November 2, 2009

Who is the "archetype" of the people of Baha?

Did you know that the Guardian referred to the Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum, who was the daughter of Baha’u’llah, as “that archetype of the people of Baha”? (Shoghi Effendi, Bayiyyih Khanum, p. 30). Archetype is defined in the dictionary as: (1) The original pattern, or model, from which all other things of the same kind are made; a prototype; and (2) a perfect example of a type or group. Notice that the reference from the Guardian doesn’t have a gender distinction.

Here are some of her qualities that the Guardian highlighted:

• “A purity of life that reflected itself in even the minutest details of her daily occupations and activities;

• a tenderness of heart that obliterated every distinction of creed, class and colour;

• a resignation and serenity that evoked to the mind the calm and heroic fortitude of the Bab;

• a natural fondness of flowers and children that was so characteristic of Bahá'u'lláh;

• an unaffected simplicity of manners;

• an extreme sociability which made her accessible to all;

• a generosity, a love, at once disinterested and undiscriminating, that reflected so clearly the attributes of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's character;

• a sweetness of temper;

• a cheerfulness that no amount of sorrow could becloud;

• a quiet and unassuming disposition that served to enhance a thousandfold the prestige of her exalted rank;

• a forgiving nature that instantly disarmed the most unyielding enemy -- these rank among the outstanding attributes of a saintly life which history will acknowledge as having been endowed with a celestial potency that few of the heroes of the past possessed." (Shoghi Effendi, 'Bahiyyih Khanum, The Greatest Holy Leaf', a compilation prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)