Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
III. The Reality of the Soul – Understanding Your True Self
H. The Heart and the Love in the Soul’s Activities
3. Evil Emotions Caused by Self-Love or Limitations of Human Vision
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
953.O Children of Men
Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Arabic #68)
954.O Children of Negligence and Passion
…. Worldly friends, seeking their own good, appear to love one the other, whereas the true Friend hath loved and doth love you for your own sakes;….
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #52)
955.O Children of Adam
Holy words and pure and goodly deeds ascend unto the heaven of celestial glory. Strive that your deeds may be cleansed from the dust of self and hypocrisy and find favor at the court of glory; for ere long the assayers of mankind shall, in the holy presence of the Adored One, accept naught but absolute virtue and deeds of stainless purity.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #69)
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)
Arise, O people, and, by the power of God’s might, resolve to gain the victory over your own selves, that haply the whole earth may be freed and sanctified from its servitude to the gods of its idle fancies—gods that have inflicted such loss upon, and are responsible for the misery of their wretched worshippers.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, “Lawḥ-i-Dunyá” or “Tablet of the World”, p. 86)
Watch over yourselves, for the Evil One is lying in wait, ready to entrap you. Gird yourselves against his wicked devices, and, led by the light of the name of the All-Seeing God, make your escape from the darkness that surroundeth you.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, “Lawḥ-i-Dunyá” or “Tablet of the World”, p. 87)
Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, “Lawḥ-i-Dunyá” or “Tablet of the World”, p. 87)
The source of all evil is for man to turn away from his Lord and set his heart on things ungodly.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, “Asl-i-Kullu’l-Khayr” or “Words of Wisdom”, p. 156)
Be fair: Is the testimony of those acceptable and worthy of attention whose deeds agree with their words, whose outward behavior conforms with their inner life? The mind is bewildered at their deeds, and the soul marveleth at their fortitude and bodily endurance. Or is the testimony of these faithless souls who breathe naught but the breath of selfish desire, and who lie imprisoned in the cage of their idle fancies, acceptable? Like the bats of darkness, they lift not their heads from their couch except to pursue the transient things of the world, and find no rest by night except as they labor to advance the aims of their sordid life. Immersed in their selfish schemes, they are oblivious of the Divine decree. In the daytime they strive with all their soul after worldly benefits, and in the night season their sole occupation is to gratify their carnal desires. By what law or standard could men be justified in cleaving to the denials of such petty-minded souls and in ignoring the faith of them that have renounced, for the sake of the good pleasure of God, their life and substance, their fame and renown, their reputation and honor?
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Íqán, paragraph 250, pp. 207-208)
[from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
Whensoever ye behold a person whose entire attention is directed toward the Cause of God; whose only aim is this, to make the Word of God to take effect; who, day and night, with pure intent, is rendering service to the Cause; from whose behaviour not the slightest trace of egotism or private motives is discerned—who, rather, wandereth distracted in the wilderness of the love of God, and drinketh only from the cup of the knowledge of God, and is utterly engrossed in spreading the sweet savours of God, and is enamoured of the holy verses of the Kingdom of God—know ye for a certainty that this individual will be supported and reinforced by heaven; that like unto the morning star, he will forever gleam brightly out of the skies of eternal grace. But if he show the slightest taint of selfish desires and self love, his efforts will lead to nothing and he will be destroyed and left hopeless at the last.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selection #35, pp. 71-72)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
In creation there is no evil; all is good. Certain qualities and natures innate in some men and apparently blameworthy are not so in reality. For example, from the beginning of his life you can see in a nursing child the signs of greed, of anger and of temper. Then, it may be said, good and evil are innate in the reality of man, and this is contrary to the pure goodness of nature and creation. The answer to this is that greed, which is to ask for something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it is used suitably. So if a man is greedy to acquire science and knowledge, or to become compassionate, generous and just, it is most praiseworthy. If he exercises his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he does not use these qualities in a right way, they are blameworthy.
Then it is evident that in creation and nature evil does not exist at all; but when the natural qualities of man are used in an unlawful way, they are blameworthy.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 57: “The Causes of the Differences in the Characters of Men”, p. 215)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
The perfect love needs an unselfish instrument, absolutely freed from fetters of every kind. The love of family is limited; the tie of blood relationship is not the strongest bond. Frequently members of the same family disagree, and even hate each other.
Patriotic love is finite; the love of one’s country causing hatred of all others, is not perfect love! Compatriots also are not free from quarrels amongst themselves.
The love of race is limited; there is some union here, but that is insufficient. Love must be free from boundaries!
To love our own race may mean hatred of all others, and even people of the same race often dislike each other.
Political love also is much bound up with hatred of one party for another; this love is very limited and uncertain.
The love of community of interest in service is likewise fluctuating; frequently competitions arise, which lead to jealousy, and at length hatred replaces love.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Universal Love, October 24th”, pp. 36-37)
Ferocious animals have no fellowship. The vultures and tigers are solitary, whereas domestic animals live together in complete harmony. The sheep, black and white, associate without discord. Birds of various species and colors wing their flight and feed together without a trace of enmity or disagreement. Therefore, in the world of humanity it is wise and seemly that all the individual members should manifest unity and affinity.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “24 April 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Andrew J. Dyer, 1937 Thirteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C., Notes by Joseph H. Hannen”, p. 57)
Some are ignorant; they must be trained and educated. One is sick; he must be healed. Another is as a child; we must assist him to attain maturity. We must not detest him who is ailing, neither shun him, scorn nor curse him, but care for him with the utmost kindness and tenderness. An infant must not be treated with disdain simply because it is an infant. Our responsibility is to train, educate and develop it in order that it may advance toward maturity.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “25 April 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C., Notes by Joseph H. Hannen”, p. 63)
The disease which afflicts the body politic is lack of love and absence of altruism. In the hearts of men no real love is found, and the condition is such that, unless their susceptibilities are quickened by some power so that unity, love and accord may develop within them, there can be no healing, no agreement among mankind. Love and unity are the needs of the body politic today.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “8 June 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, Notes by John G. Grundy”, p. 171)
God has created all in His image and likeness. Shall we manifest hatred for His creatures and servants? This would be contrary to the will of God and according to the will of Satan, by which we mean the natural inclinations of the lower nature. This lower nature in man is symbolized as Satan—the evil ego within us, not an evil personality outside.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “27 August 1912, Talk at Metaphysical Club, Boston, Massachusetts, Notes by Edna McKinney”, p. 287)
You have asked why it was necessary for the soul that was from God to make this journey back to God?….
The reality underlying this question is that the evil spirit, Satan or whatever is interpreted as evil, refers to the lower nature in man. This baser nature is symbolized in various ways. In man there are two expressions: One is the expression of nature; the other, the expression of the spiritual realm. The world of nature is defective. Look at it clearly, casting aside all superstition and imagination. If you should leave a man uneducated and barbarous in the wilds of Africa, would there be any doubt about his remaining ignorant? God has never created an evil spirit; all such ideas and nomenclature are symbols expressing the mere human or earthly nature of man. It is an essential condition of the soil of earth that thorns, weeds and fruitless trees may grow from it. Relatively speaking, this is evil; it is simply the lower state and baser product of nature.
(‘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”, pp. 294-295)