Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
III. The Reality of the Soul – Understanding Your True Self
D. How Spirit Manifests
6. The Animal Spirit: The Faculties of the Senses and Memory
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
….let us take the power of memory. If you carry a pigeon from here to a distant country, and there set it free, it will return, for it remembers the way. Take a dog from here to the center of Asia, set him free, and he will come back here and never once lose the road. So it is with the other powers such as hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 48: “The Difference Existing between Man and Animal”, p. 187)
The animal spirit is the power of all the senses, which is
realized from the composition and mingling of elements; when this
composition decomposes, the power also perishes and becomes
annihilated. It may be likened to this lamp: when the oil, wick and
fire are combined, it is lighted; and when this combination is
dissolved—that is to say, when the combined parts are separated from
one another—the lamp also is extinguished.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 55: “Soul, Spirit and Mind”, p. 208)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
Like the animal, man possesses the faculties of the senses, is subject to heat, cold, hunger, thirst, etc….
….man, being the culmination of all that went before and thus superior to all previous evolutions, contains all the lower world within himself.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Concerning Body, Soul and Spirit, 4 Avenue de Camoens, Paris, Friday morning, November 17th”, pp. 96-97)
If we look with a perceiving eye upon the world of creation, we find that all existing things may be classified as follows: …. third, animal—possessing the attributes of the mineral and vegetable plus the power of sense perception; ….
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “19 April 1912, Talk at Earl Hall, Columbia University, New York, From Stenographic Notes”, p. 29)
The animal possesses no power of ideation or conscious intelligence; it is a captive of the senses and deprived of that which lies beyond them. It is subject to what the eye sees, the ear hears, the nostrils sense, the taste detects and touch reveals. These sensations are acceptable and sufficient for the animal. But that which is beyond the range of the senses, that realm of phenomena through which the conscious pathway to the Kingdom of God leads, the world of spiritual susceptibilities and divine religion—of these the animal is completely unaware, for in its highest station it is a captive of nature.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “9 June 1912, Talk at Baptist Temple, Broad and Berks Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Notes by Edna McKinney”, p. 177)
The animal kingdom in turn possesses the qualities of the mineral and vegetable plus the five senses of perception whereof the kingdoms below it are lacking. Likewise, the power of memory inherent in the animal does not exist in the lower kingdoms.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “24 July 1912, Talk to Theosophical Society, The Kensington, Exeter and Boylston Streets, Boston, Massachusetts, Notes by Edna McKinney”, p. 240)