Read: The Guardian

By Ruhiyyih Rabbani

This etext is based on:

"The Guardian of the Baha'i Faith" by Ruhiyyih Rabbani

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 27 Rutland Gate, London SW71PD

Copyright Rúhíyyih Rabbani 1988

All rights reserved

ISBN 0-900125-59-4 cased

ISBN 0-900125-97-7 paper

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Foreword xiii

I Childhood and Youth

II 'Abdu'l-Baha's Ascension and its Consequences 13

III Early Years of the Guardianship 29

IV Martha Root and Queen Marie 39

V A Many Splendoured Personality 53

VI The Deepest Ties 65

VII The War Years 71

VIII The Writings of Shoghi Effendi 83

IX Creation of a World Headquarters 99

X The Heart and Nerve Centre 121

XI The Rise of the Administrative Order 145

XII Fundamental Truths and Guidelines 169

XIII The Spiritual Conquest of the Globe 197

XIV A Unique Ministry 229

Index 241 <pix>


'Abdu'l-Baha's eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi Frontispiece

Birthplace of the Guardian Between pages 10-11

The Priceless Pearl

Shoghi Effendi and his sister

That child is born

The young scholar at his ease

The map maker's work

Study years in Beirut

'Abdu'l-Baha on the steps of His home

The Master's secretary 34-35

Shoghi Effendi in oriental robes

Shoghi Effendi in his early twenties

Shoghi Effendi before he became Guardian

Shoghi Effendi with Harry Randall

The samovar

'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi 50-51

Some distinguished Baha'is with 'Abdu'l-Baha

Shoghi Effendi in Alexandria, Egypt

Shoghi Effendi, 1920-1921

Balliol College, Oxford University 66-67

Balliol College, Junior Common Room

A gathering in Manchester, England

The first flight? <px>

Shoghi Effendi with Dr. J.E. Esslemont 82-83

The Guardian after his return to Haifa

'Abdu'l-Baha's home

The Tomb of the Bab

The Tomb of the Bab on Mt. Carmel 90-91

The Guardian and Bahiyyih Khanum

The Guardian's handwriting

Shoghi Effendi in the early 1920's

The young Guardian in Switzerland 122-123

Interlaken, Switzerland

Shoghi Effendi in the Alps

Rivers, mountains and glaciers

The Guardian became a mountaineer

The indomitable enthusiast

The top of the mountain

Shoghi Effendi and his guide

Mountain hazards 154-155

Shoghi Effendi walking in the Swiss Alps

On top of the world

Bicycling over snowy passes

The mountaineer 162-163

A photograph by Shoghi Effendi

Victoria Falls, Rhodesia, 1929

A ferry on the Nile

African views 178-179

A photograph by the Guardian

Safari <pxi>

The Guardian studies his gardens

Two views of Mt. Carmel 194-195

The Shrine on Mt. Carmel

The Shrine of the Bab on Mt. Carmel

The development of Mt. Carmel by Shoghi Effendi

The transformation of Mt. Carmel 210-211

Buildings erected by Shoghi Effendi

That Sacred Spot

The Resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf

The handwriting of Shoghi Effendi

Aerial view of Bahji

Baha'ullah's Tomb in Bahji 234-235

The Most Holy Tomb

Facsimile of Shoghi Effendi's handwriting

Facsimiles of Queen Marie's handwriting

The Guardian

The Funeral of Shoghi Effendi in London

The Grave of the Guardian <pxiii>


Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, and appointed Expounder of the Teachings of Baha'u'llah, its Founder, is the one human being in all history, past, present or future, to exercise the greatest influence on the ultimate shape and modus operandi of the social order of the world. He is the one who understood the vision of his great-grandfather Baha'u'llah and his grandfather 'Abdu'lBaha -- respectively the Revealer and the Interpreter of teachings destined to reshape the divisive society of the present world and usher in an era of universal peace -- and applied Their doctrines in practical terms to the organization of such a future state of society. There cannot be, on this planet, a greater social or political unit than World Order. It is Shoghi Effendi who, while not the architect of that consummation, is certainly its chief builder and engineer. He laid the foundations of the Administrative Order of a Faith which, as it develops, will come -- as he stated -- "to be regarded not only as the nucleus but the very pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace in the fullness of time the whole of mankind."

Only his widow, Ruhiyyih Rabbani, could have written this book. For twenty years she was his wife, and for sixteen of those years his personal secretary; she was his close companion and his representative on many occasions. In a cable to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada, her homeland, he designated her as "my helpmate, my shield in warding off the darts of Covenantbreakers and my tireless collaborator in the arduous tasks I shoulder." She shared in all the circumstances of his life and knew the pressures and restrictions both within and without the Baha'i community which imposed themselves on his total dedication to his divinely-appointed task. She observed his deep love for his fellow Baha'is and his constant concern for their spiritual and material welfare. <pxiv>

It is apparent that countless eulogies, evaluations, acclamations, biographies and panegyrics of the God-given genius of Shoghi Effendi will be added in future to the already proliferating number. The prime depository of source material for such works will forever be The Priceless Pearl, Ruhiyyih Rabbani's own version of her illustrious husband's life and mission, of which this sister volume constitutes a more compact presentation. We can offer the gratitude of posterity to Ruhiyyih Rabbani for this clear and authentic account of his life and endeavours. But for the present generations, and particularly those of us who served under the beloved Guardian, no expressions of thanks can be adequate for the personal glimpses of our "true brother" -- as he was wont to sign his letters -- in action and in his daily life. This book, dealing so intimately with the life of a man who in 36 years of ministry left an indelible imprint on the fortunes of mankind, will outwear the ravages of time as it continues to bear authentic witness to the life and personality of Shoghi Effendi.

David Hofman <p1>


Salutation and praise, blessing and glory rest upon that primal branch of the Divine and Sacred Lote-Tree, grown out, blest, tender, verdant and flourishing from the Twin Holy Trees; the most wondrous, unique and priceless pearl that doth gleam from out the Twin Surging Seas.

Like a cloud-break in a stormy sky these words, even as a mighty shaft of sunlight, broke through the gloom and tempest of dangerous years and shone from on high upon a small boy, the grandson of a prisoner of the Sultan of Turkey, living in the prison-city of 'Akka in the Turkish province of Syria. The words were written by 'Abdu'l-Baha in the first part of His Will and Testament and referred to His eldest grandchild, Shoghi Effendi.

Although already appointed the hereditary successor of his grandfather, neither the child, nor the ever-swelling host of followers of Baha'u'llah throughout the world, were made aware of this fact. In the Orient, where the principle of lineal descent is well understood and accepted as the normal course of events, there was hope, no doubt, that even as Baha'u'llah Himself had demonstrated the validity of this mysterious and great principle of primogeniture, so would 'Abdu'l-Baha, His son and successor, do likewise. Many years before His passing, in answer to a question from some Persian believers as to whether there would be one person to whom all should turn after His death, 'Abdu'l-Baha had written:

... Know verily that this is a well-guarded secret. It is even

as a gem concealed within its shell. That it will be revealed is

predestined. The time will come when its light will appear, when its

evidences will be made manifest, and its secrets unravelled. <p2>


Until the Master passed away in November 1921, and His Will and Testament was found in His safe and opened and read, no one in the Baha'i world knew that Shoghi Effendi was that "unique pearl", and just how unique and glorious a pearl it was that 'Abdu'lBaha left behind Him no one really understood until in November 1957 it was recalled to the Seas from which it had been born.

On the 27th day of Ramadan, 1314 of the Muslim calendar, Shoghi Effendi was born. This was Sunday, March 1, 1897 of the Gregorian calendar. These dates have been found in one of Shoghi Effendi's notebooks which he kept during his boyhood, written in his own hand. He was the eldest grandchild and first grandson of 'Abdu'l-Baha, born of His oldest daughter, Diya'iyyih Khanum, and her husband, Mirza Hadi Shirazi, one of the Afnans and a relative of the Bab. He was invariably addressed by his grandfather as "Shoghi Effendi"; indeed, He gave instructions that he should at all times have the "Effendi" added and even told Shoghi Effendi's own father he must address him thus and not merely as "Shoghi". The word "Effendi" signifies "sir" or "mister" and is added as a term of respect; for the same reason "Khanum", which means "lady" or "madame", is added to a woman's name.

At the time of Shoghi Effendi's birth 'Abdu'l-Baha and His family were still prisoners of the Sultan of Turkey, 'Abdu'l Hamid; it was not until the revolution of the Young Turks, in 1908, and the consequent release of political prisoners, that they were freed from an exile and bondage that, for Him and His sister at least, had lasted for over fifty years. In 1897 they were all living in a house known as that of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, a stone's throw from the great Turkish military barracks where Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and the company of believers who were with Them, had been incarcerated when they first landed in 'Akka in 1868. It was in this home that the first group of pilgrims from the Western World visited the Master in the winter of 1898-99, and many more of the early believers of the West; travelling along the beach in an omnibus drawn by three horses, they would proceed from Haifa to 'Akka, enter the fortified walls of the prison-city, and be welcomed as His guests for a few days in that house. It was from this home that 'Abdu'l-Baha left to reside in freedom in Haifa, twelve miles away on the other side of the Bay of 'Akka. Entering through a passage across which the upper story of the building ran, one came upon a small enclosed garden where grew flowers, fruit trees, and a few tall palms, and in one corner of which a long stairway ran up to the upper floor and <p3> opened on an inner, unroofed court from which doors led to various rooms and to a long corridor giving access to other chambers.

To catch even a glimpse of what must have transpired in 'Abdu'l-Baha's heart when this first grandson was born to Him at the age of fifty-three, one must remember that He had already lost more than one son, the dearest and most perfect of them, Husayn, a beautiful and very dignified little boy, having passed away when only a few years old. Of the four surviving daughters of 'Abdu'l-Baha three were to bear Him thirteen grandchildren, but it was this oldest one who bore witness to the saying "the child is the secret essence of its sire", not to be taken to mean in this case the heritage of his own father, but rather that he was sired by the Prophets of God and inherited the nobility of his grandfather 'Abdu'l-Baha. The depths of 'Abdu'l-Baha's feelings at this time are reflected in His own words in which He clearly states that the name Shoghi -- literally "the one who longs" -- was conferred by God upon this grandson:

. . O God! This is a branch sprung from the tree of Thy mercy.

Through Thy grace and bounty enable him to grow and through the showers

of Thy generosity cause him to become a verdant, flourishing,

blossoming and fruitful branch. Gladden the eyes of his parents, Thou Who

giveth to whomsoever Thou willest, and bestow upon him the name Shoghi

so that he may yearn for Thy Kingdom and soar into the realms of

the unseen!

By the signs Shoghi Effendi showed from earliest childhood and by his unique nature, he twined himself ever more deeply into the roots of the Master's heart. How great must have been the struggle of the grandfather to keep within bounds His love for this child lest the very blaze of that love endanger his life through the hatred and envy of His many enemies, ever seeking an Achilles heel to bring about His downfall. Many times when Shoghi Effendi spoke of the past and of 'Abdu'l-Baha I felt not only how boundless and consuming had been his own love for the Master, but that he had been aware of the fact that 'Abdu'l-Baha leashed and veiled the passion of His love for him in order to protect him and to safeguard the Cause of God from its enemies.

Shoghi Effendi was a small, sensitive, intensely active and mischievous child. He was not very strong in his early years and his mother often had cause to worry over his health. However, he grew up to have an iron constitution, which, coupled with the <p4> phenomenal force of his nature and will-power, enabled him in later years to overcome every obstacle in his path. The first photographs we have of him show a peaky little face, immense eyes and a firm, beautifully shaped chin which in his childhood gave a slightly elongated and heart-shaped appearance to his face. His eyes were of that deceptive hazel colour that sometimes led people who did not have the opportunity to look into them as often as I did to think they were brown or blue. The truth is they were a clear hazel which sometimes changed to a warm and luminous grey. I have never seen such an expressive face and eyes as those of the Guardian; every shade of feeling and thought was mirrored in his visage as light and shadow are reflected on water.

In the days of Shoghi Effendi's childhood it was the custom to rise about dawn and spend the first hour of the day in the Master's room, where prayers were said and the family all had breakfast with Him. The children sat on the floor, their legs folded under them, their arms folded across their breasts, in great respect; when asked, they would chant for 'Abdu'l-Baha; there was no shouting or unseemly conduct. Breakfast consisted of tea, brewed on the bubbling Russian brass samovar and served in little crystal glasses, very hot and very sweet, pure wheat bread and goats' milk cheese. Dr. Zia Bagdadi, an intimate of the family, in his recollections of these days records that Shoghi Effendi was always the first to get up and be on time -- after receiving one good chastisement from no other hand than that of his grandfather!

He also tells us the story of Shoghi Effendi's first Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Baha. Dr. Bagdadi states that when Shoghi Effendi was only five years old he was pestering the Master to write something for him, whereupon 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote this touching and revealing letter in His own hand:

He is God! O My Shoghi, I have no time to talk, leave me alone!

You said "write" -- I have written. What else should be done? Now is

not the time for you to read and write, it is the time for jumping

about and chanting "O my God!", therefore memorize the prayers of the

Blessed Beauty and chant them that I may hear them, because there is no

time for anything else.

It seems that when this wonderful gift reached the child he set himself to memorize a number of Baha'u'llah's prayers and would <p5> chant them so loudly that the entire neighbourhood could hear his voice; when his parents and other members of the Master's family remonstrated with him, Shoghi Effendi replied, according to Dr. Bagdadi, "The Master wrote to me to chant that He may hear me! I am doing my best!" and he kept on chanting at the top of his voice for many hours every day. Finally his parents begged the Master to stop him, but He told them to let Shoghi Effendi alone. This was one aspect of the small boy's chanting. We are told there was another: he had memorized some touching passages written by 'Abdu'l-Baha after the ascension of Baha'u'llah and when he chanted these the tears would roll down the earnest little face. From another source we are told that when the Master was requested by a western friend, at that time living in His home, to reveal a prayer for children He did so, and the first to memorize it and chant it was Shoghi Effendi who would also chant it in the meetings of the friends.

In his recollections of those early years one of the Baha'is has written that one day Shoghi Effendi entered the Master's room, took up His pen and tried to write. 'Abdu'l-Baha drew him to His side, tapped him gently on the shoulder and said, "Now is not the time to write, now is the time to play, you will write a lot in the future." Nevertheless the desire of the child to learn led to the formation of classes in the Master's household for the children, taught by an old Persian believer. I know that at one time in his childhood, most likely while he was still living in 'Akka, Shoghi Effendi and other grandchildren were taught by an Italian, who acted as governess or teacher; a grey-haired elderly lady, she came to call shortly after I was married.

Although these early years of Shoghi Effendi's life were spent in the prison-city of 'Akka, enclosed within its moats and walls, its two gates guarded by sentries, this does not mean he had no occasion to move about. He must have often gone to the homes of the Baha'is living inside the city, to the Khan where the pilgrims stayed, to the Garden of Rid. van and to Bahji. Many times he was the delighted companion of his grandfather on these excursions. We are told that sometimes he spent the night in Bahji in the house now used as a pilgrim house; 'Abdu'l-Baha would Himself come and tuck him in bed, remarking, "I need him."

When 'Abdu'l-Baha first moved into the new home in Haifa (which was in use by members of His family in February 1907, if not earlier) the rooms were occupied by all the members of His family; <p6> eventually the families of two of His daughters moved to homes of their own near His, but the house was always crowded with relatives, children, servants, pilgrims and guests.

Shoghi Effendi entered the best school in Haifa, the College des Freres, conducted by the Jesuits. He told me he had been very unhappy there. Indeed, I gathered from him that he never was really happy in either school or university. In spite of his innately joyous nature, his sensitivity and his background -- so different from that of others in every way -- could not but set him apart and give rise to many a heart-ache; indeed, he was one of those people whose open and innocent hearts, keen minds and affectionate natures seem to combine to bring upon them more shocks and suffering in life than is the lot of most men. Because of his unhappiness in this school 'Abdu'l-Baha decided to send him to Beirut where he attended another Catholic school as a boarder, and where he was equally unhappy. Learning of this in Haifa the family sent a trusted Baha'i woman to rent a home for Shoghi Effendi in Beirut and take care of and wait on him. It was not long before she wrote to his father that he was very unhappy at school, would refuse to go to it sometimes for days, and was getting thin and run down. His father showed this letter to 'Abdu'l-Baha Who then had arrangements made for Shoghi Effendi to enter the Syrian Protestant College, which had a school as well as a university, later known as the American College in Beirut, and which the Guardian entered when he finished what was then equivalent to the high school. Shoghi Effendi spent his vacations at home in Haifa, in the presence as often as possible of the grandfather he idolized and Whom it was the object of his life to serve. The entire course of Shoghi Effendi's studies was aimed by him at fitting himself to serve the Master, interpret for Him, and translate His letters into English.

It is very difficult to trace the exact course of events in these years. All eyes were fixed on the grandfather and much as people loved and respected the eldest grandson, when the sun shines the lamp is ignored! Some pilgrims' accounts, like that of Thornton Chase, the first American believer, who visited the Master in 1907, mentioned meeting "Shogi Afnan". Indeed Chase published a photograph showing Shoghi Effendi in what must have been his usual costume in those days, short pants, long dark stockings, a fez on his head, a jacket and a huge sailor's collar covering his shoulders. But there is not enough material available at present to fill in all the gaps. Even those who accompanied 'Abdu'l-Baha on His <p7> journeys to the West, and kept careful diaries, did not think to record very much about the comings and goings of a child who was only thirteen when 'Abdu'l-Baha set forth on His historic visits to Europe and America.

No sooner had 'Abdu'l-Baha been freed from His long imprisonment and taken up His permanent residence in Haifa, than He began to contemplate this journey. A report published in America in "Baha'i News", 1910, states: "You have asked for an account of 'Abdu'l-Baha's departure for the land of Egypt. 'Abdu'l-Baha did not inform anyone that He was going to leave Haifa ... within two days He summoned to His presence M.N., Shoghi Effendi and K. and this servant." One of the Baha'is recalls that a little before sunset, on that September afternoon when 'Abdu'l-Baha's ship set sail for Port Said in Egypt, Shoghi Effendiwas seated on the stepsof the Master's house, disconsolate and forlorn, and remarked: "The Master is now on board the ship. He has left me behind, but surely there is a wisdom in this!" or words to this effect. Well knowing what was passing in the heart of His grandson the loving Master no doubt sent for the child to soften the blow of this first, serious separation from Him; but more reference than this to that event has not been found. We know the Master stayed about a month in Port Said, later proceeding to Alexandria rather than to Europe, which was His original intention, and that Shoghi Effendi was with Him. As school opened in early October one presumes he returned to Syria. In April 1911, Shoghi Effendi was again with the Master, in Ramleh, a suburb of Alexandria, for a visiting Baha'i from America, Louis Gregory, the first negro Hand of the Cause, mentions meeting, on April 16th, "Shogi", a beautiful boy, a grandson of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and says he showed great affection for the pilgrims.

'Abdu'l-Baha's thoughts, in spite of the arduous nature of His daily preoccupations during those exhausting months in America and later in Europe, must have often gone to His beloved grandson. We find mention of Shoghi Effendi in three of the letters the Master wrote to His sister, the Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum, during His travels, showing His anxiety over Shoghi Effendi and revealing His great love for him: "Write to me at once about Shoghi Effendi's condition, informing me fully and hiding nothing; this is the best way."; "Kiss the light of the eyes of the company of spiritual souls, Shoghi Effendi"; "Kiss the fresh flower of the garden of sweetness, Shoghi Effendi" . Such references clearly indicate <p8> His anxiety over a child who had not always been well and who, He well knew, missed Him terribly and suffered . We also have a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha addressed to Shoghi Effendi, expressing His concern about his health, but at what period it was written I do not know:

He is God! Shoghi Effendi, upon him be the glory of the

All-Glorious! Oh thou who art young in years and radiant of countenance, I

understand you have been ill and obliged to rest; never mind, from time to

time rest is essential, otherwise, like unto 'Abdu'l-Baha from

excessive toil you will become weak and powerless and unable to work.

Therefore rest a few days, it does not matter. I hope that you will be

under the care and protection of the Blessed Beauty.

Shoghi Effendi was always active in corresponding with Baha'i friends through personal letters. We learn from one of these, addressed to "Seyyed Mustafa Roumie" in Burma, and dated "Caiffa, Syria, July 28,1914", in which he says he is much pleased with the "glad tidings of the rapid progress of the Cause in the Far East", that he shared this letter with the Master and "a Holy tender smile ran over his radiant Face and his heart overflowed with joy. I then came to know that the Master is in good health for I recollected his sayings which I quote now. 'Whenever and wherever I hear the glad tidings of the Cause my physical health is bettered and ameliorated.' I therefore tell you that the Master is feeling very well and is happy. Convey this happy news to the Indian believers. I do hope that this will double their courage, their firmness, and their zeal in spreading the Cause."

Shoghi Effendi also played a dominant role in the activities of the Baha'i students studying in Beirut, through which passed so many of the pilgrims from Persia and the Far East on their way to and from Haifa. He writes, in a letter from Beirut dated May 3,1914: "Going back to our college activities our Baha'i meetings, which I have spoken to you about, are reorganized and only today we are sending letters, enclosing glad tidings of the Holy Land, to the Baha'i Assemblies in various countries."

The war years, during most of which Shoghi Effendi was studying to obtain his Bachelor of Arts degree at the American University, must have often cast a deep shadow of anxiety on him, in spite of his naturally buoyant and joyous nature. They were years of ever-increasing <p9> danger for his beloved grandfather, years of dire starvation for much of the population, of privations shared by all, including his own family.

It was in 1918 that Shoghi Effendi received his Bachelor of Arts degree. In a letter to a friend in England dated November l9th of that year, he wrote: "I am so glad and privileged to be able to attend to my Beloved's services after completing my course of Arts and Sciences in the American University at Beirut. I am so anxious and expectant to hear from you and of your services to the Cause for by transmitting them to the Beloved I shall make him happy, glad and strong. The past four years have been years of untold calamity, of unprecedented oppression, of indescribable misery, of severe famine and distress, of unparalleled bloodshed and strife, but now that the dove of peace has returned to its nest and abode a golden opportunity has arisen for the promulgation of the Word of God. This will be now promoted and the Message delivered in this liberated region without the least amount of restriction. This is indeed the Era of Service. " Nothing could be more revealing of the character of the future Guardian than these lines, in which his devotion to the work of the Master, his consuming longing to make Him happy and well, his concise summary of where his own life now stands in relation to this service, his analysis of what the war's end signifies for the immediate future of Baha'i work are all clearly shown. His nascent rhetorical style, still hampered by an imperfect command of the English language, but already showing the bare bones of its future greatness is reflected in passages such as this: "the friends ... are all ... Iarge and small, old and young, healthy and sick, at home and abroad, glad of the events that have recently transpired; they are all one soul in different bodies, united, agreed, serving and aiming to serve the oneness of humanity."

Shoghi Effendi was now twenty-one years old. His personal relationship to 'Abdu'l-Baha was made clear in some of these early letters, for the most part written in 1919, in which he refers to "my grandfather, 'Abdu'l-Baha" and signs himself "Shoghi Rabbani (grandson of 'Abdu'l-Baha)". One must remember that in the immediate months after the war ended, when contact was being reestablished between the Master and the believers in so many countries which had been cut off from Him during the long years of hostilities, it was highly desirable that Baha'is and non-Baha'is alike should know who this "Shoghi Rabbani" was who was now acting as the Master's secretary and right-hand man. The Star of the <p10> West, in its issue of September 27, 1919, published a full length photograph of Shoghi Effendi, entitled, "Shoghi Rabbani, Grandson of 'Abdu'l-Baha" and states he is the translator of recent Tablets and his Diary Letters begin in this issue. Personally I believe, knowing from experience how completely Shoghi Effendi directed even minutiae at the World Centre, that it is probable the Master Himself directed him to make clear their family relationship.

The work of 'Abdu'l-Baha increased from day to day as floods of letters, reports, and eventually pilgrims poured into Haifa. This is reflected in Shoghi Effendi's personal letters to various Baha'i friends: "... this interruption of correspondence with you on my part has been solely due to a great pressure of work in connection with the dictation and translation of Tablets ... The whole afternoon has been spent in translating for him only the contents of a part of the supplications from London." He ends up by saying, "I enclose, out of my Bah.'i and particular affection for you, two photographs..."; "My head is in a whirl, so busy and so eventful was the day. No less than a score of callers from prince and pasha to a simple private soldier have sought interview with 'Abdu'l-Baha."; "The Beloved from morn till eve, even at midnight is engaged in revealing Tablets, in sending forth his constructive, dynamic thoughts of love and principles to a sad and disillusioned world. "; "As I am writing these lines, I am again moved to present myself in his presence and take down his words in response to the recently arrived supplications. " Every word reflects the boundless energy, devotion and enthusiasm of this princeling standing at the side of the old king, serving and supporting Him with all the vitality of his youth and the singular eagerness of his nature.

Shoghi Effendi frequently accompanied the Master to the steadily increasing number of of ficial functions to which He was invited. This included visits to the British Military Governor of Haifa and interviews with the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Edmund Allenby, the General who had led the Allied forces in Palestine and who later became Lord Allenby and was largely responsible for 'Abdu'lBaha's receiving a knighthood from the British Government. Shoghi Effendi wrote: "This was the second time 'Abdu'l-Baha had called on the General and this time the conversation centred around the Cause and its progress ... He is a very gentle, modesr and striking figure, warm in affection, yet imposing in his manner." In these circles the grandson of 'Abdu'l-Baha was now becoming known. An official letter, from the Military Governor to 'Abdu'l-Baha <p11> says: "Your Eminence: I have today received from your grandson the sum of..." This was in response to Shoghi Effendi's having called upon him with a further contribution from the Master to the "Haifa Relief Fund". Shoghi Effendi also spent much time with the pilgrims, not only in the presence of 'Abdu'l-Baha, during which he eagerly obtained detailed information from them about the progress of Baha'i activities in various countries.

Wherever 'Abdu'l-Baha went, as often as possible the beloved grandson went with Him. This constant companionship, which lasted for about two years, must have been a deep satisfaction to them both and have exerted a profound and decisive influence on Shoghi Effendi. During these years, when the star of 'Abdu'lBaha's fame was rising locally, as well as internationally, Shoghi Effendi had the opportunity of observing how the Master dealt with high officials and the numerous men of distinction drawn to one Whom many regarded as little less than an oriental prophet and the greatest religious figure in Asia, as well as how the Master conducted Himself in the face of the ever-present envy and intrigue of His enemies and ill-wishers. The lessons learned were to be reflected in the thirty-six years of Shoghi Effendi's own ministry to the Faith of Baha'u'llah.

The decision of Shoghi Effendi to leave 'Abdu'l-Baha, after less than two years spent constantly in His service, and at a time when the Master's vast post-war correspondence was steadily increasing, was based on a number of factors: if he intended to pursue his studies the sooner he did so the better; 'Abdu'l-Baha now had a number of people acting as His secretaries; Shoghi Effendi's eldest cousin had finished his studies in Beirut and was now at home; the Master's own condition and plans were propitious.

Very few of us, least of all when we are twenty-three years old, imagine our loved ones dying. So it is not surprising that Shoghi Effendi should have left 'Abdu'l-Baha, some time in the spring of 1920, with a tranquil conscience, fully believing he would return to His side better equipped to serve Him.

Oxford and Cambridge are still words to conjure with; in 1920 they shone in even more splendid academic isolation than they do in these days when universities and university education have become more prevalent. Balliol, to which Shoghi Effendi was admitted, had a very high standing, being one of Oxford's oldest colleges. I was conducted, years later, by the Guardian, to see the streets he had passed through, the Bodleian Library, the placid river in its <p12> greensward surroundings beyond the wrought iron gates, to thousand-year-old Christ Church with its vast kitchen and fairy web of Gothic arches, to Magdalen and its beauties and to the peaceful quad inside the walls of Balliol, which Shoghi Effendi crossed to his studies, to the dining hall where he ate, and to gaze on the narrow entrance that led to the room he had once lived in as a student.

The Guardian's own idea of why he was at Oxford was quite clear; fortunately we have an expression of this in a letter he wrote to an oriental believer on October 18, 1920: "My dear spiritual friend ... God be praised, I am in good health and full of hope and trying to the best of my ability to equip myself for those things I shall require in my future service to the Cause. My hope is that I may speedily acquire the best that this country and this society have to offer and then return to my home and recast the truths of the Faith in a new form, and thus serve the Holy Threshold." There is no doubt he was referring to his future translation of the teachings into the perfect English for which he laid the foundation during his sojourn in England.

From his Beirut days until practically the end of his life Shoghi Effendi had the habit of writing vocabularies and typical English phrases in notebooks. Hundreds of words and sentences have been recorded and these clearly indicate the years of careful study he put into mastering a language he loved and revelled in. For him there was no second to English. He was a great reader of the King James version of the Bible, and of the historians Carlyle and Gibbon, whose styles he greatly admired, particularly that of Gibbon whose Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Shoghi Effendi was so fond of that I never remember his not having a volume of it near him in his room and usually with him when he travelled. <p13>


The address of Major Tudor Pole, in London, was often used as the distributing point for cables and letters to the Baha'is. Shoghi Effendi himself, whenever he went up to London, usually called there. On November 29, 1921, at 9:30 in the morning the following cable reached that office:

Cyclometry London His Holiness 'Abdu'l-Baha ascended Abha

Kingdom. Inform friends.
Greatest Holy Leaf

In notes he made of this terrible event and its immediate repercussions Tudor Pole records that he immediately notified thc friends by wire, telephone and letter. I believe he must have telephoned Shoghi Effendi, asking him to come at once to his office, but not conveying to him at that distance a piece of news which he well knew might prove too much of a shock. However this may be, at about noon Shoghi Effendi reached London, went to 61 St. James' Street (off Piccadilly and not far from Buckingham Palace) and was shown into the private office. Tudor Pole was not in the room at the moment but as Shoghi Effendi stood there his eye was caught by the name of 'Abdu'l-Baha on the open cablegram Iying on the desk and he read it. When Tudor Pole entered the room a moment later he found Shoghi Effendi in a state of collapse, dazed and bewildered by this catastrophic news. He was taken to the home of Miss Grand, one of the London believers, and put to bed there for a few days. Owing to passport difficulties Shoghi Effendi cabled Haifa he could not arrive until the end of the month. He sailed from England on December 16th, accompanied by Lady Blomfield and <p14> Rouhangeze, and arrived in Haifa by train at 5:20 p.m. on December 29th, from Egypt where his boat from England had docked. Many friends went to the station to bring him home; it is reported he was so overcome on his arrival that he had to be assisted up the steps. Awaiting him in the house was the only person who could in any measure assuage his suffering -- his beloved great-aunt, the sister of 'Abdu'l-Baha. She had already -- so frail, so quiet, so modest at all times -- shown herself in these past weeks to be a strong rock to which the believers clung in the midst of the tempest that had so suddenly burst upon them. The calibre of her soul, her breeding, her station, fitted her for the role she played in the Cause and in Shoghi Effendi's life during this extremely difficult and dangerous period.

When 'Abdu'l-Baha so unexpectedly and quietly passed away, after no serious illness, the distracted members of His family searched His papers to see if by chance He had left any instructions as to where He should be buried. Finding none they entombed Him in the centre of the three rooms adjacent to the inner Shrine of the Bab. They discovered His Will -- which consists of three Wills written at different times and forming one document -- addressed to Shoghi Effendi. It now became the painful duty of Shoghi Effendi to hear what was in it; a few days after his arrival they read it to him.

There is no doubt that the Greatest Holy Leaf, and probably a selected few of the Master's family knew, before Shoghi Effendi reached Haifa, the gist at least of what was in the Will because it had been examined to see if He had made any provisions for His own burial. That this is so is borne out by cables sent to the Persian and to the American believers, by the Greatest Holy Leaf, on December 21,1921. The one to America read as follows: "Memorial meeting world over January seven. Procure prayers for unity and steadfastness. Master left full instructions in His Will and Testament. Translation will be sent. Inform friends. " But the provisions of the Will were not made known until it was first read to Shoghi Effendi and, indeed, until it was officially read on January 3,1922.

It was befitting that the Greatest Holy Leaf, and not Shoghi Effendi himself, should announce to the Baha'i world the provisions of the Master's Will. On January 7th she sent two cables to Persia as follows: "Memorial meetings all over the world have been held. The Lord of all the worlds in His Will and Testament has revealed His instructions. Copy will be sent. Inform believers." and "Will and Testament forwarded Shoghi Effendi Centre Cause." On <p15> January 16th she cabled: "In Will Shoghi Effendi appointed Guardian of Cause and Head of House of Justice. Inform American friends. " In spite of the fact that from the very beginning Shoghi Effendi exhibited both a tactful and masterful hand in dealing with the problems that continually faced him, he leaned very heavily on the Greatest Holy Leaf, whose character, station and love for him made her at once his support and his refuge.

Immediately after these events Shoghi Effendi selected eight passages from the Will and circulated them among the Baha'is; only one of these referred to himself, was very brief and was quoted as follows: "O ye the faithful loved ones of 'Abdu'l-Baha! It is incumbent upon you to take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi ... For he is, after 'Abdu'l-Baha, the guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnan, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him." Of all the thundering and tremendous passages in the Will referring to himself, Shoghi Effendi chose the least astounding and provocative to first circulate among the Baha'is. Guided and guiding he was from the very beginning.

These early years of his Guardianship must be seen as a continual process of being floored and rising to his feet again, often staggering from the terrible blows he had received, but game to the core. It was his love for 'Abdu'l-Baha that always carried him through: "yet I believe," he cries out, "and firmly believe in His power, His guidance, His ever-living presence..." In a letter written in February 1922, to Nayyir Afnan, a nephew of 'Abdu'l-Baha, the agony of his soul is clearly reflected: "Your ... Letter reached me in the very midst of my sorrows, my cares and afflictions ... the pain, nay the anguish of His bereavement is so overwhelming, the burden of responsibility He has placed on my feeble and my youthful shoulders is so overwhelming..." He goes on to say: "I am enclosing for you personally the copy of the dear Master's Testament, you will read it and see what He had undergone at the hands of His kindred ... you will also see what a great responsibility He has placed on me which nothing short of the creative power of His word can help me to face..." This letter is not only indicative of his feelings but in view of the fact that the one he wrote it to belonged to those who had been the enemies of the Master in the days after Baha'u'llah's ascension and were of that breed of kindred He had so strongly denounced in His Will, shows how courageously Shoghi Effendi holds up the mirror of the past and at the same time <p16> appeals for his support and loyalty in the new situation which exists.

His earliest letters reveal Shoghi Effendi's characteristic strength, wisdom and dignity. To one of the professors of the American University in Beirut he wrote, on March 19,1922, clearly and unequivocally stating his own position: "Replying to your question as to whether I have been officially designated to represent the Baha'i Community: 'Abdu'l-Baha in his testament has appointed me to be the head of the universal council which is to be duly elected by national councils representative of the followers of Baha'u'llah in different countries..."

It must not be thought, however, that the act of promulgating the Master's Will solved all problems and ushered in a new era in the Cause with the greatest of ease. Far from it. Before Shoghi Effendi reached Haifa the Greatest Holy Leaf had been obliged to cable America on December 14th: "Now is period of great tests. The friends should be firm and united in defending the Cause. Nakeseens [Covenant-breakers] starting activities through press other channels all over world. Select committee of wise cool heads to handle press propaganda in America."

One of the oldest and most staunch of the American believers wrote
to Shoghi Effendi on January 18,1922, less than two weeks after the
public announcement of the provisions of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will: "As
you know we are having great troubles and sorrows with violators
in the Cause in America. This poison has penetrated deeply among
the friends..." In many reports, in great detail, accusations
and facts poured in upon the newly-made Guardian. There was, of
course, another aspect. With touching pure-heartedness and trust
the Baha'is of East and West rallied round their young leader and
poured out avowals of their love and loyalty: "We long to assist
the Guardian in every way and our hearts are responsive to the
burdens upon his young shoulders..."; "Word has reached us here
in Washington that our beloved Master has placed the guidance and
protection of the Holy Cause in your hands and that He named you
as the head of the House of Justice. I write you these few lines
responding with all my heart to the sacred instructions of our
Beloved Lord and assuring all the support and fidelity of which I
am capable..."; "Beloved of our beloved," he was addressed by
two pillars of the Faith in America, "how our hearts sang with joy
at the news that the Master had not left us comfortless but had
made you, His beloved, the centre of the unity of His Cause, so
that the hearts of all the friends may find peace and
certainty."; <p17>

"Our lives have been in utter darkness until the blessed cablegram
of the Greatest Holy Leaf arrived with the first ray o r light, and
that is your appointment by the Merciful Lord as our Guardian and
our Head as well as the Guardian of the Cause of God and the Head
of the House of Justice."; "Whatever the Guardian of the Cause
wishes or advises these servants to do, that is likewise our desire
and intention."

On January 16th the Guardian wrote his first letter to the
Persian Baha'is, encouraging them to remain steadfast and protect
the Faith and sharing with them in moving terms his grief at the
passing of the beloved Master. On January 22nd Shoghi Effendi
cabled the American Baha'is: "Holy Leaves comforted by Americans'
unswerving loyalty and noble resolve. Day of steadfastness. Accept
my loving cooperation." The day before he had written his first
letter to them, beginning: "At this early hour when the morning
light is just breaking upon the Holy Land, whilst the gloom of the
dear Master's bereavement is still hanging thick upon the hearts,
I feel as if my soul turns in yearning love and full of hope to
that great company of His loved ones across the seas..." Already
he has placed his hand on the tiller and sees the channels he must
navigate clearly before him: "the broad and straight path of
teaching", as he phrased it, unity, selflessness, detachment,
prudence, caution, earnest endeavour to carry out the Master's
wishes, awareness of His presence, shunning of the enemies of the
Cause -- these must be the goal and animation of the believers. Four
days later he is writing his first letter to the Japanese Baha'is:
"Despondent and sorrowful though I be in these darksome days, yet
whenever I call to mind the hopes our departed Master so
confidently reposed in the friends in that Far-Eastern land, hope
revives within me and drives away the gloom of His bereavement. As
His attendant and secretary for well nigh two years after the
termination of the Great War, I recall so vividly the radiant joy
that transfigured His face whenever I opened before Him your
While Shoghi Effendi was thus occupied and was gathering his powers
and beginning to write letters such as these to the Baha'is in
different countries, he received the following letter from the High
Commissioner for Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, dated January 24,

Dear Mr. Rabbani,

I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of Jan. 16, and
to <p18>

thank you for the kind expression it contains.

It would be unfortunate if the ever to be lamented death of Sir
'Abdu'l-Baha were to interfere with the completion of your Oxford
career, and I hope that may not be the case.
I am much interested to learn of the measures that have been taken
to provide for the stable organization of the Baha'i Movement.
Should you be at any time in Jerusalem it would be a pleasure to
me to see you here.

Yours sincerely,

Herbert Samuel

However friendly its tone, it demanded on the part of His
Majesty's Government to be informed of what was going on. And this
is not the least surprising in view of the activities of Muhammad
'Ali. Shortly after 'Abdu'l-Baha's ascension, this disgruntled and
perfidious half-brother had filed a claim, based on Islamic law (he
who pretended he had still a right to be the successor of
Baha'u'llah!) for a portion of the estate of 'Abdu'l-Baha which he
now claimed a right to as His brother. He had sent for his son, who
had been living in America and agitating his father's claims there,
to join him in this new and direct attack on the Master and His
family. Not content with this exhibition of his true nature he
applied to the civil authorities to turn over the custodianship of
Baha'u'llah's Shrine to him on the grounds that he was 'Abdu'l-Baha's lawful successor. The British authorities refused on the
grounds that it appeared to be a religious issue; he then appealed
to the Muslim religious head and asked the Mufti of 'Akka to take
formal charge of Baha'u'llah's Shrine; this dignitary, however,
said he did not see how he could do this as the Baha'i teachings
were not in conformity with Shari'ah law. All other avenues having
failed he sent his younger brother, Badi'u'llah, with some of their
supporters, to visit the Shrine of Baha'u'llah where, on Tuesday,
January 30th, they forcibly seized the keys of the Holy Tomb from
the Baha'i caretaker, thus asserting Muhammad 'Ali's right to be
the lawful custodian of his father's resting-place. This
unprincipled act created such a commotion in the Baha'i Community
that the Governor of 'Akka ordered the keys to be handed over to
the authorities, posted guards at the Shrine, but went no further,
refusing to return the keys to either party. <p19>

It does not require much imagination to conceive this was another
terrible shock to Shoghi Effendi, the news arriving after dark, by
a panting and excited messenger, all the believers aroused and
distressed beyond words at the thought that for the first time in
decades the Most Sacred Remains had fallen into the hands of the
inveterate enemy of the Centre of His Covenant.
The situation in which Shoghi Effendi now found himself was truly
crushing. Although the body of the believers was loyal, the Cause
was being attacked from all sides by enemies emboldened by and

rejoicing over the death of 'Abdu'l-Baha.
The strain of this was more than he could bear. He appointed a body
of nine people to act tentatively as an Assembly and we find that
on April 7,1922, this body enters in its records that a letter has
been received from the Greatest Holy Leaf in which she states that
"the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Chosen Branch, the Leader
of the people of Baha, Shoghi Effendi, under the weight of sorrows
and boundless grief, has been forced to leave here for a while in
order to rest and recuperate, and then return to the Holy Land to
render his services and discharge his responsibilities." She goes
on to say that in accordance with his letter, which she encloses,
he has appointed her to administer, in consultation with the family
of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and a chosen Assembly, all Baha'i affairs during
his absence. Shoghi Effendi had already left Haifa for Europe, on
April 5th, accompanied by his eldest cousin.
On April 8th the Greatest Holy Leaf wrote a general letter to the
friends. She first acknowledges the letters of allegiance they have
sent and says Shoghi Effendi is counting upon their co-operation
in spreading the Message; the Baha'i world must from now on be
linked through the Spiritual Assemblies and local questions must
be referred to them. She then goes on to say: "Since the ascension
of our Beloved 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi has been moved so
deeply ... that he has sought the necessary quiet in which to
meditate upon the vast task ahead of him, and it is to accomplish
this that
he has temporarily left these regions. During his absence he has
me as his representative, and while he is occupied in
great endeavour, the family of 'Abdu'l-Baha is assured that you
will all strive to advance triumphantly the Cause of Baha'u'llah..." The typewritten letter in English is signed in Persian
"Baha'iyyih" and sealed with her seal.

It all looked very calm on paper but behind it was a raging storm
in the heart and mind of Shoghi Effendi. "He has gone", the


Greatest Holy Leaf wrote, "on a trip to various countries". He left
with his cousin and went to Germany to consult doctors. I remember
he told me they found he had almost no reflexes, which they
considered very serious . In the wilderness, however, he found for
himself a partial healing, as so many others had found before him.
Some years later, in 1926, to Hippolyte Dreyfus, who had known him
from childhood and whom he evidently felt he could be open with as
an intimate friend, he wrote that his letter had reached him "on
my way to the Bernese Oberland which has become my second home. In
the fastnesses and recesses of its alluring mountains I shall try
to forget the atrocious vexations which have afflicted me for so
long ... It is a matter which I greatly deplore, that in my
present state of health, I feel the least inclined to, and even
incapable of, any serious discussion on these vital problems with
which I am confronted and with which you are already familiar. The
atmosphere in Haifa is intolerable and a radical change is
impracticable. The transference of my work to any other centre is
unthinkable, undesirable and in the opinion of many justly scandalous
... I cannot express myself more adequately than I have for
my memory has greatly suffered."

In the early years after 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing, although Shoghi
Effendi often travelled about Europe with the restless interest of
not only a young man but a man haunted by the ever-present, towering
giants of his work and his responsibility, he returned again
and again to those wild, high mountains and their lofty solitude.
In spite of his withdrawal -- for that is really what this first
absence from the Holy Land amounted to -- the forces Shoghi Effendi
had set in motion were bearing fruit. One of the returning pilgrims
informed the American Baha'i Convention, held in April 1922, that:
"our visit was at the summons of Shoghi Effendi. At Haifa we met
Baha'is from Persia, India, Burma, Egypt, Italy, England and France
... On arrival the impression that came strongly over me was that
God is in His Heaven and all is well with the world ... We met
Shoghi Effendi, dressed entirely in black, a touching figure. Think
of what he stands for today! All the complex problems of the great
statesmen of the world are as child's play in comparison with the
great problems of this youth, before whom are the problems of the
entire world ... No one can form any conception of his
difficulties, which are overwhelming ... the Master is not gone.
His Spirit is present with greater intensity and power ... In the
center of this radiation stands this youth, Shoghi Effendi. <p21>

The Spirit streams forth from this young man. He is indeed young
in face, form and manner, yet his heart is the center of the world
today. The character and spirit divine scintillate from him today.
He alone can ... save the world and make true civilization. So
humble, meek, selfless is he that it is touching to see him. His
letters are a marvel. It is the great wisdom of God in granting us
the countenance of this great central point of guidance to meet
difficult problems. These problems, much like ours, come to him
from all parts of the world. They are met and solved by him in the
most informal way ... The great principles laid down by
Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha now have their foundation in the
external world of God's Kingdom on earth. This foundation is being
laid, sure and certain, by Shoghi Effendi in Haifa today."

Being by nature very methodical Shoghi Effendi in these early
years kept fairly complete records and copies of letters sent; he
lists 67 centres that he wrote to, East and West, during the months
he was in the Holy Land in 1922. From December 16,1922, to February
23,1923 he records 132 places he wrote to, some more than once. In
a letter dated December 16,1922 he wrote: "... I shall now
eagerly await the joyful tidings of the progress of the Cause and
the extension of your activities and will spare no effort in
sharing with the faithful, here and in other lands, the welcome
news of the progressive march of the Cause." The correspondence of
this period covers 21 countries and 67 cities, but he does not seem
to have written to more than a score of individuals, many of whom
were not Baha'is. The countries he corresponded with at the very
outset of his ministry included Persia, Britain, France, Germany,
Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, Canada, Australia,
Pacific Islands, Japan, India, Burma, Caucasus, Turkistan, Turkey,
Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Egypt.
In his first letter to the newly-elected National Assembly of
America he writes, on December 23rd, that: "To have been unable,
owing to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, to correspond
with you ever since you entered upon your manifold and arduous
duties is to me a cause of deep regret and sad surprise." These are
the words of a man coming up from the depths of nightmare and
reflect how deep had been the abyss of affliction into which he had
fallen during the past year of his life. "I am however", he goes
on to say, "assured and sustained by the conviction, never dimmed
in my mind, that whatever comes to pass in the Cause of God,
however disquieting in its immediate effects, is fraught with <p22>

infinite Wisdom and tends ultimately to promote its interests in
the world."

In these early letters he invites the Assemblies to write to him,
and he asks them to inform him of their "needs, wants and desires,
their plans and their activities", so that he may "through my
prayers and brotherly assistance contribute, however meagrely, to
the success of their glorious mission in this world." He is deeply
grateful for the manner in which "my humble suggestions" have been
carried out, and assures the friends of his "never-failing
brotherly assistance."
"I am now", Shoghi Effendi wrote to Tudor Pole in 1923, "fully
restored to health and am intensely occupied with my work at present."
Correspondence, however, was far from being his only activity;
he was also "engaged in the service of the various pilgrims
that visit in these days this sacred Spot." It was customary for
him, in these early days of his ministry, to hold regular meetings
in the home of 'Abdu'l-Baha. In December 1922, five days after his
return, he writes: "I have shared fully your news with those loving
pilgrims and resident friends in the Holy Land whom I meet
regularly in what was the audience chamber of the Master."
These might be described as the more pleasant phases of his work
in the discharge of his high office, though they exacted from him
a great deal of time and energy. But what really burdened him
beyond all endurance were the activities of the Covenant-breakers.
It was, in Shoghi Effendi's own words, "amidst the heat and dust
which the attacks launched by a sleepless enemy precipitated" that
he had to carry on his work.
The position of the Faith necessitated the cultivation of careful
relations with the Mandatory authorities. 'Abdu'l-Baha had been
well known and highly esteemed, though it is unlikely that anyone
in Palestine had the faintest inkling of the vast implications of
the "Movement", as it was so often referred to in the early days,
of which they accepted Him as Head. On December 19,1922 Shoghi
Effendi had wired to the High Commissioner for Palestine in
Jerusalem: "Pray accept my best wishes and kind regards on my return
to Holy Land and resumption of my official duties." As there
must have been a considerable buzz of gossip, ardently fed no doubt
by the Covenant-breakers, about his eight months' withdrawal, this
was a carefully calculated move on Shoghi Effendi's part as well
as an act of courtesy.
The matter which concerned Shoghi Effendi most, however, was <p23>

the Shrine of Baha'u'llah at Bahji. The keys of the inner Tomb were
still held by the authorities; the right of access to other parts
of the Shrine was accorded Baha'is and Covenant-breakers alike; the
Baha'i custodian looked after it as before, and any decision seemed
in a state of abeyance. Shoghi Effendi never rested until, through
representations he made to the authorities, backed by insistent
pressure from Baha'is all over the world, he succeeded in getting
the custody of the Holy Tomb back into his own hands. On February
7, 1923, he wrote to Tudor Pole: "I have had a long talk with Col.
Symes and have fully explained to him the exact state of affairs,
the unmistakable and overwhelming voice of all the Baha'i Community
and their unshakeable determination to stand by the Will and
Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Recently he sent a message to Muhammad
'Ali requiring from him the sum of œ108 for the expenses of the
policeman, contending that he being the aggressor is liable to this
expense. So far he has not complied with this request and I await
future developments with great anxiety."

The following day Shoghi Effendi received this telegram from his
cousin, who was in Jerusalem:

His Eminence Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, Haifa.

Letter received immediate steps taken the final decision by

High Commissioner is in our favour the key is yours.

The letter referred to was one written by Sir Gilbert Clayton,
Chief Secretary of the Palestine Administration, to the High Commissioner.
Shoghi Effendi, in another letter to Tudor Pole, informed
him that he was on very warm terms with the Governor of
Haifa, Col. G. Stewart Symes and had met Sir Gilbert; it was no
doubt due to these contacts that the authorities decided in favour
of the Guardian and the key was officially returned to the
legitimate Baha'i keeper of the Shrine, from whom it had been
wrested by force over a year before.
Though the safety of the Qiblih of the Baha'i world was now assured
once and for all time, the house Baha'u'llah had occupied in Bagdad
was still in the hands of the Shi'ah enemies of the Faith, and
continues to be so until the present day; the battle to get it back
into Baha'i custody was to worry and to exercise Shoghi Effendi for
many years.
Every time one goes into the details of any particular period in
the Guardian's life one is tempted to say, "this was the worst <p24>

period", so fraught with strain, problems, unbearable pressures was
his entire ministry. But there is a pattern, there are themes,
higher and lower points were reached. The pattern of 1922,1923 and
1924 reveals itself, insofar as his personal life is concerned, as
an heroic attempt to come to grips with this leviathan -- the Cause
of God -- he had been commanded to bestride.

