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Arohanui: Letters from Shoghi Effendi to New Zealand

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Suva, Fiji Islands, 1982 edition
  • Pages:
  • 104
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Pages i-4


Dedicated to the memory of Shoghi Effendi in commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of New Zealand. ii
The word “Arohanui” is a Maori word and, as with many Polynesian words, there is no direct translation into English. The literal meaning is “big love”, or “much love” or “great love”. And, like most words in most languages, it has several meanings. In naming this book, “Arohanui: Letters from Shoghi Effendi to New Zealand”, “Arohanui” is used in its more expressive meaning, “enfolding love”, or “that love which binds a community together”, or “that love which creates bonds of mutual trust and loyalty”, or “that love which builds and carries forward culture or civilization”. iii
Arohanui: Letters from Shoghi Effendi to New Zealand
Baha’i’ publishing trust
Suva, Fiji
Approved for publication by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of New Zealand Inc.
“You are destined to achieve great things for our beloved Cause and my constant prayer is that your vision may be clear, your purpose unshaken, your zeal undiminished, your hopes undimmed. Let not obstacles and disappointments, which are inevitable, dishearten you and whenever you are faced with trials recall our Beloved’s innumerable sufferings.”
From a letter to the first New Zealand Bahá’í dated August 12th, 1926. xiii
The letters in this compilation were written by various secretaries of the Guardian at his specific direction. Spelling and other inconsistencies are a reflection of the fact that different secretaries were used. Those passages actually written by the Guardian himself are printed in italics.
The messages are numbered sequentially for the convenience of the reader and as an aid to indexing. The numbers appear before the date of each letter.

Part I
Letters to Individuals, before April 21st, 1926.

These were written prior to the formation of the first Local Spiritual Assembly in New Zealand. 1 2 3

(1) June 22nd, 1923

My dear Bahá’í sister,
Your beautiful letter of April 3rd written to the Beloved Guardian of the Cause of God, our dear Shoghi Effendi, was received.[+E1] He was much impressed and charmed with the spirit of your letter, which indicated deep devotion to and absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit of the Beloved Master, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
He instructed me with a heart overflowing with love to answer your letter, conveying to you his high estimation for the beauty of the faith of the New Zealand friends, and deep appreciation towards the splendid services of our dear Mr and Mrs Dunn,[+E2] who are so wonderfully blessed and assisted by the power of the Holy Ghost. He loves you all and prays for your happiness and spiritual growth.
It is true that your group is now still small, but he assures you that your group will before long grow larger and larger day by day. It has been always the case with the growth of every religion. Some pure soul or souls go to some land and sow the seeds of the heavenly teachings in the hearts of few who are most pure and so most receptive. The seeds will germinate and grow in them. The fruits of these seeds appear in the regeneration of the lives of these primary adherents. These primary adherents share the bounties they have received with other souls, who through them obtain new life and light and in turn illumine other people.
The primary adherents are the stars of great magnitude in every land in the firmament of the Kingdom of God. They are the chosen people. They are like candles which, through their sacrificial efforts, are weeping their lives away in order to give light to the world and establish the purpose of their Lord and Saviour, which purpose is the salvation of mankind. His Holiness, Jesus Christ! see how small the group of His disciples was! No matter how few the number of the disciples was, yet they through His power illumined the world. Our Era is similar to that, but through the development of 4 humanity it is greater, and through the evils of the material civilization and negligence of mankind our sacrifices must be greater. Divine light must make itself manifest in our daily life deeds.
In the early days of the appearance of our Saviour, virtue was to save ourselves. When we are once established in our faith, then virtue is to save others. The three mottoes of education hold true in our case too. First grow, then become and then contribute. We have developed; we have established ourselves, and now it is time to contribute to others. We have inexhaustible capital. The candles of our spiritual lives constantly weep away their lives in shedding light to the world, but they never become exhausted. For there is connection between our lives and that of Bahá’u’lláh and our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
It cannot be described how much we long to see our dear New Zealand brethren and sisters. We hope the day will come when they can come to us and we to them. Meanwhile, we are praying at the Holy Threshold of our beloved Master for your success and happiness. We hope you will pray for us too. The effect of the prayers of the pure hearts is tremendously great.
Our dear Shoghi Effendi wants you not to look at your own capacity, but at the power of the Holy Ghost of God. He sends you all his loving greeting and tender affection.
With warm wishes and Bahá’í love, I remain,
Your humble brother in His love,
Azizullah S. Bahadur