Baha'i Library Online

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COLLECTIONSAudio, Biographies, Transcripts of videos and audio
TITLESpeaking in Edinburgh
AUTHOR 1Ruhiyyih (Mary Maxwell) Khanum
ABSTRACTAddress at Edinburgh Bahá'í Centre. Includes discussion of Shoghi Effendi in Scotland and the eagle and pillar at his resting place.
NOTES Audio first digitized from cassette and saved in wma format by David Merrick, 2011. Includes Merrick's transcript of the section about Shoghi Effendi in Edinburgh and the eagle over his grave; see

Later converted to mp3 format and posted at See also a partial transcript, formatted, at Eagle and Pillar over Shoghi Effendi's resting place, and his visits to Scotland, and a full transcript at

TAGS- Metaphors and allegories; Amatul-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum; Birds; Distraction; Eagles; Edinburgh, Scotland; London, England; Science; Scotland; Shoghi Effendi, Life of (documents); Shoghi Effendi, Resting place of; United Kingdom; Youth

1. Audio

Side A, 44 min:
    Download WMA file  [42 MB, 128 kbps]
    Download MP3 file [21 MB, 64kbps]
Side B, 44 min:
    Download WMA file  [41 MB, 128 kbps]
    Download MP3 file   [21 MB, 64kbps]

2. Transcripts

2a. See a partial formatted transcript, from Eagle and Pillar over Shoghi Effendi's resting place,
here: khanum_shoghi-effendi_edinburgh_scotland.pdf

2b. See below the full transcript, from

[0:04] [Male speaker]. This visit now culminating in this meeting with all the Scottish friends whom I see have come from far and wide. And some have come from England as well. So welcome to all of you. I'm sure we are all eager and awaiting to hear Rúhíyyih Khánum's address to us.

[0:30] Can you record from there? Think it will pick it up? Because that gadget that she has is not our doing. It's for the National Assembly who thrust it on Mr. Nakhjavani just before we started this trip and said, "Will you please record these talks for us?" And she's had to take it all around with her. I suggest we let you come up here. Why don't you come up? [Speaking in Persian]. Life was remarkably peaceful, you know, before we had all these gadgets. When I was a girl, well, I admit we had the telephone and electricity, but we didn't have tape recorders and moving picture cameras and all kinds of modern improvements. So in many ways we live much more peacefully. We didn't live such a tempestuous existence as we do now with all of these things.

[1:35] I am very, very happy to be here in Edinburgh and this is my third visit here. I came here with the beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, many, many years ago right after the war. And then we came back a second time and he said, "I'm going to take you to the home of your ancestors." Which part of my family came from Aberdeen. So Aberdeen was the home, so to speak, of my ancestors in one part of Scotland. And Jedburgh on the border was the home of my father's people, the Maxwells. And on my father's other side, through his mother, he was a MacBean and a Sutherland. Probably, of course, must be a lot more other clans involved because they were so intermarried. But I've always felt, for some reason that I don't really know, a tremendous kinship for the Scottish people. I've always considered myself, since I knew what a Scot was that I was a Scot, although the other half of me is English American background, but I never feel any raging affinity for that part of it but I always feel very strongly Scottish and I don't know why. I don't think I took it in, what Scotland was or the Scotch were until I was about eight years old when the arms disparate took place in Montreal. And I and my cousins all went to the home of an aunt who had a very good view of the parade which took place on the main street and was very impressive and very long, after all it was the arms disparate in Montreal, and we could overlook it from the windows of her apartment. And for the first time that I recollect having any exposure to it, so to speak, I heard the bagpipes. And I remember still, I was quite small of course, and that this thing just went through me like fire, you see. And I began to get uneasy, and I couldn't understand what was happening to me, and my father looked at me. He said, "It's because you're a Scott". And you know, I think that's true. I don't know. I suppose that's true of all of us. There's something about the bagpipes that makes our blood tingle, and it goes right straight through us. And I can't truthfully say that it went through Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Baháʼí Faith, but he didn't particularly object to the bagpipes. Let's put it that way. And he knew that I like them very much.

[4:32] So when we came up here to Scotland, the two different trips that we made, I've been trying to recollect exactly where we went. The first time we came up by train and the second time we had a car at our disposal, and that made it easier to get around. We went, let's see. We've went to Loch Lomond, Gleneagles, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow. We went over once to Glasgow together and to Aberdeen. And of course, we might have stopped at some small places motoring from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. But I don't recollect at this point what their names were. I can remember one incident, I think it must have been at Gleneagles, I can't think where else it would have been. And after dinner in the foyer of the hotel, people were dancing Scottish reels in the kilts and Shoghi Effendi thought it was beautiful. He thought it was lovely music and very, very graceful dancing. And I can remember now how much he enjoyed that. And I'm so sorry that on this occasion in Scotland, when I have come here after so many years, I haven't either heard the bagpipes once, although I heard the flute, that was the nearest I got. And I appreciated it. And I haven't been able to see any Scottish reels, but perhaps another time. Who knows?

[6:08] You know, it's so strange, our relationship mentally to our ancestors. Of course, we all have them, obviously. We wouldn't be here. But if you think of it one generation back, you have two. Your grandparents are already four. Your great grandparents are eight. Your great great grandparents are 16, so that when my father's family started coming out from Scotland I must have had 32 ancestors and just before that 64. But all of us like to go back to one particular person. And I have the hope of writing a biography called "The Maxwells". And it has an interesting history because once when I was, I don't know, about 17 or 18 years old I looked at my mother, we were in a hotel in New York and I said, "You know, Mother, when you die, I'm going to write your biography." And she looked very happy and she said, "Will you?" Oh, I said, "Yes, I will." Well, I'm now 71 and I haven't done it, you see. And it's worrying me because I don't want to die without fulfilling what I consider was tantamount to an assurance, a promise to my mother that I would do this. And I've been thinking about it all these years and never had a chance. And, of course, as you know, she was a very early Baháʼí and a very historic figure, like all of those early Baháʼís of her generation. And then I thought, well, I can't write about my mother and leave my father out of it. What will I do with him? She married him. Then I thought, well, what am I going to do with me? You see, I can't leave me out of it because there were the three of us, my mother and my father and me, and a very close family. And then how far to take it? She died in 1940 but my father didn't die until 1952. And by that time, of course, I had been married many years to the head of the Baháʼí Faith, so how could I leave Shoghi Effendi out of it? And then where do I cut it off? You see? The whole thing is very involved, but I hope very, very much that I'm going to be able to write this book.