With the passing of 1923 one could almost say that the winged
Guardian emerged from the chrysalis of youth, a new being; the
wings may not yet be fully stretched, but their beat gains steadily
in sweep and assurance as the years go by until, in the end, they
truly cast a shadow over all mankind. In his early writings one
sees this mastery unfolding, in style, in thought, in power. Let
us pick certain facts and quotations at random and see how clearly
they substantiate this evolution that was taking place. From the
very beginning he turned to the believers, with that inimitable
trusting and confiding touch that won all hearts, and asked them
to pray for him, that he might, in collaboration with them, achieve
the "speedy triumph of the Cause of God" in every land. His
questions are challenging, his thoughts incisive: "Are we to be
carried away by the flood of hollow and conflicting ideas, or are
we to stand, unsubdued and unblemished, upon the everlasting rock
of God's Divine Instructions?"; "... are we to believe that
whatever befalls us is divinely ordained, and in no wise the result
of our faint-heartedness and negligence?" Already in 1923 he sees
the world and the Cause as two distinct things, not to be mixed up
in our minds into one sentimental and haphazard lump. The Will of
God he asserts is "at variance with the shadowy views, the impotent
doctrines, the crude theories, the idle imaginings, the fashionable
conceptions of a transient and troublous age."
Shoghi Effendi's interest in the Pacific and his awareness of the
future development of the Cause in that area is manifested in the
first years of his Guardianship. He wrote to the Pacific Islands,
in delightfully romantic terms, in January 1923, that "their very
names evoke within us so high a sense of hope and admiration that
the passing of time and the vicissitudes of life can never weaken
or remove", and addressed a letter in January 1924 "To the dearly-
beloved ones of 'Abdu'l-Baha throughout Australia, New Zealand,
Tasmania, and the adjoining islands of the Pacific. Friends and
heralds of the Kingdom of Baha'u'llah! A fresh breeze laden with
the perfume of your love and devotion to our beloved Cause was
wafted again from your distant Southern shores to the Holy <p25>

Land and has served to remind us one and all of that unquenchable
spirit of service and self-sacrifice which the passing of our
Beloved has in these days kindled in almost every corner of the

The words he wrote to one of the American Assemblies in December
1923 sound almost like a soliloquy: "The inscrutable wisdom of God
has so decreed that we, who are the chosen bearers of the world's
greatest Message to suffering humanity, should toil and promote our
work under the most trying conditions of life, amidst unhelpful
surroundings, and in the face of unprecedented trials, and without
means, influence or support, achieve, steadily and surely, the
conquest and regeneration of human hearts." Many of these early
letters to various Spiritual Assemblies have this quality, not of
disquisition, but of voicing his own innermost considerations. That
same month he wrote: "... True, the progress of our work, when
compared to the sensational rise and development of an earthly
cause, has been painful and slow, yet we firmly believe and shall
never doubt that the great spiritual Revolution which the Almighty
is causing to be accomplished, through us, in the hearts of men is
destined to achieve, steadily and surely, the complete regeneration
of all mankind. "; "However great our tribulation may be, however
unexpected the miseries of life, let us bear in mind the life He
[the Master] has led before us, and, inspired and grateful, let us
bear our burden with steadfastness and fortitude, that in the world
to come, in the divine Presence of our loving Comforter, we may receive
His true consolation and reward of our labours . "; "Whatever
may befall us, and however dark the Prospect of the future may appear,
if we but play our part we may rest confident that the Hand
of the Unseen is at work, shaping and moulding the events and circumstances
of the world and paving the way for the ultimate realization
of our aims and hopes for mankind. "; "Our primary duty is
to create by our words and deeds, our conduct and example, the atmosphere
in which the seeds of the words of Baha'u'llah and
'Abdu'l-Baha cast so profusely during well-nigh eighty years, may
germinate and give forth those fruits that alone can assure peace
and prosperity to this distracted world. "; "... Let us arise
to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction, understanding
and vigour ... Let us make it the dominating passion of our life.
Let us scatter to the uttermost corners of the earth, sacrifice
our personal interests, comforts, tastes and pleasures, mingle with
the divers kindreds and peoples of the world; familiarize ourselves
with their manners, traditions, thoughts and customs". The tone of
some of <p26>

these sounds like his great messages during the prosecution of the
Divine Plan, but they were written in the winter of 1923-1924. He
had set himself the task of seeing that the Faith emerged into "the
broad daylight of universal recognition", a term he used that same

Steeped in the Teachings from his infancy, privileged to hear,
read and write so many of the Master's words during his youth,
Shoghi Effendi firmly guided the friends in East and West along
their destined course. Already in March 1922, in one of his first
letters to the American believers, he had stated: "the friends of
God the world over are strictly forbidden to meddle with political
affairs". He is using the term "pioneer", in his earliest letters,
and in 1925 is keeping a list of Baha'i centres throughout the

In spite of what he described as the "thorny path of my arduous
duties", in spite of the "oppressive burden of responsibility and
care which it is my lot and privilege to shoulder", he was clear
in expressing and brilliant in understanding the needs of the Cause
and the tasks facing the believers. He was equally clear in
defining what relationship he wished the Baha'is to have with him
and in what manner they should regard him. On February 6,1922 he
wrote to one of the Persian Baha'is: "I wish to be known, to
realize myself however far I may proceed in future, as one and only
one of the many workers in His Vineyards ... whatever may betide
I trust in His ['Abdu'l-Baha's] wondrous love for me. May I in no
wise by my deeds, thoughts or words, impede the stream of His
sustaining Spirit which I sorely need in facing the
responsibilities He has placed on my youthful shoulders..." and
on March 5th he added the following postscript to a letter to the
American friends: "May I also express my heartfelt desire that the
friends of God in every land regard me in no other light but that
of a true brother, united with them in our common servitude to the
Master's Sacred Threshold, and refer to me in their letters and
verbal addresses always as Shoghi Effendi, for I desire to be known
by no other name save the one our Beloved Master was wont to utter,
a name which of all other designations is the most conducive to my
spiritual growth and advancement." In 1924 he cabled India clearly
and succinctly: "My birthday should not be commemorated". In 1930
his secretary wrote on his behalf: "Concerning Shoghi Effendi's
station: he surely has none except what the Master confers upon him
in His Will and that Will also states what Shoghi Effendi's station
is. If anyone misinterprets one part of the Will he misinterprets
all the <p27>

Will." When Shoghi Effendi wrote the general letter known as The
Dispensation of Bah'u'llah he made clear, once-for-all, his own
position, disassociating himself categorically from the
prerogatives and station Baha'u'llah had conferred upon 'Abdu'l-Baha:
"In the light of this truth to pray to the Guardian of the
Faith, to address him as lord and master, to designate him as his
holiness, to seek his benediction, to celebrate his birthday, or
to commemorate any event associated with his life would be
tantamount to a departure from those established truths that are
enshrined within our beloved Faith." In 1945 his secretary wrote
on his behalf: "... he has never gone so far as to forbid the
friends to have pictures of himself in their possession; he merely
would rather they placed the emphasis on the beloved Master." <p29>



It is time to ask ourselves what manner of man this was who wrote
such things about himself, what impression did he create, how did
he appear to others?

From the diary of one of the American believers whom Shoghi
Effendi called to Haifa, in March 1922, we have the following
description: "... Shoghi Effendi appeared and greeted me most
kindly and affectionately. I had not seen him for eight years, and
of course I was surprised at the change and development in him, for
instead of the boy I had known there was now a man very young in
years but premature in poise and depth of spirit and thought . .
." He goes on to describe his impressions of Shoghi Effendi: "As
I used to sit at table looking at Shoghi Effendi, I was struck by
his resemblance to the Master. In the shape and poise of his head,
his shoulders, his walk and his general bearing. Then I felt the
terrible weight and responsibility which had been placed upon that
young boy. It seemed overwhelming that he, whose life was just
starting, so to speak from the human worldly standpoint, should
have had this great responsibility thrust upon him, a weight which
would so consume him and place him aside by himself as to eliminate
from his life the freedom and joy of the human side of life, which
though not eternal, has a certain call for each of us human
In 1929 an Indian Baha'i pilgrim wrote of Shoghi Effendi: "We must
understand Shoghi Effendi in order to be able to help him
accomplish the stupendous task he has entrusted to us. He is so
calm and yet so vibrant, so static and yet so dynamic." This is
little short of a brilliant characterization of one aspect of the
Guardian. The impression he created on the first American Baha'i
to be called to Haifa after the second World War, in 1947, reveals
other aspects of his nature: "My first impression is of his warm,
Ioving smile and handclasp, making me feel instantly at ease . .
. In the course of <p30>

these interviews, I was to become increasingly conscious of his
many great qualities -- his nobility, dignity, fire and enthusiasm --
his ability to run the scale from sparkling humour to deep outrage,
but always, always, putting the Baha'i Faith ahead of everything
... In his practical, logical manner, Shoghi Effendi made me feel
both a welcome guest and a needed helper, he outlined some of my
duties which started the very next day! His advice, given me on
that initial visit, was to overshadow all my efforts on his behalf;
he said he wanted me to follow his instructions explicitly, if I
was unsuccessful, or ran into difficulties, to report to him
precisely and he would give me a new plan of action ... For the
Baha'is working at the International Center, during this period at
least, there was no special day of rest. It was then that one
learned that each moment belonged to the Faith..." She then
tells of those evenings when Shoghi Effendi shared with us at the
dinner table special plans, cables and messages he was sending out
and occasionally precious documents in his possession: "...
Sparkling with excitement and new plans, he would produce messages
and letters from his pockets, oftentimes pushing his dinner plate
away untouched, calling for paper and pencil and thrill us all with
his new ideas and hopes for the Baha'is to carry out ... The
beloved Guardian disliked very much to have his picture taken,
therefore any photographs extant do not reflect his true 'image'.
In the first place, the emotions flowed so rapidly over his
features that one would need a series to catch his many moods. It
was a delight to see and hear him laugh ... he seemed to twinkle
like a star when some plan had been successfully brought to a
conclusion. His sense of humour was a joy! He was like a high
mountain, strong, always there, but never conquered, filled with
unexpected heights and depths ... he was extremely thorough and
taught us all a new sense of perfection and attention to detail .
. . he was in close touch with the expenditure of all funds ...
He was enthusiastically concerned with Baha'i statistics ... We
could never appreciate his grasp of all affairs connected with
activities at the 'grass roots' right up to the World Center . .
. "

Professor Alaine Locke of Howard University in Washington, who
was one of the Baha'i pilgrims to visit Haifa during the first
years of Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship, describes the impressions
he received as he walked with Shoghi Effendi in the gardens of the
Bab's Shrine: "Shoghi 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 <p31>

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."

Shoghi Effendi continually added to these gardens and their fame
increased steadily. By the end of his life as many as 90,000 people
a year were visiting them and the Shrine of the Bab. What one
visitor wrote to him in 1935 expressed in the simplest terms the
impression such a visit creates on many people; she had been
"deeply impressed by the reticent beauty of the Shrines and by the
happiness of the gardens."
It was his practice each year to enlarge the cultivated area around
the Shrines of the Bab and 'Abdu'l-Baha. No doubt the very first
impulse in this direction came from his ever-conscious desire to
follow in every field the wishes of his departed Master. He knew
'Abdu'l-Baha had planned a series of terraces from the old German
Colony up to the Bab's Sepulchre; indeed the Master had begun developing
the first terrace. Shoghi Effendi set himself, over the
years, to finish these and in the course of studying this plan he
no doubt evolved a concept of his gardens around the Shrine -- for
gardens they are, not one garden. To understand and appreciate the
extraordinarily beautiful effect Shoghi Effendi has created on Mt.
Carmel and in Bahji one must know his method.
Shoghi Effendi studied the surrounding barren mountain side and
began to develop, piece by piece, year after year, separate sections.
With the exception of the terraces it must be borne in mind
that he never had an over-all plan. This is what gives the gardens
on Mt. Carmel their unique character. As he walked about Shoghi Effendi
would get an idea for a piece of garden that fitted the
topography of the land. With no fuss, no advice and no help except
the unskilled farmers who did duty as gardeners, he would make his
plan for this "piece". If necessary he would have the spot surveyed
and curves or long lines laid out, but very often he dispensed with
this and did it all himself.
It is hard to understand why most people do things so slowly when
Shoghi Effendi did them so fast. Just to twitter faithfully that
he was "guided by God" does not seem to me a sufficient explanation.
I believe great people see things in great dimensions, little
people get tripped up by little details. Shoghi Effendi, being
truly great, having clearly in mind what he wanted to do, saw no
reason why a lot of puny details such as that one usually gave
instructions <p32>

to subordinates and let them go their own pace in carrying them
out -- should prevent him from getting the whole thing done, under
his own eyes, in one operation. He organized it perfectly and it
was accomplished immediately and perfectly; anything he could do
himself was always done this way. The delays and frustrations usually
occurred when he had to refer his work to others.

Shoghi Effendi had a faultless sense of proportion. It is the
combination of this sense of proportion, and an originality
unhampered by tradition or too much information that made his
gardens so unique, so fascinating and beautiful. If he (so he
claimed) lacked the power of visualizing a thing completed, he
possessed to a strong degree the other creative faculty of the true
artist, the capacity to let a thing shape up under his hands, to
receive an inspiration in the middle of a plan and pursue the
soaring course of that inspiration rather than be tied to the
preconceived idea.
Shoghi Effendi -- like the Master before him -- was a great lover of
light. He hated gloomy interiors. This love of bright light was so
pronounced that I used to remonstrate with him for working with a
powerful desk lamp practically shining in his eyes as I was afraid
it was too much for them. His own room was always brilliantly lit,
the Shrines were all full of lights, large and small, and one of
his first acts as Guardian was to have placed over the door of the
Bab's Shrine that faces the terraces and the straight avenue at the
foot of the mountain that leads to the sea, a bright light.
Gradually the gardens in both Haifa and Bahji were all illumined
with beautiful four-branched wrought iron lamp posts, ninety-nine
of them being erected in Bahji alone. When the night came that
these were lighted for the first time, on the occasion of the
Ridvan Feast in 1953, and we approached Bahji by car the sky glowed
as if we were approaching a small city! The Guardian told the
Persian pilgrims that it had always been light, but now it was
"light upon light". (In the original there is a beautiful play of
words alluding to Baha'u'llah as light.) In addition to this the
Shrine in Haifa was illuminated at night by flood-lights, as were
the resting-places of the Greatest Holy Leaf, and those of the
mother and brother of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and high-powered reflectors
were ordered to illumine the International Archives Building.
Shoghi Effendi came to grips with the harsh fact that he was to all
intents and purposes alone and he placed increased reliance on
himself. He set himself to do all the work and did it, using as
secretaries various members of the Master's family, facing an ever-increasing <p33>
spirit of disaffection on their part, resigning himself
to the unending drudgery of petty tasks as well as major ones,
accepting his fate with resignation, often with despair, always
with loyalty and fortitude. It can truly be said of him that
single-handed he effected the world-wide establishment of the Faith
of his Divine Forefathers and proved that he belonged to that same
sovereign caste.

It was during these years, when Shoghi Effendi WclS trying so
hard to gather about him a group of competent co-workers, that a
crisis of unprecedented dimensions burst upon him. The sea of the
Cause of God, whipped by the winds of both destiny and chance which
blow upon it from the outside world, was now lashed into a storm
whose waves beat remorselessly upon Shoghi Effendi's mind, his
strength, his nerves and his resources. The blessed House occupied
by Baha'u'llah in Bagdad, and ordained by Him, in Shoghi Effendi's
words, as a "sacred, sanctified and cherished object of Baha'i
pilgrimage and veneration" had already in the days of 'Abdu'l-Baha
been seized by the Shi'ahs, after a series of nefarious manoeuvres,
but had been returned by the British authorities to its legitimate
custodians. When news of 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing reached the
inveterate enemies of the Faith, they once again renewed their
attack and laid claim to the House; in 1922 the government had
taken over the keys of the House in spite of the assurance of King
Feisal that he would respect the claims of the Baha'is to a
building that had been occupied by their representatives ever since
Baha'u'llah's departure from Baghdad and who now, for political
reasons, went back on his word; and in 1923, the keys had been most
unjustly delivered again to the Shi'ahs. From shortly after the
passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha until November 1925 there had been a
continuous struggle on the part of the Baha'is to protect the Most
Holy House. The Shi'ahs had first taken the case to their own religious
court from which it was speedily lifted out to the Peace
court and then brought before the local Court of First Instance,
which decided in favour of the rights of the Baha'is. This decision
was then taken to the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of 'Iraq,
which gave its verdict in favour of the Shi'ahs.
When the Guardian was informed of this flagrant miscarriage of
justice he immediately mustered the Baha'i world to take action:
he sent nineteen cables to various individuals and national bodies
comprising the believers in Persia, the Caucasus, Turkistan, 'Iraq,
Japan, Burma, China, Turkey, Moscow, India, Australia, New <p34>

Zealand, Canada, the United States, Germany, Austria, France, Great
Britain and the Pacific Islands. His instructions were that the
Baha'is should cable and write their protest at this decision to
the British High Commissioner in 'Iraq. Persia and North America --
where the Baha'i communities were numerically strong -- were informed
that in addition to every local Assembly voicing its protest
directly, the National Assembly should not only contact the High
Commissioner, but protest directly to both King Feisal of 'Iraq and
the British authorities in London. The Assembly of India and Burma
was likewise to protest to the King himself, but not to London. In
places where the Baha'is were few in number, such as France and
China, Shoghi Effendi advised that the protest should go over the
signature of individuals. All these instructions markedly display
the strategist in Shoghi Effendi. In his cables to the Baha'i world
he stated the situation was "perilous" and the "consequences of the
utmost gravity"; all must request "prompt action to safeguard
spiritual claims of Baha'is to this dearly-beloved Spot", "this
sanctified abode", "Baha'u'llah's Sacred House". He put the proper
phrases into the mouths of those he advised, the eastern friends
being told to "fervently and courteously", "in firm considerate
language", earnestly appeal "for consideration of their spiritual
claims to its possession" and to the "British sense of justice",
while the western believers were informed that "effective prompt
action urgently required ... protesting vigorously against
Court's glaring injustice, appealing for redress to British sense
of fairness, asserting spiritual claims of Baha'is ... declaring
their unfailing resolve to do their utmost to vindicate their
legitimate and sacred rights. " With his usual thoroughness Shoghi
Effendi advised America that the messages sent by the local
Assemblies "should not be identical in wording."

The exchange, during a six-month period, of well-nigh a hundred
cables, in addition to a continual correspondence with various
agents working to safeguard the Most Holy House, testify in bulk
and substance to Shoghi Effendi's preoccupation with this problem.
One of his first acts, on receiving the news of the decision of the
Supreme Court, was to cable the High Commissioner in Bagdad that:
"The Baha'is the world over view with surprise and consternation
the Court's unexpected verdict regarding the ownership of
Baha'u'llah's Sacred House. Mindful of their long-standing and
continuous occupation of this property they refuse to believe that
Your Excellency will ever countenance such manifest injustice. <p35>
They solemnly pledge themselves to stand resolutely for the
protection of their rights. They appeal to the high sense of honour
and justice which they firmly believe animates your Administration.
In the name of the family of Sir 'Abdu'l-Baha 'Abbas and the whole
Baha'i Community, Shoghi Rabbani". On the same day he cabled the
heart-broken Keeper of Baha'u'llah's House: "Grieve not. Case in
God's hand. Rest assured."

During the ensuing months many cables from Shoghi Effendi
included such phrases as "House case should be strenuously pursued."
He cabled a number of prominent non-Baha'is, and constantly coordinated
the efforts of his lieutenants in different parts of the
world. When over a month had passed Shoghi Effendi cabled various
National Assemblies, instructing them to enquire in "courteous
terms" from the High Commissioner "results of investigation" which
the British authorities had promised to undertake. It was a losing
battle, for the political and religious elements in 'Iraq had
common cause and refused to bow to the pressure brought upon them,
including that of the British Government.

Shoghi Effendi, however, did not accept defeat so lightly and never
rested until the case of the Holy House was brought before the
League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission, in November 1928;
the Mandatory Power had upheld the right of the Baha'is to the
possession of the House, and the Mandates Commission recommended
to the Council of the League of Nations that it request the British
Government to make representations to the 'Iraqi Government to
redress the denial of justice to the Baha'is in this case. The
Baha'is continued to press the matter, from 1928 until 1933, but
to no avail because the instruments for enforcing the decision were
lacking and the power of the Shi'ahs inside 'Iraq was such as to
cause the entire question to be dropped by the 'Iraqi Government,
whenever that decision was pressed upon it.

A brief resume of events such as these conveys none of the day-to-day
suspense that attends them, the fluctuations between hope and
despair, the good news and bad news that alternate with each other
and wear away the heart and strength. The first impact of the
Supreme Court's decision had scarcely been received when Dr.
Esslemont suddenly died. Coming at such a time of crisis the loss
of his friend was a doubly grievous blow to the Guardian.
So heavy was this burden that in February 1926 he wrote to one of
the believers: "I am submerged in a sea of activities, anxieties
and preoccupations. My mind is extremely tired and I feel I am <p36>
becoming inefficient and slow due to this mental fatigue." This
condition became so acute that he was forced to go away for a brief
rest. "The overwhelming burden of pressing cares and
responsibilities", he wrote towards the end of March, "necessitated
my departure at a time when ... I was most anxious to receive my
friends and coworkers from various parts of the world". He must
have been ill, indeed, to have absented himself from Haifa and his
guests, but whatever his condition in February and March it was
mild compared to that into which he was plunged by a wire from
Persia, sent on April 11th, from Shiraz, which baldly stated:
"Twelve friends in Jahrom martyred agitation may extend elsewhere,"
to which he replied the same day, "Horrified sudden calamity.
Suspend activities. Appeal central authorities. Convey relatives
tenderest sympathy". He also wired that same day to Tihran a
message so significant of the spirit of the Faith that its
conjunction with the events in Jahrum cannot be ignored: "I
earnestly request all believers Persia Turkistan Caucasus
participate whole-heartedly in renewal Spiritual Assemblies
election. No true Baha'i can stand aside. Results should be
promptly forwarded Holy Land through central Assemblies communicate
immediately with every centre. Proceed cautiously. Imploring Divine
assistance." The following day, having received a more detailed
wire from Shiraz advising that the chief instigator of the
agitation there had been arrested and giving certain suggestions,
Shoghi Effendi telegraphed Tihran: "Grief-stricken Jahrom martyrdom.
Convey His Majesty on behalf all Baha'is and myself our profound
appreciation his prompt intervention and our earnest entreaty to
inflict immediate punishment on perpetrators of such atrocious
crime. Urge all Persian Assemblies send similar message." It is a
slight, but significant indication of his mental state, that in the
first cables he spells "Jahrom" phonetically, but later switches
to the transliterated "Jahrum".

What all this meant to Shoghi Effendi is expressed by him in a
letter to one of his co-workers, written on the 24th of April.
After acknowledging receipt of his many letters, he explains that
his delay in answering them has been due to "my unfortunate
illness, amounting almost to a break-down, combined with the
receipt of the most distressing news from Persia reporting the
martyrdom of twelve of our friends in the town of Jahrum, south of
Shiraz. I have wired for full particulars and will communicate them
to the various Baha'i centres immediately I receive detailed
information. Political considerations and personal rivalries appear
to have played no <p37>
small part ... I have transmitted a message to the Shah through
the Persian National Spiritual Assembly ... I have also requested
foreign Assemblies to give in an unoffensive language full
publicity to these reports in their respective newspapers, but have
thought it premature for them to get into direct relation with the

Yet in this state Shoghi Effendi managed to do what he thought
could be done: "I feel that with patience, tact, courage and
resource we can utilize this development to further the interests
and extend the influence of the Cause." He had mustered the forces
of the Baha'i world in defence of the oppressed Persian Community,
ensured that wide publicity in the foreign press be given to these
martyrdoms, and constantly directed various National Assemblies in
the action they should take in this respect as well as in the case
of the Most Holy House.

Such is the tale of one period of the Guardian's life; how many
blows rained on him in a little over six months, at a time when he
was still struggling to get the load that had been placed on his
shoulders at the time of the Master's passing properly balanced so
that he could carry it! <p39>


Shoghi Effendi used to remark that out of his sufferings something
always seemed to be born. He would go through these ordeals by
fire -- for indeed he seemed to fairly burn with suffering -- and then
some rain from heaven, in the form of good news, would shower upon
him and help to revive him. I am afraid the mystery of sacrifice
still remains a mystery to me, but certainly the Holy Ones of this
world buy their victories dearly.

It was at this time, when affliction was literally engulfing the
Guardian, that, on May 4th, the "Toronto Daily Star" published a
highly appreciative statement made by Queen Marie of Rumania on the
Baha'i Faith, a statement, followed by others during the course of
her visit to the United States and Canada, which was printed in
about two hundred newspapers and constituted some of the widest and
most spectacular publicity the Faith has ever received. In a
confidential letter written on May 29th the Guardian refers to this
as "this most astonishing and highly significant event in the
progress of the Cause".

The acceptance of Baha'u'llah's station by the Rumanian Queen -- the
first crowned head to embrace the Faith -- is a chapter in itself in
the life of Shoghi Effendi and is inextricably bound up with the
services of Martha Root, that "star-servant of the Faith of
Baha'u'llah", as Shoghi Effendi called her, and the part she played
in his life -- indeed no account of his life could ever be complete
without mention of the relationship of this noble soul to him. Miss
Martha Root was a journalist by profession and came of a distinguished
American family. She met the Master during His visit to the
United States and, fired by His Tablets of the Divine Plan, arose
in 1919 and commenced her historic travels in the service of the
Cause, not only travelling longer and farther than any single
Baha'i has ever done since its inception, but often, as the
Guardian said, <p40>
"in extremely perilous circumstances". It was her great teaching
journeys -- four of which took her entirely round the world combined
with her truly outstanding qualities, that so endeared her to
Shoghi Effendi and led him to call her the "archetype of Baha'i
itinerant teachers". The services of no other believer ever
afforded him the satisfaction that her singular victories brought
him. Of her Shoghi Effendi wrote in October 1926: "In her case we
have verily witnessed in an unmistakable manner what the power of
dauntless faith, when coupled with sublimity of character, can
achieve, what forces it can release, to what heights it can

From the inception of Shoghi Effendi's ministry she not only
turned her great loving heart to him but constantly sought his advice
as to her plans. It would not be exaggerating to say they had
a partnership in all her undertakings, marked by a mutual love and
confidence all too rare in the harassed life of the Guardian. They
kept in close touch, a flow of letters and cables apprising him of
her plans, her needs, her victories, her requests for guidance and
his unfailing answers giving encouragement and advice. We find in
his letters to her, whom he characterized, in 1923, as that
"indomitable and zealous disciple of 'Abdu'l-Baha", over and over
again phrases such as these, in which he expresses the warmth of
his feelings, that he has read her letters with "pride and
gratitude", that they "have as usual gladdened my heart", that "It
is always a joy to hear from you, beloved Martha." He wrote to her
in July 1926, when she was making so many contacts with the royalty
of Europe: "... write me fully and frequently for I yearn to
hear of your activities and of every detail of your achievements.
Assuring you of my boundless love for you...", and in August he
says, "I hunger for every minute detail of your triumphal advance
in the field of service ... I am enclosing a copy of my letter
to the Queen. Do not share its contents with anyone . " But he had
hastened to share it himself with her who had taught that Queen.
In September he wrote, "I am glad to share with you the contents
of the Queen of Rumania's answer to my letter. I think it is a
remarkable letter, beyond our highest expectations. The change that
has been effected in her, her outspoken manner, her penetrating
testimony and courageous stand are indeed eloquent and convincing
proof of the all-conquering Spirit of God's living Faith and the
magnificent services you are rendering to His Cause."

She turned to him at all times, unhesitatingly making requests of
him which she felt were in the interests of the Faith. The
Guardian <p41>
was well aware of both the purity of her motives and her good
judgement and almost invariably acceded to these requests, which
ranged from letters of encouragement to individuals to cabled
messages to figures of great prominence.

On one occasion she cabled the Guardian: "... perhaps you will
think wise send me immediately greetings President Hoover", to
which Shoghi Effendi replied by cable the following day: "Kindly
convey President Hoover on behalf followers Baha'u'llah world over
expression their fervent prayers for success his unsparing efforts
in promoting cause of international brotherhood and peace -- a cause
for which they have steadfastly laboured well nigh a century".
Exactly one year before, during a visit to Japan in November 1930,
we find a similar exchange of cables taking place; Martha's said:
"Love beautiful you cable me greetings Emperor", to which Shoghi
Effendi replied, the same day: "Kindly transmit His Imperial
Majesty Emperor Japan on behalf myself and Baha'is world over
expression of our deepest love as well as assurance our heartfelt
prayers for his well-being and prosperity his ancient realm." Love
begets love. Martha's great love for Shoghi Effendi called forth
his love and his responses the way the capacity of a diamond to
reflect light captures its rays and casts them back brilliantly.
In March of 1927, Shoghi Effendi wrote to Martha: "... I assure
you, dearest Martha that wherever you be, in Scandinavia, Central
Europe, Russia, Turkey or Persia, my fervent and continued prayers
will accompany you and I trust that you may be protected,
strengthened and guided to fulfil your unique and unprecedented
mission as the exemplary advocate of the Baha'i Faith."

The years rolled by and Martha Root continued, white haired, frail
and indomitable, her ceaseless journeys, until she was stricken by
"a deadly and painful disease", as Shoghi Effendi wrote, and in
Honolulu on September 28,1939 she passed away. She had been on fire
with pain during the last weeks of a tour of the Antipodes and, on
her way back to America, to assist in the prosecution of the first
Seven Year Plan, she literally dropped in her tracks, yielding up
a life the Guardian said might well be regarded as the fairest
fruit the Formative Age of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah had yet

I well remember the day the cable conveying the news of her death
reached Shoghi Effendi. He himself was very ill with sand fly
fever, had a high temperature (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and, alas, <p42>

should never have had to receive such news in such a condition !
But there was no way we could withhold it from him. He was the
Guardian, it was Martha Root who had died. Against the strong
remonstrances of his mother, his brother and myself, he pulled
himself up to a sitting position in his bed, white, terribly weak,
and very shaken by this sudden news, and dictated a cable to
America announcing her death. He said what else could he do -- the
whole Baha'i world was waiting to hear what he would say. In that
long message he said, amongst other things: "Martha's unnumbered
admirers throughout Baha'i world lament with me earthly extinction
her heroic life ... Posterity will establish her as foremost Hand
... first Baha'i Century ... first finest fruit Formative Age
Faith..." He said he was impelled to share the expenses of
building her grave with the American National Assembly, the grave
of one whose "acts shed imperishable lustre American Baha'i

Martha Root was firmly convinced that in her possession was the
most priceless gem the world had ever seen -- the Message of
Baha'u'llah. She believed that in showing this gem and offering it
to anyone, king or peasant, she was conferring the greatest bounty
upon him he could ever receive. It was this proud conviction that
enabled her, a woman of no wealth or social prestige, plain,
dowdily dressed and neither a great scholar nor an outstanding
intellectual, to meet more kings, queens, princes and princesses,
presidents and men of distinction, fame and prominence and tell
them about the Baha'i Faith than any other Baha'i in the history
of this Cause has ever done.

Martha Root reported to Shoghi Effendi the account of the first of
her eight interviews with Queen Marie of Rumania, which took place
on January 30,1926, in Controceni Palace in Bucharest, at the
request of the Queen herself, after she had received Dr.
Esslemont's book, Bah'u'llah and the New Era, sent to her by
Martha. The Queen had evidently been attracted to the Teachings and
when it was bruited about that she might visit North America,
Shoghi Effendi wrote to the American National Spiritual Assembly
the following instructions, conveyed in the writing of his
secretary, on August 21,1926: "We read in The Times that Queen
Marie of Rumania is coming to America. She seems to have obtained
a great interest in the Cause. So we must be on our guard lest we
do an act which may prejudice her and set her back. Shoghi Effendi
desires, that in case she takes this trip, the friends will behave
with great reserve and wisdom, and that no initiative be taken on
the part <p43> of the friends except after consulting the National Assembly."

It was during this visit that Her Majesty, her heart deeply
stirred by the teachings of the Faith which she had been studying,
testified, "in a language of exquisite beauty", as Shoghi Effendi
put it, "to the power and sublimity of the Message of Baha'u'llah,
in open letters widely circulated in newspapers of both the United
States and Canada". As a result of the first of these letters
Shoghi Effendi was "moved by an irresistible impulse" to write to
the Queen of the "joyous admiration and gratitude" of himself and
the Baha'is of both the East and the West for her noble tribute to
the Faith. On August 27,1926 the Queen responded to this first
communication from the Guardian and wrote to him, what he described
as a "deeply touching letter":

Bran, August 27th, 1926

Dear Sir,

I was deeply moved on reception of your letter.

Indeed a great light came to me with the message of Baha'u'llah
and 'Abdu'l-Baha. It came as all great messages come at an hour of
dire grief and inner conflict and distress, so the seed sank

My youngest daughter finds also great strength and comfort in the
teachings of the beloved masters.

We pass on the message from mouth to mouth and all those we give
it to see a light suddenly lighting before them and much that was
obscure and perplexing becomes simple, luminous and full of hope
as never before.

That my open letter was balm to those suffering for the cause, is
indeed a great happiness to me, and I take it as a sign that God
accepted my humble tribute.

The occasion given me to be able to express myself publicly, was
also His Work, for indeed it was a chain of circumstances of which
each link led me unwittingly one step further, till suddenly all
was clear before my eyes and I understood why it had been.
Thus does He lead us finally to our ultimate destiny.

Some of those of my caste wonder at and disapprove my courage to
step forward pronouncing words not habitual for Crowned Heads to
pronounce, but I advance by an inner urge I cannot resist.
With bowed head I recognize that I too am but an instrument in
greater Hands and rejoice in the knowledge. <p44>

Little by little the veil is lifting, grief tore it in two. And
grief was also a step leading me ever nearer truth, therefore do
I not cry out against grief !

May you and those beneath your guidance be blessed and upheld by
the sacred strength of those gone before you.


Among the things Queen Marie, who was not only a famous beauty,
but an authoress and a woman of character and independence, wrote
in her "open letters" published during 1926, on May 4th and
September 28th, in the Toronto Daily Star and September 27th in the
Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, were words such as these: "A woman
brought me the other day a Book. I spell it with a capital letter
because it is a glorious Book of love and goodness, strength and
beauty ... I commend it to you all. If ever the name of
Baha'u'llah or 'Abdu'l-Baha comes to your attention, do not put
their writings from you. Search out their Books, and let their
glorious, peace-bringing, love-creating words and lessons sink into
your hearts as they have into mine. One's busy day may seem too
full for religion. Or one may have a religion that satisfies. But
the teachings of these gentle, wise and kindly men are compatible
with all religion, and with no religion. Seek them, and be the
happier." "At first we all conceive of God as something or somebody
apart from ourselves ... This is not so. We cannot, with our
earthly faculties entirely grasp His meaning -- no more than we can
really understand the meaning of Eternity ... God is all,
Everything. He is the power behind all beginnings. He is the
inexhaustible source of supply, of love, of good, of progress, of
achievement. God is therefore Happiness. His is the voice within
us that shows us good and evil. But mostly we ignore or
misunderstand this voice. Therefore did He choose His Elect to come
down amongst us upon earth to make clear His Word, His real
meaning. Therefore the Prophets; therefore Christ, Muhammad,
Baha'u'llah, for man needs from time to time a voice upon earth to
bring God to him, to sharpen the realization of the existence of
the true God. Those voices sent to us had to become flesh, so that
with our earthly ears we should be able to hear and understand."

Shoghi Effendi wrote to Martha Root on May 29th, after he had just
received from Canada a copy of the first of the Queen's "open
letters", that this was "a well deserved and memorable testimony
of your remarkable and exemplary endeavours for the spread of our <p45>
beloved Cause. It has thrilled me and greatly reinforced my spirit
and strength, yours is a memorable triumph, hardly surpassed in its
significance in the annals of the Cause." In that same letter he
asks her to ponder the advisability of approaching Her Majesty with
the news of the Jahrum martyrdoms and possibly enlisting her
sympathy in the cause of the Persian persecutions. That this consideration
influenced the Queen in making her further courageous
statements on the Faith there can be no doubt, as her letter to
Shoghi Effendi indicates that this was the case. The news of this
victory had reached Shoghi Effendi on the eve of the commemoration
of the passing of Baha'u'llah in Bahji, at a time when, as he
described it in one of his general letters, "... His sorrowing
servants, had gathered round His beloved Shrine supplicating relief
and deliverance for the down-trodden in Persia" and Shoghi Effendi
goes on to say: "With bowed heads and grateful hearts we recognize
in this glowing tribute which Royalty has thus paid to the Cause
of Baha'u'llah an epoch-making pronouncement destined to herald
those stirring events which, as 'Abdu'l-Baha has prophesied, shall
in the fullness of time signalize the triumph of God's Holy

This marked the inception of a relationship not only with the
Queen, but with other crowned heads and royalty in Europe on the
part of Martha Root, and in a few instances of Shoghi Effendi himself.
He not only greatly encouraged and guided her in these
relationships but, always staying within the bounds of dignity and
good breeding, always sincere in the human relationship, he
nevertheless used these contacts to serve the interests of the
Cause through heightening its prestige in the eyes of the public
and through seeing that they were pointedly brought to the
attention of the enemies of the Faith.

Until the time of the Queen's death, in 1938, Martha Root kept in
close touch with her, keeping her informed of Baha'i activities and
receiving from her letters, written in her own hand, that were both
friendly and reflected her attachment to the Teachings of
Baha'u'llah. There was also an exchange of letters and cables
between Shoghi Effendi and the Queen; but often he sent her messages
through Martha, which was a more intimate way of contacting
her and less demanding of the high positions both he and the Queen
occupied in their respective spheres. There was another factor that
could not be lightly put aside and this was the constant pressure
on the Queen, who occupied such an exalted rank in her <p46>
nation -- a nation so storm-tossed politically during her own reign
and during her period as Dowager Queen, from both ecclesiastical
and political factions -- to keep silent about a religion which was
not then widely known as it is today, which was viewed by the
ignorant as Islamic in nature, and her open sponsorship of which
they not only heartily disapproved but considered impolitic in the
highest degree.

The Queen herself mentions, in her very first letter to the Guardian,
that "Some of those of my caste wonder at and disapprove my
courage to step forward pronouncing words not habitual to Crowned
Heads to pronounce..." It required outstanding courage and deep
sincerity for her to repeatedly write testimonials of her personal
feelings on the subject of the Baha'i Faith and grant permission
for these to be made public -- indeed Her Majesty wrote some of these
deliberately for publication in The Baha'i World. On January 1,
1934 she wrote to Martha, enclosing one of her precious tributes
and giving personal news of herself and her family: "Will this do
for Vol. V? The difficulty is to not repeat myself..."

In 1927, on October 25th, Shoghi Effendi wrote to Martha: "I am in
receipt of your most welcome letters ... and I am thrilled by the
news they contained, particularly your remarkable and historic
interview with the Queen and Princess. I am sending you a number
of Baha'i stones ... to be presented by you on my behalf to the
Queen, the Princess and any other member of the Royal Family whom
you think would appreciate and prize them ... Please assure the
Queen and Princess of our great love for them, of our prayers for
their happiness and success and of our warm and cordial invitation
to visit the Holy Land and be received in the Beloved's home."
Behind this interview with the Queen, which Shoghi Effendi refers
to in the above letter, undoubtedly lay his own influence and the
confirmations which flowed from his instruction to Martha in a
letter written on June 29th of that same year in which he said: "I
hope you will succeed in meeting not only the Rumanian Queen but
her daughter the Queen of Serbia and King Boris of Bulgaria as well
and I trust you will not hesitate to send me all particulars and
details regarding your work in such an important field."
There was a constant vigilance on the part of the Guardian
regarding all contact with the Royal families of Europe as witnessed
by the cable he sent following the death on July 20,1927,
of His Majesty King Ferdinand of Rumania: <p47>

Her Majesty Queen Marie Bucharest

Abdulbahas family and Bahais world over tender Your Majesty
heartfelt condolences.


The Queen replied by cable, on July 27, as follows:

Shoghi Effendi, Haifa

Grateful thanks you and all yours with whom I feel spiritually so closely in touch.


Martha Root succeeded also in following the other instruction of
Shoghi Effendi, for in May 1928 he writes to her: "... Your marvellous
and historic interviews with members of the Rumanian and
Serbian Royal Families have inspired and thrilled us all..."
Earlier in April, Queen Marie and her daughter Ileana were on a
visit to Cyprus and the Guardian says, in his letter to Martha
Root, that the papers have published the news that the Queen
intended to visit Haifa and he wonders "whether they had in mind
such a visit and whether these premature disclosures deterred them
from accomplishing their intended pilgrimage..." During the
Queen's visit to Cyprus the Guardian cabled Sir Ronald Storrs, the
Governor of Cyprus, with whom the royal party was staying, the
following message: "Kindly convey to Her Majesty Queen of Rumania
and Her Royal Highness Princess Ileana on behalf 'Abdu'l-Baha's
family and friends our heartfelt appreciation of the noble tribute
paid by them both to the ideals that animate the Baha'i Faith. Pray
assure them of our best wishes and profound gratitude . " Sir
Ronald transmitted the appreciative reply of the Queen and Princess
to Shoghi Effendi.

The following draft, in the Guardian's own hand, of a long letter
he wrote to the Queen is of historic interest:

Haifa, Palestine,
December 3, 1929

Her Majesty
The Dowager Queen Marie of Rumania

Your Majesty

I have received through the intermediary of my dear Baha'i
sister Miss Martha Root, the autograph portrait of Your <p48>
Majesty, bearing in simple and moving terms, the message which Your
Majesty has graciously been pleased to write in person. I shall
treasure this most excellent portrait, and I assure you, that the
Greatest Holy Leaf and the Family of 'Abdu'l-Baha share to the full
my feelings of lively satisfaction at receiving so strikingly
beautiful a photograph of a Queen whom we have learned to love and

I have followed during the past few years with profound sympathy
the disturbed course of various happenings in your beloved country,
which I feel must have caused you much pain and concern. But
whatever the vicissitudes and perplexities which beset Your
Majesty's earthly path, I am certain that even in your saddest
hours, you have derived abundant sustenance and joy from the
thought of having, through your glowing and historic utterances on
the Baha'i Faith as well as by your subsequent evidences of
gracious solicitude for its welfare, brought abiding solace and
strength to the multitude of its faithful and long suffering
adherents throughout the East. Yours surely, dearly beloved Queen,
is the station ordained by Baha'u'llah in the realms beyond to
which the strivings of no earthly power can ever hope to attain.
I have immediately upon the publication of the second volume of the
Baha'i World, by the American Baha'i Publishing Committee,
forwarded directly to Bucarest, to the address of Your Majesty and
that of Her Royal Highness Princess Ileana, copies of this most
recent and comprehensive of Baha'i publications. I will take the
liberty of presenting in the course of the coming year the III
Volume of this same publication which I trust will prove of
interest to Your Majesty.

May I, in closing, reiterate the expression of profound
appreciation and joy which the Family of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Baha'is
in every land universally feel for the powerful impetus which Your
Majesty's outspoken and noble words have lent to the onward march
of their beloved Faith.

The Family also join me in extending to Your Majesty, as well as
to Her Royal Highness Princess Ileana, a most cordial welcome
should Your Majesty ever purpose to visit the Holy Land to 'Abdu'l-Baha's
home in Haifa as well as to those scenes rendered so
hallowed and memorable by the heroic lives and deeds of Baha'u'llah
and 'Abdu'l-Baha.

Shoghi <p49>

In 1930 Her Majesty visited Egypt with her daughter Ileana.
Shoghi Effendi, having had the unfortunate experience of indiscreet
publicity during her visit to Cyprus, wired Alexandria on February
l9th: "Advise Assembly in case Queen visits Egypt convey only
written expression of welcome and appreciation on behalf Baha'is.
Letter should be briefly carefully worded. No objection sending
flowers. Individual communications should be strictly avoided.
Inform Cairo."

In the hope that at last the Queen would be able to visit the
Baha'i Holy Places in Palestine the Guardian had had Baha'u'llah's
Tablet to her grandmother, Queen Victoria, copied in fine Persian
calligraphy, and illuminated in Tihran. On the 21st of February he
cabled Tihran: "Illuminated Tablet Queen Victoria should reach
Haifa not later than March tenth on one or several pages. " This
was to be his gift to Her Majesty. Hearing no news of the Queen's
plans once she had reached Egypt he wired to her direct on March
8th: "Her Majesty, the Dowager Queen Marie of Rumania, aboard
Mayflower, Aswan. Family of 'Abdu'l-Baha join me in renewing the
expression of our loving and heartfelt invitation to your gracious
Majesty and Her Royal Highness Princess Ileana to visit His home
in Haifa. Your Majesty's acceptance to visit Baha'u'llah's Shrine
and prison-city of 'Akka will apart from its historic significance
be a source of immeasurable strength joy and hope to the silent
sufferers of the Faith throughout the East. Our fondest love,
prayers and best wishes for Your Majesty's happiness and welfare."

Receiving no reply to this communication Shoghi Effendi sent
another wire on March 26th to the Queen at the Hotel Semiramis in
Cairo: "Fearing my former letter and telegram in which Family of
'Abdu'l-Baha joined me in extending invitation to Your Majesty and
Her Royal Highness Princess Ileana may have miscarried, we are
pleased to express anew the pleasure it would give us all should
Your Majesty find it feasible to visit Baha'u'llah's and 'Abdu'l-Baha's
Shrines and the prison-city of 'Akka. Deeply regret
unauthorized publicity given by the Press." Two days later the
Rumanian Minister in Cairo wired Shoghi Effendi: "Her Majesty
regrets she will not be able to visit you."

The cancellation of the visit of the Queen and her daughter to the
Baha'i Holy Places, which she had definitely set her heart upon,
was a source of deep disappointment not only to the Guardian but
also to the Queen herself. Behind the scenes there must have taken
place a real struggle between the courageous and independent <p50>
Queen and her advisers for, after a long silence, she wrote to
Martha Root, in her own hand, describing at least a little of what
had taken place. In a letter dated June 28,1931, she stated: "Both
Ileana and I were cruelly disappointed at having been prevented
going to the holy shrines and of meeting Shoghi Effendi, but at
that time were going through a cruel crisis and every movement I
made was being turned against me and being politically exploited
in an unkind way. It caused me a good deal of suffering and
curtailed my liberty most unkindly. There are periods however when
one must submit to persecution, nevertheless, however high-hearted
one may be, it ever again fills one with pained astonishment when
people are mean and spiteful. I had my child to defend at that
time; she was going through a bitter experience and so I could not
stand up and defy the world. But the beauty of truth remains and
I cling to it through all the vicissitudes of a life become rather
sad ... I am glad to hear that your traveling has been so
fruitful and I wish you continual success knowing what a beautiful
message you are carrying from land to land." This letter ends with
a sentence, after Her Majesty's signature, that was perhaps more
significant of her attitude and character than anything else: "I
enclose a few words which may be used in your Year Book."

The loyalty of this "royal convert", as Shoghi Effendi styled
her, in the face of her increasing isolation, advancing age and the
political trends in Europe which were gradually to engulf so many
of her royal kin, deeply touched Shoghi Effendi. In 1934, on
January 23rd, he wrote to her again:

Your Majesty,

I am deeply touched by the splendid appreciation Your Majesty has
graciously penned for the Baha'i World, and wish to offer my
heartfelt and abiding gratitude for this striking evidence of Your
Majesty's sustained interest in the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

I was moved to undertake its translation in person, and feel
certain that the unnumbered followers of the Faith in both the East
and the West will feel greatly stimulated in their unceasing
labours for the eventual establishment of the Most Great Peace
foretold by Baha'u'llah.

I am presenting to Your Majesty, through the care of Miss Martha
Root, a precious manuscript in the handwriting of Baha'u'llah,
illumined by a devoted follower of His Faith in Tihran. <p51>

May it serve as a token of my admiration for the spirit that has
prompted Your Majesty to voice such noble sentiments for a
struggling and persecuted Faith.

With the assurance of my prayers at the threshold of Baha'u'llah
for Your Majesty's welfare and happiness,
I am yours very sincerely,


After sending the Queen a copy of his recently translated Gleanings
from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, and receiving from her a
letter conveying her "most grateful thanks", which she ends by
saying "May the Great Father, be with us in spirit, helping us to
live and act as we should", Shoghi Effendi wrote to her as

Haifa, Feb. 18,1936
Your Majesty,

Miss Root has transmitted to me the original copy of the
appreciation penned by Your Majesty for the forthcoming issue of
Baha'i World. I am deeply touched, and feel truly grateful for this
further evidence of Your Majesty's sustained interest in and
admiration for the Baha'i Teachings.

Baha'i Communities the world over will ever recall, with feelings
of pride and gratitude, these beautiful, impressive and historic
testimonies from the pen of Your Majesty -- testimonies that will no
doubt greatly inspire and hearten them in their continued labours
for the spread of the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

I am so pleased and encouraged to learn that Your Majesty has
derived much benefit from the reading of the Gleanings and I feel
that my efforts in translating these extracts are fully rewarded.
I am presenting to Your Majesty through the kindness of Mrs.
McNeill the latest photograph recently received from America
showing the progress in the construction of the Baha'i House of
Worship in Wilmette. May the Spirit of Baha'u'llah ever bless and
sustain Your Majesty in the noble support you are extending to His

With deepest affection and gratitude,


The Mrs. McNeill mentioned in this letter lived near 'Akka in
the Mansion at Mazra'ih once occupied by Baha'u'llah. She had known <p52>
the Queen as a child in Malta and when she learned through the
Guardian of the Queen's interest in the Faith she informed her of
her own interest and the associations of the house she lived in.
The Queen had written to her: "It was indeed nice to hear from you,
and to think that you are of all things living near Haifa and are,
as I am, a follower of the Baha'i teachings ... the house you
live in ... made precious by its associations with the Man we all

Her Majesty's last published tribute to the Faith, in 1936, two
years before she died, seemed to aptly describe what Baha'u'llah's
Message had meant to her: "To those searching for light the Baha'i
Teachings offer a star which will lead them to deeper understanding,
to assurance, peace and good will with all men." She had won
for herself, Shoghi Effendi wrote, "imperishable renown ... in
the Kingdom of Baha'u'llah" through her "bold and epochal confession
of faith in the Fatherhood of Baha'u'llah"; "this illustrious
Queen may well deserve to rank as the first of those royal supporters
of the Cause of God who are to arise in future, and each of
whom, in the words of Baha'u'llah Himself, is to be acclaimed as
'the very eye of mankind, the luminous ornament on the brow of
creation, the fountain-head of blessings unto the whole world.'"

