March 26, 2016

“The Tablets of the Divine Plan invest your Assembly with unique and grave responsibilities…”

The American believers, if they wish to carry out, in the spirit and the letter, the parting wishes of their beloved Master, must intensify their teaching work a thousandfold and extend its ramifications beyond the confines of their native land and as far as the most distant outposts of their far-flung Faith. The Tablets of the Divine Plan invest your Assembly with unique and grave responsibilities, and confer upon it privileges which your sister Assemblies might well envy and admire. The present opportunity is unutterably precious. It may not recur again. Undaunted by the perils and the uncertainties of the present hour, the American believers must press on and prosecute in its entirety the task which now confronts them. I pray for their success from the depths of my heart. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated July 28, 1936; ‘Messages to America’)

March 13, 2016

September 1916: Five of the Fourteen Tablets of the Divine Plan were first published in the Star of the West magazine

Fourteen Tablets revealed by 'Abdu'l-Baha during the First World War, addressed to the Baha'is in North America and received by them in 1919, which Shoghi Effendi has called the 'mandate' and 'the supreme charter for teaching'. They are addressed either to the Baha'is of the United States and Canada as one body or to one of five regional areas of North America.

The 'mandate' was to carry the 'fame of the Cause of God' to the East and to the West and to spread the Glad Tidings of the coming of Baha'u'llah throughout the five continents of the world. In all, 'Abdu'l-Baha mentioned some 120 territories and islands to which the message of Baha'u'llah was to be carried.

The first eight Tablets were revealed between 26 March and 22 April 1916, and the final six between 2 February and 8 March 1917. Of the first group, five Tablets reached America and were published in the 8 September 1916 issue of Star of the West. After that, communication with the Holy Land was cut off and the rest of the Tablets remained in the vault under the Shrine of the Báb until the end of the war. They were dispatched to America and unveiled in a ceremony during the 'Convention of the Covenant' held at the Hotel McAlpin in New York in April 1919.

An immediate response to the Tablets was made by Martha Root who began her world travels, and by Mr. and Mrs. Hyde Dunn, who arose to move to Australia. However, it was not until 1837 when Shoghi Effendi gave the American believers the First Seven Year Plan that the Divine Plan began to be generally implemented. 
- Wendi Momen  ('A Basic Baha’i Dictionary')

March 10, 2016

The Unveiling of the Tablets of Divine Plan, New York, April 1919

The Tablets were dispatched to America and unveiled in a ceremony during the ‘Convention of the Covenant’ held at the Hotel McAlpin in New York in April 1919. Mary Maxwell (seated, center) and Elizabeth Coristine (seated, right), unveiled the Tablets addressed to Canada. Seated to the left of Mary is Bahiyyih Randall.

March 1, 2016

Tablet to the Bahá’ís of the Central States

Revealed on March 29, 1916, outside the house in Bahjí, and addressed to the Bahá’ís of twelve Central States of the United States: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.

O ye heavenly souls, O ye spiritual assemblies, O ye lordly meetings:

For some time past correspondence has been delayed, and this has been on account of the difficulty of mailing and receiving letters. But because at present a number of facilities are obtainable, therefore, I am engaged in writing you this brief epistle so that my heart and soul may obtain joy and fragrance through the remembrance of the friends. Continually this wanderer supplicates and entreats at the threshold of His Holiness the One and begs assistance, bounty and heavenly confirmations in behalf of the believers. You are always in my thoughts. You are not nor shall you ever be forgotten. I hope by the favor of His Holiness the Almighty that day by day you may add to your faith, assurance, firmness and steadfastness, and become instruments for the promotion of the holy fragrances.

Although in the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota—praise be to God—believers are found who are associating with each other in the utmost firmness and steadfastness—day and night they have no other intention save steadfastness—day and night they have no other intention save the diffusion of the fragrances of God, they have no other hope except the promotion of the heavenly teachings, like the candles they are burning with the light of the love of God, and like thankful birds are singing songs, spirit-imparting, joy-creating, in the rose garden of the knowledge of God—yet in the states of Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas few of the believers exist. So far the summons of the Kingdom of God and the proclamation of the oneness of the world of humanity has not been made in these states systematically and enthusiastically. Blessed souls and detached teachers have not traveled through these parts repeatedly; therefore these states are still in a state of heedlessness. Through the efforts of the friends of God souls must be likewise enkindled in these states, with the fire of the love of God and attracted to the Kingdom of God, so that section may also become illumined and the soul imparting breeze of the rose garden of the Kingdom may perfume the nostrils of the inhabitants. Therefore, if it is possible, send to those parts teachers who are severed from all else save God, sanctified and pure. If these teachers be in the utmost state of attraction, in a short time great results will be forthcoming. The sons and daughters of the kingdom are like unto the real farmers. Through whichever state or country they pass they display self-sacrifice and sow divine seeds. From that seed harvests are produced. On this subject it is revealed in the glorious Gospel: When the pure seeds are scattered in the good ground heavenly blessing and benediction is obtained.1 I hope that you may become assisted and confirmed, and never lose courage in the promotion of the divine teachings. Day by day may you add to your effort, exertion, and magnanimity.

