• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Compilation of Compilations, Volume II

E-mail Print

This etext is based on:
"The Compilation of Compilations Prepared by the Universal House of Justice 1963-1990, Volume II"
Copyright 1991 Bahá'í Publications Australia
ISBN 0 90991 55 3
Printed by Australian Print Group
Maryborough, Victoria, Australia

Availability of this etext in no way modifies the copyright status of the above publication.
This etext is freely available through anonymous internet file-sharing.

Compilation of Compilations, Volume II


Living The Life .......................................1
Local Spiritual Assemblies............................29
The Local Spiritual Assembly .........................39
Teaching The Masses ..................................61
Music ................................................73
National Spiritual Assembly ..........................83
Opposition ..........................................137
Peace ...............................................151
The Power of Divine Assistance ......................201
Prayer, Meditation and the Devotional Attitude ......225
Prohibition -- Drink ................................245
Prominent People.....................................257
Radio ...............................................281
Significance of the Formative Age ...................285
Guidelines for Teaching .............................295
Trustworthiness .....................................327
Women ...............................................355
Writers & Writing ...................................407
Youth ...............................................415
Preserving Marriages ................................441


Living the Life

1266. How often the beloved Master was heard to say. Should each one of the friends take upon himself to carry out, in all its integrity and implications, only one of the teachings of the Faith, with devotion, detachment, constancy and perseverance and exemplify it in all his deeds and pursuits of life, the world would become another world and the face of the earth would mirror forth the splendours of the Abha Paradise. Consider what marvellous changes would be effected if the beloved of the Merciful conducted themselves, both in their individual and collective capacities, in accordance with the counsels and exhortations which have streamed from the Pen of Glory.

(From a letter dated 12 January 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of Persia - translated from the Persian)

1267. The wish of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, that which attracts His good pleasure and, indeed, His binding command, is that Bahá'ís, in all matters, even in small daily transactions and dealings with others, should act in accordance with the divine Teachings. He has commanded us not to be content with lowliness, humility and meekness, but rather to become manifestations of selflessness and utter nothingness. Of old, all have been exhorted to loyalty and fidelity, compassion and love; in this supreme Dispensation, the people of Baha are called upon to sacrifice their very lives. Notice the extent to which the friends have been required in the Sacred Epistles and Tablets, as well as in our Beloved's Testament, to be righteous, well-wishing, forbearing, sanctified, pure, detached from all else save God, severed from the trappings of this world and adorned with the mantle of a goodly character and godly attributes.

First and foremost, one should use every possible means to purge one's heart and motives, otherwise, engaging in any form of enterprise would be futile. It is also essential to abstain from hypocrisy and blind imitation, inasmuch as their foul odour is soon detected by every man of understanding and wisdom. Moreover, the friends must observe the specific times for the remembrance of God, meditation, devotion and prayer, as it is highly unlikely, nay impossible, for any enterprise to prosper and develop when deprived of divine bestowals and confirmation. One can hardly imagine what a great influence genuine love, truthfulness and purity of motives exert on the souls of men. But these traits cannot be acquired by any believer unless he makes a daily effort to gain them...

It is primarily through the potency of noble deeds and character, rather than by the power of exposition and proofs, that the friends of God should demonstrate to the world that what has been promised by God is bound to happen, that it is already taking place and that the divine glad-tidings are clear, evident and complete. For unless some illustrious souls step forth into the arena of service and shine out resplendent in the assemblage of men, the task of vindicating the truth of this Cause before the eyes of enlightened people would be formidable indeed. However, if the friends become embodiments of virtue and good character, words and arguments will be superfluous. Their very deeds will well serve as eloquent testimony, and their noble conduct will ensure the preservation, integrity and glory of the Cause of God.

(From a letter dated 19 December 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the East - translated from the Persian)

1268. The chosen ones of God . . . should not look at the depraved condition of the society in which they live, nor at the evidences of moral degradation and frivolous conduct which the people around them display. They should not content themselves merely with relative distinction and excellence. Rather they should fix their gaze upon nobler heights by setting the counsels and exhortations of the Pen of Glory as their supreme goal. Then it will be readily realized how numerous are the stages that still remain to be traversed and how far off the desired goal lies -- a goal which is none other than exemplifying heavenly morals and virtues.

