Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah - by Baha'u'llah

In 1935 Shoghi Effendi again presented the western Bahá'ís with a magnificent gift, published under the title Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, which the Guardian himself described as "consisting of a selection of the most characteristic and hitherto unpublished passages from the outstanding works of the Author of the Bahá'í Revelation."

Remembering the scanty pages of the New Testament, the reputed words of Buddha, and the mere handful of sayings of some other Divine luminaries, which nevertheless have transfigured for centuries the lives of millions of men, the Gleanings alone seems to provide a source of guidance and inspiration sufficient for the spiritual Dispensation of any Prophet. The most treasured tribute to this book was that of Queen Marie of Rumania who told Martha Root: "even doubters would find a powerful strength in it, if they would read it alone, and would give their souls time to expand." To Shoghi Effendi himself the Queen wrote, in January 1936, after receiving from him a copy, "May I send you my most grateful thanks for the wonderful book, every word of which is precious to me, and doubly so in this time of anxiety and unrest." (Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, p. 93)

To translate from one language to another is an art which requires knowledge, imagination and perfect mastery of both languages involved. For many years I struggled with translation into English from Italian, and vice versa, so that I well know the tremendous difficulties encountered in retaining the style, form and character of the original text - the hallmarks of the personality of the author-in the process of transferring these characteristics into another language that possesses a different grammatic structure and may, at times, lack the corresponding noun or adjective or verb used by the author. There are words in one language that cannot be translated into another because they actually do not exist. If we but consider therefore, from this point of view, Shoghi Effendi's translations into English from either Persian or Arabic - two flowery languages so rich in imagery and abundant in synonyms, the structure of which is so different from any modern European language - we can then better understand the immensity of his labour and the greatness of his accomplishment. (Ugo Giachery, Shoghi Effendi - Recollections, p. 35)

The contents of Gleanings may be divided into five parts. Part one, pages 1-46, proclaims this age as the "Day of God." “The advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred Scriptures." This is the culminating age when the past dispensations will bear fruit as men and women the world over unite in a common faith. Part two, pages 46-136, concerns the Manifestation of God and the significance of the Manifestation in representing the attributes of God. Part three, pages 136-200, deals with basic questions concerning the soul and its immortality. Part four, pages 200-259, concerns spiritual aspects of World Order the Most Great Peace. Part five, pages 259-346, deals with the duties of the individual and the spiritual meaning of life. (W. Kenneth Christian 1952, Introduction to Gleanings)