’s Praise”
RELIGION in its fullest development, its perfection, will have the outward and visible form in complete correspondence with the inward invisible spirit. Its institutions, its philosophy, and its essential spiritual purpose will be in full harmony and agreement.
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, the symbol and embodiment of the Bahá’í Revelation, is the outcome and fulfillment of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh in the world of action. It embodies those teachings in a manner applying them to daily life. It makes unity a practice and habit as well as an ideal. It identifies religion with the social body, not by materializing religion, but by inspiring society. The appearance of an institution of this character in the world today is a proof of the re-birth of religion acceptable to those who have lost faith in the evidences of doctrine.
The present age is moving toward the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in its realization of the need to co-ordinate the churches with the fundamental problems of civilization, and in the willingness to abandon unnecessary duplication of religious effort. Community churches have come into existence which foreshadow the Bahá’í Temple in many respects, but none possesses the whole range of its significance.
In the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár we have a house of worship and devotion open to people of all religions, races and classes without distinction. Its services consist of reading and chanting the holy Word. The purpose is to turn the heart directly to the divine Source, and this purpose is not compatible with human sermons or the artifice of ritual. There will be the music of voices but not of instrument. Those who enter the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár will do so most frequently in order to meditate and pray.
The Bahá’í House of Worship becomes new and unique in that the central edifice will be surrounded with accessory buildings of humanitarian intent, and the relation of all these buildings one with another and with the central edifice discloses the relation of the organic functions of society with the spirit of religion. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár perfectly symbolizes the two-fold nature of religion—one aspect the turning to God, the other aspect service to man. As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has said: “Religion is an attitude toward God reflected in life.”
The writings of the Bahá’í Movement contain many references to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár.
In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas Bahá’u’lláh said: “O Concourse of creation! O people! Construct edifices in the most beautiful fashion possible, in every city, in every land, in the name of the Lord of Religions. Adorn them with that which beseemeth them. Then commemorate the Lord, the Merciful, the Clement, in spirit and fragrance.
“Teach your children what hath been revealed through the Supreme Pen. Instruct them in what hath descended from the Heaven of greatness and power. Let them memorize the Tablets of the Merciful and chant them with melodious voices in the galleries built in the Temple of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. The prayers
of the Lord should be chanted in a
manner to attract the hearts and
souls. Blessed is he who listeneth unto the River of Life.”
From Tablets and addresses of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:
“Temples are symbols of the Reality and Divinity of God—that is, the Manifestation of God is the real divine Temple and Collective Center of which the Church is a symbol.
“The real Temple is the very Law of God, for to that all humanity must resort, and that is the center of unity for all mankind. That is the Collective Center. That is the cause of accord and unity of the hearts. That is the cause of the solidarity of the human race. That is the source of life eternal. Temples are symbols of that unifying force, in order that when the people gather there, in a given edifice of God, they may recall the fact that the Law has been revealed for them and that the Law is to unite them. That just as this edifice was founded for the unification of mankind, the Law preceding and creating this Temple was issued therefore.
“In the Temple of the Lord man must be submissive to God. He must enter into a covenant with His Lord in order that he shall obey His Commands and be unified with his fellowmen. He must not consider divergences of races nor difference of nationalities; he must not view variation in denomination and creed, nor should he take into account the differing degrees of thoughts; nay rather, he should look upon all mankind and realize that all must become united and agreed. He must recognize all as one family, one race, one nativity; all the servants of one God, dwelling beneath the shelter of the Mercy of God. Just as the external world is a place where various peoples of different hues and colors, of various faiths and denominations meet; just as they are submerged in the Sea of Favors, likewise, all may meet under the dome of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár and adore the One God in the same Spirit of Truth, for the ages of darkness have passed away and the century of Light has arrived. The imaginary prejudices are in process of dispersion and the Light of Unity is shining.
“In the days of the Manifestation, any city wherein a Temple was founded, afforded the means of promulgation (of the Cause), the confirmation of the hearts and the confidence of souls; for in those buildings the Name of God is ever commemorated. For the tranquillity and repose of the hearts there is no other means save the commemoration of Almighty God.
“The original purpose is this: that is why His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has commanded that a place be built for all the religionists of the world. Not only does the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár have an effect upon those who built it but upon the whole world."
“The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár must have nine sides, doors, fountains, paths, gateways, columns and gardens, with the ground floor, galleries and domes, and in design and construction must be beautiful. The mystery of the edifice is great and cannot be unveiled yet, but its erection is the most important undertaking of this Day.
“The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár has important accessories, which are accounted of the basic foundations. These are:—school for orphan children, hospital and dispensary for the poor, home for the incapable, college or higher scientific education and hospice. In every city a great Mashriqu’l-Adhkár must be founded after this order. In the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár services will be held every morning. There will be no organ in the Temple. In buildings near by, festivals, services, conventions, public meetings and spiritual gatherings will be held,
but in the Temple the chanting and singing will be unaccompanied. Open ye the gates of the Temple to all mankind.
“When these institutions, college, hospital, hospice, and establishment for the incurables, university for the study of higher sciences, giving post-graduate courses, and other philanthropic buildings are built, the doors will be opened to all the nations and religions. There will be absolutely no line of demarcation drawn. Its charities will be dispensed irrespective of color or race. Its gates will be flung wide open to mankind; prejudice towards none, love for all. The central building will be devoted to the purpose of prayer and worship. Thus. . . . . .religion will become harmonized with science, and science will be the handmaid of religion, both showering their material and spiritual gifts on all humanity.”
“Now the day has arrived in which the Edifice of God, the Divine Sanctuary, the Spiritual Temple shall be erected in America. I entreat God to assist the confirmed believers in accomplishing this great service and with entire zeal to rear this mighty structure, which shall be renowned throughout the world. The support of God will be with those believers in that district, that they may be successful in their undertaking. For this cause is great because this is the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in that country.
“Verily the founding of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár will mark the inception of the Kingdom of God on earth. It is the evident standard waving in the center of that great continent of America. Make the erection of the Temple in America conducive to the unity and oneness of the believers, of the maid-servants and servants of the Merciful, so that in one thought, one aim, they engage themselves in building the Temple. Think not that this Temple will be like the hundred thousand gigantic Temples you see about you. Know ye that when this Temple of God shall be built in Chicago it will be to the spiritual body of the world what the inrush of the spirit is to the physical body of man, quickening it to its utmost parts and infusing a New Light and Power. Should the believers undertake (the erection of the Temple) in many places, it will not become completed anywhere; and as in Chicago they have preceded every other place to plan the erection of the Temple, undoubtedly to co-operate and help them is nobler and a necessity. Then when it is built in one place it will become erected in many other places. God willing, in all the states of America in the future there will be erected Temples, with infinite architectural beauty, with pleasing proportions and handsome and attractive appearances.”
“Praise be to God that, at this moment, from every country in the world according to their various means, contributions are continually being sent toward the fund of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in America. In reality this magnanimity of the believers is worthy of great praise and thankfulness. This donation in the path of the Orb of Religions is conducive to the happiness of the souls of the spiritual ones. From the day of Adam until now, such an event has never been witnessed by man that, from the farthermost country of Asia contributions were forwarded to America. This is through the Power of the Covenant of God.
“Verily this is a cause of astonishment to the people of perception.
“The debt on the land of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is clear. This news made the hearts happy. Collect contributions for the building and then think about the plans. It is hoped that the believers of God may show
magnanimity and raise a great sum for the building, that the foundation of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár may be laid by the hands of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. I want everyone left free to act as he wills. If anyone wishes to put money into other things, let him do so. Do not interfere with him in any way, but be assured that—the most important thing at this time is the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár . . . .”
“When the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is completed, when the lights are emanating therefrom, the prayers are performed with supplication toward the Mysterious Kingdom (of Heaven), the voice of glorification is raised to the Lord, the Supreme;—then the believers shall rejoice, the hearts be dilated and overflow with the love of the All-living and Self-existent (God). The people shall hasten to worship in the heavenly Temple, the Fragrances of God will be elevated, the Divine Teachings will be established in the hearts like the establishment of the Spirit in mankind; the people will then stand firm in the Cause of our Lord, the Merciful. Whosoever arises for the service of this building shall be assisted with great power from His Supreme Kingdom, and upon him spiritual and heavenly blessings shall descend which shall fill his heart with wonderful consolation and enlighten his eyes by beholding the Glorious and Eternal God.”
It may be questioned whether any modern edifice has attracted such widespread interest as the Bourgeois design of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, descriptions and illustrations of which have appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the world. Even in China and Japan the press gave details of this universal religious structure, and in architectural and engineering journals the design has been acclaimed as the inauguration of a new style and period.
The symbolism of the Temple has been sympathetically interpreted by Mary Hanford Ford:
“The Temple model is a nonagon, or nine sided structure, with nine doors, nine ribs in the dome, nine openings on each side, etc. All the dimensional numbers of the temple are related to nine.
“Nine is the number of perfection, both in the ancient numerology of Pythagoras and the cabala, and in that of the present day. . . . In the older systems 9 represented the highest perfection of man, while 10 stood for God and man united, as in the Messiah. In the Bahá’í symbolism, 9 adds to its own power that of 10, because it stands for the Glory, or Bahá, which is God.
“It is actually formed by the word Bahá, the Glory, because in the Arabic language letters are numerical symbols also. B is 2; A is 1; H is 5, and A is 1 again, and the consensus of all makes 9. So the nine doors of the Temple symbolize the perfect number of paths to God, and thus unity in the Glory of Bahá, and the prevalence of 9 in the numerical structure of the temple creates heavenly unity in its vibration.
“19 is the Báb’s number for unity, and 5 is the number of the Báb himself. So these numbers reappear constantly. There are 18 steps at each of the nine entrances of the Temple, which with the completing doorway make 19—and each door (a 19) becomes a recurring symbol of the Báb himself, because as we remember, Báb is a title meaning a door between heaven and earth. There are nine openings on each of the nine sides of the Temple on the first and second stories, producing the number 81 or spiritually 9, and 3 small doors on each side of the third story, making 27—or again 9. There are 9 columns on the first story, 9 buttress ornaments on
the second, 9 ribs to the
great dome, so that one can never escape the heavenly presence of the 9. It becomes the emblem of perfection, more definitely exemplified in the Bahá’í teaching than ever before; as the 9 reflected through the Bahá or the Glory, it becomes the emblem of the divine messenger upon earth, Bahá’u’lláh, Christ, Zoroaster, Moses, et al.
“The surfaces of the Temple are covered with a geometrical ornamentation, exquisite in character, and sufficiently interesting from its beauty alone. These traceries, when examined, are made up of the most beautiful combinations of the triangle, the square and the circle: The Swastika cross of the Egyptian hieroglyphics is one, the five pointed star, the six pointed star, the glorious nine pointed star, and last but not least the looped life symbol of the old Egyptian hieroglyphics, which was carried by the priests in the sacred processions of the worship of Dionysos in Greece.
“The Swastika cross is the oldest religious symbol known. It became indicative of the divine creative fire, and life, and the looped cross, the Greek cross, the Roman Cross are its modifications. The Roman cross with the elongated arm has become the symbol of sacrifice through its relation to Christ. There is a lovely row of Swastikas around the base of the dome, repeated again toward its top and these will show brilliantly when it is lighted at night.
“The triangle has been from time immemorial the symbol of the great trinity, the Essence, the Orb and the Messenger, or God, the Father, or Logos, and the Son, as Christ puts it. The six pointed star or double triangle is thus the symbol of the heavenly Sun or Logos behind the earthly Messenger. So that the old orthodox Jewish Rabbis say today: ‘We have always had the six pointed star, but we are now looking for the five pointed star, the Messiah.’ The five pointed star has been for ages the symbol of the earthly Messenger. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says in the Tablet of the Ringstone: ‘The two stars represent the divine origin and also the human personality of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, because the human being like the star has five points, the head, the two arms and the two legs.’
“The triangle has another symbolism, and a very beautiful one, that of humanity with its base upon the earth and its point reaching up to heaven, and this is also a part of the heavenly meaning of the six pointed star. The five pointed star was used by the early Christians as the symbol of Christ, and the cross came later with the introduction of theology into Christian teachings.
“The circle has been from very ancient periods the symbol of infinity and eternity, and is commonly seen upon the temple of India, especially associated with the serpent of the past. The square is the old cabalistic symbol of realization or manifesta tion in earthly form for the microcosm or human, while 8 or the cube is the symbol of realization for the Macrocosm or Divine Man. The glorious nine pointed star is of course the symbol of divine manifestation belonging to the new day. The Temple itself is a nine pointed star. Looked at from an aeroplane it would seem a great star dropped upon the ground, and when lighted at night all its nine points will appear brilliantly. The nine pointed star forms the beautiful roselike top of each window and door of the temple’s lower story, while at the center of each star gleams the decorative lettered form of the Greatest Name. This will be always illumined and shining, so that the Glory of the Most Glorious will penetrate every worshipper who enters the
temple. A larger replica of the same illumined symbol forms the
center in decoration above the doors and speaks again of the meaning of the great Temple.
“There is a charming story in Hindu mythology to the effect that, when the great God Brahm finished his avatar on this earth, he did not ascend, but went to sleep in a lotus flower until it should be time for him to awaken for another mission to mankind. Over the low archway of each entrance to the Temple is a delicate and graceful tracery which attracts the eye and, when one examines it, there is revealed a succession of lotus flowers, and in the center of each is the looped symbol of life, which comes to us from Egypt and Greece, and appears here again as the note of awakening, of resurrection in the lotus flower of the world. It is singularly fitting that the story of Brahm should be recalled in the decoration of the Temple of mankind and should arise there under the symbol of life, because the Temple contains in its glorious ensemble the unity of all faiths and the aspirations of all hearts.
“There is an ornament in the dome which appears also in the upper part of the columns and is unlike any other portion of the decoration. It is a whirling succession of elongated circles, and Bourgeois says that, in drawing the dome especially, he would begin to think of the orbits of the planets and their whirling spaces, and then his fingers would create these wonderful lines, as his thoughts roamed among the stars. Thus a new symbol has been added to those of the past, which might be called that of the unity of the heavens.
“The structure of the Temple is such that at night all its surfaces will be a blaze of light. Its decorations are cut completely through the terra cotta (or other) substance, which is to be lined with transparent glass, so that at night each column and buttress ornament as well as the stars and crosses and ‘milky way’ of the dome, will shine forth like an embroidery upon the darkness. So the Temple will be veritably a temple of light in this day of resurrection, of brotherhood and new civilization.
“The nine ribs joined above the surface of the dome are like hands clasped in prayer, Bourgeois says, and in the space between their union and the rounded top of the dome proper, will shine a great electric light sending forth nine bars into the darkness of the night, and forming a glorious illumined climax to the beautiful nonagon structure.”
TO 1915
By Mrs. Corinne True
HAVING heard enthusiastic reports of the building of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in ’Ishqábád, Russia, the members of the Spiritual committee (better known as the “House of Spirituality”) of the Chicago Assembly were inspired to supplicate to the Center of the Covenant, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, to grant permission for the second Mashriqu’l-Adhkár to be built in America
On June 7, 1903, a tablet was revealed in Acca by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá saying, “Now the day has arrived in which the edifice of God, the divine sanctuary, the Spiritual temple, shall be erected in America.”
The following words from the pen
of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá clearly indicate the erection of a material building: “The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, though outwardly a material foundation, is possessed of spiritual effect and causes the union of hearts and the gathering of souls. . . . Praise be to God! The erection of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár has a great effect in all grades (or states). It was tested in the east and so evidently and plainly was it proved good (that) even when in a village a house was called the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, it possessed a different effect. How much more its building and organization.” Furthermore, he says, “The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is the most important matter and the greatest divine institute. Consider how the first institute of his holiness Moses, after his exodus from Egypt was the ‘Tent of Martyrdom’ which he raised and which was the traveling temple. It was a tent which they pitched in the desert wherever they abode, and worshipped in it. Likewise, after his holiness Christ—May the spirit of the world be a sacrifice to Him—the first institute by the disciples was a temple. They planned a church in every country. Consider the Gospel, (i. e., read it), and the importance of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár will become evident. I hope that all the beloved of God, collectively, on the continent of America, men and women, will strive night and day until the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is erected in the utmost solidity and beauty.”
And again: “Today, the establishment of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is of paramount importance, but hereafter it shall not be so. This is the beginning of organization; it is like unto the first church founded in Christianity; it is an expression of the elevation of the Word of God.”
While in London, on his first European trip, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told Mr Charles Mason Remey that “its building is the most important of all things. This is the spiritual foundation, for that reason it is the most important of all foundations; from that spiritual foundation will come forth all manner of advancement and progress in the world of humanity. Therefore, how great is its importance.”
To Mrs. Helen S. Goodall and Mrs. Ella G. Cooper, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said: “To have it built is most important. Some material things have spiritual effect, and the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is a material thing that will have great effect upon the spirits of the people. Not only does the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár have an effect upon those who build it, but upon the whole world.” “In the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, services will be held every morning and the words of Bahá’u’lláh only are to be read.”
While in Ramleh, Egypt, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá assured Mr. Percy Woodcock that “The most important thing in this day is the speedy erection of the edifice. Its mystery is great and cannot be unveiled as yet. In the future it will be made plain.”
During the sojourn of Mr. and Mrs Charles Haney in the prison home of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he said: “When the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, with its accessories, is established in the world, aside from its religious or spiritual influence, it will have a tremendous effect upon civilization. Aside from the religionists, who will feel its influence, materialists will not be exempt therefrom. Moreover, it contains divine wisdom, spiritual effects upon the intellects and thoughts. Subsequent to its erection these will become evident.”
This important point was made clear to a pilgrim visiting him, namely, that “The organization of worshipping places is not simply for drawing near to God, but it is to concentrate
the word of spirit of God
and cause the power of unity and oneness among the people.”
Regarding the locating of this edifice of God, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote to the friends of New York City: “Concerning the erection of the temple; now all the believers must become united so that the temple may be built soon in one place. For should the believers undertake (the erection of the temple), in many places, it will not become completed anywhere; and as in Chicago they have preceded every other place to plan the erection of the temple, undoubtedly to co-operate and help them is nobler and a necessity. Then when it is built in one place it will become erected in many other places. God willing in all the states of America, in the future, there will be erected temples, with infinite architectural beauty and art, with pleasing proportions and handsome and attractive appearances, especially in New York.”
Also to Dr. Edward Getsinger, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote: “Regarding the building of the temple in Chicago, both of you (Dr. and Mrs. Getsinger) display the utmost effort in encouraging and inspiring the believers and the maid-servants of God, so that they may assist in the matter with generosity, and thus soon this temple will be erected. This matter is of great importance.” (“Utmost importance” in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s own handwriting).
When Eshte’al-Ebn Kalanter wrote regarding a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár on Monsalvat (Green Acre, Maine), ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied: “Concerning the building of a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár on Monsalvat: It is certain that before long this shall be built; and this is an ordained (or fixed) matter; but in Chicago it is two or three years since a number of people are making efforts. Now while the building of this temple is not yet started or engaged in, if there be the founding of a second temple undertaken, neither of the two would be accomplished and this failure would weaken the Cause.”
Mr. Mountfort Mills received a tablet from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá saying: “The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of Chicago is of the greatest importance. This, Bahá’í temple is a supreme house of worship, a place of spiritual gathering and of the manifestation of divine mysteries. The friends of God must endeavor with all their hearts and souls that this structure may be raised and completed.”
The Center of the Covenant has written: “One must first grasp those affairs which will make growth (in the Cause) and also be in time and season.”
From the foregoing quotations it is manifest that the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is founded on the “Rock of Ages,” the eternal Word of God, as to its object, location and appropriate time for its erection.
A brief sketch of the work accomplished may prove interesting:
In the spring of 1907, while Messrs. Chase, Agnew and Scheffler were in the prison home of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he said to them: “Concerning the temple, the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is a very important matter, the most important thing now in America is the building of the temple. You and your friends must endeavor in this matter. This building will be the cause of the confirmation of the believers. It has a great effect because it is the beginning of the foundation. After centuries it is not so important as it is now, but now it is very important. At first they build the temple and worship in it and grow. In past times they could not build it so outwardly. This building will be the cause of unity and prosperity of the Cause. The unity comes; from every part the believers will assist. This is a heavenly society and also it will be
the cause of strength. The be-
lievers will get blessings and bounties. It cannot be compared with the church of the old time. You have only to begin, everything will be all right.”
When this message was brought back to America a new activity in the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár resulted throughout the country and contributions from various assemblies and individuals were received. A convention was called for November 26, 1907, to be held in Chicago. This was the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár convention, regarding which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote to Mr. Charles Sprague; “Thou hast written concerning the organization of a council for the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. This news brought much spirit and fragrance, for the nine delegates sent by the various assemblies gathered in that meeting and consulted concerning the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár.”
Several possible tracts of land on both the south and north sides of the city had been investigated, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had said to a pilgrim that it must be near the lake. The morning of the day of November 26, 1907, the delegates visited the south side tract, noting carefully the surroundings, returning to the home of Mrs. Grace Foster for a sumptuous (Thanksgiving day) feast, prepared in the name of the Center of the Covenant by the Chicago maid-servants. It was at first feared that such a feast of good things had incapacitated the delegates to visit the north shore tract in the afternoon but it made them stronger for the trip, both spiritually and physically. That evening a spirited meeting was held over the location and it was unanimously voted that the north shore tract was most desirable. Miss Gertrude Buikema took the minutes of this meeting. Upon closer investigation the north shore tract (now the site of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár) was found to consist of fourteen lots. The spiritual meeting of the Chicago Assembly, after bringing the matter before the assembly for approval, took title to two of the lots in the name of the treasurer of the assembly, Mr. Carl Scheffler, and arose to obey the Center of the Covenant when he said; “You have only to begin, everything will be all right.” The sum of $2,000 was paid for those two lots on April 9, 1908.
On June 19, 1908, a tablet was revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and translated by his daughter Moneveh Khanum, in which he wrote, “Ask every spiritual meeting in the other cities that they will each select one and send him, and from these selected ones and with those who are selected from the Chicago meetings, establish a new meeting for the provision of the means of the temple. If this is established with perfect fragrance and joy, it will produce great results. In this new meeting, especially for the establishment of the temple, women are also to be members.”
In compliance with these instructions from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the House of Spirituality of the Chicago Assembly called the second Mashriqu’l-Adhkár convention for March 22nd and 23rd, 1909, the proceedings of which were accurately recorded by Miss Gertrude Buikema and Mr. Charles Ioas, duly elected to act as secretaries, and afterwards printed. Thus the tiny mustard seed of nine delegates grew in the two intervening years to four times nine. The Bahá’í Temple Unity resulted, as an organization, with full power and authority to provide ways and means for the erection of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. A constitution was presented and adopted and the first executive board of Bahá’í Temple Unity was elected and authorized by the convention to close and complete
the purchase of the land, recom-
mended by the first convention, 1907, of which two lots had been bought and paid for, with an option secured on the remaining twelve lots. Immediately after the close of the convention the newly appointed executive board went into session, selecting its officers in accordance with the constitution. The treasurer of the Chicago Assembly, Mr. Scheffler, in whose name the title to the two lots was held, turned over to the Bahá’í Temple Unity all official documents and all monies held by him for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, as follows:
Monies on hand $3,666.44
Land values 2,000.00
Total $5,666.44
When the two lots had been purchased, Mr. C. E. Brush, one of Chicago’s architects, kindly made a plat of the tract and its surroundings, which was sent to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. A beautiful tablet flowed from his pen. “To the friends and maid-servants,” saying that on the anniversary of the declaration of his holiness the Supreme, the Báb, the map of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár had been presented, that “great joy was obtained thereby and with the greatest care it was considered,” that “it is indeed a delightful spot worthy of this edifice and building.” (Date of this tablet July 4, 1908).
The members of the Executive Board of Bahá’í Temple Unity appointed Messrs. Mills, Hall and Jacobsen, a committee to attend to the land negotiations, and an offer of $32,500 for the remaining twelve lots was made and accepted with a contract providing for the payment of $5,000 every six months, with interest, commencing July 1, 1909. A religious corporation was effected under the laws of Illinois in the name “Bahá’í Temple Unity” and the title to the land secured.
The third Mashriqu’l-Adhkár convention convened in Chicago, April 25 and 26, 1910. Report of the work done during the year was given by the secretary, Mr. Jacobsen, and the financial secretary’s report showed contributions for the fiscal year:
From the Orient $ 7,092.85
From America and Europe 7,638.66
Turned over by Mr. Scheffler 5,666.44
Total $20,397.95
($2,000 of this being land)
Contributions had come from India, Persia, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Russia, Egypt, Germany, France, England, Canada, Mexico, Hawaiian Islands, and a little island far out in the Indian Ocean, Mauretius. Besides from sixty different American cities. The words of the Center of the Covenant had literally been fulfilled: “You have only to begin—everything will be all right.”
The fourth Mashriqu’l-Adhkár convention was held in Chicago, May 1 and 2, 1911. A command having come from Acca to hold the convention during the Ridván days. During the fiscal year, April 23, 1910, to April 29, 1911, the total contributions were:
The Orient and Europe $ 1,190.83
America 9,210.76
Total $10,401.76
The fifth convention in Chicago, April 29th to May 1, 1912, will eternally wear the glorious crown of bestowal because of the presence of the Center of the Covenant and his dedication of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár grounds, May 1, 1912. During this fiscal year the
lake shore tract of 293 feet frontage had been contracted for and
payment made on it, the pur-
chase price being $17,000. The contributions for the year having been $7,292.45.
The sixth convention was entertained by the friends of New York City, April 28 and 29, 1913. Regarding this wonderful convention ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote to Mr. Wilhelm saying:
“Praise be to God, that the New York believers became confirmed in the accomplishment of a great service and held in that city the consultation convention for the erection of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. They displayed the utmost of effort until that convention was inaugurated with infinite perfection. They exercised the greatest love and kindness towards all the delegates who had come from the different states. They united and entertained the delegates in their homes. With perfect affection they spread before them the banquet of hospitality. Everyone became grateful and happy. This event will adorn an important and blessed page in the Bahá’í history.”
At this convention the commemoration of the ninth day of every month as Mashriqu’l-Adhkár day was proposed and afterward confirmed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and has proved a very great impetus to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár work. The friends of other countries join with us in observing the day; very beautiful are the letters from our four American sisters in Teheran telling of their holding this ninth day with us.
The first contribution for the fiscal year April 30, 1912 to April 19, 1913 was a gift from the Center of the Covenant at the closing session of the previous convention in Chicago. Also this year marked the completion of the payment on the site dedicated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and an indebtedness of $9,000 on the Lake Shore tract remained only, its entire liquidation being urged before the expiration of 1913. The contributions for the year having been $14,206.42.
Another year soon rolled around and Chicago was again blest with a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár convention, which was the seventh convention. It also marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh.
At the close of the year 1913 the money came literally rolling in for the cancellation of all land debts and a cablegram was sent to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá announcing that the Bahá’í Temple Unity had completed its land obligations. Thus the new year, 1914, dawned free of any clouds for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár work so that the building fund might be started. The financial secretary reported contributions for the year $13,503.79 and the Unity entirely out of debt with land holdings for which $51,500 had been paid and which was worth almost double the price paid. Complete unity and harmony marked the sessions of this seventh convention.
And now the eighth Mashriqu’l-Adhkár convention and first Bahá’í congress has convened in San Francisco. Thus our conventions held in the United States of America have travelled from coast to coast.
Almost immediately after the second convention, when the Bahá’í Temple Unity resulted, the president of the first Executive Board, Mr. Mountfort Mills, of New York City, visited the Center of the Covenant who was still a prisoner of the Turkish Government, though liberated in July of that same year, 1908. Mr. Mills wrote: “At the temple convention, he seemed most pleased and satisfied and assured us that the future would see many more, constantly increasing in numbers, attending and bringing together representatives from all parts of the world. He said that these gatherings would be to the spiritual body of the world what the inrush of the spirit is to the physical
body of man, quickening it to its utmost parts and infusing a new light and power.”
One of the most touching gifts to the building fund was a check for $1,000 addressed to “The Bahá’í Temple of Peace” and saying in the letter, “In Europe, fathers and brothers have been torn from their wives and little children, and many left at home are in want of dire necessities. Our beloved ones are not facing mutilation, acute suffering and death. I send this as a thanksgiving offering, though it seems minute indeed to express what I feel.”
During the fiscal year beginning April 27, 1914, the monthly contributions have been as follows:
April 27 to May 1 $   258.00
May 388.60
June 351.09
July 483.31
August 344.22
September 1,533.88
October 557.99
November 519.50
December 614.66
January 768.72
February 247.10
March 278.76
April 1 to April 18 251.82
Total to April 18, 1915 $6,597.65
Total receipts of subscriptions from August, 1907, to April, 1915.
First Convention $   5,666.44
Second Convention 14,731.51
Third Convention 10,401.59
Fourth Convention 7,292.45
Fifth Convention 14,206.42
Sixth Convention 13,503.79
Seventh Convention 6,597.65
Grand Total $72,399.85
Of the above amount $11,159.75 was from countries other than United States, as follows:
England: St. Ives, Cornwall; Springfield, Broadway; Manchester; London; Sussex, Brighton; Warwicke; Clifton, Bristol.
Ireland: Warrington, County Down.
France: Paris; Dinan, Brittany.
Germany: Berlin; Stuttgart; Esslingen; Zuffenhausen.
Italy: Sienna; Ravenna, Erba.
European Turkey: Constantinople.
Palestine: Acca; Haifa.
Russia: Baku; Ishqábád.
Persia : Teheran; Esphahan; Gangelie; Shiraz; Yahromi; Resht; Kermanshah; Sanstan; Meshed; Tiflis; Yazd; Arabelli.
India: Rangoon; Bombay; Mandalay.
Egypt: Cairo; Port Said; Alexandria.
South Africa; East Rand; Transvaal; Capetown.
New Zealand: Davenport; Auckland.
Brazil: Sao Paulo.
Canada: Montreal; Brockville; St. John’s, N. B.
Islands of the Sea: Isle of Pines; Isle of Mauretius; Hawaiian Islands.
Respectfully submitted,
Corinne True,
Financial Secretary, Bahá’í Temple Unity.
JUNE 15, 1925
By Carl Scheffler
AT the Convention called by the Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly to discuss ways and means for raising funds necessary for the construction of the first story of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, which was held in Chicago, October 19-20, 1924, the Temple Committee was instructed to draft a complete report on the status of the Temple work to be submitted to the National Spiritual Assembly for approval and to be sent to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada.
It is the purpose of this report to deal specifically only with matters that have transpired since the selection of the design of the building, but in order to refresh the memories of the friends regarding the wonderful accomplishments of the previous years, we are presenting a brief resumé of the various early stages of the work.
The inception of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in the West dates back to the spring of 1903, twenty-two years ago, at which time the corner-stone of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in ’Ishqábád, Russia had been laid and photographs of the event sent to the members of the House of Spirituality in Chicago, inspiring that body to arise for the erection of a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in America. In response to their supplication, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá granted permission for the undertaking in the following wonderful Tablet:
“I send you the glad-tidings of the erection of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár (The Bahá’í Temple) in 'Ishqabad, with all joy and great happiness. The friends of God assembled together with rejoicing and conveyed the stones themselves upon their backs, while attracted by the love of God and for the glory of God. Soon that great Temple will be completed and the voice of prayer and praise shall ascend to the Sublime Kingdom.
“I was rejoiced through your endeavors in this glorious Cause, made with joy and good interest. I pray God to aid you in exalting His word, and in establishing the Temple of Worship, through His grace and ancient mercy. Verily, ye are the first to arise for this Glorious Cause in that vast religion. Soon will ye see the spread of this enterprise in the world, and its resounding voice shall go through the ears of the people in all parts.
“Exert your energy in accomplishing what ye have undertaken, so that this glorious Temple may be built, that the beloved of God may assemble therein and that they may pray and offer glory to God for guiding them to His Kingdom.”
