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The Light of Divine Guidance (Volume 1)

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Germany (Bahá’í-Verlag), 1982 edition
  • Pages:
  • 311
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Pages 197-203

Letter of 21 June 1953

21 June 1953
Dear Bahá’í Brother:
Your letters of June 18 and 24, July 29, August 11, October 9, November 27, 1952 and January 5, February 26, March 12 and 18, April 5, May 6 and 31, 1953 have been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
The work has been greatly added to, here at the International Center, owing to the inauguration of the Ten Year Crusade. In fact, the beloved Guardian is finding it more and more difficult to keep up with his letters, even the important National Spiritual Assembly ones.
In regard to various matters you have raised in your correspondence with him:
The National Bahá’í Convention must be held during the twelve days constituting the Riḍván period. Each national assembly is free to choose the dates that suit its convenience during that period.
The question of adhering strictly to the principle that every Spiritual Assembly must be composed of voting members living within the civic limits of the town, and that the Bahá’í Community of that town must likewise be composed of residents within its civic limits, is of the utmost importance. It is a matter of fundamental principle, and the Bahá’ís all over the world must conform to it, especially now that the Cause is becoming firmly established in so many nations. There is no objection if the believers living in a certain area comprising a number of civic units, join together to commemorate Bahá’í Holy Days, but Nineteen Day Feasts should be held apart by each Assembly in question. There can be no exceptions to these rules, and although it may temporarily diminish the number of 198 assemblies in your country, you should establish the Cause on this firm foundation by next Bahá’í election.
Please send the Guardian ten copies of the “Paris Talks” and ten copies of “Some Answered Questions” for the international libraries here, and ten copies of any future publication in German.
He was very happy to hear that the visit of the Hands and of other Bahá’ís traveling in Europe, was of such stimulation to the friends.
He hopes that as many of the German believers as possible will attend the Stockholm Conference, which is very important for the future work in Europe, and to which they can contribute a great deal by their presence….
As regards the purchase of the land for the future Temple: He thinks it does not need to be in the heart of the city; it could be in the suburbs and an area of ten thousand square metres would be sufficient, less if necessary. The Chicago Temple only seats 1200 people so it is not a very large building. Your Temple could be smaller and competitive designs be submitted. But the first step is to investigate the sites available and inform the Guardian.
The step to which he attaches at present the greatest importance is the dispatch of pioneers under the auspices of your Assembly to the virgin territories alloted to the German and Austrian Bahá’ís under the Ten-Year Plan. Naturally, at present it is out of the question to think of sending anyone into the Soviet-dominated countries. But every effort should be made to get someone off to Greece, a very important country and far too long neglected. This Holy Year should witness, or at least this calendar year, the filling of all goal posts which are not behind the Iron Curtain. He hopes that some one of the friends will be able to find a position in Greece, or to be sent there by you. 199
Likewise of great importance is the multiplication of centers on the home front, particularly in Austria where such slow progress has been made. If Austria is to have an independent National Assembly the work in that country must be greatly accelerated in order to provide sufficient local assemblies to serve as a firm foundation for the National Assembly. He hopes that members of the German community will visit and teach there, and use be made of any friends from other countries who may be able to work there under the guidance of your assembly.
His loving thoughts and prayers are with you always, you may be sure….
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The expansion and consolidation of the institutions of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, as a result of the operation of the Plan initiated by your Assembly, on the morrow of one of the severest ordeals which has ever afflicted the German Bahá’í Community, marks a chapter of the highest importance in the annals of the Faith in both Germany and Austria and will be regarded by posterity as a milestone of historic significance in the evolution of the Faith on the European Continent. I greatly value the exertions of both the German and Austrian Bahá’í Communities which have, in recent years contributed so decisively to the rise and establishment of the Bahá’í Administrative Order in the heart of that Continent, which is destined to play a notable part in the prosecution of the world spiritual Crusade recently launched under such auspicious circumstances by the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
The German and Austrian Bahá’í Communities, on whom ‘Abdu’l-Bahá lavished His favours, for whose future 200 He cherished such high hopes, occupying such a central position in a continent endowed with such great potentialities, must by reason of their unique, and predominant position, their past history, their virility, tenacity and splendid accomplishments, assume a preponderating role in the conduct of a Crusade in which all Bahá’í communities dwelling on the European mainland, both young and old, are called upon to participate to the utmost of their capacity and with all the resources at their disposal.
