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Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Australia, 1971 reprint
  • Pages:
  • 140
Go to printed page GO
Pages 117-122

Letter of June 16, 1954

Haifa, Israel,
June 16, 1954
Mr. James Heggie, Secretary,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Australia and New Zealand.
Dear Bahá’í Brother:
The letters from your Assembly dated July 6, September 14, November 9 and December 18, 1953, and January 7 (2), February 28, and March 22 and 31, 1954, with enclosures, also the material sent separately, have all been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
Regarding the various matters you have raised, he does not know how the galleys of the Tahitian pamphlet and letters of Louise Bosch happened to be sent to you. He had nothing to do with it, and is perfectly satisfied that they should remain in the hands of your Assembly.
He has been delighted over the marked progress made by your Assembly in carrying out its own portion of the Ten-Year Crusade. The number of members of the National Body who have gone forth as pioneers to virgin territories which you have 118 succeeded in opening during the first year of the Plan, the purchase of the Temple site in Sydney—all attest the vitality of the faith of the believers in the Antipodes. He is very proud of their spirit and their achievements, and believes that they will go very far in their service to the Faith on an international scale. The initiative shown through the holding of a South Pacific School pleased him immensely. In view of the work to be done, the number of languages into which the literature is to be translated, the tremendous area throughout which the Australian goals are scattered, schools and institutes of this nature are really essential.
He is also very happy to note the increase in Bahá’í membership, a sure sign of the virility of the faith of the believers.
He feels sure that the visit of the dear Hand of the Cause, Mr. Furutan, accompanied by Mr. Faizi, did a tremendous amount of good. Mr. Furutan has since made the pilgrimage to Haifa, and spoke very highly to the Guardian of the believers in that part of the world, whom he grew to love and admire very much during his visit.
He was very happy to see that Mrs. Dunn was able to attend the New Zealand Bahá’í Summer School. For a woman of her age, this was surely a remarkable achievement, and must have been a great inspiration to the New Zealand friends, coming as she did so freshly from the last Intercontinental Teaching Conference held in New Delhi.
Now that so many of the goals abroad have been settled, and active plans have been laid to settle the remaining ones, he feels that your Assembly should pay particular attention, during the coming year, to the work on the home front. The multiplication of Local Assemblies, the incorporation of Local Assemblies and the increase in centers throughout Australia and New Zealand are all-important and pressing, and will require a great deal of work. The sooner the friends “get on with it” the better!
In connection with the teaching work throughout the Pacific area, he fully believes that in many cases the white society is difficult to interest in anything but its own superficial activities. The Bahá’ís must identify themselves on the one hand, as much as they reasonably can, with the life of the white people, so as not to become ostracized, criticized and eventually ousted from their hard-won pioneer posts. On the other hand, they must bear in mind that the primary object of their living there is to teach 119 the native population the Faith. This they must do with tact and discretion, in order not to forfeit their foot-hold in these islands which are often so difficult of access.
Sound judgment, a great deal of patience and forbearance, faith and nobility of conduct, must distinguish the pioneers, and be their helpers in accomplishing the object of their journey to these far places.
He attaches great importance to teaching the aboriginal Australians, and also in converting more Maoris to the Faith, and hopes that the Bahá’ís will devote some attention to contacting both of these minority groups.
As he has already informed you, he approves of any surplus moneys in the Temple fund, after having purchased the site, being diverted for the use of the Pacific teaching work. He feels that your Assembly has shown remarkably good judgment in handling this entire matter.
The most important thing of all in connection with the pioneer work, is to ensure that the believers who, at such cost of sacrifice and effort, have at last succeeded in gaining entry to these far-flung and difficult territories, should remain there at all costs.
As regards the question of how to write some of the Oriental words, like Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the translations which have Latin script, he feels that at least in parenthesis a phonetical pronunciation should be included after the name when the English transliteration is used. There is no use giving people the Teachings, and not enabling them to pronounce correctly the names that have the deepest association of all with our Faith.
He urges your Body and, through you, all of the dear believers in Australia and New Zealand, and your devoted pioneers serving so far afield, to be of good heart, to persevere, and to rest assured that the Beloved will watch over and protect your labours.
He will pray for all the members of your Assembly in the holy Shrines, and for the success of your indefatigable labours.
With warm Bahá’í greetings,
R. Rabbani. 120
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The manifold evidences of the remarkable progress, achieved in almost every field, by the Australian and New-Zealand Bahá’í Communities since the launching of the Ten-Year Plan, have truly rejoiced my heart, and served to heighten my feelings of admiration for the sterling qualities which the members of these Communities have increasingly displayed in recent years.
