Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
III. The Reality of the Soul – Understanding Your True Self
I. The Soul as Man Reacts and Lives
4. Animal Nature Aware only of the Physical World
[from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
By materialists, whose belief with regard to Divinity hath been explained, is not meant philosophers in general, but rather that group of materialists of narrow vision who worship that which is sensed, who depend upon the five senses only, and whose criterion of knowledge is limited to that which can be perceived by the senses. All that can be sensed is to them real, whilst whatever falleth not under the power of the senses is either unreal or doubtful. The existence of the Deity they regard as wholly doubtful.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Tablet to August Forel, p. 7)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
Now, the animal perceives sensible things but does not perceive intellectual realities.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 48: “The Difference Existing between Man and Animal”, p. 187)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
Oh! put your faith in the Almighty, for He faileth not and His goodness endureth for ever! His Sun giveth Light continually, and the Clouds of His Mercy are full of the Waters of Compassion with which He waters the hearts of all who trust in Him. His refreshing Breeze ever carries healing in its wings to the parched souls of men! Is it wise to turn away from such a loving Father, Who showers His blessings upon us, and to choose rather to be slaves of matter?
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “There can be no True Happiness and Progress without Spirituality, November 21st”, pp. 108-109)
Material advancement has been evident in the world, but there is need of spiritual advancement in like proportion.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “25 April 1912, Talk to Theosophical Society, Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C., Notes by Joseph H. Hannen”, p. 60)
The physical happiness of material conditions was allotted to the animal. Consider how the animal has attained the fullest degree of physical felicity. A bird perches upon the loftiest branch and builds there its nest with consummate beauty and skill. All the grains and seeds of the meadows are its wealth and food; all the fresh water of mountain springs and rivers of the plain are for its enjoyment. Truly, this is the acme of material happiness, to which even a human creature cannot attain. This is the honor of the animal kingdom. But the honor of the human kingdom is the attainment of spiritual happiness in the human world, the acquisition of the knowledge and love of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “2 June 1912, Talk at Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York, Notes by Esther Foster”, p. 166)
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)
The animal can only know through sense impressions and cannot grasp intellectual realities.
(‘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. 241)
….the world of spirit needs new life, the world of mind necessitates new animus and development, the world of souls a new bounty, the world of morality a reformation….
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “25 August 1912, Talk at the New Thought Forum, Metaphysical Club, Boston, Massachusetts, Notes by Edna McKinney”, p. 279)
There is no lower degree nor greater debasement for man than this natural condition of animalism.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “8 October 1912, Talk at Leland Stanford Junior University, Palo Alto, California, Notes by Bijou Straun”, p. 353)