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Words of Baha'o'llah from Kitab-el-Akdas
O concourse of creation! O people!
Construct homes (or houses) in the most beautiful fashion possible in every city, in every land, in the name of the Lord of Religions. Adorn them with that which beseemeth them—not with pictures or paintings. Then commemorate the Lord, the Merciful, the Clement, in spirit and fragrance. Verily, by His mention, by this commemoration, the breasts shall be dilated, the eyes illuminated, the hearts gladdened, and thus shall you pray the Orient of Praises in the Mashrak-el-Azkar (i. e., the Source of Praises).
Teach your children what hath been revealed through the Supreme Pen. Instruct them in what hath descended from the Heaven of Greatness and Power. Let them memorize the Tablets of the Merciful and chant them with the most melodious voices in the galleries built in the Temple of the Mashrak-el-Azkar. The prayers of the Lord shall be chanted in a manner to attract the hearts and souls.
Blessed is he who listens unto the River of Life!
"Now the day has arrived in which the edifice of God, the divine sanctuary, the spiritual Temple, shall be erected in America."
Portrait by Boissonnas & Taponier, Paris
STAR OF THE WEST
"We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; that all nations shall become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men shall be strengthened; that diversity of religion shall cease and differences of race be annulled. So it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come."—BAHA'O'LLAH.
Vol. VI Sultan 1, 71 (January 19, 1916) No. 17
THE Executive Board of Bahai Temple Unity has been impelled to issue this special Mashrak-el-Azkar edition of the STAR OF THE WEST by the urgent desire to place in the hands of every friend of the great Cause, every follower of Abdul-Baha, his words upon the purpose of the Universal House of Worship and its erection in America.
These words, arranged in chronological order over a period of ten years, include tablets, table-talks given in Akka and addresses delivered by Abdul-Baha during his American sojourn.
Upon these utterances there can be no comment. The call is there, the insistent call, to every Bahai in America to arise for the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar.
The inception in the west of the Mashrak-el-Azkar dates back to the early spring of 1903. The cornerstone of the Ishkabad Temple—the beginning of the first Mashrak-el-Azkar in the world—had just been laid. Photographs of that momentous event were sent by the friends of the east to the Chicago House of Spirituality.
And that body, inspired by the great vision of the Mashrak-el-Azkar upon American soil, supplicated to Abdul-Baha, that the second Mashrak-el-Azkar in the world might be erected in America and in Chicago.
The tablet of May 30, 1903, was written in response to the appeal of the House of Spirituality. During the same year, three other tablets were revealed upon the same subject, all proclaiming in no uncertain phraseology the importance of the Mashrak-el-Azkar in America.
Now a silence of four years seems to have surrounded the Mashrak-el-Azkar of the west. It was a tremendous undertaking. The Cause in America was young. The laborers were few. They were just coming into the realization of the spiritual dynamics of the Bahai Revelation. They knew that the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar was incumbent upon them by command not only of Abdul-Baha, but of Baha'o'llah in the Kitab-el-Akdas. As yet they did not know, perhaps, that, "Verily, God never reveals a letter or word from the Tongue of the inaccessible Godly Tree, without at the time of utterance, the spirit of its reality being created."*
So, apparently, for four years the Mashrak-el-Azkar idea in America languished. But it was never lost. In the silence it was gaining momentum; taking definite, ineffaceable form in the consciousness of the faithful.
And then, at the psychological moment, the silence was broken. In response to a supplication of inquiry, came the tablet of June 14, 1907, proclaiming again the importance of the construction of the Mashrak-el-Azkar in Chicago.
From that date, until the European war closed the door of direct communication between Abdul-Baha and the Bahais of America, every year came the call to the west to arise for the building of this great Bahai Institution, this manifest sign of the oneness of humanity and the vitality of religion.
Have we been slow to understand its imperativeness?
"Today, in America, no matter is greater for the elevation of the Word of God than the Mashrak-el-Azkar."
"The question of Mashrak-el-Azkar is very important and is superior to every matter."
"The Mashrak-el-Azkar is the most important matter and the greatest divine institute."
"When the Mashrak-el-Azkar, with its accessories, is established in the world, aside from its religious, or spiritual influence, it will have a tremendous effect upon civilization."
"This organization of the Mashrak-el-Azkar will be a type for the coming centuries and will hold the station of the Mother."
Have we in America been slow to comprehend our great responsibility, our great privilege to serve the Cause of God, to influence civilization during all the ages to come?
If we have been slow to comprehend, surely, this compilation of the utterances of Abdul-Baha will awaken us, will inspire us, will stimulate us to greater effort in the accomplishment of this—the supremest work in the Cause today.
The world is sick. The European tragedy grows in horror. In America we hear rumors of war. To the Bahais of the World has been given the remedy for the world's ills.
Do we in America believe it with a realization so deep and powerful that, before another year has passed away, all obstacles shall be overcome and the walls of the first Mashrak-el-Azkar in America, the Mother Institution, shall rise triumphantly, in proclamation to all humanity that the "Most Great Peace" has come?
Unresting, let us strive for this prodigious achievement, that, when the door of communication with Abdul-Baha is again open, we may say to him—
"The Bahais of the West have arisen greatly to service. Come to America and lay the corner stone of the Mother Mashrak-el-Azkar of the world."
No message from America would stir more profoundly the great heart of Abdul-Baha.
While he is still with us, let us respond to his call. Let us objectify our supreme faith in his mission, in his station as the Center of God's Covenant.
We who have been called to the great service—let us arise!
(Signed) ALFRED E. LUNT, President,
ELLA G. COOPER, Vice-President,
ALBERT H. HALL, Treasurer,
CORINNE TRUE, Financial Secretary,
HARLAN FOSTER OBER, Secretary.
WILLIAM H. RANDALL,
EDWARD B. KINNEY,
A. R. VAIL,
JOSEPH H. HANNEN.
Utterances of Abdul-Baha upon the Mashrak-el-Azkar
I SEND you the glad tidings of the erection of the Mashrak-el-Azkar (the Bahai Temple) in Ishkabad, with all joy and great happiness. The friends of God assembled together with rejoicing and conveyed the stones themselves, upon their backs, while attracted by the love of God and for the glory of God. Soon that great Temple will be completed and the voice of prayer and praise shall ascend to the Sublime Kingdom.
I was rejoiced through your endeavors in this glorious Cause, made with joy and good interest. I pray God to aid you in exalting His Word, and in establishing the Temple of Worship, through His grace and ancient mercy. Verily, ye are the first to arise for this glorious Cause in that vast region. Soon will ye see the spread of this enterprise in the world, and its resounding voice shall go through the ears of the people in all parts.
Exert your energy in accomplishing what ye have undertaken, so that this glorious Temple may be built, that the beloved of God may assemble therein and that they may pray and offer glory to God for guiding them to His Kingdom.
[Translated May 30, 1903.]
Now the day has arrived in which the edifice of God, the divine sanctuary, the spiritual Temple, shall be erected in America.
I entreat God to assist the confirmed believers in accomplishing this great service and with entire zeal to rear this mighty structure, which shall be renowned throughout the world. The support of God will be with those believers in that district, that they may be successful in their undertaking. For the Cause is great—because this is the first Mashrak-el-Azkar in that country, and from it the praise of God shall ascend to the Kingdom of Mystery and the tumult of His exaltation and greeting from the whole world shall be heard.