[8:26] And that's one of the main things I'm trying to get home to Haifa for is to begin on this biography, and I've been trying to collect materials. And I've been reading up things with my Maxwell cousins in Canada and my Bowls cousins in the United States. And I was thinking the other day there's a Bowls that is supposedly an ancestor who came over with William the Conqueror, and he was a long bowman. Well, I'm very weak at mathematics, but try and figure out somebody was clever at it. How many ancestors I had in 1066, when one that I think of that might have been related to me was a long bowman, you see. Well, I must have had thousands of ancestors, but this is the way our minds work, you see. We think that this particular famous person, this particular prominent person, this particular person who was distinguished was our ancestor. And we forget the other 500 or 5,000 as if they didn't exist, so that all this business of ancestry really is a rather shaky thing and a rather silly thing, if you analyze it. But then, of course, we all enjoy it very much.

[9:43] I am in the nature of a package. I have come to the conclusion that mentally the best way to describe myself to myself is that I am a package that is handed on from one Bahá’í committee to another, one Baháʼí driver to another, one Baháʼí chairman to another. And sometimes I'm delayed in transit. And when I'm delayed in transit, I must not be held to account because usually I don't... I know where I am when I start, but I don't even know where I'm going. So if I was a little late, you must excuse the transit operation. But it's wonderful to be here with the Baháʼís and a very, very happy occasion for me.

[10:27] I was so anxious all these years in the back of my mind to go and visit these outer islands in the north and from the very beginning of the World Crusade and the early days when the British Baháʼís were encouraged by the Guardian to turn their thoughts to these islands that were so isolated, and go and carry the message of Bahá’u’lláh to them, I of course have followed their development. And Charles Dunning, as you know, came to Haifa as a pilgrim in the days of Shoghi Effendi, the Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for the Orkneys. And Shoghi Effendi was so happy to have him and made such a fuss over him. And other Baháʼís have come from these islands both before the passing and after the passing of the Guardian. And they're always something very special because they come from so far away. And I think that until this trip, I had the impression that they were a sort of heroic unfortunates. They were way off the other end of nowhere, you know, holding the fort, looking into the spray of the North Sea, living difficult existences and to be both admired and pitied. But since this trip, I don't pity them. I admire them, but I envy them. And I can't tell you how much I would like to live under the circumstances that they do where the tempo of life is quieter, where the people are still more moral, more God-fearing, more honest, more courteous. Where you have the hope of your children growing up and going, first of all breathing good air which I think we underestimate, I don't think we realize that whatever you eat is important, but what you breathe is just us important, perhaps even in some ways more important for your health. And of course, we most of the people perhaps from cities like myself, are breathing concentrated petrol fumes, and they're very bad for us. In other words, we're increasingly getting lead poisoning and a few other things. But the point is that far from being pitied, these people living in these islands, I think in many ways should be envied because they are living close to nature.

[13:07] Now of course, farmers and people living outside the big cities all over these British Isles are also in much healthier circumstances than the people living in the cities. But the further away you are from it, the better off you often are in the moral climate that you are living in. I know that these people in the islands, some of them particularly, are extremely orthodox Christians, if you want to put it that way. Perhaps in their own way, fanatical Christians, and that there is a feeling of at least resistance, if not prejudice against foreigners and certainly against anything as strange and weird as the thing called "Baháʼí" that nobody ever heard of in the first place. And they don't know whether it's some strange kind of a sect, and they don't ever try to overcome that initial prejudice and find out exactly what we do believe in, what we stand for and so on.

[14:11] But in spite of all of that, the climate spiritually and morally and physically, I would think of the islands is enviable compared to most of the places that people live nowadays. We are being swallowed up all over the world, and that goes for developing countries, too. We are being eaten alive by the economic forces, if you like, let loose in the world today. These giant companies that own so many different things, including all the farms in America that produce the produce, then the canning concerns and the packaging concerns that get it onto the shelves of the supermarkets. And then they own the chain of the supermarkets and so on. So that as I travel and see, particularly our Western civilization which, as you know, Shoghi Effendi, said in America had become the epitome of the Western civilization of Europe. In other words, it's epitome is in the United States, and he called that a cancerous materialism. And the more I see of this end effect of Western culture which is degenerated to the point of being such a terrifying civilization, the more I realized how important it is, if one can do it, to get away into the country, into the small places, out to the islands, abroad to the pioneer fields. Because it's better for you and it's better frankly for your children, if you have any. Now, of course, all of the Baháʼís can't do that. I know that. Not everybody can rush away from the cities because then who would hold the fort in the cities? Where would they get a job, for instance that would be as good for them and their families and their future as working in a city? I'm not trying to suggest anything unreasonable. I'm just trying to state that the world is in a condition today that the further away you are from these intensive centers of Western civilization, the better off for you and certainly the better off for your children.

[16:40] We are so fortunate to be Baháʼís. And I think that we must recognize this fact. If every single moment of our lives we thanked Bahá’u’lláh for the privilege of having known that He existed and of His message, it would still be almost impossible to express the degree of gratitude that we owe Him for having been privileged to accept Him. And I think that is true of the people who were born into the Baháʼí Faith, like Violette in Persia, myself in Canada, many of the Baháʼís here. And I think it is true of people who have just become Baháʼís. Maybe we don't realize it clearly, but we have the blessing of having found the only secure thing in the whole world today. The only reasonable thing, the only plan that may work, the only scheme that is well balanced for a future society, because it comes from God. I used to tell the audiences in Africa, I said, "You know, if you think about it, we are never going to be able to overcome our differences by our peers telling us what to do. In other words, India is not going to be told what to do by China. China is not going to be told what it should do by Russia. The United States is not going to be told what it should do by Russia. England is not going to accept to be told what it should do by Italy and so on. Because we are peers, we are equal as human beings. We have each of us our own culture, our own nation, our own background. And there is no reason why my peer should tell me what I should do. He hasn't got sufficient authority to do so. He might advance an idea that part of it I liked and was willing to accept but he can't tell me what to do because he is my equal and I don't view him as being in a position of superior authority and intelligence to tell me where to get off.

[19:04] But, if you have someone that comes from God, from the Creator, from on High, then you have a voice that speaks not only with total impartiality but with total authority. And therefore it can tell humanity what to do. It can tell the religions to stop fighting and all come together under the umbrella, to use a very good modern term, of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh which is the first time in history that we have had a faith which was aimed at a united planet, at least united in space and rapidly becoming united in its economic outlook, its banking outlook and eventually united in its political outlook. No one could ever give a message before that would apply to all these different backgrounds in the world because they were too far away, different stages of development, no communications and so on. But today the whole picture has changed. Therefore, if someone comes with divine authority to tell people what to do, that makes sense. Because they say, well, he's impartial. He's not Chinese. He's not Muslim. He's not Christian. He's not Western. He's not Eastern, in that sense. He is supra. As Shoghi Effendi said, the Baháʼí Faith is not only supernatural, coming from God, power on high, but it is supra-national. As I used to tell the friends, it's like the sky. Other things are international, but the sky is supra-national because it covers all the nations in the world. And this is exactly like the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. It's like the sky. Under it, it covers everything and because of that, it is this answer to the problems of the world today.