Since that time the work has progressed intermittently. During the first six years the members of the Assembly in Chicago strove enthusiastically so that in the spring of 1909 when the first Convention met in Chicago, having been called by the House of Spirituality for the purpose of establishing the work of the Temple on a national basis, the Chicago Assembly was able to report the acquisition of two lots at a cost of $2,000.00, and a cash fund of $3,666.44.
As before stated the purchase of two lots in the main tract had been completed by the House of Spirituality of Chicago, the deeds for which
were in due time turned over to the Bahá’í Temple Unity when it was organized just after the first Convention. The remainder of the main tract bounded by Linden Ave. on the south, Sheridan Road on the north and east, and by the property of the Sanitary District of Illinois on the west was purchased at a cost of $32,500.00. The final payment on this was made on October 1, 1912. The purchase of the lake shore tract was completed February 2, 1914. It cost $17,000.00. There also is a small triangular plot of land across Sheridan Road, north of the main tract included in these purchases.
The main tract measures on its south boundary, Linden Ave., 607.55 ft., on its west boundary where it adjoins the property of the Sanitary District of Illinois, from Linden Ave. north to a point where the line strikes a slight angle, it measures 257.80 ft.; on the same boundary another angle 135.52 ft., still another angle on this line measures 138.06 ft. The Sheridan Road line also turns slightly several times, the sections of the line beginning at the northwest measuring east and south are 129.92 ft., 219.47 ft., 166.46 ft., and 271.46 ft. The triangular section measures on Sheridan Road 141.49 ft., on the east 131.78 ft., and facing the Canal 141.49 ft. The lake shore tract on Sheridan Road measures 291.40 ft.; 3 ft. at the south end of this line are in dispute, depth at that point is 168 ft., and at the north end it is 183 ft. to the water edge.
The facts regarding the selection of the model of the Temple by the believers at the 1920 Convention are too well known to require much elucidation; it might nevertheless be well if some points regarding this are mentioned.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá directed that the believers should select the design at the 1920 Convention. A number of architects submitted designs, some in the form of drawn plans and Mr. Charles Mason Remey and Mr. Louis Bourgeois submitted plaster models. After careful deliberation and discussion, after hearing the opinion of disinterested men of standing in the architectural profession, the Bourgeois model was chosen. Mr. Remey, who had submitted the other model, made the motion that made the choice unanimous. The selection of the Convention was confirmed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in numerous Tablets. We qoute one of these written to Mrs. Corinne True, as follows:
“Thanks be unto God that this Convention was supported by the confirmations of the Kingdom of Abha. Praise be unto God that the model of Mashriqu’l-Adhkár made by Mr. Bourgeois was approved by his honor, Mr. Remey, and selected by the Convention. The model of Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is, however, too big. It needs several million dollars for the cost of construction. If possible Mr. Bourgeois may reproduce the same model on a smaller scale, so that one million dollars may suffice for its construction. This should be reconsidered only if possible.”
The design of the Bourgeois model being a new and unique conception
does in its main character depart somewhat from recognized architecural standards, chiefly in the manner in which the upper stories connect with the lower part of the building. It is usual for the main ribs of structure to ascend directly from the ground. In this design the main ribs of the upper stories and dome were shifted so that they connected midway between the main or first story buttresses, immediately above the doorways. This caused considerable adverse criticism from laymen and architects, so that the Executive
Board of Bahá’í Temple Unity ordered Mr. Bourgeois to prepare a set of drawings altering this particular feature. This work was in the nature of an experiment to assure the members of the Board in whose hands the responsibility rested, that the Bahá’ís were not making a mistake in building a structure that thus radically departed from recognized architectural standards. The result of the experiment justified Mr. Bourgeois, for it was found that the life and beauty of the original model was not in the building shown in the experimental drawing. “It became a rigid structure and lacked motion.” (Bourgeois).
The Executive Board also felt it necessary to submit the design to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and since it was obviously impossible to send the model to Haifa they directed Mr. Bourgeois to prepare drawings showing a front elevation and a cross section of the building intending that the architect himself should take these to Haifa and there receive ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s instructions regarding the building. This was done. About the middle of January, 1921, Mr. Bourgeois sailed to the Holy Land. The drawings were left with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and they now hang in the shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
It will also be noted that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the Tablet just quoted directed that if possible the size and cost of the building should be considerably reduced. To comply with this instruction the Executive Board directed Mr. Bourgeois to make experimental drawings to determine whether or not the design would lend itself as it stood to the necessary reduction. It was in the main found to be feasible, the only notable change in the building being in the number of windows on either side of the entrance doors. All of this work was done in the period intervening between the Convention, which was held in April 1920 and the first of January 1921. The size of the structure was reduced from 450 ft. in diameter to 153 ft. in diameter, and the estimated cost reduced to about $1,200,000.00. This includes a rough plaster interior, an ornamental iron rail on the balcony, but no decorations for the interior.
“My contact with the Bahá’í Temple project in Wilmette started in the fall of 1920. I met some members of the Board at that time in connection with the discussion of some municipal plans of the Village of Wilmette in their relation to the Temple project. I also conferred with Mr. McDaniel regarding the foundation plan, which he was preparing at that time, and gave some assistance to the Board in securing bids and letting the contract for the caisson foundations which supported the central portion of the building. This contract was let to Mr. Avery Brundage on the 17th day of December, 1920.
“On January 5, 1921, I entered into a contract with the Bahá’í Temple Unity to serve as its structural engineer and superintendent of construction. By this contract I undertook to prepare the structural, mechanical, electrical and sanitary engineering plans and specifications and to supervise the entire construction. This contract is still in effect. It was stipulated in the contract that I was authorized to proceed with the preparations of the plans for the foundations and basement structure and that should not prepare any plans of the superstructure until further authorized.
“It was further contemplated that it would not be necessary for me to make plans of the caisson foundations so that on this item my compensation would
be for supervision only. How-
ever, a modification of this arrangement was made soon after because it became necessary to make certain structural plans of the superstructure in order to get a building permit and in doing this work it proved necessary to revise the caisson foundation designs which had been made previously.
“Only so much additional work was done as was necessary to serve the two purposes cited.
“As stated above, a contract was let to Avery Brundage on December 17, 1920, for nine caisson foundations under the central portion of the building with the intention of proceeding immediately with this portion of the work.
“An informal application was made to the Village of Wilmette for a permit on December 21, 1920. No action was taken but on the contrary some opposition developed and it was necesary to file a formal application for permit, which was done on January 7, 1921. Permit was refused at this time because plans of the building structure were not submitted as required by ordinance. This situation made it necessary to proceed with preparation of general structural plans sufficient to comply with the ordinances of the Village.
“These plans were drawn as rapidly as possible and were filed with a formal application on March 4, 1921, and the building permit was issued on the 19th day of March. This permit covered not only the work then under contract but the construction of the entire building. Under the ordinances of the Village this permit would probably be considered as still in effect, although the Village authorities could require the taking out of a new permit on account of the long suspension of operations.
“Two contracts of considerable amount have been carried out from my plans and under my supervision, namely, with Avery Brundage for nine caissons, amounting to $76,350.00, and with McCarty Brothers for the general basement section, amounting to $108,500.00. In addition to these, there have been several miscellaneous items which are shown on your records and which, with the above aggregate a total of $187,876.35. Payments made to me amount to $8,000.00, which includes payments to apply on account of the extra work of preparing plans for permit and for caissons.
“The Brundage contract for caissons was completed early in the summer of 1921, having been quite sericusly delayed because of the large amount of water encountered in digging the wells for these foundations. These wells were approximately 120 ft. deep and extended about 90 ft below the level of the water in the lake and the drainage canal near by.
Soon after the completion of the caisson contract, plans were submitted to contractors for the basement structure. This covered the foundations other than nine caissons which were required for the outer portions of the building and the complete enclosure of the basement structure up to and including the first floor. It did not include the basement floor, the subdivision of basement space, the finishing of basement nor the installation of any of the mechanical appliances.
“A contract was made with McCarty Brothers of Chicago for this work on August 24, 1921. The starting of the work was somewhat delayed by the time required to get the necessary signatures to the contract. Also the work occupied considerable more time than was anticipated but was finally completed in the fall of 1922.
“Since the completion of the basement contract, no work of importance has been done on
the structure. As it now
stands, the structure comprises
the entire basement enclosure,
which consists of the main enclosing wall of concrete, about 200 ft. in diameter and 20 ft. high; the sloping concrete deck, which is to support the steps encircling the main structure; and the reinforced concrete deck which will be the first floor of the main structure. Within this enclosure are all of the supporting columns required for superstructure and beneath it are all of the foundations required for the entire structure.
“Some work has been done to make the interior of the basement partially usable, such as the installation of water, temporary lights, sewer connection, furnaces, floor in the central portion and other miscellaneous items. Some of this has been under my supervision.
“Some filling material has been obtained from other operations in the neighborhood without expense, but so far it amounts to only a small fraction of the total filling that is required.
“The structure in its present condition is rather unsightly and has recently been the subject of some adverse comment. This is probably a continuance of the opposition which was in evidence when the work was started. The structure has necessarily deteriorated somewhat on account of exposure in its unfinished state, but this has not developed to a serious extent and can be overcome when the general work proceeds, or sooner if need be.
“The Board authorized Mr. Bourgeois, Architect of the Bahá’í Temple to proceed with his plans in 1921. He did so and carried them to completion in 1922 to such extent as they could be completed without having the structural plans to co-ordinate with the architectural plans. Inasmuch as I was not authorized to proceed with the structural plans, I did only such work on them as was absolutely necessary to permit carrying on the architectural plans. This consisted principally in determining some of the governing dimensions and in some instances the relation of the structural members to the architectural members. The plans which were made for permit purposes were very useful for the architect in this connection.
“The architectural plans show all of the exterior treatment of the building and in large measure the interior arrangement. There are some details that could not be completed on account of the absence of the structural plans, as mentioned, and also because the exterior material had not yet been determined.
“No specifications have been written.
“The architectural plans are in such condition that the essentials are all given so that the work could be carried on by some other competent architect in case Mr. Bourgeois should be incapacitated.
“At the request of the Board I examined the architectural plans and reported substantially as above.
“Before work can proceed with the superstructure, it will be necessary first to make the structural plans for it. The plans which were made for permit purposes, having been developed from only preliminary architectural drawings, will not be serviceable. They will have to be done over and completed in very much greater detail. Then it will be necessary for a number of additional drawings to be prepared in connection with the architectural work in order to correlate the architectural, structural and mechanical elements. Also some additional work may be necessary on the architectural drawings, dependent upon the selection of exterior material. This will not effect the design of ornamentation but will affect the jointing of the masonry materials. When these outstanding questions are settled, the
Bourgeois house-studio
Mr. Bourgeois’ house-studio on the lake shore property as seen from Sheridan Road, Wilmette, Illinois. The building is about 40 feet above the water and from the rear affords a commanding view over Lake Michigan. The openings shown on the roof walls and window balustrades are to have beautifully modeled panels when completed.
Interior Bourgeois house-studio
Interior of Mr. Bourgeois’ house-studio. To the right are the living rooms below and sleeping rooms above. Mr. Bourgeois is holding several rolls of drawings made by him for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. On the floor and wall up to the ceiling is extended a full size detail drawing 92 feet in length. The large photograph to the left is taken from the modeled door section used to test materials for the structure.
specifications can be written. A large part of the specification work will fall to my lot but some of it will be architectural.
“Early in 1921, the Board appointed a materials committee, consisting of Mr. W. S. Maxwell, Mr. E. R. Boyle, Mr. A. B. McDaniel, Mr. Louis Bourgeois and Mr. H. J. Burt, Chairman, to study the questions of materials to be used in the construction of the Temple, having particular reference to the exterior material.
“A preliminary report was made on April 22, 1921, and a final report on February 18, 1922. These reports are on file with the Board. Mr. Bourgeois and myself visited St. Louis and Nashville and I visited Washington and New York, as well as a number of points at and near Chicago, gathering information regarding materials. Some samples of terra cotta and artificial stone have been exposed to the weather at the Temple site since 1922.
“There are a number of miscellaneous items in connection with the work that are worth recording:
“About the time construction was started, the Village of Wilmette was contemplating a change in the location of Sheridan Road in order to partially eliminate the dangerous curve along side of the Temple property. A shifting of the Road approximately 30 ft. westward at the maximum point was substantially agreed upon by all parties at interest but was not put into effect. The Temple building was located, however, to provide for the possible contingency of this change being made at some future date, so that when made, it would not detract from the general plan of the Temple grounds.
“It was desired that the most used entrance to the Temple should be toward Acca. In order to establish this accurately, astronomical observations were made to establish the true meridian through the center of the Temple and from this the correct position of this entrance established.
“The original model of the Temple was exhibited by special permission in the Art Institute of Chicago from March 8 to April 5, 1921, and by shifting its location the exhibition period was extended from April 5 to May 2.
“A common field stone to mark the location of the Temple building was planted at the site by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at the time of his visit to Chicago in 1912. The location of the stone has been carefully preserved so that a suitable marker can be placed at the spot in the completed structure.
“It should be borne in mind that a considerable amount of work is required to prepare plans for proceeding with the construction and that I am not at this time authorized to proceed with this work so ample notice should be given.
“I think I need say nothing regarding the desirability of proceeding with the work as soon as arrangements can be made for so doing, for I know that all connected with it, as well as the residents of the North Shore district, are anxious to see this magnificent structure carried forward to completion.
“Regarding the work done on the plans for the Temple. I would say that I have drawn a full set of plans as follows: Floor plans, basement and gallery sections; a full set of detail drawings three-quarters inch (3/4”) scale for one-ninth (1/9) part, first, second, third story and dome. Also all section and profile for one-ninth (1/9) part of the Temple from floor to top of dome, full size. Comprising altogether about thirty-six (36) rolls of drawings that vary in size from ten feet
(10’) long to one hundred and nine (109’) feet.
“For instance, one twenty-seventh (1/27) section of the dome is drawn on two rolls of paper four feet six inches (4’6”) in width by forty-five (45’) feet in length. All of this work, because of the unusual size, had to be laid out and drawn on the floor. It required a space two hundred and fifty (250’) feet long by forty (40’) feet wide.
“The full size drawings of the outer structure of this building were required because all of the design and tracery on this structure are entirely new. From these drawings the modellers under by supervision will have to make the original moulds from which the various sections of the building are cast.
“This required considerably more drawing and of exceptional difficulty because of the large size that is done on even highly ornamented buildings where more or less stock ornamentation is used.
“The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár will require much more supervision than any other building of even greater size or cost because the character of the ornamentation is entirely new and the modellers will have to be instructed constantly. The drawings clearly show full size detail of the design, but the depth and pitch of the modelling will have to be determined by me as construction proceeds.”
The original estimates given for the entire structure were as follows:
Caisson $       50,000.00
Basement 175,000.00
First Story 375,000.00
Second Story 275,000.00
To top of Dome 325,000.00
$1 ,200,000.00
Actually expended on Caisson $       76,350.00
Actually expended on Basement 108,500.00
Real Estate and Temple Building
Land (purchase price) $51,500.00
Improvements to land 5,706.76
Temple Building:
Plans for Temple8,728.10
Louis Bourgeois—On Contract36,700.00 259,189.06
Myron H. Potter
Corinne True
Financial Secretary
A. F. Matthisen
Alfred E. Lunt
Albert Windust
Respectfully submitted,
Baha'i Temple Committee.
Carl Scheffler
By Charles Mason Remey
ISHQÁBÁD, one of the chief cities of Russian Turkistán, is just north of the Elburz mountains, which separate the desert plain of western Turkistán on the north from Persia on the south. The city lies on a plain a short distance from the mountains, which here are quite rugged and rocky. The town is quite modern in aspect, being laid off with gardens and broad streets meeting at right angles. Rows of trees along the sidewalks remind one of a western city, while the low buildings, walled gardens, and waterways, which flank the streets and are fed with water coming from streams from the nearby mountains, are strikingly oriental in character.
This city was but a huddle of mud huts when Bahá’u’lláh first directed some of His followers to settle there during the days of the most severe Bahá’í persecutions in Persia.
There in ‘Ishqábád these friends found a refuge of peace and tranquility where the Russian government protected them allowing them the free exercise of their faith; thus the city became in reality as well as in name the City of Love*.
The Bahá’ís of ‘Ishqábád form a strong element in the life of the place,and they are highly thought of and protected by the government. The Bahá’í Cause was first brought to the public notice in ‘Ishqábád some thirty-five or forty years ago by a martyrdom. It was the case of a learned man of some prominence, who met his death through receiving wounds at the hands of two assassins. These two individuals had been hired to do the deed by five Moslems, who took this measure to try to stop the spread of the Cause in that city. The Russian authorities took the matter in hand and condemned to death all of the seven men. The Bahá’ís then petitioned the governor to spare their lives. He not having authority to do this, a petition to the same effect was sent to the Czar, who granted it, and thus the prisoners were sent in chains to the mines of Siberia. Here is but another instance of the growth of the Cause through persecution, for from that time on the government not only allowed the Bahá’ís to worship as they chose, but it protected them and showed them special favors.
During all of the governmental changes in Russia the Bahá’ís have continued in safety there since it is understood that they are obedient servants of the government and harbor no sedition against the law of the land.
At about the close of the first decade of the Ministry of the Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, some of the friends in the Orient arose fired with spiritual fervor to build the first great Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. Following the guidance of the center of the Covenant, ‘Ishqábád was the place chosen for this service, and to direct this vast undertaking Hájí Mírzá Muhammad Taqí Afnán one of the most tried and venerable of the friends of the Cause was chosen by the Master.
The Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself established the style and the general lines upon which the Temple was built—namely, that it should be built upon the plan of a regular nine sided polygon surrounded by loggias and in the midst of a garden at the intersection of
nine avenues, with its principal
entrance facing the Direction of
the Holy Land—the composi-
* ‘Ishqábád means City of Love.
tion of the building being similar to that of some of the great temples of Persia and India.
The services of an engineer and architect were secured, and the Bahá’ís throughout the Orient arose with fervor to give of their means toward the building and within a very few years the building was completed.
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár stands in the heart of the city; its high dome standing out above the trees and house tops being visible for miles to the travelers as they approach the town. It is in the centre of a garden bounded by four streets. In the four corners of this enclosure are four buildings. One is the Bahá’í school; one is the traveler’s house, where pilgrims and wayfarers are lodged; one is for the keepers, while the fourth one is to be used as a hospital. Nine radial avenues approach the Temple from the several parts of the grounds, one of which, the principal approach to the building, leads from the main gateway of the grounds to the principal portal of the Temple.
In plan the building is composed of three sections; namely, the central rotunda, the aisle or ambulatory which surrounds it, and the loggia which surrounds the entire building. It is built on the plan of a regular polygon of nine sides. One side is occupied by the monumental main entrance, flanked by minarets—a high arched portico extending two stories in height recalling in arrangement the architecture of the world famous Taj Mahal at Agra in India, the delight of the world to travelers many of whom pronounce it to be the most beautiful temple in the world. Thus the principal doorway opens toward the direction of the Holy Land. The entire building is surrounded by two series of loggias—one upper and one lower—which open out upon the garden giving a very beautiful architectural effect in harmony with the luxuriant semi-tropical vegetation which fills the garden.
The principal feature of the interior is the rotunda beneath the dome, which latter is the dominant feature of the exterior. On the main floor the principal entrance is through the large doorway, but there are also several minor doors, which connect the ambulatory with the loggia. An abundance of light is admitted through the windows in the upper portion of the rotunda, as well as through the windows of the upper gallery and ambulatory, which open upon the loggias.
The interior walls of the rotunda are treated in five distinct stories. First, a series of nine arches and piers which separate the rotunda from the ambulatory. Second, a similar treatment with balustrades which separate the triforium gallery (which is above the ambulatory and is reached by two staircases in the loggias placed one on either side of the main entrance) from the well of the rotunda. Third, a series of nine blank arches filled with fretwork, between which are escutcheons bearing the Greatest Name. Fourth, a series of nine large arched windows. Fifth, a series of eighteen bull’s eye windows. Above and resting on a cornice surmounting this last story rises the inner hemispherical shell of the dome.
The interior is elaborately decorated in plaster relief work. The writer is under the impression that eventually it is the intention to treat the interior in colors and gold, but when he visited ‘Ishqábád in 1901 it was still in the simple white stucco. The exterior is also done in stucco, which in that climate resists quite well the action of the elements. The walls, which are of brick, are massively built, while the floors and dome are of concrete and iron. The whole structure impresses one by its mass and strength.
The rearing of this temple in the east has been a great source of strength to the Bahá’í people the world round for through thus expressing their unity through sacrificing to build this temple of God, the Bahá’ís of the Orient have become stronger and more united than ever before. Who can estimate the effect that is produced by this building? It is the cause of great strength and unity among the Bahá’ís of the world, being the House of Unity open to all peoples, it is a haven of rest to many a soul and a beacon to guide those who seek the Kingdom of God.
By Alaine Locke
WHETHER Bahá’í or non-Bahá’í, Haifa makes pilgrims of all who visit her. The place itself makes mystics of us all,—for it shuts out the world of materiality with its own characteristic atmosphere and one instantly feels one‘s self in a simple and restful cloistral calm. But it is not the characteristic calm of the monastic cloister,—it is not so much a shutting out of the world as an opening up of new vistas,—I cannot describe it except to say that its influence lacks the mustiness of ascetism, and blends the joy and naturalness of a nature-cult with the ethical seriousness and purpose of a spiritual religion.
Every thing seems to share the custody of the message—the place itself is a physical revelation. I shall never forget my first view of it from the terraces of the shrine. Mount Carmel, already casting shadows, was like a dark green curtain behind us and opposite was a gorgeous crescent of hills so glowing with color,—gold, sapphire, amethyst as the sunset colors changed,—and in between the mottled emerald of the sea, and the gray-toned house-roofs of Haifa. Almost immediately opposite and picking up the sun‘s reflection like polished metal were the ramparts of Akká, transformed for a few moments from its shabby decay into a citadel of light and beauty. Most shrines concentrate the view upon themselves,—this one turns itself into a panorama of inspiring loveliness. It is a fine symbol for a faith that wishes to reconcile the supernatural with the natural, beauty and joy with morality. It is an ideal place for the reconciliation of things that have been artificially and wrongfully put asunder.
The shrine chambers of the Báb and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá are both impressive, but in a unique and almost modern way: richly carpeted, but with austerely undecorated walls and ceilings, and flooded with light, the ante-chambers are simply the means of taking away the melancholy and gruesomeness of death and substituting for them the thought of memory, responsibility and reverence. Through the curtained doorways, the tomb chambers brilliantly lighted create an illusion which defeats even the realization that one is in the presence of a sepulchre. Here without mysticism and supernaturalness, there is dramatically evoked that lesson of the Easter visitation of the tomb, the fine meaning of which Christianity has in such large measure forgotten,—“He is not here, He is risen.” That is to say, one is strangely convinced that the death of the greatest teachers is the release of their spirit in the world, and the responsible legacy of their example
Terraces Mt Carmel
The terraced descent from the Tomb of the Báb and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá down Mt. Carmel to the sea.
bequeathed to posterity. Moral ideas find their immortality through the death of their founders.
It was a privilege to see and experience these things. But it was still more of a priviledge to stand there with the Guardian of the Cause, and to feel that, accessible and inspiring as it was to all who can come and will come, there was available there for him a constant source of inspiration and vision from which to draw in the accomplishment of his heavy burdens and responsibilities. That thought of communion with ideas and ideals without the mediation of symbols seemed to me the most reassuring and novel feature. For after all the only enlightened symbol of a religious or moral principle is the figure of a personality endowed to perfection with its qualities and necessary attributes. Earnestly renewing this inheritance seemed the constant concern of this gifted personality, and the quiet but insistent lesson of his temperament.
Refreshingly human after this intense experience, was the relaxation of our walk and talk in the gardens. Here the evidences of love, devotion and service were as concrete and as practical and as human as inside the shrines they had been mystical and abstract and super-human. Shogi Effendi is a master of detail as well as of principle, of executive foresight as well as of projective vision. But I have never heard details so redeemed of their natural triviality as when talking to him of the plans for the beautifying and laying out of the terraces and gardens. They were important because they all were meant to dramatize the emotion of the place and quicken the soul even through the senses. It was night in the quick twilight of the east before we had finished the details of inspecting the gardens, and then by the lantern light, the faithful gardener showed us to the austere retreat of the great Expounder of the teaching. It taught me with what purely simple and meager elements a master workman works. It is after all in himself that he finds his message and it is himself that he gives with it to the world.
The household is an industrious beehive of the great work: splendid division of labor but with all-pervading unity of heart. Never have I seen the necessary subordinations of organized service so full of a sense of dignity and essential equality as here. I thought that in the spirit of such devoted co-operation and cheerful self-subordination there was the potential solution of those great problems of class and caste which today so affect society. Labor is dignified through the consciousness of its place and worth to the social scheme, and no Bahá’í worker, however humble, seems unconscious of the dignity and meaning of the whole plan.
Then there was the visit to the Bahji, the garden spot of the Faith itself and to ’Akká, now a triumphant prison-shell that to me gave quite the impression one gets from the burst cocoon of the butterfly. Vivid as the realization of cruelty and hardships might be, there was always the triumphant realIzation here that opposite on the heights of Carmel was enshrined the victory that had survived and conquered and now was irrepressible. The Bahji was truly oriental, as characteristically so as Mt. Carmel had been cosmopolitan. Here was the eastern vision, full of its mysticism, its poetry, its spirituality. Not only was sombreness lacking, but even seriousnes seemed converted into poetry. Surely the cure for the ills of western materialism is here, waiting some more psychological moment for its spread,—for its destined mission of uniting in a common mood western and oriental minds.
There is a new light in the world: there must needs come a new day.
By Inez Cook
IN the heart of the jungle, some forty or fifty miles from Rangoon, lies a little Burmese village—Kunjangun. Of so little importance is it to natives and Europeans alike that no one seems to have heard of it, and yet one feels confident to say that this small corner of Burma holds so dynamic a force that before long it must make itself felt at a great distance.
This dynamo of spirit is created by eight hundred Bahá’ís living and working as a unit—a thing thrilling to the heart and imagination. Picture this, if you can, in a country so steeped in the religious superstitions of the past, and whose people in this quarter still remain so primitive that it would appear almost futile to even carry the great Bahá’í Message of this age to them. To see this is to behold a miracle—for has not ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called it His village?
Seventeen years ago the first seed was planted by Jinabi Syed Mustafa Roumie that selfless servant of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who has seen this wonderful work grow through submitting himself entirely to the Master and reflecting His love to these people.
It is worth while to repeat the story as it was heard, of how the first step was taken, for it shows that if the desire be strong enough to serve the Cause—in no matter how small a degree—we can make no estimate of its ultimate goal.
One day in the streets of Rangoon a man from the jungle was seen running breathlessly along, looking utterly desperate and at the point of exhaustion. A Bahá’í happened to be passing at this moment and was attentive at once to this poor man’s condition. Asking if he might help, and to hear something of the cause of his distress, he was told that the man was in search of a legal adviser and had come in a great hurry to the city—only to find himself at an utter loss.
The jungle-man had been accused of a criminal offense by his sister-in-law, in a passion of jealousy, and shortly afterward convicted by the magistrate, who had received a bribe of two hundred rupees from the sister-in-law. The Bahá’í said that he would lead the man to one who would advise him (Syed Mustafa) and help in any way possible.
On hearing the story Syed Mustafa said that he knew this magistrate and they would return together at once to the jungle. By chance on the riverboat they met the magistrate, who was indebted to Syed Mustafa for past favors, and when asked why he had convicted this man he said: “But the courts are at your disposal, do with them as you will.” Syed Mustafa assured him that only justice was desired and that he himself would plead this man’s case at another trial. This was done and the accused one freed.
After that several families of Kunjangun came to the city at various times, and were always entertained by Syed Mustafa. For two years he was at this service, never during this time mentioning the Cause. Finally they asked why he took so much trouble for them, saying that they had never met anyone like this before. Then he told them that he was a Bahá’í, and they asked to be taught, so that they might become as he was.
There were ten to be taught at first—and these ten instructed others, and so on. Syed Mustafa visited them regularly and helped with all their affairs. A school was started,
then a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, and later ground was given them for community cultivation—the proceeds to be used for the Cause. There are sixty-five acres in all and last year the rice sold from this netted almost one hundred pounds sterling.
We had a great desire to see this Bahá’í village and decided to make the trip, in spite of all the discouragement we received from the English residents of Rangoon. They told us of all the hardships of the trip, which must be made in one day, and assured us that we probably would not return from the jungle alive and they knew nothing of the Bahá’ís and thought we were a lot of quite mad Americans bent on sight-seeing.
Syed Mustafa sent a man to Kunjangun a day ahead of us bearing food, cooking utensils, etc., as these friends are unprepared for visitors or to do our sort of cooking.
We were up before daybreak and on the river by sunrise. The life of the East begins early, so already the little ferry was crowded with natives taking the river journey. They made a picturesque group—squatting amongst their gaily colored robes that rival the sunrise in crimson and blues.
In our tiny, first-class compartment there were already two men, a Burman and an American missionary who had been in the East twenty-one years. Syed Mustafa lost no time in giving them the Bahá’í Message, and we wondered how he had contained himself for two years when getting to know and understand the people of Kunjangun!
Mr. Jones, the missionary, was to meet a co-worker at our stop, Twante, and then proceed to another village by the same boat. But we think ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had this trip in hand, and other thing’s had been planned for this day.
When we landed, the second missionary (Mr. Spear) rushed on board and told Mr. Jones that plans had changed and they were both to go to Kunjangun. We had met Mr. Spear in one of the shops a few days before, and when he saw us in this out-of-the-way place his amazement was ridiculous. “What,” he said, “are you American ladies doing in this jungle place—it is too curious!”
We asked them to follow in their car and have luncheon with us and see our eight hundred Bahá’ís—a still more unexpected sight.
We were met in a Ford car by two of the friends and driven to the village—twenty-six miles away. What a marvelous sight to see all our Bahá’í sisters and brothers awaiting us, dressed in holiday attire of most colorful materials. Lined up on both sides of the road as we approached, their joyous welcome of “Allah-o-Abha” rang forth. Such shining faces and eager curiosity combined would be difficult to picture.
There were four in our party, and before this the only Western Bahá’í they had ever seen was Mrs. Schopflocher. Everyone seemed anxious to be of some service to us, the only one for the moment being to reach for our wraps and parasols. They led us to the school-house (of course, this was a holiday for the one hundred and fourteen children who attended), and grouped themselves about us on the floor—the men and old Bahá’ís taking precedence in front and the women and children in the rear. Then they sang Bahá’í hymns to welcome us—taught them in Persian by Syed Mustafa. The rafters rang with the pure joy afloat; and where the chorus was caught up by all the men one could almost see the volume of sound floating through the open doors, on through the sun-baked air to the nearby houses—just as one sees heat vibrations. Or was it just the tumult of my heart, and the mist in
my eyes, that made the air seem vibrant?
Mr. Jones and his friend arrived in time for luncheon and seemed astonished to find things just as we had pictured them. They could not believe until they saw it themselves that this work had been accomplished right in their territory—where years of effort had brought them so little reward by comparison. They appeared to be as interested in taking snapshots of the group as we did, but for what purpose they did not say.
mean to the villagers, who have had heretofore bullock carts as their only means of transportation.
Then we made our farewells and left, with regret, for the long trip home. It had been made possible to remain this long only by the generous loan of a private steam launch by one of the Bahá’ís of Rangoon, as the last ferry left Twante long before our arrival there.
Mingled with our joy of this day was an undercurrent of sadness which came as we talked to Syed Mustafa
Kunjangun Bahá’ís
Kunjangun (India) Bahá’ís gathered to meet the American Bahá’í visitors.
However, they left with promises to come again and give talks to our friends, which will be most useful, as the Bahá’ís are diligently studying the Bible.
After luncheon we were shown the village proper—which boasts a court, jail and hospital. Most astonishing of all in this progressive community, they have now a jitney service of Ford cars between Kunjangun and Twante, twenty-six miles distant. One cannot imagine what this must
on the homeward trip. To quote his words as nearly as possible will give the best idea: “I am an old man now and who will carry on my work? Any day I may be called and who will educate these beautiful children? It breaks my heart to come and see them and to be able to do so little—we need teachers and money to help them now. When you leave don't forget my people of Kunjangun.”
