THE UNIQUE ACTION OF THE SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF LUCKNOW, INDIA IN 1957, AFTER THE DEMISE OF THE FIRST GUARDIAN, SHOGHI EFFENDI



    1. INTRODUCTION

    2. THE SECOND GUARDIAN, CHARLES MASON REMEY’S COMMENT ON THE LETTER OF THE ASSEMBLY OF LUCKNOW



    3. THE ORIGINAL LETTER WRITTEN BY THE LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF LUCKNOW



    4. THE THIRD GUARDIAN, JOEL B. MARANGELLA’S APPEAL TO THE INDIAN BAHÁ’ÍS



      1. INTRODUCTION

        The seven members of the LSA of Lucknow, all of whom must be receiving their reward in the ABHA Kingdom, are calling, not only the Bahá’ís of India, but the Bahá’ís of the world to follow their example in giving preminence to the writings of Bahá’u’lláh, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and sever their ties with the sans-Guardian organization, join the true Faith i.e., the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith, and assist the third Guardian, beloved Joel B. Marangella, to establish the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh.

        In this period of strife, India is privileged to be a light to the world, the Torch-bearer of a message of universal brotherhood. Indian culture possesses the capacity for rejuvenation, and can without loss of continuity bring about a spiritual change. Indian people, though somewhat slow-going have the strength and vitality of youth, and so have preserved their basic human instinct for love of the truth. Their instinct reacts infallibly to the impact of realities. They are capable of effecting changes, not by imposition nor by intimidation, but by the process of education, a spiritual refining.

        How many of us are aware that the Local Spiritual Assembly of Lucknow, upon the passing of Shoghi Efendi in 1957, stood up valiantly for this very basic human instinct of LOVE FOR THE TRUTH, and faithfully demonstrated its fidelity to the Will And Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in refusing to conform to the dictates of ten Persian Hands of Cause who conspired to make the Religion of Bahá’u’lláh conform to their own whims and wishes? These Persian Hands of the Cause were bent upon exploitation of the Sacred Name in following a policy of imposition and intimidation.

        It is a well known fact that when men follow a policy of secret collusion, of which these Persian Hands were guilty at the very first conclave of Hands, held in ‘Akká following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, they cut themselves off from the truth and they become deluded by ignorance, and develop satanic perversity or egotism that proclaims itself absolute both in knowledge and power. The LSA of Lucknow, undeterred by this policy of intimidation, passed a resolution in the presence of seven members of the Assembly on November 9th, 1957, resolving that "the activities of this L.S.A. be suspended till the appointment of the next Guardian of the Faith."







      2. THE SECOND GUARDIAN, CHARLES MASON REMEY’S COMMENT ON THE LETTER OF ASSEMBLY OF LUCKNOW

        (http://Bahai-Guardian.com/daily.observe.html#_Toc415050698)

        This afternoon [12 February 1959] there was a meeting of the seven of us Custodian Hands of the Cause now here in the Holy Land at which there was a discussion of many things — details of the comings and goings of pilgrims all of routine work, and a letter from the Local Assembly of Lucknow, India, was laid upon the table without remark, someone saying that it was a local problem — a matter that should be referred not to the Hands but to the National Assembly of India.

        Seeing the letter, as it lay there on the table, I glanced at it and was astonished indeed at its contents. It was a record of the action of that local Assembly in which seven of the nine members had united to dissolve that local body until such time as the Guardianship be renewed and functioning again — this letter (this copy of which was addressed to the hands in the Holy Land, dated 18 November 1958) was being sent to the Indian National Assembly in New Delhi. This was indeed a most remarkable statement (in six short paragraphs and all on one sheet of paper) of the reasons why these friends cannot accept the present condition of the Cause without a Guardian, so the only thing that they could do was to dissolve their Assembly until they could again function as a Local Assembly of the Administration as given in the Will and established by the first Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi.

