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will deepen. The Balkans will remain discontented. Its restlessness will increase.
The vanquished Powers will continue to agitate. They will resort to every measure that may rekindle the flame of war.
Movements, newly born and world-wide in their range, will exert their utmost for the advancement of their design.”
We see these things happening all around us, particularly in the countries of Europe and Asia. Intelligent young people
throughout the world cannot ignore the terror of this condition.
In the October, 1939, edition of
an editorial to Bahá’i young people in all lands, telling them that the upheavals of today must not deflect our course.
She wrote: “Today there are two great wars being waged in the world; one in the Orient and the other in Europe. The
effects of these wars will be world-wide. None of us can escape the tragic reverberations of the bloody, savage war now
being carried on.
“What position and attitude must the
of the Teachings, but also and above all to live them as completely as circumstances permit. They should attract people
to the Cause not so much through the exposition of its principles and teachings but through the power of their
individual lives. The Bahá’i youth must indeed exemplify through their lives, both as individuals and as conscious and
active members of the Bahâ’i community, the purity, the effectiveness and sublime character of their Faith. They can
teach best when they live up to the standard inculcated by Bahã’u’lláh.”
EUROPE AND ASIA
Bahá’i Youth assume? This is a vital question to each of us. In the Advent of Divine Justice, Shoghi Effendi gives us
the answer. ‘Dangers, however sinister, must, at no time, dim the radiance of their new-born faith. Strife and confusion,
however bewildering, must never befog their vision. Tribulation, however afflictive, must never shatter their resolve.
Denunciations, however clamorous, must never sap their loyalty; never deflect their course. The present Plan,
embodying the budding hopes of a departed Master, must be pursued, relentlessly pursued, whatever may befall them
in the future, however distracting the crises that may agitate their country or the world.’
“Shoghi Effendi further points out that the strife, tribulations, and upheavals all about us are a part of the Divine Plan
and we must accept them as such. The Bahá’is must not ‘forget that the synchronization of such worldshaking crises
with the progressive unfoldment and fruition of their divinely appointed task is itself the work of Providence, the
design of an inscrutable Wisdom, and the purpose of an all-compelling Will, a Will that directs and controls, in its own
mysterious way, both the fortunes of the Faith and the destinies of men. Such simultaneous processes of rise and of fall,
of integration and of disintegration, of order and chaos, with their continuous and reciprocal reactions on each other,
are but aspects of a greater Plan, one and indivisible, whose Source is God, whose author is Bahã’u’lláh, the theatre of
whose operations is the entire planet, and whose ultimate objectives
BAHA’I YOUTH ACTIVITIES
are the unity of the human race and peace of all mankind.’
“In a letter to the Bahá’is dated July 28, 1939, Shoghi Effendi gives us these instructions: ‘Though powerless to avert the impending
contest the followers of Bahá’u’lláh can, by the spirit they evince and the efforts they exert, help to circumscribe its range, shorten its
duration, allay its hardships, proclaim its salutary consequences, and demonstrate its necessary and vital role in the shaping of human
destiny. Theirs is the duty to hold, aloft and undimmed, the torch of Divine Guidance, as the shades of night descend upon, and
ultimately envelop the entire human race.’
“Bahá’i Youth, this is our task: ‘To hold, aloft and undimmed, the torch of Divine Guidance, as the shades of night descend upon, and
ultimately envelop the entire human race.’
“The words of our beloved Guardian are clear. Our work must go forward in spite of the tragedies surrounding us on every hand. May
each of us become a center of light and hope to a sick humanity in dire need of the message of Bahá’u’llah.”
On account of restrictions of all kinds we have not been able to receive reports of
Bahá’i activities in many countries of Europe. In these countries we know that the public activities of Bahá’is have been restrained, if
not stopped entirely. We know, also, that although their activities may be at a standstill, nevertheless, they are “holding aloft the torch
of Divine Guidance” in their hearts and lives.