Whoseever arises for the service of this building shall be assisted with great power from His Supreme Kingdom and upon him spiritual and heavenly blessings shall descend, which shall fill his heart with wonderful consolation and enlighten his eyes by beholding the Glorious and Eternal God.
[Translated June 7, 1903.]
The vision also signifies that a Mashrak-el-Azkar will soon be established in America. The cries of supplication and invocation will be raised to the Highest Kingdom therefrom and, verily, the people will enter into the Religion of God by troops, with great enthusiasm and attraction.
[Translated June 9, 1903.]
O friends of Abdul-Baha, and his co-sharers and partners in the servitude of the Lord of Hosts! Verily, the greatest affair and the most important matter today is to establish a Mashrak-el-Azkar and to found a Temple, from which the voices of praise may rise to the Kingdom of the Majestic Lord. Blessings be upon you for having thought to do so and intended to erect such an edifice, advancing all in devoting your wealth to this great purpose and to this splendid work. You will soon see the angels of confirmation succeeding you, and the hosts of reinforcement crowding before you.
When the Mashrak-el-Azkar is accomplished, when the lights are emanating therefrom, the righteous ones are presenting themselves therein, the prayers are performed with supplication towards the mysterious Kingdom (of Heaven), the voice of glorification is raised to the Lord, the Supreme, then the believers shall rejoice, the hearts shall be dilated and overflowed with the love of the All-Living and Self-Existent (God).
The people shall hasten to worship in that heavenly temple, the fragrances of God will be elevated, the divine teachings will be established in the hearts like the establishment of the spirit in mankind; the people will then stand firm in the Cause of your Lord, the Merciful.
[Translated July 2, 1903.]
The construction of Mashrak-el-Azkar in those regions is of the utmost importance; is conducive to the attainment of the good pleasure of the Almighty and the descent of the confirmation by the Exalted Lord.
[Translated June 14, 1907.]
To have it (the Mashrak-el-Azkar) built is most important. Some material things have spiritual effect, and the Mashrak-el-Azkar is a material thing that will have great effect upon the spirits of the people. Not only does the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar have an effect upon those who build it, but upon the whole world. In the time of Christ the believers used a room under a house, where they held their meetings. Moses built the Tabernacle. Solomon built the first real Temple. In the Mashrak-el-Azkar, services will be held every morning, and the Words of Baha'o'llah only are to be read. Mashrak-el-Azkar means "Dawning Point of Mention" (Where God is mentioned).
[Table talk given in Akka January, 1908.]
Thou hast written concerning the organization of a Council for the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar. This news brought much spirit and fragrance, for the nine delegates sent by the various assemblies gathered in that meeting and consulted concerning the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar.
The Mashrak-el-Azkar is the most important matter and the greatest divine Institute. Consider how the first institute of His holiness Moses, after his exodus from Egypt, was the "Tent of Martyrdom," which he raised and which was the traveling Temple. It was a tent which they pitched in the desert wherever they abode and worshiped in it. Likewise, after His holiness Christ—May the spirit of the world be a sacrifice to Him!—the first institute by the disciples was a Temple. They planned a Church in every country. Consider the Gospel (read it) and the importance of the Mashrak-el-Azkar will become evident.
In fine, I hope that all the beloved of God, collectively, in the continent of America, men and women, will strive night and day, until the Mashrak-el-Azkar be erected in the utmost solidity and beauty.
[Translated February 4, 1908.]
Concerning the erection of the Temple: Now all the believers must become united so that the Temple may be built soon in one place, for should (the believers) undertake (the erection of the Temple) in many places, it will not become completed anywhere. And, as in Chicago they have preceded every other place to plan the erection of the Temple, undoubtedly, to co-operate and help them is nobler and a necessity. Then, when it is built in one place, it will become erected in many other places. If, for the present, you prepare or establish a home in New York, though by renting it, to become a center for the gathering of the believers of God, it is very acceptable. God willing, in all the states of America in the future, there will be erected Temples with infinite architectural beauty, art, with pleasing proportions, and handsome and attractive appearance, especially in New York. But, for the present, be ye satisfied with a rented place.
[Translated May 9, 1908.]
But it is two or three years since a number of people are making efforts in Chicago, but this has not yet given result, and important persons are exerting themselves and applying for contributions to various quarters. Now, while the building of this Temple is not yet started or engaged in, if there be the founding of a second Temple undertaken, neither of the two would be accomplished
and this failure would weaken the Cause of God.
In reality, the radiant, pure hearts are the Mashrak-el-Azkar and from them the voice of supplication and invocation continually reaches the Supreme Concourse. I ask God to make the heart of every one of you a temple of the divine Temples and to let the lamp of the Great Guidance be lighted therein. And, when the hearts find such an attainment, they will certainly exert the utmost endeavor and energy in the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar. Thus may the outward express the inward and the form (or letter) indicate the meaning (or reality).
[Translated May 21, 1908.]
His honor . . . . presented the map of the land of the Mashrak-el-Azkar on the day of the declaration of His holiness the Supreme (the Bab). Great joy was obtained thereby and with the greatest care it was considered. It is indeed a delightful spot worthy of this edifice and building. However, it must be enlarged yet a little more, so that spacious ground around the Mashrak-el-Azkar may afford ample room for a rose garden.
Thank God! the people of God made such a sincere resolution and exerted such a great effort. It is hoped that all the friends and the maid-servants of the Merciful, from all regions and directions, will assist the erection of this building, so that in a short time a wonderful edifice may arise in the name of God and prove the reason whereby the people may examine and investigate the Cause of God and seek the divine teachings.
The Mashrak-el-Azkar, though outwardly a material foundation, is possessed of spiritual effect and causes the union of hearts and the gathering of souls.
In the days of the Manifestation, any city, wherein a Temple was founded, afforded the means of promulgation (of the Cause) and the confirmation of the hearts and the confidence of souls, for in those dwellings the Name of God is ever mentioned and always commemorated. And, for the tranquillity and repose of the hearts, there is no other means save the commemoration of almighty God.
Praise be to God! The erection of the Mashrak-el-Azkar has a great in all grades (or states). It was tested in the east and so, evidently and plainly, was it proved. Even when in a village a house was called the Mashrak-el-Azkar, it possessed a different effect. How much more its building and organization!
Therefore, O ye friends and maid-servants of the Merciful! As long as ye can, endeavor with life and heart, so that the Mashrak-el-Azkar of Chicago may soon be built, organized and confirmed.
If all the friends in America, in all cities and hamlets, assist and by the means of a building commission help, this offering will prove most acceptable in the Kingdom of the Sun of the Horizons.
O God! O God! Verily, I implore Thee with throbbing heart and streaming tears to aid every one who endeavors for the erection of this edifice, in the building of a house, wherein Thy Name is mentioned every morn and eve.
O Lord! Send down Thy benediction upon whosoever served this edifice and endeavored in its uprising among the sects and religions, and confirm him in every good of mankind; open the doors of riches and wealth unto him and give in heritage the treasures of the Kingdom which perish not; make him the sign of giving among the people and reinforce him by the Sea of Generosity and Bounty, which is surging with the waves of grace and favor.
