Chapter III THE TABLETS TO CANADA The time had now come for Abdul Baha to turn his attention to Canada and the northern stretches of this hemisphere. In a first Tablet, he gives especial consideration to the inhabitants of Iceland, Greenland and the Franklin Islands. These ice-bound regions shall be tempered with the knowledge of God, and melted with the love of God. In it not said in the Koran: “A day will come wherein the lights of unity will illumine all the world”?
The second end longer Tablet to Canada was dictated On February 21, 1917 in the room of Baha-O-Llah at Acca. It in addressed thus:
To the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the Dominion of Canada, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Mackenzie, Keevateen, Ungava, Franklin Islands and Greenland. In opening this Tablet, the Master as usual strikes the note of equality and then proceeds to mention the rare privileges that have been conferred upon Canada together with the promise of its future.
In the great Koran, God says: ‘Thou shalt see no difference in the creatures of God.’ In other words, He says: From the ideal standpoint, there is no variation among the creatures of God, because all were created by Him. From the above premise, a conclusion is drawn, that there is even no difference among the various countries; at the same time, the history of the Dominion of Canada is infinitely glorious and its future great. Thus it shall become the object of the Glance of Providence and the manifestation of the Favors of the Supreme Lord. The Master admits that he had been warned against visiting Montreal. Many persons had thought that he would not be well received there because the majority of the inhabitants of that province were Catholic. In the estimation of him advisors, they were, submerged in the sea of dogma, imitation and formalism, and in no condition to hearken to the call of Reality. In writing of himself in this situation, he continues:
But these stories did not have any effect on the resolution of Abdul Baha. He, trusting in God, turned his face toward Montreal. When he 18
[photo of 'Abdu'l-Baha in Palestine omitted]
entered that city, he observed that all the doors were open; he found the hearts in the utmost state of receptivity and the ideal power of the Kingdom of God removing every obstacle and obstruction. In the churches and meetings of that Dominion, he called men to the Kingdom of God with the utmost joy, and scattered seeds which will be irrigated by the hand of Divine Power. Undoubtedly those seeds will grow, becoming green and verdant, and many rich harvests will be gathered. In the promotion of the Divine Principle he found no antagonist and no adversary. Then he speaks directly to the believers:
Do ye not took upon the smallness of your number and the multitudes of the nations. Five grains of wheat will he endued with heavenly blessing whereas a thousand tons of tares will yield no results and have no effect. One fruitful tree will be conducive to the life of society, whereas a thousand forests of wild trees offer no fruits. The plain is covered with pebbles, but precious stones are rare. One pearl is better than a thousand wildernesses of sand, especially the Pearl of Great Price which is endowed with Divine Blessing. Ere long thousands of other pearls will be born from It. When that Pearl associates and becomes the intimate of the pebbles, they also all change into pearls. Therefore, again I repeat, that the future of Canada, whether from the standpoint of civilization or from the viewpoint of the virtues of the Kingdom is very great. Day by day, civilization and freedom shall increase. Likewise, the cloud of the Kingdom will water the seeds of guidance sown in that Dominion. Consequently rest ye not, seek ye no composure, attach not yourselves to the luxuries of this ephemeral world, free yourselves from every attachment and strive with heart and soul to become fully established in the Kingdom of God. Gain ye the heavenly treasures. Day by day, become ye more illumined. Draw ye nearer and nearer unto the Threshold of Oneness. Become ye the manifestors of spiritual favors and the dawning-places of infinite lights. If it is possible, send ye teachers to other portions of Canada; likewise dispatch ye teachers to Greenland and the home of the Eskimos. In regard to the teachers, they must completely divest themselves frown the old garments and be invested with a new garment. According to the statement of Christ, they must attain to the station of rebirth: that it, whereas in the first instance they were born from the womb of the mother, this time they must be born from the womb of the world of nature. Just as they are now totally unaware of the experiences of the foetal world, they must also entirely forget the defects of the world of nature. They must be 20
baptized with the Water of Life, the Fire of the Love of God and the Breaths of the Holy Spirit; be satisfied with little food, but take a large portion from the heavenly table. They must disengage themselves from temptation and covetousness, and be filled with the spirit. Through the effect of their pure breath, they must change the stone into the brilliant ruby and the shell into pearl. Like unto the cloud of vernal shower, they must transform the black soil into the rose-garden and orchard. They must make the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the extinguished one enkindled and art aglow, and the dead quickened. Upon ye be Baha-O-Llah El Abha! The acid test of every movement is its practicability. The right cause will at first strengthen the character from better habits and enrich the spirit. When this state fins been arrived at, the next logical one is that of sharing.
