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Messages 1963 to 1986 (Part 2)

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<p120>

So great are these potentialities that they exercise their influence upon all created things.

(Baha'u'llah, cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice [Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 19841, p. 23)

52.9 He is the true servant of God, who, in this day, were he to pass through cities of silver and gold, would not deign to look upon them, and whose heart would remain pure and undefiled from whatever things can be seen in this world, be they its goods or its treasures. I swear by the Sun of Truth! The breath of such a man is endowed with potency, and his words with attraction.

(Baha'u'llah, cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 23)

52.10 The most vital duty, in this day, is to purify your characters, to correct your manners, and improve your conduct. The beloved of the Merciful must show forth such character and conduct among His creatures, that the fragrance of their holiness may be shed upon the whole world, and may quicken the dead, inasmuch as the purpose of the Manifestation of God and the dawning of the limitless lights of the Invisible is to educate the souls of men, and refine the character of every living man ...

('Abdu'l-Baha, cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 26)

52.11 Whensoever ye behold a person whose entire attention is directed toward the Cause of God; whose only aim is this, to make the Word of God to take effect; who, day and night, with pure intent, is rendering service to the Cause; from whose behaviour not the slightest trace of egotism or private motives is discerned -- who, rather, wandereth distracted in the wilderness of the love of God, and drinketh only from the cup of the knowledge of God, and is utterly engrossed in spreading the sweet savours of God, and is enamoured of the holy verses of the Kingdom of God -- know ye for a certainty that this individual will be supported and reinforced by heaven; that like unto the morning star, he will forever gleam brightly out of the skies of eternal grace. But if he show the slightest taint of selfish desires and self love, his efforts will lead to nothing and he will be destroyed and left hopeless at the last.

('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, [Rev. ed.] [Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 19821, pp. 71-72)

52.12 The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch. Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not perfected, how can he efface the <p121> defects of others. Unless he is detached from aught else save God, how can he teach severance to others!

('Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan: Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Baha to the North American Baha'is, Rev. ed. [Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1980], p. 51)

52.13 One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah.

(Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated 24 September 1924 to the Baha'is of America, published in Baha'i Administration: Selected Messages, 1922-1932 [Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1980], p. 66)

52.14 ... having attained sufficiently that individual regeneration -- the essential requisite of teaching -- let us arise to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction, understanding and vigour. Let this be the paramount and most urgent duty of every Baha'i. ...

(Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated 24 November 1924 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published in Baha'i Administration, p. 67)

52.15 The first and most important qualification of a Baha'i teacher is, indeed, unqualified loyalty and attachment to the Cause. Knowledge is, of course, essential, but compared to devotion it is secondary in importance.

52.16 What the Cause now requires is not so much a group of highly cultured and intellectual people who can adequately present its Teachings, but a number of devoted, sincere and loyal supporters who, in utter disregard of their own weaknesses and limitations, and with hearts afire with the love of God, forsake their all for the sake of spreading and establishing His Faith. ...

(From a letter dated 14 November 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Teaching Committee of the United States and Canada, published in Baha'i News, No. 102 [August 1936], p. 2)

52.17 They must remember the glorious history of the Cause, which ... was established by dedicated souls who, for the most part, were neither rich, famous, nor well educated, but whose devotion, zeal and self-sacrifice overcame every obstacle and won miraculous victories for the Faith of God. ...

(From a letter dated 29 June 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma, published in Dawn of a New Day [New Delhi: Baha'i Publishing Trust, n.d. (1970)], p. 89)

52.18 ... what raised aloft the banner of Baha'u'llah was the love, sacrifice, and devotion of His humble followers and the change that His teachings wrought in their hearts and lives.

(From a letter dated 20 June 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles, published in Unfolding Destiny, [London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1981], p. 152)

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52.19 It is the quality of devotion and self-sacrifice that brings rewards in the service of this Faith rather than means, ability or financial backing.

(From a letter dated 11 May 1948 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand)

52.20 One wise and dedicated soul can so often give life to an inactive community, bring in new people and inspire to greater sacrifice. He hopes that whatever else you are able to do during the coming months, you will be able to keep in circulation a few really good Baha'i teachers.

(From a letter dated 30 June 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central America)

 

53

Plans for Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the Birth of Baha'u'llah at the First Oceanic Conference, Palermo, Sicily

12 November 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

53.1 OCCASION HUNDRED FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY BIRTH BLESSED BEAUTY WE CONTEMPLATE WITH HEARTS OVERFLOWING GRATITUDE INESTIMABLE BOUNTIES CONFERRED BY GOD THROUGH HIS SUPREME MANIFESTATION ENSURING FULFILMENT GLORIOUS LONG PROMISED KINGDOM NOW EVOLVING WOMB TRAVAILING AGE DESTINED CONFER PEACE UNDREAMT FELICITY MANKIND.+F138 ANNOUNCE CONVOCATION TWENTY-THIRD TO TWENTY-FIFTH AUGUST 1968 FIRST OCEANIC CONFERENCE BAHA'I WORLD PALERMO SICILY HEART SEA TRAVERSED GOD'S MANIFESTATION CENTURY AGO PROCEEDING INCARCERATION MOST GREAT PRISON.+F139 TWOFOLD PURPOSE CONFERENCE CONSIDER MOMENTOUS FULFILMENT AGE-OLD PROPHECIES TRIUMPH GOD'S MESSENGER OVER EVERY GRIEVOUS CALAMITY AND CONSULT PLANS PROPAGATION CAUSE ISLANDS LANDS BORDERING MEDITERRANEAN SEA. PARTICIPANTS INVITED HOLY LAND IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING CONFERENCE ATTEND COMMEMORATION ARRIVAL LORD HOSTS THESE SACRED SHORES RECONSECRATE THEMSELVES THRESHOLD HIS SHRINE PROSECUTION GLORIOUS TASKS AHEAD.

[F139. On 12 August 1868 Baha'u'llah left Adrianople and journeyed four days to Gallipoli, a city in Turkey on the north side of the Dardenelles at the mouth of the Sea of Marmara. After a few days in Gallipoli, Baha'u'llah sailed in an Austrian steamer for Alexandria, where He was transferred to another ship. He arrived in 'Akka on 31 August 1868. For a fuller account of the journey, see GPB, pp. 178-82, and H. M. Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 255-79.]

[F138. The Blessed Beauty, Baha'u'llah, was born on 12 November 1817.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

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54

Safeguarding the Letters of Shoghi Effendi

December 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

54.1 As the friends are already aware, one of the goals of the Nine Year Plan is continued collation and classification of the Baha'i Sacred Scriptures, as well as the writings of Shoghi Effendi.+F140

[F140. For additional letters on the topic, see messages no. 161 and 409.]

54.2 We have already pointed out to the friends on several occasions that the application of Baha'i laws, the elucidation and extension of basic administrative principles, and the all-important function of legislating on matters not explicitly recorded in our teachings are dependent upon a careful study by the Universal House of Justice of the revealed and pertinent words of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, as well as the illuminating interpretations and directions of Shoghi Effendi.

54.3 Through the labours of the beloved Guardian himself, and the collaboration of the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia, great strides have already been taken to collate the Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. Even up to the present time, a special National Committee in Persia is assiduously and regularly engaged in classifying the Holy Texts of the Founder of our Faith, and the Centre of the Covenant in fulfilment of the goal of the Nine Year Plan referred to above. The writings of the Guardian, however, apart from his general communications already published, which consist to a large extent of letters written by him or on his behalf to various National Spiritual Assemblies, Local Spiritual Assemblies, groups of believers and individual Baha'is, have only been partly collated. Although many National Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers have already sent the originals or copies of their letters from the Guardian to the Holy Land, and quite a number of these have been published at different times in Baha'i News and other news bulletins, it is our confirmed opinion that there are many such letters that have still not been shared with us which may contain a new application of a principle, an already enunciated guideline rephrased to apply in a new situation, a further elucidation of a Baha'i law, a fresh light thrown on a many-sided issue or some wise counsel in a personal problem.

54.4 Your National Spiritual Assembly is requested, therefore, to check carefully first in its own archives or files of correspondence with the Guardian, for any letters addressed to its body or to its subsidiary institutions, written by Shoghi Effendi or on his behalf, and not yet forwarded to the Holy Land. At the end <p124> of this letter we indicate the number and description of Shoghi Effendi's letters falling into this category and pertaining to your area, which we have in our archival files, so that you need to take action in sending us only the text of letters not included in this listing.

54.5 You are also requested to appeal to the friends under your jurisdiction, calling on those who were privileged to have received letters from the Guardian but have not as yet sent their texts to the Holy Land to take immediate steps to do so. In assisting the friends and your National Spiritual Assembly in carrying out this important project we offer the following points for your consideration:

54.5a 1. Recipients of letters from the Guardian have the inherent right of deciding to keep the letters themselves, or to have them preserved for the future in their families. To assist the Universal House of Justice, however, in its efforts to study and compile the letters of the Guardian, the friends are urged to provide, for dispatch to the Holy Land, photostatic copies of their communications from the Guardian if they wish to keep the originals themselves.

54.5b 2. If they are not in a position to provide such copies, they should kindly allow National Spiritual Assemblies to undertake this project on our behalf.

54.5c 3. If facilities for obtaining clear photostatic or Xerox copies are not available in any area, National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to make carefully typed or hand-written copies of such letters, with a certification on behalf of the National Spiritual Assembly concerned that the copies are true and exact.

54.5d 4. Should any believer possess letters so personal and confidential that he does not wish to disclose their contents to any institution other than the Universal House of Justice, he is invited to send either the originals or copies of such letters, marked confidential, directly to the Universal House of Justice, by registered mail, with any instructions he wishes to be followed.

54.6 We hope these guidelines will help you in promoting a project directly linked with the vital functions of the Universal House of Justice. You are free to quote from this letter as you wish, in any appeal you address to the believers.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

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55

Relationship of Baha'is to Politics

8 December 1967

To an individual believer+F141

[F141. The Universal House of Justice permitted publication of portions of this letter to an individual who asked about the relationship of Baha'is to the social and political forces presently operating in the world, as it felt the explanation had general application in many parts of the world.]

Dear Baha'i friend,

55.1 ... we will gladly attempt to clarify some of the points which bewilder you in the relationship of Baha'is to politics. This is a matter of very great importance, particularly in these days when the world situation is so confused; an unwise act or statement by a Baha'i in one country could result in a grave setback for the Faith there or elsewhere -- and even loss of the lives of fellow-believers. Viewing the world's problems in the light of God's purpose for man

55.2 The whole conduct of a Baha'i in relation to the problems, sufferings and bewilderment of his fellowmen should be viewed in the light of God's purpose for mankind in this age and the processes He has set in motion for its achievement.

55.3 When Baha'u'llah proclaimed His Message to the world in the nineteenth century He made it abundantly clear that the first step essential for the peace and progress of mankind was its unification. As He says, "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established." (The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 203) To this day, however, you will find most people take the opposite point of view: they look upon unity as an ultimate almost unattainable goal and concentrate first on remedying all the other ills of mankind. If they did but know it, these other ills are but various symptoms and side effects of the basic disease -- disunity.

55.4 Baha'u'llah has, furthermore, stated that the revivification of mankind and the curing of all its ills can be achieved only through the instrumentality of His Faith. "The vitality of men's belief in God is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it. The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent Revelation can cleanse and revive it?" (Gleanings, XCIX) "That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved <p126> except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician. This, verily, is the truth, and all else naught but error." (Gleanings, CXX) In similar vein, the beloved Guardian wrote:

55.4a Humanity, whether viewed in the light of man's individual conduct or in the existing relationships between organized communities and nations, has, alas, strayed too far and suffered too great a decline to be redeemed through the unaided efforts of the best among its recognized rulers and statesmen -- however disinterested their motives, however concerted their action, however unsparing in their zeal and devotion to its cause. No scheme which the calculations of the highest statesmanship may yet devise, no doctrine which the most distinguished exponents of economic theory may hope to advance, no principle which the most ardent of moralists may strive to inculcate, can provide, in the last resort, adequate foundations upon which the future of a distracted world can be built. No appeal for mutual tolerance which the worldly-wise might raise, however compelling and insistent, can calm its passions or help restore its vigour. Nor would any general scheme of mere organized international co-operation, in whatever sphere of human activity, however ingenious in conception or extensive in scope, succeed in removing the root cause of the evil that has so rudely upset the equilibrium of present-day society. Not even, I venture to assert, would the very act of devising the machinery required for the political and economic unification of the world -- a principle that has been increasingly advocated in recent times -- provide in itself the antidote against the poison that is steadily undermining the vigour of organized peoples and nations. What else, might we not confidently affirm, but the unreserved acceptance of the Divine Programme enunciated, with such simplicity and force as far back as sixty years ago, by Baha'u'llah, embodying in its essentials God's divinely appointed scheme for the unification of mankind in this age, coupled with an indomitable conviction in the unfailing efficacy of each and all of its provisions, is eventually capable of withstanding the forces of internal disintegration which, if unchecked, must needs continue to eat into the vitals of a despairing society. (The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 33-34) Two processes at work

55.5 We are told by Shoghi Effendi that two great processes are at work in the world: the great Plan of God, tumultuous in its progress, working through mankind as a whole, tearing down barriers to world unity and forging humankind into a unified body in the fires of suffering and experience. This process will produce in God's due time, the Lesser Peace, the political unification <p127> of the world.+F142 Mankind at that time can be likened to a body that is unified but without life. The second process, the task of breathing life into this unified body -- of creating true unity and spirituality culminating in the Most Great Peace -- is that of the Baha'is, who are labouring consciously, with detailed instructions and continuing divine guidance, to erect the fabric of the Kingdom of God on earth, into which they call their fellowmen, thus conferring upon them eternal life.+F143

[F143. For an explanation of the Most Great Peace, see the Glossary.]

[F142. For an explanation of the Lesser Peace, see the Glossary.]

55.6 The working out of God's Major Plan proceeds mysteriously in ways directed by Him alone, but the Minor Plan that He has given us to execute, as our part in His grand design for the redemption of mankind, is clearly delineated.+F144 It is to this work that we must devote all our energies, for there is no one else to do it. So vital is this function of the Baha'is that Baha'u'llah has written: "O friends! Be not careless of the virtues with which ye have been endowed, neither be neglectful of your high destiny. Suffer not your labours to be wasted through the vain imaginations which certain hearts have devised. Ye are the stars of the heaven of understanding, the breeze that stirreth at the break of day, the soft-flowing waters upon which must depend the very life of all men, the letters inscribed upon His sacred scroll. With the utmost unity and in a spirit of perfect fellowship, exert yourselves, that ye may be enabled to achieve that which beseemeth this Day of God." (Gleanings, XCVI)

[F144. The Major Plan is God's plan for humanity that Baha'is believe He Himself operates, which is tumultuous in its progress, which works through humanity as a whole, and which forges mankind into a unified body through the fires of suffering and tribulation. Its ultimate object is the Kingdom of God on earth. The Minor Plan is that part of God's plan which the Baha'is are called upon to carry out. It is clear and orderly and operates in the world through the plans, instructions, and guidance given by 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and now by the Universal House of Justice.]

55.7 Because love for our fellowmen and anguish at their plight are essential parts of a true Baha'i's life, we are continually drawn to do what we can to help them. It is vitally important that we do so whenever the occasion presents itself, for our actions must say the same thing as our words -- but this compassion for our fellows must not be allowed to divert our energies into channels which are ultimately doomed to failure, causing us to neglect the most important and fundamental work of all. There are hundreds of thousands of well-wishers of mankind who devote their lives to works of relief and charity, but a pitiful few to do the work which God Himself most wants done: the spiritual awakening and regeneration of mankind. Our task -- building up the Baha'i system

55.8 It is often through our misguided feeling that we can somehow aid our fellows better by some activity outside the Faith, that Baha'is are led to indulge <p128> in politics. This is a dangerous delusion. As Shoghi Effendi's secretary wrote on his behalf. "What we Baha'is must face is the fact that society is rapidly disintegrating -- so rapidly that moral issues which were clear a half century ago are now hopelessly confused, and what is more, thoroughly mixed up with battling political interests. That is why the Baha'is must turn all their forces into the channel of building up the Baha'i Cause and its administration. They can neither change nor help the world in any other way at present. If they become involved in the issues the governments of the world are struggling over, they will be lost. But if they build up the Baha'i pattern they can offer it as a remedy when all else has failed." (Baha'i News, No. 241, p. 14) "We must build up our Baha'i system, and leave the faulty systems of the world to go their own way. We cannot change them through becoming involved in them; on the contrary they will destroy us." (Baha'i News, No. 215, p. 1)

55.9 Other instructions from the Guardian, covering the same theme in more detail, can be found on pages 24 and 29 to 32 of Principles of Baha'i Administration (1963 edition); you are no doubt already familiar with these.+F145

[F145. In the 1982 edition see pp. 24, 29-33.]

55.10 The key to a true understanding of these principles seems to be in these words of Baha'u'llah: "O people of God! Do not busy yourselves in your own concerns; let your thoughts be fixed upon that which will rehabilitate the fortunes of mankind and sanctify the hearts and souls of men. This can best be achieved through pure and holy deeds, through a virtuous life and a goodly behaviour. Valiant acts will ensure the triumph of this Cause, and a saintly character will reinforce its power. Cleave unto righteousness, O people of Baha! This, verily, is the commandment which this wronged One hath given unto you, and the first choice of His unrestrained Will for every one of you." (Gleanings, XLIII).

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

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56

Election of the Universal House of Justice Ridvan 1968

22 April 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

56.1 ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE AMOZ GIBSON 'ALI NAKHJAVANI HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM IAN SEMPLE CHARLES WOLCOTT DAVID HOFMAN H. BORRAH KAVELIN HUGH CHANCE DAVID RUHE.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

57

Message to National Conventions -- 1968

9 May 1968

To all National Baha'i Conventions

57.1 WITH JOYFUL MEMORY OF DEDICATED SPIRIT MATURE DELIBERATIONS SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION HAIL GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY NATIONAL CONVENTIONS AS CRUCIAL MIDWAY POINT NINE YEAR PLAN APPROACHES GALVANIZE BELIEVERS DIRECT ALL EFFORTS ACHIEVEMENT EVERY REMAINING GOAL AND SIMULTANEOUSLY EXTEND ACCELERATE UNIVERSAL PROCLAMATION DIVINE MESSAGE. WITH UTMOST LOVE CALL UPON ALL BAHA'IS FOR SACRIFICIAL OUTPOURING ENERGIES RESOURCES ADVANCEMENT REDEEMING ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH SOLE REFUGE MISDIRECTED HEEDLESS MILLIONS. WORLD CENTRE FAITH SCENE PROLONGED PRAYERFUL CONSULTATION WITH ASSEMBLED HANDS CAUSE GOALS PLAN INCLUDING FUNDAMENTAL OBJECTIVE DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTION HANDS VIEW EXTENSION FUTURE GOD-GIVEN DUTIES PROTECTION PROPAGATION. SUPPLICATING CONTINUALLY HOLY SHRINES LORD HOSTS BOUNTIFULLY REWARD DEDICATED ARDENT LOVERS COMPLETE GLORIOUS VICTORY.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

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58

Announcement of decision to establish eleven Continental Boards of Counsellors

21 June 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

58.1 REJOICE ANNOUNCE MOMENTOUS DECISION ESTABLISH ELEVEN CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELLORS PROTECTION PROPAGATION FAITH THREE EACH FOR AFRICA AMERICAS ASIA ONE EACH FOR AUSTRALASIA EUROPE. ADOPTION THIS SIGNIFICANT STEP FOLLOWING CONSULTATION WITH HANDS CAUSE GOD ENSURES EXTENSION FUTURE APPOINTED FUNCTIONS THEIR INSTITUTION. CONTINENTAL BOARDS ENTRUSTED IN CLOSE COLLABORATION HANDS CAUSE WITH RESPONSIBILITY DIRECTION AUXILIARY BOARDS AND CONSULTATION NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES. HANDS CAUSE GOD WILL HENCEFORTH INCREASE INTERCONTINENTAL SERVICES ASSUMING WORLD-WIDE ROLE PROTECTION PROPAGATION FAITH. MEMBERS AUXILIARY BOARDS WILL REPORT BE RESPONSIBLE TO CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELLORS. HANDS CAUSE RESIDING HOLY LAND IN ADDITION SERVING LIAISON BETWEEN UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE AND CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELLORS WILL ASSIST FUTURE ESTABLISHMENT INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE HOLY LAND FORESHADOWED WRITINGS BELOVED GUARDIAN. DETAILS NEW DEVELOPMENTS BEING CONVEYED BY LETTER. FERVENTLY SUPPLICATING HOLY THRESHOLD DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS FURTHER STEP IRRESISTIBLE UNFOLDMENT MIGHTY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

59

Establishment of Continental Boards of Counsellors

24 June 1968

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

59.1 The majestic unfoldment of Baha'u'llah's world-redeeming administrative system has been marked by the successive establishment of the various institutions and agencies which constitute the framework of that divinely created Order. Thus, more than a quarter of a century after the emergence of the first National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i world the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God was formally established, with the appointment by the beloved Guardian, in conformity with the provisions of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament, of the first contingent of these high-ranking officers of the <p131> Faith. Following the passing of the Guardian of the Cause of God, it fell to the House of Justice to devise a way, within the Administrative Order, of developing "the Institution of the Hands of the Cause with a view to extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation," and this was made a goal of the Nine Year Plan.+F146 Much thought and study has been given to the question over the past four years, and the texts have been collected and reviewed. During the last two months, this goal, as announced in our cable to the National Conventions, has been the object of prolonged and prayerful consultation between the Universal House of Justice and the Hands of the Cause of God. All this made evident the framework within which this goal was to be achieved, namely:

[F146. See message no. 14.]

59.1a The Universal House of Justice sees no way in which additional Hands of the Cause of God can be appointed.

59.1b The absence of the Guardian of the Faith brought about an entirely new relationship between the Universal House of Justice and the Hands of the Cause and called for the progressive unfoldment by the Universal House of Justice of the manner in which the Hands of the Cause would carry out their divinely conferred functions of protection and propagation.

59.1c Whatever new development or institution is initiated should come into operation as soon as possible in order to reinforce and supplement the work of the Hands of the Cause while at the same time taking full advantage of the opportunity of having the Hands themselves assist in launching and guiding the new procedures.

59.1d Any such institution must grow and operate in harmony with the principles governing the functioning of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God.

59.2 In the light of these considerations the Universal House of Justice decided, as announced in its recent cable, to establish Continental Boards of Counsellors for the protection and propagation of the Faith. Their duties will include directing the Auxiliary Boards in their respective areas, consulting and collaborating with National Spiritual Assemblies, and keeping the Hands of the Cause and the Universal House of Justice informed concerning the conditions of the Cause in their areas.

59.3 Initially eleven Boards of Counsellors have been appointed, one for each of the following areas: North-western Africa, Central and East Africa, Southern Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Western Asia, South-eastern Asia, North- eastern Asia, Australasia and Europe.

<p132>

59.4 The members of these Boards of Counsellors will serve for a term, or terms, the length of which will be determined and announced at a later date, and while serving in this capacity, will not be eligible for membership on national or local administrative bodies. One member of each Continental Board of Counsellors has been designated as Trustee of the Continental Fund for its area.

59.5 The Auxiliary Boards for Protection and Propagation will henceforth report to the Continental Boards of Counsellors who will appoint or replace members of the Auxiliary Boards as circumstances may require. Such appointments and replacements as may be necessary in the initial stages will take place after consultation with the Hand or Hands previously assigned to the continent or zone.

59.6 The Hands of the Cause of God have the prerogative and obligation to consult with the Continental Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies on any subject which, in their view, affects the interests of the Cause. The Hands residing in the Holy Land will act as liaison between the Universal House of Justice and the Continental Boards of Counsellors, and will also assist the Universal House of Justice in setting up, at a propitious time, an international teaching centre in the Holy Land, as anticipated in the Guardian's writings.

59.7 The Hands of the Cause of God are one of the most precious assets the Baha'i world possesses. Released from administration of the Auxiliary Boards, they will be able to concentrate their energies on the more primary responsibilities of general protection and propagation, "PRESERVATION [of the] SPIRITUAL HEALTH [of the] Baha'i COMMUNITIES" and the "VITALITY [of the] FAITH" of the Baha'is throughout the world.+F147 The House of Justice will call upon them to undertake special missions on its behalf, to represent it on both Baha'i and other occasions and to keep it informed of the welfare of the Cause. While the Hands of the Cause will, naturally, have special concern for the affairs of the Cause in the areas in which they reside, they will operate increasingly on an intercontinental level, a factor which will lend tremendous impetus to the diffusion throughout the Baha'i world of the spiritual inspiration channelled through them -- the Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth.

[F147. MBW, p. 123.]

59.8 With joyful hearts we proclaim this further unfoldment of the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah and join our prayers to those of the friends throughout the East and the West that Baha'u'llah may continue to shower His confirmations upon the efforts of His servants in the safeguarding and promotion of His Faith.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

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60

First appointments to Continental Boards of Counsellors

24 June 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

60.1 We list below the names of those who have been appointed to the first Continental Boards of Counsellors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith:

North-western Africa

Husayn Ardikani (Trustee, Continental Fund), Muhammad Kebdani, William Maxwell.

Central and East Africa

Oloro Epyeru, Kolonario Oule, Isobel Sabri, Mihdi Samandari, 'Aziz Yazdi (Trustee, Continental Fund).

Southern Africa

Seewoosumbur-Jeehoba Appa, Shidan Fat'he-Aazam (Trustee, Continental Fund), Bahiyyih Ford.

North America

Lloyd Gardner, Florence Mayberry, Edna True (Trustee, Continental Fund).

Central America

Carmen de Burafato, Artemus Lamb, Alfred Osborne (Trustee, Continental Fund).

South America

Athos Costas, Hooper Dunbar (Trustee, Continental Fund), Donald Witzel.

Western Asia

Masih Farhangi, Mas'ud Khamsi, Hadi Rahmani (Trustee, Continental Fund), Manuchihr Salmanpur, Sankaran-Nair Vasudevan.

Southeast Asia

Yan Kee Leong, Khudarahm Payman (Trustee, Continental Fund), Chellie Sundram.

Northeast Asia

Ruhu'llah Mumtazi (Trustee, Continental Fund), Vicente Samaniego.

<p134>

 

Australasia

Suhayl 'Ala'i, Howard Harwood, Thelma Perks (Trustee, Continental Fund).

Europe

Erik Blumenthal, Dorothy Ferraby (Trustee, Continental Fund), Louis Henuzet.

60.2 Please share this list with the friends.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

61

Message to first National Youth Conference in the United States

26 June 1968

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

61.1 WARMLY ACKNOWLEDGE CONFIDENT JOYOUS MESSAGE FROM BAHA'I YOUTH GATHERED PRECINCTS MOTHER TEMPLE WEST. MOVED THEIR DETERMINATION SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES SERVE BELOVED FAITH CALL ON THEM BOLDLY CHALLENGE INVITE CONFUSED CONTEMPORARIES ENTRAPPED MORASS MATERIALISM TO EXAMINE PARTAKE LIFE-GIVING POWER CAUSE JOIN ARMY BAHA'U'LLAH CONFRONT NEGATIVE FORCES OF A SOCIETY SADLY LACKING SPIRITUAL VALUES. ASSURE YOUTH ARDENT PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES GUIDANCE CONFIRMATION THEIR COURAGEOUS EFFORTS.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE <p135>

62

Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Hermann Grossmann

9 July 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

62.1 DEEPLY REGRET ANNOUNCE PASSING HAND CAUSE HERMANN GROSSMANN.+F148 GREATLY ADMIRED BELOVED GUARDIAN HIS GRIEVOUS LOSS DEPRIVES COMPANY HANDS CAUSE OUTSTANDING COLLABORATOR AND BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY STAUNCH DEFENDER PROMOTER FAITH. HIS COURAGEOUS LOYALTY DURING CHALLENGING YEARS TESTS PERSECUTIONS GERMANY OUTSTANDING SERVICES SOUTH AMERICA IMMORTALIZED ANNALS FAITH. INVITE ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS BEFITTING HIS EXALTED RANK EXEMPLARY SERVICES. REQUEST THOSE RESPONSIBLE MOTHER TEMPLES ARRANGE SERVICES AUDITORIUM.

[F148. For an account of the life and services of Hermann Grossman, see BW 15:416-21.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

63

Message to the First Oceanic Conference, Palermo, Sicily

August 1968

To the Hands of the Cause of God and the Baha'i friends assembled in, Palermo, Sicily, at the First Baha'i Oceanic Conference

Dearly loved friends,

63.1 The event which we commemorate at this first Baha'i Oceanic Conference is unique. Neither the migration of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees to the region of Aleppo, nor the journey of Moses towards the Promised Land, nor the flight into Egypt of Mary and Joseph with the infant Jesus, nor yet the Hegira of Muhammad can compare with the voyage made by God's Supreme Manifestation one hundred years ago from Gallipoli to the Most Great Prison.+F149 Baha'u'llah's voyage was forced upon Him by the two despots who were His chief <p136> adversaries in a determined attempt to extirpate once and for all His Cause, and the decree of His fourth banishment came when the tide of His prophetic utterance was in full flood.+F150 The proclamation of His Message to mankind had begun; the sun of His majesty had reached its zenith and, as attested by the devotion of His followers, the respect of the population and the esteem of officials and the representatives of foreign powers, His ascendancy had become manifest. At such a time He was confronted with the decree of final exile to a remote, obscure and pestilential outpost of the decrepit Turkish empire.

[F150. Baha'u'llah's chief adversaries were Sultan 'Abdu'l-Aziz of Turkey and Nasiri'd-Din Shah of Persia. Baha'u'llah's banishments were to Baghdad, 'Iraq, January 1853-April 1863; to Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey, August-December 1863; to Adrianople (now Edirne), Turkey, December 1863-August 1868; and to 'Akka, Palestine, August 1868. The "full flood" of Baha'u'llah's utterances refers to, among other things, His letters to the kings and rulers of the world.]

[F149. Shoghi Effendi explains that during the stay in Gallipoli, which lasted three nights, "no one knew what Baha'u'llah's destination would be. Some believed that He and His brothers would be banished to one place, and the remainder dispersed, and sent into exile. Others thought that His companions would be sent back to Persia, while still others expected their immediate extermination. ..." "So grievous were the dangers and trials confronting Baha'u'llah at the hour of His departure from Gallipoli that He warned His companions that 'this journey will be unlike any of the previous journeys,' and that whoever did not feel himself 'man enough to face the future' had best 'depart to whatever place he pleaseth, and be preserved from tests, for hereafter he will find himself unable to leave' -- a warning which His companions unanimously chose to disregard" (GPB, pp. 181-82). For a fuller account of Baha'u'llah's journey from Adrianople to the Most Great Prison in 'Akka, see GPB, pp. 178-82, and H. M. Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 255-68.]

63.2 Baha'u'llah knew, better than His royal persecutors, the magnitude of the crisis, with all its potentiality for disaster, which confronted Him. Consigned to a prison cell, debarred from access to those to whom His Message must be addressed, cut off from His followers save for the handful who were to accompany Him, and deprived even of association with them, it was apparent that by all earthly standards the ship of His Cause must founder, His mission wither and die.

63.3 But it was the Lord of Hosts with Whom they were dealing. Knowing the sufferings which faced Him His one thought was to instil confidence and fortitude into His followers, to whom He immediately dispatched sublime Tablets asserting the power of His Cause to overcome all opposition. "Should they attempt to conceal its light on the continent," is one of His powerful utterances on this theme, "it will assuredly rear its head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and, raising its voice, proclaim 'I am the life-giver of the world!'"+F151 All the afflictions which men could heap upon Him were thrown back from the rock of His adamantine will like spray from the ocean. His patient submission to the affronts of men, His fortitude, His divine genius transformed the sombre notes of disaster into the diapason of triumph. At the nadir of His worldly fortunes He raised His standard of victory above the Prison City and poured forth upon mankind the healing balm of His laws and ordinances revealed in His Most Holy Book.+F152 "Until our time," comments 'Abdu'l-Baha, "no such thing has ever occurred."+F153 <p137> Our Part-Building Baha'u'llah's Order

[F153. GPB, p. 196.]