        Therein I found an epitome of the main and vital points that I have urged the Hands to consider and about which they, as an overwhelming majority, will so far do nothing. These men of Lucknow who wrote that letter are indeed clear thinkers, as are those of the German National Assembly. It is a masterly piece of statement, most extreme in its expression (it could not be more extreme) but with a foundation as firm as the foundation of the Will and Testament of the Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ...it gave me more hope than any of the other objections so far received by the Custodian Hands — objections to the action of the Hands in their tacit scrapping of the Guardianship that is of a divine nature and of their putting up in its place, the present human organization...





      3. THE ORIGINAL LETTER WRITTEN BY THE LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF LUCKNOW

        (Guardian's Web Site under the following URL:

        http://Bahai-Guardian.com/Question.html

         

        Resolution passed in the presence of seven members of the Assembly (L.S.A. LUCKNOW) on November 9th,1957

         

        REGISTERED SOCIETY NO. 141 NOVEMBER 18, 1958

        (U.P. INDIA) RAFFANIAN

        L.S.A. (LUCKNOW) HAIFA, ISRAEL

        Where as by a resolution passed in the presence of seven members of the Assembly on November 9th,1957, it was resolved that "the activities of this L.S.A. be suspended til the appointment of the next Guardian of the Faith" and the same was intimated to the N.S.A., New Delhi, and whereas it comes under the purview of the Supreme Council, so therefore it behooves this assembly to place the following arguments without prejudice, before the aforementioned Supreme Council through Raffanian, Haifa (Israel):

        1. Man’s nature is two-fold; he is spirit and body and therefore, at once, a citizen of this world and of the Heavenly City.

        2. The State of Guardianship is the supermost thing upon Earth, for the Guardians are not only God’s lieutenants upon earth, and sit upon God’s throne, but even by God Himself they are called Gods. That which concerns the mystery of The Guardian’s power is not lawful to be disputed, for, that is to wade into the weakness of Gods, and to take away the mystical reverence that belongs unto the temporal presence of them that sit in the Throne of God.

        3. The Guardian ought to have no equal in his realm because this would nullify the rule that an equal cannot have authority over his equals. Still less ought he to have a superior or anyone more powerful than he, for he would then be below his own deputies and it is impossible that inferiors should be equal to the Supreme.

        4. The Supremacy of the Guardian in spiritual matters is absolute under God. Substantially He is the "AKDAS" in the sense that he can neither be removed nor held responsible and has ultimate authority over the rest of the hierarchy, which his deputies have not. The Guardian has full power to create Hands of the Cause and can do so without any of the customary forms of election.

        5. The unique power possessed by The Guardian alone, is, therefore a "Divine Right". It confers a peculiar superiority, a power of revision and supervision over all other forms of authority whether ecclesiastical or secular. In substance the Guardian alone is the head of the entire legal system, not, indeed, as a universal executive but as a court of final authority which functions not in absentia but by presence. It is evident that it is impossible to invest the community or even the Hands of the Cause, with the supreme authority which is the Divine prerogative of the Guardian.

        6. The present system is but conciliary and the concilliarists have set against it the ideal of a harmony of powers cooperating by free and mutual consent. Such an argument is fought with the implication that God had changed the mode of imposing His Divine Right according to the wishes of the few. Such a democratic conception is vitally opposed to the Spirit of the Faith. The concilliarist theory strands curiously balanced between past and present. Wherever authority stands upon the exploitation of a sacred name, intimidation has to be adopted as policy on considerations.

        L.S.A. Lucknow in animated suspense til the consecration of the Guardian on His vacant throne.

         

         

        51 Sundarbagh,

        Lucknow U.P. (India)

        Copied from the original letter by C.M.R.

        "Gupta" was the name of the writer of Lucknow, India.