[21:03] So how on earth could we Baháʼís ever be sufficiently grateful for having heard that this Faith exists? Be sufficiently grateful for the privilege of being able to serve it? Each one of us serves it in our own way. No one can force another Baháʼí into some particular channel of service. You can lay a situation before the Baháʼís like the Universal House of Justice, saying we need so and so many pioneers in this phase of the plan, the British NSA appealing to the membership in this part of the world and saying, "Well, look, we have this goal. We have that goal. We have so and so many this and so and so many that. And we need your help." But nobody can come to you and say, "You've got to go and do this." Or "You've got to go and do that." No one can tell me what to do. I can volunteer and I must obviously fit in, more or less specifically with the workings of my local Baháʼí community. Because without the administration we can't exist and we can't function, especially as we are growing so fast. We couldn't coordinate anything without this very strong but very simple Baháʼí administration. But still, I belong to me and nobody can really tell me where to get off. You see? But within that framework, there is so much that each one of us can do for the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.

[22:33] I, of course, naturally at this age I must have seen all kinds of things and all kinds of situations. But I see how people get sidetracked. They begin to attach importance to what is really not a primary importance. I always liken it to somebody who is driving in the car. You want to go from here to Glasgow and there's a road that goes, but you come to a fork and you say, "Well, that road looks also as if it was going to Glasgow so I'll take that road. Instead of going this way, I'll go that way." And you get on the other road. But you find that in the end it never did go to Glasgow. It went somewhere totally different. And I think that this is what all of us have to be beware of in our lives. And young Baháʼís have to be particularly beware of it. Don't get on the wrong turning. Now that you are Baháʼís, now that you have either been born into the Baháʼí Faith or accepted the Baháʼí Faith and you believe in it, don't let go of it. Don't let something else come and get so sidetracked that you'll never get to the destination that you have set yourself. You won't follow down that main road that takes you from this place in the end to that place. And I think that all of us, this is one of the arts if you like of growing up in life and being a Baháʼí and being a Baháʼí 'til the end of your life. Staying the course, in other words, is to learn to do things in a way that you don't get sidetracked.

[24:22] Now, other interests? Yes. You go to university, you get a new job, you get married, you move to a new town. All kinds of factors come into shaping our lives but the primary objective should not be lost sight of. And I think that this is particularly important for the youth because that's a period of restlessness. And it's a period of experimentation, and a period of search, so that very easily they can become sidetracked. Very easily they can suddenly say, "Well, I don't know. Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe this is all nonsense. Maybe it'd be better to be a revolutionary. Maybe I should join this political party. What am I doing in something that doesn't believe in politics? When look at those people, they're having strikes. They're having revolutions, they're doing it. They're active, in other words, and what am I doing?" You see? And I think that all of these different factors enter into the lives, particularly of young people, and they have to analyze it very, very carefully and be conscious that such an attack on the foundations of their beliefs and spiritual life can take place and come upon them, so to speak, unawares.

[25:39] I was, as I say, born a Baháʼí and always a Baháʼí. And then I went to university as a partial, never went as a full-fledged student because I never had any orthodox education as a foundation for university work. And most of my personal friends were scientists, doctors and scientists, and those were the things that interested me at that time. And of course they all would pounce on me, you see. "How do you know there's a God? What makes you think that one person is a Manifestation of God and brings a message from on high? What makes you think that these teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are divinely inspired? What makes you think that man has a soul that survives after death and so on? And in those days, 50 years ago, it was so much harder. People of my generation in this room will remember, it was so much harder to defend your position because they had so much more materialistic concept of scientific fact. Whereas now science has become almost attenuated. We know so much that as one Baháʼí said recently, she said, "For the first time, we can talk about God in the laboratory." And that's true because we're learning so much more that is actually bringing the scientists closer to a belief that there is a power, a conscious power, a creative power behind the universe and opening the door to tremendous spiritual concepts. But there wasn't in my days, and I can remember that for one week I entirely lost my spiritual bearings. This attack on me through my mind shook me to my foundations. And I thought, "Well, maybe I'm wrong", you see. "Maybe this is all nonsense. Maybe Bahá’u’lláh isn't from God. Maybe, maybe, maybe." And the only thing I could do was to pray. I couldn't discuss it with anybody. It was too deep. And I prayed an awful lot that week. And like a ship that goes through a very violent storm, I came out on the other side and and went on sailing peacefully, and I never had another storm like that in my whole life. But that can come upon any of us. And of course, that is the time that you must hang on to what you have found. You must hang on to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. If you're shaken in the spiritual aspect, then think of the material aspect. But hang on and hang on tight so that it is not taken from your hand and you don't lose the most worthwhile thing in the world which you were lucky enough to have in the beginning.

[28:24] I wanted to say something here which I said in the youth conference at the beginning of this trip in England. And I'd like to repeat it here because I notice there are quite a lot of Persian friends in this part of the world. And perhaps they weren't at that youth conference. But I want to warn the Persian young people to not associate with the other Muslim groups who are not Baháʼís. Keep away from them. You didn't come to England or Scotland to study. You didn't come here as Baháʼí refugees or whatever you are, because you wanted to be nationalistic towards a country that is murdering all your fellow Baháʼís and annihilating them and uprooting them to the best of their ability after a hundred and something years. You came here really to live in a different and more liberal atmosphere, get away from religious fanaticism and persecution, and live amongst a people who are [Persian word], who are distinguished in their liberal ideas and their tolerance.

[29:33] Now the worst thing that the young Baháʼís can do, and I mean this very, very seriously. And it's exactly the same advice that my fellow Hands are giving, the Universal House of Justice is giving. Keep away from any Muslim students or people in this part of the world. You cannot and should not try to teach them. If they want to become Baháʼís, if there's something in their heart that is going to awaken, it will awaken without your help. They're anything but fools. And many Muslims, for instance, married to Baháʼís in Iran and outside of Iran nowadays are becoming the Baháʼís after what, maybe 40-50 years of marriage, because they say this is the limit. What they've done now is too much. These Baháʼís are not guilty. They are innocent. And we see this in our own relatives and in this whole situation in Persia. And they are accepting the Faith and becoming very devoted Baháʼís. But that's another category. In this country, make friends with the Scottish people. Make friends with your fellow students. Share in the activities of the Baháʼí communities. Go on teaching trips. Attract other people to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. This is your privilege. And this is what will be of service not only to you but to the Baháʼí community in Great Britain.