The Bahai Cause is a failure if it simply remains as a source of inspiration to its adherents, because from its inception it was viewed as a creative power for the readjustment of world affairs. Its principles can never be too often reiterated, for each one is an adventure in modern thinking and constitutes a vast field of endeavor: The fact of the Oneness of the world of humanity. The ideal of independent investigation of Truth. Realization that the basis of all the divine religions is one. Emphasis on religion as being the cause of love and harmony; not hatred and discord. A new outlook on religion as being in conformity with science and reason. Equality of the tights of men and women. A universal auxiliary language. Education for all, everywhere. The elimination of want everywhere. Economic justice. A world government.
What a program! And to it is added the knowledge that it has been given to this generation by the list of God's Messengers, the modern Moses who descended from the Sinai of Inspiration with a charter for today. Small wonder that Abdul Baha, the closest companion of the Prophet as well as the closest in understanding, strove with all the intensity of his mighty spirit to share the burden of responsibility with all of us. It is the cause of every man, will he but take it.
Chapter IV TABLETS TO THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA Abdul Baha now writes four more Tablets, all of them addressed to the believers of the United States and Canada as a whole.
No. I In the first, dictated in the garden of Bahjee on April 8, 1916, he speaks of the countries of this hemisphere that are awaiting the Great Message. On the North, Alaska must be visited and the principles of unity divulged and explained. It is a great enterprise: the territory is vast and the call of the Kingdom of God has not yet been raised thereon. Then turning his attention to the numerous countries southward, the Master continues in most specific terms.
Likewise the Republic of Mexico is very important. The majority of the inhabitants of that country are devoted Catholics. They are totally unaware of the reality of the Bible, the Gospel and the New Divine Teachings. They do not know that the basis of the religions of God is one and that the Holy Manifestations are like unto the Sun of Truth, rising from the different dawning-places. Those souls are submerged in the sea of dogma. If one breath of Life be blown over them, great results will issue therefrom. It is advisable that those who intend to teach in Mexico should be familiar with the Spanish language.
Similarly, the teachers to the six Central American Republics, situated south of Mexico —Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the seventh country Belize or British Honduras — should also be familiar with Spanish.
You must give great attention to teaching the Indians, i.e., the aborigines of America, for these souls are like unto the ancient inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula, who previous to the Manifestation of His Holiness Mohammad were treated as savages; but, when the Mahammedic light shone forth in their midst, they became so illuminated that they brightened the world. Likewise, should these Indians and aborigines be educated and obtain guidance, there is no doubt but that through the Divine Teachings they will become so enlightened as to shed light on all regions.