In a few European countries Bahá’is are still free to work and teach the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, for example—
Manchester and Bradford come reports of splendid youth work among the Bahá’Is. Dorothy Cansdale of London wrote in a letter
dated October, 1938: “So far as our work is concerned, we have just been getting started again after the break in the summer. The
English Summer School was grand and we really feel it was a great success. There were about seventy visitors altogether, and three
people actually declared themselves believers in the Faith in the course of the session. The Youth group itself had meetings all last
winter on all sorts of topics, and also held social evenings at various homes, and in the summer picnics in the country. We have lost
about half-a-dozen members through the
A meeting of the young Bahá’is from live neighboring centers held at Jamestown, New York, 1939.
return of Persian students to their own country, but we have contacted several new circles of people in London, where we were not
known before, and from these new people, some of whom were the direct result of last year’s Youth Symposium, we have two new
believers who will formally declare themselves as soon as they come of age. London is organizing a drive to have as many fireside
meetings as possible this winter. We find that we get better results from this more intimate form of teaching, though we have not given
up having public meetings. I live in a flat with another Bahi’i girl and we have an “at home” every Tuesday to which we invite anyone
who has ever showed any interest in the Cause and anybody we think is likely to.
A letter from Miss Helen Chessell of Lancashire brought us the joyous news that a National Youth Committee for England had been
appointed in the fall of 1938. The members of the committee are Mr. Wilkinson of Bradford, Mr. Rosenfield of London, and Miss
Helen Chessell of Lancashire. Largely on account of their efforts the Youth Symposiums held in England were very successful.
Of the Lancashire Youth Group, Miss Chessell tells us: “The Bahá’i Youth Group here has only just been formed, and as yet our
numbers are only very small, but despite this we hope to do great things. We are holding study classes here every Tuesday evening on
and of course later on we shall take other books. The Bahá’is of Bradford and Manchester have been
keeping in touch with one another by meeting on several rambles at a lovely little place halfway between the two, Hebden Bridge in
A great many of the lectures given at the Bahá’i Summer School in July, 1939, were presented by David Hofman and IJasan Balyuzi,
a young Bahá’i of the London Group. The Bahá’i Theatre Group attracts many young people of London to investigate further into the
We are sure that the untiring efforts of the three members of the National Youth Committee of England will result in many
confirmations among the youth of that country.
year since 1930 the Union of Bahá’i Students have invited the Bahi’i Youth of Europe to a conference. The
conferences have been held at Paris, France. The eighth annual conference was held the 1st and 2nd of January, 1938. Talks were
given by Bahá’i youth from Lyons, Paris, and London. Friends came from Belgium, Egypt, kin, and Switzerland. In the evening,
January 2nd, they invited the friends to a friendship dinner.
In a letter from Mr. C. N. Kennedy, of Paris, France, dated January, 1939, we read of the Bahi’i work in general in Paris, Marseille,
and Lyons, France. He stresses that the sad European political events of last fall and ever since are making people more anxious to
investigate spiritual truths.
Another report from Paris tells us that the ninth annual conference of Bahi’i Youth was held in Paris on May 28th, 1939. The subjects
and speakers were as follows:
Analogies among the Different Manifestations—Monsieur Berdjis (Switzerland).
Different Aspects of Prayer—Mademoiselle Migette (Lyons).
Concrete Action of the Bahi’is in Actual Circumstances
Monsieur Macatoune (Paris).
Monday, May 29th, the young people who attended the conference commemorated the Ascension of Bahi’u’llih. They also held a
friendship breakfast. The Bahi’i Youth who attended felt it to be a most inspiring occasion. The importance of this reunion is apparent
as it has the whole support of Shoghi Effendi.
Letters of loving greetings have been sent by the Bahi’i Youth of Lyons, Marseilles, and Paris, France to the Youth of America.
Louise Gregory reports that there is quite a large group of Bahi’is in Sophia, Bulgaria. Lately two students at Varna,
Bulgaria, became declared believers. Several refugee students at Belgrade have become deeply interested in the Bahi’i Faith.
in 1938, we
received a copy of a paper entitled “Pax.”