[31:04] The National Assembly is very glad to have so many Persian Baháʼís now in this part of the world to assist them in the teaching work. And in many ways they are very staunch and wonderful Baháʼís. They are Baháʼís who for generations have withstood the tempest of persecution, you see. They are tried in the fire and they can be of great help to the communities in which they are living, as I'm sure all of you know. But I'm addressing as I say, my remarks to the Baháʼí young people and [Persian word], keep away from them. Devote yourselves to making friends with people of this country and attracting them to the Faith and associating with them. And leave your own country to God because frankly, nobody else can settle the hash of Persia but Almighty God. And He will do it. There's not any doubt about that.

[31:58] It says in the Qur'an, "God prolongs the life of the evildoers so that they can increase their evil acts." It's in the Qur'an, I may not have quoted it exactly, but you can find it in Rodwell's translation of the Qur'an. And this is what God often does do. He allows people, you might say of great evil, gives them enough rope to hang themselves, allows them to go on increasing their behavior to such a point that then the end comes. And whatever that end is going to be for Persia, I don't know but frankly, I'd like to see it. You know, I have this very dear colleague Mr. Furútan, we're both Hands, my fellow Hand in Haifa. We're both members of the International Teaching Center. And one night I was walking with Furútan, I don't know where and I said, "You know Furútan we're both getting old. It's time we left this world."

[33:03] "No," he said. "I don't want to leave it. I want to see something happen to Persia first." [Laughter]. Well, I said, "So do I but you can see it from up there."

[33:13] "No, no, no," he said. "I don't want to see it from up there. I want to see it from here."

[33:18] And I said, "Well, I'm with you there. I think I'd like to stay and see it from here, too". If it comes during my lifetime because the treatment that this one country and its people and its leaders have given the Baháʼí since 1844 are simply unbelievable. And consequently their punishment is obviously going to be unbelievable.

[33:45] I remember so many times Shoghi Effendi said to the Pilgrim's, he said the Jewish people were responsible, now I know this doesn't work in with modern concepts but forget them, just take what the Guardian said. He said the Jewish people were responsible for crucifying Jesus Christ. For his death. And they were punished for 2,000 years until they were forgiven by God and returned to their homeland, which is all in the Old and the New Testament. And now the fact, the creation of the state of Israel. So he said, imagine what is going to be the punishment of the Muslims for persecuting two Manifestations of God, for killing the Báb and for persecuting, exiling, and imprisoning Bahá’u’lláh for 40 years. Then one can try and visualize what the chastisement of God is going to be for a sin of this dimension.

[34:52] I think it's much easier to say this kind of thing in Scotland where they still seem to believe in right and wrong, than it might be in other countries because you see people nowadays, perhaps they're getting away from it, but there was a period in our modern, what, development if you like, all over the world where they believed in the teachings of psychology, that you weren't really responsible for everything. Your mother smacked you or somebody dropped you on your head or they took the bottle away from you or something unpleasant happened. Consequently, you develop this peculiarity. Consequently, you became a criminal or maladjusted or insecure or God knows what, all these modern terms. Well, unfortunately, that bears very, very little relationship to anything taught by all the Prophets of God. Because the prophets very clearly teach that there is right and there is wrong. There is what is permitted. There is what is not permitted. There is evil, there is good and you have had it taught to you through the Prophets of God, through if you like the ministers in whatever church you came from, through the moralists in your society. Whatever the source may be, it's all there. And if you choose to do the wrong thing, you are responsible for your own acts. In other words, there is still that concept of choice. You can make the choice to do what is right and do what is wrong. Now I know that in different cultures one thing maybe right; in another culture it may be wrong. There are shades of right and wrong. There are degrees of sin, if you like to use the old-fashioned word or whatever it is. But the fact remains that there are things that are permitted, and there are things that are not permitted. There are things that you can do, there are things you must not do, and so on.

[37:06] And I think that ʻAbdu'l-Bahá and in the Baháʼí writings makes it quite clear that God does not require of a soul something that He does not give them the spiritual strength to do. Because if He did, He would be the essence of injustice. If God is going to require of me a series of choices in my life that I am unable to come to even an approximation of the right decision, He is most unfair. He's neither loving nor just if He does that to me. And in the teachings, it says that God will not require of a soul something that He does not give it the strength to do, you see. And I think that that must apply to everybody. It applies in the sense of relativity to different situations and different categories, but the fundamental teaching is there. And I think that this is what we Baháʼís have to understand more clearly. We don't take, what shall I say? We are not identified with the degenerating concepts of human behavior in the world today. We are as far from the permissive society as it is humanly possible to get. We don't condone or excuse misconduct. Naturally, we try to help people. We try to help our own children. We try to help our own behavior through prayer, through reading the Writings which are so nourishing to our souls, through listening to other people, whatever it is. But the fact remains that we have to be responsible ultimately for our own conduct and our own behavior. And I think that there again, we come to this choice of the roads in life. We have to be careful when we are making major decisions in life that we are making the right decision, that the decision is in the direction of the teachings, if you like, of Bahá’u’lláh or in the direction which we hope to go in the service of Bahá’u’lláh and not going to land us all on the other point of the compass because we took the wrong road.

[39:32] Remember ‘Abdu’l-Bahá used to say that guidance was when the door opens. And I'm sure many Baháʼís remember those words. It's so often people say, "Well, how do I know whether I should do it or not? What is guidance? How do I know what is the right thing to do?" And the Master said of course that if you wanted to do something, and the Guardian also used to emphasize this, you have to make an effort. Effort is required. Supposing I want to be a pioneer and go to Africa. Well, I have to make an effort. I have to think about it. I have to come to a decision. I have to want to go, and then I have to start to try to realize, you see, this objective that I have set myself. And I have to make a serious effort. But if the door constantly bangs on my nose, then I will know that this is not the will of God for me, because guidance is when the door opens, not constantly closes. But the effort has to be there. The prayer, the desire, the longing, whatever it is. And then if still that door doesn't open, well then you mustn't force it because that is not the path for you. That is not the way that you should go.

[40:57] It, as I said, is such a privilege to be a Baháʼí. And it is such a puzzlement you might say to all of us that more people don't reach out for the Faith. I'm sure that every one of us in this room, including Violette and I who've been traveling since last, what, 14 months ago, over a year through 23 countries and of course meeting all kinds of people, officials and I don't know people, whatever the circumstances may be, public meeting, social occasions, people that we met in contact with traveling or in our hotel or whatever it is. And in a way that has a least some degree of tact, we hope. We try to let them know that we are Baháʼís. We try to say something that may make them say, "Well, why are you traveling?", "Well, what is it you do believe?", "Well, what are you talking about in your talks?" and so on. And to see what kind of a remark might attract that particular person to ask more questions, to want to have a Baháʼí pamphlet, to want to for instance, have a Baháʼí address, to want to know a Baháʼí in that city, and the response is almost zero. It's very extraordinary. It doesn't seem to matter what you do or say or how much you pray, because I'm sure all of us pray a great deal when we come in contact with other people that the person would just reach out that we will be guided to say the right thing. We won't say the wrong thing, won't rebuff somebody but will attract them. And the response is almost zero. So that it shows how really sick mankind is.

