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Her Late Majesty Queen Marie of Rumania.
The inscription reads: “To Shoghi Effendi with a message of love and faith. Marie.”
WOMAN brought me the other day
a Book. I spell it with a capital letter because it is a glorious Book of love and goodness, strength and beauty.
She gave it to me because she had learned I was in grief and sadness and wanted to help.
She put it into my hands saying:
“You seem to live up to His teachings.” And when I opened the Book I saw it was the word of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, prophet of love and
kindness, and of His Father the great teacher of international good-will and understanding—of a religion which links all creeds.
Their writings are a great cry toward peace, reaching beyond all limits of frontiers, above all dissension about rites and dogmas. It is a
religion based upon the inner spirit of God, upon that great, not-to-be- overcome verity that God is love, meaning just that. It teaches
that all hatreds, intrigues, suspicions, evil words, all aggressive patriotism even, are outside the one essential law of God, and that
special beliefs are but surface things whereas the heart that beats with divine love knows no tribe nor race.
It is a wondrous Message that Bahá’u’llah and His Son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have given us! They have not set it up aggressively, know-
ing that the germ of eternal truth which lies at its core cannot but take root and spread.
There is only one great verity in it: Love, the mainspring of every energy, tolerance towards each other, desire of understanding each
other, knowing each other, helping each other, forgiving each other.
It is Christ’s Message taken up anew, in the same words almost, but adapted to the thousand years and more difference that lies
between the year one and today. No man could fail to be better because of this Book.
I commend it to you all. If ever the name of Baha u llah or Abdu l-Baha comes to your attention, do not put Their writings from you.
Search out Their Books, and let Their glorious, peace-bringing, love-creating words and lessons sink into your hearts as they have into
One’s busy day may seem too full for religion. Or one may have a religion that satisfies. But the teachings of these gentle, wise and
kindly men are compatible with all religion, and with no religion.
Seek them, and be the happier.”
Of course, if you take the stand that creation has no aim, it is easy to dismiss life
THE PASSING OF QUEEN MARIE
WORDS OF BAHA’U’LLAH
t’We cherish the hope that one of the kings of the earth will, for the sake of God, arise for the triumph of
this wronged, this oppressed people. Such a king will be eternally extolled and glorified.
. . .“
TRIBUTES PAID BY QUEEN MARIE OF RUMANIA TO THE BAHAI
THE BAHA’! WORLD
and death with a shrug and a “that ends it all; nothing comes after.”
But how difficult it is so to dismiss the universe, our world, the animal and vegetable world, and man. How clearly one sees a plan in
everything. How unthinkable it is that the miraculous development that has brought man’s body, brain and spirit to what it is, should
cease. Why should it cease? Why is it not logical that it goes on? Not the body, which is only an instrument, but the invisible spark or
fire within the body which makes man one with the wider plan of creation.
My words are lame, and why should I grope for meanings when I can quote from One who has said it so much more plainly, ‘Abdu’l-
Bahá, Who I know would sanction the use of His words:
“The whole physical creation is perishable. Material bodies are composed of atoms. When these atoms begin to separate,
decomposition sets in. Then comes what we call death.
“This composition of atoms which constitutes the body or mortal element of any created being, is temporary. When the power of
attraction which holds these atoms together is withdrawn, the body as such ceases to exist.
“With the soul it is different. The soul is not a combination of elements, is not composed of many atoms, is of one indivisible
substance and therefore eternal.
“It is entirely out of the order of physical creation; it is immortal! The soul, being an invisible, indivisible substance, can suffer neither
disintegration nor destruction. Therefore there is no reason for its coming to an end.
“Consider the aim of creation: Is it possible that all is created to evolve and develop though countless ages with merely this small goal
in view—a few years 0f man’s life on earth? Is it not unthinkable that this should be the final aim of existence? Does a man cease to
exist when he leaves his body? If his life comes to an end, then all previous evolution is useless. All has been for nothing. All those
eons of evolution for nothing! Can we imagine that creation had no greater aim than this?
