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Unfolding Destiny

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981 edition
  • Pages:
  • 490
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Pages 267-273

Letter of 16 October 1951

16 October 1951
Dear Bahá’í Brother,
Your letters dated March 26th (two); April 4th (three), 11th, 17th, 8th, 7th and 24th; May 1st, 4th, 12th and 24th; June 1st, 268 4th, 19th (two), 12th, 23rd and 27th; July 4th, 6th, 21st (two), 25th and 31st; August 8th, 9th and 15th; September 15th, 18th and 19th; have all been received, as well as their enclosures, and the photographs sent and material under separate cover, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
It will no doubt make you happy to hear that the Guardian has really had a little rest this summer, much needed after the tremendous strain of last year’s worries and burdens. He can now turn to his important N.S.A. letters somewhat refreshed.
To take up certain matters raised in your letters:
There are two Funds, that of the Shrine of the Báb and the International Fund; but at present it is more important for the friends to concentrate on completing the work in progress on the Shrine, which, thanks to the response of the believers from all over the world, is going forward uninterruptedly, in spite of the very difficult situation in the Holy Land which makes all kinds of building work frightfully complicated.
The Guardian would very much like to receive five copies of every publication brought out in England for the Bahá’í libraries in Haifa and at Bahjí and in Acre. He thanks you for the diaries you sent….
For your information the Guardian does not want any believers to migrate at present to this country. It will not meet with his approval under any circumstances. The local problems, with a small group of Covenant-Breakers more or less active in stirring up trouble; the efforts, at present successful, which he is making to establish the most cordial relations with the Government; the upbuilding of the international institutions of the Faith; the consolidation of the International Bahá’í Council—all require that no complications arise and no further strain be added to the burden of work at the World Centre of the Faith.
Now we come to the part of your activities nearest to his heart at present—Africa Campaign. By all means any translation at present into Somali should be given up, as the advice of experts prove it both unnecessary and very expensive.
The Guardian feels that, in view of the fact that funds for sending out pioneers are limited, and that a good number of pioneers are available, it is better to choose those most qualified and not, for the time being at least, accept every offer, however devoted the spirit behind it. 269
He fully appreciates the fact that Somaliland is going to be somewhat difficult. In view of its peculiar status your Assembly should bear in mind the possibility of sending there a British subject, if this should prove feasible, and pending a time when the Persians can go there and make arrangements for someone to represent them.
The Guardian considers that your Assembly is the consultative body for all African territories, and that the other National Assemblies should keep in close touch with you. This does not mean, however, that the initiative for the places allotted to them by the Guardian does not lie in their own hands. Likewise, the planning of the African Conference should be handled by you, in close co-operation with the other N.S.A.s. He does not feel it is feasible for the other N.S.A.s to pool their finances for the African work and put it in your Fund.
The unfortunate crisis in Persia may hold up, for a time, their services in Africa, and he hopes you will do all you can to offset this most unfortunate setback to their work. The Persian believers, have, for over a hundred years, borne the brunt of persecution and are still doing so, being the unhappy victims of their country and their race. They merit the ardent sympathy of their fellow Bahá’ís the world over.
The Guardian is very anxious to know how the work is going in the British Isles: he feels that the Africa Campaign has been launched in a way far exceeding his hopes, is being visibly blessed from on high, and, with the same amount of perseverance shown so far, is assured of great and speedy victories. But the goals, so hard won and at such cost of sacrifice at home, must not be lost. He urges all the friends to not allow the dazzling prospect overseas to take their attention away from the steady work of consolidation still required at home! The work abroad rests on the foundation laid so well and so painfully at home; if one suffers, so will the other.
The British Bahá’ís have distinguished themselves in recent years to a degree which has given them great prominence in the entire Bahá’í World and inspired others to follow their example. They cannot and must not lose this hard-won prominence, but, on the contrary, must demonstrate that it was not a spurt of speed but the evidence of deep and hardy roots bearing their first fruits, after years of quiet growth. 270
He remembers all the members of your Assembly in his prayers, and prays that the community of believers you serve so devotedly may go on rising to ever greater heights and shoulder all their tasks with increasing vigour, faith and devotion….
P.S. Regarding the forthcoming Centenary celebrations: the Guardian feels both national and local celebrations should be held very much as were those of the 1944 Centenary, but on a larger scale, with more publicity, if possible.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers,
The auspicious launching of the first teaching Crusade undertaken by the British Bahá’í community beyond the borders of its homeland, marks yet another stage in the evolution of the Bahá’í Administrative Order in the British Isles, and signalises the opening of an epoch of the utmost significance in the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation. Though the operation of the Plan is of short duration, yet it constitutes a prelude to a series of successive campaigns which a firmly knit, vigorously functioning, clear visioned, intensely alive national community is destined to initiate, direct and control from its newly consolidated administrative headquarters in the heart of the British Isles, not only throughout the Dependencies of the British Crown within the African Continent, but eventually in the widely scattered Territories of an Empire whose ramifications extend into every continent of the globe.