[42:50] You remember, Bahá’u’lláh said that the Divine Physician had come into the world with the remedy and the patient was dying but no one would let the doctor get next to the patient. And this seems to be the whole history of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh during his lifetime, ʻAbdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi, the House of Justice now and all of us, that still the patient is getting sicker and sicker and sicker by the minute. And still, either he cannot or we, for some reason or other, are not able to deliver the divine medicine to the patient that is dying of his ailment. So perhaps he just has to die. Maybe that's what we have to resign ourselves to, that, well, let me mind my business and see that I don't die spiritually, whether on the bow, so to speak, but that I get to first base spiritually because that is something that is in my own hands. We can't live other people's lives. We can't be responsible for the decisions of other people. Nobody knows it better than parents. I think that parents and perhaps even more so mothers would often literally die for their child. They would die for the child. The love is so strong that if they could do something to save the child's suffering in life, to save it some terrible mistake, some terrible illness, something or other, a terrible bad marriage, a bad direction, whatever it is, they would really offer their life in the place of the child. But that doesn't do any good. You can't live anybody else's life for them.

[44:38] [Editors note: the audio cuts out and begins mid-sentence] ...the laws of Bahá’u’lláh, try to be a source of attraction to your fellow men, an example to other Baháʼís and to other people and certainly to your own children. Pray that you may be successful, serve to the best of your ability and leave the rest to God because there isn't anything else that we can do. We don't seem to be able to go any further than that, but then whatever part is in our own hands, it seems to me the important thing today is to be sure that this part that I do have, I don't foolishly drop and go and and grab something that is absolutely trash compared to what I already had, you know. To leave the most precious thing in life for something that is entirely secondary in value. And I think this is the most that any of us can wish for each other. Wish that whatever the future holds, whatever happens, each one of us may not let slip from our hands this blessing that we have heard of Bahá’u’lláh, that we have accepted His teachings, that we love Him and want to serve Him and hope that 'til the very end we may remain faithful in His path. This is really the whole object of existence, not only according to the Baháʼí teachings, according to every religion in the world. This is the primary, what shall I say, precept of theology. This is sound theology for every religion in the whole world. So what more can we wish for each other? That we will be those kind of Baháʼís that Bahá’u’lláh wants us to be.

[46:26] I think that here, just like everywhere else in the world, the Baháʼís stand at a turning point, and I don't say this lightly because I'm a person that really tries not to just, you know, say something and then I'm not sure that I mean it or that there's any justification for saying it. But I do really feel that we are going to see a great change in the near future. I don't know whether that means in a week, a month, a year or 10 years, frankly. But there's no doubt in my mind that because of the persecution of our fellow Baháʼís in Persia, because of the world crisis which is deepening, the forces that are let loose in the world today, that there has got to be a greater confirmation poured out on the heads of the Baháʼís all over the world. And also many, many more people if they are going to turn to the Faith and are capable of turning to the Faith, will do so. You know, I think it must be the atmosphere of Scotland that's gotten me so much on theology today because it's a very religious part of the world, let's put it that way. But I think that we have to realize that not everybody is in a condition to come alive spiritually. Now what God does with his own race when they die, I don't know. I'm neither God nor frankly is it any of my business. The human race is born and the human race dies and it goes to God, on what state He knows, and what He does with it He knows, too. I don't. But I do know that in this world people can be in very different conditions.

[48:27] You know, Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad, the cousin of Muhammad, his son-in-law, made a contract. And two men came: one was selling a piece of land, one was buying a piece of land. And they asked him to witness this contract. So he wrote, "This day, a dead man, 'so-and-so', sold a piece of land, and described the piece of land, to a dead man, 'so-and-so'." He put it in the contract. They were perfectly alive. They were there. They were sitting and they were having this land transaction. And then you remember the words of Jesus Christ, "Let the dead bury the dead. Come ye and follow me." Well what do you mean? He was perfectly serious. The people that were following that funeral were spiritually dead. But his disciples were spiritually alive because they had accepted Him, they had recognized Him, they had come alive in the Holy Spirit, you see. And I think we have to realize that a lot of the people in this world are not capable of coming alive. As I said, what God does with them, I don't know. None of my business. But I do know that those that are alive must always constitute a percentage of any place that we are. Because anybody who knows mathematics knows that there's always mathematical percentages. They may be very low. They may be medium. They may be high, but there's always a percentage somewhere in it. And there's got to be a percentage of people, anywhere and everywhere, that are ready to accept the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh if they hear about it, if they're exposed to it.

[50:20] So our job, it seems to me, is to see that they hear about it and to see that they hear about it in a way, as much as we are capable of, that isn't a test to them. Because so often we present the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, which are certainly perfect, and which, in theory, at least only people who are very sick spiritually or very fanatical with closed minds could certainly find something in it that they believed in, you see. We present it in a way that, for some reason or other, cuts the other person off. And I think that the great art of teaching is, as I often look at it, like a doctor. A good doctor sits behind his desk, and when the patient comes in, he lets the patient talk, you see. And then he looks at the patient and says, "Well, this man is liver-ish." "This man is heart-ish." "This person looks very peculiar. They must have something the matter with their gallbladder or something." And a good doctor can see already by looking at the person a little bit about them, and then he lets the patient talk. And listening to the patient, he begins to form a picture what is the matter with the patient, you see. But there's a method in other words, and I often think that if we Baháʼís were a little more patient with people we meet, if we let them do a little of the talking, to empty themselves a little while, then maybe they would let us do a little of the talking and they were able to hear what it is we are saying. Because people have this terrible longing often to unburden themselves, to express themselves, to say something. Maybe they're lonely. Maybe they live alone. Maybe they're unhappy. Maybe they have problems, you see. And the Baháʼís, I don't mean any particular person or all of them, but they aren't very receptive. They're so anxious to get a word in edgewise. You see? Now I've got to tell him. Well, all right. I agree. You ought to tell him if possible. But on the other hand, you can't force it into him unless perhaps he's able to empty himself a little bit so he can hear what you're saying and receive from you.