(From a letter dated 30 October 1924 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Teheran)

1269. It is our duty and privilege to translate the love and devotion we have for our beloved Cause into deeds and actions that will be conducive to the highest good of mankind. (From a letter dated 20 November 1924 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1270. If you read the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá with selflessness and care and concentrate upon them, you will discover truths unknown to you before and will obtain an insight into the problems that have baffled the great thinkers of the world.

(From a letter dated 30 January 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1271. The great thing is to "live the life" -- to have our lives so saturated with the Divine teachings and the Bahá'í Spirit that people cannot fail to see a joy, a power, a love, a purity, a radiance, an efficiency in our character and work that will distinguish us from worldly-minded people and make people wonder what is the secret of this new life in us. We must become entirely selfless and devoted to God so that every day and every moment we seek to do only what God would have us do and in the way He would have us do it. If we do this sincerely then we shall have perfect unity and harmony with each other. Where there is want of harmony, there is lack of the true Bahá'í Spirit. Unless we can show this transformation in our lives, this new power, this mutual love and harmony, then the Bahá'í teachings are but a name to us.

(From a letter dated 14 February 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1272. If we Bahá'ís cannot attain to cordial unity among ourselves, then we fail to realize the main purpose for which the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and the Beloved Master lived and suffered.

In order to achieve this cordial unity one of the first essentials insisted on by Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá is that we resist the natural tendency to let our attention dwell on the faults and failings of others rather than on our own. Each of us is responsible for one life only, and that is our own. Each of us is immeasurably far from being "perfect as our heavenly father is perfect" and the task of perfecting our own life and character is one that requires all our attention, our will-power and energy. If we allow our attention and energy to be taken up in efforts to keep others right and remedy their faults, we are wasting precious time. We are like ploughmen each of whom has his team to manage and his plough to direct, and in order to keep his furrow straight he must keep his eye on his goal and concentrate on his own task. If he looks to this side and that to see how Tom and Harry are getting on and to criticize their ploughing, then his own furrow will assuredly become crooked.

On no subject are the Bahá'í teachings more emphatic than on the necessity to abstain from faultfinding and backbiting while being ever eager to discover and root out our own faults and overcome our own failings.

If we profess loyalty to Bahá'u'lláh, to our Beloved Master and our dear Guardian, then we must show our love by obedience to these explicit teachings. Deeds not words are what they demand, and no amount of fervour in the use of expressions of loyalty and adulation will compensate for failure to live in the spirit of the teachings.

(From a letter dated 12 May 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1273. As to the question whether it is right to tell an untruth in order to save another, he feels that under no condition should we tell an untruth but at the same time try and help the person in a more legitimate manner. Of course it is not necessary to be too outspoken until the question is directly put to us.

(From a letter dated 21 December 1927 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1274. We should not, however, forget that an essential characteristic of this world is hardship and tribulation and that it is by overcoming them that we achieve our moral and spiritual development. As the Master says, sorrow is like furrows, the deeper they go the more plentiful are the fruits we obtain.

(From a letter dated 5 November 1931 written on behalf of Shoghi
Effendi to an individual believer)

1275. In the "Bayan" the Báb says that every religion of the past was fit to become universal. The only reason why they failed to attain that mark was the incompetence of their followers. He then proceeds to give a definite promise that this would not be the fate of the revelation of "Him Whom God would make manifest", that it will become universal and include all the people of the world. This shows that we will ultimately succeed. But could we not, through our shortcomings, failures to sacrifice and reluctance to concentrate our efforts in spreading the Cause, retard the realization of that ideal? And what would that mean? It shall mean that we will be held responsible before God, that the race will remain longer in its state of waywardness, that wars would not be so soon averted, that human suffering will last longer.

(From a letter dated 20 February 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1276. Every day has certain needs. In those early days the Cause needed Martyrs, and people who would stand all sorts of torture and persecution in expressing their faith and spreading the message sent by God. Those days are, however, gone. The Cause at present does not need martyrs who would die for the faith, but servants who desire to teach and establish the Cause throughout the world. To live to teach in the present day is like being martyred in those early days. It is the spirit that moves us that counts, not the act through which that spirit expresses itself; and that spirit is to serve the Cause of God with our heart and soul.