One sees from all this, which began early in 1926, that the severe
crises which followed upon the inception of Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship,
released, as ever, the spiritual forces inherent in the
Faith and brought about such victories as the conversion of the
first Baha'i Queen. <p53>


That Shoghi Effendi was stern in all matters affecting the protection
of the Faith does not mean he could not be gentle and kind
also. He was fundamentally a very tender-hearted person and when
left sufflciently at peace within himself expressed this innate
kindness and tenderness not only to those who surrounded him but
to the believers personally in many ways. There are numerous
examples of this in his cable files. Over and over, when disaster
struck in some country where there were Baha'is, he would send an
enquiry such as this one to Persia: "Wire safety friends. Anxious
earthquake reports Persia Turkistan". Very often this would be
followed by financial help for those who were in desperate need.
When an American Baha'i, stricken in Persia by infantile paralysis,
was returning with his wife to the United States, Shoghi Effendi
cabled the friends in Beirut, Alexandria and New York, requesting
that they meet his boat and assist in every way they could. The
Guardian sent seven wires, in a short space of time, in connection
with a single Baha'i who had various difflculties in getting to
Haifa and leaving after her pilgrimage was over. His thoroughness
in such matters, as well as his consideration, are delightfully
reflected in this telegram to Egypt: "Dewing New Zealand Baha'i
arriving tonight Cairo for one day. Urge meet him station. He wears
helmet. If missed meet him next morning Cooks offlce nine o'clock.
Extend utmost kindness." On another occasion we find Shoghi Effendi
cabling, in connection with a Baha'i who for some reason had not
been able to land in Haifa, to "comfort him my behalf'.

Sometimes the spirit animating a Baha'i was such as to persuade
Shoghi Effendi to change his own instructions. An instance of this
is the case of Marion Jack, whom 'Abdu'l-Baha called "General Jack"
and the Guardian called an "immortal heroine", saying she was a
shining example to pioneers of present and future <p54>
generations in both the East and the West, and that no one had surpassed
her in "constancy, dedication, self-abnegation, fearlessness"
except the "incomparable Martha Root" . Jackie -- as she was
usually called -- lived in Sofia, Bulgaria and when war broke out
Shoghi Effendi, concerned over her dangerous position, wired her:
"Advise return Canada wire whether financially able" . She replied,
"... how about Switzerland" but assured him of her implicit
obedience. Shoghi Effendi then wired, "Approve Switzerland" but she
still did not want to leave her pioneer post and begged to be
allowed to remain in Bulgaria, to which the Guardian replied:
"Advise remain Sofia love."

There is a great mystery involving the levels of service. Shoghi
Effendi always advised the friends to pursue a moderate and wise
course, but if they did not, and chose to rise to heights of
heroism and self-sacrifice, he was immensely proud of them. After
all, there is nothing either wise or moderate in being
martyred -- yet our crowning glory as a religion is that our first
Prophet was martyred and twenty thousand people followed in His
footsteps. I have tried to understand this mystery, moderation on
one side and Baha'u'llah's words on the other: "... then write
with that crirnson ink that hath been shed in My path. Sweeter
indeed is this than all else..." and it seems to me that the
best example is an aeroplane: when it trundles along on the ground
on its wheels it is in the dimension of the ground, going along
steadily on an earthly plane, but when it soars in the air and
folds its wheels away and leaps forward at dazzling speeds, it is
in a celestial realm and the values are different. When we are on
the ground we get good sound earthly advice, but if we choose to
spurn the soil and leap into the realms of higher serv1ce and
sacrifice we do not get that kind of advice any more, we win
immortal fame and become heroes and heroines of God's Cause.

Shoghi Effendi worked through everything; everything that he
encountered, individual, object or piece of land, that could be
turned to an advantageous use for the Faith he seized upon and
used. Although in general he worked through Assemblies and
Committees, he also worked directly through individuals. An example
of this is Victoria Bedekian, known as "Auntie Victoria". For years
she wrote letters, widely circulated in the West and the East, and
the Guardian encouraged her in this activity and even told her what
she should emphasize in her communications.

He was not fussy about sources of information; by this I mean he <p55>
did not always wait until official channels corroborated the
arrival of a pioneer at his post or some piece of good news which
had been conveyed to him through a personal letter or by a pilgrim,
but would incorporate his encouraging information in his messages.
This latitude which Shoghi Effendi allowed himself meant that the
whole work of the Faith was bowled forward at a far faster pace
than if he had done otherwise. Like all great leaders he possessed
something of the quality of a good press man who realizes that the
time factor in conveying news is of great importance and that speed
itself has an impact and stimulates the imagination. This practice
of his should not, however, mislead us into thinking that he was
not extraordinarily thorough. The exactitude with which he compiled
statistics, sought out historic facts, worked on every minute
detail of his maps and plans was astonishing.

The whole of Shoghi Effendi's life activity as the Guardian, his
mind and his feelings, his reactions and instructions, can be found
reflected in miniature in his cables and telegrams; often they were
more intimate, more powerful and revealing than the thousands of
letters he wrote to individuals because in his letters his
secretary usually dealt with details and thus the words are not the
Guardian's own words, except for the postscripts which he wrote
himself and which most of the time conveyed the assurance of his
prayers, his encouragement and his statement of general

Shoghi Effendi, like his grandfather and great-grandfather before
him, had a delightful sense of humour which was ready to manifest
itself if he were given any chance to be happy or enjoy a little
peace of mind. His eyes would fairly dance with amusement, he would
chuckle delightedly and sometimes break out into open laughter.
Inside his family, with those he was familiar with, he liked to

On one side so majestic, on the other so engagingly confiding,
innocent-hearted and youthful, such was our Guardian! One of my
tasks, once Shoghi Effendi knew I could paint a little, was to
colour various things for him and one of these was a map showing
the plots owned by the Baha'i Community on Mt. Carmel. One day when
I was adding colour to some newly-acquired areas Shoghi Effendi
told me to paint them lighter. I asked why. Why, he said, to show
they are a "recent acquisition". It was such a clear reflection of
the joy these newly-purchased plots afforded him.

This recalls another aspect of Shoghi Effendi's richly endowed
personality. He was very tenacious of his purposes, very <p56>
determined, but never unreasonable. Although he never changed his
objectives he sometimes changed the course he had planned to take
to reach them.

All through the Guardian's ministry we see the light of Divine
Guidance shining on his path, confirming his decisions, inspiring
his choice. But there are always unforeseeable factors in every
plan. Acts of God, and the sum of human endeavour, constantly
change plans, little or big. This has always happened to the
greatest as well as the smallest human beings, and the words of the
Prophets themselves attest it. Shoghi Effendi was subject to such
forces, but he also frequently modified his own plans. Examples of
this are many and interesting: at one time he conceived the idea
of placing the Mausoleum of Baha'u'llah on Mt. Carmel, but later
gave this up entirely and fixed its permanent place in Bahji; what
became known as the World Crusade or Ten Year Plan was at first
announced as a Seven Year Plan; one Temple to be built during this
Plan became three Temples; the original eight European goal
countries became ten; and so on. If outside forces over which the
Guardian had no control frustrated some plan of his -- as opposed to
his modifying or expanding some plan of his own in the light of
circumstances -- he immediately compensated, so that the Cause, if
a temporary defeat or humiliation was inflicted upon it, came out
in the end with an augmented victory, a richer endowment.

Shoghi Effendi might be deflected from his course but he was never
defeated in his purpose and his ingenuity was remarkable. A good
example of this is the way he arranged for two of the three great
new Continental Baha'i Temples of the Ten Year Plan to be built.
He extracted from the architect he had at hand the designs he felt
were suitable for the Sydney and Kampala Houses of Worship. These
were dignified, pleasing in proportion, conservative in style and
relatively modest in cost. Since the architect was not in a position
to carry out the detailed drawings or supervise the actual
construction, Shoghi Effendi, not making a great circumstance of
what to a fussy and small-minded man would have imposed an
insuperable obstacle, proceeded to instruct the two National
Assemblies involved to get local architectural firms to carry out
the details and erect the buildings. Shoghi Effendi himself
modified the expensive suggestions these firms at first made and
got both Temples built within what he considered a reasonable price
for the Cause to pay. Over and over his shrewdness and sound
judgement saved the money of the Faith so that it could be spent
on the many all-important <p57> tasks and not create temporary
bankruptcy through the unwise prosecution of a single project.

Economy was a very rigid principle with Shoghi Effendi and he had
very stern ideas on money matters. He more than once refused to
permit an individual to make the pilgrimage who he knew was in
debt, saying he must first pay his debts. I never saw the Guardian
settle a bill he had not first carefully added up, whether it was
for a meal or a payment of thousands of dollars! If there was an
overcharge he pointed it out -- and also if there was an undercharge.

Many times I went to astonished people and called to their attention
that their addition was wrong and they should do it again or
they would be the losers. He also was a determined bargainer, never
paying what he felt was too much for a thing. More than once, when
a beautiful ornament for the Shrines, Archives, or gardens was too
expensive, and the seller could not or would not meet the
Guardian's price, he would not buy it even though he wanted it and
had the money. He just considered it wrong and would not do it.

Although Shoghi Effendi for many years had had a private automobile
and chauffeur (like 'Abdu'l-Bahabefore him), because spare parts
were not procurable for it during the worst years of the war he had
it sold and used taxis. I have no doubt that as with sufficient
money one can usually buy anything he could have procured another
car, but it never entered his mind. He was against extravagance,
ostentation and luxury as such, denying himself and others many
things because he felt they were either not justified or not

Another of the strongly marked characteristics of the Guardian was
his openness. The believers were his confidants. Freely, majestically,
aloof but with a most endearing and heart-captivating confidence,
he would share with the pilgrims who were his guests not
only his ideas and his interpretations of the Teachings, but his
projects and plans. There were no privileged communicants who
received his thought as of right. In spite of the fact that the
National Assemblies were his channels through which he passed on
his great Plans and the bodies by which they were prosecuted, he
was wont to share these Plans in almost full detai1 with those he
met, to such an extent that many a returning pilgrim was in
possession of nearly all the details that were soon to be
communicated to the Baha'i world officially. The same was true of
his work at the World Centre. So complete was this frankness that
he sometimes drew little sketches at the table to illustrate what
he was now doing in the gardens on <p58> Mt. Carmel, how the "arc"
would be, what buildings might be erected on it, and so on.

Each new thing he was setting in motion, nationally or internationally,
one might almost say followed the same pattern as the
dawn of a day: the first light, feelers of vision, would be
discerned in his words to visiting pilgrims, or lie half-hidden in
his communications to the Baha'i world; then would come the
glimmering of goals beginning to take shape as the sun of his
concept rose higher and he focussed the brilliant energy of his
mind upon it; finally, in a clear burst of illumination, would come
the whole idea in all its splendour -- a Seven Year Plan, a Ten Year
Plan, the warnings and promises in some new and wonderful general
letter, the complete instructions regarding such major projects as
the completion of the Shrine of the Bab, the International
Archives, one of the great new Houses of Worship, or the exposition
of certain fundamental themes contained in such books as The Advent
of Divine Justice and The Promised Day Is Come.

The relationship of Shoghi Effendi to the pilgrims, his courtesy
as a host, his kindness shown to them in so many little ways, the
things he so openly discussed with them, had a tremendous effect
on the work the Baha'is were accomplishing in so many countries,
for when these fortunate believers returned to their own communities
they acted as a leaven, stimulating their fellow Baha'is
to greater efforts, making the Guardian a more real person to those
who had not been privileged to meet him face to face, creating a
sense of nearness both to him and to the World Centre that by any
other method would have been hard to achieve.

But in spite of all he showered upon the pilgrims -- from providing
for their physical comfort as his guests to tearing the veils
from their eyes and educating them in their Faith -- whenever one of
them would seek to express his or her deep gratitude for the honour
of meeting him, he would instantly turn this aside, saying the purpose
of the pilgrimage was to visit the Holy Shrines.

The last year of the Guardian's life two Swiss pilgrims came to
Haifa. Their presence stirred up all his memories of Switzerland
and his love for their country poured out in a manner wholly unlike
his usual reserve about his personal life and feelings. I had been
ill in bed and not present at dinner in the Pilgrim House but when
Shoghi Effendi came home he told me he had said everything, about
the mountains he had climbed, the walks he had taken, the scenes
he loved so much. It was very atypical of him, <59>
very rare and a clear index of something deep in his own heart.

He was moved to inform them that he wished Switzerland to have
its own Temple site, which was to be situated near the capital city
of Bern and have a clearview of the Bernese Alps, where he had
spent so many months of his life walking and climbing. On August
12, 1957 he communicated to what was then the National Spiritual
Assembly of the Baha'is of Italy and Switzerland his wishes in this
matter. His secretary wrote: "As he explained to , he is very
anxious for Switzerland to purchase a plot, however small in size,
and modest a beginning it might be, for the future Mashriqu'lAdhkar
of that country. He feels this should be in the outskirts of Bern,
overlooking the Bernese Oberland; and he is very happy to be able
to present this land himself to the Swiss Community. No publicity
whatsoever should be given to this matter lest an opposition
resembling that which has arisen in Germany should be provoked
amongst the orthodox element in Bern. Whenever the committee
responsible for finding this land has located a suitable plot, he
would like your Assembly to inform him of the details." This was
a gift of a unique nature, no other community in the Baha'i world
having been thus honoured. The plot of land, almost 2,000 square
metres in area, on the outskirts of Bern, overlooks the Gurberthal
and from it can be seen the famous Finsteraarhorn, Monch, Eiger and
Jungfrau mountains, the scene of many of the Guardian's
mountaineering exploits, the scene also of many of the most
agonizing hours he passed after the ascension of his grandfather.

On one occasion a pilgrim from Canada had informed the Guardian
that in teaching the Faith to the Eskimo people it was very
difficult for them to understand the meaning in such similes as the
nightingale and the rose because these things were entirely unknown
to them. The reaction of Shoghi Effendi to this was typical. When
he said good-bye to this friend he gave her a small vial of the
Persian attar of rose, the quintessence of what a rose is, and told
her to anoint the Eskimos with it, saying that perhaps in this way
they would get an inkling of what Baha'u'llah meant when He wrote
of the rose.

Another incident comes to my mind. Among the last pilgrims to leave
Haifa before Shoghi Effendi himself left in June 1957, never to
return, were two American negro believers . As long as I live I
will never forget the look on the face of one of them as she sat
opposite the Guardian at the Pilgrim House table. One could see
that in meeting him -- who met all men as the creation of God, with
no <p60> other feeling than pleasure that they were as God had made them --
the hurts and sorrows of a lifetime were melted away. She looked
at him with a combination of the great loving heart of a mother and
the reverence due him in his glorious station that I think must be
the look on the faces of the angels in Paradise as they gaze upon
their Lord.

Those who had the privilege of being near the Guardian, no matter
how much experience they had had or how long they had been Baha'is
eome, like myself from birth -- were constantly having their concept
of the greatness of this Cause expanded by Shoghi Effendi's words,
his reactions and his example. I remember my surprise when, in his
long Ridvan Message to the B aha' i world in 1957, he mentioned
(obviously with pride or he would not have included it) the
"recently converted Baha'i inmates" in Kitalya Prison in Uganda.
It had never occurred to me that one would mention Baha'is being
in a prison without shame! But there he was proclaiming that
we had a group of the followers of Baha'u'llah in a prison. He
often referred to this in his talks to the pilgrims and as I
pondered over this and the things he said about it I realized that
as this Faith is for all men, the saints and the sinners, there
were two principles involved. One was the fact that society must
be governed by laws, protected by laws and men punished through
laws; and the other was that belief in the Manifestation of God
should be universal and include everyone, because the act of faith
is the spark that sets the soul alight and gives it eternal
awareness of its God, and this was something each soul had a right
to, no matter what his sins might be. In more than one letter, at
different times to different people, Shoghi Effendi encouraged the
Baha'is to teach in prisons.

The sympathy which all the Prophets of God have shown towards
the down-trodden, the meek, the poor and the outcast, singling them
out for particular succour, protection and loving encouragement,
was always manifested in the Guardian's acts and words. But we must
not confuse this attitude with the fundamental truth that many
groups of people who at present fall into these categories not only
deserve to receive special attention but have within themselves
reserves of power and spiritual greatness needed by the entire
world. Take, for example, the Indians of the Western Hemisphere.
'Abdu'l-Baha had written: "You must attach great importance to the
Indians, the original inhabitants of America. For these souls may
be likened unto the ancient inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula,
who, prior to the Revelation of Muhammad, <p61>
were like savages. When the Muhammadan Light shone forth in their
midst, they became so enkindled that they shed illumination upon
the world. Likewise, should these Indians be educated and properly
guided, there can be no doubt that through the Divine teachings
they will become so enlightened that the whole earth will be
illumined." Throughout his ministry Shoghi Effendi never forgot
these words and repeatedly urged the believers throughout Canada
and the Americas to enlist these souls under the banner of
Baha'u'llah. Some of the last letters he wrote, in July 1957, to
various National Assemblies in the Western Hemisphere, again
forcibly stressed this subject and referred to the "long overdue
conversion of the American Indians". I quote an excerpt from his
instructions written by his secretary on his behalf:

"He was particularly happy to see that some of the Indian believers
were present at the Convention. He attaches the greatest
importance to teaching the original inhabitants of the Americas the
Faith. 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself has stated how great are their potentialities,
and it is their right, and the duty of the non-Indian
Baha'is, to see that they receive the Message of God for this day.
One of the most worthy objectives of your Assembly must be the
establishment of all-Indian Spiritual Assembties. Other minorities
should likewise be especially sought out and taught. The friends
should bear in mind that in our Faith, unlike every other society,
the minority, to compensate for what might be treated as an
inferior status, receives special attention, love and consideration..."

To a pilgrim belonging to the Mongolian race the Guardian stated
that as the majority of the people in the world were not white
there was no reason why the majority of Baha'is inside the Faith
should be white; on the contrary, the Cause should reflect the
situation existing in the world. To Shoghi Effendi differences were
not something to be eliminated but rather the legitimate,
necessary, indeed fascinating, ingredients that made the whole so
much more beautiful and perfect.

Not only did Shoghi Effendi constantly inculcate in the Baha'is the
respect due to people of different ethnic backgrounds, he also
taught them what respect, and above all what reverence, as qualities
needed to round out a noble human character, really are. Reverence
for holy things is sadly lacking in the Western World today.
In an age when the mistaken idea of equality seems to imply that
every blade of grass must be exactly the same height, the Guardian's
own profound respect for those above himself in rank was
the <p62> best example one could find. The extreme reverence he showed to the
Twin Manifestations of God and to 'Abdu'l-Baha, whether in his
writings, his speech or the manner in which he approached Their
resting-places provides a permanent pattern for all Baha'is to follow.

Whenever Shoghi Effendi was near one of the Shrines one could
sense his awareness of this in his whole being. The way he walked
as he neared it, the way he quietly and with great dignity and
reverence approached the threshold, knelt and placed his forehead
upon it, the way he never turned his back when inside the Shrine
on that spot where one of these infinitely holy and precious beings
was interred, the tone of his voice, his dignified lack of any
levity on such occasions, all bore witness to the manner in which
man should approach a holy of holies, going softly on sacred ground
. It is really with the soul that man has to do in this life, for
it is all he will take with him when he leaves it. It is this
fundamental concept -- so obscured and forgotten in present-day
philosophies -- that endows even the dust of noble beings with a
mystic potency. So strong is the perfume of some roses that even
years after they have withered and dried out one can still smell
the rose in them. This is a feeble example of the power which
remains in the very dust that has been associated with the towering
spirits of divine souls when they were in this world.

This wonderful emotion of reverence -- which seems when it sweeps
over us to blow away so much of the dross in our immature
natures -- was a deep characteristic of the Guardian, who learned it
in his childhood as he sat on his heels, arms crossed on breast,
before his exalted grandfather. It is not a ritualistic thing that
is at stake here. There are no rituals in the Baha'i Faith. It is
an attitude. Although the Guardian was wont to prostrate himself
before the thresholds of the Holy Tombs, He was at pains to explain
to the pilgrims that they were free to do so or not. He did it
because it was a custom in the part of the East from which his
ancestors came. But the reverence was another matter; one thing was
a form of expression the individual could choose for himself, the
other was the proper spirit that should dwell in the heart of a
devotee as he approaches those things that are most sacred in this

No picture of Shoghi Effendi's personality would ever be complete
that did not depict the truly extraordinary artistic sense he
possessed. This does not mean he could have been a painter; he was
a writer par excellence. But he certainly had a painter's and an
architect's eye. This was coupled with that fundamental quality
without <p63> which I cannot see how anyone can achieve greatness in any of
the arts or the sciences -- a perfect sense of proportion, a sense
of proportion measured in millimetres rather than centimetres. It
was he who fixed the style of the Shrine of the Bab through his
instructions -- mostly not in detail but in principle -- to my father.

It was he who set the design for the International Archives
Building, to such an extent that its architect would invariably
state it was Shoghi Effendi's design, not his. The Guardian, with
no help and no advice, laid out his superb gardens in Bahji and
Haifa, every measurement being his own. But what people do not
perhaps realize is that the appearance of the Shrine interiors, the
Mansion of Baha'u'llah, the House of 'Abbud, the Mansion at
Mazra'ih, was not created by anyone, however slight the detail,
except the Guardian himself. He not only steadily added to the
ornaments, photographs, lamps and furnishings that make these
places so beautiful, but everything was placed where it was under
his supeNision. Not a picture hung on the walls that was not placed
exactly where it was, to within a centimetre, by him. He not only
created the effect of beauty that meets the eye as one enters those
places, but he produced it all at a minimum cost, buying things not
so much because of their style and period but because they were
inexpensive and could achieve an effect regardless of their
intrinsic worth. His visits to the Shrines and gardens were my only
opportunities to have his room cleaned. How often I remember how,
in spite of my efforts and the maid's to get the many objects on
his desk back into their exact positions, he would enter his
bedroom, in which he did all his work, go to his desk, cast an eye
over it automatically, reach out his hand and give an almost
infinitesimal twist to the different objects which he detected were
slightly out of the position he liked them to be in, though I am
sure the difference was practically invisible to any eye but his.
Needless to add that all this went with a neatness and tidiness
that was phenomenal.

Unhampered by tradition in matters of taste Shoghi Effendi was
extremely original and ingenious in the way he achieved his
effects. He did things no over-instructed authority on a series of
do's and don't's would ever have attempted. Take for instance the
interior decoration of the Greek style Archives Building. In order
to acquire more space as a single giant hall in which to exhibit
the many objects, sacred or otherwise, with which he intended to
furnish it, Shoghi Effendi had two narrow balconies built, running
its full length on either side, which were protected by a purely <p64>
renaissance, excellent in style, wooden balustrade. Most of the
cabinets he chose to line the walls of the hall downstairs were
Japanese lacquer or Chinese carved teak wood. The six great chandeliers
suspended from the ceiling were of cut crystal and purely
European in design. When I asked the Guardian what furniture he
would place on the balconies he said he would use some of the
cabinets from the previous Archives, which were really of no style
at all but just modern veneer furniture such as people have in
their homes these days. Yet this strange assortment of things
representing different periods and different countries, including
innumerable objets d'art, have combined to create an impression of
beauty, of dignity, of richness and splendour it would be hard to
equal anywhere. <p65>


The supreme influence on Shoghi Effendi's life was his beloved
grandfather, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and next to this came his lifelong relationship
with the Master's sister, known as the Greatest Holy
Leaf, who watched over him from babyhood with more than a mother's
love and care. When she passed away in 1932 the news reached him
in Interlaken, Switzerland. Although he was well aware of her
condition, which he described in 1929 when he wrote that the
Greatest Holy Leaf was "now in the evening of her life, with
deepening shadows caused by failing eyesight and declining strength
swiftly gathering about her"; although he had had a premonition of
her swiftly approaching death, when he wrote in March 1932 to the
American believers urging them to press on with the completion of
the dome of "our beloved Temple" and said that "my voice is once
more reinforced by the passionate, and perhaps, the last, entreaty,
of the Greatest Holy Leaf, whose spirit, now hovering on the edge
of the Great Beyond, longs to carry on its flight to the Abha
Kingdom ... an assurance of the joyous consummation of an
enterprise, the progress of which has so greatly brightened the
closing days of her earthly life"; although she was now eighty-six
years old -- none of this softened the blow or mellowed the grief
that overwhelmed the Guardian. On July 15th he cabled America announcing
that her spirit had taken its flight to that Great Beyond,
bewailing the "sudden removal of my sole earthly sustainer, the joy
and solace of my life", and informing the friends that "So grievous
a bereavement necessitates suspension for nine months throughout
Baha'i world every manner religious festivity"; memorial meetings
were to be held everywhere, locally and nationally, for her, the
"last remnant of Baha'u'llah".

But it was on July 17th that he wrote to the American and Canadian
believers a letter that provides a glimpse of what was passing
in <p66> the surging sea of his heart and in which he eulogizes the life,
station and deeds of 'Abdu'l-Baha's sister, pouring forth his love
in an unforgettable torrent of words.

Dearly-beloved Greatest Holy Leaf! Through the mist of tears that
fill my eyes I can clearly see, as I pen these lines, thy noble
figure before me, and can recognize the serenity of thy kindly
face. I can still gaze, though the shadow of the grave separate us,
into thy blue, love-deep eyes, and can feel, in its calm intensity,
the immense love thou didst bear for the Cause of thine Almighty
Father, the attachment that bound thee to the most lowly and
insignificant among its followers, the warm affection thou didst
cherish for me in thine heart. The memory of the ineffable beauty
of thy smile shall ever continue to cheer and hearten me in the
thorny path I am destined to pursue. The remembrance of the touch
of thine hand shall spur me on to follow steadfastly in thy way.

The sweet magic of thy voice shall remind me, when the hour of
adversity is at its darkest, to hold fast to the rope thou didst
seize so firmly all the days of thy life.

Bear thou this my message to 'Abdu'l-Baha, thine exalted and
divinely-appointed Brother: If the Cause for which Baha'u'llah
toiled and laboured, for which Thou didst suffer years of agonizing
sorrow, for the sake of which streams of sacred blood have
flowed, should, in the days to come, encounter storms more severe
than those it has already weathered, do Thou continue to
overshadow, with Thine all-encompassing care and wisdom, Thy frail,
Thy unworthy appointed child.

What the Greatest Holy Leaf had done for Shoghi Effendi at the
time of the Master's passing and in the years that followed is
beyond calculation. She had played, as he said, a unique part
throughout the tumultuous stages of Baha'i history, not the least
of which had been the establishment of Shoghi Effendi's own
ministry after the death of 'Abdu'l-Baha. "Which of the blessings
am I to recount," wrote Shoghi Effendi, "which in her unfailing
solicitude she showered upon me, in the most critical and agitated
hours of my life?" He says that to him she had been an incarnation
of 'Abdu'l-Baha's all-encompassing tenderness and love. As her life
had waned his had waxed. With what deep satisfaction she must have
seen, as the tide of her own life receded from the shores of this
world, that Shoghi Effendi was become strong in his Guardianship,
able to face <p67> the incessant blows he received with the fortitude of a man now
fully grown into his stupendous task.

So close was the communion between Shoghi Effendi and his great-
aunt that over and over, in cables and other communications,
particularly during the early years of his Guardianship, he
included her with himself in such phrases as "assure us", "the
Greatest Holy Leaf and I", "we", and so on. In a cable sent in 1931
he even signs it "Bahiyyih Shoghi". Nothing could be more revealing
of this intense love he had for her than the fact that on the day
we were married it was to her room, where everything is preserved
as it was in her days, standing beside her bed, that the Guardian
went to have the simple Baha'i marriage ceremony of hand in hand
performed and we each repeated the words in Arabic: "We will all,
verily, abide by the Will of God."

This love the Guardian had for the Greatest Holy Leaf, who had
watched over him for thirty-five years as far more than a mother,
continued to be demonstrated for the remainder of his life. When
the news of her death reached him in Switzerland his first act was
to plan for her grave a suitable memorial which he hastened to
Italy to order. No one could possibly call this exquisitely
proportioned monument, built of shining white Carrara marble,
anything but what it appears -- a love temple, the embodiment of
Shoghi Effendi's love. He had undoubtedly conceived its design from
buildings of a similar style and, under his supervision, an artist
now incorporated his concept in the monument he planned to erect
on her resting-place. Shoghi Effendi used to compare the stages in
the Administrative Order of the Faith to this monument, saying the
platform of three steps was like the local Assemblies, the pillars
like the National Assemblies, and the dome that crowned them and
held them together like the Universal House of Justice, which could
not be placed in position until the foundations and pillars were
first firmly erected. After the Greatest Holy Leaf's monument had
been completed in all its beauty he had a photograph of it sent to
many different Assemblies, as well as to a special list of individuals
to whom he wished to present so tender a memento.

In every act of his life he associated the Greatest Holy Leaf with
his services to the Faith. When he entombed the remains of the
mother and brother of Bahiyyih Khanum on Mt. Carmel he cabled: ".
. . cherished wish Greatest Holy Leaf fulfilled", referring to her
often expressed desire to be buried near them. On that momentous
occasion he said he rejoiced at the privilege of pledging one <p68>
thousand pounds as his contribution to the Bahfyyih Khanum Fund
designed to inaugurate the final drive connected with the completion
of the American Temple. He wrote that this transfer and reburial
were events of "capital institutional significance". He said
"the conjunction of the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf
with those of her brother and mother incalculably reinforces the
spiritual potencies of that consecrated Spot", which was "destined
to evolve into the focal centre of those world-shaking, world-
embracing, world-directing Administrative institutions, ordained
by Baha'u'llah..."

When 'Abdu'l-Baha's mantle, as Head of the Faith, fell on Shoghi
Effendi's shoulders a great change came over him. What the nature
of that change was spiritually it is not for us -- so infinitely remote
in both station and stature -- to either grasp or seek to
define. Shoghi Effendi was never really intimate with anyone except
the closest members of his family and, in the early days, those who
acted as his help-mates and secretaries. As years went by and his
burdens increased, even this intimacy grew less.

Surely the simplicity of the marriage of Shoghi Effendi -- reminis-
cent of the simplicity of 'Abdu'l-Baha's own marriage in the
prison-city of 'Akka -- should provide a thought-provoking example to
the Baha'is everywhere. No one, with the exception of his parents,
my parents and a brother and two sisters of his living in Haifa,
knew it was to take place. He felt strongly urged to keep it a
secret, knowing from past experience how much trouble any major
event in the Cause invariably stirred up. It was therefore a
stunning surprise to both the servants and the local Baha'is when
his chauffeur drove him off, with me beside him, to visit the Holy
Tomb of Baha'u'llah on the afternoon of March 24, 1937. His heart
drew him to that Most Sacred Spot on earth at such a moment in his
life. I remember I was dressed entirely in black for this unique
occasion. I wore a white lace blouse, but otherwise I was a typical
example of the way oriental women dressed to go out into the
streets in those days, the custom being to wear black. Although I
was from the West Shoghi Effendi desired me to fit into the pattern
of the life in his house -- which was a very oriental one -- as
naturally and inconspicuously as possible and I was only too happy
to comply with his wishes in every way. When we arrived at Bahji
and entered the Shrine he requested me to give him his ring, which
I was wearing concealed about my neck, and this he placed on the
ring-finger of my right hand, the same finger that corresponded to
the one of his own on which he <p69> himself had always worn it. This was the only gesture he made. He
entered the inner Shrine, beneath the floor of which Baha'u'llah
is interred, and gathered up in a handkerchief all the dried petals
and flowers that the keeper of the Shrine used to take from the
threshold and place in a silver receptacle at the feet of
Baha'u'llah. After he had chanted the Tablet of Visitation we came
back to Haifa. There was no celebration, no flowers, no elaborate
ceremony, no wedding dress, no reception. His mother and father,
in compliance with the laws of Baha'u'llah, signified their consent
by signing our marriage certificates and then I went back to the
Western Pilgrim House across the street and joined my parents (who
had not been present at any of these events), and Shoghi Effendi
went to attend to his own affairs. At dinner-time, quite as usual,
the Guardian appeared, showering his love and congratulations on
my mother and father. He took the handkerchief, full of such
precious flowers, and with his inimitable smile gave them to my
mother, saying he had brought them for her from the inner Shrine
of Baha'u'llah. My parents also signed the marriage certificate and
after dinner and these events were over I walked home with Shoghi
Effendi, my suitcases having been taken across the street by Fujita
while we were at dinner. We visited for awhile with the Guardian's
family and then went up to his two rooms which the Greatest Holy
Leaf had had built for him so long ago.

The quietness, the simplicity, the reserve and dignity with which
this marriage took place did not signify that the Guardian considered
it an unimportant event -- on the contrary. Over his mother's
signature, but drafted by the Guardian, the following cable was
sent to America: "Announce Assemblies celebration marriage beloved
Guardian. Inestimable honour conferred upon handmaid of Baha'u'llah
Ruhiyyih Khanum Miss Mary Maxwell. Union of East and West
proclaimed by Baha'i Faith cemented. Ziaiyyih mother of the
Guardian. " A telegram similar to this was sent to Persia. This
news, so long awaited, naturally produced great rejoicing amongst
the Baha'is and messages flooded in to Shoghi Effendi from all
parts of the world. To that received from the National Assembly of
the Baha'is of the United States and Canada Shoghi Effendi replied:
"Deeply moved your message. Institution Guardianship, head
cornerstone Administrative Order Cause Baha'u'llah, already
ennobled through its organic connection with Persons of Twin
Founders Baha'i Faith, is now further reinforced through direct
association with West and particularly with American <p70>
believers, whose spiritual destiny is to usher in World Order
Baha'u'llah. For my part desire congratulate community American
believers on acquisition tie vitally binding them to so weighty an
organ of their Faith." To innumerable other messages his practically
universal answer was merely an expression of loving appreciation
for their felicitations.

The most significant point, however, associated with the Guardian's
marriage is the stress he laid on the fact that it had drawn
the Occident and the Orient closer to each other. It had not only
done this but other ties had also been reinforced and established.
In reply to an inquiry from the American Assembly: "Request advice
policy concerning announcement marriage" Shoghi Effendi stated:
"Approve public announcement. Emphasize significance institution
Guardianship union East West and linking destinies Persia America.
Allude honour conferred British peoples" -- a direct allusion to my
Scotch Canadian father.

All this had such an effect on the American Community that its
national body informed the Guardian it was sending $19.00 from each
one of its seventy-one American Assemblies "for immediate
strengthening new tie binding American Baha'is to institution
Guardianship" -- truly a most unusual, pure-hearted wedding gift to
the Cause itself. <p71>


Shoghi Effendi was the keenest observer of political events and
kept abreast of all happenings. His intelligence and analytical
faculties did not permit him to lull himself into any false
complacency, induced by the rather childish idea people sometimes
have of what "faith" means. He well knew that to have faith in God
does not mean one should not use one's mind, appraise dangers,
anticipate moves, make the right decisions during a crisis.

Steeped in the Teachings from his childhood, the alert and observant
companion of his grandfather, Shoghi Effendi seems to have
always been aware of what he called "the initial perturbations of
the world-shaking catastrophe in store for an unbelieving
humanity". Though he saw another war coming, he did not live in a
constant state of false emergency. He reassured Martha Root, who
in 1927 wrote to him from Europe about her fears: "As to the matter
of an eventual war that may break out in Europe, do not feel in the
least concerned or worried. The prospect is very remote, the danger
for the near future is non-existent' -- even though that same year
he had stated the inevitability of another deadly conflict was
becoming increasingly manifest. Over and over he prepared the minds
of the Baha'is to face the fact that a world conflagration was
coming. In 1938 he wrote, "The twin processes of internal
disintegration and external chaos are being accelerated and every
day are inexorably moving towards a climax. The rumblings that must
precede the eruption of those forces that must cause 'the limbs of
humanity to quake' can already be heard. 'The time of the end',
'the latter years', as foretold in the Scriptures, are at long last
upon us." And in The Advent of Divine Justice, which he wrote at
the end of December 1938, he clearly anticipated the war: "Who
knows", he asked, "but that these few remaining, fast-fleeting
years, may not be pregnant with ... conflicts more devastating
than any which <p72>have preceded them." And in April 1939 he had written: "the sands
of a moribund civilization are inexorably running out".

As the long shadow of war descended on Europe I remember well the
almost tangible feeling of catastrophe that enveloped me when
Shoghi Effendi wrote, from the very heart of that continent, the
poetic and powerful words that opened his cable of August 30, 1939:
"shades night descending imperilled humanity inexorably deepening..."

In July 1940 he had cabled that the fires of war "... now
threaten devastation both Near East Far East respectively
enshrining World Centre chief remaining citadel Faith Baha'u'llah..."

It seems unbelievable that in the midst of so many
anxieties the Guardian should have had the mental power and
physical strength to sit down and write such a book as The Promised
Day Is Come -- a book in which he made it quite clear that the "retributory
calamity" which had overtaken mankind, whatever its
political and economic causes might be, was primarily due to its
having ignored for a hundred years the Message of God for this

The dangers and problems which the war brought to us in Haifa and
to the Baha'i world in general were faced by Shoghi Effendi with
remarkable calm. This does not mean he did not suffer from them.
The burden of responsibility was always there, he could never lay
it down for a single moment. I remember on one occasion, when I was
frantic because he always had to have everything referred to him
for decision, even when he was ill, he said that other leaders,
even Prime Ministers, could delegate their powers for at least a
short time if they were forced to, but that he could not delegate
his for a single moment as long as he was alive. No one else was
divinely guided to fulfill his function and he could not delegate
his guidance to someone else.

Although World War II did not actually reach the Holy Land, for
years we lived in the imminent danger that it might do so at any

In November 1941, Shoghi Effendi, in a cabled message had forecast
the future and characterized the years immediately before us: "...
as fury destructiveness tremendous world ordeal attains most
intensive pitch..." In spite of what lay ahead of the world we
in Palestine had already, during 1941, passed through what for us
were the most agonizing months of the entire war which had caused
the Guardian intense anxiety. It was during that year that the
abortive revolution of the anti-ally Rashfd 'Ali took place in
'Iraq; the British forces were persistently driven back by General
Rommel in <p73>

Libya and the Germans eventually (in 1942) reached the gates of
Alexandria; the Nazi forces occupied Crete -- a second springboard
for their contemplated conquest of the Middle East; and British and
French forces invaded the Lebanon and ousted the regime controlled
by the Vichy Government in that country. In addition to these all
too palpable dangers the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the enemy of
both the Faith and the Guardian, was the firm ally of the Nazi
Government. It does not require much imagination to picture what
would have happened to Shoghi Effendi and the Shrines, the World
Centre records and archives material, if a victorious German army,
accompanied by the scheming and vituperative Mufti, had taken
Palestine. Many times Shoghi Effendi said that it was not so much
a question of what the Germans would do but the fact that there
were so many local enemies who, combining with the Mufti, could
completely poison the minds of the Germans against him and thus
aggravate a situation already dangerous enough since our Baha'i
ideas were in many respects so inimical to the Nazi ideology.

Throughout the years of the war Shoghi Effendi was in a position
to maintain his contact with the mass of the believers in those
countries where some of the oldest and most populous Baha'i communities
existed, such as Persia, America, India and Great Britain,
as well as the new and rapidly growing centres in Latin America.
The relatively small communities in Japan, the European countries,
Burma, and for a time 'Iraq, were the only ones cut off from him -- a
severance that grieved him and caused him much concern for their
fate. Because of this little-short-of-miraculous manner in which
contact was maintained with the body of believers throughout the
Baha'i world Shoghi Effendi was able not only to send his
directives to the various National Assemblies, but to indicate what
this great war signified to us as Baha'is. In his epistle known as
The Promised Day Is Come he stated that "Gods purpose is none other
than to usher in, in ways He alone can bring about, and the full
significance of which He alone can fathom, the Great, the Golden
Age of a long-divided, a long-afflicted humanity. Its present
state, indeed even its immediate future, is dark, distressingly
dark. Its distant future, however, is radiant, gloriously
radiant -- so radiant that no eye can visualize it ... The ages of
its infancy and childhood are past, never again to return, while
the Great Age, the consummation of all ages, which must signalize
the coming of age of the entire human race, is yet to come. The
convulsions of this transitional and most turbulent period in the
annals of humanity are the essential <p74>
prerequisites, and herald the inevitable approach, of that Age of
Ages, 'the time of the end', in which the folly and tumult of
strife that has, since the dawn of history, blackened the annals
of mankind, will have been finally transmuted into the wisdom and
the tranquility of an undisturbed, a universal, and lasting peace,
in which the discord and separation of the children of men will
have given way to the world-wide reconciliation, and the complete
unification of the divers elements that constitute human society
... It is this stage which humanity, willingly or unwillingly,
is resistlessly approaching. It is for this stage that this vast,
this fiery ordeal which humanity is experiencing is mysteriously
paving the way."

So great was the relief and joy of the Guardian when the European
phase of the war ended in May 1945 that he cabled America:
"Followers Baha'u'llah throughout five continents unanimously re -
joice partial emergence war torn humanity titanic upheaval" and
expressed what lay so deeply in his heart: "gratefully acclaim
signal evidence interposition divine Providence which during such
perilous years enabled World Centre our Faith escape..." and
went on to express an equal thanksgiving for the manner in which
other communities had been miraculously preserved, recapitulating
the truly extraordinary victories won for the Faith during and in
spite of the war. On August 20, 1945, he again cabled: "Hearts
uplifted thanksgiving complete cessation prolonged unprecedented
world conflict" and urged the American believers to arise and carry
on their work, hailing the removal of restrictions which would now
enable them to launch the second stage of the Divine Plan. Nothing
could provide a better example of the determination, the enthusiasm
and the brilliant leadership of the Guardian than these messages
sent on the morrow of the emergence of the world from the worst war
in its entire history.

Whatever the state of the rest of the world, the internal situation
in Palestine continued to worsen in every respect. The holocaust
that had engulfed European Jewry; the bitterness induced amongst
the Palestine Jews by British policy in regard to Jewish immigration,
which was strictly limited and controlled; the burning
resentment of the Arabs against that same policy -- all served to
increase local tensions and hatred. Many of the hardships from
which other countries were beginning to slowly emerge, such )I_s
severe food rationing, we were now entering. Everything was
difficult. We were no longer in danger of being invaded or bombed,
but the outlook for this small but sacred country grew steadily
blacker as we entered <p75> that period which was characterized by Shoghi Effendi as "the
gravest turmoil rocking the Holy Land in modern times."

Shoghi Effendi was exhausted from the strain of the war years,
years during which he had not only written The Promised Day Is Come
and God Passes By, but during which he had prosecuted -- for who can
deny his was the ceaseless output of enthusiasm, encouragement and
energy that galvanized the Baha'is into action? -- five years of the
first Seven Year Plan, during which he had comforted, inspired and
held the Baha'i world together, during which he had steadily
enlarged the periphery of the Cause and deepened and expanded the
life of its National communities, during which the unique project
of building the superstructure of the Bab's Shrine had been
initiated, and during which the family of 'Abdu'l-Baha, including
his own family, had been hopelessly lost to him. He was now
approaching fifty, his hair whitening at the temples, his shoulders
bent from so much stooping over his desk, his heart not only
saddened by all he had gone through but, I firmly believe, wearing
out because of it.

As the British Mandate approached its end on May 14,1948 the
situation in Palestine grew steadily worse. The entire country
boiled with apprehension and hatred and acts of terrorism increased
steadily. The Arabs, the Jews and the British were all involved;
all three of them were well aware of the complete aloofness of the
Guardian from the political issues at stake and it is no exaggeration
to say he was universally respected -- and let alone. This
is a fact of major importance for during the years, and
particularly the months, preceding the end of the Mandate there was
practically no neutral ground left; Jews paid for the defense of
the Jewish community and Arabs paid for the defense of the Arab
community. That the Guardian should have been able to steer the
small Baha'i community safely through the dangerous rapids of those
days, that he himself should not have been approached for funds to
support the cause of his fellow Orientals (who all knew he had been
born and bred in the country), testify to the high reputation he
had established as a man of unbending principle and iron

Many times Shoghi Effendi referred to the miraculous protection the
World Centre received during the disturbed and dangerous period of
the end of the British Mandate and the firm establishment of the
Jewish State. The very list of the dangers avoided and the
achievements witnessed during this period -- which he enumerated in
a cable sent to the American Baha'i Convention on April 25, <p76>
1949 -- is sufficient to enable us to glimpse the keenness of the
anxiety he had experienced and the gravity of the problems with
which he had been faced. The published version of this cable
pointed out how great had been the "evidences divine protection
vouchsafed World Centre Faith course third year second Seven Year
Plan" and went on to say: "Prolonged hostilities ravaging Holy Land
providentially terminated. Baha'i Holy Places unlike those
belonging other faiths miraculously safeguarded. Perils no less
grave than those threatened World Centre Faith under 'Abdu'l-Hamid
Jamal Pasha and through Hitler's intended capture Near East
averted. Independent sovereign State within confines Holy Land
established recognized marking termination twenty-century-long
provincial status. Formal assurance protection Baha'i holy sites
continuation Baha'i pilgrimage given by Prime Minister newly
emerged State. Official invitation extended by its government
historic occasion opening State's first parliament. Official record
Baha'i marriage endorsed Baha'i endowments exempted responsible
authorities same State. Best wishes future welfare Faith
Baha'u'llah conveyed writing by newly elected Head State in reply
congratulatory message addressed him assumption his office."

In the post-war years, as the victories the Baha'is were winning
multiplied and the United Nations -- the mightiest instrument for
creating peace that men had ever devised -- emerged, many of us no
doubt hoped, and wishfully believed, that we had left the worst
phase of humanity's long history of war behind us and that we could
now discern the first light of that dawn we Baha'is are so firmly
convinced lies ahead for the world. But the sober, guided mind of
the Guardian did not see events in this light. Until the end of his
life he continued to make the same remark, based on Baha'u'llah's
own words, that he had so often made before the war: "The distant
future is very bright, but the immediate future is very dark."
Among the encouraging messages he so frequently sent to the Baha'is
all over the world, his praises of the wonderful services they were
rendering, his plans which he devised in such detail for them to
prosecute, ever and anon the note of foreboding and warning would
recur. In 1947 he stated that the Baha'is had thus far been
graciously aided to follow their course "undeflected by the crosscurrents
and the tempestuous winds which must of necessity
increasingly agitate human society ere the hour of its ultimate
redemption approaches..." In that communication, urging the
American Community to press forward with the supremely <p77>
important work of its second Seven Year Plan, he spoke of the future:
"As the international situation worsens, as the fortunes of mankind
sink to a still lower ebb ... As the fabric of present-day
society heaves and cracks under the strain and stress of portentous
events and calamities, as the fissures, accentuating the cleavage
separating nation from nation, class from class, race from race,
and creed from creed, multiply..." Far from having rounded the
corner and turned our backs forever on our unhappy past, there was
"a steadily deepening crisis" . In March 1948 he went still further
in a conversation I recorded in my diary: "Tonight Shoghi Effendi
told me some very interesting things: roughly, he said that to say
that there was not going to be another war, in the light of present
conditions, was foolish, and to say that if there was another war
the Atom Bomb would not be used was also foolish. So we must
believe there probably will be a war and it will be used and there
will be terrific destruction. But the Baha'is will, he felt, emerge
to form the nucleus of the future world civilization. He said it
was not right to say the good would perish with the bad because in
a sense all are bad, all humanity is to blame, for ignoring and
repudiating Baha'u'llah after He had repeatedly trumpeted to
everyone His Message. He said the saints in the monasteries and the
sinners in the worst flesh pots of Europe are all wicked because
they have rejected the Truth. He said it was wrong to think, as
some of the Baha'is do, that the good would perish with the evil,
all men are evil because they have repudiated God in this day and
turned from Him. He said we can only believe that in some
mysterious way, in spite of the terrible destruction, enough will
be left over to build the future."

In November of that same year, again encouraging the American
believers to persevere with their Plan, he wrote: "As the threat
of still more violent convulsions assailing a travailing age
increases, and the wings of yet another conflict, destined to
contribute a distinct, and perhaps a decisive, share to the birth
of the new Order which must signalize the advent of the Lesser
Peace, darken the international horizon ... Rumblings of
catastrophes yet more dreadful agitate with increasing frequency
a sorely stressed and chaotic world ... so must every aggravation
in the state of a world still harassed by the ravages of a
devastating conflict, and now hovering on the brink of a yet more
crucial struggle, be accompanied by a still more ennobling
manifestation of the spirit of this second crusade ...' In that
same month he referred to "The deepening crisis ominously
threatening further to derange the equilibrium of a <p78>
politically convulsed, economically disrupted, socially subverted,
morally decadent and spiritually moribund society". He went on to
speak of the "premonitory rumblings of a third ordeal threatening
to engulf the Eastern and Western Hemispheres" and said, "the world
outlook is steadily darkening." He urged the Baha'is to "forge
ahead into the future serenely confident that the hour of their
mightiest exertions, and the supreme opportunity for their greatest
exploits, must coincide with the apocalyptic upheaval marking the
lowest ebb in mankind's fast-declining fortunes."

It went on and on. The victories we won, the praise, the encouragement,
joy of the Guardian -- and the warnings. In 1950 he told the
Baha'is they should be "undaunted" by the perils of a "progressively
deteriorating international situation" and in 1951 informed
the European Teaching Conference that the "perils" confronting that
"sorely tried continent" were "steadily mounting". But it was
really in a most grave and thought-provoking letter, written in
1954, that Shoghi Effendi expatiated on this subject of a future
conflict, its causes, its course, its outcome, and its effect on
America, in more detail and in a more forceful language than he
had ever before used. He associates the "crass" and "cancerous
materialism" prevalent in the world today with the warnings of
Baha'u'llah and states He had compared it "to a devouring flame"
and regarded it "as the chief factor in precipitating the dire
ordeals and world-shaking crises that must necessarily involve the
burning of cities and the spread of terror and consternation in the
hearts of men". Shoghi Effendi goes on to say: "Indeed a foretaste
of the devastation which this consuming fire will wreak upon the
world, and with which it will lay waste the cities of the nations
participating in this tragic worldengulfing contest, has been
afforded by the last World War, marking the second stage in the
global havoc which humanity, forgetful of its God and heedless of
the clear warnings uttered by His appointed Messenger for this day,
must, alas, inevitably experience."