[52:37] I think that the Baháʼís, as I said the other day, in a number of these different meetings that I've been in, I think that the Baháʼís have to be careful how they use the greeting "Alláh-u-Abhá". Because it means something to the Persians. Whenever I meet Persian Baháʼís, as I now speak Persian, our greeting to each other in Persian is "Alláh-u-Abhá", and it has been from the days when we wanted to show that we followed Bahá’u’lláh, you see. After the crisis that arose at the time of the martyrdom of the Báb, in order for the Baháʼís to show they were the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, they started saying as a greeting "Alláh-u-Abhá". And ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has made it quite clear this will be the greeting of the future. But he didn't say when the future was, you see? Where Shoghi Effendi said, and it's written and has been published a number of times in the American Baháʼí News, the International Baháʼí News, that we should be very circumspect in the use of this greeting in front of non-Baháʼís. Lest they get the wrong impression and lest it be a test to them. And I know I have to be very, very careful of my Canadian very conservative non-Baháʼí Christian relatives because if I took them to a Baháʼí meeting and they heard everybody shouting "Alláh-u-Abhá", they'd say, "What is this thing?" You see? Well, I don't know. It's got some kind of a catchphrase and there's just something peculiar about it. And they probably wouldn't ever want to come back to another Baháʼí meeting or meet anymore Baháʼís, you see. So really, I mean seriously for over 30 years, my cousins that I am hoping will eventually before they die open their eyes a little bit and at least read a few Baháʼí books and find out what it is I've spent my whole life at because they love me very much and admire me. I have never been able to introduce them to any Baháʼís in Canada. Because I didn't know what they would be exposed to, and I wasn't going to have 30 years of work undone in one meeting by something that created the wrong impression.

[54:59] Now I don't know, you all live here, you do as you want. But I'm just making the suggestion that when we approach people, especially people that are very deep in their churches the way they are in this part of the world, very much their own people. Often, depending on where they live the sense that anything that isn't Scottish is foreign, that anything that isn't from the Shetlands is a foreign element, you see. Then you have to be twice as careful not to create an impression that in any way might immediately bring down a shutter between you and the very people that you are trying to attract and teach. We have to use the right lure, like somebody going fishing. Use the right bait so you'll catch the fish. Use the right shot so that you'll be able to shoot the prey and get it. And I think we do that, we should do that much more thoughtfully as we teach as Baháʼís. But the main thing, of course, is to live the life and exemplify it and also spread these wonderful teachings so other people can hear about it and understand it.

[56:16] When we were in the Orkneys something very touching happened. When one day in between meetings we had time we walked up the main street. And we went into a shop I said what a nice place it was, I don't know some remark to this girl running this shop. And she said well you're going to be here long? I said, "No, I've just come over for a meeting and I'm only here two nights." She said, "Really? What kind of a meeting?" Well, I said I'd come to see the Baháʼís in the Orkneys. I'm a Baháʼí." And she said, "Oh!" She said, "We had a Baháʼí here." And she mentioned this Persian Baháʼí who repaired watches. What was the name? Dariush[?]. She couldn't even pronounce it properly, it became something quite different in Orkney. And oh she said he was such a fine man. And she said everybody liked him. And while he was here, we knew so much more about the Baháʼí Faith. We heard so much more about it than we do now. So you see, there's just one Baháʼí. And yet look at the reaction of the people of that town. They hadn't forgotten him. They were glad to meet another Baháʼí because of him. They wished that they had him back again. And somebody would be a little bit more in the forefront with the Baháʼí Faith or whatever it was. So that we can do so much individually. And this is our our great blessing and our great challenge.

[57:47] I think friends that it's getting on now and it would be nice to have some questions. I always liked very much if we could have some questions from the friends.

[58:04] [Male speaker] Who's going to start?

[58:11] [Unintelligible].

[58:49] Well, if you want to know what their objectives are I'm sure that a member of the National Assembly would be delighted to get you in a corner and give you about 18 different missions if you're open to suggestions. But I can remember that Shoghi Effendi had a high esteem of the people in this part of the world and used to say that it was very hard to convert them. That they were very slow to accept Baháʼí Faith. But then, once they became Baháʼís, they were practically immovable. They didn't accept it lightly. And when they were convinced, why that was it. They hung on, you see. And I can only remember off hand one other group of people that he used to liken to the British in this quality and that was the Turkish people. He said that the Turks were like that, that it was so hard, you know, to get them to accept anything, just get it into their head, get them just take on anything new. But that once they did, that was it. Nothing could move them after that. And of course he had a great admiration for the British Baháʼís and for their achievements and was very happy over the things that were done in Great Britain before his passing. And they went ahead and did things that, frankly, lots of other communities never did. They inaugurated plans of their own, and then they went to work and run those plans. But the British National Assembly has published the letters of Shoghi Effendi recently, and that should be an interesting thing for you to read. I presume my copy is waiting in Haifa for me.

[1:00:13] [Lengthy pause].

[1:01:02] Well I don't see any reason why I shouldn't answer this question now, I wouldn't have answered it 30 years ago but I'll answer it today. Where exactly was the eagle that was used as a model for the one on the Guardians grave purchased? Down on Princess Street, going down the hill towards Holly Road Castle, in that direction on the left hand side, there was a very, very famous antique shop run by a woman who, somebody yesterday in an antique shop told me that they knew very well. I thought she was Scottish, she was Jewish. And she was Mrs. something or other, I don't remember the name. And she has since passed away and the shop doesn't exist anymore. But when we came here, Shoghi Effendi was, you know, furnishing the Mansion and adding to the things in the Holy Places if he saw things that were appropriate. He added to the ornaments in the Shrines and removed things that were inferior in quality or damaged. He never looked for antiques in the true sense of the word. He was neither a connoisseur nor was he interested in trying to build up an antique collection. He was interested in trying to create an effect. And he had a genius, frankly, for doing it, he had this marvelous, marvelous sense of proportion. And if you go to the Holy Places and look at them with the eye of a connoisseur, if you do know anything about antiques, you'll see that a great deal of this stuff is no, is not good at all. It wouldn't come under the heading of an antique. But, he had such taste that he arranged it in such a fascinating way that it looks like a million dollars, whereas the initial outlay was very little.

[1:02:58] So he used to buy things, as I said for this purpose and mainly in England. And as we were here in Edinburgh, we had a look around to a few places. One of them was that woman's shop. And there was this beautiful eagle which is now in the archives and it's on a sort of a cliff of wood. It's very Japanese. And this eagle, that I think was made of what, bronze or something and silvered is very lovely. You've seen Shoghi Effendi's tomb with this eagle on the top and it has one wing down and one like that. And you really can't tell whether the bird is just coming in or just going off. It's a very beautiful position. Well, he loved that thing and we had it sent back to Haifa, and he liked it so much. He didn't like lots of things. Shoghi Effendi had very limited, you might say, specific taste. He liked a few dishes and a few this and a few that and conservative, more or less and simple. But what he liked, he liked very much. And he liked that eagle. And he put it on a table near his bed in his bedroom, which was also his office. I couldn't get him to separate the two because he would sit at his desk and work and when he was too tired to sit up anymore he'd get into bed and work. And of course I used to remonstrate that it's not good to have your office and your bedroom one room. You should have them separate so that you can, you know, go to bed here and have a rest here, and then that's that place you work. But he couldn't. He had too much work to do, and that was the way he had to do it. So this eagle was in that room and he enjoyed it so much.