[F152. Baha'u'llah revealed the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the chief repository of His laws and the Mother Book of His Revelation, in 'Akka circa 1873.]

[F151. GPB, p. 253.]

63.4 Contemplating this awe-inspiring, supernal episode, we may obtain a clearer understanding of our own times, a more confident view of their outcome and a deeper apprehension of the part we are called upon to play. That the violent disruption which has seized the entire planet is beyond the ability of men to assuage, unaided by God's revelation, is a truth repeatedly and forcibly set forth in our Writings. The old order cannot be repaired; it is being rolled up before our eyes. The moral decay and disorder convulsing human society must run their course; we can neither arrest nor divert them.

63.5 Our task is to build the Order of Baha'u'llah. Undeflected by the desperate expedients of those who seek to subdue the storm convulsing human life by political, economic, social or educational programmes, let us, with single-minded devotion and concentrating all our efforts on our objective, raise His Divine System and sheltered within its impregnable stronghold, safe from the darts of doubtfulness, demonstrate the Baha'i way of life. Wherever a Baha'i community exists, whether large or small, let it be distinguished for its abiding sense of security and faith, its high standard of rectitude, its complete freedom from all forms of prejudice, the spirit of love among its members and for the closely knit fabric of its social life. The acute distinction between this and present-day society will inevitably arouse the interest of the more enlightened, and as the world's gloom deepens the light of Baha'i life will shine brighter and brighter until its brilliance must eventually attract the disillusioned masses and cause them to enter the haven of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, Who alone can bring them peace and justice and an ordered life.

The Mediterranean -- Past History and Spiritual Potential

63.6 The great sea, on one of whose chief islands you are now gathered, within whose hinterland and islands have flourished the Jewish, the Christian and Islamic civilizations is a befitting scene for the first Oceanic Baha'i Conference. Two millenniums ago, in this arena, the disciples of Christ performed such deeds of heroism and self-sacrifice as are remembered to this day and are forever enshrined in the annals of His Cause. A thousand years later the lands, bordering the southern and western shores of this sea witnessed the glory of Islam's Golden Age.+F154

[F154. The classical age of Islamic civilization, the eighth through thirteenth centuries.]

63.7 In the day of the Promised One this same sea achieved eternal fame through its association with the Heroic and Formative Ages of His Cause. It bore upon its bosom the King of kings Himself, the Centre of His Covenant crossed and re-crossed it in the course of His epoch-making journeys to the West, during which He left the indelible imprint of His presence upon European and African lands; the Sign of God on earth frequently journeyed upon it.+F155 It <p138> enshrines within its depths the mortal remains of the Hand of the Cause of God Dorothy Baker and around its shores lies the dust of apostles, martyrs and pioneers. Forty-six Knights of Baha'u'llah are identified with seven of its islands and five of its territories. Through such and many other episodes, Mediterranean lands -- ancient home of civilizations -- have been endowed with spiritual potentiality to dissolve the encrustations of those once glorious but now moribund social orders and to radiate once again the light of Divine guidance.

[F155. Baha'u'llah sailed upon the Mediterranean Sea in 1868 during His journey from Gallipoli to 'Akka. 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Centre of Baha'u'llah's Covenant, accompanied Baha'u'llah on that journey and later sailed upon the Mediterranean in the course of His travels to Egypt, Europe, and North America, 1910-13. Shoghi Effendi, the Sign of God on earth, traversed the Mediterranean in his travels to England to study at Oxford University and in the course of later visits to Europe.]

63.8 Through dedicated, heroic and sacrificial deeds during the course of the beloved Guardian's ministry, the Faith of Baha'u'llah was established in this area. Eight pillars of the Universal House of Justice were raised, the first of an even larger number to be established now and during the course of future plans, to include, as envisioned by Shoghi Effendi, National Spiritual Assemblies in major islands of that historic sea.

The Need for a Dramatic Upsurge in Effective Teaching

63.9 The timing of such exciting developments is dependent upon the outcome of the Nine Year Plan. At this midway point of that Plan, although great strides have been made, more than half the goals are still to be won. The greatest deficiencies are in the opening of new centres where Baha'is reside and the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies, which inevitably affects the ability to establish National Spiritual Assemblies. A dramatic upsurge of teaching -- effective teaching -- is necessary to make up the leeway; pioneers are needed, teachers must travel, funds must be provided. It is our hope that there will be engendered at this Conference, through your enthusiasm, prayers and spirit of devotion, a great spiritual dynamic to reinforce that grand momentum which, mounting steadily during the next four years, must carry the community of the Most Great Name to overwhelming victory in 1973.

63.10 Dear friends, within a few short days the observance of the Centenary of Baha'u'llah's arrival in the Holy Land will take place. The hearts and minds of the entire Baha'i world will be focused on the Most Holy Shrine, where those privileged to attend this commemoration will circumambulate that Holy Spot and raise their prayers to the Lord of the Age.+F156 Let them remember their fellow-believers at home and supplicate from the depths of their souls for such bounties and favours to descend upon the friends of God everywhere <p139> as to cause them to rise as one man to demonstrate their love for Him Who suffered for them, by such deeds of sacrifice and devotion as shall outshine the deeds of the past and sweep away every obstacle from the onward march of the Cause of God. With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice

[F156. The Centenary of Baha'u'llah's arrival in the Holy Land was observed at the Baha'i World Centre 26-31 August 1968. About 1,800 Baha'is who attended the First Oceanic Conference in Palermo, Sicily, 23-25 August 1968, went to Israel to participate in the commemoration. For an account of the commemoration, see BW 15:81-86.]

 

64

Passing of Dr Lutfu'llah Hakim, Member of the Universal House of Justice

12 August 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

64.1 We share with you the following cable which we have just sent to the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia:

GRIEVE ANNOUNCE PASSING LUTFU'LLAH HAKIM DEDICATED SERVANT CAUSE GOD.+F157 SPECIAL MISSIONS ENTRUSTED HIM FULL CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM BY MASTER AND GUARDIAN HIS CLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH EARLY DISTINGUISHED BELIEVERS EAST WEST INCLUDING HIS COLLABORATION ESSLEMONT HIS SERVICES PERSIA BRITISH ISLES HOLY LAND HIS MEMBERSHIP APPOINTED AND ELECTED INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL HIS ELECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED IMMORTAL ANNALS FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH. INFORM BELIEVERS HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL CENTRES. CONVEY ALL MEMBERS HIS FAMILY EXPRESSIONS LOVING SYMPATHY ASSURANCE PRAYERS PROGRESS HIS RADIANT SOUL ABHA KINGDOM.

[F157. For an account of the life and services of Lutfu'llah Hakim, see BW 15:430-34. See also message no. 48.]

64.2 In view of Dr Hakin's long and devoted record of services to the Faith other National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to hold memorial gatherings. Special commemorative services should also be held in the four Mother Temples of the Baha'i World.+F158

[F158. Wilmette, near Chicago, USA; Ingleside, near Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p140>

65

Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Tarazu'llah Samandari

4 September 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

65.1 WITH SORROWFUL HEARTS ANNOUNCE PASSING HAND CAUSE GOD SHIELD HIS FAITH DEARLY LOVED TARaZU'LLaH SAMANDARi NINETY-THIRD YEAR HIS LIFE ON MORROW COMMEMORATION CENTENARY BAHa'U'LLaH'S ARRIVAL HOLY LAND.+F159 FAITHFUL TO LAST BREATH INSTRUCTIONS HIS LORD HIS MASTER HIS GUARDIAN HE CONTINUED SELFLESS DEVOTED SERVICE UNABATED UNTIL FALLING ILL DURING RECENT TEACHING MISSION. UNMINDFUL ILLNESS HE PROCEEDED HOLY LAND PARTICIPATE CENTENARY. EVER REMEMBERED HEARTS BELIEVERS EAST WEST TO WHOSE LANDS HE TRAVELLED BEARING MESSAGE HIS LORD WHOSE COMMUNITIES HE FAITHFULLY SERVED THIS PRECIOUS REMNANT HEROIC AGE WHO ATTAINED PRESENCE BLESSED BEAUTY YEAR HIS ASCENSION NOW LAID REST FOOT MOUNTAIN GOD AMIDST THRONG BELIEVERS ASSEMBLED VICINITY VERY SPOT BAHa'U'LLaH FIRST TROD THESE SACRED SHORES. REQUEST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL SERVICES INCLUDING FOUR MOTHER TEMPLES BAHa'i WORLD BEFITTING LONG LIFE DEDICATED EXEMPLARY SERVICE LORD HOSTS BY ONE ASSURED CENTRE COVENANT LOVING WELCOME PRESENCE BAHa'U'LLaH ABHa KINGDOM.+F160 EXTEND LOVING SYMPATHY ASSURANCE PRAYERS MEMBERS DISTINGUISHED FAMILY.

[F160. Memorial services were held in the Houses of Worship in Wilmette, near Chicago, USA; Ingleside, near Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.]

[F159. For an account of the life and services of Tarazu'llah Samandari, see Baha'i Writings 15:410-16.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

66

Results of the Palermo Conference

8 September 1968

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

66.1 The glorious Conference in Palermo concluded with a burst of eager enthusiasm of determined and dedicated believers who have pledged to do their part in winning the remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan. More than 125 offered to pioneer and more than 100 volunteered to do travel teaching. In addition, there was a generous outpouring of material resources to finance <p141> teaching projects. Had the entire Baha'i world been able to participate in the Mediterranean Conference we have no doubt that all the goals would be quickly won.

66.2 With this in mind we wish to impress upon the friends who could not attend the Conference, and who will surely -- through reports and personal contact with those who did -- sense the enthusiasm generated there, that all believers have the privilege to share in the pioneering work, in the travel teaching programme and in contributing to the Fund.

66.3 We announced at the Conference that the International Deputization Fund, so far used to aid pioneering and travel teaching on an international level, will henceforth be available to assist such projects on the national level in those areas where support is vitally important to the winning of the goals of the Nine Year Plan. We are concerned that, although we are now approaching the midway point of the Plan we must yet form an additional 6,997 Local Spiritual Assemblies (76% of the goal), and take the Faith to over

22,800 new localities (59% of the goal). Obviously, hundreds of pioneers and travelling teachers will be required, many of whom will serve in their own countries.

66.4 Those who cannot pioneer or do travel teaching will want to participate by contributing to the International Deputization Fund. Let them remember Baha'u'llah's injunction: "Centre your energies in the propagation of the Faith of God. Whoso is worthy of so high a calling, let him arise and promote it. Whoso is unable, it is his duty to appoint him who will, in his stead, proclaim this Revelation ..."+F161 Let the Baha'is of the world join in the true spirit of universal participation and win all the victories while there is yet time. Let each assume his full measure of responsibility that all may share the laurels of accomplishment at the end of the Plan.

[F161. GWB, pp. 196-97.]

66.5 Our fervent prayer is that this one-hundredth anniversary of the final banishment of Baha'u'llah will mark a significant turning-point in the fortunes of the Nine Year Plan.+F162

[F162. See the August 1968 message to the First Oceanic Conference -- Palermo, Sicily, (no. 63) for an explanation of the final banishment of Baha'u'llah and its significance.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p142>

67

Letter to youth -- pioneering and education

9 October 1968

To the Baha'i youth in every land

Dear Baha'i friends,

67.1 In the two years since we last addressed the youth of the Baha'i world many remarkable advances have been made in the fortunes of the Faith. Not the least of these is the enrolment under the banner of Baha'u'llah of a growing army of young men and women eager to serve His Cause. The zeal, the enthusiasm, the steadfastness and the devotion of the youth in every land has brought great joy and assurance to our hearts.

67.2 During the last days of August and the first days of September, when nearly two thousand believers from all over the world gathered in the Holy Land to commemorate the Centenary of Baha'u'llah's arrival on these sacred shores, we had an opportunity to observe at first hand those qualities of good character, selfless service and determined effort exemplified in the youth who served as volunteer helpers, and we wish to express our gratitude for their loving assistance and for their example.

67.3 Many of them offered to pioneer, but one perplexing question recurred: Shall I continue my education, or should I pioneer, now? Undoubtedly this same question is in the mind of every young Baha'i wishing to dedicate his life to the advancement of the Faith. There is no stock answer which applies to all situations; the beloved Guardian gave different answers to different individuals on this question. Obviously circumstances vary with each individual case. Each individual must decide how he can best serve the Cause. In making this decision, it will be helpful to weigh the following factors:

67.3a Upon becoming a Baha'i ones whole life is, or should become devoted to the progress of the Cause of God, and every talent or faculty he possesses is ultimately committed to this overriding life objective. Within this framework he must consider, among other things, whether by continuing his education now he can be a more effective pioneer later, or alternatively whether the urgent need for pioneers, while possibilities for teaching are still open, outweighs an anticipated increase in effectiveness. This is not an easy decision, since oftentimes the spirit which prompts the pioneering offer is more important than one's academic attainments.

67.3b One's liability for military service may be a factor in timing the offer of pioneer service.

<p143>

67.3c One may have outstanding obligations to others, including those who may be dependent on him for support.

67.3d It may be possible to combine a pioneer project with a continuing educational programme. Consideration may also be given to the possibility that a pioneering experience, even though it interrupts the formal educational programme, may prove beneficial in the long run in that studies would later be resumed with a more mature outlook.

67.3e The urgency of a particular goal which one is especially qualified to fill and for which there are no other offers.

67.3f The fact that the need for pioneers will undoubtedly be with us for many generations to come, and that therefore there will be many calls in future for pioneering service.

67.3g The principle of consultation also applies. One may have the obligation to consult others, such as one's parents, one's Local and National Assemblies, and the pioneering committees.

67.3h Finally, bearing in mind the principle of sacrificial service and the unfailing promises Baha'u'llah ordained for those who arise to serve His Cause, one should pray and meditate on what his course of action will be. Indeed, it often happens that the answer will be found in no other way.

67.4 We assure the youth that we are mindful of the many important decisions they must make as they tread the path of service to Baha'u'llah. We will offer our ardent supplications at the Holy Threshold that all will be divinely guided and that they will attract the blessings of the All- Merciful.

Deepest Baha'i love,

The Universal House of Justice

<p144>

68

Ridvan Message 1969

Ridvan 126 [AD 1969]

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

68.1 The continued progress of the Cause of God stands in vivid contrast to the chronic unrest afflicting human society, a contrast which the events of the past year, both within and without the Faith, have only served to intensify. Amidst the disintegration of the old order the Cause of God has pursued its majestic course, extending the range of its activities and influence and accomplishing a further development of its administrative system.

A Year of Remarkable Activity

68.2 Opening with the convening, in the Holy Land, of the Second International Convention for the election of the Universal House of Justice, the year has witnessed a remarkable activity in the Cause. The most significant and far-reaching development was undoubtedly the appointment of the eleven Continental Boards of Counsellors, which fulfilled the goal of the Nine Year Plan calling for the development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation. This step, taken after full consultation with the Hands of the Cause, has, at one and the same time, strongly reinforced the activities of that Institution and made it possible for the Hands themselves to extend the range of their individual services beyond the continental sphere, thereby making universally available to the friends the love, the wisdom and the spirit of dedication animating the Guardian's appointees. We wish to pay tribute at this time to the exemplary manner in which the Counsellors, under the guidance of the Hands, have embarked upon their high duties.

The Palermo Conference

68.3 In August, the first Oceanic Baha'i Conference, held in Palermo, commemorated Baha'u'llah's voyage on the Mediterranean Sea on His way to the Most Great Prison. Attendants at this Conference came immediately afterwards to the Qiblih of their Faith to pay homage at the Shrine of its Founder+F163 and to commemorate with deep awareness of its spiritual import the long prophesied arrival of the Lord of Hosts on the shores of the Holy Land. This gathering of more than two thousand believers presented an inexpressibly poignant contrast to the actual arrival of Baha'u'llah one hundred years before, <p145> rejected by the rulers of this earth and derided by the local populace. Such is the conquering power of His Message, such is the undefeatable might of the King of Kings.

[F163. The Qiblih (point of adoration) is the place toward which the faithful turn in prayer. The Qiblih for Baha'is is the Shrine of Baha'u'llah at Bahji, outside of 'Akka.]

68.4 That same message is now being proclaimed by His followers from end to end of the world. Already one hundred and twenty-two Heads of State have been presented with the special edition of The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, and copies have been received by thousands more officials and leaders.+F164

[F164. The Baha'i World Centre published Baha'u'llah's messages to the kings, rulers, religious leaders, and peoples; of the world under the title The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah; a special edition was presented to heads of state. See the Ridvan 1967 message (no. 42) for more details. For an account of the delivery of The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah to heads of state and to humanity in general, see BW 14:204-20.]

68.5 Taking full advantage of the designation of 1968 as Human Rights Year by the United Nations, Baha'i communities throughout the world have not only strengthened the ties between the Baha'i International Community and the United Nations, but have at the same time proclaimed the Faith and its healing message. In country after country the Cause has been featured for the first time in modern mass communications media. The volume of this call to the peoples of the world is increasing day by day and must so continue, penetrating every stratum of society, until the conclusion of the Plan and beyond.

Eight Oceanic and Continental Conferences

68.6 As a stimulus and aid to this vital work as well as to the promotion of all the goals of the Plan, we announce the holding between August 1970 and September 1971 of a series of eight Oceanic and Continental Conferences, as follows: La Paz, Bolivia, and Rose Hill, Mauritius, in August 1970; Monrovia, Liberia, and Djakarta, Indonesia, in January 1971; Suva, Fiji, and Kingston, Jamaica, in May 1971; Sapporo, Japan, and Reykjavik, Iceland, in September 1971.

Areas of Progress in the Nine Year Plan

68.7 A review of the progress of the Nine Year Plan discloses that great strides have been made in the acquisition of Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and Teaching Institutes, in translation of Baha'i literature into more languages and in the incorporation of Local and National Spiritual Assemblies. The site of the Panama Temple has been prepared for construction which will begin as soon as final plans and specifications and the placing of the contract have been approved. Formation of twelve National Spiritual Assemblies

68.8 As a result of the accelerated pace of expansion and consolidation which has been initiated, and which, if fostered and fed, will become a full tide of victorious achievement, we joyfully announce the formation of twelve more National Spiritual Assemblies, two during Ridvan 1969: the National Spiritual <p146> Assembly of the Baha'is of Burundi and Rwanda with its seat in Bujumbura and the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Papua and New Guinea with its seat in Lae, and ten during Ridvan 1970: six in Africa, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'is of the Congo Republic (Kinshasa); Ghana; Dahomey, Togo and Niger; Malawi; Botswana; and Gambia, Senegal, Portuguese Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands; one in the Americas, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Guianas; one in Asia, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Near East; and two in Australasia, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'is of Tonga and the Cook Islands; and Samoa. Thus at Ridvan 1970 the number of National Spiritual Assemblies will be raised to ninety-three.

Opening the Door of Pilgrimage

68.9 In harmony with the world-wide growth of the Cause the World Centre of the Faith is also developing rapidly. The pilgrims, the beloved Guardian has said, are the lifeblood of this World Centre and it has long been our cherished hope and desire to be able to grant the bounty of pilgrimage to the Holy Land to all who can avail themselves of it. It is therefore with great joy that we now find it possible to open the door of pilgrimage to a much greater number of believers. Beginning in October of this year the size of each group of friends to be invited will be quadrupled and the number of groups each year will be increased so that nearly six times the present number of pilgrims will have the opportunity each year to pray in the Shrines of the Central Figures of their Faith, to visit the places hallowed by the footsteps, sufferings and triumphs of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, and to meditate in the tranquillity of these sacred precincts, beautified with so much loving care by our beloved Guardian.

68.10 This increased flow of pilgrims will greatly augment the spiritual development of the Baha'i World Community which now, after five years of strenuous labour and bearing the laurels of outstanding victories, is entering the fourth phase of the Nine Year Plan.

The Great Need for More Believers, Localities, Assemblies

68.11 The great, the most pressing need, at this stage of the Plan, is a rapid increase in the number of believers, and a major advance in the opening of the additional localities as well as in the formation of the well-grounded Local Spiritual Assemblies called for in the Plan. This world-wide activity, the hallmark of the fourth phase of the Plan, answering the tremendous opportunities offered by the present condition of mankind, will be strongly reinforced by the continuance of proclamation, is the essential foundation for the erection of the remaining National Spiritual Assemblies, and will increasingly witness to the benefits of international travelling teaching and inter-Assembly co-operation. Above all, it requires a sacrificial outpouring by the friends of <p147> contributions in support of the Funds of the Faith, and the raising up of a mighty host of pioneers.

68.12 During the second year of the Plan the Baha'i world achieved its greatest feat of organized pioneering when a total of five hundred and five believers arose to settle in the unopened and weakly held territories of the earth.+F165 This magnificent achievement must now be surpassed. The call is raised for seven hundred and thirty-three believers to leave their homes and settle in territories of the globe in dire need of pioneer support or as yet unopened to the Faith. These devoted believers, who should arise without delay, are needed to settle, during the fourth phase of the Plan, in 184 specified territories of the globe: 48 in Africa, 40 in the Americas, 40 in Asia, 18 in Australasia and 38 in Europe. Although primary responsibility has been assigned to those national Baha'i communities most able to provide pioneers, all should ponder in their hearts whether they too cannot respond to this call, either by going themselves or by deputizing, in response to Baha'u'llah's injunction, those who can go in their stead. Detailed information is being sent to National Spiritual Assemblies to ensure that this vital mobilization of Baha'i warriors is accomplished as quickly as possible. Our commitment to complete victory

[F165. April 1965-April 1966.]

68.13 Beloved friends, the Nine Year Plan is well advanced, our work is blessed by the never-ceasing confirmations of Baha'u'llah, and the entire Baha'i World Community is committed to complete victory. That happy consummation, now faintly discernible on the far horizon, will be reached through hard work, realistic planning, sacrificial deeds, intensification of the teaching work and, above all, through constant endeavour on the part of every single Baha'i to conform his inner life to that glorious ideal set for mankind by Baha'u'llah and exemplified by 'Abdu'l-Baha. In contemplating the Master's divine example we may well reflect that His life and deeds were not acted to a pattern of expediency, but were the inevitable and spontaneous expression of His inner self. We, likewise, shall act according to His example only as our inward spirits, growing and maturing through the disciplines of prayer and practice of the Teachings, become the wellsprings of all our attitudes and actions. This will promote the accomplishment of God's purpose; this will ensure the triumph of His Faith and enable us to build up the present motion of the Cause into a grand momentum whose force will carry the community of the Most Great Name to glorious victory in 1973 and onwards to the as yet unapprehended vistas of the Most Great Peace.

The Universal House of Justice

<p148>

69

Guidance on Self-Defence

26 May 1969

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada

Dear Baha'i friends,

69.1 We have reviewed your letter of 11 April, asking about the teachings of the Faith on self-defence and any guidance on individual conduct in the face of increasing civil disorder in North American cities.

69.2 From the texts you already have available it is clear that Baha'u'llah has stated that it is preferable to be killed in the path of God's good pleasure than to kill, and that organized religious attack against Baha'is should never turn into any kind of warfare, as this is strictly prohibited in our Writings.

69.3 A hitherto untranslated Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Baha, however, points out that in the case of attack by robbers and highwaymen, a Baha'i should not surrender himself, but should try, as far as circumstances permit, to defend himself, and later on lodge a complaint with the government authorities. In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, he also indicates that in an emergency when there is no legal force at hand to appeal to, a Baha'i is justified in defending his life. In another letter the Guardian has further pointed out that the assault of an irresponsible assailant upon a Baha'i should be resisted by the Baha'i, who would be justified, under such circumstances, in protecting his life.

69.4 The House of Justice does not wish at the present time to go beyond the guidelines given in the above-mentioned statements. The question is basically a matter of conscience, and in each case the Baha'i involved must use his judgement in determining when to stop in self-defence lest his action deteriorate into retaliation.

69.5 Of course the above principles apply also in cases when a Baha'i finds himself involved in situations of civil disorder. We have, however, advised the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States that under the present circumstances in that country it is preferable that Baha'is do not buy nor own arms for their protection or the protection of their families.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p149>

70

New Appointments to Continental Boards of Counsellors

10 July 1969

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

70.1 With great joy we announce that we have decided to increase the total number of members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith to thirty-eight by adding John McHenry III to the Continental Board of Counsellors in North East Asia and Mas'ud Khamsi to the Continental Board of Counsellors in South America, raising the number of Counsellors on each Board to three and four, respectively.

70.2 We also rejoice to announce the appointment of Mrs Shirin Boman to the Continental Board of Counsellors of Western Asia to fill a vacancy on that Board.

70.3 The devoted efforts of all eleven Continental Boards of Counsellors during the first year of their service to the Faith of Baha'u'llah have been most exemplary and praiseworthy. We are deeply grateful for the loyalty, steadfastness and devotion which have characterized the activities of all members in reinforcing the vitally important work of the Hands of the Cause of God.

70.4 Please share these glad tidings with the friends. With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice

 

71

Formation of an Additional National Spiritual Assembly during Ridvan 1970

11 August 1969

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

71.1 In the brief space of time following the announcement of the formation of six new National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa next Ridvan, the succession of victories, resulting from the prodigious efforts exerted by the devoted friends, impels us to announce that a seventh National Spiritual Assembly will be formed in Africa at Ridvan,

1970. The new National Spiritual Assembly including Congo (Brazzaville), Chad, Central African Republic and Gabon, <p150> will have its seat in Bangui. This will leave Uganda with its own separate National Spiritual Assembly.

71.2 Please share this joyous news with the believers. We know the friends throughout the world join us in our supplications for the continued, uninterrupted prosecution and speedy fulfilment of the goals, terminating in the ultimate triumph of the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

72

Work of Continental Boards of Counsellors and Their Auxiliary Board Members

1 October 1969

To the Continental Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

72.1 A number of questions have been raised concerning the work of the Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members, and it has been suggested that Auxiliary Board members be permitted to work regularly with National Spiritual Assemblies and national committees. We have carefully considered again the various factors involved and have decided that we must uphold the principle that such direct consultations should be exceptional rather than the rule. Spiritual Assemblies and Auxiliary Board Members: A Clarification of Roles

72.2 It is the responsibility of Spiritual Assemblies, assisted by their committees, to organize and direct the teaching work, and in doing so they must, naturally, also do all they can to stimulate and inspire the friends. It is, however, inevitable that the Assemblies and committees, being burdened with the administration of the teaching work as well as with all other aspects of Baha'i community life, will be unable to spend as much time as they would wish on stimulating the believers.

72.3 Authority and direction flow from the Assemblies, whereas the power to accomplish the tasks resides primarily in the entire body of the believers. It is the principal task of the Auxiliary Boards to assist in arousing and releasing this power. This is a vital activity, and if they are to be able to perform it adequately they must avoid becoming involved in the work of administration. For example, when Auxiliary Board members arouse believers to pioneer, any believer who expresses his desire to do so should be referred to the appropriate committee which will then organize the project. Counsellors and Auxiliary <p151> Board members should not, themselves, organize pioneering or travel teaching projects. Thus it is seen that the Auxiliary Boards should work closely with the grass roots of the community: the individual believers, groups and Local Spiritual Assemblies, advising, stimulating and assisting them. The Counsellors are responsible for stimulating, counselling and assisting National Spiritual Assemblies, and also work with individuals, groups and Local Assemblies.

72.4 It is always possible, of course, for Counsellors to depute an Auxiliary Board member to meet with a National Spiritual Assembly for a particular purpose, but this should not become a regular practice. Similarly, if the National Spiritual Assembly agrees, it may be advisable for an Auxiliary Board member to meet occasionally with a national committee to clarify the situation in the area and share information and ideas thoroughly. But this also should not become regular. Were it to do so there would be grave danger of inhibiting the proper working of these two institutions, vitiating and undermining the collaboration that must essentially exist between the Continental Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies. It would diffuse the energies and time of the Auxiliary Board members through their becoming involved in the administration of teaching. It could lead to the Auxiliary Board member's gradually taking over the direction of the national committee, usurping the function of the National Assembly, or to his becoming merely a travelling teacher sent hither and thither at the direction of the committee or National Assembly.

Sharing Information, Reports, and Recommendations

72.5 It is, of course vital that information be shared fully and promptly, as has been explained in the compilation on the work of Auxiliary Board members that was circulated on 25 March 1969. The ways of ensuring this should be worked out by the Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies and methods may vary from area to area.

72.6 Reports and recommendations for action, however, are quite different. Auxiliary Board members should send theirs to the Counsellors and not, to National Assemblies or national committees directly. It is possible that the Counsellors may reject or modify the recommendation; or, if they accept it and pass it on to the National Spiritual Assembly, the National Assembly may decide to refuse it. For an Auxiliary Board member to make recommendations directly to a national committee would lose the benefit of knowledge and experience in a wider field than that of which the Auxiliary Board member is aware, and would short-circuit and undermine the authority of both the Counsellors and the National Assembly.

Advice -- The Province of Counsellors and Auxiliary Board

72.7 Similarly, although an Auxiliary Board member can and should receive information from the National Assemblies and national committees, his primary source of information about the community should be his own direct <p152> contacts with Local Spiritual Assemblies, groups and individual believers. In this way the Counsellors as well as the National Spiritual Assemblies have the benefit of two independent sources of information about the community: through the Auxiliary Board members on the one hand, and through the national committees on the other.

72.8 Assemblies sometimes misunderstand what is meant by the statement that Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members are concerned with the teaching work and not with administration. It is taken to mean that they may not give advice on administrative matters. This is quite wrong. One of the things that Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members should watch and report on is the proper working of administrative institutions. The statement that they do not have anything to do with administration means, simply, that they do not administer. They do not direct or organize the teaching work nor do they adjudicate in matters of personal conflict or personal problems. All these activities fall within the sphere of responsibility of the Spiritual Assemblies. But if an Auxiliary Board member finds a Local Spiritual Assembly functioning incorrectly he should call its attention to the appropriate Texts; likewise if, in his work with the community, an Auxiliary Board member finds that the teaching work is being held up by inefficiency of national committees, he should report this in detail to the Counsellors who will then decide whether to refer it to the National Spiritual Assembly concerned. Similarly, if the Counsellors find that a National Spiritual Assembly is not functioning properly, they should not hesitate to consult with the National Spiritual Assembly about this in a frank and loving way.

72.9 It is the Spiritual Assemblies who plan and direct the work, but these plans should be well known to the Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members, because one of the ways in which they can assist the Assemblies is by urging the believers continually to support the plans of the Assemblies. If a National Spiritual Assembly has adopted one goal as pre-eminent in a year, the Auxiliary Board members should bear this in mind in all their contacts with the believers and should direct their attention to the plans of the National Assembly, and stimulate them to enthusiastically support them.

72.10 The Counsellors in each continental zone have wide latitude in the carrying out of their work. Likewise they should give to each Auxiliary Board member considerable freedom of action within his own allocated area. Although the Counsellors should regularly direct the work of the Auxiliary Board members, the latter should realize that they need not wait for direction; the nature of their work is such that they should be continually engaged in it according to their own best judgement, even if they are given no specific tasks to perform. Above all the Auxiliary Board members should build up a warm and loving relationship between themselves and the believers in their <p153> area so that the Local Spiritual Assemblies will spontaneously turn to them for advice and assistance.

72.11 We assure you all of our fervent prayers in the Holy Shrines for the blessings of Baha'u'llah upon the strenuous and highly meritorious services that you are performing with such devotion in His path.

The Universal House of Justice

 

73

Appeal to Increase Teaching Efforts Amidst Catastrophic Events of the Day

16 November 1969

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear friends,

73.1 In the worsening world situation, fraught with pain of war, violence and the sudden uprooting of long-established institutions, can be seen the fulfilment of the prophecies of Baha'u'llah and the oft-repeated warnings of the Master and the beloved Guardian about the inevitable fate of a lamentably defective social system, an unenlightened leadership and a rebellious and unbelieving humanity.+F166 Governments and peoples of both the developed and developing nations, and other human institutions, secular and religious, finding themselves helpless to reverse the trend of the catastrophic events of the day, stand bewildered and overpowered by the magnitude and complexity of the problems facing them. At this fateful hour in human history many, unfortunately, seem content to stand aside and wring their hands in despair or else join in the babel of shouting and protestation which loudly objects, but offers no solution to the woes and afflictions plaguing our age.

