Apr 8, 2016

Shoghi Effendi’s station

Concerning Shoghi Effendi's station: he surely has none except what the Master confers upon him in His Will and that Will also states what Shoghi Effendi's station is. If anyone misinterprets one part of the Will he misinterprets all the Will. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 1930 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Mar 20, 2016

How Baha’is show regard the Guardian

May I also express my heartfelt desire that the friends of God in every land regard me in no other light but that of a true brother, united with them in our common servitude to the Master's Sacred Threshold, and refer to me in their letters and verbal addresses always as Shoghi Effendi, for I desire to be known by no other name save the one our Beloved Master was wont to utter, a name which of all other designations is the most conducive to my spiritual growth and advancement. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 5 March 1922 to the American friends; quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Mar 4, 2016

How the Guardian wished to be known

I wish to be known, to realize myself however far I may proceed in future, as one and only one of the many workers in His Vineyards...whatever may betide I trust in His ['Abdu'l-Bahá's] wondrous love for me. May I in no wise by my deeds, thoughts or words, impede the stream of His sustaining Spirit which I sorely need in facing the responsibilities He has placed on my youthful shoulders...
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated February 6, 1922 to one of the Persian Bahá'ís; quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Feb 19, 2016

April 1922: Mason Remey’s first impression of the Guardian

As I used to sit at table looking at Shoghi Effendi I was struck by his resemblance to the Master. In the shape and poise of his heed, his shoulders, his walk and his general bearing. Then I felt the terrible weight and responsibility which had been placed upon that young boy. It seemed overwhelming that he, whose life was just starting, so to speak from the human worldly standpoint, should have had this great responsibility and care thrust upon him, a weight which would so consume him and place him aside by himself as to eliminate from his life the freedom and joy of the human side of life, which , though not eternal, has a certain call l for each of us human beings.
- Mason Remey  (‘A Brief Account of Eight Pilgrimage to the Holy Land’, 1922)

Jan 10, 2016

Shoghi Effendi’s humility and selflessness – a kind not yet known elsewhere

Humility of a kind not yet known elsewhere was one of Shoghi Effendi's many unique virtues, a humility which came from the conviction that man's faculties are not self-created but are a precious trust from God, not to be displayed or used overbearingly or with vanity. And yet he emanated true pride and dignity, such a regal dignity that raised him far above any man I have yet met or known.

When conversing with him, one could strongly sense this feeling of humility, while his ample brow and penetrating eyes reflected an inner light born of faith, courage and determination. One could feel an awareness that was amazing and rendered one speechless.

Shoghi Effendi's selflessness was not only outstanding but exemplary. He never placed his personal interests or desires ahead of his functions as Guardian. Those who were near to him inevitably felt that his life was something to be fully expended in the service of God and humanity, in a dedication unlike that of any other human being. When close to him I always felt the powerful process of his sublimation to the reality of the unseen world, while his body was there, near to me, like a visible, finely-tuned musical instrument whose melodies, imperceptible to the human ear, vibrated unseen through the ether.

Dec 15, 2015

Shoghi Effendi’s Introduction to Dawn-Breakers, its Footnotes, and Genealogy of the Báb

Outstanding as an example of his historical perspective is the Introduction to the Dawn-Breakers. It contains a concise and brilliant history of Islam, to inform the reader concerning the forms and elements which concurred to set the stage on which the deeply moving drama of the Báb's Revelation was played. Many a time, during his table conversation, to illustrate some points, he would accurately quote from that particular book, or from God Passes By, or some other of his writings, often showing surprise or perplexity at the limited information, or lack of it, of some of his listeners. The footnotes of The Dawn-Breakers, some of which are in French, are another example of his talent in the field of historical research. To appreciate the tremendous background of knowledge he possessed at the time of his translation of that book, it suffices to glance at the titles and authors of the fifty-five books he consulted, as listed in the Appendix. In addition, one finds in his own handwriting the genealogy of the Báb, showing connection with Bahá'u'lláh's descendants, and presented on a fivefold sheet of paper twenty-six inches long.  The genealogy is prepared with scrupulous care, and shows the ramifications of the families, including names known to every Bahá'í as well as names unknown to the average believer, but which Shoghi Effendi brought to mind with great facility. Always amazing was his inexhaustible memory and the ease with which he recalled episodes, placing personages in their proper positions, with all their particulars of names, backgrounds and degrees of relationship. It was like reliving the spellbound days of my childhood when my aged and learned tutor would narrate the legendary feats of Greek mythology, with gods and people brought alive by his fascinating word pictures. 
- Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery  ('Shoghi Effendi – Recollections’)

