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Title: Bahá’í World Faith
Author: `Abdu'l-Bahá, 1844-1921
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Bahá’í World Faith


by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá



Edition 1, (September 2006)



                           BAHA’I TERMS OF USE


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                                 CONTENTS


Baha’i Terms of Use
Bahá’í World Faith
CHAPTER SIX: THE FAITH OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
   MANKIND IS IN DANGER
   I HAVE COME WITH THIS MISSION
   THE BLESSED PERFECTION, BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
   RELIGION IS PROGRESSIVE
   THIS RADIANT CENTURY
   THE MOST GREAT PEACE
   MAN AND NATURE
   SCIENCE AND SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT
   TEACHINGS OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
   THE EDUCATORS OF MANKIND
   THE DIVINE STANDARD OF KNOWLEDGE
   THE SUN OF REALITY
   THE SOURCE OF UNITY
   THE QUICKENING SPIRIT
   SPIRITUAL EXISTENCE IS IMMORTALITY
   RACE UNITY, ASSURANCE OF WORLD PEACE
   RELIGION AND CIVILIZATION
   INDUSTRIAL JUSTICE
   UNIVERSAL PEACE
CHAPTER SEVEN: SOUL, MIND AND SPIRIT
   THE ORIGIN OF MAN
   MODIFICATION OF SPECIES
   THE KINGDOM OF MAN
   MAN AND EVOLUTION
   SPIRITUAL NATURE OF MAN
   MAN’S INNATE POWERS
   THE SPIRIT IN THE BODY
   MAN’S RELATION TO GOD
   SOUL, MIND AND SPIRIT
   FIVE PHYSICAL AND FIVE SPIRITUAL POWERS
   INNATE, INHERITED AND ACQUIRED CHARACTER
   MAN’S KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
   THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SPIRIT
   PERFECTION IS ENDLESS
   THE EVOLUTION OF MAN IN THE OTHER WORLD
   PROGRESS AFTER DEATH
   TABLET ON PURITY
   GOD AND THE UNIVERSE
CHAPTER EIGHT: THE LOOM OF REALITY
   HIS DEATHLESS SPLENDOR
   THE NEW HEAVEN, THE NEW EARTH
   SPIRITUAL SPRING
   SERVE THE KINGDOM
   FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY
   HERALDS OF HIS NAME
   THE WORLD IS INFIRM
   THE COVENANT
   RACE UNITY
   THE FIRE OF THE LOVE OF GOD
   YE ARE THE ANGELS
   REALITY OF THANKSGIVING
   THE STRAIGHT PATH
   CUT THYSELF FROM THE WORLD
   ARISE WITH GREAT POWER
   DIVINE ASSISTANCE
   PROOF OF NOBILITY
   THE SOURCE OF LOVE
   OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE FAITH
   SPIRITUAL CAPACITY
   THE BELOVED OF GOD
   IF ONE POSSESSES THE LOVE OF GOD
   THE MAGNET OF THE KINGDOM
   THE ENCOMPASSING SPIRIT
   SOULS ARE LIKE MIRRORS
   THE WORLD OF VISION
   PRAYER IS INDISPENSABLE
   TURN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
   INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
   THE INTERMEDIARY
   THE SPIRIT OF FAITH
   TRIALS A GIFT FROM GOD
   THE MYSTERY OF SUFFERING
   BAHÁ’Í MARRIAGE
   KINDNESS TO ANIMALS
   ECONOMY A GREAT TREASURE
   MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD
   SOCIALISM
   TWO METHODS OF HEALING
   IF THOU DESIREST HEALTH
   DUTY TO ATTAIN SCIENCE
   WORK IS WORSHIP
   SCIENCE AS WORSHIP
   MUSIC
   SEVERANCE FROM THIS WORLD
   CONSOLATION OF OUR HEARTS
   THE UNIVERSITY OF THE KINGDOM
   THE UNKNOWABLE ESSENCE
   FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE
   KNOWLEDGE AND DEEDS
   TRAINING OF CHILDREN
   SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE
   QUALIFICATIONS OF THE ENLIGHTENED SOUL
   ETERNAL SOVEREIGNTY
   CONFIRMATION AND ASSISTANCE
   THIS WORLD A MIRAGE
   PROTECTION OF THE BAHÁ’ÍS
   THE RETURN OF CHRIST
   ETERNAL LIFE
   SPREADERS OF CALUMNY
   THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST
   SALVATION
   THE SPIRITUAL CHURCH
   THE SUPPER OF THE LORD
   UNDERSTANDING THE MYSTERIES
   REINCARNATION
   THIS GLAD-TIDINGS
   CONSIDER THE PAST
   THIS BRANCH WILL ASCEND
   AFTER THIS STORM
   THE CENTER
   MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL EDUCATION
CHAPTER NINE: THE DIVINE PLAN
   THE CAUSE OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
   THE COMMUNITY OF THE GREATEST NAME
   GOD LOVETH THOSE WHO WORK IN GROUPS
   THE DIVINE SHEPHERD
   THE FUNDAMENTAL AIM
   THIS MEETING IS BLESSED
   THE SPIRITUAL ELECTION
   THE HOUSE OF JUSTICE
   OBEDIENCE TO THE ASSEMBLY
   ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ IS PRESENT
   THE CENTER OF DECISION
   THE BASIS OF UNION
   THE SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY
   MERCY AND JUSTICE
   INTER-ASSEMBLY UNION
   THE MASHRIQU’L-ADHKÁR
   THE COLLECTIVE CENTER OF THE KINGDOM
   BAHÁ’U’LLÁH THE LORD OF HOSTS
   THE MASTER’S LAST TABLET TO AMERICA
   EXCERPTS FROM THE WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ



BAHÁ’Í WORLD FAITH


Selected Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Section
                                  Only)



CHAPTER SIX: THE FAITH OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH



MANKIND IS IN DANGER


O people of the world!

The dawn of the Sun of Reality is assuredly for the illumination of the
world and for the manifestation of mercy. In the assemblage of the family
of Adam results and fruits are praiseworthy, and the holy bestowals of
every bounty are abundant. It is an absolute mercy and a complete bounty,
the illumination of the world, fellowship and harmony, love and union;
nay, rather, mercifulness and oneness, the elimination of discord and the
unity of whosoever are on the earth in the utmost of freedom and dignity.
The Blessed Beauty said: “All are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of
one branch.” He likened the world of existence to one tree and all the
souls to leaves, blossoms and fruits. Therefore all the branches, leaves,
blossoms and fruits must be in the utmost of freshness, and the bringing
about of this delicacy and sweetness depends upon union and fellowship.
Therefore they must assist each other with all their power and seek
everlasting life. Thus the friends of God must manifest the mercy of the
Compassionate Lord in the world of existence and must show forth the
bounty of the visible and invisible King. They must purify their sight,
and look upon mankind as the leaves, blossoms and fruits of the tree of
creation, and must always be thinking of doing good to someone, of love,
consideration, affection and assistance to somebody. They must see no
enemy and count no one as an ill wisher. They must consider every one on
the earth as a friend; regard the stranger as an intimate, and the alien
as a companion. They must not be bound by any tie, nay, rather, they
should be free from every bond. In this day the one who is favored in the
threshold of grandeur is the one who offers the cup of faithfulness and
bestows the pearl of gift to the enemies, even to the fallen oppressor,
lends a helping hand, and considers every bitter foe as an affectionate
friend.

These are the commands of the Blessed Beauty, these are the counsels of
the Greatest Name. O ye dear friends! The world is engaged in war and
struggle, and mankind is in the utmost conflict and danger. The darkness
of unfaithfulness has enshrouded the earth and the illumination of
faithfulness has become concealed. All nations and tribes of the world
have sharpened their claws and are warring and fighting with each other.
The edifice of man is shattered. Thousands of families are wandering
disconsolate. Thousands of souls are besmeared with dust and blood in the
arena of battle and struggle every year, and the tent of happiness and
life is overthrown. The prominent men become commanders and boast of
bloodshed, and glory in destruction. One says: “I have severed with my
sword the necks of a nation,” and one: “I have levelled a kingdom to the
dust”; and another: “I have overthrown the foundation of a government.”
This is the pivot around which the pride and glory of mankind are
revolving. In all regions friendship and uprightness are denounced and
reconciliation and regard for truth are despised. The herald of peace,
reformation, love and reconciliation is the Religion of the Blessed Beauty
which has pitched its tent on the apex of the world and proclaimed its
summons to the people.

Then, O ye friends of God! Appreciate the value of this precious
Revelation, move and act in accordance with it and walk in the straight
path and the right way. Show it to the people. Raise the melody of the
Kingdom and spread abroad the teachings and ordinances of the loving Lord
so that the world may become another world, the darkened earth may become
illumined and the dead body of the people may obtain new life. Every soul
may seek everlasting life through the breath of the Merciful. Life in this
mortal world will quickly come to an end, and this earthly glory, wealth,
comfort and happiness will soon vanish and be no more. Summon ye the
people to God and call the souls to the manners and conduct of the Supreme
Concourse. To the orphans be ye kind fathers, and to the unfortunate a
refuge and shelter. To the poor be a treasure of wealth, and to the sick a
remedy and healing. Be a helper of every oppressed one, the protector of
every destitute one, be ye ever mindful to serve any soul of mankind.
Attach no importance to self-seeking, rejection, arrogance, oppression and
enmity. Heed them not. Deal in the contrary way. Be kind in truth, not
only in appearance and outwardly. Every soul of the friends of God must
concentrate his mind on this, that he may manifest the mercy of God and
the bounty of the Forgiving One. He must do good to every soul whom he
encounters, and render benefit to him, becoming the cause of improving the
morals and correcting the thoughts so that the light of guidance may shine
forth and the bounty of His Holiness the Merciful One may encompass. Love
is light in whatsoever house it may shine and enmity is darkness in
whatsoever abode it dwell.

O friends of God! Strive ye so that this darkness may be utterly dispelled
and the Hidden Mystery may be revealed and the realities of things made
evident and manifest.



I HAVE COME WITH THIS MISSION


I have come from distant lands to visit the meetings and assemblies of
this country. In every meeting I find people gathered loving each other;
therefore I am greatly pleased. The bond of union is evidenced in this
assembly today where the power of God has brought together in faith,
agreement and concord those who are engaged in furthering the development
of the human world. It is my hope that all mankind may become similarly
united in the bond and agreement of love. Unity is the expression of the
loving power of God and reflects the reality of divinity. It is
resplendent in this day through the bestowals of light upon humanity.

Throughout the universe the divine power is effulgent in endless images
and pictures. The world of creation, the world of humanity may be likened
to the earth itself and the divine power to the sun. This Sun has shone
upon all mankind. In the endless variety of its reflections the divine
will is manifested. Consider how all are recipients of the bounty of the
same Sun. At most the difference between them is that of degree, for the
effulgence is one effulgence, the one light emanating from the Sun. This
will express the oneness of the world of humanity. The body-politic or the
social unity of the human world may be likened to an ocean and each
member, each individual a wave upon that same ocean.

The light of the sun becomes apparent in each object according to the
capacity of that object. The difference is simply one of degree and
receptivity. The stone would be a recipient only to a limited extent;
another created thing might be as a mirror wherein the sun is fully
reflected; but the same light shines upon both.

The most important thing is to polish the mirrors of hearts in order that
they may become illumined and receptive of the divine light. One heart may
possess the capacity of the polished mirror; another be covered and
obscured by the dust and dross of this world. Although the same Sun is
shining upon both, in the mirror which is polished, pure and sanctified
you may behold the Sun in all its fullness, glory and power revealing its
majesty and effulgence, but in the mirror which is rusted and obscured
there is no capacity for reflection although so far as the Sun itself is
concerned it is shining thereon and is neither lessened nor deprived.
Therefore our duty lies in seeking to polish the mirrors of our hearts in
order that we shall become reflectors of that light and recipients of the
divine bounties which may be fully revealed through them.

This means the oneness of the world of humanity. That is to say, when this
human body-politic reaches a state of absolute unity, the effulgence of
the eternal Sun will make its fullest light and heat manifest. Therefore
we must not make distinctions between individual members of the human
family. We must not consider any soul as barren or deprived. Our duty lies
in educating souls so that the Sun of the bestowals of God shall become
resplendent in them, and this is possible through the power of the oneness
of humanity. The more love is expressed among mankind and the stronger the
power of unity, the greater will be this reflection and revelation, for
the greatest bestowal of God is love. Love is the source of all the
bestowals of God. Until love takes possession of the heart no other divine
bounty can be revealed in it.

All the prophets have striven to make love manifest in the hearts of men.
His Holiness Jesus Christ sought to create this love in the hearts. He
suffered all difficulties and ordeals that perchance the human heart might
become the fountain-source of love. Therefore we must strive with all our
heart and soul that this love may take possession of us so that all
humanity whether it be in the east or in the west may be connected through
the bond of this divine affection; for we are all the waves of one sea; we
have come into being through the same bestowal and are recipients from the
same center. The lights of earth are all acceptable, but the center of
effulgence is the sun and we must direct our gaze to the sun. God is the
supreme center. The more we turn toward this center of light, the greater
will be our capacity.

In the Orient there were great differences among races and peoples. They
hated each other and there was no association among them. Various and
divergent sects were hostile, irreconcilable. The different races were in
constant war and conflict. About sixty years ago Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon
the eastern horizon. He caused love and unity to become manifest among
these antagonistic peoples. He united them with the bond of love; their
former hatred and animosity passed away; love and unity reigned instead.
It was a dark world; it became radiant. A new springtime appeared through
him, for the Sun of Truth had risen again. In the fields and meadows of
human hearts variegated flowers of inner significance were blooming and
the good fruits of the kingdom of God became manifest.

I have come here with this mission; that through your endeavors, through
your heavenly morals, through your devoted efforts a perfect bond of unity
and love may be established between the east and the west, so that the
bestowals of God may descend upon all and that all may be seen to be the
parts of the same tree,—the great tree of the human family. For mankind
may be likened to the branches, leaves, blossoms and fruit of that tree.

The favors of God are unending, limitless. Infinite bounties have
encompassed the world. We must emulate the bounties of God, and just as
each one of them—the bounty of life for instance—surrounds and encompasses
all, so likewise must we be connected and blended together until each part
shall become the expression of the whole.

Consider; we plant a seed. A complete and perfect tree appears from it,
and from each seed of this tree another tree can be produced. Therefore
the part is expressive of the whole, for this seed was a part of the tree,
but therein potentially was the whole tree. So each one of us may become
expressive or representative of all the bounties of life to mankind. This
is the unity of the world of humanity. This is the bestowal of God. This
is the felicity of the human world and this is the manifestation of the
divine favor.



THE BLESSED PERFECTION, BAHÁ’U’LLÁH


The Blessed Perfection Bahá’u’lláh belonged to the royal family of Írán.
From earliest childhood He was distinguished among His relatives and
friends. They said: “This child has extraordinary power.” In wisdom,
intelligence and as a source of new knowledge He was advanced beyond His
age and superior to His surroundings. All who knew Him were astonished at
his precocity. It was usual for them to say: “Such a child will not live,”
for it is commonly believed that precocious children do not reach
maturity. During the period of youth the Blessed Perfection did not enter
school. He was not willing to be taught. This fact is well established
among the Íránians of Ṭihrán. Nevertheless He was capable of solving the
difficult problems of all who came to Him. In whatever meeting, scientific
assembly or theological discussion He was found, He became the authority
of explanation upon intricate and abstruse questions presented.

Until His father passed away Bahá’u’lláh did not seek position or
political station notwithstanding His connection with the government. This
occasioned surprise and comment. It was frequently said: “How is it that a
young man of such keen intelligence and subtle perception does not seek
lucrative appointments? As a matter of fact every position is open to
him.” This is a historical statement fully attested by the people of Írán.

He was most generous, giving abundantly to the poor. None who came to Him
were turned away. The doors of His house were open to all. He always had
many guests. This unbounded generosity was conducive to greater
astonishment from the fact that He sought neither position nor prominence.
In commenting upon this His friends said He would become impoverished, for
His expenses were many and His wealth becoming more and more limited. “Why
is he not thinking of his own affairs?”, they inquired of each other; but
some who were wise declared: “This personage is connected with another
world; he has something sublime within him that is not evident now; the
day is coming when it will be manifested.” In truth the Blessed Perfection
was a refuge for every weak one, a shelter for every fearing one, kind to
every indigent one, lenient and loving to all creatures.

He became well known in regard to these qualities before His Holiness the
Báb appeared. Then Bahá’u’lláh declared the Báb’s mission to be true and
promulgated His teachings. The Báb announced that the greater
manifestation would take place after Him and called the promised one: “Him
whom God would manifest,” saying that nine years later the reality of His
own mission would become apparent. In His writings He stated that in the
ninth year this expected one would be known; in the ninth year they would
attain to all glory and felicity; in the ninth year they would advance
rapidly. Between Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb there was communication
privately. The Báb wrote a letter containing three hundred and sixty
derivatives of the root “Bahá.” The Báb was martyred in Tabríz, and
Bahá’u’lláh exiled into Iráq-Arabie in 1852, announced Himself in
Ba_gh_dád. For the Íránian Government had decided that as long as He
remained in Írán the peace of the country would be disturbed; therefore He
was exiled in the expectation that Írán would become quiet. His
banishment, however, produced the opposite effect. New tumult arose and
the mention of His greatness and influence spread everywhere throughout
the country. The proclamation of His manifestation and mission was made in
Ba_gh_dád. He called his friends together there and spoke to them of God.
Afterward He left the city and went alone into the mountains of Kurdistán
where He made his abode in caves and grottoes. A part of this time He
lived in the city of Sulimaniyye. Two years passed during which neither
His friends nor family knew just where He was.

Although solitary, secluded and unknown in His retirement, the report
spread throughout Kurdistán that this was a most remarkable and learned
personage gifted with a wonderful power of attraction. In a short time
Kurdistán was magnetized with His love. During this period Bahá’u’lláh
lived in poverty. His garments were those of the poor and needy. His food
was that of the indigent and lowly. An atmosphere of majesty haloed Him as
the sun at midday. Everywhere He was greatly revered and beloved.

After two years He returned to Ba_gh_dád. Friends He had known in
Sulimaniyye came to visit Him. They found Him in his accustomed
environment of ease and affluence and were astonished at the appointments
of one who had lived in seclusion under such frugal conditions in
Kurdistán.

The Íránian government believed the banishment of the Blessed Perfection
from Írán would be the extermination of His Cause in that country. These
rulers now realized that it spread more rapidly. His prestige increased,
His teachings became more widely circulated. The chiefs of Írán then used
their influence to have Bahá’u’lláh exiled from Ba_gh_dád. He was summoned
to Constantinople by the Turkish authorities. While in Constantinople He
ignored every restriction, especially the hostility of ministers of state
and clergy. The official representatives of Írán again brought their
influence to bear upon the Turkish authorities and succeeded in having
Bahá’u’lláh banished from Constantinople to Adrianople, the object being
to keep Him as far away as possible from Írán and render His communication
with that country more difficult. Nevertheless the Cause still spread and
strengthened.

Finally they consulted together and said: “We have banished Bahá’u’lláh
from place to place but each time he is exiled his cause is more widely
extended, his proclamation increases in power and day by day his lamp is
becoming brighter. This is due to the fact that we have exiled him to
large cities and populous centers. Therefore we will send him to a penal
colony as a prisoner so that all may know he is the associate of
murderers, robbers and criminals; in a short time he and his followers
will perish.” The sultan of Turkey then banished Him to the prison of Akká
in Syria.

When Bahá’u’lláh arrived at Akká, through the power of God He was able to
hoist His banner. His light at first had been a star; now it became a
mighty sun and the illumination of His Cause expanded from the east to the
west. Inside prison walls He wrote epistles to all the kings and rulers of
nations summoning them to arbitration and Universal Peace. Some of the
kings received His words with disdain and contempt. One of these was the
sultan of the Ottoman kingdom. Napoleon III of France did not reply. A
second epistle was addressed to him. It stated: “I have written you an
epistle before this, summoning you to the cause of God but you are of the
heedless. You have proclaimed that you were the defender of the oppressed;
now it hath become evident that you are not. Nor are you kind to your own
suffering and oppressed people. Your actions are contrary to your own
interests and your kingly pride must fall. Because of your arrogance God
shortly will destroy your sovereignty. France will flee away from you and
you will be overwhelmed by a great conquest. There will be lamentation and
mourning, women bemoaning the loss of their sons.” This arraignment of
Napoleon III was published and spread.

Read it and consider: One prisoner, single and solitary, without assistant
or defender, a foreigner and stranger imprisoned in the fortress of Akká
writing such letters to the emperor of France and sultan of Turkey.
Reflect upon this how Bahá’u’lláh upraised the standard of His Cause in
prison. Refer to history. It is without parallel. No such thing has
happened before that time nor since; a prisoner and an exile advancing His
Cause and spreading His teachings broadcast so that eventually He became
powerful enough to conquer the very king who banished Him.

His Cause spread more and more. The Blessed Perfection was a prisoner
twenty-five years. During all this time He was subjected to the
indignities and revilement of the people. He was persecuted, mocked and
put in chains. In Írán His properties were pillaged and His possessions
confiscated. First, banishment from Írán to Ba_gh_dád; then to
Constantinople; then Adrianople; finally from Roumelia to the prison
fortress of Akká.

During His lifetime He was intensely active. His energy was unlimited.
Scarcely one night was passed in restful sleep. He bore these ordeals,
suffered these calamities and difficulties in order that a manifestation
of selflessness and service might become apparent in the world of
humanity; that the Most Great Peace should become a reality; that human
souls might appear as the angels of heaven; that heavenly miracles would
be wrought among men; that human faith should be strengthened and
perfected; that the precious, priceless bestowal of God, the human mind,
might be developed to its fullest capacity in the temple of the body; and
man become the reflection and likeness of God, even as it hath been
revealed in the Bible: “We shall create man in Our own image.”

Briefly; the Blessed Perfection bore all these ordeals and calamities in
order that our hearts might become enkindled and radiant, our spirits be
glorified, our faults become virtues, our ignorance transformed into
knowledge; in order that we might attain the real fruits of humanity and
acquire heavenly graces; although pilgrims upon earth we should travel the
road of the heavenly kingdom; although needy and poor we might receive the
treasures of life eternal. For this has He borne these difficulties and
sorrows.

Trust all to God. The lights of God are resplendent. The blessed epistles
are spreading. The blessed teachings are promulgated throughout the east
and west. Soon you will see that the heavenly words have established the
oneness of the world of humanity. The banner of the Most Great Peace has
been unfurled and the “great community” is appearing.



RELIGION IS PROGRESSIVE


Religion is the outer expression of the divine reality. Therefore it must
be living, vitalized, moving and progressive. If it be without motion and
non-progressive it is without the divine life; it is dead. The divine
institutes are continuously active and evolutionary; therefore the
revelation of them must be progressive and continuous. All things are
subject to re-formation. This is a century of life and renewal. Sciences
and arts, industry and invention have been reformed. Law and ethics have
been reconstituted, reorganized. The world of thought has been
regenerated. Sciences of former ages and philosophies of the past are
useless today. Present exigencies demand new methods of solution; world
problems are without precedent. Old ideas and modes of thought are fast
becoming obsolete. Ancient laws and archaic ethical systems will not meet
the requirements of modern conditions, for this is clearly the century of
a new life, the century of the revelation of the reality and therefore the
greatest of all centuries. Consider how the scientific developments of
fifty years have surpassed and eclipsed the knowledge and achievements of
all the former ages combined. Would the announcements and theories of
ancient astronomers explain our present knowledge of the sun-worlds and
planetary systems? Would the mask of obscurity which beclouded mediaeval
centuries meet the demand for clear-eyed vision and understanding which
characterizes the world today? Will the despotism of former governments
answer the call for freedom which has risen from the heart of humanity in
this cycle of illumination? It is evident that no vital results are now
forthcoming from the customs, institutions and standpoints of the past. In
view of this, shall blind imitations of ancestral forms and theological
interpretations continue to guide and control the religious life and
spiritual development of humanity today? Shall man gifted with the power
of reason unthinkingly follow and adhere to dogma, creeds and hereditary
beliefs which will not bear the analysis of reason in this century of
effulgent reality? Unquestionably this will not satisfy men of science,
for when they find premise or conclusion contrary to present standards of
proof and without real foundation, they reject that which has been
formerly accepted as standard and correct and move forward from new
foundations.

The divine prophets have revealed and founded religion. They have laid
down certain laws and heavenly principles for the guidance of mankind.
They have taught and promulgated the knowledge of God, established
praiseworthy ethical ideals and inculcated the highest standards of
virtues in the human world. Gradually these heavenly teachings and
foundations of reality have been beclouded by human interpretations and
dogmatic imitations of ancestral beliefs. The essential realities which
the prophets labored so hard to establish in human hearts and minds while
undergoing ordeals and suffering tortures of persecution, have now well
nigh vanished. Some of these heavenly messengers have been killed, some
imprisoned; all of them despised and rejected while proclaiming the
reality of divinity. Soon after their departure from this world, the
essential truth of their teachings was lost sight of and dogmatic
imitations adhered to.

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. The prophets of God voiced the spirit of unity and agreement.
They have been the founders of divine reality. Therefore if the nations of
the world forsake imitations and investigate the reality underlying the
revealed Word of God they will agree and become reconciled. For reality is
one and not multiple.

The nations and religions are steeped in blind and bigoted imitations. A
man is a Jew because his father was a Jew. The Muḥammadan follows
implicitly the footsteps of his ancestors in belief and observance. The
Buddhist is true to his heredity as a Buddhist. That is to say they
profess religious belief blindly and without investigation, making unity
and agreement impossible. It is evident therefore that this condition will
not be remedied without a reformation in the world of religion. In other
words the fundamental reality of the divine religions must be renewed,
reformed, revoiced to mankind.

From the seed of reality, religion has grown into a tree which has put
forth leaves and branches, blossoms and fruit. After a time this tree has
fallen into a condition of decay. The leaves and blossoms have withered
and perished; the tree has become stricken and fruitless. It is not
reasonable that man should hold to the old tree, claiming that its life
forces are undiminished, its fruit unequalled, its existence eternal. The
seed of reality must be sown again in human hearts in order that a new
tree may grow therefrom and new divine fruits refresh the world. By this
means the nations and peoples now divergent in religion will be brought
into unity, imitations will be forsaken and a universal brotherhood in the
reality itself will be established. Warfare and strife will cease among
mankind; all will be reconciled as servants of God. For all are sheltered
beneath the tree of His providence and mercy. God is kind to all; He is
the giver of bounty to all alike, even as His Holiness Jesus Christ has
declared that God “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”; that is to
say, the mercy of God is universal. All humanity is under the protection
of His love and favor, and unto all He has pointed the way of guidance and
progress.

Progress is of two kinds, material and spiritual. The former is attained
through observation of the surrounding existence and constitutes the
foundation of civilization. Spiritual progress is through the breaths of
the Holy Spirit and is the awakening of the conscious soul of man to
perceive the reality of divinity. Material progress insures the happiness
of the human world. Spiritual progress insures the happiness and eternal
continuance of the soul. The prophets of God have founded the laws of
divine civilization. They have been the root and fundamental source of all
knowledge. They have established the principles of human brotherhood or
fraternity which is of various kinds, such as the fraternity of family, of
race, of nation and of ethical motives. These forms of fraternity, these
bonds of brotherhood are merely temporal and transient in association.
They do not insure harmony and are usually productive of disagreement.
They do not prevent warfare and strife; on the contrary they are selfish,
restricted and fruitful causes of enmity and hatred among mankind. The
spiritual brotherhood which is enkindled and established through the
breaths of the Holy Spirit unites nations and removes the cause of warfare
and strife. It transforms mankind into one great family and establishes
the foundations of the oneness of humanity. It promulgates the spirit of
international agreement and insures Universal Peace. Therefore we must
investigate the foundation reality of this heavenly fraternity. We must
forsake all imitations and promote the reality of the divine teachings. In
accordance with these principles and actions and by the assistance of the
Holy Spirit, both material and spiritual happiness shall become realized.
Until all nations and peoples become united by the bonds of the Holy
Spirit in this real fraternity, until national and international
prejudices are effaced in the reality of this spiritual brotherhood, true
progress, prosperity and lasting happiness will not be attained by man.
This is the century of new and universal nationhood. Sciences have
advanced, industries have progressed, politics have been reformed, liberty
has been proclaimed, justice is awakening. This is the century of motion,
divine stimulus and accomplishment; the century of human solidarity and
altruistic service; the century of Universal Peace and the reality of the
divine kingdom.



