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
c. Natural Humanness Versus True Spirituality
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
712.O Son of Spirit
Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Arabic #22)
713.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)
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)
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)
How truly hath he1
said: “All human attainment moveth upon a lame ass, whilst Truth, riding upon the wind, darteth across space.”
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Íqán, paragraph 204, pp. 172-173)
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)
To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CIX, p. 215)
[from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
[An] attribute of perfection is justice and impartiality. This means to have no regard for one’s own personal benefits and selfish advantages, and to carry out the laws of God without the slightest concern for anything else. It means to see one’s self as only one of the servants of God, the All-Possessing, and except for aspiring to spiritual distinction, never attempting to be singled out from the others. It means to consider the welfare of the community as one’s own. It means, in brief, to regard humanity as a single individual, and one’s own self as a member of that corporeal form, and to know of a certainty that if pain or injury afflicts any member of that body, it must inevitably result in suffering for all the rest.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 39)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
[In response to the question:. – “Those who are blessed with good actions and universal benevolence, who have praiseworthy characteristics, who act with love and kindness toward all creatures, who care for the poor, and who strive to establish universal peace—what need have they of the divine teachings, of which they think indeed that they are independent? What is the condition of these people?”, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied:]
Know that such actions, such efforts and such words are praiseworthy and approved, and are the glory of humanity. But these actions alone are not sufficient; they are a body of the greatest loveliness, but without spirit. No, that which is the cause of everlasting life, eternal honor, universal enlightenment, real salvation and prosperity is, first of all, the knowledge of God. It is known that the knowledge of God is beyond all knowledge, and it is the greatest glory of the human world. For in the existing knowledge of the reality of things there is material advantage, and through it outward civilization progresses; but the knowledge of God is the cause of spiritual progress and attraction, and through it the perception of truth, the exaltation of humanity, divine civilization, rightness of morals and illumination are obtained.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 84: “The Necessity of Following the Teachings of the Divine Manifestations”, p. 300)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Duty of Kindness and Sympathy towards Strangers and Foreigners, October 16th and 17th, 1911”, p. 16)
A man may have attained to a high degree of material progress, but without the light of truth his soul is stunted and starved. Another man may have no material gifts, may be at the bottom of the social ladder, but, having received the warmth of the Sun of Truth his soul is great and his spiritual understanding is enlightened.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Sun of Truth, October 22nd, 1911”, p. 31)
All over the world one hears beautiful sayings extolled and noble precepts admired….
But all these sayings are but words and we see very few of them carried into the world of action.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Good Ideas must be Carried into Action, November 8th, 1911”, pp. 79-80)
….all the trials and troubles come from this world of illusion.
For instance, a merchant may lose his trade and depression ensues. A workman is dismissed and starvation stares him in the face. A farmer has a bad harvest, anxiety fills his mind. A man builds a house which is burnt to the ground and he is straightway homeless, ruined, and in despair.
All these examples are to show you that the trials which beset our every step, all our sorrow, pain, shame and grief, are born in the world of matter; whereas the spiritual Kingdom never causes sadness. A man living with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his life, the depths are calm and serene.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Pain and Sorrow, November 22nd”, p. 110)
Behold how the sun shines upon all creation, but only surfaces that are pure and polished can reflect its glory and light. The darkened soul has no portion of the revelation of the glorious effulgence of reality; and the soil of self, unable to take advantage of that light, does not produce growth. The eyes of the blind cannot behold the rays of the sun; only pure eyes with sound and perfect sight can receive them. Green and living trees can absorb the bounty of the sun; dead roots and withered branches are destroyed by it. Therefore, man must seek capacity and develop readiness. As long as he lacks susceptibility to divine influences, he is incapable of reflecting the light and assimilating its benefits.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “26 May 1912, Talk at Mount Morris Baptist Church, Fifth Avenue and 126th Street, New York, Notes by Esther Foster”, p. 148)
The body of man is in need of physical and mental energy, but his spirit requires the life and fortification of the Holy Spirit.
(‘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. 182)