Nov 22, 2015

Nothing is too great to suffer for him

"Nothing is too great to suffer for him, no daily discipline, no effort or sacrifice, no surrender of all that is upon this earth...." 
- May Maxwell  (Quoted in ‘The Baha’i World 1938-1940)

Nov 12, 2015

A pilgrim witnessed the spiritual bond between ‘Abdu’l-Baha and His grandchild, Shoghi Effendi

One day...I had joined the ladies of the Family in the room of the Greatest Holy Leaf for early morning tea, the beloved Master was sitting in His favorite corner of the divan where, through the window on His right, He could look over the ramparts and see the blue Mediterranean beyond. He was busy writing Tablets, and the quiet peace of the room was broken only by the bubble of the samovar, where one of the young maidservants, sitting on the floor before it, was brewing the tea.

Presently the Master looked up from His writing with a smile, and requested Ziyyih Khanum to chant a prayer. As she finished, a small figure appeared in the open doorway, directly opposite 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Having dropped off his shoes he stepped into the room, with his eyes focused on the Master's face. 'Abdu'l-Bahá returned his gaze with such a look of loving welcome it seemed to beckon the small one to approach Him. Shoghi, that beautiful little boy, with his cameo face and his soulful appealing, dark eyes, walked slowly toward the divan, the Master drawing him as by an invisible thread, until he stood quite close in front of Him. As he paused there a moment 'Abdu'l-Bahá did not offer to embrace him but sat perfectly still, only nodding His head two or three times, slowly and impressively, as it to say - "You see? This tie connecting us is not just that of a physical grandfather but something far deeper and more significant." While we breathlessly watched to see what he would do, the little boy reached down and picking up the hem of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's robe he touched it reverently to his forehead, and kissed it, then gently replaced it, while never taking his eyes from the adored Master's face. The next moment he turned away, and scampered off to play, like any normal child...At that time he was 'Abdu'l-Bahá's only grandchild... and, naturally, he was of immense interest to the pilgrims.
(Memoir of Ella Goodall Cooper quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Priceless Pearl)

Nov 1, 2015

He would shun receiving personal praise or thanks

Although he loves appreciation expressed in regard to the beauty of the Gardens and the Shrines and their planning, the Guardian seemed to shun personal praise or being thanked for anything... 
(Recorded by a pilgrim in 1956; quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Oct 18, 2015

How his radiant nature would become clouded over

…we were trying desperately to fix his beloved countenance for all time in our memories, and not to lose one single shading of his expression, always impersonal, sudden and varied and surprising...Alas, Shoghi Effendi's 'radiant nature' has all too often been clouded over and saddened by the unwisdom of the friends, or their flagrant disobedience, or disregard of his instructions. Frantically one wonders who has not failed him in one way or another!" 
(Recorded by a pilgrim in 1956; quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Oct 4, 2015

His luminosity and beauty

...impossible to describe or convey in the least the luminosity and beauty of the Guardian. If he smiles at you - or looks with that swift penetrating gaze - it is a thrilling and soul-stirring feeling... always his discourse is about the Cause, and it stays with the theme of getting the Ten Year Crusade accomplished. He shows elation when there is good news, and goes into a deep depression when there is bad or evil news... 
(Recorded by a pilgrim in 1956; quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Sep 13, 2015

A perfect instrument

He gives one the sense of being a perfect instrument - very impersonal, but hypersensitive to every thought, or atmosphere. He cannot be swayed in his thought. He is not influenced in the least by friendship, preference, money, hurting or not hurting feelings. He is absolutely above all that... 
(Recorded by a pilgrim in 1956; quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Aug 23, 2015