It was sent to us by a young Bahi’i of
Prague. The date of the paper was July and
August, 193 8 issue. This article, written by
BAHA’i YOUTH ACTIVITIES
The Mid-west Regional Bahã’I Youth conference held January 8th and 9th, 1938, at Wilmette, Illinois.
THE BAHA’t WORLD
a non-Bahá’i, read as follows: “The peace program calls our attention to the Bahá’i Movement, which is striving
towards a New World Order, on a moral development of humanity, and has followers here in Czechoslovakia. By
request of the Czech section of this paper the Czechoslovak Bahá’is have given us these ideals of their faith. They will
be glad to forward additional information upon a written request to the editor.
“Bahá’is recognize the ‘Oneness of God’ and His Prophets, and the ‘Oneness of Humanity.’ The Bahá’i Faith raises the
banner of independent investigation of truth. It condemns all forms of superstitions and prejudice. It teaches that the
foundation of religion is to strive for peace and harmony. It teaches that religion and science must go hand in hand, for
that is the only foundation of peaceful, orderly and progressive society. It emphasizes further, equal rights for men and
women. It raises the standard of work to the station of prayer. It recommends the acceptance of an international
language, as a means of assuring peace.
“This teaching originated about the middle of the 19th century in Persia. The forerunner of the founder of the Faith was
Mirzá ‘All-Muhammad, of Shiráz, known as the Báb (the Gate). He prophesied, in 1844, the coming of a new Prophet.
“The founder of the Faith was Bahá’u’lláh (Glory of God) Whose coming the Báb prophesied. He declared his station
in 1863, in Baghdad.
“The explainer of the teachings and the exemplar of life was His oldest son ‘Abdu’lBahá (Servant of God), Who from
childhood shared the fate of His Father. In the year 1908, when the new government régime freed the political
prisoners, He undertook extensive trips for the purpose of spreading the Bahã’l teachings, in Egypt, Europe, and
America. He died in 1921, in Haifa, Palestine.
“By His Will He appointed His eldest grandson, Shoghi Efiendi, in Haifa as the first Guardian of the Bahã’i Faith.
“The Spiritual and administrative center of the Bahá’i Faith is in ‘Akká and Haifa. The administrative center for
European countries is in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The first time our attention was called to
the Bahá’i teachings was in 1913 by Milos Wurm, in a pamphlet translated from German. The translation of the title of
the pamphlet would read Proclamation of Peace in the East. Later in 1926, we again heard of the Bahá’i Faith from the
lips of Martha
L. Root, who in her constant travels all over the world, propagates Bahá’l thought through Esperanto lectures, and
“The text hook, Bahd’u’llcih and the New Era has been translated into 35 languages, among them Czech. The Bahá’is
believe that the dawn of a new humanity is here. Among those who strive for peace, all disputes will disappear. The
time is here when all humanity must unite, all races and classes. ‘Wars between nations will cease. By the Will of God,
world peace will be established. The world will be a new world and all will be as brothers.”
Hungary—From Jeanne Boles, a member of the New York City Youth Group’s Executive Committee, we have just
received a letter telling us of some outstanding Bahá’i youth in Budapest. Public activities there are practically
suspended. Nevertheless, they are able to do some very fine Bahá’i work. For example, one young woman is translating
the Hidden Words into Hungarian. It is difficult to speak of the Bahá’i Faith in Hungary because of political and
religious pressure. Anti-Semitism is rampant. It is difficult to bring Christians and Jews together in one meeting, so
they must be approached separately.
India and Burma—We were very happy to receive a letter dated August, 1939, from the secretary of the newly formed
National Bahá’i Youth Committee of India and Burma. The fact that such a committee has been appointed surely is
evidence of great activity among the youth of those countries. The following people are members of the new
Mr. ‘Abbás ‘All Butt, B.A. (Simla); Mr.
Siyyid Ghulam Murtaza ‘All (Rangoon);
Mr. Mihraban Jamshidi (Karachi); Mr.