[F166. The years 1968 and 1969 were racked with war, violence, terrorism, and civil unrest around the world. Wars raged in Vietnam and Nigeria; Soviet and Chinese troops skirmished in a continuing border dispute; Soviet troops entered Czechoslovakia to quell a movement toward liberalization; and El Salvador invaded Honduras. Coups d'etat toppled governments in 'Iraq, Syria, Sierre Leone, Dahomey, the Congo, Mali, the Sudan, Libya, the Netherlands Antilles, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia; states of emergency were declared in Spain, Malaysia, and Chile; violent unrest occurred in West Germany, Spain, Bombay, Pakistan, Argentina, Kenya, and the United States; and student protests erupted in Paris, Mexico City, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, and the United States. United States and Israeli airliners were hijacked, and two Israeli airliners were attacked by terrorists. Moreover, a number of leaders were assassinated, including Somalian president Abdirascid Ali Scermarche; US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.; US presidential candidate Robert E. Kennedy; US ambassador to Guatemala John Gordon Mein; and Mozambique Liberation Front leader Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane.]

73.2 Nevertheless a greater and greater number of thoughtful and fair-minded men and women are recognizing in the clamour of contention, grief and <p154> destruction, now reaching such horrendous proportions, the evidences of Divine chastisement, and turning their faces towards God are becoming increasingly receptive to His Word. Doubtless the present circumstances, though tragic and awful in their immediate consequences, are serving to sharpen the focus on the indispensability of the Teachings of Baha'u'llah to the needs of the present age, and will provide many opportunities to reach countless waiting souls, hungry and thirsty for Divine guidance.

73.3 It is these opportunities which we must seize before it is too late. What is needed now is the awakening of all believers to the immediacy of the challenge so that each may assume his share of the responsibility for taking the Teachings to all humanity. Universal participation, a salient objective of the Nine Year Plan, must be pressed toward attainment in every continent, country and island of the globe. Every Baha'i, however humble or inarticulate, must become intent on fulfilling his role as a bearer of the Divine Message. Indeed, how can a true believer remain silent while around us men cry out in anguish for truth, love and unity to descend upon this world?

73.4 We all know how often the Master and the beloved Guardian called upon the friends to consciously strive to be more loving, more united, more dedicated and prayerful than ever before in order to overcome the atmosphere of present-day society which is unloving, disunited, careless of right and wrong and heedless of God. "... when we see the increasing darkness in the world today," the Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf, "we can fully realize that unless the Message of Baha'u'llah reaches into the hearts of men and transforms them, there can be no peace and no spiritual progress in the future."+F167

[F167. From a letter that was later published in the compilation Living the Life.]

The Necessity of Individual Teaching Goals

73.5 The Nine Year Plan is the current stage in the achievement of that sublime objective. It is now imperative for every Baha'i to set for himself individual teaching goals. The admonition of 'Abdu'l-Baha to lead at least one new soul to the Faith each year and the exhortation of Shoghi Effendi to hold a Baha'i fireside in one's home every Baha'i month are examples of individual goals. Many have capacities to do even more, but this alone will assure final and complete victory for the Plan.

73.6 We call upon the friends to join with us in prayer during the Feast of Sultan that we will all become so imbued with zeal, courage and enthusiasm that from this day to the end of the Nine Year Plan nothing will be able to stay the victorious onward march of the followers of the Most Great Name.+F168 May our efforts be worthy of the blessings and confirmations of Baha'u'llah.

[F168. The Feast of Sultan is the Feast of Sovereignty, 19 January.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p155>

74

Acquisition of Property Adjacent to Bahji

18 November 1969

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

74.1 Enclosed please find our letter of 16 November 1969 addressed to the Baha'is of the World.+F169 Please share this letter with all believers in your jurisdiction as soon as possible.

[F169. See message no. 73.]

74.2 After several years of protracted negotiations with agencies of the Israel Government both in Jerusalem and Haifa, an important property adjacent to Bahji and embracing the Master's teahouse has been acquired. On 17 November we cabled the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States as follows:

74.2a WITH GRATEFUL HEARTS ANNOUNCE SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION FORMAL NEGOTIATIONS INITIATED NEARLY TWO DECADES AGO BY BELOVED GUARDIAN WITH AUTHORITIES STATE ISRAEL RESULTING OWNERSHIP VITALLY NEEDED PROPERTY SURROUNDING 'ABDU'L-BAHA'S TEAHOUSE IMMEDIATE NEIGHBOURHOOD MOST HOLY TOMB FOUNDER FAITH. ACQUISITION MUCH DESIRED LAND EXTENDING GARDENS BAHJI FACILITATED THROUGH EXCHANGE PROPERTY DEDICATED SOME THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO TO HOLY TOMB BAHA'U'LLAH BY DEVOTED SERVANT CAUSE HAJI 'ALI YAZDI.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

74.3 The successful conclusion of these negotiations initiated during the life-time of the beloved Guardian was made possible through the acceptance by the Government, as even exchange, of an endowment property given to the Faith in 1933 by the late Haji 'Ali Yazdi. The significance of the specific piece of land donated by this venerable soul becomes apparent when reading the following quotation from the IN MEMORIAM article about him in The Baha'i World, Volume 9 [624-25]:

74.3a He will forever be remembered, amongst other things, as the establisher of Baha'i endowments in the vicinity of 'Akka through his gift of a tract of land dedicated to Baha'u'llah's Holy Tomb in Bahji. ...

74.4 It is a glowing tribute to the memory of this devoted servant of the Blessed Beauty that his gift should play such an important part in securing this valuable additional safeguard for the Most Holy Tomb.

74.5 Please also convey the news of this victory to the friends. With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p156>

75

Comments on the Guardianship and the Universal House of

Justice

7 December 1969

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

75.1 Your recent letter, in which you share with us the questions that have occurred to some of the youth in studying "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," has been carefully considered, and we feel that we should comment both on the particular passage you mention and on a related passage in the same work, because both bear on the relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice.

75.2 The first passage concerns the Guardian's duty to insist upon a reconsideration by his fellow members in the Universal House of Justice of any enactment which he believes conflicts with the meaning and departs from the spirit of the Sacred Writings. The second passage concerns the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice without the Guardian, namely Shoghi Effendi's statement that "Without such an institution [the Guardianship] ... the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn."+F170

[F170. WOB, p. 148.]

75.3 Some of the youth, you indicate, were puzzled as to how to reconcile the former of these two passages with such statements as that in the Will of 'Abdu'l-Baha which affirms that the Universal House of Justice is "freed from all error."+F171 Seeking the Writings' unity of meaning

[F171. WT, p. 14.]

75.4 Just as the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha does not in any way contradict the Kitab-i-Aqdas but, in the Guardian's words, "confirms, supplements, and correlates the provisions of the Aqdas," so the writings of the Guardian contradict neither the revealed Word nor the interpretations of the Master.+F172 In attempting to understand the Writings, therefore, one must first realize that there is and can be no real contradiction in them, and in the light of this we can confidently seek the unity of meaning which they contain.

[F172. WOB, p. 19.]

75.5 The Guardian and the Universal House of Justice have certain duties and functions in common; each also operates within a separate and distinct sphere. As Shoghi Effendi explained, "... it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word <p157> and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on such laws and ordinances as Baha'u'llah has not expressly revealed." He goes on to affirm, "Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested." It is impossible to conceive that two centres of authority, which the Master has stated "are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One, could conflict with one another, because both are vehicles of the same Divine Guidance.+F173

[F173. WOB, pp. 149-50; WT, p. 11.]

75.6 The Universal House of Justice, beyond its function as the enactor of legislation, has been invested with the more general functions of protecting and administering the Cause, solving obscure questions and deciding upon matters that have caused difference. Nowhere is it stated that the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice is by virtue of the Guardian's membership or presence on that body. Indeed, 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will and Shoghi Effendi in his "Dispensation of Baha'u'llah" have both explicitly stated that the elected members of the Universal House of Justice in consultation are recipients of unfailing Divine Guidance. Furthermore the Guardian himself in The World Order of Baha'u'llah asserted that "It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the institution of Guardianship does not under any circumstances abrogate, or even in the slightest degree detract from, the powers granted to the Universal House of Justice by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by 'Abdu'l- Baha in His Will. It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to the Will and Writings of Baha'u'llah, nor does it nullify any of His revealed instructions."+F174

[F174. WOB, p. 8.]

75.7 While the specific responsibility of the Guardian is the interpretation of the Word, he is also invested with all the powers and prerogatives necessary to discharge his function as Guardian of the Cause, its Head and supreme protector. He is, furthermore, made the irremovable head and member for life of the supreme legislative body of the Faith. It is as the head of the Universal House of Justice, and as a member of that body, that the Guardian takes part in the process of legislation. If the following passage, which gave rise to your query, is considered as referring to this last relationship, you will see that there is no contradiction between it and the other texts: "Though the <p158> Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Baha'u'llah revealed utterances."+F175

[F175. WOB, p. 150.]

75.8 Although the Guardian, in relation to his fellow members within the Universal House of Justice, cannot override the decision of the majority, it is inconceivable that the other members would ignore any objection he raised in the course of consultation or pass legislation contrary to what he expressed as being in harmony with the spirit of the Cause. It is, after all, the final act of judgement delivered by the Universal House of Justice that is vouchsafed infallibility, not any views expressed in the course of the process of enactment.

75.9 It can be seen, therefore, that there is no conflict between the Master's statements concerning the unfailing divine guidance conferred upon the Universal House of Justice and the above passage from "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah."

The Process of Legislation

75.10 It may help the friends to understand this relationship if they are aware of some of the processes that the Universal House of Justice follows when legislating. First, of course, it observes the greatest care in studying the Sacred Texts and the interpretations of the Guardian as well as considering the views of all the members. After long consultation the process of drafting a pronouncement is put into effect. During this process the whole matter may well be reconsidered. As a result of such reconsideration the final judgement may be significantly different from the conclusion earlier favoured, or possibly it may be decided not to legislate at all on that subject at that time. One can understand how great would be the attention paid to the views of the Guardian during the above process were he alive.

The Universal House Of Justice in the Absence of the Guardian

75.11 In considering the second passage we must once more hold fast to the principle that the teachings do not contradict themselves.

75.12 Future Guardians are clearly envisaged and referred to in the Writings, but there is nowhere any promise or guarantee that the line of Guardians would endure forever; on the contrary there are clear indications that the line could be broken. Yet, in spite of this, there is a repeated insistence in the Writings on the indestructibility of the Covenant and the immutability of God's Purpose for this Day.

<p159>

75.13 One of the most striking passages which envisage the possibility of such a break in the line of Guardians is in the Kitab-i-Aqdas itself: The endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer of Signs. No one has the right to lay hold on them without leave from the Dawning-Place of Revelation.+F176 After Him the decision rests with the Aghsan [Branches],+F177 and after them with the House of Justice -- should it be established in the world by then -- so that they may use these endowments for the benefit of the Sites exalted in this Cause, and for that which they have been commanded by God, the Almighty, the All-Powerful. Otherwise the endowments should be referred to the people of Baha, who speak not without His leave and who pass no judgement but in accordance with that which God has ordained in this Tablet, they who are the champions of victory betwixt heaven and earth, so that they may spend them on that which has been decreed in the Holy Book by God, the Mighty, the Bountiful.+F178

[F178. See KA P42.]

[F177. Aghsan (Branches) denotes the sons and male descendants of Baha'u'llah.]

[F176. "The Dawning-Place of Revelation' is a reference to the Manifestation of God; here, a specific reference to Baha'u'llah.]

75.14 The passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 precipitated the very situation provided for in this passage, in that the line of Aghsan ended before the House of Justice had been elected. Although, as is seen, the ending of the line of Aghsan at some stage was provided for, we must never underestimate the grievous loss that the Faith has suffered. God's purpose for mankind remains unchanged, however, and the mighty Covenant of Baha'u'llah remains impregnable. Has not Baha'u'llah stated categorically, "The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an unassailable, an enduring foundation."+F179 While 'Abdu'l-Baha confirms: "Verily, God effecteth that which He pleaseth; naught can annul His Covenant; naught can obstruct His favour nor oppose His Cause!" "Everything is subject to corruption; but the Covenant of thy Lord shall continue to pervade all regions." "The tests of every dispensation are in direct proportion to the greatness of the Cause, and as heretofore such a manifest Covenant, written by the Supreme Pen, hath not been entered upon, the tests are proportionately severe. ... These agitations of the violators are no more than the foam of the ocean, ... This foam of the ocean shall not endure and shall soon disperse and vanish, while the ocean of the Covenant shall eternally surge and roar."+F180 And Shoghi Effendi has clearly stated: "The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God's immutable Purpose for mankind in this day." "... this priceless gem of Divine <p160> Revelation, now still in its embryonic state, shall evolve within the shell of His law, and shall forge ahead, undivided and unimpaired, till it embraces the whole of mankind."+F181

[F181. WOB, p. 156, 23.]

[F180. TABA 2:598; Star of the West, IV:10, p. 170; SWAB, pp. 210-11.]

[F179. WOB, p. 109.]

Two Authoritative Centres

75.15 In the Baha'i Faith there are two authoritative centres appointed to which the believers must turn, for in reality the Interpreter of the Word is an extension of that centre which is the Word itself. The Book is the record of the utterance of Baha'u'llah, while the divinely inspired Interpreter is the living Mouth of that Book -- it is he and he alone who can authoritatively state what the Book means. Thus one centre is the Book with its Interpreter, and the other is the Universal House of Justice guided by God to decide on whatever is not explicitly revealed in the Book. This pattern of centres and their relationships is apparent at every stage in the unfoldment of the Cause. In the Kitab-i- Aqdas Baha'u'llah tells the believers to refer after His passing to the Book, and to "Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root."+F182 In the Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Book of Baha'u'llah's Covenant), He makes it clear that this reference is to 'Abdu'l-Baha.+F183 In the Aqdas Baha'u'llah also ordains the institution of the Universal House of Justice, and confers upon it the powers necessary for it to discharge its ordained functions. The Master in His Will and Testament explicitly institutes the Guardianship, which Shoghi Effendi states was clearly anticipated in the verses of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, reaffirms and elucidates the authority of the Universal House of Justice, and refers the believers once again to the Book: "Unto the Most Holy Book everyone must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice," and at the very end of the Will He says: "All must seek guidance and turn unto the Centre of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error."+F184

[F184. WT, pp. 19, 26.]

[F183. TB, pp. 217-23.]

[F182. KA P121.]

75.16 As the sphere of jurisdiction of the Universal House of Justice in matters of legislation extends to whatever is not explicitly revealed in the Sacred Text, it is clear that the Book itself is the highest authority and delimits the sphere of action of the House of Justice. Likewise, the Interpreter of the Book must also have the authority to define the sphere of the legislative action of the elected representatives of the Cause. The writings of the Guardian and the advice given by him over the thirty-six years of his Guardianship show the way in which he exercised this function in relation to the Universal House of Justice as well as to National and Local Spiritual Assemblies.

<p161>

75.17 The fact that the Guardian has the authority to define the sphere of the legislative action of the Universal House of Justice does not carry with it the corollary that without such guidance the Universal House of Justice might stray beyond the limits of its proper authority; such a deduction would conflict with all the other texts referring to its infallibility, and specifically with the Guardian's own clear assertion that the Universal House of Justice never can or will infringe on the sacred and prescribed domain of the Guardianship. It should be remembered, however, that although National and Local Spiritual Assemblies can receive divine guidance if they consult in the manner and spirit described by 'Abdu'l-Baha, they do not share in the explicit guarantees of infallibility conferred upon the Universal House of Justice. Any careful student of the Cause can see with what care the Guardian, after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, guided these elected representatives of the believers in the painstaking erection of the Administrative Order and in the formulation of Local and National Baha'i Constitutions.

75.18 We hope that these elucidations will assist the friends in understanding these relationships more clearly, but we must all remember, that we stand too close to the beginnings of the System ordained by Baha'u'llah to be able fully to understand its potentialities or the interrelationships of its component parts. As Shoghi Effendi's secretary wrote on his behalf to an individual believer on 25 March 1930, "The contents of the Will of the Master are far too much for the present generation to comprehend. It needs at least a century of actual working before the treasures of wisdom hidden in it can be revealed.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p162>

76

Release of a Compilation on Baha'i Funds

1 January 1970

National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

76.1 In order to assist the friends everywhere in the proper appreciation of the importance and meaning of contributing to Baha'i Funds, and to remind them as well as all Assemblies of the underlying principles that must govern the offering and administration of these funds, we have made a compilation of extracts from the Guardian's letters on this subject which we are now sharing with you.+F185

[F185. See CC I:529-50.]

76.2 You may use these extracts in any manner you deem advisable, at conferences, in summer schools, in deepening classes, and in your newsletters and circular letters. With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice

 

77

Non-Interference in Political Affairs

8 February 1970

To National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa

Dear Baha'i friends,

77.1 For long centuries the African Continent, or rather that great part of it which lies south of the Sahara, remained relatively isolated from the rest of the world, untroubled and scarcely touched by the surging conflicts of the nations to the north and east. Now, rapidly emerging into the main stream of international interest, the African peoples, who were compared by Baha'u'llah to the black pupil of the eye through which "the light of the spirit shineth forth,"+F186 are being swept by the heady enthusiasms of new-found independence, torn by the conflicting forces of divergent political interests, their vision obscured by the haze of materialism and the dust of nationalistic passions and age-old tribal rivalries.

[F186. ADJ, p. 37.]

77.2 In the midst of the storm and stress of the battles of selfish interests being waged about them, stand the followers of the Most Great Name, their sight attracted to the rising Sun of God's Holy Cause, their hearts welded together <p163> in a bond of true unity with all the children of men, and their voices raised in a universal song of praise to the Glory of God and the oneness of mankind, calling on their fellowmen to forget and forgo their differences and join them in obedience and service to God's Holy Command in this Day.

77.3 The Army of the Cause, advancing at the bidding of the Lord, to conquer the hearts of men, can never be defeated, but its rate of advance can be slowed down by acts of unwisdom and ignorance on the part of its supporters. We are writing you this letter to help in clarifying some of the issues that have, in the past, blurred the vision of some of the believers, and caused them to commit errors of judgement which have retarded the progress of the Faith in their countries.

The Principle of Non-Interference in Political Affairs

77.4 One of these issues, and by far the most important, is a lack of appreciation of the implications of the Baha'i principle of non-interference in political affairs. We find that 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi have given us clear and convincing reasons why we must uphold this principle. These reasons are summarized below for the study and deepening of the friends. It is our hope that these observations will not only help the friends to intelligently and radiantly follow the holy teachings on this matter, but will help them to explain the Baha'i attitude to those who may question its wisdom and usefulness:

77.4a The Faith of God is the sole source of salvation for mankind today. The true cause of the ills of humanity is its disunity. No matter how perfect may be the machinery devised by the leaders of men for the political unity of the world, it will still not provide the antidote to the poison sapping the vigour of present-day society. These ills can be cured only through the instrumentality of God's Faith. There are many well-wishers of mankind who devote their efforts to relief work and charity and to the material well-being of man, but only Baha'is can do the work which God most wants done. When we devote ourselves to the work of the Faith we are doing a work which is the greatest aid and only refuge for a needy and divided world.

77.4b The Baha'i Community is a world-wide organization seeking to establish true and universal peace on earth. If a Baha'i works for one political party to overcome another it is a negation of the very spirit of the Faith. Membership in any political party, therefore, necessarily entails repudiation of some or all of the principles of peace and unity proclaimed by Baha'u'llah. As 'Abdu'l-Baha stated: "Our party is God's party -- -we don't belong to any party."+F187

[F187. Quoted in Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 15 July 1955 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Central America.]

<p164>

77.4c If a Baha'i were to insist on his right to support a certain political party, he could not deny the same degree of freedom to other believers. This would mean that within the ranks of the Faith, whose primary mission is to unite all men as one great family under God, there would be Baha'is opposed to each other. Where, then, would be the example of unity and harmony which the world is seeking?

77.4d If the institutions of the Faith, God forbid, became involved in politics, the Baha'is would find themselves arousing antagonism instead of love. If they took one stand in one country, they would be bound to change the views of the people in another country about the aims and purposes of the Faith. By becoming involved in political disputes, the Baha'is instead of changing the world or helping it, would themselves be lost and destroyed. The world situation is so confused and moral issues which were once clear have become so mixed up with selfish and battling factions, that the best way Baha'is can serve the highest interests of their country and the cause of true salvation for the world, is to sacrifice their political pursuits and affiliations and wholeheartedly and fully support the divine system of Baha'u'llah.

77.4e The Faith is not opposed to the true interests of any nation, nor is it against any party or faction. It holds aloof from all controversies and transcends them all, while enjoining upon its followers loyalty to government and a sane patriotism. This love for their country the Baha'is show by serving its well-being in their daily activity, or by working in the administrative channels of the government instead of through party politics or in diplomatic or political posts. The Baha'is may, indeed are encouraged to mix with all strata of society, with the highest authorities and with leading personalities as well as with the mass of the people, and should bring the knowledge of the Faith to them; but in so doing they should strictly avoid becoming identified, or identifying the Faith, with political pursuits and party programmes.

77.5 So vital is this principle of non-interference in political matters, which must govern the acts and words of Baha'is in every land, that Shoghi Effendi has written that "Neither the charges which the uninformed and the malicious may be led to bring against them, nor the allurements of honours and rewards" would ever induce the true believers to deviate from this path, and that their words and conduct must proclaim that the followers of Baha'u'llah "are actuated by no selfish ambition, that they neither thirst for power, nor mind any wave of unpopularity, of distrust or criticism, which a strict adherence to their standards might provoke."+F188

[F188. WOB, pp. 66-67.]

<p165>

77.6 "Difficult and delicate though be our task," he continues, "the sustaining power of Baha'u'llah and of His Divine guidance will assuredly assist us if we follow steadfastly in His way, and strive to uphold the integrity of His laws. The light of His redeeming grace, which no earthly power can obscure, will if we persevere, illuminate our path, as we steer our course amid the snares and pitfalls of a troubled age, and will enable us to discharge our duties in a manner that would redound to the glory and the honour of His blessed Name."+F189

[F189. WOB, p. 67.]

The Problem of Tribalism

77.7 The second issue which causes difficulties for the African friends in these days is the matter of tribalism. As Baha'is they are convinced that mankind is one and must be viewed as one entity, yet, as members of their respective tribes, they find themselves expected by their non-Baha'i brothers to give their first loyalty to, and even aggressively pursue the interests of their tribe. They live, moreover, in an atmosphere which is only too often one of mistrust, fear and even hatred against the members of other tribes.

77.8 The Baha'i attitude in such a situation is clearly set forth in the Writings. As Baha'is we are attached to our tribes and clans, just as we are to our families and, on a larger scale, to our nations, but we do not allow this attachment to conflict with our wider loyalty to humanity. The followers of the Faith, the Guardian has clearly stated , will not hesitate to subordinate every particular interest, be it personal, regional or national, to the overriding 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, and that no lasting result can be achieved by any of the component parts if the general interests of the entity itself are neglected."+F190

[F190. PDIC, Pv.]

77.9 In further elucidating this theme he has written: "Let there be no misgivings as to the animating purpose of the world-wide Law of Baha'u'llah. ... It 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. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity ..."+F191 <p166> The Example of a Unified Community

[F191. WOB, pp. 41-42.]

77.10 In these days when tribal tensions are increasing in Africa the friends should be vigilant lest any trace of prejudice or hatred, God forbid, may enter their midst. On the contrary, they should endeavour to bring into the Faith an ever-larger representation of the various tribes in each country, and through complete lack of prejudice as well as through the love that Baha'is have for each other and for their non-Baha'i neighbours, demonstrate to their countrymen what the Word of God can do. They will thus provide, for the scrutiny of the leaders and rulers of their countries, a shining example of a unified community, working together in full concord and harmony, demonstrating a hope that is attainable, and a pattern worthy to be emulated.

77.11 To discriminate against any tribes because they are in a minority is a violation of the spirit that animates the Faith of Baha'u'llah. As followers of God's Holy Faith it is our obligation to protect the just interests of any minority element within the Baha'i community. In fact in the administration of our Baha'i affairs, representatives of minority groups are not only enabled to enjoy equal rights and privileges, but they are even favoured and accorded priority. Baha'is should be careful never to deviate from this noble standard, even if the course of events or public opinion should bring pressure to bear upon them.

77.12 The principles in the Writings are clear, but usually it is when these principles are applied that questions arise. In all cases where the correct course of action is not clear believers should consult their National Spiritual Assembly who will exercise their judgement in advising the friends on the best course to follow.

77.13 It is the hope and prayer of the Universal House of Justice that National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa will, in full collaboration with the Continental Boards of Counsellors and Auxiliary Boards in their areas, act as loving shepherds to the divine flock in that mighty Continent, protect the friends from the evil influences surrounding them, guide them in the true and right path, and assist them to attain a continuously deeper understanding, a firmer conviction and a more consuming love for the Cause they are so devotedly seeking to promote and serve.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p167>

78

Attainment of Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council

18 February 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

78.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD ATTAINMENT CONSULTATIVE STATUS UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL THEREBY FULFILLING LONG CHERISHED HOPE BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WORLD CENTRE GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN.+F192 SUSTAINED PERSISTENT EFFORTS MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS ACCREDITED REPRESENTATIVES BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY UNITED NATIONS DEVOTED SUPPORT BAHA'I COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT WORLD FINALLY REWARDED. SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT ADDS PRESTIGE INFLUENCE RECOGNITION EVER ADVANCING FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH. OFFERING PRAYERS GRATITUDE HOLY SHRINES.

[F192. In a meeting on 12 February 1970 the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, the functional committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) responsible for its relationship with non-governmental organizations, had unanimously recommended that the Baha'i International Community's application for consultative status be approved. ECOSOC formally accepted that recommendation on 27 May 1970.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

79

The Spirit of Baha'i Consultation

6 March 1970

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada

Dear Baha'i friends,

79.1 We have your letter of 14 January 1970 asking questions about the decision- making process of Spiritual Assemblies.

79.2 It is important to realize that the spirit of Baha'i consultation is very different from that current in the decision-making processes of non-Baha'i bodies.

79.3 The ideal of Baha'i consultation is to arrive at a unanimous decision. When this is not possible a vote must be taken. In the words of the beloved Guardian: "... when they are called upon to arrive at a certain decision, they should, after dispassionate, anxious, and cordial consultation, turn to God in prayer, and with earnestness and conviction and courage record their vote and abide by the voice of the majority, which we are told by our Master to be the voice of truth, never to be challenged, and always to be wholeheartedly enforced."+F193

[F193. BA, p. 64.]

<p168>

79.4 As soon as a decision is reached it becomes the decision of the whole Assembly, not merely of those members who happened to be among the majority.

79.5 When it is proposed to put a matter to the vote, a member of the Assembly may feel that there are additional facts or views which must be sought before he can make up his mind and intelligently vote on the proposition. He should express this feeling to the Assembly, and it is for the Assembly to decide whether or not further consultation is needed before voting.

79.6 Whenever it is decided to vote on a proposition all that is required is to ascertain how many of the members are in favour of it; if this is a majority of those present, the motion is carried; if it is a minority, the motion is defeated. Thus the whole question of "abstaining" does not arise in Baha'i voting. A member who does not vote in favour of a proposition is, in effect, voting against it, even if at that moment he himself feels that he has been unable to make up his mind on the matter.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

80

Commemoration of the Centenary of the Martyrdom of Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch

25 March 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

80.1 In commemoration of the centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, which falls on 23 June 1970, we call upon the Baha'is of the world to unite in prayer for "the regeneration of the world and the unification of its peoples."+F194

[F194. GPB, p. 348. For an account of the commemoration of the passing of the Purest Branch, see BW 15:163.]

80.2 During those days one hundred years ago Baha'u'llah was enduring His imprisonment in the Barracks of 'Akka. Upon the tribulations which weighed Him down was heaped the fatal accident which befell His young son, His companion and amanuensis, Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, whose dying supplication to his Father was to accept his life "as a ransom for those of His loved ones who yearned for, but were unable to attain, His presence."+F195 In a Tablet revealed in that grievous hour Baha'u'llah sorrows that "This is the day whereon he that was created of the light of Baha has suffered martyrdom, at <p169> a time when he lay imprisoned at the hands of his enemies." Yet He makes clear that the youth passing has a far profounder meaning than His acceptance of the simple request, declaring that "Thou art, verily, the trust of God and His treasure in this land. Erelong will God reveal through thee that which He hath desired." In a prayer revealed for His son He proclaims the purpose underlying the tragedy: "I have, O my Lord, offered up that which Thou hast given Me, that Thy servants may be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united."+F196 Thus upon a youth of consummate devotion who demonstrated such beauty of spirit and total dedication was conferred a unique station in the Cause of God.

[F196. MA, pp. 33, 34.]

[F195. MA, p. 31.]

80.3 In your recalling the bereavement of Baha'u'llah upon the loss of His loved son, and honouring a highly significant event in the Faith, we leave it to the discretion of the Assemblies whether they choose to hold special gatherings of prayer. In the Holy Land at the World Centre on Mount Carmel there will be an observance at the grave of Mirza Mihdi, at which time his pure example and sacrifice for all mankind will be remembered through the words of his glorious Father.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

80.4 For your background and appreciation of the nature of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, we refer you to God Passes By, pp. 188-89, and to Baha'i Holy Places at the World Centre, pp. 60, and 70-74, from which the several quotations above are derived.

 

81

Ridvan Message 1970

Ridvan 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

81.1 BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY ENTERING SEVENTH YEAR NINE YEAR PLAN HAS AMPLY DEMONSTRATED ABILITY SCALE HEIGHTS DEVOTION SACRIFICE WIN ASTONISHING VICTORIES WORLD-REDEEMING WORLD-HEALING WORLD-UNITING FAITH. AT THIS RIDVAN EXTEND LOVING WELCOME ELEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES NOW FORMING SEVEN IN AFRICA ONE IN AMERICAS ONE IN ASIA TWO IN AUSTRALASIA RAISING TO NINETY-FOUR NUMBER SUPPORTING PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. MOVED PAY LOVING TRIBUTE HANDS CAUSE GOD THEIR BRILLIANT SERVICES BLAZING TEACHING TRAILS SURFACE PLANET UPLIFTING ADVISING ASSEMBLIES FRIENDS ALL CONTINENTS. IN VIEW EFFECTIVE REINFORCEMENT THIS <p170> NOBLE WORK BY ABLE DEDICATED CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELLORS THEIR AUXILIARY BOARDS TOGETHER WITH GROWING NEED AND EXPANSION WORLD COMMUNITY ANNOUNCE AUGMENTATION VITAL INSTITUTION THROUGH APPOINTMENT THREE ADDITIONAL COUNSELLORS IRAJ AYMAN WESTERN ASIA ANNELIESE BOPP BETTY REED EUROPE AND AUTHORIZATION APPOINTMENT FORTY-FIVE ADDITIONAL AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS NINE AFRICA SIXTEEN ASIA TWO AUSTRALASIA EIGHTEEN WESTERN HEMISPHERE. CALLING FORMATION FOUR NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES RIDVAN 1971 LESOTHO SEAT MASERU IVORY COAST MALI AND UPPER VOLTA SEAT ABIDJAN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO SEAT PORT OF SPAIN SOLOMON ISLANDS SEAT HONIARA. NINE YEAR PLAN ALREADY MARKED GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS PIONEERING PROCLAMATION RECOGNITION FAITH UPSURGE YOUTH ACQUISITION PROPERTIES COMMENCEMENT CONSTRUCTION PANAMA TEMPLE DEVELOPMENTS WORLD CENTRE. URGENT IMMEDIATE VITAL NEED CONCENTRATE ATTENTION INCREASE NUMBER LOCALITIES LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES BELIEVERS FILL REMAINING PIONEER POSTS. LAST RIDVAN CALL RAISED SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE PIONEERS MINIMUM REQUIREMENT. FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY- NINE SPECIFIC POSTS STILL UNFILLED. TOTAL VICTORY REQUIRES MORE PIONEERS MORE FUNDS MORE NEW BELIEVERS. HANDS CAUSE COUNSELLORS BOARD MEMBERS NATIONAL LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES EVERY SINGLE FOLLOWER BAHA'U'LLAH SUMMONED UTMOST EFFORT REMAINING YEARS NINE YEAR PLAN. ACHIEVEMENT THIS STEP MASTER'S DIVINE PLAN WILL ENDOW COMMUNITY CAPACITY ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES UNDERTAKE NEXT STAGE IMPLEMENTATION SUPREME PURPOSE BAHA'U'LLAH'S REVELATION UNIFICATION MANKIND ESTABLISHMENT LONG PROMISED KINGDOM GOD THIS EARTH. ASSURE ARDENT LOVING PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

82

Message to Bolivia and Mauritius Conferences -- August 1970

August 1970

To the Continental Conference in La Paz, Bolivia, and the Oceanic Conference in Rose-

Hill, Mauritius

Beloved friends,

82.1 Our hearts turn with eager expectancy to the twin Conferences now in session in the southern hemisphere. Their convocation so shortly after the world-wide commemoration of the Centenary of the Martyrdom of the Purest Branch, calls to mind that the promotion and establishment of the Faith of <p171> God have always been through sacrifice and dedicated service.+F197 Indeed, these very Conferences testify to the creative power, the fruitfulness, the invocation of Divine confirmations which result from sacrificial service to the Cause of God. Although both Bolivia and Mauritius are mentioned specifically in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, the Cause, even thirty-five years ago, was virtually unknown in those areas; today we witness the holding of these historic Conferences.+F198

[F198. See TDP 6.11, 7.11, 14.7.]