[1:04:38] And then, [audio cuts out] a column. He wanted a Corinthian column. And of course he'd seen them in Italy and other places. And although he had the archives building he wanted one. And I said, "Well Shoghi Effendi. I don't see how you could have one. I don't know where you'd put it. You just can't put a column like that, you know, all by itself." And he accepted that but he looked a little dubious about it, as much to say, "I still want my column." So something very strange happened after he passed away. I won't go into that because it upsets me too much. But it was very sudden, as you know. And when I was driving away from his grave, I went and visited it just before I left London with Mrs. Collins and the car was driving away from the grave. Of course there was nothing but flowers there. In front of my eyes I saw the whole thing. I saw the foundation and the column and the globe and the Eagle just like that. And I made a little sketch I remembering the car, a tiny little thing like that. And when I went back and all the Hands of the Cause came to the Holy Land and had the first conclave, the first meeting to think about rescuing the Faith from this terrible catastrophe, you see, and holding everything steady until we can have the House of Justice. I showed them this sketch, and I said, "This is what I feel we should build over the resting place of the Guardian." So it was decided that's what we would do. We couldn't possibly move him. It wasn't the time to think about it and so on. And I didn't know where to get an eagle. And then suddenly, one night, I thought, "Well, what about that eagle in his room?" Because, of course, his room was closed up after he passed away. And I went up and carried this thing down in my arms and the Hand of the Cause Mr. Faizi was there. And Alice Kitter who was living with me at that time. And Faizi got off in a corner and stood on something. Then he held this eagle way up like that. And then I looked at it and I realized that it was perfect! So I took it in my arms and wouldn't let anybody else carry it and took it to Rome. And with Dr. Geocarry[?] we got the architect who had helped in building the Shrine and the stones for the archives and so on, and he came up and showed him what we wanted. So he made the design, brought it full scale while I waited in Rome so we could approve of the proportions. And then I left the eagle there to be enlarged to the appropriate size. And then of course in the end it came back to Haifa. Dr. Geocarry[?] as I remember brought it home. So that's the story of that very beautiful eagle and it came from Edinburgh.

[1:07:49] Will you come and read this. And then I'll answer.

[1:07:55] [Male speaker] The Guardian wrote that the cardinal principles of the administrative order [??]. The authority of assemblies and the power and initiative of the individuals. Why do we have either dictatorial assemblies or those who believe in an excessive liberalism individuals?

[1:08:25] Well I should say just cause we're weak and imperfect, that's all. I mean after all look at us. Who are we? I don't know who you think you are. I don't think I'm anything so extraordinary. And we're just ordinary human beings. We're a slice of the human race. And some of us have better judgment; some of us have poorer judgment. And some of us have more patience, and some of us have less patience. And some of of us get all nervous and go by the letter of the law, and others are a little bit more relaxed and willing to do things in a more relaxed manner. It takes all kinds of people, but one of the things that I often think causes, particularly inside administrative bodies a certain amount of tension, let's put it that way, and sometimes a certain amount of inharmony is our sincerity. And I think that that may sound very strange. But we're so sincere. You see anything that has to do with a man's feeling about his God and his religion is really the deepest thing in his life because it concerns him here now and it concerns him forever. So it's something you feel very passionately, you see. And therefore you're very, very sincere about it. You're also very heavy about it because you're taking it so seriously. And often people, in my experience, and God knows I've had enough of it at this age, is that people because of this intense sincerity, because it's their religion, they get so keyed up and tense that they get over-upset over things with very little swing with the punches, so to say. That they would have in normal relationships, in a business, they wouldn't get so upset in an office. If they had things to discuss in research work, laboratory work, they wouldn't get that head up over it, you see. But because its this spiritual obligation, they're on the assembly, it means so much, they get very tense.

[1:10:25] Now my father was a very wonderful person and he was very, very Scottish. And he had this marvelous Scotch wit. And he used to joke about things. Really! He would begin to make people laugh. Sometimes in the feast, you know, there'd be some kind of a crisis. I can remember one very, very clearly in Montreal Baháʼí community. We had a young school teacher and it was the time of the exams. And she was exhausted and working very hard. She was the chairman of our assembly at that point. And there was a young man who was very attached to her, in love with her also at that point. She didn't marry him but whatever it was, at that moment he had a crush on her. And there was, I don't know, we were perhaps 15-20 Baháʼís in the community and having our 19-day feast. And during the discussion of the activities of the community, the assembly was asked some question. You know, "What are you doing about the publicity?" Or this or that. And she got very upset. And she began to cry. She burst into tears and she said, "You don't, you know, you don't have any confidence in your Spiritual Assembly." And so on, and the tears rolled down her face. And I was sitting next to this young man and he got terribly tense too. And he said to himself in an undertone, he said, "My idea of a 19-day feast is hell." [Laughter] Well you see, look how tense the whole thing was. And my father just began to joke. He said, "Oh, I don't know whether it's as bad as all that, you know." And in that light vein he began to joke and he got us all laughing. And something that could have gone on as a rift in the community for eight months or so passed off before the refreshments were served, you see, because he made them relax. He made them laugh. He made them see the funny side of it. And I think that this is something that we Baháʼís frankly, don't do enough. We get *gasp* like this, you see, because it's got to do with God. And we get very keyed up. And that sometimes leads to a little bit of heavy-handedness on the part of administrative bodies. They take themselves very seriously. They get a little officious. Now why other people have to take it so lightly, I don't know. I suppose that that's just because lots of people come into the Faith in a period when everything's a permissive society, you see. If you think about the amount of freedom we have in the world today, and the way the word freedom is banded around. Freedom to strike and freedom to have a revolution and freedom to throw a bomb and freedom to shoot somebody and freedom to walk out on your wife and children. Freedom, whatever you feel like doing, that's it. "I've gotta do my thing" sort of thing. There's a great deal of that. And sometimes people enter the Faith with this attitude because that's the attitude of the society from which they came. So they're the other extreme. Well, all right, so what? We can't help it. We can't wait 'til we're perfect to become Baháʼís. Let's all become Baháʼís together and do the best we can. And above all, when we have problems, pray more about it because that... pray more about it, perhaps and maybe joke a little bit about it, and that should solve some of the problems.