And who having seen Kunjangun could forget it!
By Mariam Haney
“In the future, God willing, Green Acre shall become a great center, the cause of the unity of the world of humanity, the cause of uniting hearts, the cause of binding together the East and the West.”
“Should Green Acre follow firmly in this path and continue the annual holding of its impartial, universal Conferences,—there is no doubt that that region will become illumined with the light of unity.”—‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
GREEN ACRE, “beautiful for situation,” has been the subject of many a talk, a lecture, an article, in the past few years, and therefore Bahá’ís the world over are more or less familiar with its history. “Lest we forget,” however, the links in the story connecting it with the present day activities let us record once again those stirring events which have been the harbingers of the New Day and which very clearly foreshadowed that Hour of Unity for which so many hearts yearned.
Green Acre is situated in Eliot, Maine, and incidentally, it has put the otherwise obscure and almost unheard of little town on the map of the world. It seems truly a place ever green, as the name implies. The fields stretch out from the main-traveled road to the river like a soft green carpet, with only the one road running through it from the now famous Teahouse at the entrance, to the Green Acre Inn situated on a knoll overlooking the Piscataqua river (almost lovingly and quite correctly termed “The River of Light”).
Briefly then, Green Acre was founded by Miss Sarah J. Farmer of Eliot, Maine, who, after attending the Congress of Religions at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, conceived the idea of establishing a Summer School on the property afterwards named Green Acre, and started almost immediately to set the wheels in motion for the organization of such a school, the object of which should be to provide a universal platform for the comparative study of the different religious systems, the various speakers to expound their views in a spirit of tolerance toward all.
Miss Farmer was successful beyond her fondest hopes, and the Green Acre yearly conferences became widely known, and attracted to this unusual gathering place religionists, scholars and others famous in the world of religion, arts and letters. Among them was the poet John Greenleaf Whittier who, upon one of his visits, said: “We have heard of ‘God’s Acres,’ but I call this Green Acre,” and thereafter Miss Farmer used this name.
Thus began the “Search for Truth” in Green Acre; and from year to year thereafter the programs changed to coincide with the onward march of events until it was clear and evident that what the people wanted and needed was to find the Solvent which should unite all in one Brotherhood.
Miss Farmer, in the course of a few years, became a Bahá’í and realized fully that in the Bahá’í Teachings could be found the great Force and Power which would unite the people of the world and make of them one family regardless of race, creed or color.
In those early pioneering days one of the events which is enormously outstanding is the period when Mirza Abul Fazl, the distinguished Persian Bahá’í teacher visited Green Acre,
and gave the teachings of God with such force and clarity to many a weary traveler on the path. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has designated him as the greatest religious teacher of his time, and those who realized his station and capacity felt that it was a privilege to be taught by him. He loved all, and served all alike. What a bounty he was! And how he enjoyed walking to the pines, there to give his illumined talks to the eager groups who gathered around him! Thereafter the pines became known as the “Persian Pines,” and though it was in the summer of 1904 that our revered teacher visited Green Acre, yet those radiant services of his are ever fresh and fair in the memory. His season at Green Acre was one of particular charm and spiritual growth. Blessed Mirza Abul Fazl! The writers of the future ages will record the real story in detail of his sanctified life of severance and service!
But nothing of course can be compared to the season of 1912 when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá himself visited Green Acre for one week. “Blessed is the ground which has been pressed by his feet.” From that time Green Acre has been considered by some as holy ground, not in the fanatical sense, but because the Light of spirituality burned brightly there, because the Light of the World shed a radiance beyond the description of any words, and because the hearts of all who contacted with this Divine Servant of God were quickened with such happiness and love of the Kingdom, and were so spiritually confirmed that they were ready to give up all in service to humanity. He was the Divine Exemplar who was himself treading the path of servitude and holiness, and being Perfect he could direct others to the Perfect Way. He summoned all to devote their time to the spirtual reality of religion, and said: “In Green Acre you must concentrate your forces around the one all-important fact, the investigation of reality. Expend all your efforts on this, that the union of opinions and expressions may be obtained."
From that time down through these succeding years, many an advanced soul has at times scaled the spiritual heights in contemplation of the precious hours spent with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Green Acre; they have seen once again his majestic figure, and heard his peerless voice ringing out the Words of God, teaching the children of men how to attain spiritual maturity, how to live the sanctified life.
The old order passed, and the foundation of the new life became apparent to all. Thereafter the Green Acre conferences were to revolve around teaching the reality of the Word of God.
About the year 1912 Miss Farmer became too ill to serve as the head and moving spirit of Green Acre, and soon thereafter it passed into the possession and under the control of the Green Acre Fellowship, with Mr. and Mrs. Wm. H. Randall of Boston contributing largely of their resources in every way to furthering the great plan of this beautiful center, and they built wisely and well around the Principle of the Investigation of Reality.
This period covering some ten or twelve years, has often passed through severe storms and stress, after which would come invariably the “clearing.” The “Gales of the Infinite” dissipated the debris of man’s ideas as the winds gather up and scatter far and wide the sands of the roads. No one save the Lord himself is able to measure the mighty works that have been wrought during these years. Many and varied are the stories that could be written of the
beauty of service at Green Acre; of the many hundreds who have found themselves at this Center, made holy by the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and his divine spirit, and who have listened to the message of Life with ears attuned to celestial anthems, thereafter returning to their homes alive and keen to continue on the path which leads to the Goal of all our hopes. When these stories are gathered some day and compiled, they will make a book of such interesting spiritual experiences as will charm and truly enlighten those who read it. The readers will likewise be inspired “to investigate reality.”
Another summer seems particularly outstanding as we recall the many beautiful summers through which we have journeyed to this time, namely the season of 1916, when two important events took place. One the dedication of Fellowship House, the gift to Green Acre of Mrs. Helen Ellis Cole of New York, a Bahá’í, a devoted friend and sister to Miss Farmer, and a loyal supporter of the beautiful life and spirit of Green Acre. And, secondly, Miss Farmer returned after her years of separation because of illness. Her heart was overflowing with gratitude to her Bahá’í brothers and sisters “who have raised Green Acre to this pinnacle of spiritual unity and peace. She had lived to see her early dream realized, to see many nations and sects, races and religions joined together under the Flag of Peace.” Soon thereafter she passed into the life eternal and radiant.
Another important season was the summer of 1920, when Jenabi-Fadil, a renowned Persian Bahá’í teacher who had been sent to this country by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, taught at Green Acre. He brought a fresh impetus to the Conferences, and during his stay there was a very marked spiritual advancement. He again served at Green Acre in the succeeding years.
The summer of 1921 is also notable, for the Teahouse and Gift shop were opened for the first time. This addition to the life and activities of the place was planned and arranged by Mrs. Ruth Randall, who for the past four years has successfully managed this attractive branch of the work and likewise beautified the surrounding grounds, making the entrance to Green Acre most inviting.
Gradually from that time to the present the growth has been toward the fulfillment of the prophetic utterances of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in regard to the future of Green Acre, one of which carries with it a special significance and is here quoted:
“Thy desire to serve Green Acre is in reality a very important matter. This name (Green Acre) must appear with all its significant meaning, that is, Green Acre must become the reflection of the plain of Acca (spelled Akká in the new transliteration), and attain to the utmost verdancy, greenness and artistic beauty. Its charms and wonder lie in this,—that it may become the center of the Bahá’ís and the cry of Ya-Bahá’u’l-Abbá (0 thou the Glory of the Most Glorious!) be raised from all its direction.”
The season of 1924 then is another particularly outstanding one in the growth and life of Green Acre. At the annual Fellowship meeting in August of that year the friends gathered together were realizing more than ever the meaning and deep significance of the law of co-operation and co-ordination and envisioned the Greater Green Acre to be brought into the realm of visibility. At this meeting Dr. M. A. Cohn of Brooklyn, N. Y., thrilled the friends with his suggestion that the Annual Bahá’í Convention and Congress be held in Green Acre 1925. He said in part:
“I suggest that we call a great congress in Green Acre for the summer
Fellowship House, Green Acre
Fellowship House, Green Acre, Maine.
Tea House, Green Acre
Tea House, Green Acre, Maine.
of 1925, inviting all the Bahá’ís of this country and Canada to meet with us on this beautiful and consecrated ground. This Congress of 1925 if carried forward in unity, harmony and love will stand out as a Beacon Light in the annals of the Bahá’í Cause in this country in general, and of Green Acre in particular.”
But that which furnished the dynamic for action was the instruction of Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá’í Cause which was received in 1924 and contained these stirring words:
“I was delighted to hear of the progressive activities of that dearly beloved spot, Green Acre, upon which the Master has bestowed His tender care and loving kindness, and of which we are all hopeful that it may become, whilst the work of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is in progress, the Focal Center of the devotional, humanitarian, social and spiritual activities of the Cause.”
Thus it was that the friends voted to hold the Bahá’í Convention and Congress of 1925 in Green Acre the first week in July, providing this action received the approval of Shoghi Effendi. All who have read the preceding numbers of the Star of the West know that this sanction was received in due time, and that the Convention and Congress held this year brought many new faces to Green Acre, and it already stands out as a “beacon light” in the path of progress.
Now once again we have just had another Annual Fellowship meeting held at the Green Acre Inn on August 10th.
Mr. Wm. H. Randall, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Green Acre, in his opening address, spoke with deep feeling, with sincerity, with love and with a tenderness which touched all hearts. Among other things he said:
“All of life seems to follow definite stages: the infant period, that of adolescence, and again the period of maturity. Miss Farmer was the great loving mother who brought into being a child—Green Acre—and with love and tender care she carried it forward, rearing the foundation for the future work. When she was unable to continue, the care of Green Acre passed into the hands of the Fellowship and a number of Trustees, and for some ten or twelve years the affairs of Green Acre have been conducted along this line, until now it has come to another stage of its growth, it has come to its maturity. . . . Green Acre has survived and grown through its spirit of unity and and service, and through its spirit of love. . . . I think now that Green Acre is approaching another period of its growth; it must be apparent to all that new life is coming to this center and is bringing to it a vision of new resources and of great growth. Therefore we should be ready to take this next step forward in the life of Green Acre. . . . We grow by uniting ourselvs to the larger needs. Man progresses from one level of consciousness to another, and as growth toward the higher consciousness comes, he sees the higher world, and that this vision unfolds before him the plan of God. And so Green Acre must pass, in spirit anyway, from a center in itself to a greater center, and go forward in the unity of its own greater work. I feel therefore that we are going to have a marvelous meeting, that we have gathered here with nothing but unity in our minds, and the desire and purpose of our heart is to unite the past with the interests of the larger and greater Green Acre, that in time to come we may be so proud to be members of this Fellowship that it will be our summer happiness to unite here each year, contributing
Peace Flag, Green Acre
Groups around the Peace Flag at Green Acre showing Mr. Randall with hat
in hand and Mr. Schopflocher in the foreground directly back of the small boy.
grassy slope, Green Acre
Part of the “grassy slope” and the river flowing to the sea.
our part toward the success of this beautiful spiritual center with its manifold activities to be developed year by year, its life of agriculture, its educational system, its means of recreation and happiness, indeed we know the ideals of Green Acre revolve around the whole world of humanity for it is an expression of the Word of God. I welcome you all with the greatest happiness, and I am so glad to see some of the faces of the dear old friends of the days of Miss Farmer who worked so hard for Green Acre,—to see them again sitting in this body uniting with us, and now confident that the inner life of Green Acre has been assured.”
Mr. Siegfried Schopflocher spoke in behalf of the Trustees and gave a brief resume of the work which has been accomplished. He gave the following heartfelt testimony: “What has been done is only due to the co-operation of the members of this Fellowship without which the Board of Trustees cannot do anything. It is the spirit of co-operation and co-ordination which has brought about the material and physical improvements in the last few years,—an expression also of my gratitude toward Green Acre, for here I have experienced real and loving friendships which I have never known before, and I tried to put into the work the spirit of love and service. There is no greater mysticism to be experienced I think than that which a man or woman finds for the first time when they really contact that true spirit of loving service which is selfless and ideal and promoted by the heart which has been touched with the love of God; only for the sake of God do they serve and for the advancement of His Cause; and this is my debt to Green Acre. When I first came here I was presented with a little booklet which told of the ideals of this center, and I said: Is it possible? I thought to myself it is not possible for such a place to exist! But I looked around and discovered it was not only possible, but it was almost finished, almost accomplished in truth and in fact. . . . The great joy is in serving, is in accomplishing, and today it is in giving a helping hand to Green Acre. I became acquainted with this universal platform, but I did not know at first exactly what a universal platform meant. So I referred to our dear friend. I thoroughly appreciated the closer touch and learned more about the great Truths which were stirring this group of people into action, and I came to the conclusion that it was not the outer Green Acre, even with its beautiful setting and surroundings, but that it was the deep meaning of Green Acre, its ideals, its universal platform, its deep spiritual significance, its standards of unity and human solidarity that I loved so much and which I have tried to follow, which many succeed in following, and all of us will succeed in this endeavor through co-operation and selfless service, and it will be our privilege to lift up others, and see that they also enjoy this happiness and the loving friendships. There is the mysticism of Green Acre, and there is the true mysticism. There is the demonstration of the spirit of love in action. It was this Bahá’í spirit which attracted me. . . There is to come before you a resolution which the Board of Trustees has prepared in absolute unity with the greatest consideration realizing its importance. With the adoption of such a resolution, we will be able surely to have the support of all the Green Acre people of the world, and which will bring all of us definitely into relation with Green Acre.”
Miss Roushan Wilkinson, Secretary of the Fellowship, read a comprehensive annual report, clearly setting
forth the proceedings of the last Fellowship meeting and bringing fresh to the minds the activities of the year.
Mr. Mountfort Mills, Dr. M. A. Cohn, Mr. Stanwood Cobb and others spoke feelingly of the services of all those who had contributed such a vital part of the work and of the possibilities and future plans for the Green Acre activities.
The resolution referred to by Mr. Schopflocher provided that Green Acre should be definitely correlated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the U. S. and Canada, and that it should come directly under its control and supervision as soon as all technical points in connection therewith could be adjusted. The resolution was joyously accepted by a large majority and it was adopted unanimously.
Thus the future of Green Acre is gloriously assured; some of the most stirring prophecies of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have been fulfilled; and with the hoisting once again of the beautiful white Peace Flag on the Green Acre grounds amid the united prayers and songs of the assembled friends, there passed into history one of the most deeply significant and most glorious meetings in the whole life of Green Acre, for the decisions arrived at signify the expansion of Green Acre eventually into a beautiful “City of God”—for such it will be when every activity is for the sake of God, and every man, woman and child is listening with the ear of the spirit to the inner voice which calls to prayer, to unity to “living the life” of a real Brotherhood,—a life which functions in and for God, and which can be led by the spirit because filled with the spirit.
MARCH 20-22, 1925
By Prof. J. V. Breitwieser
CIVILIZATION emerged from its cradle somewhere in Asia and started on its march following the sun around the world. It gathered its arts, religions, wars and languages as it journeyed into Northern Africa and Southern Europe. It built cities, organized states and went on in its cycles of failure and success. Northern Europe and the British Isles soon became the abode of a culture. The final episode of this encircling movement was the colonization of the American continents. Now the great western outpost of this moving civilization is at the Golden Gate of California. Across the Pacific we again meet some of the oldest organized social groups. The elder brothers, Mongol, Malay and Aryan Sr., along with their numerous friends and relatives, are somewhat disturbed at the remarkable activity, egotism and blustering of the young runaway Aryan Nordic, Jr., yet they are willing to listen to his story of adventure. They have heard rumors to the effect that he has been very quarrelsome with his cousin Slav. He seems to be somewhat erratic like an adolescent youth. At times he is highly idealistic, sometimes cruel, often selfish, yet at times showing signs of great generosity.
The great meeting place of the civilizations of the world is on the shores of the Pacific. This thought has been in the minds of the social students who have been observing the meeting of the Orient and the Occident. Early in April the idea of making San Francisco the center for a conference that should be organized for the purpose of promoting a better inter-racial, inter-religious and international understanding and co-operation was conceived. Through the untiring efforts and irresistible enthusiasm of Mrs. Charles Miner Cooper these ideas began to crystalize into a very definite plan. A brief survey revealed the fact that many prominent workers in the field of international relations could be found in this region and that there was a wealth of material that should be made available to the public. Mrs. Cooper, in her spirit of service, generously contributed time and money to bring this conference into existence. She invited an interested group to meet with her, and out of this meeting a committee on arrangements was organized, consisting of the following members: Dr. Rudolph I. Coffee, chairman; Professor Kenneth Saunders, Professor J. V. Breitwieser, Mrs. Kathryn Frankland, Mrs. Ella Goodall Cooper and Mr. Leroy C. Ioas, secretary.
As the result of the work of the committee, a “Conference for World Unity” was organized and an interesting program was given before large and enthusiastic audiences.
The first address, by Professor Kenneth Saunders, dealt with India’s contribution to World Peace. Professor Saunders has been an intense student of the influence of Oriental thought and philosophy on the civilization of the world, and in a very scholarly manner presented the ideals of peace, contentment and non-resistance as they are taught by the Hindoo writers and philosophers.
Dr. Ng Poon Chew, the genial editor
of Sai Yat Po, pointed out
that the old China had been a peaceful nation “that was wont to sit in isolation musing:
“Far from the maddening crowd’s ignoble strife,
Her sober wishes never learned to stray.
Along the cool sequestered vale of life,
She kept the even tenor of her way.”
But a new China is coming, a new China is in the making, a new China with new life, new spirit, and new blood. A new China with new ambition, with new inspiration and with new aspiration; a new China with new ideas, new ideals, and new conception of world relations; a new China awakened to the consciousness of her potential power of her four hundred fifty million living souls; a new China jealous of her rights, smarting under the consciousness of wrong inflicted upon her by the powers in the past.”
He pointed out that if China is to be made the pawn of European greed and agression, she may become the fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of war.
“On the other hand, if the nations of the world will change their policy in their treatment of China, and adopt justice and equity in place of might and greed, the result will be peace and amity and good-will among the nations for ages to come.”
Some of the gifts western civilization has brought to China are standing armies and national debts, unknown to Chinese people before 1842.
The audience was thrilled at its good fortune in seeing and hearing the honorary-chairman of the meeting, Dr. David Starr Jordan, who presented in person the Essentials of his Peace Plan. In the words of the resolution adopted by the Senate and Assembly of the State of California, Dr. Jordan’s contributions to world unity can be described as follows:
“Whereas, Through the generosity of Mr. Raphael Herman, a prize of $25,000.00 was offered, under the auspices of the World Federation of Education Associations, for the best plan to accomplish this purpose; and
“Whereas, From over 6,000 plans submitted the prize was awarded to a Californian, Dr. David Starr Jordan, Chancellor Emeritus of Stanford University; and
“Whereas, The citizens of Santa Clara County, the home of Dr. Jordan, have arranged to give him a public reception on Tuesday, April 14, at San Jose, in recognition of his constructive services in the cause of world peace; therefore be it
Resolved, By the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly concurring, that we extend felicitations to Dr. Jordan on this significant occasion.
“We join in honoring Dr. Jordan—the Man—the California Citizen—the World Citizen.
“As a man he has come to be universally recognized as possessing those qualitites of heart and mind that we regard as the ideal of American character.
“As a citizen of California his years of labor in his own chosen profession and in the advancement of the state’s welfare, have placed the young men and women of California, and the entire state, under obligation that can never be fully voiced.
“As a world citizen, his broad vision and his humanitarian impulse have induced him to devote years of study to this greatest of international problems—the riddance of this mighty scourge of war, and the eventual achievement of international amity and good-will.”
On the second evening of the meeting Dr. Aurelia Henry Reinhardt, President of Mills College, pointed out how most of the differences of mankind are due to ignorance and
misunderstanding. She urged a broader, deeper study of humanity for the sake of a broader and more permanent happiness.
Dr. W. J. J. Byers, who represented the negro race in the conference, spoke of the numerous attitudes and situations in society which have caused hardship and misery to his people. He proclaimed a faith in the capacity of the negro race to carry its share of the burdens of humanity, and the willingness of the negro people to render their share of service.
The closing address, by the Honorable Clinton N. Howard, was a plea for the realization of the peaceful elements in Christ’s teaching. He pointed out how warlike elements had been injected into many of our songs, sermons and rituals. He called for the introduction of peaceful elements.
The climax of the meetings was probably reached in the addresses of the Honorable Torao Kawasaki and Jinab-i-Fadil on the third evening, the former speaking on Japan’s Contribution to World Peace and the latter on the Conquest of Prejudice.
The address by the able representative of the Japanese people made such a profound impression on the audience that the speaker has been kept busy repeating the address to many clubs in the San Francisco Bay region. He presented the stand of Japan in all of the conferences for world peace. He assured the audience that his country is ready to co-operate with all of the other great nations in coming to an understanding by peaceful methods in the settling of all disputed questions. He pointed out that Japan had already gone through her text books and reorganized them so as to teach their children the ways of peace. He deplored the work of jingoists and false prophets who would develop hatred and strife.
Then came the scholarly and gentle Jinab-i-Fadil, so well qualified to unify the ideas presented in all the addresses. His deep sympathy with and knowledge of all humanity was soon recognized by all who were present. In simple, clear language he pointed the way to real peace, to final unity. This address was a fitting unification of the thoughts that had been gathered together in the conference for world unity.
The closing address of the conference was given by Dr. Rudolph I. Coffee, who traced the ideas and ideals of peace through the prophecies of Old Testament times, the writings of the philosophers and the social consciousness of the present time. He subsequently expressed the hope that conferences of this kind may be held every year and that an organization will be maintained looking forward to definite objectives and plans for the next meeting.
Musical numbers added to the beauty of the program and the pleasure of the auditors. They were all artistically rendered and enthusiastically received.
When the era of peace on earth shall have become a reality; when the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man shall have become the creed of humanity; when the harsh reverberations of the din of war shall have died in the past,—this Conference for World Unity will be numbered as one of the incidents, as a part of the contributions that made a more universal happiness possible.
I.National Spiritual Assemblies.
II. List of leading local Bahá’í centers.
III.Bahá’í Periodicals.
V.References to the Bahá’í Movement.
VI.European and American cities visited by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
VII.Transliteration of Oriental terms frequently used in
Bahá’í literature.

VIII.Dr. J. E. Esslemont.
Floral emblem
Floral emblem of red roses at Major Imbrie’s funeral, sent by the National Spiritual Assembly in the name of the Baha'is of Persia and America.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Persia.
Care The Secretary, Mírzá ‘Ali-Akbar Milaní.
Care Mírzá Ghulám-‘Alí Davachi, Avenue Nasiriyyih, Teheran, Persia.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada.
Care The Secretary, Mr. Horace Holley, 48 West 10th St., New York City, U. S. A.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Germany.
Care the Secretary, Mrs. Consul Schwarz, 3 Alexanderstrasse, Stuttgart, Germany.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Great Britain and Ireland.
Care The Secretary, Mr. Geo. Simpson, 58 North End Road, Golder’s Green, London, N. W., England.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of India and Burma.
Care The Secretary, Mr. Hishmatu’llah.
Care Mr. N. R. Vakil, Havadia Chakla, Surat, India.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Egypt.
Care The Secretary, ‘Abdu’l-Jalíl, Bey Sa’ad.
Care Muhammad Effendi Taqí Isfahání, Rue Marjúsh, Cairo, Egypt.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Turkistán.
Care The Secretary, Mahmúd-Zádih.
Care Mr. Z. Asghár-Zádih, 96 Houndsditch, London, E. C. 2, England.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Caucasus.
Care The Secretary, Mírzá Rahím Kázim-Zádih.
Care Mr. Z. Asghár-Zádih, 96 Houndsditch, London, E. C. 2, England.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of ‘Iráq.
Care The Secretary, Mr. Munír Vakíl, Súqi’l Maydán, Baghdád, Iráq.
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Constantinople.
Care The Secretary, Mírzá Jalál Ahmadoff Milaní,
P. O. Box 410, Stamboul,
Constantinople, Turkey.
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Paris.
Care Mr. and Mrs. Dreyfus-Barney,
15 Rue Greuze, Paris, France.
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Haifa, Palestine.
Care The English Secretary, Mírzá Badi’ Bushrú’í,
Persian Colony, Haifa, Palestine.
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Alexandretta, Syria.
Care The Secretary, Mr. Hasan Káshání,
P . O. Box 25, Alexandretta, Syria.
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Beirut, Syria.
Care The Secretary, Mr. Ali-Akbar Khurásáni.
Care Dr. Sulaymán Raf’at Bey,
Ra’si’n-Nabi’ (Ras-El-Nabeh), Beirut, Syria.
The Bahá’ís of Australia.
Care Miss Amy Thornton,
428 Punt Road, South Yarra,
Melbourne, Australia.
The Bahá’ís of New Zealand.
Care Miss Margaret Stevenson,
“Clunie,” 3 Cowie Road, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand.
The Bahá’ís of Switzerland.
Care Mrs. J. Stannard,
19 Boulevard Georges·Favon,
Geneva, Switzerland.
The Bahá’ís of Japan.
Care Mr. Sanzo Misawa,
40 B. Sonnomiya Nichome, Kobe, Japan.
The Bahá’ís of the Hawaiian Islands.
Care Mrs. J . G. Augur,
435 Beretania Street, Honolulu,
Hawaii Islands.
The Bahá’ís of China.
Care Mírzá H. A. Ouskouli,
41 A. Kiangse Road, Shanghai,
The Bahá’ís of Austria.
Care Herr F. Pollinger,
Grillparzerstrasse 14, Wien,
The Bahá’ís of Russia.
Care Mr. Dhabíhu’lláh Námdár,
Care Mr. Z. Asghár-Zádih,
96 Houndsditch, London, E. C. 2,
The Bahá’ís of Italy.
Care Mrs. E . R. Mathews,
Villa San Martino, Portofino (Mare), Italy.
The Bahá’ís of South Africa.
Care Pretoria Bahá’í Assembly,
220 Johann Street,
Arcadia, Pretoria. S. Africa.
The Bahá’ís of Brazil.
Care Miss Leonora Holsapple,
Baixa da Graca 25, Bahia, Brazil.
The Bahá’ís of Sweden.
Care Mrs. Anna Rudd, Boviken, Sweden.
The Bahá’ís of Tunis.
Care Shaykh Muhyi’d-Dín, care M. T. Isfahání, Rue Marjúsh, Cairo, Egypt.
International Bureau Bahá’í.
19 Boulevard Georges-Favon,
Geneva, Switzerland.
Local Bahá’í Assemblies in the United
States and Canada
Canada: Montreal.
California : Berkeley, Geyserville, Glendale, Hollywood (Los Angeles), San Francisco, Oakland, Visalia.
Colorado: Denver.
Connecticut: New Haven.
District of Columbia: Washington.
Florida: Miami.
Georgia: Augusta.
Hawaiian Islands: Honolulu.
Illinois : Chicago, Urbana.
Maine: Eliot (Green Acre).
Maryland: Baltimore.
Massachusetts : Boston, Springfield, Worcester.
Michigan : Lansing, Detroit; Muskegon.
Minnesota: Duluth, Minneapolis.
Missouri: St. Louis.
Montana : Helena.
New Jersey: Newark.
New York: Buffalo, New York City, Yonkers, Geneva.
Ohio: Akron, Cleveland, Cincinnati.
Oregon: Portland.
Pennsylvania : Philadelphia, Pittsburgh.
Washington: Seattle.
Wisconsin: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine.
Bahá’í Groups in the United States and
Santa Barbara, Cal.; San Diego, CaL; St. John, N. B., Canada; St. Augustine, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga.; Maui, T. Hawaii; Peoria, Ill.; Springfield,Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Keokuk, Iowa; Beverly, Mass.; Haverhill, Mass.; Somerville, Mass.; Fruitport, Mich.; St. Paul, Minn.; Omaha, Neb.; Asbury Park, N.J.; Jersey City, N. J.; Montclair, N. J.; Johnstown, N. Y.; Ithaca, N. Y.; Rochemer, N. Y.; Dayton, Ohio; Sandusky, Ohio; Spokane, Wash.; Vancouver, B. C., Canada.
Foreign Bahá’í Centers
Austria: Graz, Vienna.
Australia: Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, South Yarra.
Caucasus: Baku, Tiflis, Ganjih, Batum, Saliyan, Bálá-Khání, Naftálán, Darband, Kúk-cháy, Shakkí, Burda‘.
Egypt: Cairo, Port Said. Alexandria, Isma‘ilíyyih, Assiut.
England: London, Bournemouth, Manchester.
France: Paris.
Germany: Berlin-Oharlottenburg, Berlin-Schoeneberg, Berlin-Schmargendorf, Dresden, Esslingen, Fellbach, Freiburg, Freundenstadt, Gera-Reuss, Gross-Strehlitz, Goppingen, Hamburg, Heilbronn, Jena, Karlsruhe, Krewzweg, Laudan, Leipzig-Gholis, Neuenburg, Reutlingen, Rostock, Schorndorf, Schwerin, Stuttgart, Warnemunde, Zuffenhausen.
India (and Burma) : V. Daidanaw-Kalazoo, Bombay, Calcutta, Karachi, Kunjangun, Poona, Mandalay, Rangoon, Surat.
New Zealand: Auckland
Palestine: Haifa, ‘Akká.
Mesopotamia: Baghdad, Aváshiq, Hunaydar, Basrih.
Switzerland: Lausanne, Geneva.
Syria: Alexandretta, Beirut, Aleppo, Damascus.
Tasmania: Hobart.
Turkey: Adana, Constantinople.
Turkistan: ‘Ishqábád, Táshkand, Qahqahih, Marv, Tajan.
Italy: Rome, Florence, Como.
Persia: Tihrán, Qazvin, Rasht, Zanján, Yazd, Shahrúd, Qúchán, Tabríz, Hamadán, Kirmánsháh, Sultán-Ábádi-Iráq, Sári, Sabzivár, Birjand, Qum, Káshán, Isfahán, Shiráz, Simnán, Níshápúr, Sisán, Burújird, Kirmán, Rafsinján, Ábádi, Bandar-‘Ahbás, Mashhad, Najaf-Ábád.
Published by Bahá’í Institutions
The Bahá’í Magazine-Star of the West.
Printed in Chicago for many years; recently moved to Washington. Stanwood Cobb, Editor; Mariam Haney, Associate Editor; Allen B. McDaniel, Business Manager. Address: 706 Otis Building, Washington, D. C. Per year, $3.00.
Die Sonne der Wahrheit—Official magazine of the Bahá’ís of Germany. Published at Stuttgart. Frau Alice Schwarz, Editor. Address: Alexanderstrasse 3. Per year, $2.00.
The Dawn—A monthly Bahá’í Journal of Burma. Edited and published by Syed Mustafa Roumie. Contents in English, Persian and Burmese. Address: No. 2-B, 41st Street, Rangoon, Burma. Per year, $2.00.
The Herald of the South—The Bahá’í magazine for New Zealand and Australia. Address: Care Hyde Dunn, Box 3116 G. P.O., Sydney, Australia.
La Nova Tago (The New Day)—The International Bahá’í-Esperanto Magazine, published four times a year by the Esperanto Committee of the Bahá’í Assembly of Hamburg, Germany. Address : Friedrich Gerstner, Oelmuhlenweg 66, Wandsbek (Hamburg), Germany. Per year, 20 cents.
The World Fellowship Magazine and The Magazine of the Children of the Kingdom (combined)—Published at Montclair, N. J., and edited under the direction of Victoria Bedikian and Ella Robarts. Address: P. O. Box 179, Montclair, N. J.
Bahá’í Weltzemeinschaft—Published quarterly by the Committee on Education of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Germany.
Bahá’í News Letter—The bulletin of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada.
Das Rosengaertlein—Published for children by the Committee on Education of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Germany.
Mitteilungen—The bulletin of the Assembly of Hamburg, Germany.