(From a letter dated 3 August 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, quoted in "Bahá'í News", 68, (Nov 1932), p. 3)

1277. He sincerely hopes that, through these sacrifices, that edifice will be completed and become a focal centre for the spirit and teachings of the Cause in that land; that from it the light of guidance will spread and bring joy and hope to the heart of this depressed humanity.

If you study the history of Nabil you will see how the Faith has been fed by the constant sacrifices of the friends. Under hardships, persecutions and constant worries has the Message of Bahá'u'lláh been established throughout the world.

(From a letter dated 30 November 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1278. The advice that Shoghi Effendi gave you regarding the division of your time between serving the Cause and attending to your other duties was also given to many other friends both by Bahá'u'lláh and the Master. It is a compromise between the two verses of the "Aqdas", one making it incumbent upon every Bahá'í to serve the promotion of the Faith and the other that every soul should be occupied in some form of occupation that will benefit society. In one of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh says that the highest form of detachment in this day is to be occupied with some profession and be self-supporting. A good Bahá'í, therefore, is the one who so arranges his life as to devote time both to his material needs and also to the service of the Cause.

(From a letter dated 26 February 1933 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1279. I need not tell you how grievously he deplores the fact that there are so many negative forces prevailing in Bahá'í gatherings and particularly in such an important meeting as the Convention. The oft-repeated words of the Master concerning unity and harmonious co-operation among the friends should be carefully and thoughtfully remembered now more than ever. Nothing is more contrary to the spirit of the Cause than discord and strife, which are the inevitable outcome of selfishness and greed. Pure detachment and selfless service, these should be the sole motives of every true believer. And unless each and every one of the friends succeeds in translating such qualities into living action, no hope of further progress can be entertained. It is now that unity of thought and action is most needed. It is now, when the Cause is entering a new phase of development, when its Administration is being gradually consolidated amid the welter and chaos of a tottering civilization, that the friends should present a united front to those forces of internal dissension, which, if not completely wiped out, will bring our work to inevitable destruction.

(From a letter dated 24 September 1933 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1280. He, indeed, highly deplores the fact that the representatives of the highest administrative institution in your country have permitted such differences and misunderstandings to assume such a proportion, especially when the principles and laws of the Administration have been each and all clearly and emphatically stated by him in so many communications and ever since the passing of the Master. Such difficulties, if not checked immediately and vigorously, can do incalculable harm to the body of the Cause, and may retard not only the flow but also the effectiveness of its spirit in the world. If deeply and dispassionately examined the source of all these troubles and disputes is to be found invariably in feelings of egotism and selfishness. And unless these poisonous feelings are fully overcome there can be no hope for the effective working and progress of the administrative machinery of the Cause.

(From a letter dated 9 May 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1281. While he would urge you to courageously meet and overcome the many obstacles that stand in your way, he would at the same time advise you that in case of failure and no matter what befalls you, you should remain radiantly content at, and entirely submissive to, the Divine will. Our afflictions, tests and trials are sometimes blessings in disguise, as they teach us to have more faith and confidence in God, and bring us nearer to Him.

(From a letter dated 28 April 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1282. Has not Bahá'u'lláh assured us that sufferings and privations are blessings in disguise, that through them our inner spiritual forces become stimulated, purified and ennobled? Remain, therefore, confident that your material hardships will, far from hindering your activities for the Cause, impart to your heart a powerful impetus to better serve and promote its interests.

(From a letter dated 22 November 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1283. Personal effort is indeed a vital prerequisite to the recognition and acceptance of the Cause of God. No matter how strong the measure of Divine grace, unless supplemented by personal, sustained and intelligent effort it cannot become fully effective and be of any real and abiding advantage.

(From a letter dated 27 February 1938 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1284. Such hindrances, no matter how severe and insuperable they may at first seem, can and should be effectively overcome through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined and continued effort. For have not Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá both repeatedly assured us that the Divine and unseen hosts of victory will ever reinforce and strengthen those who valiantly and confidently labour in their name? This assurance should indeed enable you to overcome any feeling of unworthiness, of incapacity to serve, and any inner or outer limitation which threatens to handicap your labours for the Cause. You should therefore arise, and with a heart filled with joy and confidence endeavour to contribute any share that is in your power toward the wider diffusion and greater consolidation of our beloved Faith.

