Tricia Hague-Barrett: Meeting the Hand of the Cause, Dr. Rahmatu’lláh Muhajir (Part2)

Dr. Raḥmatu’lláh Muhájir (Arabic: رحمةالله مُهاجر‎‎‎; 4 April 1923 – 1979) was a prominent fourth-generation Bahá’í, born in ‘Abdu’l-‘Azím, Iran.  Following is a memory of Dr. Muhajir’s visit to my home in Palmerston North, New Zealand in the 1970’s.  

 

 

This quotation from Bahá’u’lláh always reminds me of this gentle soul.

 

“Whoso ariseth to teach Our Cause must needs detach himself from all
earthly things, and regard, at all times, the triumph of Our Faith as
his supreme objective. This hath, verily, been decreed in the Guarded
Tablet. And when he determineth to leave his home, for the sake of the
Cause of his Lord, let him put his whole trust in God, as the best
provision for his journey, and array himself with the robe of
virtue.
Thus hath it been decreed by God, the Almighty, the All-Praised.


“If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he forgoeth all created things,
the words he uttereth shall set on fire them that hear him. Verily,
thy Lord is the Omniscient, the All-Informed. Happy is the man that
hath heard Our 
voice
, and answered Our call. He, in truth, is of them
that shall be brought nigh unto Us.”
 (Bahá’u’lláah, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 334)

 

My Story Begins
I do not remember collecting The Hand of the Cause, Dr. Muhájir,  from the airport in Palmerston North back in the 70’s, though I did pick him up. Nor do I remember how long He was in Palmerston North or anything about community meetings held during his visit with us.  I had married a man who was in opposition to the Faith, (unfortunately I was not aware of this before I married him). I was living at 220 College Street, Palmerston North, and across the road was the famous Hedge House, where several Bahá’í youth were resident.  I was forbidden to have anything to do with the Faith, was monitored on any phone calls about the Faith, and could not receive National Newsletters.  I was on the LSA, but could not attend meetings, however, what does stand out for me, was on the day that he and some other friends visited me at my home.  Out of the blue, they had picked him up and brought him to see me. During the course of the visit, he asked me, about my life, which I shared, and then he asked me a question.  “Is there something in this house that should not be here?” Apart from my husband, I could not think of a single thing for heaven’s sake, I was stumped for words for a few minutes. What on earth could He mean?  He repeated the question, and I was trying hard to think.

   
Suddenly I remembered. Oh gosh, How did he know?” I wondered. So, I related to him what I had done as Secretary to protect the Bahá’ís in our community. It seems I had indeed forgotten about it. So, as nervous as I was, I informed him, that about 6 months earlier, I had heard that there was a covenant breakers book donated to the Public Library. I figured that I would have to go and get rid of it. I rushed to the Library, and took the book off the shelf, checked it out with the Librarian and took it home without opening it.  I wrapped it up in several layers of old newspapers, cardboard, and wrapping the whole thing in a bit of old sackcloth, I tied it with string, in many different ways, and threw it under my bed where it could gather dust bunnies to its heart’s content, and hopefully be thought of no more. Now, here I was being asked about “something here that should not be here,” and I was terrified of being smacked over the knuckles for having done so. Instead, he asked me to go and get it, unwrap it, take it straight back to the Library, pay the fines, and leave it there.

 

The next day I did exactly that. With His words ringing in my ears, “More people will become Bahá’ís through that book, than any other,”  I returned it to the Library.   There was much more that he said to me, but alas, I cannot remember anything but this sentence. However, from my understanding, he implied, that people would soon see truth from error when they investigated further. I paid about $16 dollars in late fees, then left it in God’s hands, as obviously, it was not my job to protect the Bahá’ís from these insidious and disunifying forces.

 

For the following few weeks, things seem to be much easier for me; whether it was a direct result of having gotten “rid” of the book off my premises or not I can only surmise. Until I did this, however, I am now sure that it was the cause of much pain and suffering. Thank God I never read it.

 

Prayer for The Hands of the Cause

“Light and glory, greeting and praise be upon the Hands of His Cause, through whom the light of fortitude hath shone forth and the truth hath been established that the authority to choose rests with God, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Unconstrained, through whom the ocean of bounty hath surged and the fragrance of the gracious favors of God, the Lord of mankind, hath been diffused.  We beseech Him—exalted is He—to shield them through the power of His hosts, to protect them through the potency of His dominion, and to aid them through His indomitable strength which prevaileth over all created things.  Sovereignty is God’s, the Creator of the heavens and the Lord of the Kingdom of Names.” (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pg. 83, ‘Lawh-I-Dunyá’ [Tablet of the World])

Tricia Hague-Barrett: Mr. G. V. Tehrani’s visit to Palmerston North, New Zealand

Mr. G. V. Tehrani’s visit to Palmerston North, New Zealand 1975-1976 

This is a personal account of what I experienced as a relatively new Bahá’í in Palmerston North in or around 1976. I had just come home from having gallbladder surgery along with removal of my appendix. I had 9 stitches down the front of my tummy, so could not move very well. I had been home a couple of days when the Bahá’ís brought Mr. Tehrani to meet me, as I was sick and he had asked if there were any sick Bahá’ís in the community that he could visit. I remember the car pulling up outside my house at 220 College Street, and I stood up to see who it was, and saw this elderly gentleman get out of the car, and start walking very slowly up my footpath. He was still approaching as I opened the front door, and was bowing low with each footstep. I stood there and bowed to him also, at least twenty times, as if compelled involuntarily and boy, did it hurt my healing incision site.