[F197. The Purest Branch is Mirza Mihdi, youngest son of Baha'u'llah. See message no. 80 regarding the 23 June 1970 commemoration of the centenary of his martyrdom.]

82.2 Little wonder that South America, whose rulers and presidents were addressed by Baha'u'llah in His Kitab-i-Aqdas, of whose indigenous believers the Master, in those Tablets already referred to, wrote "should they be educated and guided, there can be no doubt that they will become so illumined as to enlighten the whole world,"+F199 should have exerted a magnetic attraction upon a number of ardent souls in the northern continent, eager to serve in so promising a field.+F200 A band of heroic pioneers, bearing the Message of Baha'u'llah, gradually penetrated its wide territories, its jungles and mountains. They were followed by others under systematic crusades of two Seven Year Plans and the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Plan and together they became the spiritual conquerors of that continent.+F201 The Latin American communities which arose as a result of their pioneer efforts were described by the beloved Guardian as "associates in the execution" of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan.+F202 May Maxwell, one of the great heroines of the Faith, attained her longed-for crown of martyrdom in Buenos Aires; Panama became the site of the sixth Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Baha'i world, and La Paz, Bolivia, is now the scene of this Continental Conference.

[F202. MBW, p. 146.]

[F201. One of the goals of the first Seven Year Plan (1937-44) was to establish a centre in each republic in Latin America and the Caribbean; an objective of the second Seven Year Plan (1946-53) was the consolidation and expansion of the Faith throughout the Americas. The two plans were pursued by the Baha'is of the United States and Canada under Shoghi Effendi's direction. At the beginning of the Ten Year Crusade (1953-63) regional National Spiritual Assemblies had formed in both Central America and South America.]

[F200. TDP 6.8.]

[F199. TDP 6.8.]

82.3 The Indian Ocean, whose furthermost waves lap the shores of the Cradle of our Faith, upon whose waters the Divine Bab travelled in the course of His pilgrimage to Mecca, the heart of Islam, where He openly announced His Mission; whose mighty subcontinent from which it derives its name was the home and assigned province of the ninth Letter of the Living; whose major islands were severally mentioned by 'Abdu'l- Baha in the seventh of His Tablets of the Divine Plan, lay, for most of a century, fallow to the Word of God, a <p172> challenge to the promotion of His Faith.+F203 This challenge was answered by half a hundred Knights of Baha'u'llah, who, in response to the beloved Guardian's call left their homes and wholeheartedly gave themselves to the establishment of the Cause in those parts. They implanted the banner of Baha'u'llah upon its atolls, its great islands and ordering territories. Now, in the midmost heart of that huge expanse of sea, Mauritius, an island whose name was enshrined in Baha'i history during the Heroic Age of our Faith as the source, two years before 'Abdu'l-Baha's arrival in America, of a contribution to the purchase of the site of the Mother Temple of the West, has been chosen as the venue of this oceanic Conference.

[F203. TDP 7-10.]

82.4 Not only have the institutions of the Faith been established in this ocean and this continent, but the spirit of the New Day, brilliant even at this early dawn with the light of Baha'u'llah's gifts to man, is apparent in the diversity of the attendants, in the brotherhood of erstwhile strangers -- even enemies -- and above all in the noble purposes for which you have gathered.

82.5 Your aim is the redemption of mankind from its godlessness, its ignorance, its confusion and conflict. You will succeed, as those before you succeeded, by sacrifice to the Cause of God. The deeds and services required of you now, will shine in the future, even as those of your spiritual predecessors shine today and will forever shine in the annals of the Cause.

82.6 We share with you the spiritual delight of these occasions and assure you of our constant and ardent prayers that your deliberations upon the objectives of the Cause in your areas and the spiritual fellowship which you will enjoy will result in immediate and determined plans to complete the tasks assigned to you ere the rapidly approaching end of the Nine Year Plan. This Plan is the current stage of the Master's Divine Plan and its success must precede those greater triumphs when, as the result of your labours, the divine outpourings will raise up a vast concourse of radiant and devoted servants of Baha'u'llah who will establish His Kingdom in this world.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p173>

83

Call for Pioneers

2 August 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

83.1 All National Spiritual Assemblies have been aware of the urgency of our Ridvan

1969 message to the Baha'is of the world when the call was raised for pioneers to settle in territories in need of pioneer support or as yet unopened to the Faith, and have been cognizant of the emphasis which was placed on the need for the believers to arise quickly to ensure the success of the Nine Year Plan in the pioneer field.

83.2 Since that call was raised, no less than 330 of the pioneer posts in the 184 specified territories in the globe have been filled, and in a few of those territories additional pioneers have arrived to supplement the ranks of Baha'u'llah's followers at those posts.

83.3 As you will note from the attached list+F204 showing the current status of pioneer goals, some 417 pioneers must yet arise and settle in the posts previously assigned. After a recent review of pioneer needs we find it is necessary to call upon the valiant, constantly swelling community of believers throughout all continents to fill yet another 204 pioneer posts where manpower is desperately needed, in some territories in order to win the minimum number of Assemblies or localities called for in the Plan, and in others where vast new mass teaching areas have been opened to the Faith, thus necessitating additional reinforcements who must arrive soon if the precious gains are to be retained. These 204 new pioneer goals have been assigned to specific National Spiritual Assemblies.

[F204. The list is too lengthy to include in this volume.]

83.4 Despite the magnitude of this undertaking and the grave challenge which your communities face in ensuring the home-front goals, we are compelled to point out that each of those goals assigned must be considered as a minimum requirement. Pioneers unable to go to the goals assigned by their own National Spiritual Assembly should be encouraged to fill goals assigned to other National Assemblies. Of course a self- supporting believer is free to settle as a pioneer in any country he chooses.

83.5 We call upon the friends to act promptly and decisively in this vital international undertaking in which the followers of Baha'u'llah are, in all continents of the globe, summoned to participate. The time is short and the effort required is truly formidable.

<p174>

83.6 We shall offer ardent prayers at the Holy Shrines, supplicating that the waves of pioneers required to complete this urgent task of the present hour shall arise and quickly rush forth into the arena of service.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

84

Release of a Compilation on the Local Spiritual Assembly

11 August 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

84.1 As the Baha'i Administrative Order rapidly expands throughout the world it behoves everyone associated with it to familiarize himself with its principles, to understand its import and to put its precepts into practice. Only as individual members of Local Spiritual Assemblies deepen themselves in the fundamental verities of the Faith and in the proper application of the principles governing the operation of the Assembly will this institution grow and develop toward its full potential.

84.2 It is because the principles of Baha'i Administration are new to so many who are now being called upon to serve as members of Local Spiritual Assemblies that we felt the need to make available in brief form some of the texts and instructions which apply.+F205 No attempt has been made to put together a complete compilation of all texts from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, but it is hoped that the enclosed extracts will suffice as an introduction to a more profound study of the subject, and lead to a more efficient functioning of Local Spiritual Assemblies everywhere.

[F205. See CC II:39-60.]

84.3 We call upon you to consider ways and means of sharing this material with the friends, and especially members of Local Spiritual Assemblies, as quickly as possible. In many instances, of course, the material will need to be translated; in other instances many of the quotations included in the compilation may already be available to the friends in their own language.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p175>

85

Formation of Seven National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1971

12 August 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

85.1 The following cable has just been sent to Hands of the Cause Ruhiyyih Khanum and William Sears representing the Universal House of Justice at Conferences in Bolivia and Mauritius:

PLEASE ANNOUNCE TO PARTICIPANTS CONFERENCE JOYOUS NEWS DECISION CALL THREE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL CONVENTIONS NEXT RIDVAN NAMELY SUDAN CHAD AND CONGO BRAZZAVILLE GABON BRINGING TO SEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES BEING FORMED AT CLOSE OF SEVENTH YEAR NINE YEAR PLAN. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES BEHALF NATIONAL COMMUNITIES BAHA'I WORLD REACHING ONE HUNDRED ONE BY NEXT RIDVAN SUPPLICATING REINFORCEMENT TIES UNITING THEM GREATER CONSECRATION CHALLENGING TASKS STILL AHEAD WIDER PARTICIPATION ALL RANKS FAITHFUL. COMMUNICATING TEXT CABLE ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES.

85.2 Please share this news with the friends.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

86

Message to Pioneers

29 November 1970

To all pioneers+F206

[F206. This letter was sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies on 29 November 1970 for distribution to "all pioneers both on home-fronts and overseas."]

Dearly loved friends,

86.1 The spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion that has animated so large a number of the followers of Baha'u'llah to leave their homes, move to posts far and near, to foreign lands and on the home-fronts, to hoist the banner of the Faith and promote the divine teachings in well-nigh every populated area of the globe, uplifts our hearts and evokes our profound pride and admiration. We are now entering the most challenging and crucial closing period of the Nine Year Plan, that will culminate in the joyous celebration of the hundredth <p176> anniversary of the revelation of Baha'u'llah's Most Holy Book, the Kitab-i-Aqdas. What greater gift can we lay at the feet of our Beloved, at that historic moment, than the proclamation of Victory in His Name!

86.2 Our deep appreciation of the vital role which the pioneers play in the onward march of the Army of Light towards victory arouses in us the desire to comfort their hearts, upraise their spirits, and strengthen their loins by calling to their minds the stirring appeal which flowed from the Pen of 'Abdu'l-Baha:

86.2a O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha" in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it.+F207

[F207. TDP 7.8.]

and the following words of guidance from our beloved Guardian:

86.2b Theirs, at this present hour, unpropitious and unpromising though the immediate prospects may appear, is the duty to plod on, confident and unsparing in their daily efforts, undimmed in their vision, alert and conscious of the sublimity of their calling and of the future glory of their Mission, undistracted by the petty pursuits and temptations of the environment in which they live, exerting their utmost, and playing, each independently, as well as through their concerted efforts, their part in hastening the advent of the day when their dearly beloved Faith will, at long last, have revealed the full measure of its potentialities, and soared, as destined by Providence, to new heights of power, of eminence and glory.+F208

[F208. Letter dated 12 August 1957 to Italy and Switzerland.]

It is hard for the friends to appreciate, when they are isolated in one of these goal territories, and see that they are making no progress in teaching others, are living in inhospitable climes for the most part, and are lonesome for Baha'i companionship and activity, that they represent a force for good, that they are like a lighthouse of Baha'u'llah shining at a strategic point and casting its beam out into the darkness. This is why he [Shoghi Effendi] so consistently urges these pioneers not to abandon their posts.+F209 However gigantic the task may be, no matter how insuperable the obstacles standing in the way of its accomplishment may appear, and however restricted the means, capacity, and numbers of those called upon <p177> to ensure its fulfilment, it surely cannot, by virtue of the divine potency with which it is charged, but be successfully achieved in due time. God's redemptive grace, flowing through the small yet infinitely resourceful band of His faithful servants will, as in the days past, gradually permeate the world, and infuse into the consciousness of peoples and nations alike the realization that nothing short of the divine panacea He Himself has prescribed can cure the ills now so sadly afflicting the whole of mankind. What a higher privilege therefore than to be the instrument, the channel for the transmission of such divine grace. Let us then take courage, and faithfully pursue our mission, and rest ever assured that the promised day of victory, foretold by Baha'u'llah as marking the golden age of His Cause, will dawn upon us and upon a world as yet unconscious of the divine potency of His Message.+F210

[F210. Letter dated 21 October 1939 to an individual.]

[F209. MC, p. 68.]

86.2c And finally from the Pen of Glory Itself:

They that have forsaken their country for the purpose of teaching Our Cause -- these shall the Faithful Spirit strengthen through its power. A company of Our chosen angels shall go forth with them, as bidden by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Wise. How great the blessedness that awaiteth him that hath attained the honour of serving the Almighty! By My life! No act, however great, can compare with it, except such deeds as have been ordained by God, the All- Powerful, the Most Mighty. Such a service is, indeed, the prince of all goodly deeds, and the ornament of every goodly act. Thus hath it been ordained by Him Who is the Sovereign Ruler, the Ancient of Days.+F211

[F211. GWB, p. 334.]

86.3 To each and every one of you we send our love and assurance of our prayers on your behalf in the Holy Shrines.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p178>

87

Grave Crisis in Baha'i International Fund

29 December 1970

To the Followers of Baha'u'llah in every land

Dear Baha'i friends,

87.1 We have reached a critical point in the progress of the Nine Year Plan. In many lands multitudes are thirsty and eager to embrace the Message of Baha'u'llah. In others, materially advanced but spiritually backward, a great effort is needed to awaken the people to the light of this New Day. The recently established National Spiritual Assemblies in many lands are occupied in acquiring the Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple Sites, National Endowments and Teaching Institutes essential for the proper development of the Administrative Order and the deepening of the Baha'i knowledge of their believers, while in the heart of the Western Hemisphere, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama requires several hundred thousand dollars for its completion. To accomplish these many essential tasks the resources of the Cause are being stretched to their uttermost.

87.2 At this crucial moment, when the activities of the believers and the expenditure of funds should be increased to seize the opportunities which lie before us, the Baha'i International Fund finds itself plunged into a grave crisis by a steep reduction in contributions. Undoubtedly world-wide economic difficulties are one of the causes of this, but we are confident that the believers throughout the world will respond to this challenge and will make every sacrifice to ensure that the work of the Cause of God goes forward unimpeded.

Demands on the International Fund

87.3 Since 1963 when there were 56 National Spiritual Assemblies, to the present time when there are 94 (soon to be 101), the work of the Cause has expanded so rapidly, both in the teaching field and at the World Centre, that the Universal House of Justice has had to increase more than fourfold the annual international budget of the Cause. This year fifty-eight percent of the International Fund is being expended outside the Holy Land on projects such as assistance to National Spiritual Assemblies (56 of which receive a large part, if not all, of their budgets from the World Centre), contributions to the work of the Hands of the Cause and the Continental Boards of Counsellors, defence of the Cause in lands where it is facing persecution, and our expanded activities at the United Nations.

87.4 In order to meet the present situation the Universal House of Justice must drastically reduce the expenditure of the Baha'i International Fund until the flow of contributions is restored. While the work on the International Archives Building necessary to protect the precious Tablets and relics from the high humidity and increasingly polluted atmosphere of Haifa city has been completed, <p179> the projects of further developing the Gardens in Bahji and of starting upon an extension of the Terraces below the Shrine of the Bab, as well as additional developments to the office facilities of the World Centre, must now be postponed. In addition we are reluctantly compelled to reduce by ten percent the next two quarterly remittances of assistance to National Spiritual Assemblies, and we call upon these Assemblies now to reduce their own expenditure to take account of this.

87.5 These, however, can but be temporary measures designed to minimize the present emergency. The real answer lies, not in restricting the activities of the friends at this time when mankind stands in such dire need of the Message of Baha'u'llah, but in the universal participation of every believer in the work of the Cause.

Backbone of the Fund: Universal Participation

87.6 The poor believers vastly outnumber the wealthy ones, and this majority will grow rapidly as mass teaching spreads. Thus, although the work in mass teaching areas will continue to be assisted by the contributions of the friends ,in prosperous lands, and these believers must for the immediate future continue to be the main support of the International Fund, it becomes ever more urgent for the friends in mass teaching areas to finance their own activities to an ever greater degree. The backbone of the Fund must be the regular contributions of every believer. Even though such contributions may be small because of the poverty of the donors, large numbers of small sums combine into a mighty river that can carry along the work of the Cause. Moreover the unity of the friends in sacrifice draws upon them the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty.

87.7 The universal participation of the believers in every aspect of the Faith -- in contributing to the Fund, in teaching, deepening, living the Baha'i life, administering the affairs of the community, and, above all, in the life of prayer and devotion to God -- will endow the Baha'i community with such strength that it can overcome the forces of spiritual disintegration which are engulfing the non-Baha'i world, and can become an ocean of oneness that will cover the face of the planet.

87.8 We ask every one of you to ponder these matters deeply, and to join us in fervent prayer that this momentary crisis will prove to have been a providential test that will spur the community of the Greatest Name to new heights of dedication and triumphant achievement.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p180>

88

Message to the Monrovia Conference -- January 1971

January 1971

To the Friends of God assembled in the Conference in Monrovia, Liberia

Dearly loved friends,

88.1 The emergence on the African Continent of a widely spread, numerous, diversified and united Baha'i community, so swiftly after the initiation of organized teaching plans there, is of the utmost significance and a signal evidence of the bounties which God has destined for its peoples in this day.

88.2 The great victories in Africa, which brought such joy to the Guardian's heart in the last years of his life, resulted from the self-sacrificing devotion of a handful of pioneers, gradually assisted by the first few native believers, all labouring under the loving shadow of the Hand of the Cause Musa Banani. From their efforts there has been raised up an increasing army of African, teachers, administrators, pioneers and valiant promoters of the Divine Cause, whose main task is to bring to all Africa the bounties conferred by the Word of God, bounties of enlightenment, zeal, devotion and eventually the true civilization of Baha'u'llah's World Order.

88.3 Many of the gravest ills now afflicting the human race appear in acute form on the African Continent. Racial, tribal and religious prejudice, disunity of nations, the scourge of political factionalism, poverty and lack of education are obvious examples. Baha'is have a great part to play -- greater than they may realize -- in the healing of these sicknesses and the abatement of their worst effects. By their radiant unity, by their "bright and shining"+F212 faces, their self-discipline in zealously following all the requirements of Baha'i law, their abstention from politics, their constant study and proclamation of the Great Message, they will hasten the advent of that glorious day when all mankind will know its true brotherhood and will bask in the sunshine of God's love and blessing.

[F212. See ABL, p. 28, or PT, p. 61.]

88.4 That the African believers are fully capable of taking their full share in building the Kingdom of God on earth, their natural abilities and present deeds have fully demonstrated. An African Hand of the Cause of God, even now in the course of a brilliant, triumphal teaching tour of the planet, African Counsellors, Board members, national and local administrators and an ever-increasing army of believers testify to the vigour and immense capacity of this highly blessed continent to serve its Lord in the great day of His appearance.+F213 <p181> That the African believers, so beloved by the Guardian of the Faith, will rise to the challenge facing them and earn the gratitude and goodwill of all mankind by their deeds of dedication and self-sacrifice is the longing of our hearts.

[F213. The African Hand of the Cause of God referred to is Enoch Olinga. For an account of his life and services, see BW 18:618-35. For the message about his death, see no. 237.]

88.5 May this Conference become a sun from which will stream forth to all parts of the vast continent rays of spiritual energy and inspiration, galvanizing the friends to action in the fields of teaching and pioneering in such manner that they will rapidly achieve all the tasks assigned to them under the Nine Year Plan.

88.6 Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

The Universal House of Justice

 

89

Message to the Oceanic Conference of the South China Seas,

Singapore -- January 1971

January 197I

To the friends of God assembled in the Oceanic Conference in Singapore, Malaysia

Dearly loved friends,

89.1 The wonderful progress made by the Baha'i communities of South East Asia towards achievement of the tasks assigned to them under the Nine Year Plan fills our hearts with thankfulness to God and arouses our keenest admiration for the capacities and dedicated services of the friends in all those vast and varied territories. Indeed, so bountiful have been the divine confirmations rewarding their efforts that we are confident of their ability to far exceed the stated objectives and to initiate the opening phase of the next stage of their development, a massive increase in the establishment of the Cause of God among the teeming millions of the islands and ocean-bordering countries of so huge an area of the earth.

89.2 South East Asia, whose gifted and industrious peoples have embraced four of the world's major religions, have produced in all ages civilizations and cultures representative of the highest accomplishments of the human race, now experiencing with the rest of the world the disruptive, revolutionizing, "vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order ... the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed," lies open and receptive to the Word of God, ready once more to nourish in its fertile soil that potent seed and to bring forth, in its own characteristic manner and as an integral part of the <p182> world civilization, the institutions, the fabric, the brilliant edifice of Baha'u'llah's World Order.+F214

[F214. GWB, p. 136.]

89.3 We now summon the believers of this highly promising area, flushed with the tide of approaching victory, to launch a three-pronged campaign, the main feature of which is to achieve an immediate expansion of the Faith, exceeding the aims of the Nine Year Plan. In addition you are called upon to raise a corps of travelling teachers, whose main objective will be to visit all the communities and groups in the area for the purpose of deepening and consolidating their Baha'i life, thus preserving the victories won and reinforcing the base for future development. Simultaneously a number of Chinese- speaking believers must arise who, as pioneers and travelling teachers in all the countries of South East Asia, will attract large numbers of the talented Chinese race to embrace and serve the Faith of Baha'u'llah.

89.4 Recognizing your current achievements and fully confident in your determination and ability to continue to attract the divine confirmations of Baha'u'llah, we are happy to announce as a supplementary goal of the Nine Year Plan, the establishment, at Ridvan, 1972, of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Singapore, an additional supporting pillar of the Universal House of Justice and a new bastion of the Faith in so vital a cross-roads of human activity.

89.5 We pray that your deliberations will engender a new wave of enthusiasm, cement ever more firmly the bonds of love between the many and various national communities of your area and result in practical plans for the implementation of the above tasks.

89.6 We send you all our most loving greetings and look forward eagerly to the report of your conference.

The Universal House of Justice

 

90

Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Agnes Alexander

4 January 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

90.1 PROFOUNDLY GRIEVE PASSING ILLUMINED SOUL HAND CAUSE AGNES ALEXANDER LONG-STANDING PILLAR CAUSE FAR EAST FIRST BRING FAITH HAWAIIAN ISLANDS.+F215 HER LONG DEDICATED EXEMPLARY LIFE SERVICE DEVOTION CAUSE GOD ANTICIPATED BY CENTRE COVENANT SELECTING HER SHARE MAY MAXWELL IMPERISHABLE <p183> HONOUR MENTION TABLETS DIVINE PLAN. HER UNRESTRAINED UNCEASING PURSUIT TEACHING OBEDIENCE COMMAND BAHA'U'LLAH EXHORTATIONS MASTER GUIDANCE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHINING EXAMPLE ALL FOLLOWERS FAITH. HER PASSING SEVERS ONE MORE LINK HEROIC AGE. ASSURE FAMILY FRIENDS ARDENT PRAYERS HOLIEST SHRINE PROGRESS RADIANT SOUL REQUEST ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL MEETINGS AND THOSE RESPONSIBLE HOLD SERVICES MOTHER TEMPLES.

[F215. For an account of the life and services of Agnes Alexander, see BW 15:423-30.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

91

Participation of the Hands of the Cause of God in First National Conventions

1 February 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

91.1 HAPPY ANNOUNCE FOLLOWING HANDS CAUSE WILL REPRESENT UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE FIRST NATIONAL CONVENTIONS COMING RIDVAN AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM IVORY COAST UPPER VOLTA MALI DHIKRU'LLAH KHADEM TRINIDAD TOBAGO ADELBERT MUEHLSCHLEGEL LESOTHO 'ALI-MUHAMMAD VARQA CONGO BRAZZAVILLE GABON ENOCH OLINGA BOTH SUDAN CHAD COLLIS FEATHERSTONE BOTH SOLOMON ISLANDS SOUTHWEST PACIFIC OCEAN. CONFIDENT PRESENCE PARTICIPATION THESE STANDARD-BEARERS NINE YEAR PLAN HISTORIC FIRST CONVENTIONS WILL ATTRACT DIVINE BLESSINGS ASSIST NEW NATIONAL COMMUNITIES BEFITTINGLY ASSUME SACRED RESPONSIBILITIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

92

Formation of Nine Additional National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1971

11 February 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

92.1 REJOICE ANNOUNCE ALL FRIENDS FORMATION DURING RIDVAN 1972 NINE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES RAISING TOTAL NUMBER PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE TO ONE HUNDRED AND TEN. THREE IN AFRICA MALAGASY REPUBLIC REUNION SEYCHELLES THREE IN ASIA EAST PAKISTAN NEPAL SINGAPORE ONE IN AUSTRALASIA NORTHWEST PACIFIC OCEAN COMPRISING GUAM CAROLINES MARIANAS MARSHALLS TWO IN EUROPE ICELAND AND REPUBLIC IRELAND.

<p184>

FOUR OF THESE SEYCHELLES EAST PAKISTAN SINGAPORE NORTHWEST PACIFIC CONSTITUTE SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENTS NINE YEAR PLAN. URGE PIONEERS SCHEDULED ALL THESE AREAS SETTLE POSTS WITHOUT DELAY. CALL UPON RESPECTIVE COMMUNITIES BRACE THEMSELVES EXERT SUPREME EFFORT FAST FLEETING WEEKS BEFORE COMING RIDVAN ESTABLISH AS MANY ASSEMBLIES AS POSSIBLE THEREBY BROADENING STRENGTHENING FOUNDATIONS PROJECTED NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES FOLLOWERS MOST GREAT NAME MAY SEIZE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES PRESENT HOUR AND SPARE NO EFFORT UNTIL GOALS PLAN ARE FULLY ACCOMPLISHED THEREBY ATTRACTING TO THEMSELVES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES INESTIMABLE BLESSINGS ANCIENT BEAUTY.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

93

Warning Against the Misuse of Recordings of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Voice

23 February 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

93.1 The advent and liberal supply of tape and cassette recorders in the markets of the world have opened new doors and placed in almost every land at the disposal of the friends new methods for the dissemination of Baha'i material. It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that the recording of Baha'i talks, and other audio features, and their wide use among Baha'is and non-Baha'is alike, will prove to be a powerful new instrument in the teaching and deepening work everywhere. There is one area, however, where great care must be exercised, and this is in the use of the record of 'Abdu'l-Baha's voice.

93.2 The Guardian, when referring to this record, requested the friends "to exercise restraint and caution." "In my view," he added, "it should be used only on special occasions and be listened to with the utmost reverence. The dignity of the Cause, I am sure, would suffer from too wide and indiscriminate use of one of the most precious relics of our departed Master."+F216

[F216. BA, p. 55.]

93.3 We request you to share the contents of this letter, in any manner you deem advisable, with the friends residing under your jurisdiction. We are confident <p185> that all the friends will strictly observe the Guardian's exhortation and will not overstep the bounds of courtesy and moderation in the use of a precious relic so lovingly left to us by the Centre of God's Covenant.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

94

Principles of Baha'i Publishing

28 March 1971

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i world

Dear Baha'i friends,

94.1 Recognizing the need for a great increase in the provision of Baha'i literature in all languages, we have reviewed the whole process of Baha'i publishing including such matters as reviewing, standards of production, sales and distribution, relationships between National Spiritual Assemblies, the international needs of the teaching work and the position of Baha'i authors. We are both to stimulate the supply of new works and to liberate the channels of publication and distribution. We wish to encourage Baha'i authors as well as to promote production of the basic texts of the Faith.

94.2 We therefore ask you to study the attached memorandum yourselves, pass it on to your Publishing Trust and/or other agencies concerned, and make it available generally to the friends in whatever way you may find practicable.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

Memorandum on Baha'i publishing -- Ridvan 1971

94.3 The following principles and observations are called to the attention of National Spiritual Assemblies and all those concerned with the production of Baha'i publications:

Reviewing

Obligatory

94.3a At this early stage of the Cause all works by Baha'is which deal with the Faith, whether in the form of books, pamphlets, translations, poems, songs, radio and television scripts, films, recordings, etc. must be approved before submission for publication, whether to a Baha'i or non-Baha'i publisher. In <p186> the case of material for purely local consumption the competent authority is the Local Spiritual Assembly, otherwise the National Spiritual Assembly (through its Reviewing Committee) is the approving authority.

A Temporary Measure

94.3b That this measure is both obligatory and temporary is borne out by the following statements of the Guardian: They must supervise in these days when the Cause is still in its infancy all Baha'i publications and translations, and provide in general for a dignified and accurate presentation of all Baha'i literature and its distribution to the general public.

(Principles of Baha'i Administration, pp. 38-39)

... the administration of the Cause ... should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation. ... ... the present restrictions imposed on the publication of Baha'i literature will be definitely abolished; ...

(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 9)

Purpose of Review

94.3c The purpose of review is to protect the Faith from misrepresentation and to ensure dignity and accuracy in its presentation. In general the function of a Reviewing Committee is to say whether the work submitted gives an acceptable presentation of the Cause or not. Reviewers may win the gratitude and good will of authors by calling attention to such things as occasional grammatical or spelling errors, but approval should not be refused on such grounds; all such details are editorial matters for agreement between author and publisher.

Translations

94.3d As regards English, the beloved Guardian's translations are obviously the most authentic and should be used. If, for some particular reason, a Baha'i author when quoting a passage of the Sacred Text which has been rendered into English by the Guardian, wishes to use a translation other than that made by the beloved Guardian, his request may be referred to the Universal House of Justice. Passages from the Sacred Text not translated by Shoghi Effendi, but already in English and published with approval, may be used. If an author wishes to make his own translation of a passage not already translated by Shoghi Effendi, the new translation may be submitted to the Universal House of Justice for approval.

<p187>

94.3e With the exception of certain oriental languages such as Turkish, Arabic and Urdu, which are related to the original Persian or Arabic, new translations of the Sacred Text into languages other than English must be made from the Guardian's English translation where it exists. When there is no translation into English by Shoghi Effendi of a particular passage, the National Spiritual Assembly concerned should seek the advice of the Universal House of Justice. When translations already exist, which are not made from the Guardian's English text, but have been published and approved, they may be used.

Reviewing Committees

94.3f It is recommended that Reviewing Committees be small, composed of two or three believers with adequate education and knowledge of the Cause. It is essential that works submitted be dealt with promptly. The standards to be upheld by reviewers are the following: (a) conformity with the Teachings, (b) accuracy, (c) dignity in presentation. The Spiritual Assembly, on the basis of its Reviewing Committee's report, gives or withholds approval of the work.

Approval of Works Already Reviewed Elsewhere

94.3g While a National Spiritual Assembly intending to publish Baha'i literature is encouraged to accept the review of another National Spiritual Assembly, it is not required to do so and has the right to review any work prior to authorizing its publication or republication by its own Publishing Trust or publisher in its area of jurisdiction. This does not apply to works by Hands of the Cause, which are reviewed in the Holy Land.

94.3h A National Spiritual Assembly which receives for approval a manuscript from outside its area of jurisdiction should inquire whether it has already been submitted for review elsewhere, and in the case of its having been refused approval, the reasons for such refusal.

Baha'i Publishers

94.3i Baha'i publishers may not publish any work about the Faith until it has been approved by the National Spiritual Assembly of the country where it is to be published.

