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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 233-240

Letter of 2 August 1955

2 August 1955
Dear Bahá’í Sister:
Your letters of June 11, July 16 and 22, August 30, October 12 and 17, November 2 and 17 and December 10, 1954; and January 31 and February 19, April 28 and May 21, 1955, with their various enclosures, have all been 234 recived by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
As the work of the Ten-Year Crusade steadily grows, he finds it more and more difficult to correspond with the National Assemblies frequently; and indeed is wondering what will be the situation in a few years’ time, when we have so many additional National Bodies. This explains why you have not heard from him before.
He was very happy to hear that the Vienna Hazíratu’l-Quds has been purchased, as this eliminates one of the important goals assigned to your Assembly under the Ten-Year Plan. He will be pleased to see photographs of the building.
He feels that your action in advising the Crete pioneers to be very discreet in all respects, and your decision to correspond with them for the time being through their parents, were very wise.
The friends who have gone forth to new lands cannot be too careful. Unless they can stay long enough to convert at least a small group of people, who will be firmly grounded in the Faith, and continue to work if they are forced to leave, a great deal of time and money will have been wasted, and the progress of the Plan suffer a serious setback.
He will certainly pray for the pioneers there, for their protection and their guidance. They should by all means persevere and act discreetly.
He was very satisfied to hear of the progress made at the Teaching Conference held in Frankfurt under the aegis of the European Hands. He feels sure that this helped to stimulate and coordinate the work. Association and consultation, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá so repeatedly emphasized, have a great effect on the friends, and enable them to see the work of the Cause as a whole, rather than as a small local 235 enterprise in which their personalities and other people’s personalities often conflict; and challenge them to arise and go forth into new fields, in order to spread the Faith far and wide.
The Guardian attaches the greatest importance to the Temple enterprise. He feels that if, for any reason, you do not win the case and get permission to build the Temple on the land you have already chosen, a new piece of land must be speedily bought. He is hoping that the case will be satisfactorily settled, and that there will be no necessity for you to look further.
The preparation of designs for the Temple he feels, however, should not wait upon the conclusion of the court case. It is going to take some time to receive designs, to forward them to him for his advice, and to incorporate any possible changes that may be deemed necessary, if one of the designs is found satisfactory. He therefore advises you to open the competition as soon as you can, and not lose any more time.
He wishes at this juncture to stress to your Assembly the need for economy. The Temple must naturally be a dignified and worthy edifice. He does not consider that any of these modernistic experiments in architecture are at all suitable for a building of this nature, lacking as they so often do, beauty and dignity.
He also considers that the building should be a relatively small one, both because of the size of the Community in Germany, and the financial resources of the Faith at present. The most important thing of all is to build this first Temple on European soil.
In the days when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was urging the American Bahá’ís to build the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the western world, He repeatedly emphasized that it could be a modest 236 building, and that the important thing was the spiritual element that this House of Worship in the name of Bahá’u’lláh should be raised in the heart of America. The same thing applies now to your Temple in Germany. Size and pretentiousness are not important. The important thing is that the building should be speedily erected, and be a financial possibility, not placing, as the American Temple, a terrible strain on the friends for years to come.
He is happy to see that the German friends have been able, during the last few years, to move about much more, attend conferences in other European countries, go forth as pioneers, and gradually increase the number of centres in Germany and Austria. He attaches the greatest importance to this because one of the main tasks of your Assembly is to insure that Austria will have an independent National Assembly by the end of the Plan; and she cannot do this unless she multiplies her Spiritual Assemblies in order to build a broad foundation for the National Body. He hopes you will constantly encourage the Vienna Bahá’ís and the isolated believers in Austria to increase their teaching activities, to strengthen the work of the Faith, to pioneer in new centres, and, above all, to be united; as unity is one of the greatest forces at our disposal for achieving the work of the Cause.
He assures you one and all that he remembers you most lovingly in his prayers in the holy Shrine, and supplicates for the removal of every obstacle in your path and the attainment of all your goals….
P.S. The Guardian wishes particularly to thank you all for your loving message to him on the occasion of Riḍván, which he appreciated receiving very much. He assures you all that he prays that great victories may attend your efforts to spread the Faith and consolidate its foundations. 237
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The steady extension and consolidation of the activities in which the members of the Bahá’í communities in Germany and Austria are so devotedly, so unitedly and strenuously engaged, have greatly cheered my heart, heightened my admiration for them, and reinforced my hopes for the triumphant conclusion of their collective enterprises undertaken in accordance with the provisions of the Ten-Year Plan.