Verily, Thou art the Generous, the Merciful, the Bountiful!
[Translated July 4, 1908.]
The believers of God in America, one and all, must unitedly make an effort, so that the Temple of God will be built in Chicago, then, afterwards, it will be built in other localities. . . .
Regarding the building of the Temple in Chicago, both of you display the utmost effort, that is, effort in encouraging and inspiring the believers and the maid-servants of God, so that they may assist in the matter with generosity and thus very soon this Temple will be erected. This matter is of great importance (utmost importance).
[In Abdul-Baha's own handwriting] In Ishkabad, the believers of God made the erection of the Temple conducive to affinity and unity, so that it really became the cause of oneness of the Word.
Ye also make the erection of the Temple in America conducive to the unity and oneness of the believers, of the maid-servants and servants of the Merciful, so that, in one thought, one aim, they engage themselves in the building of the Temple.
[Translated July, 1908.]
I am hopeful by divine bounty and grace that the beloved ones of God may be confirmed in the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar and all its accessories, for the Mashrak-el-Azkar has important accessories which are accounted of the basic foundations. These are—school for orphan children, hospital and dispensary for the poor, place for the incapable (i. e., home for the cripple), college for the higher scientific education. The meaning is this, that, in every place,
First a Mashrak-el-Azkar must be founded;
Then a School for the Education of orphan children and the poor;
Then the Hospital and Medical Dispensary must be founded;
Then the Home of the Cripple;
Then the College of Higher Scientific Education.
In every city a great Mashrak-el-Azkar must be founded after this order. Now we hope the Mashrak-el-Azkar may be founded in Chicago. After its foundation, the important accessories may gradually be founded.
[Translated November 25, 1908.]
Some of the souls are not aware of the importance of the Mashrak-el-Azkar. They think and say: The other nations have hundreds of thousands of temples, the Christians having as many as a million temples of the greatest structural importance. What result have they yielded, that now this one Mashrak-el-Azkar is said to cause the manifestation of signs and prove a source of light! One million churches have not yielded any fruit. What is the one Mashrak-el-Azkar going to do? . . .
Furthermore, today, the establishment of the Mashrak-el-Azkar is of paramount importance, but hereafter it shall not be so. This is the beginning of organization. It is like unto the first church founded in Christianity. It is an expression of the elevation of the Word of God. When the Mashrak-el-Azkar was erected in Ishkabad, its influence was felt in all the oriental countries. Whosoever heard of it commenced an investigation of the Cause. Now the Mashrak-el-Azkar of Ishkabad, like an evident banner waves in the world. And, if, in Chicago, the Mashrak-el-Azkar is established, even as in Ishkabad, then you will see what the recognition of the Cause will do. Particularly, the arrangement of the Mashrak-el-Azkar is such, that it will exert the greatest effect upon the civilized world, for it has many accessories. Among them are the following:
A school for orphans, a college for higher scientific education (or higher knowledge), a hospital, a home for cripples, a hospice.
When the Mashrak-el-Azkar, with its accessories, is established in the world, aside from its religious or spiritual influence, it will have a tremendous effect upon civilization. Besides the religionists who will feel its influence, materialists will not be exempt therefrom. Moreover it contains divine wisdoms, spiritual effects upon the intellects and thoughts. Subsequent to its erection these will become evident.
[Table talk given in Akka, February, 1909.]
Among the most important affairs is the founding of the Mashrak-el-Azkar, although weak minds may not grasp its importance: nay, perchance, they imagine this Mashrak-el-Azkar to be a temple like other temples.
They may say to themselves: "Every nation has a hundred thousand gigantic temples; what result have they yielded, that now this one Mashrak-el-Azkar (is said) to cause the manifestation of signs and prove a source of light?" But they are ignorant of the fact that the founding of this Mashrak-el-Azkar is to be in the inception of the organization of the Kingdom.
Therefore, it is important and is an expression of the upraising of the evident Standard, which is waving in the center of that continent, the results and effects of which will become manifest in the hearts and spirits. No soul will be aware of this mature wisdom save after trial.
When the Mashrak-el-Azkar was founded in Ishkabad, its clamor affected all the cities of the orient and caused souls to awaken (to the call). Most of the souls who investigated and heard the explanation were attracted to the Kingdom of God.
Moreover, the accessories of the Mashrak-el-Azkar are numerous. Among them are the school for orphans, the great college for the higher arts, hospital, home for the cripples, and hospice. The doors of these places are to be opened to all sects—no differentiations. When these accessories are completed, and, by God's help and aid, the departments fully systematized, it will be proved that the Mashrak-el-Azkar is to human society a great bounty and a great blessing.
In brief, through the unlimited bounty of God, I am hopeful that the beloved ones of God in America may be aided and confirmed in founding this mighty and solid foundation and gradually annex thereto its accessories.
Now ye have convened in that center (Chicago), from other cities of America. With sincere intentions and lofty endeavors have ye proposed to undertake this mighty affair. Know ye for a certainty that ye will be confirmed by the aids of the Holy Spirit and that ye will render the Kingdom of God a distinguished service, whereby ye will become dear in both realms and will shine forth as morning stars from the horizon of the Love of God.
This organization of the Mashrak-el-Azkar will be a type for the coming centuries and will hold the station of the Mother, and thus, later, in other cities many Mashrak-el-Azkars will be its offspring.
O Lord! Make these holy souls dawning-points of lights and the manifestations of (Thy) signs. Make every one a leading corner stone in this great edifice, a pillar of its pillars.
O God! Although the friends are needy, yet Thou art the Helper, the Supporter, the Rewarder!
These souls have arisen to serve Thee well and have begun servitude. Confirm them and aid them. Encourage each by promises of Thy divine favors and make them of the elect.
Thou art the Mighty, the Powerful, the Able, the Giver, the Shining, the Hearer, the Seer!
[Extract from Tablet to Temple Unity Convention of March 22-23, 1909.]
Praise be to God! that the Convention of the delegates for the Mashrak-el-Azkar was held in perfect order and the members assembled in that spiritual meeting with radiant faces, heavenly hearts, merciful spirits and the glad tidings of the Kingdom, and consulted and deliberated respecting the founding of the Mashrak-el-Azkar.
Although hereafter thousands of Mashrak-el-Azkars will be founded, yet as this Mashrak-el-Azkar is the first divine Institute in America, therefore, it is very important and its results and fruits are endless. Soon will some of its results become known and evident.
In brief, the delegates who congregated
in that lordly assemblage and engaged in the service of the divine Kingdom must give thanks night and day, for they were thus aided and confirmed and left a foot-print (trace), of which eternality is an inherent quality.
Although the importance of this divine Institute is not very evident now, yet in the future it will be clear and plain as the sun.
[Translated July 20, 1909.]