Khurshíd-i-Khávar—Magazine published by the Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly of ‘Ishqábád, Turkistán.
student at Beirut University
Bahá’í Students at Beirut, Syria, University.
Books and pamphlets published under Bahá’í auspices or approved by a responsible Bahá’í body.
Publications of the Publishing Commitee of the American National Spiritual Assembly. (Corrected to February 1, 1926.)
Writings of Bahá’u’lláh
Hidden Words, the essence of the teachings of all the Prophets. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Paper covers, ......................... $ .25
In leather ................................................. 1.00
The Book of Assurance (Book of Iqán), explaining the oneness of all the Prophets and their significance as the expression of the Will of God ......... $1.50
Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh (Tarázát, the Tablet of the World, Kalimát, Tajalliyát, Bishárát, Ishráqát), social and spiritual principles of the new age ..................................... $1.75
Three Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh (Tablet of the Branch, Kitáb-i-‘Ahd, Lawh-i-Aqdas), the appointment of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the interpreter of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Testament of Bahá’u’lláh, and his message to the Christians ............................................... $ .25
Seven Valleys, the stages passed by travelers on the path of spiritual progress
.................................................................. $ .25
Prayers, containing also Prayers by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ........................................................ $ .20
Súrat ul-Haykal, on the mystery of the manifestation of the Spirit in the human temple. (Out of print.) ......................... $ .50
Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
The Promulgation of Universal Peace (compiled by Howard MacNutt), public addresses delivered throughout the United States in 1912. This work contains ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s spiritual message to the American people, whom he summoned to establish the “Most Great Peace” which is the consummation of the ideals of all religionists, scientists and humanitarians. In two volumes, per vol .......................................................... $2.50
The Wisdom of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (compiled by Lady Blomfield, and published in London under the title of “Paris Talks”) a brief but comprehensive presentation' of his message. Paper covers ................. $ .40
In cloth ..................................................... 1.00
Some Answered Questions (compiled by Laura Clifford Barney), an exposition of fundamental spiritual and philosophic problems ............................................... $2.00
Chapter on Strikes, a supplement to the above ....................................................... $ .05
Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (compiled by Albert Windust), intimate letters written in reply to questions addressed by individuals and groups. Volume Two. (Volumes One and Three temporarily out of print) ................................................ $1.75
Mysterious Forces of Civi1ization, a work addressed to the people of Persia nearly forty years ago to show the way to true progress ................................................. $1.75
Divine Philosophy (compiled by Isabel Fraser Chamberlain) , selected addresses delivered in Paris on the eve of the Great War .......................................................... $ .75
‘Abdu’l-Bahá in New York, containing selected addresses delivered at Columbia University and various churches and public meetings in 1912 ..................... $ .25
Tablet to The Hague, a letter written in 1919 to the Central Organization for a Durable Peace ................................... $ .05
Wisdom Talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, selected addresses on spiritual and scientific subjects delivered in Chicago during 1912 ........................................................ $ .10
Prayers and Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, collected and translated by Shoghi Effendi ................................................... $ .15
Bahá’í Scriptures (compiled by Horace Holley), selected from all available writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and arranged in nine chapters according to subject; with Glossary and Index. 576 pages .................... $3.50
No. 9 Compilation, available in different languages, 16 pages ............................. $ .03
Miniature No. 9 Compilation, 100 copies .................................................................. $1.00
God and His Manifestations (compiled by Mrs. J. W. Gift), an outline for the study of such Bahá’í topics as the need of a Manifestation, the signs of His appearance, His influence upon civilization, the proofs of His cause, etc. Paper covers ....................................... $ .25
Racial Amity. Words of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the subject of harmony and understanding between the races. Compiled by M. H. and M. M. with special reference to conditions in the United States. 20 pages ....... $ .05
Jenab’i-Fadil at Santa Paula, California.
Jenab’i-Fadil at Santa Paula, California.
Thoughts that Build, by Rev. J . Storer (Published by Macmillan), a compilation of passages from ancient and modern spiritual writings, arranged with one page for each day throughout the year. Many selections from Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá are included. With index of authors. In cloth ...................................................... $1.75
The Divine Art of Living, words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the acquisition of spiritual qualities, compiled by Mrs. Mary Rabb. Published by Brentano’s ................... $1.25
Books About the Bahá’í Movement
Letters from Shoghi Effendi, selections from letters written by the grandson of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, appointed Guardian of the Cause by him, regarding details of administering the affairs of the Movement ....................................... $ .20
The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, by Lady Blomfield, under the supervision of Shoghi Effendi. A general letter to the friends of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, relating to the details of his final days on earth and quoting from addresses delivered by leading religionists of Haifa at his interment on Mount Carmel in the Tomb of the Báb, November, 1921. ............. $ .10
Episodes in My Life, by Munírih Khánum, wife of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a witness to the providential spirit directing the Bahá’í Cause in its most trying day’s ...... $ .35
The Bahá’í Proofs, by Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl of Gulpaygan, presenting the fundamental proofs of the validity of the Cause as the Universal Religion, with chapters relating the lives of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. (Out of print.) ................................................... $1.50
The Brilliant Proof, by Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl of Gulpaygan, a refutation of an attack on the Cause by a Protestant missionary. Contains both English and Persian text
................................................................... $ .25
Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, by J. E. Esslemont, an authoritative and comprehensive survey of the Baha'i history and teachings as related to present religious, scientific and social conditions in Europe and America, with many quotations from the writings, and a Bibliography and Index ................. $1.50
Paper covers .......................................... $ .60
Bahá’u’lláh and His Message, by J . E. Esslemont, briefly outlining the spiritual message of the new day ..................... $ .05
Addresses by Jináb-i Fádil, a series of lectures by a Persian scholar appointed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to teach the principles of the Bahá’í Cause in this country. Vols. 4 and 5 only. Per volume ........................ $.15
Lessons in Religion, by Shaykh Muhammad-‘Alí Qá’iní, prepared especially for children. Translated by Edith Roohie Sanderson ............. $ .75
The Oriental Rose, by Mary Hanford Ford, a vivid presentation of historical aspects of the Bahá’í Movement .. $ .80
Universal Consciousness of the Bahá’í Religion, by Mason Remey, a new and enlarged edition of the pamphlet previously published under the title of “The New Day.” 60 pages ............. $    .20
50 copies ...................................... $ 9.00
100 copies ..................................... $16.00
Twelve Articles Introductory to the Study of the Bahá’í Teachings, by Mason Remey including chapters on the founders of the Movement, the writings, the organization, relation to the Religions of the Orient, worship, etc. 182 pages (cloth) ..................... $ .50
10 copies .............................................. $4.00
Bahá’í: The Spirit of the Age, by Horace Holley, presenting the Bahá’í Movement and teachings as the synthesis of all modern movements .......................... $2.50
Dawn of Knowledge and the Most Great Peace, by Paul Kingston Dealy, the Bahá’í Cause and ancient prophecy ............ $ .25
The Bahá’í Movement: Its Spiritual Dynamic, by Albert Vail, reprint of a magazine article ................................... $ .10
Martyrdoms in Persia in 1903, by Háji Mírzá Haydor-‘Alí, relating the circumstances in which seventy Persian Bahá’ís were martyred .. $ .15
The Call of God, by George Latimer, the significance of the return of the Messenger ............................................. $ .05
What Went Ye Out for to See? by Thornton Chase, a letter written in reply to an inquiry from a Christian .................... $ .05
The Bahá’í Religion, a reprint of the two Bahá’í papers presented at the Conference on Some Living Religions within the British Empire. Paper, 24 pages ........................................................ $ .15
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s First Days in America, intimate and beautiful glimpses of the Master, from the diary of Juliet Thompson, 40 pages. Printed by The Roycrofters ........................................... $1.00
God’s Heroes, by Laura Clifford Barney, a drama written around the great Bahá’í heroine and martyr, the poetess Qurratu’l-‘Ayn. Illuminated in Persian style. Cloth, 106 pages ....................... $3.00
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár and the Bahá’í Movement, by Jean Masson, explaining the significance of the Baha'i House of Worship .................................................. $ .10
The Reality of Religion, a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. 4-page leaflet. 12 for $ .10
100 for .................................................... $ .75
The Source of Spiritual Qualities, from words of Bahá’u’lláh. 4-page leaflet. 12 for ............................................................ $ .10
100 for ..................................................... $ .75
The Bahá’í Cause, eight-page pamphlet prepared by the National Teaching Committee for general distribution, with list of Baha'i Assemblies. Sold in lots of one hundred only .............................. $1.00
Photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, photo-engraving on good quality paper suitable for framing ........................ $ .10
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár (Bahá’í House of Worship) colored lithograph of the design by Louis Bourgeois, nine by twelve inches ....................................... $ .75
Framed, under glass .......................... $1.50
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, photo-engraving of design by Louis Bourgeois, on good quality paper suitable for framing . $ .10
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, colored lithograph of the design by Louis Bourgeois, post card size. Two for ............................... $ .05
The Dream of God, a poem by Albert Durrant Watson .................................. $ .10
The Bahá’í Benediction, music and words by Louise R. Waite. Per dozen ........... $ .20
A Birdseye View of the World in the Year 2,000, by Orrol Harper. Reprinted from the Bahá’í Magazine: Star of the West
.................................................................. $ .05
Views of the Holy Land, a portfolio of photographs taken in the vicinity of Akká and Mount Carmel. (Now available in sheets only.) Originally ................ $1.00
Publications of England
Some Answered Questions. (See List one.) Published by Kegan, Paul.
Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh. (See List one.)
‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London. Addresses delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during his visit in London, with description of his life and activities.
Paris Talks. (See List one, “The Wisdom of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.”) Published by G. Bell & Son.
The Mysterious Forces of Civilization. (See List one.)
A Traveller’s Narrative. The Episode of the Báb translated by Prof. E. G. Browne, M. A., F. B. A., M. R. A. S. Cambridge University Press.
Brief Account of the Bahá’í Movement, by Ethel J. Rosenberg. Published by Burnside, Ltd.
The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond. One of the Wisdom of the East series. Published by John Murray.
The Universal Religion, by Hippolyte Dreyfus, an introductory work on the Bahá’í Cause by a French orientalist who has translated many of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.
The Modern Social Religion, by Horace Holley. Published by Sidgwick & Jackson. (Out of print.)
Bahá’u’lláh and The New Era, by J . E. Esslemont. (See List one.) Published by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd.
What Is a Bahá’í? by J. E. Esslemont, a reprint of Chapter three of his larger work. Published by Burnside, Ltd.
The Bahá’í Faith, by G. Palgrave Simpson.
The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. (See List one.)
The Reconciliation of Races and Religions, by Thos. Kelly Cheyne, Dr. Litt., D. D.
The Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi, by Myron H. Phelps. Published by Putnam & Sons. (Out of print.)
God’s Heroes, by Laura Clifford Barney. (See List one.)
Unity Triumphant, by Elizabeth Herrick. The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh as the fulfillment of Christianity, with extensive quotations and bibliography. Published by Kegan, Paul.
Bahá’í: The Spirit of the Age, by Horace Holley. (See List one.) Published by Kegan, Paul.
Religions of the Empire, edited by W. Loftus Hare (published by Duckworth, London), the addresses delivered by representatives of the several religions invited to participate in the conference on Some Living Religions within the British Empire held at the Imperial Institute, London, England, from September 22 to OCtober 3, 1924. Includes the two papers read on the Bahá’í Cause. In cloth. 519 pages ... $4.00
Bahá’í Literature in French
Le Beyan Arabe, traduit par A. L. M. Nicolas. Editions Leroux, Paris ...................... fr. 10
L’oeuvre de Bahá’u’lláh, traduit par Hippolyte Dreyfus. Editions Leroux, Paris. Deux volumes. (A suivre.) Le volume ..................................................... fr. 5
Les Lecons de St. Jean d'Acre, traduction francais de “Some Answered Questions” by Laura Clifford Barney. Editions Leroux, Paris ....................................... fr .10
Essai sur le Bahaisme, son histoire, la portee sociale, par Hippolyte Dreyfus. Editions Leroux, Paris .......................................... fr. 5
L’Epitre au Fils du Loup, Baha'u'llah, traduction francais par Hippolyte Dreyfus. Librarie Champion, Paris
................................................................. fr. 10
Le Bahaisme, sa mission dans le monde, par Hippolyte Dreyfus, Chez Timothei, Paris
................................................................... fr. 1
Le Beyan Persan, traduit par A. L. M. Nicolas. Librairie Genthuere, Paris. Quatre volumes. Le volume ............... fr. 6
Bahá’í Literature in German
1. 1m Verlag des deutchen Bahá’í-Bundes Stuttgart, Hölderlinstr. 35 erschienen:
Bahá’u’lláh: Das heilige Tablet, ein Sendschreiben an die Christenheit. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel.M 0.20
Bahá’u’lláh: Verborgene Worte. Deutsch von A. Schwarz und W. Herrigel. Nach der englischen Bearbeitung von Shoghi Effendi .................................. M 1
Bahá’u’lláh: Frohe Botschaften, Worte des Paradieses, Tablet Tarasat, Tablet Taschaliat, Tablet Ischrakat. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel ............... M 2.50
‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Eine Botschaft an die Juden. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel
......................................................... M 0.20
‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Ansprachen über die Bahá’ílehre. (Ansprachen in Paris.) Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel
............................................................. M 3
Thornton Chase: Ehe Abraham war, war Ich. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel
......................................................... M 0.20
Thornton Chase: Die Bahá’í-Offenbarung. Ein Lehrbuch. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel ................... M 4
I D. Brittingham: Die Offenbarung Bahá’u’lláh’s. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel ........................................ M 0.50
Mirza Abul Fazl: Geschichte und Wahrheitsbeweise der Bahá’í-religion. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel ......................................... M 4.50
Dr. jur. H . Dreyfus: Einheitsreligion. Ihre Wirkung auf Staat, Erziehung, Sozialpolitik, Frauenrechte und die einzelne Personlichkeit. Deutsch von W. Herrigel ................................... M 0.50
Ch. M. Remey: Das neue Zeitalter. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel M 0.50
Myron H. Phelps: Abdu’l-Bahá-Abbas’ Leben und Lehren. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel ............................ M 4
S. S. : Die Geschichte der Bahá’í-Bewegung. Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel ......................................... M 0.20
Wilhelm Herrigel: Die Bahá’í-Bewegung im allgemeinen und ihre grossen Wirkungbn in Indien. (enthaltend: S. S.: Ein Jahr unter den Bahá’í in Indien und Birma.) ................ M 0.50
Alice T. Schwarz: Die universale Weltreligion. Ein Blick in die Bahá’í-Lehre ............................................. M 0.50
Dr. Hermann Grossmann: Die Soziale Frage und ihre Lösung im Sinne der Bahá’ílehre .................................. M 0.20
Bahá’í-Perlen: Deutsch von Wilhelm Herrigel ........................................ M 0.20
Das Huscheiden Abdu’l-Baha’s. (The Passing of 'Abdu’l-Bahá.) Deutsch von Alice T. Schwarz ......................... M 0.50
2. im Verlage der Weltgemeinschaft, Deutscher Zweig, Wansbek, Schillerstr. la, erschienen:
Dr. Hermann Grossmann: Bahá’í-Erziehung (Schriften zur Baha'i-Erziehung Nr. 1), 1924. Kostenlos.
Jos. der Schäferknabe. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá nacherzählt. (Rosengärtlein-Jugendbücher Nr. 1), 1924. Kostenlos.
Die Geschichte vom kleinen Vogel und andere Erzählungen aus dem Leben ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s. (Rosengärtlein-Jugendbücher Nr. 2, 1925.) Kostenlos.
3. von der Bahá’í-Bewegung Hamburg herausgegeben:
Dr. Herman Grossmann: Gotteserkenntnis und Gottesbegriff, im Sinne der Bahá’í-Lehre erläutert. 81. Kostenlos.
Was ist die Bahá’í-Bewegung? Flugblatt. Kostenlos.
Dro. Hermann Grossmann: Historio, instruoj kaj valoro de la Bahá’í-movado. (Publikajoj de la Esperanto-komitato de la Bahá’í-movado Hamburg Nr. 1.) 81-1925. Kostenlos.
4. sonstige Veröffentlichungen:
Ein Brief von Bahá’íyyih Khanum. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt von A. Schwarz, Stuttgart, 1924.
Dr. Adelbert Mühlschlegel: Melodrama zum dritten deutschen Bahá’í-Kongress 80. Stuttgart, 1924.
Dr. Adelbert Mühlschlegel: Ridvan 81 Festspiel. Stuttgart, 1925.
Dro. Adelbert Mühlschlegel: Parolado en la dua Bahaa-kunveno en Genevo. Flugblatt. Stuttgart, 1925. Kostenlos.
Bahá’í-Congress, Stuttgart, 1924. Stuttgart, 1924.
Boys School, ‘Ishqábád, Russia
5. Früher erschienene, jetzt vergritfene Verötfentlichungen:
Baha'u'llah: Das Tablet vom Zweig. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Fr. Schweizer. Zutfenhausen.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas: Tablette allgemeiner Belehrung. Deutsche Uebersetzung von Fanny A. Knobloch. 1906.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá : Tablette an die Geliebten Gottes des Abendlandes. Deutsche Uebersetzung von Fanny A. Knobloch. 1906.
Mirza Abul Fazl Gulpaygan: Glänzender Beweis. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Friedrich Schweizer, Zuffenhausen.
Wilhelm Herrigel: Universaler Friede, universale Religion. Die Bahá’í-Bewegung, ihr Zweck und Ziel. 2. Auflage Suttgart, 1915.
Wilhelm Herrigel: Die Zeichen unserer Zeit im Lichte der Bibel und der Bahá’ílehre. Stuttgart, 1916.
Religiöse Lichtblicke: Einige Erläuterungen zur Bahá’í-Bewegung. Aus dem Französischen übersetzt von Albert Renftle. Stuttgart, 1916.
Die Bahá’í-Bewegung. Flugblatt. Karlsruhe.
Pastor Dr. Romer: Die Babi-Bahá’í. Verlag der deutschen Orient-mission, 1912. (Gegenschrift.)
Dr. F . C. Andreas: Die Babi’s in Persien. Ihre Geschichte und Lehre. Leipzig, 1896.
Partial List of Bahá’í Literature in
Oriental Languages
1. The Book of Iqán. Bombay.
2. The Book of Mubín, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh. Bombay.
3. The Book of Iqtidár, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh. Bombay.
4. The Book of Aqdas. Bombay.
5. The Ishraqát, Tarazat, Tajalliat, Bombay.
6. Tablets from Bahá’u’lláh. Cairo.
7. The Book of Iqán. Cairo and Bombay.
8. Tablets and Prayers from Bahá’u’lláh. Cairo.
9. The Will and Testament of Bahá’u’lláh. Russia.
10. Some Answered Questions. London.
11. The Traveller’s Narrative. London.
12. The Muduniyyeh, by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Cairo and Bombay.
13. The Siasiyyeh, by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Cairo and Bombay.
14. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Bombay.
15. The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Bahá’u’lláh. Cairo.
16. Seven Valleys, Four Valleys, and Poetry of Bahá’u’lláh, Cairo.
17. The Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Vol. 1. Cairo.
18. The Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Vol. 2. Cairo.
19. The Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Vol. 3. Cairo.
20. Some Answered Questions. Cairo.
21. Al-Fara’id, by Abu’l-Fadhl. Cairo.
22. Durer’Bahiyyeh, Abu’l-Fadhl, Cairo.
23. The Letters of Abu’l-Fadhl. Cairo.
24. The History of Haji Muhammad Tahir. Cairo.
25. Dala’il-el-‘Irfan, Haider Ali. Cairo.
26. Bihjet’l-Sudur, Haider Ali. Cairo.
27. Hujaj’l-Bahiyyeh, Abu’l-Fadhl, Cairo.
28. Bahr’l-‘Irfan, by Muhammad Afshar. Bombay.
29. The History of Tahireh. Cairo.
30. The Travels of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Vol. 1 and 2, Mahmud Zarqani. Bombay.
31. The Early Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, edited by Baron Rosen, St. Petersburg.
32. Memorials of the Faithful, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Haifa.
1. The Translation of Ishraqát, Tajalliat, Tarazat, and Kalamat. Bombay.
2. The Translation of the Tablet to the World of Bahá’u’lláh. Bombay.
3. The Seven Valleys. Bombay.
4. The Hidden Words. Bombay.
5. The Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
1. The Ishraqát, Tajalliat, Tarazat, and Kalimat. Cairo.
2. The Talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Europe and America. Translation anonymous. Cairo.
1. “Some Answered Questions” Instructions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
Compiled by Bishop Brown
Alphabetical List
The Bab (The Writings of):
Le Beyan Arabe; Le Livre Sacre du Babysme de Seyyed Ali Mohammed Dit le Báb. French translation by A. L. M. Nicolas. Ernest Leroux, Paris, 1905.
Le Beyan Persan. French translation by A. L. M. Nicolas. Paris Librairie. 1 Vol. Paul Geuthner, 1911.
Le Livre des Sept Preuves de la Mission du Báb. French translation by A. L. M. Nicolas. Paris, 1902.
Bahá’u’lláh (The Writings of):
The Book of Assurance (Book of Ighan), Brentano’s, New York, 1925.
Hidden Words from the Arabic and Persian. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Bahá’í Publishing Committee, New York, 1924.
Seven Valleys. Translated by Ali Kuli Khan. Chicago.
Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh (Tarazat, Tablet of the World, Words of Paradise, Tajalleyat, The Glad Tidings, Ishrakat—The Most Great Infallibility). Translated by Ali Kuli Khan. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1906.
Three Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh (The Branch, Kitab-el-Ah’d, Lawh-el-Akdas. Translated by Ali Kuli Khan. Chicago Bahá’í Publishing Society, 1918.
Surat ’ul Hykl. Translated from the Arabic by Anton Haddad. Chicago, 1900.
The Source of Spiritual Qualities. Four-page leaflet. Bahá’í Publishing Society, 1924.
L’Oeuvre de Bahá’u’lláh. 2 Vols. French translation by Hippolyte Dreyfus. Leroux, Paris, 1924.
L’Epitre au Fils du Loup. French translation by Hippolyte Dreyfus. Honore Champion, Paris, 1913.
Abdu’l-Bahá (The Writings of):
Abdu’l-Bahá on Divine Philosophy. Compiled by Isabel Chamberlain. Tudor Press, Boston, 1916.
Abdu’l-Bahá in London. Edited by Eric Hammond. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1921.
Abdu'l-Baha in New York. Bahá’í Assembly, New York, 1922.
Letter and Tablet to the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, The Hague. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1920.
Letter to the Friends in Persia. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, January 21, 1906.
Definition of Love by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Received at New York, December 7, 1902.
Mysterious Forces of Civilization. Translated by Johanna Dawud. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1918.
The Promulgation of Universal Peace. 2 Vols. Compiled by Howard McNutt, Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1922 and 1925.
Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. 3 Vols. Compiled by Albert Windust. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1909, 1915, 1916.
Tablet to the Beloved of God in America. Translated by Ali Kuli Khan. Cambridge, Mass., J.anuary 3, 1906.
Tablets by Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas to House of Justice of Chicago, to the Ladies’ Assembly of Teachings, and Others. Translated by Ali Kuli Khan. Chicago, September 12, 1901.
Tablet to the Beloved of God of the Occident. Translated by Ahmad Esphahani. Washington, D. C., September 8, 1906.
Tablets to the East and West. Translated by Ahmad Esphahani. The Bahá’í Assembly of Washington, D. C., 1908.
Tablets Containing Instructions. Translated by M. A. E. Washington, D. C., August 29, 1906.
Tablets Containing General Instructions. Translated by Ahmad Esphahani. The Bahá’í Association of Washington, D. C., 1907.
Tablets to Some American Believers in the Year 1900. The Board of Council, New York, 1901.
Prayers and Tablets. 1906.
The Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Bahá.
Some Answered Questions. Translated by Laura Clifford Barney. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1918.
Unveiling of the Divine Plan. Translated by Ahmad Sohrab. Tudor Press, Boston, 1919.
Utterances to Two Young Men. Board of Council, New York, 1901.
Visiting Tablets for Martyrs Who Suffered in Persia. Translated by Ali Kuli Khan. Bahá’í Board of Council, New York, 1901.
The Reality of Religion—Tablet of Abdu’l-Bahá. Four-page leaflet. Bahá’í Publishing Society, 1924.
Wisdom of Abdu’l-Bahá (Paris Talks). Edited by Lady Blomfield. Brentano’s New York, 1924.
Wisdom Talks of Abdu’l-Bahá. Chicago Bahá’í News Service.
Woman’s Great Station. An address given in New York in 1912.
Shoghi Effendi (The Writings of):
Letters from Shoghi Effendi. Bahá’í Publishing Committee, New York, 1924.
Agnew, Arthur S.: Table Talks at Acca. By Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1907.
Ali, Hadji Mirza Heider: Bahá’í Martyrdoms in Persia in the Year 1903 A. D. Translated by Youness Khan. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1907.
Blomfield, Lady: The Passing of Abdu’l-Bahá.
Brittingham, Isabella D.: The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1902.
Brittingham, James F.: The Message of the Kingdom of God. 1907.
Campbell, Helen: The Bahá’í Movement in Its Social-Economic Aspect. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1915.
Chase, Thornton: The Bahá’í Revelation. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1909.
Chase, Thornton: What Went Ye Out for to See?
Chase, Thornton, and Agnew, Arthur: In Galilee. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1908.
Dealy, Paul Kingston : The Dawn of Knowledge and the Most Great Peace. Bahá’í Board of Counsel, New York, 1903.
Dodge, Arthur Pillsbury: The Truth of It. Mutual Publishing Company, New York, 1901.
Dodge, Arthur Pillsbury: Whence? Why? Whither? Man! Things! Other Things! Ariel Press, Westwood, Mass., 1907.
Dreyfus, Hippolyte: The Universal Religion; Bahá’ísm. Bahá’í Publishing Society, London, 1909.
Esslemont, Dr. J. E.: Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era. Brentano’s, New York, 1923.
Esslemont, Dr. J. E.: What Is a Bahá’í? American edition published by Louis Bourgeois, Chicago, 1921.
Fadil, Jinab-i: Addresses. 5 Vols. Pamphlet size. Translated by Ahmad Sohrab. Seattle, 1921.
Fazl, Abul: Knowing God Through Love. Farewell address. Bahá’í Assembly, Washington.
Fazl, Abul: The Bahá’í Proofs. Translated by Ali Kuli Khan. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1914.
Fazl, Abul: The Brilliant Proof. Bahá’í News Service, Chicago, 1912.
Fitzgerald, Nathan Ward: The New Revelation; Its Marvelous Message. Tacoma, 1905.
Finch, Ida: Rays from the Sun of Truth.
Flowers Culled From the Rose Garden of Acca by Three Pilgrims in 1908.
Ford, Mary Hanford: The Oriental Rose. Bahá’í Publishing Society, 1910.
Fraser-Chamberlain, Isabel: From the World’s Greatest Prisoner to His Prison Friends. Tudor Press, Boston, 1916.
Goodall, Helen S., and Cooper, Ella G.: Daily Lessons Received at Acca—1908. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1908.
Gregory, Louis G.: A Heavenly Vista.
Grundy, Julia M.: Ten Days in the Light of Acca. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1907.
Haddad, Anton: Divine Revelation, the Basis of Civilization. Board of Council, New York, 1902.
Haddad, Anton: Message from Acca.
Haddad, Anton: Maxims of Bahá’ísm. Board of Council, New York.
Haddad, Anton: Station of Manifestation.
Haney, Charles and Mariam: A Heavenly Feast.
Harris, W. Hooper: Lessons on the Bahá’í Revelation.
Holley, Horace, and Ruh’i Afnan. The Bahá’í Religion. Bahá’í Publishing Committee, New York, 1924.
Holley, Horace: Bahá’í-the Spirit of the Age. Brentano’s, New York, 1921.
Holley, Horace: Bahá’ísm-the Modern Social Religion. Mitchell Kennerly, New York, 1913.
Holley, Horace: The Social Principle. Laurence J. Gomme, New York, 1915.
Hussein, Mirza Abdul: Letter written on behalf of the “Friends” of Isfahan, Persia, to the American Believers. April 25, 1902.
Karim, Abdel Effendi: Address delivered before the New York and Chicago Assemblies. Translated by Anton Haddad. Bahá’í Publishing Board, Chicago, 1900.
Khanum, Moneerah: Episodes in the Life of. Translated by Ahmad Sohrab. Persian American Publishing Co., Los Angeles, 1924.
Latimer, George Orr: The Call of God. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago.
Light of the World. By a group of Pilgrims. The Tudor Press, Boston, 1920.
Lucas, Mary L.: A Brief Account of My Visit to Acca. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1905.
MacNutt, Howard: Unity Through Love. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1906.
Maxwell, May: An Early Pilgrimage, 1898. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1917.
Mohammed, Ali Alkany: Lessons in Religion. English translation by Edith Sanderson. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1923.
Peak, Margaret B.: My Visit to Abbas Effendi in 1899. Grier Press, Chicago, 1911.
Phelps, Myron H.: Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi. G. P. Putnam, New York, 1912.
Prayers, Tablets, Instructions, etc., gathered by American visitors in Acca, 1900.
Remey, Charles Mason: Twelve articles introductory to the study of Bahá’í teachings.
Remey, Charles Mason: Universal Consciousness of the Bahá’í Religion.
Remey, Charles Mason: Letter from Honolulu. Privately printed. February 17, 1917.
Remey, Charles Mason: The Bahá’í Movement. Washington, D. C., 1912.
Remey, Charles Mason: The Bahá’í Revelation and Reconstruction. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1919.
Remey, Charles Mason: Constructive Principles of the Bahá’í Movement. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1917.
Remey, Charles Mason: Observations of a Bahá’í Traveller. Washington, D. C., 1914.
Remey, Charles Mason: The New Day. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1919.
Remey, Charles Mason: The Peace of the World. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1919.
Remey, Charles Mason: Bahá’í Teachings. (Seven-bound pamphlets.) Washington, D. C., 1917.
Remey, Charles Mason: Bahá’í Indexes. Newport, R. I., 1923.
Remey, Charles Mason: Bahá’í Manuscripts. Newport, R. I., 1923.
Remey, Charles Mason: Through Warring Countries to the Mountain of God. Private printing.
Roy and M. J. M.: Knock, and It Shall Be Opened Unto You.
Sassi, M. Gabriel: Martinists Report. An address concerning the Bahá’í Religion delivered at the Paris Exposition of 1900.
Table Talks—Regarding Reincarnation and other subjects.
Thompson, Juliet: Abdu’l-Bahá’s First Days in America. Roycrofters, East Aurora, N. Y., 1924.
True, Corinne: Notes Taken at Acca. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1907.
Universal Principles of the Bahá’í Movement. Persian American Bulletin. Washington, D. C., 1912.
Vail, Albert: Bahá’í Movement—Its Spiritual Dynamic.
Vail, Albert: Heroic Lives. Beacon Press, Boston, 1917.
Winterburn, Mr. and Mrs. George: Table Talks with Abdu’l-Bahá. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1908.
Bahá’í Message. Compiled by Horace Holley, Chicago, 1920.
Bahá’í Scriptures. Compiled by Horace Holley, Brentano’s, New York, 1923.
Compilation No. 9. Concerning the Most Great Peace. Tudor Press, Boston, 1918.
Compilation of Utterances from the Pen of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Regarding His Station. 19 pages. November 26, 1906.
Divine Pearls. Compiled by Victoria Bedikian.
God and His Manifestations. Compiled by Mrs. M. H. Gift.
Number 9 Compilation. Available in different languages.
Prayers Revealed by Bahá’u’lláh and Abdu’l-Bahá.
Racial Amity. Compiled by M. H. and M. M. 1924.
The Most Great Peace. From the utterances of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Tudor Press, Boston, 1916.
Bahá’í Cause. Eight-page pamphlet prepared by the National Teaching Committee. Bahá’í Publishing Society, 1924.
Bahá’í Calendars. Daily excerpts from the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and Abdu’l-Bahá. Privately printed in Honolulu, New York and other cities.
