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                                  Reflections on the Bahai teachings

Abdu’l Baha to Martha Root

Posted by Sen on November 29, 2010

This tablet from Abdu’l-Baha, translated by Shoghi Effendi, was published in Star of the West in October, 1919, and has not been republished in full since then. It is interesting both as the source of a well-known appeal for peace (re-published in the Bahai World Centre’s Compilation on Peace, but in a different translation) and for Abdu’l-Baha’s comparison between the Testament of Baha’u’llah, which appointed Abdu’l-Baha as head of the Bahai community, in writing, and the oral traditions on which the appointment of Peter rested.

To the maid servant of God, Martha Root, Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania – Upon her be Baha’o’llah El-Abha!

O thou who art firm in the Covenant!

Thy detailed and brief letters have all been received, and have been attentively perused. Praise be to God, they imparted glad tidings and joyful news. Thou are indeed serving in the path of God, art with all thy energy showing love to others, art raising the call of the Kingdom and art illumining the hearts of men. Rest thou assured that the confirmations of the Kingdom shall encompass thee and thou shalt become the recipient of the bounties of the Lord of Hosts. Strive as much as possible to be ever active, travel to the north and south of that land and summon all to the oneness of the world of humanity and to universal peace, saying:

“O ye men! His Holiness Baha’o’llah has, fifty years ago, laid the foundation of universal peace. He even addressed epistles to the kings wherein he declared that war destroys the foundation of the world of humanity, that peace is the cause of everlasting life and that a great danger awaiteth the world of mankind. Likewise, Abdul-Baha, prior to this world war and three years before its outbreak traveled throughout Europe and America and raised his call at all gatherings, temples and churches saying: ‘O ye who are present! The continent of Europe has become a huge arsenal abounding with combustible material and below which are stored inflammable materials which only a spark will set aflame and will shake the world to its very foundation.

O ye who are wise! Strive perchance these inflammable materials will not be set aflame.’ But the appeal was not heeded and therefore this great carnage has come to pass. At present all the peoples have realized what a great calamity war is, that war turns man into a rapacious animal, razes to the ground flourishing cities and towns and causes the foundation of mankind to totter. As all men have been awakened and are harkening to the call, it is time for the promulgation of universal peace – a peace which has for its basis right and justice; so that mankind will not be exposed to danger. At present it is the dawn of universal peace, we hope that its sun will soon shine and flood the East and the West with its light.

The establishment of universal peace is not possible save through the power of the Word of God and hence one must endeavor to promote the Word of God and thereby establish universal peace. Strive at present as much as possible to raise the call of the divine Kingdom for this call bestows the Spirit of Life. Endeavor to raise the call of the Covenant and the Testament for the power of the Covenant, like unto arteries, pulsates in the body of the world!”

Thou hast mentioned a great number of souls in thy letter. Verily each one of them deserves a separate letter, particularly some who, with all their power, are serving the Kingdom of God, have no purpose save the common weal and no aim except the exercise of the utmost love and kindness to each and all the individuals of the world of humanity. These souls, although they pertain to the nether world, yet their souls belong to the world of spirit; i. e. they have been vivified by the breath of spiritual life. Their hearts are the mirrors of the Sun of Truth wherein this sun shines with the utmost splendor. Convey on my behalf to each of those souls the utmost love and kindness and tell them that day and night I entreat and supplicate to the Kingdom of Glory with the utmost humility and lowliness and beg for those souls heavenly confirmations.

Thou hadst written, concerning the friends of Pittsburgh, that misunderstanding has been caused among them. Misunderstanding cannot be eliminated by any power save that of the Covenant. The power of the Covenant is all inclusive and solves all difficulties, for explicitly and by the Supreme Pen it is declared that whatever misunderstanding takes place, ye must refer to the Center of the Covenant for he eliminates all difficulties. Therefore, no power will do away, with misunderstanding among the friends except the Covenant and the Testament of God. Encourage and draw, therefore, all the friends to firmness in the Covenant and the Testament.

His Holiness Christ said to Peter: “Thou art a rock and upon this rock I shall build my Temple.” This is not written by the Supreme Pen of Christ and does not manifestly command anyone to turn his face to him and has not been revealed and recorded in the book of His Holiness Christ. It is only a tradition transmitted by the Apostles. This tradition, however, has exacted obedience from all and has eliminated all misunderstanding among the Apostles and the Christians.

At present this is the Book of the Covenant and not a tradition and is revealed by the Supreme Pen and not transmitted orally. He explicitly declares that “ye must turn after Me to the Center of the Covenant and whatever misunderstanding may happen he is its Expounder, and whatever he says it is right.” He made it all exclusive and this Tablet is the last one which has been revealed by the Supreme Pen before ascension. All previous books are subordinate to this Book of the Covenant for it has been revealed subsequently to all the previous ones. He has named it the “Book of the Covenant” and, therefore, consider that if the friends remain firm in the Covenant, will there be any misunderstanding among them? No, by God! Except those souls who have an evil intention and are thinking of leadership and of forming a party; those souls, although they have written epistles with their own pen and have execrated the violators denouncing them as having destroyed the foundation of the monument erected by His Holiness Baha’o’llah and have written that he has written this Covenant with his own pen and that whoever deviated the least from the Center of the Covenant is of the people of treachery and well deserves the wrath of God – these souls are themselves at present among the pioneers of violation. This is because of their personal motives for they had thought of securing leadership and wealth, but when they considered that in remaining firm in the Covenant their purpose would not be realized, they deviated from it. Those souls must have been either at first truthful and now disloyal or at first disloyal and now truthful. At any rate their lie is manifest.

Notwithstanding this, some souls who are not aware of this fact waver when those cast the seeds of suspicion. Awaken all the people and send a copy of this letter to Mr. Remey, Mrs. Goodall and Mrs. Cooper.
Upon thee be Baha El Abha!

(Signed) Abdul-Baha Abbas.

(Translated by Shoghi Rabbani,
Acca, Palestine; July 20th, 1919.)

I have not been able to locate the Persian text of this.

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