Whatever the particular field of service you may choose, whether teaching or administrative, the essential is for you to persevere, and not to allow any consciousness of your limitations to dampen your zeal, much less to deter you from serving joyously and actively.

(From a letter dated 6 February 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1285. The greater your trials and sufferings, the stronger should wax your attachment and devotion to the Cause. For only through repeated tribulations and trials does God test His servants, and these they should therefore view as blessings in disguise, and as opportunities whereby they can acquire a fuller consciousness of the Divine Will and Purpose.

(From a letter dated 23 February 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to two believers)

1286. The course on character building to be given by Miss Flora Hottes, the Guardian feels, is particularly important and should be given due emphasis and studied carefully and thoroughly, especially by the young believers in attendance at the school. These standards of Bahá'í conduct, which he himself has set forth in his last general epistle, "The Advent of Divine Justice", and which it should be the paramount duty of every loyal and conscientious believer to endeavour to uphold and promote, deserve serious study and meditation, and should constitute the main central theme of this year's programme at all the three Bahá'í Summer Schools in the States.

(From a letter dated 20 May 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1287. Regarding ...'s appeal: the Guardian feels the best course of action in this matter is to ask both of the believers concerned to forgive and forget the entire matter. He does not want the friends to form the habit of taking up a kind of Bahá'í litigation against each other. Their duties to humanity are too sacred and urgent in these days, when the Cause is struggling to spread and assert its independence, for them to spend their precious time, and his precious time, in this way. Ask them, therefore, to unite, forget the past, and serve as never before.

(From a letter dated 22 July 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand)

1288. Indeed the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other's love for strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not gain more from it is because they have not learned to fully draw on these mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith. He would advise you to leave your friend ... to herself for the time being, and pray for her. As she does not at the moment wish your help you can only help her inwardly.

You have rendered the Cause many valuable services, and are still doing so, and this should be your greatest consolation...

(From a letter dated 8 May 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1289. The friends must be patient with each other and must realize that the Cause is still in its infancy and its institutions are not yet functioning perfectly. The greater the patience, the loving understanding and the forbearance the believers show towards each other and their shortcomings, the greater will be the progress of the whole Bahá'í community at large.

(From a letter dated 27 February 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1290. We must realize our imperfection and not permit ourselves to get too upset over the unfortunate things which occur, sometimes in Conventions, sometimes in Assemblies or on Committees, etc. Such things are essentially superficial and in time will be outgrown.

(From a letter dated 17 March 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi
Effendi to an individual believer)

1291. Not all of us are capable of serving in the same way, but the one way every Bahá'í can spread the Faith is by example. This moves the hearts of people far more deeply than words ever can.

The love we show others, the hospitality and understanding, the willingness to help them, these are the very best advertisements of the Faith. They will want to hear about it when they see these things in our lives.

(From a letter dated 14 October 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1292. You have complained of the unsatisfactory conditions prevailing in the ... Bahá'í Community; the Guardian is well aware of the situation of the Cause there, but is confident that whatever the nature of the obstacles that confront the Faith they will be eventually overcome. You should, under no circumstances, feel discouraged, and allow such difficulties, even though they may have resulted from the misconduct, or the lack of capacity and vision of certain members of the Community, to make you waver in your faith and basic loyalty to the Cause. Surely, the believers, no matter how qualified they may be, whether as teachers or administrators, and however high their intellectual and spiritual merits, should never be looked upon as a standard whereby to evaluate and measure the divine authority and mission of the Faith. It is to the Teachings themselves, and to the lives of the Founders of the Cause that the believers should look for their guidance and inspiration, and only by keeping strictly to such [a] true attitude can they hope to establish their loyalty to Bahá'u'lláh upon an enduring and unassailable basis. You should take heart, therefore, and with unrelaxing vigilance and unremitting effort endeavour to play your full share in the gradual unfoldment of this Divine World Order.