THIS RADIANT CENTURY


In the estimation of historians this radiant century is equivalent to one
hundred centuries of the past. If comparison be made with the sum total of
all former human achievements it will be found that the discoveries,
scientific advancement and material civilization of this present century
have equaled, yea far exceeded the progress and outcome of one hundred
former centuries. The production of books and compilations of literature
alone bear witness that the output of the human mind in this century has
been greater and more enlightening than all the past centuries together.
It is evident therefore that this century is of paramount importance.
Reflect upon the miracles of accomplishment which have already
characterized it, the discoveries in every realm of human research,
inventions, scientific knowledge, ethical reforms and regulations
established for the welfare of humanity, mysteries of nature explored,
invisible forces brought into visibility and subjection, a veritable
wonder-world of new phenomena and conditions heretofore unknown to man now
open to his uses and further investigation. The east and west can
communicate instantly. A human being can soar in the skies or speed in
submarine depths. The power of steam has linked the continents. Trains
cross the deserts and pierce the barriers of mountains; ships find
unerring pathways upon the trackless oceans. Day by day discoveries are
increasing. What a wonderful century this is! It is an age of universal
reformation. Laws and statutes of governments civil and federal are in
process of change and transformation. Sciences and arts are being moulded
anew. Thoughts are metamorphosed. The foundations of human society are
changing and strengthening. Today sciences of the past are useless. The
Ptolemaic system of astronomy, numberless other systems and theories of
scientific and philosophical explanation are discarded, known to be false
and worthless. Ethical precedents and principles cannot be applied to the
needs of the modern world. Thoughts and theories of past ages are
fruitless now. Thrones and governments are crumbling and falling. All
conditions and requisites of the past unfitted and inadequate for the
present time, are undergoing radical reform. It is evident therefore that
counterfeit and spurious religious teaching, antiquated forms of belief
and ancestral imitations which are at variance with the foundation of
divine reality must also pass away and be reformed. They must be abandoned
and new conditions be recognized. The morals of humanity must undergo
change. New remedy and solution for human problems must be adopted. Human
intellects themselves must change and be subject to the universal
reformation. Just as the thoughts and hypotheses of past ages are
fruitless today, likewise dogmas and codes of human invention are obsolete
and barren of product in religion. Nay, it is true that they are the cause
of enmity and conducive to strife in the world of humanity; war and
bloodshed proceed from them and the oneness of mankind finds no
recognition in their observance. Therefore it is our duty in this radiant
century to investigate the essentials of divine religion, seek the
realities underlying the oneness of the world of humanity and discover the
source of fellowship and agreement which will unite mankind in the
heavenly bond of love. This unity is the radiance of eternity, the divine
spirituality, the effulgence of God and the bounty of the Kingdom. We must
investigate the divine source of these heavenly bestowals and adhere unto
them steadfastly. For if we remain fettered and restricted by human
inventions and dogmas, day by day the world of mankind will be degraded,
day by day warfare and strife will increase and satanic forces converge
toward the destruction of the human race.

If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will
advance, become illumined and spiritual; but if enmity and hatred exist
within it destruction and dispersion are inevitable. This is likewise true
of a city. If those who dwell within it manifest a spirit of accord and
fellowship it will progress steadily and human conditions become brighter
whereas through enmity and strife it will be degraded and its inhabitants
scattered. In the same way the people of a nation develop and advance
toward civilization and enlightenment through love and accord, and are
disintegrated by war and strife. Finally, this is true of humanity itself
in the aggregate. When love is realized and the ideal spiritual bonds
unite the hearts of men, the whole human race will be uplifted, the world
will continually grow more spiritual and radiant and the happiness and
tranquillity of mankind be immeasurably increased. Warfare and strife will
be uprooted, disagreement and dissension pass away and Universal Peace
unite the nations and peoples of the world. All mankind will dwell
together as one family, blend as the waves of one sea, shine as stars of
one firmament and appear as fruits of the same tree. This is the happiness
and felicity of humankind. This is the illumination of man, the glory
eternal and life everlasting; this is the divine bestowal. I desire this
station for you and I pray God that the people of America may achieve this
great end in order that the virtue of this democracy may be insured and
their names be glorified eternally. May the confirmations of God uphold
them in all things and their memories become revered throughout the east
and the west. May they become the servants of the Most High God, near and
dear to Him in the oneness of the heavenly Kingdom.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh endured ordeals and hardships sixty years. There
was no persecution, vicissitude or suffering He did not experience at the
hand of His enemies and oppressors. All the days of His life were passed
in difficulty and tribulation; at one time in prison, another in exile,
sometimes in chains. He willingly endured these difficulties for the unity
of mankind, praying that the world of humanity might realize the radiance
of God, the oneness of humankind become a reality, strife and warfare
cease and peace and tranquillity be realized by all. In prison He hoisted
the banner of human solidarity, proclaiming Universal Peace, writing to
the kings and rulers of nations summoning them to international unity and
counselling arbitration. His life was a vortex of persecution and
difficulty, yet catastrophes, extreme ordeals and vicissitudes did not
hinder the accomplishment of His work and mission. Nay, on the contrary
His power became greater and greater, His efficiency and influence spread
and increased until His glorious light shone throughout the Orient, love
and unity were established and the differing religions found a center of
contact and reconciliation.

Therefore we also must strive in this pathway of love and service,
sacrificing life and possessions, passing our days in devotion,
consecrating our efforts wholly to the cause of God, so that, God willing,
the ensign of universal religion may be uplifted in the world of mankind
and the oneness of the world of humanity be established.

In your hearts I have beheld the reflection of a great and wonderful love.
The Americans have shown me uniform kindness and I entertain a deep
spiritual love for them. I am pleased with the susceptibilities of your
hearts. I will pray for you asking divine assistance and then say
farewell.

O my God! O my God! verily these servants are turning to Thee,
supplicating Thy kingdom of mercy. Verily they are attracted by Thy
holiness and set aglow with the fire of Thy love, seeking confirmation
from Thy wondrous kingdom and hoping for attainment in Thy heavenly realm.
Verily they long for the descent of Thy bestowal, desiring illumination
from the Sun of Reality. O Lord! make them radiant lamps, merciful signs,
fruitful trees and shining stars. May they come forth in Thy service and
be connected with Thee by the bonds and ties of thy love, longing for the
lights of Thy favor. O Lord! make them signs of guidance, standards of Thy
immortal kingdom, waves of the sea of Thy mercy, mirrors of the light of
Thy majesty. Verily Thou art the generous! Verily Thou art the merciful!
Verily Thou art the precious, the beloved!



THE MOST GREAT PEACE


Today there is no greater glory for man than that of service in the cause
of the “Most Great Peace.” Peace is light whereas war is darkness. Peace
is life; war is death. Peace is guidance; war is error. Peace is the
foundation of God; war is satanic institution. Peace is the illumination
of the world of humanity; war is the destroyer of human foundations. When
we consider outcomes in the world of existence we find that peace and
fellowship are factors of upbuilding and betterment whereas war and strife
are the causes of destruction and disintegration. All created things are
expressions of the affinity and cohesion of elementary substances, and
non-existence is the absence of their attraction and agreement. Various
elements unite harmoniously in composition but when these elements become
discordant, repelling each other, decomposition and non-existence result.
Everything partakes of this nature and is subject to this principle, for
the creative foundation in all its degrees and kingdoms is an expression
or outcome of love. Consider the restlessness and agitation of the human
world today because of war. Peace is health and construction; war is
disease and dissolution. When the banner of truth is raised, peace becomes
the cause of the welfare and advancement of the human world. In all cycles
and ages war has been a factor of derangement and discomfort whereas peace
and brotherhood have brought security and consideration of human
interests. This distinction is especially pronounced in the present world
conditions, for warfare in former centuries had not attained the degree of
savagery and destructiveness which now characterizes it. If two nations
were at war in olden times, ten or twenty thousand would be sacrificed but
in this century the destruction of one hundred thousand lives in a day is
quite possible. So perfected has the science of killing become and so
efficient the means and instruments of its accomplishment that a whole
nation can be obliterated in a short time. Therefore comparison with the
methods and results of ancient warfare is out of the question.

According to an intrinsic law, all phenomena of being attain to a summit
and degree of consummation, after which a new order and condition is
established. As the instruments and science of war have reached the degree
of thoroughness and proficiency, it is hoped that the transformation of
the human world is at hand and that in the coming centuries all the
energies and inventions of man will be utilized in promoting the interests
of peace and brotherhood. Therefore may this esteemed and worthy society
for the establishment of international peace be confirmed in its sincere
intentions and empowered by God. Then will it hasten the time when the
banner of universal agreement will be raised and international welfare
will be proclaimed and consummated so that the darkness which now
encompasses the world shall pass away.

Sixty years ago His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh was in Írán. Seventy years ago
His Holiness the Báb appeared there. These two blessed souls devoted their
lives to the foundation of international peace and love among mankind.
They strove with heart and soul to establish the teachings by which
divergent people might be brought together and no strife, rancor or hatred
prevail. His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh addressing all humanity, said that Adam
the parent of mankind may be likened to the tree of nativity upon which
you are the leaves and blossoms. Inasmuch as your origin was one, you must
now be united and agreed; you must consort with each other in joy and
fragrance. He pronounced prejudice, whether religious, racial, patriotic,
political, the destroyer of the body-politic. He said that man must
recognize the oneness of humanity, for all in origin belong to the same
household and all are servants of the same God. Therefore mankind must
continue in the state of fellowship and love, emulating the institutions
of God and turning away from satanic promptings, for the divine bestowals
bring forth unity and agreement whereas satanic leadings induce hatred and
war.

This remarkable personage was able by these principles to establish a bond
of unity among the differing sects and divergent people of Írán. Those who
followed His teachings no matter from what denomination or faction they
came were conjoined by the ties of love, until now they cooperate and live
together in peace and agreement. They are real brothers and sisters. No
distinctions of class are observed among them and complete harmony
prevails. Daily this bond of affinity is strengthening and their spiritual
fellowship continually develops. In order to insure the progress of
mankind and to establish these principles His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh
suffered every ordeal and difficulty. His Holiness the Báb became a
martyr, and over twenty thousand men and women sacrificed their lives for
their faith. His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned and subjected to
severe persecutions. Finally he was exiled from Írán to Mesopotamia; from
Ba_gh_dád He was sent to Constantinople and Adrianople and from thence to
the prison of Akká in Syria. Through all these ordeals He strove day and
night to proclaim the oneness of humanity and promulgate the message of
Universal Peace. From the prison of Akká He addressed the kings and rulers
of the earth in lengthy letters summoning them to international agreement
and explicitly stating that the standard of the “Most Great Peace” would
surely be upraised in the world.

This has come to pass. The powers of earth cannot withstand the privileges
and bestowals which God has ordained for this great and glorious century.
It is a need and exigency of the time. Man can withstand anything except
that which is divinely intended and indicated for the age and its
requirements. Now, praise be to God! in all countries of the world, lovers
of peace are to be found and these principles are being spread among
mankind, especially in this country. Praise be to God! this thought is
prevailing and souls are continually arising as defenders of the oneness
of humanity, endeavoring to assist and establish international peace.
There is no doubt that this wonderful democracy will be able to realize it
and the banner of international agreement will be unfurled here to spread
onward and outward among all the nations of the world. I give thanks to
God that I find you imbued with such susceptibilities and lofty
aspirations and I hope that you will be the means of spreading this light
to all men. Thus may the Sun of Reality shine upon the east and west. The
enveloping clouds shall pass away and the heat of the divine rays will
dispel the mist. The reality of man shall develop and come forth as the
image of God his creator. The thoughts of man shall take such upward
flight that former accomplishments shall appear as the play of
children;—for the ideas and beliefs of the past and the prejudices
regarding race and religion have ever been lowering and destructive to
human evolution. I am most hopeful that in this century these lofty
thoughts shall be conducive to human welfare. Let this century be the sun
of previous centuries the effulgences of which shall last forever, so that
in times to come they shall glorify the twentieth century, saying the
twentieth century was the century of lights, the twentieth century was the
century of life, the twentieth century was the century of international
peace, the twentieth century was the century of divine bestowals and the
twentieth century has left traces which shall last forever.



MAN AND NATURE


From the time of the creation of Adam to this day there have been two
pathways in the world of humanity; one the natural or materialistic, the
other the religious or spiritual. The pathway of nature is the pathway of
the animal realm. The animal acts in accordance with the requirements of
nature, follows its own instincts and desires. Whatever its impulses and
proclivities may be it has the liberty to gratify them; yet it is a
captive of nature. It cannot deviate in the least degree from the road
nature has established. It is utterly minus spiritual susceptibilities,
ignorant of divine religion and without knowledge of the kingdom of God.
The animal possesses no power of ideation or conscious intelligence; it is
a captive of the senses and deprived of that which lies beyond them. It is
subject to what the eye sees, the ear hears, the nostrils sense, the taste
detects and touch reveals. These sensations are acceptable and sufficient
for the animal. But that which is beyond the range of the senses, that
realm of phenomena through which the conscious pathway to the kingdom of
God leads, the world of spiritual susceptibilities and divine religion,—of
these the animal is completely unaware, for in its highest station it is a
captive of nature.

One of the strangest things witnessed is that the materialists of today
are proud of their natural instincts and bondage. They state that nothing
is entitled to belief and acceptance except that which is sensible or
tangible. By their own statements they are captives of nature, unconscious
of the spiritual world, uninformed of the divine Kingdom and unaware of
heavenly bestowals. If this be a virtue the animal has attained it to a
superlative degree, for the animal is absolutely ignorant of the realm of
spirit and out of touch with the inner world of conscious realization. The
animal would agree with the materialist in denying the existence of that
which transcends the senses. If we admit that being limited to the plane
of the senses is a virtue the animal is indeed more virtuous than man, for
it is entirely bereft of that which lies beyond, absolutely oblivious of
the kingdom of God and its traces whereas God has deposited within the
human creature an illimitable power by which he can rule the world of
nature.

Consider how all other phenomenal existence and beings are captives of
nature. The sun, that colossal center of our solar system, the giant stars
and planets, the towering mountains, the earth itself and its kingdoms of
life lower than the human,—all are captives of nature except man. No other
created thing can deviate in the slightest degree from obedience to
natural law. The sun in its glory and greatness millions of miles away is
held prisoner in its orbit of universal revolution, captive of universal
natural control. Man is the ruler of nature. According to natural law and
limitation he should remain upon the earth, but behold how he violates
this command and soars above the mountains in aeroplanes. He sails in
ships upon the surface of the ocean and dives into its depths in
submarines. Man makes nature his servant; harnesses the mighty energy of
electricity for instance and imprisons it in a small lamp for his uses and
convenience. He speaks from the east to the west through a wire. He is
able to store and preserve his voice in a phonograph. Though he is a
dweller upon earth he penetrates the mysteries of starry worlds
inconceivably distant. He discovers latent realities within the bosom of
the earth, uncovers treasures, penetrates secrets and mysteries of the
phenomenal world and brings to light that which according to nature’s
jealous laws should remain hidden, unknown and unfathomable. Through an
ideal inner power man brings these realities forth from the invisible
plane to the visible. This is contrary to nature’s law.

It is evident therefore that man is ruler over nature’s sphere and
province. Nature is inert, man is progressive. Nature has no
consciousness, man is endowed with it. Nature is without volition and acts
perforce whereas man possesses a mighty will. Nature is incapable of
discovering mysteries or realities whereas man is especially fitted to do
so. Nature is not in touch with the realm of God, man is attuned to its
evidences. Nature is uninformed of God, man is conscious of Him. Man
acquires divine virtues, nature is denied them. Man can voluntarily
discontinue vices, nature has no power to modify the influence of its
instincts. Altogether it is evident that man is more noble and superior;
that in him there is an ideal power surpassing nature. He has
consciousness, volition, memory, intelligent power, divine attributes and
virtues of which nature is completely deprived, bereft and minus;
therefore man is higher and nobler by reason of the ideal and heavenly
force latent and manifest in him.

How strange then it seems that man, notwithstanding his endowment with
this ideal power, will descend to a level beneath him and declare himself
no greater than that which is manifestly inferior to his real station. God
has created such a conscious spirit within him that he is the most
wonderful of all contingent beings. In ignoring these virtues he descends
to the material plane, considers matter the ruler of existence and denies
that which lies beyond. Is this virtue? In its fullest sense this is
animalistic, for the animal realizes nothing more. In fact from this
standpoint the animal is the greater philosopher because it is completely
ignorant of the kingdom of God, possesses no spiritual susceptibilities
and is uninformed of the heavenly world. In brief, this is a view of the
pathway of nature.

The second pathway is that of religion, the road of the divine Kingdom. It
involves the acquisition of praiseworthy attributes, heavenly illumination
and righteous actions in the world of humanity. This pathway is conducive
to the progress and uplift of the world. It is the source of human
enlightenment, training and ethical improvement; the magnet which attracts
the love of God because of the knowledge of God it bestows. This is the
road of the holy Manifestations of God for they are in reality the
foundation of the divine religion of oneness. There is no change or
transformation in this pathway. It is the cause of human betterment, the
acquisition of heavenly virtues and the illumination of mankind.

Alas! that humanity is completely submerged in imitations and unrealities
notwithstanding the truth of divine religion has ever remained the same.
Superstitions have obscured the fundamental reality, the world is darkened
and the light of religion is not apparent. This darkness is conducive to
differences and dissensions; rites and dogmas are many and various;
therefore discord has arisen among the religious systems whereas religion
is for the unification of mankind. True religion is the source of love and
agreement amongst men, the cause of the development of praiseworthy
qualities; but the people are holding to the counterfeit and imitation,
negligent of the reality which unifies; so they are bereft and deprived of
the radiance of religion. They follow superstitions inherited from their
fathers and ancestors. To such an extent has this prevailed that they have
taken away the heavenly light of divine truth and sit in the darkness of
imitations and imaginations. That which was meant to be conducive to life
has become the cause of death; that which should have been an evidence of
knowledge is now a proof of ignorance; that which was a factor in the
sublimity of human nature has proved to be its degradation. Therefore the
realm of the religionist has gradually narrowed and darkened and the
sphere of the materialist has widened and advanced; for the religionist
has held to imitation and counterfeit, neglecting and discarding holiness
and the sacred reality of religion. 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. They are
the bats of night. The decline of religion is their time of activity; they
seek the shadows when the world is darkened and clouds have spread over
it.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has risen from the eastern horizon. Like the
glory of the sun He has come into the world. He has reflected the reality
of divine religion, dispelled the darkness of imitations, laid the
foundation of new teachings and resuscitated the world.

The first teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the investigation of reality. Man
must seek the reality himself, forsaking imitations and adherence to mere
hereditary forms. As the nations of the world are following imitations in
lieu of truth and as imitations are many and various, differences of
belief have been productive of strife and warfare. So long as these
imitations remain the oneness of the world of humanity is impossible.
Therefore we must investigate the reality in order that by its light the
clouds and darkness may be dispelled. Reality is one reality; it does not
admit multiplicity or division. If the nations of the world investigate
reality they will agree and become united. Many people and sects in Írán
have sought reality through the guidance and teaching of Bahá’u’lláh. They
have become united and now live in a state of agreement and love; among
them there is no longer the least trace of enmity and strife.

The Jews were expecting the appearance of the Messiah, looking forward to
it with devotion of heart and soul but because they were submerged in
imitations they did not believe in His Holiness Jesus Christ when he
appeared. Finally they rose against Him even to the extreme of persecution
and shedding His blood. Had they investigated reality they would have
accepted their promised Messiah. These blind imitations and hereditary
prejudices have invariably become the cause of bitterness and hatred and
have filled the world with darkness and violence of war. Therefore we must
seek the fundamental truth in order to extricate ourselves from such
conditions and then with illumined faces find the pathway to the kingdom
of God.

The second teaching of Bahá’u’lláh concerns the unity of mankind. All are
the servants of God and members of one human family. God has created all
and all are His children. He rears, nourishes, provides for and is kind to
all. Why should we be unjust and unkind? This is the policy of God, the
lights of which have shone throughout the world. His sun bestows its
effulgence unsparingly upon all, His clouds send down rain without
distinction or favor, His breezes refresh the whole earth. It is evident
that humankind without exception is sheltered beneath His mercy and
protection. Some are imperfect; they must be perfected. The ignorant must
be taught, the sick healed, the sleepers awakened. The child must not be
oppressed or censured because it is undeveloped; it must be patiently
trained. The sick must not be neglected because they are ailing; nay,
rather, we must have compassion upon them and bring them healing. Briefly;
the old conditions of animosity, bigotry and hatred between the religious
systems must be dispelled and the new conditions of love, agreement and
spiritual brotherhood be established among them.

The third teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is that religion must be the source of
fellowship, the cause of unity and the nearness of God to man. If it
rouses hatred and strife it is evident that absence of religion is
preferable and an irreligious man better than one who professes it.
According to the divine will and intention religion should be the cause of
love and agreement, a bond to unify all mankind for it is a message of
peace and good-will to man from God.

The fourth teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the agreement of religion and
science. God has endowed man with intelligence and reason whereby he is
required to determine the verity of questions and propositions. If
religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of
science they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis
of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition.
Unquestionably there must be agreement between true religion and science.
If a question be found contrary to reason, faith and belief in it are
impossible and there is no outcome but wavering and vacillation.

Bahá’u’lláh has also taught that prejudices, whether religious, racial,
patriotic or political are destructive to the foundations of human
development. Prejudices of any kind are the destroyers of human happiness
and welfare. Until they are dispelled the advancement of the world of
humanity is not possible, yet racial, religious and national bias are
observed everywhere. For thousands of years the world of humanity has been
agitated and disturbed by prejudices. As long as it prevails, warfare,
animosity and hatred will continue. Therefore if we seek to establish
peace we must cast aside this obstacle, for otherwise agreement and
composure are not to be attained.

Fifth: Bahá’u’lláh set forth principles of guidance and teaching for
economic readjustment. Regulations were revealed by Him which insure the
welfare of the commonwealth. As the rich man enjoys his life surrounded by
ease and luxuries, so the poor man must likewise have a home and be
provided with sustenance and comforts commensurate with his needs. This
readjustment of the social economic is of the greatest importance inasmuch
as it insures the stability of the world of humanity; and until it is
effected, happiness and prosperity are impossible.

Sixth: Bahá’u’lláh teaches that an equal standard of human rights must be
recognized and adopted. In the estimation of God all men are equal; there
is no distinction or preferment for any soul in the dominion of His
justice and equity.

Seventh: Education is essential and all standards of training and teaching
throughout the world of mankind should be brought into conformity and
agreement; a universal curriculum should be established and the basis of
ethics be the same.

Eighth: A universal language shall be adopted and be taught by all the
schools and institutions of the world. A committee appointed by national
bodies of learning shall select a suitable language to be used as a medium
of international communication. All must acquire it. This is one of the
great factors in the unification of man.

Ninth: Bahá’u’lláh emphasized and established the equality of man and
woman. Sex is not particularized to humanity; it exists throughout the
animate kingdoms but without distinction or preference. In the vegetable
kingdom there is complete equality between male and female of species.
Likewise in the animal plane equality exists; all are under the protection
of God. Is it becoming to man that he, the noblest of creatures, should
observe and insist upon such distinction? Woman’s lack of progress and
proficiency has been due to her need of equal education and opportunity.
Had she been allowed this equality there is no doubt she would be the
counterpart of man in ability and capacity. The happiness of mankind will
be realized when women and men coordinate and advance equally, for each is
the complement and helpmeet of the other.

The world of humanity cannot advance through mere physical powers and
intellectual attainments; nay, rather, the Holy Spirit is essential. The
divine Father must assist the human world to attain maturity. The body of
man is in need of physical and mental energy but his spirit requires the
life and fortification of the Holy Spirit. Without its protection and
quickening the human world would be extinguished. His Holiness Jesus
Christ declared, “Let the dead bury their dead.” He also said, “That which
is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is
spirit.” It is evident therefore according to His Holiness that the human
spirit which is not fortified by the presence of the Holy Spirit is dead
and in need of resurrection by that divine power; otherwise though
materially advanced to high degrees man cannot attain full and complete
progress.



SCIENCE AND SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT


If we look with a perceiving eye upon the world of creation, we find that
all existing things may be classified as follows: First—Mineral—that is to
say matter or substance appearing in various forms of composition.
Second—Vegetable—possessing the virtues of the mineral plus the power of
augmentation or growth, indicating a degree higher and more specialized
than the mineral. Third—Animal—possessing the attributes of the mineral
and vegetable plus the power of sense perception. Fourth—Human—the highest
specialized organism of visible creation, embodying the qualities of the
mineral, vegetable and animal plus an ideal endowment absolutely minus and
absent in the lower kingdoms—the power of intellectual investigation into
the mysteries of outer phenomena. The outcome of this intellectual
endowment is science which is especially characteristic of man. This
scientific power investigates and apprehends created objects and the laws
surrounding them. It is the discoverer of the hidden and mysterious
secrets of the material universe and is peculiar to man alone. The most
noble and praiseworthy accomplishment of man therefore is scientific
knowledge and attainment.

Science may be likened to a mirror wherein the images of the mysteries of
outer phenomena are reflected. It brings forth and exhibits to us in the
arena of knowledge all the product of the past. It links together past and
present. The philosophical conclusions of bygone centuries, the teachings
of the prophets and wisdom of former sages are crystallized and reproduced
in the scientific advancement of today. Science is the discoverer of the
past. From its premises of past and present we deduce conclusions as to
the future. Science is the governor of nature and its mysteries, the one
agency by which man explores the institutions of material creation. All
created things are captives of nature and subject to its laws. They cannot
transgress the control of these laws in one detail or particular. The
infinite starry worlds and heavenly bodies are nature’s obedient subjects.
The earth and its myriad organisms, all minerals, plants and animals are
thralls of its dominion. But man through the exercise of his scientific,
intellectual power can rise out of this condition, can modify, change and
control nature according to his own wishes and uses. Science, so to speak,
is the “breaker” of the laws of nature.

Consider, for example, that man according to natural law should dwell upon
the surface of the earth. By overcoming this law and restriction however
he sails in ships over the ocean, mounts to the zenith in aeroplanes and
sinks to the depths of the sea in submarines. This is against the fiat of
nature and a violation of her sovereignty and dominion. Nature’s laws and
methods, the hidden secrets and mysteries of the universe, human
inventions and discoveries, all our scientific acquisitions should
naturally remain concealed and unknown, but man through his intellectual
acumen searches them out of the plane of the invisible, draws them into
the plane of the visible, exposes and explains them. For instance, one of
the mysteries of nature is electricity. According to nature this force,
this energy should remain latent and hidden, but man scientifically breaks
through the very laws of nature, arrests it and even imprisons it for his
use.

In brief, man through the possession of this ideal endowment of scientific
investigation is the most noble product of creation, the governor of
nature. He takes the sword from nature’s hand and uses it upon nature’s
head. According to natural law, night is a period of darkness and
obscurity, but man by utilizing the power of electricity, by wielding this
electric sword overcomes the darkness and dispels the gloom. Man is
superior to nature and makes nature do his bidding. Man is a sensitive
being; nature is minus sensation. Man has memory and reason; nature lacks
them. Man is nobler than nature. There are powers within him of which
nature is devoid. It may be claimed that these powers are from nature
itself and that man is a part of nature. In answer to this statement we
will say that if nature is the whole and man is a part of that whole, how
could it be possible for a part to possess qualities and virtues which are
absent in the whole? Undoubtedly the part must be endowed with the same
qualities and properties as the whole. For example, the hair is a part of
the human anatomy. It cannot contain elements which are not found in other
parts of the body, for in all cases the component elements of the body are
the same. Therefore it is manifest and evident that man, although in body
a part of nature, nevertheless in spirit possesses a power transcending
nature; for if he were simply a part of nature and limited to material
laws he could possess only the things which nature embodies. God has
conferred upon and added to man a distinctive power, the faculty of
intellectual investigation into the secrets of creation, the acquisition
of higher knowledge, the greatest virtue of which is scientific
enlightenment.

This endowment is the most praiseworthy power of man, for through its
employment and exercise, the betterment of the human race is accomplished,
the development of the virtues of mankind is made possible and the spirit
and mysteries of God become manifest. Therefore I am greatly pleased with
my visit to this university. Praise be to God! that this country abounds
in such institutions of learning where the knowledge of sciences and arts
may readily be acquired.

As material and physical sciences are taught here and are constantly
unfolding in wider vistas of attainment, I am hopeful that spiritual
development may also follow and keep pace with these outer advantages. As
material knowledge is illuminating those within the walls of this great
temple of learning, so also may the light of the spirit, the inner and
divine light of the real philosophy glorify this institution. The most
important principle of divine philosophy is the oneness of the world of
humanity, the unity of mankind, the bond conjoining east and west, the tie
of love which blends human hearts.

Therefore it is our duty to put forth our greatest efforts and summon all
our energies in order that the bonds of unity and accord may be
established among mankind. For thousands of years we have had bloodshed
and strife. It is enough; it is sufficient. Now is the time to associate
together in love and harmony. For thousands of years we have tried the
sword and warfare; let mankind for a time at least live in peace. Review
history and consider how much savagery, how much bloodshed and battle the
world has witnessed. It has been either religious warfare, political
warfare or some other clash of human interests. The world of humanity has
never enjoyed the blessing of Universal Peace. Year by year the implements
of warfare have been increased and perfected. Consider the wars of past
centuries; only ten, fifteen or twenty thousand at the most were killed
but now it is possible to kill one hundred thousand in a single day. In
ancient times warfare was carried on with the sword; today it is the
smokeless gun. Formerly battleships were sailing vessels; today they are
dreadnoughts. Consider the increase and improvement in the weapons of war.
God has created us all human and all countries of the world are parts of
the same globe. We are all his servants. He is kind and just to all. Why
should we be unkind and unjust to each other? He provides for all. Why
should we deprive one another? He protects and preserves all. Why should
we kill our fellow-creatures? If this warfare and strife be for the sake
of religion, it is evident that it violates the spirit and basis of all
religion. All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God
and the unity of mankind. They have taught that men should love and
mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this
conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of
humanity. The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This
underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should
live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another. Consider
the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is
the primary foundation of them all. Read the Gospel and the other holy
books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore
unity is the essential truth of religion and when so understood embraces
all the virtues of the human world. Praise be to God! this knowledge has
been spread, eyes have been opened and ears have become attentive.
Therefore we must endeavor to promulgate and practice the religion of God
which has been founded by all the prophets. And the religion of God is
absolute love and unity.