Thy detailed letter was received. Its contents indicated that thou didst travel in the cities of America and visited the friends of God until thou didst reach the general Convention held in Chicago for the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar. In thy letter thou hast written in praise and commendation of the illumination of that Convention. Truly, I say, the Convention of the Bahai delegates in Chicago was a heavenly gathering and confirmed by divine assistance. The splendor of the Kingdom of Abha shone forth and the soul-refreshing breeze wafted from the direction of providence. It was an effulgence from the rays of the Sun of Truth, that the friends of God gathered in that illumined assembly with the utmost love, unity and concord. The intentions of everyone were reinforced by divine confirmation, the aim of everyone was service in the Cause of God, servitude in the threshold of the Almighty and the erection of the Mashrak-el-Azkar.
The results of that Convention in the future will be far-reaching and most important, and evident signs shall become manifest. As it was the first general Bahai Convention in America, it displayed wonderful influence. The gathering of that illumined assembly, in such a short space of time, would have been impossible without the power of the divine Covenant and Testament. But the Covenant has such a great sway that it astonishes the minds. In every region the sign of the power of the Covenant is apparent and manifest.
For instance, in Persia, the fire of revolution blazed in such wise that all communities, government and nation became afflicted with the most severe trials; but the power of the Covenant protected the Bahai friends to such a degree that in this turbulent storm no dust fell upon them, except in one locality, which became the cause of the spreading of the religion of God and the diffusion of the Word of God. Now all the parties in Persia are wondering how the people of Baha were guarded and protected.
Praise be to God! that, in Teheran and all the provinces of Persia, the call of God has been raised, the ensign of the Covenant has been unfurled, the cry of "Ya-Baha-el-Abha!", has been heard and the melody of the Kingdom of Abha has been promulgated among the people of intelligence.
[Translated August 14, 1909.]
O ye friends of the east and the west!
One of the greatest foundations of the religion of God, the significance of the Word of God and the duty of the believers of God is mutual assistance and co-operation. For the world of humanity, nay, rather, all the infinite beings exist by this law of mutual action and helpfulness. Should this law of joint interchange of forces be removed from the arena of life, the existence would be entirely destroyed.
When we ponder deeply upon the connection and interdependence of beings, we clearly realize that the life of every being draws benefit and sustenance from all the other innumerable existences. This mutual helpfulness is realized either directly or through mediation, and if, for the twinkling of an eye, this confirmation and assistance does not descend upon the living being, that one will become non-existent, for all the existing things are linked together and draw help from each other. Therefore, the greatest foundation of the world of existence is this co-operation and mutuality.
Liken the world of existence to the temple of man. All the limbs and organs of the human body assist each other,
therefore life continues. When, in this wonderful organism, there is a disconnection, life is changed into death and the parts of the body disintegrate. Likewise, among the parts of existence, there is a wonderful connection and interchange of forces, which is the cause of the life of the world and the continuation of these countless phenomena.
When one considers the living beings and the growing plants, he realizes that the animals and man sustain life by inhaling the emanations from the vegetable world, and this fiery element is called oxygen. The vegetable kingdom also draws life from the living creatures in the substance called carbon. In brief, the beings of sensation acquire life from the growing beings and, in turn, the growing things receive life from the sensitive creatures. Therefore, this interchange of forces and inter-communication is continual and uninterrupted.
From this illustration, one can see the base of life is this mutual aid and helpfulness; and the cause of destruction and non-existence would be the interruption of this mutual assistance.
The more the world aspires to civilization, the more this most important matter of co-operation and assistance becomes manifest. Therefore, in the world of humanity, one sees this matter of helpfulness attain to a high degree of efficiency; so much so, that the continuance of humanity entirely depends upon this interrelation. The believers of God must especially fortify the foundation of this reality among themselves, so that all may help each other under all circumstances, whether in the degree of truth and significances or in the stations of this world of matter and, especially, in founding public institutions which shall benefit all the people, and, still more, the founding of the Mashrak-el-Azkar, which is the greatest of the divine foundations.
Consequently, the friends of God, with the utmost magnanimity, sincerity of purpose and self-abnegation, must help for the building of this supreme foundation. Now, in the regions of America, the believers of God have resolved to build the Mashrak-el-Azkar and, while choosing the land in a most beautiful spot, they are occupied in gathering contributions. Although they will build this Mashrak-el-Azkar with the utmost beauty and completeness, yet, for the sake of the communication between orient and occident, the increase of spiritual affection and love and the solidarity of the foundation of unity and concord, all the believers in the east must contribute according to their means, no matter how small the sum may be. God does not ask from any soul except according to his ability. This contribution must come from all cities and villages from all the believers of God. They should send all contributions to this Holy Land, so that they may be forwarded from here to America through a confidential channel.
In brief, O ye friends of God, rest assured that in place of this contribution, your commerce, your agriculture and industries shall be blessed many times. Whosoever comes with one good act, God will give him tenfold. There is no doubt that the living Lord shall assist and confirm the generous soul.
O my Lord! O my Lord! Illumine the faces of Thy sincere and beloved ones. Assist them with the angels of Thy manifest victory; make them firm in Thy great path; open before them the doors of blessings through Thine ancient favor, for they give in Thy way whatever they have, protecting Thy religion, assured in Thy mentioning, sacrificing their souls for Thy love, giving what they have for Thy beauty, so that they may gain Thy good pleasure. O my Lord, destine for them inexhaustible compensation, never failing bounty and divine outpouring.
Verily, Thou art the Confirmer, the Assister, the Generous, the Giver, and the Merciful.
[Translated August 24, 1909.]
STAR OF THE WEST
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TABLET FROM ABDUL-BAHA.
HE IS GOD!
O thou Star of the West!
Be thou happy! Be thou happy! Shouldst thou continue to remain firm and eternal, ere long, thou shalt become the Star of the East and shalt spread in every country and clime. Thou art the first paper of the Bahais which is organized in the country of America. Although for the present thy subscribers are limited, thy form is small and thy voice weak, yet shouldst thou stand unshakable, become the object of the attention of the friends and the center of the generosity of the leaders of the faith who are firm in the Covenant, in the future thy subscribers will become hosts after hosts like unto the waves of the sea; thy volume will increase, thy arena will become vast and spacious and thy voice and fame will be raised and become world-wide—and at last thou shalt become the first paper of the world of humanity. Yet all these depend upon firmness, firmness, firmness!
(Signed) ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS.
I hope that all of them may become assisted in the service of the Mashrak-el-Azkar, so that this divine Institution may be raised in that country, and the melody of Mashrak-el-Azkar may awaken the sleepy ones.
[Translated October 31, 1909.]
The Mashrak-el-Azkar of Chicago is of the greatest importance. This is a Bahai Temple, a supreme House of Worship, a place of spiritual gathering and of the manifestation of divine mysteries. The friends of God must endeavor, with all their hearts and souls, that this structure may raised and completed.
O ye beloved of Abdul-Baha! The beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful intend to found a Mashrak-el-Azkar in Chicago. They have sent to us numerous plans, that one may be accepted and the edifice be built accordingly. Now the funds must be accumulated, the land entirely paid for and the necessary preparations for building and then the accessory matters considered. Therefore, make ye an effort and show ye zeal that the price of the land be fully discharged and the means for the edifice procured.
