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.]
E. God’s Purpose for Man in Fulfillment
3. Translating Reality into Action: Responsibility and Bounty of Bahá’ís
[from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh:]
The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth everyone who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paragraph 1, p. 19)
Wash from your hearts all earthly defilements, and hasten to enter the Kingdom of your Lord, the Creator of earth and heaven,….
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paragraph 79, p. 48)
This is the infallible Balance which the Hand of God is holding, in which all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth are weighed, and their fate determined, if ye be of them that believe and recognize this truth…. Say: Through it the poor have been enriched, the learned enlightened, and the seekers enabled to ascend unto the presence of God. Beware lest ye make it a cause of dissension amongst you. Be ye as firmly settled as the immovable mountain in the Cause of your Lord, the Mighty, the Loving.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paragraph 183, p. 86)
1510.O Children of Men
Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Arabic #68)
Open your ears that ye may hearken unto the word of God, the Help in peril, the Self-existent.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #52)
1512.O Heedless Ones
Think not the secrets of hearts are hidden, nay, know ye of a certainty that in clear characters they are engraved and are openly manifest in the holy Presence.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #59)
1513.O Son of Worldliness
Pleasant is the realm of being, wert thou to attain thereto; glorious is the domain of eternity, shouldst thou pass beyond the world of mortality; sweet is the holy ecstasy if thou drinkest of the mystic chalice from the hands of the celestial Youth. Shouldst thou attain this station, thou wouldst be freed from destruction and death, from toil and sin.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #70)
Purify thou, first, thy soul with the waters of renunciation, and adorn thine head with the crown of the fear of God, and thy temple with the ornament of reliance upon Him.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 2)
The Book of God is wide open, and His Word is summoning mankind unto Him. No more than a mere handful, however, hath been found willing to cleave to His Cause, or to become the instruments for its promotion. These few have been endued with the Divine Elixir that can, alone, transmute into purest gold the dross of the world, and have been empowered to administer the infallible remedy for all the ills that afflict the children of men. No man can obtain everlasting life, unless he embraceth the truth of this inestimable, this wondrous, and sublime Revelation.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection XCII, p. 183)
There lay concealed within the Holy Veil, and prepared for the service of God, a company of His chosen ones who shall be manifested unto men, who shall aid His Cause, who shall be afraid of no one, though the entire human race rise up and war against them. These are the ones who, before the gaze of the dwellers on earth and the denizens of heaven, shall arise and, shouting aloud, acclaim the name of the Almighty, and summon the children of men to the path of God, the All-Glorious, the All-Praised. Walk thou in their way, and let no one dismay thee.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CXXIX, pp. 280-281)
Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CXXX, p. 285)
Should any man, in this Day, arise and, with absolute detachment from all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, set his affections on Him Who is the Day Spring of God’s holy Revelation, he will, verily, be empowered to subdue all created things, through the potency of one of the Names of the Lord, his God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CXLIX, p. 319)
O peoples of the world! Forsake all evil, hold fast that which is good. Strive to be shining examples unto all mankind, and true reminders of the virtues of God amidst men. He that riseth to serve My Cause should manifest My wisdom, and bend every effort to banish ignorance from the earth. Be united in counsel, be one in thought. Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday. Man’s merit lieth in service and virtue and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches. Take heed that your words be purged from idle fancies and worldly desires and your deeds be cleansed from craftiness and suspicion. Dissipate not the wealth of your precious lives in the pursuit of evil and corrupt affection, nor let your endeavours be spent in promoting your personal interest. Be generous in your days of plenty, and be patient in the hour of loss. Adversity is followed by success and rejoicings follow woe. Guard against idleness and sloth, and cling unto that which profiteth mankind, whether young or old, whether high or low. Beware lest ye sow tares of dissension among men or plant thorns of doubt in pure and radiant hearts.
(Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, “Lawḥ-i-Hikmat” or “Tablet of Wisdom”, p. 138)
O My Brother! A pure heart is as a mirror; cleanse it with the burnish of love and severance from all save God, that the true sun may shine within it and the eternal morning dawn. Then wilt thou clearly see the meaning of “Neither doth My earth nor My heaven contain Me, but the heart of My faithful servant containeth Me.”1
And thou wilt take up thy life in thine hand, and with infinite longing cast it before the new Beloved One.