“The very existence of man’s intelligence
proves his immortality. His intelligence is the intermediary between his body and his spirit. When man allows his spirit,
through his soul, to enlighten his understanding, then does he contain all creation; because man being the culmination
of all that went before, and thus superior to all previous evolutions, contains all the lower already- evolved world
within himself. Illumined by the spirit through the instrumentality of the soul, man’s radiant intelligence makes him the
crowning-point of creation!”
Thus does ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explain to us the soul—the most convincing elucidation I know.
Toronto Daily Star,
September 28, 1926.)
At first we all conceive of God as something or somebody apart from ourselves. We think He is something or
somebody definite, outside of us, whose quality, meaning and so-to-say “personality” we can grasp with our human,
finite minds, and express in mere words.
This is not so. We cannot, with our earthly faculties, entirely grasp His meaning
—any more than we can really understand the meaning of Eternity.
God is certainly not the old Fatherly gentleman with the long beard that in our childhood we saw pictured sitting
amongst clouds on the throne of judgment, holding the lightning of vengeance in His hand.
God is something simpler, happier, and yet infinitely more tremendous. God is All, Everything. He is the Power behind
all beings. He is the inexhaustible source of supply, of love, of good, of progress, of achievement. God is therefore
His is the voice within us that shows us good and evil.
But mostly we ignore or misunderstand this voice. Therefore did He choose his Elect to come down amongst us upon
earth to make clear His word, His real meaning. Therefore the Prophets; therefore Christ, Muhammad, Bahá’u’llãh, for
man needs from time to time a voice upon earth to bring God to him, to sharpen the realization of the existence of the
true God. Those voices sent to us had to become flesh, so that
THE PASSING OF QUEEN MARIE
with our earthly ears we should be able to hear and understand.
Those who read their Bible with “peeled” eyes will find in almost every line some revelation. But it takes long life,
suffering or some sudden event to tear all at once the veil from our eyes, so that we can truly see.
Sorrow and suffering are the surest and also the most common instructors, the straightest channel to God—that is to
say, to that inner something within each of us which is God.
Happiness beyond all understanding comes with this revelation that God is within us, if we will but hsten to His voice.
We need not seek Him in the clouds. He is the All- Father whence we came and to Whom we shall return when, having
done with this earthly body, we pass onward.
If I have repeated myself forgive me. There are so many ways of saying things, but what is important is the Truth
which lies in all the many ways of expressing it.
(From the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Monday, September 27, 1926.)
“Lately a great hope has come to me from one, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. I have found in His and His Father, Bahá’u’lláh’s
Message of Faith all my yearning for real religion satisfied. If you ever hear of Bahá’is or of the Bahá’i Movement
which is known in America, you will know what that is. What I mean: these Books have strengthened me beyond belief
and I am now ready to die any day full of hope. But I pray God not to take me away
yet for I still have a lot of work to do.”
“The Bahá’i teaching brings peace and understanding.
“It is hke a wide embrace gathering together all those who have long searched for words of hope.
“It accepts all great prophets gone before, it destroys no other creeds and leaves all doors open.
“Saddened by the continual strife amongst believers of many confessions and wearied of their intolerence towards each
other, I discovered in the ]3ahã’i teaching the real spirit of Christ so often denied and misunderstood.
“Unity instead of strife, hope instead of condemnation, love instead of hate, and a great reassurance for all men.”
“The Bahá’i teaching brings peace to the soul and hope to the heart.
“To those in search of assurance the words of the Father are as a fountain in the desert after long wandering.” 1934.
“More than ever today when the world is facing such a crisis of bewilderment and unrest, must we stand firm in Faith
seeking that which binds together instead of tearing asunder.
“To those searching for light, the Bahá’i Teachings offer a star which will lead them to deeper understanding, to
assurance, peace and good will with all men.” 1936.
about giving it expression. She was at the time in bitter need, in profound, overwhelming sorrow. The sweetness, the
tenderness, the depth of sympathy and helpfulness which she found at once in boundless measure in the Divine
Message made an instantaneous appeal and opened her heart to seek and welcome the knowledge of its mani 3
QUEEN MARIE OF RUMANIA AND THE BAHJVf FAITH
1\.MONG the Bahá’i treasures in the International Bahá’i Archives at Haifa there lies an exquisite and precious brooch,
preserved as a memorial of the first of the queens of the world who recognized and acknowledged the Revelation of
Queen Marie of Rumania did not hesitate about this recognition nor was she diffident
THE BAHA’I WORLD
fold beauty and truth. She felt the precious, warm loving-kindness of the Heavenly Teachers, the perfection of their understanding.