The beloved in the east are striving with heart and soul to contribute to the best of their ability, although the internal conditions of Persia have, during the last few years, been exceedingly disturbed. This revolution affected all conditions and walks of life. There has been no agriculture, no trade and no commerce; nay, rather in all the provinces there have been political disputes and quarrels between the two parties, namely, the nationalists and the constitutionalists. Thus they have been wholly occupied with their own affairs. Notwithstanding this, they have striven to contribute to the Mashrak-el-Azkar in Chicago according to their best ability and they will never be found wanting. If Persia should obtain order, the beloved then will make a worthy contribution.
[Translated March 18, 1910.]
Several plans and designs of the Mashrak-el-Azkar have been received from America. Now, the believers must display an endeavor so that the land may be bought in its entirety; then collect contributions for the building, and then they may think about the plans. So far, the means are lacking. I hope from the favor of the true One that sufficient and ample contributions may be gathered and afterward the best and most acceptable plans be decided upon.
[Translated April 12, 1910.]
In all the world of creation all the existent beings are in the utmost connection. Through this connection, mutual helpfulness and co-operation is realized. This mutual helpfulness and co-operation is the origin of the conservation of the forces of life. If, for one instant, this mutual helpfulness and co-operation were cut off from the sources and realities of things, all the existent beings and things would be thrown into confusion and chaos, and be reduced to nothingness and annihilation.
For instance, from the breath of the animals a watery element, called hydrogen, and carbon is exhaled, and this is the life principle of the vegetable kingdom. From the vegetable kingdom and the trees, a fiery element, called oxygen, is emitted and this becomes the cause of the maintenance of the life of the animal kingdom. In such a manner, mutual helpfulness and co-operation is realized continually between all the existent beings.
Likewise, the greatest interrelation and communication exists between the sons of men, without which, peace, life and existence are entirely impossible. For a soul independent of all the other souls and without receiving assistance from other sources cannot live for the twinkling of an eye; nay, rather, he will become non-existent and reduced to nothingness; especially among the believers of God, between whom material and spiritual communication is developed up to the highest point of perfection.
It is this real communication, the essential necessity and requirement of which is mutual helpfulness, co-operation and confirmation. Without the complete establishment of this divine principle in the hearts of the friends of God, nothing can be accomplished, for they are the hyacinths of one garden, the waves of one sea, the stars of one heaven and the rays of one sun. From every standpoint, the essential unity, the luminous unity, the religious unity and the material unity are founded and organized between them.
In these times, the utmost hope and wish of the friends of the west is the erection of the Mashrak-el-Azkar, and in those regions the materials for construction and building are expensive and costly. A large sum of money is needed for the building of a residence; then how much more is needed for the foundation of the Mashrak-el-Azkar, which must be erected with the utmost splendor, beauty and magnificence!
Therefore, the friends of God must arise in every part of the world to raise contributions, and with their hearts and souls strive to gather these funds to be sent to the occident, that it may become known and evident throughout the universe that the Bahais of the east and west are as members of one household and the children of the one Lord! The Turks and the Persians, the Parsee and the American, the Hindu and the African, all of them are one army and one cohort and, without any distinction, they arise for the assistance and aid of each other.
This praiseworthy movement is beloved and accepted in the threshold of the forgiving Lord. Truly, I say, in the erection of the Mashrak-el-Azkar in Ishkabad, the friends of God have laid the foundation of the oneness of the kingdom of humanity and they worked nobly together until now, and it is nearly completed. Praise be to God! that, at this moment, from every country in the world, according to their various means, contributions are continually being sent toward the fund of the Mashrak-el-Azkar in America.
Convey the gratitude of Abdul-Baha to all the friends of God in this service.
In reality, this magnanimity of the believers is worthy of great praise and thankfulness, for, from Teheran, Khorossan, Shiraz, Jahram, Esphahan, even from the towns and villages of the Khorassan, Shiraz and Yazd, contributions were sent. This donation in the path of
the Orb of Regions is conducive to the happiness of the souls of the spiritual ones.
From the day of Adam until now, such an event has never even been witnessed by man, that, from the farthermost country of Asia, contributions were forwarded to the farthermost country of America. From Rangoon, India, donations are sent to Chicago, and from Jahram, a little village of Shiraz, and Kheirol-Gora of Tarshiz, money is transmitted for the Mashrak-el-Azkar in America. This is through the bounty and providence of the Blessed Perfection, the assistance and confirmation of the Sun of Truth and the victory and triumph of the Luminary of Effulgence, who has united so marvelously the regions of the world together. Glory belongs to the Lord of Hosts. Sovereignty belongs to the compassionate God. Power and might belongs to the living, self-subsistent One, who has united the people of the world and assembled them together like unto the brilliant stars of the horizon of adoration.
O my God! O my God! Favor belongs to Thee! Generosity belongs to Thee! Praise belongs to Thee and glorification is Thine, for that which Thou hast bestowed upon these indigent ones, granted a refuge and asylum to these weak ones in the cave of Thy protection and preservation, assisted them in the service of Thy Cause and confirmed them in the worship of Thy exalted threshold.
O Lord! They have sacrificed their belongings and souls in Thy path, contributed for love of Thee and missed no chance or opportunity in spreading Thy signs, diffusing Thy Word, promulgating Thy Name among Thy servants and proclaiming Thy wonders among Thy creatures.
Verily, Thou are the Powerful, the Mighty, the Most High, the Omnipresent and, verily, Thou art the Clement and the Most Merciful!
[Translated April 19, 1910.]
Explain to the people the details of the Mashrak-el-Azkar in Chicago and tell them how contributions are received from the east and the west. For example, at this moment, four contributions were received in one day from Rangoon, Bombay (India), Jahram of Shiraz and Kheirol-Gora of Khorassan for the Mashrak-el-Azkar of America and were forwarded to their destination.
Truly, I say, the friends of God displayed wonderful generosity in regard to the contributions for the Mashrak-el-Azkar. They displayed magnanimity at any cost to such an extent that some of them sold portions of their clothing on the street. This is through the power of the Covenant of God, for, until this day, an event of this character has never transpired, that, from the east and Asia, contributions were forwarded to the west for the building of a Temple. Verily, this is a cause of astonishment for the people of perception.
[Translated April 19, 1910.]
O God, my aim, my hope! With hearts full of longing and breast full of yearning, we beg of Thee and We supplicate at the threshold of Thy might to raise the foundation of the Mashrak-el-Azkar in Chicago, in the most speedy manner. Make its basis firm and its structure enduring, suffer its pillars to remain unshakable and make its columns of the steel and iron of firmness. Glorify its servants, beautify the characters and make the worshipers beloved. Suffer its nightingales to sing, "Ya-Baha-el-Abha!" and warble the praises of our Lord, the Most Supreme. Make its men the standards unfolded on the mountains of the world, and its women the sanctified angels of the tabernacle of the world!
The Temple is the most great foundation of the world of humanity and it has many branches.
Although the Temple is the place of worship, with it is connected hospital, pharmacy, pilgrim's house, school for the
orphans and university for the study of higher sciences.
Every Temple is connected with these five things. I hope that now in America they will build a Temple and gradually add to it the hospital, school, university, pharmacy and pilgrim's house, with the utmost and thoroughness. You must make the believers understand these details, so that they may realize how important the Temple is. The Temple is not only a place for worship: nay, it is perfect in every way.