The letter in which these appalling predictions are expressed was
addressed to the American Baha'is and in it the Guardian points out
that the general deterioration in the situation of a "distracted
world" and the multiplication of increasingly destructive armaments,
to which the two sides engaged in a world contest were contributing --
"caught in a whirlpool of fear, suspicion and hatred"
as they were -- were ever-increasingly affecting their own country
and were bound, if not remedied, "to involve the American nation
in a catastrophe of undreamed-of dimensions and of untold <p79>
consequences to the social structure, the standard and conception of the
American people and government ... The American nation ...
stands, indeed, from whichever angle one observes its immediate
fortunes, in grave peril. The woes and tribulations which threaten
it are partly avoidable, but mostly inevitable and God-sent..."
He went on to point out the changes which these unavoidable afflictions
must bring about in the "obsolescent doctrine of absolute
sovereignty" to which its government and people still clung and
which was so "manifestly at variance with the needs of a world
already contracted into a neighbourhood and crying out for unity"
and through which this nation will find itself purged of its anachronistic
conceptions and prepared to play the great role 'Abdu'l-Baha foretold for it in the establishment of the Lesser Peace. The "fiery tribulations" to come would not only "weld the American
nation to its sister nations in both hemispheres" but would cleanse
it of "the accumulated dross which ingrained racial prejudice, rampant
materialism, widespread ungodliness and moral laxity have
combined, in the course of successive generations, to produce, and
which have prevented her thus far from assuming the role of world
spiritual leadership forecast by 'Abdu'l-Baha's unerring pen -- a
role which she is bound to fulfill through travail and sorrow."

If we, the generation of the twilight before the sun of this new
day rises, ask ourselves why such catastrophes should be facing us
in these times, the answers all are there, made crystal clear by
the Guardian in his great expositions of the meaning and
implications of our teachings. Two factors, he taught us, are
involved. The first is contained in those words of Baha'u'llah,
"Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new onespread
outin itsstead. " To tear off the time-honoured protective covering
of innumerable societies, each embedded in its own customs,
superstitions and prejudices, and apply to them a universal new
frame of existence is an operation only Almighty God can perform
and of necessity a very painful one. This is made even more painful
by the state of men's souls and minds; some societies are the
victims of "a flagrant secularism -- the direct offspring of
irreligion", some are in the grip of "a blatant materialism and
racialism" which have, Shoghi Effendi stated, "usurped the rights
of God Himself", but all -- all the peoples of the earth -- are guilty
of having, for over a century, "refused to recognize the One Whose
advent had been promised to all religions, and in Whose Faith
alone, all nations can and must eventually, seek their true
salvation." Fundamentally it was because of this new <p80>
Faith, the "priceless gem of Divine Revelation enshrining the
Spirit of God and incarnating His Purpose for all mankind in this
age" as Shoghi Effendi described it, that the world was "undergoing
such agonies". Baha'u'llah Himself had said:

"The world's equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating
inff'uence of this mostgreat, this new World Order. " "The signs
of impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch
as the prevailing Order appeareth to be lamentably defective. "
"The world is in travail and its agitation waxeth day by day. lts
face is turned towards waywardnessand unbelief. Suchshaube its
plight that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Its
perversity will long continue. And when the appointed hour is come,
there shausuddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of
mankind to quake. Then, and only then, will the Divine Standard be
unfurled, and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody. "
"After a time, all the governments on earth will change. Oppression
will envelop the world. And following a universal convulsion, the
sun of justice will rise from the horizon of the unseen realm."

So thrilling, however, is the vision of the future which Shoghi
Effendi painted for us in his brilliant words, that it wipes away
all fear and fills the heart of every Baha'i with such confidence
and joy that the prospect of any amount of suffering and
deprivation cannot weaken his faith or crush his hopes. "The world
is, in truth," Shoghi Effendi wrote, "moving on towards its
destiny. The interdependence of the peoples and nations of the
earth, whatever the leaders of the divisive forces of the world may
say or do, is already an accomplished fact." The world
commonwealth, "destined to emerge, sooner or later, out of the
carnage, agony, and havoc of this great world confusion" was the
assured consummation of the working of these forces. First would
come the Lesser Peace, which the nations of the earth, as yet
unconscious of Baha'u'llah's Revelation, would themselves
establish; "This momentous and historic step, involving the
reconstruction of mankind, as the result of the universal recognition
of its oneness and wholeness, will bring in its wake the
spiritualization of the masses, consequent to the recognition of
the character, and the acknowledgement of the claims, of the Faith
of Baha'u'llah -- the essential condition to that ultimate fusion of
all races, creeds, classes, and nations which must signalize the <p81>
emergence of His New World Order." He goes on to state: "Then will
the coming of age of the entire human race be proclaimed and
celebrated by all the peoples and nations of the earth. Then will
the banner of the Most Great Peace be hoisted. Then will the
worldwide sovereignty of Baha'u'llah ... be recognized, acclaimed,
and firmly established. Then will a world civilization be born,
flourish, and perpetuate itself, a civilization with a fullness of
life such as the world has never seen nor can as yet conceive...
Then will the planet, galvanized through the universal belief of
its dwellers in one God, and their allegiance to one common Revelation,
... be ... acclaimed as the earthly heaven, capable of
fulfilling that ineffable destiny fixed for it, from time
immemorial, by the love and wisdom of its Creator." <p83>


In an age when people play football with words, kicking them right
and left indiscriminately withno respect for either their meaning
or correct usage, the style of Shoghi Effendi stands out in
dazzling beauty. His joy in words was one of his strongest personal
characteristics, whether he wrote in English -- the language he had
given his heart to -- or in the mixture of Persian and Arabic he used
in his general letters to the East. Although he was so simple in
his personal tastes he had an innate love of richness which is
manifest in the way he arranged and decorated various Baha'i Holy
Places, in the style of the Shrine of the Bab, in his preferences
in architecture and in his choice and combination of words. Of him
it could be said, in the words of another great writer, Macaulay,
that "he wrote in language ... precise and luminous." Unlike so
many people Shoghi Effendi wrote what he meant and meant exactly
what he wrote. It is impossible to eliminate any word from one of
his sentences without sacrificing part of the meaning, so concise,
so pithy is his style. A book like God Passes By is a veritable
essence of essences; from this single hundred-year history, fifty
books could easily be written and none of them would be superficial
or lacking in material, so rich is the source provided by the
Guardian, so condensed his treatment of it.

The language in which Shoghi Effendi wrote, whether for the
Baha'is of the West or the East, has set a standard which should
effectively prevent them from descending to the level of illiterate
literates which often so sadly characterizes the present generation
as far as the usage and appreciation of words is concerned. He
never compromised with the ignorance of his readers but expected
them, in their thirst for knowledge, to overcome their ignorance.
Shoghi Effendi chose, to the best of his great ability, the right
vehicle for his thought and it made no difference to him whether
the average <p84> person was going to know the word he used or not. After all, what
one does not know one can find out. Although he had such a brilliant
command of language, he frequently reinforced his knowledge
by certainty through looking up the word he planned to use in
Webster's big dictionary. In his translations of the Baha'i
writings, and above all in his own compositions, Shoghi Effendi set
a standard that educates and raises the cultural level of the
reader at the same time that it feeds his mind and soul with
thoughts and truth.

I remember once Shoghi Effendi giving me an article to read from
a British newspaper which called attention to the bureaucratic
language which is developing, particularly in the United States,
in which more and more words are used to convey less and less and
merely produce confusion confounded. Shoghi Effendi heartily
supported the article! Words were very precise instruments to him.
I also recall a particularly beautiful distinction he made in
speaking to some pilgrims in the Western Pilgrim House. He said:
"we are orthodox, but not fanatical."

Many times the language of the Guardian soared to great poetic
heights. Witness such passages as these that shine with the brilliance
of cathedral glass: "We behold, as we survey the episodes
of this first act of a sublime drama, the figure of its Master
Hero, the Bab, arise meteor-like above the horizon of Shiraz,
traverse the sombre sky of Persia from South to North, decline with
tragic swiftness, and perish in a blaze of glory. We see His
satellites, aalaxy of God-intoxicated heroes, mount above that same
horizoradiate that same incandescent light, burn themselves out
with that selfsame swiftness, and impart in their turn an added
impetus to the steadily gathering momentum of God's nascent Faith."
He called the Bab "that youthful Prince of Glory" and describes the
scene of His entombment on Mt. Carmel: "when all was finished, and
the earthly remains of the Martyr-Prophet of Shiraz were, at long
last, safely deposited for their everlasting rest in the bosom of
God's holy mountain, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Who had cast aside His turban,
removed His shoes and thrown off His cloak, bent low over the still
open sarcophagus, His silver hair waving about His head and His
face transfigured and luminous, rested His forehead on the border
of the wooden casket, and, sobbing aloud, wept with such a weeping
that all those who were present wept with Him." "The second period
... derives its inspiration from the august figure of Baha'u'llah,
pre-eminent in holiness, awesome in the majesty of His strength and
power, unapproachable in the transcendent <p85>
brightness of His glory. " "Amidst the shadows that are
increasingly gathering about us we can discern the glimmerings of
Baha'u'llah's unearthly sovereignty appearing fitfully on the
horizon of history." Or these words addressed to the Greatest Holy
Leaf: "In the innermost recesses of our hearts, O Thou exalted Leaf
of the Abha Paradise, we have reared for thee a shining mansion
that the hand of time can never undermine, a shrine which shall
frame eternally the matchless beauty of thy countenance, an altar
whereon the fire of thy consuming love shall burn for ever. " Or
these words painting a picture of the punishment of God in this
day: "On the high seas, in the air, on land, in the forefront of
battle, in the palaces of kings and the cottages of peasants, in
the most hallowed sanctuaries, whether secular or religious, the
evidences of God's retributive act and mysterious discipline are
manifest. Its heavy toll is steadily mounting -- a holocaust sparing
neither prince nor peasant, neither man nor woman, neither young
nor old." Or these words concerning the attitude of the true
servants of the Cause: "Of such men and women it may be truly said
that to them 'every foreign land is a fatherland, and every
fatherland a foreign land'. or their citizenship ... is in the
Kingdom of Baha'u'llah. Though willing to share to the utmost the
temporal benefits and the fleeting joys which this earthly life
can confer, though eager to participate in whatever activity that
conduces to the richness, the happiness and peace of that life,
they can at no time forget that it constitutes no more than a
transient, a very brief stage of their existence, that they who
live it are but pilgrims and wayfarers whose goal is the Celestial
City, and whose home the Country of never-failing joy and

There are so many aspects to Shoghi Effendi's literary life. I
can name on one hand the books (other than his beloved Gibbon) he
read for recreation during the twenty years I was with him, though
he had read during his youth very extensively on many subjects.
This is no doubt because of the fact that by 1937, when I took up
my new life in Haifa, he was already overwhelmed by the ever-
increasing amount of material he had to read in connection with his
work, such as news-letters, National Assembly minutes, circulars
and mail. By the end of his life if he did not read at least two
or three hours a day he could no longer keep up with his work at
all; he read on planes, trains, in gardens, at table when we were
away from Haifa and in Haifa hour after hour at his desk, until he
would get so tired he would go to bed and sit up reading there. He
assiduously kept abreast of the political news and trends of the
world. <p86>

The supreme importance of Shoghi Effendi's English translations
and communications can never be sufficiently stressed because of
his function as sole and authoritative interpreter of the Sacred
Writings, appointed as such by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will. There are
many instances when, owing to the looseness of construction in
Persian sentences, there could be an ambiguity in the mind of the
reader regarding the meaning. Careful and correct English, not
lending itself to ambiguity in the first place, became, when
coupled with Shoghi Effendi's brilliant mind and his power as
interpreter of the Holy Word, what we might well call the
crystallizing vehicle of the teachings. Often by referring to
Shoghi Effendi's translation into English the original meaning of
the Bab, Baha'u'llah, or 'Abdu'l-Baha becomes clear and is thus
safeguarded against misinterpretation in the future. He was
meticulous in translating and made absolutely sure that the words
he was using in English conveyed and did not depart from the original
thought nor the original words. One would have to have a mastery
of Persian and Arabic to correctly understand what he did. For
instance in reading the original one finds that one word in Arabic
was susceptible of being translated into two or more words in
English; thus Shoghi Effendi, in the construction of his English
sentences, might use "power", "strength" and "might" alternatively
to replace this one word, choosing the exact nuance of meaning that
would fit best, do away with reiteration, and lend most colour to
his translation without sacrificing the true meaning, indeed,
thereby enhancing the true meaning. Once -- only once, alas, in our
busy, harassed life -- Shoghi Effendi said to me that I now knew
enough Persian to understand the original and he read a paragraph
of one of Baha'u'llah's Tablets and said, "How can one translate
that into English?" For about two hours we tried, that is he tried
and I feebly followed him. When I would suggest a sentence, which
did convey the meaning, Shoghi Effendi said "Ah, but that is not
translation! You cannot change and leave out words in the original
and just put what you think it means in English." He pointed out
a translator must be absolutely faithful to his original text and
that in some cases this meant that what came out in another
language was ugly and even meaningless. As Baha'u'llah is always
sublimely beautiful in His words this could not be done.
The Guardian was exceedingly cautious in everything that concerned
the original Word and would never explain or comment on a text
submitted to him in English (when it was not his own <p87>
translation) until he had verified it with the original. He was very
careful of the words he used in commenting on various events in the
Faith, refusing, for instance, to designate a person a
martyr -- which is a station -- just because they were slain, and
sometimes designating as martyrs people who were not killed but the
nature of whose death he associated with martyrdom.

Another highly important aspect of the divinely-conferred position
Shoghi Effendi held of interpreter of the Teachings was that
he had not only protected the Sacred Word from being misconstrued
but that he also carefully preserved the relationship and importance
of different aspects of the Teachings to each other and
safeguarded the rightful station of each of the three Central
Figures of the Faith. An interesting example of this is reflected
in a letter of A. L. M. Nicolas, the French scholar who translated
the Bayan of the Bab into French and who might correctly be
described as a Babi. For many years he was under the impression
that the Baha'is had ignored the greatness and belittled the
station of the Bab. When he discovered that Shoghi Effendi in his
writings exalted the Bab, perpetuated His memory through a book
such as Nabil's Narrative, and repeatedly translated His words into
English, his attitude completely changed. In a letter to one of the
old believers in France he wrote: "Now I can die quietly ...
Glory to Shoghi Effendi who has calmed my torment and my anxiety,
glory to him who recognizes the worth of Siyyid 'Ali Muhammad
called the Bab. I am so content that I kiss your hands which traced
my address on the envelope which brought me the message of Shoghi.

Thank you, Mademoiselle, thank you from the bottom of my heart."
One of the earliest acts of Shoghi Effendi's ministry was to begin
circulating his translations of the holy Writings. One year and ten
days after the reading of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will we find him writing
to the American National Assembly: "It is a great pleasure for me
to share with you the translation of some of the prayers and
Tablets of our beloved Master..." and he goes on to add that he
trusts "that in the course of time I will be enabled to send you
regularly correct and reliable translations ... which will unfold
to your eyes a new vision of His Glorious Mission ... and give
you an insight into the character and meaning of His Divine

The writing, translation and promulgation of Baha'i books was one
of the Guardian's major interests, one he never tired of and one
he actively supported. The ideal situation is for local and
national communities to pay for their own activities, but in this
Formative <p88> Age of our Faith the Guardian fully realized this was not always
possible and from the funds at his disposal he assisted
substantially throughout the years in financing the translation and
publication of Baha'i literature. In periods of emergency, when the
attainment of cherished goals was at stake, Shoghi Effendi would
fill the breach.

Literature in all languages the Guardian collected in Haifa,
placing books in his own library, in the two Pilgrim House
libraries, in the Mansion of Baha'u'llah in Bahji, and in the
International Archives. In this connection it is interesting to
note how he placed them, for I never saw it done before: he would
have, say, a lot of rather dull bindings, of some inexpensive
edition, in grey and a lot more in blue or some other colour. With
these he would fill his bookshelves in patterns, five red, two
blue, five red and so on, using the variation in colour and number
to add charm to the general effect of a book case that otherwise
would have presented a monotonous and uninteresting appearance.
Facts and events are more or less useless unless seen in the proper
perspective, unless vision is applied to their interpretation. One
of the marked aspects of Shoghi Effendi's genius was the way he
plucked the significance of an occurrence, an isolated phenomenon,
from the welter of irrelevancies associated with the international
development of the Cause and set it in its historical frame,
focussing on it the light of his appraising mind and making us
understand what was taking place and what it signified now and
forever. This was not a static thing, a picture of shapes and
forms, but rather a description of where a leviathan was moving in
an ocean -- the leviathan of the co-ordinated movements inside the
Community of Baha'u'llah's followers moving in the ocean of His
Dispensation. An Assembly was formed, someone died, a certificate
was granted by some obscure governmental body -- in themselves
isolated facts and events -- but to Shoghi Effendi's eyes they were
part of a pattern and he made us see this pattern being woven
before our eyes too. In the volumes of The Baha'i World the
Guardian did this not only for the believers, but for the public
at large. He dramatized the progress of the Faith and a mass of
scattered facts and unrelated photographs were made to testify to
the reality of the claim of that Faith to be world-wide and all-

It is interesting to note that the actual suggestion for a volume
along the lines of The Bah" World came to Shoghi Effendi from
Horace Holley in a letter he wrote in February 1921 though I have
no doubt that it was the breadth of vision of the young Guardian <p89>
and the shape he was already giving to the work of the Cause in his
messages to the West that, working on Horace's own creative mind,
stimulated him to this concept. Shoghi Effendi seized on this idea
and from then on Horace became Shoghi Effendi's primary instrument,
as a gifted writer, and in his capacity as Secretary of the
American National Spiritual Assembly, in making of The Bah'i World
the remarkable and unique book it became. Volume One, published in
1925 and called Bah'i Year Book -- which covered the period from
April 1925 to April 1926 and comprised 174 pages -- received its
permanent title, in Volume Two, of The Baha'i World, A Biennial
International Record suggested by that National Assembly and
approved by Shoghi Effendi. At the time of the Guardian's passing
twelve volumes had appeared, the largest running to over 1,000
pages. Although these were prepared under the supervision of the
American National Assembly, published by its Publishing Committee,
compiled by a staff of editors and dedicated to Shoghi Effendi, it
would be more in conformity with the facts to call them Shoghi
Effendi's Book. He himself acted as Editor-in-Chief; the tremendous
amount of material comprised in each volume was sent to him by the
American Assembly, with all photographs, before it appeared and his
was the final decision as to what should go in and what be omitted.

As six of these books were published during the period I was
privileged to be with him I was able to observe how he edited them.
With his infinite capacity for work Shoghi Effendi would go over
the vast bundles of papers and photographs forwarded to him,
eliminating the poorer and more irrelevant material; section by
section, following the Table of Contents which he himself had
arranged, would be prepared and set aside until the entire
manuscript was ready to be mailed back to America for publication.
He always deplored the fact that the material was not of a higher
standard. It is due solely to his determination and perseverance
that The Bah'i World volumes are as brilliant and impressive as
they are. The editors (some of whom he had nominated himself),
struggling against the forces of inertia that beset any body trying
to achieve its ends through correspondence with sources thousands
of miles away, and seeking to work through often inexperienced and
inefflcient administrative organs, would never have been successful
in assembling the material required without the drive and authority
of the Guardian behind their efforts. An interesting side light on
this work is that Shoghi Effendi, after the book was published, had
all the original <p90> manuscripts returned to Haifa and stored at the World Centre.

As soon as one volume was published he began to himself collect
material for the next one. In addition to the repeated reminders
he sent to the American National Assembly to do likewise, he sent
innumerable letters and cables to different Assemblies and
individuals. In one day, for instance, he cabled three National
Assemblies: "National Assembly photograph for Baha'i World
essential"; he cabled such an isolated and out-of-the-way outpost
as Shanghai for material he wanted. "Baha'i World manuscript
mailed. Advise speedy careful publication" was not an unusual type
of message for the American Assembly to receive. It was Shoghi
Effendi who arranged the order of the volume, had typed in Haifa
the entire Table of Contents, had all the photographs titled, chose
all the frontispieces, decided on the colour of the binding of the
volume to appear, and above all gave exact instructions, in long
detailed letters to Horace Holley, whom he himself had chosen as
the most gifted and informed person to write the International
Survey of Current Baha'i Activities, to which he attached great

What Shoghi Effendi himself thought of The Baha'i World he put down
in writing. As early as 1927, when only one volume had been
published, he wrote to a non-Baha'i: "I would strongly advise you
to procure a copy of the Baha'i Year Book ... which will give you
a clear and authoritative statement of the purpose, the claim and
the influence of the Faith." In a general letter addressed, in
1928, "To the beloved of the Lord and the hand-maids of the
Merciful throughout the East and West", and entirely devoted to the
subject of The Baha'i World, Shoghi Effendi informs them: "I have
ever since its inception taken a keen and sustained interest in
its development, have personally participated in the collection of
its material, the arrangement of its contents, and the close
scrutiny of whatever data it contains. I confidently and
emphatically recommend it to every thoughtful and eager follower
of the Faith, whether in the East or in the West..." He wrote
that its material is readable, attractive, comprehensive and
authoritative; its treatment of the fundamentals of the Cause
concise and persuasive, and its illustrations thoroughly
representative; it is unexcelled and unapproached by any other
Baha'i publication of its kind. This book Shoghi Effendi
always visualized as being -- indeed he designed it to be eminently
suitable for the public, for scholars, to place in libraries and
as a means, as he put it, of "removing the malicious misrepresentations
and unfortunate misunderstandings that have so <p91>
long and so grievously clouded the luminous Faith of

It was a book that he himself often gave as a gift to royalty,
to statesmen, to professors, universities, newspaper editors and
nonBaha'is in general, mailing it to them with his simple personal
card "Shoghi Rabbani" enclosed.

It is difficult to realize, looking back upon Shoghi Effendi's
achievements, that he actually wrote only one book of his own, as
such, and this was God Passes By published in 1944. Even The
Promised Day Is Come, written in 1941, is a 136-page-10ng general
letter to the Baha'is of the West. This fact alone is a profound
indication of the deeply modest character of the man. He communicated
with the Baha'is because he had something to say that was
important, because he was appointed to guide them, because he was
the Custodian of the Faith of Baha'u'llah; he was impelled by
forces stronger than himself over which he had no control.

Concurrent with the period when these first illuminating letters
on such major subjects were streaming from the pen of Shoghi
Effendi, he undertook the translation of two books. In a letter
written on July 4, 1930, Shoghi Effendi says: "I feel exceedingly
tired after a strenuous year of work particularly as I have managed
to add to my labours the translation of the fqan, which I have
already sent to America." This was the first of his major
translations, Baha'u'llah's great exposition on the station and role of
the Manifestations of God, more particularly in the light of
Islamic teachings and prophecies, known as the Kitabi-Iqan or Book
of Certitude. It was an invaluable adjunct to the Western Baha'is
in their study of the Faith they had embraced and infinitely
enriched their understanding of Divine Revelation.

During that same year the Guardian began work on the second book
published during this period, a work that was neither a translation
of Baha'u'llah's words nor one of Shoghi Effendi's general letters,
but which must be considered a literary masterpiece and one of his
most priceless gifts for all time. This was the translation of the
first part of the narrative compiled by a contemporary follower of
both the Bab and Baha'u'llah known as Nabil, which was published
in 1932 under the title The Dawn-Breakers. If the critic and
sceptic should be tempted to dismiss the literature of the Baha'i
Faith as typical of the better class of religious books designed
for the initiate only, he could not for a moment so brush aside a
volume of the quality of Nabil's Narrative, which deserves to be
counted as a classic among epic narratives in the English tongue.

Although <p92> ostensibly a translation from the original Persian, Shoghi Effendi
may be said to have recreated it in English, his translation being
comparable to Fitzgerald's rendering of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat
which gave the world a poem in a foreign language that in many ways
exceeded the merits of the original. The best and most descriptive
comments on this masterpiece of the Guardian are to be found in the
words of prominent non-Baha'is. The playwright Gordon Bottomley
wrote: "... Living with it has been one of the salient
experiences of a lifetime; but beyond that it was a moving experience
both in itself and through the psychological light it throws
on the New Testament narrative." The well-known scholar and
humanitarian, Dr. Alfred W. Martin of the Ethical Culture Society,
in his letter of thanks to Shoghi Effendi for sending him Nabil's
Narrative wrote: "Your magnificent and monumental work ... will
be a classic and a standard for all time to come. I marvel beyond
measure at your ability to prepare such a work for the press over
and above all the activities which your regular professional
position devolves upon you." One of his old professors, Bayard
Dodge of the American University of Beirut, after receiving the
gift of Nabil's Narrative from the Guardian wrote to him: "I have
profited by the leisure of the summer to read Nabil's Narrative ...
Everyone interested in religion and also in history owes you a very
great debt of gratitude for publishing such a fine piece of work.
The deeper side of the work is so impressive, that it seems hardly
fitting to compliment you upon some of the practical matters
connected with the translation. However, I cannot refrain from
telling you how much I appreciate your taking the time from a busy
life to accomplish such a large task. "

The letter which Sir E. Denison Ross, the well-known Orientalist,
wrote to him from the School of Oriental Studies of the University
of London was the most highly prized tribute he received:

27th April, 1932

My dear Shoghi Effendi,

It was most kind of you to remember me and send me copies of your
two latest works, which I am very proud to possess, especially as
coming from such a quarter. The Dawn Breakers is really one of the
most beautiful books I have seen for many years; the paper,
printing, and illustrations are all exquisite, and as for your
English style, it really could not be bettered, and <p93>
never does it read like a translation. Allow me to convey my
warmest congratulations on your most successful achievement of what
you set out to do when you came to Oxford, namely, to attain a
perfect command of our language.

Apart from this, Nabil's narrative will be of the utmost service
to me in the lectures I deliver here every Session on the Bab and
the Baha.

Trusting you are in good health, I remain,

Yours very sincerely,

E. Denison Ross


In 1935 Shoghi Effendi again presented the western Baha'is with
3 L a magnificent gift, published under the title Gleanings from
the Writings of Baha'u'llah, which the Guardian himself described
as "consisting of a selection of the most characteristic and
hitherto unpublished passages from the outstanding works of the
Author of the Baha'i Revelation." Remembering the scanty pages of
the New Testament, the reputed words of Buddha, and the mere
handful of sayings of some other Divine luminaries, which
nevertheless have transfigured for centuries the lives of millions
of men, the Gleanings alone seems to provide a source of guidance
and inspiration sufficient for the spiritual Dispensation of any
Prophet. The most treasured tribute to this book was that of Queen
Marie of Rumania who told Martha Root: "even doubters would find
a powerful strength in it, if they would read it alone, and would
give their souls time to expand." To Shoghi Effendi himself the
Queen wrote, in January 1936, after receiving from him a copy, "May
I send you my most grateful thanks for the wonderful book, every
word of which is precious to me, and doubly so in this time of
anxiety and unrest." p M L 37 This was followed by the translation
in 1936-1937, of what might almost be termed a companion volume,
comparable in richness and complementary in material, namely,
Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah.

Immediately after the publication of this diamond-mine of communion
with God, unsurpassed in any religious literature of the J 3
world, Shoghi Effendi set to work on a longer general letter than
he had ever before written, which appeared in 1939 under the title
of The Advent of Divine Justice. With a kind but firm hand Shoghi
Effendi held up before the face of the North American Community <p94>
the mirror of the civilization by which they were surrounded and
warned them, in terms that riveted the eye and chilled the heart,
against its evils, pointing out to them a truth few of them had
ever pondered, namely, that the very evils of that civilization
were the mystic reason for their homeland having been chosen by God
as the cradle of His World Order in this day. As the warnings
contained in The Advent of Divine Justice are an integral part of
the vision and guidance Shoghi Effendi gave to the faithful
throughout his ministry, they cannot be passed over in silence if
we are to obtain any correct understanding of his own mission. In
no uncertain terms he castigated the moral laxity, political
corruption, racial prejudice and corrosive materialism of their
society, contrasting it with the exalted standards inculcated by
Baha'u'llah in His Teachings, and enjoined by Him upon His
followers. It warned them of the war so soon to come and admonished
them to stand fast, in spite of every trial that might in future
afflict them and their nations, and discharge their sacred trust
by prosecuting to a triumphal outcome the Plan they had so recently
inaugurated throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Another general letter -- this time addressed to the body of the
Baha'is throughout the West -- appeared in print in 1941. It was
called The Promised Day Is Come and, together with TheAdventof
Divine Justice, sets forth the root-decay of the present-day world.
In it, written during the second year of the war, Shoghi Effendi
thunders his denunciations of the perversity and sinfulness of this
generation, using as his missiles quotations from the lips of
Baha'u'llah Himself:

"The time for the destruction of the world and its people hath
arrived"; "The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials
will have surged above your heads, and beneath your feet, saying:
'Taste ye what your hands have wrought!"'; "Soon shall the blasts
of His chastisement beat upon you, and the dust of hell enshroud
you."; "And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly
appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake."; "The
day is approaching when its (civilization's) flame will devour the
cities, when the Tongue of Grandeur will proclaim: 'The Kingdom is
God's, the Almighty, the All-Praised!"'; "The day will soon come,
where on they will cryout for help and receive no answer."; "We have
fixed a time for you, O people! If ye fail, at the appointed hour,
to turn towards God, He, <p95>verily, will lay violent hold on you, and will cause grievous
afflictions to assailyoufrom every direction. How severe indeed is
the chastisement with which your Lord will then chastise you!"; "O
ye peoples of the world! Know verily that an unforeseen calamity
is following you and that grievous retribution awaiteth you. Think
not the deeds ye have committed haye been blottedfrom My sight. By
My Beauty! All your doings hath My pen graven with open characters
upon tablets of chrysolite. "

The Guardian paints a terrible, terrifying and majestic picture
of the plight to which the human race has been reduced through its
steadfast rejection of Baha'u'llah. The "world-afflicting ordeal
that has laid its grip upon mankind" is, he wrote, "primarily a
judgment of God pronounced against the peoples of the earth, who,
for a century, have refused to recognize the One Whose advent had
been promised to all religions". Shoghi Effendi recapitulates the
sufferings, the persecution, the calumny and cruelty to which the
Bab, Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha were subjected and recounts the
tale of Their blamelessness, Their patience and fortitude in the
face of these trials and Their final weariness with this world as
They gathered Their skirts about Them and repaired to the Celestial
Realms of Their Creator. Shoghi Effendi enumerates the sins of
mankind against these Sinless Ones and points the finger of blame
at the leaders of mankind, at its kings, its highest ecclesiastical
personages and rulers to whom the Twin Manifestations of God had
directed the full force of Their Message and because of whose neglect
of their supreme duty to pay heed to the Call of God,
Baha'u'llah Himself stated: "From two ranks amongst men power hath
been seized: kings and ecclesiastics."

Between these two so-called general letters -- The Advent of Divine
Justice and The Promised Day Is Come -- Shoghi Effendi gave the
western believers his fifth and last book of translations of Lbs
of Baha'u'llah, undertaken during
1940, at another of the most difficult and hazardous periods of his life.
The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf was Baha'u'llah's last
major work and contains a selection from His own Writings, made by
Himself (surely a unique occurrence in religious history!) during
the last two years of His life and has therefore a special
position of its own in the literature of our Faith.

God Passes By, the most brilliant and wondrous tale of a century
that has ever been told, is truly a "Mother" of future histories,
a <p96> book wherein every word counts, every sentence burgeons with
thought, every thought leads the way to a field of its own. Packed
with salient facts it has the range and precision of snow flake
crystals, each design perfect in itself, each theme brilliant in
outline, coordinated, balanced, self-contained, a matrix for those
who follow on and study, evaluate and elaborate the Message and
Order of Baha'u'llah. It was one of the most concentrated and
stupendous achievements of Shoghi Effendi's life.

The method of Shoghi Effendi in writing God Passes By was to sit
down for a year and read every book of the Baha'i Writings in Persian
and English, and every book written about the Faith by
Baha'is, whether in manuscript form or published, and everything
written by non-Baha'is that contained significant references to it.
I think in all, this must have covered the equivalent of at least
two hundred books. As he read he made notes and compiled and marshalled
his facts. Anyone who has ever tackled a work of an historical
nature knows how much research is involved, how often one has
to decide, in the light of relevant material, between this date
given in one place and that date given in another, how backbreaking
the whole work is. How much more so then was such a work
for the Guardian who had, at the same time, to prepare for the
forthcoming Centenary of the Faith and make decisions regarding the
design of the superstructure of the Bab's Shrine. When all the
ingredients of his book had been assembled Shoghi Effendi commenced
weaving them into the fabric of his picture of the significance of
the first century of the Baha'i Dispensation. It was not his
purpose, he said, to write a detailed history of those hundred
years, but rather to review the salient features of the birth and
rise of the Faith, the establishment of its administrative
institutions, and the series of crises which had propelled it
forward in a mysterious manner, through the release of the Divine
power within it, from victory to victory. He revealed to us the
panorama of events which, he wrote, "the revolution of a hundred
years ... has unrolled before our eyes" and lifted the curtain
on the opening acts of what he asserted was one "indivisible,
stupendous and sublime drama, whose mystery no intellect can
fathom, whose climax no eye can even dimly perceive, whose
conclusion no mind can adequately foreshadow."

Not content with the history he had just completed in English,
Shoghi Effendi now turned his thoughts to the loving and loyal
Community of Baha'u'llah's long-suffering and persecuted followers <p97>
in His native land and began the composition of another memorial,
written in Persian and Arabic, to the first hundred years of
the Baha'i Faith. This was a comparable, though shorter version of
the same subject, different in nature but no less splendid in both
the facts it presented and the brilliancy of its language.

For thne_tthilL Effendi neither translated nor wrote any more
books. It is our great loss thai no longer had the D:hinternational
community of the Faith he had been at such pains to build up since
1921 had now reached such proportions that it consumed his time and
strength and left little of either for the intensely creative work
he was so richly endowed by nature to produce.
Until the end of his days Shoghi Effendi continued to inspire the
Baha'i world with his instructions and thoughts; words of great
power and significance, equal in bulk to a number of volumes,
flowed from his pen. But an epoch had ended with the close of the
war and the increase in administrative activity all over the world.
Although his driving power never left him, and the hours of work
he spent on the Cause of God each day never diminished until he
passed away, Shoghi Effendi was deeply tired. The
life work of Shoghi Effendi might well be divided into four
major aspects: his translations of the Words of Baha'u'llah, the
Bab, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Nabil's narrative; his own writings such as
the history of a century, published as God Passes By, as well as
an uninterrupted stream of instructive communications from his pen
which pointed out to the believers the significance, the time and
the method of the building up of their administrative institutions;
an unremitting programme to expand and consolidate the material assets
of a world-wide Faith, which not only involved the completion,
erection or beautification of the Baha'i Holy Places at the World
Centre, but the construction of Houses of Worship and the acquisition
of national and local headquarters and endowments in various
countries throughout the East and the West; and, above all, a masterly
orientation of thought towards the concepts enshrined in the
teachings of the Faith and orderly classification of those
teachings into what might well be described as a vast panoramic
view of the meaning, implications, destiny and purpose of the
religion of Baha'u'llah, indeed of religious truth itself in its
portrayal of man as the apogee of God's creation, evolving towards
the consummation of his development -- the establishment of the
Kingdom of God on earth. <p99>


The development of the World Centre of the Faith under the aegis
of the Guardian represents one of the major achievements of his
life and can only be compared in importance to the spread and consolidation
of the Cause itself throughout the entire globe. Of the
unique significance of this Centre Shoghi Effendi wrote that it
was: "... the Holy Land -- the Qiblih of a world community, the
heart from which the energizing influences of a vivifying Faith
continually stream, and the seat and centre around which the diversified
activities of a divinely appointed Administrative Order
revolve -- ".

When in 1921 Shoghi Effendi assumed the responsibilities conferred
upon him in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, the
Baha'i holdings in Haifa and 'Akka consisted of the Shrine of
Baha'u'llah in Bahji, which was situated in a house belonging to
the Afnan heirs of the daughter of Baha'u'llah, in whose home He
had been interred after His ascension; the Shrine of the Bab on Mt
. Carmel, surrounded by a few plots of land, purchased during the
lifetime of 'Abdu'l-Baha, on one of which stood the Oriental Pilgrim
House; the house of 'Abbud, where Baha'u'llah had resided for
many years in 'Akka and in which He revealed the Kitab-iAqdas; and
the house of 'Abdu'l-Baha in Haifa. The Mansion of Baha'u'llah,
adjoining His Shrine, was occupied by the Arch-Covenant-breaker
Muhammad 'Ali; and the title to almost all the Baha'i properties
was registered either in the names of various members of the family
or those of a few Baha'is. So insecure was the entire legal
position of the Faith and its properties that the work Shoghi
Effendi accomplished during his ministry in safeguarding and adding
to these Holy Places, in extending the lands surrounding them, in
registering these lands, in many instances in the names of locally
incorporated Palestine Branches of <p100>

various National Baha'i Assemblies, and in securing exemption from
municipal and national taxes for them, is little short of
miraculous. When we remember that his position in 1922 was so
precarious that Muhammad 'Ali was emboldened to seize the keys of
Baha'u'llah's Holy Tomb, that many Muslim and Christian elements,
jealous of the universal favour 'Abdu'l-Baha had enjoyed at the end
of His life, were only too anxious to discredit His young successor
in the eyes of the authorities, and that Shoghi Effendi himself had
been immediately overwhelmed by grave problems of every conceivable
nature, within and without the Cause, we cannot but marvel anew at
the wisdom and statesmanship that characterized his conduct of
affairs at the World Centre.

The Heroic Age of the Faith had passed. What Shoghi Effendi
termed the Formative Age dawned with his own ministry, and was
shaped for all time by him. Fully realizing that neither his own
station nor his capacities were the same as those of his beloved
Master, Shoghi Effendi refused to imitate Him in any way, in dress,
in habits, in manner. To do so would have been, he believed, completely
lacking in both judgement and respect. A new day had come
to the Cause, new methods were required. This was to be the era of
emancipation of the Faith, of recognition of its independent
status, of the establishment of its Order, of the up-building of
its institutions. 'Abdu'l-Baha had come to the Holy Land a prisoner
and exile; although He could proclaim, during His travels in the
West and through His letters, the independent character of the
Cause of His Father, locally He could not, at the end of His life,
break through the chrysalis of common custom that had bound Him so
long to the predominantly Muslim community; to do things ungracefully
and hurtfully was no part of the Baha'i Teachings. But
Shoghi Effendi, returning from his studies in England, young,
western in training and habit, was now in a position to do this .
However much loved and esteemed 'Abdu'l-Baha had been, He was not
viewed as the Head of an independent world religion but rather as
the saintly protagonist of a great spiritual philosophy of
universal brotherhood, a distinguished notable among other notables
in Palestine. By sheer force of personality He had dominated those
around Him. But Shoghi Effendi knew he could never do this in the
circumstances surrounding him at the outset of his Guardianship,
neither had he any desire to do so. His function everywhere -- but
particularly at the World Centre -- was to win recognition for the
Cause as a world religion entitled to the same status and <p101>

prerogatives that other religions such as Christianity, Islam and
Judaism, enjoyed.

During the first two decades of his ministry Shoghi Effendi had
more or less close personal contact with various High Commissioners
and District Commissioners and through this he was able to win
back the keys of Baha'u'llah's Tomb and assert his undisputed right
to its custody, to obtain possession of the Mansion of Baha'u'llah,
to receive permission to bury 'Abdu'l-Baha's closest relatives in
the vicinity of the Bab's Shrine, in the centre of a residential
district on Mt. Carmel, to have the Baha'i Marriage Certificate
accepted by the government on the same footing as that of Jews,
Christians and Muslims, and above all, through his persistent
efforts, to succeed in impressing upon the British authorities the
sacred nature of the Baha'i holdings in Palestine and in winning
from them the exemption from taxes, both municipal and national,
which he sought.
Bahji was always Shoghi Effendi's first preoccupation and he was
determined to safeguard not only the Shrine where Baha'u'llah lay
buried but the last home He had occupied in this world and the
buildings and lands that adjoined it. From the time Baha'u'llah
passed away in 1892 until 1927 Muhammad 'Ali and his relatives had
been in possession of this home, known as the "Qasr" or "Palace"
of 'Udi Khammar, a building unique in Palestine for its majestic
style of architecture and which had been purchased for Baha'u'llah
towards the end of His life.
By April 1932 the pilgrims were privileged to sleep overnight in
this historic and Sacred Spot and its doors were opened to nonBaha'i
visitors as well, who wandered through its beautiful rooms
and gazed on the impressive array of testimonials to the world-wide
nature of the Cause, on the innumerable photostatic copies of
Baha'i Assembly incorporations, marriage licenses and other historical
material as well as photographs of the martyrs and pioneers
of the Faith.
Ever mindful of what was to him the deepest trust of his Guar-
dianship -- to fulfil to the letter insofar as lay within his power
every wish and instruction of his beloved Master -- Shoghi Effendi's
second greatest concern at the World Centre was the Shrine of the
Bab. The work connected with this second holiest Shrine of the
Baha'i Faith had two aspects: the completion of the building itself
and the protection and preservation of its surroundings. The first
involved the construction of three additional rooms as well as a
superstructure -- an entire building in itself -- which is
undoubtedly <p102>

one of the most beautiful edifices on the shores of the Mediterranean
Sea, and the second the gradual purchase, during a third of
a century, of a great protective belt of land surrounding the
Shrine and reaching from the top to the bottom of Mt. Carmel. This
area of over fifty acres is best discerned at night, as it lies a
huge unlighted "V" in the heart of the city, in whose centre seems
pinned a golden brooch, the flood-lit Shrine of the Bab, resting
majestically on the bosom of the mountain, set off on the velvety
black space of its gardens and lands. For thirty-six years Shoghi
Effendi devoted himself to the development of this Sacred Spot in
the midst of God's Holy Mountain; so impressive, so unique and of
such vast proportions was his work there that it seems to me some
of his very essence must be incorporated in its stones and soil.

It took more than one hundred years for Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'lBaha
and Shoghi Effendi to finally discharge the sacred trust which the
Bab's remains represented for them, a trust which lasted from the
day of His martyrdom in 1850 until the final completion of His
Shrine in 1953. From the moment when He was apprised of the
execution of the Bab until He ascended in 1892 Baha'u'llah had
watched over that Sacred Dust, supervising its removal from one
place of concealment to another. During a visit to Mt. Carmel He
had pointed out to 'Abdu'l-Baha with His own hand where the Bab's
body was to rest forever, instructing Him to purchase this piece
of land and bring the hidden remains from Persia and inter them
there . 'Abdu'l-Baha, Himself a prisoner, succeeded in having the
small wooden box containing the remains of the Bab and His martyred
companion conveyed, by caravan and boat, from Persia to 'Akka. When
the first group of western pilgrims visited the prison-city in the
winter of 1898-1899, this precious casket was already concealed in
the Master's home, its presence a carefully guarded secret.
One day in 1915, as 'Abdu'l-Baha stood on the steps of His home and
looked up at the Bab's Tomb, He remarked to one of His companions:
"The sublime Shrine has remained unbuilt. Ten-twenty thousand
pounds are required. God willing it will be accomplished. We have
carried its construction to this stage." To a pilgrim He had said:
"The Shrine of the Bab will be built in the most beautiful and
majestic style", and had even gone so far as to order a Turk in
Haifa to make him a sketch of how it would appear when completed.
But in spite of the clear concept He had of the nature of the
Shrine He desired so much to build for the Fore- <p103>

runner of the Faith, the ultimate task was to fall to Shoghi

In everything Shoghi Effendi did he was guided by what he knew
to be the desire of the Master. 'Abdu'l-Baha had succeeded, by
1907, in completing only six of the nine rooms which would compose
a square, in the centre of which the Body of the Bab would repose,
and already during that year meetings were held in the ones facing
the sea. In 1909, with His own hands He had laid the remains of the
Martyr-Herald of the Faith away in their final resting-place. The
next year He set out on His western journeys, the war ensued and
He passed away. He had, however, expressed His concept of the
finished structure: it should have an arcade surrounding the
original nine rooms He had planned and be surmounted by a dome. The
thought of this plan of the Master never left Shoghi Effendi but
its realization seemed very indefinite. Where and when would he
find the architect to design such a Shrine and the money to build
The answer came in a most unexpected way. In 1940 my mother died
in Buenos Aires and my father was left entirely alone, as I was his
only child. With that kindness of his which was so incomparable
Shoghi Effendi said to me one day that now my mother was dead, my
father's place was with us. He invited him to join us and in spite
of the war, whose arena was rapidly spreading, my father was able
to do so. This marked the beginning of a beautiful partnership. I
have never known two people who had such a perfect sense of proportion
as Shoghi Effendi and my father and of the two the Guardian's
was the finer.
It seems to me, in looking back on Shoghi Effendi's life, that
aside from the great sweep of the Faith, whose victories meant so
much to him, Martha Root in one way and Sutherland Maxwell in
another brought him more deep personal satisfaction than any other
believers. They were very much alike in some ways, saintly and
modest souls who adored Shoghi Effendi and gladly gave him the best
they had in service and loyalty. Though Martha's services were far
more important for the Cause, the talents of Sutherland became a
medium through which Shoghi Effendi could express at last with ease
the great creative and artistic side of his own nature and this
gave him both satisfaction and happiness. Until the end of his life
my father designed for him stairs, walls, pillars, lights and
various entrances to the gardens on Mt. Carmel. In addition to
being an experienced architect he drew and painted beautifully and
could model and carve anything with his hands.
Having tried my father on various small projects and found him <p104>

far from wanting, suddenly -- I think it was towards the end of
1942 -- Shoghi Effendi told him he wished him to make a design for
the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab. The Builder had at
last been given the vehicle whereby he could realize the plan of

In the Oriental Baha'i Pilgrim House, during the afternoon
meeting on May 23, 1944 when the Baha'i men were gathered in the
presence of the Guardian -- including many visitors from neighbouring
countries -- to commemorate the dawn of their Faith a hundred years
earlier, Shoghi Effendi had the model brought out and placed on a
table for all to see. Two days later he cabled America: "...
Announce friends joyful tidings hundredth anniversary Declaration
Mission Martyred Herald Faith signalized by historic decision to
complete structure His sepulchre erected by 'Abdu'l-Baha site
chosen by Baha'u'llah. Recently designed model dome unveiled
presence assembled believers. Praying early removal obstacles
consummation stupendous Plan conceived by Founder Faith and hopes
cherished Centre His Covenant."
When this announcement was made the world was approaching the end
of the most terrible war in history; the Baha'is of the Western
Hemisphere had strained themselves to the utmost in order to win
the goals of their first Seven Year Plan; the believers were affected
by the general economic depletion prevailing in most countries.
It was no doubt because of this, and because the Guardian
made no effort to inaugurate a Shrine fund, that this project
slipped relatively noiselessly into existence and no more was heard
of it until on April 11,1946, Shoghi Effendi instructed Mr. Maxwell
to set plans in motion for building the first unit of the Shrine
and later himself wrote to the municipal authorities:


Dec. 7th, 1947. Haifa
Local Building and

Town Planning Commission. To the Chairman

Dear Sir:

In connection with the accompanying drawings and application for
permission to build, I wish to add a word of explanation.
The Tomb of the Bab, and of 'Abdu'l-Baha, so well known to the
people of Haifa as Abbas Effendi, is already in existence on Mt. <p105>

Carmel in an incomplete form. In its present state, in spite of the
extensive gardens surrounding it, it is a homely building with a
fortress-like appearance.

It is my intention to now begin the completion of this building
by preserving the original structure and at the same time
embellishing it with a monumental building of great beauty, thus
adding to the general improvement in the appearance of the slopes
of Mt. Carmel.
The purpose of this building will, when completed, remain the same
as at present. In other words it will be used exclusively as a
Shrine entombing the remains of the Bab.
As you will see from the accompanying drawings the completed
structure will comprise an arcade of twenty-four marble or other
monolith columns surmounted by an ornamental balustrade, on the
first floor or ground floor of the building. It is this part of the
building that we wish to begin work on at once, leaving the intermediary
section and the dome, which will surmount the whole edifice
when completed, to be carried on in the future, if possible at an
early date after the completion of the ground floor arcade.
The Architect of this monumental building is Mr. W. S. Maxwell,
F.R.I.B.A., F.R.A.I.C., R.C.A., the well-known Canadian architect,
whose firm built the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in Quebec, the House
of Parliament in Regina, the Art Gallery, Church of the Messiah,
various Bank buildings, etc., in Montreal. I feel the beauty of his
design for the completion of the Bab's Tomb will add greatly to the
appearance of our city and be an added attraction for visitors.

Yours truly,

Shoghi Rabbani

The first historic steps had been taken but the obstacles in the
way of the realization of this plan grew to what seemed insurmountable
proportions. The British Mandate was nearing its end; Palestine
was rocked by civil strife and was soon to be engulfed in a
local war. Enquiries showed that the quarries from which suitable
stone could be procured for the Shrine locally lay so near the
Lebanese frontier that the owners could give no idea of when they
could start deliveries. In addition to this the tremendous amount
of carved material on the building would require a corps of expert
workers <p106>

and such labour was practically unavailable in the country. In view
of this Shoghi Effendi came to another decision which was typical
of his practical and audacious mind: he would see if part of the
work could be done in Italy.

A letter, dated April 6, 1948, which I wrote on behalf of the
Guardian to Dr. Ugo Giachery conveys very clearly the situation at
that time: "... Mr. Maxwell ... because of various difficulties
... has not been able to place any contracts for the actual work
to be carried out here in Palestine. However, he has been in touch
with an Italian firm in Carrara aboutplacing contracts for the
granite columns which will surround the building on the first
floor. He is now proceeding to Italy primarily to place the
contract for these, and, if suitable stone, matching the
Palestinian stone which will be used here can be found, to also
place additional contracts for the capitals and certain pieces of
the carved ornamentation ... as Mr. Maxwell is now 74, though in
the best of health, we hope you will take good care of him ...
Things are so acute here that it is extremely important that they
get through with their business and return to Palestine..."
In such a storm yet another step in the unbelievably troubled
history of the Bab's remains and the building of His Tomb was
When the Shrine he had erected with so much love and care was
completed, Shoghi Effendi, recognizing in it an essentially
feminine quality of beauty and purity, called it the "Queen of Carmel".
He described it as "enthroned on God's Holy Mountain, crowned
with glowing gold, robed in shimmering white and girdled with
emerald green, a sight enchanting every eye, whether viewed from
the air, the sea, the plain or the hill."
There can be little doubt that upon reading the Will and Testament
of 'Abdu'l-Baha Shoghi Effendi's first thought was the speedy
establishment of the Supreme Administrative Body of the Baha'i
Faith, the Universal House of Justice. One of his earliest acts,
in 1922, had been to summon to Haifa old and key believers to
discuss this matter with him. He repeatedly mentioned it in his
communications -- indeed in his first letter to Persia, written on
January 16, 1922 he refers to it and states that he will announce
to the friends later the preliminary arrangements for its election.
There was never any question in his mind as to its function and
significance; in March 1923 he had described it as "that Supreme
Council that will guide, organize and unify the affairs of the
Movement throughout

l <p107>

the world". There can be no doubt that two forces were at work in
the Guardian in those first days of his ministry; one was his
youthful eagerness to speedily carry out all the instructions of
his beloved Master, which included the establishment of the
Universal House of Justice; and the other was the Divine guidance
and protection promised him in the Will; the latter modified the
former. Over and over again Shoghi Effendi essayed to put in motion
at least the preliminaries for electing this Supreme Body -- and over
and over again the Hand of Providence manipulated events in such
a way that premature action became impossible. At the consultations
he held in 1922 it must have suddenly become apparent to him that
however highly desirable even a preliminary stage in the formation
of the Universal House of Justice might be, it was dangerous to
take such a step at that time. The firm administrative foundation
required to elect and support it was lacking as well as a
sufficient reservoir of qualified and well-informed believers to
draw from.

