Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
IV.   The Workshop of Interacting Souls
[Compiler: “The Workshop of Interacting Souls” is a continuation of the “Life Path of the Soul” in Section III. E., but emphasizing the macrocosmic repercussions and macrocosmic environment of souls’ lives interacting with each other.]
C.   Time: A Dimension of God’s Purpose
2.   Cycles of Growth
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
1270.Though in infancy the signs of the mind and spirit appear in man, they do not reach the degree of perfection; they are imperfect. Only when man attains maturity do the mind and the spirit appear and become evident in utmost perfection.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 51: “The Spirit and Mind of Man have Existed from the Beginning”, p. 198)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
1271.The light of the intellect enables us to understand and realize all that exists, but it is only the Divine Light that can give us sight for the invisible things, and which enables us to see truths that will only be visible to the world thousands of years hence.
 It was the Divine Light which enabled the prophets to see two thousand years in advance what was going to take place and today we see the realization of their vision.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Two Kinds of Light, November 5th”, p. 69)
1272.The Sun of Reality is one Sun, but it has different dawning places, just as the phenomenal sun is one although it appears at various points of the horizon. During the time of summer the luminary of the physical world rises far to the north of the equinoctial, in spring and fall it dawns midway, and in winter it appears in the most southerly point of its zodiacal journey….
 Furthermore, just as the solar cycle has its four seasons, the cycle of the Sun of Reality has its distinct and successive periods. Each brings its vernal season or springtime. When the Sun of Reality returns to quicken the world of mankind, a divine bounty descends from the heaven of generosity…. It is the springtime of the inner world.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “5 May 1912, Talk at Plymouth Congregational Church, 935 East Fiftieth Street, Chicago, Illinois, Notes by Marzieh Moss”, pp. 94-95)
1274.….we are living in a universal cycle, the first Manifestation of which was Adam and the universal Manifestation of which is Bahá’u’lláh.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “5 July 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, Notes by Howard MacNutt”, p. 218)
1275.Man is a child of God, most noble, lofty and beloved by God, his Creator. Therefore, he must ever strive that the divine bounties and virtues bestowed upon him may prevail and control him. Just now the soil of human hearts seems like black earth, but in the innermost substance of this dark soil there are thousands of fragrant flowers latent. We must endeavor to cultivate and awaken these potentialities,… bring forth these resplendent powers long hidden in human hearts.
(‘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. 294)
1276.From the beginning to the end of his life man passes through certain periods, or stages, each of which is marked by certain conditions peculiar to itself. For instance, during the period of childhood his conditions and requirements are characteristic of that degree of intelligence and capacity. After a time he enters the period of youth, in which his former conditions and needs are superseded by new requirements applicable to the advance in his degree. His faculties of observation are broadened and deepened; his intelligent capacities are trained and awakened; the limitations and environment of childhood no longer restrict his energies and accomplishments. At last he passes out of the period of youth and enters the stage, or station, of maturity, which necessitates another transformation and corresponding advance in his sphere of life activity. New powers and perceptions clothe him, teaching and training commensurate with his progression occupy his mind, special bounties and bestowals descend in proportion to his increased capacities, and his former period of youth and its conditions will no longer satisfy his matured view and vision.
 Similarly, there are periods and stages in the life of the aggregate world of humanity, which at one time was passing through its degree of childhood, at another its time of youth but now has entered its long presaged period of maturity, the evidences of which are everywhere visible and apparent. Therefore, the requirements and conditions of former periods have changed and merged into exigencies which distinctly characterize the present age of the world of mankind. That which was applicable to human needs during the early history of the race could neither meet nor satisfy the demands of this day and period of newness and consummation. Humanity has emerged from its former degrees of limitation and preliminary training. Man must now become imbued with new virtues and powers, new moralities, new capacities. New bounties, bestowals and perfections are awaiting and already descending upon him. The gifts and graces of the period of youth, although timely and sufficient during the adolescence of the world of mankind, are now incapable of meeting the requirements of its maturity. The playthings of childhood and infancy no longer satisfy or interest the adult mind.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “17 November 1912, Talk at Genealogical Hall, 252 West Fifty-eighth Street, New York, Notes by Edna McKinney”, pp. 438-439)