      4. THE THIRD GUARDIAN, JOEL B. MARANGELLA’S APPEAL TO THE INDIAN BAHÁ’ÍS

        During the 36-year ministry of the first Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi, the Bahá’ís proclaimed their undying fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and to the appointed Centre of that Covenant, `Abdu’l-Bahá. In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá they recognised, not only the Centre to whom all should turn following the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh as the sole Interpreter of the Holy Word but the true Exemplar of their Faith and the "perfect Architect" of a divinely-conceived Administrative Order — an Order, unique in religious history and the distinguishing feature of their Faith. As Shoghi Effendi has said "this Order constitutes the very pattern of that divine civilisation which the almighty Law of Bahá’u’lláh is designed to establish upon earth." Bahá’u’lláh, Himself, extolled this future Order as "this unique, this wondrous System the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed."

        As every Bahá’í knows, this unique Administrative Order was delineated by the unerring Pen of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, a sacred and divinely-conceived Document acclaimed by Shoghi Effendi as the very "Child of the Covenant", for he explained: "The creative energies released by the Law of Bahá’u’lláh, permeating and evolving within the mind of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, have by their very impact and close interaction given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World order which is at once the glory and promise of this most great Dispensation. The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant — the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God — the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá can no more divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it." Hence, as Shoghi Effendi has stated, this momentous Document should be considered as "Their Will." Moreover, in expatiating on the sacred character of this divine Charter, Shoghi Effendi conferred on this Document a rank co-equal with The Most Holy Book revealed, by Bahá’u’lláh — the Kitáb-i-Aqdas — stating that "A study of these sacred documents will reveal the close relationship that exists between them" and "that they are not only complementary, but that they mutally confirm one another and are inseparable parts of one complete unit." And he has said further, "For nothing short of the . . . provisions of their Will could possibly safeguard the Faith for which They have both so gloriously labored all Their lives."

        As the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá — His"greatest legacy to posterity" — constitutes a part of the explicit Holy Text, it is clear that not one jot or tittle of this Document may be annulled, altered or amended for as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh endures. Therefore, "This Divine Masterpiece which the hand of the Master-builder of the world has designed for the unification and the triumph of the world-wide Faith of Bahá’u’lláh," must, remain immutable and inviolable for no less than a full thousand years.

        How then can any Bahá’í, claiming to accept the divine origin and immutability of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Divine Charter and its co-equal rank with The Most Holy Book, reconcile this belief with the insidious doctrine promulgated by those who have abandoned the Guardianship that God has changed His Mind ("BADAH") concerning the continuity of the Guardianship of the Cause? And, consequently, in effect, declaring those provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Charter pertaining to the supreme institutions of the Bahá’í Administrative Order null and void, a mere thirty-six years following the inception of the Administative Order, due to the alleged inability or failure of Shoghi Effendi to appoint a successor under the terms of that Divine Charter.

        It should be clear, even to a non-Bahá’í observer, that in the light of the foregoing, such a conclusion would constitute nothing less than a flagrant repudiation of the previously professed belief of the Bahá’ís in the immutability of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament. Indeed to believe that Shoghi Effendi was unable or failed to appoint his successor, is to place him in the position of being a party to the destruction of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. For, to put an end to the Guardianship, the very heart and Centre of the Cause, is to also destroy the two remaining supreme institutions of the Administrative Order which depend on the presence of a living Guardian of the Faith, namely, the Universal House of Justice, of which the Guardian is "the sacred head and distinguished member for life" and the Hands of the Cause who are appointed only by him.

        Those familiar with the auspicious record of Shoghi Effendi’s untiring labors during his ministry to erect the machiney of the Bahá’í Administrative Order throughout the world and his copious writngs pertaining to the distinguishing features of that Order, will vouch that they bear eloquent testimony to the depths of his devotion, dedication, and undeviating fidelity to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Testament and his unwavering resolve to faithfully discharge every mandate bequeathed to us in that Charter as well as to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s other Charter, "The Tablets of the Divine Plan." One may search his writings and not find a single phrase in them or in his historic messages to the Bahá’í world alluding to anything but the indispensability and the continuity of the Guardianship down through the ages to come of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh.