[1:14:14] It says, "It has been reported that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said Scotland is the land of Joseph. Do you know any more about this?" No, I never heard that. And I really truthfully don't. But I think that eventually a great deal more will be known about things because the history of the Baháʼí Faith would be better coordinated. You know, we have in Haifa now... Oh, somebody told me this statistic last year. Over 35,000 letters of Shoghi Effendi. Well you can imagine, now of course all of those are not tomes and full of new information but still, that's all little cross threads. And gradually, perhaps we'll be able to understand a question like that and answer it but I don't know.

[1:15:01] "Why are under 21 not invited to the feast, although allowed to attend?" Well, I thought that everybody just knew that there was a 19-day feast or the nine Holy Days. And that the community was informed by the Assembly or by the group that the feast would be at such and such a place at such and such a time. And I don't think that you invite or don't invite 21-year-olds, 15-year-olds, 88-year-olds or anything else. You just... I mean, everybody knew there was a meeting here today and the time of it, you see? And nobody sent individual invitations. "You're in the 21 category. Don't forget to turn up." It was just a meeting, you see, for the Baháʼís. And I think the 19-day feast is just like that, too. Nobody has to be ignored. Nobody has to be singled out. It's just going to be that occasion. And it's going to be at such and such a time and you're welcome to attend it as a Baháʼí.

[1:16:05] [Male speaker] I think it's fair if I call on somebody who had his hand up first. Dr. [?].

[1:16:15] [Male audience member] As I was coming here to this meeting here to speak, I bought the newspaper, a newspaper of this country, it's in the Times, and it says in it, it mentions the name of the Faith, the Bahá’í Faith, it says that 162 Bahá’ís had been executed for their Faith. I was coming here and everybody at the hospital where I worked, they had this paper. On the wall, at the doctors, patients, and I was coming [?], and I was finding it difficult mentally, although spiritually it maybe [?], mentally to adjust all these things in my mind. We know that we are working very hard on the House of Justice and National Spiritual Assemblies, individuals like [?] who are born in Persia and are living in the west, opening a newspaper and seeing a news like that. Coming and hearing you speak, it all becomes sometimes difficult mentally to make sense of the world that we're living in. How would you advise us to carry on?

[1:17:22] Well in what sense doesn't it make sense?

[1:17:25] [Male audience member] Working amongst the people in this country ... [audio is a little too quite to understand the question being asked].

[1:18:12] Well, I don't know whether you're going to like my answer, but it seems to me that it's terrible for us, and it is different for us, that the Baháʼís are being killed because the Baháʼís are so innocent. When I was in Central America and had a lot of, you know, press interviews and things they would say well, and public talks and then somebody from the floor would say, "Well, all right, people are being killed in your religion in Persia but then what about the people in El Salvador? They are being killed. What about the revolution over there? What about those people that were all shot down the other day?" Well I said, look, I think you have to make one distinction, I don't approve of anybody being shot and I don't approve of bloodshed. I don't approve of terrorism or anything. I don't approve of killing. But, you have to make a distinction between people who are terrorists because they want to be, people who are revolutionaries and deliberately join a political party and use revolution as a means of getting in power because they think they're right, whatever their philosophy may be, you see. You have to put people that are totally non-combatant, obedient to government, non-political and have no sin whatsoever except to believe in Bahá’u’lláh and his teachings, which are certainly the most progressive in the world today, and you cannot lump those two things together. Therefore the Baháʼís that are really the persecution of the innocents. But I don't think that you can expect people to react the way you do to it, because that's not natural that they should. All of us, I think, in the world today cannot, and I think that's perhaps true of the Baháʼís also, we cannot, I don't know how to put it. We cannot allow the full force of what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Persia to lay us low. You see what I mean? There's a defensive mechanism in people that they'll absorb so much catastrophe, unpleasantness or whatever it is that they hear. Not so much as it's being done to me deliberately right now but what I hear or read. I can only take in a certain amount of it, and then the immunity goes up, you see.

[1:20:45] Then I say, "Well, all right, I can't help it. I'll be a better Baháʼí. I'll go on a teaching trip in their name. I'll give to the fund in their name. I'll teach more actively. I'll try and compensate, but to burn in the same fire that they're burning in, I don't think that we can because most of us aren't made like that. Human beings will not jump into a fire that is lit over what, 3,000 or 4,000 miles away, no matter how badly they feel about the whole thing, you see. You are Persian, probably lots of these people you knew. When I heard that Dr. - what's his name - Dr. Farhangi, my own colleague so to speak. One of the counselors had been killed. Well, I felt terribly about all the Persian Baháʼís that were killed. But when I could visualize Farhangi being shot, you see, knowing him personally, knowing that he was ill when we asked him to remain as a counselor in Persian, knowing that he'd been the prison doctor, hoping he wouldn't be killed because he was the doctor and they need him, you see. So they'd say, "Oh, no, for heaven's sake, don't kill the only doctor we've got in the prison. He's taking care of us." But no, he got killed, too. So that that personal contact hit me harder than others that I didn't know of except by reputation. And I think that's true of all of us. It's got to hit the Persians harder than it hits people who don't have that intimate, intimate contact. Many of you it's your relatives that are being killed, you see, your relatives that are in jail. And that's true all over the Baháʼí world in the West now, not to mention Persia, so you must be patient with people who aren't you, you see. They feel it, and I'm sure they'll express it. I don't think there's any doubt that you are going to see that the Baháʼís of the West express their sympathy for their Persian brethren in action, not necessarily weeping and in words, but they're going to express it in action. Increasingly strongly, because that's the kind of people we are.

[1:22:51] I've got another question here, what does it say? I think you should answer this, Ridvan. I don't know what the policy of the National Assembly is.

[1:23:24] [Ridvan speaking] The question reads: The National Spiritual Assembly has asked us to get in touch with various organizations, and asked them to write to Iranian authorities and object to the treatment of the friends. Can we get in touch with our personal friends, or people we have taught about the Faith to do the same? Could you please elaborate? With your permission, Madam? The instructions of the National Assembly were very clear that when we send cables to the United Nations Secretary General, [?] we try to get publicity out of the event. But when we contact people in authority, we request them that they in turn will either directly contact the government in Iran or do it through the United Nations again. And you remember the National Assembly shared with you that copies of the two letters, as an example, the two letters that came from the Deans of the University of Oxford which was sent to the [?] and in it they requested the United Nations to interfere directly on behalf of the Baháʼís of the world. And they meeted[?] with the United Kingdom very nicely in order to remove the present crisis of the Faith there. This is what we want to do. As far as contacting the personal friends, if they are British personal friends, of course that is the way it's going to be done and the more we do, the better. But not Iranian friends who are here, who are mostly anti-government and are politically linked, somehow or another. These people we do not want to contact. I don't know if this has answered the question as asked.

[1:25:30] [Begin of inaudible audience question].

[Abrupt end to the audio].

VIEWS4925 views since 2012-07-04 (last edit 2024-06-03 23:24 UTC)
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