(From a letter dated 23 August 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1293. These, indeed, are the days when heroism is needed on the part of the believers. Self-sacrifice, courage, indomitable hope and confidence are the characteristics they should show forth, because these very attributes cannot but fix the attention of the public and lead them to enquire what, in a world so hopelessly chaotic and bewildered, leads these people to be so assured, so confident, so full of devotion? Increasingly, as time goes by, the characteristics of the Bahá'ís will be that which captures the attention of their fellow-citizens. They must show their aloofness from the hatreds and recriminations which are tearing at the heart of humanity, and demonstrate by deed and word their profound belief in the future peaceful unification of the entire human race.

(From a letter dated 26 October 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1294. We must always look ahead and seek to accomplish in the future what we may have failed to do in the past. Failures, tests, and trials, if we use them correctly, can become the means of purifying our spirits, strengthening our characters, and enable us to rise to greater heights of service.

(From a letter dated 14 December 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1295. Regarding the points you refer to in your letter: the complete and entire elimination of the ego would imply perfection -- which man can never completely attain -- but the ego can and should be ever-increasingly subordinated to the enlightened soul of man. This is what spiritual progress implies.

(From a letter dated 14 December 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1296. He was very pleased to hear that the Convention was so well attended, and the believers enthusiastic and united. One of the most paramount needs of the Cause in ... is that the friends should unite, should become really keenly conscious of the fact that they are one spiritual family, held together by bonds more sacred and eternal than those physical ties which make people of the same family. If the friends will forget all personal differences and open their hearts to a great love for each other for the sake of Bahá'u'lláh, they will find that their powers are vastly increased; they will attract the heart of the public, and will witness a rapid growth of the Holy Faith in... The National Spiritual Assembly should do all in its power to foster unity among the believers, and to educate them in the Administration as this is the channel through which their community life must flow, and which, when properly understood and practised, will enable the work of the Cause to go ahead by leaps and bounds.

(From a letter dated 26 October 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma)

1297. Ultimately all the battle of life is within the individual. No amount of organization can solve the inner problems or produce or prevent, as the case may be, victory or failure at a crucial moment. In such times as these particularly, individuals are torn by great forces at large in the world, and we see some weak ones suddenly become miraculously strong, and strong ones fail -- we can only try, through loving advice, as your Committee has done, to bring about the act on the part of the believer which will be for the highest good of the Cause. Because obviously something bad for the Cause cannot be the highest good of the individual Bahá'í.

(From a letter dated 17 December 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1298. The thing the world needs today is the Bahá'í spirit. People are craving for love, for a high standard to look up to, as well as for solutions to their many grave problems. The Bahá'ís should shower on those whom they meet the warm and living spirit of the Cause, and this, combined with teaching, cannot but attract the sincere truth-seekers to the Faith.

(From a letter dated 18 December 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1299. Regarding your question about the need for greater unity among the friends, there is no doubt that this is so, and the Guardian feels that one of the chief instruments for promoting it is to teach the Bahá'ís themselves, in classes and through precepts, that love of God, and consequently of men, is the essential foundation of every religion, our own included. A greater degree of love will produce a greater unity, because it enables people to bear with each other, to be patient and forgiving.

(From a letter dated 7 July 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, quoted in "Bahá'í News", 173, (Feb 1945), p. 3)

1300. He hopes that you will develop into Bahá'ís in character as well as in belief. The whole purpose of Bahá'u'lláh is that we should become a new kind of people, people who are upright, kind, intelligent, truthful, and honest and who live according to His great laws laid down for this new epoch in man's development. To call ourselves Bahá'ís is not enough, our inmost being must become ennobled and enlightened through living a Bahá'í life.

(From a letter dated 25 August 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Louhelen School Youth Session)

1301. So many misunderstandings arise from the passionate attachment of the friends to the Faith and also their immaturity. We must therefore be very patient and loving with each other and try to establish unity in the Bahá'í family. The differences ... which you describe in your letter he feels are caused by the above and not by enmity to the Faith or insincerity.

(From a letter dated 17 October 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1302. He was very happy to hear from you, and to learn that Green Acre this year was pervaded with a love and harmony that was instrumental in confirming many new souls in the Faith. This love amongst the believers is the magnet which will, above all else, attract the hearts and bring new souls into the Cause. Because obviously the teachings - however wonderful - cannot change the world unless the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's love is mirrored in the Bahá'í Communities.