        Indeed faithful to this sacred trust, Shoghi Effendi carefully provided for the continuity of the Guardianship and publicly announced the appointment of his successor to the Bahá’í world at the time. This being the case, why was it that this all-important appointment was not recognized by the Bahá’ís, either then, or following the passing of Shoghi Effendi? The answer is to be found in the erroneous beliefs and notions unfortunately held by most, if not all, of the Bahá’ís, as to the manner in which Shoghi Effendi would appoint his successor, coupled with their equally fallacious views as to the qualifications that his successor was required to possess. As Shoghi Effendi had been appointed to his supreme Office in the Faith through the instrumentality of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá they automatically assumed (obviously without re-examining the phraseology of the Will) that Shoghi Effendi would employ a similar instrument to appoint his successor, whereas if they had closely re-examined the language in‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Testament, they would have noted that it is mandatory for the Guardian to appoint his successor "in his own lifetime. . . that differences may not arise after his passing." Thus, it would have been clear that the Guardians of the Faith are barred from using a testamentary-type document in the appointment of their successors. The Bahá’ís held an equally false notion concerning the qualifications of the Guardian’s successor, believing that only the Guardian’s son (Shoghi Effendi had no offspring) or a blood relative of Bahá’u’lláh (misinterpreted by them to mean an Aghsán, who Shoighi Effendi has defined as only the sons of Bahá’u’lláh) could inherit the Guardianship whereas ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will permits the Guardian to choose "another branch" (a male believer) whose exemplary fidelity and service to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh — the "Tree of the Covenant" — has qualified him to be a spiritual "branch" of that glorious Tree.

        Spiritually blinded, as they were (and still are), by these preconceived ideas and notions, it is little wonder that the Bahá’ís, as a whole were ill-prepared to perceive the significance of the act taken by Shoghi Effendi to assure the continuity of the Guardianship and to recognise the unique and ingenious manner in which he had accomplished the appointment of his succesor (in a public, yet veiled manner).

        Some five years prior to his passing, Shoghi Effendi issued the only Proclamation of his ministry on 9 January 1951, using the form of a cablegram significantly addressed to the "National Assemblies of the East and West." In this historic Proclamation he proclaimed the "weighty epoch-making decision of the formation of the first International Bahá’í Council" hailing this decision to form the "first embryonic International Institution" as the "most signifcant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith" since the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (30 years earlier). Further extolling this event, he stated that history would acclaim the constitution, at long last, of the International Council "the greatest event shedding light upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertakren since the inception of the Administrative Order . . ."The significance of this "milestone" lay, of course in the fact that Shoghi Effendi had, in his Proclamation, established the embryonic Universal House of Justice. It has been emphasized in the Writings that it is a universal law that the growth and development of all beings is a gradual one and that "the embryo possesses from the first all perfections."(pp. 312-313, BWF). This divine and universal law applies equally to the organisms of the embryonic World Order of Bahá’u’lláh and Shoghi Effendi has frequently used the term embryonic in referring to the institutions of the Administrative Order and, in fact, to the Faith itself. Therefore, the Universal House of Justice established, in its embryonic form by Shoghi Effendi, although provisionally titled the International Bahá’í Council, was a complete and whole organism with both head and body "from the first." Consider, therefore, the significance of Shoghi Effendi’s appointment of the head or President of this embryonic body — the irremovable head of an organism which, as he stated, would evolve through four successive stages in its development towards maturity and its final efflorescence as the Universal House of Justice. All Bahá’ís know that, according to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, only the Guardian of the Faith serves as the "sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body." It was in the light of this undeniable fact that lay the hidden key to the recogniton of Shoghi Effendi’s appointed successor. For he had named a Bahá’í of recognised unsurpassed service, devotion and fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh since the earliest days of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to be the head or President of this embryonic body — one whom he had summoned to take up permanent residence in Haifa but a short time earlier to assist him in the work at the World Administrative Centre of the Faith. Significantly, Shoghi Effendi had chosen not to assume the Presidency of this body, himself, but at the same time had not authorized its appointed head, Mason Remey, to activate this embryonic Institution during the remaining seven years of his life, for, to have done, so would have caused this organism to emerge from its embryonic state into full and active life — a state that necessarily had to await his passing. Therefore, coincident with his passing the International Bahá’í Council — the embyonic Universal Houise of Justice — would become an actively functioning administrative body and as Guardian and President of the UHJ are synonymous titles, Mason Remey would then automatically accede to the Guardianship of the Faith (with not even a moment’s break taking place in the continuity of the Guardianship, as intended by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá). For Shoghi Effendi to have choosen this method in appointing his successor was indeed ingenious for, while he had made this appointment, as required, "in his own life-time" at the same time, he had purposely veiled the appointment in such a way that it had not become obvious to the believers. For, had they perceived the significance of the appointment of a man, considerably older than Shoghi Effendi, as his successor, they would have been faced with the tragic realization that this appointment portended the death of Shoghi Effendi in the near future (his passing actually taking place less than seven years later). Certainly, such a realisation on the part of the believers would unquestionably have produced world-wide consternation on the part of the believers and given rise to chaotic conditions within the Faith. It is obvious that it was for this reason that Shoghi Effendi had chosen to appoint his successor in this indirect manner. Tragically, as it turned out, the veil with which Shoghi Effendi had purposely enshrouded the appointment of his successor became even more impenetrable following his passing, for the reasons outlined earlier, with such dire consequences for the future of the Faith.