Bahá’í Temple. Reprints of press comments and Temple Symbolism. Pub-
lished by Louis Bourgeois, Chicago, 1921
Barney, Laura Clifford: God’s Heroes. A drama. Lippincott, London and Philadelphia, 1910.
Masson, Jean: The Mashriqu’l-Adhkar and the Bahá’í Movement. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1921.
Remey, Charles Mason: Prospectus of a Series of Five Lectures upon the Bahá’í Movement.
Remey, Charles Mason: Mashriqu’l-Adhkar. Five preliminary sketches. Privately printed.
Remey, Charles Mason: Mashriqu’l-Adhkar. (Bahá’í house of worship.) Privately printed.
Remey, Charles Mason: Bahá’í House of Worship. Description of the Bahá’í Temple with Illustrations. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1917.
Storer, Rev. J.: Thoughts That Build. MacMillan Co., New York, 1924.
Waite, Louise R.: Bahá’í Hymns and Poems. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1904.
Waite, Louise R.: Hymns of Peace and Praise. Chicago, 1910.
Watson, Albert Durrant: The Dream of God. A poem. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago, 1922.
Views of Haifa, Acca, Mt. Carmel and other places. Bahá’í Publishing Society, Chicago.
German Periodicals
Sonne der Wahrheit.
La Nova Tago (Esperanto).
An-Núru’l-Abhá-Fi-Mufáwadát ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Table Talks. Collected by Laura C. Barney. Kegan, Paul, London, 1908.
Jani, Mirza, of Kashan: Kitáb-i-Nuqtatu’-L’Káf. Edited from the Unique Paris M.S. by Edward G. Browne. Luzac & Co., London.
Mashriqu’l-Adhkar: Twenty-two page booklet written in Persian on the Bahá’í Temple. Published by the Bahá’í Assembly of Washington, D. C.
Authorized Bahá’í Periodicals
Bahá’í News Letter. The Bulletin of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada.
The Bahá’í Magazine (Star of the West). (Vol. 1, Bahá’í News.) 16 Vol. with current year 1925.
The Bahá’í World Fellowship.
The Magazine of the Children of the Kingdom.
The Dawn. Burma.
Herald of the East. (Bahá’í Newss of India).
Sonne der Wahrheit. Germany.
La Nova Tago. (Esperanto), Germany.
The Herald of the South. Australia.
Khurshid-e Khawar. Askabad. Russia.
Kaukeb-e Hind.
1. By Professor E. G. Browne.
a. Introduction to M. H. Phelps’ “Abbas Effendi.” P. XV-XX: 1903 rev. 1912.
I have often heard wonder expressed by Christian ministers at the extraordinary success of Babi missionaries, as contrasted with the almost complete failure of their own . “How is it,” they say, “that the Christian doctrine, the highest and the noblest which the world has ever known, though supported by all the resources of Western civilization, can only count its converts in Muhammedan lands by twos and threes, while Babism can reckon them by thousands?” The answer, to my mind, is plain as the sun at midday. Western Christianity, save in the rarest cases, is more Western than Christian, more racial than religious; and by dallying with doctrines plainly incompatible with the obvious meaning of its Founder’s words, such as the theories of “racial supremacy,” “imperial destiny,” “survival of the fittest,” and the like, grows steadily more rather than less material. Did Christ belong to a “dominant race,” or even to a European or “white race?” . . . I am not arguing that the Christian religion is true, but merely that it is in manifest conflict with several other theories of life which practically regulate the conduct of all States and most individuals in the Western world, a world which, on the whole, judges all things, including religions, mainly by material, or to use the more popular term, “practical,” standards. . . . There is,
Girls School, Beirut
of course, another factor in the success of the Babi propagandist, as compared with the Christian missionary, in the conversion of Muhammedans to his faith: namely, that the former admits, while the latter rejects, the Divine inspiration of the Quran and the prophetic function of Muhammad. The Christian missionary must begin by attacking, explicitly or by implication, both these beliets; too often forgetting that if (as happens but rarely) he succeeds in destroying them, he destroys with them that recognition of former prophetic dispensations (including the Jewish and the Christian) which Muhammad and the Quran proclaim, and converts his Muslim antagonist not to Christianity, but to Skepticism or Atheism. What, indeed, could be more illogical on the part of Christian missionaries to Muhammedan lands than to devote much time and labour to the composition of controversial works which endeavor to prove, in one and the same breath, first, that the Quran is a lying imposture, and, secondly, that it bears witness to the truth of Christ’s mission, as though any value attached to the testimony of one proved a liar! The Babi (or Bahá’í) propagandist, on the other hand, admits that Muhammad was the prophet of God and that the Quran is the Word of God, denies nothing but their finality, and does not discredit his own witness when he draws from that source arguments to prove his faith. To the Western observer, however, it is the complete sincerity of the Bahá’í, their fearless disregard of death and torture undergone for the sake of their religion, their certain conviction as to the truth of their faith, their generally admirable conduct towards mankind and especially towards their fellow-believers, which constitute their strongest claim on his attention.
Introduction to Mr. M. H. Phelps’ “Abbas Effendi.” P. XII-XIV.
It was under the influence of this enthusiasm that I penned the introduction to my translation of the “Traveller’s Narrative.”. . . . This enthusiasm, condoned, if not shared, by many kindly critics and reviewers, exposed me to a somewhat savage attack in the “Oxford Magazine,” an attack concluding with the assertion that my Introduction displayed “a personal attitude almost inconceivable in a rational European, and a style unpardonable in a university teacher.” (The review in question appeared in the Oxford Magazine of May 25, 1892, P. 304 . . . “the prominence given to the Báb in this book is an absurd violation of historical perspective; and the translation of the “Traveller’s Narrative” a waste of the powers and opportunities of a Persian Scholar.”) Increasing age and experience (more’s the pity!) are apt enough, even without the assistance of the Oxford Magazine to modify our enthusiasms; but in this case, at least, time has so far vindicated my judgment against that of my Oxford Reviewer that he could scarcely now maintain, as he formerly asserted, that the Babi religion “had affected the least important part of the Moslem World, and that not deeply.” Every one who is in the slightest degree conversant with the actual state of things (September 27, 1903) in Persia now recognizes that the number and influence of the Babis in that country is immensely greater than it was fifteen years ago. . . .
b. “A Traveller’s Narrative,” P. 309.
The appearance of such a woman as Kurratu’l ‘Ayn is in any country and any age a rare phenomenon, but in such a country as Persia it is a prodigy—nay, almost a miracle. Alike in virtue of her marvellous beauty, her rare intellectual gifts, her fervid eloquence, her fearless devotion and her glorious martyrdom, she stands forth incomparable and immortal amidst her countrywomen. Had the Babi religion no other claim to greatness, this were sufficient—that it produced a heroine like Kurratu’l ‘Ayn.
Introduction to “A Traveller’s Narrative.” P. IX, X.
Though I dimly suspected whither I was going and whom I was to behold (for no distinct intimation had been given to me), a second or two elapsed ere, with a throb of wonder and awe, I became definitely conscious that the room was not untenanted. In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure, crowned with a felt head-dress of the kind called taj by dervishes (but of unusual height and make), round the base of which was wound a small white turban. The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I can not describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one’s very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow; while the deep lines on the forehead and face implied an age which the jet-black hair and beard flowing down in indistinguishable luxuriance almost to the waist seemed to belie. No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!. . . . Let those who read them consider well with themselves whether such doctrines merit death and bonds, and whether the world is more likely to gain or lose by their diffusion.
Introduction to “A Traveller’s Narrative.” P. XXXV, XXXVI.
Seldom have I seen one whose appearance impressed me more. A tall, strongly-built man holding himself straight as an
arrow, with white turban and raiment, long black locks reaching almost to the shoulder, broad powerful forehead, indicating a strong intellect, combined with an unswerving will, eyes keen as a hawk’s, and strongly marked but pleasing features —such was my first impression of “Abbas Effendi,” “The master” (Aká) as he par excellence is called by the Babis. Subsequent conversation with him served only to heighten the respect with which his appearance had from the first inspired me. One more eloquent of speech, more ready of argument, more apt of illustration, more intimately acquainted with the sacred books of the Jews, the Christians and the Muhammadans, could, I should think, be scarcely found even amongst the eloquent, ready and subtle race to which he belongs. These qualities combined with a bearing at once majestic and genial, made me cease to wonder at the influence and esteem which he enjoyed even beyond the circle of his father’s followers. About the greatness of this man and his power no one who had seen him could entertain a doubt.
II. By Dr. J. Estlin Carpenter.
a. “Comparative Religion.” P. 70, 71.
From that subtle race issues the most remarkable movement which modern Mohammedanism has produced. . . . Disciples gathered round him, and the movement was not checked by his arrest, his imprisonment for nearly six years and his final execution in 1850. . . . It, too, claims to be a universal teaching; it has already its noble army of martyrs and its holy books; has Persia, in the midst of her miseries, given birth to a religion which will go round the world?
III. Extracts from “The Reconciliation of Races and Religions.” By T. K.Cheyne, 1914.
There was living quite lately a human being* of such consummate excellence that many think it is both permissible and in-evitable even to identify him mystically with the invisible Godhead. . . . His✝ combination of mildness and power is so rare that we have to place him in a line with supernormal men . . . . We learn that, at great points in his career after he had been in an ecstacy, such radiance of might and majesty streamed from his countenance that none could bear to look upon the effulgence of his glory and beauty. Nor was it an uncommon occurrence for unbelievers involuntarily to bow down in lowly obeisance on beholding His Holiness.
The gentle spirit of the Báb is surely high up in the cycles of eternity. Who can fail, as Professor Browne says, to be attracted by him? “His sorrowful and persecuted life; his purity of conduct and youth; his courage and uncomplaining patience under misfortune; his complete self-negation; the dim ideal of a better state of things which can be discerned through the obscure mystic utterances of the Beyan; but most of all, his tragic death, all serve to enlist our symnathies on behalf of the young prophet of Shiraz.”
“Il sentait le besoin d’une reforme profonde a introduire dans les moeurs publiques: . . . Il c’est sacrifie pour l’humanitie; pour elle il a donne son corps et son ame, pour elle il a donne son corps et son ame, pour elle il a subi les privations, les affronts, les injures, la torture et le martyre.” (Mons. Nicolas.)
If there has been any prophet in recent times, it is to Bahá’u’lláh that we must go. Character is the final judge. Bahá’u’lláh was a man of the highest class—that of prophets. But he was free from the last infirmity of noble minds, and would certainly not have separated himself from others. He would have understood the saying “Would God all the Lord’s people were prophets!” What he does say, however, is just as fine, “I do not desire lordship over others; I desire all men to be even as I am.”
The day is not far off when the details of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s missionary journeys will he admitted to be of historical importance. How gentle and wise he was hundreds could testify from personal knowledge, and I, too, could perhaps say something. . . . I will only, however, give here the outward framework of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life and of his apostolic journeys, with the heip of my friend Lotfullah. . . .
During his stay in London He visited Oxford (where He and His party—of Persians mainly—were the guests of Professor and Mrs. Cheyne), Edinburgh, Clifton and Woking. It is fitting to notice here that the audience at Oxford, though highly academic, seemed to be deeply interested, and that Dr. Carpenter made an admirable speech . . . . .
IV. Professor Vambery’s Testimony to the Religion of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
I forward this humble petition to the sanctified and holy presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas, who is the center of knowledge, famous throughout the world, and loved by all mankind. O, thou noble friend who art conferring guidance upon humanity, may my life be a ransom to thee
The loving epistle which you have condescended to write to this servant, and the rug which you have forwarded, came safely to hand. The time of the meeting with your Excellency, and the memory of the benediction of your presence, recurred to the memory of this servant, and I am longing for the time when I shall meet you again. Although I have travelled through
* Bahá’u’lláh is meant.
✝ Báb is meant.
many countries and cities of Islam, yet have I never met so lofty a character and so exalted a personage as your Excellency, and I can bear witness that it is not possible to find such another. On this account, I am hoping that the ideals and accomplishments of your Excellency may be crowned with success and yield results under all conditions; because behind these ideals and deeds I easily discern the eternal welfare and prosperity of the world of humanity.
This servant, in order to gain first-hand information and experience, entered into the ranks of various religions, that is, outwardly. I became a Jew, Christian, Mohammedan and Zoroastrian. I discovered that the devotees of these various religions do nothing else but hate and anathematise each other, that all their religions have become the instruments of tyranny and oppression in the hands of rulers and governors, and that they are the causes of the destruction of the world of humanity.
Considering those evil results, every person is forced by necessity to enlist himself on the side of your Excellency, and accept with joy the prospect of a fundamental basis for a universal religion of God, being laid through your efforts. . .
I have seen the father of your Excellency from afar. I have realized the self-sacrifice and noble courage of his son, and I am lost in admiration.
For the principles and aims of your Excellency, I express the utmost respect and devotion, and if God, the Most High, confers long life, I will be able to serve you under all conditions. I pray and supplicate this from the depths of my heart.
Your servant,
(Translated from the Persian by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. Published in Egyptian Gazette, September 24, 1913, by Mrs. J. Stannard.)
V. Quotation from “The Fringe of the East,” by Harry Charles Lukach. (Macmillan & Co., London, 1913.)
“Bahá’ísm is now estimated to count more than two million adherents, mostly composed of Persian and Indian Shiahs, but including also many Sunis from the Turkish Empire and North Africa, and not a few Brahmans, Buddhists, Taoists, Shintoists and Jews. It possesses even European converts, and has made some headway in the United States. Of all the religions which have been encountered in the course of this journey—the stagnant pools of Oriental Christianity, the strange survivals of sun-worship, and idolatry tinged with Mohammedanism, the immutable relic of the Sumerians—it is the only one which is alive, which is aggressive, which is extending its frontiers, instead of secluding itself within its ancient haunts. It is a thing which may revivify Islam, and make great changes on the face of the Asiatic world.”
VI. Extract from “The Middle Eastern Question or Some Political Problems of Indian Defence,” by Valentine Chirol. Chapter XI, page 116 (The Revival of Babiism).
When one has been like Sa’di, a great personage, and then a common soldier, and then a prisoner of a Christian feudal chief; when one has worked as a navvy on the fortifications of the Count of Antioch, and wandered back afoot to Shiraz after infinite pain and labour, he may well be disposed to think that nothing that exists is real, or, at least, has any substantial reality worth clinging to. Today the public peace of Persia is no longer subject to such violent perturbations. At least, as far as we are concerned, the appearances of peace prevail, and few of us care or have occasion to look beyond the appearances. But for the Persians themselves, have the conditions very much changed? Do they not witness one day the sudden rise of this or that favourite of fortune and the next day his sudden fall? Have they not seen the Atabeg-Azam twice hold sway as the Shah’s all-powerful Vizier, and twice hurled down from that pinnacle by a bolt from the blue? How many other ministers and governors have sat for a time on the seats of the mighty and been swept away by some intrigue as sordid as that to which they owed their own exaltation? And how many in humbler stations have been in the meantime the recipients of their unworthy favours or the victims of their arbitrary oppression? A village which but yesterday was fairly prosperous is beggared today by some neighbouring landlord higher up the valley, who, having duly propitiated those in authority, diverts for the benefit of his own estates the whole of its slender supply of water. The progress of a govenor or royal prince, with all his customary retinue of ravenous hangers-on, eats out the countryside through which it passes more effectually than a flight of locusts. The visitation is as ruinous and as unaccountable. Is it not the absence of all visible moral correlation of cause and effect in these phenomena of daily life that has gone far to produce the stolid fatalism of the masses, the scoffing skepticism of the more educated classes, and from time to time the revolt of some nobler minds? Of such the most recent and perhaps the noblest of all became the founder of Babiism.
Chapter XI, page 120.
The Bab was dead, but not Babiism. He was not the first, and still less the last, of a long line of martyrs who have testified that, even in a country gangrened with cor-
Annual meeting and feast in the Pine Grove, West Englewood, N . J., June, 1925, commemorating the Unity Feast given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on June 29, 1912.
Annual meeting and feast in the Pine Grove, West Englewood, N . J., June, 1925, commemorating the Unity Feast given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on June 29, 1912.
ruption and atrophied with indifferentism like Persia, the soul of a nation survives, inarticulate, perhaps, and in a way helpless, but still capable of sudden spasms of vitality.
VII. Extract from “The Middle Eastern Question or Some Political Problems of Indian Defence,” by Valentine Chirol. Chapter XI, page 124.
Socially one of the most interesting features of Babiism is the raising of women to a much higher plane than she is usually admitted to in the East. The Bab himself had no more devoted a disciple than the beautiful and gifted lady, known as Kurtrat-ul-Ain, the “Consolation of the Eyes,” who, having shared all the dangers of the first apostolic missions in the north, challenged and suffered death with virile fortitude, as one of the Seven Martyrs of Teheran. No memory is more deeply venerated or kindles greater enthusiasm than hers, and the influence which she yielded in her lifetime still inures to her sex.
VIII. Extract from “Heroic Lives,” by Albert Vail. P. 305.
Prof. Jowett of Oxford, Master of Balliol, the translator of Plato, studied the movement and was so impressed thereby that he said: “The Babite (Bahá’í) movement may not impossibly turn out to have the promise of the future.” Dr. J. Estlin Carpenter quotes Prof. Edward Caird, Prof. Jowett’s successor as Master of Balliol, as saying, “He thought Babism (as the Bahá’í movement was then called) might prove the most important religious movement since the foundation of Christianity.” Prof. Carpenter himself gives a sketch of the Bahá’í movement in his recent book on “Comparative Religion” and asks, “Has Persia, in the midst of her miseries, given birth to a religion that will go around the world?”
IX. Extract from “Comparative Religion and the Religion of the Future,” by Alfred W. Martin. Pp. 81-91.
In as much as a fellowship of faiths is at once the dearest hope and ultimate goal of the Bahá’í movement, it behooves us to take cognizance of it and its mission. . . . Today this religious movement has a million and more adherents, including people from all parts of the globe and representing a remarkable variety of race, color, class and creed. It has been given literary expression in a veritable library of Asiatic, European, and American works to which additions are annually made as the movement grows and grapples with the great problems that grow out of its cardinal teachings. It has a long roll of martyrs for the cause for which it stands, twenty thousand in Persia alone, proving it to be a movement worth dying for as well as worth living by.
From its inception it has been identified with Bahá’u’lláh, who paid the price of prolonged exile, imprisonment, bodily suffering, and mental anguish for the faith he cherished—a man of imposing personality as revealed in his writings, characterized by intense moral earnestness and profound spirituality, gifted with the selfsame power so conspicuous in the character of Jesus, the power to appreciate people ideally, that is, to see them at the level of their best and to make even the lowest types think well of themselves because of potentialities within them to which he pointed, but of which they were wholly unaware; a prophet whose greatest contribution was not any specific doctrine he proclaimed, but an informing spiritual power breathed into the world through the example of his life and thereby quickening souls into new spiritual activity. Surely a movement of which all this can be said deserves—nay, compels—our respectful recognition and sincere appreciation.
. . . Taking precedence over all else in its gospel is the message of unity in religion. . . . It is the crowning glory of the Bahá’í Movement that, while deprecating sectarianism in its preaching, it has faithfully practiced what it preached by refraining from becoming itself a sect. . . . Its representatives do not attempt to impose any beliefs upon others, whether by argument or bribery; rather do they seek to put beliefs that have illumined their own lives within the reach of those who feel they need illumination. No, not a sect, not a part of humanity cut off from all the rest, living for itself and aiming to convert all the rest into material for its own growth; no, not that, but a leaven, causing spiritual fermentation in all religions, quickening them with the spirit of catholicity and fraternalism.
. . . Who shall say but that just as the little company of the Mayflower, landing on Plymouth Rock, proved to be the small beginning of a mighty nation, the ideal germ of a democracy which, if true to its principles, shall yet overspread the habitable globe, so the little company of Bahá’ís exiled from their Persian home may yet prove to be the small beginning of a world-wide movement, the ideal germ of democracy in religion, the Universal Church of Mankind?
X. Extract from “Persia and Parsis.” Part I, edited by G. K. Nariman. Published under patronage of the Irán League, Bombay, 1925. The Marker Literary Series for Persia, No.2.
“The political reprieve brought about by the Sufis did not result in the regeneration of thought. But the last century which marks the end of Persia has had its revival and twofold revival, literary and religious. The funeral ceremonies by which Persia celebrates every year for centuries
The Bahá’í Feast given to Miss Agnes Alexander. September 9, 1921, in Seoul, Korea. Miss Alexander is the illumined pioneer who first brought the Glad Tidings to Korea.
The Bahá’í Feast given to Miss Agnes Alexander. September 9, 1921, in Seoul, Korea. Miss Alexander is the illumined pioneer who first brought the Glad Tidings to Korea.
Buddhist College Students who attended the Bahá’í address given by Miss Agnes Alexander in Seoul, Korea, October 18, 1923, during her second visit to Korea.
Buddhist College Students who attended the Bahá’í address given by Miss Agnes Alexander in Seoul, Korea, October 18, 1923, during her second visit to Korea.
the fatal day of the 10th of Mohorrum, when the son of Ali breathed his last at Kerbela, have developed a popular theatre and produced a sincere poetry, dramatic and human, which is worth all the rhetoric of the poets. During the same times an attempt at religious renovation was made, the religion of Babiism. Demoralized for centuries by ten foreign conquests, by the yoke of a composite religion in which she believed just enough to persecute, by the enervating influence of a mystical philosophy which disabled men for action and divested life of all aim and objects, Persia has been making unexpected efforts for the last 55 years to re-make for herself a virile ideal. Babiism has little of originality in its dogmas and mythology. Its mystic doctrine takes its rise from Sufism and the old sects of the Aliides formed around the dogma of divine incarnation. But the morality it inculcates is a revolution. It has the ethics of the West. It suppresses lawful impurities which are a great barrier dividing Islam from Christendom. It denounces polygamy, the fruitful source of Oriental degeneration. It seeks to reconstitute the family and it elevates man and in elevating him exalts woman up to his level. Babiism, which diffused itself in less than five years from one end of Persia to another, which was bathed in 1852 in the blood of its martyrs, has been silently progressing and propagating itself. If Persia is to be at all regenerate it will be through this new faith.”—(Extract from Art. By Prof. James Darmester. Persia: A Historical and Literary Sketch. Translated by G. K. Nariman.)
XI. Extracts from “Contemporary Studies,” by Charles Baudouin, 1924. Part III, pp. 131. Publishers : Allan & Durwin, London.
We westerners are too apt to imagine that the huge continent of Asia is sleeping as soundly as a mummy. We smile at the vanity of the ancient Hebrews, who believed themselves to be the chosen people. We are amazed at the intolerance of the Greeks and the Romans, who looked upon the members of all races as barbarians. Nevertheless, we ourselves are like the Hebrews, the Greeks and the Romans. As Europeans we believe Europe to be the only world that matters, though from time to time we may turn a paternal eye towards America, regarding our offspring in the New World with mingled feelings of condescension and pride.
Nevertheless, the great cataclysm of 1914 is leading some of us to undertake a critical examination of the inviolable dogma that the European nations are the elect. Has there not been of late years a demonstration of the nullity of modern civilization—the nullity which had already been proclaimed by Rousseau, Carlyle, Ruskin, Tolstoy, and Nietzsche? We are now inclined to listen more attentively to whispers from the East. Our self-complacency has been disturbed by such utterances as that of Rabindranath Tagore, who, lecturing at the Imperial University of Tokio on June 18, 1916, foretold a great future for Asia. The political civilization of Europe was “carnivorous and cannibalistic in its tendencies.” The East was patient, and could afford to wait till the West, “hurrying after the expedient,” had to halt for want of breath. “Europe, while busily speeding to her engagements, disdainfully casts her glance from her carriage window at the reaper reaping his harvest in the field, and in her intoxication of speed, can not but think him as slow and ever receding backwards. But the speed comes to its end, the engagement loses its meaning, and the hungry heart clamours for food, till at last he comes to the lonely reaper reaping his harvest in the sun. For if the office can not wait, or the buying and selling, or the craving for excitement, love waits, and beauty, and the wisdom of suffering and the fruits of patient devotion and reverent meekness of simple faith. And thus shall wait the East till her time comes.”
Being thus led to turn our eyes towards Asia, we are astonished to find how much we have misunderstood it; and we blush when we realize our previous ignorance of the fact that, towards the middle of the nineteenth century, Asia gave birth to a great religious movement—a movement signalized for its spiritual purity, one wnich has had thousands of martyrs, one which Tolstoy has described. H. Dreyfus, the French historian of this movement, says that it is not “a new religion,” but “religion renewed,” and that it provides “the only possible basis for a mutual understanding between religion and free thought.” Above all, we are impressed by the fact that, in our own time, such a manifestation can occur, and that the new faith should have undergone a development far more extensive than that undergone in the same space of time nearly two thousand years ago, by budding Christianity.
. . . At the present time, the majority of the inhabitants of Persia have, to a varying extent, accepted the Babist faith. In the great towns of Europe, America, and Asia, there are active centers for the propaganda of the liberal ideas and the doctrine of human community, which form the foundations of Bahá’íst teaching.
We shall not grasp the full significance of this tendency until we pass from the description of Bahá’ísm as a theory to that of Bahá’ísm as a practice, for the core of religion is not metaphysics, but morality.
The Bahá’íst ethical code is dominated by the law of love taught by Jesus and by all the prophets. In the thousand and one details of practical life, this law is subject
The Bahá’í Message carried to Alaska by Mr. and Mrs. O. R. Gregory.
to manifold interpretations. That of Bahá’u’lláh is unquestionably one of the most comprehensive of these, one of the most exalted, one of the most satisfactory to the modern mind. . . .
That is why Bahá’u’lláh is a severe critic of the patriotism which plays so large a part in the national life of our day. Love of our native land is legitimate, but this love must not be exclusive. A man should love his country more than he loves his house (this is the dogma held by every patriot); but Bahá’u’lláh adds that he should love the divine world more than he loves his country. From this standpoint, patriotism is seen to be an intermediate stage on the road of renunciation, an incomplete and hybrid religion, something we have to get beyond. Throughout his life Bahá’u’lláh regarded the ideal universal peace as one of the most important of his aims . . . .
. . . Bahá’u’lláh is in this respect enunciating a novel and fruitful idea. There is a better way of dealing with social evils than by trying to cure them after they have come to pass. We should try to prevent them by removing their causes, which act on the individual, and especially on the child. Nothing can be more plastic than the nature of the child. The government’s first duty must be to provide for the careful and efficient education of children, remembering that education is something more than instruction. This will oe an enormous step towards the solution of the social problem, and to take such a step will be the first task of the Baitu’l Adl. “It is ordained upon every father to rear his son or his daughter by means of the sciences, the arts, and all the commandments; and if any one should neglect to do so, then the members of the council, should the offender be a wealthy man, must levy from him the sum necessary for the education of his child. When the neglectful parent is poor, the cost of the necessary education must be borne by the council, which will provide a refuge for the unfortunate.”
The Baitu’l Adl, likewise, must prepare the way for the establishment of universal peace, doing this by organizing courts of arbitration and by influencing the governments. Long before the Esperantists had begun their campaign, and more than twenty years before Nicholas II had summoned the first Hague congress, Bahá’u’lláh was insisting on the need for a universal language and courts of arbitration. He returns to these matters again and again.
“Let all the nations become one in faith, and let all men be brothers, in order that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men may be strengthened. . . . What harm can there be in that? . . . It is going to happen. There will be an end to sterile conflicts, to ruinous wars; and the Great Peace will come!” Such were the words of Bahá’u’lláh in 1890, two years before his death.
While adopting and developing the Christian law of love, Bahá’u’lláh rejected the Christian principle of ascetism. He discountenanced the macerations which were a nightmare of the Middle Ages, and whose evil effects persist even in our own days. . . .
Bahá’ísm, then, is an ethical system, a system of social morality. But it would be a mistake to regard Bahá’íst teaching as a collection of abstract rules imposed from without. Bahá’ísm is permeated with a sane and noble mysticism; nothing could be more firmly rooted in the inner life, more benignly spiritual; nothing could speak more intimately to the soul, in low tones, and as if from within.
Such is the new voice that sounds to us from Asia; such is the new dawn in the East. We should give them our close attention; we should abandon our customary mood of disdainful superiority. Doubtless, Bahá’u’lláh’s teaching is not definitive. The Persian prophet does not offer it to us as such. Nor can we Europeans assimilate all of it; for modern science leads us to make certain claims in matters of thought—claims we can not relinquish, claims we should not try to forego. But even though Bahá’u’lláh’s precepts (like those of the Gospels) may not fully satisfy all these intellectual demands; they are rarely in conflict with our scientific outlooks. If they are to become our own spiritual food, they must be supplemented, they must be relived by the religious spirits of Europe, must be re-thought by minds schooled in the western mode of thought. But, in its existing form, Bahá’íst teaching may serve, amid our present chaos, to open for us a road leading to solace and to comfort; may restore our confidence in the spiritual destiny of man. It reveals to us how the human mind is in travail; it gives us an inkling of the fact that the greatest happenings of the day are not the ones we were inclined to regard as the most momentous, not the ones which are making the loudest noise.
XII. From the World’s Parliament of Religions; Volume II, 13th Day, Under Criticism and Discussion of Missionary Methods, Page 1122. At the Columbian Exposition of 1893, at Chicago, Ill. Edited by the Rev. John Henry Barrows, D. D. The Parliament Publishing Company, Chicago, 1893.
(From Dr. Jessup’s Talk.)
This, then, is our mission: that we who are made in the image of God should remember that all men are made in God’s image. To this Divine knowledge we owe all we are, all we hope for. We are rising gradually toward that image, and we owe to our fellowmen to aid them in returning to it in the Glory of God and the Beauty of Holiness. It is a celestial privilege and
At right, Mr. and Mrs. Hyde Dunn, Bahá’í teacher’s in Australia. At left, Miss Amy Stevenson, a Bahá’í of Auckland, New Zealand.
At right, Mr. and Mrs. Hyde Dunn, Bahá’í teacher’s in Australia. At left, Miss Amy Stevenson, a Bahá’í of Auckland, New Zealand.
with it comes a high responsibility, from which there is no escape.
In the Palace of Behjeh or Delight, just outside the Fortress of Acre, on the Syrian coast, there died a few months since a famous Persian sage, the Babi Saint, named Bahá’u’lláh—the “Glory of God”— the Head of that vast reform party of Persian Moslems, who accept the New Testament as the Word of God and Christ as the Deliverer of men, who regard all nations as one, and all men as brothers. Three years ago He was visited by a Cambridge scholar and gave utterance to sentiments so noble, so Christ-like, that we repeat them as our closing words:
“That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religions should cease and differences of race be annulled. What harm is there in this? Yet so it shall be. These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come. Do not you in Europe need this also? Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.”