TEACHINGS OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH


I will speak to you concerning the special teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. All
the divine principles announced by the tongue of the prophets of the past
are to be found in the words of Bahá’u’lláh; but in addition to these, He
has revealed certain new teachings which are not found in any of the
sacred books of former times. I shall mention some of them; the others
which are many in number may be found in the books, tablets and epistles
written by Bahá’u’lláh, such as the Hidden Words, the Glad-Tidings, the
Words of Paradise, Tajallíyát, Tarazát and others. Likewise in the Book of
Aqdas there are new teachings which cannot be found in any of the past
books or epistles of the prophets.

A fundamental teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the oneness of the world of
humanity. Addressing mankind, He says: “Ye are all leaves of one tree and
the fruits of one branch.” By this it is meant that the world of humanity
is like a tree, the nations or peoples are the different limbs or branches
of that tree and the individual human creatures are as the fruits and
blossoms thereof. In this way His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh expressed the
oneness of humankind whereas in all religious teachings of the past, the
human world has been represented as divided into two parts, one known as
the people of the Book of God or the pure tree and the other the people of
infidelity and error or the evil tree. The former were considered as
belonging to the faithful and the others to the hosts of the irreligious
and infidel; one part of humanity the recipients of divine mercy and the
other the object of the wrath of their Creator. His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh
removed this by proclaiming the oneness of the world of humanity and this
principle is specialized in His teachings for He has submerged all mankind
in the sea of divine generosity. Some are asleep; they need to be
awakened. Some are ailing; they need to be healed. Some are immature as
children; they need to be trained. But all are recipients of the bounty
and bestowals of God.

Another new principle revealed by His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is the
injunction to investigate truth; that is to say, no man should blindly
follow his ancestors and forefathers. Nay, each must see with his own
eyes, hear with his own ears and investigate the truth himself in order
that he may follow the truth instead of blind acquiescence and imitation
of ancestral beliefs.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has announced that the foundation of all the
religions of God is one; that oneness is truth and truth is oneness which
does not admit of plurality. This teaching is new and specialized to this
Manifestation.

He sets forth a new principle for this day in the announcement that
religion must be the cause of unity, harmony and agreement among mankind.
If it be the cause of discord and hostility, if it leads to separation and
creates conflict, the absence of religion would be preferable in the
world.

Furthermore He proclaims that religion must be in harmony with science and
reason. If it does not conform to science and reconcile with reason it is
superstition. Down to the present day it has been customary for man to
accept a religious teaching even though it were not in accord with human
reason and judgment. The harmony of religious belief with reason is a new
vista which Bahá’u’lláh has opened for the soul of man.

He establishes the equality of man and woman. This is peculiar to the
teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, for all other religions have placed man above
woman.

A new religious principle is that prejudice and fanaticism whether
sectarian, denominational, patriotic or political are destructive to the
foundation of human solidarity; therefore man should release himself from
such bonds in order that the oneness of the world of humanity may become
manifest.

Universal Peace is assured by Bahá’u’lláh as a fundamental accomplishment
of the religion of God; that peace shall prevail among nations,
governments and peoples, among religions, races and all conditions of
mankind. This is one of the special characteristics of the Word of God
revealed in this Manifestation.

Bahá’u’lláh declares that all mankind should attain knowledge and acquire
an education. This is a necessary principle of religious belief and
observance characteristically new in this dispensation.

He has set forth the solution and provided the remedy for the economic
question. No religious books of the past Prophets speak of this important
human problem.

He has ordained and established the House of Justice which is endowed with
a political as well as a religious function, the consummate union and
blending of church and state. This institution is under the protecting
power of Bahá’u’lláh Himself. A universal or international House of
Justice shall also be organized. Its rulings shall be in accordance with
the commands and teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, and that which the universal
House of Justice ordains shall be obeyed by all mankind. This
international House of Justice shall be appointed and organized from the
Houses of Justice of the whole world, and all the world shall come under
its administration.

As to the most great characteristic of the revelation of Baha’u’llah—a
specific teaching not given by any of the Prophets of the past—it is the
ordination and appointment of the Center of the Covenant. By this
appointment and provision He has safeguarded and protected the religion of
God against differences and schisms, making it impossible for any one to
create a new sect or faction of belief. To insure unity and agreement He
has entered into a Covenant with all the people of the world including the
Interpreter and Explainer of His teachings so that no one may interpret or
explain the religion of God according to his own view or opinion and thus
create a sect founded upon his individual understanding of the divine
words. The Book of the Covenant or Testament of Bahá’u’lláh is the means
of preventing such a possibility, for whosoever shall speak from the
authority of himself alone shall be degraded. Be ye informed and cognizant
of this.



THE EDUCATORS OF MANKIND


According to the statement of philosophers the difference in degree of
humankind from lowest to highest is due to education. The proofs they
advance are these: The civilization of Europe and America is an evidence
and outcome of education whereas the semi-civilized and barbarous peoples
of Africa bear witness in their condition that they have been deprived of
its advantages. Education makes the ignorant wise, the tyrant just,
promotes happiness, strengthens the mind, develops the will and makes
fruitless trees of humanity fruitful. Therefore in the human world some
have attained lofty degrees while others grope in the abyss of despair.
Nevertheless the highest attainment is possible for every member of the
human race even to the station of the prophets. This is the statement and
reasoning of the philosophers.

The prophets of God are the first educators. They bestow universal
education upon man and cause him to rise from lowest levels of savagery to
the highest pinnacles of spiritual development. The philosophers too are
educators along lines of intellectual training. At most they have only
been able to educate themselves and a limited number about them, to
improve their own morals and, so to speak, civilize themselves; but they
have been incapable of universal education. They have failed to cause an
advancement for any given nation from savagery to civilization.

It is evident that although education improves the morals of mankind,
confers the advantages of civilization and elevates man from lowest
degrees to the station of sublimity, there is nevertheless a difference in
the intrinsic or natal capacity of individuals. Ten children of the same
age, with equal station of birth, taught in the same school, partaking of
the same food, in all respects subject to the same environment, their
interests equal and in common, will evidence separate and distinct degrees
of capability and advancement; some exceedingly intelligent and
progressive, some of mediocre ability, others limited and incapable. One
may become a learned professor while another under the same course of
education proves dull and stupid. From all standpoints the opportunities
have been equal but the results and outcomes vary from the highest to
lowest degree of advancement. It is evident therefore that mankind differs
in natal capacity and intrinsic intellectual endowment. Nevertheless,
although capacities are not the same, every member of the human race is
capable of education.

His Holiness Jesus Christ was an educator of humanity. His teachings were
altruistic; His bestowal universal. He taught mankind by the power of the
Holy Spirit and not through human agency, for the human power is limited
whereas the divine power is illimitable and infinite. The influence and
accomplishment of Christ will attest this. Galen the Greek physician and
philosopher who lived in the second century A.D., wrote a treatise upon
the civilization of nations. He was not a Christian but he has borne
testimony that religious beliefs exercise an extraordinary effect upon the
problems of civilization. In substance he says: “There are certain people
among us, followers of Jesus the Nazarene who was killed in Jerusalem.
These people are truly imbued with moral principles which are the envy of
philosophers. They believe in God and fear Him. They have hopes in His
favors, therefore they shun all unworthy deeds and actions and incline to
praiseworthy ethics and morals. Day and night they strive that their deeds
may be commendable and that they may contribute to the welfare of
humanity; therefore each one of them is virtually a philosopher, for these
people have attained unto that which is the essence and purport of
philosophy. These people have praiseworthy morals even though they may be
illiterate.”

The purpose of this is to show that the holy Manifestations of God, the
divine prophets, are the first teachers of the human race. They are
universal educators and the fundamental principles they have laid down are
the causes and factors of the advancement of nations. Forms and imitations
which creep in afterward are not conducive to that progress. On the
contrary these are destroyers of human foundations established by the
heavenly educators. These are clouds which obscure the Sun of Reality. If
you reflect upon the essential teachings of Jesus you will realize that
they are the light of the world. Nobody can question their truth. They are
the very source of life and the cause of happiness to the human race. The
forms and superstitions which appeared and obscured the light did not
affect the reality of Christ. For example, His Holiness Jesus Christ said:
“Put up the sword into the sheath.” The meaning is that warfare is
forbidden and abrogated; but consider the Christian wars which took place
afterward. Christian hostility and inquisition spared not even the
learned; he who proclaimed the revolution of the earth was imprisoned; he
who announced the new astronomical system was persecuted as a heretic;
scholars and scientists became objects of fanatical hatred and many were
killed and tortured. How do these actions conform with the teachings of
Jesus Christ and what relation do they bear to his own example? For Christ
declared: “Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you that
you may be sons of your Father which is in Heaven; for He maketh His sun
to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the
unjust.” How can hatred, hostility and persecution be reconciled with
Christ and His teachings?

Therefore there is need of turning back to the original foundation. The
fundamental principles of the prophets are correct and true. The
imitations and superstitions which have crept in are at wide variance with
the original precepts and commands. His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has revoiced
and re-established the quintessence of the teachings of all the prophets,
setting aside the accessories and purifying religion from human
interpretation. He has written a book entitled Hidden Words. The preface
announces that it contains the essences of the words of the prophets of
the past clothed in the garment of brevity for the teaching and spiritual
guidance of the people of the world. Read it that you may understand the
true foundations of religion and reflect upon the inspiration of the
messengers of God. It is light upon light.

We must not look for truth in the deeds and actions of nations; we must
investigate truth at its divine source and summon all mankind to unity in
the reality itself.



THE DIVINE STANDARD OF KNOWLEDGE


During my visit to London and Paris last year I had many talks with the
materialistic philosophers of Europe. The basis of all their conclusions
is that the acquisition of knowledge of phenomena is according to a fixed,
invariable law,—a law mathematically exact in its operation through the
senses. For instance, the eye sees a chair; therefore there is no doubt of
the chair’s existence. The eye looks up into the heavens and beholds the
sun; I see flowers upon this table; I smell their fragrance; I hear sounds
outside, etc, etc. This, they say, is a fixed mathematical law of
perception and deduction, the operation of which admits of no doubt
whatever; for inasmuch as the universe is subject to our sensing, the
proof is self-evident that our knowledge of it must be gained through the
avenues of the senses. That is to say, the materialists announce, that the
criterion and standard of human knowledge is sense perception. Among the
Greeks and Romans the criterion of knowledge was reason; that whatever is
provable and acceptable by reason must necessarily be admitted as true. A
third standard or criterion is the opinion held by theologians that
traditions or prophetic statement and interpretations constitute the basis
of human knowing. There is still another, a fourth criterion, upheld by
religionists and metaphysicians who say that the source and channel of all
human penetration into the unknown is through inspiration. Briefly then,
these four criterions according to the declarations of men are:
First—Sense Perception; Second—Reason; Third—Traditions;
Fourth—Inspiration.

In Europe I told the philosophers and scientists of materialism that the
criterion of the senses is not reliable. For instance, consider a mirror
and the images reflected in it. These images have no actual corporeal
existence. Yet if you had never seen a mirror you would firmly insist and
believe that they were real. The eye sees a mirage upon the desert as a
lake of water but there is no reality in it. As we stand upon the deck of
a steamer the shore appears to be moving, yet we know the land is
stationary and we are moving. The earth was believed to be fixed and the
sun revolving about it but although this appears to be so, the reverse is
now known to be true. A whirling torch makes a circle of fire appear
before the eye, yet we realize there is but one point of light. We behold
a shadow moving upon the ground but it has no material existence, no
substance. In deserts the atmospheric effects are particularly productive
of illusions which deceive the eye. Once I saw a mirage in which a whole
caravan appeared traveling upward into the sky. In the far north other
deceptive phenomena appear and baffle human vision. Sometimes three or
four suns called by scientists “mock suns” will be shining at the same
time whereas we know the great solar orb is one and that it remains fixed
and single. In brief, the senses are continually deceived and we are
unable to separate that which is reality from that which is not.

As to the second criterion, reason, this likewise is unreliable and not to
be depended upon. This human world is an ocean of varying opinions. If
reason is the perfect standard and criterion of knowledge, why are
opinions at variance and why do philosophers disagree so completely with
each other? This is a clear proof that human reason is not to be relied
upon as an infallible criterion. For instance, great discoveries and
announcements of former centuries are continually upset and discarded by
the wise men of today. Mathematicians, astronomers, chemical scientists
continually disprove and reject the conclusions of the ancients; nothing
is fixed, nothing final; everything continually changing because human
reason is progressing along new roads of investigation and arriving at new
conclusions every day. In the future much that is announced and accepted
as true now will be rejected and disproved. And so it will continue ad
infinitum.

When we consider the third criterion, traditions, upheld by theologians as
the avenue and standard of knowledge, we find this source equally
unreliable and unworthy of dependence. For religious traditions are the
report and record of understanding and interpretation of the Book. By what
means has this understanding, this interpretation been reached? By the
analysis of human reason. When we read the Book of God the faculty of
comprehension by which we form conclusions is reason. Reason is mind. If
we are not endowed with perfect reason, how can we comprehend the meanings
of the Word of God? Therefore human reason, as already pointed out, is by
its very nature finite and faulty in conclusions. It cannot surround the
Reality Itself, the Infinite Word. Inasmuch as the source of traditions
and interpretations is human reason, and human reason is faulty, how can
we depend upon its findings for real knowledge?

The fourth criterion I have named is inspiration through which it is
claimed the reality of knowledge is attainable. What is inspiration? It is
the influx of the human heart. But what are satanic promptings which
afflict mankind? They are the influx of the heart also. How shall we
differentiate between them? The question arises, How shall we know whether
we are following inspiration from God or satanic promptings of the human
soul? Briefly, the point is that in the human material world of phenomena
these four are the only existing criterions or avenues of knowledge, and
all of them are faulty and unreliable. What then remains? How shall we
attain the reality of knowledge? By the breaths and promptings of the Holy
Spirit which is light and knowledge Itself. Through it the human mind is
quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge. This
is conclusive argument showing that all available human criterions are
erroneous and defective, but the divine standard of knowledge is
infallible. Therefore man is not justified in saying: “I know because I
perceive through my senses”; or: “I know because it is proved through my
faculty of reason”; or: “I know because it is according to tradition and
interpretation of the holy book”; or: “I know because I am inspired.” All
human standard of judgment is faulty, finite.



THE SUN OF REALITY


In our solar system, the center of illumination is the sun itself. Through
the will of God this central luminary is the one source of the existence
and development of all phenomenal things. When we observe the organisms of
the material kingdoms we find that their growth and training are dependent
upon the heat and light of the sun. Without this quickening impulse there
would be no growth of tree or vegetation, neither would the existence of
animal or human being be possible; in fact no forms of created life would
be manifest upon the earth. But if we reflect deeply we will perceive that
the great bestower and giver of life is God; the sun is the intermediary
of His will and plan. Without the bounty of the sun therefore the world
would be in darkness. All illumination of our planetary system proceeds or
emanates from the solar center.

Likewise in the spiritual realm of intelligence and idealism there must be
a center of illumination, and that center is the everlasting, ever-shining
Sun, the Word of God. Its lights are the lights of reality which have
shone upon humanity, illumining the realm of thought and morals,
conferring the bounties of the divine world upon man. These lights are the
cause of the education of souls and the source of the enlightenment of
hearts, sending forth in effulgent radiance the message of the
glad-tidings of the kingdom of God. In brief, the moral and ethical world
and the world of spiritual regeneration are dependent for their
progressive being upon that heavenly center of illumination. It gives
forth the light of religion and bestows the life of the spirit, imbues
humanity with archetypal virtues and confers eternal splendors. This Sun
of Reality, this center of effulgences is the prophet or Manifestation of
God. Just as the phenomenal sun shines upon the material world producing
life and growth, likewise the spiritual or prophetic Sun confers
illumination upon the human world of thought and intelligence, and unless
it rose upon the horizon of human existence the kingdom of man would
become dark and extinguished.

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 spring the luminary of the physical world
rises far to the north of the equinoctial; in summer it dawns midway and
in winter it appears in the most southerly point of its zodiacal journey.
These day springs or dawning-points differ widely but the sun is ever the
same sun whether it be the phenomenal or spiritual luminary. Souls who
focus their vision upon the Sun of Reality will be the recipients of light
no matter from what point it rises, but those who are fettered by
adoration of the dawning-point are deprived when it appears in a different
station upon the spiritual horizon.

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. The realm of thoughts and ideals is set in motion and blessed
with new life. Minds are developed, hopes brighten, aspirations become
spiritual, the virtues of the human world appear with freshened power of
growth and the image and likeness of God become visible in man. It is the
springtime of the inner world. After the spring, summer comes with its
fullness and fruitage spiritual; autumn follows with its withering winds
which chill the soul; the Sun seems to be going away until at last the
mantle of winter overspreads and only faint traces of the effulgence of
that divine Sun remain. Just as the surface of the material world becomes
dark and dreary, the soil dormant, the trees naked and bare and no beauty
or freshness remain to cheer the darkness and desolation, so the winter of
the spiritual cycle witnesses the death and disappearance of divine growth
and extinction of the light and love of God. But again the cycle begins
and a new springtime appears. In it the former springtime has returned,
the world is resuscitated, illumined and attains spirituality; religion is
renewed and reorganized, hearts are turned to God, the summons of God is
heard and life is again bestowed upon man. For a long time the religious
world had been weakened and materialism had advanced; the spiritual forces
of life were waning, moralities were becoming degraded, composure and
peace had vanished from souls and satanic qualities were dominating
hearts; strife and hatred overshadowed humanity, bloodshed and violence
prevailed. God was neglected; the Sun of Reality seemed to have gone
completely; deprivation of the bounties of heaven was a fact; and so the
season of winter fell upon mankind. But in the generosity of God a new
springtime dawned, the lights of God shone forth, the effulgent Sun of
Reality returned and became manifest, the realm of thoughts and kingdom of
hearts became exhilarated, a new spirit of life breathed into the body of
the world and continuous advancement became apparent.

I hope that the lights of the Sun of Reality will illumine the whole world
so that no strife and warfare, no battles and bloodshed remain. May
fanaticism and religious bigotry be unknown, all humanity enter the bond
of brotherhood, souls consort in perfect agreement, the nations of earth
at last hoist the banner of truth and the religions of the world enter the
divine temple of oneness, for the foundations of the heavenly religions
are one reality. Reality is not divisible; it does not admit multiplicity.
All the holy Manifestations of God have proclaimed and promulgated the
same reality. They have summoned mankind to reality itself and reality is
one. The clouds and mists of imitations have obscured the Sun of Truth. We
must forsake these imitations, dispel these clouds and mists and free the
Sun from the darkness of superstition. Then will the Sun of Truth shine
most gloriously; then all the inhabitants of the world will be united, the
religions will be one, sects and denominations will reconcile, all
nationalities will flow together in the recognition of one Fatherhood and
all degrees of humankind gather in the shelter of the same tabernacle,
under the same banner.

Until the heavenly civilization is founded, no result will be forthcoming
from material civilization, even as you observe. See what catastrophes
overwhelm mankind. Consider the wars which disturb the world. Consider the
enmity and hatred. The existence of these wars and conditions indicates
and proves that the heavenly civilization has not yet been established. If
the civilization of the Kingdom be spread to all the nations, this dust of
disagreement will be dispelled, these clouds will pass away and the Sun of
Reality in its greatest effulgence and glory will shine upon mankind.



THE SOURCE OF UNITY


What is real unity? When we observe the human world we find various
collective expressions of unity therein. For instance, man is
distinguished from the animal by his degree or kingdom. This comprehensive
distinction includes all the posterity of Adam and constitutes one great
household or human family which may be considered the fundamental or
physical unity of mankind. Furthermore, a distinction exists between
various groups of humankind according to lineage, each group forming a
racial unity separate from the others. There is also the unity of tongue
among those who use the same language as a means of communication;
national unity where various peoples live under one form of government
such as French, German, British, etc.; and political unity which conserves
the civil rights of parties or factions of the same government. All these
unities are imaginary and without real foundation, for no real result
proceeds from them. The purpose of true unity is real and divine outcomes.
From these limited unities mentioned only limited outcomes proceed whereas
unlimited unity produces unlimited result. For instance, from the limited
unity of race or nationality the results at most are limited. It is like a
family living alone and solitary; there are no unlimited or universal
outcomes from it.

The unity which is productive of unlimited results is first a unity of
mankind which recognizes that all are sheltered beneath the overshadowing
glory of the All-Glorious; that all are servants of one God; for all
breathe the same atmosphere, live upon the same earth, move beneath the
same heavens, receive effulgence from the same sun and are under the
protection of one God. This is the most great unity, and its results are
lasting if humanity adheres to it; but mankind has hitherto violated it,
adhering to sectarian or other limited unities such as racial, patriotic
or unity of self-interests; therefore no great results have been
forthcoming. Nevertheless it is certain that the radiance and favors of
God are encompassing, minds have developed, perceptions have become acute,
sciences and arts are widespread and capacity exists for the proclamation
and promulgation of the real and ultimate unity of mankind which will
bring forth marvelous results. It will reconcile all religions, make
warring nations loving, cause hostile kings to become friendly and bring
peace and happiness to the human world. It will cement together the Orient
and Occident, remove forever the foundations of war and upraise the ensign
of the Most Great Peace. These limited unities are therefore signs of that
great unity which will make all the human family one by being productive
of the attractions of conscience in mankind.

Another unity is the spiritual unity which emanates from the breaths of
the Holy Spirit. This is greater than the unity of mankind. Human unity or
solidarity may be likened to the body whereas unity from the breaths of
the Holy Spirit is the spirit animating the body. This is a perfect unity.
It creates such a condition in mankind that each one will make sacrifices
for the other and the utmost desire will be to forfeit life and all that
pertains to it in behalf of another’s good. This is the unity which
existed among the disciples of His Holiness Jesus Christ and bound
together the prophets and holy souls of the past. It is the unity which
through the influence of the divine spirit is permeating the Bahá’ís so
that each offers his life for the other and strives with all sincerity to
attain his good-pleasure. This is the unity which caused twenty thousand
people in Írán to give their lives in love and devotion to it. It made the
Báb the target of a thousand arrows and caused Bahá’u’lláh to suffer exile
and imprisonment forty years. This unity is the very spirit of the body of
the world. It is impossible for the body of the world to become quickened
with life without its vivification. His Holiness Jesus Christ—may my life
be a sacrifice to Him!—promulgated this unity among mankind. Every soul
who believed in Jesus Christ became revivified and resuscitated through
this spirit, attained to the zenith of eternal glory, realized the life
everlasting, experienced the second birth and rose to the acme of good
fortune.

In the Word of God there is still another unity, the oneness of the
Manifestations of God, His Holiness Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ,
Muḥammad, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. This is a unity divine, heavenly,
radiant, merciful; the one reality appearing in its successive
manifestations. For instance, the sun is one and the same but its points
of dawning are various. During the summer season it rises from the
northern point of the ecliptic; in winter it appears from the southern
point of rising. Each month between it appears from a certain zodiacal
position. Although these dawning-points are different, the sun is the same
sun which has appeared from them all. The significance is the reality of
prophethood which is symbolized by the sun, and the holy Manifestations
are the dawning-places or zodiacal points.

There is also the divine unity or entity which is sanctified above all
concept of humanity. It cannot be comprehended nor conceived because it is
infinite reality and cannot become finite. Human minds are incapable of
surrounding that reality because all thoughts and conceptions of it are
finite, intellectual creations and not the reality of divine being which
alone knows itself. For example, if we form a conception of divinity as a
living, almighty, self-subsisting, eternal being, this is only a concept
apprehended by a human intellectual reality. It would not be the outward,
visible reality which is beyond the power of human mind to conceive or
encompass. We ourselves have an external, visible entity but even our
concept of it is the product of our own brain and limited comprehension.
The reality of divinity is sanctified above this degree of knowing and
realization. It has ever been hidden and secluded in its own holiness and
sanctity above our comprehending. Although it transcends our realization,
its lights, bestowals, traces and virtues have become manifest in the
realities of the prophets, even as the sun becomes resplendent in various
mirrors. These holy realities are as reflectors, and the reality of
divinity is as the sun which although it is reflected from the mirrors,
and its virtues and perfections become resplendent therein, does not stoop
from its own station of majesty and glory and seek abode in the mirrors;
it remains in its heaven of sanctity. At most it is this, that its lights
become manifest and evident in its mirrors or manifestations. Therefore
its bounty proceeding from them is one bounty but the recipients of that
bounty are many. This is the unity of God; this is oneness;—unity of
divinity, holy above ascent or descent, embodiment, comprehension or
idealization;—divine unity. The prophets are its mirrors; its lights are
revealed through them; its virtues become resplendent in them, but the Sun
of Reality never descends from its own highest point and station. This is
unity, oneness, sanctity; this is glorification whereby we praise and
adore God.



THE QUICKENING SPIRIT


The greatest power in the realm and range of human existence is
spirit,—the divine breath which animates and pervades all things. It is
manifested throughout creation in different degrees or kingdoms. In the
vegetable kingdom it is the spirit augmentative or power of growth, the
animus of life and development in plants, trees and organisms of the
floral world. In this degree of its manifestation, spirit is unconscious
of the powers which qualify the kingdom of the animal. The distinctive
virtue or plus of the animal is sense perception; it sees, hears, smells,
tastes and feels but is incapable in turn, of conscious ideation or
reflection which characterize and differentiate the human kingdom. The
animal neither exercises nor apprehends this distinctive human power and
gift. From the visible it cannot draw conclusions regarding the invisible
whereas the human mind from visible and known premises attains knowledge
of the unknown and invisible. For instance, Christopher Columbus from
information based upon known and provable facts drew conclusions which led
him unerringly across the vast ocean to the unknown continent of America.
Such power of accomplishment is beyond the range of animal intelligence.
Therefore this power is a distinctive attribute of the human spirit and
kingdom. The animal spirit cannot penetrate and discover the mysteries of
things. It is a captive of the senses. No amount of teaching, for
instance, would enable it to grasp the fact that the sun is stationary and
the earth moves around it. Likewise the human spirit has its limitations.
It cannot comprehend the phenomena of the kingdom transcending the human
station, for it is a captive of powers and life forces which have their
operation upon its own plane of existence and it cannot go beyond that
boundary.

There is however another spirit which may be termed the divine, to which
Jesus Christ refers when He declares that man must be born of its
quickening and baptized with its living fire. Souls deprived of that
spirit are accounted as dead, though they are possessed of the human
spirit. His Holiness Jesus Christ has pronounced them dead inasmuch as
they have no portion of the divine spirit. He says: “Let the dead bury
their dead.” In another instance He declares: “That which is born of the
flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” By this
He means that souls though alive in the human kingdom are nevertheless
dead if devoid of this particular spirit of divine quickening. They have
not partaken of the divine life of the higher kingdom; for the soul which
partakes of the power of the divine spirit is verily living.

This quickening spirit has spontaneous emanation from the Sun of Truth,
from the reality of divinity and is not a revelation or a manifestation.
It is like the rays of the sun. The rays are emanations from the sun. This
does not mean that the sun has become divisible; that a part of the sun
has come out into space. This plant beside me has risen from the seed;
therefore it is a manifestation and unfoldment of the seed. The seed, as
you can see, has unfolded in manifestation and the result is this plant.
Every leaf of the plant is a part of the seed. But the reality of divinity
is indivisible and each individual of human kind cannot be a part of it as
is often claimed. Nay, rather, the individual realities of mankind when
spiritually born are emanations from the reality of divinity, just as the
flame, heat and light of the sun are the effulgence of the sun and not a
part of the sun itself. Therefore a spirit has emanated from the reality
of divinity, and its effulgences have become visible in human entities or
realities. This ray and this heat are permanent. There is no cessation in
the effulgence. As long as the sun exists the heat and light will exist,
and inasmuch as eternality is a property of divinity, this emanation is
everlasting. There is no cessation in its outpouring. The more the world
of humanity develops, the more the effulgences or emanations of divinity
will become revealed, just as the stone when it becomes polished and pure
as a mirror will reflect in fuller degree the glory and splendor of the
sun.

The mission of the prophets, the revelation of the holy books, the
manifestation of the heavenly teachers and the purpose of divine
philosophy all center in the training of the human realities so that they
may become clear and pure as mirrors and reflect the light and love of the
Sun of Reality. Therefore I hope that whether you be in the east or the
west you will strive with heart and soul in order that day by day the
world of humanity may become glorified, more spiritual, more sanctified;
and that the splendor of the Sun of Reality may be revealed fully in human
hearts as in a mirror. This is worthy of the world of mankind. This is the
true evolution and progress of humanity. This is the supreme bestowal.
Otherwise, by simple development along material lines man is not
perfected. At most, the physical aspect of man, his natural or material
conditions may become stabilized and improved but he will remain deprived
of the spiritual or divine bestowal. He is then like a body without a
spirit, a lamp without the light, an eye without the power of vision, an
ear that hears no sound, a mind incapable of perceiving, an intellect
minus the power of reason.