Your detailed letter was perused, and from its contents it became evident that the debt of the land of Mashrak-el-Azkar is clear. This news made the hearts happy and caused infinite rejoicing.
Now, it is hoped that the believers of God may show magnanimity and raise a great sum for the building so that the foundation of the Mashrak-el-Azkar may be laid, and, perchance, God willing, the corner stone of the foundation may be laid by the hands of Abdul-Baha.
This confirmation will descend upon the people of America, if they will arise and endeavor with great courage to establish union and harmony, so that every trace of difference may be uprooted and they may all become as one heart and one soul.
Convey the wonderful Abha greeting to all the friends and the maid-servants of the Merciful.
[Translated March 4, 1911.]
You have written that a sum of money is raised to be contributed toward the Mashrak-el-Azkar. Ask ye of God that the American believers may become assisted in the building of this great Temple.
[Translated March 4, 1911.]
If the believers of God in New York and other cities of America establish, in a befitting manner, union and harmony with spirit, tongue, heart and body, suddenly they shall find Abdul-Baha in their midst. Unless this union is brought about, the breath of the Holy Spirit shall not have any effect, for the physical body must find capacity, so that the life of the spirit may breathe through it. If the Beloved of the union of the friends and the harmony of the believers become manifest, the east and west of America shall be perfumed through the sweet fragrance of the Paradise of Abha, the Mashrak-el-Azkar shall be constructed, the outpouring of the Sun of Reality shall descend, the everlasting glory of the friends of God shall become apparent and the heavenly life be attained.
[Translated April 28, 1911.]
Today, in America, no matter is greater for the elevation of the Word of God than the Mashrak-el-Azkar. Surely, give it the utmost importance. I am always waiting that a good report regarding the Mashrak-el-Azkar should come.
In most of the cities of Persia, even in some villages, a Mashrak-el-Azkar has been founded.
Now the beloved in America must make effort to establish one Mashrak-el-Azkar.
[Translated June 1, 1911.]
The question of Mashrak-el-Azkar is very important and is superior to every matter; surely put forth utmost effort for it.
[Translated June 1, 1911.]
Know thou that the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar is the greatest foundation in, those regions. God said in the Koran, "It is those who believed in God and the Last Day shall build the Temple of God."
It is incumbent upon thee and upon all to put forth the best effort in these days, in building this glorious Temple, raising the tumult of commemoration therein, during the wing of the night, at dawn and at eventide. It is incumbent upon you (men and women) to be united in this great Cause, so that ye may be confirmed by the divine bounty, and merciful spirit; become increased with energy and power; gain a recompense, and estimation.
[Translated September 23, 1911.]
Addresses of Abdul-Baha in America upon the Mashrak-el-Azkar
ADDRESS OF ABDUL-BAHA AT PUBLIC MEETING CONCLUDING THE BAHAI TEMPLE UNITY CONVENTION, DRILL HALL, MASONIC TEMPLE, CHICAGO, TUESDAY, APRIL 30, 1912.
[STAR OF THE WEST, Vol. III, No. 4.]
AMONG the institutes of the Holy Books is that of the foundation of Holy Edifices. That is to say, an edifice is to be built in order that humanity may find therein a place of meeting, and this is to be conducive to unity and fellowship amongst them. The real Temple is the very Law of God, for to that all humanity must resort, and that is the center of unity for all mankind. That is the collective Center. That is the cause of accord and unity of the hearts. That is the cause of solidarity of the human race. That is the source of the life eternal. Temples are the symbols of that uniting force, in order that, when the people gather there, in a given edifice of God, in the house and Temple of God, they may recall the fact, that the law has been revealed for them and that that law is to unite them; that, just as this edifice was founded for the unification of mankind, the law preceding and creating this Temple was issued therefor. . . . . In brief, the purpose of places of worship and edifices for adoration is simply that of unity, in order that various nations, divergent races, varying souls may gather there and among them amity, love and accord may be realized. The original purpose is this. That is why His holiness Baha'o'llah has commanded that a place be built for all the religionists of the world; that all religions and races and sects may gather together; that the oneness of the human world may be proclaimed; that all the human race are the servants of God, and that all are submerged in the ocean of God's mercy. The world of existence may be likened to this place. It is the Mashrak-el-Azkar. Just as the external world is a place where various peoples of different hues and colors, of various faiths and denominations, meet; just as they are submerged in the same Sea of favors, likewise all may meet under the dome of the Mashrak-el-Azkar and adore the one God in the same spirit of truth, for the ages of darkness have passed away and the century of light has arrived. The imaginary prejudices are in the process of dispersion and the Light of unity is shining. The difference which exists among the nations and the peoples is soon to pass away, and the fundamentals of the divine religions, which are no other than the solidarity and the oneness of the human race, are to be established. For six thousand years the human race has been at war. It is enough! Now let them, for a time at least, consort in amity. They entertained enmity formerly. Let them for a period exercise love. For six thousand years have they negated each other, each nation considering the other as infidel. It is sufficient! We must all know that we are the servants of one God; that we are turning to one God; that we have one kind Father; that we have one divine Law; that we have one reality; that we have one desire. Thus may we live together in the utmost of amity and love. And, for this love, for this amity, the favors and bounties of God shall surround us; the world of humanity will be reformed; humankind will find a new life, eternal light shall shine; merciful and heavenly morals shall become manifested. The divine
policies shall rule, for the divine policy is the oneness of the human world. God is kind to all. He considers all as His servants. He does not exclude anybody, and the policy of God is the correct and just policy. No matter how complete human policy and foresight is, it is imperfect. If we do not emulate the policy of God, or if we refuse to follow His dictates, that will be a presumptive evidence of our saying, as it were, that we know better than God; that we are knowing and wise, whereas God is ignorant; that we are sagacious, and God is not. God forbid! We seek shelter in God's mercy therefor! No matter how far the human intelligence shall advance, it is still as a drop, whereas the divine omniscience is the very ocean. And now is it just for us to say that a drop is imbued or endowed with qualities wherewith the ocean itself is minus or not endowed? To say that the policy of the atom or the drop is greater and superior to that of the ocean, there is no greater ignorance than this! At most it is this: That there are some people who are as children. They are ignorant, and with the utmost love we are to educate them in order that they may become wise. They are sick; they are ill. We must tenderly care for them and treat them until they become well. Their morals are unpraiseworthy. We must train them in order that they may become imbued with morals commendable. Otherwise we are all the servants of one God, and we are beneath the protection and providence of one God. These are the institutes of God and the foundations of the Mashrak-el-Azkar, or His Temple. The outer edifice is a symbol of the inner. May the people be admonished thereby! I pray in your behalf, that your hearts may be enlightened with the light of the love of God; that your minds may develop daily; that your spirits may be set aglow with the fire of His glad tidings, until the divine foundations in the human world may become promulgated. And the first of these institutes is the oneness of the human world and love among all mankind, and the second is the Most Great Peace. Praise be to God, this American democracy presents capacity, its people showing forth their readiness to become the flag-bearer of the Most Great Peace. May they be the hosts of the oneness of humanity! May its people serve the threshold of God and spread that which is the good pleasure of God!