 

Mr. Tehrani finally reached the door and offered his elderly, wrinkled hand to me and we bowed to each other. I welcomed him in, made tea and we talked for a while. He inquired about my health and what I did as an occupation before my operation. I was a nurse’s aide at a geriatric hospital and he asked what it was like there and if I had a special patient. I ended up telling him about a dear patient of mine, (for the sake of privacy, I will refer to my patient as “Mr. G”) who had 5 vertebrae completely dissolved by gangrene and I told him how worried I was about him. I was not allowed to go back to work for 6 months in order to recover, so I figured Mr. G would pass away before I return. Before withdrawing, Mr. Tehrani told me that he had a gift for me and would return with it the next day.  

 

My copy of the Healing Prayer that Mr Tehrani gave me to give to Mr G, my patient at Awapuni Geriatric Hospital, this place has now closed down, and is now a Marae.  I decorated it myself.

When he returned the following day, we went through the very same repetitive bowing to each other. After taking a seat in the lounge, he presented me with two pieces of paper; both had the same prayer on it. “One” he explained, “is the original written in fountain pen” and he wanted me to keep it while the other was written with a standard ballpoint pen.  He then instructed me to fold the copy until I could fold it no more. His instructions were to take it immediately to the hospital, go to Mr. G’s bedside, take up his right hand and place this document in it, close his hand over it, and without saying any words, I was to return. Stitches and all, I complied instantly and summoned a cab. I’ll never forget the agony of getting in and out of that cab with stitches.  On returning home, he asked if I had done as he had directed, which I confirmed with a nod in the affirmative. “Everything will be alright,” he said consolingly, as we expressed our goodbyes.

 

Six months went by rather quickly, and I arrived at the hospital to begin working again. Before my car had even pulled into a parking spot, the Matron came rushing out of the main entrance calling me to her office. I am always nervous about such things, so I went rather timidly to meet her. She asked me right out, “What was that piece of paper that you put into Mr. G’s hand?”  Um, gee, I had not thought about it since that day.  I had never given it much consideration.  I was free of the worry of it for 6 months.  Flashing back to that day, I told her that I thought it was a prayer. I asked,”Why”?  She proceeded to tell me that Mr. G had passed away 5 minutes before I had arrived.  

 

What I was told next was astonishing. See, Mr. G had lost his ability to recognize and recall people and events.  Upon first meeting him months before as his nurse, he asked my name, in which I told him “My name is Tricia”.  He exclaimed, “PATRICIA!”. Mr. G was an Irish Catholic and my name seemed, by his expression, to have personal significance.  From then on, he would call out my name whenever he needed anything, in which I would respond quickly to his bedside.  It seemed the only name and face he could recall was mine.  Well, evidently, after I gave him the prayer, and had left the room, he sat straight up (an impossible feat being that he had no lower spine). The Matron proceeded to tell me that Mr. G was yelling out, “Bring the Matron! Bring the Matron!” over and over until she was brought to him. He didn’t say “nurse” which was commonly how he called for help.  He was unusually specific.  “He than asked me to get his wife, by her name” the Matron said in amazement.  Once Mrs. G arrived, Mr. G went on to fully discuss how his wife was going to survive once he was gone.  “He was fully cognizant and speaking as though there was never a problem with his memory!” she exclaimed. After he said everything he needed to convey, he passed away.  That coincided with my arrival at work.  Little did I know back then, that my instincts had been correct; he would pass away before I returned.

 

Upon hearing all of this I began to cry. I was astonished! The Matron stood up from her chair and came around the desk to hug and comfort me. She encouraged me to get up, then led me to his room. Standing at the threshold of Mr. G’s room, the Matron whispered, “You go into the room where he is lying and be with him to say your goodbyes”.  I sat with Mr. G for a long time and said prayers for him. Later, I was given the task and honor of prepare his body for burial. (But that is yet another story.)

 

Mr. Tehrani and I met once more in Ashburton, but we kept in contact via letters, and he always called me his daughter.  I think he must have adopted many children around the globe on his travels.  What a wonderful man and joy to be with.  From what I can remember, he was a pioneer to northern Japan.  I gleaned from an old newsletter, (see first link below) in November 1957,  Mr. G.V. Tehrani settled in Sapporo. His pioneering to Sapporo was a direct result of the Guardian’s instruction to take the Faith to Hokkaido. Mr. Tehrani, a widower, was elderly and not in the best of health, but his great loving spirit affected those around him and with the help of the new Bahá’ís, Mr. Sasaki and Mr. Shimatani, he soon had a group interested in the Faith. Mr. and Mrs. Assassi, pioneers to Hiroshima, purchased a house in Sapporo, which they donated to the Faith. Mr. Tehrani took care of that Haziratu’l-Quds and held countless meetings there during the fourteen years he lived in Sapporo.  In 1959, about a year and a half after Mr. Tehrani moved there, the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Sapporo was elected, as reported in “Traces that Remain,” which are summarized for inclusion here.

 

 

https://bahai-library.com/sims_traces_that_remain&chapter=67

https://bahai-library.com/alexander_history_bahai_japan&chapter=1#1b

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