[photo of 'Abdu'l-Baha in Acca omitted]
All the above countries have significance, but especially the Republic of Panama wherein the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans come together through the Panama Canal. It is a center for travel — a passage from America to the other continents of the world. In the future it will gain most great importance. The Islands of the West Indies, such as Cuba, Haiti, Porto Rico, Jamaica, the Islands of the Lesser Antilles, the Bahama Islands, even the small Watling Island — all have great value, as have the two black Republics, Haiti and Santa Domingo, situated in the cluster of the Greater Antilles; also the cluster of the Islands of Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean. Attention must be given to the Republics on the Continent of South America — Columbia, Equador, Peru, Brazil, British Guiana, Dutch Guiana, French Guiana, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela; also to the islands on the north, east and west of South America, such as Falkland Island, Galapago, Juan Fernandez, Tabago and Trinidad. The city of Bahia situated on the eastern shore of Brazil is notable. Because for sometime it has become known by this name, its efficacy will be most potent. In short, O ye believers of God! Exalt your effort and magnify your aims. His Holiness Christ says: ‘Blessed tire the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.’ In other words: blessed are the nameless and traceless poor, far they are the leaders of mankind. Likewise is it said in the Koran: ‘We desire to bestow our gifts upon those who have become weak on the face of the earth, and make them a nation and the heirs of Spiritual Truth.’ Or, we wish to grant a favor on the impotent souls and suffer them to become the inheritors of the Messengers and the Prophets. Therefore, now is the time that you may divest yourselves of the garment of attachment to this phenomenal realm; be wholly severed from the physical world and became angels of heaven, travelling and teaching through all these regions. I declare by Him, beside Whom there is no one, that each of you shall become the Israfel of Life, blowing the Breath of Life in the souls of others. Upon ye be greeting and praise! We know quite well that this world of ours has many races and tribes, but through the law of scientific classification the historians and geographers have reduced them into four groups.
1. The white or Caucasian people, consisting of 770 millions, are the largest group and the most highly civilized.
2. The black or Ethiopian races consisting of 175 millions, mainly inhabiting Africa. With a few millions in other parts of the world.
3. The yellow or Mongolian people numbering about 540 millions, all of whom live in Asia, mostly in China and Japan.
4. The red man Or American Indian — approximately 22 millions, a few living on this continent and the rest in South America.
All these people, living from the Arctic to the Ant-arctic, in all latitudes and longitudes in the north, south and torrid zones, must come to know God and His Revelation in this latter day, and be taught the lessons of the brotherhood of all mankind.
To this overwhelming mission, Abdul Baha had dedicated himself. Not the smallest island was to be overlooked; and now from Bahjee on April 11, 1916, the Great Teacher writes again to the Bahais of the United States and Canada, offering them the world as field for their activities.
No. 2 A group speaking the languages, severed, holy, sanctified and filled with the love of God, must travel through the three great Island clusters of the Pacific Ocean; Polynesia, Micronesia and the adjacent Islands, such as New Guinea, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Philippine Islands, Solomon Islands, Fiji Islands, New Hebrides, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Bismarck Archipelago, Ceram, Celebes, Friendly Islands, Samoa Islands, Society Islands, Caroline Islands, Low Archipelago, Marquesas, Hawaiian Islands, Gilbert Islands, Moluccas, Marshall Islands, Timor and the other Islands. With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues making mention of God, with eyes turned to the Kingdom, they must deliver the Glad-Tiding of the Manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people. Know ye of a certainty that in whatever meeting ye may enter, at the apex of that meeting the Holy Spirit shall be brooding and the heavenly Confirmations of the Blessed Perfection will encompass all.
The Master wishes that he himself might essay the superhuman task, he who never was discouraged by obstacles; but he knew that the time had come for others to grasp the banner that he had upheld for almost a lifetime.