O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. The hearts are radiant through Thy love. The thoughts and the spirits are exhilarated through Thy glad tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees, even as it has aspired to the material degrees, and render this just government victorious! Confirm this revered nation to hoist the standard of the oneness of humanity; to promulgate the Most Great Peace; to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the World. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it dear, near to Thee, through Thy bounty and bestowal!
ADDRESS OF ABDUL-BAHA AT THE DEDICATION OF THE MASHRAK-EL-AZKAR GROUNDS, CHICAGO, HIGH NOON, MAY 1, 1912.
[STAR OF THE WEST, Vol. III, No. 4]
Today you have endured considerable difficulty in coming out, withstanding the cold and wind; but the power which has gathered you here is truly a colossal power. It is the extraordinary power. It is a divine power which gathers you here. It is divine favor of Baha'o'llah, which gathered you together. Therefore, we praise God that this power does assemble people in this fashion.
Thousands of Mashrak-el-Azkar's,—which means the Dawning-Point of Praise for all religionists,—will be built in the world. In the orient and in the occident of the world will they be built.
But this Mashrak-el-Azkar, being the first one in the occident, has great importance. In after years, there will be many Mashrak-el-Azkars; even in this City of Chicago many will be established. In Asia there will be many. In Europe there will be many. Even in Africa there will be many. Even in Australia and New Zealand; but this is of great importance. In Ishkabad, Caucasus, Russia, the Mashrak-el-Azkar has the same great importance, being the first one built there. In Persia there are many Mashrak-el-Azkars. Some are houses, which have been rented for that purpose. Others have given their homes entirely for that purpose, and in some places temporary and small places have been built therefor. In all the cities of Persia there are Mashrak-el-Azkars; but the great Mashrak-el-Azkar was founded in Ishkabad. Because it was the first Mashrak-el-Azkar, it possesses the superlative degree of importance. All the friends of Ishkabad agreed and put forth the greatest effort. His holiness the Afnan devoted all his wealth to it. Everything he had he gave for it. Hence, such an imposing edifice was built. A colossal effort was put forth. Notwithstanding their contributions to that Mashrak-el-Azkar, they have, as you know, contributed to the one here in this city. Now that one is almost complete, that is to say, with all its gardens. That Mashrak-el-Azkar is centrally located. It has nine avenues, nine gardens, nine fountains, so it is nine on nine, all nines. It is like a beautiful bouquet. Just imagine an edifice of that beauty in the center, very lofty, surrounded by gardens, variegated flowers, with nine avenues interlacing nine gardens, nine pools and nine fountains, and think how delightful it must be! That is the way it should be. It is matchless, most beautiful! Such is the design. And now they are at work building a hospital and a school for orphans and a home for cripples and a large dispensary and a hospice. They are now planning, thinking of these things. When that, God willing, shall be completed, it will be a Paradise! There will be no greater geometry than this and I hope that in Chicago it shall be like this. It will be even so.
ADDRESS OF ABDUL-BAHA AT PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION, FIFTH AVE. AND 10TH ST., NEW YORK CITY, SUNDAY, JUNE 2, 1912, 8 P. M., REV. DR. PERCY STICKNEY GRANT, RECTOR.
[STAR OF THE WEST, Vol. III, No. 10.]
In the terminology of the Holy Books, the church has been called the "House of the Covenant," for the reason that the church is a place where people of differing thoughts and diverging tendencies,—where all races and nations may come together in a covenant of permanent fellowship. In the temple of the Lord, in the house of God, man must be submissive to God. He must enter into a covenant with his Lord, in order that he shall obey His commands and become unified with his fellow-man. He must not consider divergence of races nor difference of nationalities; he must not view variation in denomination and creed, nor should he take into account the differing degrees of thoughts; nay, rather, he should look upon all mankind and realize that all must become united and agreed. He must recognize all as one family, one race, one nativity; all the servants of one God, dwelling beneath the shelter of the mercy of one God.
The purpose is that the church is a collective center. Temples are symbols of the reality and divinity of God, the collective Center. Consider how, within a temple, every race and people are seen and represented—all in the presence of the Lord, covenanting together in a covenant of love and fellowship, all offering the same melody, prayer and supplications to God. Therefore, it is evident that the church is a collective center for mankind. For this reason, there have been churches and temples in all the divine
religions. But the real collective Centers are the Manifestations of God, of whom the church or temple is a symbol and expression. That is to say, the Manifestation of God is the real divine Temple and collective Center of which the outer church is but a symbol.
Recall the statement of His holiness Jesus Christ, recorded in the Gospel. Addressing Peter, He said, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock will I build my church." It is evident, therefore, that the Church of God is the Law of God and the actual edifice is but one symbol thereof. For the Law of God is a collective center which unites various people, nativities, tongues and opinions. All find shelter in its protection and become attracted by it. For example, His holiness Moses and the Mosaic Law were the unifying center for the scattered sheep of Israel. He united these wandering flocks, brought them under control of divine Laws, educated them, unified them, caused them to agree and uplifted them to a superlative degree of development. At a time when they were debased they became glorified; ignorant, they were made knowing; in the bonds of captivity, they were given freedom. In short, they were unified. Day by day they advanced, until they attained the highest degree of progress witnessed in that age. It is therefore proven that the Manifestation of God and the Law of God accomplish unity.
It is self-evident that humanity is at variance. Human tastes differ; thoughts, nativities, races and tongues are various. The need of a collective Center, by which these differences may be counterbalanced and the people of the world be unified, is obvious. Consider how nothing but a spiritual power can bring about this unification, for material conditions and mental aspects are so widely different, that agreement and unity are impossible through material means. But it is possible for all to become unified through one Spirit, just as all may receive light from one sun. Therefore, assisted by the collective and divine Center, which is the Law of God and the reality of His Manifestation, we can overcome these conditions until they pass away entirely and the races advance.
Consider the time of His holiness Christ. How many different peoples, races and governments there were; how many varying sects and denominations! But, when His holiness appeared, the Messianic Reality proved to be the collective Center, which brought together and unified them beneath the same tabernacle of amity. Reflect a moment! Could His holiness Jesus Christ have united these divergent factors or brought about such results through political power? Was this unity and agreement possible through material forces? It is evident that it was not; nay, rather, these various peoples were brought together through divine power,—through the breaths of the Holy Spirit. They were revived through the infusion of a fresh spirit. The spirituality of the Christ overcame their difficulties so that their disagreements utterly passed away. In this way, these varying peoples were unified, agreed, and became welded in a bond of love, which alone can unite hearts. Therefore, it is proved that the Manifestations of God—the great Mouth-pieces of God—are the collective Centers of God. The Prophets of God are these collective Centers, for they are the real shepherds. The real shepherd unites the scattered sheep, as they have done in the past. The collective Center has ever appeared from the orient. His holiness Abraham was a collective Center and he appeared in the east. His holiness Moses was a collective Center and he appeared in the east. His holiness Jesus Christ was a collective Center and He appeared in the east. His holiness Mohammed was a collective Center appearing among the nomadic tribes of the Arabian peninsula. Today, His holiness Baha'o'llah is the collective Center of unity for all humanity and He has come from the east.
