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Shoghi Effendi (vegetarian): Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Part 2 of 2

2024-06-09
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“O ye the faithful loved ones of ‘Abdu’l Bahá! It is incumbent upon you to take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi, the twig that has branched from and the fruit given forth by the two hallowed and Divine Lote-Trees, that no dust of despondency and sorrow may stain his radiant nature, that day by day he may wax greater in happiness, in joy and spirituality, and may grow to become even as a fruitful tree.

“For he is, after ‘Abdu’l Bahá, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. He that obeys him not has not obeyed God; he that turns away from him has turned away from God, and he that denies him has denied the True One. Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation.”

The Holy Bahá’í document reflects the gravity that the position of spiritual leader entailed. There were the many responsibilities of attending to a large number of devotees. Also, many “evil doers,” labeled “covenant breakers,” existed even within Shoghi Effendi’s own family and constantly sought opportunities to undo God’s work. The beginning of Shoghi Effendi’s leadership was fraught with challenges. A group of covenant breakers stole the keys to the tomb of Lord Bahá’u’lláh (vegetarian) in nearby `Akká, and other Bahá’ís made claims of succession to ʻAbdu'l-Bahá (vegetarian).

In early 1922, Shoghi Effendi called senior Bahá’ís from around the globe to gather in Haifa to begin laying the foundations for the Universal House of Justice. He tasked the representatives with first focusing on Local and National Houses in their respective countries. Shoghi Effendi then went on a mountain retreat in Switzerland. In Switzerland, Shoghi Effendi rented a simple furnished single-room dwelling in Interlaken and spent his days roaming the hills and engaging the snow-capped peaks with ropes and crampons. He continued to wrestle within himself over the immense burdens of his new role, ascending the mountain of his soul.

Eight months later, he was ready to stop trekking and returned to the Holy Land at Haifa. Turning his life over to God, Shoghi Effendi knew that he was an absolute instrument of the Lord, a permanent servant of the Bahá’í Faith and the world for the rest of his life.
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