XIII. Excerpts from “Persia,” by the Right Hon. The Earl Curzon. Vol. I, pp. 496-504. Written in 1892 A. D.
Beauty and the female sex also lent their consecration to the new creed and the heroism of the lovely but ill-fated poetess of Kasvin, Zerin-Taj (Crown of Gold) or Kurrat-el-Ain (Solace of the Eyes), who, throwing off the Veil, carried the missionary torch far and wide, is one of the most affecting episodes in modern history. . . . The lowest estmlate places the present number of Babis in Persia at half a million. I am disposed to think, from conversations with persons well qualified to judge, that the total is nearer one million. They are to be found in every walk of life, from the ministers and nobles of the Court to the scavenger or the groom, not the least arena of their activity being the Mussulman priesthood itself. It will have been noticed that the movement was initiated by Syids, Hajis and Mullahs, i. e., persons who, either by descent, from pious inclination, or by profession, were intimately concerned with the Mohammedan creed; and it is among even the professed votaries of the faith that they continue to make their converts. . . . Quite recently the Babis have had great success in the camp of another enemy, having secured many proselytes among the Jewish populations of the Persian towns. I hear that during the past year (1891) they are reported to have made 150 Jewish converts in Teheran, 100 in Hamadan, 50 in Kashan, and 75 per cent. of the Jews at Gulpaigan.... The two victims, whose names were Haji Mirza Hasan and Haji Mirza Huseyn, have been renamed, by the Babis Sultanes-Shahada, or King of Martyrs, and Mahbub-es-Shahada, or Beloved of Martyrs—and their naked graves in the cemetery have become places of pilprimage where many a tear is shed over the fate of the “Martyrs of Isfahan.” . . . . It is these little incidents, protruding from time to time their ugly features, that prove Persia to be not as yet quite redeemed, and that somewhat staggers the tall-talkers about Iranian civilization. If one conclusion more than another has been forced upon our notice by the retrospect in which I have indulged, it is that a sublime and murmuring devotion has been inculcated by this new faith, whatever it be. There is, I believe, but one instance of a Babi having recanted under pressure of menace of suffering, and he reverted to the faith and was executed within two years. Tales of magnificent heroism illumine the blood-stained pages of Babi history. Ignorant and unlettered as many of its votaries are, and have been, they are yet prepared to die for their religion, and fires of Smithfield did not kindle a nobler courage than has met and defied the more refined torture-mongers of Teheran. Of no small account, then, must be the tenets of a creed that can awaken in its followers so rare and beautiful a spirit of self-sacrifice. From the facts that Babism in its earliest years found itself in conflict with the civil powers and that an attempt was made by Babis upcn the life of the Shah, it has been wrongly inferred that the movement was political in origin and Nihilist in character. It does not appear from a study of the writings either of the Báb or his successors, that there is any foundation for such a suspicion. . . . The charge of immorality seems to have arisen partly from the malignant inventions of opponents, partly from the much greater freedom claimed for women by the Báb, which in the oriental mind is scarcely dissociable from profligacy of conduct. . . . If Babiism continues to grow at its present rate of progression, a time may conceivably come when it will oust Mohammedanism from the field in Persia. . . . Since its recruits are won from the best soldiers of the garrison whom it is attacking, there is greater reason to believe that it may ultimately prevail. . . . The pure and suffering life of the Báb, his ignominous death, the heroism and martyrdom of his followers, will appeal to many others who can find no similar phenomena in the contemporaneous records of Islam. . . .
XIV. Extracts from “The Gleam,” by Sir Francis Younghusband, 1923.
The story of the Báb, as Mirza Ali Mohammed called himself, was the story of spiritual heroism unsurpassed in Svabhava’s experience; and his own adventur-
Miss Effie Baker of Melbourne, Australia, who travelled with Miss Martha Root, Bahá’í teacher and lecturer, on her notable trip through that country.
Miss Effie Baker of Melbourne, Australia, who travelled with Miss Martha Root, Bahá’í teacher and lecturer, on her notable trip through that country.
ous soul was fired by it. That a youth of no social influence and no education should, by the simple power of insight, be able to pierce into the heart of things and see the real truth, and then hold on to it with such firmness of conviction and present it with such suasion that he was able to convince men that he was the Messiah and get them to follow him to death itself, was one of those splendid facts in human history that Svabhava loved to meditate on. This was a true hero whom he would wish to emulate and whose experiences he would profit by. The Bab’s passionate sincerity could not be doubted, for he had given his life for his faith. And that there must be something in his message that appealed to men and satisfied their souls was witnessed to by the fact that thousands gave their lives in his cause and millions now follow him.
If a young man could, in only six years of ministry, by the sincerity of his purpose and the attraction of his personality, so inspire rich and poor, cultured and illiterate, alike, with belief in himself and his doctrines that they would remain staunch, though hunted down and without trial sentenced to death, sawn asunder, strangled, shot, blown from guns; and if men of high position and culture in Persia, Turkey and Egypt in numbers to this day adhere to his doctrines, his life must be one of those events in the last hundred years which is really worth study. And that study fortunately has been made by the Frenchman Gobineau and by Professor E. G. Brown, so that we are able to have a faithful representation of its main features. . . .
Thus, in only his thirtieth year, in the year 1850, ended the heroic career of a true God-man. Of the sincerity of his conviction that he was God-appointed, the manner of his death is the amplest possible proof. In the belief that he would thereby save others from the error of their present beliefs he willingly sacrificed his life. And of his power of attaching men to him the passionate devotion of hundreds and even thousands of men who gave their lives in his cause is convincing testimony . . . .
He himself was but “a letter out of that most mighty book, a dewdrop from that limitless ocean.” The one to come would reveal all mysteries and all riddles. This was the humility of true insight. And it has had its effect. His movement has grown and expanded,and it has yet a great future before it.
During his six years of ministry, four of which were spent in captivity, he had permeated all Persia with his ideas. And since his death the movement has spread to Turkey, Egypt, India and even into Europe and America. His adherents are now numbered by millions. The spirit which pervades them, says Professor Brown, “is such that it can not fail to affect most powerfully all subject to its influence.”
XV. Extract from “The Christian Commonwealth,” January 22, 1913. Abdu’l-Bahá at Oxford.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed a large and deeply interested audience at Manchester College, Oxford, on December 31. The Persian leader spoke in his native tongue, Mirza Ahmed Sohrab interpreting. Principal Estlin Carpenter presided, and introduced the speaker by saying that they owed the honour and pleasure of meeting Abdu’l-Bahá to their revered friend, Dr. Cheyne, who was deeply interested in the Bahá’í teaching. The Movement sprung up during the middle of the last century in Persia, with the advent of a young Muhammedan who took to himself the title of the Báb (meaning door or gate, through which men could arrive at the knowledge or truth of God), and who commenced teaching in Persia in the year 1844. The purity of his character, the nobility of his words, aroused great enthusiasm. He was, however, subjected to great hostility by the authorities, who secured his arrest and imprisonment, and he was finally executed in 1850. But the movement went on, and the writings of the Báb, which had been copious, were widely read. The movement has been brought into India, Europe, and the United States. It does not seek to create a new sect, but to inspire all sects with a deep fundamental love. The late Dr. Jowett once said to him that he had been so deeply impressed with the teachings and character of the Báb that he thought Babism, as the present movement was then known, might become the greatest religious movement since the birth of Christ.
Thonon-les-Bains, Switzerland
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Dr. J. E. Esslemont, distinguished Bahá’í teacher and author
Dr. J. E. Esslemont, distinguished Bahá’í teacher and author.
The following brief biographical sketch of the life of one of our most distinguished Bahá’í teachers and authors, is contributed by the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of England. Attached to and made a part of it is the appreciative expression of Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá’í Cause.—Editors.
JOHN Ebenezer Esslemont, who passed away at Haifa November 22, 1925, was born on May 19, 1874, the youngest son of John E. Esslemont of Fairford, Cults, Aberdeenshire.
He received his preliminary education at Ferryhill public school and continued his studies at the Robert Gordon College and ultimately at Aberdeen University, where he graduated with honors in April, 1898, obtaining not only the medical degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and of Surgery, but also a Philip Research Scholarship at the University. He spent the second half of 1899 at Berne and Strasburg, at both of which places he wrote papers on his research work, which were published and considered valuable.
Returning to Scotland in December, 1899, Esslemont took up the position of assistant to Professor Cash at Aberdeen University, which position he held until 1901, when he went to Australia, remaining there two years. During this residence in Australia, he married on December 19, 1902.
Early in his life Esslemont’s health proved a cause of trouble and anxiety, and in 1903 he was obliged to leave Australia, returning to Aberdeenshire, where he spent the summer, but found it necessary in the winter of that year to proceed to South Africa, the climate of which country it was hoped would prove beneficial to his pulmonary ailment. He remained in South Africa for five years, returning to his native country in 1908, when he obtained the post of resident medical officer at the Home Sanatorium, Southbourne, Bournemouth, which he continued to hold until 1923, when, owing to the death of the proprietor, the Sanatorium was closed and Esslemont found himself without medical occupation.
In 1924 he received a warm invitation from Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá’í Cause, asking him to spend the winter at Haifa, and early in November he left London, proceeding direct to Port Said. Writing from Malta, the only port of call, on November 15th, Esslemont spoke of a delightful voyage and of feeling much improved in health. He spent a day or two in Port Said, where he was most warmly received by the friends, and arrived at Haifa on November 21st. Here he at once devoted himself to the work of assisting Shoghi Effendi in his multifarious correspondence, which work he continued in spite of ill-health until the end.
Such is a brief account of the material side of Esslemont’s life; it remains now to say something of the spiritual side, which continues and will continue for evermore.
Whilst at Bournemouth in 1912 Esslemont, in association with several other doctors, took up the question of State medical service and in 1914 he read a paper on this subject before the British Medical Association at its meeting at Bournemouth, which by the attention it aroused helped greatly the deliberations of the Advisory Committee on Public Health. The wife of one of Esslemont’s associates in this work, who had met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London in 1911, first mentioned the Baha'i Cause to Esslemont
in December, 1914, and lent him some pamphlets. He had been searching for Truth in many directions, but without finding that which could satisfy his innate religious feeling; on hearing, however, the Bahá’í message he was at once impressed by its beauty and thoroughness; so much so that without delay he procured all books in English which dealt with the subject. Most truly applicable to Esslemont are the words of the Beloved Master: “Blessed is he that the Word of God had reached him and had found his soul ‘awake.’”
His progress in the study of the Sacred Books was therefore rapid, for already in 1915 he was writing to the lady above-mentioned recommending what books she should read; and in February, 1916, little more than a twelve-month after he himself first received the Glad Tidings, he wrote at length to a Bahá’í friend in Manchester in terms which show how thoroughly he had accepted the Bahá’í teachings and how profoundly he had already studied them. Thus he writes:
“We can each become like our friend if we make the great surrender of self and selfishness and become willing channels for the Divine Spirit. There is no limit to what the human spirit can achieve in the strength of Divine Inspiration. The germ of the Divine Nature is in every man; only most of us are not manifesting it. Instead, we are smothering it. It is like a plant, which needs sun and rain for its growth, the Sun and Rain of the Divine Love and Bounty. We have the power either to open our hearts to that Love and Bounty or to reject them. Only by turning our attention and interest away from the world and turning them to God can we grow in spirit. Such turning means attending to the reality and inner significance of things instead of to the outward appearance. It means that our interest in and love for everything in all God’s universe should vastly increase, but that we should regard all outward appearances but as the garments of the inner realities, as dawning places for the Glory of God. Oh! may people all over the world soon turn to God, as revealed in Bahá’u’lláh, with humble and contrite hearts, begging for His forgiveness and blessing and imploring His mercy and bounty! Then shall His Kingdom come in men’s hearts and the whole world become one home and all mankind one family.”
This extract from one of Esslemont’s early letters shows so clearly the spirit which illumined all his words and actions, that its insertion here will be forgiven by those who read his stirring admonition and appeal. That he himself did in very truth turn to God as revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, and that having so turned, he never deviated by one hair’s breadth from the path of love and righteousness is a fact known to those who had the privilege of meeting him and listening to his glowing talks as well as to those who are acquainted with him only through his writings inspired as they are with that same loving spirit which was so apparent to those who knew him personally.
Esslemont’s work as a personal teacher, apart from his letters, began in Bournemouth, where a group of adherents to the Cause gathered under his auspices, resulting in the formation of a Spiritual Assembly of which he was the first chairman, a position he continued to ocupy until he left England in 1924. In this connection it may be mentioned that he was also the representative of the Bournemouth group on the National
Spiritual Assembly of England, of which body he became Vice-Presi-
dent, and which benefited much by his counsel and advice.
Not satisfied with studying the Bahá’í writings for himself alone, which led him to learn Persian so as to read them in the original language, Esslemont set about writing for the instruction of others. The first nine chapters of his justly celebrated book, “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era,” which were written during the World War, were submitted to the Beloved Master when peace led to the reopening of communications with Haifa, with the result that Esslemont received an invitation from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to visit Haifa, which he did in the winter of 1919-20. During this visit the Beloved Master discussed the book with the author, making suggestions for its improvement, and indeed read through and revised some three and a half chapters, which had been translated into Persian for the purpose.
The third chapter relating to Bahá’u’lláh was first published as a separate pamphlet, and it was proposed to issue a new edition on the occasion of the Conference on some living religions within the British Empire which was held in London in the autumn of 1924; on consideration, however, it appeared that a more general pamphlet would be both more appropriate and more useful, and thus “Bahá’u’lláh and His Message” came to be written by Esslemont, who also wrote the small leaflet, “What Is the Baha'i Movement?”
It was not only by his printed works that Esslemont became known to the Bahá’í world, for he was an indefatigable and voluminous correspondent not only in English, but also in Esperanto, of which universal language he was a complete master. Amongst his last labors during his stay at Haifa in 1925 was the revision of the Esperanto translation of the above-mentioned leaflet which had been prepared for the meeting of the Universal Esperanto Congress at Geneva in August of that year. Another work on which he was also engaged towards the close of his earthly career was the translation into German of his large book.
These evidences of Esslemont’s labors in the service of the Cause remain open to all, but of the loving services which he so gladly and selflessly rendered to all with whom he came into personal contact, only they can give full account from the inmost recesses of their hearts; but surely all whom he helped will forever bear in mind the inestimable benefits conferred upon them by his words, and more, perhaps, by his living example of what a true Bahá’í should be, for he was nigh unsurpassed in selflessness, in utter devotion and obedience to the Bahá’í teachings, in love and trustfulness to all his fellows.
No better appreciation of Dr. Esslemont and of his services to the Bahá’í Cause can be given than that contained in the following letter which the Guardian of the Bahá’í Cause wrote after the passing of him who loved the Cause so well and served it so faithfully:
“It is with feelings of overwhelming sorrow that I communicate to you the news of yet another loss which the Almighty, in His inscrutable wisdom, has chosen to inflict upon our beloved Cause. On the 22nd of November, 1925—that memorable and sacred day in which the Bahá’ís of the Orient celebrated the twin Festivals of the Declaration of the Báb and the Birthday of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—Dr. John E. Esslemont passed on to the Abha Kingdom. His end was as swift as it was unexpected. Suffering from the effects of a chronic and insidious disease, he fell at last a victim to the inevitable complications that ensued, the fatal course of which neither the efforts of
vigilant physicians nor the devoted cares of his many friends could possibly deflect.
“He bore his sufferings with admirable fortitude, with calm resignation and courage. Though convinced that his ailments would never henceforth forsake him, yet many a time he revealed a burning desire that the friends residing in the Holy Land should, while visiting the Shrines, implore the All-Merciful to prolong his days that he may bring to a fuller completion his humble share of service to the Threshold of Bahá’u’lláh. To this noble request all hearts warmly responded. But this was not to be. His close association with my work in Haifa, in which I had placed fondest hopes, was suddenly cut short. His book, however, an abiding monument to his pure intention, will, alone, inspire generations yet unborn to tread the path of truth and service as steadfastly and as unostentatiously as was trodden by its beloved author. The Cause he loved so well he served even unto his last day with exemplary faith and unstinted devotion. His tenacity of faith, his high integrity, his self-effacement, his industry and painstaking labors were traits of a character the noble qualities of which will live and live forever after him. To me personally he was the warmest of friends, a trusted counsellor, an indefatigable collaborator, lovable companion.
“With tearful eyes I supplicate at the Threshold of Bahá’u’lláh—and request you all to join—in my ardent prayers, for the fuller unfolding in the realms beyond of a soul that has already achieved so high a spiritual standing in this world. For by the beauty of his character, by his knowledge of the Cause, by the conspicuous achievements of his book, he has immortalized his name, and by sheer merit deserved to rank as one of the Hands of the Cause of God.
“He has been laid to rest in the heart of that beautifully situated Bahá’í burial ground at the foot of Carmel, close to the mortal remains of that venerable soul, Haji Mirza Vakilu’d-Dawlih, the illustrious cousin of the Báb and chief builder of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of ’Ishqábád. Pilgrims visiting his grave from far and near will, with pride and gratitude, do honor to a name that adorned the annals of an immortal Cause.
“May he eternally rest in peace.”
I.The Relation of the Baha'i Cause to Modern Progressive Movements.
II.The Unity of Civilization.
III.Equality of Men and Women.
IV.Esperanto and the Baha'i Teachings.
V.Some Tendencies Toward Unity in Religion.
VI.Science and Religion.
VII. Universal Education.
VIII.Racial Amity.
IX.The Economic Problem.
X.World Peace.
Delegates and friends attending the Conference of Living Religions within the British Empire at a reception given by Lady Blomfield, at London, England, in the autumn of 1924
By Ru’hi Afn’an
ONE of the problems that confront a student of the Bahá’í Cause is the position it occupies among the other modern progressive movements. “Why is it,” he asks, “that we see so many societies, more or less contemporary with the Cause, which uphold similar views and aims? It cannot be a case of conscious plagiarism, for in most cases the leaders of these societies were absolutely ignorant of the Bahá’í Movement, its founders and principles. Can it be then that the Cause is merely eclectic, a movement that has achieved nothing more that to gather up ideas originated by others and to adopt them as its own ?”
To answer this difficult, yet legitimate question, we have to remember that the principal teaching of the Cause is that its founders were divinely inspired. It is not a man-made Movement. It is “the Cause of God.” Man’s affairs have fallen into such a tangled condition, his problems have become so complex and difficult, his motives so selfish and his aims so material, that no real solution is possible without a fundamental and complete reform.
God, therefore, having the good of His people at heart, undertook this gigantic task, and dealt with it in two ways. On the one hand, He sent His Prophet with a perfect code of laws to teach some chosen disciples, raise them to whole-hearted devotion and obedience, and make them active leaven to permeate the world with the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, reaching beyond this small circle of disciples, He inspired receptive souls, in all quarters of the globe and among all races and religions, to further the work by rending the veil of prejudice and opening the eyes to the need of Divine help and fundamental reform.
The Divine Power is behind all progressive movements. Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings would have remained a utopia, never to be realized, if His spirit, that is God’s hand, had not stirred some souls to establish new movements and work, although in apparent independence, yet for similar aims. These souls are the enlightened teachers who have been showing the world that material prosperity should not be the aim of life; that through appropriate taxation and education the rich can help the betterment of the social and economic conditions of the poor; that war should cease; that nationalism should give way to a higher and nobler policy of internationalism; that a League of Nations should be established to settle international disputes; that an international language should be created to become a universal medium of communication and eliminate misunderstandings.
In a word, these progressive movements which have sprung up during the ninteenth century have been instruments used by God to make the world more receptive to His Cause. They have been like the plowing and
harrowing by which the farmer prepares the ground for his crop. And we can measure the extent of this preparation if we take the pains to find out how much nearer now are the popular views to the Teachings of the Cause, than they were at the beginning of the last century. Since Bahá’u’lláh first proclaimed His principles, the world has, through the work of these progressive teachers and the various societies they have founded, advanced so much towards the Bahá’í teachings that we would not be in the least astonished, if from now on people would join the Cause in whole groups rather than as isolated individuals. As some one aptly said, "if the Bahá’ís do not make the world Bahá’í, it will, through its natural development, become so."
This view may give rise to another question, namely, "If these movements aim at the same thing, could we not join them rather than the Cause, and through them bring about the Millennium?" Though many points may be advanced in answer to such a suggestion we need mention here only a few.
First, these movements have taken up only one or two of the principles and focused attention upon them. They therefore could not do more than partially improve the social condition of the world. Moreover, in many of these movements we find that the teachings are either presented in a less perfect form than the Cause, or are incorporated with other less desirable doctrines.
Bahá’í Teachings are inclusive. If we study the principles laid down by Bahá’u’lláh, we will see they are interdependent and have to be taken up all together in order to achieve the desired result. His ideal League of Nations, for example, cannot be realized unless the Unity of Mankind be proclaimed; unless the spirit of narrow nationalism be abolished; unless the economic problems be solved and class hatred cease to breed internecine war; unless inter-religious disputes be forgotten; unless man become more religious and the idea of the League be planted in his heart.
Two alternatives are, therefore, left to us. Either to accept the Cause and thereby uphold all these teachings in their purest and most practicable form, or to unite all the other progressive movements under one banner, reform their principles, and marshal them for the great Armageddon. The latter alternative is impracticable, not only because of the jealousy and want of harmony between these various movements, but also because it lacks two important factors. In the first place there is a want of that dynamic power, that outpouring of the spirit, which is so conspicuous in the Bahá’í Movement. This executive Power is the only thing that can save a high principle from remaining a mere theory, an ideal never to be realized.
In the second place the Cause has a brilliant history behind it, the history of Divine Founders and noble and valiant martyrs. No one can deny the effect past achievement has in determining the development of a nation. It forms a source of ideals and examples on which future generations can draw. What Cause shows a more brilliant history and greater heroes to inspire its followers and rouse them to glorious effort?
Why has not the Bahá’í Cause spread more quickly? “If the Cause occupies such a high and sure position,” it may be said, “why has it not spread as quickly as the other, less important, movements?” Before answering this question we may remind ourselves that the rapidity with which a movement spreads is no sure measure of its importance. History shows us quite definitely that the movements which spread most rapidly were not generally the ones to
last longest. Christianity, on the other hand, which after twenty centuries still retains its millions of votaries, had to take far slower steps and await a century or two before attracting much attention from the world.
Moreover, how could we expect the people to understand and appreciate in a short period of time such a number of teachings and accept so high a claim as the Bahá’í Movement puts forward?
Other movements in most cases uphold only one or two principles, the comprehension of which is far easier. One short leaflet is enough to convince one that the League of Nations, though far from being perfect, is a step towards the ideal. On the other hand, months and perhaps years of continuous study and meditation may be needed to awaken a soul to the importance and greatness of the Bahá’í Cause. This is not due to any inherent defect in the teachings but to the magnitude of the issues involved.
Those of the Bahá’ís who have had some experience in teaching the Cause and advocating its principles will agree, that though many become great admirers of the movement, comparatively few are willing fully to identify themselves with it. In the majority of cases the reason is that the people have come to be suspicious of any movement that has a religious element in it. They have seen so much lack of sincerity in certain professedly religious people that they are apt to generalize and attribute this characteristic to all. It is for the Bahá’ís, therefore, to live up to the life their leaders have so perfectly exemplified for them, and by actual deeds prove to these people that this generalization is unwarranted and that they must set aside this suspicion and render to the Cause its due honor and support.
In conclusion I may quote ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who said: “The spirit of the Cause is pulsating in the arteries of mankind.” It is the spirit of the Cause that has aroused responsive souls to throw aside their antiquated beliefs, found new schools of thought, give their lives for progressive aims and serve noble Causes. But should their adherents continue to follow these leaders once the greater and more comprehensive movement is proclaimed? Should they be satisfied with small and limited things when the nobler and greater Cause commands their allegiance?
By Y. S. Tsao
Y. S. Tsao, the President of Tsing Hua College, is a Yale praduate and his wife a charming American lady. Tsing Hua College was founded in 1911 as the result of the return to China, by the United States government, of the Boxer indemnity.—Editors.
A FEW weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing an address by Dr Luce, entitled “Interpreting the Signs of the Time.” The speaker, dreaming of a Utopia, asked himself what are the signs leading to a millennium on earth. I thought these signs should at least first lead to “The Unity of Civilization and the Universality of Religion.” Civilization without unity is not civilization—but superficiality; religion without universality is not religion but superstition or dogmatism.
One of the most remarkable movements toward the unity of civilization was the World Conference on Education held in San Francisco.
The sessions were devoted to a discussion of education as a means of eliminating the ignorance and injustice causing hatred and misunderstanding among nations. The call which went out to one thousand contacts in 73 different countries contained the following objectives; to promote friendship, justice and good-will among the nations of the earth; to bring about a world-wide tolerance of the rights and privileges of all nations, regardless of race or creed; to develop an appreciation of the value of inherited gifts of nationality through the centuries of development and progress; to secure accurate and adequate information in text books used in the schools of the different nations; to produce a national comradeship; to inculcate in the minds and hearts of the rising generations the spiritual values necessary to carry forward the principles emphasized at the Washington Conference; and finally, to emphasize the essential unity of mankind, making clear the suicidal nature of war, and the necessity of peace.
The opening meetings were attended by from ten to eighteen thousand people interested in this movement. An eye-witness said: “To stand before the plenary conference and look into the faces of the world, a representation wide-spread, not a few leading countries but the nations of the world who sat together and earnestly deliberated, not for selfish interests but for a great humanistic motive, sent a thrill through one. Constantly one felt that it was here,—the greatest fundamental truths, the potent forces which can make humanity better, more tolerant, more faithful, more virtuous, more devout—will be set in motion.”
Many will be found to ridicule the idea that any real progress in unity has ever been made, or that the world can ever be envisaged except as an irksome enclosure of rival armed forces thirsting for the fray. But there is a quiet but well founded belief that the forces tending to unity in the world are different in quality, incomparably greater in scope than those which make for disruption. Discord is explosive and temporary; harmony rises slowly but dominates the final chord.
The great World War has certainly brought home the lesson of economic interdependence among nations, and although President Wilson’s ideal was not fully realized in the League of Nations, subsequent events have decidedly brought back to the thinking minds such works as Norman Angell’s “Great Illusion,” Fayle’s “The Great Settlement” and Keyne’s courageous attacks against the reparation provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, and recently even Kant’s Perpetual Peace had new editions brought out.
In a more recent work published by the Cambridge University Press, entitled, “The Wider Aspects of Education,” which contains papers by Dr. G. P. Gooch, he as a historian called the doctrine of the unfettered sovereignty of the individual state as “the curse of the modern world.” He said in part, “For a thousand years roughly from St. Augustine to Machiavelli, from the fifth century to the fifteenth, the conception of the unity of civilization dominated Europe. They called Europe the Res Publica Christiana—the Christian Commonwealth—and they believed in this great conception of the unity of civilized mankind. It was only about 400 years ago, when the great political thinker Machiavelli taught the conception of the sovereignty of the State, making every State supreme, responsible only to itself, without any obligations to other States, without any obligations to the community of mankind, and without paying any more than lip homage either to a
divine ruler of mankind
or to the divine voice within. What Machiavelli began was continued by men like Hobbes in England and Hegel in Germany, and it has become something like an established principle of statesmen and of publicists in every country in the world. For the last four centuries therefore there has been a struggle going on for the soul of man between the doctrine of world-citizenship and the newer doctrine of purely secular and national politics.”
He regards the Great War as the inevitable result and the final disproof of the truth and value of narrow-headed and narrow-minded nationalism and he believes that the best thought and the best mind of the day in all countries without exception is turning to the conception of world-citizenship, brought up-to-date, transferred from a theological to an ethical foundation, and enlarged until it embraces, at any rate, all the civilized countries of the world. This process has been assisted not only by the bankruptcy of the doctrine of sovereignty which was revealed by the Great War, but also by our experience of the results of the struggle.
He believes it will take a very long time for this conception to work itself into the consciousness and the sub-consciousness of statesmen, of the man in the street, and of the schoolmaster and of the author of school history; but it has got to come, and it will come. He is perfectly certain that those of us who are connected with teaching and the teaching profession will be gravely neglecting our duties if we do not do all that lies in our power first to convince ourselves of this fundamental fact of the unity of civilization and the mutual obligation of all the members of the civilized family of man, and in the second place, to pass on this great revealing and inspiring conception to those with whom we come in contact, and to those whose training is given into our hands.
Recently, I was profoundly stirred by a passage which appears in a book meant to train military leaders. It says, “Under the old idea, patriotism consisted in doing one’s utmost to bring power, honor and glory to one’s own nation, even, if expedient and necessary at the expense of other nations. The true conception of patriotism is of a higher order—to bring power, honor and glory to the state through honest effort, through good government, through unselfishness and not conquest, through friendship toward the other nations of the earth and especially the weaker, through making the name and flag of the state honored and respected among all nations—and all this not alone for its own sake but for the benefit of humanity and the race. Such a conception does not belittle patriotism, it ennobles it. Neither a man nor a nation can exist worthily for his own or its own sake alone. Both have a part and a duty toward others in lifting civilization to a higher plane and in contributing permanent values to the life of the civilized world. This is the true conception of patriotism—and nationalism.“
Two years ago, the writer had the opportunity to address the leading educators of the country at an annual conference and the conclusion was a revised version of a Confucian passage so-called “The New Great Learning.“ Confucius said:
“The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the world, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families; wishing to regulate their families they first cultivated their persons; wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts; wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sin-
cere in their thoughts; wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost of their knowledge, such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things."
In the light of modern knowledge, I advocated the employment of Science in the investigation of things and in the completion of knowledge; the use of religion, ethics and philosophy of life to make sincere one’s thoughts, to rectify one’s heart and to cultivate one’s person; the adoption of social sciences for the regulation of one’s family and the government of a state; and to adopt the conception of Unity of Civilization and the Universality of Religion in order to illustrate illustrious Virtue throughout the world.
While the idea of the sovereignty of the state has limited the scope of civilization by petty nationalism, most great religions claim to be universal. However, the religions have not made good their claim.
Mr. Rockefeller, Jr., before a Bible Class of two hundred men in New York, said that modern intellect has outstripped religion in the headlong progress of modern times. He quoted from a recent article by Winston Churchill, present Chancellor of the Exchequer of the British Empire, as follows: “The ideas of 1924 are marching on and are being perfected in the armies of the world under the surface of peace. Mankind has got into its hands the tools by which it can unfailingly accomplish its own extermination.”
“Why is this so?" Mr. Rockefeller asked, and he answered his own question.
“Because the development of man’s spiritual character has not kept pace with his intellect. Civilization, the accumulation of mind and matter, has temporarily outstripped religion. Religion must quicken its pace, otherwise man will not wake in time to save himself from the nightmare of war.”
As illustrations of religion applied to human affairs, Mr. Rockefeller cited hospitals, schemes for housing, child labor laws, factory laws. “In back of these manifestations, whether consciously or not,” he said, “is the Christian spirit. The operation of man’s sympathy is the flower of our spiritual idealism. If men are to continue to live together in our modern closely knit society,” Mr. Rockefeller declared, “they must be guided by principles springing from love of God, hence love of our brother. Although civilization may temporarily have outstripped its religion, it has not outgrown it.”
Let each one ask himself or herself, “Has intellect or civilization, modern necessities of life and nervous passions outstripped my own abiding reigious faith?” To be more concrete, “If your faith is the Fatherhood of God of Love, can you love mankind as your brother?” Why cannot this text continually ring in our ears: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do." Has it not been said of a great soul that when his pet dog upset his candle in his library and burnt his manuscript upon which he had devoted many years of study to complete, his only displeasure was the exclamation, “Diamond, Diamond! Little do you know the mischief you have done!” If we cannot get this forgiving and sympathetic spirit to permeate our being then religion becomes only a Sunday suit.
Since the war, German thinkers have been busily occupied in developing new philosophies, and in spite of starvation and social chaos, with a certain part of the German people, the physical discomforts of life seem to have created a spiritual need more urgent than the want of food. Phil-
osophical works were purchased by the members of the middle class by the hundreds of thousands. For instance, the sale of Chamberlain’s “Foundations of 19th Century Civilization” has reached 150,000 copies. Vaihinger’s “Philosophy of the As If” 50,000, Spengler’s “Decline of Western Civilization” 70,000 and Keyserling’s “A Philosopher’s Log” 50,000.
Count Keyserling is a member of a noble German family of the Russian Baltic provinces dispossessed by the Revolution. The social and moral chaos of his generation drove him to despair, so he undertook a trip around the world as a student of creeds and philosophies. “He tried to feel and think like a Buddhist in Ceylon, a Brahman in India, a Confucianist in China, a Japanese in Japan and an American in the United States.” The record of his spiritual metamorphoses was first published in 1918 as “A Philosopher’s Log.” His conclusions might be summarized as follows: “All facts—and all creeds—are but different expressions of one spiritual meaning; they are the only means by which we can gain cognizance of the real world of spiritual facts; deeper understanding of their meaning will lead to greater power and perfection; and there is no human progress but this improvement of our understanding.”
