APPRECIATIONS OF THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH

by Dowager Queen Marie of Rumania
Appreciations of the Bahá'í Faith
Reprinted from The Bahá'í World, Vol. VIII
Bahá'í Publishing Committee, Wilmette, Illinois, 1941


1.

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 month to month and all those we give it to see a light 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 caste 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 against grief !

May you and those beneath your guidance be blessed and upheld by the sacred strength of those gone before you.

2.

A woman1 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 goodwill 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 the 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'lláh and his son 'Abdu'l-Bahá 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.

There is only one great verity in it: Love, the mainspring of every energy, tolerance toward 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 Bahá'u'lláh or 'Abdu'l-Bahá 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.

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.

(From the Toronto Daily Star, May 4, 1926.)

1Miss Martha L. Root—Editor

3.

Of course, if you take the stand that creation has no aim, it is easy to dismiss life 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, whom 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 through countless ages with merely this small goal in view—a few years of 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.

(From the Toronto Daily Star, September 28, 1926.)

4.

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—no 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 beginnings. He is the inexhaustible source of supply, of love, of good, of progress, of achievement. God is therefore Happiness.

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'lláh, 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 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 listen 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.)

5.

"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'ís or of the Bahá'í 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."

6.

"The Bahá'í teaching brings peace and understanding.

"It is like 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 intolerance towards each other, I discovered in the Bahá'í 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."

7.

"The Bahá'í 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.

8.

"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'í. Teachings offer a star which will lead them to deeper understanding, to assurance, peace and good will with all men."

1936.