Man has two powers, and his development two aspects. One power is
connected with the material world and by it he is capable of material
advancement. The other power is spiritual and through its development his
inner, potential nature is awakened. These powers are like two wings. Both
must be developed, for flight is impossible with one wing. Praise be to
God! material advancement has been evident in the world but there is need
of spiritual advancement in like proportion. We must strive unceasingly
and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in
man, and endeavor with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the
nobility of its true and intended station. For the body of man is
accidental; it is of no importance. The time of its disintegration will
inevitably come. But the spirit of man is essential and therefore eternal.
It is a divine bounty. It is the effulgence of the Sun of Reality and
therefore of greater importance than the physical body.



SPIRITUAL EXISTENCE IS IMMORTALITY


According to divine philosophy, there are two important and universal
conditions in the world of material phenomena; one which concerns life,
the other concerning death; one relative to existence, the other
non-existence; one manifest in composition, the other in decomposition.
Some define existence as the expression of reality or being, and
non-existence as non-being, imagining that death is annihilation. This is
a mistaken idea, for total annihilation is an impossibility. At most,
composition is ever subject to decomposition or disintegration; that is to
say, existence implies the grouping of material elements in a form or
body, and non-existence is simply the de-composing of these groupings.
This is the law of creation in its endless forms and infinite variety of
expression. Certain elements have formed the composite creature man. This
composite association of the elements in the form of a human body is
therefore subject to disintegration which we call death, but after
disintegration the elements themselves persist unchanged. Therefore total
annihilation is an impossibility, and existence can never become
non-existence. This would be equivalent to saying that light can become
darkness, which is manifestly untrue and impossible. As existence can
never become non-existence, there is no death for man; nay, rather, man is
everlasting and everliving. The rational proof of this is that the atoms
of the material elements are transferable from one form of existence to
another, from one degree and kingdom to another, lower or higher. For
example, an atom of the soil or dust of earth may traverse the kingdoms
from mineral to man by successive incorporations into the bodies of the
organisms of those kingdoms. At one time it enters into the formation of
the mineral or rock; it is then absorbed by the vegetable kingdom and
becomes a constituent of the body and fibre of a tree; again it is
appropriated by the animal, and at a still later period is found in the
body of man. Throughout these degrees of its traversing the kingdoms from
one form of phenomenal being to another, it retains its atomic existence
and is never annihilated nor relegated to non-existence.

Non-existence therefore is an expression applied to change of form, but
this transformation can never be rightly considered annihilation, for the
elements of composition are ever present and existent as we have seen in
the journey of the atom through successive kingdoms, unimpaired; hence
there is no death; life is everlasting. So to speak, when the atom entered
into the composition of the tree, it died to the mineral kingdom, and when
consumed by the animal, it died to the vegetable kingdom, and so on until
its transference or transmutation into the kingdom of man; but throughout
its traversing it was subject to transformation and not annihilation.
Death therefore is applicable to a change or transference from one degree
or condition to another. In the mineral realm there was a spirit of
existence; in the world of plant life and organisms it reappeared as the
vegetative spirit; thence it attained the animal spirit and finally
aspired to the human spirit. These are degrees and changes but not
obliteration; and this is a rational proof that man is everlasting,
everliving. Therefore death is only a relative term implying change. For
example, we will say that this light before me, having reappeared in
another incandescent lamp, has died in the one and lives in the other.
This is not death in reality. The perfections of the mineral are
translated into the vegetable and from thence into the animal, the virtue
always attaining a plus or superlative degree in the upward change. In
each kingdom we find the same virtues manifesting themselves more fully,
proving that the reality has been transferred from a lower to a higher
form and kingdom of being. Therefore non-existence is only relative and
absolute non-existence inconceivable. This rose in my hand will become
disintegrated and its symmetry destroyed, but the elements of its
composition remain changeless; nothing affects their elemental integrity.
They cannot become non-existent; they are simply transferred from one
state to another.

Through his ignorance, man fears death; but the death he shrinks from is
imaginary and absolutely unreal; it is only human imagination.

The bestowal and grace of God have quickened the realm of existence with
life and being. For existence there is neither change nor transformation;
existence is ever existence; it can never be translated into
non-existence. It is gradation; a degree below a higher degree is
considered as non-existence. This dust beneath our feet, as compared with
our being is non-existent. When the human body crumbles into dust we can
say it has become non-existent; therefore its dust in relation to living
forms of human being is as non-existent but in its own sphere it is
existent, it has its mineral being. Therefore it is well proved that
absolute non-existence is impossible; it is only relative.

The purpose is this;—that the everlasting bestowal of God vouchsafed to
man is never subject to corruption. Inasmuch as He has endowed the
phenomenal world with being, it is impossible for that world to become
non-being, for it is the very genesis of God; it is the realm of
origination; it is a creational and not a subjective world, and the bounty
descending upon it is continuous and permanent. Therefore man the highest
creature of the phenomenal world is endowed with that continuous bounty
bestowed by divine generosity without cessation. For instance, the rays of
the sun are continuous, the heat of the sun emanates from it without
cessation; no discontinuance of it is conceivable. Even so the bestowal of
God is descending upon the world of humanity, never ceasing, continuous,
forever. If we say that the bestowal of existence ceases or falters it is
equivalent to saying that the sun can exist with cessation of its
effulgence. Is this possible? Therefore the effulgences of existence are
ever-present and continuous.

The conception of annihilation is a factor in human degradation, a cause
of human debasement and lowliness, a source of human fear and abjection.
It has been conducive to the dispersion and weakening of human thought
whereas the realization of existence and continuity has upraised man to
sublimity of ideals, established the foundations of human progress and
stimulated the development of heavenly virtues; therefore it behoves man
to abandon thoughts of non-existence and death which are absolutely
imaginary and see himself ever living, everlasting in the divine purpose
of his creation. He must turn away from ideas which degrade the human
soul, so that day by day and hour by hour he may advance upward and higher
to spiritual perception of the continuity of the human reality. If he
dwells upon the thought of non-existence he will become utterly
incompetent; with weakened will-power his ambition for progress will be
lessened and the acquisition of human virtues will cease.

Therefore you must thank God that He has bestowed upon you the blessing of
life and existence in the human kingdom. Strive diligently to acquire
virtues befitting your degree and station. Be as lights of the world which
cannot be hid and which have no setting in horizons of darkness. Ascend to
the zenith of an existence which is never beclouded by the fears and
forebodings of non-existence. When man is not endowed with inner
perception he is not informed of these important mysteries. The retina of
outer vision though sensitive and delicate may nevertheless be a hindrance
to the inner eye which alone can perceive. The bestowals of God which are
manifest in all phenomenal life are sometimes hidden by intervening veils
of mental and mortal vision which render man spiritually blind and
incapable but when those scales are removed and the veils rent asunder,
then the great signs of God will become visible and he will witness the
eternal light filling the world. The bestowals of God are all and always
manifest. The promises of heaven are ever present. The favors of God are
all-surrounding but should the conscious eye of the soul of man remain
veiled and darkened he will be led to deny these universal signs and
remain deprived of these manifestations of divine bounty. Therefore we
must endeavor with heart and soul in order that the veil covering the eye
of inner vision may be removed, that we may behold the manifestations of
the signs of God, discern His mysterious graces, and realize that material
blessings as compared with spiritual bounties are as nothing. The
spiritual blessings of God are greatest. When we were in the mineral
kingdom, although endowed with certain gifts and powers, they were not to
be compared with the blessings of the human kingdom. In the matrix of the
mother we were the recipients of endowments and blessings of God, yet
these were as nothing compared to the powers and graces bestowed upon us
after birth into this human world. Likewise if we are born from the matrix
of this physical and phenomenal environment into the freedom and loftiness
of the life and vision spiritual, we shall consider this mortal existence
and its blessings as worthless by comparison.

In the spiritual world, the divine bestowals are infinite, for in that
realm there is neither separation nor disintegration which characterize
the world of material existence. Spiritual existence is absolute
immortality, completeness and unchangeable being. Therefore we must thank
God that He has created for us both material blessings and spiritual
bestowals. He has given us material gifts and spiritual graces, outer
sight to view the lights of the sun and inner vision by which we may
perceive the glory of God. He has designed the outer ear to enjoy the
melodies of sound and the inner hearing wherewith we may hear the voice of
our creator. We must strive with energies of heart, soul and mind to
develop and manifest the perfections and virtues latent within the
realities of the phenomenal world, for the human reality may be compared
to a seed. If we sow the seed, a mighty tree appears from it. The virtues
of the seed are revealed in the tree; it puts forth branches, leaves,
blossoms, and produces fruits. All these virtues were hidden and potential
in the seed. Through the blessing and bounty of cultivation these virtues
became apparent. Similarly the merciful God our creator has deposited
within human realities certain virtues latent and potential. Through
education and culture, these virtues deposited by the loving God will
become apparent in the human reality even as the unfoldment of the tree
from within the germinating seed.



RACE UNITY, ASSURANCE OF WORLD PEACE


Today I am most happy, for I see here a gathering of the servants of God.
I see the white and colored people together. In the estimation of God
there is no distinction of color; all are one in the color and beauty of
servitude to him. Color is not important; the heart is all-important. It
matters not what the exterior may be if the heart be pure and white
within. God does not behold differences of hue and complexion; He looks at
the hearts. He whose morals and virtues are praiseworthy is preferred in
the presence of God; he who is devoted to the Kingdom is most beloved. In
the realm of genesis and creation the question of color is of least
importance.

The mineral kingdom abounds with many-colored substances and compositions
but we find no strife among them on that account. In the kingdom of the
plant and vegetable, distinct and variegated hues exist but the fruit and
flowers are not in conflict for that reason. Nay, rather, the very fact
that there is difference and variety lends a charm to the garden. If all
were of the same color the effect would be monotonous and depressing. When
you enter a rose-garden the wealth of color and variety of floral forms
spread before you a picture of wonder and beauty. The world of humanity is
like a garden and the various races are the flowers which constitute its
adornment and decoration. In the animal kingdom also we find variety of
color. See how the doves differ in beauty yet they live together in
perfect peace, and love each other. They do not make difference of color a
cause of discord and strife. They view each other as the same species and
kind. They know they are one in kind. Often a white dove soars aloft with
a black one. Throughout the animal kingdom we do not find the creatures
separated because of color. They recognize unity of species and oneness of
kind. If we do not find color distinction drawn in a kingdom of lower
intelligence and reason, how can it be justified among human beings,
especially when we know that all have come from the same source and belong
to the same household? In origin and intention of creation mankind is one.
Distinctions of race and color have arisen afterward.

Therefore today I am exceedingly glad that both white and colored people
have gathered here and I hope the time will come when they shall live
together in the utmost peace, unity and friendship. I wish to say one
thing of importance to both in order that the white race may be just and
kind to the colored and that the colored race may in turn be grateful and
appreciative toward the white. The great proclamation of liberty and
emancipation from slavery was made upon this continent. A long bloody war
was fought by white men for the sake of colored people. These white men
forfeited their possessions and sacrificed their lives by thousands in
order that colored men might be freed from bondage. The colored population
of the United States of America are possibly not fully informed of the
wide-reaching effect of this freedom and emancipation upon their colored
brethren in Asia and Africa where even more terrible conditions of slavery
existed. Influenced and impelled by the example of the United States, the
European powers proclaimed universal liberty to the colored race and
slavery ceased to exist. This effort and accomplishment by the white
nations should never be lost sight of. Both races should rejoice in
gratitude, for the institution of liberty and equality here became the
cause of liberating your fellow-beings elsewhere. The colored people of
this country are especially fortunate, for, praise be to God! conditions
here are so much higher than in the East and comparatively few differences
exist in the possibility of equal attainments with the white race. May
both develop toward the highest degree of equality and altruism. May you
be drawn together in friendship and may extraordinary development make
brotherhood a reality and truth. I pray in your behalf that there shall be
no name other than that of humanity among you. For instance we say “a
flock of doves,” without mention or distinction as to white or black; we
apply the name “horse,” “deer,” “gazelle” to other creatures, referring to
species and not to their variance in color. It is my hope that through
love and fellowship we may advance to such a degree of mutual recognition
and estimate, that the oneness of the human world may be realized in each
and all present in this meeting.

Therefore strive earnestly and put forth your greatest endeavor toward the
accomplishment of this fellowship and the cementing of this bond of
brotherhood between you. Such an attainment is not possible without will
and effort on the part of each; from one, expressions of gratitude and
appreciation; from the other kindliness and recognition of equality. Each
one should endeavor to develop and assist the other toward mutual
advancement. This is possible only by conjoining of effort and
inclination. Love and unity will be fostered between you, thereby bringing
about the oneness of mankind. For the accomplishment of unity between the
colored and whites will be an assurance of the world’s peace. Then racial
prejudice, national prejudice, limited patriotism and religious bias will
pass away and remain no longer. I am pleased to see you at this gathering,
white and dark, and I praise God that I have had this opportunity of
seeing you loving each other, for this is the means of the glory of
humanity. This is the means of the good-pleasure of God and of eternal
bliss in His kingdom. Therefore I pray in your behalf that you may attain
to the fullest degree of love and that the day may come when all
differences between you may disappear.



RELIGION AND CIVILIZATION


The greatest bestowal of God in the world of humanity is religion; for
assuredly the divine teachings of religion are above all other sources of
instruction and development to man. Religion confers upon man eternal life
and guides his footsteps in the world of morality. It opens the doors of
unending happiness and bestows everlasting honor upon the human kingdom.
It has been the basis of all civilization and progress in the history of
mankind.

We will therefore investigate religion, seeking from an unprejudiced
standpoint to discover whether it is the source of illumination, the cause
of development and the animating impulse of all human advancement. We will
investigate independently, free from the restrictions of dogmatic beliefs,
blind imitations of ancestral forms, and the influence of mere human
opinion; for as we enter this question we will find some who declare that
religion is a cause of uplift and betterment in the world, while others
assert just as positively that it is a detriment and a source of
degradation to mankind. We must give these questions thorough and
impartial consideration so that no doubt or uncertainty may linger in our
minds regarding them.

How shall we determine whether religion has been the cause of human
advancement or retrogression?

We will first consider the founders of the religions—the prophets—review
the story of their lives, compare the conditions preceding their
appearance with those subsequent to their departure, following historical
records and irrefutable facts instead of relying upon traditionary
statements which are open to both acceptance and denial.

Among the great prophets was His Holiness Abraham who being an iconoclast
and a herald of the oneness of God, was banished from His native land. He
founded a family upon which the blessing of God descended; and it was
owing to this religious basis and ordination that the Abrahamic house
progressed and advanced. Through the divine benediction, noteworthy and
luminous prophets issued from the lineage of His Holiness. There appeared
Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon. The Holy
Land was conquered by the power of the Covenant of God with Abraham, and
the glory of the Solomonic wisdom and sovereignty dawned. All this was due
to the religion of God which this blessed lineage established and upheld.
It is evident that throughout the history of Abraham and His posterity
this was the source of their honor, advancement and civilization. Even
today the descendants of His household and lineage are found throughout
the world.

There is another and more significant aspect to this religious impulse and
impetus. The children of Israel were in bondage and captivity in the land
of Egypt four hundred years. They were in an extreme state of degradation
and slavery under the tyranny and oppression of the Egyptians. While they
were in the condition of abject poverty, in the lowest degree of
abasement, ignorance and servility His Holiness Moses suddenly appeared
among them. Although He was but a shepherd, such majesty, grandeur and
efficiency became manifest in Him through the power of religion, that His
influence continues to this day. His prophethood was established
throughout the land and the law of His Word became the foundation of the
laws of the nations. This unique personage, single and alone, rescued the
children of Israel from bondage through the power of religious training
and discipline. He led them to the Holy Land and founded there a great
civilization which has become permanent and renowned and under which these
people attained the highest degree of honor and glory. He freed them from
bondage and captivity. He imbued them with qualities of progressiveness
and capability. They proved to be a civilizing people with instincts
toward education and scholastic attainment. Their philosophy became
renowned; their industries were celebrated throughout the nations. In all
lines of advancement which characterize a progressive people they achieved
distinction. In the splendor of the reign of Solomon their sciences and
arts advanced to such a degree that even the Greek philosophers journeyed
to Jerusalem to sit at the feet of the Hebrew sages and acquire the basis
of Israelitish law. According to eastern history this is an established
fact. Even Socrates visited the Jewish doctors in the Holy Land,
consorting with them and discussing the principles and basis of their
religious belief. After his return to Greece he formulated his
philosophical teaching of divine unity and advanced his belief in the
immortality of the spirit beyond the dissolution of the body. Without
doubt Socrates absorbed these verities from the wise men of the Jews with
whom he came in contact. Hippocrates and other philosophers of the Greeks
likewise visited Palestine and acquired wisdom from the Jewish prophets,
studying the basis of ethics and morality, returning to their country with
contributions which have made Greece famous.

When a movement fundamentally religious makes a weak nation strong,
changes a nondescript tribal people into a mighty and powerful
civilization, rescues them from captivity and elevates them to
sovereignty, transforms their ignorance into knowledge and endows them
with an impetus of advancement in all degrees of development—(this is not
theory, but historical fact)—it becomes evident that religion is the cause
of man’s attainment to honor and sublimity.

But when we speak of religion we mean the essential foundation or reality
of religion, not the dogmas and blind imitations which have gradually
encrusted it and which are the cause of the decline and effacement of a
nation. These are inevitably destructive and a menace and hindrance to a
nation’s life,—even as it is recorded in the Torah and confirmed in
history that when the Jews became fettered by empty forms and imitations
the wrath of God became manifest. When they forsook the foundations of the
law of God, Nebuchadnezzar came and conquered the Holy Land. He killed and
made captive the people of Israel, laid waste the country and populous
cities and burned the villages. Seventy thousand Jews were carried away
captive to Babylon. He destroyed Jerusalem, despoiled the great temple,
desecrated the holy of holies and burned the Torah, the heavenly book of
scriptures. Therefore we learn that allegiance to the essential foundation
of the divine religions is ever the cause of development and progress,
whereas the abandonment and beclouding of that essential reality through
blind imitations and adherence to dogmatic beliefs is the cause of a
nation’s debasement and degradation. After their conquest by the
Babylonians, the Jews were successively subjugated by the Greeks and
Romans. Under the Roman general Titus, 70 A.D., the Holy Land was stripped
and pillaged, Jerusalem razed to its foundations and the Israelites
scattered broadcast throughout the world. So complete was their dispersion
that they have continued without a country and government of their own to
the present day.

From this review of the history of the Jewish people we learn that the
foundation of the religion of God laid by His Holiness Moses was the cause
of their eternal honor and national prestige, the animating impulse of
their advancement and racial supremacy and the source of that excellence
which will always command the respect and reverence of those who
understand their peculiar destiny and outcome. The dogmas and blind
imitations which gradually obscured the reality of the religion of God
proved to be Israel’s destructive influences causing the expulsion of
these chosen people from the Holy Land of their Covenant and promise.

What then is the mission of the divine prophets? Their mission is the
education and advancement of the world of humanity. They are the real
teachers and educators, the universal instructors of mankind. If we wish
to discover whether any one of these great souls or messengers was in
reality a prophet of God we must investigate the facts surrounding His
life and history; and the first point of our investigation will be the
education He bestowed upon mankind. If He has been an educator, if He has
really trained a nation or people, causing it to rise from the lowest
depths of ignorance to the highest station of knowledge, then we are sure
that He was a prophet. This is a plain and clear method of procedure,
proof that is irrefutable. We do not need to seek after other proofs. We
do not need to mention miracles, saying that out of rock water gushed
forth, for such miracles and statements may be denied and refused by those
who hear them. The deeds of Moses are conclusive evidences of His
prophethood. If a man be fair, unbiased and willing to investigate reality
he will undoubtedly testify to the fact that Moses was verily a man of God
and a great personage.

In further consideration of this subject, I wish you to be fair and
reasonable in your judgment, setting aside all religious prejudices. We
should earnestly seek and thoroughly investigate realities, recognizing
that the purpose of the religion of God is the education of humanity and
the unity and fellowship of mankind. Furthermore we will establish the
point that the foundations of the religions of God are one foundation.
This foundation is not multiple for it is reality itself. Reality does not
admit of multiplicity although each of the divine religions is separable
into two divisions. One concerns the world of morality and the ethical
training of human nature. It is directed to the advancement of the world
of humanity in general; it reveals and inculcates the knowledge of God and
makes possible the discovery of the verities of life. This is ideal and
spiritual teaching, the essential quality of divine religion and not
subject to change or transformation. It is the one foundation of all the
religions of God. Therefore the religions are essentially one and the
same.

The second classification or division comprises social laws and
regulations applicable to human conduct. This is not the essential
spiritual quality of religion. It is subject to change and transformation
according to the exigencies and requirements of time and place. For
instance in the time of Noah certain requirements made it necessary that
all sea foods be allowable or lawful. During the time of the Abrahamic
prophethood it was considered allowable because of a certain exigency that
a man should marry his aunt, even as Sarah was the sister of Abraham’s
mother. During the cycle of Adam it was lawful and expedient for a man to
marry his own sister, even as Abel, Cain and Seth the sons of Adam married
their sisters. But in the law of the Pentateuch revealed by Moses these
marriages were forbidden and their custom and sanction abrogated. Other
laws formerly valid were annulled during the time of Moses. For example,
it was lawful in Abraham’s cycle to eat the flesh of the camel, but during
the time of Jacob this was prohibited. Such changes and transformations in
the teaching of religion are applicable to the ordinary conditions of life
but they are not important or essential. His Holiness Moses lived in the
wilderness of Sinai where crime necessitated direct punishment. There were
no penitentiaries or penalties of imprisonment. Therefore according to the
exigency of the time and place it was a law of God that an eye should be
given for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. It would not be practicable to
enforce this law at the present time; for instance to blind a man who
accidentally blinded you. In the Torah there are many commands concerning
the punishment of a murderer. It would not be allowable or possible to
carry out these ordinances today. Human conditions and exigencies are such
that even the question of capital punishment,—the one penalty which most
nations have continued to enforce for murder,—is now under discussion by
wise men who are debating its advisability. In fact, laws for the ordinary
conditions of life are only valid temporarily. The exigencies of the time
of Moses justified cutting off a man’s hand for theft but such a penalty
is not allowable now. Time changes conditions, and laws change to suit
conditions. We must remember that these changing laws are not the
essentials; they are the accidentals of religion. The essential ordinances
established by a Manifestation of God are spiritual; they concern
moralities, the ethical development of man and faith in God. They are
ideal and necessarily permanent; expressions of the one foundation and not
amenable to change or transformation. Therefore the fundamental basis of
the revealed religion of God is immutable, unchanging throughout the
centuries, not subject to the varying conditions of the human world.

Christ ratified and proclaimed the foundation of the law of Moses.
Muḥammad and all the prophets have revoiced that same foundation of
reality. Therefore the purposes and accomplishments of the divine
messengers have been one and the same. They were the source of advancement
to the body-politic and the cause of the honor and divine civilization of
humanity the foundation of which is one and the same in every
dispensation. It is evident then that the proofs of the validity and
inspiration of a prophet of God are the deeds of beneficent accomplishment
and greatness emanating from Him. If He proves to be instrumental in the
elevation and betterment of mankind, He is undoubtedly a valid and
heavenly messenger.

I wish you to be reasonable and just in your consideration of the
following statements:

At the time when the Israelites had been dispersed by the power of the
Roman empire and the national life of the Hebrew people had been effaced
by their conquerors,—when the law of God had seemingly passed from them
and the foundation of the religion of God was apparently destroyed,—Jesus
Christ appeared. When His Holiness arose among the Jews, the first thing
He did was to proclaim the validity of the Manifestation of Moses. He
declared that the Torah, the Old Testament, was the Book of God and that
all the prophets of Israel were valid and true. He extolled the mission of
Moses and through His proclamation the name of Moses was spread throughout
the world. Through Christianity the greatness of Moses became known among
all nations. It is a fact that before the appearance of Christ, the name
of Moses had not been heard in Írán. In India they had no knowledge of
Judaism and it was only through the Christianizing of Europe that the
teachings of the Old Testament became spread in that region. Throughout
Europe there was not a copy of the Old Testament; but consider this
carefully and judge it aright;—through the instrumentality of Christ,
through the translation of the New Testament, the little volume of the
Gospel, the Old Testament, the Torah, has been translated into six hundred
languages and spread everywhere in the world. The names of the Hebrew
prophets became household words among the nations, who believed that the
children of Israel were verily the chosen people of God, a holy nation
under the especial blessing and protection of God, and that therefore the
prophets who had arisen in Israel were the day springs of revelation and
brilliant stars in the heaven of the will of God.

Therefore His Holiness Christ really promulgated Judaism for He was a Jew
and not opposed to the Jews. He did not deny the prophethood of Moses; on
the contrary He proclaimed and ratified it. He did not invalidate the
Torah; He spread its teachings. That portion of the ordinances of Moses
which concerned transactions and unimportant conditions underwent
transformation but the essential teachings of Moses were revoiced and
confirmed by Christ without change. He left nothing unfinished or
incomplete. Likewise through the supreme efficacy and power of the Word of
God He united most of the nations of the east and the west. This was
accomplished at a time when these nations were opposed to each other in
hostility and strife. He led them beneath the overshadowing tent of the
oneness of humanity. He educated them until they became united and agreed
and through His spirit of conciliation the Roman, Greek, Chaldean and
Egyptian were blended in a composite civilization. This wonderful power
and extraordinary efficacy of the Word prove conclusively the validity of
His Holiness Christ. Consider how His heavenly sovereignty is still
permanent and lasting. Verily this is conclusive proof and manifest
evidence.

From another horizon we see Muḥammad the prophet of Arabia appearing. You
may not know that the first address of Muḥammad to His tribe was the
statement, “Verily, Moses was a prophet of God and the Torah is a book of
God. Verily, O ye people, ye must believe in the Torah, in Moses and the
prophets. Ye must accept all the prophets of Israel as valid.” In the
Qur’án, the Muḥammadan Bible, there are seven statements or repetitions of
the Mosaic narrative, and in all the historic accounts Moses is praised.
Muḥammad announces that His Holiness Moses was the greatest prophet of
God, that God guided Him in the wilderness of Sinai, that through the
light of guidance Moses hearkened to the summons of God, that He was the
interlocutor of God and the bearer of the tablet of the ten commandments,
that all the contemporary nations of the world arose against Him and that
eventually Moses conquered them, for falsehood and error are ever overcome
by truth. There are many other instances of Muḥammad’s confirmation of
Moses. I am mentioning but a few. Consider that His Holiness Muḥammad was
born among the savage and barbarous tribes of Arabia, lived among them and
was outwardly illiterate and uninformed of the holy books of God. The
Arabian people were in the utmost ignorance and barbarism. They buried
their infant daughters alive, considering this to be an evidence of a
valorous and lofty nature. They lived in bondage and serfdom under the
Íránian and Roman governments and were scattered throughout the desert
engaged in continual strife and bloodshed. When the light of Muḥammad
dawned, the darkness of ignorance was dispelled from the deserts of
Arabia. In a short period of time those barbarous peoples attained a
superlative degree of civilization which with Ba_gh_dád as its center
extended as far westward as Spain and afterward influenced the greater
part of Europe. What proof of prophethood could be greater than this,
unless we close our eyes to justice and remain obstinately opposed to
reason.

Today the Christians are believers in Moses, accept Him as a prophet of
God and praise Him most highly. The Muḥammadans are likewise believers in
Moses, accept the validity of His prophethood, at the same time believing
in Christ. Could it be said that the acceptance of Moses by the Christians
and Muḥammadans has been harmful and detrimental to those people? On the
contrary, it has been beneficial to them, proving that they have been
fair-minded and just. What harm could result to the Jewish people then if
they in return should accept His Holiness Christ and acknowledge the
validity of the prophethood of His Holiness Muḥammad? By this acceptance
and praiseworthy attitude the enmity and hatred which have afflicted
mankind so many centuries would be dispelled, fanaticism and bloodshed
pass away and the world be blessed by unity and agreement. Christians and
Muḥammadans believe and admit that Moses was the interlocutor of God. Why
do you not say that Christ was the Word of God? Why do you not speak these
few words that will do away with all this difficulty? Then there will be
no more hatred and fanaticism, no more warfare and bloodshed in the Land
of Promise. Then there will be peace among you forever.

Verily, I now declare to you that Moses was the interlocutor of God and a
most noteworthy prophet; that Moses revealed the fundamental law of God
and founded the real ethical basis of the civilization and progress of
humanity. What harm is there in this? Have I lost anything by saying this
to you and believing it as a Bahá’í? On the contrary it benefits me, and
His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Cause, confirms me,
saying: “You have been fair and just in your judgment; you have
impartially investigated the truth and arrived at a true conclusion; you
have announced your belief in Moses a prophet of God and accepted the
Torah the book of God.” Inasmuch as it is possible for me to sweep away
all evidences of prejudice by such a liberal and universal statement of
belief why is it not possible for you to do likewise? Why not put an end
to this religious strife and establish a bond of connection between the
hearts of men? Why should not the followers of one religion praise the
founder or teacher of another? The other religionists extol the greatness
of His Holiness Moses and admit that He was the founder of Judaism. Why do
the Hebrews refuse to praise and accept the other great messengers who
have appeared in the world? What harm could there be in this? What
rightful objection? None whatever. You would lose nothing by such action
and statement. On the contrary you would contribute to the welfare of
mankind. You would be instrumental in establishing the happiness of the
world of humanity. The eternal honor of man depends upon the liberalism of
this modern age. Inasmuch as our God is one God and the creator of all
mankind, He provides for and protects all. We acknowledge him as a God of
kindness, justice and mercy. Why then should we, His children and
followers, war and fight, bringing sorrow and grief into the hearts of
each other? God is loving and merciful. His intention in religion has ever
been the bond of unity and affinity between humankind.