They stand, moreover, at this crucial hour in their destiny, on the threshold of a new era in their history—the era that must witness the initiation of their mission beyond the borders of their homeland, and one which must culminate in their carrying the banner of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh across the eastern frontiers of Europe, and as far as the territories lying in the heart of the Asiatic continent.
Their task is a twofold one. On the one hand, they must strive to consolidate, by every means in their power, the work already accomplished in their homelands; on the other they must initiate the meritorious task of opening the virgin territories and islands allocated to them in pursuance of the provisions of the Ten-Year Plan committed to their charge.
On the homefront the most vital, the most strenuous and glorious task confronting them—a task that will have far-reaching repercussions on not only the fortunes of the Faith in their homeland but on the whole continent as well, and is bound to exercise a far-reaching influence on the destinies of the Faith throughout the world—is the initiation of prompt and effective measures for the selection and purchase of the site of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Europe to be followed by the adoption of a suitable design and the necessary steps for its execution. 201
This enterprise is admittedly colossal, taking into consideration the circumscribed resources of the two communities and their limited membership. It will, however, as soon as it is set in motion, through the initiative and efforts of your assembly, receive, in view of its cardinal importance and world-wide significance, a substantial measure of assistance from the world centre of the Faith and the various National Assemblies throughout the Bahá’í world.
As soon as the site of the projected House of Worship is selected, either within or in the immediate vicinity of the City of Frankfurt, which, owing to the establishment of the Hazíratu’l-Quds within its confines, has come to be regarded as the national Bahá’í Administrative Headquarters of your Assembly,—an area that need not, for the present, exceed one or two acres—steps will be taken by myself as well as by your sister-Assemblies in both Hemispheres to aid you in this historic fate-laden enterprise which will enable the continent of Europe, the third in the Bahá’í world, to boast of having raised in its very heart, its own Bahá’í House of Worship and which will, God willing, through its termination, at the appointed hour, contribute an outstanding share to the projected festivities which are to commemorate the centenary of the Declaration of the Mission of the Founder of our Faith.
Second in importance and no less urgent a task is the opening, ere the close of the current year, of the three virgin territories assigned to your Assembly, through the despatch of at least one pioneer…
While these primary and urgent tasks are being diligently prosecuted, the utmost effort should be exerted to stimulate the all-important process of multiplying and consolidating the newly-established assemblies, groups and isolated 202 centres in both Germany and Austria as the essential pre-requisite to the early formation of independent National Assemblies in both countries occupying so central a position in the European continent, and destined to play so vital a part in the promotion of the interests of the Faith in the heart and in the eastern as well as the southern regions of that continent.
The responsibilities devolving upon these two communities, in the course of the coming ten years are enormous, pressing, sacred and inescapable. The Plan committed to their care will inaugurate a new and glorious stage in the unfoldment of their historic Mission—a stage that will enable them to carry, for the first time in their history and in a systematic manner, the banner of Bahá’u’lláh beyond the confines of their homelands.
Every sacrifice should be made, and all agencies, local, regional and national, must energetically, whole-heartedly, and steadfastly participate, to ensure a worthy inauguration and an efficient prosecution of the Ten-Year Plan, on which the immediate fortunes of these communities must necessarily depend. All without distinction of age, sex or calling should arise and lend, to the utmost of their capacity, an impetus to the progress of this tremendously important and dynamic process now operating in the heart of Europe, and whose possibilities can only be dimly imagined at present.
The hour is propitious for the members of your Assembly, reinforced by the continual, the whole-hearted and strenuous exertions of the entire body of the German and Austrian believers, to distinguish themselves in their ceaseless efforts to attain the objectives of their Ten-Year Plan, by deeds of such valour as will eclipse the feats achieved by them in the past. 203
Cognizant of the splendid qualities that have characterized their stewardship to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, fully aware of the services, they have rendered, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá’í activity, despite the severe and prolonged tests and trials which they have experienced, I feel confident that these communities, so valiant, so richly endowed, so tenacious in their faith and sterling in their character, will, at this challenging hour grasp this priceless opportunity for the display of still greater heroism and of a still more compelling love and devotion to the Cause they love so dearly, to which they have been so unwaveringly faithful and which they have served so long and so well.