(From a letter dated 27 October 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1303. Indeed if the friends could seek, and exert themselves, to become 100 per cent Bahá'ís they would see how greatly their influence over others would be increased, and how rapidly the Cause would spread. The world is seeking not a compromise but the embodiment of a high and shining ideal. The more the friends live up to our teachings in every aspect of their lives, in their homes, in business, in their social relationships, the greater will be the attraction they exercise over the hearts of others.

He is pleased to see you have naturally, with conviction and good will towards all, been mingling with and teaching the coloured people. When the Bahá'ís live up to their teachings as they should, although it may arouse the opposition of some it will arouse still more the admiration of fair-minded people.

(From a letter dated 23 January 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1304. Indeed when we see the increasing darkness in the world today we can fully realize that unless the Message of Bahá'u'lláh reaches into the hearts of men and transforms them, there can be no peace and no spiritual progress in the future.

His constant hope is that the believers will conduct themselves, individually and in their Bahá'í Community life, in such a manner as to attract the attention of others to the Cause. The world is not only starving for lofty principles and ideals, it is, above all, starving for a shining example which the Bahá'ís can and must provide.

(From a letter dated 22 February 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1305. The need is very great, everywhere in the world, in and outside the Faith, for a true spiritual awareness to pervade and motivate people's lives. No amount of administrative procedure or adherence to rules can take the place of this soul-characteristic, this spirituality which is the essence of Man. He is very glad to see you are stressing this and aiding the friends to realize its supreme importance.

(From a letter dated 25 April 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1306. Regarding the matter of ... and the inharmony that seems to exist among certain of the friends ... when Bahá'ís permit the dark forces of the world to enter into their own relationships within the Faith they gravely jeopardize its progress; it is the paramount duty of the believers, the Local Assemblies, and particularly the National Spiritual Assembly to foster harmony, understanding and love amongst the friends. All should be ready and willing to set aside every personal sense of grievance -- justified or unjustified -- for the good of the Cause, because the people will never embrace it until they see in its community life mirrored what is so conspicuously lacking in the world: love and unity.

(From a letter dated 13 May 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand)

1307. Most important of all is that love and unity should prevail in the Bahá'í Community, as this is what people are most longing for in the present dark state of the world. Words without the living example will never be sufficient to breathe hope into the hearts of a disillusioned and often cynical generation.

(From a letter dated 20 October 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1308. Since you have turned to him for guidance, he will very frankly give you his opinion.

He feels that the present inharmony prevailing amongst you ... is very detrimental to the advancement of the Cause, and can only lead to disruption and the chilling of the interest of new believers. You ... should forget about your personal grievances, and unite for the protection of the Faith which he well knows you are all loyally devoted to and ready to sacrifice for. Perhaps the greatest test Bahá'ís are ever subjected to is from each other; but for the sake of the Master they should be ever ready to overlook each other's mistakes, apologize for harsh words they have uttered, forgive and forget. He strongly recommends to you this course of action. Also he feels that you and ... should not remain away from the meetings and Feasts in ...; you have now got an enthusiastic group of young Bahá'ís in ..., and you should show them a strong example of Bahá'í discipline and the unity which can and must prevail amongst the Community of the Most Great Name.

(From a letter dated 18 December 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1309. You ask about "spiritual indigestion": Bahá'ís should seek to be many-sided, normal and well balanced, mentally and spiritually. We must not give the impression of being fanatics, but at the same time we must live up to our principles.

(From a letter dated 12 March 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1310. You may be sure he will pray for the unity of the ... believers, as this is of paramount importance, and upon it depends the development of the Cause there, and the success of every teaching effort. The thing the friends need -- everywhere -- is a greater love for each other, and this can be acquired by greater love for Bahá'u'lláh; for if we love Him deeply enough, we will never allow personal feelings and opinions to hold His Cause back; we will be willing to sacrifice ourselves to each other for the sake of the Faith, and be, as the Master said, one soul in many bodies.

(From a letter dated 5 September 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1311. He heartily agrees with you that unless we practise the Teachings we cannot possibly expect the Faith to grow, because the fundamental purpose of all religions -- including our own -- is to bring man nearer to God, and to change his character, which is of the utmost importance. Too much emphasis is often laid on the social and economic aspects of the Teachings; but the moral aspect cannot be over-emphasized.

