1. Your touching words in connection with the sudden removal of the Greatest Holy Leaf from their1 midst have greatly alleviated the burden of sorrow that weighs so heavily upon their hearts and have demonstrated that in their great and irreparable loss the friends are faithfully sharing their sorrow and grief.
1 Members of the Holy Family.
to see the friends unitedly working for the spread of a Cause for which our departed Khánum had given up all her life, and for the triumph of which she cherished the highest hopes. The expressions of zealous enthusiasm and hope, of genuine self-abnegation and love that the American believers and especially our precious sister Mrs Agnes Parsons demonstrated in their last Convention meeting have greatly brightened the closing days of her life.1 Shoghi Effendi trusts that her memory will increasingly serve to cheer and hearten the friends in their ever-widening activities.
2. The passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, so cruel in the feelings of unalterable grief that it has evoked, is, indeed, a tremendous loss to us all and particularly to our Guardian. Her presence among us was such a source of inspiration and joy that we cannot too deeply grieve the immensity of our loss. She was a real mother to every one of us, a comforter in our pains and anxieties, and a friend in our moments of utter loneliness and despair. But alas!
1 Refers to the Annual Convention held in April 1932, at which the delegates and friends responded in an impressive manner to the need of the Fund associated with the name of the Greatest Holy Leaf, initiated in order to complete the exterior ornamentation of the House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois. Mrs Parsons spontaneously removed a valuable pearl necklace from her neck to assist in meeting the Fund's goal. See Bahá'í News, No. 62, May 1932 for a report of that Convention.
We failed to appreciate adequately what her presence among us meant and it is only now, when she has gone for ever, that we come to realize the irreparable character of our loss.
3. The ascension of the Greatest Holy Leaf is, indeed, an irreparable loss to us all and will continue to be deeply felt for many, many long years. Her presence among us was such a source of blessings and inspiration! She was to every one of us not only a friend but a real mother, through whose maternal care and love we had learned to feel and experience that consuming love which is born of God and which alone can galvanize the souls of men.
Her departure from our midst, though cruel and heart-rending in its immediate results cannot but ultimately serve the very best interests of the Cause. For this invincible Faith of God has, ever since its inception in darkest Persia, grown and flourished amidst all sorts of tribulations and sufferings and has welcomed all these as providential forces destined to ensure its unity, promote its interests and consolidate its work.
4. His grief is too immense and his loss too heavy to be adequately expressed in words. But the many letters of condolence he has already received, and especially your message that indicated your profound attachment to our departed Khánum, greatly comforted his sorrow-stricken heart and gave him the assurance that in this calamitous event the friends are amply sharing his grief.
years this Exalted Leaf bore with a fortitude that bewildered every one who had the privilege of knowing her, sufferings and tribulations that few of our present-day believers did experience. And yet, what a joy and what a saintlike attitude she manifested all through her life. Her angelic face was so calm, so serene in the very midst of sufferings and pains. Not that she lacked tenderness of heart and sympathy. But she could overcome her feelings and this because she had put all her trust in God.
5. The irreparable loss which the Faith has suffered through the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf is too immense to be adequately expressed in words, and we cannot fully realize its significance at the present stage of the evolution of the Cause. Future generations stand in a better position to appreciate what her significance was during the early days of the Revelation and especially after the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
And now that she has gone for ever and is in direct communion with God we should rejoice at the thought that from the Realm Above she is watching over us all and is sending us her blessings.
6. In these days, when we are all mourning the loss of our beloved Greatest Holy Leaf, Shoghi Effendi's sole comfort is to see the friends as ever devoted and active and striving day and night to promote the teachings of the Cause.
of the administration should continue to be held as usual.
7. Your message of condolence and sympathy, dated July 22nd, 1932 which so fully conveyed your profound grief at the loss occasioned by the unexpected passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf was received and read with great interest. The Guardian's sorrow was much relieved and the burden of his agonizing pain immensely alleviated. He sincerely hopes that out of the pangs of this crushing calamity the Faith will strengthen its foundations and extend the sphere of its ever-widening influence.
the very last breath of our life a Cause for which our departed Khánum gave up her entire existence and for the future of which she cherished the brightest hopes.
8. ... The news of the Memorial Service you had held for the Greatest Holy Leaf gave him the assurance that the friends are faithfully sharing his grief and are demonstrating in a befitting manner their profound devotion to one whose very life was an example of faithfulness and sincerity, of self-abnegation and love.
9. The letter from that spiritual friend has reached the beloved Guardian, and he is aware of your bitter grieving over the calamitous news that a most glorious fruit of the Holy Tree, the Most Exalted Leaf, the Remnant of Bahá, has passed away.
dearest wish of her glowing heart was to waft far and wide the sweet breathings of the Lord.
10. The letter dated 5 August 1932, from that spiritual friend has been received by the Guardian of the Cause of God, may our lives be sacrificed for him, and he has been informed of your receiving his telegram regarding the ascension of that matchless fruit of the Tree of Glory, the Most Exalted Leaf.
his sorrow-filled life; and she, with her sweet encouragement, her gentle words, her never-ceasing, soothing care of him, her smiles that came like fair winds from heavenly gardens, could always gladden and refresh his spirit.