Her soul was satisfied. Here at last was that for which she had hungered. Here was peace, the reality of peace: a breath upon a fevered
world from that guarded inner shrine where peace has its inviolate home.
She was in bitter need. Those who were near and dear to her surrounded her with love and sympathy and consolations; for they too
knew grief and pain and felt with one who suffered so acutely as she. But anguish of spirit had awakened in her a desire for something
other than the sincerest human condolence. She faced the mystery of death and love. No word, no touch, however gentle, that came
only from a knowledge of this fleeting human life could suffice her now. Loneliness had broken the hold of earth on her. She longed,
as she had never longed before, for God.
And God came.
Jesus Christ divided those to whom the Divine Message is communicated into four classes: those who are too self-absorbed to receive
any impression, those who are able to receive only a shallow impression, and those who are deeply impressed by the truth but are also
impressed by things not true, and finally those who are single-minded in the love and service of truth. It was the unique distinction of
Queen Marie that, living in a special sphere where the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are at their maximum, she
accepted and held fast to the New Revelation. She was the first to walk in that narrow path in which, when it is made broader, all the
kings and queens and rulers of the earth will follow her.
The time of an Advent is and ever has been an epoch of the severest test for humanity. “Who may abide the day of His coming?” cried
the ancient prophet; “and who shall stand when He appeareth?” For none is the test so hard as for the great and rich. “Know ye in
truth,” said Bahá’u’llãh, “that wealth is a mighty barrier between the seeker and his desire, the lover and his beloved. The rich, but for
a few, shall in no wise attain the court of His presence nor enter the city of content and resignation.” For none among the great and
rich is the
test so hard as for royalty. Alone among those of royal blood, alone among her sister- queens, Marie of Rumania
recognized the dawning of the Day of Days and acclaimed in Bahá’u’llah the glory of the Father. Theref ore this signal
privilege has been accorded her; and the ornament which she presented as a sign of gratitude to the Bahá’i teacher who
brought her the Divine message is honored with a place among the holy relics of the early heroes of the Cause who first
upheld among man the Banner of the Manifest King of Kings.
Marie, the eldest daughter of the Duke of Edinburgh, was born in the purple; but she had this special distinction that in
her veins ran the blood of the only two royalties to whom Bahá’u’llah, when He announced His Advent to the world’s
rulers, addressed words of commendation. She was on her mother’s side the granddaughter of Czar Alexander II, who
abolished serfdom, and on her father’s side of Queen Victoria; both of whom Bahá’u’llah addressed in words different
from the stern or minatory terms used by Him towards the King of Prussia, the Emperors of Austria and France, and the
Sultan of Turkey and the Shah of Persia.
She was herself an outstanding and radiant personality, vigorous and daring, devoted to idealistic and humanitarian
projects. A traveler who in 1909, before her accession to the throne, visited her summer home in Sinaia, Rumania, at a
time when it was unoccupied by her, wrote afterwards in
“We were deeply impressed with the spiritual atmosphere of her living apartment furnished largely with her own
handiwork, the carving of the furniture, the paintings, the beautiful altar, all made by herself and all indicative of a
deeply spiritual nature. Her books, her thoughts, as one gleaned in a hasty passage through her home, were such as to
indicate the kind and spiritual ruler she has become.”
After her death, an old friend who had known her since they played as girls together in Malta in 1888 wrote of her as
“No one who ever had the privilege of personal or intimate acquaintance with Queen Marie could fail to be impressed
by the greatness of her mind and spirit. Her
THE PASSING OF QUEEN MARIE
own life story reveals so well her ardent and joyous nature, the depth of feeling that accompanied every thought and action.
The world is the poorer for the passing of such a noble lady, and a blank, impossible to fill, is left in the lives of those who knew her
personally. She had passed through and suffered so much, even her wonderful health was too sorely tried and we must be thankful in
spite of the great loss to us all that she is at rest and spared any further suffering. Her spirit is surely near us still and we must try to
follow her noble example of great endurance and courage to face whatever may await us in these troublous times.”