He must follow the track which is his divine Guidance

I felt as if he were like a great powerful locomotive, pulling behind him a long, long string of cars, laden - not with dead-weight exactly - but sometimes pretty dead! This weight is the believers who have to be pushed, or pulled, or cajoled, or praised at every moment to get them into action. The beloved Guardian sees far in advance the needs, the lack of time, the obstacles and problems. He is actually hauling us all along behind his guiding and powerful light. Like a locomotive too - he can go straight ahead, fast or slow down, but he CANNOT deviate his course, he MUST follow the track which is his divine Guidance. 
(Recorded by a pilgrim in 1956; quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Aug 2, 2015

He does not demand any deference, but one feels absolutely weak and lowly in his presence

He is completely simple and direct. He himself does not demand all this deference, but just to be in his presence makes one fell absolutely 'weak and lowly'. The Guardian is ever courteous and does not lose patience with questions of the immature. However, he is not reticent about letting people know which questions are important, and which are not, and which will be answered later by the International House of Justice... 
(Recorded by a pilgrim in 1956; quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Jul 19, 2015

His smile is a precious bounty

His face is beautiful, as it is so pure in expression and so impersonal, yet at the same time tender and majestic...I saw large grey-blue eyes...His nose is a combination of what it was in the pictures of him as a little boy - he still looks much like that! - and the sort of ridged nose of the Master. His years seem no more than forty-eight instead of sixty. He had a small, greying moustached, tightly clipped. His mouth is firm and pure, his teeth white and beautiful. His smile is a precious bounty... 
(Recorded by a pilgrim in 1956; quoted by Ruhiyyih Khanum in ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Jul 5, 2015

Shoghi Effendi’s “intense objectiveness”

[1939]: "I sometimes feel that this intense objectiveness of Shoghi Effendi is one of the factors God has endowed him with. He is an absolutely unselfconscious instrument. His impulses are violent and no one (I mean no disinterested observer) could doubt the tremendous achievements of his for the Cause, all carried out on these unhesitating impulses. That is all his decisions -- but of course he revolves things for weeks, sometimes years in his mind before acting. All the thought in the world is there but when he feels the urge he never waits five seconds!" 
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (Entry from her diary, ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Jun 21, 2015

Extent of his suffering

[1939]: "The Master gave us a Trust. That Trust is the Guardian. He said 'that no dust of despondency may stain his radiant nature.' Dust of despondency! He has been so abused and tortured by those who should have sustained and encouraged him that his radiant nature is as rare as rare can be now. Sometimes I see it like a sun in his dear face shining through -- he suffers so much that many times he has to go to bed because of it, literally prostrated!" 
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (Entry from her diary, ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Jun 14, 2015

The prayer that the Guardian requested all believers to offer on his behalf

I cherish the hope that, from now on the Beloved may bestow upon me all the strength and vigour that will enable me to pursue over a long and unbroken period of strenuous labour the supreme task of achieving, in collaboration with the friends in every land, the speedy triumph of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. This is the prayer I earnestly request all my fellow brethren and sisters in the Faith to offer on my behalf. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated December 2, 1923; ‘Messages to Australia and New Zealand’)

Jun 1, 2015

Things the Guardian suffered from

The news of dear Martha Root's death was not unexpected as the Guardian had been sent the doctor's reports which were pretty hopeless. These are not the things which burden him. He knew she could not live forever! Like the Master, a breath of violation or the thought that anyone may be even a potential violator is, one might say, death to him! I often think it profoundly organic, the sense that the Center of the Cause has for this most venomous disease. Hence the importance he attaches to your vigilance in protecting the Faith and being on the look out - the duty indeed of every Baha'i. Disobedience, an incorrect attitude towards the fundamentals of the Cause, failure to push on the teaching and temple work, these are the things he suffers from and not all the things the friends think he suffers from. He does not suffer over the deaths of others the way the Master did. He is here to judge and not to pity. You remember the Master said one bad apple would decay a whole barrel of good ones? The protection of the Faith is what burns into him!

Everyone from the center outwards to the furthest point, has failed befittingly to heed ‘Abdu’l-Baha's injunction ‘that no dust of despondency may stain his radiant nature . . .’. I sometimes feel desperate. I feel if I could only bring to him the living sense of the love of the friends - why don't they pour their love on him? Don't they realize how alone he is! How isolated, how heavily burdened?  
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (From a letter to her parents, dated mid-October 1939, ‘The Maxwells of Montreal, vol. 2’)