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
4. Human Desire and Will vs. the Divine
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
970.O Son of Desire
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)
Thou seest, O my Lord, how Thy servants are held captive by their own selves and desires.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Prayers and Meditations, p. 52)
Number me not with them who read Thy words and fail to find Thy hidden gift which, as decreed by Thee, is contained therein, and which quickeneth the souls of Thy creatures and the hearts of Thy servants.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Prayers and Meditations, p. 83)
Wherefore must the veils of the satanic self be burned away at the fire of love, that the spirit may be purified and cleansed and thus may know the station of the Lord of the Worlds.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, “Valley of Love”, p. 11)
Tear asunder, in My Name, the veils that have grievously blinded your vision, and, through the power born of your belief in the unity of God, scatter the idols of vain imitation. Enter, then, the holy paradise of the good-pleasure of the All-Merciful. Sanctify your souls from whatsoever is not of God, and taste ye the sweetness of rest within the pale of His vast and mighty Revelation, and beneath the shadow of His supreme and infallible authority. Suffer not yourselves to be wrapt in the dense veils of your selfish desires, inasmuch as I have perfected in every one of you My creation, so that the excellence of My handiwork may be fully revealed unto men.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXXV, p. 143)
God grant that your desires and unmortified passions may not hinder you from that which hath been ordained for you.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CXLVII, p. 317)
It behoveth thee to consecrate thyself to the Will of God. Whatsoever hath been revealed in His Tablets is but a reflection of His Will. So complete must be thy consecration, that every trace of worldly desire will be washed from thine heart. This is the meaning of true unity.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CLX, p. 338)
The essence of abasement is to pass out from under the shadow of the Merciful and seek the shelter of the Evil One.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, “Asl-i-Kullu’l-Khayr” or “Words of Wisdom”, p. 156)
[from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
And this is man’s uttermost wretchedness: that he should live inert, apathetic, dull, involved only with his own base appetites. When he is thus, he has his being in the deepest ignorance and savagery, sinking lower than the brute beasts.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 4)
….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)
Despair, both here and hereafter, is all you will gain from self-indulgence….
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 105)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
….goodwill is absolute light; it is purified and sanctified from the impurities of selfishness, of enmity, of deception.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 84: “The Necessity of Following the Teachings of the Divine Manifestations”, p. 302)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
If the heart turns away from the blessings God offers how can it hope for happiness?
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “There can be no True Happiness and Progress without Spirituality, November 21st”, p. 108)
All creation is made subject to the laws of nature, but man has been able to conquer these laws.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Words Spoken by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Pastor Wagner’s Church (Foyer de L’ame) in Paris, November 26th”, p. 122)
Desire and passion, like two unmanageable horses, have wrested the reins of control from him and are galloping madly in the wilderness. This is the cause of the degradation of the world of humanity. This is the cause of its retrogression into the appetites and passions of the animal kingdom. Instead of divine advancement we find sensual captivity and debasement of heavenly virtues of the soul. By devotion to the carnal, mortal world human susceptibilities sink to the level of animalism.
What are the animals’ propensities? To eat, drink, wander about and sleep. The thoughts, the minds of the animals are confined to these. They are captives in the bonds of these desires. Man becomes a prisoner and slave to them when his ultimate desire is no higher than his welfare in this world of the senses.
(‘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)
Consider the human world. See how nations have come and gone. They have been of all minds and purposes. Some were mere captives of self and desire, engulfed in the passions of the lower nature. They attained to wealth, to the comforts of life, to fame. And what was the final outcome? Utter evanescence and oblivion. Reflect upon this. Look upon it with the eye of admonition. No trace of them remains, no fruit, no result, no benefit; they have gone utterly—complete effacement.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “11 June 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, Notes by Emma C. Melick”, p. 186)
The natural emotions are blameworthy and are like rust which deprives the heart of the bounties of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “25 July 1912, Talk at Hotel Victoria, Boston, Massachusetts, Notes by Edna McKinney”, p. 244)
When we are not captives of nature, when we possess the power to control ourselves, shall we become captives of nature and act according to its exigencies?
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “8 October 1912, Talk at Leland Stanford Junior University, Palo Alto, California, Notes by Bijou Straun”, pp. 352-353)
….if…supreme precautions are not taken in the earliest stages of the child’s growth, it will be most difficult to curb later on his growing manifold appetites. For then he will live according to the requirements of the world of nature and uncontrolled self. Once the lower and sensual habits of nature take hold of him, it will be very hard to reform him by any agencies. Hence children must be brought under the control of the love of God and spiritual influence from their earliest youth. The lower appetites of nature are like kings over men, one must defeat their forces, otherwise he will be defeated by them.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá quoted in Star of the West, Vol. 7, No. 15, “Excerpt from ‘Diary of Mírzá Ahmad Sohrab’, June 16, 1914”, p. 143)
Will is the center or focus of human understanding. We must will to know God, just as we must will in order to possess the life He has given us. The human will must be subdued and trained into the Will of God. It is a great power to have a strong will, but a greater power to give that will to God. The will is what we do, the understanding is what we know. Will and understanding must be one in the Cause of God. Intention brings attainment.
(Words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Ten Days in the Light of Acca, p. 30, quoted in Star of the West, Vol. 7, No. 19, “The Divine Art of Living—Chapter Two”, p. 195)