The first tidings of the Bahã’i Teaching were brought to her in the early days of 1926 when her Majesty was in Bucharest and owing
to personal sorrow was living in retirement. Martha Root, the best known of the pioneers of the Faith of Bahã’u’lláh, sent her a short
note with a copy of Dr. Esslemont’s
The Queen accepted the book and was at once so keenly
interested by its message that she sat up over it into the small hours, and the next morning she sent an invitation to Martha to visit her
in the Palace on the following day at twelve o’clock.
So quick and strong was the impression made through that interview that the Queen gave it utterance that same year in many ways
public as well as private. She found a ready response to her enthusiasm in her young daughter Ileana, afterwards Archduchess Anton,
to whom she taught these truths. She wrote to an American friend of hers in Paris, “I have found all my yearnings for real religion
. . .
I am now ready to die any day full of hope; but I pray God not to take me away yet for I still have a lot of work to do.”
(BAHA’I WORLD VI. 580)
In May and in September 1926
The Toronto Daily
Star published from her pen two glowing tributes to the Bahá’i Faith. “It is a
wondrous Message,” she wrote, “that Bahã’u’lláh and His son ‘Abdu’l-Bahã have given us. They have not set it up aggressively,
knowing that the germ of eternal
truth which lies at its core cannot but take root and spread.
. . .
I commend it to you all. If ever the name of Bahá’u’llâh or ‘Abdu’l-Bahã
comes to your attention, do not put Their writings from you. Search out Their books and let Their glorious peace- bringing, love-
creating words and lessons sink into your hearts as they have into mine.”
Philadelphia Evening Bulletin
in September the same year she contributed an article on the Faith in the course of which
she testified expressly to her acceptance of the truth of a succession of Revelations, a succession of Prophets—”Christ, Muhammad,
Bahá’u’lláh,” she wrote; continuing, “those voices [of God) sent to us had to become flesh so that with our earthly ears we should be
able to hear and understand.
These three articles being syndicated were printed in nearly two hundred American newspapers, and afterwards appeared in several
newspapers in the East.
The Guardian of the Bahá’i Cause gratefully acknowledged these spontaneous appreciations. “Moved by an irresistible impulse,” he
wrote in the Bahá”i World for 1926-8, “I addressed her Majesty in the name of the Bahá’is of both East and West a written expression
of our joyous admiration and gratitude for the queenly tribute which her Majesty has paid to the beauty and nobility of the Bahá’i
. . .“
The following is the letter which he received in reply:
Bran, August 27th, 1926.
I was deeply moved on reception of your letter.
Indeed a great light came to me with the message of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. It came as all great messages come at an hour of
dire grief and inner conflict and distress, so the seed sank deeply.
My youngest daughter finds also great strength and comfort in the teachings of the beloved masters.
We pass on the message from mouth to mouth and all those we give it to see a light
THE BAHA’I WORLD
suddenly lighting before them and much that was obscure and perplexing becomes simple, luminous and full of hope as never before.
That my open letter was balm to those suffering for the Cause is indeed a great happiness to me, and I take it as a sign that God
accepted my humble tribute.
The occasion given me to be able to express myself publicly was also His work. For indeed it was a chain of circumstances of which
each link led me unwittingly one step further, till suddenly all was clear before my eyes and I understood why it had been.
Thus does He lead us finally to our ultimate destiny.
Some of those of my cast wonder at and disapprove my courage to step forward pronouncing words not habitual for crowned Heads to
pronounce, but I advance by an inner urge I cannot resist.
With bowed head I recognize that I too am but an instrument in greater Hands, and rejoice in the knowledge.
Little by little the veil is lifting, grief tore it in two. And grief was also a step leading me ever nearer truth, therefore do I not cry out
May you and those beneath your guidance be blessed and upheld by the sacred strength of those gone before you. MARIE.
ELetter addressed to the Guardian by H.M. Dowager Queen Marie of Rumania.]
Martha Root also wrote to her Majesty, and in the reply which she received were these words:
“. . .