From an Indian pilgrim's notes in a letter to a friend, written
in Haifa on June 15,1929, we find the following: "Shoghi Effendi
says ... so long as the various National Assemblies do not have
stabilized, well organized positions, it would be impossible to establish
even an informal House of Justice. He wants us to at once
draw up a constitution of the National Assembly on the lines of the
American Trust and get it registered with the Government of India,
if possible as a religious body, otherwise as a commercial body .
. . Shoghi Effendi has urged in his recent letters to Eastern
countries to have National Assemblies recognized as Religious
Courts of Justice by local Governments..."
It is of interest to note that in a letter to Mrs. Stannard, who
was in charge of the International Baha'i Bureau in Geneva -- an of
fice designed to promote in Europe the affairs of the Faith as well
as to stimulate its international functions throughout the world
and which was constantly encouraged and directed by the Guardian
in its work -- Shoghi Effendi writes, in August 1926, that he wishes
the Baha'i Bulletin it publishes to be "in the three dominant
languages in Europe, i.e., English, French and German ... I have
expressed in my cable to you my readiness to extend regular and
financial assistance to you in order to ensure that the proposed
circular will be published in the three recognized official
languages of the western section of the Baha'i world ... Your
Centre in Switzerland and the Baha'i Esperanto Magazine published
at Hamburg are both destined to shoulder some of the functions and
responsibilities <p108>

which will in future be undertaken by the International Baha'i
Assembly when formed."

In many such references, particularly in the first ten years of
his ministry, Shoghi Effendi reveals that he is constantly
anticipating the formation of some kind of International
Secretariat or Council pending the election of the Universal House
of Justice itself, the functions, significance and importance of
which were growing in his mind.
From the very beginning Shoghi Effendi concentrated on multiplying
and strengthening the "various Assemblies, local and National". As
early as 1924, he stated they constituted "the bedrock upon the
strength of which the Universal House is in future to be firmly
established and raised." Almost invariably, in later years, when
he called for the formation of new national bodies, the Guardian
used phrases such as the following in his cable to the Fourth
European Teaching Conference in 1951: "... Future edifice Universal
House of Justice depending for its stability on sustaining
strength pillars erected diversified communities East West, destined
derive added power through emergence three National
Assemblies ... awaits rise establishment similar institutions
European mainland..." In anticipation of the election of that
august Body Shoghi Effendi made statements that, added to the words
of its Founder, Baha'u'llah, and the clear and unmistakable powers
and prerogatives conferred upon it by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will and
Testament, cannot but buttress the strength and facilitate the
tasks of that Universal House for at least a thousand years. Shoghi
Effendi said the Universal House of Justice would be the "nucleus
and forerunner" of the New World Order; he said "that future House"
was a House "posterity will regard as the last refuge of a
tottering civilization"; it would be "the last unit crowning the
structure of the embryonic World Order of Baha'u'llah"; it was "the
highest legislative body in the administrative hierarchy of the
Faith" and its "supreme elective institution". The Guardian stated:
"To the Trustees of the House of Justice" Baha'u'llah "assigns the
duty of legislating on matters not expressly provided in His
Writings, and promises that God will 'inspire them with whatsoever
He willeth, "' and wrote that: "... the powers and prerogatives
of the Universal House of Justice, possessing the exclusive right
to legislate on matters not explicitly revealed in the Most Holy
Book; the ordinance exempting its members from any responsibility
to those whom they represent, and from the obligation to conform
to their views, convictions <p109>

or sentiments; the specific provisions requiring the free and
democratic election by the mass of the faithful of the Body that
constitutes the sole legislative organ in the world-wide Baha'i
Community -- these are among the features which combine to set apart
the Order identified with the Revelation of Baha'u'llah from any
of the existing systems of human government."

In November 1950 the Guardian sent cables inviting the first of
that group who later became members of the International Baha'i
Council to come to Haifa. Like almost everything he did, first it
began to dawn and later the sun of the finished concept rose above
the horizon. When Lutfu'llah Hakim (the first to arrive), Jessie
and Ethel Revell, followed by Amelia Collins and Mason Remey were
all gathered at table one day in the Western Pilgrim House, with
Gladys Weeden and her husband Ben who were already living there,
the Guardian announced to us his intention of constituting, out of
that group, an International Council, we were all overcome by the
unprecedented nature of this step he was taking and the infinite
bounty it conferred upon those present as well as the entire Baha'i
world. It was not, however, until January 9, 1951 that he released
this news through an historic cable: "Proclaim National Assemblies
East West- weighty epoch making decision formation first
International Baha'i Council forerunner supreme administrative
institution destined emerge fullness time within precincts beneath
shadow World Spiritual Centre Faith already established twin cities
'Akka Haifa."
The fulfilment of the prophecies of both Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, through the establishment of an independent Jewish State
after the lapse of two thousand years, the unfoldment of the
portentous historic undertaking associated with the construction
of the superstructure of the Bab's Shrine, the now adequate
maturity of the nine vigorously functioning National Assemblies,
had all combined to induce him to make this historic decision,
which was the most significant milestone in the evolution of the
Administrative Order during thirty years. In that cable Shoghi
Effendi went on to say that this new institution had a three-fold
function: to forge links with the authorities in the newly-emerged
State; to assist him in building the Shrine (only the arcade of
which had then been completed); and to conduct negotiations with
the civil authorities as regards matters of personal status.
Further functions would be added as this first "embryonic
International Institution" developed into an of ficially recognized
Baha'i Court, was transformed into an <p110>

elected body and reached its final efflorescence in the Universal
House of Justice; this in turn would find its fruition in the
erection of many auxiliary institutions, constituting the World
Administrative Centre. This message, so thrilling in portent, burst
upon the Baha'i world like a clap of thunder. Like a skilled
engineer, locking the component parts of his machine together,
Shoghi Effendi had now buckled into place the frame that would
eventually support the crowning unit -- the Universal House of

Fourteen months later, on March 8, 1952, Shoghi Effendi, in a
long cable to the Baha'i world, announced the enlargement of the
International Baha'i Council: "Present membership now comprises
Amatu'l-Baha Ruh. iyyih chosen liaison between me and Council.
Hands Cause Mason Remey, Amelia Collins, Ugo Giachery, Leroy Ioas,
President, Vice-President, Member-atLarge, Secretary-General
respectively. Jessie Revell, Ethel Revell, Lotfullah Hakim,
Treasurer, Western and Eastern Assistant Secretaries." The original
membership had been changed through the departure of Mr. and Mrs.
Weeden, for reasons of health, the arrival of Mr. Ioas, who had
offered his services to the Guardian, and the inclusion of Dr.
Giachery, who continued to reside in Italy and supervise the
construction of the Shrine every single stone of which was
quarried, cut, and carved in that country and then shipped to Haifa
and the golden tiles of whose dome were ordered in Holland -- and to
act as the agent of Shoghi Effendi in ordering and purchasing many
other things required in the Holy Land. In May 1955 the Guardian
announced that he had raised the number of members of the
International Baha'i Council to nine through the appointment of
Sylvia Ioas.
Between the first and second messages Shoghi Effendi sent informing
the Baha'i world of the formation and membership of the
International Baha'i Council, he took another fundamental step in
the historic development of the World Centre of the Faith through
the official announcement of the appointment, on December 24, 1951,
of the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause of God, twelve
in number, and equally allocated between the Holy Land, the
Asiatic, American and European continents. The people raised by the
Guardian at that time to this illustrious rank were Sutherland
Maxwell, Mason Remey and Amelia Collins who became Hands of the
Cause of God in the Holy Land; Valiyu'llah Varqa, T. arazu'llah
Samandari and 'Ali Akbar Furutan in Asia; Horace Holley, Dorothy
Baker and Leroy Ioas in America; George Townshend, <p111>

Hermann Grossmann and Ugo Giachery in Europe. Two months later, on
February 29, 1952, Shoghi Effendi announced to the friends in East
and West that he had raised the number of the Hands of the Cause
of God to nineteen through nominating Fred Schopflocher in Canada,
Corinne True in the United States, Dhikru'llah Khadem and
Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i in Persia, Adelbert Muhlschlegel in Germany,
Musa Banani in Africa and Clara Dunn in Australia. In making these
two appointments of Hands of the Cause Shoghi Effendi said that the
hour was now ripe for him to take this step in accordance with the
provisions of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Testament and that it was paralleled
by the preliminary measure of the formation of the International
Baha'i Council, destined to culminate in the emergence of the
Universal House of Justice. He announced that the august body of
the Hands was invested, in conformity with 'Abdu'l-Baha's
Testament, with the two-fold sacred function of the propagation of
the Faith and the preservation of its unity.

In Shoghi Effendi's last message to the Baha'i world, dated
October 1957,he announced he had designated "yet another contingent
of the Hands of the Cause of God ... The eight now elevated to
this exalted rank are: Enoch Olinga, William Sears and John
Robarts, in West and South Africa; Hasan Balyuzi and John Ferraby
in the British Isles; Collis Featherstone and Rahmatu'llah Muhajir,
in the Pacific area; and Abu'l-Qasim Faizi in the Arabian
Peninsula -- a group chosen from four continents of the globe, and
representing the Afnan, as well as the black and white races and
whose members are derived from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Pagan

The Guardian, in a two-month period in 1952, created a body of
one Vahid (Nineteen) of the Hands of the Cause and he kept them at
this number until 1957, when he added eight more, thus bringing
them to three multiples of nine. Whenever one of the original nineteen
passed away, Shoghi Effendi appointed another Hand. Two of the
Hands thus appointed were raised to the position occupied by their
fathers, thus the "mantle" of my father fell on my shoulders on
March 26,1952, after the death of Sutherland Maxwell; and 'Ali Muh.
ammad Varqa was appointed to succeed his father on November 15,1955
and also became the Trustee of the Huquq in his place. After
Dorothy Baker was killed in an accident, Paul Haney was made a Hand
of the Cause on March 19,1954 and following the passing of Fred
Schopflocher, Jalal Khazeh was elevated <p112>

to the same rank on December 7, 1953; not long after George
Townshend's death the Guardian appointed Agnes Alexander on March
27,1957; thus the number of nineteen was maintained by him until
the third contingent of Hands was nominated in his last great
message at the midway point of the World Crusade.

Between January 9,1951 and March 8,1952, remarkable and far-
reaching changes took place in the Administrative Order of the
Faith at its World Centre, changes which, Shoghi Effendi wrote, at
long last signified the erection of the "machinery of its highest
institutions", "the supreme Organs of its unfolding Order" which
were now, in their "emryonic form" developing around the Holy
Shrines. In his writings he had pointed out to the believers that
the progress and unfoldment of Baha'u'llah's World Order was guided
by the directives and the spiritual powers released through three
mighty "charters", which he said had set in motion three distinct
processes, the first given to us by Baha'u'llah Himself in the
Tablet of Carmel, and the other two from the pen of the Master,
namely, His Wiu and Testament and His Tablets of the Divine Plan.
The first operated "in a land which", Shoghi Effendi stated,
"geographically, spiritually and administratively, constitutes the
heart of the entire planet", "the Holy Land, the Centre and Pivot
round which the divinely appointed, fast multiplying institutions
of a worldencircling, relentlessly marching Faith revolve", "the
Holy Land, the Qiblih of a world community, the heart from which
the energizing influences of a vivifying Faith continuously stream,
and the seat and centre around which the diversified activities of
a divinely appointed Administrative Order revolve". The hub of this
Tablet of Carmel was those words of Baha'u'llah that "ere long will

God sail His Ark upon thee and will manifest the people of Baha who
have been mentioned in the Book of Names"; the "people of Baha",
Shoghi Effendi explained, signified the members of the Universal
House of Justice.
Whereas the Charter of the Will and Testament of the Master operated
throughout the world through the erection of those administrative
institutions He had so clearly defined in it, and the Charter of
His Tablets of the Divine Plan was concerned with the spiritual
conquest of the entire planet through the teachings of Baha'u'llah
and likewise had the globe itself as its theatre of operations, the
Tablet of Carmel cast its illumination and its bounties literally
upon Mt. Carmel, upon "that consecrated Spot which," Shoghi Effendi
wrote, "under the wings of the Bab's overshadow- <p113>

ing Sepulchre ... is destined to evolve into the focal Centre of
those world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative
institutions, ordained by Baha'u'llah and anticipated by
'Abdu'l-Baha, and which are to function in consonance with the
principles that govern the twin institutions of the Guardianship
and the Universal House of Justice."

The significance of the "unfolding glory" of these institutions
at the World Centre was reflected in many messages sent by Shoghi
Effendi during the last years of his life, messages which stirred
a man like George Townshend to write to him in a letter dated
January 14,1952, sent at the time he thanked the Guardian for the
bounty of being made a Hand: "Permit me to pay you a humble tribute
of the utmost admiration and gratitude for the nearing vision of
the Victory of God which you almost by your sole might now have
spread before the astonished Baha'i world."
In the course of these messages Shoghi Effendi revealed both the
station and some of the functions of his newly-created body of
Hands. He hailed the unfoldment, during the "opening years" of the
second epoch of the Formative Age of this Dispensation, of that
"august institution" which Baha'u'llah Himself had not only
foreshadowed but a few members of which He had already appointed
during His own lifetime and which 'Abdu'l-Baha had formally
established in His Will and Testament. In addition to the support
the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land had already given him,
through erecting the Bab's Shrine, reinforcing the ties with the
State of Israel, extending the international endowments in the Holy
Land, and initiating preliminary measures for the establishment of
the Baha'i World Administrative Centre, they had also taken part
in the four great Intercontinental Teaching Conferences held dur
ing the Holy Year, from October 1952 to October 1953, at which they
represented the Guardian of the Faith, and after which, at his
request, they had travelled extensively in North, Central and South
America, Europe, Asia and Australia. This body, Shoghi Effendi said
in April 1954, was now entering upon the second phase of its
evolution, signalized by the forging of ties between it and the
National Spiritual Assemblies engaged in the prosecution of the Ten
Year Plan; the fifteen Hands who resided outside the Holy Land
should, during the Ridvan period, appoint in each continent
separately, from among the believers of that continent, Auxiliary
Boards whose members would act as "deputies", "assistants" and
"advisers" to the Hands and increasingly assist in the promotion
of <p114>

the Ten Year Crusade. These Boards were to consist of nine members
each in America, Europe and Africa, seven in Asia and two in
Australia. The Boards were responsible to the Hands of their respective
continents; the Hands, on their part, were to keep in
close contact with the National Assemblies in their areas and
inform them of the activities of their Boards; they were also to
keep in close touch with the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land,
who were destined to act as the liaison between them and the
Guardian. At this time Shoghi Effendi inaugurated Continental
Baha'i Funds for the work of the Hands, opening these Funds by
himself contributing one thousand pounds to each.

A year later Shoghi Effendi nominated the thirteen Hands of the
Cause he wished to attend as his representatives the thirteen conventions
to be held in 1957 to elect new National Assemblies; from
the time he formally appointed Hands of the Cause until his death
he constantly used them for this purpose. In 1957, exactly four
months before he passed away, Shoghi Effendi, in a lengthy cable,
informed the believers that the "triumphant consummation series
historic enterprises" and the "evidences increasing hostility without"
and "persistent machinations within" foreshadowing "dire
contests destined range Army Light forces darkness both secular
religious" necessitated a closer association between the Hands in
five continents and the National Assemblies to jointly investigate
the "nefarious activities internal enemies adoption wise effective
measures counteract their treacherous schemes" in order to protect
the mass of the believers and to arrest the spread of the evil
influence of these enemies. At the beginning of this cable Shoghi
Effendi points out that the Hands, in addition to their newly-
assumed responsibility of assisting the National Spiritual
Assemblies in the prosecution of the World Spiritual Crusade, must
now fulfil their "primary obligation" of watching over and
protecting the Baha'i World Community, in close collaboration with
the National Assemblies. He ends this portentous message with these
words: "Call upon Hands National Assemblies each continent
separately establish henceforth direct contact deliberate whenever
feasible frequently as possible exchange reports to be submitted
by their respective Auxiliary Boards National Committees exercise
unrelaxing vigilance carry out unflinchingly sacred inescapable
duties. Security precious Faith preservation spiritual health
Baha'i Communities vitality faith its individual members proper
functioning its laboriously erected institutions fruition its
worldwide enterprises <p115>

fulfilment its ultimate destiny all directly dependent befitting
discharge weighty responsibilities now resting members these two
institutions occupying with Universal House Justice next institution
Guardianship foremost rank divinely ordained administrative
hierarchy World Order Baha'u'llah.'

The last great message of Shoghi Effendi's life -- dated October,
but actually conceived in August -- again reinforced the significance
and importance of the institution of the Hands of the Cause. In it
Shoghi Effendi not only appointed his last contingent of Hands but
took the highly significant step of inaugurating a further Auxiliary
Board in each continent: "This latest addition to the band
of the high-ranking officers of a fast evolving World
Administrative Order, involving a further expansion of the august
institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, calls for, in view
of the recent assumption by them of their sacred responsibility as
protectors of the Faith, the appointment by these same Hands, in
each continent separately, of an additional Auxiliary Board, equal
in membership to the existing one, and charged with the specific
duty of watching over the security of the Faith, thereby
complementing the function of the original Board, whose duty will
henceforth be exclusively concerned with assisting the prosecution
of the Ten Year Plan."
It is almost inconceivable to imagine what state the Baha'i world
would have been plunged into after Shoghi Effendi's death if he had
not referred in these terms to the Hands of the Cause, and if he
had not so clearly charged the National Assemblies to collaborate
with the Hands in their primary function as protectors of the
Faith. Can we not discern, in these last messages, a black cloud
the size of a man's hand on the horizon?
It was the duty and right of Shoghi Effendi, explicitly stated in
the Master's Will, to appoint the Hands of the Cause. With one
exception he made only posthumous appointments during the first
thirty years of his ministry. It was the highest honour he could
confer on a believer, living or dead, and he so named many Baha'is,
East and West, after their death; the most outstanding of these was
Martha Root, whom he characterized as the foremost Hand raised up
in the first century of the Faith since the inception of its
Formative Age. The one exception was Amelia Collins. He cabled her
on November 22, 1946: "Your magnificent international services
exemplary devotion and now this signal service impel me to inform
you your elevation rank Hand Cause Baha'u'llah. You are first be
told this honour in lifetime. As to time announcement leave it my <p116>

discretion". It was the custom of Shoghi Effendi to inform each
Hand of his elevation to this position at the time he made public
his choice. Three of them, Fred Schopflocher and Musa Banani, who
were in Haifa as pilgrims at the time he made his announcement, and
myself, he informed to our faces. To try to describe with what
feelings of stupefaction, of unworthiness and awe the news of this
honour overwhelmed the recipients of it would be impossible. Each
heart received it as a shaft that aroused an even greater love for
and loyalty to the Guardian than that heart had ever held before.

The long years of preparation -- outside in the body of the Baha'i
world through the erection of the machinery of the Administrative
Order, inside its heart through the erection of the superstructure
of the Shrine of the Bab and the general consolidation of the World
Centre -- had involved the creation of a Spot suitable to form the
"focal centre", as Shoghi Effendi termed it, of the mightiest
institutions of the Faith. This Spot was no less than the resting-
places of the mother, sister and brother of 'Abdu'l-Baha, those
"three incomparably precious souls", as he called them, "who, next
to the three Central Figures of our Faith, tower in rank above the
vast multitude of the heroes, Letters, martyrs, hands, teachers
and administrators of the Cause of Baha'u'llah."
It had long been the desire of the Greatest Holy Leaf to lie near
her mother, who was buried in 'Akka, as was her brother, Midhi. But
when Bahiyyih Khanum passed away in 1932 she had been befittingly
interred on Mt. Carmel near the Shrine of the Bab. Shoghi Effendi
conceived the idea of transferring the remains of her mother and
brother, so unsuitably buried in 'Akka, to the vicinity of her
resting-place and in 1939 he ordered in Italy twin marble
monuments, similar in style to the one he had erected over her own
The American Assembly, on December 5th, received the following
cable from Shoghi Effendi: "Blessed remains Purest Branch and
Master's mother safely transferred hallowed precincts Shrines Mount
Carmel. Long inflicted humiliation wiped away. Machinations
Covenant-breakers frustrate plan defeated. Cherished wish Greatest
Holy Leaf fulfilled. Sister brother mother wife 'Abdu'lBaha
reunited one spot designed constitute focal centre Baha'i
Administrative Institutions at Faith's World Centre. Share joyful
news entire body American believers. Shoghi Rabbani." The signing
of the Guardian's full name was required as we were at war and all
correspondence was censored. <p117>

The exquisite taste and sense of proportion, so characteristic
of everything the Guardian created, is nowhere better reflected
than in the marble monuments he erected over the four graves of
those close relatives of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Designed in Italy according
to Shoghi Effendi's own instructions and executed there in white
Carrara marble, they were shipped to Haifa and placed, in the
decade between 1932 and 1942, in their predestined positions,
around which he constructed the beautiful gardens which are
commonly referred to as the "Monument Gardens" and which he evolved
into the fulcrum of that arc on Mt. Carmel about which are to
cluster in future the International Institutions of the Faith.
At last Shoghi Effendi, so powerfully guided from on high, had
succeeded in establishing his "focal Centre". But it was not until
over fourteen years later that he was in a position to inform the
Baha'i world that he was now taking a step which would "usher in
the establishment of the World Administrative Centre of the Faith
on Mt. Carmel -- the Ark referred to by Baha'u'llah in the closing
passages of His Tablet of Carmel". This step was none other than
the erection of an international Baha'i Archives.
Shortly after the addition of three rooms to the Bab's Shrine, in
the early thirties, Shoghi Effendi had established an Archives at
the World Centre, housed temporarily in these quarters and based
on the precious relics of both Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha which
were already in the possession of the Master's family and many of
the old Baha'is living in Palestine.
As the Baha'is learned more about these Archives and the pilgrims
visited them in increasing numbers and saw how safely historic and
sacred material was preserved, how beautifully exhibited, how
reverently displayed, they began to send from Persia truly
priceless articles associated with the three Central Figures of the
Faith as well as its martyrs and heroes. Amongst these most welcome
additions were objects belonging to the Bab, contributed by the
Afnans, which greatly enriched the collection.
It was in 1954, during the first year of the World Crusade, that
Shoghi Effendi decided to start on what he said was "the first of
the major edifices destined to constitute the seat of the World
Baha'i Administrative Centre to be established on Mt. Carmel". His
choice fell on a building he considered both urgently needed and
feasible, namely, one to house the sacred and historic relics collected
in the Holy Land which were dispersed at that time throughout
six rooms in two separate buildings. By Naw-Ruz 1954, the <p118>

excavation for its foundations had begun. Shoghi Effendi was, in
choosing his initial design for buildings of the importance he had
in mind, guided by three things: it must be beautiful, it must be
dignified, and it must have a lasting value and not reflect the
transient (and to him for the most part very ugly) style of modern
buildings being erected in an age of experimentation and groping
after new forms. He was a great admirer of Greek architecture and
considered the Parthenon in Athens one of the most beautiful
buildings ever created; he chose the proportions of the Parthenon
as his model, but changed the order of the capitals from Doric to
Ionic. After his many suggestions had been incorporated in the
final design Shoghi Effendi approved it and what he described as
"this imposing and strikingly beautiful edifice" was completed in
1957. It had cost approximately a quarter of a million dollars and
was, like the Shrine of the Bab, ordered in Italy, entirely carved
and completed there, and shipped to Haifa for erection; not only
was each separate stone numbered, but charts showing where each one
went facilitated its being placed in its proper position. Except
for the foundations and reinforced cement work of floor, walls and
ceiling, it would not be incorrect to say it was a building
fabricated almost entirely abroad and erected locally.

In his last Ridvan Message to the Baha'i World Shoghi Effendi's
satisfaction with the Archives building he had chosen and erected
is clearly reflected; after announcing its completion he wrote that
it is "contributing, to an unprecedented degree, through its
colourfulness, its classic style and graceful proportions, and in
conjunction with the stately, golden-crowned Mausoleum rising
beyond it, to the unfolding glory of the central institutions of
a World Faith nestling in the heart of God's holy Mountain."
In a message addressed to the Baha'i world on November 27, 195
linked by the Guardian once again to the anniversary of his beloved
Master's passing -- Shoghi Effendi dwelt on the significance of this
building: "The raising of this Edifice will in turn," he goes on
to say, "herald the construction, in the course of successive
epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, of several other structures,
which will serve as the administrative seats of such
divinely appointed institutions as the Guardianship, the Hands of
the Cause and the Universal House of Justice. These Edifices will,
in the shape of a far-flung arc, and following a harmonizing style
of architecture, surround the resting-places of the Greatest Holy
Leaf, ... of her brother, ... and of their mother..." <p119>

So great was the importance Shoghi Effendi attached to this
"arc", the lines of which he had studied very carefully on the
ground and which sweeps around on the mountain in the form of a
gigantic bow, arched above the resting-places of 'Abdu'l-Baha's
closest relatives, and on the right side of which now stands the
Archives, that he announced its completion in his last Ridvan
Message in 1957: "the plan designed to insure the extension and
completion of the arc serving as a base for the erection of future
edifices constituting the World Baha'i Administrative Centre, has
been successfully carried out." <p121>


Underlying, reinforcing, and indeed often making possible such
major undertakings as the erection of the superstructure of the
Bab's Shrine, the construction of the Archives, the building of the
terraces on Mt. Carmel, and many other activities, was the purchase
of land, both in Haifa and Bahji; it was a task to which the
Guardian attached great importance and which he pursued throughout
all the years of his ministry. Before he passed away he had
succeeded in creating great protective rings of land around the
holiest of all Shrines, Baha'u'llah's Tomb, and around the
restingplaces of the Bab, 'Abdu'l-Baha, His mother, sister and
brother. In addition to this he had chosen and directed the
purchase of the land on Mt. Carmel which would serve as the site
of the future Baha'i Temple to be erected in the Holy Land. If we
consider that at the time of 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing the area of
Baha'i properties on Mt. Carmel probably did not exceed 10,000
square metres, and that Shoghi Effendi had, by 1957, raised this
to 230,000 square metres, and that in Bahji the comparable figures
would be 1,000 square metres for 1921 and 257,000 square metres for
1957, we get an idea of his accomplishments in this one field
alone. Through the generosity of individual Baha'is, through their
bequests, through their response to his appeals in times of crisis,
through the use of funds he held at the World Centre, Shoghi
Effendi succeeded in purchasing land on the scale reflected by
these figures and thus metamorphosed the situation of the Faith at
its World Centre.

In May 1931 the Guardian cabled the National Spiritual Assembly
of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada: "American Assembly
incorporated as recognized religious body in Palestine entitled
hold property as trustees American believers. Mailing title deed
property already transferred their name. Prestige Faith greatly
enhanced its foundations consolidated love". This was the <p122>

first step in constituting Palestine Branches -- which were later
changed to Israel Branches -- of various National Assemblies and
registering in their names properties in the Holy Land. Although
the power of disposing of these properties was entirely vested
locally at the World Centre, the prestige of the Faith was greatly
enhanced by this move, its Holy Places were buttressed and
safeguarded, its world character emphasized in the eyes of the
authorities, and national Baha'i communities were encouraged and

At the time of Shoghi Effendi's passing he had already established
nine of these Branches, namely, the United States, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, the British Isles, fran, Pakistan, Alaska
and that of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of India
and Burma.
When Shoghi Effendi had built the three additional rooms of the
Shrine of the Bab and completed the restoration of the Mansion of
Baha'u'llah, thus producing local, tangible evidences of the
strength of the Baha'i Community, and had demonstrated to the
British authorities, through the victories won over the Covenantbreakers,
that he had the solid backing of Baha'is all over the
world, he set about procuring for the Baha'i Holy Places exemption
from both municipal and government taxes. It was not as difficult
to get a building, obviously a place of sacred association and
visited by pilgrims, exempted from taxes as it was to secure
similar exemptions for the steadily increasing area of land owned
by the Faith, most of which was registered in the names of
individuals. Because of this the ultimate exemption from all forms
of taxation, including customs duty, which Shoghi Effendi obtained
for the Baha'i buildings and holdings throughout the country, was
truly a great achievement. The victories in this field were all won
in the days of the British Mandate, the Israeli Government
accepting the status achieved by the Baha'is before the new State
was formed in 1948.
On May 10,1934, Shoghi Effendi cabled America: "Prolonged
negotiations Palestine authorities resulted exemption from taxation
entire area surrounding dedicated Shrines Mount Carmel" and
indicated that he considered this step tantamount to "securing
indirect recognition sacredness Faith International Centre..."
By thus reading the pleasant tail end of events one does not get
any idea of what Shoghi Effendi went through in connection with
purchasing, exempting from taxes and safeguarding the properties
at the World Centre. In a cable to the American National Assem- <p123>

bly, of March 28,1935, one of innumerable examples of what took
place is given: "Contract for purchase and transfer to Palestine
Branch American Assembly Dumits property situated centre area
dedicated to Shrines on Mount Carmel signed. Four year litigation
involving Baha'i World's petitions Palestine High Commissioner
abandoned. Owners require four thousand pounds. Half sum available.
Will American believers unitedly contribute one thousand pounds
before end of May and remaining one thousand within nine months.
Am compelled appeal entire body American Community subordinate
national interests of Faith to its urgent paramount requirements
at its World Centre," to which the American Assembly replied, two
days later, that the American Baha'i Community "will with one heart
fulfil glorious privilege conferred upon it by beloved Guardian".

So many times Shoghi Effendi referred to the Holy Land as the
"heart and nerve centre" of the Faith. To protect it, develop it,
and noise abroad its glory was part of his function as its
Guardian. In addition to his official contacts with government and
municipal authorities he maintained courteous and friendly
relations with many non-Baha'is, of prominence and otherwise. The
catholicity of spirit which so strongly characterized the Guardian,
his complete lack of any breath of prejudice or fanaticism, the
sympathy and courtesy that distinguished him so strongly, are all
reflected in his letters and messages to such people. He carried
on a lengthy correspondence, during the earliest years of his
ministry, with Grand Duke Alexander of Russia, whom it was obvious,
from the tone of his letters, he liked. He addresses him as: "My
true brother in the service cf God ! ", "My dear brother in the
love of God ! " The Grand Duke was very interested in a movement
called the "Unity of Souls" and Shoghi Effendi encouraged him: "I
am more and more impressed", he writes, "by the striking similarity
of our aims and principles and I beseech the Almighty to bless His
servants in their service to the cause of suffering humanity." The
Grand Duke, in a letter to the Guardian writes: "... I must
confess to you, my dear brother and fellow worker, that in my
modest work occasionally I feel discouraged ... the power of evil
forces under the influence of which the majority of humanity is
living, is appalling." Shoghi Effendi answers this most
beautifully: "... I assure my dear fellow-worker in the service
of God, that I too feel oftentimes overwhelmed by the rising wave
of selfish, gross materialism that threatens to engulf the world,
and I feel that however arduous be our common task we <p124>

must persevere to the very end and pray continually and ardently
that the ever-living spirit of God may so fill the souls of men as
to cause them to arise with new vision for the service and
salvation of humanity. Prayer and individual persistent effort, I
feel, must be given greater and wider prominence in these days of
stress and gloom..."

Shoghi Effendi was in touch not only with Queen Marie of Rumania
and a number of her relatives, but with other people of royal
lineage, such as Princess Marina of Greece who later became Duchess
of Kent, and Princess Kadria of Egypt. To many of these, as well
as to men of such prominence as Lord Lamington, a number of former
High Commissioners for Palestine, Orientalists, university
professors, educators and others, Shoghi Effendi was wont to send
copies of the latest Baha'i World volumes or one of his own recently
published translations, with his visiting card enclosed. He
was always very meticulous -- as long as the relationship was one of
mutual courtesy and esteem -- to send messages of condolence to
acquaintances who had suffered a bereavement, expressing his
"heartfelt sympathy' at that person's "great loss". Such messages,
often sent as cables or wires, deeply touched those who received
them and gave him a reputation among them which belied the picture
of him the Covenant-breakers did their best to create. He also
often congratulated people on the occasion of a marriage or a
In addition to these personal relationships Shoghi Effendi had far
more contact with certain non-Baha'i organizations than is commonly
supposed. This was particularly true of the Esperantists, whose
whole object was to bring about the fulfilment of the Baha'i
principle that a universal auxiliary language must be adopted in
the interests of World Peace. We have copies of his personal
messages to the Universal Congress of Esperantists held in
1927,1928,1929, 1930 and 1931, and he no doubt sent many messages
of a similar nature at other times. Shoghi Effendi not only
responded warmly when there was any overture made to him, but often
took the initiative himself in sending Baha'i representatives,
chosen by him, to various conferences whose interests coincided
with those of the Baha'is. We thus find him writing to the
Universal Esperantist Association, in 1927, that Martha Root and
Julia Goldman will attend their Danzig Congress as official Baha'i
representatives, and that he trusts this "will serve to strengthen
the ties of fellowship that bind the Esperantists and the followers
of Baha'u'llah, one of <p125>

whose cardinal principles ... is the adoption of an international
auxiliary language for all humanity." In his letter addressed to
the delegates and friends attending this nineteenth Universal
Congress of Esperantists he writes:

My dear fellow workers in the service of humanity,

I take great pleasure in addressing you and wishing you ...
from all my heart the fullest success in the work you are doing for
the promotion of the good of humanity.
It will interest you, I am sure, to learn that as the result of the
repeated and emphatic admonitions of 'Abdu'l-Baha His many
followers even in the most distant villages and hamlets of Persia,
where the light of Western civilization has hardly penetrated as
yet, as well as in other lands throughout the East, are strenuously
and enthusiastically engaged in the study and teaching of Esperanto,
for whose future they cherish the highest hopes ...

The Guardian himself was held in high esteem by many people
working for ideals similar to those the Baha'is cherish. Sir
Francis Younghusband, in 1926, wrote to him in connection with the
"World Congress of Faiths": "Now I wish to ask a great favour of
you. Once more I want to try and persuade you to come to England
to attend the Congress. Your presence here would carry great influence
and would be highly appreciated. And we would most willingly
defray the expenses you might be put to. " The Guardian declined
this invitation, but arranged for a Baha'i paper to be presented.
His own plans and work precluded him, he felt, from opening such
a door.
In 1925 the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem invited him to attend
an event in connection with the establishment of a university
there. Shoghi Effendi wired them, on April lst: "Appreciate kind
invitation regret inability to be present. Baha'is hope and pray
the establishment of this seat of learning may contribute to the
revival of a land of hallowed memories for us all and for which
'Abdu'l-Baha cherished the highest hopes." To this message they
replied in cordial terms: "Zionist Executive much appreciate your
friendly message and good wishes we trust that newly established
university may contribute not only advancement of science and
learning but also to better understanding between men which ideal
is so well served by Baha'is." Twenty-five years later the tie
established is still there: "The Hebrew University was very
gratified indeed to receive your check for œ100.- as the
contribution from His Eminence <p126>

Shoghi Effendi Rabbani towards the work of this institution ...
We were happy to know that His Eminence is aware of the important
work that the University is doing and to receive this generous
token of appreciation from him..."

A cable of Shoghi Effendi, sent to India in December 1930, is of
particular interest because it shows how, up to the very end of her
life, he would tenderly include the Greatest Holy Leaf in messages
that seemed particularly suitable: "Convey to Indian Asian Women's
Conference behalf Greatest Holy Leaf 'Abdu'l-Baha's sister and
myself ourgenuine profound interest their deliberations. May
Almighty guide bless their high endeavours."
Aside from this wide correspondence with prominent individuals as
well as various Societies, Shoghi Effendi was wont to receive in
his home the visits of many distinguished people, such as Lord and
Lady Samuel; Sir Ronald Storrs, another friend of 'Abdu'l-Baha;
Moshe Sharett, later to become one of Israel's most loved and
prominent officials; Professor Norman Bentwich and many writers,
journalists and notables.
However important were such contacts and exchanges as these,
undoubtedly the most important of all such relations was that which
the Guardian had with of ficials at the World Centre, whether under
British rule during the Mandate in Palestine or later after the War
of Independence and the establishment of the State of Israel.

In all his relationships with both government and municipal of
ficials Shoghi Effendi sought from the very beginning to impress
upon them that the Faith was an independent religion, universal in
character, and that its permanent World Spiritual and Administrative
Centre was situated in the Holy Land. He spent thirty-six
years winning from the authorities the recognition and rights that
such a status entitled the Baha'i Faith to enjoy, one aspect of
which was that he himself should receive the treatment on official
occasions which was his due as the hereditary Head of such a
-- The Guardian was on very friendly terms with Colonel Symes,
who was none other than that Governor of Phoenicia who spoke at
the Master's funeral and attended the fortieth-day meeting in His
home. It had been to Colonel Symes that Shoghi Effendi had written,
on April 5,1922, at the time of his withdrawal: "As I am compelled
to leave Haifa for reasons of health, I have named as my
representative during my absence, the sister of 'Abdu'l-Baha,
Bahiyyih Khanum," and goes on to say: "To assist her to conduct the
affairs of the Baha'i Movement in this country and elsewhere, I <p127>

have also appointed a committee of the following Baha'is [eight men
of the local community, three of them the sons-in-law of 'Abdu'l-Baha] ... The Chairman of this Committee, to be soon elected by
its members, with the signature of Bahiyyih Khanum has my authority
to transact any affairs that may need to be considered and decided
during my absence. I regret exceedingly to be unable to see you
before my departure, that I may express more adequately the
satisfaction that I feel to know that your sense of justice will
safeguard the interests of the Cause of Baha'u'llah whenever called
upon to act."

The cordial relations between Symes and Shoghi Effendi and the
esteem he evidently had for the character of the Governor are
reflected in the letter he wrote to him upon his return: "It is my
pleasant duty to inform you of my return to the Holy Land after a
prolonged period of rest and meditation and of my assumption of my
of ficial functions", and goes on to say: "I had felt after the
passing of my beloved Grandfather too exhausted, overwhelmed and
sorrowful to be able to conduct efflciently the affairs of the
Baha'i Movement. Now that I feel again restored and refreshed and
in a position to resume my arduous duties, I wish to express to you
on this occasion my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the
sympathetic consideration you have shown towards the Movement
during my absence." The letter contains, in the next paragraph, an
unusual warmth of feeling: "It is a great pleasure and privilege
for me to be enabled to renew my acquaintance with you and Mrs.
Symes which I am confident will in the course of time grow into
warm and abiding friendship." Shoghi Effendi ended it with his
"kind regards and best wishes" and simply signed it "Shoghi". The
exchange of correspondence with Colonel Symes -- who later was
knighted, and became Governor-General of the Sudan before and
during the second World War -- went on for many years, even after his
Another official, whose position, though not so high, involved
directly the affairs of the Baha'i Community at its World Centre
was the District Commissioner. During those years when Shoghi
Effendi was beginning to seek recognition for the Faith in tangible
privileges, Edward Keith-Roach, O.B.E., held this of fice. Although
a man of an entirely different calibre from Colonel Symes he was
nevertheless friendly and helpful and seemed to be fond of Shoghi
Effendi, whose correspondence with him runs from 1925 to 1939.
Keith-Roach, undoubtedly because he knew the higher <p128>

authorities would approve, was at times very co-operative not only
in facilitating and expediting Shoghi Effendi's work, but in making
suggestions which the Guardian sometimes carried out. The first
copy we find of a letter from Shoghi Effendi to him is so simple
and yet so typical of the warmth with which the Guardian invariably
responded to other people's overtures when they were made in the
right spirit, that I cannot refrain from quoting it. It was dated
simply "Haifa, 25-12-25" and said: "My dear Mr. Keith-Roach: I am
touched by your welcome message of good-will and greeting and I
hasten to assure you that I fully reciprocate the sentiments
expressed in your letter. With best wishes for a happy Christmas,
I am yours very sincerely, Shoghi Rabbani".

Throughout Shoghi Effendi's correspondence with both KeithRoach
and Symes there are invitations for them to have tea with him in
the gardens on Mt. Carmel, in Colonel Symes's case the invitation
sometimes included Mrs. Symes. It was not only Shoghi Effendi's way
of extending some hospitality to these officials, but served to
show them, by bringing them into the midst of the Baha'i property,
the latest developments and the most recent extension of the
gardens and, I have no doubt, he made use of their presence to
point out to them his future plans and seek their sympathetic
Immediately upon his return to the Holy Land after the Master's
passing, Shoghi Effendi pursued the policy of keeping the
authorities informed, locally and particularly at the seat of
Government in Jerusalem, not only of his plans but his problems and
various crises that arose, such as the seizure of the keys of
Baha'u'llah's Shrine in Bahji and His House in Bagdad, as well as
the persecutions and injustices the Faith was suffering. Commencing
with his first letter to the High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel,
the friend of 'Abdu'l-Baha, written on January 16, 1922, Shoghi
Effendi maintained this contact with the government until the end
of his life, first with the British and laterwith the Jewish
representatives. When Shoghi Effendi left Palestine, so crushed and
ill, in the spring of 1922, he had informed Sir Herbert of the
measures he had taken to protect the Cause during his absence;
after his return to Haifa on December 15th of that same year, he
had wired Sir Herbert, on the l9th: "Pray accept my best wishes and
kind regards on my return to Holy Land and resumption of my
offlcial duties."
In May 1923 we find Shoghi Effendi keeping both the Governor of
Haifa and the High Commissioner informed of events, for in a <p129>

letter to the former he writes that the "Haifa Baha'i Spiritual
Assembly" has been "officially reconstituted and will, in conjunction
with me, direct all local affairs in this region ... I have
lately informed H. E. the High Commissioner of this matter ...
" The letter he referred to, dated April 21st, had stated that he
enclosed a copy of his recent circular letter to the Baha'i
communities in the West, similar to one written in Persian to the
Baha'i communities in the East, "As you had expressed in your last
letter to me the desire to learn of the measures that have been
taken to provide for the stable organization of the Baha'i Movement
... I shall be only too glad to throw further light on any point
which your Excellency might desire to raise in connection with the
enclosed letter, or regarding any other matter bearing upon the
interests of the Movement in general."

It is impossible to go into the details of the thirty-six years
of Shoghi Effendi's relations with the authorities, first of
Palestine and later of Israel. That he succeeded in winning and
maintaining their good will, their co-operation in his various
undertakings at the World Centre, and their recognition of that
Centre as the historic heart of the Baha'i Faith entitled to enjoy
the same rights as other Faiths in the Holy Land -- indeed, in some
respects to enjoy greater rights -- all this in the face of the
continuous mischief stirred up by various enemies who, whether
overtly or covertly, consistently opposed every step he took is a
tribute to the extraordinary wisdom and patience that characterized
Shoghi Effendi's leadership of the Cause of God.
When Sir Herbert Samuel's term of of fice was drawing to a close
the Guardian sent to him, on June 15,1925, one of those messages
that so effectively forged links of good will with the government,
expressing his own and the Baha'is abiding sense of gratitude and
deep appreciation of the "kind and noble attitude which Your
Excellency has taken towards the various problems that have beset
them since the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha ... The Baha'is ...
remembering the acts of sympathy and good will which the Palestine
Administration under your guidance has shown them in the past, will
confidently endeavour to contribute their full share to the
material prosperity as well as the spiritual advancement of a land
so sacred and precious to them all." Sir Herbert replied to this
letter in the following terms: "... I have been happy during my
five years of office to maintain very friendly relations with the
Baha'i Community in Palestine and much appreciate the good will
which <p130>

they have always shown towards the Administration and to myself."

When, in 1929, there was an outbreak of trouble in Palestine, we
find the Guardian writing to the then High Commissioner, Sir John
Chancellor, on September 10th, a highly significant letter:

Your Excellency:

I have learned with profound regret of the lamentable occurrences
in Palestine, and hasten, while away from home, to offer Your
Excellency my heartfelt sympathy in the difficult task with which
you are faced.
The Baha'i Community of Palestine, who, by reason of their Faith,
are deeply attached to its soil truly deplore these violent
outbursts of religious fanaticism, and venture to hope that, as the
influence of Baha'i ideals extends and deepens, they may be enabled
in the days to come to lend increasing assistance to your
Administration for the promotion of the spirit of good will and
toleration among the religious communities in the Holy Land.
I feel moved to offer Your Excellency in their behalf the enclosed
sum as their contribution for the relief of the suffering and
needy, irrespective of race or creed ...

It was during that same year of 1929, that Shoghi Effendi,
through the instrumentality of a formal petition to the government
made by the Baha'i Community of Haifa on May 4th, succeeded in
obtaining for it permission to administer according to Baha'i law
the affairs of the Community in such matters of personal status as
marriage, thus placing it, in this regard, on an equal footing with
the Jewish, Muslim and Christian Communities in Palestine. Shoghi
Effendi hailed this as "an act of tremendous significance and
wholly unprecedented in the history of the Faith in any country".
The Guardian's own exclusively Baha'i marriage was registered and
became legal as a result of this recognition he had won for the
Faith. One of the men who occupied the important of fice of High
Commissioner during these years when the Cause was beginning to win
in such tangible ways recognition for its independent status, was
Sir Arthur Wauchope, a man who, like Colonel Symes, had a personal
liking for Shoghi Effendi and who, one suspects, understood how
heavy the burden was that rested on the shoulders of the young man
who was the Head of the Baha'i Faith. It was during the period of
his administration -- which partly coincided with the time KeithRoach
was District Commissioner in Haifa -- that some of the <p131>

greatest victories in winning concessions from the authorities took
place, the most important of these, next to the right of the Community
to obey some of its own laws governing personal status,
being the exemption from taxation of the entire area surrounding
the Shrine of the Bab on Mt. Carmel. Unlike most High Commissioners,
Sir Arthur seems to have met Shoghi Effendi personally as
he refers to this in some of his letters.

In one of them, dated June 26, 1933, Sir Arthur states: "I have
received your letter of the 21st June and I hasten to write to
thank you for it and to assure you that when the case you mention
is referred to me for a decision under the Palestine (Holy Places)
Order in Council, it will receive a most careful consideration. I
have also received the 'Baha'i World' for 193(}32. I am most
grateful to you for this extremely interesting book ... I hope
to have the pleasure of another visit to the beautiful Gardens on
the hillside outside Haifa."
On March 13,1934, Shoghi Effendi wrote to him: "... As the case
recently referred to Your Excellency concerning the Baha'i Shrines
on Mt. Carmel has vital international importance, I have asked Mr.

to come to Palestine to confer with me about it. I would greatly
appreciate Your Excellency's kindly according him an interview in
order to clarify one or two points which I do not quite understand
and upon which my future action in this matter depends." On May 1st
of that same year Shoghi Effendi again wrote to him: "I deeply
appreciated the kind message of sympathy and support for the
projected plan of the Baha'i Community to beautify the slopes of
Mt. Carmel which you sent to me through Mr.

. It greatly encouraged me. Unfortunately there are strong
and influential interests that are seeking to obstruct the plan.
These are in part merely real estate speculators who, in their
shortsightedness, are doing their utmost to develop the northern
slope of Mt. Carmel for their immediate benefit. More difficult and
dangerous for our plan however are those who definitely seek to
frustrate the efforts of the followers of Baha'u'llah in anything
that they may undertake. We believe that these people were back of
the case brought against us by the Domets [Dumits], for example,
and it was for that reason that we felt justified in our endeavour
to have it withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the courts and
submitted to Your Excellency's personal consideration ... With
kind regards and renewed expression of my warm appreciation of Your
Excellency's sympathy and support..." The case in question,
which involved <p132>

four years of litigation, was finally abandoned and in 1935 a contract
for the purchase of the Dumit land was signed and Shoghi
Effendi cabled the National Assembly in America that he was planning
to register it in the name of their Palestine Branch. It is
interesting to note that to the Baha'is he transliterated the name,
but not to the High Commissioner.

Shoghi Effendi had been endeavouring for some time to obtain
exemption from taxation on Baha'i properties surrounding the Bab's
Shrine and had finally received news this had been granted. Behind
the formal lines of this letter to Sir Arthur, written on May 11,
1934, his inner jubilation over this victory can be sensed:

Your Excellency,

The gratifying news has just come to me from the District
Commissioner of Haifa that the petition for exemption from taxation
of the Baha'i property holdings on Mt. Carmel has been granted by
the Government.
I hasten to express to Your Excellency for the World Baha'i
Community and myself our deep appreciation of the sympathetic and
effective interest which Your Excellency has taken in the matter
and which I know must have contributed in large measure to this
outcome. And I venture to hope for the continuation of Your
Excellency's sympathetic support in our plan to gradually beautify
this property for the use and enjoyment of the people of Haifa, for
which this action of the Government now opens the way.

To this letter Sir Arthur replied in person, five days later:

Dear Shoghi Effendi,

Thank you for your letter of May 11th and the kind words it
contains. I have always had great sympathy with your project for
beautifying the slopes of Mt. Carmel and I hope this exemption will
help you in carrying on your fine work.

Yours very sincerely,

Arthur Wauchope

In another letter the High Commissioner wrote: "I am most
grateful to you for your kind present of the 'Dawn Breakers'. I
shall read the book with much interest, for you know how the
wonderful story stirred me when I first heard it in Persia. The
book is charm- <p133>

ingly produced and the illustrations and reproductions add to its
attraction. Again with very many thanks for your kind thoughts and
welcome gift..." There are similar letters thanking the Guardian
for Gleanings and Bah'i World. The last letter, written in February
1938, by this man, who through his high of fice assisted Shoghi
Effendi in winning a major victory at the World Centre of the
Faith, was typical of his courteous kindness: "... I had every
intention of visiting you in Haifa, where I hoped to see the
progress you had made with your garden and say good-bye in person.
Unfortunately the many calls on my time ... made this impossible,
so I take this opportunity of bidding you farewell and expressing
my best wishes to the Baha'i Community." At the bottom of the
letter he added by hand, "I hear your garden is growing more
beautiful every year."

