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.]
D.   The Religion and the Revelator
7.   Revealed Religions Changed to Human “religions”: Need for Renewal
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
1349.He Is the Glory of Glories
 This is that which hath descended from the realm of glory, uttered by the tongue of power and might, and revealed unto the Prophets of old. We have taken the inner essence thereof and clothed it in the garment of brevity, as a token of grace unto the righteous, that they may stand faithful unto the Covenant of God, may fulfill in their lives His trust, and in the realm of spirit obtain the gem of Divine virtue.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Arabic Introduction)
1350.O My Friends!
Call ye to mind that covenant ye have entered into with Me upon Mount Paran…. Of a certainty pride and rebellion have effaced it from the hearts, in such wise that no trace thereof remaineth.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #71)
1351.Moses….brought tidings of joy unto the people of Israel, imparting consolation to their souls, and assurance to their hearts. To this testify the records of the sacred books…. it is not Our wish to relate the stories of the days that are past. God is Our witness that what We even now mention is…that…the ignorant be led unto the ocean of divine knowledge,…. Otherwise, this servant regardeth the consideration of such records a grave mistake and a grievous transgression.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Íqán, paragraph 68, pp. 58-59)
1352.Nay, rather, by corruption of the text is meant that in which all Muslim divines are engaged today, that is the interpretation of God’s holy Book in accordance with their idle imaginings and vain desires. And as the Jews, in the time of Muḥammad, interpreted those verses of the Pentateuch, that referred to His Manifestation, after their own fancy, and refused to be satisfied with His holy utterance, the charge of “perverting” the text was therefore pronounced against them. Likewise, it is clear, how in this day, the people of the Qur’án have perverted the text of God’s holy Book, concerning the signs of the expected Manifestation, and interpreted it according to their inclination and desires.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Íqán, paragraph 93, pp. 80-81)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
1353.In the beginning the tree was in all its beauty, and full of blossoms and fruits, but at last it became old and entirely fruitless, and it withered and decayed. This is why the True Gardener plants again an incomparable young tree of the same kind and species, which grows and develops day by day, and spreads a wide shadow in the divine garden, and yields admirable fruit. So it is with religions; through the passing of time they change from their original foundation, the truth of the Religion of God entirely departs, and the spirit of it does not stay; heresies appear, and it becomes a body without a soul. That is why it is renewed.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 43: “The Two Classes of Prophets”, p. 166)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
1354.All these divisions we see on all sides, all these disputes and opposition, are caused because men cling to ritual and outward observances, and forget the simple, underlying truth. It is the outward practices of religion that are so different, and it is they that cause disputes and enmity—while the reality is always the same, and one. The Reality is the Truth, and truth has no division. Truth is God’s guidance, it is the light of the world, it is love, it is mercy.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Words Spoken by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Pastor Wagner’s Church (Foyer de L’ame) in Paris, November 26th”, pp. 120-121)
1355.We should…detach ourselves from the external forms and practices of religion. We must realize that these forms and practices, however beautiful, are but garments clothing the warm heart and the living limbs of Divine truth.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The First Principle—Search after Truth, 4 Avenue de Camoens, Paris, November 10th”, p. 136)
1356.Inasmuch as human interpretations and blind imitations differ widely, religious strife and disagreement have arisen among mankind, the light of true religion has been extinguished and the unity of the world of humanity destroyed.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “24 May 1912, Talk at Free Religious Association, or Unitarian Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, From Stenographic Notes”, p. 141)
1357.….day by day the power of the Kingdom in human hearts is weakened, and material forces gain the ascendancy. The divine signs are becoming less and less, and human evidences grow stronger. They have reached such a degree that materialists are advancing and aggressive while divine forces are waning and vanishing. Irreligion has conquered religion.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “31 May 1912, Talk at Town Hall, Fanwood, New Jersey, From Persian Notes”, p. 161)
1358.When the sun sets, it is the time for bats to fly. They come forth because they are creatures of the night. When the lights of religion become darkened, the materialists appear.
(‘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. 179)
1359.Consider to what a remarkable extent the spirituality of people has been overcome by materialism…. Although some attend churches and temples of worship and devotion, it is in accordance with the traditions and imitations of their fathers and not for the investigation of reality. For it is evident they have not found reality and are not engaged in its adoration.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “5 July 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, Notes by Emma C. Melick and Howard MacNutt”, p. 221)
1360.Every nation is holding to its traditional religious forms. The light of reality is obscured. Were these various nations to investigate reality, there is no doubt they would attain to it. As reality is one, all nations would then become as one nation.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “5 July 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, Notes by Emma C. Melick and Howard MacNutt”, p. 221)
1361.Man has opposed the will of God and acted in opposition to the plan of God. Therefore, from the beginning of history to the present time the world of humanity has had no lasting rest…. In the nineteenth century….darkness of imitations and forms had enveloped religious belief. The people of religions were in constant warfare, filled with enmity, hatred and bitterness. In the midst of these conditions Bahá’u’lláh appeared.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “1 September 1912, Talk at Church of the Messiah, Montreal, Canada, From Stenographic Notes”, pp. 297-298)