Israeli-born English Guardian and Appointed head of the Bahá'í Faith
Shoghí Effendi, fully Shoghí Effendí Rabbání
Israeli-born English Guardian and Appointed head of the Bahá'í Faith
Although it is good not to provoke conventional people too much, on the other hand, we must not allow them to come between us and obeying Baha'u'llah; and we know that He has instructed His servants to spread His Message.
He feels that to distribute Baha'i pamphlets from door to door.. is undignified and might create a bad impression of the Faith.
It is not preaching any rules the world wants, but love and action.
Prayer without direction of the heart is like a body without a soul... Love of G?d and fear of G?d are the two wings by which a deed rises heavenward.
The believers, as we all know, should endeavor to set such an example in their personal lives and conduct that others will feel impelled to embrace a Faith which reforms human character.
The more we search for ourselves, the less likely we are to find ourselves; and the more we search for God, and to serve our fellow-men, the more profoundly will we become acquainted with ourselves, and the more inwardly assured. This is one of the great spiritual laws of life.
To find these receptive souls and teach them, with tact and understanding, is the duty and privilege of every single Baha'i.
As we have such wonderful prayers and meditations in our writings, the reading of these with friends who are interested in and crave for this type of small meeting is often a step towards attracting them to the Faith. Perhaps you could start such an activity in your city.
He feels you should, in teaching, certainly not start with such a difficult point as abstinence from wine; but when the person wishes to join the Faith he must be told.
It is often difficult for us to do things because they are so very different from what we are used to, not because the thing itself is particularly difficult. With you, and indeed most Bah ?¡s, who are now, as adults, accepting this glorious Faith, no doubt some of the ordinances, like fasting and daily prayer, are hard to understand and obey at first. But we must always think that these things are given to all men for a thousand years to come. For Bah ?¡ children who see these things practiced in the home, they will be as natural and necessary a thing as going to church on Sunday was to the more pious generation of Christians.
Refrain, under any circumstances, from involving yourselves, much less the Cause, in lengthy discussions of a controversial character, as these besides being fruitless actually cause incalculable harm to the Faith. Baha'u'llah has repeatedly urged us not to engage in religious controversies, as the adepts of former religions have done. The Baha'i teacher should be concerned above all in presenting the Message, in explaining and clarifying all its aspects, rather than in attacking other religions. He should avoid all situations that, he feels, would lead to strife, to hair-splitting and interminable discussions.
The Beloved Guardian directs me to inform you that you should not weary in well doing. He knows you must become discouraged at times when hardness of the hearts of the local people does not permit the budding of the seeds which you are so diligently sowing. However, he assures you that all of the seeds that are sown will ultimately reap their fruit.
The most effective method of teaching is the Fireside group, where new people can be shown Baha'i hospitality, and ask all questions which bother them. They can feel there the true Baha'i spirit--and it is the spirit that quickeneth.
Today the need is so great on the part of humanity to hear of the Divine Message, that the believers must plunge into the work, wherever and however they can, heedless of their own shortcomings, but ever heedful of the crying need of their fellow-men to hear of the teachings in their darkest hour of travail.
As you interest different ones in the Faith, you must be very cautious, and gradually lead them into the Light of Divine Guidance, especially the practices of Baha'i living. Thus you should not be dogmatic about any of the secondary practices of the Faith.
He hopes you will be guided and confirmed in your work, so many souls may find eternal life, through your selfless services. It is important that you make contact with pure hearted individuals, gain their confidence, they gain confidence in you, and then gradually teach them. It is better to concentrate on a few, rather than attempt to teach too many at a time. Consecration, devotion, dedication, humility are essential, that the Holy Spirit may use you as a reed for the diffusion of Its? creative rays.
It is on young and active Baha'is, like you, that the Guardian centres all his hopes for the future progress and expansion of the Cause, and it is on their shoulders that he lays all the responsibility for the upkeep of the spirit of selfless service among their fellow-believers. Without that spirit no work can be successfully achieved. With it triumph, though hardly won, is but inevitable. You should, therefore, try all your best to carry aflame within you the torch of faith, for through it you will surely find guidance, strength and eventual success.. every one of them is able, in his own measure, to deliver the Message.. Everyone is a potential teacher. He has only to use what God has given him and thus prove that he is faithful to his trust.
Revisit all the centers where you have already sown the seed, in order to water the seedlings that have taken root and to sow fresh good seed in the prepared ground.
The beloved Guardian has stressed over and over again, that to effectively teach the Faith, the individual must study deeply, the Divine Word, imbibe Its? life-giving waters, and feast upon Its glorious teachings. He should then meditate on the import of the Word, and finding its spiritual depths, pray for guidance and assistance. But most important, after prayer is action. After one has prayed and meditated, he must arise, relying fully on the guidance and confirmation of Baha'u'llah, to teach His Faith. Perseverance inaction is essential, just as wisdom and audacity are necessary for effective teaching. The individual must sacrifice all things to this great goal, and then the victories will be won.
The need of the Hour is Teaching on the Home Front. Its goals can be won, by a new spirit of dedication and consecration on the part of the friends, each in his own country, in his own home. Never must they let a day pass without teaching some soul, trusting to Baha'u'llah that the seed will grow. The friends should seek pure souls, gain their confidence, and then teach that person carefully until he becomes a Baha'i, and then nurture him until he becomes a firm and active supporter of the Faith.
Today, as never before, the magnet which attracts the blessings from on high is teaching the Faith of God. The Hosts of Heaven are poised between heaven and earth, just waiting, and patiently, for the Baha'i to step forth, with pure devotion and consecration, to teach the Cause of God, so they may rush to his aid and assistance. It is the Guardian's prayer that the Friends may treble their efforts, as the time is short--alas, the workers too few. Let those who wish to achieve immortality step forth and raise the Divine Call. They will be astonished at the spiritual victories they will gain.
At all times we must look at the greatness of the Cause, and remember that Baha'u'llah will assist all who arise in His service. When we look at ourselves, we are sure to feel discouraged by our shortcomings and insignificance!
Humanity, through suffering and turmoil, is swiftly moving on towards its destiny; if we be loiterers, if we fail to play our part, surely others will be called upon to take up our task as ministers to the crying needs of this afflicted world. Not by the force of numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of teaching -- no matter how world-wide and elaborate in its character -- not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and skeptical age the supreme claim of the ABHA Revelation. One thing, and only one thing, will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely, the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bah 'u'll h.
It is primarily through the potency of noble deeds and character, rather than by the power of exposition and proofs that the friends of God should demonstrate to the world that what has been promised by God is bound to happen, that it is already taking place and that the divine glad-tidings are clear, evident and complete.
Stop being conscious of your frailties, therefore; have a perfect reliance upon God; let your heart burn with the desire to serve His mission and proclaim His call; and you will observe how eloquence and the power to change human hearts will come as a matter of course.