Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
III. The Reality of the Soul – Understanding Your True Self
A. What is the Human Soul?
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes. Upon the reality of man, however, He hath focused the radiance of all of His names and attributes, and made it a mirror of His own Self. Alone of all created things man hath been singled out for so great a favor, so enduring a bounty.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection XXVII, p. 65)
Know thou that all men have been created in the nature made by God, the Guardian, the Self-Subsisting. Unto each one hath been prescribed a pre-ordained measure, as decreed in God’s mighty and guarded Tablets.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXXVII, p. 149)
Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXXXII, pp. 158-159)
Verily I say, the human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among His mysteries. It is one of the mighty signs of the Almighty, the harbinger that proclaimeth the reality of all the worlds of God. Within it lieth concealed that which the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXXXII, p. 160)
“Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form When within thee the universe is folded?”
(Bahá’u’lláh quoting ‘Alí: The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, “Valley of Wonderment”, p. 34)
[from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
A human being is distinguished from an animal in a number of ways. First of all, he is made in the image of God, in the likeness of the Supernal Light, even as the Torah saith, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”1
This divine image betokeneth all the qualities of perfection whose lights, emanating from the Sun of Truth, illumine the realities of men.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selection #118, p. 140)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
It is said in the Old Testament, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”1
Observe that it is said that Adam came into existence from the Spirit of life. Moreover, the expression which John uses in regard to the disciples proves that they also are from the Heavenly Father. Hence it is evident that the holy reality, meaning the real existence of every great man, comes from God and owes its being to the breath of the Holy Spirit.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 18: “The Greatness of Christ is due to His Perfections”, pp. 89-90)
Man…is the perfect mirror facing the Sun of Truth and is the center of radiation: the Sun of Truth shines in this mirror.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 50: “Spiritual Proofs of the Origin of Man”, p. 196)
Man is said to be the greatest representative of God, and he is the Book of Creation because all the mysteries of beings exist in him.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 64: “The State of Man and His Progress after Death”, p. 236)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
The superiority of man over the rest of the created world is seen again in this, that man has a soul in which dwells the divine spirit; the souls of the lower creatures are inferior in their essence.
There is no doubt then, that of all created beings man is the nearest to the nature of God, and therefore receives a greater gift of the Divine Bounty.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “God Comprehends All: He cannot be Comprehended, Friday evening, October 20th”, p. 25)
.…the soul, even as the body, has its own individuality.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Evolution of Matter and Development of the Soul, November 3rd”, p. 65)
Man—the true man—is soul, not body; though physically man belongs to the animal kingdom, yet his soul lifts him above the rest of creation. Behold how the light of the sun illuminates the world of matter: even so doth the Divine Light shed its rays in the kingdom of the soul. The soul it is which makes the human creature a celestial entity!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Discourse at ‘L’Alliance Spiritualiste, Salle de l’Athenee, St. Germain, Paris, November 9th”, p. 85)
The soul is not a combination of elements, it is not composed
of many atoms, it is of one indivisible substance and therefore
eternal. It is entirely out of the order of the physical creation; it
Scientific philosophy has demonstrated that a simple element (“simple” meaning “not composed”) is indestructible, eternal. The soul, not being a composition of elements, is, in character, as a simple element, and therefore cannot cease to exist.
The soul, being of that one indivisible substance, can suffer neither disintegration nor destruction, therefore there is no reason for its coming to an end. All things living show signs of their existence, and it follows that these signs could not of themselves exist if that which they express or to which they testify had no being. A thing which does not exist, can, of course, give no sign of its existence. The manifold signs of the existence of the spirit are for ever before us.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Evolution of the Spirit, 15 Rue Greuze, Paris, November 10th”, p. 91)
Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “29 August 1912, Talk at Home of Madame Morey, 34 Hillside Avenue, Malden, Massachusetts, Notes by Edna McKinney”, p. 293)
.…the human spirit or reality of man, unless it becomes the recipient of the lights of the Kingdom, develops divine susceptibilities and consciously reflects the effulgence of God, will not be the manifestation of ideal bounties, for only the reality of man can become the mirror wherein the lights of God are revealed.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Clement Woolson, 870 Laurel Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota, From Stenographic Notes, p. 330)
….in man there is a reality which is not the physical body….This other and inner reality is called the heavenly body, the ethereal form which corresponds to this body. This is the conscious reality which discovers the inner meaning of things….The inner ethereal reality grasps the mysteries of existence, discovers scientific truths and indicates their technical application….It is the inner reality which comprehends things, throws light upon the mysteries of life and being, discovers the heavenly Kingdom, unseals the mysteries of God and differentiates man from the brute.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “4 December 1912, Talk to Theosophical Society, 2228 Broadway, New York, Notes by Esther Foster”, pp. 464-465)