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Unfolding Destiny

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981 edition
  • Pages:
  • 490
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Pages 230-234

Letter of 6 September 1949

6 September 1949
Dear Bahá’í Friends:
Your letters dated April 8, 22, 27; May 13, 17, 24; June 7, 10, 231 23 (two of this date), 25, 28; July 19, 22, and 30: and August 10th, together with various enclosures, have been received by our beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer them on his behalf.
He has already informed you by cable of his views regarding…. He realises that, of course, it is very difficult for him to renounce his plan of educating his son … in England, and the Guardian hopes that the boy can find a way, either through doing agricultural work or gaining a scholarship, or through the help his father might himself obtain from Persia for him, to go on with his studies. But it is obviously out of the question for your Assembly to shoulder this financial burden.
He already cabled you about the appropriate manner for commemorating the Centenary of the Báb’s martyrdom, so I will not go into the subject again here.
The fine spirit of co-operation shown by … pleased him immensely. He has since received from her a letter full of joy and devotion to the Cause, which pleased him greatly….
Now that the Cause is spreading so rapidly throughout the world, the National Assemblies must be vigilant, and do all they can to protect and assert its independent status, and to give assistance to isolated or repressed Assemblies, when they are turned to for help or advice.
He has recently received enthusiastic letters from Mrs. Preston (see endnote) in Kenya and informed her that when she needs advice or assistance she should turn to your Assembly, while, of course, keeping in close contact with him as well.
He realises that your Assembly, and all the British Bahá’ís, are facing the most difficult and critical months of your Plan. The friends must be made to realise that the urgency of the task during these few months which lie ahead, is not only acute but temporary. Once they make this final effort, and clamber to the top of their goal, they can rest. The opportunity for achievement is absolutely unique, for this is their first Plan, and consequently the most historic one of the many they will, no doubt, carry out in future decades. To fail, so near to victory, would indeed be sad, and he cannot but suppose, would be a severe blow to that stubborn British pride which is so famous for its tenacity of purpose! However he himself is not thinking in terms of their failure, but rather believes they can, by one last determined 232 drive, be successful, even if they feel some exhaustion at the end of their race against time. They must, likewise, at this crucial hour, remember that failure or success are never confined to the immediate community concerned, but have wide repercussions. Their success will not only greatly enhance their prestige in the Bahá’í World, but will inspire the often flagging efforts of the believers in the East, who have so many obstacles to overcome, and are by nature and experience more prone to become disheartened in the execution of fixed tasks.
It was the success of America’s first Seven Year Plan which so stimulated the British community that it, in its turn, was determined to have a Plan and a victory of its own. Now it really cannot lose; it has gone too far, laboured too brilliantly, shown too much courage and high sacrifice, to let, at the last minute, the prize fall from its grasp!
His prayers and thoughts are with you all, constantly, and with all the believers, toiling so devotedly all over the British Isles….
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers,
As the Plan, to which the entire British community has pledged its support, approaches its end, my heart turns with increasing longing and expectation, towards those who so spontaneously initiated it, so enthusiastically set it in motion, so valiantly overthrew the barriers that confronted them in the initial stage of its unfoldment, who so unitedly consecrated their efforts to its subsequent development, and who are now within sight of its final consummation. I cannot believe that a community which, motivated by so noble an impulse, capable of such prodigious efforts, dedicated so whole-heartedly to so gigantic a task, blessed by so many evidences of Divine assistance and guidance, enriched by the first fruits garnered in the course of the execution of a splendidly conceived enterprise, will allow, at the very moment when final victory is, at long last, within sight, through a momentary relaxation of effort, the magnificent prize of total success, to slip from its grasp, and the fortunes of such a potentially powerful undertaking to be marred by any feelings of impotence or exhaustion which might well, at the eleventh hour, assail those who have for so long and in such a great measure, expended their energies for the prosecution of so weighty and far-reaching a Plan. 233
The required number of pioneers who must arise, while there is yet time, and stop the dangerous breaches which a fate-laden Plan, now in the last stages of its development, reveals to the eyes of its prosecutors must, however costly the sacrifice, be instantly found, and rushed without delay to the scene of action. The funds, which must enable these last minute pioneers to adjust their affairs and settle down wherever most needed, must, under no circumstances, and particularly on the part of the well-to-do, be withheld, as the present critical situation moves towards its climax.
Great and overpowering as these sacrifices may now appear, they will, when viewed in their proper perspective, be adjudged as inconsiderable, and pale into insignificance when balanced against the inestimable advantages which must accrue to a community that has achieved total and complete victory for a Plan so epoch-making in character, and so charged with undreamt of potentialities. The sacrifices which this fateful hour calls for, are by their very nature, individual; the loss or inconvenience they entail are at most transitory in their effect, and might well be fully compensated for in the days ahead, whereas the blessings that must irresistibly flow out, as the result of the integral success of a nation-wide, historically unprecedented Plan, will enrich and ennoble the life of an entire community, exert an abiding influence on its fortunes, and empower it to launch still mightier crusades in the course of subsequent stages in its organic spiritual development. How bountiful, moreover, will be the rewards which He who watches from on high the varying fortunes of the Plan and presides over its destinies, must either in this world or in the next—and it may well be in both—choose to confer upon those, who, at the hour of the Plan’s greatest need, will fly to its succour, exhibit the rarest evidences of courage and heroism, and choose to subordinate their personal interests to the immediate needs and future glory of the community to which they belong.
The interval during which a decision so momentous, so rich in promise, must be taken is steadily and inexorably shrinking. The golden opportunity which such a decision offers will never again recur. The issues hinging on such a decision can neither be over-estimated nor visualised while the fate of the First Plan embarked upon by the British Bahá’í community still hangs in the balance. The invisible hosts of the Kingdom are ready and eager to rush forth to the assistance of such as will have the courage to weigh the issues involved and to take the decision commensurate with these issues. To such as take it, 234 while there is yet time, the present generation as well as those who will succeed it will be eternally grateful, for theirs will have been the privilege of sealing on the one hand, the fate of the First Historic Plan in British Bahá’í annals, and on the other of paving the way for the initiation of the successive enterprises that must follow in its wake.
To reach such a decision, to face willingly and cheerfully its consequences, will, above all, earn the good-pleasure and commendation of the One Who, well nigh a hundred years ago, so gloriously made the supreme sacrifice of laying down His life that the Cause for which the present prosecutors of the Plan have so wholly dedicated themselves might live, prosper and bear, in the fullness of time, its fairest fruit in both the East and the West.
Dear friends! As the tale of the woes and trials He endured is called to mind, during the months preceding the centenary of His martyrdom, and destined to witness the conclusion of the Six Year Plan sponsored by the British Bahá’í community, a resolution, born of the love and admiration which the memory of His heroic life and tragic death must evoke in every Bahá’í heart, should seize, and galvanise into action, the little band of His lovers and followers, who, of their own accord, and at the dawn of the second Bahá’í century, have risen to launch the first collective enterprise in British Bahá’í history, and chosen to associate its consummation with the centenary of the death of the martyr Prophet and co-founder of their Faith. The centenary of the inception of His Mission has witnessed the initiation of so praiseworthy, so vast and potent an enterprise, extending its ramifications over the entire territory of the British Isles. The observances, commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the last act of His life, must, as pledged by its initiators, synchronise with the successful termination and glorious triumph of that same enterprise throughout the length and breadth of that same territory.
Your true brother,