Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
 
III.   The Reality of the Soul – Understanding Your True Self
F.   The Natures Attributed to Man and the Soul
2.   The Intermediate or Human Nature
[Compiler: This is a more in-depth treatment of Sections III. D. 5. and III. D. 9.]
b.   Character Deficiencies Showing in Human Nature and Beings
 i. Disunity and Godlessness
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
678.The source of error is to disbelieve in the One true God, rely upon aught else but Him, and flee from His Decree.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, “Asl-i-Kullu’l-Khayr” or “Words of Wisdom”, p. 156)
679.Behold, O Muḥammad, how the sayings and doings of the followers of Shi’ih Islam have dulled the joy and fervor of its early days, and tarnished the pristine brilliancy of its light. In its primitive days, whilst they still adhered to the precepts associated with the name of their Prophet, the Lord of mankind, their career was marked by an unbroken chain of victories and triumphs. As they gradually strayed from the path of their Ideal Leader and Master, as they turned away from the Light of God and corrupted the principle of His Divine unity, and as they increasingly centered their attention upon them who were only the revealers of the potency of His Word, their power was turned into weakness, their glory into shame, their courage into fear. Thou dost witness to what a pass they have come. Behold, how they have joined partners with Him Who is the Focal-Point of Divine unity. Behold how their evil doings have hindered them from recognizing, in the Day of Resurrection, the Word of Truth, exalted be His glory. We cherish the hope that this people will henceforth shield themselves from vain hopes and idle fancies, and will attain to a true understanding of the meaning of Divine unity.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection XXVIII, pp. 69-70)
680.Say: It behoveth you, O Ministers of State, to keep the precepts of God, and to forsake your own laws and regulations, and to be of them who are guided aright. Better is this for you than all ye possess, did ye but know it. If ye transgress the commandment of God, not one jot or one tittle of all your works shall be acceptable in His sight. Ye shall, erelong, discover the consequences of that which ye shall have done in this vain life, and shall be repaid for them. This, verily, is the truth, the undoubted truth.
 How great the number of those who, in bygone ages, have committed the things ye have committed, and who, though superior to you in rank, have, in the end, returned unto dust, and been consigned to their inevitable doom! Would that ye might ponder the Cause of God in your hearts! Ye shall follow in their wake, and shall be made to enter a habitation wherein none shall be found to befriend or help you. Ye shall, of a truth, be asked of your doings, shall be called to account for your failure in duty with regard to the Cause of God, and for having disdainfully rejected His loved ones who, with manifest sincerity, have come unto you.
 It is ye who have taken counsel together regarding them, ye that have preferred to follow the promptings of your own desires, and forsaken the commandment of God, the Help in Peril, the Almighty.
 Say: What! Cleave ye to your own devices, and cast behind your backs the precepts of God? Ye, indeed, have wronged your own selves and others. Would that ye could perceive it! Say: If your rules and principles be founded on justice, why is it, then, that ye follow those which accord with your corrupt inclinations and reject such as conflict with your desires? By what right claim ye, then, to judge fairly between men? Are your rules and principles such as to justify your persecution of Him Who, at your bidding, hath presented Himself before you, your rejection of Him, and your infliction on Him every day of grievous injury? Hath He ever, though it be for one short moment, disobeyed you? All the inhabitants of Iraq, and beyond them every discerning observer, will bear witness to the truth of My words.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXV, pp. 123-124)
681.The vitality of men’s belief in God is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it. The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent Revelation can cleanse and revive it?
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection XCIX, p. 200)
682.They that are the worshipers of the idol which their imaginations have carved, and who call it Inner Reality, such men are in truth accounted among the heathen.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CLX, p. 338)
683.O Ye that are Lying as Dead on the Couch of Heedlessness!
….Though immersed in the ocean of misbelief, yet with your lips ye profess the one true faith of God.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #20)
684.O Moving Form of Dust!
I desire communion with thee, but thou wouldst put no trust in Me. The sword of thy rebellion hath felled the tree of thy hope. At all times I am near unto thee, but thou art ever far from Me. Imperishable glory I have chosen for thee, yet boundless shame thou hast chosen for thyself. While there is yet time, return, and lose not thy chance.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #21)
685.Know thou for a certainty that whoso disbelieveth in God is neither trustworthy nor truthful….He that acteth treacherously towards God will, also, act treacherously towards his king. Nothing whatever can deter such a man from evil, nothing can hinder him from betraying his neighbour, nothing can induce him to walk uprightly.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, “Súriy-i-Mulúk” or “Súrih to the Kings”, paragraph 60, p. 210)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
686.Alas! we see on all sides how cruel, prejudiced and unjust is man, and how slow he is to believe in God and follow His commandments….