Praise be to God! the mediaeval ages of darkness have passed away and this
century of radiance has dawned,—this century wherein the reality of things
is becoming evident,—wherein science is penetrating the mysteries of the
universe, the oneness of the world of humanity is being established and
service to mankind is the paramount motive of all existence. Shall we
remain steeped in our fanaticisms and cling to our prejudices? Is it
fitting that we should still be bound and restricted by ancient fables and
superstitions of the past; be handicapped by superannuated beliefs and the
ignorances of dark ages, waging religious wars, fighting and shedding
blood, shunning and anathematizing each other? Is this becoming? Is it not
better for us to be loving and considerate toward each other? Is it not
preferable to enjoy fellowship and unity; join in anthems of praise to the
most high God and extol all His prophets in the spirit of acceptance and
true vision? Then indeed this world will become a paradise and the
promised Day of God will dawn. Then according to the prophecy of Isaiah
the wolf and the lamb will drink from the same stream, the owl and the
vulture will nest together in the same branches and the lion and the calf
pasture in the same meadow. What does this mean? It means that fierce and
contending religions, hostile creeds and divergent beliefs will reconcile
and associate, notwithstanding their former hatreds and antagonism.
Through the liberalism of human attitude demanded in this radiant century
they will blend together in perfect fellowship and love. This is the
spirit and meaning of Isaiah’s words. There will never be a day when this
prophecy will come to pass literally, for these animals by their natures
cannot mingle and associate in kindness and love. Therefore this prophecy
symbolizes the unity and agreement of races, nations and peoples who will
come together in attitudes of intelligence, illumination and spirituality.

The age has dawned when human fellowship will become a reality.

The century has come when all religions shall be unified....



INDUSTRIAL JUSTICE


You have questioned me about strikes. This question is and will be for a
long time the subject of great difficulties. Strikes are due to two
causes. One is the extreme sharpness and rapacity of the capitalists and
manufacturers; the other, the excesses, the avidity and ill-will of the
workmen and artisans. It is therefore necessary to remedy these two
causes.

But the principal cause of these difficulties lies in the laws of the
present civilization; for they lead to a small number of individuals
accumulating incomparable fortunes, beyond their needs, whilst the greater
number remains destitute, stripped and in the greatest misery. This is
contrary to justice, to humanity, to equity; it is the height of iniquity,
the opposite to what causes divine satisfaction.

This contrast is peculiar to the world of man: with other creatures, that
is to say with nearly all animals, there is a kind of justice and
equality. Thus in a shepherd’s flock of sheep, in a troop of deer in the
country, among the birds of the prairie, of the plain, of the hill or of
the orchard, almost every animal receives a just share based on equality.
With them such a difference in the means of existence is not to be found:
so they live in the most complete peace and joy.

It is quite otherwise with the human species, which persists in the
greatest error, and in absolute iniquity. Consider an individual who has
amassed treasures by colonizing a country for his profit: he has obtained
an incomparable fortune, and has secured profits and incomes which flow
like a river, whilst a hundred thousand unfortunate people, weak and
powerless, are in need of a mouthful of bread. There is neither equality
nor brotherhood. So you see that general peace and joy are destroyed, the
welfare of humanity is partially annihilated, and that collective life is
fruitless. Indeed, fortune, honors, commerce, industry are in the hands of
some industrials, whilst other people are submitted to quite a series of
difficulties and to limitless troubles: they have neither advantages nor
profits, nor comforts, nor peace.

Then rules and laws should be established to regulate the excessive
fortunes of certain private individuals, and limit the misery of millions
of the poor masses; thus a certain moderation would be obtained. However,
absolute equality is just as impossible, for absolute equality in
fortunes, honors, commerce, agriculture, industry, would end in a want of
comfort, in discouragement, in disorganization of the means of existence,
and in universal disappointment: the order of the community would be quite
destroyed. Thus, there is a great wisdom in the fact that equality is not
imposed by law: it is, therefore, preferable for moderation to do its
work. The main point is, by means of laws and regulations to hinder the
constitution of the excessive fortunes of certain individuals, and to
protect the essential needs of the masses. For instance, the manufacturers
and the industrials heap up a treasure each day, and the poor artisans do
not gain their daily sustenance: that is the height of iniquity, and no
just man can accept it. Therefore, laws and regulations should be
established which would permit the workmen to receive from the factory
owner their wages and a share in the fourth or the fifth part of the
profits, according to the wants of the factory; or in some other way the
body of workmen and the manufacturers should share equitably the profits
and advantages. Indeed, the direction and administration of affairs come
from the owner of the factory, and the work and labor, from the body of
the workmen. In other words, the workmen should receive wages which assure
them an adequate support, and when they cease work, becoming feeble or
helpless, they should receive from the owner of the factory a sufficient
pension. The wages should be high enough to satisfy the workmen with the
amount they receive, so that they may be able to put a little aside for
days of want and helplessness.

When matters will be thus fixed, the owner of the factory will no longer
put aside daily a treasure which he has absolutely no need of (without
taking into consideration that if the fortune is disproportionate, the
capitalist succumbs under a formidable burden, and gets into the greatest
difficulties and troubles; the administration of an excessive fortune is
very difficult, and exhausts man’s natural strength). And, the workmen and
artisans will no longer be in the greatest misery and want, they will no
longer be submitted to the worst privations at the end of their life.

It is, then, clear and evident that the repartition of excessive fortunes
amongst a small number of individuals, while the masses are in misery, is
an iniquity and an injustice. In the same way, absolute equality would be
an obstacle to life, to welfare, to order and to the peace of humanity. In
such a question a just medium is preferable. It lies in the capitalists
being moderate in the acquisition of their profits, and in their having a
consideration for the welfare of the poor and needy; that is to say, that
the workmen and artisans receive a fixed and established daily wage, and
have a share in the general profits of the factory.

It would be well, with regard to the social rights of manufacturers,
workmen and artisans, that laws be established, giving moderate profits to
manufacturers, and to workmen the necessary means of existence and
security for the future. Thus, when they become feeble and cease working,
get old and helpless, and die leaving children under age, these children
will not be annihilated by excess of poverty. And it is from the income of
the factory itself, to which they have a right, that they will derive a
little of the means of existence.

In the same way, the workmen should no longer rebel and revolt, nor demand
beyond their rights; they should no longer go out on strike, they should
be obedient and submissive, and not ask for impudent wages. But the mutual
rights of both associated parties will be fixed and established according
to custom by just and impartial laws. In case one of the two parties
should transgress, the courts of justice would have to give judgment, and
by an efficacious fine put an end to the transgression; thus order will be
re-established, and the difficulties settled. The interference of courts
of justice and of the Government in difficulties pending between
manufacturers and workmen is legal, for the reason that current affairs
between workmen and manufacturers cannot be compared with ordinary affairs
between private persons, which do not concern the public, and with which
the Government should not occupy itself. In reality, although they appear
to be matters between private persons, these difficulties between patrons
and workmen produce a general detriment; for commerce, industry,
agriculture and the general affairs of the country are all intimately
linked together. If one of these suffers an abuse, the detriment affects
the mass. Thus the difficulties between workmen and manufacturers become a
cause of general detriment.

The court of justice and the Government have therefore the right of
interference. When a difficulty occurs between two individuals with
reference to private rights, it is necessary for a third to settle the
question: this is the part of the Government: then the question of
strikes—which cause troubles in the country and are often connected with
the excessive vexations of the workmen, as well as with the rapacity of
manufacturers—how could it remain neglected?

Good God! is it possible that, seeing one of his fellow-creatures
starving, destitute of everything, a man can rest and live comfortably in
his luxurious mansion? He who meets another in the greatest misery, can he
enjoy his fortune? That is why, in the religion of God, it is prescribed
and established that wealthy men each year give over a certain part of
their fortune for the maintenance of the poor and unfortunate. That is the
foundation of the religion of God, and the most essential of the
commandments.

As now man is not forced nor obliged by the Government, if by the natural
tendency of his good heart, with the greatest spirituality, he goes to
this expense for the poor, this will be a thing very much praised,
approved and pleasing.

Such is the meaning of the good works in the Divine Books and Tablets.



UNIVERSAL PEACE


This recent war has proved to the world and the people that war is
destruction while Universal Peace is construction; war is death while
peace is life; war is rapacity and bloodthirstiness while peace is
beneficence and humaneness; war is an appurtenance of the world of nature
while peace is of the foundation of the religion of God; war is darkness
upon darkness while peace is heavenly light; war is the destroyer of the
edifice of mankind while peace is the everlasting life of the world of
humanity; war is like a devouring wolf while peace is like the angels of
heaven; war is the struggle for existence while peace is mutual aid and
cooperation among the peoples of the world and the cause of the
good-pleasure of the True One in the heavenly realm.

There is not one soul whose conscience does not testify that in this day
there is no more important matter in the world than that of Universal
Peace. Every just one bears witness to this and adores that esteemed
Assembly because its aim is that this darkness may be changed into light,
this bloodthirstiness into kindness, this torment into bliss, this
hardship into ease and this enmity and hatred into fellowship and love.
Therefore, the effort of those esteemed souls is worthy of praise and
commendation.

But the wise souls who are aware of the essential relationships emanating
from the realities of things consider that one single matter cannot, by
itself, influence the human reality as it ought and should, for until the
minds of men become united, no important matter can be accomplished. At
present Universal Peace is a matter of great importance, but unity of
conscience is essential, so that the foundation of this matter may become
secure, its establishment firm and its edifice strong.

Therefore His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, fifty years ago, expounded this
question of Universal Peace at a time when He was confined in the fortress
of Akká and was wronged and imprisoned. He wrote about this important
matter of Universal Peace to all the great sovereigns of the world, and
established it among His friends in the Orient. The horizon of the East
was in utter darkness, nations displayed the utmost hatred and enmity
towards each other, religions thirsted for each other’s blood, and it was
darkness upon darkness. At such a time His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh shone
forth like the sun from the horizon of the East and illumined Írán with
the lights of these teachings.

Among His teachings was the declaration of Universal Peace. People of
different nations, religions and sects who followed Him came together to
such an extent that remarkable gatherings were instituted consisting of
the various nations and religions of the East. Every soul who entered
these gatherings saw but one nation, one teaching, one pathway, one order,
for the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh were not limited to the
establishment of Universal Peace. They embraced many teachings which
supplemented and supported that of Universal Peace.

Among these teachings was the independent investigation of reality so that
the world of humanity may be saved from the darkness of imitation and
attain to the truth; may tear off and cast away this ragged and outgrown
garment of 1,000 years ago and may put on the robe woven in the utmost
purity and holiness in the loom of reality. As reality is one and cannot
admit of multiplicity, therefore different opinions must ultimately become
fused into one.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is the oneness of the
world of humanity; that all human beings are the sheep of God and He is
the kind Shepherd. This Shepherd is kind to all the sheep, because He
created them all, trained them, provided for them and protected them.
There is no doubt that the Shepherd is kind to all the sheep and should
there be among these sheep ignorant ones, they must be educated; if there
be children, they must be trained until they reach maturity; if there be
sick ones, they must be cured. There must be no hatred and enmity, for as
by a kind physician these ignorant, sick ones should be treated.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is, that religion must
be the cause of fellowship and love. If it becomes the cause of
estrangement then it is not needed, for religion is like a remedy; if it
aggravates the disease then it becomes unnecessary.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is, that religion must be in
conformity with science and reason, so that it may influence the hearts of
men. The foundation must be solid and must not consist of imitations.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is, that religious, racial,
political, economic and patriotic prejudices destroy the edifice of
humanity. As long as these prejudices prevail, the world of humanity will
not have rest. For a period of 6,000 years history informs us about the
world of humanity. During these 6,000 years the world of humanity has not
been free from war, strife, murder and bloodthirstiness. In every period
war has been waged in one country or another and that war was due to
either religious prejudice, racial prejudice, political prejudice or
patriotic prejudice. It has therefore been ascertained and proved that all
prejudices are destructive of the human edifice. As long as these
prejudices persist, the struggle for existence must remain dominant, and
bloodthirstiness and rapacity continue. Therefore, even as was the case in
the past, the world of humanity cannot be saved from the darkness of
nature and cannot attain illumination except through the abandonment of
prejudices and the acquisition of the morals of the Kingdom.

If this prejudice and enmity are on account of religion (consider that),
religion should be the cause of fellowship, otherwise it is fruitless. And
if this prejudice be the prejudice of nationality (consider that) all
mankind are of one nation; all have sprung from the tree of Adam, and Adam
is the root of the tree. That tree is one and all these nations are like
branches, while the individuals of humanity are like leaves, blossoms and
fruits thereof. Then the establishment of various nations and the
consequent shedding of blood and destruction of the edifice of humanity
result from human ignorance and selfish motives.

As to the patriotic prejudice, this is also due to absolute ignorance, for
the surface of the earth is one native land. Every one can live in any
spot on the terrestrial globe. Therefore all the world is man’s
birthplace. These boundaries and outlets have been devised by man. In the
creation, such boundaries and outlets were not assigned. Europe is one
continent, Asia is one continent, Africa is one continent, Australia is
one continent, but some of the souls, from personal motives and selfish
interests, have divided each one of these continents and considered a
certain part as their own country. God has set up no frontier between
France and Germany; they are continuous. Yea, in the first centuries,
selfish souls, for the promotion of their own interests, have assigned
boundaries and outlets and have, day by day, attached more importance to
these, until this led to intense enmity, bloodshed and rapacity in
subsequent centuries. In the same way this will continue indefinitely, and
if this conception of patriotism remains limited within a certain circle,
it will be the primary cause of the world’s destruction. No wise and just
person will acknowledge these imaginary distinctions. Every limited area
which we call our native country we regard as our mother-land, whereas the
terrestrial globe is the mother-land of all, and not any restricted area.
In short, for a few days we live on this earth and eventually we are
buried in it, it is our eternal tomb. Is it worth while that we should
engage in bloodshed and tear one another to pieces for this eternal tomb?
Nay, far from it, neither is God pleased with such conduct nor would any
sane man approve of it.

Consider! The blessed animals engage in no patriotic quarrels. They are in
the utmost fellowship with one another and live together in harmony. For
example, if a dove from the East and a dove from the West, a dove from the
North and a dove from the South chance to arrive, at the same time, in one
spot, they immediately associate in harmony. So is it with all the blessed
animals and birds. But ferocious animals, as soon as they meet, attack and
fight with each other, tear each other to pieces and it is impossible for
them to live peaceably together in one spot. They are all unsociable and
fierce, savage and combative fighters.

Regarding the economic prejudice, it is apparent that whenever the ties
between nations become strengthened and the exchange of commodities
accelerated, and any economic principle is established in one country, it
will ultimately affect the other countries and universal benefits will
result. Then why this prejudice?

As to the political prejudice, the policy of God must be followed and it
is indisputable that the policy of God is greater than human policy. We
must follow the Divine policy and that applies alike to all individuals.
He treats all individuals alike: no distinction is made, and that is the
foundation of the Divine Religions.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is the origination of
one language that may be spread universally among the people. This
teaching was revealed from the pen of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh in order
that this universal language may eliminate misunderstandings from among
mankind.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is the equality of
women and men. The world of humanity has two wings—one is women and the
other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly.
Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of
women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and
perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is voluntary sharing of one’s
property with others among mankind. This voluntary sharing is greater than
equality, and consists in this, that man should not prefer himself to
others, but rather should sacrifice his life and property for others. But
this should not be introduced by coercion so that it becomes a law and man
is compelled to follow it. Nay, rather, man should voluntarily and of his
own choice sacrifice his property and life for others, and spend willingly
for the poor, just as is done in Írán among the Bahá’ís.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is man’s freedom, that
through the ideal Power he should be free and emancipated from the
captivity of the world of nature; for as long as man is captive to nature
he is a ferocious animal, as the struggle for existence is one of the
exigencies of the world of nature. This matter of the struggle for
existence is the fountain-head of all calamities and is the supreme
affliction.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is that religion is a mighty
bulwark. If the edifice of religion shakes and totters, commotion and
chaos will ensue and the order of things will be utterly upset, for in the
world of mankind there are two safeguards that protect man from
wrongdoing. One is the law which punishes the criminal; but the law
prevents only the manifest crime and not the concealed sin; whereas the
ideal safeguard, namely, the religion of God, prevents both the manifest
and the concealed crime, trains man, educates morals, compels the adoption
of virtues and is the all-inclusive power which guarantees the felicity of
the world of mankind. But by religion is meant that which is ascertained
by investigation and not that which is based on mere imitation, the
foundation of Divine Religions and not human imitations.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is that although material
civilization is one of the means for the progress of the world of mankind,
yet until it becomes combined with Divine civilization, the desired
result, which is the felicity of mankind, will not be attained. Consider!
These battleships that reduce a city to ruins within the space of an hour
are the result of material civilization; likewise the Krupp guns, the
Mauser rifles, dynamite, submarines, torpedo boats, armed aircraft and
bombing aeroplanes—all these weapons of war are the malignant fruits of
material civilization. Had material civilization been combined with Divine
civilization, these fiery weapons would never have been invented. Nay,
rather, human energy would have been wholly devoted to useful inventions
and would have been concentrated on praiseworthy discoveries. Material
civilization is like a lamp-glass. Divine civilization is the lamp itself
and the glass without the light is dark. Material civilization is like the
body. No matter how infinitely graceful, elegant and beautiful it may be,
it is dead. Divine civilization is like the spirit, and the body gets its
life from the spirit, otherwise it becomes a corpse. It has thus been made
evident that the world of mankind is in need of the breaths of the Holy
Spirit. Without the spirit the world of mankind is lifeless, and without
this light the world of mankind is in utter darkness. For the world of
nature is an animal world. Until man is born again from the world of
nature, that is to say, becomes detached from the world of nature, he is
essentially an animal, and it is the teachings of God which converts this
animal into a human soul.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is the promotion of education.
Every child must be instructed in sciences as much as is necessary. If the
parents are able to provide the expenses of this education, it is all
right, otherwise the community must provide the means for the teaching of
that child.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is justice and right.
Until these are realized on the plane of existence, all things shall be in
disorder and remain imperfect. The world of mankind is a world of
oppression and cruelty, and a realm of aggression and error.

In fine, such teachings are numerous. These manifold principles, which
constitute the greatest basis for the felicity of mankind and are of the
bounties of the Merciful, must be added to the matter of Universal Peace
and combined with it, so that results may accrue. Otherwise the
realization of Universal Peace (by itself) in the world of mankind is
difficult. As the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh are combined with
Universal Peace, they are like a table provided with every kind of fresh
and delicious food. Every soul can find, at that table of infinite bounty,
that which he desires. If the question is restricted to Universal Peace
alone, the remarkable results which are expected and desired will not be
attained. The scope of Universal Peace must be such that all the
communities and religions may find their highest wish realized in it. At
present the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh are such that all the
communities of the world, whether religious, political or ethical, ancient
or modern, find in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh the expression of their
highest wish.

For example, the people of religions find, in the teaching of His Holiness
Bahá’u’lláh, the establishment of Universal Religion—a religion that
perfectly conforms with present conditions, which in reality effects the
immediate cure of the incurable disease, which relieves every pain, and
bestows the infallible antidote for every deadly poison. For if we wish to
arrange and organize the world of mankind in accordance with the present
religious imitations and thereby to establish the felicity of the world of
mankind, it is impossible and impracticable—for example, the enforcement
of the laws of the Old Testament (Torah) and also of the other religions
in accordance with present imitations. But the essential basis of all the
Divine Religions which pertains to the virtues of the world of mankind and
is the foundation of the welfare of the world of man, is found in the
teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh in the most perfect presentation.

Similarly, with regard to the peoples who clamor for freedom: the moderate
freedom which guarantees the welfare of the world of mankind and maintains
and preserves the universal relationships, is found in its fullest power
and extension in the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh.

So with regard to political parties: that which is the greatest policy
directing the world of mankind, nay, rather, the Divine policy, is found
in the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh.

Likewise with regard to the party of “equality” which seeks the solution
of the economic problems: until now all proposed solutions have proved
impracticable except the economic proposals in the teachings of His
Holiness Bahá’u’lláh which are practicable and cause no distress to
society.

So with the other parties: when ye look deeply into this matter, ye will
discover that the highest aims of those parties are found in the teachings
of Bahá’u’lláh. These teachings constitute the all-inclusive power among
all men and are practicable. But there are some teachings of the past,
such as those of the Torah, which cannot be carried out at the present
day. It is the same with the other religions and the tenets of the various
sects and the different parties.

For example, the question of Universal Peace, about which His Holiness
Bahá’u’lláh says that the Supreme Tribunal must be established: although
the League of Nations has been brought into existence, yet it is incapable
of establishing Universal Peace. But the Supreme Tribunal which His
Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has described will fulfil this sacred task with the
utmost might and power. And His plan is this: that the national assemblies
of each country and nation—that is to say parliaments—should elect two or
three persons who are the choicest men of that nation, and are well
informed concerning international laws and the relations between
governments and aware of the essential needs of the world of humanity in
this day. The number of these representatives should be in proportion to
the number of inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who
are chosen by the national assembly, that is, the parliament, must be
confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the cabinet and also by the
president or monarch so these persons may be the elected ones of all the
nation and the government. From among these people the members of the
Supreme Tribunal will be elected, and all mankind will thus have a share
therein, for every one of these delegates is fully representative of his
nation. When the Supreme Tribunal gives a ruling on any international
question, either unanimously or by majority-rule, there will no longer be
any pretext for the plaintiff or ground of objection for the defendant. In
case any of the governments or nations, in the execution of the
irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or dilatory,
the rest of the nations will rise up against it, because all the
governments and nations of the world are the supporters of this Supreme
Tribunal. Consider what a firm foundation this is! But by a limited and
restricted League the purpose will not be realized as it ought and should.
This is the truth about the situation, which has been stated.

Consider how powerful are the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh. At a
time when His Holiness was in the prison of Akká and was under the
restrictions and threats of two bloodthirsty kings, notwithstanding this
fact, His teachings spread with all power in Írán and other countries.
Should any teaching, or any principle, or any community fall under the
threat of a powerful and bloodthirsty monarch it will be annihilated
within a short space of time. At present for fifty years the Bahá’ís in
Írán and most regions have been under severe restrictions and the threat
of sword and spear. Thousands of souls have given their lives in the arena
of sacrifice and have fallen as victims under the swords of oppression and
cruelty. Thousands of esteemed families have been uprooted and destroyed.
Thousands of children have been made fatherless. Thousands of fathers have
been bereft of their sons. Thousands of mothers have wept and lamented for
their boys who have been beheaded. All this oppression and cruelty,
rapacity and blood-thirstiness did not hinder or prevent the spread of the
teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. They spread more and more every day, and their
power and might became more evident.

It may be that some foolish person among the Íránians will affix his name
to the contents of the Tablets of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh or to the
explanations given in the letters of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and send it to that
esteemed Assembly. Ye must be aware of this fact, for any Íránian who
seeks fame or has some other intention will take the entire contents of
the Tablets of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh and publish them in his own name
or in that of his community, just as happened at the Universal Races
Congress in London before the war. An Íránian took the substance of the
Epistles of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, entered that Congress, gave them
forth in his own name and published them, whereas the wording was exactly
that of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh. Some such souls have gone to Europe and
have caused confusion in the minds of the people of Europe and have
disturbed the thoughts of some Orientalists. Ye must bear this fact in
mind, for not a word of these teachings was heard in Írán before the
appearance of Bahá’u’lláh. Investigate this matter so that it may become
to you evident and manifest. Some souls are like parrots. They learn any
note which they may hear, and sing it, but they themselves are unaware of
what they utter. There is a sect in Írán at present made up of a few souls
who are called Bábís, who claim to be followers of His Holiness the Báb,
whereas they are utterly unaware of His Holiness. They have some secret
teachings which are entirely opposed to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and
in Írán people know this. But when these souls come to Europe, they
conceal their own teachings and utter those of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh,
for they know that the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh are powerful
and they therefore declare publicly those teachings of Bahá’u’lláh in
their own name. As to their secret teachings, they say that they are taken
from the Book of Bayán, and the Book of Bayán is from His Holiness the
Báb. When ye get hold of the translation of the Book of Bayán, which has
been translated in Írán, ye will discover the truth that the teachings of
Bahá’u’lláh are utterly opposed to the teachings of this sect. Beware lest
ye disregard this fact. Should ye desire to investigate the matter
further, inquire from Írán.

In fine, when traveling and journeying throughout the world, wherever one
finds construction, it is the result of fellowship and love, while
everything that is in ruin shows the effect of enmity and hatred.
Notwithstanding this, the world of humanity has not become aware and has
not awakened from the sleep of heedlessness. Again it engages in
differences, in disputes and wrangling, that it may set up ranks of war
and may run to and fro in the arena of battle and strife.

So it is with regard to the universe and its corruption, existence and
non-existence. Every contingent being is made up of different and numerous
elements and the existence of everything is a result of composition. That
is to say, when between simple elements a composition takes place a being
arises; the creation of beings comes about in this way. And when that
composition is upset, it is followed by decomposition, the elements
disintegrate, and that being becomes annihilated. That is to say, the
annihilation of everything consists in the decomposition and the
separation of elements. Therefore, every composition among the elements is
the cause of life, while dissociation and separation are the cause of
death. In short, attraction and harmony of things are the cause of the
production of fruits and useful results, while repulsion and inharmony of
things are the cause of disturbance and annihilation. From harmony and
attraction, all living contingent beings, such as plant, animal and man,
are realized, and from inharmony and repulsion decay sets in and
annihilation becomes manifest. Therefore whatever is the cause of harmony,
attraction and union among men is the life of the world of humanity, and
whatever is the cause of difference, of repulsion and of separation is the
cause of the death of mankind. And when you pass by a garden wherein
vegetable beds and plants, flowers and fragrant herbs are all combined so
as to form a harmonious whole, this is an evidence that this plantation
and this rose garden have been cultivated and arranged by the care of a
perfect gardener, while when you see a garden in disorder, lacking
arrangement and confused, this indicates that it has been deprived of the
care of a skillful gardener, nay, rather, it is nothing but a mass of
weeds. It has therefore been made evident that fellowship and harmony are
indicative of the training by the real Educator, while separation and
dispersion prove wildness and deprivation of Divine training.

Should any one object that, since the communities and nations and races
and peoples of the world have different formalities, customs, tastes,
temperaments, morals, varied thoughts, minds and opinions, it is therefore
impossible for ideal unity to be made manifest and complete union among
men to be realized, we say that differences are of two kinds: One leads to
destruction, and that is like the difference between warring peoples and
competing nations who destroy one another, uproot each other’s families,
do away with rest and comfort and engage in bloodshed and rapacity. That
is blameworthy. But the other difference consists in variation. This is
perfection itself and the cause of the appearance of Divine bounty.
Consider the flowers of the rose garden. Although they are of different
kinds, various colors and diverse forms and appearances, yet as they drink
from one water, are swayed by one breeze and grow by the warmth and light
of one sun, this variation and this difference cause each to enhance the
beauty and splendor of the others. The differences in manners, in customs,
in habits, in thoughts, opinions and in temperaments is the cause of the
adornment of the world of mankind. This is praiseworthy. Likewise this
difference and this variation, like the difference and variation of the
parts and members of the human body, are the cause of the appearance of
beauty and perfection. As these different parts and members are under the
control of the dominant spirit, and the spirit permeates all the organs
and members, and rules all the arteries and veins, this difference and
this variation strengthen love and harmony and this multiplicity is the
greatest aid to unity. If in a garden the flowers and fragrant herbs, the
blossoms and fruits, the leaves, branches and trees are of one kind, of
one form, of one color and of one arrangement, there is no beauty or
sweetness, but when there is variety, each will contribute to the beauty
and charm of the others and will make an admirable garden, and will appear
in the utmost loveliness, freshness and sweetness. Likewise, when
difference and variety of thoughts, forms, opinions, characters and morals
of the world of mankind come under the control of one Supreme Power and
the influence of the Word of the One True God, they will appear and be
displayed in the most perfect glory, beauty, exaltation and perfection.
Today nothing but the power of the Word of God which encompasses the
realities of things can bring the thoughts, the minds, the hearts and the
spirits under the shade of one Tree. He is the potent in all things, the
vivifier of souls, the preserver and the controller of the world of
mankind. Praise be to God, in this day the light of the Word of God has
shone forth upon all regions, and from all sects, communities, nations,
tribes, peoples, religions and denominations, souls have gathered under
the shadow of the Word of Oneness and have in the most intimate fellowship
united and harmonized!



CHAPTER SEVEN: SOUL, MIND AND SPIRIT



THE ORIGIN OF MAN


Know that it is one of the most abstruse spiritual truths that the world
of existence, that is to say this endless universe, has no beginning.