94.3j Approval of a work imposes no obligation upon any Baha'i publisher to publish it.

94.3k Whatever "house styles" Publishing Trusts and other Baha'i publishers may adopt, transliteration of oriental terms into languages using the Roman alphabet must at present be according to the system chosen by the Guardian and described in volumes of The Baha'i World.

<p188>

Cables

94.3l Cables in English should be printed exactly as received, without interpolation.+F217

[F217. The Universal House of Justice, in messages dated 16 July 1974 and 18 March 1981, has explained what editing is permissible when publishing its cables: (1) the word 'STOP," when used to indicate the end of a sentence, may be replaced with a period; (2) transliteration of Persian and Arabic words may be added; (3) apostrophes may be added to possessive case nouns; (4) spelling mistakes made in transmission may be corrected; (5) capitalization may follow house style; (6) when both a cable and its letter of transmission are in hand, the date of the cable should be used, and only the text of the cable itself should be printed, unless the letter contains other pertinent information.]

Editing

94.3m Baha'i publishers, when accepting a work for publication, will make their own arrangements with the author on all such matters as accuracy of quotations, documentation, grammar and spelling, dates and even the rewriting of passages which the publisher may consider need improving, or he may ask the author to write additional material or to delete part of the original manuscript. Although such matters are entirely between the author and publisher, any addition, deletion or changes which affect the meaning must be submitted for review with the relative context.

Approval Notice

94.3n Although no Baha'i work may be published without approval, it is not mandatory to print an approval notice in any publication.

Baha'i Authors

94.3o Baha'i authors should welcome review of their works, and can greatly assist promptness in review by supplying a sufficient number of copies of the manuscript for each member of the Reviewing Committee to have one.

94.3p Baha'i authors may submit their works for review to any National Spiritual Assembly, and may send their works, once approved, to any publisher they like, Baha'i or non-Baha'i, at home or abroad. It should be remembered, however, that the approval should be given by the National Spiritual Assembly of the country where the work is to be first published. And in the case of a non-Baha'i publisher the author should insist on use of the system of transliteration at present used by the Faith for languages employing the Roman alphabet.

94.3q It is hoped that Baha'i authors will provide a constant stream of new works. Introductory books, commentaries, dissertations on various aspects of the Revelation, text books, histories, reviews, audio-visual material are all needed to stimulate study of the Faith and to promote the vital teaching work.

<p189>

Sale and Distribution of Baha'i Literature

94.3r 1. Baha'i publications reviewed and published in one country may be sold or, offered for sale anywhere in the world. This includes the right of the publisher or the author to promote the sale of the publication in any legitimate manner including the right to advise the Baha'is in any country of its contents, price and availability. It does not include the right to insist that National Assemblies, their Publishing Trusts or Publishing Committees stock, promote or advertise the publication or offer it for sale. If any National Spiritual Assembly feels that a book would be damaging to the Faith in its country, it may represent this fact to the publisher and author and ask them not to promote it in that particular country. It is hoped that there will be great co-operation among those publishing Baha'i literature, and Publishing Trusts are encouraged to supply to believers, the book trade and libraries, all Baha'i publications from any country.

2. Believers should not be prevented from purchasing Baha'i books reviewed and published in other countries.

3. National Spiritual Assemblies are not obliged to furnish mailing lists of believers to publishers, but publishers may compile their own mailing lists and use them for the announcement and promotion of sale of their Baha'i books and literature.

4. Five copies of every new book and every new edition (not reprints) should be sent to the World Centre.+F218

[F218. For current instructions, consult the Baha'i World Centre Library.]

 

95

Call for Deepening on the Significance of the Formative Age

15 April 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

95.1 Our Ridvan message this year+F219 called attention to the impending fiftieth anniversary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, "an event which signalized at once the end of the Heroic Age of our Faith, the opening of the Formative Age and the birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Baha'u'llah."

[F219. See the following message (no. 96).]

<p190>

95.2 We now call upon all National Spiritual Assemblies to formulate and implement plans designed to educate the friends everywhere in their understanding of the significance of the Formative Age of our Faith. As an aid to this programme we attach extracts from the writings of the beloved Guardian on this general theme, and we suggest that these and similar excerpts from the Writings be studied and expounded at the forthcoming Summer Schools, at special sessions of Teaching Institutes, at conferences of the friends, and indeed on any occasions which you may deem suitable.

95.3 We leave it to you to use the wonderful material bequeathed to us by the beloved Guardian on this theme in whatever manner you deem best for your own communities. The study and understanding of this subject will immensely strengthen the faith of the believers as well as their ability to present the message to a waiting world.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

Extracts from the Writings of Shoghi Effendi on the Significance of the Formative Age of our Faith

April 1971

95.4 The passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, so sudden in the circumstances which caused it, so dramatic in its consequences, could neither impede the operation of such a dynamic force nor obscure its purpose. Those fervid appeals, embodied in the Will and Testament of a departed Master, could not but confirm its aim, define its character and reinforce the promise of its ultimate success.

95.5 Out of the pangs of anguish which His bereaved followers have suffered, amid the heat and dust which the attacks launched by a sleepless enemy had precipitated, the Administration of Baha'u'llah's invincible Faith was born. The potent energies released through the ascension of the Centre of His Covenant crystallized into this supreme, this infallible Organ for the accomplishment of a Divine Purpose. The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha unveiled its character, reaffirmed its basis, supplemented its principles, asserted its indispensability, and enumerated its chief institutions. ...

"America and the Most Great Peace" -- 21 April 1933, The World Order of Baha'u'llah: Selected Letters, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 89.

95.6 With 'Abdu'l-Baha's ascension, and more particularly with the passing of His well-beloved and illustrious sister the Most Exalted Leaf+F220 -- the last survivor of a glorious and heroic age -- there draws to a close the first and most <p191> moving chapter of Baha'i history, marking the conclusion of the Primitive, the Apostolic Age of the Faith of Baha'u'llah.+F221 It was 'Abdu'l-Baha Who, through the provisions of His weighty Will and Testament, has forged the vital link which must for ever connect the age that has just expired with the one we now live in -- the Transitional and Formative period of the Faith -- a stage that must in the fullness of time reach its blossom and yield its fruit in the exploits and triumphs that are to herald the Golden Age of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah.

[F221. The Apostolic Age of the Baha'i Faith, also referred to as the Heroic Age, began in 1844 and concluded in 1921 with the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha. For more details, see the entry on Ages in the Glossary.]

[F220. Bahiyyih Khanum, also known as the Greatest Holy Leaf, the daughter of Baha'u'llah and the sister of 'Abdu'l-Baha.]

95.7 Dearly beloved friends! The onrushing forces so miraculously released through the agency of two independent and swiftly successive Manifestations are now under our very eyes and through the care of the chosen stewards of a far-flung Faith being gradually mustered and disciplined. They are slowly crystallizing into institutions that will come to be regarded as the hallmark and glory of the age we are called upon to establish and by our deeds immortalize. For upon our present-day efforts, and above all upon the extent to which we strive to remodel our lives after the pattern of sublime heroism associated with those gone before us, must depend the efficacy of the instruments we now fashion -- instruments that must erect the structure of that blissful Commonwealth which must signalize the Golden Age of our Faith.+F222

[F222. The "blissful Commonwealth" is the future world-wide community of Baha'i nations, states, and localities that will give birth to a Baha'i civilization.]

"The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah" -- 8 February 1934, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 98.

95.8 'Abdu'l-Baha, Who incarnates an institution for which we can find no parallel whatsoever in any of the world's recognized religious systems, may be said to have closed the Age to which He Himself belonged and opened the one in which we are now labouring. His Will and Testament should thus be regarded as the perpetual, the indissoluble link which the mind of Him Who is the Mystery of God has conceived in order to insure the continuity of the three ages+F223 that constitute the component parts of the Baha'i Dispensation. The period in which the seed of the Faith had been slowly germinating is thus intertwined both with the one which must witness its efflorescence and the subsequent age in which that seed will have finally yielded its golden fruit.

[F223. The three Ages of the Baha'i Dispensation are the Heroic, Formative, and Golden Ages. For more information, see the entries for Ages and Dispensation in the Glossary.]

95.9 The creative energies released by the Law of Baha'u'llah, permeating and evolving within the mind of 'Abdu'l-Baha have, by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of <p192> this most great Dispensation. The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant -- the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God -- the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it. Baha'u'llah's inscrutable purpose, we must ever bear in mind, has been so thoroughly infused into the conduct of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and their motives have been so closely wedded together, that the mere attempt to dissociate the teachings of the former from any system which the ideal Exemplar of those same teachings has established would amount to a repudiation of one of the most sacred and basic truths of the Faith.

95.10 The Administrative Order, which ever since 'Abdu'l-Baha's ascension has evolved and is taking shape under our very eyes in no fewer than forty countries of the world, may be considered as the framework of the Will itself, the inviolable stronghold wherein this new-born child is being nurtured and developed. This Administrative Order, as it expands and consolidates itself, will no doubt manifest the potentialities and reveal the full implications of this momentous Document -- this most remarkable expression of the Will of One of the most remarkable Figures of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah. It will, as its component parts, its organic institutions, begin to function with efficiency and vigour, assert its claim and demonstrate its capacity 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.

"The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah -- 8 February 1934, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 143-44.

95.11 Dearly beloved friends: Though the Revelation of Baha'u'llah has been delivered, the World Order which such a Revelation must needs beget is as yet unborn. Though the Heroic Age of His Faith is passed, the creative energies which that Age has released have not as yet crystallized into that world society which, in the fullness of time, is to mirror forth the brightness of His glory. Though the framework of His Administrative Order has been erected, and the Formative Period of the Baha'i Era has begun, yet the promised Kingdom into which the seed of His institutions must ripen remains as yet uninaugurated. ...

95.12 "The heights," Baha'u'llah Himself testifies, "which, through the most gracious favour of God, mortal man can attain in this Day are as yet unrevealed to his sight. The world of being hath never had, nor doth it yet possess, the capacity for such a revelation. The day, however, is approaching when the potentialities of so great a favour will, by virtue of His behest, be manifested unto men."+F224

[F224. Baha'u'llah: Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 214.]

<p193>

95.13 For the revelation of so great a favour a period of intense turmoil and wide- spread suffering would seem to be indispensable. Resplendent as has been the Age that has witnessed the inception of the Mission with which Baha'u'llah has been entrusted, the interval which must elapse ere that Age yields its choicest fruit must, it is becoming increasingly apparent, be overshadowed by such moral and social gloom as can alone prepare an unrepentant humanity for the prize she is destined to inherit ...

95.14 As we view the world around us, we are compelled to observe the manifold evidences of that universal fermentation which, in every continent of the globe and in every department of human life, be it religious, social, economic or political, is purging and reshaping humanity in anticipation of the Day when the wholeness of the human race will have been recognized and its unity established. A twofold process, however, can be distinguished, each tending, in its own way and with an accelerated momentum, to bring to a climax the forces that are transforming the face of our planet. The first is essentially an integrating process, while the second is fundamentally disruptive. The former, as it steadily evolves, unfolds a System which may well serve as a pattern for that world polity towards which a strangely disordered world is continually advancing; while the latter, as its disintegrating influence deepens, tends to tear down, with increasing violence, the antiquated barriers that seek to block humanity's progress towards its destined goal. The constructive process stands associated with the nascent Faith of Baha'u'llah, and is the harbinger of the New World Order that Faith must erelong establish. The destructive forces that characterize the other should be identified with a civilization that has refused to answer to the expectation of a new age, and is consequently falling into chaos and decline.

95.15 A titanic, a spiritual struggle, unparalleled in its magnitude yet unspeakably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is being waged as a result of these opposing tendencies, in this age of transition through which the organized community of the followers of Baha'u'llah and mankind as a whole are passing. ...

95.16 It is not my purpose to call to mind, much less to attempt a detailed analysis of, the spiritual struggles that have ensued, or to note the victories that have redounded to the glory of the Faith of Baha'u'llah since the day of its foundation. My chief concern is not with the happenings that have distinguished the First, the Apostolic Age of the Baha'i Dispensation, but rather with the outstanding events that are transpiring in, and the tendencies which characterize, the formative period of its development, this Age of Transition, whose tribulations are the precursors of that Era of blissful felicity which is to incarnate God's ultimate purpose for all mankind.

"The Unfoldment of World Civilization" -- 11 March 1936, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 168-71.

<p194>

95.17 The moment had now arrived for that undying, that world-vitalizing Spirit that was born in Shiraz, that had been rekindled in Tihran, that had been fanned into flame in Baghdad and Adrianople, that had been carried to the West, and was now illuminating the fringes of five continents, to incarnate itself in institutions designed to canalize its outspreading energies and stimulate its growth. The Age that had witnessed the birth and rise of the Faith had now closed. The Heroic, the Apostolic Age of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah, that primitive period in which its Founders had lived, in which its life had been generated, in which its greatest heroes had struggled and quaffed the cup of martyrdom, and its pristine foundations been established -- a period whose splendours no victories in this or any future age, however brilliant, can rival -- had now terminated with the passing of One Whose mission may be regarded as the link binding the Age in which the seed of the new-born Message had been incubating and those which are destined to witness its efflorescence and ultimate fruition.

95.18 The Formative Period, the Iron Age, of that Dispensation was now beginning, the Age in which the institutions, local, national and international, of the Faith of Baha'u'llah were to take shape, develop and become fully consolidated, in anticipation of the third, the last, the Golden Age destined to witness the emergence of a world- embracing Order enshrining the ultimate fruit of God's latest Revelation to mankind, a fruit whose maturity must signalize the establishment of a world civilization and the formal inauguration of the Kingdom of the Father upon earth as promised by Jesus Christ Himself. ...

95.19 The last twenty-three years of the first Baha'i century may thus be regarded as the initial stage of the Formative Period of the Faith, an Age of Transition to be identified with the rise and establishment of the Administrative Order, upon which the institutions of the future Baha'i World Commonwealth must needs be ultimately erected in the Golden Age that must witness the consummation of the Baha'i Dispensation. The Charter which called into being, outlined the features and set in motion the processes of, this Administrative Order is none other than the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, His greatest legacy to posterity, the brightest emanation of His mind and the mightiest instrument forged to insure the continuity of the three ages which constitute the component parts of His Father's Dispensation. ...

95.20 The Administrative Order which this historic Document has established, it should be noted, is, by virtue of its origin and character, unique in the annals of the world's religious systems. ...

95.21 The Document establishing that Order, the Charter of a future world civilization, which may be regarded in some of its features as supplementary to no less weighty a Book than the Kitab-i-Aqdas; ...

God Passes By, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1987), pp. 324-28.

<p195>

95.22 The first seventy-seven years of the preceding century, constituting the Apostolic and Heroic Age of our Faith, fell into three distinct epochs, of nine, of thirty-nine and of twenty-nine years' duration, associated respectively with the Babi Dispensation and the Ministries of Baha'u'llah and of 'Abdu'l-Baha.+F225 This Primitive Age of the Baha'i Era, unapproached in spiritual fecundity by any period associated with the mission of the Founder of any previous Dispensation, was impregnated, from its inception to its termination, with the creative energies generated through the advent of two independent Manifestations and the establishment of a Covenant unique in the spiritual annals of mankind.

[F225. The Ministry of the Bab lasted from 1844 to 1853; the Ministry of Baha'u'llah, 1853 to 1892; and the Ministry of 'Abdu'l-Baha, 1892 to 1921.]

95.23 The last twenty-three years+F226 of that same century coincided with the first epoch of the second, the Iron and Formative, Age of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah -- the first of a series of epochs which must precede the inception of the last and Golden Age of that Dispensation -- a Dispensation which, as the Author of the Faith has Himself categorically asserted, must extend over a period of no less than one thousand years, and which will constitute the first stage in a series of Dispensations, to be established by future Manifestations, all deriving their inspiration from the Author of the Baha'i Revelation, and destined to last, in their aggregate, no less than five thousand centuries. ...

[F226. 1921-44.]

95.24 During this Formative Age of the Faith, and in the course of present and succeeding epochs, the last and crowning stage in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Baha'u'llah -- the election of the Universal House of Justice -- will have been completed, the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Mother-Book of His Revelation, will have been codified and its laws promulgated, the Lesser Peace will have been established, the unity of mankind will have been achieved and its maturity attained, the Plan conceived by 'Abdu'l-Baha will have been executed, the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will have been effected, and its independent religious status will have been universally recognized, whilst in the course of the Golden Age, destined to consummate the Dispensation itself, the banner of the Most Great Peace, promised by its Author, will have been unfurled, the World Baha'i Commonwealth will have emerged in the plenitude of its power and splendour, and the birth and efflorescence of a world civilization, the child of that Peace, will have conferred its inestimable blessings upon all mankind.

"The Challenging Requirements of the Present Hour" -- 5 June 1947, Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957 (Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 4-6.

<p196>

96

Ridvan Message 1971

Ridvan 1971

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

96.1 On 28 November 1971 the Baha'i World will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Centre of the Covenant, the Ensign of the Oneness of Mankind, the Mystery of God, an event which signalized at once the end of the Heroic Age of our Faith, the opening of the Formative Age and the birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Baha'u'llah.+F227 As we contemplate the fruits of the Master's Ministry harvested during the first fifty years of the Formative Age, a period dominated by the dynamic and beloved figure of Shoghi Effendi, whose life was dedicated to the systematic implementation of the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha and of the Tablets of the Divine Plan -- the two charters provided by the Master for the administration and the teaching of the Cause of God-we may well experience a sense of awe at the prospect of the next fifty years. That first half-century of the Formative Age has seen the Baha'i Community grow from a few hundred centres in 35 countries in 1921, to over 46,000 centres in 135 independent states and 182 significant territories and islands at the present day, has been marked by the raising throughout the world of the framework of the Administrative Order, which in its turn has brought recognition of the Faith by many governments and civil authorities and accreditation in consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and has witnessed the spread to many parts of the world of that "entry by troops" promised by the Master and so long and so eagerly anticipated by the friends.+F228

[F228. CF, p. 117.]

[F227. The Heroic Age (1844-1921) spanned the ministries of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. For a fuller explanation of the Heroic and the Formative Ages, see the entry on Ages in the Glossary. For information on the Administrative Order and the World Order of Baha'u'llah, see the Glossary.]

96.2 A new horizon, bright with intimations of thrilling developments in the unfolding life of the Cause of God, is now discernible. The approach to it is complete victory in the Nine Year Plan. For we should never forget that the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, the current Nine Year Plan, other plans to follow throughout successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, are all phases in the implementation of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Baha, set out in fourteen of His Tablets to North America.

<p197>

Review of Significant Achievements

96.3 The Nine Year Plan is well advanced, and this Ridvan will witness the establishment of seven more National Spiritual Assemblies, five in Africa, one in South America and one in the Pacific, bringing the total number of these exalted bodies to 101. Next Ridvan the nine already announced will be formed, together with 4 more, one each in Afghanistan, Arabia, the Windward Islands and Puerto Rico, bringing the total to 114, six more than called for in the Nine Year Plan. The members of all National Spiritual Assemblies which will be elected at Ridvan 1972 will take part in the election of the Universal House of Justice at Ridvan 1973, when an international convention will be held at the World Centre.

96.4 The Mother Temple of Latin America, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama, is scheduled to be completed by December 1971 and its dedication will take place at the following Ridvan.+F229

[F229. The Baha'i House of Worship in Panama was dedicated 29-30 April 1972. See message no. 108.]

96.5 The wonderful spirit released at the four Oceanic and Intercontinental Conferences, together with the practical benefits which accrued to the Cause from them, reinforce our high hopes that the four Conferences to be held this year will be resounding successes and result in more pioneers, more travelling teachers, greater proclamation of the Message and a raising of the spirits and devotion of the friends.

96.6 Our appeal to the friends in December 1970 for support of the Baha'i International Fund,+F230 which had reached a serious condition due to various unforeseen circumstances, has had a magnificent response from many quarters of the world-wide Baha'i Community, and we are heartened to believe that this manifestation of devotion and sacrifice, as it continues and becomes more widespread, will resolve the condition that had threatened to adversely affect the attainment of cherished goals of the Nine Year Plan.

[F230. See message no. 87.]

Services of the Hands of the Cause of God

96.7 The travels and other services of the Hands of the Cause of God continually evoke our thankfulness and delight, even wonder and astonishment. Their deeds are such as to eclipse the acts of the apostles of old and to confer eternal splendour on this period of the Formative Age. On behalf of all the friends everywhere, we offer them our reverent love and gratitude. It is fitting to record here the passing, after seventy years' exemplary service to the Faith, of the Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander, whose early services in Hawaii were said by the Master to be greater than if she had founded an empire.+F231

[F231. See message no. 90 on Agnes Alexander's passing.]

<p198>

96.8 Restrictive measures, directed against the Faith, and varying in severity from outright oppression to imposition of disabilities make virtually impossible the achievement of the goals of the Nine Year Plan in a number of countries, particularly in the Middle East, in North West Africa, along the fringes of East Africa and certain areas in South East Asia. It is hoped that those Baha'i communities which enjoy freedom to teach their Faith will so far surpass their own goals as to amply compensate for the disabilities suffered by their less fortunate brothers. The army of travelling teachers must be reinforced and the friends, particularly Baha'i youth, are called to seriously consider how much time they can offer to the Faith during the remaining two years of the Nine Year Plan. Teaching visits of brief or long duration, deputization of others, the undertaking of such tasks as would free other friends for teaching work, are all means of building up, in unison, that final surge which will carry the Plan to victory.

Two Objectives -- Forming Assemblies and Opening Localities

96.9 Two major objectives of the Plan are the formation of new Local Spiritual Assemblies and the opening of new localities. 14,966 Local Spiritual Assemblies are called for; 10,360 are now in existence. 54,503 localities must claim a Baha'i resident;

46,334 do so now. The goal is in sight, the time short. However, the growth reflected in the above statistics has not taken place at all levels and in all areas. For while a number of national communities have already achieved, or even surpassed the goals assigned to them, many face extreme difficulties in attaining theirs. With mutual help and an increase in the momentum already generated there is no doubt that the community of the Most Great Name is capable of sweeping on to total victory, thereby gaining a view of those enthralling vistas at present beyond the horizon.

Immediate and Future Tasks

96.10 The twin processes so clearly described by the beloved Guardian in his essay "The Unfoldment of World Civilization" -- the steady progress and consolidation of the Cause of God on the one hand and the progressive disintegration of a moribund world on the other -- will undoubtedly impose upon us new tasks, the obligation of devising new approaches to teaching, of demonstrating more clearly to a disillusioned world the Baha'i way of life and making more effective the administrative institutions of the Faith.+F232 The authority and influence of National and Local Spiritual Assemblies will have to be strengthened in order to deal with larger Baha'i communities; the international character of the Cause will need to be developed, while the international teaching agency at the World Centre, already referred to in previous general letters, will be established.

[F232. WOB, pp. 161-206.]

<p199>

96.11 However fascinating such considerations, which are likely to be forced upon our attention in the near future, may be, they must not deflect our energies and will from the immediate task -- the goals of the Nine Year Plan. Their achievement is the best preparation for the future and the means of developing new powers and capacities in the Baha'i Community. We are confident that the Army of Light, growing in strength and unity will, by 1973, the centenary year of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, have scaled the heights of yet another peak in the path leading ultimately to the broad uplands of the Most Great Peace.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

97

Message to the Caribbean Conference -- May 1971

May 1971

To the friends of God gathered in the Caribbean Conference

Warmest greetings!

97.1 How propitious that on its mountaintop between the two greatest oceans and the two American continents the Mother Temple of Latin America is rising now in Panama, a land blessed by 'Abdu'l-Baha's prophecy that "in the future it will gain most great importance."+F233 How splendid that the vision projected in the Divine Plan for the Americas has sprung into such vibrant life in this Caribbean basin, in country after country upon its verdant shores, in island after island across its expanse, all named by the Master in His Tablets. What shall we not witness erelong in these places so charged with destiny through the Master's utterances!

[F233. TDP 6.9.]

97.2 The Nine Year Plan, the current stage in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Baha, is approaching its triumphant end. This Conference is an occasion to sum up what has been won, to determine to achieve the remaining goals for expansion in these blessed lands, and to consolidate the old and new communities of the Most Great Name. Indeed, the winning of our grand Baha'i objectives began just yesterday when, in the early years of the Formative Age, a few travellers crossed the Caribbean. Yet it was not until the successive Plans of the beloved Guardian, culminating in the Ten Year Crusade, when 27 Knights of Baha'u'llah settled throughout this vast area, that the Cause took firm root. By 1963 the countries and islands of the Caribbean claimed less than 400 localities and only 147 Local Spiritual Assemblies. Now <p200> Baha'is are to be found in over 2,500 localities, more than 500 Local Assemblies and 16 National Spiritual Assemblies have been formed, and there have been hundreds of concrete achievements which have brought about our recognition as an independent Faith.

97.3 The Americas have been a melting pot and a meeting place for the races of men, and the need is acute for the fulfilment of Gods promises of the realization of the oneness of mankind. Particularly do the Master and the Guardian point to the Afro-Americans and the Amerindians, two great ethnic groups whose spiritual powers will be released through their response to the Creative Word. But our Teachings must touch all, must include all peoples. And, in this hour of your tireless activity, what special rewards shall come to those who will arise, summoned by 'Abdu'l-Baha's Words: "Now is the time for you to divest yourselves of the garment of attachment to this world that perisheth, to be wholly severed from the physical world, become heavenly angels, and travel to these countries."+F234

[F234. TDP 6.13.]

97.4 The time is short, the needs many. No effort can be foregone, no opportunity wasted. Praised be God that you have gathered in this Conference to consult upon the vital requirements of this highly significant moment. Our prayers ascend at the Holy Threshold that every session of this historic meeting will attract Divine Blessings, and that each soul, armed with the love of God and imbued with His purpose for a struggling mankind, will arise to activate, beyond all present hopes, the vast spiritual potentialities of the Americas.

97.5 To each of you we send our deepest love.

The Universal House of Justice

 

98

Message to the South Pacific Oceanic Conference -- May 1971

May 1971

To the Friends of God assembled in the Conference of the South Pacific Ocean

Dearly loved friends,

98.1 We send our warmest greetings and deepest love on the occasion of the first Conference in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Praise be to God that you have gathered to consult on the vital needs of the hour!

98.2 Recalling the promise of Baha'u'llah "Should they attempt to conceal His light on the continent, He will assuredly rear His head in the midmost heart <p201> of the ocean and, raising His voice, proclaim: 'I am the lifegiver of the world!'"+F235 we now witness its fulfilment in the vast area of the Pacific Ocean, in island after island mentioned by the Master in the Tablets of the Divine Plan.+F236 How great is the potential for the Faith in localities blessed by these references!

[F236. TDP 6.13.]

[F235. WOB, p. 108.]

98.3 At the inception of the Formative Age,+F237 the Cause was little known here. Agnes Alexander had brought the Teachings to the Hawaiian Islands. Father and Mother Dunn had only recently arrived in Australia. Later the name of Martha Root was to be emblazoned across the Pacific.+F238 Still later, at the beginning of the Ten Year Crusade, a vanguard of twenty-one Knights of Baha'u'llah raised His call as they settled in the islands of this great Ocean. The names of these valiant souls, together with the names of the army of pioneers and teachers who followed, will be forever enshrined in the annals of the Faith.

[F238. Agnes Alexander became a Baha'i in Rome in 1900 and on 26 December 1901 returned to her home in the Hawaiian Islands. After receiving a Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Baha encouraging her to travel to Japan to teach the Faith, she went there in 1914 and remained for twenty-three years. John Henry Hyde Dunn and his wife, Clara Dunn, also arose spontaneously after reading 'Abdu'l-Baha's statement in Tablets of the Divine Plan (7.8), "O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of 'Ya Baha'u'l-Abha' in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it." Mr Dunn resigned his position, and the Dunns left their home in San Francisco for Australia, arriving on 18 April 1920. Mr Dunn was sixty-rwo; Mrs Dunn was fifty. They remained in Australia until their deaths in 1941 and 1960, respectively. Martha Root arose in 1919 in response to 'Abdu'l-Baha's call and embarked upon the first of many journeys to which she dedicated herself throughout the remaining twenty years of her life. All four were elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause of God, Miss Root being called by Shoghi Effendi the "foremost Hand which 'Abdu'l-Baha's will has raised up first Baha'i century." For accounts of their lives and services, see: Agnes Alexander -- BW 15:423-30; Hyde Dunn -- BW 9:593-97; Clara Dunn -- BW 13:859-62; and Martha Root -- BW 13:643-48, and Mabel Garis, Martha Root. See also O. Z. Whitehead, "Father and Mother Dunn," in Some Baha'is to Remember, pp. 153-75. For the Universal House of Justice's message about Miss Alexander's passing, see no. 90.]

[F237. The second Age of the Baha'i Dispensation, also called the Age of Transition or the Iron Age, the Formative Age began in 1921. For details, see the entry on Ages in the Glossary.]

98.4 Their mighty endeavours brought about the enrolment of thousands of the peoples of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia under the banner of the Most Great Name, the opening in Australasia of more than 800 centres and the establishment of ten pillars of the Universal House of Justice.+F239 We can but marvel at such triumphs attained despite great difficulties imposed by the vast expanse of ocean separating the island communities, especially when it is recalled that in many of these islands even the Christian Gospel was unknown as late as the 1830s.

[F239. The "ten pillars" referred to are the National Spiritual Assemblies of Australia, Fiji Islands, Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, North West Pacific Ocean, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South West Pacific Ocean, and Tonga and the Cook Islands.]

<p202>

98.5 How great is the responsibility to continue spreading the Word of God throughout the Pacific. It was in the Tablets of the Divine Plan that 'Abdu'l-Baha called for teachers "speaking their languages, severed, holy, sanctified and filled with the love of God," to "turn their faces to and travel through the three great Island groups of the Pacific Ocean -- Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia ... With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God" to "deliver the Glad Tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people."+F240

[F240. TDP 7.5.]

98.6 The Nine Year Plan, the current phase of the unfoldment of the Divine Plan, is now approaching its final stages. It is incumbent on the friends to assess what has been accomplished and to anticipate and plan for such rapid acceleration of the teaching and consolidation work as is necessary to win all goals by 1973. Time is short; the needs critical. No effort must be spared; no opportunity overlooked.

98.7 Our prayers ascend at the Holy Threshold that every session of this historic meeting will attract Divine blessings, and that the friends will go forth, armed with the love of God and enthusiasm born of the Spirit, fully prepared to scale the heights of victory!

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

99

Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha

12 July 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

99.1 We have noted with deep satisfaction that some National Spiritual Assemblies have already initiated plans to befittingly commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha and the inception of the Formative Age of the Baha'i Dispensation.+F241

[F241. For an account of the commemoration in the Holy Land and throughout the world of the fiftieth anniversary of 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing, see BW 15:125-29. For an abridged version of the account by Shoghi Effendi and Lady Blomfield of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, see BW 15:113-24.]

99.2 We feel it would be highly fitting for the three days, 26 to 28 November, during which the Day of the Covenant and the Anniversary of the Ascension <p203> of 'Abdu'l-Baha occur, to be set aside this year by all National Spiritual Assemblies for specially arranged gatherings and conferences, convened either nationally or locally or both, on the three following main themes: The Baha'i Covenant, The Formative Age, and The Life of 'Abdu'l-Baha.

99.3 We hope that these gatherings will serve to intensify the consecration of the workers in the Divine Vineyard in every land, and provide them with the opportunity, especially in the watches of the night of that Ascension, when they will be commemorating the passing hour of our Beloved Master, to renew their pledge to Baha'u'llah and to rededicate themselves to the accomplishment of the as yet unfulfilled goals of the Nine Year Plan.