There is no doubt whatever—and I truly feel proud to place it on record—that the community of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh labouring for His Cause in the Antipodes now occupies, by virtue of the quality of the faith of its members, the soundness of their judgement, the clearness of their vision, the scope of their accomplishments, and their exemplary loyalty, courage and self-sacrifice, a foremost position among its sister communities in all the continents of the globe.
Far from stagnating or declining in number or in influence it has in recent years displayed a vitality which can well excite the admiration and envy of them all, and has demonstrated, beyond the shadow of a doubt, a fidelity to the principles of our Faith, whether a spiritual or administrative, and a capacity for service which all may well emulate.
Though all the goals, in the virgin areas of the globe, assigned to the elected national representatives of these two communities have not as yet been attained, owing solely to circumstances beyond their control, yet the spirit evinced by the pioneers belonging to these communities, who have so gloriously initiated this major task, constituting the foremost objective of the opening phase of this Ten-Year Crusade, has been such as to amply compensate for the inability of their national elected representatives to consummate, ere the close of the first year of the Ten-Year Plan, this initial enterprise marking the inauguration of their Mission in foreign fields. Particularly gratifying and indeed inspiring has been the response of the members of your assembly to the Call for pioneers—a response that has surpassed that of any other National Body throughout the Bahá’í World.
The selection and subsequent purchase of the site of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in the Antipodes in the outskirts of a city—the first to receive the light of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh in Australasia, and destined to play a predominant role in the 121 evolution of the Administrative Order of His Faith in that vast area—is an achievement which I heartily welcome and for which I feel deeply grateful. This remarkable accomplishment will, in conjunction with the establishment a decade ago of the National Hazíratu’l-Quds in that same city, accelerate the progress, and immensely reinforce the foundations, of the administrative institutions inaugurated on the morrow of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ascension, and which are destined to yield their fairest fruit in the Golden Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation.
The second phase of this spiritual Crusade upon which these two greatly blessed, fast unfolding, firmly established, intensely alive communities have now entered must witness the opening, at whatever cost, of the remaining virgin territories allocated to their national elected representatives. The preservation of the prizes already won in the newly opened territories is, moreover, a task they cannot afford to neglect under any circumstances. The multiplication of Bahá’í isolated centres, groups and local assemblies, in both Australia and New-Zealand—a process that has been steadily and rapidly developing since the inauguration of the Ten-Year Plan, is likewise of paramount importance in the years immediately ahead. The development of these institutions, particularly in New-Zealand, will no doubt hasten the emergence of an independent National Spiritual Assembly in that territory, and will lend a tremendous impetus to the onward march of the Faith in those regions.
The assistance which your Assembly must increasingly extend to its sister assembly in the Indian sub-continent, in connection with the translation and publication of Bahá’í Literature in the languages allocated under the Ten-Year Plan, is yet another task which, in the coming months, must be boldly tackled and consistently carried on. The incorporation of local assemblies moreover, is a matter of great urgency and should in no wise be postponed or neglected. The consolidation work to be undertaken, according to the provisions of this same Plan, is, likewise, urgent and of the utmost importance, and will undoubtedly serve to enhance the prestige of your assembly and enrich the record of your far-reaching accomplishments. The purchase of a building in Auckland destined to serve as the National Hazíratu’l-Quds of the Bahá’ís of New-Zealand, is yet another objective on which attention should be immediately focused—in anticipation 122 of the erection of yet another pillar of the future House of Justice in that remote part of the world.
Whilst these objectives are being steadily pursued by your assembly, every effort will be exerted in the Holy Land, as a tribute to the superb spirit animating the Australian and New Zealand believers and to their incessant and meritorious labours in the service of the Cause they have championed, to hasten the transfer of a part of the Bahá’í international endowments to the name of the newly constituted Israel Branch of your Assembly—an act that will at once bestow a great spiritual and material benefit on your Assembly and reinforce the ties binding it to the World Centre of the Faith in the Holy Land.
May the members of these valiant communities, whose interests you so conscientiously serve and whom you so ably represent, continue to prosper under your wise and loving leadership, scale loftier heights in their collective enterprise, and win a still greater measure of fame in the service of a Cause to which they have so nobly dedicated their resources, and which they have served, in the past thirty years, with so rare a spirit of consecration and self-sacrifice.
That they may bring to full and early fruition the manifold tasks they have undertaken is the constant prayer of one who has never ceased to love and admire them for their past and present achievements, and for whose future accomplishments he cherishes the brightest hopes.