We have already explained that the names and attributes of the Divinity
themselves require the existence of beings. Although this subject has been
explained in detail, we will speak of it again briefly. Know that an
educator without pupils cannot be imagined, a monarch without subjects
could not exist, a master without scholars cannot be appointed, a creator
without a creature is impossible, a provider without those provided for
cannot be conceived; for all the divine names and attributes demand the
existence of beings. If we could imagine a time when no beings existed,
this imagination would be the denial of the Divinity of God. Moreover,
absolute non-existence cannot become existence. If the beings were
absolutely non-existent, existence would not have come into being.
Therefore, as the Essence of Unity, that is the existence of God, is
everlasting and eternal—that is to say, it has neither beginning nor
end—it is certain that this world of existence, this endless universe, has
neither beginning nor end. Yes, it may be that one of the parts of the
universe, one of the globes, for example, may come into existence, or may
be disintegrated, but the other endless globes are still existing; the
universe would not be disordered nor destroyed; on the contrary, existence
is eternal and perpetual. As each globe has a beginning, necessarily it
has an end, because every composition, collective or particular, must of
necessity be decomposed; the only difference is that some are quickly
decomposed, and others more slowly, but it is impossible that a composed
thing should not eventually be decomposed.

It is necessary, therefore, that we should know what each of the important
existences was in the beginning—for there is no doubt that in the
beginning the origin was one: the origin of all numbers is one and not
two. Then it is evident that in the beginning matter was one, and that one
matter appeared in different aspects in each element; thus various forms
were produced, and these various aspects as they were produced became
permanent, and each element was specialized. But this permanence was not
definite, and did not attain realization and perfect existence until after
a very long time. Then these elements became composed, and organized and
combined in infinite forms; or rather from the composition and combination
of these elements innumerable beings appeared.

This composition and arrangement through the wisdom of God and His
pre-existent might, were produced from one natural organization, which was
composed and combined with the greatest strength, conformably to wisdom,
and according to a universal law. From this it is evident that it is the
creation of God, and is not a fortuitous composition and arrangement. This
is why from every natural composition a being can come into existence, but
from an accidental composition no being can come into existence. For
example, if a man of his own mind and intelligence collects some elements
and combines them, a living being will not be brought into existence,
since the system is unnatural. This is the answer to the implied question,
that, since beings are made by the composition and the combination of
elements, why is it not possible for us to gather elements and mingle them
together, and so create a living being. This is a false supposition, for
the origin of this composition is from God; it is God who makes the
combination, and as it is done according to the natural system, from each
composition one being is produced, and an existence is realized. A
composition made by man produces nothing, because man cannot create.

Briefly, we have said that from the composition and combination of
elements, from their decomposition, from their measure, and from the
effect of other beings upon them, resulted forms, endless realities, and
innumerable beings. But it is clear that this terrestrial globe in its
present form did not come into existence all at once; but that this
universal existence gradually passed through different phases until it
became adorned with its present perfection. Universal beings resemble and
can be compared to particular beings, for both are subjected to one
natural system, one universal law and divine organization. So you will
find the smallest atoms in the universal system are similar to the
greatest beings of the universe. It is clear that they come into existence
from one laboratory of might under one natural system, and one universal
law; therefore they may be compared to one another. Thus the embryo of man
in the womb of the mother gradually grows and develops, and appears in
different forms and conditions, until in the degree of perfect beauty it
reaches maturity, and appears in a perfect form with the utmost grace. And
in the same way, the seed of this flower which you see was in the
beginning an insignificant thing, and very small; and it grew and
developed in the womb of the earth, and after appearing in various forms,
came forth in this condition with perfect freshness and grace. In the same
manner it is evident that this terrestrial globe having once found
existence, grew and developed in the matrix of the universe, and came
forth in different forms and conditions, until gradually it attained this
present perfection, and became adorned with innumerable beings, and
appeared as a finished organization.

Then it is clear that original matter, which is in the embryonic state,
and the mingled and composed elements which were its earliest forms,
gradually grew and developed during many ages and cycles, passing from one
shape and form to another, until they appeared in this perfection, this
system, this organization and this establishment, through the supreme
wisdom of God.

Let us return to our subject that man, in the beginning of his existence
and in the womb of the earth, like the embryo in the womb of the mother,
gradually grew and developed, and passed from one form to another, from
one shape to another, until he appeared with this beauty and perfection,
this force and this power. It is certain that in the beginning he had not
this loveliness and grace and elegance, and that he only by degrees
attained this shape, this form, this beauty, and this grace. There is no
doubt that the human embryo did not at once appear in this form, neither
did it then become the manifestation of the words: “Praise be unto God,
the best of Creators.” Gradually, it passed through various conditions and
different shapes, until it attained this form and beauty, this perfection;
grace, and loveliness. Thus it is evident and confirmed that the
development and growth of man on this earth, until he reached his present
perfection, resembled the growth and development of the embryo in the womb
of the mother: by degrees it passed from condition to condition, from form
to form, from one shape to another, for this is according to the
requirement of the universal system and divine law.

That is to say, the embryo passes through different states and traverses
numerous degrees, until it reaches the form in which it manifests the
words: “Praise be to God, the best of Creators,” and until the signs of
reason and maturity appear. And in the same way, man’s existence on this
earth, from the beginning until it reaches this state, form, and
condition, necessarily lasts a long time, and goes through many degrees
until it reaches this condition. But from the beginning of man’s existence
he is a distinct species. In the same way, the embryo of man in the womb
of the mother was at first in a strange form; then this body passes from
shape to shape, from state to state, from form to form, until it appears
in utmost beauty and perfection. But even when in the womb of the mother
and in this strange form, entirely different from his present form and
figure, he is the embryo of the superior species, and not of the animal;
his species and essence undergo no change. Now, admitting that the traces
of organs which have disappeared actually exist, this is not a proof of
the impermanence and the non-originality of the species. At the most it
proves that the form, and fashion, and the organs of man have progressed.
Man was always a distinct species, a man, not an animal. So, if the embryo
of man in the womb of the mother passes from one form to another, so that
the second form in no way resembles the first, is this a proof that the
species has changed? that it was at first an animal, and that its organs
progressed and developed until it became a man? No indeed! How puerile and
unfounded is this idea and this thought! For the proof of the originality
of the human species, and of the permanency of the nature of man, is clear
and evident.



MODIFICATION OF SPECIES


We have now come to the question of the modification of species and of
organic development: that is to say, to the point of inquiring whether
man’s descent is from the animal.

This theory has found credence in the minds of some European philosophers,
and it is now very difficult to make its falseness understood, but in the
future it will become evident and clear, and the European philosophers
will themselves realize its untruth. For verily it is an evident error.
When man looks at the beings with a penetrating regard, and attentively
examines the condition of existences, and when he sees the state, the
organization, and the perfection of the world, he will be convinced that
in the possible world there is nothing more wonderful than that which
already exists. For all existing beings, terrestrial and celestial, as
well as this limitless space and all that is in it, have been created and
organized, composed, arranged, and perfected as they ought to be; the
universe has no imperfection; so that if all beings became pure
intelligence and reflected for ever and ever, it is impossible that they
could imagine anything better than that which exists.

If, however, the creation in the past had not been adorned with utmost
perfection, then existence would have been imperfect and meaningless, and
in this case creation would have been incomplete. This question needs to
be considered with the greatest attention and thought. For example,
imagine that the world of possibility—that is, the world of
existence—resembles in a general way the body of man. If this composition,
organization, perfection, beauty, and completeness which now exist in the
human body were different, it would be absolute imperfection. Now, if we
imagine a time when man belonged to the animal world, or when he was
merely an animal, we shall find that existence would have been imperfect;
that is to say, there would have been no man, and this chief member, which
in the body of the world is like the brain and mind in man, would have
been missing. The world would then have been quite imperfect. It is thus
proved that if there had been a time when man was in the animal kingdom,
the perfection of existence would have been destroyed; for man is the
greatest member of this world, and if the body was without this chief
member, surely it would be imperfect. We consider man as the greatest
member because, among the creatures, he is the sum of all existing
perfections. When we speak of man, we mean the perfect one, the foremost
individual in the world, who is the sum of spiritual and apparent
perfections, and who is like the sun among the beings. Then imagine that
at one time the sun did not exist, but that it was a planet—surely at such
a time the relations of existence would be disordered. How can such a
thing be imagined? To a man who examines the world of existence, what we
have said is sufficient.

There is another more subtle proof: all these endless beings which inhabit
the world, whether man, animal, vegetable, mineral—whatever they may
be—are surely, each one of them, composed of elements. There is no doubt
that this perfection which is in all beings, is caused by the creation of
God from the composing elements, by their appropriate mingling and
proportionate quantities, the mode of their composition, and the influence
of other beings. For all beings are connected together like a chain, and
reciprocal help, assistance, and influence belonging to the properties of
things, are the causes of the existence, development, and growth of
created beings. It is confirmed through evidences and proofs that every
being universally acts upon other beings, either absolutely or through
association. Finally, the perfection of each individual being, that is to
say the perfection which you now see in man or apart from him, with regard
to their atoms, members, or powers, is due to the composition of the
elements, to their measure, to their balance, to the mode of their
combination, and to mutual influence. When all these are gathered
together, then man exists.

As the perfection of man is entirely due to the composition of the atoms
of the elements, to their measure, to the method of their combination, and
to the mutual influence and action of the different beings—then, since man
was produced ten or a hundred thousand years ago from these earthly
elements with the same measure and balance, the same method of combination
and mingling, and the same influence of the other beings, exactly the same
man existed then as now. This is evident and not worth debating. A
thousand million years hence, if these elements of man are gathered
together and arranged in this special proportion, and if the elements are
combined according to the same method, and if they are affected by the
same influence of other beings, exactly the same man will exist. For
example, if after a hundred thousand years there is oil, fire, a wick, a
lamp, and the lighter of the lamp—briefly, if there are all the
necessaries which now exist, exactly the same lamp will be obtained.

These are conclusive and evident facts. But the arguments which these
European philosophers have used raise doubtful proofs and are not
conclusive.



THE KINGDOM OF MAN


Know that people belong to two categories, that is to say, they constitute
two parties. One party deny the spirit, and say that man also is a species
of animal; for they say, do we not see that animals and men share the same
powers and senses? These simple single elements which fill space are
endlessly combined, and from each of these combinations one of the beings
is produced. Among these beings is the possessor of spirit, of the powers
and of the senses. The more perfect the combination, the nobler is the
being. The combination of the elements in the body of man is more perfect
than the composition of any other being; it is mingled in absolute
equilibrium, therefore it is more noble and more perfect. “It is not,”
they say, “that he has a special power and spirit which the other animals
lack: animals possess sensitive bodies, but man in some powers has more
sensation—although, in what concerns the outer senses, such as hearing,
sight, taste, smell, touch, and even in some interior powers like memory,
the animal is more richly endowed than man.” “The animal, too,” they say,
“has intelligence and perception”: all that they concede is that man’s
intelligence is greater.

This is what the philosophers of the present state; this is their saying,
this is their supposition, and thus their imagination decrees. So with
powerful arguments and proofs, they make the descent of man go back to the
animal, and say that there was once a time when man was an animal; that
then the species changed, and progressed little by little until it reached
the present status of man.

But the theologians say: No, this is not so. Though man has powers and
outer senses in common with the animal, yet an extraordinary power exists
in him of which the animal is bereft. The sciences, arts, inventions,
trades, and discoveries of realities, are the results of this spiritual
power. This is a power which encompasses all things, comprehends their
realities, discovers all the hidden mysteries of beings, and through this
knowledge controls them: it even perceives things which do not exist
outwardly; that is to say, intellectual realities which are not sensible,
and which have no outward existence, because they are invisible; so it
comprehends the mind, the spirit, the qualities, the characters, the love
and sorrow of man, which are intellectual realities. Moreover, these
existing sciences, arts, laws, and endless inventions of man at one time
were invisible, mysterious, and hidden secrets; it is only the
all-encompassing human power which has discovered and brought them out
from the plane of the invisible to the plane of the visible. So
telegraphy, photography, phonography, and all such inventions and
wonderful arts, were at one time hidden mysteries: the human reality
discovered and brought them out from the plane of the invisible to the
plane of the visible. There was even a time when the qualities of this
iron which you see—indeed of all the metals—were hidden mysteries; men
discovered this metal, and wrought it in this industrial form. It is the
same with all the other discoveries and inventions of man, which are
innumerable.

This we cannot deny. If we say that these are effects of powers which
animals also have, and of the powers of the bodily senses, we see clearly
and evidently that the animals are, in regard to these powers, superior to
man. For example, the sight of animals is much more keen than the sight of
man; so also is their power of smell and taste. Briefly, in the powers
which animals and men have in common, the animal is often the more
powerful. For example, let us take the power of memory: if you carry a
pigeon from here to a distant country, and there set it free, it will
return, for it remembers the way. Take a dog from here to the center of
Asia, set him free, and he will come back here and never once lose the
road. So it is with the other powers such as hearing, sight, smell, taste,
and touch.

Thus it is clear that if there were not in man a power different from any
of those of the animals, the latter would be superior to man in inventions
and the comprehension of realities. Therefore it is evident that man has a
gift which the animal does not possess. Now, the animal perceives sensible
things, but does not perceive intellectual realities. For example, that
which is within the range of its vision the animal sees, but that which is
beyond the range of sight it is not possible for it to perceive, and it
cannot imagine it. So it is not possible for the animal to understand that
the earth has the form of a globe. But man from known things proves
unknown things, and discovers unknown truths. For example, man sees the
curve of the horizon, and from this he infers the roundness of the earth.
The Pole Star at Akká, for instance, is at 33x, that is to say, it is 33x
above the horizon. When a man goes towards the North Pole, the Pole Star
rises one degree above the horizon for each degree of distance that he
travels, that is to say, the altitude of the Pole Star will be 34x, then
40x, then 50x, then 60x, then 70x. If he reaches the North Pole the
altitude of the Pole Star will be 90x or have attained the zenith, that is
to say, will be directly overhead. This Pole Star and its ascension are
sensible things. The farther one goes towards the Pole, the higher the
Pole Star rises; from these two known truths an unknown thing has been
discovered, that is, that the horizon is curved: meaning that the horizon
of each degree of the earth is a different horizon from that of another
degree. Man perceives this, and proves from it an invisible thing which is
the roundness of the earth. This it is impossible for the animal to
perceive. In the same way it cannot understand that the sun is the center
and that the earth revolves around it. The animal is the captive of the
senses and bound by them; all that is beyond the senses, the things that
they do not control, the animal can never understand; although in the
outer senses it is greater than man. Hence it is proved and verified that
in man there is a power of discovery by which he is distinguished from the
animals, and this is the spirit of man.

Praise be to God! man is always turned towards the heights, and his
aspiration is lofty; he always desires to reach a greater world than the
world in which he is, and to mount to a higher sphere than that in which
he is. The love of exaltation is one of the characteristics of man. I am
astonished that certain philosophers of America and Europe are content to
gradually approach the animal world, and so to go backwards; for the
tendency of existence must be towards exaltation. Nevertheless, if you
said to one of them, You are an animal—he would be extremely hurt and
angry.

What a difference between the human world and the world of the animal;
between the elevation of man and the abasement of the animal; between the
perfection of man and the ignorance of the animal; between the light of
man and the darkness of the animal; between the glory of man and the
degradation of the animal! An Arab child of ten years can manage two or
three hundred camels in the desert, and with his voice can lead them
forward or turn them back. A weak Hindu can so control a huge elephant,
that the elephant becomes the most obedient of servants. All things are
subdued by the hand of man; he can resist nature, while all other
creatures are captives of nature, none can depart from her requirements.
Man alone can resist nature. Nature attracts bodies to the center of the
earth; man through mechanical means goes far from it, and soars in the
air. Nature prevents man from crossing the seas, man builds a ship, and he
travels and voyages across the great ocean, and so on; the subject is
endless. For example, man drives engines over the mountains and through
the wildernesses, and gathers in one spot the news of the events of the
East and West. All this is contrary to nature. The sea with its grandeur
cannot deviate by an atom from the laws of nature; the sun in all its
magnificence cannot deviate as much as a needle’s point from the laws of
nature, and can never comprehend the conditions, the state, the qualities,
the movements, and the nature of man.

What, then, is the power in this small body of man which encompasses all
this? What is this ruling power by which he subdues all things?

One more point remains: modern philosophers say: “We have never seen the
spirit in man, and in spite of our researches into the secrets of the
human body, we do not perceive a spiritual power. How can we imagine a
power which is not sensible?” The theologians reply: “The spirit of the
animal also is not sensible, and through its bodily powers it cannot be
perceived. By what do you prove the existence of the spirit of the animal?
There is no doubt that from its effects you prove that in the animal there
is a power which is not in the plant, and this is the power of the senses;
that is to say, sight, hearing, and also other powers; from these you
infer that there is an animal spirit. In the same way, from the proofs and
signs we have mentioned, we argue that there is a human spirit. Since in
the animal there are signs which are not in the plant, you say this power
of sensation is a property of the animal spirit; you also see in man
signs, powers, and perfections which do not exist in the animal; therefore
you infer that there is a power in him which the animal is without.”

If we wish to deny everything that is not sensible, then we must deny the
realities which unquestionably exist. For example, ethereal matter is not
sensible, though it has an undoubted existence. The power of attraction is
not sensible, though it certainly exists. From what do we affirm these
existences? From their signs. Thus this light is the vibration of that
ethereal matter, and from this vibration we infer the existence of ether.



MAN AND EVOLUTION


Certain European philosophers agree that the species grows and develops,
and that even change and alteration are also possible. One of the proofs
that they give for this theory is that through the attentive study and
verification of the science of geology it has become clear that the
existence of the vegetable preceded that of the animal, and that of the
animal preceded that of man. They admit that both the vegetable and the
animal species have changed, for in some of the strata of the earth they
have discovered plants which existed in the past and are now extinct; they
have progressed, grown in strength, their form and appearance have
changed, and so the species have altered. In the same way, in the strata
of the earth there are some species of animals which have changed and are
transformed. One of these animals is the serpent. There are indications
that the serpent once had feet; but through the lapse of time those
members have disappeared. In the same way, in the vertebral column of man
there is an indication which amounts to a proof that, like other animals,
he once had a tail. At one time that member was useful, but when man
developed it was no longer of use, and therefore it gradually disappeared.
As the serpent took refuge under the ground, and became a creeping animal,
it was no longer in need of feet, so they disappeared; but their traces
survive. The principal argument is this: that the existence of traces of
members proves that they once existed; and as now they are no longer of
service, they have gradually disappeared. Therefore while the perfect and
necessary members have remained, those which are unnecessary have
gradually disappeared by the modification of the species, but the traces
of them continue.

The first answer to this argument is the fact that the animal having
preceded man is not a proof of the evolution, change, and alteration of
the species, nor that man was raised from the animal world to the human
world. For while the individual appearance of these different beings is
certain, it is possible that man came into existence after the animal. So
when we examine the vegetable kingdom, we see that the fruits of the
different trees do not arrive at maturity at one time; on the contrary,
some come first and others afterwards. This priority does not prove that
the later fruit of one tree was produced from the earlier fruit of another
tree.

Secondly, these slight signs and traces of members have perhaps a great
reason of which the mind is not yet cognizant. How many things exist of
which we do not yet know the reason! So the science of physiology, that is
to say the knowledge of the composition of the members, records that the
reason and cause of the difference in the colors of animals, and of the
hair of men, of the redness of the lips, and of the variety of the colors
of birds, is still unknown; it is secret and hidden. But it is known that
the pupil of the eye is black, so as to attract the rays of the sun; for
if it were another color, that is, uniformly white, it would not attract
the rays of the sun. Therefore, as the reason of the things we have
mentioned is unknown, it is possible that the reason and the wisdom of
these traces of members, whether they be in the animal or man, are equally
unknown. Certainly there is a reason, even though it is not known.

Thirdly, let us suppose that there was a time when some animals, or even
man, possessed some members which have now disappeared; this is not a
sufficient proof of the change and evolution of the species. For man, from
the beginning of the embryonic period till he reaches the degree of
maturity, goes through different forms and appearances. His aspect, his
form, his appearance, and color change; he passes from one form to
another, and from one appearance to another. Nevertheless, from the
beginning of the embryonic period he is of the species of man; that is to
say, an embryo of a man, and not of an animal; but this is not at first
apparent, but later it becomes visible and evident. For example, let us
suppose that man once resembled the animal, and that now he has progressed
and changed; supposing this to be true, it is still not a proof of the
change of species; no, as before mentioned, it is merely like the change
and alteration of the embryo of man until it reaches the degree of reason
and perfection. We will state it more clearly: let us suppose that there
was a time when man walked on his hands and feet, or had a tail; this
change and alteration is like that of the fœtus in the womb of the mother;
although it changes in all ways, and grows and develops until it reaches
the perfect form, from the beginning it is a special species. We also see
in the vegetable kingdom that the original species of the genus do not
change and alter, but the form, color, and bulk will change and alter, or
even progress.

To recapitulate: as man in the womb of the mother passes from form to
form, from shape to shape, changes and develops, and is still the human
species from the beginning of the embryonic period—in the same way man,
from the beginning of his existence in the matrix of the world, is also a
distinct species, that is, man, and has gradually evolved from one form to
another. Therefore this change of appearance, this evolution of members,
this development and growth, even though we admit the reality of growth
and progress, does not prevent the species from being original. Man from
the beginning was in this perfect form and composition, and possessed
capacity and aptitude for acquiring material and spiritual perfections,
and was the manifestation of these words, “We will make man in Our image
and likeness.” He has only become more pleasing, more beautiful, and more
graceful. Civilization has brought him out of his wild state, just as the
wild fruits which are cultivated by a gardener became finer, sweeter, and
acquire more freshness and delicacy.

The gardeners of the world of humanity are the Prophets of God.



SPIRITUAL NATURE OF MAN


We have many times demonstrated and established that man is the noblest of
beings, the sum of all perfections, and that all beings and all existences
are the centers from which the glory of God is reflected, that is to say,
the signs of the Divinity of God are apparent in the realities of things
and of creatures. Just as the terrestrial globe is the place where the
rays of the sun are reflected—as its light, its heat, and its influence
are apparent and visible in all the atoms of the earth—so, in the same
way, the atoms of beings, in this infinite space, proclaim and prove one
of the divine perfections. Nothing is deprived of this benefit; it is
either a sign of the mercy of God or it is a sign of His power, His
greatness, His justice, His lordship which imparts education; or it is a
sign of the generosity of God, His vision, His hearing, His knowledge, His
grace, and so on.

Without doubt each being is the center of the shining forth of the glory
of God: that is to say, the perfections of God appear from it and are
resplendent in it. It is like the sun, which is resplendent in the desert,
upon the sea, in the trees, in the fruits and blossoms, and in all earthly
things. The world, indeed each existing being, proclaims to us one of the
names of God, but the reality of man is the collective reality, the
general reality, and is the center where the glory of all the perfections
of God shine forth. That is to say, for each name, each attribute, each
perfection which we affirm of God, there exists a sign in man; if it were
otherwise, man could not imagine these perfections, and could not
understand them. So we say that God is the seer, and the eye is the sign
of His vision; if this sight were not in man, how could we imagine the
vision of God? for the blind, that is one born blind, cannot imagine
sight; and the deaf, that is one deaf from birth, cannot imagine hearing;
and the dead cannot realize life. Consequently the Divinity of God, which
is the sum of all perfections, reflects itself in the reality of man; that
is to say, the Essence of Oneness is the gathering of all perfections, and
from this unity He casts a reflection upon the human reality. Man then is
the perfect mirror facing the Sun of Truth, and is the center of
radiation: the Sun of Truth shines in this mirror. The reflection of the
divine perfections appears in the reality of man, so he is the
representative of God, the messenger of God. If man did not exist, the
universe would be without result, for the object of existence is the
appearance of the perfections of God.

Therefore it cannot be said there was a time when man was not. All that we
can say is that this terrestrial globe at one time did not exist, and at
its beginning man did not appear upon it. But from the beginning which has
no beginning, to the end which has no end, a perfect manifestation always
exists. This man of whom we speak is not every man; we mean the perfect
man. For the noblest part of the tree is the fruit, which is the reason of
its existence; if the tree had no fruit, it would have no meaning.
Therefore it cannot be imagined that the worlds of existence, whether the
stars or this earth, were once inhabited by the donkey, cow, mouse, and
cat, and that they were without man! This supposition is false and
meaningless. The word of God is clear as the sun. This is a spiritual
proof, but one which we cannot at the beginning put forth for the benefit
of the materialists; first we must speak of the logical proofs, afterwards
the spiritual proofs.



MAN’S INNATE POWERS


The beginning of the existence of man on the terrestrial globe resembles
his formation in the womb of the mother. The embryo in the womb of the
mother gradually grows and develops until birth, after which it continues
to grow and develop until it reaches the age of discretion and maturity.
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.

So also the formation of man in the matrix of the world was in the
beginning like the embryo; then gradually he made progress in perfection,
and grew and developed until he reached the state of maturity, when the
mind and spirit became visible in the greatest power. In the beginning of
his formation the mind and spirit also existed, but they were hidden;
later they were manifested. In the womb of the world mind and spirit also
existed in the embryo, but they were concealed; afterwards they appeared.
So it is that in the seed the tree exists, but it is hidden and concealed;
when it develops and grows, the complete tree appears. In the same way the
growth and development of all beings is gradual; this is the universal
divine organization, and the natural system. The seed does not at once
become a tree, the embryo does not at once become a man, the mineral does
not suddenly become a stone. No, they grow and develop gradually, and
attain the limit of perfection.

All beings, whether large or small, were created perfect and complete from
the first, but their perfections appear in them by degrees. The
organization of God is one: the evolution of existence is one: the divine
system is one. Whether they be small or great beings, all are subject to
one law and system. Each seed has in it from the first all the vegetable
perfections. For example, in the seed all the vegetable perfections exist
from the beginning, but not visibly; afterwards little by little they
appear. So it is first the shoot which appears from the seed, then the
branches, leaves, blossoms, and fruits; but from the beginning of its
existence all these things are in the seed, potentially, though not
apparently.

In the same way, the embryo possesses from the first all perfections, such
as the spirit, the mind, the sight, the smell, the taste—in one word, all
the powers—but they are not visible, and become so only by degrees.

Similarly, the terrestrial globe from the beginning was created with all
its elements, substances, minerals, atoms, and organisms; but these only
appeared by degrees: first the mineral, then the plant, afterward the
animal, and finally man. But from the first these kinds and species
existed, but were undeveloped in the terrestrial globe, and then appeared
only gradually. For the supreme organization of God, and the universal
natural system, surrounds all beings, and all are subject to this rule.
When you consider this universal system, you see that there is not one of
the beings, which at its coming into existence has reached the limit of
perfection. No, they gradually grow and develop, and then attain the
degree of perfection.



THE SPIRIT IN THE BODY


The wisdom of the appearance of the spirit in the body is this: the human
spirit is a Divine Trust, and it must traverse all conditions; for its
passage and movement through the conditions of existence will be the means
of its acquiring perfections. So, when a man travels and passes through
different regions and numerous countries with system and method, it is
certainly a means of his acquiring perfection; for he will see places,
scenes, and countries, from which he will discover the conditions and
states of other nations. He will thus become acquainted with the geography
of countries, and their wonders and arts; he will familiarize himself with
the habits, customs, and usages of peoples; he will see the civilization
and progress of the epoch; he will become aware of the policy of
governments, and the power and capacity of each country. It is the same
when the human spirit passes through the conditions of existence: it will
become the possessor of each degree and station. Even in the condition of
the body it will surely acquire perfections.

Besides this, it is necessary that the signs of the perfection of the
spirit should be apparent in this world, so that the world of creation may
bring forth endless results, and this body may receive life and manifest
the divine bounties. So, for example, the rays of the sun must shine upon
the earth, and the solar heat develop the earthly beings; if the rays and
heat of the sun did not shine upon the earth, the earth would be
uninhabited, without meaning, and its development would be retarded. In
the same way, if the perfections of the spirit did not appear in this
world, this world would be unenlightened and absolutely brutal. By the
appearance of the spirit in the physical form, this world is enlightened.
As the spirit of man is the cause of the life of the body, so the world is
in the condition of the body, and man is in the condition of the spirit.
If there were no man, the perfections of the spirit would not appear, and
the light of the mind would not be resplendent in this world. This world
would be like a body without a soul.

This world is also in the condition of a fruit-tree, and man is like the
fruit; without fruit the tree would be useless.

Moreover, these members, these elements, this composition, which are found
in the organism of man, are an attraction and magnet for the spirit; it is
certain that the spirit will appear in it. So, a mirror which is clear
will certainly attract the rays of the sun. It will become luminous, and
wonderful images will appear in it. That is to say, when these existing
elements are gathered together according to the natural order, and with
perfect strength, they become a magnet for the spirit, and the spirit will
become manifest in them with all its perfections.

Under these conditions it cannot be said “what is the necessity for the
rays of the sun to descend upon the mirror?”—for the connection which
exists between the reality of things, whether they be spiritual or
material, requires that when the mirror is clear and faces the sun, the
light of the sun must become apparent in it. In the same way, when the
elements are arranged and combined in the most glorious system,
organization and manner, the human spirit will appear and be manifest in
them. This is the decree of the Powerful, the Wise.



MAN’S RELATION TO GOD


The connection between God and the creatures is that of the creator to the
creation; it is like the connection between the sun and the dark bodies of
contingent beings, and is the connection between the maker and the things
that he has made. The sun in its own essence is independent of the bodies
which it lights; for its light is in itself, and is free and independent
of the terrestrial globe; so the earth is under the influence of the sun
and receives its light, whereas the sun and its rays are entirely
independent of the earth. But if there were no sun, the earth and all
earthly beings could not exist.