The Guardian conveys his message of condolence, and says that in this severest of afflictions, it would befit the people of Bahá to hold fast to resignation and acquiescence, and to rise up and loyally serve the Faith, taking for their example that priceless treasure of the Abhá Paradise.
11. What you had written concerning the memorial gatherings of men and women believers to mourn the Most Exalted Leaf, who was the peerless fruit of the Holy Tree, and to commemorate the ascension of her who was the most glorious trust left on earth by the Lordmay the souls of holy men and women be a sacrifice for her sacred resting-placehas been received by the Guardian.
spirit revealed the loving-kindness of Him who was the Beauty of the All-Glorious, and was the welling spring of the favours and bestowals of Him Who was the Lord, the Most High. She was the comforter of anyone who grieved, the solace of any with a broken heart. She, that Remnant of Bahá, was a loving mother to the orphan, and for the hapless and bewildered it was she who would find a way. Her holy life lit up the world; her heavenly qualities and ways were a standard for people all over the earth. Like a cloud of grace, she showered down gifts, and her bestowals, like the morning winds, refreshed the soul.
are to be suspended. His answer is that this refers to nine solar months. He says further that the blessed and exalted Leaf ascended at one hour after midnight, on the eve of Friday, July 15.
12. ... He is eagerly awaiting to see the friends as ever burning with the desire to serve a Cause for the sake of which our departed Holy Leaf gave up her entire existence.
13. His loss is too immense to be adequately expressed in words. But his joy is also great. For such calamitous events, though cruel in their immediate effects, nevertheless, serve to stimulate the friends and quicken their souls.
14. The profound sorrow occasioned by the sudden passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, as well as the unnumbered messages of sympathy received from friends and believers in East and West, all of which the Guardian acknowledged in person, have caused the unavoidable delay in giving his immediate attention to various matters referred to in your communications to him. He deeply regrets the obstacles which stood in his way and which by their very nature he found them impossible to surmount.
15. The Guardian of the Cause of God has received your letter of 21 July 1932, telling of your and the other friends' profound distress on receiving word of this calamity, this dire ordeal, that is, the ascension of the Most Exalted Leaf, that brightest fruit of the Eternal Tree.
that bright and comely denizen of Heaven is beyond our conceiving.
16. The Guardian's anguish, because of this tragic occurrence, is such that it can neither be
plumbed nor described in words. That sublime and gloried Leaf, that precious jewel of the Kingdom, was the one great solace of his life; she was his glorious companion, and her disappearance, and the separation from her, and her ascending into the heavenly presence and court of her Lord was the direst ordeal to be visited upon the people of Bahá. Alas for any future time that might produce such a calamity, when the world's eye might see its like.
17. Indeed, the Greatest Holy Leaf, the Trust of Bahá'u'lláh amongst us, was the emblem of His boundless grace, a luminary shining in the heaven of
tender mercy and gracious providence, the embodiment of the manifold favours of the Abhá Beauty, a repository of the bounty and loving-kindness so characteristic of the Báb, the Exalted One. To every disconsolate one she was an affectionate comforter, to every heart-broken and grief-stricken soul, a token of unfailing sympathy, of kindliness, of cheer and comfort. Her blessed life was a source of spiritual illumination for the whole world and her noble traits and heavenly attributes served as a shining example, an object of emulation for all mankind. Like the showers of heavenly grace, her generosity knew no bounds, and as the breeze of celestial blessing and favour, she breathed a new life into every soul. Both friends and strangers were drawn by her sense of spirituality, her tenderness and refinement, her unfailing solicitude, and were attracted by the magic of her unbounded affection and goodwill. That heavenly being displayed throughout her life such evidence of glory and dignity, such manifestations of majesty and greatness, such a degree of patience and resignation as bewildered the minds and souls. In the midst of trials her radiant face bore the likeness of a sweet rose and in moments of sore tribulation she was resplendent as a brilliant candle.
18. The Guardian trusts that the explanation he has given by wire regarding the suspension for a period of nine months of Bahá'í religious festivity
has been made clear. The Nineteen Day Feast being of a quasi-administrative character should continue to be held, but should be conducted with the utmost simplicity and should be devoid of any features associated with feasts and entertainment. The celebration of Naw-Rúz, the anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh and of the Báb should be altogether cancelled as a token of our deep mourning for so distinguished and precious a member of Bahá'u'lláh's family. The period of nine months should be reckoned from the 15th of July to the 15th of April.
19. The loss of the Greatest Holy Leaf will be bitterly felt by all those friends who had the pleasure and privilege to meet her. She always kept such a wonderful atmosphere of joy and hope around her that was bound to influence those that were present and help them to go out into the world with added zeal and determination to consecrate all in the path of God.
20. Even though during these last years she was weak and most of the time confined to her room, yet
she was a source of constant joy and inspiration to those that met her. The Guardian feels her loss tremendously because the greatest part of his leisure hours he used to spend in her company.