At the time when the Mandate drew to its close and the troubled
people of Palestine were preparing to fight it out, the United Nations
appointed a Special Committee on Palestine, headed by Justice
Emil Sandstrom. On July 9th he wrote to Shoghi Effendi from
Jerusalem, stating that under the terrns of reference of this
committee it was charged with giving most careful consideration to
the religious interests in Palestine of Islm, Judaism and
Christianity, and goes on to say: "I should appreciate it if you
would advise me whether you wish to submit evidence -- in a written
statement on the religious interests of your Community in
Palestine." Because of the historic importance to Baha'is of Shoghi
Effendi's reply to this letter, I quote it in full:

Mr. Justice Emil Sandstrom, Chairman, United Nations Special
Committee on Palestine. Sir:

Your kind letter of July 9th reached me and I wish to thank you
for affording me the opportunity of presenting to you and your
esteemed colleagues a statement of the relationship which the Baha'
Faith has to Palestine and our attitude towards any future changes
in the status of this sacred and much disputed land.
I am enclosing with this letter, for your information, a brief
sketch of the history, aims and significance of the Baha'i Faith,
as well as a small pamphlet setting forth its views towards the
present state of the world and the lines on which we hope and
believe it must and will develop.
The position of the Baha'is in this country is in a certain <p134>

measure unique: whereas Jerusalem is the spiritual center of
Christendom it is not the administrative center of either the
Church of Rome or any other Christian denomination. Likewise
although it is regarded by Moslems as the spot where one of its
most sacred shrines is situated, the Holy Sites of the Muhammadan
Faith, and the center of its pilgrimages, are to be found in
Arabia, not in Palestine. The Jews alone offer somewhat of a
parallel to the attachment which the Baha'is have for this country
inasmuch as Jerusalem holds the remains of their Holy Temple and
was the seat of both the religious and political institutions
associated with their past history. But even their case differs in
one respect from that of the Baha'is, for it is in the soil of
Palestine that the three central Figures of our religion are
buried, and it is not only the center of Baha'i pilgrimages from
all over the world but also the permanent seat of our
Administrative Order, of which I have the honor to be the Head.

The Baha'i Faith is entirely non-political and we neither take
sides in the present tragic dispute going on over the future of the
Holy Land and its peoples nor have we any statement to make or
advice to give as to what the nature of the political future of
this country should be. Our aim is the establishment of universal
peace in this world and our desire to see justice prevail in every
domain of human society, including the domain of politics. As many
of the adherents of our Faith are of Jewish and Moslem extraction
we have no prejudice towards either of these groups and are most
anxious to reconcile them for their mutual benefit and for the good
of the country.
What does concern us, however, in any decisions made affecting the
future of Palestine, is that the fact be recognized by whoever
exercises sovereignty over Haifa and Acre, that within this area
exists the spiritual and administrative center of a world Faith,
and that the independence of that Faith, its right to manage its
international affairs from this source, the right of Baha'is from
any and every country of the globe to visit it as pilgrims (enjoying
the same privilege in this respect as Jews, Moslems and
Christians do in regard to visiting Jerusalem), be acknowledged and
permanently safeguarded.
The Sepulchre of the Bab on Mt. Carmel, the Tomb of 'Abdu'l-Baha
in that same spot, the Pilgrim Hostel for oriental Baha'is in its
vicinity, the large gardens and terraces which surround these
places (all of which are open to visits by the public of <p135>

all denominations), the Pilgrim Hostel for western Baha's at the
foot of Mt Carmel, the residence of the Head of the Community
various houses and gardens in Acre and its vicinity associated with
Baha'u'llah's incarceration in that city, His Holy Tomb at Bahj,
near Acre, with His Mansion which is now preserved as a historic
site and a museum (both likewise accessible to the public of all
denominations), as well as holdings in the plain of Acre -- all
these comprise the bulk of Baha' properties in the Holy Land. It
should also be noted that practically all of these properties have
been exempted from both Government and Municipal taxes owing to
their religious nature. Some of these extensive holdings are the
property of the Palestine Branch of the National Spiritual Assembly
of the United States and Canada, incorporated as a religious
society according to the laws of the country. In future various
other Baha' National Assemblies will hold, through their Palestine
Branches, part of the International Endowments of the Faith in the
Holy Land.

In view of the above information I would request you and the
members of your Committee to take into consideration the
safeguarding of Baha' rights in any recommendation which you may
make to the United Nations concerning the future of Palestine.
May I take this opportunity of assuring you of my deep appreciation
of the spirit in which you and your colleagues have conducted your
investigations into the troubled conditions of this Sacred Land.
I trust and pray that the outcome of your deliberations will
produce an equitable and speedy solution of the very thorny
problems which have arisen in Palestine.

Yours faithfully,

Shoghi Rabbani
Haifa, Palestine
July 14, 1947

It must be remembered that the only oriental notable of any
standing whatsoever who had not fled from Palestine before the War
of Independence, was Shoghi Effendi. This fact was not lost upon
the authorities of the new State. By acts such as this, the
Guardian had succeeded in impressing upon non-Baha's, who had no
reason whatever to take him on faith alone, the sterling personal
integrity and strict adherence to what he believed was the right
course that characterized his leadership of the Faith of
Baha'u'llah. <p136>

Largely because of this, and a knowledge of what the Baha'i Teachings
represented, of which the avantgarde of the Jewish Movement
for independence were well aware, the new authorities were
extremely co-operative in every way. One of their first acts, when
the fighting was still going on, had been to place a notice on the


[huge gap]


Shrine of Baha'u'llah -- much more isolated than the Shrines in
Haifa -- stating that it was a Lieu Sainte or "Holy Place", thus
ensuring that it would be treated with respect by all Jews.

In January 1949 Mr. Ben Gurion, the Prime Minister of the Provisional
Government, came to Haifa on his first of ficial visit and
the Mayor naturally invited Shoghi Effendi to attend the reception
being given in his honour by the Municipality. The dilemma was
acute, for if the Guardian did not go, it would, with every reason,
be taken as an affront to the new Government, and if he did go he
would inevitably be submerged in a sea of people where any pretence
at protocol would be swept away (this was indeed the case, as my
father, Shoghi Effendi's representative, reported after he returned
from this reception). The Guardian therefore decided that as he
would not be attending, but was more than willing to show courtesy
to the Prime Minister of the new State, he would call upon him in
person. With great difficulty this was arranged through the good
of fices of the Mayor of Haifa, Shabatay Levy, as Mr. Ben Gurion's
time in Haifa was very short and it was only two days before the
first general election in the new State.
The interview took place on Friday evening, January 21st, in the
private home the Prime Minister was staying in on Mt. Carmel and
lasted about fifteen minutes. Ben Gurion enquired about the Faith
and Shoghi Effendi's relation to it and asked if there was a book
he could read; Shoghi Effendi answered his questions and assured
him he would send him a copy of his own book God Passes By -- which
he later did, and which was acknowledged with thanks.

Typical of the whole history of the Cause and the constant problems
that beset it was a long article which appeared in the leading
English-language newspaper on December 20, 1948, in which, in the
most favourable terms, its teachings were set forth and the station
of Shoghi Effendi as its World Head mentioned. On January 28, 1949,
there appeared in the letter column of this paper a short and
extraordinary statement, signed "Bahai U.N. Observer", which flatly
refuted the article and asserted, "Mr. Rabbani is not the Guardian
of the Bahai faith, nor its World Leader" and gave the New History
Society in New York as a source of further-informa- ... ..'is --


constantly spurred on and guided by Shoghi Effendi -- to obtain at
least a reasonable measure of liberty in following their own religion,
which numerically was, after Islam, the largest in the
country. The Tarbiyat boys and girls School, owned and managed
entirely <p151>

by the Baha'is, had been in existence for thirty-six years. Founded
in 1898, in the days of 'Abdu'l-Baha, it had been a project dear
to His heart; it had always had an excellent reputation, and
although its pupils were mainly Baha'i, children of all
denominations attended it. The School had always closed on the nine
Baha'i Holy Days but now, on the flimsy pretext that the Baha'is
belonged to a denomination not officially recognized in Persia, the
Ministry of Education had suddenly required the School to remain
open on these days. This meant a retreat instead of an advance in
the battle for emancipation the Cause was struggling so desperately
to win and Shoghi Effendi flatly refused, ordering the Assembly to
close the School on the anniversary of the Bab's Martyrdom. As he
was neither willing to advise the believers to dissimulate their
Faith, nor to keep the School open on Baha'i Holy Days, and the
government refused to change its orders, the Tarbiyat School, one
of the best in Persia, was closed and remains closed to the present

In announcing this bad news, the day after he received his answer
from Tihran, to the Baha'is in that land where they enjoyed the
greatest degree of freedom throughout the entire world the anger
of the Guardian is reflected in every word as he pours out the list
of indignities and sufferings to which the Baha'is of Persia are
being subjected: "Information just received indicates deliberate
efforts undermine all Baha'i institutions in Persia. Schools in
Kashan, Qazvin, Sultanabad closed. In several leading centres
including Qazvin Kirmanshah orders issued suspend teaching
activities, prohibit gatherings, close Baha'i Hall, deny right
burial in Baha'i cemeteries. Baha'is of Teheran compelled under
penalty imprisonment register themselves Moslems in identity
papers. Elated clergy inciting population. National Teheran
Assembly's petitions to Shah undelivered rejected. Impress Persian
Minister gravity intolerable situation".
In face of these wholly unwarranted blows received at a time when
it could logically be expected that the more liberal policy
affecting the entire country would be stretched to include the members
of a Faith that since the days of Darius and his successors
constituted that nation's only serious claim to fame -- at such a
time the Persian Baha'is were able to hold a convention whose
delegates were sufficiently representative of the Baha'i Community
within that country to elect a National Assembly that Shoghi
Effendi of ficially lists in his statistical pamphlets as having
been formed in 1934 .
The situation of the Baha'is in the East and particularly Persia
is <p152>

never really quiet, is always precariously balanced, ever ready to
flare up into a violent and all-too-frequently bloody outbreak of
persecution. Repeatedly there were isolated cases of Baha'is being
killed -- some of whom the Guardian mentioned as martyrs; constantly
there was a temperature of persecution, sometimes hotter here and
sometimes hotter there, but always present. To all the vicissitudes
afflicting the Persian friends the Guardian responded with loving
messages, with sums of money for relief, with instructions, usually
to the American National Assembly, to intervene on their behalf and
solicit justice in their cause.

The worst crisis, however, which the Persian Baha'i Community
experienced in the thirty-six years of the Guardian's ministry,
arose in 1955, when, as he cabled, a sudden deterioration took
place in the affairs of this largest community in the Baha'i world.
In a long cable, dated August 23rd, he reported to the Hands and
National Assemblies what had been taking place: Following the
seizure by the authorities of the National Headquarters of the
Persian believers in Tihran and the destruction of its large
ornamental dome (a destruction during which one of the country's
leading divines and a general of its army, themselves took up
pickaxes and went to work), local Baha'i administrative
headquarters all over Persia were seized and occupied, the
Parliament of the country outlawed the Faith, a virulent press and
radio campaign was started, distorting its history, calumniating
its Founders, misrepresenting its teachings, and obscuring its aims
and purposes -- following all this a series of atrocities was
perpetrated against the members of this sorely tried community
throughout the entire country. In his summary of the terrible
damage done and the "barbarous acts" committed, he cited such
events as: the desecration of the House of the Bab in Shiraz, the
foremost Shrine of the Faith in Persia, which had been severely
damaged; the occupation of the ancestral home of Baha'u'llah; the
pillaging of shops and farms owned by the believers and the looting
of their homes, destruction of their livestock, burning of their
crops and digging up and desecration of the Baha'i dead in their
cemeteries; adults were beaten; young women abducted and forced
into marriage with Muslims; children were mocked, reviled and
expelled from schools as well as being beaten; tradesmen boycotted
Baha'is and refused to sell them food; a girl of fifteen was raped;
an eleven month old baby was trampled underfoot; pressure was
brought on believers to recant their Faith. More recently, he went
on to say, a mob two thousand strong had <p153>

hacked to pieces with spades and axes a family of seven -- the oldest
eighty and the youngest nineteen -- to the sound of music and

The Baha'is, at the instruction of their Guardian, had already,
through the intermediary of telegrams and letters to the
authorities in Persia from over one thousand groups and Assemblies
throughout the world, protested against such unjust and lawless
acts committed against their law-abiding brethren. In addition all
National Assemblies had addressed letters to the Shah, the
Government and the Parliament protesting this unwarranted
persecution of a harmless community on purely religious grounds.
As all this brought forth no acknowledgement whatsoever from
official quarters the Guardian instructed the International Baha'i
Community, accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization to the
United Nations, to take the question to that body in Geneva, he
himself nominating those whom he wished to act as representatives
of the Community on this important occasion. Copies of the Baha'i
appeal were delivered to representatives of the member nations of
the Social and Economic Council, the Director of the Human Rights
Division, as well as to certain specialized agencies of NonGovernmental
Organizations enjoying consultative status. The
President of the United States was likewise appealed to by the
American National Assembly and by all groups and local Assemblies
in the country to intervene on behalf of their oppressed sister
community in Persia.
This was the first time in its history that an attacked Faith was
able to fight back with weapons that possessed some strength to
defend it. The significance of this was clearly brought out by
Shoghi Effendi. Whatever the outcome of these "heart-rending"
events might be, one fact had clearly emerged: God's infant Faith,
which had during the twenty-five years following the ascension of
'Abdu'l-Baha provided itself with the machinery of its divinely
appointed Administrative Order, and subsequently utilized its
newly-born administrative agencies to systematically propagate that
Failh through a series of national plans that had culminated in the
World Crusade, was now, in the wake of this ordeal convulsing the
overwhelming majority of its followers, emerging from obscurity.
The world-wide reverberations of these events would be hailed by
posterity as the "mighty blast of God's trumpet" which, through the
instrumentality of the "oldest, most redoubtable, most vicious,
most fanatical adversaries" of the Cause must awaken governments <p154>

and heads of governments, in both East and West, to the existence
and the implications of this Faith. So stormy were the circumstances
surrounding these events in Persia and so impressive their
repercussions abroad that the Guardian stated they were bound to
pave the way for the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of
orthodoxy in Islamic countries as well as for the ultimate recognition
in His own homeland of the independent character of the
Revelation of Baha'u'llah.

In view of the great sufferings and pitiful condition of the
Persian believers Shoghi Effendi inaugurated an "Aid the
Persecuted" fund and opened it by himself contributing the
equivalent of eighteen thousand dollars for "this noble purpose".
Not content with this evidence of Baha'i solidarity he called for
the construction in Kampala, in the heart of Africa, of the "Mother
Temple" of that continent as a "supreme consolation" to the
"oppressed masses" of our "valiant brethren" in the cradle of the
Faith. He struck back at the forces of darkness swarming over the
oldest bastion of that Faith in the world, with the greatest
weapons at his disposal -- the forces of creative progress,
enlightenment and faith.
Turning to the question of the liquidation of the Faith in Russia
we must remember that one of the earliest Baha'i communities in the
world had existed there, in the Caucasus and Turkistan, from the
end of the last century, where many Persians had found a welcome
refuge from the persecutions to which they were so constantly
subjected in their native land. They had established themselves in
a number of towns, particularly in 'Ishqabad, where they had
erected the first Temple of the entire Baha'i world and opened
schools for the Baha'i children which remained in existence for
over thirty years. Their affairs were well organized. They had, in
1928, a number of Spiritual Assemblies (including one in Moscow)
and two central Assemblies had, pending the holding of proper,
representative national elections, administered their affairs,
appearing on lists published in the United States as the National
Assemblies of the Caucasus and of Turkistan. In a letter addressed
in September 1927 to the Local Spiritual Assembly of 'Ishqabad
Shoghi Effendi instructed them to gradually prepare for delegates
from all Assemblies in Turkistan to meet in 'Ishqabad and hold the
election of their National Assembly. On June 22, 1928, Shoghi
Effendi received a cable from the 'Ishqabad Assembly as follows:
"In accordance general agreement 1917 Soviet Government has nationalized
all Temples but under special conditions has provided free <p155>

rental to respective religious communities regarding Mashriqu'lAdhkar
government has provided same conditions agreement to
Assembly supplicate guidance by telegram". The Guardian took
immediate action, cabling the Moscow Assembly to "Intercede
energetically authorities prevent expropriation Mashriqu'lAdhkar.
Enquire particulars 'Ishqabad..." and to 'Ishqabad to "refer
Moscow Assembly address petition authorities behalf all Baha'is
Russia. Act firmly assure you prayers".

In recalling the events which transpired in Russia a sharp
distinction must be made -- one which the Guardian himself
recognized -- between the hardships to which the Russian believers
were subjected and the persecutions the Baha'is underwent in
Persia. In Persia the believers were, and still are, singled out
as victims of every form of injustice because they are the
followers of Baha'u'llah; in Russia the situation was entirely
different. The Baha'is were not discriminated against because they
were Baha'is but suffered from a policy which the government
pursued against all religious communities.
In all persecutions how much is exacerbated by the unwisdom of the
persecuted themselves, interacting on the unwisdom of subordinates
carrying out the instructions of superiors -- who may or may not be
ill disposed -- is a mystery we are not likely ever to solve in this
world. It does not seem unreasonable to suppose, however, that at
least some of our misfortunes we amplify by our own acts.
What had transpired in Russia, Shoghi Effendi wrote in a long
letter to the Baha'is of the West on January 1, 1929, was that the
Russian Baha'is had at last been brought under the "rigid application
of the principles already enunciated by the state authorities
and universally enforced with regard to all other religious communities";
the Baha'is "as befits their position as loyal and law-
abiding citizens" had obeyed the "measures which the State, in the
free exercise of its legitimate rights, has chosen to enforce". The
measures which the authorities had taken "faithful to their policy
of expropriating in the interests of the State all edifices and
monuments of a religious character" had led them to expropriate and
assume the ownership and control over "that most cherished and
universally prized Baha'i possession, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of
'Ishqabad." In addition to this "state orders, orally and in
writing," had "been officially communicated to the Baha'i
Assemblies and individual believers, suspending all meetings . .
. suppressing the <p156>

committees of all Baha'i local and national Spiritual Assemblies,
prohibiting the raising of funds ... requiring the right of full
and frequent inspection of the deliberations ... of the Baha'i
Assemblies ... imposing a strict censorship on all correspondence
to and from Baha'i Assemblies ... suspending all Baha'i periodicals
... and requiring the deportation of leading personalities
in the Cause whether as public teachers and speakers or officers
of Baha'i Assemblies. To all these", Shoghi Effendi stated, "the
followers of the Faith of Baha'u'llah have with feelings of burning
agony and heroic fortitude unanimously and unreservedly submitted,
ever mindful of the guiding principles of Baha'i conduct that in
connection with their administrative activities, no matter how
grievously interference with them might affect the course of the
extension of the Movement, and the suspension of which does not
constitute in itself a departure from the principle of loyalty to
their Faith, the considered judgment and authoritative decrees
issued by their responsible rulers must, if they be faithful to
Baha'u'llah's and 'Abdu'l-Baha's express injunctions, be thoroughly
respected and loyally obeyed." He went on to say that after the
Baha'is in Turkistan and the Caucasus had unsuccessfully exhausted
every legitimate means for the alleviation of these restrictions
imposed upon them, they had resolved to "conscientiously carry out
the considered judgment of their recognized government" and "with
a hope that no earthly power can dim ... committed the interests
of their Cause to the keeping of that vigilant, that all-powerful
Divine Deliverer..."

Shoghi Effendi assured the Baha'is in this message that if he
deemed it expedient to call upon the Baha'i world to intervene at
a later stage he would do so. In April 1930 he felt the time had
come for this; the precious Temple, which the Baha'is had succeeded
in renting from the authorities after its confiscation, was now
placed in danger of passing once-for-all from their hands through
a series of further and harsher measures imposed upon the friends.
He therefore cabled the American National Assembly "... prompt
action required. Stress international character Temple..." In
his previous long letter he had already outlined the approach that
should be made, when and if the time came for the believers abroad
to raise their voices in protest and explanation: national as well
as local Assemblies, East and West, in a gesture of Baha'i
solidarity, would call the attention of the Russian officials not
only to their refutation of any implication of a political design
or ulterior motive <p157>

which might have been falsely imputed to their brethren in that
land, but to the "humanitarian and spiritual nature of the work in
which Baha' is in every land and of every race are unitedly
engaged" and to the international character of that Edifice which
had the distinction of being Baha'u'llah's first Universal House
of Worship, whose design 'Abdu'l-Baha had Himself conceived and
which had been constructed under His direction and supported by the
collective contributions of believers throughout the world.

But when the die was finally cast Shoghi Effendi cabled the
'Ishqabad Assembly to "abide by decision State Authorities". A case
such as this, involving the first of the two Baha'i Temples erected
under the aegis of 'Abdu'l-Baha, cannot but form a guiding pattern
for Baha'i Assemblies to follow throughout all time and a well of
information to the individual believer on his duty towards his
government, whatever the nature of that government may be.
Two other countries, Turkey and Egypt, formed with Russia, Persia
and Germany the scene of serious repressive and restrictive
measures imposed on the Faith during the lifetime of the Guardian.
In Turkey, which ever since the downfall of the Caliphate had been
the subject, as Shoghi Effendi wrote, of "an uncompromising policy
aiming at the secularization of the State and the disestablishment
of Islam", great civil reforms had taken place, reforms with which
incidentally the Baha'is were wholly in sympathy. The troubles
which arose there were therefore not based on religious prejudice
but were rather brought about by the fact that the new regime had
in the past discovered that so-called religious groups in Turkey
had provided cover for political agitation and when its agents
found the Baha'i Community was organized and was pursuing its
activities openly, teaching and spreading the Faith, they became
suspicious and alarmed, searched many of the believers' homes,
seized any literature they found, severely cross-examined some of
them and put a good number in prison. The case brought a great deal
of publicity to the Faith, to some extent abroad, but mostly in the
Turkish press, which reacted in favour of the Baha'is and ensured
for them, when it came before the Criminal Tribunal on December
13,1928, a full and impartial hearing. It marked a new departure
in the unfoldment of the Cause: "never before in Baha'i history",
Shoghi Effendi wrote, "have the followers of Baha'u'llah been
called upon by the of ficials of a state ... to unfold the
history and principles of their Faith..."
It is interesting to note that in the papers seized by the
authorities <p158>

from the Assembly of Constantinople (the city now known as Istanbul),
one of Queen Marie's tributes to the Faith was found and its
implications were not lost upon the examining judges. The Chairman
of the Constantinople Baha'i Spiritual Assembly, in giving his
testimony before the Court exposed in a most brilliant manner the
tenets of the Faith and included this pointed quotation from
Baha'u'llah's own words: "Before Justice, tell the Truth and fear
nothing. " The conclusion of this entire episode was that the
Baha'is had to pay a fine for having infringed the law that all
associations should be registered with the government and due
authorization to hold public meetings be obtained, but its results
were of great significance to the Faith, not only locally but
abroad. The verdict of the Court was summarized by Shoghi Effendi
in a general letter to the Baha'is of the West, written on February
12,1929: "As to the verdict ... it is stated clearly that
although the followers of Baha'u'llah, in their innocent conception
of the spiritual character of their Faith, found it unnecessary to
apply for leave for the conduct of their administrative activities
and have thus been made liable to the payment of a fine, yet they
have, to the satisfaction of the legal representatives of the
State, not only established the inculpability of the Cause of
Baha'u'llah, but have also worthily acquitted themselves of the
task of vindicating its independence, its Divine origin, and its
suitability to the circumstances and requirements of the present

Although this was the first major episode involving the Baha'is
with the new State that had evolved in Turkey after the downfall
of the Caliphate, it was not to be the last. The secular powers
were constantly on their guard against reactionary forces in the
State and, as the of ficial memory was short, in 1933 there was a
recrudescence of the same suspicions and accusations that had
brought about the case in 1928. On January 27th we find Shoghi
Effendi cabling the American National Assembly: "Baha'is Constantinople
and Adana numbering about forty imprisoned charged subversive
motives. Urge induce Turkish Minister Washington make
immediate representations his government release law abiding followers
non-political Faith. Advise also National Assembly cable
authorities Angora and approach State Department". At the same time
he wired the Persian National Assembly: "Urge immediate
representations Turkish Ambassador behalf imprisoned Baha'is
Stamboul and Adana charged political motives". The next day he
wired a prominent Turk: <p159>

His Excellency Ismat Pasha

As Head of Baha'i Faith learned with amazement and grief
imprisonment followers of Baha'u'llah in Stamboul and Adana.
Respectfully appeal Your Excellency's intervention on behalf
followers of a Faith pledged loyalty to your Government for whose
epochal reforms its adherents world over cherish abiding

The Baha'is, familiar with the whole situation through the
detailed letters the Guardian had written at the time of the
previous case, immediately took action and their representations
to the Turkish authorities, as well, no doubt, as moves made in
Turkey to cite the verdict the Criminal Court had given in the
former case, secured, after many months of effort, the release and
acquittal of the believers. On March 5th the Guardian informed the
American Assembly: "Istanbul friends acquitted 53 still imprisoned
Adana urge renew energetically representations immediate release"
and on April 4th he cabled them: "Adana friends released. Advise
convey appreciation Turkish Ambassador".
In spite of a regular recrudescence of suspicion on the part of the
Turkish authorities the Guardian was able to lay, during his own
lifetime, sufficiently strong foundations in the Baha'i community
of that country for it to elect after his passing, in fulfilment
of one of his goals of the Ten Year Plan, its own independent
National Spiritual Assembly.
In Egypt, one of the earliest countries to receive, during His own
days, the Light of Baha'u'llah's Revelation, events transpired,
three years before the first court case of the believers in Turkey
took place, to which the Guardian attached supreme significance.
Beginning by a fierce attack on a small band of Baha'is in an
obscure village of Upper Egypt it ended in being the "first step",
Shoghi Effendi said, in "the eventual universal acceptance of the
Baha'i Faith, as one of the independent recognized religious systems
of the world". The laws of personal status in almost all
Islamic countries are administered by religious courts; when the
Baha'is of that village formed their Spiritual Assembly, the
headman, inflamed by religious fanaticism, began to stir up feeling
against three married men who had become Baha'is; through legal
channels a demand was made that their Muhammadan wives divorce <p160>

them on the grounds that they were now married to heretics. The
case went to the Appelate religious courts of Beba, which delivered
its Judgement on May 10,1925, in which it strongly condemned the
heretics for violating the laws and ordinances of Islam and
annulled the marriages. This in itself was a significant move but
what the Guardian attached the most importance to was that "It even
went so far as to make the positive, the startling and indeed the
historic assertion that the Faith embraced by these heretics is to
be regarded as a distinct religion, wholly independent of the
religious systems that have preceded it". In his resume of that
verdict Shoghi Effendi quoted the actual words of the Judgement,
of such immense historic importance to the Baha'is:

"The Baha'i Faith is a new religion, entirely independent, with
beliefs, principles and laws of its own, which differ from, and are
utterly in conflict with, the beliefs, principles and laws of
Islam. No Baha'i, therefore, can be regarded a Muslim or viceversa,
even as no Buddhist, Brahmin, or Christian can be regarded a Muslim
or vice-versa."

Even if this verdict had remained an isolated phenomenon in an
obscure local court of Egypt it would have been an invaluable
weapon in the hands of the believers all over the world who were
seeking to assert just that independence so clearly enunciated in
this Judgement. But it did not rest there; it was subsequently
sanctioned and upheld by the highest ecclesiastical authorities in
Cairo, and printed and circulated by the Muslims themselves.
The Guardian, who was ever ready to seize upon the most insignificant
and flimsy tools -- from human beings to pieces of paper --
and wield them as weapons in his battle to secure the recognition
and emancipation of the Faith, grasped this sharp new sword placed
in his hands by the enemies of the Faith themselves and went on
striking with it until the end of his life. It was, he stated, the
first Charter of the emancipation of the Cause from the fetters of
Islam. In the East the Baha'is used it, under his astute guidance,
as a lever to win for them a reluctant admission that the Faith was
not a heresy inside Islam and in the West to assert its disavowal
of that same accusation. It was even cited, at the time Shoghi
Effendi made strong representations to the Israeli Minister for
Religious Affairs, as a reason for his insistence that the affairs
of the Baha'i Community should not be handled by the same
departmental head who was-re- ... ..eoples were cleansed of
their prejudices and fused into the structure of this system -- all
testified, Shoghi Effendi wrote, to the power of this ever-
expanding Order of Baha'u'llah.

Shoghi Effendi had the qualities of true statesmanship. Unlike
many of the Baha'is, who, alas, are prone like Icarus to take off
on wings of wax, full of hope and faith alone, Shoghi Effendi
forged his flying machine of airworthy materials, building it
carefully, piece by piece. Within the first few years of his
ministry he had created uniformity in essential matters of Baha'i
Administration. He had established his bed-rock of local Assemblies
and a national body, wherever the national communities were strong
enough to support such an institution.
One of the most wonderful things about Shoghi Effendi was that he
pushed the horizons of our minds ever further away. His vision of
the Cause was seen from the Everest of his all-embracing understanding
of its implications. In thirty-six years nothing ever grew
smaller, everything grew bigger and bigger. There was infinite room
not only to breathe but to dream. Baha'u'llah was the Inaugurator
of a five-hundred-thousand-year cycle. He was the culmination of
a six-thousand-year cycle of prophecy beginning with Adam. Withal,
His Revelation was but part of an infinite chain of Divine
Guidance. The Guardian summed up this concept in his masterly
statement submitted to the United Nations Special Palestine
Committee: "The fundamental principle enunciated by Baha'u'llah .
. . is that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that
Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all
the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their
basic principles are in complete harrnony, that their aims and purposes
are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of
one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ
only in the non-essential aspects of their doctrines, and that
their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual
evolution of human society. The aim of Baha'u'llah ... is not to
destroy but to fulfil the Revelations of the past ... His purpose
... is to restate the basic truths which these teachings enshrine
in a manner that <p176>

would conform to the needs ... of the age in which we live . .
. Nor does Baha'u'llah claim finality for His own Revelation, but
rather stipulates that a fuller measure of truth ... must needs
be disclosed at future stages in the constant and limitless
evolution of mankind. "

In that same statement he places the Administrative Order, in
words of crystal clearness, in its proper relationship to this
Revelation: "The Administrative Order of the Faith of Baha'u'llah,
which is destined to evolve into the Baha'i World Commonwealth .
. . unlike the systems evolved after the death of the Founders of
the various religions, is divine in origin ... The Faith which
this Order serves, safeguards and promotes, is, it should be noted
in this connection, essentially supernatural, supranational,
entirely nonpolitical, non-partisan, and diametrically opposed to
any policy or school of thought that seeks to exalt any particular
race, class or nation. It is free from any form of ecclesiasticism,
has neither priesthood nor rituals, and is supported exclusively
by voluntary contributions made by its avowed adherents."
What this concept would lead to was expressed on another occasion
in one of the Guardian's communications to the Baha'is of the West:
"A world federal system, ruling the whole earth ... blending and
embodying the ideals of both the East and the West, liberated from
the curse of war ... a system in which Force is made the servant
of Justice, whose life is sustained by its universal recognition
of one God and by its allegiance to one common Revelation -- such
is the goal towards which humanity, impelled by the unifying forces
of life, is moving."
All this being so, something was very much the matter with the
world. What it was Shoghi Effendi also made clear to us in The
Promised Day Is Come: "For a whole century God has respited
mankind, that it might acknowledge the Founder of such a Revelation,
espouse His Cause, proclaim His greatness and establish His
Order. In a hundred volumes ... the Bearer of such a Message has
proclaimed, as no Prophet before Him has done, the Mission with
which God had entrusted Him ... How -- we may well ask our-
selves -- has the world, the object of such Divine solicitude, repaid
Him Who sacrificed His all for its sake?" Baha'u'llah's Message
met, Shoghi Effendi wrote, with unmitigated indifference from the
elite, unrelenting hatred from the ecclesiastics, scorn from the
people of Persia, utter contempt from most of the rulers addressed
by Him, the envy and malice of those in foreign lands, all of which
were evidences of the treatment such a Message received from "a <p177>

generation sunk in self-content, careless of its God, and oblivious
of the omens, warnings and admonitions revealed by His Messengers."
Man was therefore to taste what his own hands had wrought. He had
refused to take the direct road leading him to his great destiny,
through acceptance of the Promised One for this Day, and had chosen
the long road, bitter, blood-stained, dark, literally leading him
through hell, before he once again could near the goal originally
placed at his finger tips for him to seize.

From the very beginning of his ministry, steeped as he was in the
Teachings, Shoghi Effendi foresaw the course events seemed
inevitably to be taking. As early as January 1923, he painted the
picture of the future in a letter to an American local Assembly:
"Individuals and nations", he wrote, "are being swept by a
whirlwind of insincerity and selfishness, which if not resisted may
imperil, nay destroy civilization itself. It is our task and
privilege to capture gradually and persistently the attention of
the world by the sincerity of our motives, by the breadth of our
outlook and the devotion and tenacity with which we pursue our work
of service to mankind . " He was not only clear as to the situation
and the remedy, but sufficiently shrewd to doubt the possibility,
after eighty years of neglect on the part of humanity, of averting
universal catastrophe. "The world", he wrote in February 1923, was
"apparently drifting further and further from the spirit of the
Divine Teachings..." Many times, in both his writings and his
words to visiting pilgrims, Shoghi Effendi reminded the Baha'is of
the formidable warning of Baha'u'llah: " The civilization, so often
vaunted by the learned exponents of arts and sciences, will, if
allowed to overleap the bounds of moderation, bringgreatevil upon
men. Thus warnethyou He Who is the All-Knowing. If carried to
excess, civilization will prove as proific a source of evil as it
had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation
... The day is approaching when itsflame will devour the cities.
From the outset Shoghi Effendi realized that there was a great
cancer eating away at the vitals of men, a materialism reaching a
state of development in the West unrivalled by the decadence it had
invariably produced in past civilizations when their decline set
in. As very many people do not know what materialism means it can
do no harm to quote Webster who defines certain of its aspects as
"the tendency to give undue importance to material interests;
devotion to the material nature and its wants" and says another
definition is the theory that human phenomena should be viewed and
inter- <p178>

preted in terms of physical and material causes rather than
spiritual and ethical causes. Shoghi Effendi's attitude towards
this subject, the evils that produce it and the evils it in turn
gives rise to, is reflected in innumerable passages of his
writings, beginning in 1923 and going on to 1957. In 1923 he refers
to "the confusion and the gross materialism in which mankind is now
sunk..." A few years later he writes of "the apathy, the gross
materialism and superficiality of society today". In 1927 he wrote
to the American National Assembly: "... in the heart of society
itself, where the ominous signs of increasing extravagance and
profligacy are but lending fresh impetus to the forces of revolt
and reaction that are growing more distinct every day..." In
1933, in a general letter to the American Baha'is, he speaks of the
"follies and furies, the shifts, shams and compromises that
characterize the present age". In 1934, in a general letter to the
Baha'is throughout the West, he speaks of "the signs of an
impending catastrophe, strongly reminiscent of the Fall of the
Roman Empire in the West, which threatens to engulf the whole
structure of present-day civilization..." In that same
communication he says: "How disquieting the lawlessness, the
corruption, the unbelief that are eating into the vitals of a
tottering civilization!" In his general letter to the Baha'is of
the West, in 1936, he says: "in whichever direction we turn our

. we cannot fail to be struck by the evidences of moral
decadence which, in their individual lives no less than in their
collective capacity, men and women around us exhibit..." In 1938
he warned of "the challenge of these times, so fraught with peril,
so full of corruption..." and speaks of the root-evil of all:
"... as the chill of irreligion creeps relentlessly over the
limbs of mankind..." and of "A world, dimmed by the steadily
dying-out light of religion", a world in which nationalism was
blind and triumphant, in which racial and religious persecution was
pitiless, a world in which false theories and doctrines threatened
to supplant the worship of God, a world, in sum, "enervated by a
rampant and brutal materialism; disintegrating through the
corrosive influence of moral and spiritual decadence".

In 1941 Shoghi Effendi castigated the prevalent trends of society
in no uncertain terms: "the spread of lawlessness, of drunkenness,
of gambling, and of crime; the inordinate love of pleasure, of
riches, and other earthly vanities; the laxity in morals, revealing
itself in the irresponsible attitude towards marriage, in the
weakening of parental control, in the rising tide of divorce, in
the deteriora- <p179>

tion in the standard of literature and of the press, and in the
advocacy of theories that are the very negation of purity, of
morality and chastity -- these evidences of moral decadence, invading
both the East and the West, permeating every stratum of society,
and instilling their poison in its members of both sexes, young and
old alike, blacken still further the scroll upon which are
inscribed the manifold transgressions of an unrepentant humanity."
In 1948 he again stigmatizes modern society as being: "politically
convulsed, economically disrupted, socially subverted, morally
decadent and spiritually moribund..." By such oft-repeated words
as these the Guardian sought to protect the Baha'i communities and
alert them to the dangers by which they were surrounded.

However, it was towards the end of his life that Shoghi Effendi
dwelt more openly and frequently on this subject, pointing out that
although Europe was the cradle of a "godless", a "highly-vaunted
yet lamentably defective civilization", the foremost protagonist
of that civilization was now the United States and that in that
country, at the present time, its manifestations had led to a
degree of unbridled materialism which now presented a danger to the
entire world. In 1954, in a letter to the Baha'is of the United
States couched in terms he had never used before, he recapitulated
the extraordinary privileges this community had enjoyed, the
extraordinary victories it had won, but said it stood at a most
critical juncture in its history, not only its own history but its
nation's history -- a nation he had described as "the shell that
enshrines so precious a member of the world community of the
followers" of Baha'u'llah. In this letter he pointed out that the
country of which the American Baha'is formed a part "is passing
through a crisis which, in its spiritual, moral, social and
political aspects, is of extreme seriousness -- a seriousness which
to a superficial observer is liable to be dangerously underestimated.

"The steady and alarming deterioration in the standard of morality
as exemplified by the appalling increase of crime, by political
corruption in ever-widening and ever higher circles, by the loosening
of the sacred ties of marriage, by the inordinate craving for
pleasure and diversion, and by the marked and progressive
slackening of parental control, is no doubt the most arresting and
distressing aspect of the decline that has set in, and can be
clearly perceived, in the fortunes of the entire nation.
"Parallel with this, and pervading all departments of life -- an evil
which the nation, and indeed all those within the capitalist
system, <p180>

though to a lesser degree, share with that state and its satellites
regarded as the sworn enemies of that system -- is the crass
materialism, which lays excessive and ever-increasing emphasis on
material well-being, forgetful of those things of the spirit on
which alone a sure and stable foundation can be laid for human
society. It is this same cancerous materialism, born originally in
Europe, carried to excess in the North American continent,
contaminating the Asiatic peoples and nations, spreading its
ominous tentacles to the borders of Africa, and now invading its
very heart, which Baha'u'llah in unequivocal and emphatic language
denounced in His Writings, comparing it to a devouring flame and
regarding it as the chief factor in precipitating the dire ordeals
and world-shaking crises that must necessarily involve the burning
of cities and the spread of terror and consternation in the hearts
of men."

Shoghi Effendi reminded us that 'Abdu'l-Baha, during His visit
to both Europe and America, had, from platform and pulpit raised
His voice "with pathetic persistence" against this "all-pervasive,
pernicious materialism" and pointed out that as "this ominous laxity
in morals, this progressive stress laid on man's material
pursuits and well-being" continued, the political horizon was also
darkening "as witnessed by the widening of the gulf separating the
protagonists of two antagonistic schools of thought which, however
divergent in their ideologies, are to be commonly condemned by the
upholders of the standard of the Faith of Baha'u'llah for their
materialistic philosophies and their neglect of those spiritual
values and eternal verities on which alone a stable and flourishing
civilization can be ultimately established."
The Guardian constantly called to our attention that the objectives,
standards and practices of the present-day world were, for
the most part, in opposition to or a corrupt form of what the
Baha'is believe and seek to establish. The guidance he gave us in
such matters was not confined to issues as blatant and burning as
those cited in the above quotations. He educated us as well -- if we
accept to be educated by him -- in matters of good taste, sound
judgement and good breeding. So often he would say: this is a
religion of the golden mean, the middle of the way, neither this
extreme nor that. What he meant by this was not compromise but the
very essence of the thought conveyed in these words of Baha'u'llah
Himself: "overstep not the bounds of moderation; whoso cleaveth to
justice can, under no circumstances, transgress the limits of
moderation." We live in perhaps the most immoderate society the
world has ever <p181>

seen, shaking itself to pieces because it has turned its back on
God and refused His Messenger.

Shoghi Effendi did not see this society with the eyes that we see
it. Had he done so he would not have been our guide and our shield
. Whereas the Manifestation of God appears from celestial realms
and brings a new age with Him, the Guardian's station and function
was entirely different. He was very much a man of the Twentieth
Century. Far from being alien to the world in which he lived one
might say he represented the best of it in his clear and logical
mind, his unembarrassed, uninhibited appraisal of it. His
understanding of the weaknesses of others, however, produced in him
no compromise, no acceptance of wrong trends as evils to be
condoned because they were universal. Too much stress cannot be
laid on this point. We are prone to think that because a thing is
general it is the right thing; because our leaders and scholars
hold a view, it is the right view; because experts assure us that
this, that or the other thing is proper and enduring they speak
with the voice of authority . No such complacence afflicted Shoghi
Effendi. He saw everything in the world today -- in the realm of
politics, morality, art, music, literature, medicine, social
science -- against the framework of Baha'u'llah's teachings. Did it
fit into the guiding lines laid down by Baha'u'llah? It was a sound
trend. Did it not? It was on a wrong and dangerous track.
Shoghi Effendi gave us, over the years, what I like to call "guiding
lines", clarification of great principles, doctrines and
thoughts in our religion. Only a few can be arbitrarily selected
for a work of this scope, but they are ones which to me have a
special significance in shaping our Baha'i outlook in the world we
live in today. One of the most fallacious modern doctrines,
diametrically opposed to the teachings of all religions, is that
man is not responsible for his acts but is excused his wrongdoing
because it is brought about by conditioning factors. This is a
contention with which Shoghi Effendi had no patience, for it was
not in accordance with the words of Baha'u'llah: " That which
traineth the world is justice, for it is upheld by two pillars,
reward and punishment. These two pillars are the source of life to
the world." Individuals, nations, Baha'i communities, the human
race, are all accountable for their acts. Though there are many
factors involved in all our decisions, the essence of Baha'i belief
is that God gives us the chance, the help, and the strength, to
make the right one and that for it we will be rewarded and failing
it we will be punished. This concept is almost the <p182>

opposite of the teachings of modern psychology.

The Guardian's relationship with the entire Baha'i world, as well
as individuals, officials, and non-Baha'is, was based on this principle.
He was immensely patient, but in the end punishment was
swift and just; his rewards were swift too, and to me seemed always
greater than deserved by those who received them.
The highest standards of literature and language are reflected,
whether in Persian, Arabic or English, in the writings of the Bab,
Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi. No debased coin of
words was used by any of them. I remember once when a pilgrim,
sincerely and modestly remonstrated with the Guardian about the
difficulty ordinary people in America had in understanding his
writings and suggested he make them a little bit easier. The
Guardian pointed out, firmly, that this was not the answer; the
answer was for people to raise their standard of English, adding,
in his beautiful voice with its beautiful pronunciation -- and a
slight twinkle in his eye -- that he himself wrote in English. The
implication that a great deal of the writing on the other side of
the Atlantic did not always fall in this category was quite clear!
He urged Baha'i magazines to use an "elevated and impressive style"
and certainly set the example himself at all times.
When I was first married I was a little apprehensive of what the
Guardian's attitude might be towards modern art. Loving the great
periods of art in our own and other cultures I wondered what I
would do if I found he admired modern trends in painting, sculpture
and architecture. I need have had no fears. Occasionally we were
able to visit famous European museums and art galleries together.
I soon discovered, to my great relief, that his love of symmetry
and beauty, of a mature style and a noble expression of real
values, was deep and true. The blind search for a new style,
however sincere and logical it may be, which has followed upon the
general crumbling of the old order of things in the world, Shoghi
Effendi never mistook for the evidence of a new, evolved expression
of art, least of all a Baha'i expression of anything. He knew history
too well to mistake the lowest point of decay, the reflection
of a decadent and moribund society, for the birth of a new style
inspired by Baha'u'llah's World Order! He knew the fruit is the end
product of the growth of the tree and not the first; he knew that
a world system, drawing strength from world peace and unification,
must come first and then be followed by the flowering, in the
Golden Age, of a new, mature expression of art. Lest there be any
doubt of <p183>

this, look at the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab and the
International Archives building which he built; look at the four
designs of the Temples for Mt . Carmel, Tihran, Sydney, and Kampala
he himself chose. They were admittedly conseNative, based on past
experience; but they were also based on styles that had withstood
the test of time and would continue to do so until a new and
organically evolved style could be produced as the world evolved
under the influence of Baha'u'llah's teachings. In letters he wrote
in 1956 to two different National Assemblies about two different
Temples, his secretary states his views as follows: "He feels that,
as this is the Mother Temple ... it has a very great importance;
and must under all circumstances be dignified, and not represent
an extremist point of view in architecture. No one knows how the
styles of the present day may be judged two or three generations
from now; but the Baha'is cannot afford to build a second Temple
if the one they build at the present time should seem too extreme
and unsuitable at a future date." "He was sorry to have to
disappoint Mr. F ... However, there was no possible question
of accepting something as extreme as this. The Guardian feels very
strongly that, regardless of what the opinion of the latest school
of architecture may be on the subject, the styles represented at
present all over the world in architecture are not only very ugly,
but completely lack the dignity and grace which must be at least
partially present in a Baha'1 House of Worship. One must always
bear in mind that the vast majority of human beings are not either
very modern or very extreme in their tastes, and that what the
advanced school may think is marvellous is often very distasteful
indeed to just plain, simple people."

The same thoughts that moved the Guardian as regards literature
and art applied to his feelings about music, of which he had a
great love.
What one gleans from the above is that the Guardian desired to
safeguard the Cause, to maintain for it and its precious
institutions a standard of dignity and beauty that would protect
its Holy Name, the sacred nature of its institutions, its
international character, its newness and promise, from the whims
and caprices of an age in transition and from the undue influence
of a corrupt, wholly western civilization.
How many Baha'is appreciate the fact that just as chastity, honesty
and truthfulness are required of them, courtesy, dignity and
reverence are qualities upheld in the teachings of Baha'u'llah? <p184>

One of Shoghi Effendi's early cables to America stresses this
point: "Dignity of Cause requires restraint use Master's voice
record." The sense of the holiness of things is one of the greatest
benedictions for man. Many times the Guardian brought this to our
attention in instructions such as these: "ensure no one photographs
Bab's portrait during display." To gaze upon the reproduction of
the face of the Manifestation of God, were it the Bab or
Baha'u'llah, was a unique privilege, to be approached as such, not
just as one more reproduction to be passed about from hand to

The sharp distinction between the coalescence of Baha'u'llah's
followers in a unified, spiritually-motivated world system and the
disintegration, side-taking and hatred decimating the races, religions
and political parties of the world, was constantly pointed out
by the Guardian and the dangers involved if the Baha'is did not
hold themselves strictly aloof from these dissensions repeatedly
emphasized. In September 1938, as humanity drifted towards the
precipice of a second world war, Shoghi Effendi cabled a stern
waming and unambiguous instruction to the believers on this policy
of strict neutrality: "Loyalty World Order Baha'u'llah security its
basic institutions both imperatively demand all its avowed supporters
particularly its champion-builders American continent in these
days when sinister uncontrollable forces are deepening cleavage
sundering peoples nations creeds classes resolve despite pressure
fast crystallizing public opinion abstain individually collectively
in word action informally as well in all of ficial utterances
publications from assigning blame taking sides however indirectly
in recurring political crises now agitating ultimately engulfing
human society. Grave apprehension lest cumulative effect such
compromises disintegrate fabric clog channel grace that sustains
system God's essentially supranational supematural order so
laboriously evolved so recently established."
The patriotism of Baha'is is not manifest in an allegiance to
national prejudices and political systems but rather in two ways:
to serve one's country by fostering its highest spiritual interests
and by implicit obedience to government, whatever that government
may be. The Guardian pointed out, in 1932, that the extension of
Baha'i activities throughout the world and "the variety of the
communities which labor under divers forms of government, so
essentially different in their standards, policies and methods,
make it absolutely essential for all ... members of any one of
these communities to avoid any action that might, by arousing the
suspicion <p185>

or exciting the antagonism of any one government, involve their
brethren in fresh persecutions..." and went on to say: "How
else, might I ask, could such a far-flung Faith, which transcends
political and social boundaries, which includes within its pale so
great a variety of races and nations, which will have to rely
increasingly as it forges ahead, on the good-will and support of
the diversified and contending governments of the earth -- how else
could such a Faith succeed in preserving its unity, in safeguarding
its interests, and in ensuring the steady and peaceful development
of its institutions?" On another occasion Shoghi Effendi wrote:
"Let them proclaim that in whatever country they reside, and
however advanced their institutions, or profound their desire to
enforce the laws, and apply the principles enunciated by
Baha'u'llah, they will, unhesitatingly, subordinate the operation
of such laws and the application of such principles to the
requirements of their respective governments. Theirs is not the
purpose, while endeavouring to conduct and perfect the
administrative affairs of their Faith, to violate, under any
circumstances, the provisions of their country's constitution, much
less to allow the machinery of their Administration to supersede
the government of their respective countries." A telegram of the
Guardian, sent in 1930 to one of the Near Eastern Assemblies,
points very clearly to the correct Baha'i attitude: "unless
government objects formation Assembly essential". The Baha'is, as

Shoghi Effendi said so aptly, belong to no political party but to
"God's party". They are the agents of His Divine Polity.

The freedom of a sovereign state to pursue its own policies --
however detrimental they might be to Baha'i interests -- was upheld
by Shoghi Effendi in 1929 when the Soviet Government expropriated
the first Baha'i Temple of the world. In spite of the sorrow this
action caused the Guardian he wrote that because of the articles
of its own constitution the authorities had acted "within their
recognized and legitimate rights". When every appeal had failed of
its purpose, he instructed the Baha'is in that country to obey the
decrees of their Government, trusting that in time, as he wrote,
God would "lift the veil that now obscures the vision of their
rulers, and reveal the nobility of aim, the innocence of purpose,
the rectitude of conduct, and the humanitarian ideals that
characterize the as yet small yet potentially powerful Baha'i
communities in every land and under any government."
It must not be thought that as this Faith grew in strength and <p186>

passed from victory to victory there was a change in this fundamental
policy enunciated by Shoghi Effendi only eight years after he
became Guardian. Far from it. In 1955 he cabled a message to all
National Assemblies, at a time when the number of countries
enrolled under the banner of the Faith had almost doubled during
two years, appealing to the believers who were engaged in the
mightiest Crusade ever launched since the inception of the Faith
"whether residing homelands overseas however repressive regimes
under which they labour ponder anew full implications essential
requirements their stewardship Cause Baha'u'llah ... rise higher
levels consecration vigilantly combat all forms misrepresentations
eradicate suspicions dispel misgivings silence criticisms through
still more compelling demonstration loyalty their respective governments
win maintain strengthen confidence civil authorities their
integrity sincerity reaffirm universality aims purposes Faith proclaim
spiritual character its fundamental principles assert nonpolitical
character its Administrative institutions..."