Upon you be greeting and praise!
‘Abdu’l-Baha (Tablets of the Divine Plan’)

February 22, 2016

The “glorious work” for United States and Canada in “both the Formative and Golden Ages of the Bahá'í Dispensation”

In the Tablets of the Divine Plan… which may be designated as the Charter of the Plan with which He was to entrust them in the evening of His life, He, in a language still more graphic and in terms more definite than those used by either the Báb or Bahá'u'lláh, revealed the high distinction and the glorious work which America, and particularly the United States and Canada, was to achieve in both the Formative and Golden Ages of the Bahá'í Dispensation. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated June 15, 1946; ‘Messages to America’)

February 19, 2016

The potential effect of the “Power of the Holy Spirit” on North American natives

In the Tablets of the Divine Plan, the Master pays the utmost attention to this most important matter. He states that if the Power of the Holy Spirit today properly enters into the minds and hearts of the natives of the great American continents that they will become great standard bearers of the Faith, similar to the Nomads (Arabians) who become the most cultured and enlightened people under the Muhammadan civilization. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, August 22, 1957; compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

February 17, 2016

Tablet to the Bahá’ís of the Southern States

O ye heralds of the Kingdom of God:

A few days ago an epistle was written to those divine believers, but because these days are the days of Naw-Rúz, you have come to my mind and I am sending you this greeting for this glorious feast. All the days are blessed, but this feast is the national fête of Persia. The Persians have been holding it for several thousand years past. In reality every day which man passes in the mention of God, the diffusion of the fragrances of God and calling the people to the Kingdom of God, that day is his feast. Praise be to God that you are occupied in the service of the Kingdom of God and are engaged in the promulgation of the religion of God by day and by night. Therefore all your days are feast days. There is no doubt that the assistance and the bestowal of God shall descend upon you.

In the Southern States of the United States, the friends are few, that is, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Consequently you must either go yourselves or send a number of blessed souls to those states, so that they may guide the people to the Kingdom of Heaven. One of the holy Manifestations, addressing a believing soul, has said that, if a person become the cause of the illumination of one soul, it is better than a boundless treasury. “O ‘Alí! If God guide, through thee, one soul, it is better for thee than all the riches!” Again He says, “Direct us to the straight path!” [Qur’án 1:6] that is, Show us the right road. It is also mentioned in the Gospel: Travel ye to all parts of the world and give ye the glad tidings of the appearance of the Kingdom of God. [Cf. Mark 16:15]

In brief, I hope you will display in this respect the greatest effort and magnanimity. It is assured that you will become assisted and confirmed. A person declaring the glad tidings of the appearance of the realities and significances of the Kingdom is like unto a farmer who scatters pure seeds in the rich soil. The spring cloud will pour upon them the rain of bounty, and unquestionably the station of the farmer will be raised in the estimation of the lord of the village, and many harvests will be gathered.

Therefore, ye friends of God! Appreciate ye the value of this time and be ye engaged in the sowing of the seeds, so that you may find the heavenly blessing and the lordly bestowal. 

Upon you be Bahá’u’l-Abhá! 
‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Tablets of the Divine Plan’)

February 16, 2016

The Second Tablet of the Divine Plan

It was revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Baha on Monday morning, March 27th 1916, in the garden adjacent to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, addressed to the Bahá'ís of sixteen Southern States of the United States: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas Oklahoma, and Texas. 
- Hand of the Cause Balyuzi  (‘Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant’)

February 13, 2016

“'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablets of the Divine Plan… have summoned the followers of the Abha Beauty to the spiritual conquest of the planet”

….the present Four Year Plan… outlines the duties of the people of Baha until the end of the twentieth century and mobilizes them to forge ahead and accelerate the process of the fulfillment of the divine prophecies. These teaching plans, which have successively set the worldwide Bahá'í community on the move and broadened the boundaries of the Faith, are the results of the creative power of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablets of the Divine Plan, which, for more than eighty years, have summoned the followers of the Abha Beauty to the spiritual conquest of the planet. These teaching plans will continue until the Golden Age. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated March 1997 addressed to the Iranian believers - translated from Persian)