        Not finding a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi, which they had erroneously anticipated and blinded by their preconceived ideas, as cited above, the Hands of the Cause, (with one notable exception) hastily concluded that Shoghi Effendi had named no successor and thereby renounced their faith in the divinely-conceived, sacred and immortal Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. And, because of the great prestige that they enjoyed, they were able to easily persuade the vast majority of their fellow-believers to abandon the Guardianship as well. And, then incredibly they shamelessly established, in place of the "divinely ordained" institutions delineated in that Holy Charter, an organisation of their own making that was but a poor and deformed man-made substitute for the divinely-appointed Administrative Order bequeathed to us by "the master-hand of its perfect Architect,"‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

        For in the substitute organisation they have created:

        • There is no longer a Guardian —the "Centre of the Cause."

        • The interpretive authority of Holy Writ, vested solely in the Guardian and vitally essential to safeguarding the Faith from future schism, is forever lost.

        • The institution of the Hands of the Cause ceases to exist, as only the Guardian can appoint Hands.

        • The Universal House of Justice brought into existence in its embryonic form, by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 with its "sacred head" appointed by him, has been supplanted by a sans-Guardian and hence headless body which lacks the essential presence of the Guardian to provide it with the guidance and protection to insure that no legislation is enacted that will "conflict with the meaning"or "depart from the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s revealed utterances."

        Such, then, are the frightful implications of a Guardianless Faith. The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh — that "Wondrous System" extolled by Bahá’u’lláh and delineated by the infallible Pen of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament can never become a reality if the supreme organs of that divinely-conceived Order have all been destroyed and replaced by man-made and fallible institutions.

        In sharp contrast with the corrupted man-made administrative system established by the Hands of the Cause, the Orthodox Bahá’ís remain faithful to the living Guardianship of he Faith and strive to establish and preserve the institutions of the Administrative Order, as delineated in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They hope and pray that those Bahá’ís who have been led far astray from the Covenant and persuaded to abandon the Guardianship of the Cause of God will return to the true Faith having gained the realisation that the indestructible and resistless Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and its divinely-conceived offspring, the "Child of the Covenant" — the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, is immortal and that, under the living Guardian of the Faith, all of the institutions of the Administrative Order which Shoghi so laboriously erected with such care, in accordance with the provisions of that sacred Document and which, "at long last," as a befitting crowning achievement of these untiring labors, he had announced and hailed with such joy during the closing years of his ministry, the erection "at the World Center of the Faith," of the "machinery of its highest institutions" and "the supreme organs of its unfolding Order," shall once again, with the victory of the Covenant, be restored in all of their divinely-conceived glory and perfection.


        Joel Bray Marangella
        Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith