July 26, 2010

Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Baha’u’llah – Recollection by Hand of the Cause of God, Dr. Ugo Giachery

Dr. Ugo Giachery was appointed by Shoghi Effendi in 1948 as the Guardian’s personal representative for all the work in Italy associated with the erection of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab on Mr. Carmel. It was this service which brought him the immortal honour of having the south-western door of the original Shrine named after him as 'Bab-i-Giachery'. In 1951 Shoghi Effendi appointed Dr. Giachery Hand of the Cause of God, and in 1952 'Member at Large' of the international Baha'i Council, the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice. Below is the recollection of Dr. Giachery concerning the first time he entered the Shrine of Baha’u’llah:

“The first time I beheld the Shrine of Baha'u'llah, I was overcome by deep emotion and, as I walked close to it, trepidation and excitement made it almost impossible for me to advance further. Years of expectation surged in my mind, and the desire to prostrate myself upon the Holy Tomb for a long time the goal of my life which was now becoming reality, was at the same time urging and restraining me. Perplexity held me fastened to the ground, and if it had not been for the gentle calling of my escort, I should have remained in that state for quite a long time.

It is not possible to describe the feeling of exaltation and awe which overtook me upon entering the door of that Sacred Sepulchre! The world with all its immensity whirled away into nothingness with the rapidity of lightning. I was alone, relieved of cares and thoughts, free from all attachments, as if suspended between heaven and earth. I could only feel the fast beats of my heart and the humming of infinity. There was nothing but light all around me and a powerful fragrance never known before. As in a dream, transported by the attraction exercised by the mystery emanating from the most Blessed Spot in creation, I reached the portal leading to the inner chamber of the Tomb and fell on my knees and placed my forehead on that hallowed Threshold. I felt the need to conceal my face in the ground, as my whole being was gripped by a strong sensation of guilt -- guilt for having arrived so late in my life. I could hear myself saying: Forgive, forgive, forgive. . . for a long time, and then a great peace filled me. My whole past life came before me as an irrelevant episode of eternity, while the present and the vision of the future filled me with unprecedented joy and the lightness of freedom. Glory, immense glory, through a path which precluded any return; a complete sublimation in the transcendency of creation; the certainty of nearness to the 'Mighty Root' from which the greatness and the perfection of the whole universe had been brought to earth. Prayers of thanksgiving and praise came to my lips; streams of unending tears flowed from my eyes, while in my thought all those whom I loved, like a legion of luminous entities, headed by none other than Shoghi Effendi himself, passed rapidly, moving forward and rejoicing with me.

When I came back to the reality of this contingent world, I felt that something had happened to me; my heart was filled with contentment, stability, expectation and unfading certainty. All those I loved became closer to me than ever before. Shoghi Effendi was eternally linked to my soul, while the problems of everyday life disappeared as small clouds swept by a fresh wind.

That same night, at the dinner-table, upon inquiry by the Guardian as to my impression of the Shrine of Baha'u'llah, I tried to express the tumult of my feelings. Shoghi Effendi looked at me with tenderness and understanding, and explained the influence upon the human soul of the earthly remains of the Messengers of God. 'They are, no doubt, endowed with a tremendous spiritual influence and far reaching power … in the sense that Their dust was the physical mirror of the greatness of God.'

Some weeks later … it was my special bounty to be with the Guardian at the commemoration of the Ascension of Baha'u'llah in His Shrine. After the commemoration ended in the small hours of the night, Shoghi Effendi, accompanied by the President of the International Baha'i Council, returned to Haifa; all the other guests remained in Bahji spending the rest of the night in the Mansion.” (Ugo Giachery, ‘Shoghi Effendi, Recollections by Ugo Giachery’, pp. 121-122)