There are three factors involved in this question of loyalty to
government yet complete aloofness from politics: one is obedience,
another is wisdom and the third is the use of approved legal channels.
Too often the factor of wisdom is overlooked, and yet the
Guardian made it abundantly clear that it should always be considered.
In a world where the press, television and radio are hourly
pouring out accusations, indictments and abuse upon the systems and
policies of other nations, the Baha'is cannot be too wise.
In various countries he forbade the Baha'is to seek publicity and
told them to shun all contact with certain sects and nationalities
who, if they heard of the Faith or accepted it, could place the
entire work of the pioneers in jeopardy. This was the essence of
wisdom and every time it was ignored it led to disaster.
On the other hand, in different countries at different times, the
Guardian strongly urged the Assemblies and the pioneers, wherever
the way was open to do so, to protect the interests of the Faith
through legal channels and through securing for it legal recognition,
as well as through insuring the support of public opinion
through the media of the press and radio.
In such matters of policy as these, however, which affect the
international interests and well-being of the Faith, guidance and
protection must come from the World Centre, which, by its very
nature, is the sole authority in a position to use its judgement
on such vital and delicate questions. <p187>

Another great guiding line of thought was the Guardian's exposition
of what unity means in the Baha'i teachings. Shoghi Effendi
wrote that "the principle of unification which" the Cause "advocates
and with which it stands identified" the enemies of the Faith
"have misconceived as a shallow attempt at uniformity"; "Let there
be no misgivings as to the animating purpose of the world-wide Law
of Baha'u'llah ... it repudiates excessive centralization on the
one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other.
Its watchword is unity in diversity..." The principle of the
Oneness of Mankind, Shoghi Effendi stated, though it aimed at
creating "a world organically unified in all the essential aspects
of its life" was nevertheless to be a world "infinite in the
diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units."
He wrote of "the highly diversified Baha'i society of the future"
and, urging the Baha'is to pay special attention to winning the
adherence to the Faith of different races, said, "A blending of
these highly differentiated elements of the human race,
harmoniously interwoven into the fabric of an all-embracing Baha'i
fraternity and assimilated through the processes of a divinelyappointed
Administrative Order, and contributing each its share to
the enrichment and glory of Baha'i community life, is surely an
achievement the contemplation of which must warm and thrill every
Baha'i heart." This Faith, Shoghi Effendi wrote, "does not ignore,
nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins,
of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and
habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world."
In an age of proselytizing, when nations and blocks of nations,
various societies and organizations are hammering away at people's
minds day and night, seeking to make them over in their own image,
seeking to force their political systems, their clothes, their way
of living, their housing, their medical systems, their philosophy
and moral and social codes on each other, it is surely of the
greatest importance for Baha'is to ponder their own teachings and
the illuminating interpretation of them given by their Guardian.
The Western World today has a passion for uniformity . As far as
it can it is trying to make everyone alike. The result is that
while much good is undoubtedly being spread, and material benefits
are reaching an ever larger number of people, many things
diametrically opposed to the methods and objectives of Baha'u'llah
are also taking place.
One of the things our western materialism is rapidly spreading --
in addition to irreligion, immorality and the worship of money
and <p188>

possessions -- is a wave of despair, unrest, and a feeling of deep
inferiority among the so-called backward peoples of the world. We
might well pause to contrast the impact -- so deadly -- that this self-
importance, self-satisfaction and wealth is having upon other
people with where the Guardian placed the emphasis in his relation
to such peoples. Why did Shoghi Effendi keep and publish such
exhaustive lists of the "races" and the "tribes" enlisted under the
banner of the Faith? Did he perhaps collect them, each as a separate
pearl, to weave into precious adornments for the body of
Baha'u'llah's Cause? Why did he hang on the walls of the Mansion
in Bahji a picture of the first Pygmy Baha'i, and the first
descendant of the Inca Indians to accept the Faith? Surely it was
not as curiosities or trophies but rather because the beloved
Josephs of the world were come home to the tent of their Father.
So well I remember when Shoghi Effendi discovered that one of his
pilgrims was a descendant of the old royal family of Hawaiian
kings. He seemed to radiate with a joy and delight that was almost
tangible and this glow enveloped a man whose portion in life had
been mostly compounded of scorn for his native blood! It must not
be thought that such things were personal peculiarities of Shoghi
Effendi or matters of policy. Far, far from it. It was the
reflection of the very essence of the teachings that each division
of the human race is endowed with gifts of its own needed to make
the new Order of Baha'u'llah diversified, rich and perfect.

Not only did Shoghi Effendi preach this, he actively pursued it,
through announcements, appeals and instructions to Baha'i
Assemblies: "First all red Indian Assembly consolidated Macy
Nebraska" he cabled triumphantly in 1949. Constantly remembering
'Abdu'l-Baha's words in the Tablets of the Divine Plan to "give
great importance to teaching the Indians, i.e., the aborigines of
America" Shoghi Effendi pursued this objective until the last
months of his life, when he wrote, in July 1957, to the Canadian
National Assembly, that the "long overdue conversion" of the
American Indians, the Eskimos and other minorities, should receive
such an impetus "as to astonish and stimulate the members of all
Baha'i communities throughout the length and breadth of the Western
Hemisphere. "
A year before, in one of Shoghi Effendi's letters to the United
States National Assembly, his secretary had written: "The beloved
Guardian feels that sufficient attention is not being paid to the
matter of contacting minorities in the United States ... He feels
your <p189>

Assembly should appoint a special committee to survey the possibilities
of this kind of work, and then instruct local Assemblies
accordingly, and in the meantime encourage the Baha'is to be active
in this field, which is one open to everybody, as the minorities
are invariably lonely, and often respond to kindness much more
quickly than the well-established majority of the population."

The natural outcome of this policy is the unique attitude the
Baha'i Faith has towards minorities, which was set forth so clearly
by Shoghi Effendi in The Advent of Divine Justice: "To discriminate
against any race, on the ground of its being socially backward,
politically immature, and numerically in a minority, is a flagrant
violation of the spirit that animates the Faith". Once a person accepts
this Faith "every differentiation of class, creed, or colour
must automatically be obliterated, and never be allowed, under any
pretext, and however great the pressure of events or public
opinion, to reassert itself." Shoghi Effendi then goes on to state
a principle so at variance with the political thinking of the
entire world that it deserves far more consideration than we
usually give it: "If any discrimination is at all to be tolerated,
it should be a discrimination not against, but rather in favour of
the minority, be it racial or otherwise. Unlike the nations and
peoples of the earth, be they of the East or of the West,
democratic or authoritarian, communist or capitalist, whether
belonging to the Old World or the New, who either ignore, trample
upon, or extirpate, the racial, religious or political minorities
within the sphere of their jurisdiction, every organized community,
enlisted under the banner of Baha'u'llah should feel it to be its
first and inescapable obligation to nurture, encourage, and
safeguard every minority belonging to any faith, race, class, or
nation within it. So great and vital is this principle that in such
circumstances, as when an equal number of ballots has been cast in
an election, or where the qualifications for any office are
balanced as between the various races, faiths or nationalities
within the community, priority should unhesitatingly be accorded
the party representing the minority, and this for no other reason
except to stimulate and encourage it, and afford it an opportunity
to further the interests of the community." Shoghi Effendi once
expressed the workings of this principle so succinctly and
brilliantly that I wrote it down in his own words: "the minority
of a majority is more important than the majority of a minority."
In other words it is not the numerical strength or weakness in the
nation that is the index of a minority, but its numerical strength
or <p190> weakness inside the Baha'i community holding the election -- so great
is the protection of any minority. The Guardian used to say that
when the day came that a Baha'i state existed the rights of non-Baha'i
religious minorities would be rigorously protected by the

The Baha'i Faith not only safeguards society as a whole and protects
the rights of minorities, it upholds the rights of the
individual, internationally the individual nation, and within the
community, the individual human being. "The unity of the human
race, as envisaged by Baha'u'llah," Shoghi Effendi wrote, "implies
the establishment of a world commonwealth ... in which the
autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and
initiative of the individuals that compose them are definitely and
completely safeguarded."
Staunchly as the Guardian upheld the authority of the Assemblies,
he was also a stout defender of the individual believer and had a
deep bond of love with the "rank and file" of the followers of
Baha'u'llah. Scarcely an appeal was made to the Baha'i world or to
National communities that did not address the individual Baha'i and
not only encourage his initiative, but point out that without it
all plans must fail.
The humble have ever been singled out for unique blessings. In 1925
Shoghi Effendi wrote: "Not infrequently, nay oftentimes, the most
lowly, untutored and inexperienced among the friends will, by sheer
inspiring force of selfless and ardent devotion, contribute a
distinct and memorable share to a highly involved discussion in any
given Assembly." The Guardian was a passionate admirer of the meek
and pure in heart and disliked aggressive and, particularly,
ambitious individuals. His appeals for pioneers made his attitude
quite plain: "all must participate, however humble their origin,
however limited their experience, however restricted their means,
however deficient their education, however pressing their cares and
preoccupations, however unfavourable the environment in which they
live ... How often ... have the lowliest adherents of the
Faith, unschooled and utterly inexperienced, and with no standing
whatever, and in some cases devoid of intelligence, been capable
of winning victories for their Cause, before which the most
brilliant achievements of the learned, the wise and the experienced
have paled."
Little minds instinctively seek to circumscribe the things around
them, to pull in the walls to the size of their own small
existence, to <p191>

get everything squared off to their own scale so they can feel safe
and snug. This process invariably means that a lot of the material
used in their walls is from the last house they lived in, is very
much what they were accustomed to before they moved, so to speak.
Big minds, on the contrary, push the horizons farther away, create
new frontiers, leave room for growth. It is not difficult, when one
reads over the letters to and from the Guardian, to see how he kept
a perfect balance between what was wise and essential for the
present stage of the Faith, and what would unduly circumscribe its
unfoldment and crystallize its living teachings into a premature
form, too small, too national or provincial, too sectarian or
racial, to expand into a World Order, with its attendant world
government and world society.

From the earliest days of his ministry Shoghi Effendi set about
creating order in what was then a very small Baha'i world, barely
existing in some of the thirty-five countries which had received
at least a ray of illumination from the Light of Baha'u'llah. The
great, guiding lines were clear in his mind and as he grew older,
and the community of believers grew and increased in experience,
these lines became clearer and details were added. So often, as I
listened to and observed Shoghi Effendi, I felt he was the only
real Baha'i in the world. Everyone else, claiming to be a Baha'i,
had a portion of the Faith, an angle on it, a concept, however
large, tinctured by his own limitations, but the Guardian saw it
as a whole, in all its greatness and perfect balance. He had not
only the capacity to see but to analyse and express with brilliant
clarity what he saw.
For instance take this epitome of what he felt the Baha'i Faith is
in the scheme of things: "... it should be stated that the
Revelation identified with Baha'u'llah abrogates unconditionally
all the Dispensations gone before it, upholds uncompromisingly the
eternal verities they enshrine, recognizes firmly and absolutely
the Divine origin of their Authors, preserves inviolate the
sanctity of their authentic Scriptures, disclaims any intention of
lowering the status of their Founders or of abating the spiritual
ideals they inculcate, clarifies and correlates their functions,
reaffirms their common, their unchangeable and fundamental purpose,
reconciles their seemingly divergent claims and doctrines, readily
and gratefully recognizes their respective contributions to the
gradual unfoldment of one Divine Revelation, unhesitatingly acknowledges
itself to be but one link in the chain of continually
progressive Revelations, supplements their teachings with such laws

ordinances as conform to the imperative needs, and are dictated by
the growing receptivity, of a fast evolving and constantly changing
society, and proclaims its readiness and ability to fuse and
incorporate the contending sects and factions into which they have
fallen into a universal Fellowship, functioning within the
framework, and in accordance with the precepts, of a divinely
conceived, a worldunifying, a world-redeeming Order." Immediately
one sees where this "greatest religious Dispensation in the
spiritual history of mankind" fits into the panorama of history.

This Faith, "at once the essence, the promise, the reconciler,
and the unifier of all religions", had, as its "primary mission",
the establishment of a Divine Civilization. I remember in the
course of a conversation Shoghi Effendi had with a former teacher
of his at the American University in Beirut, how beautifully he
answered this man's question as to what was the purpose of life to
a Baha'i. The Guardian answered that the object of life to a Baha'i
was to promote the oneness of mankind. He then went on to point out
that Baha'u'llah had appeared at a time when His Message could and
should be directed to the whole world and not merely to individuals;
that salvation today was through world salvation, world
change, world reform of society and that the world civilization
resulting from this would in turn reflect upon the individuals composing
it and lead to their redemption and reformation. Over and
over Shoghi Effendi made it clear in his writings and talks that
the two processes must go on together -- reform of society, reform
of personal character. There was never any doubt that individual
regeneration, as he wrote to a non-Baha'i in 1926, was the "sure
and enduring foundation on which a reconstructed society" would
develop and prosper. But how could one create a pattern for future
society, even a tiny embryo of the future World Commonwealth of
Baha'u'llah, if all around its fringes it was still interwoven with
the fabric of that society which was dying out, must die out, to
make way for the new?
Shoghi Effendi took up his scalpel -- the interpretation of the
writings of the Faith -- and began to cut. Although the reading
aright of our doctrines showed that there was only one religion,
that of God Almighty, all down the ages, and the Prophets were its
exponents at various times in history, the fact remained, Shoghi
Effendi made us understand, that the duty of man in each new Dispensation
was to adhere to it in all its forms and cut one's self
away from the outer forms and secondary laws of the previous
religion. <p193>

How could any honest Christian remain in the church and pray for
the coming of the Father and His Kingdom while in his heart he very
well knew Baha'u'llah was the Father and the Kingdom was beginning
to emerge through the establishment of His laws and system as
reflected and embodied in the Administrative Order? The
Baha'is -- East and West -- had vaguely understood this to a greater
or lesser degree in different places, but now, through the communications
of the Guardian, they began to see a sharp line where
shadow and light met, with no comfortable twilight zone of compromise
with family feelings, community opinion, personal convenience
left. You were expected to either get in or get out. This
had a purifying and stiffening effect on the entire body of
believers the world over and made them, as never before, conscious
of the fact that they were a world body of people, the people of
the new Day, of the new Dispensation.

It is in the light of this process that we must see how the
emphasis shifted, over the years, in relation to the acceptance of
new Baha'is. During the first decade-and-a-half of Shoghi Effendi's
ministry Baha'i bodies, in the West in particular, were encouraged
to be sure that those who became Baha'is were well aware of the
greatness of the step they took. A clear break with the past was
required of them. "Otherwise", Shoghi Effendi wrote in 1927, "those
whose faith is still unripe may thereby remain indefinitely along
the circumference and continue in their attitude of half-hearted
allegiance to the teachings of the Cause in their entirety." During
those years the Faith rose in fame and stature, won in many western
lands recognition as an independent religion with laws and a system
of its own, was greatly helped in this process by the ruling of a
Muslim court in Egypt which stated we were not part of Islam but
as distinct from it as Christianity or Judaism, and became
increasingly acknowledged as a Faith in its own right. Shoghi
Effendi, however, constantly vigilant and unnaturally sensitive to
whatever affected the life of the Cause, detected a trend amongst
the administrative institutions to carry his original instruction
in such matters (given in 1933) that the Assemblies should be "slow
to accept" new believers, too far. A new rigidity was in danger of
frustrating the main animating purpose of all Baha'i
institutions -- to convert mankind to the Faith of Baha'u'llah. The
Baha'is, in their eagerness to obey Shoghi Effendi's instructions,
had gone to extremes and were so interested in screening applicants
that it was getting difficult to become a Baha'i at all. In 1938
Shoghi Effendi, therefore, found it <p194>

necessary to instruct the American Assemblies "to desist from insisting
too rigidly on the minor observations and beliefs, which
might prove a stumbling block in the way of any sincere applicant"
and pointed out the duty of Baha'i communities was to nurse the new
believers, subsequent to their acceptance of the Faith, into Baha'i

As the Faith grew in inner cohesion and strength, as National Assembly
after National Assembly was formed in East and West and
began to function strongly and systematically, as the people of the
world became increasingly aware of the existence of this new religion
as an independent Revelation with a system of its own, the
instructions of Shoghi Effendi changed. Particularly during the
great Ten Year Plan of Teaching and Consolidation the whole emphasis
in relation to the enrollment of new Baha'is was modified;
now we were strong, now our foundations had been unassailably laid,
now we could deal, at last, at last, with the masses of mankind in
all the countries of the world. F,ing open the doors and bring them
into the ark of Baha'u'llah's salvation! The time had come to obey
'Abdu'l-Baha's injunction: "Summon the people in these countries,
capitals, islands, assemblies and churches to enter the Abha
Kingdom." In other words having achieved his end Shoghi Effendi
changed his tactic. He informed the American National Assembly that
the fundamental and primary requisites a candidate should have were
acceptance of the stations of the Bab, the Forerunner; Baha'u'llah,
the Author; and 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Exemplar of the Faith; submission
to whatever They had revealed; loyal and steadfast adherence to the
provisions of the Will of the Master; and close association with
the spirit and form of the worldwide Baha'i Administration. These
were the "principal factors" and any attempt to analyse and
elucidate further, he said, would only lead to barren discussion
and controversy and be detrimental to the growth of the Cause. He
ended up his exposition on this delicate subject by urging the
friends, unless some particular circumstance made it absolutely
necessary, to "refrain from drawing rigidly the line of
The Bab, Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi were the
Great Teachers. Their ministries cach so different in charac-
ter -- were primarily devoted to the sublime aim of bringing all mankind
under the tent of this healing, peace-giving, soulregenerating
Faith. Over and over again, insistently, for thirty-
six years Shoghi Effendi rallied us to "the preeminent task of
teaching the Faith to <p195>

the multitudes ... a task", he assured us in his last Rid. van
Message to the Baha'i world, "... at once so sacred, so
fundamental, and so urgent; primarily involving and challenging
every single individual; the bed-rock on which the solidity and the
stability of the multiplying institutions of a rising Order must

If one compiled what the Guardian has written on the subject of
teaching it would be a good-sized book. But one sees throughout
that the objective was clear, the duty fixed, the methods adaptable
and fluid. Shoghi Effendi used so many words in connection with new
Baha'is and their acceptance of Baha'u'llah: he called them
"converts", "candidates", "avowed adherents", "new believers",
"unreserved" supporters of the Faith and many other descriptive and
satisfying names; he said they were "enrolled", "converted",
"declared their faith", "embraced the Faith", "enlisted" under
Baha'u'llah's banner, "espoused His Cause", "joined the ranks" of
the faithful and so on. In an age of banal, stereotyped cliches we
might do well to remember this. <p197>



In making any attempt to give a coherent picture of what Shoghi
Effendi called the first epoch in the evolution of 'Abdu'l-Baha's
Divine Plan -- an epoch which he stated began in 1937 and would end
in 1963, and comprised "three successive" crusades -- one must go
back and study his writings chronologically, for in them the clear
reflection of his mind and the emergence of the scheduled pattern
of his plans can be discerned. Ever since the passing of his
beloved Master the whole object of the Guardian's existence was to
fulfill His wishes and complete His works. The Divine Plan,
conceived by Him, in one of the darkest periods in human history
was, Shoghi Effendi stated, "'Abdu'l-Baha's unique and grand
design," embodied in His Tablets to those Baha'is of the United
States and Canada, with which the destinies of the followers of
Baha'u'llah in the North American continent would "for generations
to come remain inextricably interwoven"; for twenty years it had
been held in abeyance while the agencies of a slowly emerging
Administrative Order were being created and perfected for "its
efficient, systematic prosecution". How much importance the
Guardian attached to this fundamental concept, often stressed by
him, we are prone to forget, so let us turn to his actual words.
During the opening years of the first Seven Year Plan, in 1939, he
wrote to the American Community: "Through all the resources at
their disposal, they are promoting the Fowth and consolidation of
that pioneer movement for which the entire machinery of their
Administrative Order has been primarily designed and erected."
Eighteen years later Shoghi Effendi's view on this subject was the
same, for he wrote to one of the European National Assemblies in
1957, shortly before his passing: "Less substantial, however, has
been the progress achieved in the all-important teaching field, and
far inferior the acceleration in the vital process of individual
conversion for which the entire <p198>

machinery of the Administrative Order has been primarily and so
laboriously erected."

If we view aright what happened in 1937 at the beginning of the
first Seven Year Plan, we see that Shoghi Effendi, now in his fortieth
year, stepped out as the general leading an army -- the North
American Baha'is -- and marched off to the spiritual conquest of the
Western Hemisphere. While other generals, famous in the eyes of the
world, were leading vast armies to destruction all over the planet,
fighting battles of unprecedented horror in Europe, Asia and
Africa, this unknown general, unrecognized and unsung, was devising
and prosecuting a campaign more vital and far-reaching than
anything they could ever do. Their battles were inspired by
national hates and ambitions, his by love and self-sacrifice. They
fought for the preservation of dying concepts and values, for the
past order of things, he fought for the future, with its radiant
age of peace and unity, a world society and the Kingdom of God on
earth. Their names and battles are slowly being forgotten, but
Shoghi Effendi's name and fame is rising steadily, and his
victories rise in greatness with him, never to be forgotten.
In reviewing the overwhelming volume of material on the subject of
the Guardian's Plans we must never forget that although the first
organized implementation of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Spiritual Mandate to the
American believers (and let us note that this term does not refer
to the Baha'is of the United States alone but to the believers of
North America) took place with the initiation of the first Seven
Year Plan, a body of devoted American followers of the Faith, the
majority of whom Shoghi Effendi pointed out were "women pioneers",
had already arisen, in immediate response to the Tablets of the
Divine Plan presented to the Eleventh Annual Baha'i Convention in
New York in 1919, and had proceeded to Australia, the northernmost
capitals of Europe, most of its Central States, the Balkan
Peninsula, the fringes of Africa and Latin America, some countries
in Asia and the islands of Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean. During
thirty-six years Shoghi Effendi neverforgot the services of these
souls or ceased to name them. He made it clear, however, that such
overseas teaching enterprises of the American Baha'is had been
"tentative" and "intermittent". With the inauguration of the first
Seven Year Plan a new epoch had begun.
When the Divine Plan will come to an end we do not know. Its
significance has been elaborated by the Guardian in innumerable
passages. It was, he wrote, "the weightiest spiritual enterprise <p199>

launched in recorded history"; "the most potent agency for the
development of the World Administrative System"; "a primary factor
in the birth and efflorescence of the World Order itself in both
the East and West."

With Shoghi Effendi everything was clear: there was The Plan, and
then there were plans and plans! There were, after the inauguration
of the first Seven Year Plan, in the course of many years, and in
various parts of the world, a Nineteen Month, Two Year, Three Year,
Forty-five Month, Four-and-a-Half Year, Five Year, Six Year, and
other plans; but whether given by him or spontaneously initiated
by the Baha'is themselves, he knew where to place them in the
scheme of things. There was a God-given Mission, enshrined in a
God-given Mandate, entrusted to the American believers; this
Mission was their birthright, but they could only fulfill it by
obeying the instructions given them in the Master's Tablets of the
Divine Plan and winning every crusade they undertook; the other
plans, Shoghi Effendi wrote in 1949, "are but supplements to the
vast enterprise whose features have been delineated in those same
Tablets and are to be regarded, by their very nature, as regional
in scope, in contrast with the world-embracing character of the
Mission entrusted to the community of the champion builders of the
World Order of Baha'u'llah, and the torch-bearers of the civilization
which that Order must eventually establish."
If Shoghi Effendi was the general, undoubtedly his chief of staff
was the American Assembly; it got its orders direct from him and
the rapport was intimate and complete . But he never forgot that
the glory of an army is its soldiers, the "rank and file", as he
forthrightly called them. He never ceased to appeal to them, to
inspire them, to love them and to inform them that every North
American believer shared a direct responsibility for the success
of the Plan. Knowing how prone human nature is to be diverted from
any purpose, he constantly reiterated the tasks undertaken, the
responsibility assumed, the immediate need. When the different
crusades approached their end and the success of various aspects
of the work seemed to hang in the balance, his appeals rose in a
veritable crescendo and swept the Bahahs to victory.
The first Seven Year Plan had a "triple task": one, to complete the
exterior ornamentation of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in the
Western World; two, to establish one local Spiritual Assembly in
every state of the United States and every province of Canada;
three, to create one centre in each Latin American Republic "for <p200>

whose entry into the fellowship of Baha'u'llah", Shoghi Effendi
wrote, "the Plan was primarily formulated." Every nation in the
Western Hemisphere was to be "woven into the fabric of
Baha'u'llah's triumphant Order" and he pointed out to us that there
were twenty independent Latin American Republics "constituting
approximately one-third of the entire number of the world's
sovereign states" and that the Plan was no less than an "arduous
twofold campaign undertaken simultaneously in the homeland and in
Latin America."

A little over two years after the initiation of this historic
teaching drive Europe went to war; another two years passed and the
United States -- and practically the whole planet -- was at war. Its
sevenyear activity took place in the face of the greatest suffering
and darkest threat the New World had ever experienced. The degree
to which Shoghi Effendi watched over, encouraged and guided this
first great Plan of the Divine Plan is unbelievable. Messages
streamed from him to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is
of the United States and Canada. He told them the "deepening gloom"
of the Old World invested their labours with a "significance and
urgency" that could not be over-estimated. The Latin American
campaign was "one of the most glorious chapters in the
international history of the Faith." It was the "opening scene of
the First Act of that superb Drama whose theme is no less than the
spiritual conquest of both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. "
After two years of the Plan had run their course, when the exterior
ornamentation of the Temple was satisfactorily progressing, and a
series of ardent appeals from him had ensured that all the preliminary
steps had been taken on the homefront, Shoghi Effendi
waved his arm and directed the march of his forces down the coasts
and over the islands of Central America, following, as he cabled,
in a "methodical advance along line traced pen 'Abdu'l-Baha". In
spite of his own ever-growing burdens and anxieties he informed the
friends he wished to keep personally in contact with pioneers in
North, Central and South America. What those letters of his meant
to the pioneers "holding", as he said, "their lonely posts in
widely scattered areas throughout the Americas", only those who
received them can truly judge, but I myself wonder if this, or
later crusades would ever have been won without this communion he
had with the believers. His love, encouragement and understanding
kept them anchored to their posts. Not a few are still where they
are because of letters signed "Your true brother, Shoghi". <p201>

In looking back on those glorious and terrible years of the last
war the success of the first Seven Year Plan seems truly
miraculous. While humanity was being decimated in Europe and Asia,
while the World Centre of the Faith was being threatened with
unprecedented danger on four sides, while the United States and
Canada were engaged in a world conflict, with its attendant
anxieties, restrictions and furor, a handful of people lacking in
resources but rich in faith, lacking in prestige but rich in
determination, succeeded in not only doubling the number of Baha'i
Assemblies in North America and ensuring the existence of at least
one in every state of the Union and every province of Canada, but
in completing the extremely costly exterior omamentation of their
Mother Temple sixteen months ahead of the scheduled time, and
establishing not only a strong Baha'i group in each of the twenty
Latin Republics, but in addition fifteen Spiritual Assemblies
throughout the entire area. In the last months of the Plan Shoghi
Effendi fairly stormed the remaining unfinished tasks, with his
valiant little army, too excited to feel the exhaustion of seven
years' constant struggle, hard at his heels. When the sun of the
second Baha'i Century rose, it rose on triumph. To his cohorts
Shoghi Effendi said that he and the entire Baha'i world owed them
a debt of gratitude no one could "measure or describe".
For twenty years, under the guidance of Shoghi Effendi, to a design
he provided, the Baha'is wove the tapestry of the three great
Crusades of his ministry. Amidst the busy, multi-coloured scenes,
depicting so much work in so many places, could be discerned three
sumptuous golden wheels -- the three great Centenaries, historic
landmarks into which he drew the threads of his plans and out of
which they emerged to form still more beautiful and powerful patterns.
The first of these Centenaries took place on May 23,1944.
Providentially the vast majority of Baha'i communities throughout
the world had not been cut off from communication with the Guardian
at the World Centre, nor, in spite of the dangers of an encroaching
theatre of war, been swallowed up in its battles. Persia, 'Iraq,
Egypt, India, GreatBritain, Australia, New Zealand and the Western
Hemisphere had been miraculously spared. These communities, each
to the degree possible under the circumstances prevailing in its
own land, proceeded to celebrate the glorious occasion of the one
hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab, which was at
once the inception of the Baha'i cycle as well as the birthday of
'Abdu'l-Baha. <p202>

In spite of the fact that the Persian believers were not free to
hold befitting nation-wide celebrations on the occasion of the
first Centenary of the Faith which had dawned in their native land,
this does not mean that worthy homage was not paid to the memory
of the blessed Bab. The Guardian himself, full of tenderness for
a community so perpetually af,9icted, instructed its national body
in detail regarding the manner in which this glorious event was to
be commemorated.
For the North American Baha'i Community a second anniversary
occurred at the same time, as it was fifty years since the establishment
of the Faith in the Western World. Shoghi Effendi, with
his usual foresight and method, made quite clear to the American
Baha'is in a series of messages during 1943 how he expected them
to appropriately commemorate such an occasion and why he wanted
them to do it on such a scale: in "its scope and magnificence" it
was to "fully compensate for the disabilities which hinder so many
communities in Europe and elsewhere, and even in Baha'u'llah's
native land, from paying a befitting tribute to their beloved Faith
at so glorious an hour in its history."
The celebrations the Americans would hold, he said, would not only
crown their own labours but those of the entire body of their
fellow-workers in both the East and the West.
Similar, though less ostentatious gatherings were being held in
other countries. The close of these international festivities,
Shoghi Effendi said, would mark the end of the first epoch of the
Formative Age of the Faith which had lasted from 1921 to 1944.
The close of one century and the opening of another is a propitious
moment to take stock of the Baha'i world. Such a torrent of
material presents itself to anyone trying to evaluate the labours
of the Guardian that it is difflcult indeed to know how to deal
with his various achievements. He was not only a great creator of
facts but an able and interested statistician and there was very
little that he could not dramatize. But is not that the very
essence of living -- to derive interest from what superficially seems
perfunctory, obligatory and therefore boring?
In 1944 Shoghi Effendi published, in Haifa, a small pamphlet,
twenty-six pages long, which bore the title The Baha'i Faith, 1844
1944, and under this, modestly, "Information Statistical and Comparative";
in 1950, with much more exhaustive material provided by
him, the Baha'i Publishing Committee in the United States published
a similar, larger pamphlet, thirty-five pages long, with a map; <p203>

on it they put: "Compiled by Shoghi Effendi Guardian of the Baha'i
Faith" . In 1952, again with material provided by him and at his
instigation, both the British and American National Assemblies
published the same pamphlet, with the same heading only this time
twice as long and covering the period 1844-1952. Shoghi Effendi had
now added a new sub-title "Ten Year International Teaching and
Consolidation Plan".

It is impossible to go into details on a subject as vast as this
one. On the other hand to ignore it completely would be unjust to
a field of work that absorbed, for over thirteen years, a great
deal of Shoghi Effendi's attention and time. One cannot argue with
facts; one can disagree with ideas, pooh-pooh claims, belittle
historic happenings, but when one is shown in cold print that such
and such a thing is worth five-and-a-half-million dollars, or that
seven National Baha'i Assemblies have been incorporated, or that
the Baha'i Marriage Ceremony is entirely legal in fifteen states,
or one reads the names of the African tribes who are represented
in the Faith, the languages in which its teachings have been
translated, one is forced to accept that this Faith exists in a
very concrete way. Facts were part of Shoghi Effendi's ammunition
with which he could defend the Faith against its enemies and
through which he could not only encourage the Baha'is but
stimulate them to greater effort.
One of his most cherished lists, the first and foremost, was that
which reflected the spread of this glorious Cause entrusted to his
care by 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1921. Under "Countries opened to the Faith
of Baha'u'llah" he had placed for the period of the Bab's Ministry:
2; Baha'u'llah's Ministry: 13; 'Abdu'l-Baha's Ministry: 20. From
1921-1932, 5 were added in 11 years; 1932-1944, 38 were added in
12 years; 1944-1950, 22 were added in 6 years; 1950-1951, 6 were
added in one year; 1951-1952, 22 were added in one year; 1952-1953,
no increase in number; 1953-1954,100 were added in one year; 19541957,
26 more were added. When Shoghi Effendi became Guardian there
were 35 countries, but when he passed away he had raised this
number to 251 219 added by his vision, drive and determination
working through and with a dedicated, spiritually inflamed worldwide
group of believers.
The Guardian devoted particular attention, in addition to creating
the structural basis of the Administrative Order and assuring the
rapid spread of the Faith, to ensuring that Baha'i literature be
made available, in different languages, to the people of the
world. <p204>

In 1944 there were Baha'i publications available in 41 languages;
by 1957 there were 237.

He was not only eager to welcome as many different ethnic groups
into the Faith as possible but constantly urged the Baha'is to
reach people of different races so that within the communities that
cardinal principle of unity in diversity might be exemplified. This
was reflected in two of his statistics, the second one
significantly emphasizing the great importance he attached to this
aspect of our teachings; the headings of these statistics speak for
themselves: "Races Represented in the Baha'i World Community",
which were listed by name. In 1944 there were 31 races; in 1955
there were about 40 races. "Minority Groups and Races with which
contact has been established by Baha'is", likewise listed by name:
in 1944 there were 9, but in 1952 they had risen to 15 -- 12 of which
were American Eskimo and Indian tribes. In 1952 a new caption was
added, in spite of the insignificance of the figures involved:
"African Tribes Represented in the Baha'i Faith"; the names of 12
tribes were given -- proudly. Periodically he continued to announce
the increase in these figures: 1955, 90; 1956, 140; 1957, 197 -- an
addition of 185 in 5 years.
The growth of the institutions and endowments of the Faith, a
strong wall to protect its maturing Administrative Order, was
another of the things to which Shoghi Effendi devoted particular
attention. It is not a dream Baha'u'llah has come to the world to
help us dream, but a reality He has given us the design to build.
Incorporated bodies can hold property legally. It was and is
essential that a growing Faith should own its own Temples, national
and local headquarters, institutions, lands, schools, and so on.
The figures in this regard speak eloquently of the progress made
throughout the Guardian's ministry: in 1944 there were 5
incorporated National Assemblies and 63 locally incorporated ones
in various countries; by 1957 there were over 200 incorporations
of local Baha'i Assemblies -- 137 being added in 13 years. Whereas
in 1944, at the beginning of the second Baha'i Century, the legal
right to perform a Baha'i marriage existed in a very few places,
by 1957 this right was enjoyed by Baha'is in over 30 places and
Baha'i Holy Days were acknowledged as grounds for the suspension
of work or school attendance in 45 places, the definition of a
place being either a country, a state, or a district. In 1952, the
Baha'is owned only 8 national headquarters, but in 1957 they owned
48. National endowments had likewise multiplied to an unprecedented
degree and that same <p205>

year there were 50 of them in various capital cities of the world.

With each release of statistical data the tally of National
Spiritual Assemblies grew. To bring these "Pillars" of the future
Universal House of Justice into existence was a task Shoghi Effendi
conceived as one of his primary duties. The oldest National
Assembly in the Baha'i world, that of the United States and Canada,
had existed at the time of 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing under the name
"Baha'i Temple Unity". When the Guardian took the helm in 1921 he
immediately set out to create uniformity in fundamental principles
and from then on these future "Secondary Houses of Justice" were
styled "National Spiritual Assemblies". By 1923 National Assemblies
for the British, the German, the Indian and Burmese believers were
already functioning and those of the Baha'is of Egypt and the
Sudan, Persia, 'Iraq and Australia and New Zealand soon followed.
Much as the Guardian longed to see new "Pillars" erected he had to
be sure a sufflciently strong community -- and especially a
sufficiently strong base of local Assemblies -- existed before he
could permit a national body to be elected. In 1948 he launched
Canada on her independent administrative destiny, followed in 1951
by two other National Assemblies, one for Central and one for South
America. There was in Shoghi Effendi's mind a very clear reason for
this grouping of two or more countries under a single National
Assembly, which he explained to an Indian Baha'i pilgrim in 1929,
who wrote down his words at the time: "He is against separation of
Burma and India for he says we have very few workers and separation
will dissipate our forces and energy while what we most need at the
present time is consolidation of all our resources and forces . .
With the formation of these two giant Central and South American
bodies, whose title was National Assembly but whose composition and
function was regional in nature, a new phase in the administrative
development of the Faith began. Shoghi Effendi was never
intimidated by the magnitude or difficulty of a task, nor was he
any respecter of current views or methods. For nine years he was
to constitute nothing but these vast National "Regional" As-
semblies -- except in the case of the National Assembly of the
Baha'is of Italy and Switzerland, elected in 1953 -- which were truly
immense in scope. The two Latin American ones comprised 20
countries and the four African ones, formed in 1956, represented
57 territories. This meant that nine people, often residing in
countries over a thousand miles apart, had to consult and adminis- <p206>

ter the affairs of scattered, mostly young and inexperienced Assemblies
and communities, spread over hundreds of thousands of
square miles.

There was now a choice corps of experienced Baha'i pioneers,
administrators, and teachers, in Latin America and in Africa, but
they were not sufficient in number for the work of 20 independent
administrative bodies in Central and South America and far, far
from sufficient to provide experienced Baha'is for 57 territories
in Africa. The answer was these interim National Assemblies which
were to be broken down into ever smaller units pending the day when
each nation had a sufficiently strong network of local Assemblies,
of more mature believers, deepened in the teachings they had so
recently embraced, who could assume responsibility for the
administration and advancement of the Cause in their own territories.
The remarkable feats achieved by these Regional Assemblies,
constantly urged on and encouraged by Shoghi Effendi in
the discharge of their historic tasks, fully justified his
In his selection of the countries he associated under one national
body the Guardian amply demonstrated the fact that the Baha'is are
far more than international, they are supra-national -- above
nation -- in their beliefs and policy. No consideration of national
prejudices, political animosities, or religious differences
influenced his choice of those who were to work together under one
Assembly. For him such worldly considerations were not allowed to
weigh, albeit he was a keen student of current affairs and never
blind to facts. It was those Divine forces within the Faith that
he utilized -- a Faith which, as he so beautifully expressed it,
"feeds itself upon ... hidden springs of celestial strength" and
"propagates itself by ways mysterious and utterly at variance with
the standards accepted by the generality of mankind."
It was not until 1957 that he resumed the formation of purely National
Assemblies; in April of that year Alaska, Pakistan and New
Zealand elected their own permanent Baha'i bodies. It was an historic
occasion in the evolution of the Administrative Order for no
less than eleven new National Assemblies came into existence that
year at one time, the others being Regional Assemblies for North
East Asia, South East Asia, the Benelux Countries, Arabia, the
Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavia and Finland, the Antilles, and the
northern countries of South America which formed a new body. What
had hitherto been one National Assembly for South America and one
for Central America now became two smaller Regional <p207>

ones in South America while Central America was partially pared
away and its island republics joined in electing an Assembly of
their own. Ere Shoghi Effendi's last great Crusade drew to a close
every republic of Latin America had its own independent national
body, as he himself had planned when, in his statistical pamphlet
published on the eve of the Centenary of 1953, he had included
within the "Ten Year International Baha'i Teaching and
Consolidation Plan" as one of its most thrilling and challenging
provisions the task of more than quadrupling the existing National
Assemblies through raising their number to over fifty.

The example set through the achievements of the first Seven Year
Plan inspired other communities to dare greatly. The increasing
awareness of the glorious possibilities of service opening before
the Baha'i worldin the second century of its own erawas constantly
fanned into flame by the Guardian's messages to various National
Assemblies. He frequently quoted Baha'u'llah's admonition: "Vie ye
with each other in the service of God and of His Cause", and openly
encouraged a competitive spirit in its noblest form. His use of
statistics was one example of the way he did this, his own words
another: "Spiritual competition", he cabled America in 1941, "galvanizing
organized followers Baha'u'llah East West waxes keener as
first Baha'i Century speeds to its close."
The news of the victories being won during the first Seven Year
Plan, passed on by the Guardian in a steady flow of inspiring messages
to the believers of Persia, was, Shoghi Effendi cabled in
1943, "thrilling Eastern communities Baha'i world with delight
admiration and wonder . .. Ninety-five Persian families emulating
example American trail-blazers Faith" had left their homes and were
on their way to hoist its banner in Afganistan, Baluchistan,
Sulaymaniyyih, H. ijaz and Bah. rayn. India and Egypt were
stirring, and the 'Iraqi Baha'is were hastening their own plans to
crown the end of the first century with local victories. The
Baha'is of both the East and the West were writing the last
glorious pages in their own chapters of the first century of their
Three months after the May 1944 celebrations were ended, the
Guardian informed the North American Community: "A memorable
chapter in the history of the Faith of Baha'u'llah in the West has
been closed. A new chapter is now opening, a chapter which, ere its
termination, must eclipse the most shining victories won so heroically
by those who have so fearlessly launched the first stage of
the GreatPlanconceivedby'Abdu'l-BahafortheAmericanbelievers." <p208>

When a "war-ravaged, disillusioned and bankrupt society" paused
in its bloody battles after six years and began, with the cessation
of European hostilities in the summer of 1945, to lick its wounds,
Shoghi Effendi told the American Baha'is that the prosecutors of
the Divine Plan must "gird up their loins, muster their resources"
and prepare themselves for the next step in their destiny. The
appeals he made, during the months that preceded the launching of
the second Seven Year Plan, to the minds and the feelings of the
American believers were profound. He told these "ambassadors of the
Faith of Baha'u'llah" that the "sorrow-stricken, war-lacerated,
sorely bewildered nations and peoples" of Europe w-re waiting in
their tum for the healing influence of the Faith to be extended to
them as it had been extended to the peoples throughout the
Americas. News he received of the plight of the believers in
Germany and Burma -- two old and tried communities -- greatly touched
him and was so distressing that he hastened to appeal to "their
fellow workers in lands which have providentially been spared the
horrors of invasion and all the evils and miseries attendant upon
it" to take immediate and collective action to mitigate their
plight. He appealed particularly to the American community, which
"of all its sister communities in East and West, enjoyed the
greatest immunity" during the war and had in addition been
privileged to successfully prosecute so great a Plan, to do all in
its power to help financially and by any other means at its
The official inception of the second Seven Year Plan, the "second
collective enterprise undertaken in American Baha'i history," took
place at the 1946 Convention. It would seem as if all the work so
successfully undertaken since 1921 had been designed to create in
the Western Hemisphere a vast homefront from which the New World
could launch a well-organized attack on the Old World -- on Europe,
its parent continent. The child of one hemisphere, now a fully-
grown young giant, was ready to return, vital and fresh, destined,
as Shoghi Effendi wrote "through successive decades to achieve the
spiritual conquest of the continent unconquered by Islam, rightly
regarded as the mother of Christendom, the fountain head of
American culture, the mainspring of Western civilization..."
Again we see the design in Shoghi Effendi's great tapestry drawn
into another blazing wheel of glory -- this time the second great

Centenary of the Faith in 1953 which would, he informed us, commemorate
the Year Nine marking the mystic birth of Baha'u'llah's <p209>

prophetic mission as He lay in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran.

The objectives of this new Plan, of which Europe was the
"preeminent" goal, and which came to be known as the European
Campaign, were as follows: consolidation of work throughout the
Americas; completion of the interior ornamentation of the Mother
Temple of the West in time for the celebration of its fiftieth
anniversary in 1953; erection of three pillars of the future
Universal House of Justice through the election of the Canadian,
the Central and the South American National Assemblies; a
systematic teaching campaign in Europe aimed at the establishment
of Spiritual Assemblies in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and
Portugal), the Low Countries (Holland and Belgium), the
Scandinavian states (Norway, Sweden and Denmark), and Italy. He
ended his message by saying that he himself was pledging ten
thousand dollars as his initial contribution for the "manifold
purposes glorious Crusade surpassing every enterprise undertaken
by followers Faith Baha'u'llah course first Baha'i Century."
Six weeks later a cable from Shoghi Effendi informed the American
National Assembly that "nine competent pioneers" should be promptly
dispatched to Europe to as many countries as feasible, that the
Duchy of Luxembourg should be added to the Low Countries and
Switzerland also included. With these two, and the previous eight,
the "Ten Goal Countries" came into existence in our Baha'i
vocabulary. Some time later, in view of the marked progress being
made in the north of Europe, Finland was also added to the scope
of the Plan. Although, in addition to Britain and Germany there
were still Baha'is living in France, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden,
Denmark, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and perhaps other
places, they were for the most part too isolated or too suppressed
to undertake large-scale teaching activities. The opening of this
systematic well-organized Plan in "war-torn, spiritually famished"
Europe meant that the American Community now found itself "launched
in both hemispheres on a second, incomparably more glorious stage,
of the systematic Crusade designed to culminate, in the fullness
of time, in the spiritual conquest of the entire planet." It meant
that the American Community was to be engaged in strenuous work in
thirty countries, in addition to ensuring that proper foundations
were laid for the election in 1948, of the National Spiritual
Assembly of Canada, whose essential local Assemblies in various
provinces were in most cases new and weak.
The continent of Europe was "turbulent, politically convulsed, <p210>

economically disrupted and spiritually depleted." But it was the
arena where the American Community must now carry out the "first
stage of its transatlantic missionary enterprises", "amidst a
people so disillusioned, so varied in race, language, and outlook,
so impoverished spiritually, so paralyzed with fear, so confused
in thought, so abased in their moral standards, so rent by internal

When these "trail blazers" of the second Seven Year Plan began
their mission there were only two European Baha'i communities
worthy of the name, those of the British Isles and Germany, both
long-standing and both of which had had active National Assemblies
before the war; the first had never ceased to function; the second,
dissolved by the Nazi authorities in 1937 when all Baha'i activity
was offlcially suspended, was now reconstituted and heroically
gathering its war-torn flock about it. With these the European
Teaching Committee of the American National Assembly and the ever
swelling group of pioneers in the Ten Goal Countries closely cooperated.
This great European undertaking truly fired the imagination
of the Baha'is all over the world, including the new communities
of Latin America -- who were even able to send some of their
own pioneers to assist in this new Crusade.
During these difficult years the numerically much smaller Canadian
Community co-partner with the American Community in the execution
of the Divine Plan -- was so preoccupied with the Five Year Plan the
Guardian had instructed it to initiate when the independent stage
of its development was reached in 1948, that it was in no position
to offer much assistance to the main body of believers in the
United States, and the formation in 1951 of two more National
Assemblies, one in Central and one in South America, made further
demands on their tenacity, resources and courage . Yet with all
their burdens their triumphs during the last years of the second
Seven Year Plan continued to multiply.
The winning of so many victories by the Baha'is of the United
States as well as Canada -- to which had been added in the closing
years of this Crusade services in the African continent never contemplated
in the original Plan -- far exceeding in substance the
misty prizes which had loomed, beckoning but vague, in the fog surrounding
the world at the end of the war, now encouraged the
Guardian to add another offering on the altar of Baha'u'llah, one
he termed the "fairest fruit" of the mighty European project. In
1952 he cabled that "ere termination American Community's sec- <p211>

ond Seven Year Plan" the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is
of Italy and Switzerland should be formed, and added: "Advise
European Teaching Committee upon consummation glorious enterprise
issue formal invitation their spiritual offspring newly emerged
National Spiritual Assembly participate together with sister
National Assemblies United States, British Isles, Germany
Intercontinental Conference August same year capital city Sweden".
He explained he was planning to entrust this youngest Assembly of
the Baha'i world with a specific plan of its own as part of the
Global Crusade to be embarked upon between the second and third
Century celebrations. It had become an established procedure of the
Guardian for these new National Baha'i babies to be born with a
plan in their mouths!

It may well be imagined how excited, how heartened, all the followers
of Baha'u'llah were by news so thrilling as this. They saw
what seemed to them little short of miracles taking place, and
their loving "true brother", in his humility, his praises and
kindness, led them to believe such miracles were all theirs. That
Italy should have, from a vacuum, succeeded in one decade in
building up a foundation of local Assemblies strong enough, with
its Swiss companion, to bear the weight of an independent National
Assembly was a feat far beyond anyone's fairest dreams.
In order to grasp, in however dim a way, why the third Seven Year
Plan -- which the Guardian had repeatedly referred to since the end
of the first Baha'i Century -- became a Ten Year Plan instead, we
must understand a fundamental teaching of our Faith. A just and
loving God does not require of any soul what He will not give it
the strength to accomplish. Privileges involve responsibilities,
for peoples, nations, individuals. To the degree to which they
arise to meet their responsibilities they are blessed and sustained;
to the degree they fail they are automatically deprived and
punished. Shoghi Effendi had written at the beginning of the first
Seven Year Plan that "failure to exploit these golden opportunities
would ... signify the loss of the rarest privilege conferred by
Providence upon the American Baha'i Community." "The Kingdom of
God", 'Abdu'l-Baha had said, "is possessed of limitless potency.
Audacious must be the army of life if the confirming aid of that
Kingdom is to be repeatedly vouchsafed to it..." It was in
pursuance of the operation of this great law that the followers of
Baha'u'llah who had been entrusted with the Divine Plan, rising to
meet their challenge, pulling down from on high through their
services an <p212>

ever-greater measure of celestial aid, discharging their sacred
responsibility in so noble a fashion, found destiny hastening to
meet them, a step in advance. A victorious army, having swept all
barriers before it, is often so exhilarated by its exploits it
needs no respite. It is ready to march on, fired by its victories.
This was the mood of the Baha'i world as 1953 approached and it was
about to enter the Holy Year. Their Commander-in-Chief was a
general who needed very little encouragement to induce him to go
on and who never rested. So it was inevitable that given the hour,
the mood and the man the Baha'is should find themselves with no
"three year respite" but rather twelve completely evolved
plans -- one for each National Assembly -- ready to be put into
operation the moment the trumpet sounded the reveille in Ridvan

Wonderful as had been the celebration of the hundredth anniversary
of the Baha'i Faith, in 1944, by Baha'i communities living in
the shadow of the worst war the world had ever known, it was
dwarfed by the events associated with the hundredth anniversary of
the revelation Baha'u'llah received in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran.
Poignantly, in the months preceding the commemoration of that
event, the Guardian recalled to the Baha'i world the tidal wave of
persecution and martyrdom which had swept so many disciples of the
Bab, so many heroes, so many innocent women and even children, from
the scene a century before and had culminated in casting the
Supreme Manifestation of God into a loathsome subterranean dungeon
immediately following the abortive attempt on the life of Nasiri'd-
Din Shah on August 15,1852. The Guardian chose as the commencement
of the Holy Year -- the celebration of the Anniversary of the 'Year
Nine" -- the middle of October 1952. A veritable fever of
anticipation swept over the believers East and West, now free in
every part of the globe to give their hearts to unreserved
rejoicing. Perhaps for the first time in their history the Baha'is
had a throbbing sense of their true oneness as a world community.
What had always been a matter of doctrine, taught and firmly
believed in, was now sensed by every individual as a great and
glorious reality. The plans for the future, set in motion by a
series of dynamic messages from Shoghi Effendi, served to inflame
this new awareness.
At the end of November 1951, in a cable addressing all National
Assemblies of the Baha'i world, Shoghi Effendi informed us that the
long anticipated intercontinental stage was now at hand. We had,
he pointed out, passed through the phases of local, regional,
national and international activity and were emerging, at such an <p213>

auspicious moment, into a new kind of Baha'i world, one in which
we began to think in terms of the entire planet with its continents
in relation to our teaching strategy. Shoghi Effendi took the
Centenary -- this great golden wheel in his tapestry -- and fashioned
it in such a way that two entirely different things were made to
react on each other and at the same time blend into each other in
one great creative centre of force. One was the past, the
commemoration of such soul-shaking events as the martyrdoms, the
imprisonment of Baha'u'llah, His mystic experience of His own
station in the SiyahChal, His exile and all that these events
signified for the progress of man in his journey towards his
Creator; the other was the marshalling, this time of all the
organized Baha'i communities of the planet, in a vast Plan, the
next step in the unfoldment of 'Abdu'lBaha's Divine Plan.