99.4 The Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land, the members of the Universal House of Justice, and all resident and visiting believers at the World Centre will, on that memory- laden night, visit the Shrine of that Mystery of God on behalf of the entire Community of the Blessed Beauty and will supplicate for the stalwart champions of the Faith labouring in the forefront of so many fields of service and winning fresh triumphs in His Name, for the self-sacrificing believers without whose support and sustained assistance most of these victories could not be achieved, and for those who will be inspired to join the ranks of the active and dedicated promoters of His glorious Cause at this crucial stage in the development of the Plan, that we may all meet our obligations and discharge our sacred trust, thus making it possible in the latter months of the Plan for our entire resources to be devoted to an even greater expansion of the Faith in its onward march towards the spiritual conquest of the planet.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

100

Message to the North Pacific Oceanic Conference -- September 1971

September 1971

To the Friends of God assembled in the Conference of the North Pacific Ocean

Dearly loved friends,

100.1 On the eve of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the opening of the Formative Age of our Faith we call to mind the high hopes often expressed by the beloved Master for the spread of the Cause in this region, His mention in the Tablets of the Divine Plan of many of the territories represented in this Conference, <p204> and the faithful and devoted services of that maidservant of Baha'u'llah, the Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander, who brought the Teachings to these shores in the early years of this century.+F242

[F242. Agnes Alexander travelled to Japan at 'Abdu'l-Baha's encouragement and remained there for twenty-three years (1914-37). For an account of her life and services, see BW 15:423-30. For the Universal House of Justice's message upon her passing, see no. 90; see also the May 1971 message to the South Pacific Oceanic Conference, (no. 98).]

100.2 In these days we are witnessing an unprecedented acceleration of the teaching work in almost every part of the globe. In the North Pacific Ocean area great strides have been made in the advancement of the Cause since that historic Asia Regional Teaching Conference in Nikko just sixteen years ago. The next two years witnessed the formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska and of the Regional National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia. To the Convention in Tokyo at Ridvan 1957 the Guardian addressed these prophetic words:

100.2a This auspicious event, which posterity will regard as the culmination of a process initiated, half a century ago, in the capital city of Japan, ... marks the opening of the second chapter in the history of the evolution of His Faith in the North Pacific area. Such a consummation cannot fail to lend a tremendous impetus to its onward march in the entire Pacific Ocean ...

100.3 Since that time National Spiritual Assemblies have also been firmly established in Korea and Taiwan.

100.4 Hokkaido, the site of this Conference, first heard of the Teachings less than fifteen years ago, and the first aboriginal peoples of this land accepted Baha'u'llah just over a decade ago. Now you are the witnesses to the beginnings of a rapid increase in the number of believers. Peoples in other islands and lands of the North Pacific, including the Ryukyus, Guam, the Trust Territories, the western shores of Canada and Alaska and the Aleutians are also enrolling under the banner of the Most Great Name, and next Ridvan yet another pillar of the Universal House of Justice is to be raised in Micronesia. We are heartened at the prospect that from the indigenous peoples of this vast oceanic area -- the Ainu, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Koreans, the Okinawans, the Micronesians, the American Indians, the Eskimos, and the Aleuts -- vast numbers will soon enter the Faith.

100.5 The final hours of the Nine Year Plan are fast fleeting. Praise be to God that you have gathered to consult on ways and means of assuring complete victory so that from these outposts the Teachings may spread to those nearby lands where teeming millions have not as yet heard of the advent of this Most Great Dispensation.

<p205>

100.6 The sweet perfume of victory is in the air, and we must hasten to achieve it while there is yet time. Vital goals, particularly on the home-fronts of Taiwan and Japan, remain to be won, and everywhere the roots of the faith of the believers must sink deeper and deeper into the firm earth of the Teachings lest tempests and trials as yet unforeseen shake or uproot the tender plants so lovingly raised in the islands of this great Ocean and the lands surrounding it.

100.7 As you and the friends in the sister Conference in Reykjavik bring this series of eight Oceanic and Continental Conferences to a triumphant close, our prayers for the success of your deliberations ascend at the Holy Threshold. May God grant you the resources, the strength, and the determination to attain your highest hopes, and enable you to open a new and glorious chapter in the evolution of His Faith in the North Pacific area.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

101

Message to the North Atlantic Conference -- September 1971

September 1971

To the Friends assembled in the North Atlantic Conference in Reykjavik

Dearly loved friends,

101.1 To each and every one of you in this historic Conference we send our most cordial and loving greetings. The famous island in which you are now gathered, so strategically placed between the two great continents flanking the vast oceanic area which surrounds it, to which the Teachings of Christ were brought a millennium ago, and which, in this Dispensation, was mentioned by the Centre of the Covenant in His Tablets of the Divine Plan,+F243 first heard the Name of Baha'u'llah in 1924 when the Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins stopped briefly in Reykjavik and made the acquaintance of Holmfridur Arnadottir who subsequently became the first Baha'i of Iceland. Eleven years later the beloved Martha Root spent a month in this land which she loved so well. On that occasion, with the help of Holmfridur, the Cause of Baha'u'llah was widely proclaimed in the press, on the radio and from the lecture platform.

[F243. TDP 7.15.]

<p206>

101.2 The great Ocean extending from the equator to the Pole and from Europe to North America, which has been both the barrier and the link between the Old and the New Worlds, has played a highly significant part in the later history of mankind. Long before Columbus arrived in the West Indies the Vikings, forebears of Icelanders of today, were plying its northern waters. In later centuries wave upon wave of Europeans sailed from east to west, engaging in one of the most significant migrations in human history. In the twentieth century 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself sailed across it and back, a voyage unique in the religious history of mankind and creating a remarkable parallel with the Light of the Cause itself, beaming from the East across the great Ocean to the heart of the North American Continent, being reflected back again, firing new beacon lights in Europe and in later years diffusing its radiance throughout the world. The great Republic+F244 whose eastern shore forms part of the boundary of this Ocean has become the Cradle of the Administrative Order and at this present time the banner of the Most Great Name is being raised in island after island of this Ocean, two of which -- Iceland and Ireland -- will raise, next Ridvan, new pillars of the Universal House of Justice.

[F244. The United States of America.]

101.3 The Faith of God is flourishing in the lands around the North Atlantic; a new wind is blowing, promoting an upsurge of proclamation and teaching. In Europe the youth are afire with enthusiasm and vigour. In Canada and the United States a ground swell of unknown proportions is carrying Baha'i communities to heights of unprecedented achievement.

101.4 You are gathered in this Conference to consult on ways and means of winning, in the few fleeting months ahead, the remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan. In Europe particularly there is much to be done, but we have full faith that the friends, galvanized by their love for Baha'u'llah and fortified by His promises of Divine assistance, will, with, the enthusiasm which they already display, commit their resources to the tasks ahead and will surely attain the victory.

101.5 The beloved Master prayed that holy souls would arise from the Northern Territories of the West and become signs of God's guidance and standards of the Supreme Concourse. In one of the Tablets of the Divine Plan He refers to an inhospitable island of that area saying:

101.5a Should the fire of the love of God be kindled in Greenland, all the ice of that country will be melted, and its cold weather become temperate -- that is, if the hearts be touched with the heat of the love of God, that territory will become a divine rose garden and a heavenly paradise, and the souls, even as fruitful trees, will acquire the utmost freshness and beauty. Effort, the utmost effort is required. ...+F245

[F245. TDP 5.2.]

<p207>

101.6 As the friends gathered in Reykjavik and Sapporo bring this world-wide series of Oceanic and Continental Conferences to a triumphant close our thoughts are with you and our prayers on your behalf rise from the Sacred Threshold. May untold blessings and confirmations be showered upon you as you go forth to labour for the advancement of the Cause of God and may your brows be crowned with victory.

The Universal House of Justice

 

102

Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Musa Banari

5 September 1971

To the Hands of the Cause of God, the Continental Boards of Counsellors, the National

Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

102.1 The Hand of the Cause Musa Banani passed to the Abha Kingdom at noon on Saturday, 4 September. The following cable was sent by the Universal House of Justice:

102.1a PROFOUNDLY MOURN PASSING DEARLY LOVED HAND CAUSE MUSA BANANI RECALL WITH DEEP AFFECTION HIS SELFLESS UNASSUMING PROLONGED SERVICES CRADLE FAITH HIS EXEMPLARY PIONEERING UGANDA CULMINATING HIS APPOINTMENT AS HAND CAUSE AFRICA AND PRAISE BELOVED GUARDIAN AS SPIRITUAL CONQUEROR THAT CONTINENT.+F246 INTERMENT HIS REMAINS AFRICAN SOIL UNDER SHADOW MOTHER TEMPLE ENHANCES SPIRITUAL LUSTRE THAT BLESSED SPOT. FERVENTLY PRAYING SHRINES PROGRESS HIS NOBLE SOUL. MAY AFRICA NOW ROBBED STAUNCH VENERABLE PROMOTER DEFENDER FAITH FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE CHEER HIS HEART ABHA KINGDOM. CONVEY FAMILY MOST TENDER SYMPATHIES ADVISE HOLD MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL COMMUNITIES BAHA'I WORLD BEFITTING GATHERINGS MOTHER TEMPLES. WITH LOVING BAHA'I GREETINGS,

[F246. For an account of the life and services of Musa Banani, see BW 15:421-23.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p208>

103

Spiritual Character of Baha'i' Elections

11 November 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

103.1 A compilation has been made from the writings of the beloved Guardian about the spiritual character of Baha'i elections.+F247 We are sharing these extracts with you to bring to the attention of the friends under your jurisdiction in any manner you deem advisable.

[F247. See CC I:315-18 for a revised version provided by the Universal House of Justice in 1989.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

104

Formation of Thirteen New National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1972

7 December 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

104.1 HAPPY ANNOUNCE DECISION ADD RWANDA LIST NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TO BE FORMED NEXT RIDVAN. REPRESENTATIVES HOUSE JUSTICE FIRST CONVENTIONS AS FOLLOWS HANDS CAUSE AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM WINDWARD ISLANDS UGO GIACHERY PUERTO RICO 'ALI-AKBAR FURUTAN NEPAL SHU'A'U'LLAH 'ALA'I EAST PAKISTAN ADELBERT MUEHLSCHLEGEL RWANDA SEYCHELLES JALAL KHAZEH SINGAPORE ENOCH OLINGA ICELAND WILLIAM SEARS IRELAND COLLIS FEATHERSTONE NORTHWEST PACIFIC RAHMATU'LLAH MUHAJIR MALAGASY REPUBLIC REUNION COUNSELLOR HADI RAHMANI AFGHANISTAN. PRAYING SHRINES OUTSTANDING SUCCESS THESE HISTORIC GATHERINGS ELECTING MEMBERS NEW PILLARS HOUSE JUSTICE FOCAL CENTRES SPIRITUAL INVIGORATION ILLUMINATION NEWLY EMERGING NATIONAL COMMUNITIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p209>

105

World Centre Developments -- Erection of Obelisk and Extension of Gardens

13 December 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

l05.1 JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS WORLD CENTRE. AFTER MANY YEARS DIFFICULT NEGOTIATIONS ERECTION OBELISK MARKING SITE FUTURE MASHRIQU'L-ADHKAR MOUNT CARMEL COMPLETED THUS FULFILLING PROJECT INITIATED BELOVED GUARDIAN EARLY YEARS CRUSADE. GARDENS BAHJI HAIFA EXTENDED BY DEVELOPMENT QUADRANT SOUTHEAST MANSION BAHA'U'LLAH AND ESTABLISHMENT FORMAL GARDEN SOUTHWEST CORNER PROPERTY SURROUNDING SHRINE BAB.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

106

Surpassing the Nine Year Plan goal for the Number of Baha'i localities

14 February 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

106.1 OVERJOYED ANNOUNCE FRIENDS EVERY LAND NUMBER LOCALITIES NOW 56645 EXCEEDING BY OVER 2500 ORIGINAL GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN. OFFERING PRAYERS THANKSGIVING SACRED THRESHOLD FOR DIVINE BOUNTIES SURROUNDING SACRIFICIAL EFFORTS LOVE-INTOXICATED SUPPORTERS HIS BLESSED NAME. URGE BELIEVERS THOSE AREAS WHOSE TEACHING GOALS ARE STILL OUTSTANDING EXERT UTMOST EFFORT COURSE SWIFTLY PASSING REMAINING MONTHS PLAN WIN THEIR GOALS ENABLING THEM JOIN RANKS THEIR VICTORIOUS BRETHREN WHO ARE URGED CONTINUE THEIR VIGOROUS BRILLIANT EXPLOITS IN SERVICE GOD'S INFINITELY GLORIOUS CAUSE.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p210>

107

Release of a compilation on music and singing

1 March 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

107.1 In these days when music and singing are playing such an important and effective part in the teaching work, we feel it appropriate and timely to share with you the enclosed compilation of extracts from the Writings of our Faith on the subject.+F248

[F248. See CC II:73-82.]

107.2 We leave it to your discretion to decide in which manner and to what extent to share the attached extracts with the friends and communities under your jurisdiction. With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice

 

108

Dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America, Panama City, Panama

19 March 1972

To the Beloved of God gathered in the Conference called on the occasion of the Dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America

Dear Baha'i friends,

108.1 With praise and gratitude to God the whole Baha'i world acclaims the dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America, an edifice which glorifies the Cause of Baha'u'llah at that point where, the beloved Master asserted, "the Occident and the Orient find each other united through the Panama Canal," where "The teachings, once established ..., will unite the East and the West, the North and the South."+F249

[F249. TDP 14.8.]

108.2 This historic project, in a hemisphere of infinite spiritual potentiality, fulfils one of the most important goals of the Nine Year Plan, and brings untold joy to the hearts of the friends in every land. Privileged are they who share in the raising of this glorious Silent Teacher with deeds of loving generosity and sacrifice. A crown to the labours of all those who have striven to establish the Faith of Baha'u'llah in Latin America, this Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, the rallying <p211> point for the Baha'is of those lands, whether they are of the blessed Indian peoples or represent the other races whose diversity enriches the nations of that hemisphere, will be a fountainhead of spiritual confirmations, and this mighty achievement will endow the Baha'i Community with new and greater capacities, enabling the friends in Latin America, and particularly in this privileged land of Panama, to win victories that will eclipse all their past achievements.

108.3 The threefold task to which your attention is now directed comprises the proclamation, expansion and consolidation of the Faith. We urge you to concentrate your deliberations not only on the exchange of ideas for the prosecution of this task, but on ways and means for fostering collaboration among the Baha'i Communities of Central and South America so that the most fruitful harvest may be gathered in all three aspects of the teaching work and enable you to achieve your remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan.

108.4 Our loving, ardent prayers will be offered at the Sacred Threshold, that the Almighty may inspire your discussions in this historic Conference and crown all your efforts with victory.+F250

[F250. The International Teaching Conference held in conjunction with the dedication of the House of Worship was held in Panama City, 28 April -- 2 May 1972.]

The Universal House of Justice

 

109

Release of a Compilation on Baha'i Schools and Institutes

10 April 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

109.1 In view of the increasing importance of Baha'i summer schools, a number of excerpts from the writings of the beloved Guardian have been compiled which set forth objectives to be attained by and principles underlying the operation of this institution.+F251 Many of these objectives and principles apply to Teaching Institutes, and a section of quotations from the Universal House of Justice on these Institutes is included.

[F251. See CC I:25-44.]

109.2 We share these extracts with the friends in the hope that they will be assisted and guided in the development of these vital institutions of the Faith.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p212>

110

Ridvan Message 1972

Ridvan 1972

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

110.1 The opening of the final year of the Nine Year Plan sees the Baha'i world community poised for overwhelming victory. With grateful hearts we acknowledge the continuing confirmations which have attended its efforts and the Divine bounties which have never ceased to rain down upon this blessed, this ever-developing embryonic world order.

Review of significant Achievements

110.2 The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama, the Mother Temple of Latin America, will be dedicated this Ridvan. Three beloved Hands of the Cause, Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum representing the Universal House of Justice, Ugo Giachery and Dhikru'llah Khadem will attend this historic ceremony. The imaginative and inspiring concept of the architect, Peter Tillotson, has been wonderfully realized and we extend to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama on behalf of the entire Baha'i world, loving congratulations on their achievement.

110.3 Although the dissolution of the National Spiritual Assembly of 'Iraq has, unhappily, resulted from the persecution of the Faith in that land, the thirteen new National Spiritual Assemblies which will come into being this Ridvan will bring the total number of these pillars of the Universal House of Justice to 113.

110.4 The goals requiring acquisition of properties and establishment of Teaching Institutes are well in hand and, in those countries where legal circumstances permit, incorporation of Assemblies and recognition of Baha'i marriage and Holy Days are making good progress.

Teaching Goals

110.5 It is the teaching goals which must engage our attention and effort. Although more than 260 territories have achieved their assigned goals of localities where Baha'is reside, and in some cases have exceeded them, enabling the Baha'i world community to rejoice in having outstripped on a world scale the total number of localities envisaged in the Plan, there are still some 60 territories where this goal is yet to be won and where its attainment must be given absolute priority between now and Ridvan 1973. It is expected that a large number of new Local Spiritual Assemblies will be established at Ridvan and immediately after the position of this goal is ascertained a detailed listing of all territories throughout the world which have not yet won their goals <p213> for localities and Local Spiritual Assemblies will be sent to every National Spiritual Assembly for urgent release to the friends.

International Cooperation

110.6 It is hoped that during this last year of the Plan the principle of collaboration between National Spiritual Assemblies will be extended far beyond the special tasks set in the Nine Year Plan. Those communities which have already attained their goals or are in clear sight of them should consider the world picture as disclosed by the listing mentioned above and do everything they can, without jeopardizing their own success, to assist their fellow communities with pioneers and travelling teachers, or in any other way possible. Such a process will greatly consolidate the unity and brotherhood of the Baha'i world community.

Pioneering goals

110.7 In the meantime we call on all believers everywhere to prayerfully consider their personal circumstances, and to arise while there is yet time, to fill the international pioneer goals of the Plan. There are 267 pioneer needs still to be answered -- 75 in Africa, 57 in the Americas, 40 in Asia, 30 in Australasia and 65 in Europe.

New Requirements of the Ever-Growing World Order

110.8 The extraordinary advances made since that Ridvan of 1964 when the Nine Year Plan was begun, continuing the organized and purposeful process of teaching on a world scale instituted by our beloved Guardian when he launched the Ten Year Crusade, force upon our attention new requirements of this ever-growing world order both for its own organic life and in relation to the disintegrating world society in which it is set. The divergence between the ways of the world and of the Cause of God becomes ever wider. And yet the two must come together. The Baha'i community must demonstrate in ever- increasing measure its ability to redeem the disorderliness, the lack of cohesion, the permissiveness, the godlessness of modern society; the laws, the religious obligations, the observances of Baha'i life, Baha'i moral principles and standards of dignity, decency and reverence, must become deeply implanted in Baha'i consciousness and increasingly inform and characterize this community. Such a process will require a great development in the maturity and effectiveness of Local Spiritual Assemblies. The purposes and standards of the Cause must be more and more understood and courageously upheld. The influence of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the work of their Auxiliary Boards must develop and spread through the entire fabric of the Baha'i community. A vast systematic programme for the production of Baha'i literature must be promoted.

<p214>

Our Taask -- Achieving Every Attainable Goal of the Plan

110.9 Our immediate and inescapable task, however, is to ensure that every attainable goal of the Nine Year Plan is achieved. This must be done at all costs. No sacrifice, no deferment of cherished plans must be refused in order to discharge this "Most important" of the many "important" duties facing us. Who can doubt that one last supreme effort will be crowned with success? Even now the national community to bear the laurels of first achieving every task assigned to it, Fiji, leads the procession of rejoicing and victorious communities within the Army of Light. We may well emulate Baha'i youth whose recent surge forward into the van of proclamation and teaching is one of the most encouraging and significant trends in the Faith, and who storm the gates of heaven for support in their enterprises by long-sustained, precedent and continuing prayer. We are all able to call upon Baha'u'llah for His Divine, all-powerful aid, and He will surely help us. For He is the Hearer of prayers, the Answerer.

The Universal House of Justice

 

111

Elucidation of the Nature of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

24 April 1972

To the Continental Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved friends,

111.1 Recently we have received queries from several sources about the nature of the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and its relationship to the Institution of the Hands of the Cause, and we feel it is timely for us to give further elucidation.

111.2 As with so many aspects of the Administrative Order, understanding of this subject will develop and clarify with the passage of time as that Order grows organically in response to the power and guidance of Almighty God and in accordance with the needs of a rapidly developing world-wide community. However, certain aspects are already so clear as to require a proper understanding by the friends. The rulers and the learned

111.3 In the Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Book of His Covenant) Baha'u'llah wrote "Blessed are the rulers and the learned among the people of Baha,"+F252 and referring to this very passage the beloved Guardian wrote on 4 November 1931:

[F252. TB, p. 221.]

<p215>

111.3a In this holy cycle the "learned" are, on the one hand, the Hands of the Cause of God, and, on the other, the teachers and diffusers of His teachings who do not rank as Hands, but who have attained an eminent position in the teaching work. As to the "rulers" they refer to the members of the Local, National and International Houses of Justice. The duties of each of these souls will be determined in the future.

(Translated from the Persian)

The Learned

111.4 The Hands of the Cause of God, the Counsellors and the members of the Auxiliary Boards fall within the definition of the "learned" given by the beloved Guardian. Thus they are all intimately interrelated and it is not incorrect to refer to the three ranks collectively as one institution.

111.5 However, each is also a separate institution in itself. The Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God was brought into existence in the time of Baha'u'llah and when the Administrative Order was proclaimed and formally established by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will, it became an auxiliary institution of the Guardianship. The Auxiliary Boards, in their turn, were brought into being by Shoghi Effendi as an auxiliary institution of the Hands of the Cause.

111.6 When, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the Universal House of Justice decided that it could not legislate to make possible the appointment of further Hands of the Cause, it became necessary for it to create a new institution, appointed by itself, to extend into the future the functions of protection and propagation vested in the Hands of the Cause and, with that in view, so to develop the Institution of the Hands that it could nurture the new institution and function in close collaboration with it as long as possible. It was also vital so to arrange matters as to make the most effective use of the unique services of the Hands themselves.

111.7 The first step in this development was taken in November 1964 when the Universal House of Justice formally related the Institution of the Hands to itself by stating that "Responsibility for decisions on matters of general policy affecting the institution of the Hands of the Cause, which was formerly exercised by the beloved Guardian, now devolves upon the Universal House of Justice as the supreme and central institution of the Faith to which all must turn." At that time the number of members of the Auxiliary Boards was increased from 72 to 135, and the Hands of the Cause in each continent were called upon to appoint one or more members of their Auxiliary Boards to act in an executive capacity on behalf of and in the name of each Hand, thereby assisting him in carrying out his work.

111.8 In June 1968 the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors was brought into being, fulfilling the goal of extending the aforementioned functions of the Hands into the future, and this momentous decision was accompanied by the next step in the development of the Institution of the Hands <p216> of the Cause: the continental Hands were to serve henceforth on a world-wide basis and operate individually in direct relationship to the Universal House of Justice; the Hands ceased to be responsible for the direction of the Auxiliary Boards, which became an auxiliary institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors; the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land were given the task of acting as liaison between the Universal House of Justice and the Boards of Counsellors; and the working interrelationships between the Hands and the Boards of Counsellors were established. Reference was also made to the future establishment by the Universal House of Justice, with the assistance of the Hands residing in the Holy Land, of an international teaching centre in the Holy Land.+F253

[F253. For messages about the establishment and duties of the International Teaching Centre, see nos. 131, 132, and 361.]

111.9 In July 1969 and at Ridvan 1970 further increases in the numbers of Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members were made.

111.10 Other developments in the Institution of the Hands of the Cause and the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors will no doubt take place in future as the international teaching centre comes into being and as the work of the Counsellors expands.

Distinctions Between the Rulers and the Learned

111.11 We have noted that the Hands, the Counsellors and the Auxiliary Boards are sometimes referred to by the friends as the "appointive arm" of the Administrative Order in contradistinction to the Universal House of Justice and the National and Local Assemblies which constitute the "elective arm." While there is truth in this description as it applies to the method used in the creation of these institutions, the friends should understand that it is not only the fact of appointment that particularly distinguishes the institutions of the Hands, Counsellors and Auxiliary Boards. There are, for instance, many more believers appointed to committees in the "elective arm" than are serving in the so-called "appointive arm." A more striking distinction is that whereas the "rulers" in the Cause function as corporate bodies, the "learned" operate primarily as individuals.

Exclusion of Past Evils and Retention of Beneficial Elements

111.12 In a letter written on 14 March 1927 to the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Istanbul, the Guardian's Secretary explained, on his behalf, the principle in the Cause of action by majority vote. He pointed out how, in the past, it was certain individuals who "accounted themselves as superior in knowledge and elevated in position" who caused division, and that it was those "who pretended to be the most distinguished of all" who "always proved themselves to be the source of contention." "But praise be to God," he continued, "that the Pen of Glory has done away with the unyielding and dictatorial views of the <p217> learned and the wise, dismissed the assertions of individuals as an authoritative criterion, even though they were recognized as the most accomplished and learned among men and ordained that all matters be referred to authorized centres and specified Assemblies. Even so, no Assembly has been invested with the absolute authority to deal with such general matters as affect the interests of nations. Nay rather, He has brought all the assemblies together under the shadow of one House of Justice, one divinely appointed Centre, so that there would be only one Centre and all the rest integrated into a single body, revolving around one expressly designated Pivot, thus making them all proof against schism and division." (Translated from the Persian.)

111.13 Having permanently excluded the evils admittedly inherent in the institutions of the "learned" in past dispensations, Baha'u'llah has nevertheless embodied in His Administrative Order the beneficent elements which exist in such institutions, elements which are of fundamental value for the progress of the Cause, as can be gauged from even a cursory reading of the Guardian's message of 4 June 1957.

111.14 The existence of institutions of such exalted rank, comprising individuals who play such a vital role, who yet have no legislative, administrative or judicial authority, and are entirely devoid of priestly functions or the right to make authoritative interpretations, is a feature of Baha'i administration unparalleled in the religions of the past. The newness and uniqueness, of this concept make it difficult to grasp; only as the Baha'i Community grows and the believers are increasingly able to contemplate its administrative structure uninfluenced by concepts from past ages, will the vital interdependence of the "rulers" and "learned" in the Faith be properly understood, and the inestimable value of their interaction be fully recognized.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

112

Message to Baha'i Unity Conference, Ganado, Arizona

18 May 1972

Baha'i Unity Conference Ganado, Arizona

Beloved friends,

112.1 Praise be to the Almighty that you have gathered in that beautiful spot in a spirit of love and harmony for the purpose of strengthening the bonds of unity between yourselves and among all men.

<p218>

112.2 The All-Wise Creator of earth and heaven has from the beginning which has no beginning sent to His peoples Divine Messengers to guide them to the Straight Path. These Wise Ones have come to establish the unity of the Kingdom in human hearts. This great evolutionary process of building the organic unity of the human race has entered a new stage with this mighty message of Baha'u'llah. His voice is the voice of the Great Spirit. His love for humankind is the force of the New Age.

112.3 He who sends the rain, who causes the sun and the stars to shine, the rivers to flow, the winds to blow and the earth to give forth her bounties has in this Great Day sent to all mankind Baha'u'llah. It is this Great One who has opened the door of divine knowledge to every soul. It is His teachings that will establish world unity and bring about universal peace.

112.4 The people of the world are the tools in His hand. They must strive to understand His message and to walk in the path of His divine guidance. Every human being is responsible in this day to seek the truth for himself and thereafter to live according to that wise counsel. The old ones have all longed for this sweet message. Praise God that you have found it.

112.5 Now awakened to new wisdom, now guided to the straight path, now illumined with this mighty message, strive you day and night to guide and assist the thirsty ones in all lands to the ever-flowing fountain, the wandering ones to this fortress of certainty, the ignorant ones to this source of knowledge and the seekers to that One for whom their hearts long.

112.6 May your consultation reach so high a level of endeavour and purpose that the Great One will open before your faces the doors of the paradise of wisdom and love and cause the light of the Abha Beauty to shine in your midst.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

113

Establishment of Local Spiritual Assemblies during the Final Year of the Nine Year Plan

28 May 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

113.1 In order to stimulate the teaching work in every land and encourage the friends during this last year of the Nine Year Plan we have decided that as soon as the number of adult believers in any locality reaches or exceeds nine they are permitted to form their Local Spiritual Assembly immediately, rather than wait until 21 April 1973.

<p219>

113.2 We hope moreover that, especially in the areas where the people are entering the Cause in troops, the implementation of this decision will increase the number of those communities which will, without the need for outside assistance, re-elect their Assemblies on the first day of Ridvan in 1973 and in succeeding years.

113.3 It is our prayer at the Sacred Threshold that during the months ahead the steadily mounting number of these divine institutions will tremendously reinforce the labours of the valiant servants of the Blessed Beauty in every clime.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

114

Release of a Compilation on the National Spiritual Assembly

4 June 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

114.1 We have just made a compilation of extracts from letters written by Shoghi Effendi or by his secretaries on his behalf about the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly.+F254 We have not attempted a complete compilation of all the available texts on the subject, but it is hoped that the enclosed material will be of assistance to members of National Spiritual Assemblies and the friends generally in their appreciation of this vital institution of the Faith.

[F254. See CC II:83-136.]

114.2 We leave it to your discretion to determine in what manner you may wish to share the material with the friends under your jurisdiction.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p220>

115

Announcement of the Decision to Build the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

7 June 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

115.1 JOYFULLY INFORM BAHA'I WORLD RANGE AND ACCELERATION GROWTH CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH LOCAL NATIONAL LEVELS AND RESULTANT EXPANSION ACTIVITIES WORLD CENTRE IMPEL US NOW ANNOUNCE ERE COMPLETION NINE YEAR PLAN DECISION INITIATE PROCEDURE SELECT ARCHITECT DESIGN BUILDING FOR SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE ENVISAGED BELOVED GUARDIAN ON FAR FLUNG ARC HEART MOUNT CARMEL CENTRING SPOT CONSECRATED RESTING PLACES SISTER BROTHER MOTHER BELOVED MASTER.+F255 CONSTRUCTION THIS CENTRE LEGISLATION GOD'S WORLD-REDEEMING ORDER WILL CONSTITUTE FIRST MAJOR STEP DEVELOPMENT AREA SURROUNDING HOLY SHRINE SINCE COMPLETION INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING. MOVED PAY TRIBUTE EXPRESS HEARTFELT GRATITUDE OUTSTANDING SERVICES ROBERT MCLAUGHLIN IN PREPARATION FOR THIS HISTORIC UNDERTAKING. FERVENTLY PRAYING PROJECT NOW INITIATED MAY DURING YEARS IMMEDIATELY AHEAD PROGRESS UNINTERRUPTEDLY SPEEDILY ATTAIN MAJESTIC CONSUMMATION.+F256

[F256. For an explanation of the significance of the seat of the Universal House of Justice, see message no. 164. For information about steps in the process of its erection and occupation, see messages nos 136, 140, 165, 186, and 354.]

[F255. Bahiyyih Khanum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, is 'Abdu'l-Baha's sister; Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, His brother; and Asiyih Khanum, the Most Exalted Leaf, His mother.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

116

Plans for Commemorating the Centenary of the Revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas

30 June 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

116.1 At Ridvan 1973 we shall, God willing, witness the successful conclusion of the nine-year-long, world-encircling enterprise which inaugurated the second epoch of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan.+F257 The victorious culmination of this initial stage of the tenth part of the majestic process set in motion over six thousand years ago will prepare the way for the next stage in the series of crusades <p221> destined to achieve the penetration of the Light of God's Faith into the remaining territories of the planet and the erection of the entire machinery of Baha'u'llah's Administrative Order throughout the world.+F258

[F258. For Shoghi Effendi's description (see MBW, pp. 153-55) of that "vast", "majestic" ten-part process that began "at the dawn of the Adamic cycle" and will continue into the Golden Age of the Faith, see the entry on Ten Part Process in the Glossary.]

[F257. The second epoch of the Divine Plan began in 1963 at the commencement of the Nine Year Plan. See the entries on Divine Plan and Epochs in the Glossary.]

116.2 On the Twelfth Day of Ridvan, the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies gathered in the Holy Land for the Third International Convention will participate in the commemoration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.+F259 To enable all believers throughout the world to share in the observance of this highly significant centenary, national and local celebrations for Baha'is only should be held on that day.