(Bahá’u’lláh: The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, “Valley of Unity”, pp. 21-22)
[from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
Is any larger bounty conceivable than this, that an individual, looking within himself, should find that by the confirming grace of God he has become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men? No, by the one true God, there is no greater bliss, no more complete delight.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 2-3)
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (no authority):]
We must look higher than all earthly thoughts; detach ourselves from every material idea, crave for the things of the spirit; fix our eyes on the everlasting bountiful Mercy of the Almighty, who will fill our souls with the gladness of joyful service to His command “Love One Another”.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Universal Love, October 24th”, p. 39)
Try with all your hearts to be willing channels for God’s Bounty. For I say unto you that He has chosen you to be His messengers of love throughout the world, to be His bearers of spiritual gifts to man, to be the means of spreading unity and concord on the earth. Thank God with all your hearts that such a privilege has been given unto you. For a life devoted to praise is not too long in which to thank God for such a favour.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Spiritual Meetings in Paris, November 4th”, p. 68)
You see all round you proofs of the inadequacy of material things—how joy, comfort, peace and consolation are not to be found in the transitory things of the world. Is it not then foolishness to refuse to seek these treasures where they may be found? The doors of the spiritual Kingdom are open to all, and without is absolute darkness.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “Pain and Sorrow, November 22nd”, p. 111)
Strive therefore, with heart and soul, to follow the precepts of the Blessed Perfection, and rest assured that if ye succeed in living the life he marks out for you, Eternal Life and everlasting joy in the Heavenly Kingdom will be yours, and celestial sustenance will be sent to strengthen you all your days.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “The Perfect Human Sentiments and Virtues, November 23rd”, p. 114)
Exert yourselves so that this glorious teaching may encircle the globe, and that spirituality may be infused into the hearts of men.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, “4 Avenue de Camoens, Paris, November 28th”, p. 167)
The voice of the Kingdom of God has been raised. May you attain supreme capacity and magnetic attraction in this realm of might and power—manifesting new energy and wonderful accomplishment, for God is your Assister and Helper. The breath of the Holy Spirit is your comforter, and the angels of heaven surround you. I desire this power for you. Rest assured that these bounties now overshadow you.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “16 April 1912, Talk at Hotel Ansonia to Baha'i Friends of New Jersey, Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York, Notes by Ahmad Sohrab”, p. 20)
If you attain to such a capacity of love and unity, the Blessed Perfection will shower infinite graces of the spiritual Kingdom upon you, guide, protect and preserve you under the shadow of His Word, increase your happiness in this world and uphold you through all difficulties.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “17 April 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney, 780 West End Avenue, New York, Notes by John G. Grundy”, p. 24)
The great and fundamental teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are the oneness of God and unity of mankind. This is the bond of union among Bahá’ís all over the world. They become united among themselves, then unite others. It is impossible to unite unless united.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “29 May 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney, 780 West End Avenue, New York, Notes by Howard MacNutt”, p. 156)
Today the human world is in need of a great power by which these glorious principles and purposes may be executed. The cause of peace is a very great cause; it is the Cause of God, and all the forces of the world are opposed to it. Governments, for instance, consider militarism as the step to human progress, that division among men and nations is the cause of patriotism and honor, that if one nation attack and conquer another, gaining wealth, territory and glory thereby, this warfare and conquest, this bloodshed and cruelty are the cause of that victorious nation’s advancement and prosperity. This is an utter mistake. Compare the nations of the world to the members of a family. A family is a nation in miniature. Simply enlarge the circle of the household, and you have the nation. Enlarge the circle of nations, and you have all humanity. The conditions surrounding the family surround the nation. The happenings in the family are the happenings in the life of the nation. Would it add to the progress and advancement of a family if dissensions should arise among its members, all fighting, pillaging each other, jealous and revengeful of injury, seeking selfish advantage? Nay, this would be the cause of the effacement of progress and advancement. So it is in the great family of nations, for nations are but an aggregate of families. Therefore, as strife and dissension destroy a family and prevent its progress, so nations are destroyed and advancement hindered.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “29 May 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney, 780 West End Avenue, New York, Notes by Howard MacNutt”, pp. 156-157)
You must manifest complete love and affection toward all mankind. Do not exalt yourselves above others, but consider all as your equals, recognizing them as the servants of one God. Know that God is compassionate toward all; therefore, love all from the depths of your hearts, prefer all religionists before yourselves, be filled with love for every race, and be kind toward the people of all nationalities. Never speak disparagingly of others, but praise without distinction. Pollute not your tongues by speaking evil of another. Recognize your enemies as friends, and consider those who wish you evil as the wishers of good. You must not see evil as evil and then compromise with your opinion, for to treat in a smooth, kindly way one whom you consider evil or an enemy is hypocrisy, and this is not worthy or allowable. You must consider your enemies as your friends, look upon your evil-wishers as your well-wishers and treat them accordingly. Act in such a way that your heart may be free from hatred. Let not your heart be offended with anyone. If some one commits an error and wrong toward you, you must instantly forgive him. Do not complain of others. Refrain from reprimanding them, and if you wish to give admonition or advice, let it be offered in such a way that it will not burden the bearer. Turn all your thoughts toward bringing joy to hearts. Beware! Beware! lest ye offend any heart. Assist the world of humanity as much as possible. Be the source of consolation to every sad one, assist every weak one, be helpful to every indigent one, care for every sick one, be the cause of glorification to every lowly one, and shelter those who are overshadowed by fear.