It was beginning to take shape in his mind long before its
detailed provisions were released through the publication in 1952
of his pamphlet, The Baha'i Faith 18441952, with its supplement
"Ten Year International Teaching and Consolidation Plan", which was
made public at the inception of the Holy Year. Previously he had
requested different National Assemblies to provide him with the
names of the territories and major islands of the five continents
where Baha'i activity was in progress, thus supplementing his own
exhaustive list, which included the countries mentioned by 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, and which he had
carefully compiled with the aid of atlases and works of reference.

The highlights of the Holy Year were four great Intercontinental
Teaching Conferences which were announced in that same November
1951 cable and were to be held in four continents: the first in
Africa, in Kampala, Uganda in the spring of 1953; the second in
Chicago, in the United States during Ridvan; the third in
Stockholm, Sweden during the summer and the fourth in New Delhi,
India in autumn. The pattern of these great Conferences -- which
were announced a year before the new Plan itself was
disclosed -- became clear as the hour approached for them to take
place. All Hands of the Cause were invited to attend as manv of
them as possible; to each one the Guardian would send as his own
special representative one of the Hands "honoured direct
association newly-initiated enterprises World Centre". In
chronological order, these were Leroy Ioas, Amatu'l-Baha Ruh. iyyih
Khanum, Ugo Giachery and Mason Remey; these emis- <p214>

saries would fulfil a fou-fold mission: they would bear a reproduction
of a miniature portrait of the Bab to show to the friends
gathered on such an historic occasion; they would deliver the Guardian's
own message to the assembled attendants; they would elucidate
the character and purposes of the Spiritual World Crusade;
they would rally the participants to an energetic, sustained, enthusiastic
prosecution of the colossal tasks that lay ahead.

Before going into more detail it would be well to recall that although,
in his November 1951 message announcing these Conferences
to be held during the Holy Year, Shoghi Effendi had given a faint
hint of things to come when he stated they would initiate a new
stage of intercontinental activity and would reflect a degree of
Baha'i solidarity of unprecedented scope and intensity, still, as
far as the Baha'i world knew, they were designed as great jubilee
gatherings to commemorate the Year Nine, to celebrate the end of
the victorious second Seven Year Plan, and many regional ones as
well. Indeed, only a week before the cable announcing those Conferences
reached the Baha'i world the Guardian had, in another
message, still been referring to a "third Seven Year Plan" so that
there was in 1951 no association in the minds of the Baha'is of the
commencement of a new crusade with these festival gatherings. The
extraordinary success the Baha'is were meeting with all over the
world, the enthusiasm of National Assemblies such as America and
Britain, who had been winning remarkable victories in Europe and
in Africa respectively, swung the compass on a new course, a course
that in reality started three years before the inauguration of the
Ten Year Plan. So vast is the range covered by the provisions of
this Plan, so numerous the communications from Shoghi Effendi on
this subject -- his lists, his announcements and his statistics, beginning
in 1952 and carried on until his death in November 1957that -
to give more than a brief outline of them here is impossible.
On the other hand this Crusade crowned his ministry and his life's
work, was a source of deep happiness to him, and its unfolding victories
a comfort to his often sad and over-burdened heart. Therefore
it must be dealt with, however inadequately.
No words can better sum up the very essence of this supreme Plan
conceived of and organized by him than his own definition of it:
"Let there be no mistake. The avowed, the primary aim of this
Spiritual Crusade is none other than the conquest of the citadels
of men's hearts. The theatre of its operations is the entire
planet. Its duration a whole decade. Its commencement synchronizes
with the <p215>

Centenary of the birth of Baha'u'llah's Mission . Its culmination
will coincide with the Centenary of the Declaration of that same

Although all believers were welcome to be present at the four
great Conferences of the Holy Year, a special category was singled
out and invited to attend by Shoghi Effendi, namely, representatives
of those National Assemblies and communities who were intimately
concerned with the work which was to go forward in each of
the four continents. If we begin with the first Conference held in
February, in Africa, and analyse what the most crucial phase of the
entire Crusade involved there -- the opening of new territories and
the consolidation of the work in those already opened -- we will get
an idea of the shattering impact these historic gatherings had on
Baha'i history: 57 territories were to be the subject of
concentrated teaching activities for which six national bodies
would be responsible, namely, the National Spiritual Assemblies of
the British, the American, the Persian, the Egyptian and Sudanese,
the 'Iraqi and the Indian, Pakistani and Burmese believers, who
were to open 33 new territories and consolidate the work already
begun in 24. The tasks allotted the whole Western Hemisphere
community, through its four National Assemblies, those of the
United States, Canada, Central America and South America, were
equally staggering: 56 territories, 27 to be opened and 29 to be
consolidated, involving such widely separated and difflcult goals
as the Yukon and Keewatin in the north and the Falkland Islands in
the south. The Asian goals were even more formidable: 84
territories in all, 41 to be opened and 43 to be consolidated,
ranging from countries in the Himalayas to dots in the Pacific
Ocean; these were divided between the nine National Assemblies of
Persia; India, Pakistan and Burma; 'Iraq; Australia and New
Zealand; the United States; Canada; Central America; South America
and the British Isles. At the European Conference five National
Assemblies received 52 territories as their share of the Plan, 30
to be opened and 22 to be consolidated. Seated amongst its elders,
the National Assemblies of the United States, Canada, the British
Isles, Germany and Austria, was the baby national body of the
Baha'i world -- that of Italy and Switzerland, scarcely three months
old -- which was given by the Guardian territories all its own, 7 in
At these historic gatherings, more than 3,400 believers were
present, representing, Shoghi Effendi announced, not only all the
principal races of mankind, but more than 80 countries. Each of
the <p216>

Conferences had some special distinction of its own: the first, the
African one, attended by no less than ten Hands of the Cause,
friends from 19 countries and representatives of over 30 tribes and
races, being particularly blessed by having over 100 of the new
African believers present as the personal guests of the Guardian
himself, a mark of consideration on his part that clearly showed
his deep attachment to the new African Baha'is. Indeed, in his
highly significant message to the first Conference of the Holy Year
he was at pains to quote the words of Baha'u'llah Who had compared
the coloured people to the "black pupil of the eye" through which
"the light of the spirit shineth forth. " Shoghi Effendi not only
praised the African race, he praised the African continent, a
continent that had "remained uncontaminated by the evils of a
gross, a rampant and cancerous materialism undermining the fabric
of human society alike in the East and the West, eating into the
vitals of the conflicting peoples and races inhabiting the
American, the European, and the Asiatic continents, and, alas,
threatening to engulf in one common catastrophic convulsion the
generality of mankind." Should such a warning, given at such an
historic juncture in the fortunes of Africa, not be remembered more
insistently by the band of Baha'u'llah's followers labouring there
to establish a spiritually based World Order?

The second, "without doubt," Shoghi Effendi wrote, "the most
distinguished of the four Intercontinental Teaching Conferences
commemorating the Centenary of the inception of the Mission of
Baha'u'llah" and marking the launching of that "epochal, global,
spiritual decade-long Crusade", took place in the middle of the
Holy Year and constituted the central feature of that year's
celebrations and the highest point of its festivities. This great
all-America Conference was held in the heart of North America, in
Chicago, the very city where sixty years before Baha'u'llah's name
had first been publicly mentioned in the Western World during a
session of the World Parliament of Religions held in connection
with the World's Columbian Exposition which opened on May 1, 1893.
Its sessions were preceded by the consummation of a fifty-year-old
enterprise -- the dedication to public worship, on May 2nd, of the
Mother Temple of the West, which was, Shoghi Effendi assured us,
not only "the holiest House of Worship ever to be reared to the
glory of the Most Great Name" but that no House of Worship would
"ever possess the immeasurable potentialities with which it has
been endowed" <p217>

and that the "role it is destined to play in hastening the
emergence of the World Order of Baha'u'llah" could not as yet be

The unveiling of the model of the future Baha'i Temple to be
erected on Mt. Carmel at the World Centre of the Faith was another
event which Shoghi Effendi himself had planned to take place in
conjunction with that Conference -- a Conference which he said will
"go down in history as the most momentous gathering held since the
close of the Heroic Age of the Faith, and will be regarded as the
most potent agency in paving the way for the launching of one of
the most brilliant phases of the grandest crusade ever undertaken
by the followers of Baha'u'llah since the inception of His Faith..."
The lion's share of this new Crusade in prosecution of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan had been given by Shoghi Effendi to those he so
lovingly said were not only "ever ready to bear the brunt of
responsibility" but were, indeed, that Plan's "appointed" and
"chief trustees". They had performed in the past "unflagging and
herculean labours", now, through their two national bodies, that
of the United States and of Canada, in competition with ten other
National Assemblies, each of which had received a goodly portion
of goals, this Community would indeed have to struggle hard to
maintain its lead and win the new victories expected of it. There
were 131 virgin territories throughout the world to be opened to
the Faith of Baha'u'llah in ten years and 118 territories already
opened but still requiring a great deal of consolidation. Of these
249 places, most of them large, independent nations, the United
States and Canada received 69, or 28 percent of the total; 48 new
National Assemblies were to be formed before 1963, 36 of them by
the United States alone. The first dependency ever to be erected
in the vicinity of a Baha'i Temple was likewise to be undertaken
by this Community; in addition, it was to purchase two sites for
future Houses of Worship, one in Toronto, Canada, and one in Panama
City, Panama; translate and publish Baha'i literature in 10 Western
Hemisphere Indian languages, and achieve many other goals
In the presence of the twelve Hands of the Cause attending this
Conference -- to which Baha'is from over 33 countries had come -- well
over 100 believers arose and offered themselves as pioneers to set
in motion the accomplishment of the great tasks the Guardian had
just made so dazzlingly clear in his message.
The opening of the doors of the Mother Temple to public worship,
the public meetings addressed by prominent Baha'is and non- <p218>

Baha'is alike during the jubilee celebrations attracted thousands
of people and received enthusiastic nation-wide publicity in the
press, on television and over the radio. During the Holy Year the
light of the Faith truly shone most brightly in the Great Republic
of the West, the chosen cradle of its Administrative Order.

The third Intercontinental Baha'i Teaching Conference, which
convened in Stockholm during July, was honoured by having the
largest attendance of Hands of the Cause of any of the others,
fourteen being present, the five Persian Hands and one African Hand
having just come from extensive travels in the Western Hemisphere,
undertaken at the instruction of the Guardian, immediately
following the launching of the Crusade in Chicago. It would not be
inaccurate to characterize this third gathering as the "executive
conference" . Though numerically much smaller than the American
one, circumstances permitted a hard core of the most dedicated and
active National Assembly members, teachers, administrators and
pioneers to be present from all over Europe, including 110 believers
from the Ten Goal Countries. The attendants, from thirty countries,
devoted themselves during six days not only to the solemn
yet joyous recapitulation of those events which had transpired a
century before and which the Holy Year commemorated, but to a
studious analysis of the work their beloved Guardian had entrusted
to the three European National Assemblies and that of the United
States, the only other national body involved in the European work
being that of Canada, which had been given Iceland as a consolidation
In his message on this historic occasion Shoghi Effendi recalled
not only the history of the Baha'i Faith in relation to Europe -- "a
continent which, in the course of the last two thousand years, has
exercised on the destiny of the human race a pervasive influence
unequalled by that of any other continent of the globe" -- but the
effect both Christianity and Islam had had upon the unfoldment of
its fortunes. In recapitulating the advances made and victories won
since the end of the last World War the Guardian pointed out that
these had been largely due to "the dynamic impact of a series of
national Plans preparatory to the launching of a World Spiritual
Crusade". Those Plans had been the second Seven Year Plan, conducted
by the North American believers, a Six Year Plan and a Two
Year Plan launched by the British Baha'is, and a Five Year Plan
prosecuted by the German and Austrian Baha'i Communities. The
result of these well-organized labours had been the establishment <p219>

of local Assemblies in Eire, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
and in each of the capitals of the Ten Goal Countries, a large increase
in the number of Assemblies, centres and believers throughout
Europe, the election of yet another independent national body,
and the acquisition of a national Baha'i headquarters in Frankfurt.
The hour was now ripe, Shoghi Effendi wrote, for them "to initiate
befittingly and prosecute energetically the European campaign of
a Global Crusade" which would not only broaden the foundations of
the Faith in Europe but would "diffuse its light over the
neighbouring islands" and would "God willing, carry its radiance
to the Eastern territories of that continent, and beyond them as
far as the heart of Asia".

Words such as these fired the attendants to take immediate action
and there were not only 63 offers from among those present to
pioneer to European goals, but, what was much more unusual, various
national bodies and committees, whose members were present in
numbers, immediately took up these offers and before the Conference
ended pioneers had been allocated to every goal given the European
believers with the exception of those territories within the Soviet
orbit. The thrilling objective of the erection of one of the two
Baha'i Temples called for in the original outline of the "Ten Year
Teaching and Consolidation Plan" -- the Mother Temple of Europe to
be built in Germany -- received substantial financial pledges, as did
three other European projects involving large sums of money,
namely, the purchase of the National Haziratu'lQuds of the British
Baha'is and the sites for two future Baha'i Temples, one in
Stockholm and one in Rome. The convocation of such a Conference met
with wide and favourable publicity and the public meeting held in
conjunction with it attracted one of the largest audiences gathered
under Baha'i auspices that had yet been seen on the continent.
Twelve months after the beginning of the Holy Year, ushered in
during mid-October 1952, the great Asian Intercontinental Teaching
Conference took place in New Delhi, India. Though the logical place
for such a gathering would have been Persia, or failing this,
'Iraq, the temperature of the fanatical populations of these countries
and the constant and unchanging animosity of the Muslim
clergy made the choice of either place impossible. It was therefore
highly befitting that the great sister country to the east -- opened
in the earliest days of Baha'u'llah's Ministry -- should receive this
honour. To it flocked hundreds of His followers from all over the <p220>

world from places as far apart as Europe, Africa, Australia, New
Zealand, Japan, many countries in the Western Hemisphere, and
particularly Persia, as well as all five Asiatic Hands, who had
already attended, at the request of the Guardian, the African,
American and European Conferences. There were also present six
other Hands of the Cause from the Holy Land, Europe, America,
Africa and Australia. In his message to this last of the great
Teaching Conferences Shoghi Effendi, after greeting its attendants
"with high hopes and a joyful heart", pointed out the unique circumstances
and significance of the work in Asia: in this "world
girdling crusade" the "triple Campaign, embracing the Asiatic
mainland, the Australian Continent and the islands of the Pacific
Ocean" might "well be regarded as the most extensive, the most
arduous and the most momentous of all the Campaigns". Its scope was
"unparalleled in the history of the Faith in the Eastern Hemisphere";
it was to take place in a continent on whose soil "more
than a century ago, so much sacred blood was shed", a continent
enjoying an unrivalled position in the Baha'i world, a continent
where the overwhelming majority of Baha'u'llah's followers resided,
a continent that was "the cradle of the principal religions of
mankind; the home of so many of the oldest and mightiest civilizations
which have flourished on this planet; the crossways of so
many kindreds and races; the battleground of so many peoples and
nations;" above whose horizon in modern times the suns of two
independent Revelations had successively risen; and within whose
boundaries such holy places as the Qiblih of our Faith (Bahji), the
"Mother of the World" (T. ihran) and the "Cynosure of an adoring
world" (Bagdad) are embosomed. The Guardian ended his message with
an expression of assurance as well as a sad foreboding of what
might lie ahead: "May this Crusade, launched simultaneously on the
Asiatic mainland, its neighbouring islands and the Antipodes . .
. provide, as it unfolds, an effective antidote to the baneful
forces of atheism, nationalism, secularism and materialism that are
tearing at the vitals of this turbulent continent, and may it reenact
those scenes of spiritual heroism which more than any of the
secular revolutions which have agitated its face, have left their
everlasting imprint on the fortunes of the peoples and nations
dwelling within its borders."

No less enthusiasm for the tasks ahead -- the most staggering of
which was work in 84 territories, half of them virgin areas -- filled
the hearts of the Baha'is gathered in New Delhi than had charac- <p221>

terized the reaction of their brothers and sisters attending the
three previous Conferences. This enthusiasm was further heightened
when a cable was received from the Guardian giving the gladtidings
that his own personal hope -- expressed before the festivities of the
Holy Year began -- had been attained through the completion of the
superstructure of the Bab's Holy Sepulchre. The Baha'is rallied
strongly to meet their given goals: offers to pioneer were received
from over 70 people, 25 of whom proceeded to their posts shortly
after the Conference ended; funds were lavishly contributed towards
the purchase of the three sites for future Baha'i Temples -- Bagdad,
Sydney and Delhi, 9 acres of land for the latter being acquired
before the Conference rose; substantial donations were received for
that most precious and longed-for Temple to be erected in
Baha'u'llah's native city, the capital of Persia, which was one of
the two Temples originally scheduled to be built during the World
Crusade; public meetings and a reception for over a thousand guests
were held at which many important figures were present; India's
President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, as well as her famous Prime
Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, received delegations from the
Conference and the publicity was wide and friendly. At the end of
the Conference Shoghi Effendi instructed the Hands attending it to
disperse on trips lasting some months, himself providing both
assistance and directions as to their itineraries.

In addition to what might be called his routine work, already
consuming daily an alarming amount of his time, for over two years
Shoghi Effendi not only worked on and fully elaborated the details
of this global Crusade but made the exhaustive plans necessary for
these great jubilee celebrations and constantly directed the Hands
of the Cause and the National Assemblies who were to implement
their programmes. One might have thought that a lull in his
creative output would ensue, but such was not the case. Cables and
letters streamed from him at the end of each of the Conferences
like missiles towards targets. For four years he never let the
white hot heat he had engendered wane. A typical example of this
is the tone in which, immediately after the American Conference
ended, when the bemused Baha'i world had scarcely begun to recover
from the first glorious revelation of the new Plan, he cabled the
Persian National Assembly: "Announce friends no less 128 believers
offered pioneer services during celebrations Wilmette including
offer pioneer leper colony. Appeal friends not allow themselves
surpassed western brethren. Hundreds must arise. Enumerated goals <p222>

at home abroad must promptly be fulfilled. Upon response progress
protection victory entire community depends. Eagerly awaiting
evidence action." Such oft-repeated appeals had such an effect on
a community which had lived its entire existence in a wretched cage
of prejudice and persecution that the Persian believers, seeing,
unbelievably, a door open before them, began to pour forth to the
four corners of the world in ever-swelling numbers; without their
assistance, their strong financial support and their constant
readiness to sacrifice, the Crusade could never have been won on
the scale that marked its triumphal conclusion in 1963.

But let us return to the newly inaugurated "fate-laden, soul-
stirring, decade-long, world-embracing Spiritual Crusade..."
with its four objectives: Development of the institutions at the
World Centre of the Faith; consolidation of the homefronts of the
twelve territories serving as the administrative bases of the
twelve Plans which were component parts of The Plan; consolidation
of all the territories already opened to the Faith; opening of the
remaining chief virgin territories of the planet. Although the
administration of the Crusade had been entrusted to the twelve
National Assemblies, nevertheless every single believer,
irrespective of his race, nation, class, colour, age or sex, was
to lend his particular assistance to the accomplishment of this
"gigantic enterprise". In a colourful passage of scintillating
prose Shoghi Effendi lifted the curtain on the arena of the new
Plan: Where? Why, everywhere -- in the Arctic Circle, in the
deserts, the jungles, the isles of the cold North Sea and the
torrid climes of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. To whom? Why, to
all peoples -- to the tribes of Africa, the Eskimos of Canada and
Greenland, the Lapps of the far north, the Polynesians, the
Australian Aborigines, the red Indians of the Americas. Under what
circumstances? Not only in the wilderness, but in the cities,
"immersed in crass materialism", where people breathed the fetid
air of "aggressive racialism" bound by the chains of "haughty
intellectualism", surrounded by "blind and militant nationalism",
immersed in "narrow and intolerant ecclesiasticism". What
strongholds must Baha'u'llah's soldiers storm? The strongholds of
Hinduism, the monasteries of Buddhism, the jungles of the Amazon,
the mountains of Tibet, the steppes of Russia, the wastes of
Siberia, the interior of China, Mongolia, Japan, with their teeming
multitudes -- nor should they forget to sit with the leper and
consort with the outcast in their colonies. "I direct my
impassioned appeal," he wrote, "to obey, as befits His warriors,
the <p223>

summons of the Lord of Hosts and prepare for that Day of Days, when
His victorious battalions will, to the accompaniment of hosannas
from the invisible angels in the Abha Kingdom, celebrate the hour
of final victory."

It is clear that the Guardian envisaged this Ten Year undertaking
as no more and no less than a battle, the battle of the "worldwide,
loyal, unbreachable army" of "Baha'u'llah's warriors", His
"army of light", against the entrenched battalions of darkness
holding the globe. Its "Supreme Commander" was 'Abdu'l-Baha; behind
Him stood His Father, the "King of Kings", His aid pledged "to
every crusader battling for His Cause". "Invisible battalions" were
mustered "rank upon rank, ready to pour forth reinforcements from
on high". And so the little band of God's heroes assembled, ready
to go forth and "emblazon on their shields the emblems of new victories",
ready to implant the "earthly symbols of Baha'u'llah's
unearthly sovereignty" in every country of the world, ready to lay
the unassailable administrative foundation of His Christ-promised
Kingdom of God upon earth.
Nine months after the opening of the Crusade the Guardian could
announce that almost ninety territories had been opened, three-
quarters of the total number, exclusive of those within the Soviet
orbit, and in his Ridvan Message of 1954 he was able to give the
glad-tidings that they had reached 100. Having seized these 100 new
prizes the army of Baha'u'llah was now engaged in depth. Shoghi
Effendi, his mind more or less at rest about the progress of the
front lines, immediately set about digging in. The second phase of
the Plan, now opening, was primarily concerned with consolidation.
In that same Message the Guardian listed 13 points which were to
be concentrated upon during the coming two years: prosecution of
the all-important teaching work; preservation of all prizes won;
maintenance of all local assemblies; multiplication of groups and
centres -- all to hasten the emergence of the 48 National Assemblies
scheduled to be formed during the Crusade; purchase of Temple
sites; initiation of special funds for purchase of the specified
National Haziratu'l-Quds; speedy fulfilment of various language
tasks; acquisition of historic Baha'i sites in Persia; measures for
the erection of the Tihran and Frankfurt Temples; establishment of
the Wilmette Temple dependency; inauguration of national
endowments; incorporation of local Assemblies; establishment of the
new Publishing Trusts. He directed his "fervent plea" to accomplish
such monumental labours as these to the <p224>

108 people constituting the 12 National Assemblies of the Baha'i
world, out of the teeming millions of human beings on the planet!

The miracle was that such an appeal, to what in the eyes of the
sophisticated could not but appear to be pitifully weak
instruments, should have had such an effect. All over the Baha'i
world the leaders and the rank and file redoubled their efforts and
sweeping victories were won. In 1955 Shoghi Effendi informed the
believers in his annual Ridvan Message, which was his main
instrument for conveying news of the progress of the Faith, that
the Plan was "forging ahead, gaining momentum with every passing
day, tearing down barriers in all climes and amidst divers peoples
and races, widening irresistibly the scope of its beneficent
operations, and revealing ever more compelling signs of its
inherent strength as it marches towards the spiritual conquest of
the entire planet."
It was during this second phase of the World Crusade that the
Baha'is accomplished such feats as purchasing 10 of the 11 Temple
sites enumerated as goals of their Ten Year Plan, at a cost of over
$100,000, of acquiring 30 out of the 51 national endowments at an
estimated $100,000, and of buying 43 of the 49 national Baha'i
headquarters, for over half-a-million dollars in various continents
of the globe -- the latter being a feat which Shoghi Effendi cryptically
and significantly stated was "amply compensating for the seizure
and occupation of the National Administrative Headquarters of
the Faith and the demolition of its dome by the military
authorities in the Persian capital. "
There were many brilliant victories during these early years of the
Crusade: the Siyah-Chal, scene of the first intimation of
Baha'u'llah's Prophetic Mission, was purchased; His banner was
planted in Islam's very heart through the establishment of a
Spiritual Assembly in Mecca; the particularly welcome news reached
the Guardian that there were Baha'is -- remnants of the former
communities in the Caucasus and Turkistan -- in some of the Soviet
states listed at the inception of the Crusade as unopened, but
which might now be regarded as open, however faint and feeble the
solitary candles burning there; 98 islands throughout the world now
had Baha'is; work on the erection of the International Archives
Building at the World Centre was begun.
It was in a period of victories such as these that Shoghi Effendi
took the momentous decision to erect not two but three Houses of
Worship during the Ten Year Plan. The significance given in the
Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha to these Mashriqu'l- <p225>

Adhkars (dawning places of the mention of God) is very great: they
are erected, Shoghi Effendi said, for "the worship of the one true
God, and to the glory of His Manifestation for this Day." They are
strongly linked to both the spiritual life of the individual and
the communal life of the believers.

At the inception of the Crusade the Guardian turned his attention
to the problem of erecting the first Baha'i Temple in Baha'u'llah's
native land. He decided on a conservative concept, worked out with
his personal approval in Haifa, and which he said, "incorporates
a dome reminiscent of that of the Bab's Holy Sepulchre". Already
the enthusiastic Persian believers had started a five year plan to
raise twelve million tumans for its construction and the Guardian
himself had had its design unveiled at the meeting in Bahjl on the
first day of Ridvan, 1953. It was a project to which Shoghi Effendi
attached the greatest importance and the outlawing of all Baha'i
activity in Persia in 1955 came as a severe blow to him for he
realized that the situation there, far from having improved in the
quarter of a century of his ministry, had again deteriorated to
such a point that there was little hope of such a building being
erected before the end of the Ten Year Plan. In spite of the fact
that the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Europe -- the second Temple of
the Plan -- could still be built, he immediately struck back at the
enemies of the Faith through a cable sent in November 1955: "Historic
decision arrived at raise Mother Temple Africa in City Kampala
situated its heart and constituting supreme consolation masses
oppressed valiant brethren cradle Faith. Every continent globe
except Australasia will thereby pride itself on derive direct
spiritual benefit its own Mashriqu'l-Adhkar. Befitting recognition
will moreover have been accorded marvelous expansion Faith amazing
multiplication its administrative institutions throughout continent..." Thus the African believers received what he characterized
as "the stupendous, the momentous and unique project of the
construction of Africa's Mother Temple . "
Whereas Tihran was to have the third great Temple of the Baha'i
world and Germany the fourth, in reality the European one became
third in priority and Africa the fourth. The design for the African
Temple was made under Shoghi Effendi's supervision in Haifa and met
with his full approval. The situation as regards the German one was
different: he himself had chosen a design and sent it to the
National Assembly of the Baha'is of Germany and Austria, but there
was already so much strong church-aroused opposition to <p226>

the erection of a Baha'i House of Worship that the National
Assembly had informed him they felt the conservative nature of the
design he had chosen would, in a land favouring at the moment
extremely modern-style buildings, complicate its erection, as a
building permit might be refused on this pretext. Shoghi Effendi
therefore permitted them to hold a competition and of the designs
sent him he favoured the one which was later built. Frankfurt was
in the heart of Germany, Germany was in the heart of Europe. It was
the logical place for the European Temple.

Still thoroughly aroused by the persecution of the main body of
the faithful who resided in Baha'u'llah's native land, Shoghi
Effendi quietly set a new plan in motion. He had chosen a third
Temple design and instructed the National Assembly of the Baha'is
of Australia and New Zealand to make enquiries, confidentially, as
to how much such a building would cost if erected in Sydney. When
he received an estimate which he felt would not add too heavily to
the financial burden the Crusade was already carrying, he made his
thrilling announcement, in his Ridvan Message of 1957, of the
launching of an "ambitious three-fold enterprise, designed to compensate
for the disabilities suffered by the sorely-tried Community
of the followers of His Faith in the land of His birth, aiming at
the erection in localities as far apart as Frankfurt, Sydney and
Kampala, of the Mother Temples of the European, the Australian and
the African continents, at a cost of approximately one million dollars,
complementing the Temples already constructed in the Asiatic
and American continents." This announcement meant that the loss to
the Persian believers of their first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar would be
compensated for by the erection in the Pacific of what the Guardian
called "The Mother Temple of the Antipodes, and indeed of the whole
Pacific area" and the construction in the heart of the African
continent of another House of Worship which he said was "destined
to enormously influence the onward march of the Cause of God the
world over, to consolidate to a marked degree the rising
institutions of a divinely appointed Order and noise abroad its
fame in every continent of the globe." The Guardian also announced
in this Ridvan Message that the designs for all three of these
"monumental edifices, each designed to serve as a house for the
indwelling Spirit of God and a tabernacle for the glorification of
His appointed Messenger in this day" would be shown to "the
assembled delegates at the thirteen historic Baha'i National
Conventions being held for the first time during this year's Ridvan
Festival." <p227>

It was during this second phase of the World Crusade that the
American National Assembly purchased the land for its first Temple
dependency. The Guardian had advised that Assembly that he did not
consider a library -- the first proposal -- sufficiently demonstrative
of the purpose and significance of the institution of the
Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Baha'i society and it was therefore decided
to build a Home for the Aged. One of his last letters was to urge
that Assembly to commence work on the Home, as it would impress on
the public that one of the chief functions of our Faith is to serve
humanity, regardless of creed, race or denomination, and be sure
to attract attention and publicity. <p229>


The Guardian had fused in the alembic of his creative mind all the
elements of the Faith of Baha'u'llah into one great indivisible
whole; he had created an organized community of His followers which
was the receptacle of His teachings, His laws, and His
Administrative Order; the teachings of the Twin Manifestations of
God and the Perfect Exemplar had been woven into a shining cloak
that would clothe and protect man for a thousand years, a cloak on
which the fingers of Shoghi Effendi had picked out the patterns,
knitted the seams, fashioned the brilliant protective clasps of his
interpretations of the Sacred Texts, never to be sundered, never
to be torn away until that day when a new Law-giver comes to the
world and once again wraps His creature man in yet another divine

The Master's grandson had been sublimed by the forces released
in His Testament into the Guardian of the Faith; belonging to the
sovereign caste of his divine Forefathers, he was himself a
sovereign. To the primacy conferred by ties of consanguinity had
been added the powers of infallible guidance with which the operation
of God's Covenant had invested him. Shoghi Effendi's divine
and indefeasible right to assume the helm of the Cause of God had
been fully vindicated through thirty-six years of unremitting,
heartbreaking toil. It would be hard indeed to find a comparable
figure in history who, in a little over a third of a century, set
so many different operations in motion, who found the time to
devote his attention to minute details on one hand and on the other
to cover the range of an entire planet with his plans, his
instructions, his guidance and his leadership. He had laid the
foundations of that future society Baha'u'llah had fathered upon
the mind of the Master, and which He in turn had gestated to a
point of perfection, passing it upon His death into the safe hands
of His successor. <p230>

Patiently, as a master jeweller works at his designs, picking out
from his stock of gems some kingly stone, setting it amidst smaller
but equally precious ones, so would Shoghi Effendi choose a theme
from the Teachings, pluck it out, study it, polish its facets, and
set it amidst his brilliant commentaries where it would flash and
catch our eye as never before when it had laid buried beneath a
heap of other jewels. It would be no exaggeration to say that we
Baha'is now live in a room entirely surrounded by these glorious,
blazing motifs Shoghi Effendi created. It is as if he had caught
the sunlight of this Revelation in a prism and enabled us to
appreciate the number of colours and rays that make up the blinding
light of Baha'u'llah's words.
Things we knew all our lives suddenly, startlingly, took on a new
and added significance. We were challenged, rebuked, stimulated.
We found ourselves arising to serve, to pioneer, to sacrifice. We
grew under his aegis and the Faith grew with us into something
vastly different from what had existed before. Let us take a few
of these master jewels, these themes Shoghi Effendi set before us
in such a brilliant manner. One day Baha'u'llah rested on Mt.
Carmel. He pointed out a spot to 'Abdu'l-Baha and said buy this
land and bring the body of the Bab and inter Him here. The Master
brought the Precious Trust and placed it in the heart of the
mountain and covered it with the building he erected with so many
tears. The Guardian completed the sacred Edifice, and now the
glorious Shrine of the Forerunner of the Faith rests in queenly
splendour on Mt. Carmel, the cynosure of all eyes.
The Master sent a handful of precious Tablets, written during dark
and dangerous days, to America after the First World War and a
pleasant ceremony was held called the "unveiling of the Divine
Plan" at which pairs of children and young people (myself included)
pulled strings and one of the Tablets duly appeared on the draped
background of the platform. 'Abdu'l-Baha had sent a king's ransom
to the North American believers, who rejoiced but did not
understand. Shoghi Effendi, never losing sight of this gleaming
hoard that had been deposited on the other side of the world, set
about working his way to it. It took him almost two decades, but
at last, having painfully and feverishly erected the machinery of
the Administrative Order, he was in a position to take up those
jewels and set them. The North was conquered, the South was
conquered, the East and the West alike began to glow and blaze in
all their parts with the light of new Baha'i centres and <p231>

Assemblies, more than 4,200 throughout the world. Into the various
territories of the globe -- 251 in number -- which Shoghi Effendi had
ensured should either be awakened or reanimated by the breezes of
the Divine Plan, he had spilled the river of the translations of
the literature of the Faith in 230 languages. For twenty years,
since he first set in motion the power 'Abdu'l-Baha had concealed
in those Tablets, Shoghi Effendi had never ceased to wave forward
an army of pioneers, battalion after battalion marching forth to
conquer at his bidding the whole planet and implant, wherever it
conquered, the Banner of Baha'u'llah.

Grasping the hidden import of Baha'u'llah's Tablet of Carmel the
Guardian entombed the Greatest Holy Leaf near the Shrine of the
Bab, brought her mother and brother to rest beside her, designated
this spot as the heart of a world-wide administration, drew an arc
above it on the mountainside which he associated with Baha'u'llah's
words "the seat of God 's Throne", built the first of the great
edifices that will rise about that arc, and in innumerable passages
pointed out the nature of the progress that must pour out from this
great spiritual hub to all the peoples and nations of the world,
a progress based on the teachings of a Faith that is "essentially
supernatural, supranational, entirely non-political, nonpartisan,
and diametrically opposed to any policy or school of thought that
seeks to exalt any particular race, class or nation"; a Faith whose
"followers view mankind as one entity, and profoundly attached to
its vital interests, will not hesitate to subordinate every
particular interest, be it personal, regional or national, to the
over-riding interests of the generality of mankind, knowing full
well that in a world of interdependent peoples and nations the
advantage of the part is best to be reached by the advantage of the
whole"; a Faith the embryo of which, Shoghi Effendi explained, had
developed during the Heroic Age, whose child, the social Order
contained in the teachings of Baha'u'llah would grow during the
Formative Age, whose adolescence would witness the establishment
of the World Order, and whose maturity in the distant reaches of
the Golden Age would flower in a world civilization, a global
civilization without precedent, which would mark "the furthermost
limits in the organization of human society", which would never
decline, in which mankind would continue to progress indefinitely
and ascend to ever greater heights of spiritual power.
He divided the events that had taken place, and were taking place
in the Cause of God, into sections, relating each to the whole <p232>

evolution of the Faith, creating a map in relief that enabled us
to see at a glance where our present labours fitted in, how much
the achievement of an immediate objective would pave the way for
the next inevitable step we must take in our service to
Baha'u'llah's Cause. The definitions and divisions he employed were
not arbitrary, but implicit in the teachings and in the course of
events transpiring within the Faith. The Prophetic Cycle -- which
began with Adam and culminated with Muhammad -- in the school of
whose Prophets man had been educated and prepared for the age of
his maturity, had given way to the Cycle of Fulfilment, inaugurated
by Baha'u'llah. The unity of the planet, which science had made
possible, would enable, nay, oblige man to create a new society in
which a world at peace could devote itself exclusively to the
material and spiritual unfoldment of man. Because of the very
greatness of this transformation Baha'u'llah's shadow would be cast
over the planet for five thousand centuries, the first ten of which
would be governed by the laws, ordinances, teachings and principles
He had laid down.

This thousand-year-long Dispensation Shoghi Effendi divided into
great Ages. The first, commencing with the declaration of the Bab
and ending with the ascension of the Master, lasted seventyseven
years and was styled by the Guardian the Apostolic or Heroic Age

of the Faith because of the nature of the events that transpired
within it and the blood-bath that had characterized its inception
and swept away 20,000 souls, including the Bab Himself. This Age
was divided into three epochs by the Guardian, associated with the
Ministry of the Bfib, Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, respectively.
The second Age, which Shoghi Effendi called the Formative Age, the
Age of Transition, the Iron Age of the Faith, was that period
during which its Administrative Order -- the very hall-mark of this
Age -- must evolve, reach perfection and effloresce into the World
Order of Baha'u'llah. The first epoch of this Age spanned the
period from the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1921 until the
centenary of the inception of the Faith in 1944 and the events
immediately following upon it, and the second epoch was consummated
by the termination of the World Crusade in 1963, coinciding with
the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Baha'u'llah.
Although the Guardian never stated exactly how many epochs would
characterize this Formative Age, he implied that others, equally
vital, equally thrilling would take place as the Faith steadily
advanced towards what he called its Golden Age, which on more than
one occasion, he intimated would probably arise in the later <p233>

centuries of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah.

Shoghi Effendi said the Cause of God would pass from obscurity
and persecution into the light of recognition as a world
religion; it would achieve full emancipation from the shackles of
the past, become a state religion and eventually the Baha'i state
itself would emerge, a new and unique creation in the world's
religious history. When the Formative Age passed and man entered
the Golden Age, he would have entered that Age foretold in the
Bible in Habakkuk, 2:14: "For the earth shall be filled with the
knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

The historic implementation of 'Abdu'l-Baha Divine Plan by Shoghi
Effendi was likewise divided into epochs by him and these in turn
subdivided into specific phases, a device that enabled the Baha'is
to follow closely the course of their own activities and to
concentrate on specific goals. The first epoch of the Divine Plan
passed through three phases, the first Seven Year Plan, the second
Seven Year Plan and the Ten Year Teaching and Consolidation Plan
which we came to term the World Crusade . This Crusade itself
Shoghi Effendi divided into a series of phases: the first of these
lasted one year, 1953-1954; during it, Shoghi Effendi said, the
vital objective of the Plan had been virtually attained through the
addition of no less than 100 new countries enlisted under the
Banner of Baha'u'llah; the second phase, from 19541956, was marked
by a unique measure of consolidation as well as expansion, which
not only paved the way for the election of the forty-eight new
national bodies which was scheduled to take place before the Plan
was consummated, but was characterized by unprecedented
expenditures through the purchase of National Haziratu'l-Quds and
Temple sites as well as the formation of Baha'i Publishing Trusts;
"the third and what promises to be the most brilliant phase of a
world spiritual Crusade" he wrote, would take place between 19561958,
and was to be distinguished by an unparalleled multiplication
of Baha'i centres throughout the entire world as well as the
formation of sixteen new National Assemblies. Before he passed away
the Guardian indicated that the fourth phase of his mighty Plan,
which would stretch from 1958 to 1963, must be distinguished not
only by an unprecedented increase in the number of believers and
centres all over the world but by progress in the erection of the
three Temples which now formed part of the goals of the Ten Year

But for us, the end of this great leadership, that had given us
such concepts as these, that had fulfilled in so brilliant a manner
the work <p234>

begun by 'Abdu'l-Baha, that had so worthily implemented not only
His own instructions but the supreme guidance of the Manifestation
of God Himself, was at hand. No one could know, no one could bear
to know, that when the Baha'i world received the message dated
October 1957, it would be the last message of Shoghi Effendi. It
was a happy and victorious message, full of hope, full of new
plans, a last priceless gift from the man who as he wrote it was
in reality laying down his pen and turning his face from the world
and its sorrows for all time. Soon, Shoghi Effendi informed us, the
Global Spiritual Crusade would reach its midway point. That point
was to be marked by the convocation of a series of five
Intercontinental Conferences to be held in January, March, May,
July and September of 1958, in Africa, the Antipodes, America,
Europe and Asia, respectively. Following a pattern similar to the
one he employed at the time of the convocation of the first four
Intercontinental Conferences held during the Holy Year at the
inception of the Crusade, Shoghi Effendi specified the five bodies
under whose auspices these great gatherings would be held and whose
chairmen were to act as their convenors. The Central and East
African Regional Assembly was made responsible for the first
Conference (surely it is not by chance that Africa, twice in a
period of five years, led the way in the series by holding the
first Conference?); the National Assembly of Australia for the
second; the National Assembly of the United States for the third;
the National Assembly of the Baha'is of Germany and Austria for the
fourth; and the Regional Assembly of South-East Asia the final one.
"They are to be convened", Shoghi Effendi wrote, "... for the
five-fold purpose of offering humble thanksgiving to the Divine
Author of our Faith, Who has graciously enabled His followers,
during a period of deepening anxiety and amidst the confusion and
uncertainties of a critical phase in the fortunes of mankind, to
prosecute uninterruptedly the Ten Year Plan formulated for the
execution of the Grand Design conceived by 'Abdu'l-Baha; of
reviewing and celebrating the series of signal victories won so
rapidly in the course of each of the campaigns of this world-
encircling Crusade; of deliberating on ways and means that will
ensure its triumphant consummation; and of lending simultaneously
a powerful impetus, the world over, to the vital process of
individual conversion -- the pre-eminent purpose underlying the Plan
in all its ramifications -- and to the construction and completion
of the three Mother Temples to be built in the European, the
African, and Australian continents." <p235>

Shoghi Effendi informed us that, "The phenomenal advances made
since the inception of this globe-girdling Crusade, in the brief
space of less than five years, eclipse ... in both the number and
quality of the feats achieved by its prosecutors, any previous
collective enterprise undertaken ... since the close of ... the
Heroic Age..." With evident joy, he recapitulated these feats
and enumerated the victories won, characterizing them as "so
marvellous a progress, embracing so vast a field, achieved in so
short a time, by so small a band of heroic souls".
It was in this message that the Guardian appointed his last contingent
of Hands of the Cause of God eight more individuals to join
this "august institution" -- thus raising the total number of "high-
ranking of ficers of a fast evolving World Administrative Order"
to twenty-seven, an act which, in view of their recent assumption
"of their sacred responsibility as protectors of the Faith", called
for the formation of another Auxiliary Board, equal to the previous
one in number, which would be "charged with the specific duty of
watching over the security of the Faith". The five Hands who had
been chosen by Shoghi Effendi to work at the World Centre were to
attend these five Intercontinental Conferences as his special representatives.
Two of them would place in the foundations of the
Mother Temples being built in Kampala and Sydney "a portion of the
blessed earth from the inmost Shrine of Baha'u'llah"; another
portion of that sacred soil would be delivered in Frankfurt to the
National Spiritual Assembly of Germany and Austria, pending the
time when it could be placed in the foundations of the first European
Mashriqu'l-Adhkar. A reproduction of the portrait of
Baha'u'llah and a lock of His precious hair would not only be shown
to the attendants at the European, Australian and African Conferences,
but deposited with the national bodies in whose areas these
great Houses of Worship were being erected, as a permanent and
loving gift of their Guardian. The Guardian would send with the
Hand who was to attend the Conference in Asia another reproduction
of the portrait of Baha'u'llah for the assembled believers to view,
but this was to be brought back for safe keeping to the Holy Land.
At the Conference to be convened in Chicago, Shoghi Effendi's
representative would exhibit to the believers the portraits of
Baha'u'llah and the Bab which he had previously entrusted to the
care of the American National Assembly. These were the final gestures
of love Shoghi Effendi was able to shower on the believers,
that host of the faithful over whom he had watched, who had <p236>

followed him so unfailingly, for so many history-making years.

When thousands of Baha'is from innumerable lands gathered during
1958, in fulfilment of Shoghi Effendi's plan and wish, at these
five great Intercontinental Conferences, it was not only with awe
that they gazed on the sacred portrait of the Founder of their
Faith, but with grief-filled hearts and tear-filled eyes. Why had
He, before Whose glory they bowed themselves, Whose teachings they
had espoused, into the depths of Whose deep and all-knowing eyes
they were now gazing, seen fit to remove His scion from their
midst? They not only cried out for their Guardian, they asked where
was the Guardianship itself? It was the supreme test of faith: God
had given, and God had taken back, and "He doth what He pleaseth.
He chooseth; and none may question His choice." When the Bab was
martyred Baha'u'llah had remained; when Baha'u'llah ascended
'Abdu'l-Baha had remained; when 'Abdu'l-Baha passed away Shoghi
Effendi remained. But now it was as if a procession of
Kings -- albeit each different, vastly different in station from the
other -- had gone into a room of their own and closed the door. We
Baha'is looked at the door and kept asking, like children whose
parents have been killed in an earthquake and disappeared, why had
it been closed?
Perhaps at no point in its history will the deepness of the root
of belief that binds the Baha'is to their religion be again laid
as bare as it was in the year after the passing of Shoghi Effendi.
They bowed their heads in the agony of the grief that swept them,
but they held. Had not the Guardian provided these five great
rallying points at which the believers could come together in such
large numbers, console each other and receive guidance from the
Hands of the Cause who had arisen to complete the Guardian's Plan
and ensure the election of the divinely-guided Universal House of
Justice, it is hard to imagine how greatly affected the body of
the Faith might have been by the sudden and totally unexpected
death of its beloved Head. The fact that the friends were actively
engaged in a Plan, the fact that the attention of the Baha'i world
was now focussed on its midway point, the fact that at these
Conferences five specific themes were to be given special
attention, and the fact that they repeatedly received messages of
love, faith and encouragement from the Hands of the Cause -- all
exerted a binding and unifying influence upon the Baha'is of the
world. The very calamity itself brought to their hearts, cleansed
by the rushing freshets of their grief, a new fortitude and called
forth a deeper love. They were not <p237>

going to fail Shoghi Effendi. He had told them to consider ways and
means of ensuring the triumphal conclusion of the Plan -- very well,
they would do so, they would see it crowned befittingly in 1963
with a success that would have thrilled his heart and brought from
his pen one of those rushes of praise and gratitude so dearly
prized by them.

No testimony to the truth and strength of the Cause could have
been greater than the triumphal conclusion of the Guardian's World
Crusade which the believers achieved. It had been a hard, an
overwhelming task to begin with. That the Baha'is achieved it, that
for over five years they worked and sacrificed to a greater degree
than ever before in their history without his leadership, without
those appeals, those reports, those marvellous word-pictures he
painted for them in his messages, without the knowledge that he was
there at the helm, their so dearly-loved captain steering them to
victory and safety, is little short of a miracle and testifies not
only to how well he builded, but to those words of the Master:
"there is a mysterious power in this Cause, far far above the ken
of men and angels. "
Life and death are so closely allied that they are the two halves
of one heartbeat and yet death never seems very real to us in the
normal course of events -- who therefore awaited Shoghi Effendi's
death! He had been in very good health that last summer, better
than for a long time, a fact that he not only mentioned himself but
which his doctor commented upon at the time he examined him some
weeks prior to his passing. No one dreamed that the time clock
inside that heart was reaching the end of its allotted span. Many
times people have asked me if I did not notice indications that
the end was near. My answer is a hesitant no. If a terrible storm
comes suddenly into the midst of a perfect day one can later
imagine one saw straws floating by on the wind and pretend they had
been portents. I do remember a very few things that might have been
significant, but certainly they meant nothing to me at the time.
I could never have survived the slightest foreknowledge of the
Guardian's death, and only survived it in the end because I could
not abandon him and his precious work, which had killed him long
before any one believed his life would end.
One of the goals of the Ten Year Plan associated with the World
Centre, a goal the Guardian had allotted himself, was what he
termed the "codification of the laws and ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Mother Book of the Baha'i Revelation." Any work <p238>

involving a book of this magnitude, which Shoghi Effendi had stated
was, together with the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, "the
chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of
that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary
mission of the Baha'i Faith", would certainly be unsuitable for any
one but the Head of the Faith to undertake. Shoghi Effendi worked
on this for about three weeks or so in the spring of 1957 prior to
his departure from Haifa. As I often sat in the room with him while
he worked, reading out loud and making notes, I realized from what
he told me that he was not planning at that time a legal
codification of the provisions in the Aqdas but rather a compilation,
placing subject with subject, which would enable the Baha's
to comprehend the nature of the laws and ordinances given by
Baha'u'llah to His followers. It was at this time that Shoghi
Effendi remarked more than once that he did not feel he could ever
finish this task he had undertaken. I attached no particular
importance to this, as he sometimes fretted under the terrible load
of his everincreasing work, and attributed it to his great fatigue
at the end of the long, exhausting, unbroken stretch of labour he
had passed through during his months at home. After his death I
remembered and wondered.

That last summer he went back to visit many of his favourite
scenes in the mountains and I wondered about this too, when the
blow fell, but at the time I was only happy to see him happy,
forgetting, for a few fleeting moments, the burdens and sorrows of
his life .
In 1958 his grave was built of the same dazzling white Carrara
marble he had himself chosen for the monuments of his illustrious
relatives in Haifa, a simple grave as he would have wished it to
be. A single marble column, crowned by a Corinthian capital is surmounted
by a globe, the map of Africa facing forward -- for had not
the victories won in Africa brought him the greatest joy during
that last year of his life? -- and on this globe is a large gilded
bronze eagle, a reproduction of a beautiful Japanese sculpture of
an eagle which he greatly admired and which he had placed in his
own room. No better emblem than this symbol of victory could have
been found for the resting-place of him who had won so many
victories as he led the hosts of Baha'u'llah's followers on their
ceaseless conquests through the five continents of the world.
Having, with adamantine fortitude in the face of every trial,
accomplished "the toilsome task of fixing the pattern, of laying
the foundations, of erecting the machinery, and of setting in
operation <p239>

the Administrative Order" to use the Guardian's own words; having
effected the world-wide spread and establishment of the Cause of
God through the implementation of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan;
having, through that rare spirit of his so admirably compounded of
audacity and sobriety, guided the Faith of Baha'u'llah to heights
it had never before reached; having carried the work his Lord had
entrusted to him as far forward as his failing strength would
permit; bearing the scars of innumerable personal attacks made upon
him during the course of his ministry, Shoghi Effendi departed from
the scene of his labours. The man had been "called by sorrow and
a strange desolation of hopes into quietness."

Well is it with him that seeketh the shelter of his shade that
shadoweth all mankind.

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