February 12, 2016

'Abdu'l-Baha's Tablet to the Bahá’ís of the Northeastern States - in Persian

احبّاء و اماء رحمن در  ٩   ايالات شمال شرقی ايالات متّحده مين، نيوهامشار، رودايلند، کن نکتيکت، ورمنت، پنسيلوانيا، ماساجوست، نيوجرزی، نيويورک عليهم و عليهنّ التّحيّة و الثّنا
هُو اللّه
ای مناديان آسمانی ايّام نوروز است هميشه بياد آن ياران مهربان هستم و از درگاه احديّت طلب تأييد و توفيق مينمايم تا آن جمع مانندشمع در اقاليم امريک برافروزند و نور محبّت اللّه در قلوب روشن نمايند تا انوار تعاليم آسمانی خطّه امريک را مانند اين فضای نامتناهی بنجوم هدايت کبری روشن و مزيّن فرمايد
ايالات شمال شرقی در ساحل اتلانتيک مثل ايالات مين نيوهامشارماساجوست، رودايلند، کن‌نکتيکت، ورمنت، پنسيلوانيا نيوجرزی، و نيويورک. در بعضی اين ايالات احبّائی موجود ولی در بعضی شهرهای اين ايالات هنوز نفوسی بانوار ملکوت روشن نشده‌اند و از تعاليم آسمانی خبر ندارند لهذا از برای هر يک از شماها اگر ممکن باشد بآن شهرها بشتابيد و چون ستارهها بنور هدايت کبری برافروزيد خداوند ميفرمايد "و تری الارضهامدة فاذا انزلنا عليها الماء اهتزّت و ربت و أنبتت من کلّ زوج بهيج" ميفرمايد زمين خاک سياه است چون فيض ابربهاری ببارد آنخاک سياه باهتزاز آيد و گلهای رنگارنگ بروياند يعنی نفوس انسانی چون از عالم طبيعت است مانند خاک سياه است چون فيض آسمانی برسد و تجلّيات نورانی هويداگردد باهتزاز و حرکت آيد و از ظلمات طبيعت رهائی يابد و گلهای اسرار الهی بروياند پس بايد انسان سبب نورانيّت عالم انسانی گردد و تعاليمی که در کتب مقدّسه بوحی الهی نازل ترويج دهد در انجيل شريف ميفرمايد بشرق و غرب سفر کنيد و جميع را بنور هدايت کبری روشن نمائيد تا از حيات ابدی بهره و نصيب گيريد الحمد للّه ايالات شمال شرقی در نهايت استعداد است و چون زمين پر قوّت است باران فيوضات الهی نازل گردد حال بايد شما دهقان آسمانی گرديد و تخم پاک بيفشانيد هر تخمی برکتش محدود است ولکن تخم تعاليم آسمانی فيض و برکتش نامحدود و در ممرّ قرون و اعصار متّصل خرمنها تشکيل کند در اسلاف ملاحظه نمائيد که در ايّام مسيح نفوس مؤمن ثابت معدود قليلی بودند ولی چنان برکت آسمانی نازل شد در سنين معدوده جمّ عظيمی بظلّ انجيل درآمدند در قرآن ميفرمايد که يک حبّه هفت خوشه برآرد و هر خوشه صد دانه بدهد يعنی يک دانه هفتصد دانه گردد و خداوند اگر بخواهد مضاعف ميفرمايد چه بسيار واقع که نفس مبارکی سبب هدايت مملکتی شد حال نظر باستعداد و قابليّت خويش نبايد نمائيم بلکه نظر بعنايت و فيوضات الهيّه در اين ايّام نمائيم که قطره حکم دريا يابد و ذرّه حکم آفتاب جويد و عليکم و عليکنّ التّحيّة و الثّناء       ع‌ع
  مكاتيب عبدالبهاء الجزء الثالث

February 11, 2016

To the Bahá’ís of the Northeastern States

O ye heavenly heralds:

These are the days of Naw-Rúz. I am always thinking of those kind friends! I beg for each and all of you confirmations and assistance from the threshold of oneness, so that those gatherings may become ignited like unto candles, in the republics of America, enkindling the light of the love of God in the hearts; thus the rays of the heavenly teachings may begem and brighten the states of America like the infinitude of immensity with the stars of the Most Great Guidance.