The dependence through the creatures upon God is a dependence of
emanation: that is to say, creatures emanate from God, they do not
manifest Him. The relation is that of emanation and not that of
manifestation. The light of the sun emanates from the sun, it does not
manifest it. The appearance through emanation is like the appearance of
the rays from the luminary of the horizons of the world: that is to say,
the holy essence of the Sun of Truth is not divided, and does not descend
to the condition of the creatures. In the same way, the globe of the sun
does not become divided and does not descend to the earth: no, the rays of
the sun, which are its bounty, emanate from it, and illumine the dark
bodies.

But the appearance through manifestation is the manifestation of the
branches, leaves, blossoms and fruit from the seed; for the seed in its
own essence becomes branches and fruits, and its reality enters into the
branches, the leaves, and fruits. This appearance through manifestation
would be for God the Most High, simple imperfection, and this is quite
impossible; for the implication would be that the Absolute Pre-existent is
qualified with phenomenal attributes; but if this were so, pure
independence would become mere poverty, and true existence would become
non-existence, and this is impossible.

Therefore all creatures emanate from God; that is to say, it is by God
that all things are realized, and by Him that all beings have attained to
existence. The first thing which emanated from God is that universal
reality, which the ancient philosophers termed the “First Mind,” and which
the people of Bahá call the “First Will.” This emanation, in that which
concerns its action in the world of God, is not limited by time or place;
it is without beginning or end; beginning and end in relation to God are
one. The pre-existence of God is the pre-existence of essence, and also
pre-existence of time, and the phenomenality of contingency is essential
and not temporal....

Though the “First Mind” is without beginning, it does not become a sharer
in the pre-existence of God, for the existence of the universal reality in
relation to the existence of God is nothingness, and it has not the power
to become an associate of God and like unto Him in pre-existence. This
subject has been before explained.

The existence of living things signifies composition, and their death
decomposition. But universal matter and the elements do not become
absolutely annihilated and destroyed: no, their non-existence is simply
transformation. For instance, when man is annihilated he becomes dust, but
he does not become absolutely non-existent; he still exists in the shape
of dust; but transformation has taken place, and this composition is
accidentally decomposed. The annihilation of the other beings is the same,
for existence does not become absolute non-existence, and absolute
non-existence does not become existence.



SOUL, MIND AND SPIRIT


It has been before explained that spirit is universally divided into five
categories: the vegetable spirit, the animal spirit, the human spirit, the
spirit of faith, and the Holy Spirit.

The vegetable spirit is the power of growth which is brought about in the
seed through the influence of other existences.

The animal spirit is the power of all the senses, which is realized from
the composition and mingling of elements; when this composition
decomposes, the power also perishes and becomes annihilated. It may be
likened to this lamp: when the oil, wick, and fire are combined it is
lighted, and when this combination is dissolved, that is to say, when the
combined parts are separated from one another, the lamp also is
extinguished.

The human spirit which distinguishes man from the animal is the rational
soul; and these two names—the human spirit and the rational soul—designate
one thing. This spirit, which in the terminology of the philosophers is
the rational soul, embraces all beings, and as far as human ability
permits discovers the realities of things and becomes cognizant of their
peculiarities and effects, and of the qualities and properties of beings.
But the human spirit, unless assisted by the spirit of faith, does not
become acquainted with the divine secrets and the heavenly realities. It
is like a mirror which, although clear, polished, and brilliant, is still
in need of light. Until a ray of the sun reflects upon it, it cannot
discover the heavenly secrets.

But the mind is the power of the human spirit. Spirit is the lamp; mind is
the light which shines from the lamp. Spirit is the tree, and the mind is
the fruit. Mind is the perfection of the spirit, and is its essential
quality, as the sun’s rays are the essential necessity of the sun.



FIVE PHYSICAL AND FIVE SPIRITUAL POWERS


In man five outer powers exist, which are the agents of perception, that
is to say, through these five powers man perceives material beings. These
are sight, which perceives visible forms; hearing, which perceives audible
sounds; smell, which perceives odors; taste, which perceives foods; and
feeling, which is in all parts of the body, and perceives tangible things.
These five powers perceive outward existences.

Man has also spiritual powers: imagination, which conceives things;
thought, which reflects upon realities; comprehension, which comprehends
realities, memory, which retains whatever man imagines, thinks, and
comprehends. The intermediary between the five outward powers and the
inward powers, is the sense which they possess in common, that is to say,
the sense which acts between the outer and inner powers, conveys to the
inward powers whatever the outer powers discern. It is termed the common
faculty, because it communicates between the outward and inward powers,
and thus is common to the outward and inward powers.

For instance, sight is one of the outer powers; it sees and perceives this
flower, and conveys this perception to the inner power—the common
faculty—which transmits this perception to the power of imagination, which
in its turn conceives and forms this image and transmits it to the power
of thought; the power of thought reflects, and having grasped the reality,
conveys it to the power of comprehension; the comprehension, when it has
comprehended it, delivers the image of the object perceived to the memory,
and the memory keeps it in its repository.

The outward powers are five: the power of sight, of hearing, of taste, of
smell, and of feeling.

The inner powers are also five: the common faculty, and the powers of
imagination, thought, comprehension, and memory.



INNATE, INHERITED AND ACQUIRED CHARACTER


With regard to the innate character, although the divine creation is
purely good, yet the varieties of natural qualities in man come from the
difference of degree; all are excellent, but they are more or less so,
according to the degree. So all mankind possess intelligence and
capacities, but the intelligence, the capacity, and the worthiness of men
differ. This is evident.

For example, take a number of children of one family, of one place, of one
school, instructed by one teacher, reared on the same food, in the same
climate, with the same clothing, and studying the same lessons—it is
certain that among these children some will be clever in the sciences,
some will be of average ability, and some dull. Hence it is clear that in
the original nature there exists a difference of degree, and varieties of
worthiness and capacity. This difference does not imply good or evil, but
is simply a difference of degree. One has the highest degree, another the
medium degree, and another the lowest degree. So man exists, the animal,
the plant, and the mineral exist also—but the degrees of these four
existences vary. What a difference between the existence of man and of the
animal! Yet both are existences. It is evident that in existence there are
differences of degrees.

The variety of inherited qualities comes from strength and weakness of
constitution; that is to say, when the two parents are weak, the children
will be weak; if they are strong, the children will be robust. In the same
way, purity of blood has a great effect; for the pure germ is like the
superior stock which exists in plants and animals. For example, you see
that children born from a weak and feeble father and mother will naturally
have a feeble constitution and weak nerves; they will be afflicted, and
will have neither patience, nor endurance, nor resolution, nor
perseverance, and will be hasty; for the children inherit the weakness and
debility of their parents.

Besides this, an especial blessing is conferred on some families and some
generations. Thus it is an especial blessing that from among the
descendants of Abraham should have come all the Prophets of the children
of Israel. This is a blessing that God has granted to this descent: to
Moses from His father and mother, to Christ from His mother’s line; also
to Muḥammad and the Báb, and to all the Prophets and the Holy
Manifestations of Israel.

Hence it is evident that inherited character also exists, and to such a
degree that if the characters are not in conformity with their origin,
although they belong physically to that lineage, spiritually they are not
considered members of the family; like Canaan, who is not reckoned as
being of the race of Noah.

But the difference of the qualities with regard to culture is very great;
for education has great influence. Through education the ignorant become
learned, the cowardly become valiant; through cultivation the crooked
branch becomes straight, the acid, bitter fruit of the mountains and woods
becomes sweet and delicious, and the five-petalled flower becomes
hundred-petalled. Through education savage nations become civilized, and
even the animals become domesticated. Education must be considered as most
important; for as diseases in the world of bodies are extremely
contagious, so, in the same way, qualities of spirit and heart are
extremely contagious. Education has a universal influence and the
differences caused by it are very great.

Perhaps some one will say, that since the capacity and worthiness of men
differ, therefore the difference of capacity certainly causes the
difference of characters.

But this is not so; for capacity is of two kinds, natural capacity and
acquired capacity. The first, which is the creation of God, is purely
good—in the creation of God there is no evil; but the acquired capacity
has become the cause of the appearance of evil. For example, God has
created all men in such a manner, and has given them such a constitution
and such capacities, that they are benefited by sugar and honey, and
harmed and destroyed by poison. This nature and constitution is innate,
and God has given it equally to all mankind. But man begins little by
little to accustom himself to poison, by taking a small quantity each day,
and gradually increasing it, until he reaches such a point that he cannot
live without a gram of opium every day. The natural capacities are thus
completely perverted. Observe how much the natural capacity and
constitution can be changed, until by different habits and training they
become entirely perverted. One does not criticize vicious people because
of their innate capacities and nature, but rather for their acquired
capacities and nature.

In creation there is no evil; all is good. Certain qualities and natures
innate in some men and apparently blameworthy are not so in reality. For
example, from the beginning of his life you can see in a nursing child the
signs of desire, of anger, and of temper. Then, it may be said, good and
evil are innate in the reality of man, and this is contrary to the pure
goodness of nature and creation. The answer to this is that desire, which
is to ask for something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it
is used suitably. So, if a man has the desire to acquire science and
knowledge, or to become compassionate, generous, and just, it is most
praiseworthy. If he exercises his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty
tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he
does not use these qualities in a right way, they are blameworthy.

Then it is evident that in creation and nature evil does not exist at all;
but when the natural qualities of man are used in an unlawful way, they
are blameworthy. So, if a rich and generous person gives a sum of money to
a poor man for his own necessities, and if the poor man spends that sum of
money on unlawful things, that will be blameworthy. It is the same with
all the natural qualities of man, which constitute the capital of life; if
they be used and displayed in an unlawful way, they become blameworthy.
Therefore it is clear that creation is purely good. Consider that the
worst of qualities and most odious of attributes, which is the foundation
of all evil, is lying. No worse or more blameworthy quality than this can
be imagined to exist; it is the destroyer of all human perfections, and
the cause of innumerable vices. There is no worse characteristic than
this; it is the foundation of all evils. Notwithstanding all this, if a
doctor consoles a sick man by saying: “Thank God you are better, and there
is hope of your recovery,” though these words are contrary to the truth,
yet they may become the consolation of the patient and the turning-point
of the illness. This is not blameworthy.



MAN’S KNOWLEDGE OF GOD


Know that there are two kinds of knowledge: the knowledge of the essence
of a thing, and the knowledge of its qualities. The essence of a thing is
known through its qualities, otherwise it is unknown and hidden.

As our knowledge of things, even of created and limited things, is
knowledge of their qualities and not of their essence, how is it possible
to comprehend in its essence the Divine Reality, which is unlimited? For
the substance of the essence of anything is not comprehended, but only its
qualities. For example, the substance of the sun is unknown, but is
understood by its qualities, which are heat and light. The substance of
the essence of man is unknown and not evident, but by its qualities it is
characterized and known. Thus everything is known by its qualities and not
by its essence. Although the mind encompasses all things, and the outward
beings are comprehended by it, nevertheless these beings with regard to
their essence are unknown; they are only known with regard to their
qualities.

Then how can the eternal everlasting Lord, who is held sanctified from
comprehension and conception, be known by His essence? That is to say, as
things can only be known by their qualities and not by their essence, it
is certain that the Divine Reality is unknown with regard to its essence,
and is known with regard to its attributes. Besides, how can the
phenomenal reality embrace the Pre-existent Reality? For comprehension is
the result of encompassing—embracing must be, so that comprehension may
be—and the Essence of Unity surrounds all, and is not surrounded.

Also the difference of condition in the world of beings is an obstacle to
comprehension. For example: this mineral belongs to the mineral kingdom;
however far it may rise, it can never comprehend the power of growth. The
plants, the trees, whatever progress they may make, cannot conceive of the
power of sight or the powers of the other senses; and the animal cannot
imagine the condition of man, that is to say, his spiritual powers.
Difference of condition is an obstacle to knowledge; the inferior degree
cannot comprehend the superior degree. How then can the phenomenal reality
comprehend the Pre-existent Reality? Knowing God, therefore, means the
comprehension and the knowledge of His attributes, and not of His Reality.
This knowledge of the attributes is also proportioned to the capacity and
power of man; it is not absolute. Philosophy consists in comprehending the
reality of things as they exist, according to the capacity and the power
of man. For the phenomenal reality can comprehend the Pre-existent
attributes only to the extent of the human capacity. The mystery of
Divinity is sanctified and purified from the comprehension of the beings,
for all that comes to the imagination is that which man understands, and
the power of the understanding of man does not embrace the Reality of the
Divine Essence. All that man is able to understand are the attributes of
Divinity, the radiance of which appears and is visible in worlds and
souls.

When we look at the worlds and the souls, we see wonderful signs of the
divine perfections, which are clear and apparent; for the reality of
things proves the Universal Reality. The Reality of Divinity may be
compared to the sun, which from the height of its magnificence shines upon
all the horizons and each horizon, and each soul, receives a share of its
radiance. If this light and these rays did not exist, beings would not
exist; all beings express something, and partake of some ray and portion
of this light. The splendors of the perfections, bounties, and attributes
of God shine forth and radiate from the reality of the Perfect Man, that
is to say, the Unique One, the universal Manifestation of God. Other
beings receive only one ray, but the universal Manifestation is the mirror
for this Sun, which appears and becomes manifest in it, with all its
perfections, attributes, signs, and wonders.

The knowledge of the Reality of the Divinity is impossible and
unattainable, but the knowledge of the Manifestations of God is the
knowledge of God, for the bounties, splendors, and divine attributes are
apparent in them. Therefore if man attains to the knowledge of the
Manifestations of God, he will attain to the knowledge of God; and if he
be neglectful of the knowledge of the Holy Manifestation, he will be
bereft of the knowledge of God. It is then ascertained and proved that the
Holy Manifestations are the center of the bounty, signs, and perfections
of God. Blessed are those who receive the light of the divine bounties
from the enlightened Dawning-points!

We hope that the friends of God, like an attractive force, will draw these
bounties from the source itself, and that they will arise with such
illumination and signs that they will be evident proofs of the Sun of
Reality.



THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SPIRIT


The immortality of the spirit is mentioned in the Holy Books; it is the
fundamental basis of the divine religions. Now punishments and rewards are
said to be of two kinds. Firstly, the rewards and punishments of this
life; secondly, those of the other world. But the paradise and hell of
existence are found in all the worlds of God, whether in this world or in
the spiritual heavenly worlds. Gaining these rewards is the gaining of
eternal life. That is why Christ said, “Act in such a way that you may
find eternal life, and that you may be born of water and the spirit, so
that you may enter into the Kingdom.”

The rewards of this life are the virtues and perfections which adorn the
reality of man. For example, he was dark and becomes luminous, he was
ignorant and becomes wise, he was neglectful and becomes vigilant, he was
asleep and becomes awakened, he was dead and becomes living, he was blind
and becomes a seer, he was deaf and becomes a hearer, he was earthly and
becomes heavenly, he was material and becomes spiritual. Through these
rewards he gains spiritual birth, and becomes a new creature. He becomes
the manifestation of the verse in the Gospel where it is said of the
disciples that they were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man, but of God; that is to say, they were delivered
from the animal characteristics and qualities which are the
characteristics of human nature, and they became qualified with the divine
characteristics, which are the bounty of God; this is the meaning of the
second birth. For such people there is no greater torture than being
veiled from God, and no more severe punishment than sensual vices, dark
qualities, lowness of nature, engrossment in carnal desires. When they are
delivered through the light of faith from the darkness of these vices, and
become illuminated with the radiance of the Sun of Reality, and ennobled
with all the virtues, they esteem this the greatest reward, and they know
it to be the true paradise. In the same way they consider that the
spiritual punishment, that is to say the torture and punishment of
existence, is to be subjected to the world of nature, to be veiled from
God, to be brutal and ignorant, to fall into carnal lusts, to be absorbed
in animal frailties; to be characterized with dark qualities, such as
falsehood, tyranny, cruelty, attachment to the affairs of the world, and
being immersed in satanic ideas; for them, these are the greatest
punishments and tortures.

Likewise the rewards of the other world are the eternal life which is
clearly mentioned in all the Holy Books, the divine perfections, the
eternal bounties, and everlasting felicity. The rewards of the other world
are the perfections and the peace obtained in the spiritual worlds after
leaving this world; whilst the rewards of this life are the real luminous
perfections which are realized in this world, and which are the cause of
eternal life, for they are the very progress of existence. It is like the
man who passes from the embryonic world to the state of maturity, and
becomes the manifestation of these words: “Blessed be God, the best of
creators.” The rewards of the other world are peace, the spiritual graces,
the various spiritual gifts in the Kingdom of God, the gaining of the
desires of the heart and the soul, and the meeting of God in the world of
eternity. In the same way the punishments of the other world, that is to
say, the torments of the other world, consist in being deprived of the
special divine blessings and the absolute bounties, and falling into the
lowest degrees of existence. He who is deprived of these divine favors,
although he continues after death, is considered as dead by the people of
truth.

The logical proof of the immortality of the spirit is this, that no sign
can come from a non-existing thing; that is to say, it is impossible that
from absolute non-existence signs should appear, for the signs are the
consequence of an existence, and the consequence depends upon the
existence of the principle. So, from a non-existing sun no light can
radiate, from a non-existing sea no waves appear, from a non-existing
cloud no rain falls; a non-existing tree yields no fruit; a non-existing
man neither manifests nor produces anything. Therefore as long as signs of
existence appear, they are a proof that the possessor of the sign is
existent.

Consider that today the Kingdom of Christ exists: from a non-existing king
how could such a great kingdom be manifested? How, from a non-existing
sea, can the waves mount so high? From a non-existing garden, how can such
fragrant breezes be wafted? Reflect that no effect, no trace, no influence
remains of any being after its members are dispersed and its elements are
decomposed, whether it be a mineral, a vegetable, or an animal. There is
only the human reality and the spirit of man which, after the
disintegration of the members, dispersing of the particles, and the
destruction of the composition, persists, and continues to act and to have
power.

This question is extremely subtle: consider it attentively. This is a
rational proof which we are giving, so that the wise may weigh it in the
balance of reason and justice. But if the human spirit will rejoice and be
attracted to the Kingdom of God, if the inner sight becomes opened, and
the spiritual hearing strengthened, and the spiritual feelings
predominant, he will see the immortality of the spirit as clearly as he
sees the sun, and the glad tidings and signs of God will encompass him.

Know that the power and the comprehension of the human spirit are of two
kinds: that is to say, they perceive and act in two different modes. One
way is through instruments and organs: thus with this eye it sees, with
this ear it hears, with this tongue it talks. Such is the action of the
spirit, and the perception of the reality of man, by means of organs. That
is to say, that the spirit is the seer, through the eyes; the spirit is
the hearer, through the ear; the spirit is the speaker, through the
tongue.

The other manifestation of the powers and actions of the spirit is without
instruments and organs. For example, in the state of sleep without eyes it
sees, without an ear it hears, without a tongue it speaks, without feet it
runs. Briefly, these actions are beyond the means of instruments and
organs. How often it happens that it sees a dream in the world of sleep,
and its signification becomes apparent two years afterwards in
corresponding events. In the same way, how many times it happens that a
question which one cannot solve in the world of wakefulness, is solved in
the world of dreams. In wakefulness the eye sees only for a short
distance, but in dreams he who is in the East sees the West: awake he sees
the present, in sleep he sees the future. In wakefulness, by means of
rapid transit, at the most he can travel only twenty farsakha an hour; in
sleep, in the twinkling of an eye, he traverses the East and West. For the
spirit travels in two different ways: without means, which is spiritual
traveling; and with means, which is material traveling: as birds which
fly, and those which are carried.

In the time of sleep this body is as though dead; it does not see nor
hear, it does not feel, it has no consciousness, no perception: that is to
say, the powers of man have become inactive, but the spirit lives and
subsists. Nay, its penetration is increased, its flight is higher, and its
intelligence is greater. To consider that after the death of the body the
spirit perishes, is like imagining that a bird in a cage will be destroyed
if the cage is broken, though the bird has nothing to fear from the
destruction of the cage. Our body is like the cage, and the spirit is like
the bird. We see that without the cage this bird flies in the world of
sleep; therefore if the cage becomes broken, the bird will continue and
exist: its feelings will be even more powerful, its perceptions greater,
and its happiness increased. In truth, from hell it reaches a paradise of
delights, because for the thankful birds there is no paradise greater than
freedom from the cage. That is why with utmost joy and happiness the
martyrs hasten to the plain of sacrifice.

In wakefulness the eye of man sees at the utmost as far as one hour of
distance, because through the instrumentality of the body the power of the
spirit is thus determined; but with the inner sight and the mental eye it
sees America, and it can perceive that which is there, and discover the
conditions of things and organize affairs. If, then, the spirit were the
same as the body, it would be necessary that the power of the inner sight
should also be in the same proportion. Therefore it is evident that this
spirit is different from the body, and that the bird is different from the
cage, and that the power and penetration of the spirit is stronger without
the intermediary of the body. Now, if the instrument is abandoned, the
possessor of the instrument continues to act. For example, if the pen is
abandoned or broken, the writer remains living and present; if a house is
ruined, the owner is alive and existing. This is one of the logical
evidences for the immortality of the soul.

There is another: this body becomes weak, or heavy, or sick, or it finds
health; it becomes tired or rested; sometimes the hand or leg is
amputated, or its physical power is crippled; it becomes blind or deaf or
dumb; its limbs may become paralyzed; briefly, the body may have all the
imperfections. Nevertheless, the spirit in its original state, in its own
spiritual perception, will be eternal and perpetual; it neither finds any
imperfection nor will it become crippled. But when the body is wholly
subjected to disease and misfortune, it is deprived of the bounty of the
spirit; like a mirror which, when it becomes broken, or dirty, or dusty,
cannot reflect the rays of the sun, nor any longer show its bounties.

We have already explained that the spirit of man is not in the body,
because it is freed and sanctified from entrance and exit, which are
bodily conditions. The connection of the spirit with the body is like that
of the sun with the mirror. Briefly, the human spirit is in one condition;
it neither becomes ill from the diseases of the body, nor cured by its
health; it does not become sick, nor weak, nor miserable, nor poor, nor
light, nor small. That is to say, it will not be injured because of the
infirmities of the body, and no effect will be visible even if the body
becomes weak or if the hands and feet and tongue be cut off, or if it
loses the power of hearing or sight. Therefore it is evident and certain
that the spirit is different from the body, and that its duration is
independent of that of the body; on the contrary, the spirit with the
utmost greatness rules in the world of the body, and its power and
influence, like the bounty of the sun in the mirror, are apparent and
visible. But when the mirror becomes dusty or breaks, it will cease to
reflect the rays of the sun.



PERFECTION IS ENDLESS


Know that the conditions of existence are limited to the conditions of
servitude, of prophethood, and of Deity, but the divine and the contingent
perfections are unlimited. When you reflect deeply, you discover that also
outwardly the perfections of existence are also unlimited, for you cannot
find a being so perfect that you cannot imagine a superior one. For
example, you cannot see a ruby in the mineral kingdom, a rose in the
vegetable kingdom, or a nightingale in the animal kingdom, without
imagining that there might be better specimens. As the divine bounties are
endless, so human perfections are endless. If it were possible to reach a
limit of perfection, then one of the realities of the beings might reach
the condition of being independent of God, and the contingent might attain
to the condition of the absolute. But for every being there is a point
which it cannot overpass; that is to say, he who is in the condition of
servitude, however far he may progress in gaining limitless perfections,
will never reach the condition of Deity. It is the same with the other
beings: a mineral, however far it may progress in the mineral kingdom,
cannot gain the vegetable power; also in a flower, however far it may
progress in the vegetable kingdom, no power of the senses will appear. So
this silver mineral cannot gain hearing or sight; it can only improve in
its own condition, and become a perfect mineral, but it cannot acquire the
power of growth, or the power of sensation, or attain to life; it can only
progress in its own condition.

For example, Peter cannot become Christ. All that he can do is, in the
condition of servitude, to attain endless perfections; for every existing
reality is capable of making progress. As the spirit of man after putting
off this material form has an everlasting life, certainly any existing
being is capable of making progress; therefore it is permitted to ask for
advancement, forgiveness, mercy, beneficence, and blessings for a man
after his death, because existence is capable of progression. That is why
in the prayers of Bahá’u’lláh forgiveness and remission of sins are asked
for those who have died. Moreover, as people in this world are in need of
God, they will also need Him in the other world. The creatures are always
in need, and God is absolutely independent, whether in this world or in
the world to come.

The wealth of the other world is nearness to God. Consequently it is
certain that those who are near the Divine Court are allowed to intercede,
and this intercession is approved by God. But intercession in the other
world is not like intercession in this world: it is another thing, another
reality, which cannot be expressed in words.

If a wealthy man at the time of his death bequeaths a gift to the poor and
miserable, and gives a part of his wealth to be spent for them, perhaps
this action may be the cause of his pardon and forgiveness, and of his
progress in the Divine Kingdom.

Also a father and mother endure the greatest troubles and hardships for
their children; and often when the children have reached the age of
maturity, the parents pass on to the other world. Rarely does it happen
that a father and mother in this world see the reward of the care and
trouble they have undergone for their children. Therefore children, in
return for this care and trouble, must show forth charity and beneficence,
and must implore pardon and forgiveness for their parents. So you ought,
in return for the love and kindness shown you by your father, to give to
the poor for his sake, with greatest submission and humility implore
pardon and remission of sins, and ask for the supreme mercy.

It is even possible that the condition of those who have died in sin and
unbelief may become changed; that is to say, they may become the object of
pardon through the bounty of God, not through His justice; for bounty is
giving without desert, and justice is giving what is deserved. As we have
power to pray for these souls here, so likewise we shall possess the same
power in the other world, which is the Kingdom of God. Are not all the
people in that world the creatures of God? Therefore in that world also
they can make progress. As here they can receive light by their
supplication, there also they can plead for forgiveness, and receive light
through entreaties and supplications. Thus as souls in this world, through
the help of the supplications, the entreaties, and the prayers of the holy
ones, can acquire development, so is it the same after death. Through
their own prayers and supplications they can also progress; more
especially when they are the object of the intercession of the Holy
Manifestations.



THE EVOLUTION OF MAN IN THE OTHER WORLD


Know that nothing which exists remains in a state of repose, that is to
say, all things are in motion. Everything is either growing or declining,
all things are either coming from non-existence into being, or going from
existence into non-existence. So this flower, this hyacinth, during a
certain period of time was coming from the world of non-existence into
being, and now it is going from being into non-existence. This state of
motion is said to be essential—that is, natural; it cannot be separated
from beings because it is their essential requirement, as it is the
essential requirement of fire to burn.

Thus it is established that this movement is necessary to existence, which
is either growing or declining. Now, as the spirit continues to exist
after death, it necessarily progresses or declines: and in the other
world, to cease to progress is the same as to decline; but it never leaves
its own condition, in which it continues to develop. For example, the
reality of the spirit of Peter, however far it may progress, will not
reach to the condition of the Reality of Christ; it progresses only in its
own environment.

Look at this mineral: however far it may evolve, it only evolves in its
own condition; you cannot bring the crystal to a state where it can attain
to sight: this is impossible. So the moon which is in the heavens, however
far it might evolve, could never become a luminous sun; but in its own
condition it has apogee and perigee. However far the disciples might
progress, they could never become Christ. It is true that coal could
become a diamond, but both are in the mineral condition and their
component elements are the same.



PROGRESS AFTER DEATH


When we consider beings with the seeing eye, we observe that they are
limited to three sorts: that is to say, as a whole, they are either
mineral, vegetable, or animal; each of these three classes containing
species. Man is the highest species because he is the possessor of the
perfections of all the classes; that is, he has a body which grows and
which feels. As well as having the perfections of the mineral, of the
vegetable, and of the animal, he also possesses an especial excellence
which the other beings are without; that is, the intellectual perfections.
Therefore man is the most noble of beings.

Man is in the highest degree of materiality, and at the beginning of
spirituality; that is to say, he is the end of imperfection and the
beginning of perfection. He is at the last degree of darkness, and at the
beginning of light; that is why it has been said that the condition of man
is the end of the night and the beginning of day, meaning that he is the
sum of all the degrees of imperfection, and that he possesses the degrees
of perfection. He has the animal side as well as the angelic side; and the
aim of an educator is to so train human souls, that their angelic aspect
may overcome their animal side. Then, if the divine power in man which is
his essential perfection, overcomes the satanic power, which is absolute
imperfection, he becomes the most excellent among the creatures; but if
the satanic power overcomes the divine power, he becomes the lowest of the
creatures. That is why he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of
perfection. Not in any other of the species in the world of existence is
there such a difference, contrast, contradiction, and opposition, as in
the species of man. Thus the reflection of the Divine Light was in man, as
in Christ, and see how loved and honored He is! At the same time we see
man worshipping a stone, a clod of earth, or a tree: how vile he is, in
that his object of worship should be the lowest existence—that is a stone,
or clay, without spirit; a mountain, a forest, or a tree. What shame is
greater for man than to worship the lowest existence? In the same way,
knowledge is a quality of man, and so is ignorance; truthfulness is a
quality of man, so is falsehood; trustworthiness and treachery, justice
and injustice, are qualities of man, and so forth. Briefly, all the
perfections and virtues, and all the vices, are qualities of man.

Consider equally the differences between individual men. The Christ was in
the form of man, and Caiaphas was in the form of man; Moses and Pharaoh,
Abel and Cain, Bahá’u’lláh and Yaḥyá, were men.