O how I wish that it could be made possible for me to travel through these parts, if necessary on foot and in the utmost poverty, and while pass- 25
ing through the cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, cry at the top of my voice: ‘Ye Baha El Abha!’ and promote the Divine Teachings. But now this is not feasible for me, therefore I live in great regret; perchance, God willing, ye may become assisted therein. Abdul Baha envisions groups of voyagers setting out on world. conquest:
Likewise, if some teachers go to other Islands and other parts, such as the Continents of Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, also to Japan; to Asiatic Russia, Korea, French Indo-China, Siam, Straits Settlements, India, Ceylon and Afghanistan, most great results will be forthcoming. How good would it be were there any possibility of a commission composed of men and women, travelling through China and Japan, so that the bond of love might become strengthened and, through this going and coming, they may establish the oneness of the world of humanity, summon the people to the Kingdom of God and spread the Teachings. Similarly, if possible, they should travel to the Continent of Africa, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Madeira Islands, Reunion Islands, St. Helena, Zanzibar, Mauritius, etc., and in those countries summon the people to the Kingdom of God and raise the cry of ‘Ya Baha El Abha!’ They must upraise the Flag of the Oneness of the world of humanity in the Island of Madagascar also. Books and pamphlets must be either translated or composed in the languages of these countries and Islands, to be circulated in every part and in all directions… 0 ye believers of God! Show ye an effort and after this war spread ye the synopsis of the Divine Teachings in the British Isles, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Portugal, Roumania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece, Andora, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, San Marino, Belearic Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, Malta, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the Shetland Islands, the Hebrides and the Orkney Islands. In all these countries, like unto the morning stars shine ye from the horizon of Guidance. Up to this time you have displayed great magnanimity but after this, you must add to your effort a thousand times and throughout the above countries, capitals, islands, meetings and churches, invite mankind to the Kingdom of Abha! Now the Master asks what result is forthcoming from rest, tranquility, luxury and attachment to this corporeal world. Man will not become as
independent as the cow, who is at liberty to graze over all the meadow and drink from the rivers and streams; and certainly he will not be as unencumbered as the bird, or live in such exhilarating surroundings. No, man was created for the acquirement of infinite perfections and to be drawn near unto the Divine Threshold.
Later, when the Tablet was concluded, Abdul Baha again spoke of the bird, pointing to one which was flying overhead: “The teachers of the Cause of God in these countries must be like this bird — always on the wing. Should they alight, it must be with the intention of a short rest from fatigue, on that at the next moment they may rise higher and sing more sweetly. Never should they think of a protracted rest. Ever and ever should they soar in the divine atmosphere of the Spirit. Should they for one second think of rest, they will immediately start on a downward course. They must detach and free themselves from all physical limitations, and purify the mirrors of their hearts from the dust of racial, religious and national prejudices. Not the least trace of these prejudices should linger in the minds. They must become spirit personified, love incarnate, truth embodied. They must set aside egotism, selfishness and suspicion. They must always journey through the world of universal ideals. They must not restrict themselves to particular matters, for the Cause of Baha-O-Llah is not sectarian. Let them walk in the highway of the Divine Teachings. Let them look to God, and not to man; behold the light, and not the glass. There is no doubt but that this Cause shall encircle the globe. So long as there remains one soul whose heart is not touched by the love of God and divine Illumination, the friends must not sit silent. This is their duty.”
