(Bahá'í Prayers )
Dear Friends: In 1878, the Blessed Beauty Baha'u'llah sent a great gift to the land of Burma: two devoted Baha'i teachers. One was named Jamal Effendi and the other was his recent convert to the Faith, Siyyid Mustafa Rumi.
Through the diligent and persistent efforts of these lovers of Baha'u'llah, a strong Baha'i community was eventually built up in Burma. In the days of Abdu'l-Baha, an entire village had become deep believers, and with the permission of the Master, they officially changed the name of their village to Abdu'l-Bahá's Village.
So strong was the Burmese Baha'i community, and so faithful were they to the Covenant, that Abdu'l-Baha Himself gave an even greater gift to the Baha'is in Rangoon when He commissioned Siyyid Mustafa to build the marble sarcophagus that would hold the Sacred Remains of the Bab in the Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land.
One can only imagine how exquisite was the marble from this region for the sacred task it would fulfill, and on which the illustrious calligrapher Mishkin Qalam was instructed by Abdu'l-Baha to inscribe possibly the most beautiful ever "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha" and "Ya Ali 'u'l-Ala".
(Of course in Arabic) (On an interesting local touch, one of the Rangoon Baha'is who embraced the Faith through the loving efforts of Siyyid Mustafa was Dr. Latif, the father of our dear friend and neighbor Dr. Zeena Latif Marshall, and her sisters and brothers who live in New York and London, all of them devoted and loving Baha'is.) In 1978, the Burma Baha'is celebrated 100 years of the Baha'i Faith in Burma.
My dear wife Farideh had the great bounty to attend the Centenary celebrations. Of the 1,000 local Baha'is present in Rangoon, Farideh was one of only 3 foreigners attending, including the Continental Counselor from Jakarta, who brought for the occasion the congratulatory message from the Universal House of Justice which was read at the conference.
Farideh has so many wonderful and inspiring stories about the Burmese Baha'is, many of whom were also 5th generation Baha'is. She of course visited the surrounding areas, even visiting Abdu'l-Baha' s Village and the gravesite of the martyr Siyyid Mustafa Rumi.
In 1959, the Hands of the Cause wrote the following to the Burmese Baha'i community: "It was in the days of 'Abdu'l-Baha, almost sixty years ago, that the illumined and dedicated teacher of the Cause, Siyyid Mustafa Rumi carried the Message of Baha'u'llah to Daidanaw, which became the first all-Baha'i village in the world outside the Cradle of the Faith, and was a great source of joy to the beloved Master.
"After His Ascension, the beloved Guardian continued to shower that same love and care upon you. How often he praised the activities and spirit of the friends of Burma to Baha'is of other lands, extolling you as examples of purity of heart and steadfastness, encouraging many teachers to visit you, giving you a special objective of your own--namely, the formation of your National Assembly in the World Crusade.
How greatly he grieved to learn of your sufferings during the war, the destruction of the Baha'i school and Haziratu'l-Quds in Daidanaw, the assassination of some of the believers, the wide-scale spoliation that took place, and particularly of the ruthless murder of your beloved teacher, Siyyid Mustafa Rumi, that "distinguished pioneer", that "high-minded and noble soul" as he so beautifully characterized him, whom he elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause, whom he affirmed had attained the station of martyrdom, and whose resting-place he declared was the "foremost shrine" of the Burmese Bahá'í Community.
And last but not least, how blessed you have been to have had the date for the election of your historic National Assembly fixed by the beloved Guardian himself just a short time before his passing." In the past week, the cyclone in Burma cut a devastating swath across the Burmese peninsula, and in its wake took a considerable number of devoted Baha'is to the Next World.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Burma is requesting the friends to offer their humble prayers for the Baha'is in Burma who are dealing with the aftermath of this disaster, and who must suffer in silence in their ordeals, while they continue in their efforts to bring the healing message of Baha'u'llah to more and more seekers in the days to come.
With loving Baha'i greetings,
Farideh & George
From: Vaughan Smith in Thailand.
Dear friends, Attached are current post cyclone photos of the Baha'i centre, the village, and the Baha'i cemetery where recently twenty people were laid to rest. Also the Baha'i home for the aged.