By virtue of the important position they occupy in the heart of the European continent; singled out for special favours by the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant among their sister communities in that same continent; distinguished through the appointment of two Hands of the Cause from among their members; entrusted with the tremendous and sacred responsibility of erecting the first Bahá’í House of Worship on European soil; displaying, on the morrow of the ordeals which have for so long and so cruelly afflicted them, a virility, a courage, a fidelity worthy of emulation by their sister communities not only in neighbouring lands but throughout the Bahá’í world, these twin communities, destined through their common language, racial characteristics and traditions to play a notable and distinct part in the world-wide progress of the Faith in both the European and Asiatic continents, must continue to forge ahead, with inflexible resolve, unshakable faith, undimmed vision, and unabated vigour, along the road leading them to the fulfilment of their high destiny.
The steady increase in the number of the adherents of the Faith in both countries and the multiplication of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies is a task of primary importance to which they must direct special attention during the last year of the second phase of this world-embracing 238 spiritual Crusade. Equally vital in sacredness and importance is the definite settlement of the issue that has arisen in connexion with the purchase of the site of the future Temple in the neighbourhood of Frankfurt, as well as the selection of its design, as essential preliminaries to the excavation of its foundations and the erection of its structure. Both of these require the concentrated and sustained attention of the elected representatives of these communities, whose task is to expedite this pre-eminent undertaking destined to exert a far-reaching spiritual influence on the fortunes of the Faith not only in Germany and Austria but throughout the European continent and even far beyond its borders.
Still another obligation that must under no circumstances be lost sight of or neglected is the incorporation of definitely established local assemblies in these two adjoining countries, a process that will greatly consolidate the administrative foundations of the Faith and enhance its prestige in the European continent.
The adoption of special measures by these same elected national representatives, designed to hasten the emergence of an independent National Spiritual Assembly in Austria, is yet another duty which calls for urgent and earnest consideration on their part and one which, if worthily performed, will lend a tremendous impetus to the progress of the Faith in a country occupying so central a position in Europe, so rich in its past history, and blessed by the footsteps of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
The splendid work accomplished by German pioneers in virgin territories in both the North and South of Europe, auguring well for the accomplishment of a similar mission in the Eastern territories forming part of their alloted task under the Ten-Year Plan, must be jealously safeguarded and 239 continually reinforced, as it constitutes a prelude to the victories that must needs be won, in the course of future Plans, on the eastern confines of that continent and even as far afield as the heart of Asia.
Nor must the establishment of the projected Bahá’í Publishing Trust be delayed, as it constitutes one of vital objectives of the Crusade on which the German Bahá’í community has embarked.
No sacrifice can be deemed too great for the attainment of these shining goals and the winning of such precious prizes. The members of these closely knit communities must arise as never before, and brace themselves for a still greater output of energy, and a still more convincing display of those qualities that have distinguished their stewardship to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, and prepare to enter victoriously upon the third phase of the Ten-Year Plan during the concluding months of this current year.
The tragic sufferings afflicting their brethren in Bahá’u’lláh’s native land, involving a setback in the projects of this persecuted community for the erection of its Mother Temple in Ṭihrán, must reinforce their resolve to speed the erection of a corresponding House of Worship in the heart of Europe. The efforts of their national elected representatives, strenuous as they have been in recent months, must be doubled, nay trebled, in order to offset, in this particular and most important field, the inevitable and deplorable delay in the accomplishment of so meritorious, so momentous and historic a task.
Unperturbed by the clamour of inveterate, powerful and malicious adversaries in the land of the birth of their Faith; undaunted by the opposition which exponents of religious orthodoxy are, to a lesser degree, now beginning to show in their own homeland, these same elected representatives, 240 must press forward, resolutely, and confront and speedily surmount whatever obstacles now stand in their path.
Theirs is a responsibility which, at this historic and crucial stage in the evolution of their precious and beloved Faith, they can neither minimize nor neglect. Theirs is a God-sent opportunity to demonstrate, at this grave hour through which the overwhelming majority of their brethren are passing, the incorruptible character of their faith, the indomitable spirit which animates them, the sublimity of the principles which motivate their action, providing thereby an abiding and sorely needed consolation to the victims of the brutal, the wide spread and repeated persecutions engulfing so many of their co-religionists in the cradle of their Faith.
That they may prove themselves worthy of their high calling; that they may set an inspiring example to their co-workers in both Hemispheres, through the number and quality of their accomplishments; that they may discharge, in their entirety, the manifold responsibilities assured under a Plan constituting so notable a stage in the accomplishment of the Glorious mission envisioned for them by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, is the object of my unceasing prayers when supplicating at the threshold of His Shrine.
May His watchful, His sustaining and ever loving Spirit guide every step they take, bless every effort they exert, and fulfil every hope they cherish, in the pursuit of the victories they have resolutely set themselves to achieve.