I have had the privilege to meet a number of people who met Shoghi Effendi; the following are among them.
I first heard the Hand of the Cause William Sears speak of Shoghi Effendi in 1971. He gave a deepening at the Los Angeles Baha’i Center on Pico Blvd., and afterwards I sat next to him during lunch in the Love’s Restaurant across the street. He was eating a simple meal and I asked him if he would talk about Shoghi Effendi. He said no, that there wasn’t sufficient time, that on another occasion he could devote an entire evening to this subject. Then, motioning upward and looking toward the ceiling, he said, “Why, if I started talking about Shoghi Effendi, we would be up on the ceiling, we would become so exalted.” Then he spoke for 10 or 15 minutes about his beloved Guardian. I don’t remember what he said, but I remember that his heart was afire with an intense love for Shoghi Effendi, and that it was at the center of his being. On another occasion toward the end of his life I accompanied two old friends of his, Ted and Alicia Cardell, to lunch in his home. Though extremely sick, he spoke with great passion about Shoghi Effendi. His visage and his color improved markedly. It was a great privilege to hear him speak with such love for the beloved Guardian. In all of these cases, whenever he spoke of Shoghi Effendi, his tone was more passionate, his spirit became more exalted, and his voice was filled with emotion. His love for the Guardian was the motive force for his life.
The Hand of the Cause Mr. Khadem and Mrs. Khadem came to the Bosch Bahai School in Santa Cruz for a 5-day session during the summer of 1979. I was the cook at that time, and I had the privilege of preparing special meals for Mr. Khadem on a number of occasions. I had the privilege on a number of occasions to be alone with Mr. Khadem. He spoke with great love and devotion about his beloved Guardian. I think he had perhaps the clearest grasp of the greatness of the station of Shoghi Effendi, of anyone I ever met. Whenever he mentioned Shoghi Effendi, his voice would break with exaltation and devotion. I think that he, more than anyone I have ever met, lived most fully in the spiritual realm.
In 1972 I attended the Dedication of the Baha’i House of Worship in Panama. On the day of arrival the conference program started late in the night and the friends were very tired from their journey. Each of the three Hands – Mr. Giachery, Mr. Khadem, and Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum – spoke words of welcome. This event was taking place only 15 years after the passing of their beloved Guardian. When the Hand of the Cause Mr. Giachery spoke, he was very brief. I remember only that he said, with his lovely and dignified Italian accent, and with great pathos, that since November of 1957 “My heart has been a-broken.” I saw how deep was his sense of loss at the death of the Guardian.
This photograph was taken during that conference, and it may well have been that same first evening. The Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Giachery is speaking, the Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Khadem is seated behind him. (From the Dahl Family Photo Archive )
Sheila and Amin Banani spoke at the Bosch Baha’i School in Santa Cruz sometime around 1980. I remember them standing at the podium in the front of the Lodge, Sheila saying that they had gone on Pilgrimage during the lifetime of the Guardian, and then again after his passing. She spoke with such grief about how desolate Haifa was without him on the second pilgrimage.
In 1983 Helen Bishop came to the Bosch School. She was a very literate and educated woman, and had once been assigned by Shoghi Effendi to serve at the Baha’i office serving the League of Nations in Geneva. She said that during Pilgrimage she asked Shoghi Effendi what his favorite piece of music was – he responded, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – and her husband asked him what his favorite prayer was. It was the prayer by Abdu’l-Baha that begins, “O Lord, my God and my Haven in my distress! My Shield and my Shelter in my woes! My Asylum and Refuge in time of need and in my loneliness my Companion! In my anguish my Solace, and in my solitude a loving Friend! … ” Mrs. Bishop said, “Shoghi Effendi was the most complete man I ever met.”
From listening to these souls speak of the Guardian I realized that I have never heard such love in the human voice, as when those who had met Shoghi Effendi spoke of him.
- Brent Poirier, November, 2016