The beautiful truth of Bahá’u’lláh is
with me always, a help and an inspiration. What I wrote was because my heart overflowed with gratitude for the revelation you
brought me. I am happy if you think I helped. I thought it might bring truth nearer because my words are read by so many.
. . .“
In the following year (1927) her Majesty gave another audience to Martha Root; a third audience in 1928 when with her daughter the
Princess Ileana she was the guest of the Queen of Yugoslavia in Belgrade; and a fourth in 1929 in the Summer Palace at Balci6. She
contributed an encomium of the Cause, charged with warm
feeling and beautifully expressed, to the fourth volume of the Bahá’i World; and another more brief but not less significant to the fifth
volume. “The Bahi’i Teaching,” she wrote, “brings peace to the soul and hope to the heart. To those in search of assurance the words
of the Father are as a fountain in the desert after long wandering.
It had been for some time her Majesty’s wish and aspiration to visit in person the sacred shrines upon Mount Carmel and to meet in
person Shoghi Effendi. In the year 1931 the opportunity, as it seemed, arrived. Accompanied by her youngest daughter her Majesty
travelled to the Holy Land and arrived at Haifa with the intention of fulfilling her cherished desire. But fate had ruled otherwise.
Unfriendly influences intervened. She did not reach her goal. In a sad letter to Martha Root dated June 2 8th, 1931, she told of her
frustration and of the unwelcome pressure to which she had been subjected.
“Both Ileana and I,” she wrote, “were cruelly disappointed at having been prevented going to the holy Shrines and meeting Shoghi
Effendi; but at that time we were going through a cruel crisis and every movement I made was being turned against me and being
politically exploited in an unkind way. It caused me a good deal of suffering and curtailed my liberty most unkindly.
But the beauty of truth remains and I cling to it through all the vicissitudes of a life become rather sad.”
Early in 1934 her Majesty again received Martha Root in audience in the Controceni Palace in Bucharest and expressed her delight
that the Rumanian translation of
Baha”n’lldh and the New Era
had just been published in Bucharest and that her people were
to have the blessing of reading this precious Teaching. In the course of the interview the Queen told of an incident which had
happened in Hamburg some months earlier when she was en route to Iceland. As she was driving down the street a girl tossed into the
car a little note, and when her Majesty opened it she read the message, “I am so glad to see you in Hamburg because you are a
Martha Root’s sixth and final interview
THE PASSING OF QUEEN MARIE
took place in February 1936 in the same Palace, and was in some respects the most touching and significant of all. Her Majesty spoke
of various Bahã’i books, for she used to purchase them as they came off the press. She spoke of the depth of the fqãn, and of the
wonderful radiant force of
Gleanings frcnn the Writings of Bahd’u’lldh.
“Even doubters,” she said, “would find a powerful
strength in it if they could read it alone and would give their souls time to expand.” She told how in London she had met a Bahá’i,
Lady Blomfield, who had shown her the message that Bahá’u’lláh had sent to her Grandmother, Queen Victoria. She told, too, of a
dear friend of her girlhood who lived in ‘Akká, Palestine, and knew Shoghi Effendi and had sent from there pictures of ‘Akká and
Haifa. This friend (Mrs. McNeill) published afterwards a letter which the Queen wrote to her at this time:
“Dear ‘little’ Lilian,” it began, “it was indeed nice to hear from you and to think that you are of all things living near Haifa and are, as
I am, a follower of the Bahá’i Teachings. It interests me that you are living in that special house; the Teachers so loved flowers, and
being English, I can imagine what a lovely garden you have made in that Eastern climate. I was so intensely interested and studied
each photo intently. It must be a lovely place and those southeastern landscapes and gardens attract me with a sort of homesickness
ever since our Malta days. And the house you live in, so incredibly attractive and made precious by its associations with the Man we
Four days after this, the Queen sent for THE BAHA’i WORLD, her last public tribute to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. It was in due
course reproduced in facsimile as a frontispiece to Volume VI, 1936-38, and runs as follows:
“More than ever today when the world is facing such a crisis of bewilderment and unrest, must we stand firm in Faith seeking that
which binds together instead of tearing asunder. To those searching for light, the Bahá’i Teachings offer a star which will lead them to
deeper understanding, to assurance, peace and goodwill with all men.
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