In all religions, irrespective of them being divine or otherwise, temples and houses of worship enjoy great importance. India is the best example of having different temples and houses of worship like Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, Sikh Gurdwaras, Christian Churches, Budha Vihars and the Baha’i Temple.
In the Baha’i Faith also, temples have an important role. Please read the following quotes of beloved Master Abdu’l Baha and commandment of Baha’u’llah:
“In brief, the original purpose of temples and houses of worship is simply that of unity -- places of meeting where various peoples, different races and souls of every capacity may come together in order that love and agreement should be manifest between them. That is why Bahá'u'lláh has commanded that a place of worship be built for all the religionists of the world; that all religions, races and sects may come together within its universal shelter; that the proclamation of the oneness of mankind shall go forth from its open courts of holiness -- the announcement that humanity is the servant of God and that all are submerged in the ocean of His mercy. It is the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar.
The world of existence may be likened to this temple and place of worship. For, just as the external world is a place where the people of all races and colors, varying faiths, denominations and conditions come together -- just as they are submerged in the same sea of divine favors -- so, likewise, all may meet under the dome of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar and adore the one God in the same spirit of truth... We must now realize that we are the servants of one God, that we turn to one Beneficent Father, live under one divine law, seek one reality and have one desire. Thus, may we live in the utmost friendship and love, and in return the favors and bounties of God shall surround us.”
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 65)
Please pay attention
Belief in the “Living Guardian” is essential in the Baha’i Faith. Thus, all the Houses of Worship should be under the control and care of the Guardian of Baha’i Faith.
What about the Holy Shrines in Haifa and Akka?
Since at the moment the sacred places of the Faith are under the care and control of the bogus Universal House of Justice, it would be difficult or impossible for the Orthodox Baha’is to visit them because of the animosity and hostility that will be shown to us. However, there are public sightseeing tours which guide tourists to visit the shrines. The true shrine to the Manifestation of God rests in the hearts of the faithful. No doubt the shrines and sacred sites hold great importance and significance, but in the end it is the faith of the believer that matters. The true shrine to the Manifestation of God rests in the hearts of the faithful.
Mason Remey - the Chief Architect of the Temples and House of Worships:
Let us consider the role of the architect, Mason Remey, who was destined to be appointed by the first Guardian of the Baha'i Faith as his successor, in his development of designs for future Baha'i Temples that would be built, in the light of statements of Abdu'l-Baha.
All of the Baha’i friends in India, irrespective of their identification as orthodox or heterodox Baha'is, should be particularly aware that the beloved Master Abdu’l Baha specifically appointed Mason Remey as the architect of the Mashriqu’l Adhkar to be built in the future on Mount Carmel and he was also identified by the first Guardian, Shoghi Effendi as the architect of the Baha'i Temple to be built in Iran when circumstances permitted. And he is the architect of the Temple already built in Sydney, Australia, as well as the Western Pilgrim House in Haifa, Israel, also built pursuant to the instructions of Abdu'l-Baha.
Baha’i Temples around the world:
The main architect and the appointed President of the Executive Board overseeing all plans for the construction of Baha’i Temples was Mason Remey, who later would become the second guardian of the Baha’i Faith. For the information of the reader, quoted below are applicable historical communications including the Tablet of Abdu’l Baha, written to or about Mason Remey concerning the Pilgrim House to be built in Haifa and the Mashriqu’l Adhkar (House of Worship) to be built in the future on Mount Carmel.
On 7 October 1921, Abdu’l Baha wrote the following to Mason Remey: “Some time ago I wrote thee a letter the content of which was that, praise be to God, thou hast become confirmed in drawing a plan for the Pilgrims House in Haifa. It is my hope that this Pilgrims House may be built under your supervision. Also, in the future, a Mashriqu’l Adhkar will be established on Mount Carmel. Thou wilt be its architect and founder. I give thee this glad tiding.” Star of the West, Vol. 13, No.8, November 1922.
The following acknowledgement of the approval given by Mason Remey to the Temple design of Mr. Bourgeois for the Temple to be built in Wilmette, Illinois, (outside of Chicago) appears in the following Tablet from Abdu’l Baha addressed to Mr. A. W. Randall, published in United States Baha’i News (Vol.11, No.7, p.112, 13 July 1919):
“The Model [of the House of Worship to be built in Wilmette, Illinois] of Mr. Bourgeois, praise be to God, has become acceptable to the friends, especially that it has proved approvable to his honor, Mr. Remey.”
The following Tablet from Abdu’l-Baha addressed to Corinne True appears on 20 August 1920 in the Baha’i News of the United States (Vol.11, No.9, p.139):
“Praise be unto God, that the model of the Mashriqu’l Adhkar made by Mr. Bourgeois was approved by his honor, and selected by the Convention. His honor, Mr. Remey is, verily, of perfect sincerity. He is likened unto transparent water, filtered, lucid and without any impurity. He worked earnestly for several years, but he did not have any personal motive. He has not attachment to anything except to the Cause of God. This is the spirit of the firm and this is the characteristic of the sincere.”
The style and general lines of future Temples to be built in Persia, Arabia and India:
In the Star of the West, (Vol.17, No.2, May 1926) appears a long article written by Charles Mason Remey about the Mashriqu’l Adhkar of Ashqabad, Russia. In the introduction the editor wrote:
“The following article describing the first Baha’i religious edifice that has been constructed is written by an Architect who has traveled much among the Baha’is of Persia and the Orient. He has himself given much attention to the religious architecture, and has made a series of designs for Baha’i Temples based on religious architecture of Persia, India and Arabia.”
Mason Remey has also stated:
“Abdu’l Baha Himself established the style and the general lines upon which the Temple was to be built – namely, that it should be built upon the plan of a regular nine-sided polygon surrounded by loggias and in the midst of a garden at the intersection of nine avenues, with its principal entrance facing the direction of the Holy Land—the composition of the building being similar to that of some of the great temples of Persia and India.”
[This being the reason, no doubt, why the Lotus Temple in India was so conceived]
Eyes of Master ‘Abdu’l Baha on Indian Baha’is:
The eyes of the Master ‘Abdu’l Baha were certainly on the Indian Baha’is, for based on the above text, it is crystal clear that Abdu’l Baha foresaw the extensive embracement of the Baha’i Faith by the Indians and that is why he directed Mason Remey, in his development of future designs for Temples to consider the architectural features of some of the great temples of India.
I feel certain that He foresaw that India would be the first country in the future that would embrace the Guardianship of the Baha’i Faith, en masse.
At the end, I would like to draw the attention of all Baha’is, especially Indian Baha’is that any house of worship which is not in the control and care of Guardian of Baha’i Faith, prayers are invalid in it.
Investigate the truth independently.
National Baha’i Council of Orthodox Baha’is of India.
23rd October, 2011