[F259. The Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Book) was referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the Mother Book" of Baha'u'llah's Dispensation and "the Charter of His New World Order." The publication of a copiously annotated English translation was a goal of the Six Year Plan (see message no. 456). In its Ridvan 1992 letter the Universal House of Justice announced the forthcoming publication of the annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas during the Holy Year 1992-93. For background on the translation and publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see message no. 27. For the announcement of the completion of A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see message no. 125.]

116.3 We call upon each community to undertake, during the period between the First Day of the Most Great Festival and the commemoration of the Declaration of the Blessed Bab,+F260 a widespread proclamation campaign which would include publicity on the completion of the Nine Year Plan and the holding of the third International Convention at the Baha'i World Centre in the Holy Land.

[F260. 21 April (the First Day of Ridvan) -- 23 May (the Declaration of the Bab). The Third International Convention was held 26 April -- 2 May 1973, on the sixth through twelfth days of the Ridvan Festival.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

117

Exhortation to Blot Out Every Last Trace of Prejudice

13 July 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

117.1 The blessings of the Ancient Beauty are being showered upon the followers of the Greatest Name. Our efforts to serve Him and humanity are being crowned with victories throughout the world. As we give thanks for these splendid achievements, as the Cause of God spreads in every land, as our institutions <p222> become more perfected, as the number of believers increases over the face of the planet, our individual lives must increasingly mirror forth each day the teachings of Baha'u'llah and we must so live our lives that all will see in us a different people. The acts we perform, the attitudes we manifest, the very words we speak should be an attraction, a magnet, drawing the sincere to the Divine Teachings.

117.2 Baha'u'llah tells us that prejudice in its various forms destroys the edifice of humanity. We are adjured by the Divine Messenger to eliminate all forms of prejudice from our lives. Our outer lives must show forth our beliefs. The world must see that, regardless of each passing whim or current fashion of the generality of mankind, the Baha'i lives his life according to the tenets of his Faith. We must not allow the fear of rejection by our friends and neighbours to deter us from our goal: to live the Baha'i life. Let us strive to blot out from our lives every last trace of prejudice -- racial, religious, political, economic, national, tribal, class, cultural, and that which is based on differences of education or age. We shall be distinguished from our non-Baha'i associates if our lives are adorned with this principle.

117.3 If we allow prejudice of any kind to manifest itself in us, we shall be guilty before God of causing a setback to the progress and real growth of the Faith of Baha'u'llah. It is incumbent upon every believer to endeavour with a fierce determination to eliminate this defect from his thoughts and acts. It is the duty of the institutions of the Faith to inculcate this principle in the hearts of the friends through every means at their disposal including summer schools, conferences, institutes and study classes.

117.4 The fundamental purpose of the Faith of Baha'u'llah is the realization of the organic unity of the entire human race. Bearing this glorious destiny in mind, and with entire reliance on the promises of the Blessed Beauty, we should follow His exhortation:

117.4a We love to see you at all times consorting in amity and concord within the paradise of My good-pleasure, and to inhale from your acts the fragrance of friendliness and unity, of loving-kindness and fellowship. ...+F261

[F261. GWB, p. 315.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p223>

118

Embryonic Nature of Local Spiritual Assemblies

30 July 1972

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Bolivia

Dear Baha'i friends,

118.1 In reply to your letter of 4 July asking guidance as to what is a functioning Local Spiritual Assembly, we offer you the following comments:

118.2 Local Spiritual Assemblies are at the present newly born institutions, struggling for the most part to establish themselves both in the Baha'i community and in the world. They are as yet only embryos of the majestic institutions ordained by Baha'u'llah in His Writings. This is also true of National Spiritual Assemblies. In the following passage written by the Secretary of the Guardian on his behalf this point is elucidated:

118.2a The Baha'i Administration is only the first shaping of what in future will come to be the social life and laws of community living. As yet the believers are only just beginning to grasp and practice it properly. So we must have patience if at times it seems a little self-conscious and rigid in its workings. It is because we are learning something very difficult but very wonderful -- how to live together as a community of Baha'is, according to the glorious teachings.

(From letter dated 14 October 1941 to two believers)

118.3 What we find expounded in the writings of our Faith is the lofty station Local Spiritual Assemblies must attain in their gradual and at times painful development. In encouraging these Assemblies to attain this aim, there is no harm in the National Spiritual Assembly mentioning certain minimum requirements from time to time, provided it is clear that non-attainment of such standards, which by their very nature must be continuously revised with changing conditions, do not justify the withdrawal of recognition from any weak Assemblies. It would not be profitable therefore for the Universal House of Justice to lay down universal minimum standards for properly functioning Local Spiritual Assemblies, as these must necessarily differ from country to country, and even from district to district within the same country, in the process of the evolution of these Assemblies into Houses of Justice, as envisaged by Baha'u'llah. Salient objectives of the Local Spiritual Assembly

118.4 Among the more salient objectives to be attained by the Local Spiritual Assembly in its process of development to full maturity are to act as a loving shepherd to the Baha'i flock, promote unity and concord among the friends, direct the teaching work, protect the Cause of God, arrange for Feasts, <p224> anniversaries and regular meetings of the community, familiarize the Baha'is with its plans, invite the community to offer its recommendations, promote the welfare of youth and children, and participate, as circumstances permit, in humanitarian activities. In its relationship to the individual believer, the Assembly should continuously invite and encourage him to study the Faith, to deliver its glorious message, to live in accordance with its teachings, to contribute freely and regularly to the Fund, to participate in community activities, and to seek refuge in the Assembly for advice and help, when needed.

118.5 In its own meetings it must endeavour to develop skill in the difficult but highly rewarding art of Baha'i consultation, a process which will require great self-discipline on the part of all members and complete reliance on the power of Baha'u'llah. It should hold regular meetings and ensure that all its members are currently informed of the activities of the Assembly, that its secretary carries out his duties, and its treasurer holds and disburses the funds of the Faith to its satisfaction, keeping proper accounts and issuing receipts for all contributions. Many Assemblies find that some of their activities such as teaching, observance of Feasts and anniversaries, solution of personal problems, and other duties are best dealt with by committees appointed by the Assembly and responsible to it.

The Baha'i Quality of Leadership

118.6 In all cases submitted for its consideration the Assembly must uphold the standard of justice in delivering its verdict, and in all its dealings with the community and the outside world it must strive to evince the qualities of leadership. The following quotation from a letter of the Guardian summarizes in simple terms the immediate goal every Assembly should set for itself in its efforts to pursue the exalted standard of perfection inculcated in our writings:

118.6a The first quality for leadership, both among individuals and Assemblies is the capacity to use the energy and competence that exists in the rank and file of its followers. Otherwise the more competent members of the group will go at a tangent and try to find elsewhere a field of work where they could use their energy.

118.6b Shoghi Effendi hopes that the Assemblies will do their utmost in planning such teaching activities and that every single soul will be kept busy. (From letter dated 30 August 1930 written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

118.7 In the compilation of texts we sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies in August 1970, and in the By-Laws of a Local Spiritual Assembly, you will find all the objectives Local Spiritual Assemblies must aim at achieving in their <p225> process of growth and development.+F262 We recommend that you restudy these documents carefully and discuss this highly important problem with the Counsellors of your zone, who will be only too glad to help you encourage the development of Local Spiritual Assemblies in your country.

[F262. The compilation accompanied a letter dated 11 August 1970 (no. 84). For the compilation, See CC II:39-60. The by-laws of a local spiritual assembly can be found in The Baha'i World, beginning with volume 3.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

119

Passing of Ishraq-Khavari, Preeminent Baha'i scholar

6 August 1972

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran

119.1 GRIEVED LOSS PRE-EMINENT SCHOLAR VALUED PROMOTER FAITH ISHRAQ- KHAVARI.+F263 HIS PRECIOUS INDEFATIGABLE SERVICES OVER SEVERAL DECADES WON HIM APPRECIATION BELOVED GUARDIAN. HIS SCHOLARLY CONTRIBUTIONS IMMORTALIZED THROUGH NUMEROUS USEFUL COMPILATIONS TREATISES BEARING ELOQUENT TRIBUTE HIS DEVOTION DEDICATION CAUSE GOD. URGE HOLD APPROPRIATE MEMORIAL GATHERINGS ASSURE RELATIVES FRIENDS FERVENT PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES.

[F263. For an account of the life and services of Ishraq-Khavari, see BW I5:5I8-20.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

120

Release of a Compilation on Newsletters

24 August 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

120.1 It is clear from the writings of our beloved Guardian that the initiation, regular publication and distribution of a Baha'i newsletter by each National Spiritual Assembly is one of its vital functions and a means of promoting understanding and unity among the friends, of stimulating their interest and deepening their knowledge of the teachings, and of co-ordinating the activities of the Faith. <p226>

120.2 In order to assist National Spiritual Assemblies to properly assess the importance of this activity and take effective steps to ensure that such a newsletter is issued and widely distributed among the friends, we attach a compilation of extracts on this subject from the letters written by the Guardian or on his behalf.+F264 We urge you to study these extracts carefully and consider, as called for, ways and means of improving the standard, ensuring the regular release and facilitating the circulation of your news bulletin. We realize, of course, that in some countries it is necessary to issue the bulletin in more than one language.

[F264. The compilation is too lengthy to include in this volume.]

120.3 A section of the attached extracts also deals with local newsletters. In some countries it may be feasible and desirable to encourage the issue of such bulletins by responsible Local Spiritual Assemblies.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

121

Martyrdom of Three Iranian Baha'i Students in the Philippine Islands

19 September 1972

To the Baha'is of the world

121.1 With feelings of deep sorrow we relate to the Baha'i world the distressing circumstances surrounding the murder of three Iranian Baha'i students, pioneers to the Philippine Islands.

121.2 Parviz Sadiqi, Faramarz Vujdani and Parviz Furughi were among a number of Iranian Baha'i youth who answered the call for pioneers. With eleven others they registered at the Universities in Mindanao with the intention of completing their studies and proclaiming the Faith of Baha'u'llah. These three had conceived the plan of making teaching trips to a rural area inhabited by Muslims. When on 31 July the authorities of Mindanao State University were notified that they had left the campus the previous day and had not yet returned, search parties were immediately formed and the assistance of the police and local authorities obtained. After inquiries and search, led entirely by President Tamano of Mindanao State University, the bodies of the three young men were found in a shallow grave. They had been shot, grievously mutilated and two had been decapitated. The bodies were removed and given Baha'i burial in a beautiful plot donated for the purpose.

<p227>

121.3 Immediately upon receipt of the tragic news, Vicente Samaniego, Counsellor in Northeast Asia, in close co-operation with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Philippines, acted vigorously on behalf of the Baha'is and was given the utmost co- operation and sympathy by the authorities, police, military and civil. A convocation was called, attended by more than 900 students, faculty members and University officials. Prayers were said in English, Arabic and Persian. The President of the University gave a talk in which he said that the murdered Iranian students are not ordinary students, for with them is the Message of Baha'u'llah which is the way to unity. The Council of the Student Body asked that their new Social Hall be renamed Iranian Student Memorial Hall. Three thousand people marched in the funeral procession and six hundred went to the burial site to attend the interment.

121.4 A dignified burial was conducted by the Baha'is in the presence of University authorities and friends.

121.5 The relatives and friends of these three young men, who gave their lives in the service of the Blessed Beauty, are assured of the loving sympathy and prayers of their fellow believers. The sacrifice made by these youth adds a crown of glory to the wonderful services now being performed by Baha'i youth throughout the world. Baha'u'llah Himself testifies:

121.5a They that have forsaken their country in the path of God and subsequently ascended unto His presence, such souls shall be blessed by the Concourse on High and their names recorded by the Pen of Glory among such as have laid down their lives as martyrs in the path of God, the Help in peril, the Self- Subsistent.+F265

[F265. From an unpublished Tablet.]

The Universal House of Justice

 

122

Release of a Compilation on Baha'i life

24 November 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

122.1 We are asking the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom to send you by surface mail one copy of their compilation The Pattern of Baha'i Life, and attached we are sending you an addendum consisting of quotations from the letters and writings of the beloved Guardian.+F266

[F266. See CC II:1-27. The Pattern of Baha'i Life is a compilation from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi that was published by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the British Isles in 1948.]

<p228>

122.2 These extracts are shared with you with the thought that you may be able to use them in assisting the believers to attain a fuller understanding of what it means to be a Baha'i and to guide and aid them to pattern their personal lives in accordance with the Teachings.

122.3 You are free to use this material in whatever way is appropriate and best suited to the needs of your community. For example, you may wish to purchase copies of The Pattern of Baha'i Life and use them with printed or mimeographed copies of the attached compilation, or you may prefer to issue a compilation of your own. The important thing is that the moral and spiritual admonitions contained in our writings be widely disseminated, properly understood, and the friends encouraged to follow them. Shoghi Effendi has pointed out:

122.3a Humanity, through suffering and turmoil, is swiftly moving on towards its destiny; if we be loiterers, if we fail to play our part surely others will be called upon to take up our task as ministers to the crying needs of this afflicted world.

122.3b Not by the force of our numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of reaching -- no matter how world-wide and elaborate in its character -- not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and sceptical age the supreme claim of the Abha Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah.+F267

[F267. BA, p. 66.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p229>

123

Adoption of the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice

26 November 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

123.1 The following cable has just been sent to the United States Baha'i News for publication.

123.2 WITH GRATEFUL JOYOUS HEARTS ANNOUNCE ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD ADOPTION PROFOUNDLY SIGNIFICANT STEP IN UNFOLDMENT MISSION SUPREME ORGAN BAHA'I WORLD COMMONWEALTH THROUGH FORMULATION CONSTITUTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. AFTER OFFERING HUMBLE PRAYERS GRATITUDE ON DAY COVENANT AT THREE SACRED THRESHOLDS BAHJI HAIFA MEMBERS GATHERED COUNCIL CHAMBER PRECINCTS HOUSE BLESSED MASTER APPENDED THEIR SIGNATURES FIXED SEAL ON INSTRUMENT ENVISAGED WRITINGS BELOVED GUARDIAN HAILED BY HIM AS MOST GREAT LAW FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH.+F268 FULLY ASSURED MEASURE JUST TAKEN WILL FURTHER REINFORCE TIES BINDING WORLD CENTRE TO NATIONAL LOCAL COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT WORLD RELEASE FRESH ENERGIES INCREASE ENTHUSIASM CONFIDENCE VALIANT WORKERS HIS DIVINE VINEYARD LABOURING ASSIDUOUSLY BRING MANKIND UNDER SHELTER HIS ALL-GLORIOUS COVENANT.

[F268. On the Day of the Covenant, 26 November, prayers were offered at the Shrine of Baha'u'llah at Bahji, outside 'Akka, and at the Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel in Haifa, where 'Abdu'l-Baha is also buried.]

123.3 Please share this joyous news with the friends. It is anticipated that the Constitution will be published at Ridvan.+F269

[F269. See The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice, published by the Baha'i World Centre (1972).]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p230>

124

Activities for the Year Preceding the Global Plan to be Launched Ridvan 1974

14 January 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

124.1 As the Baha'i world approaches the triumphant conclusion of the Nine Year Plan it gives us the utmost gratification to see that a few National Spiritual Assemblies have already formulated plans for activity during the coming Baha'i year.

124.2 The next global plan will be launched at Ridvan 1974 and you will therefore have twelve months to prepare for it. We call upon you all to take the greatest possible advantage of that year to:

124.2a Strengthen the foundations of your achievements through developing and enriching Baha'i community life, fostering youth activity and through all means suited to your circumstances; and

124.2b Continue expansion of the Faith, trying new openings and possibilities not fully explored when you were under the pressure of other priorities.

124.3 Obviously conditions differ in the various areas under the jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assemblies, and the goals which each Assembly adopts must be suited to its particular circumstances and possibilities, but, as the beloved Guardian once pointed out, "The broader the basis" of such a campaign, and "the deeper its roots, the finer the flower into which it shall eventually blossom."+F270

[F270. MA, p. 29.]

124.4 We ask you to make your plans now and to send us your report of them to reach us as soon as possible and not later than 1 April 1973 so that we may present a consolidated summary to the International Convention. We feel that such a summary will be an inspiration and a source of new ideas to the delegates when they are consulting upon the challenges that lie before the Baha'i community in the years ahead and which must be faced during the next global plan. Moreover, the achievements of the coming year, added to the great victories of the Nine Year Plan, will enable the world-wide Baha'i community to enter with even greater assurance upon the next stage of its ever-unfolding destiny.

<p231>

124.5 We pray at the Holy Shrines that the blessings of Baha'u'llah may guide and assist you with a fresh measure of His divine grace in the few months separating us from the glorious festivities of next Ridvan.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Universal House of Justice

 

125

Announcement of the Completion of the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas

19 January 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

125.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMPLETION SYNOPSIS CODIFICATION KITAB-I-AQDAS FOR PUBLICATION RIDVAN SYNCHRONIZING CELEBRATION HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY REVELATION MOST HOLY BOOK FULFILLING WORLD CENTRE GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN.+F271 CONFIDENT RELEASE THIS PUBLICATION ENVISAGED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WHOSE MAIN FEATURES HE OUTLINED WILL CONSTITUTE ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT STEP PATH LEADING BAHA'I COMMUNITY FULL MATURITY ESTABLISHMENT WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

[F271. For the letter calling for world-wide observances of the centenary of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see message no. 116. A copiously annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and related texts was published in 1992.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

126

Obeying the Law of God in One's Personal Life

6 February 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

126.1 The following is an excerpt from a letter written recently in response to questions from an individual believer. As it is of general interest we are sending it to you so that you may share it with the friends within your jurisdiction in whatever manner you judge wise and necessary.

126.2 Just as there are laws governing our physical lives, requiring that we must supply our bodies with certain foods, maintain them within a certain range of temperatures, and so forth, if we wish to avoid physical disabilities, so also there are laws governing our spiritual lives. These <p232> laws are revealed to mankind in each age by the Manifestation of God, and obedience to them is of vital importance if each human being, and mankind in general, is to develop properly and harmoniously. Moreover, these various aspects are interdependent. If an individual violates the spiritual laws for his own development he will cause injury not only to himself but to the society in which he lives. Similarly, the condition of society has a direct effect on the individuals who must live within it.

126.3 As you point out, it is particularly difficult to follow the laws of Baha'u'llah in present-day society whose accepted practice is so at variance with the standards of the Faith. However, there are certain laws that are so fundamental to the healthy functioning of human society that they must be upheld whatever the circumstances. Realizing the degree of human frailty, Baha'u'llah has provided that other laws are to be applied only gradually, but these too, once they are applied, must be followed, or else society will not be reformed but will sink into an ever worsening condition. It is the challenging task of the Baha'is to obey the law of God in their own lives, and gradually to win the rest of mankind to its acceptance.

The Effect of Obedience to the Laws of Baha'u'llah on One's Life

126.4 In considering the effect of obedience to the laws on individual lives, one must remember that the purpose of this life is to prepare the soul for the next. Here one must learn to control and direct one's animal impulses, not to be a slave to them. Life in this world is a succession of tests and achievements, of falling short and of making new spiritual advances. Sometimes the course may seem very hard, but one can witness, again and again, that the soul who steadfastly obeys the law of Baha'u'llah, however hard it may seem, grows spiritually, while the one who compromises with the law for the sake of his own apparent happiness is seen to have been following a chimera: he does not attain the happiness he sought, he retards his spiritual advance and often brings new problems upon himself.

126.5 To give one very obvious example: the Baha'i law requiring consent of parents to marriage. All too often nowadays such consent is withheld by non-Baha'i parents for reasons of bigotry or racial prejudice; yet we have seen again and again the profound effect on those very parents of the firmness of the children in the Baha'i law, to the extent that not only is the consent ultimately given in many cases, but the character of the parents can be affected and their relationship with their child greatly strengthened.

126.6 Thus, by upholding Baha'i law in the face of all difficulties we not only strengthen our own characters but influence those around us.

<p233>

The Baha'i Teachings on Sexual Intercourse

126.7 The Baha'i teaching on sexual intercourse is very clear. It is permissible only between a man and the woman who is his wife. In this connection we share with you extracts from four letters written on behalf of the Guardian which throw light on various aspects of the matter. One of them contains the paragraph that you quote in your letter.

126.7a With reference to the question you have asked concerning the Baha'i attitude towards the problem of sex and its relation to marriage: The Baha'i Teachings on this matter, which is of such vital concern and about which there is such a wide divergency of views, are very clear and emphatic. Briefly stated the Baha'i conception of sex is based on the belief that chastity should be strictly practised by both sexes, not only because it is in itself highly commendable ethically, but also due to its being the only way to a happy and successful marital life. Sex relationships of any form, outside marriage, are not permissible therefore, and whoso violates this rule will not only be responsible to God, but will incur the necessary punishment from society. The Baha'i Faith recognizes the value of the sex impulse, but condemns its illegitimate and improper expression such as free love, companionate marriage and others, all of which it considers positively harmful to man and to the society in which he lives. The proper use of the sex instinct is the natural right of every individual, and it is precisely for this very purpose that the institution of marriage has been established. The Baha'is do not believe in the suppression of the sex impulse but in its regulation and control.

(From a letter dated 5 September 1938, to an individual believer)

126.7b The question you raise as to the place in one's life that a deep bond of love with someone we meet other than our husband or wife can have is easily defined in view of the teachings. Chastity implies both before and after marriage an unsullied, chaste sex life. Before marriage absolutely chaste, after marriage absolutely faithful to one's chosen companion. Faithful in all sexual acts, faithful in word and in deed. The world today is submerged, amongst other things, in an over-exaggeration of the importance of physical love, and a dearth of spiritual values. In as far as possible the believers should try to realize this and rise above the level of their fellowmen who are, typical of all decadent periods in history, placing so much overemphasis on the purely physical side of mating. Outside of their normal, legitimate married life they should seek to establish bonds of comradeship <p234> and love which are eternal and founded on the spiritual life of man, not on his physical life. This is one of the many fields in which it is incumbent on the Baha'is to set the example and lead the way to a true human standard of life, when the soul of man is exalted and his body but the tool for his enlightened spirit. Needless to say this does not preclude the living of a perfectly normal sex life in its legitimate channel of marriage.

(From a letter dated 28 September 1941, to an individual believer)

126.7c Concerning your question whether there are any legitimate forms of expression of the sex instinct outside of marriage: according to the Baha'i Teachings no sexual act can be considered lawful unless performed between lawfully married persons. Outside of marital life there can be no lawful or healthy use of the sex impulse. The Baha'i youth should, on the one hand, be taught the lesson of self-control which, when exercised, undoubtedly has a salutary effect on the development, of character and of personality in general, and on the other should be advised, nay even encouraged, to contract marriage while still young and in full possession of their physical vigour. Economic factors, no doubt, are often a serious hindrance to early marriage, but in most cases are only an excuse, and as such should not be overstressed.

(From a letter dated 13 December 1940, to an individual believer)

126.7d As regards your question whether it would be advisable and useful for you to marry again: he feels unable to give you any definite answer on that point, as this is essentially a private affair about which you, and the friends around you or your Local Assembly, are in a much better position to judge. Of course, under normal circumstances, every person should consider it his moral duty to marry. And this is what Baha'u'llah has encouraged the believers to do. But marriage is by no means an obligation. In the last resort it is for the individual to decide whether he wishes to lead a family life or live in a state of celibacy. (From a letter dated 3 May 1936, to an individual believer)

126.8 You express surprise at the Guardian's reference to "the necessary punishment from society." In the Kitab-i-Aqdas Baha'u'llah prohibits sexual immorality and in the Annex to that Book states that the various degrees of sexual offences and the punishments for them are to be decided by the Universal House of Justice. In this connection it should be realized that there is a distinction drawn in the Faith between the attitudes which should characterize individuals in their relationship to other people, namely, loving forgiveness, forbearance, and concern with one's own <p235> sins, not the sins of others, and those attitudes which should be shown by the Spiritual Assemblies, whose duty is to administer the law of God with justice.

126.9 A number of sexual problems, such as homosexuality and trans-sexuality can well have medical aspects, and in such cases recourse should certainly be had to the best medical assistance. But it is clear from the teaching of Baha'u'llah that homosexuality is not a condition to which a person should be reconciled, but is a distortion of his or her nature which should be controlled and overcome. This may require a hard struggle, but so also can be the struggle of a heterosexual person to control his or her desires. The exercise of self-control in this, as in so very many other aspects of life, has a beneficial effect on the progress of the soul. It should, moreover, be borne in mind that although to be married is highly desirable, and Baha'u'llah has strongly recommended it, it is not the central purpose of life. If a person has to wait a considerable period before finding a spouse, or if ultimately, he or she must remain single, it does not mean that he or she is thereby unable to fulfil his or her life's purpose.

One's Attitude Toward the Laws of Baha'u'llah

126.10 In all this we have been speaking about the attitude that Baha'is should have towards the law of Baha'u'llah. You, however, as a doctor working mainly as a counsellor in family and sexual problems, will mostly be concerned with advising non-Baha'is, who do not accept, and see no reason to follow, the laws of Baha'u'llah. You are already a qualified practitioner in your field, and no doubt you give advice on the basis of what you have learned from study and experience -- a whole fabric of concepts about the human mind, its growth, development and proper functioning, which you have learned and evolved, without reference to the teachings of Baha'u'llah. Now, as a Baha'i, you know that what Baha'u'llah teaches about the purpose of human life, the nature of the human being and the proper conduct of human lives, is divinely revealed and therefore true. However, it will inevitably take time for you not only to study the Baha'i teachings so that you clearly understand them, but also to work out how they modify your professional concepts. This is, of course, not an unusual predicament for a scientist. How often in the course of research is a factor discovered which requires a revolution in thinking over a wide field of human endeavour. You must be guided in each case by your own professional knowledge and judgement as illuminated by your growing knowledge of the Baha'i teachings; undoubtedly you will find that your own understanding of the human problems dealt with in your work will change and develop and you will see new and improved ways of helping the people who come to you.

<p236>

Psychology is still a very young and inexact science, and as the years go by Baha'i psychologists, who know from the teachings of Baha'u'llah the true pattern of human life, will be able to make great strides in the development of this science, and will help profoundly in the alleviation of human suffering.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

127

Purchase of Mazra'ih Mansion

15 March 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

127.10 OCCASION NAW-RUZ 130+F272 JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD ACQUISITION BY PURCHASE MANSION MAZRA'IH RESULT SEVERAL YEARS PATIENT PERSISTENT DETERMINED NEGOTIATIONS THEREBY ADDING TO BAHA'I ENDOWMENTS HOLY LAND FIRST RESIDENCE BAHA'U'LLAH AFTER NINE YEARS SPENT WALLED PRISON CITY 'AKKA. CONTROL THIS HOLY SITE REACQUIRED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AFTER LAPSE MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS WHEN HE SECURED LEASE MANSION 1950 EXTENDED TO PRESENT TIME. PURCHASE INCLUDES LAND AREA APPROXIMATING TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND SQUARE METRES HIGHLY SUITABLE EXTENSION GARDENS CULTIVATION. OFFERING PRAYER THANKSGIVING SACRED THRESHOLD THIS GREATLY CHERISHED BOUNTY.

[F272. 21 March 1973.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

128

Ridvan Message 1973

Ridvan 1973

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

128.1 We announce with joyful and thankful hearts the completion in overwhelming victory of the world-encircling Nine Year Plan. The Army of Light has won its second global campaign; it has surpassed the goals set for expansion and has achieved a truly impressive degree of universal participation, the twin objectives of the Plan. With gratitude and love we testify to the unceasing confirmations which Baha'u'llah has showered upon His servants, enabling <p237> each and every one of us to offer Him some part of the labour, the devotion, the sacrifice, the supplication which He has so bountifully rewarded. At this Centenary of the Revelation of the Most Holy Book, the Community of the Most Great Name lays its tribute of victory at His feet, acknowledging that it is He Who has bestowed it.+F273

[F273. The Most Holy Book is the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the chief repository of Baha'u'llah's Laws and the Mother Book of His revelation. It was revealed in 1873. For messages pertaining to its translation and publication, see no. 27; to the commemoration of its revelation, see no. 116; to the announcement of the completion of A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see no. 125.]

Victories of the Nine Year Plan

128.2 The Cause of God at the end of the Nine Year Plan is immensely more widespread, more firmly founded, and its own international relations more closely knit than in 1964 when the Plan was launched. Ninety-five new territories have been opened to the Faith; the 69 National Spiritual Assemblies which shouldered the world community's task have become 113, 5 more than called for. These embryonic secondary Houses of Justice are supported by more than 17,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies, 3,000 in excess of the goal and 12,000 more than at the beginning of the Plan. Baha'is reside in 69,500 localities, 15,000 more than called for, and 54,000 more than in 1964. Baha'i literature has been translated into 225 more languages bringing the total number to 571; 63 Temple sites, 56 National Haziratu'l-Quds, and 62 National Endowments have been acquired bringing the total numbers of these properties to 98, 112 and 104 respectively; 50 Teaching Institutes and Summer and Winter Schools are playing their part in Baha'i education and 15 Publishing Trusts produce Baha'i literature in major languages of the world. The Mother Temple of Latin America has been built and dedicated. Among those goals whose achievement is dependent on favourable circumstances outside our control are the incorporation of Assemblies and recognition of Baha'i Holy Days. It is gratifying to record that 90 National Spiritual Assemblies and 1,556 Local Spiritual Assemblies -- 181 more than the total number called for -- are incorporated, while Baha'i Holy Days are recognized in 64 countries and Baha'i certification of marriage in 40.

128.3 This great expansion of the Faith required an army of international pioneers. Two major calls were raised, for 461 and 733, which together with others for particular posts made an overall total of 1,344. The Community of the Most Great Name responded with 3,553 who actually left their homes, 2,265 of whom are still at their posts.

Developments at the World Centre

128.4 At the World Centre of the Faith the collation and classification of the Baha'i Sacred Scriptures and of the writings of Shoghi Effendi have been carried <p238> forward in ever increasing volume, a task supported and enriched by the labours of a special committee appointed by the Persian National Spiritual Assembly. The material at the World Centre, includes some 2,600 original Tablets by Baha'u'llah, 6,000 by 'Abdu'l-Baha and 2,300 letters of Shoghi Effendi. There are in addition some 18,000 authenticated copies of other such Tablets and letters. All these have been studied, important passages from them excerpted and classified, and the subject matter indexed under 400 general headings.

128.5 A Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i- Aqdas -- completing the considerable progress made by the beloved Guardian in this task -- is being published on the Centenary of the Revelation of the Most Holy Book, which, as already announced, is to be celebrated both in the Holy Land and throughout the Baha'i world during this Ridvan.

128.6 The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice, hailed by Shoghi Effendi as the Most Great Law of the Faith of Baha'u'llah, has been formulated and published.

128.7 The gardens in Bahji and on Mount Carmel have been significantly extended and plans have been approved for the befitting development and beautification of the entire area of Baha'i property surrounding the Holy Shrines in Bahji and Haifa.

World-wide Proclamation

128.8 The world-wide proclamation of the Faith, an intensive and long-to-be-sustained process initiated during the third phase of the Plan, opened in October 1967 with the commemoration of the Centenary of Baha'u'llah's Proclamation to the kings and rulers which had centred around His revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk in Adrianople.+F274 This historic event was commemorated at six Intercontinental Conferences held simultaneously around the planet. A further nine Oceanic and Continental Conferences held during the Plan gave great impetus to this proclamation programme.+F275 The fifteen Conferences were attended by nearly 17,000 believers and attracted great publicity by press and radio and were made the occasion of acquainting dignitaries and notabilities with the Divine Message. The presentation, on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, to 142 Heads of State, of a specially produced book containing the translation into English of the Tablets and passages of Scripture in which <p239> Baha'u'llah, some hundred years before, had issued His mighty Proclamation to mankind, initiated this campaign, which will continue long beyond the end of the Nine Year Plan.+F276

[F276. The book was published by the Baha'i World Centre under the title The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah to the kings and leaders of the world (1967).]