The Northeastern States on the shores of the Atlantic—Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York—in some of these states believers are found, but in some of the cities of these states up to this date people are not yet illumined with the lights of the Kingdom and are not aware of the heavenly teachings; therefore, whenever it is possible for each one of you, hasten ye to those cities and shine forth like unto the stars with the light of the Most Great Guidance. God says in the glorious Qur’án: “The soil was black and dried. Then we caused the rain to descend upon it and immediately it became green, verdant, and every kind of plant sprouted up luxuriantly.” [Qur’án 22:5] In other words, He says the earth is black, but when the spring showers descend upon it that black soil is quickened, and variegated flowers are pushed forth. This means the souls of humanity belonging to the world of nature are black like unto the soil. But when the heavenly outpourings descend and the radiant effulgences appear, the hearts are resuscitated, are liberated from the darkness of nature and the flowers of divine mysteries grow and become luxuriant. Consequently man must become the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity and propagate the holy teachings revealed in the sacred books through the divine inspiration. It is stated in the blessed Gospel: Travel ye toward the East and toward the West and enlighten the people with the light of the Most Great Guidance, so that they may take a portion and share of eternal life. [Cf. Mark 16:15] Praise be to God, that the Northeastern States are in the utmost capacity. Because the ground is rich, the rain of the divine outpouring is descending. Now you must become heavenly farmers and scatter pure seeds in the prepared soil. The harvest of every other seed is limited, but the bounty and the blessing of the seed of the divine teachings is unlimited. Throughout the coming centuries and cycles many harvests will be gathered. Consider the work of former generations. During the lifetime of Jesus Christ the believing, firm souls were few and numbered, but the heavenly blessings descended so plentifully that in a number of years countless souls entered beneath the shadow of the Gospel. God has said in the Qur’án: “One grain will bring forth seven sheaves, and every sheaf shall contain one hundred grains.” [Cf. Qur’án 2:261] In other words, one grain will become seven hundred; and if God so wills He will double these also. It has often happened that one blessed soul has become the cause of the guidance of a nation. Now we must not consider our ability and capacity, nay, rather, we must fix our gaze upon the favors and bounties of God, in these days, Who has made of the drop a sea, and of the atom a sun.

Upon you be greeting and praise!
‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Tablets of Divine Plan’)

February 10, 2016

The instrument ‘Abdu’l-Baha devised for the proclamation of the Faith to the remotest corners of the Earth was the Divine Plan laid out in the fourteen great Tablets of the Divine Plan

As war's inferno was engulfing the world, 'Abdu'l-Bahá turned His attention to the one great task remaining in His ministry, that of ensuring the proclamation to the remotest corners of the Earth of the message which had been neglected -- or opposed -- in Islamic and Western society alike. The instrument He devised for this purpose was the Divine Plan laid out in fourteen great Tablets, four of them addressed to the Bahá'í community of North America and ten subsidiary ones addressed to five specific segments of that community. Together with Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Carmel and the Master's Will and Testament, the Tablets of the Divine Plan were described by Shoghi Effendi as three of the "Charters" of the Cause. Revealed during the darkest days of the war, in 1916 and 1917, the Divine Plan summoned the small body of American and Canadian believers to assume the role of leadership in establishing the Cause of God throughout the planet. The implications of the trust were awe-inspiring. 
(‘Century of Light’ document, prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice and published in 2001)

February 9, 2016

First Tablet of the Divine Plan in English

English translation of the first Tablet of the Divine Plan which was addressed to the friends in the northeastern states of the United States. It was on the back and front of two postcards, and bearing the original signature of ‘Abdu'l-Baha. They were sent, along with their original Persian, to the address of Hooper Harris, a prominent Baha’i in New York City. This was during World War I.

February 8, 2016

Original first Tablet of the Divine Plan

The original Persian of the first Tablet of the Divine Plan which was addressed to the friends in the northeastern states of the United States. It was written in Persian, on the back and front of a postcard, and bearing the original signature of ‘Abdu'l-Baha. They were sent, along with their English translations, to the address of Hooper Harris, a prominent Baha’i in New York City. This was during World War I.

February 7, 2016

The Administrative Order of the Faith is “an instrument for the carrying out of this great Charter”

It was the Guardian himself, the beloved "sign of God", who, through his exposition and interpretation of the Revelation, through his discipline and education of the Bahá'í community and through a series of national plans assigned to the various units of that community, forged the Administrative Order of the Faith and made it an instrument for the carrying out of this great Charter, and he himself designed and launched the first global plan, the unique, brilliant and spiritually glorious Ten Year Crusade. The victories of that crusade implanted the banner of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the planet and the following Nine Year Plan reinforced and extended the bastions of the Faith and raised the number of National Spiritual Assemblies the - supporting pillars of the Universal House of Justice -- to one hundred and thirteen, a number increased to one hundred and fifteen by the formation at this Ridvan of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Hong Kong and South East Arabia. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan message, 131 B.E., 1974)

February 6, 2016

Tablets of the Divine Plan is the “Charter for the propagation of the Faith throughout the world”

The Five Year Plan to which this community is now summoned is the opening campaign of these critical years. It is the third global plan embarked upon by the Army of Light in its implementation of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan, that world-encompassing programme disclosed in His perspicuous Tablets and described by the Guardian of the Cause of God as the Charter for the propagation of the Faith throughout the world. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan message 131 B.E., 1974)

February 5, 2016

April 26-30, 1919: Unveiling of the Divine Plan for the Northeastern States

Delegates and friends attending the Eleventh Annual Mashriqu'l-Adhkar Convention and Baha'i Congress in New York City (Star of the West, vol.10, no.4, May 17, 1919) The first Tablet of Divine Plan was read at this gathering.