This philosophical acknowledgment of the universal origin of spiritual life is quite recent, but even as early as 1905, Dr. Charles Cuthbert Hall, the President of the Union Theological Seminary, observed the growing repugnance on the part of ministers and laymen, to old forms of denominational subscription. In circles of culture there is coming a truer sense of proportion touching the legitimate functions of the church, he declared. Undeveloped conceptions of unity and movements of life and love are in the air, moving freely as on the wings of eagles and unconsciously ignoring formal lines of division beneath. Meantime, the advancing philosophy ot religion, the enriching discoveries of history and archaeology, the pressure of social problems, the new cosmopolitanism, and above all the constructive results of Biblical criticism are bringing together many of the best minds and of the most consecrated souls upon a platform of Christian belief and effort incompatible with aggressive sectarianism, and independent of denominational subdivision. The tenor of this sentiment is not revolutionary but evolutionary; not destructive but constructive. This crystallizing of unorganized sentiment into a reinterpretation of the church on non-sectarian lines must be through the centralizing power of the Eternal Truth lifted up and drawing all men unto itself, with the vitalizing power of the Eternal Spirit giving liberty unto every man.
After prophesying the gradual breaking down of the artificial barriers of sectarianism and denominationalism, thereby giving religious life a freer development in a wider field, Dr. Hall described his hopes entertained towards the people of the East. “When one stands in the heart of the venerable East; feels the atmosphere charged with religious impulse; reads on the faces of the people marks of the unsatisfied soul; considers the monumental expressions of the religious idea in grand and enduring architectural forms, then the suggestion, that all this means nothing—that it bears no witness to the Divine in man seeking and finding a partial and inadequate self-fulfillment—that it is but to be stamped out and exterminated before Christianity can rise upon its ruins—becomes an unthinkable suggestion. I look with reverence upon the hopes and yearnings of non-Christian faiths, believing them to contain
flickering and broken lights of God,” and “And nothing is more certain than that the common essence of Christianity lends itself to expression in the terms of the East. Our Lord Himself was an Oriental, and no imagination can picture Him, without violence to the sense of truth, except in the garb and manner of the East. Christianity would have overspread the East ere now had it not been forced upon the East in unwelcome identification with the manners and customs and temperaments and dogmas and military governments of an alien and inexplicable West.”
“Finally, the Christianization of the world suggests a more complete and full-orbed interpretation of Christianity for the world, when the East shall supplement and fulfill the West by contributing truth seen from her point of view; mediated through her experience.”
I have quoted lengthily in order to show how even twenty years ago religious thinkers were aiming at unity in civilization and universality in religious life. More recently, the religious views are growing even more liberal, to wit, the teachings of Dr. Fosdick of New York and the sermons of Dean Inge of London.
The prophecy of Dr. Hall, has in a measure been realized in the teachings of many well known movements, more or less religious, which have been organized in recent years, but I shall confine myself here to the teachings of the Bahá’í Movement as taught by Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which mean “The Glory of God” and “The Servant of God.”
“The Bahá’í revelation is not an organization. The Bahá’í Cause can never be confined to an organization. The Bahá’í revelation is the spirit of this age. It is the essence of all the highest ideals of this century. The Bahá’í Cause is an inclusive movement; the teachings of all religions and societies are found here. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muhammadans, Zoroastrians, Theosophists, Freemasons, Spiritualists, et al., find their highest aims in this Cause. Socialists and philosophers find their theories fully developed in this revelation.”
The Baha'i revelation, which had its rise in Persia in the year 1844, today has become known throughout the world. “It is not so much a new religion as Religion renewed and unified.”
This unique movement for social and spiritual reconstruction was first centered in a radiant youth called the Báb, whose mission it was to proclaim the coming of a great world messenger. Many European historians have described the wonderful charm of this pure-hearted hero of progressive religion, who was martyred in 1850 after six years of brilliant teaching.
Bahá’u’lláh, a Persian noble, then appeared as the one heralded by the Báb. He announced the dawn of a new age, an age when brotherhood and peace should cover the earth even as the waters cover the sea. The principles he advocated, however, were too universal for the limited minds of his contemporaries. He and a few of his followers were driven by the reactionary powers of Persia into exile and prison, and at last, in 1868, were immured in the desolate barracks of Akka in Syria.
But the persecutions of men cannot extinguish the light of God’s holy spirit when it shines from the heart of his prophets. From the “Most Great Prison” of Akka, Bahá’u’lláh spread his gospel of unity and love throughout Western Asia. In 1892, at the end of forty years of exile and imprisonment, he passed away, leaving his eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the appointed expounder of his word
and the promulgator of his Cause, the “Center of the Covenant.”
Under the guidance of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the Bahá’í message has been carried to all lands and all religions. It has bound Christians and Muhammadans, Buddhists and Parsis, Jews and Hindus, into the most spiritual brotherhood the world has ever known.
The Bahá’ís believe that this is the beginning of that Golden Age upon earth, the age of universal peace and love when, as Christ foretold, men “shall come from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God.”
“The Bahá’í teachings unify the religions of the world into one universal religion. It proves that the essence of the original teaching of all those religions was the same, though they have grown far apart because of additions in the form of dogmas, theology and rituals combined with the ambitions of different leaders.”
I have marshalled forth evidences to prove that the conception of Unity in Civilization and Universality in Religion are already in existence. These comprehensive conceptions are very satisfying, although it may take a long time before they are fully realized in the world.
Much suffering and damage have been caused to the world and humanity in the name of civilization and religion, which are too much a heterogenous conglomeration of inconsistencies. Without order, system, comprehensibility, consistency, and unity, the best civilization and the best religion can but be partial and inadequate truths, containing only flickering and broken light of a divine purpose. Such conceptions cannot satisfy the questing soul, nor can they give that unruffled serenity of outlook upon life as a whole. Only Civilization with Unity and Religion with Universality can have the ring of finality.
By Dr. Orrol Harper
IN this day of universal awakening the sediment of old ideas is brought to the surface, and revealed in ungarnished nudity. It is as if a clarifying prod had stirred to its depths the ocean of life and brought into view all the debris that human ignorance and misconception have collected for ages.
Placed in bold relief by the sunlight of analysis and reason the crude barrenness of ancient ideas unfolds. Opinion takes on perspective and vision, understanding becomes more vital, reality more clear.
Humanity, being roused from its sleep of stagnation, is gradually awakening to the consciousness of a limitless self. It sees in potential possibility manifestations of all life. It makes the discovery that all phenomena are produced by a varied combination and balance of negative and positive charges of electronic energy.
Humanity ranges its study from the smallest simple element to the largest and most complicated bodies and planets, and through such investigation it becomes known that
Dr. and Mrs. K. M. Foujdar of Bombay, who were married February 2 , 1925. Mrs. Foujdar was Miss Shirin M. Irani. She holds a unique position as the first Eastern woman to be able to speak in public in the East.
Dr. and Mrs. K. M. Foujdar of Bombay, who were married February 2 , 1925. Mrs. Foujdar was Miss Shirin M. Irani. She holds a unique position as the first Eastern woman to be able to speak in public in the East.
the same law that governs the smallest particle of matter applies also to the largest bodies in creation.
The principle of opposites is the law by which all manifestations of life on this earth plane exist and become known. Contrast is the means used to make us appreciate the true worth of all things.
Would we appreciate sunshine if it never rained? If hatred and animosity did not exist would we understand love and kindness? If there were no ignorance would we be conscious of knowledge? If poverty did not exist would we be able to enjoy wealth? If woman had not suffered from the cave-man would she be able to appreciate the co-operative man? If woman did not exist would man be in existence? No!
Man and woman are the two component parts of humanity. With either element lacking the human race could not exist, and with either element undeveloped the race as a whole stagnates.
In centuries past woman has been the helpless, uneducated, unhonored part of mankind. As far back as historical records go woman’s chief sphere of activity has been the home. Her time has been so completely taken up with household duties and the rearing of children that her intellectual growth has suffered.
Formerly in the Orient women were not even considered as human beings. Certain Arab tribes counted them in with their livestock. In their language, the noun for “woman” also meant “donkey”; that is, the same name applied to both, and a man’s wealth was accounted by the number of these beasts of burden he possessed. The worst insult one could hurl at a man was to call out, “Thou woman!”
The American Indian in an uncivilized state allowed his squaw to rear a family and at the same time do all the hard labor of the day, while he sat around and smoked or fought in battle.
What a difference exists today! Civilization has advanced. Woman is awake to her identity. She is becoming conscious that she is the equal and complement of the masculine element of humanity.
Education is freeing her from the bondage of ignorance. The untrained, uneducated, inexperienced, suppressed half of the body of man has shaken off its paralysis. As woman receives the intellectual stimulus that can only come by contact with other minds, she is developing strength and learning how to fulfill her purpose in life, that of being the equal and complement of man, in fact the mother of all men.
Lack of development of either half of the human race delays progress. If either wing of the bird of humanity is weak or broken the bird cannot soar to its greatest heights.
But the fact that woman has not always been conscious of her powers, has not always been the life and inspiration that she is today, has not always contributed her intellectual gifts to the intelligence of the race, makes her even more appreciated, now that she is learning how to strengthen that weakened wing of the human bird.
A sweeping survey of woman’s activity in the world proves it to be extensive. A large group of progressive mothers are to be seen, who are educating themselves so that they in turn can adequately train their children.
A second class of women is described by an author in The Living Age, who writes, “Although home duties may be the appropriate function for the majority of women, there is in the social life of today a very large class of young women who are perfectly capable of doing what was
once supposed to be man’s exclusive work—and doing it well.”
Some specific examples of this class are:
Margaret Kelly, Assistant Director of the United States Mint.
Mrs. J. C. McRee, a business woman of Atlanta, Ga., who in 1918 bought the fixtures of a tea room going out of business for $200. Two years later she refused $150,000 for it.
Dr. Alice Hamilton, one of America’s most distinguished physicians, for six years traveled over the country for the United States Department of Labor, and later spent one half of each year at Harvard University where she was one of the faculty.
In reply to the opponents of woman’s new activity, Gertrude Atherton in the Yale Review says, “You forget that no woman can hold a man’s job if she is inefficient and that many men are cheerfully permitting their wives to support them.”
Women of a third class have been accused of being industrial usurpers. But this idea has been proved faulty by C. P. Neil, Commissioner of Labor, who listed four of the six great divisions of modern industry as woman’s industry, by right of her priority in them. Look at the range of the four:-
1. Textile industries (cotton, woolen, linen manufacturers.)
2. Cloth and serving trades (all garment manufacturers.)
3. Manufacturers of food and kindred products (including beverages, bakeries, pickle factories, candy kitchens, etc.)
4. Domestic service (supervision of hosteleries, apartment houses, restaurants.)
If “usurpation” is the word it is the men carders and weavers, men who come to the house with vacuum cleaners, hotel proprietors, men garment cutters and fitters, apartment house superintendents, men bakers, chefs, pickle makers and brewers, it is they who are the usurpers—not the women, who are but following their traditional pursuits from home to factory.
A fourth class is made up of women who are demonstrating the dynamic ability to have babies and careers both. Lady Astor, a member of the British parliament, and also a mother of five children is an interesting example. Lady Astor says, “The pearl of a great price that I am striving for is to take into public life what every man gets from his mother—unselfishness, vision, courage, cleanness—the real kind which helps them to live up to what is best in them. There is so much good in all men, but only good women can bring it out.”
Henry Norman in the Forum says, “Women are among the truly great artists of the world; some of them are great musicians, many of them great fiction writers.”
Every cause that is of lasting benefit to the race is usually watered with the blood of martyrs. The cause of the awakened woman is no exception. Kurratu’l-Ayn, a beautiful Persian poetess, was the first woman to give her life to help establish freedom for all women. In 1863, in a land where girls received no education, in a country where custom demanded thick protecting veils for all women at all times, among a people who considered it a disgrace to be tbe parents of a girl baby, Kurratu’l-Ayn arose and throwing aside her veil, fearlessly proclaimed the dawn of a New Age in which superstition, fanatical custom and ignorance would be done away with. For her action Kurratu’l-Ayn was killed, her body was thrown into a well, and stones were heaped upon her. Like a seed that human body was buried,
so that the spirit
of progress that animated it might come forth as a new plant to carry freedom, courage, intellectual and spiritual growth to all women.
The most important question of this age is the establishment of Universal Peace. Since 1888 an International Council of Women, representing 42 countries and 36,000,000 women, has been meeting, once every five years to promote unity and mutual understanding between all associations of women, working for the common welfare of humanity. Its watchwords are peace, co-operation and progress.
To him who considers man superior to woman, Professor Burton, late President of the Minnesota and Wisconsin Universities said, “Both male and female elements are to be found in all people—the predominance of one determining the sex. The difference between men and women is not a question of inferiority or superiority, but a difference in kind and function.”
Gertrude Atherton in the Yale Review says, “Man and woman are one being split in two, differently sexed for the benefit of the race. Men and women are made up of the same ingredients. The preponderance of good or bad, weakness or strength, is in the individual not the sex.”
An author in the Living Age says, What women lack in weight and muscular power they make up in assiduity, conscientiousness and keen endeavor.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Center of a world wide movement to establish universal peace, said that this is the age of woman and that there is not a position held at any time by man, that certain women will not occupy.
At this point I see some scholarly gentlemen, who still have their noses buried in the musty emptiness of the past, shake emphatic objection. The monster called Sex-Antagonism has raised his head and must perforce be recognized.
I looked the fellow straight in the eye and am surprised to discover that he has a goodly countenance. He whom I have suspected of being a destroyer smiles benignly, and before I can analyze the thrill of pleasure that permeates my being he begins to speak, “I am that force which awakens in all men and women the consciousnes of a better self. It is I who stimulates undeveloped talent into activity. It is I who promotes true happiness, harmony and co-operation. It is I who helps to fulfill the plan of creation. I am called “Sex-Antagonism,” I should be named “Competition in Self-expression.” Sex-Antagonism is the seen and unseen conflict which exists between the sexes for supremacy and self-expression.
“When man was a barbarian and woman was his slave, the qualities of the better self found very feeble expression.”
This brings to my mind an idea obtained from Vance Thompson in his book, “Woman.” Thompson finds the explanation of the modern feminist movement in the sex-specialization man has imposed upon woman. He says that for ages man has insisted that woman be a “female being” rather than a “human being.”
The voice of Sex-Antagonism interrupts my train of thought, “Today civilization has advanced. The feminist movement has demonstrated that the feminine is the equal and complement of the masculine element of humanity.”
A quotation from W. L. George in “Woman and Tomorrow” is reflected on the mirror of my mind. Mr. George says, “Feminism is broadly the furthering of the interests of women, philosophically the leveling of the sexes, and specifically the social and political emancipation of woman.”
“I,” Sex-Antagonism continues, “Am the one who ushers in the greatest happiness in life—for I stimulate an expression of the innate talents of a better self. It matters not whether the person be a laborer, a housewife, a politicion, a professional or business man or woman,—each is happy in proportion to the innate perfections he or she is expressing.
“The feminist movement is an effort toward expression, where before there has been suppression. Woman wants to be happy along with the rest of the world.
“When modern man recognizes modern woman as an equal, worthy of competition, happiness will be found for both. Sex-Antagonism will then stimulate the better talents of each into activity.
“True harmony and co-operation can only be found through mutual understanding. Competition in self-expression promotes understanding, and prevents the sacrifices of one individuality for another. Modern woman maintains her individuality, understands and is better understood than were her ancestors.
“Between ancient man, who was lord of all he surveyed, and his slave, woman, no constructive conflict existed. It takes two opposing elements to cause a conflict. The man was sufficiently aggressive to find a means of expressing his talents; but undeveloped woman completely submerged her individuality to man. Lack of respect for woman was the effect on man.
“But a tide of sex-antagonism is rising! Latent talents are developing! Co-operation between the sexes is in sight. The modern woman has arrived. She expresses her sentiments in the Delineator: “The modern woman wants a common share in all her husband’s interests, in his failures as well as his successes, his love as well as his money. The modern woman wants a partner not a master.”
After this burst of enthusiasm the voice of Sex-Antagonism grows suddenly deep and serious, “Sex-Antagonism helps to fulfill the plan of creation. One of the objects of creation is production. The antagonistic, the law of opposites is used for creative purposes. The feminine and masculine, the negative and positive are opposing elements; their union produces a new creation.
“The reality of man has two aspects. One aspect attaches him to this world, its thoughts and affairs. The other aspect directs his attention to the ideals of a spiritual existence. Everyone wants to be good—and is inclined to not be good. The fusion of the two opposing elements in man, the material and the spiritual, results in an individuality that is eternal. We say such a man has character. In the same way, the illumination radiating from an incandescent bulb has resulted from the union of the negative and positive poles of electricty. Just so the two opposite poles that represent the human race, when properly united, will produce an illumined understanding that will become universal.”
A silence of thought ensues. . . . . The message of Sex-Antagonism awakens me to a new realization of life. I see all the conflicting forces in the world—negative and positive, male and female, constructive and destructive, material and spiritual constantly contributing their individual energy toward the equalization, the realization of fuller and more perfect life.
A vision appears before my eyes. I see a mysterious valley hidden in the darkness of ignorance and misconception. From its tangled depths there rises at dawn of day a beautiful white bird. Its two well developed
wings glisten in the sunlight, and move with equal strength and rhythm. The bird carries in its mouth a gem of great price—the gem of knowledge. I hear a voice say, “It is the bird of humanity which has been educated, trained and developed in the school of earth experience. Now that its two wings are equally strong, the equality of men and women is realized, and the bird of humanity, with a free spiritual consciousness, can soar from summit to summit of progress.”
By James F. Morton, Jr.
THE need of an international language has long been felt among the forward-looking men and women of all lands. Both ideal and utilitarian considerations urgently demand the establishment of such a language at the earliest possible moment. The practical handicaps in connection with all international intercourse and especially in all international congresses and similar gatherings, arising from lack of a common tongue, are becoming more manifest each year. The growth of the international spirit makes more glaring the lack of an efficient vehicle through which it may function.
It is obvious that national languages, no matter how widespread, will not serve the turn. The objection to them lies deeper than their complex structure, their abundant irregularities, their numerous idioms. Each of them embodies centuries of the separate history and experience of a race, with the past and present phases of racial psychology that have developed. Into each natural language the spirit of a people has been wrought. Its wonderful power of expressing the thoughts, sentiment and ideals that particularly distinguish its own group, is precisely the impassible barrier against its adequacy to meet the needs of other groups. A national bias is so deeply lodged in it as to be irremovable by any simplification or other scheme of adaptation. Hence it can never be made neutral, in such a way that all people shall feel equally at home in it. Moreover, the adoption of such a language, instead of allaying the causes of misunderstanding and ill will, would in some measure intensify them, since it would arouse the strongest jealousies and suspicions on the part of the greater nations whose tongues had been passed over for the favored one.
The international use, then, of any national language must in the nature of the case be a very limited one. It cannot be assumed that even the foremost men of all nations are skilled linguists, even when they are placed in a position where ability to comprehend one another perfectly would be of the utmost importance to themselves and to the world. No man can tell how serious has been the consequence of the lack of a common language in a single case. When the foremost representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan met at Versailles, to develop principles by which the peace of the world should be established and the course of all future history determined, it was found that there was not one language which all of them could understand; and the precision of the ideas expressed and discussed suffered accordingly with serious effects from which it is probable
that the world is today suffering and must suffer for a long time to come.
It is obvious that no international language can take the place of a natural language for the special purposes of everyday use within a national group. The respective affections, with accompanying obligations, belonging to family, neighborhood, town or city, state and nation, representing an ever-widening circle of interests and duties, are all to be correlated, and in no sense conflict with one another. In the same way, none of these, in a properly ordered world, can ever conflict with the still wider circle of love and duty toward mankind as a whole. The natural languages have grown in accordance with fixed principles planted in the human mind and disposition, and exactly fit the local and national needs of complete expression. Each one of them, even the least widely used, ought to be perpetuated, and its history and literature preserved as a permanent part of the cultural treasure of the human race. The adoption of an international language will not have the slightest tendency to weaken or destroy anyone of them. Its function will be to promote effective intercommunication among men and women of different lands. To do so, it must ignore the separate characteristics of particular races, and possess simply the universal human qualities, which will be recognized by all as held in common by them and their fellows of every land.
For several hundred years, there have been some in every generation who have not been blind to the need of such a medium. First to voice this need in clear accents was the great Bohemian pioneer of sound educational principles, known and honored by the whole world under the name of Comenius. Attempts to put the conception into practice, however, were long unsuccessful. Something like 150 abortive experiments preceded the invention of Esperanto, only one of which, Volapuk, seemed for a short time, in spite of its glaring faults, destined to find acceptance on account of the increasing realization of the crying need. The main trouble with all these undertakings was apparently their concentration upon utilitarian aims, and their indifference to the larger ideals of the unity of mankind. Hence the best of them inevitably turned out to be mechanical and lifeless. There was no spiritual instinct in the minds of their creators; and no soul could appear in the languages themselves.
In the mean time, in the middle of the ninteenth century, the divine message of Bahá’u’lláh suddenly brought a sublime radiance to dispel the clouds of ignorance and prejudice by which the minds of men had been darkened. The bigoted mullás of Persia were aghast at the audacity of one who spoke with the consciousness of divinely bestowed authority, and who dared to substitute for their partial vision of theological doctrine the “strange innovation” (actually referred to by one of them in some such term) of the Brotherhood of Man. A new age was opened; and the influence of the God-sent messenger permeated receptive souls everywhere, even among those who lived and died without hearing the name of the divine teacher. Among the clear instructions of Bahá’u’lláh, put forth with the same urgency as any other of his teachings, was that of the selection or creation of an international language for the promotion of unity among mankind. This was no thought of a mere utilitarian project, but a direct command for the services of God by the creation of an instrument for bringing the thoughts of his children into closer harmony. Over and over again in the sacred
Tablets, this is insisted on as a duty, “so that the whole world,” as declared in the Tablet of Ishráqát, ”may thereby be considered as one native land and one part.”
The ultimate choice of such a universally accepted international language, which is to be taught “to the children in the schools of the world,” must be made by agreement among the nations of the world, either through their present rulers, or if they fail to do so, by the House of Justice, when, in the divine providence, the duties of universal administration shall be placed upon its shoulders. In the mean time, however, there is an obvious step to be taken, if in any way possible, in the creation and voluntary use by all who recognize the principle of one international language, to be thoroughly tested in every way; that when the time comes for final official choice and universal instruction in the chosen tongue, those who are to decide shall have abundant experience to guide them, whether they are to ratify the language already in wide use, to accept it with modifications or to decide upon a different one.
In the creation of Esperanto, this condition has been fully met. Dr. Zamenhof, its author, grew up from boyhood with an inborn love of mankind and longing to bring about a reconciliation among its conflicting elements. His lifework was inspired, not like the efforts of his unsuccessful predecessors, by a mere desire to facilitate commercial, scientific or diplomatic activities, or to promote the comfort and pleasure of travelers, desirable and valuable as these and other uses of an international language certainly are, but primarily to destroy the causes of misunderstanding and hate among his fellowmen by furnishing them with a means of coming to a better understanding. The light that reached him, and found him ready to follow its guidance, was, though he knew it not with his intellectual realization, the divine radiance. As a result, his work remains, bringing forth constant fruits for good. It would take many pages to enter into detail regarding Esperanto and its accomplishments. Suffice it to say here that its followers are found in every land, and constitute a cross-section of every branch of human society. It is being used for myriads of purposes by an ever-increasing number of adherents. It breathes in itself a spirit of international fellowship; and the feeling of comradeship among Esperantists everywhere is almost incredible in its intensity.
That the mission of Esperanto is in harmony with the divine teachings, is manifest by a multitude of proofs. Chief of all is the repeated expression by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá of his approval of the Esperanto cause and his earnest wish that all followers of the Bahá’í truth shall adhere to it. In his message to Esperantists in 1912, he wrote: “All through America I have encouraged the Bahá’ís to study Esperanto; and to the extent of my ability I will strive in its spread and promotion.” Again, in 1913, He said in Paris: “Now, praise be to God that Dr. Zamenhof has invented the Esperanto language. It has all the potential qualities of becoming the international means of communication. All of us must be grateful and thankful to him for this noble effort; for in this way he has served his fellowmen well. He has invented a language which will bestow the greatest benefits on all people. With untiring effort and self-sacrifice on the part of its devotees it will become universal. Therefore everyone of us must study this language, and spread it as far as possible, so that day by day it may receive a wider recognition, be accepted by all nations and govern-
Group of Esperanto students, Tokyo, Japan. Miss Agnes Alexander in the center.
ments of the world, and become a part of the curriculum in all the public schools. I hope that the language of all the future international conferences and congresses will become Esperanto, so that all people may acquire only two languages—one their own tongue and the other the international auxiliary language. Then perfect union will be established between all the people of the world.”
The foregoing are not isolated expressions by the great Teacher, but are typical of repeated utterances, which indicate how deeply his heart was concerned on the subject. In a Tablet addressed to the writer of these lines in 1920, it is written: “As to thy attendance at the Esperanto Conference. . . . it is very advisable. Thou shouldst show utmost efficiency thereat, in order to spread the divine teachings, one of which is the oneness of language.”
Incumbent as it is on all intelligent well-wishers of their kind to lend their aid to the furtherance of this vital factor in promoting consciousness of unity among the peoples, there is a special burden laid among the followers of the Bahá’í Teachings, for whom the repeatedly expressed wish of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá should mark the path of a duty not to be shirked under any conceivable pretext. He, no one of whose words was ever lightly or indifferently uttered, declares: “Everyone of us must study this language, and spread it as far as possible.” The blessing for faithfulness rests not in mere acquiscence, but in strict and active obedience. The Esperantists, who are toiling night and day in a cause thus carrying into action the precepts of Bahá’u’lláh, and in which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has specifically commanded the professed followers of the Revelation of this age to participate, are looking intently at the actions of those who name themselves Bahá’ís, and are wondering why so few among them have responded to this injunction of the Master.
Universal obedience to this divinely given command will mean the installation of a deeper spiritual consciousness into the Esperanto movement, and the intensive spread, by this great vehicle, of the divine Teachings throughout the most progressive groups of lovers of their kind in every land on earth. It will also hasten the speedy execution of this one of the original principles enunciated at the very beginning of the great Revelation; and when the world has once adopted and put into action a single one of the precepts of the Manifestation of the age, the way for acceptance of the companion truths will have been made far more easy.
By Alfred W. Martin
IT must be obvious to even the most casual observer that the old denominational lines separating the sects are fast losing all intellectual meaning. It is no longer possible to differentiate Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, as it was at the close of the nineteenth century. Many an orthodox clergyman today entertains religious beliefs that make such eminent Unitarians as Channing and Martineau appear exceedingly conservative. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick delights to speak of himself as “a Nondescript.” Dr. Joseph Fort Newton has been a Congregationalist preacher at the City Temple in London, a Universal-
ist minister in New York, and now he is an Episcopalian clergyman at Overbrook, Pa., yet the successive transitions have been made with no friction whatsoever, so easy has the passage been made from one Christian communion to another.
During the last decade it has happened again and again that when two churches had forgotten why they ever separated, and neither of them was able to pay a minister a living wage, they bethought themselves “how good and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity,”—and promptly a merger ensued. Thus one of the immediate and spontaneous results of economic conditions and of the breakdown of sectarian boundary-lines is the revival of a demand for union, for the consolidation of religious forces analogous to that which has already been consummated in the industrial world.
The most recent of these mergers is that known as The United Church of Canada. After twenty years of agitation and negotiation we find that the Presbyterians, the Methodists and the Congregationalists have agreed to ignore their differences and their sectional separations for ever. This is what happened: First, the governing assemblies of these three sectarian groups endorsed the merger. Next, the individual churches voted for it by large majorities, the Canadian parliament then sanctioned it, and the Canadian courts legalized it. As a result the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches as such have disappeared, and in their place stands The United Church of Canada, with an inclusive membership of two and a half million, representing thirty per cent of the total population of the Dominion.
The nearest approach to such a merger within the limits of the United States, but signalizing no less the tendency to unity, is what is known as The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. This was organized in 1908, and bands together twenty-eight Protestant denominations. From the latest official document of this Federal Council we learn that during sixteen years of service it has conclusively proved that “the ideal of religious unity in service is practical.”
The Federal Council, through the Commission on Social Service “carries on a steady program of helping local churches to work out any proposal for building a better community life.” Inter-racial conferences, “bringing together leaders of the white and negro people in a program of co-operative effort, have already been held in many of the leading cities.” The campaign “to create public opinion for the entrance of the United States into the permanent Court of International Justice has been pursued with such vigor that it is generally agreed that the churches are the greatest single factor in bringing this about.”
The Federal Council has established a Department of Research and Education, “in order to secure and publish the necessary data from which a correct moral judgment on contemporary issues can be formed.” Universalist leaders are just now making fresh attempts at uniting their denomination with the Unitarian, proposing a new basis upon which a consolidation may be successfully consumated. Our Episcopalian brethren have been actively engaged for the past fifteen years in laying the foundations for a worldwide fellowship of all “who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior.” At the General Convention in 1910, it was unanimously voted to invite all churches which accept this doctrine to attend a “World Conference on
Faith and Order,” to the end that it might culminate in a fellowship “absolutely unprecedented in Christian history.” The plan was
financially supported by a gift of one hundred thousand dollars by the late J. Pierpont Morgan. The plan was officially endorsed by sixty distinct commissions representing all the leading branches of the Christian church throughout the world. In the official statement published by the original commission we read:
“A disunited Christendom cannot effectually achieve the work of the Christian Church. So long as we are disunited controversy and rivalry will continue, and these things cannot but make charity more difficult and bitterness more prevalent. Every effort to secure Christian unity will prove disruptive and futile if vital convictions are compromised or Christian consciences stultified; rather must the aim be the frank recognition of the things in which Christians differ as well as those in which they agree. The fact is that Christians are not agreed as to what is essential in Christianity, and the sense of stewardship of the essential truth is not peculiar to any single Christian communion, but is felt in each of the sundered parts of Christendom. Therefore we need to confer together, in a spirit of loving candor to discern what is true and vital in the position of each communion in the hope of attaining to a common mind, in which everything that is precious shall be treasured, and be given its just and proportionate value.”
Surely such a project, narrowly restricted in scope as it is, yet animated by a most noble spirit is certain to produce permanent, beneficial results. Whatever the ultimate outcome of the “world conference” may be (the date set for it is 1927) it is certain to result in an increase of mutual charity, mutual understanding, mutual tolerance and teachableness. It will mark another milestone on the road to that ideal religious fellowship which is the much desired goal ere a divine civilization can be established. For assuredly it is not enough that we be brothers and sisters in Christ, we must be brothers and sisters in Humanity, with all the rest of mankind, that is what an ideal fellowship stands for and nothing less can ever fully satisfy. At Benares in India plans have been consummated for the erection of a “Hall of all Religions” at which the study of comparative religion is to be pursued under the broadest and most catholic auspices ever known. Lectures are to be delivered on the great religions by authorities drawn from all the historic faiths; a library is to be constructed and stocked with the best literature in all tongues on comparative religion; a dormitory is to be erected for the benefit of the resident student-body. An appropriation of about $5,000,000 has been set aside for the fulfilment of the plan as agreed upon by a board of trustees including representatives of all of the seven extant great religions. Thus in India and other parts of the world there will be demonstrations of an organic fellowship of faiths—as there has already been in Persia—that ideal religious unity of Bahá’u’lláh—and the goal of all Bahá’í religious endeavor.
By Dr. J. E . Esslemont
Note: The following passages have been taken from Chapter XII of “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era.”
COMPLETE harmony with science is evident in the Bahá’í teachings regarding the way in which we must seek the truth. Man must cut himself free from all prejudice so that he may seek after truth unhindered.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá says: “In order to find truth we must give up our prejudices, our own small trivial notions; an open receptive mind is essential. If our chalice is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life. The fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest of all obstacles in the path towards unity, and unity is essential if we would reach Truth, for Truth is one. . .
“No one truth can contradict another truth. Light is good in whatsoever lamp it is burning! A rose is beautiful in whatsoever garden it may bloom! A star has the same radiance if it shines from the East or from the West! Be free from prejudice; so will you love the Sun of Truth from whatever point in the horizon it may arise. You will realize that if the Divine Light of Truth shone in Jesus Christ, it also shone in Moses and Buddha. This is what is meant by the search after truth.