Nadir usayn (Delhi); Mr. Ilabibu’llãh
Mil3r-i-’Ali Manji (Bombay) to act as secretary.
BAHA’i YOUTH ACTIVITIES
The duties and functions of the committee have been defined by the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma as
1. To keep in touch with the American Youth Committee and coordinate their activities in general and the Annual
World Bahá’i Youth Symposium in particular.
2. To prepare plans for activities throughout the year either following the American plans or making our own plans for
3. To encourage the formation of Youth Committees in all the centers and to stimulate their activities by constant
appeals to them to follow the year’s program.
4. To prepare periodic reports on the work of the different Youth Committees and to send them to the National Spiritual
Assembly for information and to the Bahd’I News Letter for publication.
Some years ago the secretary of this new National Youth Committee received a letter from the secretary of Shoghi
Effendi which said: “It is towards youth that the Guardian is eagerly looking and it is upon their shoul der
that he is laying all the responsibilities for the promotion of the Cause. Theirs is the opportunity to arise and serve to
their utmost this Great Cause of God.”
From Bombay, India, we received a most enthusiastic report of their activities during 193 8-1939. The group there held
35 regular meetings and 2 special meetings during the year. They started a study class which is held once a week. The
group contributes a copy of the World Order magazine to the Royal Asiatic Society Library, Bombay Branch, and to
the Khalsa College Library, Màtunga, Bombay. They tell of the great inspiration which they received from the visit of
Martha L. Root: “When she parted from us on December 29th, 1938, we felt as if our very soul was leaving our body.”
The greatest event in the history of the group this year was the holding of the Fourth Annual World Bahá’i Youth Day
on February 26, 1939. Nearly 150 prominent and leading citizens of the city were present. It is very interesting to know
that talks were given in Gujerati, English, Urdu, and Hindi.
The Youth Groups of Pasadena and adjacent Bahá’i Communities. Pasadena, California, October, 1939.
THE BAHA’I WORLD
The Third Annual Bahâ’i Youth Day in Poona was so well appreciated that the speakers were invited to repeat it in local colleges.
Delhi invited all their guests to a grand dinner at the close of the Symposium. These groups, as well as the youth groups in Surat and
Karachi, report fine meetings at the time of the Fourth Annual Bahá’i Youth Day.
Iran—From the Unity of the East and West Committee of Tihrán, Iran, comes an exciting account of the work of a young Bahá’i
teacher, Mr. A. G. Faizi: “Mr. Faizi is a well educated young Bahá’i who fifteen months ago gave up his job in order to dedicate his
whole time to the service of the Cause. He has been living in Najaf-Abâd (village near I3fáhán) helping the friends there in their
activities. Najaf-Abád is a small rural place. Of its 2500 inhabitants 1500 are Bahá’is. They have always been and still are subject to
persecution, but their firmness and faith in God is unshakable.
“Lately the schools there established by the believers have been closed. But the energetic Educational Committee immediately
organized a new and novel system of education. They divided the 400 Bahá’I children into several classes according to age and
knowledge. These classes are held at different private places and run by six women teachers headed by Mr. Faizi. The teachers begin
their round early in the morning and finish at midnight.
“Another very interesting scheme the Najaf-Abãd Youth Group have already begun to put into action is the building of a public bath
with four compartments. To a person who knows the unhygienic conditions in such places as Najaf-Abâd, the building of a bath is a
praiseworthy scheme and a vital necessity. Here again the spirit of love and solidarity is predominant. All the Bahá’is, young and old,
are cooperating and helping to build this bath. Some bring stones and materials from long distances, some actually work as masons,
and others help financially. With such a spirit no enterprise can fail!
“A plan for building a place to be used as a public library is also being prepared, and help has been offered not only by every mem be
of that community but by a great number of centers in and outside the country. Two hundred books have already been
offered, and Ijusayn Effendi Rabbani has promised them more.”
The outstanding work of Mr. Faizi and his companions is an inspiration to every Bahi’i.