A little over half-a-century ago, this community, now invested with a mandate of the utmost significance both at home and overseas, was called into being in the course of the opening years of the third and last epoch of the Heroic Age of the Faith. A decade later, the Appointed Centre of a Covenant, through the creative and potent energies of which so important a member of a steadily rising world community was conceived and nurtured, chose to infuse into that infant community through the impact of His personality in the course of a twice repeated visit to the heart and centre of that Empire, a measure of His own mysterious power, which, as He Himself prophesied, was destined to unfold its potentialities in the course of a later age. On the morrow of His passing, the earliest evidences of the unfailing promise He had made revealed themselves through the first stirrings of an Administrative Order—the Child of the Covenant, the Shield of that community and the divinely appointed Agency for the execution of the mandate with which that community was to be invested in the second epoch of 271 the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation. A little over two decades later, that community, armed and equipped with the mighty, divinely conceived agencies of a laboriously erected, unassailably established Administrative Order, embarked upon a six-year enterprise that culminated in the erection of the institutions of that Order in the very heart and capital cities of its island home—the essential prerequisite for the inauguration of yet another stage in its unfoldment. On the morrow of the triumphant termination of the first collective enterprise launched by that community in British Bahá’í history, its jubilant members braced themselves, during a one-year interval, for the initial onslaught, which they were preparing to launch, unitedly and determinedly, far beyond the shores of their homeland amid alien, widely diversified, politically restless, economically backward, spiritually famished tribes and peoples, and in the course of one of the most critical periods in human history. On the morrow of the centenary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Herald of its Faith, this same community had already formulated its plans, initiated its programme of publications in various African languages, despatched its first pioneer to the heart of that continent, forged the necessary links with its allied sister communities participating in various enterprises in that same continent, and established its first essential contact with divers government agencies capable of giving their advice and assistance in the prosecution of its historic and arduous task.
This community, so young in experience, so richly endowed by the love and care of a departed all-powerful Master, so firmly entrenched in the stronghold of its Administrative Order, already so rich in prizes won in the course of the first collective enterprise undertaken in its history, so promising in the vigour, the zeal and devotion which it is now displaying, is faced, at the present hour, with a grave, a sacred and inescapable responsibility—a responsibility that will increase as the brief eighteen-month interval separating it from the termination of its Two Year Plan speeds to a close.
Upon the discharge of this weighty responsibility now resting upon it must depend the inauguration of yet another Plan, of longer duration, of greater scope, of a still more challenging character, and of greater consequence in the effect it must have on that community’s destiny.
Time is running short. The present hour in the fortunes of mankind is critical. The centenary of the birth of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh is fast approaching. The British Bahá’í community must gird up its 272 loins, redouble its exertions, undertake further sacrifices, demonstrate greater solidarity and rise to still greater heights of consecrated devotion.
The flow of pioneers to the African Continent must be noticeably accelerated. The provision of Bahá’í literature in all the selected African languages must be speeded up. The ties binding the community with its cooperating sister communities must be steadily reinforced. The prizes already garnered as a result of the operation of the Six-Year Plan in England, Wales, Scotland, Eire and Northern Ireland, must, at all costs, be safeguarded. The preparations for the forthcoming first African Teaching Conference must be carefully planned and meticulously carried out. Above all, the zeal kindled in the breasts of administrators, pioneers, teachers and supporters, jointly contributing to the success of this meritorious enterprise, must burn ever more brightly and be reflected in still more remarkable exploits.
Then, and only then, will this community be enabled to contribute its share of tribute to the memory of the Founder of its Faith, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of His Prophetic Mission, in as befitting a manner as the share it already contributed, through the consummation of its first historic Plan, to the world-wide celebrations which commemorated the hundredth anniversary of the founding of its Faith. Then, and only then, will it be qualified to embark upon yet another Crusade, whose scope will transcend the limits of the vast African Continent, and the culmination of which might well coincide with the Most Great Jubilee that will commemorate the centenary of the formal assumption by Bahá’u’lláh of His prophetic office, a jubilee envisaged by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Tablets, and prophesied more than two thousand years ago, by Daniel in His Book.
So glorious a vision, now unfolded before the eyes of the British followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, cannot but galvanise them into action, at once swift, resolute and unrelaxing, and fire their souls with a spirit so consuming as to melt every obstacle that may intervene between them and the achievement of their present goal.
May they, one and all, prove themselves, in the crucial months immediately ahead, worthy of the blessings vouchsafed to them in the past, and of the high destiny which it lies in their power to achieve in the future.
Shoghi 273