He founded the oneness of humanity in Persia. He established amity among the various peoples of different religions, denominations, sects and cults by rescuing them from the fetters of past imitations and superstitions, and led them to the very foundation of the divine religions. And, from this foundation, shines forth the radiance of spirituality, which is unity, the love of God, the knowledge of God, praiseworthy morals and the virtues of the human world.
Baha'o'llah again renewed these principles, just as the coming of the spring refreshes the earth and confers new life upon all phenomenal beings. For the freshness of the former springtime had waned, its vivification had ceased, the life-giving breezes were no longer wafting their fragrance; winter and the season of darkness had come. His holiness Baha'o'llah came to renew the life of the world with this new and divine springtime, which has pitched its tent in the countries of the orient in the utmost power and glory. It has refreshed the world of the orient and there is no doubt that, if the world of the occident should abandon dogmas of the past, turn away from empty imitations and superstitions, investigate the reality of the divine religions, holding fast to the example of His holiness Jesus Christ, acting in accordance with the teachings of God and becoming unified with the orient, an eternal happiness would be thereby attained.
In the western World, material civilization has attained the highest point of development, but the divine civilization was founded in the orient. Now the orient must acquire material civilization from the occident and the occident must acquire spiritual civilization from the orient. This will establish a mutual bond. When the east and west shall come together, the world of humanity will present a glorious aspect and extraordinary progress will be achieved. This is clear and evident; there is no proof needed. The status of material civilization in the occident cannot be denied, nor can any one deny the confirmation of the spiritual civilizations of the orient, for all the divine foundations of civilization have appeared in the east. This, too, is clear and evident. Therefore you must strive to assist the orient in order that it may acquire material progress. Likewise, the orient must promulgate the principles of spiritual civilization in the occident. By the commingling of these two civilizations, the world of humanity will attain the highest bond of prosperity and progress. Material civilization alone is not sufficient and will not prove productive. The physical happiness of material conditions was alloted to the animal. Consider how the animal has reached the utmost degree of physical felicity. For example, a bird perches upon the loftiest branch and builds there its nest in the utmost beauty and skill. All the grains and seeds of the meadows are its wealth and food; all the fresh water of mountain springs and rivers of the plain are for its enjoyment. Truly, this is the acme of material happiness, to which even a human creature cannot attain. This is the honor of the animal kingdom. But the honor of the human kingdom is the attainment of spiritual happiness in the human world, the acquisition of the knowledge and love of God. The honor alloted to man is the acquisition of the supreme virtues of the human world. This is his real happiness and felicity. But, if material happiness and spiritual felicity be conjoined, it will be "delight upon delight"—as the Arabs say. And now we pray that God will unite the east and the west in order that these two civilizations shall be exchanged and mutually enjoyed. I am sure it will come to pass for this is the radiant century. This is an age for the outpouring of divine mercy upon the exigency of this new century,—the unity of the east and the west. It will surely be accomplished.
--PHOTO-- SITE OF THE MASHRAK-EL-AZKAR IN AMERICA
Last words of Abdul-Baha concerning the Mashrak-el-Azkar
As to the matter of the building of the Mashrak-el-Azkar, that is, the matter of beginning the building thereof—an important (or considerable) sum of money must decidedly be prepared in order that work may be begun: that is, at least two or three hundred thousand dollars must be ready. And, most assuredly, if it be built in the days of the Covenant, it will be more joyful and more heart-rejoicing; but this is difficult.
Now be ye engaged in collecting contributions.
[Translated June 18, 1913.]
Verily, I pray God to confirm thee with the All-Power so that the means may be prepared for the establishment of the Mashrak-el-Azkar.
[Translated June 19, 1913.]
Blessed is he who listens unto the River of Life!—Baha'o'llah.
STATEMENT OF INCOMES AND EXPENDITURES, FROM MARCH 29, 1909, TO DECEMBER 31, 1915.
|1909||March 29th, Chicago Assembly||$3,665.44|
|1909||Fiscal year ending April 28, 1910||14,732.51|
|1910||Fiscal year ending May 2, 1911||10,453.59|
|1911||Fiscal year ending April 30, 1912||7,325.27|
|1912||Fiscal year ending April 28, 1913||14,123.28|
|1913||Fiscal year ending April 27, 1914||13,514.14|
|1914||Fiscal year ending April 23, 1915||6,986.93|
|Overcharge in exchange||4.41|
|Interest on deposit account, less exchange charges, April to Dec. 31, 1915||128.80|
|1915||Fiscal year incomplete (to Dec. 31, 1915)||5,537.88||$76,472.25|
Purchase Price, Mashrak-el-Azkar Site, Main Tract:
|1909||April 5, payment||$5,000.00|
|1909||Dec. 10, payment||5,000.00|
|1910||July 1, payment||5,000.00|
|1911||Jan. 1, payment||5,000.00|
|1911||June 14, payment||2,500.00|
|1912||June 24, payment||5,000.00|
|1912||Sept. 21, payment||2,500.00|
|1912||Oct. 1, final payment||2,500.00||$32,500.00|
Purchase Price Lake Shore Tract:
|1911||Oct. 11, payment||$200.00|
|1912||Jan. 30, payment||1,000.00|
|1912||Mar. 1, payment||1,000.00|
|1913||Mar. 3, payment||3,000.00|
|1913||Sept. 8, payment||3,000.00|
|1914||Feb. 2, final payment||6,000.00||$17,000.00|
Taxes and Assessments:
|1909||Fiscal year ending April 28, 1910||$974.79|
|1910||Fiscal year ending May 2, 1911||695.80|
|1911||Fiscal year ending April 30, 1912||976.73|
|1912||Fiscal year ending April 28, 1913||331.00|
|1913||Fiscal year ending April 27, 1914||1,768.73|
|1914||Fiscal year ending April 23, 1915||4.46|
|1915||Fiscal year incomplete (to Dec. 31, 1915)||880.78||$5,632.29|
|1909||Fiscal year ending April 28, 1910||$1,425.00|
|1910||Fiscal year ending May 2, 1911||1,200.00|
|1911||Fiscal year ending April 30, 1912||675.00|
|1912||Fiscal year ending April 28, 1913||861.62|
|1913||Fiscal year ending April 27, 1914||600.00||$4,761.62|
|1909||Fiscal year ending April 28, 1910||$183.70|
|1910||Fiscal year ending May 2, 1911||562.57|
|1911||Fiscal year ending April 30, 1912||930.66|
|1912||Fiscal year ending April 28, 1913||298.28|
|1913||Fiscal year ending April 27, 1914||732.25|
|1914||Fiscal year ending April 23, 1915||107.00|
|1915||Fiscal year incomplete (to Dec. 31, 1915)||91.00|
|1915||Special expenses, record and report, convention at San Francisco||150.00||$3,055.46||Total expenditures||$63,449.37|
|1915||Dec. 31, balance in building fund||13,022.88|
NOTE—In addition to the land purchased for the Mashrak-el-Azkar site, shown in the above statement, there is also included in the main tract, and forming a part of it, two lots, purchased by the Chicago Bahai Assembly at a cost of $2,000.00, and conveyed free of encumbrance to this Unity. The Unity also owns a lot at Muskegon, Michigan.
Albert H. Hall, Treasurer.