Egypt—The Bahá’i Youth Committee of Cairo, Egypt, wrote: “We were so much delighted to arrange for a youth
meeting on Friday, February 24, 1939. On account of present circumstances in which the hearts and minds are stirred
by religious antagonism, the symposium could not be publicly arranged. Nevertheless the fragrance and spirituality
which we felt on that day were of such degree that they will remain vivid until the coming day when all these obstacles
will be removed by the power of the Word and the banner of Ya Bahâ’u’l, Abhá will be unfurled.”
Mr. Ibrahim El Masry, of Kafr El Dawar, Egypt, has written a brief article called In Egypt. Mr. Masry says that the
Egyptians are in great need of the Bahá’i Teachings. He says that the Christian and Mubammadan teachings are not
enough to purify the spirits in our time. His article gives us insight into the deplorable conditions of the lower classes in
Egypt. He writes: “The farmer is a poor creature. He is alive in the twentieth century but his habits are those of the old
ages. He eats dirty food and drinks defiled water. He has no house. He lives in a cottage or den. When you ask a
farmer, ‘Are you pleased with this life?’ he says, ‘Yes, God wishes so and I must respect His will.’ The religious men
tell him this.
“When the government begs him to let his son enter the school without paying fees, he refuses and says that his son
helps him in cultivating the land. The governor in the village is obliged to call the boys to enter the school in spite of
the wish of their parents.
“He does not fear God although he prays all the time. I think that education is the best remedy. It is not enough to
educate a farmer. He must live with an educated man to imitate him.”
BAHA’i YOUTH ACTIVITIES
Bahi’i Youth of Baghdad, ‘Iraq, report a fine meeting at the time of the Fourth Annal Bahá’i Youth Day. They write:
“The meeting was a beautiful demonstration by the ‘Iraqi Youth of their unity and cooperation with the rest of the Bahá’i Youth
throughout the world. They held special meetings beforehand to make plans for the occasion. All the talks were given in Arabic.
Kamil ‘Abbás spoke on the
Aims and Purposes of the Baha”I Faith,
Adib R. Baghdádi spoke on
Unity in Diversity,
Sabur spoke on
The Need for Spirituality.
Refreshments were served after the talks. They report that the addresses were well
received by the audience.
China—Mr. H. A. Ouskouli, of Shanghai, China, has published a small pamphlet, “Some Principles of the Bahá’i Faith.” In it is a
brief statement by Dr. Y. S. Tsao, Principal of Tsing-Hwa University of Peking. He says: “After studying the Bahá’i Faith and the
reviving effect it produces over the heart and mind of man, I came to the conclusion that the only way to regenerate China is to
introduce the Bahá’i teachings in China. Therefore I began to translate Bahi’i books into Chinese, so that the Chinese nation may be
benefited too by this heavenly Manifestation. That is ‘s’hy every day after leaving my office, though very tired, I go home and start
working on the translations of Bahá’i Teachings, and usually I forget that I am tired.”
In a letter dated November 13th, 1939, Mr. Ouskouli sent the English version of an article written by the translator of a part of the
book. This article is included in the front of the book together with an introduction by the late Dr. Tsao. Following is the introduction
written by I. S. Shen: “I happened to have read through the wonderful book
Some Questions Answered
and was amazed by its
truthful realities—the realities of Divine Manifestations.
“My friend, Mr. M. H. A. Ouskouli,
handed me one copy of this book which was already translated by the late Mr. Tsao, but unfortunately a part of Mr. Tsao’s translation,
Chapters XXXIX to XLIV, was destroyed at the time of printing, and Mr. Tsao died subsequently before the destroyed part could be
translated by him again. It was in July, 1939, when Mr. Ouskouli asked me to translate the destroyed part of the original work.