In brief, let each one of you be as a lamp shining forth with the light of the virtues of the world of humanity. Be trustworthy, sincere, affectionate and replete with chastity. Be illumined, be spiritual, be divine, be glorious, be quickened of God, be a Bahá’í.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, “2 December 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney, 780 West End Avenue, New York, Notes by Edna McKinney”, p. 453)
A person through his own actions and deeds makes himself loved or disliked by the people; or through his own unselfish conduct and behavior refined morality and selfless intention, trustworthiness and rectitude he suffers himself to become favored and beloved at the threshold of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, quoted in Star of the West, “We are ourselves the means of our degradation and exaltation: Extract from the diary of Mírzá Ahmad Sohrab, January 23, 1914”, Vol. 7, No. 17, p. 168)
[Writings of Shoghi Effendi:]
How great, therefore, how staggering the responsibility that must weigh upon the present generation of the American believers, at this early stage in their spiritual and administrative evolution, to weed out, by every means in their power, those faults, habits, and tendencies which they have inherited from their own nation, and to cultivate, patiently and prayerfully, those distinctive qualities and characteristics that are so indispensable to their effective participation in the great redemptive work of their Faith.
(Shoghi Effendi: The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 20)
….the Bahá’í youth…can contribute…decisively to the virility, the purity, and the driving force of the life of the Bahá’í community, and upon whom must depend the future orientation of its destiny, and the complete unfoldment of the potentialities with which God has endowed it.
(Shoghi Effendi: The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 22)
Young men and women in the Faith must be deep and thoughtful scholars of its teachings, so that they can teach in a way that will convince people that all the problems facing them have a remedy. They…must exemplify the Bahá’í way of living.
(Shoghi Effendi: Directives of the Guardian, Selection #221, “Youth”, p. 84)
Ours is the duty to fix our gaze with undeviating attention on the duties and responsibilities confronting us at this present hour, to concentrate our resources, both material and spiritual, on the tasks that lie immediately ahead, to insure that no time is wasted, that no opportunity is missed, that no obligation is evaded, that no task is halfheartedly performed, that no decision is procrastinated. The task summoning us to a challenge, unprecedented in its gravity and force, is too vast and sacred, the time too short, the hour too perilous, the workers too few, the call too insistent, the resources too inadequate, for us to allow these precious and fleeting hours to slip from our grasp, and to suffer the prizes within our reach to be endangered or forfeited.
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, “A God-Given Mandate, June 15, 1946”, p. 101)
[from the Writings of the Universal House of Justice:]
The dramatic expansion of the work of the Cause in recent years and the developments expected during this new Plan demand material resources which have not been adequate for some time, even though substantial increases have been made in the contributions to Bahá’í Funds. The economic crises so widely reported seem destined to grow even worse, but neither the economic nor other pressing problems confronting humanity will ultimately be resolved unless the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh is given due regard by nations and peoples and unless it receives the adequate material support of its avowed adherents. May the friends everywhere consider, together with their Bahá’í institutions and individually, undaunted by the uncertainties, the perils and the financial stringency afflicting nations, what must now be done by each and all to meet this inescapable, sacred responsibility resting upon them.
Our appeal for immediate, redoubled and sustained action on all aspects of the Plan is addressed primarily to the individual believer of every locality, who possesses within himself or herself the measures of initiative that ensure the success of any global Bahá’í enterprise, and “on whom, in the last resort,” as our beloved Guardian plainly stated, “depends the fate of the entire community”. The goals of the Three Year Plan will not be easily won, but they must be magnificently achieved, whatever the sacrifice. There should therefore be no hesitation or delay on the part of individuals or Spiritual Assemblies in attending to them, lest the problems of mankind pile up unchecked, or the rise of internal crises slows us down. Let it ever be borne in mind that we earn our victories through test and trial; we turn crisis to the advantage of progress by seizing the opportunity it provides to demonstrate the viability and winning power of our principles. In the onward surge of the Cause of God, crisis and victory have always alternated and have ever proven to be the staple of progress. As we savour the triumphs of the Holy Year, let us not forget the reality of this recurrent experience. Let us also remember that our blessings are equal to our challenges, as repeatedly shown by our glorious history.
Beloved friends: Do not be dismayed or deterred. Take courage in the security of God’s law and ordinances. These are the darkest hours before the break of day. Peace, as promised, will come at night’s end. Press on to meet the dawn.
(The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 150 B.E. Letter, paragraphs 12-14, April 21, 1993)