 Why is man so hard of heart? It is because he does not yet know God. If he had knowledge of God he could not act in direct opposition to His laws; if he were spiritually minded such a line of conduct would be impossible to him.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Cruel Indifference of People towards the Suffering of Foreign Races, November 24th”, p. 115)
687.Inasmuch as human interpretations and blind imitations differ widely, religious strife and disagreement have arisen among mankind, the light of true religion has been extinguished and the unity of the world of humanity destroyed.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “24 May 1912, Talk at Free Religious Association, or Unitarian Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, From Stenographic Notes”, p. 141)
688.The nations and religions are steeped in blind and bigoted imitations. A man is a Jew because his father was a Jew. The Muslim follows implicitly the footsteps of his ancestors in belief and observance. The Buddhist is true to his heredity as a Buddhist. That is to say, they profess religious belief blindly and without investigation, making unity and agreement impossible. It is evident, therefore, that this condition will not be remedied without a reformation in the world of religion.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “24 May 1912, Talk at Free Religious Association, or Unitarian Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, From Stenographic Notes”, p. 141)
689.….the realm of the religionist has gradually narrowed and darkened, and the sphere of the materialist has widened and advanced; for the religionist has held to imitation and counterfeit, neglecting and discarding holiness and the sacred reality of religion.
(‘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. 179)
 ii. Blindness to Spiritual Beauty: Over-Emphasis on the Outer Life
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
690.….the people are wandering in the paths of delusion, bereft of discernment to see God with their own eyes, or hear His Melody with their own ears. Thus have We found them, as thou also dost witness.
 Thus have their superstitions become veils between them and their own hearts and kept them from the path of God,…
(Bahá’u’lláh: Bahá’í Prayers (US), “Tablet of Ahmad”, p. 310)
691.Delight not yourselves in the things of the world and its vain ornaments, neither set your hopes on them. Let your reliance be on the remembrance of God, the Most Exalted, the Most Great. He will, erelong, bring to naught all the things ye possess. Let Him be your fear, and forget not His covenant with you, and be not of them that are shut out as by a veil from Him.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXVI, pp. 127-128)
[from the Writings of the Báb:]
692.Indeed shouldst Thou desire to confer blessing upon a servant Thou wouldst blot out from the realm of his heart every mention or disposition except Thine Own mention; and shouldst Thou ordain evil for a servant by reason of that which his hands have unjustly wrought before Thy face, Thou wouldst test him with the benefits of this world and of the next that he might become preoccupied therewith and forget Thy remembrance.
(The Báb: Selections from the Writings of the Báb, “Prayers and Meditations”, p. 192)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
693.….take heed, lest in thinking too earnestly of the things of the body you forget the things of the soul: for material advantages do not elevate the spirit of a man. Perfection in worldly things is a joy to the body of a man but in no wise does it glorify his soul.
 It may be that a man who has every material benefit, and who lives surrounded by all the greatest comfort modern civilization can give him, is denied the all important gift of the Holy Spirit.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Material and Spiritual Progress, November 2nd”, pp. 62-63)
694.The imperfect eye beholds imperfections.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “5 May 1912, Talk at Children's Meeting, Hotel Plaza, Chicago, Illinois, Notes by Marzieh Moss”, p. 93)
695.Man is submerged in the affairs of this world. His aims, objects and attainments are mortal, whereas God desires for him immortal accomplishments. In his heart there is no thought of God. He has sacrificed his portion and birthright of divine spirituality. Desire and passion, like two unmanageable horses, have wrested the reins of control from him and are galloping madly in the wilderness.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “11 June 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, Notes by Howard MacNutt”, p. 184)
696.….unless man is released from the material world, freed from the captivity of materialism and receiving a portion of the bounties of the spiritual world, he shall be deprived of the bestowals and favors of the Kingdom of God, and the utmost we can say of him is that he is a perfect animal. No one can rightly call him a man.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “1 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell, 716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada, From Stenographic Notes”, p. 304)
 iii. Self-Indulgence and Living in the Prison of Self
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
697.O My Servant!
Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #40)
698.O Lovers of Worldly Desire!
….Ye have cast to the winds the loving counsels of the Beloved and have effaced them utterly from the tablet of your hearts, and even as the beasts of the field, ye move and have your being within the pastures of desire and passion.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #45)
699.O Rebellious Ones!
My forbearance hath emboldened you and My long-suffering hath made you negligent, in such wise that ye have spurred on the fiery charger of passion into perilous ways that lead unto destruction. Have ye thought Me heedless or that I was unaware?
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #65)
700.How long wilt thou soar in the realms of desire? Wings have I bestowed upon thee, that thou mayest fly to the realms of mystic holiness and not the regions of satanic fancy.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #79)
701.They that follow their lusts and corrupt inclinations, have erred and dissipated their efforts. They, indeed, are of the lost.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CXXXVI, p. 297)
702.Consider the pettiness of men’s minds. They ask for that which injureth them, and cast away the thing that profiteth them. They are, indeed, of those that are far astray. We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance.
 Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench. Thus warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing. Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paragraphs 122-123, p. 63)
[from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
703.….the pursuit of passion and desire will wrap the eyes in a thousand veils that rise out of the heart to blind the sight and the insight as well.
 Desire and self come in the door
And blot out virtue, bright before,
And a hundred veils will rise
From the heart, to blind the eyes.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 64)
704.….it is impossible for a human being to turn aside from his own selfish advantages and sacrifice his own good for the good of the community except through true religious faith. For self-love is kneaded into the very clay of man, and it is not possible that, without any hope of a substantial reward, he should neglect his own present material good.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 96-97)
705.Despair, both here and hereafter, is all you will gain from self-indulgence;
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 105)
706.The heart is a divine trust; cleanse it from the stain of self-love,….
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 116)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
707.This physical world of man is subject to the power of the lusts, and sin is the consequence of this power of the lusts, for it is not subject to the laws of justice and holiness. The body of man is a captive of nature; it will act in accordance with whatever nature orders. It is, therefore, certain that sins such as anger, jealousy, dispute, covetousness, avarice, ignorance, prejudice, hatred, pride and tyranny exist in the physical world. All these brutal qualities exist in the nature of man. A man who has not had a spiritual education is a brute.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 29: “Explanation of Verse Twenty-Two, Chapter Fifteen, of the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians”, p. 119)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
708.If a man is successful in his business, art, or profession he is thereby enabled to increase his physical wellbeing and to give his body the amount of ease and comfort in which it delights. All around us today we see how man surrounds himself with every modern convenience and luxury, and denies nothing to the physical and material side of his nature. But, take heed, lest in thinking too earnestly of the things of the body you forget the things of the soul: for material advantages do not elevate the spirit of a man. Perfection in worldly things is a joy to the body of a man but in no wise does it glorify his soul.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Material and Spiritual Progress, November 2nd”, pp. 62-63)
709.….men are carried away by passion and selfishness, each man thinking only of what will benefit himself even if it means the ruin of his brother. They are all anxious to make their fortune and care little or nothing for the welfare of others. They are concerned about their own peace and comfort, while the condition of their fellows troubles them not at all.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Good Ideas must be Carried into Action, November 8th”, p. 80)
710.Today the nations of the world are self-engaged, occupied with mortal and transitory accomplishments, consumed by the fires of passion and self. Self is dominant; enmity and animosity prevail. Nations and peoples are thinking only of their worldly interests and outcomes. The clash of war and din of strife are heard among them.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “12 April 1912, Talk at Studio of Miss Phillips, 39 West Sixty-seventh Street, New York, Notes by John G. Grundy”, p. 8)
711.Nature is the material world….
 If man himself is left in his natural state, he will become lower than the animal and continue to grow more ignorant and imperfect. The savage tribes of central Africa are evidences of this. Left in their natural condition, they have sunk to the lowest depths and degrees of barbarism, dimly groping in a world of mental and moral obscurity. If we wish to illumine this dark plane of human existence, we must bring man forth from the hopeless captivity of nature, educate him and show him the pathway of light and knowledge, until, uplifted from his condition of ignorance, he becomes wise and knowing;….
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “2 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell, 716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada, From Stenographic Notes”, pp. 308-309)