No. 3 The third Tablet to the Bahais of the United States and Canada was dictated from Bahjee in three parts — the first on April 19, the second on April 20th and the third on April 22, 1916. It is the only Tablet, in the entire series of fourteen, in which the Master's attention is not fixed on special portions of the globe. He is thinking of the teachers themselves, those who are to arise in all countries, hasten to all regions and transmit the message. He speaks of the type that lie is seeking, of the transformation that shall be effected in these persons and of the station which they will attain. With the yearning of a father, with the assurance of a seer, he speaks to them thus:
0 ye apostles of Baha-O-Llah may my life be a ransom to you! The blessed Person of the Promised One is interpreted in the Holy Book as the Lord of Hosts; the heavenly armies being these souls who are entirely freed from the human world and transformed into celestial spirits. Such souls are the rays of the Sun of Reality who will illumine all the continents. Each one is holding in his hand a trumpet, blowing the Breath of Life over all the regions. They are delivered from human qualities and the defects of the world of nature; are characterized with the characteristics of God, and clothed with the Fragrances of the Merciful. Like unto the Apostles of Christ who were filled with Him, these souls also have become filled with His Holiness Baha-O-Llah i.e., the love of Baha-O-Llah has so mastered every organ, part and limb of their bodies that the promptings of the human world can make no impression. These souls are the armies of God and the conquerors of the East and the West. Should one of them turn his face in some direction and summon the people to the Kingdom of God, all the ideal forces and lordly confirmations will rush to his support. He will behold all the doors open, and all the strong fortifications and impregnable castles razed to the ground. Singly and alone, he will attack the armies of the world, defeat the right and left wings of the hosts of all the countries, break through the legions of all the nations and carry his attack to the very center of the powers of the earth. This is the meaning of the Hosts of God. Any soul from among the believers of Baha-O-Llah who attains unto this station, will become known as the Apostle of Baha-O-Llah. Therefore, strive ye with heart and soul so that ye may reach this lofty and exalted position; be established on the throne of everlasting glory, and crown your heads with the shining Diadem of the Kingdom, the brilliant jewels of which will irradiate upon centuries and cycles. The Master then states that the teacher should comply with certain conditions, firstly: Firmness in the Covenant of God, i.e., Baha-O-Llah has chosen Abdul Baha as his interpreter, as the center of a Covenant with his followers; therefore fidelity to Abdul Baha and adherence to his teachings must be considered as of paramount importance. No other power can conserve the Unity of the Bahai world.
The second condition is fellowship and love amongst the believers. They should know one another, become intimate with one another, sacrifice
[photo of Acca omitted]
for one another — then the power of the love of God will make of them, the waves of one sea, the flowers of one rose-garden and the stars of one heaven.
As a third condition, the teachers must continuously travel to all parts of the continent, nay rather to all parts of the world, even as did Abdul Baha who journeyed throughout the United States and Canada. He was sanctified and freed from every attachment. Did not Christ say: “Shake off the very dust from your feet”?
Abdul Baha then describes the system that should be adopted: Meetings must be held at which the old Bahais, and those who know the Cause well, should gather with the new souls seeking instruction. They should relate the history of the movement, explain the teachings and interpret the prophesies and proofs regarding the Manifestation of the Promised One, as they are recorded in the Holy Books and Epistles. Through much training, the young ones will be enabled to go forth in knowledge and assurance.
Furthermore in all meetings, whether public or private, nothing should be discussed save that which is under consideration, and all articles should be centered around the Cause of God. Promiscuous talks must not be allowed and contention is absolutely forbidden. Here let it be remembered that whenever contention and disputes occur between two souls in connection with divine subjects — both are wrong.
A committee should be formed consisting of scholars well versed in Persian, Arabic and other languages to translate Tablets and works on this Revelation. Then the books should be published and widely circulated.
The “Star of the West” (magazine at that time published by the Bahais, now out of circulation) should appear with utmost regularity, its pages being devoted to matters concerning the Cause, so that it may be a means of instruction to the people of East and West. In the future, other publications are to be established according to the national or local needs of the various countries.
The teachers travelling in different directions should be familiar with the language of the countries to be visited.
A few days later, in reviewing the conditions under which a teacher should work, the Master spoke of the characteristics to be looked for in the teacher himself. He said: “First of all he must have a sweet disposition. A sweet disposition will make the teacher loved by all the pupils. With arguments, controversies and contention, people are driven away; but with love, gentleness find sweetness, they bloom forth like unto it rose.
I desire that every one of the believers may become like an ignited candle in the assemblage of the world of humanity, and conducive to the Eternal Life of others. Today, the Confirmations of the Kingdom of Abha are with those who renounce themselves, forget their opinions, cast aside personalities and think of the welfare of others. Whosoever has lost himself, has found the universe and the inhabitants thereof! Whosoever is occupied with himself is wandering in the desert of heedlessness and regret! The master-key to self-mastery is self -forgetfulness. The road to the palace of life in through the path of renunciation.”