[F275. For the message to the six intercontinental conferences, see message no. 46, for the messages to other conferences, see First Oceanic Conference -- Patermo, Sicily, August 1968 (no. 63); Bolivia and Mauritius -- August 1970 (no. 82); Monrovia, Liberia -- January 1971 (no. 88); South China Seas, Singapore -- January 1971 (no. 89); Caribbean Sea, Kingston, Jamaica -- May 1971 (no. 97); South Pacific Ocean, Suva, Fiji -- May 1971 (no. 98); North Pacific Oceanic Conference, Sapporo, Japan -- September 1971 (no. 100); and North Atlantic Ocean, Reykjavik, Iceland -- September 1971 (no. 101).]

[F274. For information about the significance of the Suriy-i-Muluk, see the Ridvan messages of 1965 and 1967 (nos. 24 and 42).]

128.9 The outstanding development in the relationship of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations was the accreditation of that Community as a non- governmental organization with consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The Baha'i International Community now has a permanent representative at the United Nations and maintains an office in New York.+F277

[F277. For the message announcing the attainment of this goal, see no. 78.]

Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God

128.10 The loved and revered Hands of the Cause have rendered sacrificial and distinguished service throughout the Nine Year Plan. They have, in all parts of the world, inspired the friends, assisted National Spiritual Assemblies, promoted the teaching work and played a vital part in the success of the Plan. The lagging fortunes of more than one national community have been revolutionized by a visit of a Hand of the Cause; swift and energetic action, inspired by the Hand, has been followed by astonishing results, completely reversing that community's prospects. They have added distinguished works to the literature of the Faith.

128.11 The goal of the Plan to develop "The institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, in consultation with the body of the Hands of the Cause, with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation," was accomplished in stages, leading to the establishment of eleven Continental Boards of Counsellors, whose members were appointed by the Universal House of Justice and who assumed responsibility for the Auxiliary Boards for protection and propagation. The beloved Hands no longer remained individually identified with any particular continent -- except insofar as their residence was concerned -- but extended their sphere of action to the whole planet. The Continental Boards of Counsellors, advised and guided by the Hands of the Cause of God and working in close collaboration with them, have already, in their brief period of office, performed outstanding and distinguished services.+F278

[F278. For messages about the role and function of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, see nos. 60, 72, 111, 132, 206, and 267.]

Three Portentous Developments

128.12 Three highly portentous developments have taken place during the Nine Year Plan, namely, the advance of youth to the forefront of the teaching work, a great increase in the financial resources of the Faith, and an astonishing proliferation of inter-National Assembly assistance projects.

<p240>

The Advance of Youth

128.13 The first, the heart-warming upsurge of Baha'i youth, has changed the face of the teaching work; impenetrable barriers have been broken or over-passed by eager teams of young Baha'is, dedicated and prayerful, presenting the Divine Message in ways acceptable to their own generation from which it has spread and is spreading throughout the social structure. The entire Baha'i world has been thrilled by this development. Having rejected the values and standards of the old world, Baha'i youth are eager to learn and adapt themselves to the standards of Baha'u'llah and so to offer the Divine Programme to fill the gap left by the abandonment of the old order.

An Increase in Financial Resources

128.14 The vast increase in the financial resources of the Faith called for under the Plan has evoked a heart-warming response from the entire Baha'i community. Not only the Baha'i International Fund but the local, national and continental Funds of the Faith have been sacrificially supported. This practical proof of the love which the friends bear for the Faith has enabled all the work to go forward -- the support of pioneers and travelling teachers, the raising of Mashriqu'l-Adhkars and acquisition of Baha'i properties, the purchase of Holy Places in the Cradle of the Faith and at the World Centre, the development of educational institutions and all the multifarious activities of a vigorous, onward-marching, constructive world community. It is of interest that sixty percent of the international funds of the Faith is used to assist the work of National Spiritual Assemblies, to promote the teaching work and to defend the Cause against attacks in many parts of the world. Without such help from the Baha'i world community many National Assemblies would be paralyzed in their efforts of expansion and deepening. The administration of Huququ'llah has been strengthened in preparation for its extension to other parts of the World.+F279 An International Deputization Fund was established at the World Centre to assist pioneers and travelling teachers who were ready to serve but unable to provide their own expenses, and this Fund was later extended to the support of projects on national home-fronts. Contribution to the Fund is a service which will never cease to be open to all believers; the growth of the Faith and the rise of its Administrative Order require an ever-increasing outpouring of our substance, commensurate in however small a measure with the bounty and liberality of the outpouring confirmations of Baha'u'llah.

[F279. For information on Huququ'llah, see the Glossary.]

International Collaboration

128.15 When the Plan was launched 219 assistance projects were specified whereby national communities would render financial, pioneering or teaching aid to others, generally remote from them geographically. The intention was to <p241> strengthen the bonds of unity between distant parts of the Baha'i world with different social, cultural and historical backgrounds. At the end of the Plan more than 600 such projects had been carried out.+F280 Inter-community co-operation has been further developed in the field of publishing Baha'i literature, notably in Spanish and French and the languages of Africa. A vast field of fruitful endeavour lies open in this respect.

[F280. For a list of the projects, see the Universal House of Justice, 1964-1973 Analysis of the Nine Year International Teaching Plan, (1964 [sic]), pp. 18-4.]

128.16 In some countries due to lack of freedom, to actual repression in others, to legal and physical obstacles in yet others, certain particular goals -- mainly those requiring incorporation or recognition -- could not be won. Foreseeing this, the Universal House of Justice called upon national communities in lands where there is freedom to practice and promote the Faith, to exceed their own goals and thus ensure that the overall goals would be won. It has proved still impossible to begin work on the erection of the Mashriqu'l- Adhkar in Tihran, but contracts have been signed for the preparation of detailed drawings, geological surveys are being made, and everything made ready for immediate action whenever the situation in Persia becomes propitious.

Additional Developments at the World Centre

128.17 During the period of the Nine Year Plan a number of important and interesting events, not directly associated with it, have taken place. First and foremost was the commemoration, in the precincts of the Qiblih of the Baha'i world, of the centenary of the arrival at the prison city of 'Akka, as foretold in former Scriptures, of the Promised One of all ages.+F281

[F281. The commemoration took place 26-31 August 1968.]

128.18 The Mansion of Mazra'ih, often referred to by the beloved Guardian as one of the "twin mansions" in which the Blessed Beauty resided after nine years within the walled prison city of 'Akka, and dear to the hearts of the believers by reason of its associations with their Lord, has at last been purchased together with 24,000 square metres of land extending into the plain on its eastward side.+F282

[F282. The other Mansion is that at Bahji, outside of 'Akka.]

128.19 The raising of the obelisk, marking the site of the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar on Mount Carmel, completes a project initiated by the beloved Guardian.+F283

[F283. For the message announcing the erection of the obelisk, see no. 105.]

128.20 The decision has been made and announced to the Baha'i world, and the initial steps have been taken for the erection on Mount Carmel, at a site on the Arc as purposed by Shoghi Effendi, of the building which shall serve as the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.+F284 <p242> Raising God's Kingdom on earth

[F284. For an explanation of the significance of the seat of the Universal House of Justice, see the letter dated 5 June 1975 (no. 164); for messages about steps in the process of its erection and occupation, see nos 136, 140, 186, 165, and 354.]

128.21 The progress of the Cause of God gathers increasing momentum and we may with confidence look forward to the day when this Community, in God's good time, shall have traversed the stages predicated for it by its Guardian, and shall have raised on this tormented planet the fair mansions of God's Own Kingdom wherein humanity may find surcease from its self-induced confusion and chaos and ruin, and the hatreds and violence of this time shall be transmuted into an abiding sense of world brotherhood and peace. All this shall be accomplished within the Covenant of the everlasting Father, the Covenant of Baha'u'llah.

The Universal House of Justice

 

129

Election of the Universal House of Justice -- Ridvan 1973

3 May 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

129.1 NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 'ALI NAKHJAVANI HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM AMOZ GIBSON IAN SEMPLE DAVID HOFMAN CHARLES WOLCOTT BORRAH KAVELIN DAVID RUHE HUGH CHANCE.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p243>

1973-1974

A year of preparation <p244> Blank Page

<p245>

130

Announcement of the Acceptance of the Faith by His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa

7 May 1973

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

130.1 It is now possible to share with you all the news of an event which crowns the victories with which Baha'u'llah has blessed His followers during the Nine Year Plan, an event of which the true significance will be fully understood only in the course of centuries to come: a reigning monarch has accepted the Message of Baha'u'llah.

130.2 Among those to whom The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah was presented in 1967 was His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, the Head of State of the independent nation of Western Samoa in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.+F285 His Highness, who had already heard of the Faith, showed immediately that the sacred Words had touched his heart, and the Universal House of Justice thereupon asked the Hand of the Cause Dr Ugo Giachery, who had presented the book to him, to return to Western Samoa for further audiences with His Highness. Following this visit the Malietoa conveyed his acceptance of the Faith of Baha'u'llah to the Universal House of Justice and became the first reigning sovereign to enter beneath the shade of this Cause.

[F285. In its Ridvan 1967 message (no. 42) the Universal House of Justice announced that it would present to Heads of State around the world a collection of Tablets Baha'u'llah addressed to the kings and rulers of the world a century before. His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II was one of the recipients.]

130.3 His Highness decided, with the full agreement of the Universal House of Justice, that it was not propitious to make his declaration public at that time. He has been visited from time to time by Hands of the Cause and other believers, and continual touch with His Highness has been maintained by the House of Justice through Mr Suhayl 'Ala'i, a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for Australasia. Gradually the Malietoa has let it be known to those around him that he has accepted Baha'u'llah. Now he has judged the time ripe to share this wondrous news with his fellow-believers in all parts of the world, by addressing to the International Baha'i Convention the gracious and inspiring message of which a copy is enclosed with this letter....+F286

[F286. See BW 15:183 for a photograph of the Malietoa's letter.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p246>

131

Establishment of the International Teaching Centre

5 June 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

131.1 ANNOUNCE ESTABLISHMENT HOLY LAND LONG ANTICIPATED INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE DESTINED EVOLVE INTO ONE THOSE WORLD-SHAKING WORLD- EMBRACING WORLD-DIRECTING ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS ORDAINED BY BAHA'U'LLAH ANTICIPATED BY 'ABDU'L-BAHA ELUCIDATED BY SHOGHI EFFENDI. MEMBERSHIP THIS NASCENT INSTITUTION COMPRISES ALL HANDS CAUSE GOD AND INITIALLY THREE COUNSELLORS WHO WITH HANDS PRESENT HOLY LAND WILL CONSTITUTE NUCLEUS ITS VITAL OPERATIONS. CALLING UPON HOOPER DUNBAR FLORENCE MAYBERRY 'AZIZ YAZDI PROCEED HOLY LAND ASSUME THIS HIGHLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE. OFFERING PRAYERS HEARTFELT GRATITUDE SACRED THRESHOLD THIS FURTHER EVIDENCE ORGANIC EVOLUTION ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

132

Elucidation of the Duties of the International Teaching Centre and Expansion of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

8 June 1973

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

132.1 The centennial year of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas has already witnessed events of such capital significance in the annals of the Baha'i Dispensation as to cause us to contemplate with awe the rapidity with which Divine Providence is advancing the Cause of the Most Great Name. The time is indeed propitious for the establishment of the International Teaching Centre, a development which, at one and the same time, brings to fruition the work of the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land and provides for its extension into the future, links the institution of the Boards of Counsellors even more intimately with that of the Hands of the Cause of God, and powerfully reinforces the discharge of the rapidly growing responsibilities of the Universal House of Justice.

132.2 This International Teaching Centre now established will, in due course, operate from that building designated by the Guardian as the seat for the <p247> Hands of the Cause, which must be raised on the Arc on Mount Carmel in close proximity to the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.+F287

[F287. For a discussion of the Arc, see the Glossary.]

132.3 The duties now assigned to this nascent institution are:

132.3a - To co-ordinate, stimulate and direct the activities of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and to act as liaison between them and the Universal House of Justice.

132.3b - To be fully informed of the situation of the Cause in all parts of the world and to be able, from the background of this knowledge, to make reports and recommendations to the Universal House of Justice and give advice to the Continental Boards of Counsellors.

132.3c - To be alert to possibilities, both within and without the Baha'i community, for the extension of the teaching work into receptive or needy areas, and to draw the attention of the Universal House of Justice and the Continental Boards of Counsellors to such possibilities, making recommendations for action.

132.3d - To determine and anticipate needs for literature, pioneers and travelling teachers and to work out teaching plans, both regional and global, for the approval of the Universal House of Justice.

132.4 All the Hands of the Cause of God will be members of the International Teaching Centre. Each Hand will be kept regularly informed of the activities of the Centre through reports or copies of its minutes, and will be able, wherever he may be residing or travelling, to convey suggestions, recommendations and information to the Centre and, whenever he is in the Holy Land, to take part in the consultations and other activities of the Centre.

132.5 In addition, we now appoint Mr Hooper Dunbar, Mrs Florence Mayberry and Mr 'Aziz Yazdi to membership of the International Teaching Centre, with the rank of Counsellor. These believers, who have been serving with distinction on the Continental Boards of Counsellors in South America, North America and Central and East Africa respectively, will henceforth reside in Haifa and will, together with the Hands present in the Holy Land, constitute the nucleus of the operations of the Centre.

132.6 Authority for the expulsion and reinstatement of Covenant-breakers remains with the Hands of the Cause of God. All such matters will be investigated locally by the relative Continental Board of Counsellors in consultation with any Hand or Hands who may be in the area. The Continental Board of Counsellors and the Hands concerned will then make their reports to the International Teaching Centre where they will be considered. The decision <p248> whether or not to expel or reinstate will be made by the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land who will, as at present, submit their decision to the Universal House of Justice for approval.

132.7 The following changes to the zones of the Continental Boards of Counsellors are now made:

132.7a - The number of zones has been raised to twelve by the removal of India, Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Laccadive, Maldive, Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Central Asia.

132.7b - The Philippines, Hong Kong and Macau are transferred from North-eastern Asia to South-eastern Asia.

132.7c - The Caroline Islands and all other Pacific islands lying north of the equator and between longitudes 140o east and 140o west, with the exception of the Gilbert Islands, will be transferred from the zone of Australasia to the zone of North-eastern Asia. Islands under the jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska remain in the zone of North America.

132.8 The number of Counsellors is now raised to fifty-seven by the appointment of Mr Friday Ekpe and Mr Zekrullah Kazemi in North-western Africa, Mr Hushang Ahdieh and Mr Peter Vuyiya in Central and East Africa, Dr Sarah Pereira and Mrs Velma Sherrill in North America, Mr Rowland Estall and Mr Paul Lucas in Central America, Mrs Leonora Armstrong, Mr Peter McLaren and Mr Raul Pavon in South America, Mr Dipchand Khianra and Mrs Zena Sorabjee in South Central Asia, Mr Firaydun Mithaqiyan in South-eastern Asia, Mr Richard Benson and Miss Elena Marsella in North- eastern Asia and Miss Violet Hoehnke in Australasia. Dr William Maxwell who has been rendering distinguished service as a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors in North-western Africa has been obliged to return to the United States.

132.9 Mrs Zena Sorabjee is appointed Trustee of the new Continental Fund of South Central Asia, while Mr Hushang Ahdieh and Mr Mas'ud Khamsi are appointed the new Trustees of the Continental Funds of Central and East Africa and South America respectively.

132.10 Beyond these significant developments at the World Centre of the Faith and on the continental level, it is becoming increasingly necessary in many parts of the world for the Auxiliary Boards to be reinforced. The nature of the work differs from zone to zone and the Universal House of Justice is now consulting the Boards of Counsellors on this matter before making an announcement.

132.11 The decisions now announced are the outcome of deliberation extending over a number of years, reinforced by consultations with the Hands of the <p249> Cause of God, and especially with the Hands residing in the Holy Land who were requested in 1968 to assist the Universal House of Justice in the establishment of the International Teaching Centre, a task that now increases in magnitude as that Centre begins its work.

132.12 It is our fervent prayer that the Blessed Beauty will abundantly confirm this latest unfoldment of His divinely-purposed Administrative Order.

The Universal House of Justice

Zones of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

As Revised by the Universal House of Justice in May 1973

132.13 1. North-western Africa All the continent of Africa west of the eastern frontiers of Tunisia, Algeria, Niger and Nigeria plus the Cape Verde Islands.

132.14 2. Central and East Africa All the continent of Africa east of the western frontiers of Libya, Chad and the United Cameroon Republic and north of the southern frontiers of Zaire and Tanzania plus the islands of Fernando Po, Principe, Sao Tome and Annobon in the Atlantic Ocean and Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia Islands in the Indian Ocean.

132.15 3. Southern Africa All the continent of Africa south of the northern frontiers of Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique plus the Island of Madagascar and all islands in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans between longitudes 20o west and

80o east and south of the equator with the exception of the Islands of Annobon, Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia which are assigned to the zone of Central and East Africa.

132.16 4. North America All the continent of America north of the southern frontier of the United States plus all offshore islands in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans including the Aleutian chain and all islands under the jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska, also Greenland and all offshore islands politically belonging to Greenland, all islands in the Atlantic Ocean west of longitude 40o west and between latitude 60o north and the Tropic of Cancer plus those Bahama Islands lying south of the Tropic of Cancer.

132.17 5. Central America All the continent of America south of the northern frontier of Mexico and north of the southern frontier of Panama plus the offshore islands <p250> in the Pacific Ocean belonging politically to countries of this zone plus Clipperton Island, all islands in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea south of the Tropic of Cancer except the Bahama Islands which are allocated to the zone of North America and islands belonging politically to Colombia and Venezuela, the islands of Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago which are all allocated to the zone of South America.

132.1a 6. South America All the continent of South America, the Galapagos Islands, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago, all islands in the Caribbean and North Atlantic Oceans belonging politically to countries of this zone plus all islands in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans south of the equator and between longitude 120o west and longitude 20o west.

132.19 7. Western Asia All the continent of Asia west of the eastern boundaries of Pakistan, Sinkiang, the Mongolian Republic, the Oblasts of Chita and Irkutsk and the Kray of Krasnoyarsk and east of the western boundaries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, plus those parts of Turkey and Kazakhstan which lie in Europe and including the Transcaucasian S.S.R.s of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as all islands in the Persian Gulf and islands in the Arabian Sea belonging politically to countries of this zone.

132.20 8. South Central Asia India, Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Laccadive, Maldive, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

132.21 9. South-eastern Asia China south of the northern boundaries of Yuennan, Szechwan, Hupeh, Anhwei and Kiangsu, as well as Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Macau. Excluding Portuguese Timor.

132.22 10. North-eastern Asia All the Soviet Union cast of the western boundary of the Yakutsk A.S.S.R. and the Oblast of Amur, China east of Sinkiang and north of the southern boundaries of Tsinghai, Kansu, Shensi, Honan and Shantung; Korea, Japan, Taiwan and all islands belonging politically to those nations plus all islands in the Pacific Ocean north of the equator and between the longitudes of 140o east and 140o west with the exception of the Gilbert Islands and those islands under the jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska, but including those Caroline Islands lying west of longitude 140o east.

<p251>

132.23 11. Australasia Australia and New Zealand plus all islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans lying south of the equator and between the longitudes of 80o east and 120o west including Portuguese Timor and the Gilbert and Ellice Islands but excepting Indonesia.

132.24 12. Europe The entire continent of Europe less those portions of Kazakhstan and Turkey which lie in Europe, plus Iceland and all islands in the Atlantic Ocean north of latitude 60 degrees north which belong politically to nations of the European continent plus all islands in the Atlantic Ocean east of longitude 40 degrees west and between latitude 60 degrees north and the Tropic of Cancer plus all islands of the Mediterranean Sea including Cyprus but excluding islands belonging politically to nations of the African and Asiatic continents.

132.25 Membership of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, According to the New Boundaries of May 1973

(New appointments are indicated with an asterisk.)

North-western Africa

Husayn Ardikani (Trustee of Continental Fund)

*Friday Ekpe

*Zekrullah Kazemi

Muhammad Kebdani

Central and East Africa

Hushang Ahdieh (Trustee of Continental Fund)

Oloro Epyeru

Kolonario Oule

Isobel Sabri

Mihdi Samandari

Peter Vuyiya

Southern Africa

Seewoosumbur-Jeehoba Appa

Shidan Fat'he-Aazam (Trustee of Continental Fund)

Bahiyyih Winckler

North America

Lloyd Gardner

*Sarah Pereira

*Velma Sherrill

Edna True (Trustee of Continental Fund)

<p252>

Central America

Carmen de Burafato,

*Rowland Estall

Artemus Lamb

*Paul Lucas

Alfred Osborne (Trustee of Continental Fund)

South America

*Leonora Armstrong

Athos Costas

Mas'ud Khamsi (Trustee of Continental Fund)

*Peter McLaren

*Raul Pavon

Donald Witzel

Western Asia

Iraj Ayman

Masih Farhangi

Hadi Rahmami (Trustee of Continental Fund)

Manuchihr Salmanpur

South Central Asia

Shirin Boman

*Dipchand Khianra

*Zena Sorabjee (Trustee of Continental Fund)

Sankaran-Nair Vasudevan

South-eastern Asia

*Firaydun Mithaqiyan

Khudarahm Payman (Trustee of Continental Fund)

Vicente Samaniego

Chellie Sundram

Yan Kee Leong

North-eastern Asia

*Richard Benson

John McHenry III

*Elena Marsella

Ruhu'llah Mumtazi (Trustee of Continental Fund)

Australasia

Suhayl 'Ala'i

*Violet Hoehnke

Howard Harwood

Thelma Perks (Trustee of Continental Fund)

<p253>

Europe

Erik Blumenthal

Anneliese Bopp

Dorothy Ferraby

Louis Henuzet (Trustee of Continental Fund)

Betty Reed

 

133

Youth and Baha'i Standards of Behaviour

9 July 1973

To a Local Spiritual Assembly

Dear Baha'i friends,

133.1 We have received your letter of 19 June 1973 and can sympathize with the problems that Baha'i youth face when trying to live up to the Baha'i standards of behaviour. It is, perhaps, natural that in the bewildering amoral environment in which Baha'i youth are growing up they feel the need for specific instructions on which intimacies are permissible and which are not. However, we feel it would be most unwise for any Baha'i institution to issue detailed instructions about this.

133.2 The Baha'i youth should study the teachings on chastity and, with these in mind, should avoid any behaviour which would arouse passions which would tempt them to violate them. In deciding what acts are permissible to them in the light of these considerations the youth must use their own judgement, following the guidance of their consciences and the advice of their parents.

133.3 If Baha'i youth combine such personal purity with an attitude of uncensorious forbearance towards others they will find that those who may have criticized or even mocked them will come, in time, to respect them. They will, moreover, be laying a firm foundation for future married happiness.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p254>

134

Formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Equatorial Guinea

18 July 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

134.1 DELIGHTED ANNOUNCE SUCCESSFUL ELECTION NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY EQUATORIAL GUINEA COUNTRY OPENED FAITH GUARDIAN'S TEN YEAR CRUSADE. NEW ASSEMBLY FORMED NOW RESPONSE REQUIREMENT GOVERNMENT RECOGNITION FAITH. PRAYERS OFFERED HOLY SHRINES THANKSGIVING AND GUIDANCE ASSISTANCE FRIENDS NEWLY INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

135

Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God John Ferraby

9 September 1973

To the Hands of the Cause of God, the Continental Boards of Counsellors, the National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

135.1 The Hand of the Cause John Ferraby passed away suddenly on 5 September. The following cable was sent by the Universal House of Justice:

135.1a REGRET SUDDEN PASSING HAND CAUSE JOHN FERRABY.+F288 RECALL LONG SERVICES FAITH BRITISH ISLES CROWNED ELEVATION RANK HAND CAUSE VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION BAHA'I LITERATURE THROUGH HIS BOOK ALL THINGS MADE NEW. REQUESTING BEFITTING GATHERINGS MASHRIQU'L-ADHKARS MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL COMMUNITIES BAHA'I WORLD.

[F288. For an account of the life and services of John Ferraby, see BW 16:511-12.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p255>

136

Appointment of the Architect of the Seat of the Universal House of

Justice

17 September 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

136.1 DELIGHTED ANNOUNCE APPOINTMENT HUSAYN AMANAT BRILLIANT YOUNG BAHA'I ARCHITECT CRADLE FAITH AS ARCHITECT OF BUILDING FOR UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

137

Expansion and Reinforcement of the Auxiliary Boards

7 October 1973

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

137.1 In order to meet the growing needs of an ever-expanding Baha'i World Community we have taken two decisions designed to reinforce and extend the services of the Auxiliary Boards.

137.2 First, the number of Auxiliary Board members throughout the world is to be raised to two hundred and seventy, of whom eighty-one will serve on the Auxiliary Boards for the Protection of the Faith and one hundred and eighty-nine will serve on the Auxiliary Boards for the Propagation of the Faith. In all there will be fifty-four Auxiliary Board members in Africa, eighty-one in the Western Hemisphere, eighty-one in Asia, eighteen in Australasia and thirty-six in Europe.

137.3 Secondly, we have decided to take a further step in the development of the institution by giving to each Continental Board of Counsellors the discretion to authorize individual Auxiliary Board members to appoint assistants. Such authorization does not have to be given to all the Auxiliary Board members in a zone nor does the number assigned have to be the same for all Board members; indeed certain Boards of Counsellors may decide that the present circumstances in their zones do not require them to take advantage of this possibility. Such matters are left entirely to the discretion of each Continental Board of Counsellors.

137.4 The exact nature of the duties and the duration of the appointment of the assistants is also left to each Continental Board to decide for itself. Their aims should be to activate and encourage Local Spiritual Assemblies, to call the attention of Local Spiritual Assembly members to the importance of holding <p256> regular meetings, to encourage local communities to meet for the Nineteen Day Feasts and Holy Days, to help deepen their fellow-believers' understanding of the Teachings, and generally to assist the Auxiliary Board members in the discharge of their duties. Appointments may be made for a limited period, such as a year or two, with the possibility of reappointment. Believers can serve at the same time both as assistants to Auxiliary Board members and on administrative institutions.

137.5 It is our prayer at the Sacred Threshold that this new development in the institution of the Auxiliary Boards will lead to an unprecedented strengthening of the Local Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world.

The Universal House of Justice

137.6 Numbers of Auxiliary Board Members by Zones

October 1973

Auxiliary Board for

Protection Propagation

Africa

North-western 3 9

Central and East 13 19

Southern 2 8

18 36

Western Hemisphere

North America 9 18

Central America 9 9

South America 9 27

27 54

Asia

Western 9 18

South Central 3 15

South-eastern 3 15

North-eastern 3 15

18 63

 

Australasia 9 9

Europe 9 27

TOTAL 81 189

<p257>

138

Request for Actions in Preparation for Launching Five Year Plan At Ridvan 1974

21 November 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

138.1 Five months separate us from Ridvan 1974 when the next global plan will be launched. For a period of five years the attention, resources and energies of the Baha'i World Community will be directed to achieving the aims of this plan.

138.2 By Naw-Ruz 1974 you will have been notified of the overall goals of the plan and the specific tasks assigned to each of your national communities. Each one of you is therefore urged to arrange for a meeting, at Naw-Ruz or soon after, to which you will invite the Board of Counsellors in your zone to be represented and at which the plan can be considered and thorough consultation held on the manner in which each one of your communities will launch it.

138.3 You are asked to give careful consideration as soon as possible to the advisability of holding one or more conferences in conjunction with your Convention or soon after. You may wish to consult the Counsellors on this matter. We believe that such conferences would greatly assist in acquainting the friends with the nature and aims of the plan and in enlisting their enthusiasm and resolution to achieve it. All details as to the number of such conferences, their timing, their agendas are left entirely to your discretion, but we recommend that in planning them you attach great importance to the participation of youth so that they may feel wholly identified with the tasks assigned and give their immediate and maximum support to their accomplishment.

138.4 Now is the time to begin directing the thoughts and plans of the friends to the next great demand which will be made upon them, and we assure you of our prayers at the Sacred Threshold that you may be guided and strengthened to take such decisions and make such plans as will enable your communities to anticipate with eagerness and receive with joy the new tasks to be offered them, tasks whose wholehearted and united accomplishment will raise the Community of the Most Great Name to a position where it may have far greater effect upon men's minds and prepare it for further thrilling and awe- inspiring achievements in the pursuit of its ultimate goal of the redemption of mankind.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p258>

139

Extension of Gardens at Bahji

4 December 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

139.1 REJOICE ANNOUNCE FRIENDS BEAUTIFICATION DURING CONFLICT AGITATING MIDDLE EAST FOURTH QUADRANT AREA SURROUNDING MOST HOLY SHRINE EMBRACING OLIVE GROVE SOUTHWEST PILGRIM HOUSE BAHJI BLESSED SHRINE AND MANSION NOW COMPLETELY ENCIRCLED BEAUTIFUL GARDENS INSPIRED BY PATTERN HARAM-I-AQDAS CREATED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN.+F289 PRAYING SHRINES SUPPORTERS MOST GREAT NAME EVERY LAND MAY REDOUBLE EFFORTS PROMOTE INTERESTS PRECIOUS FAITH IN ANTICIPATION FIVE YEAR GLOBAL PLAN SOON TO BE LAUNCHED.

[F289. Haram-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Court) is a designation Shoghi Effendi gave to the north-western quadrant of the garden surrounding the Shrine of Baha'u'llah.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

140

Acceptance of Design for the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

7 February 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

140.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE ACCEPTANCE EXQUISITE DESIGN CONCEIVED BY HUSAYN AMANAT FOR BUILDING TO SERVE AS PERMANENT SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE MOUNT CARMEL. DECISION MADE TO PROCEED NEGOTIATE CONTRACTS CONSTRUCTION THIS NOBLE EDIFICE SECOND THOSE BUILDINGS DESTINED ARISE AROUND ARC CONSTITUTE ADMINISTRATIVE CENTRE BAHA'I WORLD.+F290

[F290. For a discussion of the Arc, see the Glossary.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p259>

1974-1979

The Five Year Plan <p260> Blank Page

<p261>

141

Launching of the Five Year Plan -- Naw-Ruz 1974

Naw-Ruz 1974

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

141.1 A span of eighteen years separates us from the centenary of Baha'u'llah's Ascension and the unveiling of His Almighty Covenant.+F291 The fortunes of humanity in that period no man can foretell. We can, however, confidently predict that the Cause of God, impelled by the mighty forces of life within it, must go on from strength to strength, increasing in size and developing greater and greater powers for the accomplishment of God's purpose on earth.

[F291. The centenary of both Baha'u'llah's Ascension and the unveiling of His Covenant were celebrated in 1992 with a World Congress in New York City, the City of the Covenant, so named by 'Abdu'l-Baha on 19 June 1912 when He declared His station as the Centre of the Covenant.]

141.2 The abundant evidences of Divine confirmation which have rewarded the strenuous and dedicated efforts of the Baha'i community during the past decade are apparent throughout the earth and give incontrovertible assurance of its capacity to win the good pleasure of Baha'u'llah and answer every call made upon it in His service.

141.3 The Five Year Plan to which this community is now summoned is the opening campaign of these critical years. It is the third global plan embarked upon by the Army of Light in its implementation of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan, that world-encompassing programme disclosed in His perspicuous Tablets and described by the Guardian of the Cause of God as the Charter for the propagation of the Faith throughout the world.+F292 It was the Guardian himself, the beloved "sign of God,"+F293 who, through his exposition and interpretation of the Revelation, through his discipline and education of the Baha'i community and through a series of national plans assigned to the various units of that community, forged the Administrative Order of the Faith and made it an instrument for the carrying out of this great Charter, and he himself designed and launched the first global plan, the unique, brilliant and spiritually glorious Ten Year Crusade. The victories of that crusade implanted the banner of Baha'u'llah throughout the planet and the following Nine Year Plan reinforced and extended the bastions of the Faith and raised the number of National Spiritual Assemblies -- the supporting pillars of the Universal House of Justice -- to one hundred and thirteen, a number increased to one hundred and fifteen by the formation at this Ridvan of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Hong Kong and South East Arabia.

[F293. WT, p. 11.]

[F292. See Tablets of the Divine Plan (1993).]