“I at first refused to do the translation before I read and studied the whole book, and suddenly I felt a light come into my life. I, as a
realist and a man never seriously considering religious studies, began to be pleased with one of the twelve Bahâ’i principles, viz.:
‘Religion should be in accord with science and reason.’ Nothing can be truer than the above principle and it is nothing but the real
“Having translated the destroyed part, I could not but form the conclusion that this book, the teaching of Bahã’u’llãh, at this time of
the world when nations are vying with each other and hatred and fears are reigning, is a great contribution toward the Divine task of
removing the international differences and bringing about the universal peace of mankind.”
Mr. I. S. Shen wrote this introduction in Shanghai, July 30, 1939.
Loving letters of greeting have been sent by the Bahá’is of Oslo, Norway; Gjinokaster, Albania; Lebanon; ‘Akká, Palestine; Tokyo,
Japan; and Tabriz, Iran.
Though these reports evidence great interest, great activity, on the part of the young Bahá’is throughout the world, yet they stand
barely on the threshold of the great opportunities which will be theirs. Although there are restrictions upon Bahá’i Youth in almost
every land, nevertheless, the universal truths which they are studying are equipping them with courage and knowledge so that they
may help in the reconstruction of society for world peace and for the brotherhood of mankind.
THE BAHA’I WORLD
EXCERPTS FROM ‘tBAHA’I YOUTH”
Balance in an Unbalanced World—Kenneth Christian
The Path Is Clear—Wilfrid Barton
A Plea—Annamarie Kunz Honnold
Why Be Religious?—Betty Shook
World Citizenship—Ansel Schurgast
Humanity’s Coming of Age—Virginia Russell
The Scientist Needs Religion—Otto Zmeskal
Bahã’i Internationalism—Herbert Berman
III. SPECIAL FEATURES
A Youth Who Made History—Teresita E. Ryan
The New Hour Has Struck! (A survey of Shoghi
A Letter—Bahiyyih Farajullah
The Unfoldment of World Civilization (including outlines of study for the Fourth Annual World Bahá’i Youth Day)
A New Civilization at Work (a reprint from Karachi Daily Gazette of June
The Báb—Robert Koehl
BALANCE IN AN UNBALANCED WORLD
David Starr Jordan was so impressed by the personality and life of ‘Abdu’l-Babá that he made the statement,
‘Abdu’l-Baha will unite
the East and the West, for he treads the mystical path with practical feet.” In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as the living Exemplar of the Bahã’i Faith,
we find the perfect balance between man the thinker and man the activist.
In finding a practical way of living under conditions of modern life, we must first achieve for ourselves a healthy body
equipped to carry us successfully through the demands which every day makes upon us. Then, with this as a foundation, our next task
achieves a workable balance between the extremes of the extrovert and the introvert.
This is much more easily said than done, The importance is obvious, however, when we see the results of too much introspection and
emphasis on self. Equally undesirable are the individuals who live such a vigorous, shallow social life that one wonders how
completely their mental and spiritual powers have been stunted. Individuals in either class are not living happily or “normally.”
Is it not, then, our individual task to seek the middle road as we work out our life problems from day to day, and week to week?
Man needs an Educator if he is to find
BAHA’i YOUTH ACTIVITIES
The Bahá’i Youth Group of Karachi, India, 1938.
and be able to follow such a middle path. In the Bahá’i concept of life and history, the Prophets, or Manifestations of
God, are the great spiritual geniuses who give man the pattern of life which is balanced. The great social and economic
changes of history make it necessary for the pattern to he repeated, changed, and amplified from age to age. The
succeeding Manifestations who appear in progressive revelation renew for man the ancient Faith and point out again
the golden mean of human conduct.
The Bahá’i Teachings reveal the unity of man. For, in the writings of Bahá’u’llah
and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, we find emerging a picture of man developing all the aspects of his nature, individual and social. ‘Abdu’l-Baha
demonstrated this as the Bahá’i Exemplar under all conditions of life in both the Orient and the Occident. In addition to the great
literature to which we may turn for counsel on any aspect of hfe, we have the constant example of His life.
“The mystical path with practical feet”— spiritual man creatively at work in the modern world—there is the Pattern for a balanced life
in an unbalanced world.
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