21. The passing away of the Greatest Holy Leaf was a loss every Bahá'í will feel deeply if only he stops to think about it. She was such a precious soul and so radiantly happy and hopeful even under most adverse circumstances. Every believer that came in contact with her left her presence with a more determined spirit of service and self-sacrifice. Both Shoghi Effendi and the rest of the Bahá'ís will mourn her loss bitterly. Their only consolation can be her own deliverance from a life of hardship and difficulties, and her entrance into a realm which is naught but eternal bliss and infinite divine grace.
22. Even though the Greatest Holy Leaf has left us in body she is with us in spirit, inspiring us in our work and beseeching for us God's loving mercy and
fatherly care. She will never forget her loving friends nor leave them in their woes.
23. Shoghi Effendi wishes me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated August 25th 1932 and to extend his deep appreciation for your kind words of sympathy. This loss is a thing that will be bitterly felt by every Bahá'í throughout the world, because she used to be a source of inspiration to every one of them. The mere coming into her presence and thinking of the trials and difficulties she had to pass through in her life, was sufficient to create in us new hope and arouse us to stronger determination to promote the Cause she suffered for.
24. You should be very happy to have had the privilege of meeting her upon this physical plane of
existence, for the world has seen only very few such souls who have suffered so much for the sake of God and yet kept their cheer and uttered words of hope and encouragement to those who were around them. What a source of inspiration she was to the pilgrims who came from the four corners of the world to seek spirituality and attain a new birth by visiting the Holy Shrines. They should surely remember those blessed moments they spent in her room or in her presence elsewhere, and remembering her suffering, take courage in confronting the problems of their life. May God help us all to follow her example and like her be a blessing to others.
25. Surely there is nothing that will console the Guardian more than the happy news that the Cause for which the Greatest Holy Leaf lived and suffered is gradually spreading and embracing the whole of the people of the world.
26. These nine months during which the Guardian has asked the friends to discard feast days, are meant to be months of mourning for the passing away of the Greatest Holy Leaf. The friends should
also use it as a period of redoubled energy in serving the Cause in expression of our deep love for her as well as for the Cause she so much suffered for.
27. Surely no matter what we say about her still we have not done justice to the abounding love she had and the services she rendered to Bahá'u'lláh and the Master. Her life was full of events, full of sacrifices in the path of God. Ever since her childhood she had to endure hardships and share the exile and persecution that Bahá'u'lláh had to suffer. In her face one could easily read the history of the Cause from its earliest days to the present moment.
28. Indeed it would have been for you such a joy to meet the Greatest Holy Leaf during her earthly life, but the Guardian does not wish you to feel depressed about it; this beloved soul will from the Heaven of her Almighty Father guide you to serve the Cause which has been so dear to her. Shoghi
Effendi values your sincere sympathy in this irreparable loss; he hopes that we all will follow the example of her saintly life.
29. He fully appreciates the deep sorrow that you, as well as the other friends, feel for the passing away of the Greatest Holy Leaf. All those who met her cannot feel but an emptiness in their hearts. She was always such a source of courage and hope to those pilgrims that came from all parts of the world and had the pleasure of meeting her, that they left her presence with added hope and greater determination to serve the Cause and sacrifice their all in its path. This was especially true of them after the passing away of the Master when they felt that she was the only worthy remnant of Bahá'u'lláh's immediate kin.
30. He is sure that all the Bahá'ís throughout the world share with him in this sorrow, for she was a source of comfort and inspiration to them all. No one left her presence without being deeply impressed by her spirit. All the sufferings that she had endured during her life and that had left their traces upon her feeble form, had not in the least affected
her spirit of joy and hopefulness. She liked to see the people happy, and exerted all her efforts to make it easy for them to realize it.
31. He deeply appreciates your sincere, well-expressed reference, to the tribute he has written to the dearly beloved Greatest Holy Leaf. You cannot imagine to what an extent our dear Guardian has, in this loss, been deprived for ever of the sustaining influence and kindness that this Most Exalted Leaf used to shower daily upon him. In this beautiful Tribute we can trace the life of this beautiful soul, witness with anguish all the sufferings and deprivations that she has endured. Now we should, all of us, try in turn to follow her saintly path and direct all our energy to serve the Cause, which has been so dear to her.
32. ... He was deeply touched by the strong attachment of the friends to one who, besides being
the beloved daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, exemplified perhaps more than anyone the true spirit that animates His teachings. His sincere hope is that your love for our departed Greatest Holy Leaf will attain such depth and intensity as to enable you to follow on her footsteps and to carry out with increasing devotion and vigour all that she cherished so much during the entire course of her earthly life. The memory of her saintly life will undoubtedly sustain and feed your energies and will provide you with that spiritual potency of which we are all in such a great need.
33. The steps of her holy resting-place represent Local Spiritual Assemblies, not individual believers. The columns, that is the pillars, are like the National Spiritual Assemblies, while the dome, which is raised following the placing of the columns, symbolizes the Universal House of Justice which, in accordance with the Master's Will and Testament must be elected by the secondary Houses of Justice, that is, the National Spiritual Assemblies of East and West.