“It also means that we must be willing to clear away all that we have previously learned, all that would clog our steps on the way to Truth; we must not shrink if necessary, from beginning our education all over again. We must not allow our love for any one religion or anyone personality so to blind our eyes that we become fettered by superstition. When we are freed from all these bonds, seeking with liberated minds, then we shall be able to arrive at our goal.’
The Bahá’í teaching is at one with science and philosophy in declaring the essential nature of God to be entirely beyond human comprehension. As emphatically as Huxley and Spencer teach that the nature of the Great First Cause is unknowable, does Baha'u'llah teach that “God comprehends all; he cannot be comprehended.” To knowledge of the Divine essence “the way is barred and the road is impassable,” for how can the finite comprehend the Infinite; how can a drop contain the ocean or a mote dancing in the sunbeam embrace the universe? Yet the whole universe is eloquent of God. In each drop of water are hidden oceans of meaning, and in each mote is concealed a whole universe of significances, reaching far beyond the ken of the most learned scientist. The chemist and physicist pursuing their researches into the nature of matter, have passed from masses to molecules, from molecules to atoms, from atoms to electrons and ether, but at every step the difficulties of the research increase till the most profound intellect can penetrate no further, and can but bow in silent awe before the unknown Infinite which remains ever shrouded in inscrutable mystery.
If the flower in the crannied wall, if even a single atom of matter, presents mysteries which the most profound intellect cannot solve, how is it possible for man to comprehend the universe? How dare he pretend to define or describe the Infinite cause of all things? All theological specula-
tions about the nature of God’s essence are thus swept aside as foolish and futile.
But if the essence is unknowable, the manifestations of its bounty are everywhere apparent. If the first cause cannot be conceived, its effects appeal to our every faculty. Just as knowledge of a painter’s pictures gives to the connoisseur a true knowledge of the artist, so knowledge of the universe in any of its aspects—knowledge of nature or of human nature, of things visible or of things invisible—is knowledge of God’s handiwork, and gives to the seeker for Divine Truth a real knowledge of His Glory.
All things manifest the bounty of God with greater or less clearness, as all material objects exposed to the sun reflect its light in greater or less degree. A heap of soot reflects a little, a stone reflects more, a piece of chalk more still, but in none of these reflections can we trace the form and color of the glorious orb. A perfect mirror, however, reflects the sun’s very form and color, so that looking into the mirror is like looking at the sun itself, so it is with the way in which things speak to us of God. The stone can tell us something of the Divine attributes, the flower can tell us more, the animal with its marvellous senses, instincts and power of movement, more still. In the lowest of our fellowmen we can trace wonderful faculties which tell of a wonderful Creator. In the poet, the saint, the genius, we find a higher revelation still, but the great prophets and founders of religions are the perfect mirrors by which the love and wisdom of God are reflected to the rest of mankind. Other men’s mirrors are dulled by the stains and the dust of selfishness and prejudice, but these are pure and without blemish—wholly devoted to the Will of God. Thus they become the great educators of mankind . . . .
Bahá’u’lláh teaches that the universe is without beginning in time. It is a perpetual emanation from the Great First Cause. The Creator always had His creation and always will have. Worlds and systems may come and go, but the universe remains. All things that undergo composition, in time undergo decomposition, but the component elements remain. The creation of a world, a daisy or a human body is not “making something out of nothing,” it is rather a bringing together of elements which before were scattered, a making visible of something which before was hidden . . . .
Bahá’u’lláh also confirms the biologist who finds for the body of man a history reaching back in the development of the species through millions of years. Starting from a very simple, apparently insignificant form, the human body is pictured as developing stage by stage, in the course of untold generations, becoming more and more complex, and better and better organized until the man of the present day is reached. Each individual human body develops through such a series of stages, from a tiny round speck of jelly-like matter to the fully developed man. If this is true of the individual, as nobody denies, why should we consider it derogatory to human dignity to admit a similar development for the species? This is a very different thing from claiming that man is descended from a monkey. The human embryo may at one time resemble a fish with gill-slits and a tail, but it is not a fish. It is a human embryo . . . .
‘Abdu’l-Bahá says: “It is clear that this terrestrial globe in its present form did not come into existence all at once, but gradually passed through different phases until it became
adorned with its present perfection. . . . Man in the beginning of his existence and in the womb of the earth, like the embryo in the womb of the mother, gradually grew and developed, and passed from one form to another, until he appeared with this beauty and perfection, this force and this power. It is certain that in the beginning he had not this loveliness and grace and elegance, and that he only by degrees attained this shape, this form, this beauty and this grace . . . . Man’s existence on this earth from the beginning until it reaches this stage, form and condition, necessarily lasts a long time . . . but from the beginning of man’s existence he is a distinct species. . . . Admitting that the traces of organs which have disappeared actually exist (in the human body), this is not a proof of the impermanence and the non-originality of the species. At the most it proves that the form and fashion and the organs of man have progressed. Man was always a distinct species, a man, not an animal.”
The Bahá’í teachings with regard to body and soul, and the life after death, are quite in harmony with the results of psychical research. They teach, as we have seen, that death is but a new birth—the escape from the prison of the body into a larger life, and that progress in the after-life is limitless . . . .
All the signs of the times indicate that we are at the dawn of a new era in the history of mankind. Hitherto the young eagle of humanity has clung to the old eyrie in the solid rock of selfishness and materialism. Its attempts to use its wings have been timid and tentative. It has had restless longings for something still unattained. More and more it has been chafing in the confinement of the old dogmas and orthodoxies. But now the era of confinement is at an end, and it can launch on the wings of faith and reason into the higher realms of spiritual love and truth. It will no longer be earth-bound as it was before its wings had grown, but will soar at will to the regions of wide outlook and glorious freedom. One thing is necessary, however, if its flight is to be sure and steady. Its wings must not only be strong, but they must act in perfect harmony and co-ordination. As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says: “It cannot fly with one wing alone. If it tries to fly with the wing of religion alone it will land in the slough of superstition, and if it tries to fly with the wing of science alone it will end in the dreary bog of materialism."
Perfect harmony between science and religion is the sine qua non of the higher life for humanity. When that is achieved, and every child is trained not only in the study of the sciences and arts, but equally in love to all mankind and in radiant acquiescence to the Will of God as revealed in the progress of evolution and the teachings of the prophets, then and not until then, shall the Kingdom of God come and His Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven; then and not until then shall the Most Great Peace shed its blessings on the world.
Quotations from the Bahá’í Teachings
KNOWLEDGE is like unto wings for the being (of man) and is like a ladder for ascending. To acquire knowledge is incumbent upon all, but of those sciences which may profit the people of the earth, and not such sciences as begin in mere words and end in mere words. The possessors of sciences and arts have a great right among the people of the world. Indeed, the real treasury of man is his knowledge. Knowledge is the means of honor, prosperity, joy, gladness, happiness and exultation.
He who educates his son, or any other children, it is as though he hath educated one of My children   (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh.)
NO INDIVIDUAL should be denied or deprived of intellectual training although each should receive according to capacity. None must be left in the grades of ignorance, for ignorance is a defect in the human world. All mankind must be given a knowledge of science and philosophy; that is, as much as may be deemed necessary. All cannot be scientists and philosophers but each should be educated according to his needs and deserts.
The education of woman is more necessary and important than that of man, for woman is the trainer of the child from its infancy. If she be defective and imperfect herself the child will necessarily be deficient; therefore imperfection of woman implies a condition of imperfection in all mankind, for it is the mother who rears, nurtures and guides the growth of the child. This is not the function of the father. If the educator be incompetent the educated will be correspondingly lacking. This is evident and incontrovertible. Could the student be brilliant and accomplished if the teacher is illiterate and ignorant? The mothers are the first educators of mankind; if they be imperfect, alas for the condition and future of the race. . . . Therefore, they (the mothers) must be capably trained in order to educate both sons and daughters. There are many provisions in the Words of Bahá’u’lláh in regard to this. . . When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá in “Promulgation of Universal Peace.”)
EDUCATION holds an important place in the new order of things The education of each child is compulsory. If there is not money enough in the family to educate both the girl and the boy the money must be dedicated to the girl’s education, for she is the potential mother. If there are no parents the community must educate the child. In addition to this widespread education each child must be taught a profession, art, or trade, so that every member of the community will be enabled to earn his own livelihood. Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá in “Divine Philosophy.”)
ALL THE CHILDREN must be educated so that there will not remain one single individual without an education. In cases of inability on the part of the parents through sickness, death, etc., the state must educate the child. In addition to this widespread education, each child
must be taught a profession or trade so that each individual member of the body politic will be enabled to earn his own living and at the same time serve the community . . . From this universal system of education misunderstandings will be expelled from amongst the children of men.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in “Bahá’í Scriptures,” v. 574.
BAHÁ’U’LLÁH has announced that inasmuch as ignorance and lack of education are barriers of separation among mankind, all must receive training and instruction. Through this provision the lack of mutual understanding will be remedied and the unity of mankind furthered and advanced. Universal education is a universal law. It is therefore incumbent upon every father to teach and instruct his children according to his possibilities. If he is unable to educate them, the body politic, the representative of the people must provide the means for their education.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in “Promulgation of Universal Peace,” p. 294.)
THE NECESSITY OF education for all mankind is evident. Children especially must be trained and taught. . . . Through the broadening spirit of education, illiteracy will disappear and misunderstandings due to ignorance will pass away . . . . He (Bahá’u’lláh) has proclaimed the principle that all mankind shall be educated and that no illiteracy be allowed to remain. This practical remedy for the need of the world cannot be found in the text of any other sacred books.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá in “Promulgation of Universal Peace.”)
THE PROPHETS OF GOD are the first Educators. They bestow universal education upon man and cause him to rise from the lowest levels of savagery to the highest pinnacles of spiritual development. The philosophers, too, are educators along lines of intellectual training. At most they have only been able to educate themseves and a limited number about them, to improve their own morals and, so to speak, civilize themselves; but they have been incapable of universal education. They have failed to cause an advancement for any given nation from savagery to civilization.
It is evident that although education improves the morals of mankind, confers the advantages of civilization and elevates man from lowest degrees to the station of sublimity, there is nevertheless a difference in the intrinsic or natal capacity of individuals. Ten children of the same age, with equal station of birth, taught in the same school, partaking of the same food, in all respects subject to the same environment, their interests equal and in common, will evidence separate and distinct degrees of capability and advancement; some exceedingly intelligent and progressive, some of mediocre ability, others limited and incapable. One may become a learned professor while another under the same course of education proves dull and stupid. From all standpoints the opportunities have been equal but the results and outcomes vary from the highest to lowest degree of advancement. It is evident therefore that mankind differs in natal capacity and intrinsic intellectual endowment. Nevertheless although capacities are not the same, every member of the human race is capable of education . . . . . the holy Manifestations of God, the Divine Prophets are the first teachers of the human race. They are universal Educators and the fundamental principles they have laid down are the causes and factors of the advancement of nations.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá in “Promulgation of Universal Peace.”)
By Louis G. Gregory
Report of an Address given at the First Convention for Amity between the white and colored races, held at Washington, D. C.
“ALL races, tribes, sects and classes share equally in the bounty of their Heavenly Father. The only real difference lies in the degree of faithfulness, of obedience to the laws of God. There are some who are as lighted torches; there are others who shine as stars in the sky of humanity.
“The lovers of mankind, these are the superior men, of whatever nation, creed or color they may be.”—‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
THE new springtime is the spiritual springtime, with the flow of the light and the love of God, the Divine Unity, into the hearts of mankind. When the springtime comes, the winter, with its decay, degradation, and death, has passed away, and we find the sun shines with brilliancy and splendor, and that clouds of mercy shower their drops upon humankind. We feel these zephyrs of divine providence waft upon all. The light of reality gleams. The human heart becomes more tender and sympathetic to the needs of its fellow beings, and all these vibrations of love that are transmitted from the Kingdom of God have their play in the hearts of men and make more certain and real this thought of brotherhood. We have our problems to solve in this country, but let us not become despondent over them, realizing that today the whole world is having its problems and difficulties. There is no country in the world today that has not difficulties equaling, if not surpassing, our own. I do not say this with the suggestion that misery loves company, but in order that we may not be despondent and think that these difficulties are hindrances. The divine springtime has appeared and the great enlightened principles, which are the light and progress of the whole world of humanity, are set in motion. These relate to the great peace, the universality of truth, to the great law that humanity is one, even as God is one, to the elevation of the station of woman, who must no longer be confined to a limited life but be everywhere recognized as the equal and helpmeet of man. These pertain to the universality of education, to the oneness of language, to the solution of this economic problem which has vexed the greatest minds of the world and its noblest hearts, and to that supreme dynamic power, the Holy Spirit of God, whose outpouring upon the whole world of flesh will make this a world of light, of joy, and of triumph. “In His Name,” as the Herald proclaimed, “In the name of God, the victor of the most victorious, proclaim! God will assist all those who arise to serve Him. No one is able to deprive Him of His majesty, His dominion, His sovereignty; for in the Heavens and the earth, and in all the realms of God, He is the victorious and the conqueror!” If we follow the Creator in all His marvelous work, we shall find that it is characterized by infinite diversity and variety. Wherever the human eye moves in creation we see variegated forms. In the mineral kingdom if you should bring together a number of jewels, the diamond, the emerald, the ruby, the sapphire, the pearl, you will find that their combined beauty is greater than any single element. They enhance each
other’s value. Traveling through the far western country one may see thousands of sheep gathered together in a peaceful fold, one shepherd and one fold. The fact that some of these sheep are black and others are white does not make the slightest difference in that community of interest, for they know each other not by their color but by their kind, and they love each other in response to that spirit of God which vibrates in all creation. One star differs from another in magnitude, but each and all of these stars contribute to the brilliancy of the heavens. We have heard the wonderful harmony of an orchestra. We have heard those rich strains. Have you ever stopped to consider that in an orchestra the words, the music, the voices, the instruments may be different; and yet exquisite harmony, under the guidance of a great master, may come from that orchestra? The world has had a note of discord for many thousand years, and it must impress itself upon every reasonable man that war, force, and violence, are the greatest calamities that afflict the world of mankind. But now we are striving for the note of harmony. The thought of harmony, itself, is a happy thought, something that makes the hearts of men joyful, something that makes their minds flash with the gems of reality. For our own peace, safety, and salvation, we should make every effort to bring harmony out of these discordant notes that have been struck for time and ages throughout the world.
The races living side by side need each other. If even two communities which are near each other cooperate, it works to the commercial development and the happiness of both. We know the advantage and benefit which comes through cooperation when it affects two great nations, even though their ideals and principles and self-interest differ in every stage of their growth; but, today we need a harmony which is so universal that it will bind together the hearts of all these struggling elements which make up creation. Let us follow the guidance and the wisdom of God! Have you stopped to observe that the clouds of His mercy shower upon all the world of humanity; that the air we breathe is not confined to one church, or one synagogue, or one mosque, but the universal bounty of God supports all life and creation? The sunshine, with its great splendor, is not limited to this class or that class, or this race or that race, or one nation or another, but it beautifies and glorifies the whole realm of existence. God’s is the universal bounty and He loves all of His children. He has provided for them out of that great love. Shall men, therefore, reverse the purposes of God? Shall we reject the divine wisdom and initiate a different plan? If the divine plan is one of light, shall we make ours one of darkness? If the divine plan is one of providence, shall we devise a plan of greed? If the divine plan is one of altruism, shall we make ours the plan of selfishness? If the divine plan is universal tolerance, shall we inaugurate a plan of prejudice and pride? How can man escape disaster and humiliation if he is so self-centered and so self-satisfied that he attempts to reverse the principles of God?
The races living side by side have a common origin and a common destiny. From God we came and to Him we return, and we have many things in common. We live in the same favored land; we are warmed by the same sunshine; we strive for those same virtues and ideals which adorn and beautify the home; we have the same virtue of patriotism (and may this embrace the world!); we speak
the same language; and, most significant of all, we profess the same religion. If we but put our religion into practice, and do not quarrel about its form, this alone would be sufficient to solve any human problem. But there is more than this to consider. In the past the white people of America have done a very noble service to the colored people of our land, and this is something we should stop to consider. About the time of the civil war you fought each other for our freedom. That is one thing which we should not wish to forget. The eloquent Senator has referred to the progress made by the colored people in America as distinguished from their backward condition in Africa. This, too, is a service which has come to us through you, from contact with your civilization. This is something that we should appreciate. This is something that all thoughtful people must appreciate. On the other hand, if you stop to consider the other side of the question you may find that there are some services which are valuable which the black people of America have rendered the white people. Lest I, who am outwardiy identified with one racial group should be thought to be claiming too much for my own, I wish to quote to you the ideas of two distinguished southerners: Passing through the city of Atlanta a few months ago I saw the statue to the Hon. Henry W. Grady, a statesman of the New South, and one of its most brilliant advocates, now passed away. It was this enlightened statesman and friend of men who declared that one of the greatest mistakes ever made was that this country did not erect a monument to commemorate the loyalty and fidelity of black men and women during that awful period of the civil war. About a year ago it was my pleasure to listen to an ex-confederate soldier, Doctor Boags of Florida, a man bowed by the weight of 80 years, who had come from his home in Florida, leaving a sick bed, and had taken a journey to Washington to speak upon this very question. The subject which he selected was the golden rule applied to the race question, and the eloquent speech which he delivered was a vibration of love. He said more for us, that ex-confederate veteran, than we are willing, in our most sanguine moments, to claim for ourselves. So I say to you that these enlightened souls saw the relationships of these races to each other. It is only by co-operation, mutual appreciation, and good will that we can get anywhere in the solution of these problems that vex us. If this room were filled with darkness we could not remove that darkness by intensifying the darkness, nor can we remove discord from the face of the earth by increasing discord. Darkness has no reality. Darkness is only the absence of light. When the light comes in, darkness disappears of its own motion. So all the turmoil, and distress, and hatred in the world are only the absence of this divine, perfect love.
Therefore let us shed the light of divine love, a real love, upon all of our fellow beings, a love for the sake of God, a love which has no limits, no boundaries of race, or country, or clime, or color, or creed, but is a universal reality of the Sun of Truth shining from the very Throne of God. Such a love will remove all these questions from the world and will make us realize our relations to each other as we realize first of all our relations to God. Without knowing the divine bounty and the divine love a man cannot know even himself. I believe that under the providence of God this Nation of ours has a bright destiny—it may reach it through sorrow, I hope it may achieve it through joy—and that is, as has been so eloquently expressed by our
Bahá’í Orphanage at Tokyo (Earthquake Orphanage)
noble friend, the nations of the whole earth are looking to America for peace, for the example of ideal brotherhood. If they are asking us for bread, shall we give them a stone? I believe that America, under the inspiration of divine Guidance, will fulfill the high ideal of this noble destiny by fusing with the fire of love, into one harmonious brotherhood all the variegated elements of which this world is composed, and it is incumbent upon each individual, just in so far as he can, to contribute to this ideal brotherhood; and not only theorize about such a condition, but put his thoughts into action; for the wise man today is the man who makes his knowledge practical.
Speaking about the interrelations between the white and colored people; some months ago, traveling through the city of Monroe I met a friend who travels much and uses his eyes. He told me one of his impressions. He said that if, traveling through a section of the South, he came into a community and in this community saw nothing but white people, he could immediately form a correct impression by their general bearing and manners, about the habits of their colored neighbors. But if, on the other hand, he saw nothing but colored people of the community, he could also form a very vivid and corect impression of the habits and manners of the white people. Now this may seem somewhat far-fetched, but you can see that it is the logical condition with regard to these civilizations so closely associated for centuries, that one should be but the reflex of the other. Therefore, instead of being critical toward our fellow beings, we can most happily occupy our time by considering what contribution we can ourselves make to the spirit of peace and brotherhood throughout the world. If our thoughts, and our aims, and our ideals are constructive, they will be supported in this day by divine confirmation and will bring this light of peace and brotherhood to all the people of the world. Let us not for a moment be despondent, for the glorious Sun of Reality has dawned and the light of that Sun now illumines the whole world. It is only for us to discover what a great bounty God has provided for us. “To the state of holiness He calls us!” To the exalted state of peace and ideal brotherhood he sumomns us! If we bring the best treasures of our minds and the noblest resources of our hearts, coming to the aid of the Lord against the mighty support this happy condition, He will give to us that inward peace which shall leave its bright traces in all the realm of existence. It will make us true men and women; it will make us the torch-bearers of the light of God and will enable us to transmit a radiance by which the peace and pleasure and happiness of the whole world of existence will be adorned. And there is nothing more glorious for man than to realize this bright destiny. God is with us! We can not fail if we are firm in His covenant and steadfast in His commands. This gloomy age will pass away and the radiance of the divine love will penetrate the whole earth, for as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the Great Teacher says, “There is a mysterious power at work in the hearts which moves the rocks, which rends the mountains, which creates new spiritual worlds, which administers all complicated and difficult affairs.” This power will not fail, for it is the vibration that emanates from the Kingdom of God.
By Mary H. Ford
THE world vision of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá included in every way the betterment of mankind. This betterment must be physical as well as spiritual for the enlightened individual can not continue to exist under conditions that are only suitable for a primitive creature.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá says the day of force has passed, the day of love has dawned. In the ages behind us force and competition constituted the laws of being, but in the period we are entering love and co-operation will be the dominating principles. The Messenger of God, always the Divine Educator in each new age, reveals laws for the founding of a divine civilization.
While in the United States ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told us how an ideal community might be established. He also outlined definitely the changes that would manifest in business methods reflecting the New Era. These he explained would gradually eliminate competition, and substitute co-operative means of conducting all sorts of industrial and commercial enterprises. He said that employer and employee must be brought together so that the management of affairs would not rest solely in the hands of the owners of a factory or institution, but would permit of consultation between worker and director, so that all decisions would result from mutual understanding. Strikes arise he declared because neither worker nor manager feels the point of view and temper of the other. He insisted that workmen must always be represented on the boards of the companies employing them, that they must have access to the books and understand the financial status of the concern for which they worked so that they could estimate the justice of any change contemplated in the wage scale.
He declared that strikes could never acomplish the end desired by the workers for until they understood the financial conditions of the firms employing them they would keep on demanding more and more wages in ruinous degree, while if they comprehended the financial situation they would themselves propose reasonable measure. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá taught moreover that violent action invariably produces reaction, thus defeating the end in view, and collectively or individually brutal force destroys its own purpose.
He said the workers must become owners of stock in the centers that employed them and have a share in the profits which accrued so that in the end they would no longer be paid wages but would receive their portion of the return on work and capital invested. He said also that in such a plan the employee must be protected from loss, because as he did not possess capital in cash but rather in his industry there would come lean years in which the financier could wait comfortably for his delayed dividends, on acount of his accumulated wealth, but at such periods the worker endowed only with hands and brain, must receive the stipend necessary for his expenses.
When the worker has his seat upon the board of management and can vote on the rate of wages, the disposition of surplus capital, dividends, employment individual and collective, and all questions involving the control of the enterprise, then the worker and manager will understand
one another and strikes will be completely eliminated. This has been the result wherever such a method has been inaugurated and it is surprising to observe its rapid increase in adoption. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s plan is practically that of the shop committee system applied many years ago by Hart Schaffner and Marx the great clothing firm. It was initiated after a terrible strike during which the members of the concern discovered to their amazement that they did not understand at all the conditions of their employees, and being kindly people they wished to guard against the return of a similar situation. Since then they have had no strikes.
Sidney Hilman has established the Amalgamated Garment Workers Union on the same system. This involves an elected board of workers and employers which in case of failure to arrive at a majority decision in any question selects a financial expert from the outside in whom both sides have perfect confidence, who casts the majority vote to which all submit.
The commercial world has recently been much interested in the fact that the Nash Garment Factory of Cincinnati whose owner has become famous under the title of “Golden Rule Nash” as a result of his endeavor to follow the Golden Rule in dealing with his employees, has invited Sidney Hilman to organize a branch of the Amalgamated in the Institution. Nash never permitted union membership among his employees, declaring that his own methods and authority were sufficient to ensure justice and fair dealing with his people. In the last two years however his business has grown so immensely that he could no longer keep in personal touch with his workers and through the constant intervention of foremen and superintendents injustice crept in. He realized that it was necessary to have help and looking over the union field was immediately attracted by the shop committee plan of the Amalgamated as one which ensured a continuous understanding between employers and workers. It is planned to create harmony and therefore must eliminate strikes. Perhaps the most brilliant illustration of such harmony is the immense Cochrane Carpet Factory of Yonkers, where this method was introduced many years ago by Alexander Cochrane, with the most beneficent results. The establishment is at present on what is practically a co-operative basis with the best possible relationship between owners and employees
‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke of a new consciousness that would arise in mankind that would render it impossible for men in future to enjoy great wealth selfishly. At present a man lives in a palace in London or New York, and within a stone’s throw of him are people who never in their lives have fully satisfied hunger. The man in the palace enjoys his own comforts feeling no responsibility for the others; but by and by he will become so uncomfortable in the knowledge of other men’s sufferings that he can no longer endure his luxury. Then he will devote his energies to changing the laws of the community so that henceforth no one can be hungry and poverty will be abolished. The day must come, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá declared, when no city will tolerate slums, when all children will have equal rights of education, and when the rich will even begin to give away their wealth because of the new consciousness of other’s needs which penetrate them . .
We are able to see the fulfillment of this last prophecy, at least in its commencement, in the immense Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations, and in the numerous cases already in evidence of people like Dix the gar-
ment maker, who having acquired a fortune of several millions through the assistance of his faithful employees, decided that he had enough money and he would like to offer his employees an opportunity to be equally fortunate in business. So with the co-operation of his son, he put his factory into the hands of his workers at a temporary and nominal royalty, and with his son served the new company for a year with no salary, so that the firm should have the benefit of experience in its inauguration. Within the past year at least a dozen manufacturing establishments have followed the example of Dix which plainly indicates that another feeling is arising in the world about the possession of money.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá said that in the future all economic conditions would be ameliorated, and the law of brotherhood would become the basis of life.
As an illustration of future possibilities he sketched the business methods of an agricultural village, saying he chose agriculture because its proper regulation is the basic factor in all economic life. He explained that the organization of the village would apply to any communty. According to this system each citizen of the town owns and tills his own fields without jurisdiction or limitation of acreage, but the village elects a committee of citizens to market the product of the entire community and when the harvest is sold the committee levies a tax on each producer according to the amount of surplus he has, beyond the amount necessary for the support of his family. Only the surplus is taxed, and each is allowed perfect freedom as to his expenses; but if his surplus is large it is quite heavily taxed on the principles of an ascending tax for individual wealth.
This last is easily comprehensible to us from the point of view of the income tax with which we are familiar, but the application of the tax and its existence as a fluid income in the village is not so easily appreciable. It is an expression of the new economic consciousness. There will be some producers, comments ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, whose return will not provide sufficient income for their needs. For instance if a farmer has expenses of five thousand dollars and an income of twenty thousand, he can pay a considerable tax on the fifteen thousand surplus which comes to him. But if a man has expenses of five thousand dollars and only returns of three thousand, then he must meet a deficit of two thousand.
In such a case, says ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he draws two thousand dollars from the exchequer of the community, and in this way taxation becomes a fluid source of wealth flowing back and forth among all citizens, banishing poverty and assuring comfort for everyone. Certainly in such a commonwealth there could exist no slums, there could exist no prejudice, nor suspicion, nor hatred. To image it gives one a sense of sympathetic brotherhood which is almost inconceivable at the present moment. But its reality lies in the new consciousness that is developing.
By Harlan Ober
DEEP in the heart of the world lies the desire for peace. War,—vivid, relentless, destroying, has quickened this desire.
The Sun of Peace is in the ascent. The march of events reveals the growth of a greater and greater urge. The world is becoming more sensitive and more responsive to those surging spiritual forces that are at the heart of the new civilization that is being builded.
The war brought desolation. Its destructive instruments, and its poisonous gases exceeded the endurance of men. The bodies, the nerves, the souls of men suffered irreparable losses because of the tortures that were inflicted.
Prostration of countries, disturbances of commerce, distress of inhabitants, destruction of sacred relationships, annihilation of the ideals of established standards resulted from this cataclysmic affair. We are now in the period of recovery with its slow and studied progress, its uncertainties and gropings, its search for treasures that have been lost. And with it all has been added another search, and that is, for treasures that have never been held in the hands, but only in the hearts of the seers and the poets, and the singers of divine melodies.
The song of the divine singer has found lodgement in millions of responsive hearts. The world is becoming internationalized, for in every country large groups of people are found whose vision transcends the artificial boundaries of nations and enfolds the people of all the earth. These peoples are entirely convinced that war is against the welfare of humanity and an unnecessary institution. They seek a better way of settling disputes and of providing for progress.
The agreements, treaties and understandings entered into between the various nations, rest upon the active and expressed interest and support of these peoples.
One of the most interesting occurences relates to the practical mobilization of the forces of idealism, through the churches, colleges, women’s clubs and similar organizations, and their successful efforts in overcoming the hosts of doubts, suspicions and self interest.
The world is like a great arena in which ideas are going forth to battle. A searching light shines down and under its rays, the truth appears. Nations that have slumbered are awakening, races of people that have been waiting for centuries are taking up their march. The new freedom has gripped the souls of millions. Ancient superstitions have lost their compelling hold. Men who have walked with crutches are stumbling along a path that will soon see them running gracefully with stalwart and beautiful limbs.
Clouds follow the brilliant sun, oppositions arise and are temporarily victorious, but the sun shines on, while the clouds disappear.
Never was such a brilliant drama staged before. Mankind is beholding a world in process of education, the nerves of humanity being stirred by the outer and the inner power, old moulds broken and cast away entirely. Every invention has become an instrument in this mighty, soul stirring spectacle, for is it not a part
of the plan of God that this is the day of the “Quickening.”
High hopes are cast to the ground, great expectations are unrealized—and souls lose vision, then confidence—but why—when a million voices herald the spring, and the inner heart is singing a wondrous song.
For some countries the year has been one of confusion through lack of ability to unite conflicting opinions.
Progress has been made in the movement to outlaw war and make it a crime subject to punishment by the nations of the world.
In the United States the extreme position of isolation which was the reflex of the war, has become more moderate, and it is hoped that America’s destiny as “The first nation to upraise the banner of the Most Great Peace” may be speedily realized.
There is no doubt that the spirit of the age is for greater and greater freedom of thought. The young men, and the young women, especially of the colleges, are very responsive to this spirit and are preparing for vital active leadership of the constructive forces of the world.
These young people who are the hope of the world, are not blindly worshipping the unhappy, and unsuccessful events of the past, but are holding fast to the realities of their vision, and working for a practical program for a future great world.
There never was a time when it was more evident that the supreme need of humanity is for a spiritual executive power that can unite in one bond those noble plans that are being developed in all parts of the world, and make them effective.
Since real peace—or the Most Great Peace as understood by the Bahá’ís means not only peace between nations, but also peace between races, religions and classes, not overlooking justice and opportunity both to the rich and to the poor, it is the particular province of the Bahá’í to spread far and wide this most fundamental realization.
The benefits of Universal Peace are clearly established and acknowledged by mankind. The destructive nature of war, and the ruin and defeat of both victor and vanquished is also known. Yet the knowledge of these undesirable indisputable facts is not sufficient to establish Universal Peace throughout the world.
In this matter it is evident that the human power crystallized in governments and other agencies is falling short of the perfect accomplishment and stands in need of the reinforcement of the spiritual power.
Nearly all the people of the world know that exaltation of character is commendable, and desirable, and that vileness and depravity in man is despicable. Yet the great majority of the people are lacking in the commendable attributes and characteristics. The direction of the affairs of the world is determined by the purity and magnanimity of the hearts of men.
Powerful aspirations like a mighty wind must stir these hearts, and lift them into the realm of spiritual ideals and exalted aims. The emotions stirred by the greatest of human thoughts are too weak to accomplish this great purpose, but a mighty spiritual power and intense spiritual emotions, alone will provide the means, and bring into actuality, the hopes and longings of men.
This spiritual force is no other than the Power of the Word of God, and the Divine Instructions are the confirmations of the Holy Spirit.