(From a letter dated 6 September 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1312. The fact that you had a course on 'Bahá'í character' pleased him very much, as he considers one of the greatest obligations of your generation of believers is to live a Bahá'í life; you must demonstrate, by your high moral standards, your courtesy, your integrity and nobility, that our Faith, is not one of words but truly changes the heart and conduct of its adherents.

(From a letter dated 19 September 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Louhelen School Junior Youth Session, U.S.A.) 

1313. He feels that the youth, in particular, must constantly and determinedly strive to exemplify a Bahá'í life. In the world around us we see moral decay, promiscuity, indecency, vulgarity, bad manners -- the Bahá'í young people must be the opposite of these things, and, by their chastity, their uprightness, their decency, their consideration and good manners, attract others, old and young, to the Faith. The world is tired of words; it wants example, and it is up to the Bahá'í youth to furnish it.

(From a letter dated 19 September 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to Green Acre Summer School)

1314. The friends must, at all times, bear in mind that they are, in a way, like soldiers under attack. The world is at present in an exceedingly dark condition spiritually; hatred and prejudice, of every sort, are literally tearing it to pieces. We, on the other hand, are the custodians of the opposite forces, the forces of love, of unity, of peace and integration, and we must constantly be on our guard, whether as individuals or as an Assembly or Community, lest through us these destructive, negative forces enter into our midst. In other words we must beware lest the darkness of society become reflected in our acts and attitudes, perhaps all unconsciously. Love for each other, the deep sense that we are a new organism, the dawn-breakers of a New World Order, must constantly animate our Bahá'í lives, and we must pray to be protected from the contamination of society which is so diseased with prejudice.

(From a letter dated 5 February 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Atlanta, Georgia)

1315. The Cause in ... is growing very rapidly, and the more it spreads the more the attention of the public will be fixed upon it. This imposes a heavy responsibility on the believers, as they must show forth such a spirit of love and unity among themselves as will attract the hearts of others and encourage them to enter the Faith in large numbers. We must always remember that the Teachings are perfect, and that the only reason more of our fellow men have not as yet embraced them is because we Bahá'ís, the world over, are ourselves not yet as selfless and radiant mirrors of Bahá'u'lláh's Truth as we should and could be! We must constantly strive to better exemplify His Teachings.

(From a letter dated 18 February 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

1316. We must concentrate on perfecting our characters as individual Bahá'ís, and on maturing our still embryonic, and as yet improperly understood, World Order; on spreading the Message, according to the provisions of the Divine Plan; and on building a tightly knit world-wide Bahá'í Community. We are relatively few in numbers, and have such a precious, unique and responsible task to carry out. We must concentrate our full forces upon it.

(From a letter dated 9 May 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

1317. It is upon the individual believer, constituting the fundamental unit in the structure of the home front, that the revitalization, the expansion, and the enrichment of the home front must ultimately depend. The more strenuous the effort exerted, daily and methodically, by the individual labouring on the home front to rise to loftier heights of consecration, and of self-abnegation, to contribute, through pioneering at home, to the multiplication of Bahá'í isolated centres, groups and Assemblies, and to raise, through diligent, painstaking and continual endeavour to convert receptive souls to the Faith he has espoused, the number of its active and whole-hearted supporters; the sooner will the vast and multiple enterprises, launched beyond the confines of the homeland, now so desperately calling for a greater supply of men and means, be provided with the necessary support that will ensure their uninterrupted development and hasten their ultimate fruition ...

(From a letter dated 21 September 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States)

1318. Regarding the questions you asked: self has really two meanings, or is used in two senses, in the Bahá'í writings; one is self, the identity of the individual created by God. This is the self mentioned in such passages as "he hath known God who hath known himself", etc. The other self is the ego, the dark, animalistic heritage each one of us has, the lower nature that can develop into a monster of selfishness, brutality, lust and so on. It is this self we must struggle against, or this side of our natures, in order to strengthen and free the spirit within us and help it to attain perfection.

Self-sacrifice means to subordinate this lower nature and its desires to the more godly and noble side of our selves. Ultimately, in its highest sense, self-sacrifice means to give our will and our all to God to do with as He pleases. Then He purifies and glorifies our true self until it becomes a shining and wonderful reality.