Man is said to be the greatest representative of God, and he is the Book
of Creation because all the mysteries of beings exist in him. If he comes
under the shadow of the True Educator and is rightly trained, he becomes
the essence of essences, the light of lights, the spirit of spirits; he
becomes the center of the divine appearances, the source of spiritual
qualities, the rising-place of heavenly lights, and the receptacle of
divine inspirations. If he is deprived of this education he becomes the
manifestation of satanic qualities, the sum of animal vices, and the
source of all dark conditions.

The reason of the mission of the Prophets is to educate men; so that this
piece of coal may become a diamond, and this fruitless tree may be
engrafted, and yield the sweetest, most delicious fruits. When man reaches
the noblest state in the world of humanity, then he can make further
progress in the conditions of perfection, but not in state; for such
states are limited, but the divine perfections are endless.

Both before and after putting off this material form, there is progress in
perfection, but not in state. So beings are consummated in perfect man.
There is no other being higher than a perfect man. But man when he has
reached this state can still make progress in perfections but not in
state, because there is no state higher than that of a perfect man to
which he can transfer himself. He only progresses in the state of
humanity, for the human perfections are infinite. Thus, however learned a
man may be, we can imagine one more learned.

Hence, as the perfections of humanity are endless, man can also make
progress in perfections after leaving this world.



TABLET ON PURITY


Cleanliness and sanctity in all conditions are characteristics of pure
beings and necessities of free souls. The first perfection consists in
cleanliness and sanctity and in purity from every defect. When man in all
conditions is pure and immaculate, he will become the center of the
reflection of the manifest Light. In all his actions and conduct there
must first be purity, then beauty and independence. The channel must be
cleansed before it is filled with sweet water. The pure eye comprehendeth
the sight and the meeting of God; the pure nostril inhaleth the perfumes
of the rose-garden of bounty; the pure heart becometh the mirror of the
beauty of truth. This is why, in the heavenly Books, the divine counsels
and commands have been compared to water. So, in the Qur’án it is said,
“and we have caused a pure water to descend from heaven;” and in the
Gospel, “Except a man hath received the baptism of water and of the
spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” Then it is evident that
the divine teachings are the heavenly grace and the showers of the mercy
of God, which purify the hearts of men.

The meaning is, in all conditions, cleanliness and sanctity, purity and
delicacy exalt humanity and make the contingent beings progress. Even when
applied to physical things, delicacy causeth the attainment of
spirituality, as it is established in the Holy Scriptures.

External cleanliness, although it is but a physical thing, hath a great
influence upon spirituality. For example, although sound is but the
vibrations of the air which affect the tympanum of the ear, and vibrations
of the air are but an accident among the accidents which depend upon the
air, consider how much marvelous notes or a charming song influence the
spirits! A wonderful song giveth wings to the spirit and filleth the heart
with exaltation. To return to the subject, the fact of having a pure and
spotless body likewise exerciseth an influence upon the spirit of man.

Now, see how much purity is approved in the Court of God, that it should
be especially mentioned in the Holy Books of the Prophets. So the Holy
Books forbid the eating of any unclean thing, or the use of anything which
is not pure. Certain prohibitions are absolute and imperative for all: he
who commits that which is forbidden is detested by God and excluded from
the number of the elect. This applieth to the things forbidden by an
absolute prohibition and of which the perpetration is a grave sin; they
are so vile that even to mention them is shameful. There are other
forbidden things which do not cause an immediate evil and of which the
pernicious effect is only gradually produced. They are also abhorred,
blamed and rejected by God, but their prohibition is not recorded in an
absolute way, although cleanliness and sanctity, spotlessness and purity,
the preservation of health and independence are required by these
interdictions.

One of these last prohibitions is the smoking of tobacco, which is
unclean, malodorous, disagreeable and vulgar and of which the gradual
harmfulness is universally recognized. All clever physicians have judged,
and have also shown by experiment, that one of the constituents of tobacco
is a mortal poison and that smokers are exposed to different
indispositions and maladies. That is why cleanly people have a marked
aversion for its use.

His supreme Highness the Báb—may my soul be His sacrifice! —in the
beginning of His Cause, openly forbade it and all the friends abandoned
its use. But, as it was a time for caution and he who abstained from
smoking was ill treated, persecuted and even killed, therefore the friends
were obliged, as a matter of prudence, to smoke. Later, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
was revealed and as the prohibition of tobacco was not clearly stated in
it, the friends did not renounce it. But the Blessed Perfection had always
a marked aversion for its use. At the beginning of the Cause, for certain
reasons, He smoked a little, but later He abandoned it completely, and the
holy souls who obeyed Him in all circumstances, also entirely gave up
smoking. I wish to say that, in the sight of God, the smoking of tobacco
is a thing which is blamed and condemned, very unclean, and of which the
result is by degrees injurious. Besides it is a cause of expense and of
loss of time and it is a harmful habit. So, for those who are firm in the
Covenant, it is a thing reprobated by the reason and by tradition, the
renouncement of which giveth gradual repose and tranquility, permitteth
one to have stainless hands and a clean mouth, and hair which is not
pervaded by a bad odor.

Without any doubt, the friends of God on receiving this epistle will
renounce this injurious habit by all means, even if it be necessary to do
so by degrees. This is my hope.

As to the question of opium, disgusting and execrated, I resign myself to
God for its punishment. The formal text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas forbids and
reproves it and, according to reason, its use leads to madness. Experience
hath shown that he who giveth himself up to it is completely excluded from
the world of humanity. Let us take refuge in God against the perpetration
of so shameful a thing, which is the destruction of the foundations of
humanity and which causeth a perpetual unhappiness. It taketh possession
of the soul of man, killeth the reason, weakeneth the intelligence, maketh
a living man dead and extinguisheth the natural heat. It is impossible to
imagine anything more pernicious. Happy is he who never mentioneth the
word opium! But what is the fate of those who make use of it!

O friends of God! Force and violence, constraint and oppression are
condemned in this divine cycle, but to prevent the use of opium, all means
must be employed, so that the human species may be delivered and freed
from this great calamity. Otherwise, alas! for all the negligent before
God.

O Lord! Give to the people of Bahá cleanliness and holiness in all
conditions, purify and free them from all defilement, deliver them from
the use of all that is execrated, liberate them from the chains of habits,
so that they may be pure and free, clean and spotless, that they may be
worthy servants of the Sacred Threshold and may deserve to enter into
relation with God. Deliver them from alcohol and tobacco, and save them
from opium, the purveyor of madness! Make them companions of the holy
breezes, in order that they may know the pleasures of the wine of the love
of God, and that they may attain to the joy and the happiness of
attraction to the Kingdom of Abhá!

Hast Thou not said, “All that thou hast in thy cellar will not appease the
thirst of my love—bring me, O cup-bearer of the wine of the spirit, a cup
full as the sea!”

O friends of God! Experience hath shown how much the renouncing of
tobacco, wine and opium, giveth health, strength and intellectual
enjoyments, penetration of judgment and physical vigor. There exists today
a tribe which refrains and abstains from tobacco, alcohol and opium and it
completely excels all others in power, in bravery, in health, beauty and
grace. A single one of these men can withstand ten men of other tribes,
and this hath been universally proved; that is to say, generally, the
individuals of this tribe are superior to the individuals of the other
tribes.

Therefore strive that the greatest cleanliness and sanctity, which is the
great desire of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, should be resplendent among the Bahá’ís, and
that the companions of God should surpass the rest of mankind in all
conditions and perfections; that they may be physically and morally
superior to others; that through cleanliness and purity, refinement and
health, they may be the chief of wise men, and that by their
affranchisement, their prudence, and the control of their desires, they
may be the princes of the pure, the free and the wise.



GOD AND THE UNIVERSE


...By materialists, whose belief with regard to Divinity hath been
explained, is not meant philosophers in general, but rather that group of
materialists of narrow vision that worship that which is sensed, that
depend upon the five senses only, and whose criterion of knowledge is
limited to that which can be perceived by the senses. All that can be
sensed is to them real, whilst whatever falleth not under the power of the
senses is either unreal or doubtful. The existence of the Deity they
regard as wholly doubtful.

It is as thou hast written, not philosophers in general but narrow-minded
materialists that are meant. As to deistic philosophers, such as Socrates,
Plato and Aristotle, they are indeed worthy of esteem and of the highest
praise, for they have rendered distinguished services to mankind. In like
manner we regard the materialistic, accomplished, moderate philosophers,
that have been of service (to mankind).

We regard knowledge and wisdom as the foundation of the progress of
mankind, and extol philosophers that are endowed with broad vision. Peruse
carefully the San Francisco University Journal that the truth may be
revealed to thee.

Now concerning mental faculties, they are in truth of the inherent
properties of the soul, even as the radiation of light is the essential
property of the sun. The rays of the sun are renewed but the sun itself is
ever the same and unchanged. Consider how the human intellect develops and
weakens, and may at times come to naught, whereas the soul changeth not.
For the mind to manifest itself, the human body must be whole; and a sound
mind cannot be but in a sound body, whereas the soul dependeth not upon
the body. It is through the power of the soul that the mind comprehendeth,
imagineth and exerteth its influence, whilst the soul is a power that is
free. The mind comprehendeth the abstract by the aid of the concrete, but
the soul hath limitless manifestations of its own. The mind is
circumscribed, the soul limitless. It is by the aid of such senses as
those of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, that the mind
comprehendeth, whereas, the soul is free from all agencies. The soul as
thou observest, whether it be in sleep or waking, is in motion and ever
active. Possibly it may, whilst in a dream, unravel an intricate problem,
incapable of solution in the waking state. The mind, moreover,
understandeth not whilst the senses have ceased to function, and in the
embryonic stage and in early infancy the reasoning power is totally
absent, whereas the soul is ever endowed with full strength. In short, the
proofs are many that go to show that despite the loss of reason, the power
of the soul would still continue to exist. The spirit however possesseth
various grades and stations.

As to the existence of spirit in the mineral: it is indubitable that
minerals are endowed with a spirit and life according to the requirements
of that stage. This unknown secret, too, hath become known unto the
materialists who now maintain that all beings are endowed with life, even
as He saith in the Qur’án, “All things are living.”

In the vegetable world, too, there is the power of growth, and that power
of growth is the spirit. In the animal world there is the sense of
feeling, but in the human world there is an all-embracing power. In all
the preceding stages the power of reason is absent, but the soul existeth
and revealeth itself. The sense of feeling understandeth not the soul,
whereas the reasoning power of the mind proveth the existence thereof.

In like manner the mind proveth the existence of an unseen Reality that
embraceth all beings, and that existeth and revealeth itself in all
stages, the essence whereof is beyond the grasp of the mind. Thus the
mineral world understandeth neither the nature nor the perfections of the
vegetable world; the vegetable world understandeth not the nature of the
animal world, neither the animal world the nature of the reality of man
that discovereth and embraceth all things.

The animal is the captive of nature and cannot transgress the rules and
laws thereof. In man, however, there is a discovering power that
transcendeth the world of nature and controlleth and interfereth with the
laws thereof. For instance, all minerals, plants and animals are captives
of nature. The sun itself with all its majesty is so subservient to nature
that it hath no will of its own and cannot deviate a hair’s-breadth from
the laws thereof. In like manner all other beings, whether of the mineral,
the vegetable or the animal world, cannot deviate from the laws of nature,
nay, all are the slaves thereof. Man, however, though in body the captive
of nature is yet free in his mind and soul, and hath the mastery over
nature.

Consider: according to the law of nature man liveth, moveth and hath his
being on earth, yet his soul and mind interfere with the laws thereof,
and, even as the bird he flieth in the air, saileth speedily upon the seas
and as the fish soundeth the deep and discovereth the things therein.
Verily this is a grievous defeat inflicted upon the laws of nature.

So is the power of electrical energy: this unruly violent force that
cleaveth mountains is yet imprisoned by man within a globe! This is
manifestly interfering with the laws of nature. Likewise man discovereth
those hidden secrets of nature that in conformity with the laws thereof
must remain concealed, and transfereth them from the invisible plane to
the visible. This, too, is interfering with the law of nature. In the same
manner he discovereth the inherent properties of things that are the
secrets of nature. Also he bringeth to light the past events that have
been lost to memory, and foreseeth by his power of induction future
happenings that are as yet unknown. Furthermore, communication and
discovery are limited by the laws of nature to short distances, whereas
man, through that inner power of his that discovereth the reality of all
things, connecteth the East with the West. This, too, is interfering with
the laws of nature. Similarly, according to the law of nature all shadows
are fleeting, whereas man fixeth them upon the plate, and this, too, is
interference with a law of nature. Ponder and reflect: all sciences, arts,
crafts, inventions and discoveries, have been once the secrets of nature
and in conformity with the laws thereof must remain hidden; yet man
through his discovering power interfereth with the laws of nature and
transfereth these hidden secrets from the invisible to the visible plane.
This again is interfering with the laws of nature.

In fine, that inner faculty in man, unseen of the eye, wresteth the sword
from the hands of nature, and giveth it a grievous blow. All other beings,
however great, are bereft of such perfections. Man hath the powers of will
and understanding, but nature hath them not. Nature is constrained, man is
free. Nature is bereft of understanding, man understandeth. Nature is
unaware of past events, but man is aware of them. Nature forecasteth not
the future; man by his discerning power seeth that which is to come.
Nature hath no consciousness of itself, man knoweth about all things.

Should any one suppose that man is but a part of the world of nature, and
he being endowed with these perfections, these being but manifestations of
the world of nature, and thus nature is the originator of these
perfections and is not deprived therefrom, to him we make reply and
say:—the part dependeth upon the whole; the part cannot possess
perfections whereof the whole is deprived.

By nature is meant those inherent properties and necessary relations
derived from the realities of things. And these realities of things,
though in the utmost diversity, are yet intimately connected one with the
other. For these diverse realities an all-unifying agency is needed that
shall link them all one to the other. For instance, the various organs and
members, the parts and elements, that constitute the body of man, though
at variance, are yet all connected one with the other by that all-unifying
agency known as the human soul, that causeth them to function in perfect
harmony and with absolute regularity, thus making the continuation of life
possible. The human body, however, is utterly unconscious of that
all-unifying agency, and yet acteth with regularity and dischargeth its
functions according to its will.

Now concerning philosophers, they are of two schools. Thus Socrates the
wise believed in the unity of God and the existence of the soul after
death; as his opinion was contrary to that of the narrow-minded people of
his time, that divine sage was poisoned by them. All divine philosophers
and men of wisdom and understanding, when observing these endless beings,
have considered that in this great and infinite universe all things end in
the mineral kingdom, that the outcome of the mineral kingdom is the
vegetable kingdom, the outcome of the vegetable kingdom is the animal
kingdom and the outcome of the animal kingdom the world of man. The
consummation of this limitless universe with all its grandeur and glory
hath been man himself, who in this world of being toileth and suffereth
for a time, with divers ills and pains, and ultimately disintegrates,
leaving no trace and no fruit after him. Were it so, there is no doubt
that this infinite universe with all its perfections has ended in sham and
delusion with no result, no fruit, no permanence and no effect. It would
be utterly without meaning. They were thus convinced that such is not the
case, that this Great Workshop with all its power, its bewildering
magnificence and endless perfections, cannot eventually come to naught.
That still another life should exist is thus certain, and, just as the
vegetable kingdom is unaware of the world of man, so we, too, know not of
the Great Life hereafter that followeth the life of man here below. Our
non-comprehension of that life, however, is no proof of its non-existence.
The mineral world, for instance, is utterly unaware of the world of man
and cannot comprehend it, but the ignorance of a thing is no proof of its
non-existence. Numerous and conclusive proofs exist that go to show that
this infinite world cannot end with this human life.

Now concerning the essence of Divinity: in truth it is on no account
determined by anything apart from its own nature, and can in no wise be
comprehended. For whatsoever can be conceived by man is a reality that
hath limitations and is not unlimited; it is circumscribed, not
all-embracing. It can be comprehended by man, and is controlled by him.
Similarly it is certain that all human conceptions are contingent, not
absolute; that they have a mental existence, not a material one. Moreover,
differentiation of stages in the contingent world is an obstacle to
understanding. How then can the contingent conceive the Reality of the
absolute? As previously mentioned, differentiation of stages in the
contingent plane is an obstacle to understanding. Minerals, plants and
animals are bereft of the mental faculties of man that discover the
realities of all things, but man himself comprehendeth all the stages
beneath him. Every superior stage comprehendeth that which is inferior and
discovereth the reality thereof, but the inferior one is unaware of that
which is superior and cannot comprehend it. Thus man cannot grasp the
Essence of Divinity, but can, by his reasoning power, by observation, by
his intuitive faculties and the revealing power of his faith, believe in
God, discover the bounties of His Grace. He becometh certain that though
the Divine Essence is unseen of the eye, and the existence of the Deity is
intangible, yet conclusive (spiritual) proofs assert the existence of that
unseen Reality. The Divine Essence as it is in itself is however beyond
all description. For instance, the nature of ether is unknown, but that it
existeth is certain by the effects it produceth, heat, light and
electricity being the waves thereof. By these waves the existence of ether
is thus proven. And as we consider the outpourings of Divine Grace we are
assured of the existence of God. For instance, we observe that the
existence of beings is conditioned upon the coming together of various
elements and their non-existence upon the decomposition of their
constituent elements. For decomposition causes the dissociation of the
various elements. Thus, as we observe the coming together of elements
giveth rise to the existence of beings, and knowing that beings are
infinite, they being the effect, how can the Cause be finite?

Now, formation is of three kinds and of three kinds only: accidental,
necessary, and voluntary. The coming together of the various constituent
elements of beings cannot be accidental, for unto every effect there must
be a cause. It cannot be compulsory, for then the formation must be an
inherent property of the constituent parts and the inherent property of a
thing can in no wise be dissociated from it, such as light that is the
revealer of things, heat that causeth the expansion of elements and the
(solar) rays which are the essential property of the sun. Thus under such
circumstances the decomposition of any formation is impossible, for the
inherent properties of a thing cannot be separated from it. The third
formation remaineth and that is the voluntary one, that is, an unseen
force described as the Ancient Power, causeth these elements to come
together, every formation giving rise to a distinct being.

As to the attributes and perfections such as will, knowledge, power and
other ancient attributes that we ascribe to that Divine Reality, these are
the signs that reflect the existence of beings in the visible plane and
not the absolute perfections of the Divine Essence that cannot be
comprehended. For instance, as we consider created things we observe
infinite perfections, and the created things being in the utmost
regularity and perfection we infer that the Ancient Power on whom
dependeth the existence of these beings, cannot be ignorant; thus we say
He is All-Knowing. It is certain that it is not impotent, it must be then
All-Powerful; it is not poor, it must be All-Possessing; it is not
non-existent, it must be Ever-Living. The purpose is to show that these
attributes and perfections that we recount for that Universal Reality are
only in order to deny imperfections, rather than to assert the perfections
that the human mind can conceive. Thus we say His attributes are
unknowable.

In fine, that Universal Reality with all its qualities and attributes that
we recount is holy and exalted above all minds and understandings. As we,
however, reflect with broad minds upon this infinite universe, we observe
that motion without a motive force, and an effect without a cause are both
impossible; that every being hath come to exist under numerous influences
and continually undergoeth reaction. These influences, too, are formed
under the action of still other influences. For instance, plants grow and
flourish through the outpourings of vernal showers, whilst the cloud
itself is formed under various other agencies and these agencies in their
turn are reacted upon by still other agencies. For example, plants and
animals grow and develop under the influence of what the philosophers of
our day designate as hydrogen and oxygen and are reacted upon by the
effects of these two elements; and these in turn are formed under still
other influences. The same can be said of other beings whether they affect
other things or be affected. Such process of causation goes on, and to
maintain that this process goes on indefinitely is manifestly absurd. Thus
such a chain of causation must of necessity lead eventually to Him who is
the Ever-Living, the All-Powerful, who is Self-Dependent and the Ultimate
Cause. This Universal Reality cannot be sensed, it cannot be seen. It must
be so of necessity, for it is All-Embracing, not circumscribed, and such
attributes qualify the effect and not the cause.

And as we reflect, we observe that man is like unto a tiny organism
contained within a fruit; this fruit hath developed out of the blossom,
the blossom hath grown out of the tree, the tree is sustained by the sap,
and the sap formed out of earth and water. How then can this tiny organism
comprehend the nature of the garden, conceive of the gardener and
comprehend his being? That is manifestly impossible. Should that organism
understand and reflect, it would observe that this garden, this tree, this
blossom, this fruit would in nowise have come to exist by themselves in
such order and perfection. Similarly the wise and reflecting soul will
know of a certainty that this infinite universe with all its grandeur and
order could not have come to exist by itself.

Similarly in the world of being there exist forces unseen of the eye, such
as the force of ether previously mentioned, that cannot be sensed, that
cannot be seen. However from the effects it produceth, that is from its
waves and vibrations, light, heat, electricity appear and are made
evident. In like manner is the power of growth, of feeling, of
understanding, of thought, of memory, of imagination and of discernment;
all these inner faculties are unseen of the eye and cannot be sensed, yet
all are evident by the effects they produce.

Now as to the Power that knoweth no limitations; limitation itself proveth
the existence of the unlimited, for the limited is known through the
unlimited, just as weakness itself proveth the existence of power,
ignorance the existence of knowledge, poverty the existence of wealth.
Without wealth there would be no poverty, without knowledge no ignorance,
without light no darkness. Darkness itself is a proof of the existence of
light for darkness is the absence of light.

Now concerning nature, it is but the essential properties and the
necessary relations inherent in the realities of things. And though these
infinite realities are diverse in their character yet they are in the
utmost harmony and closely connected together. As one’s vision is
broadened and the matter observed carefully, it will be made certain that
every reality is but an essential requisite of other realities. Thus to
connect and harmonize these diverse and infinite realities an all-unifying
Power is necessary, that every part of existent being may in perfect order
discharge its own function. Consider the body of man, and let the part be
an indication of the whole. Consider how these diverse parts and members
of the human body are closely connected and harmoniously united one with
the other. Every part is the essential requisite of all other parts and
has a function by itself. It is the mind that is the all-unifying agency
that so uniteth all the component parts one with the other that each
dischargeth its specific function in perfect order, and thereby
cooperation and reaction are made possible. All parts function under
certain laws that are essential to existence. Should that all-unifying
agency that directeth all these parts be harmed in any way there is no
doubt that the constituent parts and members will cease functioning
properly; and though that all-unifying agency in the temple of man be not
sensed or seen and the reality thereof be unknown, yet by its effects it
manifesteth itself with the greatest power.

Thus it hath been proven and made evident that these infinite beings in
this wondrous universe will discharge their functions properly only when
directed and controlled by that Universal Reality, so that order may be
established in the world. For example, interaction and cooperation between
the constituent parts of the human body are evident and indisputable, yet
this does not suffice; an all-unifying agency is necessary that shall
direct and control the component parts, so that these through interaction
and cooperation may discharge in perfect order their necessary and
respective functions.

You are well aware, praised be the Lord, that both interaction and
cooperation are evident and proven amongst all beings, whether large or
small. In the case of large bodies interaction is as manifest as the sun,
whilst in the case of small bodies, though interaction be unknown, yet the
part is an indication of the whole. All these interactions therefore are
connected with that all-embracing power which is their pivot, their
center, their source and their motive power.

For instance, as we have observed, cooperation among the constituent parts
of the human body is clearly established, and these parts and members
render services unto all the component parts of the body. For instance,
the hand, the foot, the eye, the ear, the mind, the imagination all help
the various parts and members of the human body, but all these
interactions are linked by an unseen, all-embracing power, that causeth
these interactions to be produced with perfect regularity. This is the
inner faculty of man, that is his spirit and his mind, both of which are
invisible.

In like manner consider machinery and workshops and the interaction
existing among the various component parts and sections, and how connected
they are one with the other. All these relations and interactions,
however, are connected with a central power which is their motive force,
their pivot and their source. This central power is either the power of
steam or the skill of the master-mind.

It hath therefore been made evident and proved that interaction,
cooperation and interrelation amongst beings are under the direction and
will of a motive Power which is the origin, the motive force and the pivot
of all interactions in the universe.

Likewise every arrangement and formation that is not perfect in its order
we designate as accidental, and that which is orderly, regular, perfect in
its relations and every part of which is in its proper place and is the
essential requisite of the other constituent parts, this we call a
composition formed through will and knowledge. There is no doubt that
these infinite beings and the association of these diverse elements
arranged in countless forms must have proceeded from a Reality that could
in no wise be bereft of will or understanding. This is clear and proven to
the mind and no one can deny it. It is not meant, however, that that
Universal Reality or the attributes thereof have been comprehended.
Neither its Essence nor its true attributes hath any one comprehended. We
maintain, however, that these infinite beings, these necessary relations,
this perfect arrangement must of necessity have proceeded from a source
that is not bereft of will and understanding, and this infinite
composition cast into infinite forms must have been caused by an
all-embracing Wisdom. This none can dispute save he that is obstinate and
stubborn, and denieth the clear and unmistakable evidence, and becometh
the object of the blessed Verse: “They are deaf, they are dumb, they are
blind and shall return no more.”

Now regarding the question whether the faculties of the mind and the human
soul are one and the same. These faculties are but the inherent properties
of the soul, such as the power of imagination, of thought, of
understanding; powers that are the essential requisites of the reality of
man, even as the solar ray is the inherent property of the sun. The temple
of man is like unto a mirror, his soul is as the sun, and his mental
faculties even as the rays that emanate from that source of light. The ray
may cease to fall upon the mirror, but it can in no wise be dissociated
from the sun.

In short, the point is this, that the world of man is supernatural in its
relation to the vegetable kingdom, though in reality it is not so.
Relatively to the plant, the reality of man, his power of hearing and
sight, are all supernatural, and for the plant to comprehend that reality
and the nature of the powers of man’s mind is impossible. In like manner
for man to comprehend the Divine Essence and the nature of the great
Hereafter is in no wise possible. The merciful outpourings of that Divine
Essence, however, are vouchsafed unto all beings and it is incumbent upon
man to ponder in his heart upon the effusions of the Divine Grace, the
soul being counted as one, rather than upon the Divine Essence itself.
This is the utmost limit for human understanding. As it hath previously
been mentioned, these attributes and perfections that we recount of the
Divine Essence, these we have derived from the existence and observation
of beings, and it is not that we have comprehended the essence and
perfection of God. When we say that the Divine Essence understandeth and
is free, we do not mean that we have discovered the Divine Will and
Purpose, but rather that we have acquired knowledge of them through the
Divine Grace revealed and manifested in the realities of things.

Now concerning our social principles, namely the teachings of His Holiness
Bahá’u’lláh spread far and wide fifty years ago, they verily comprehend
all other teachings. It is clear and evident that without these teachings
progress and advancement for mankind are in no wise possible. Every
community in the world findeth in these Divine Teachings the realization
of its highest aspirations. These teachings are even as the tree that
beareth the best fruits of all trees. Philosophers, for instance, find in
these heavenly teachings the most perfect solution of their social
problems, and similarly a true and noble exposition of matters that
pertain to philosophical questions. In like manner men of faith behold the
reality of religion manifestly revealed in these heavenly teachings, and
clearly and conclusively prove them to be the real and true remedy for the
ills and infirmities of all mankind. Should these sublime teachings be
diffused, mankind shall be freed from all perils, from all chronic ills
and sicknesses. In like manner are the Bahá’í economic principles the
embodiment of the highest aspirations of all wage-earning classes and of
economists of various schools.

In short, all sections and parties have their aspirations realized in the
teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. As these teachings are declared in churches, in
mosques and in other places of worship, whether those of the followers of
Buddha or of Confucius, in political circles or amongst materialists, all
shall bear witness that these teachings bestow a fresh life upon mankind
and constitute the immediate remedy for all the ills of social life. None
can find fault with any of these teachings, nay rather, once declared they
will all be acclaimed, and all will confess their vital necessity,
exclaiming, “Verily this is the truth and naught is there beside the truth
but manifest error.”

In conclusion, these few words are written, and unto everyone they will be
a clear and conclusive evidence of the truth. Ponder them in thine heart.
The will of every sovereign prevaileth during his reign, the will of every
philosopher findeth expression in a handful of disciples during his
lifetime, but the Power of the Holy Spirit shineth radiantly in the
realities of the Messengers of God, and strengtheneth their will in such
wise as to influence a great nation for thousands of years and to
regenerate the human soul and revive mankind. Consider how great is this
power! It is an extraordinary Power, an all-sufficient proof of the truth
of the mission of the Prophets of God, and a conclusive evidence of the
power of Divine Inspiration.



CHAPTER EIGHT: THE LOOM OF REALITY



HIS DEATHLESS SPLENDOR


He is the All-Glorious.

The world’s great Light, once resplendent upon all mankind, has set to
shine everlastingly from the Abhá horizon, His Kingdom of fadeless glory,
shedding splendor upon His loved ones from on high, and breathing into
their hearts and souls the breath of eternal life.

Ponder in your hearts that which He hath foretold in His Tablet of “The
Divine Vision” that hath been spread throughout the world. Therein He
saith: “Thereupon she wailed and exclaimed ‘May the world and all that is
therein be a ransom for Thy woes, O Sovereign of heaven and earth!
Wherefore hast Thou left Thyself in the hands of the dwellers of this
prison-city of Akká? Hasten Thou to other realms, to Thy retreats above,
unknown as yet to the mortal glance of the children of the world.’ We
smiled and spake not. Reflect upon these most exalted words, and
comprehend the purpose of this hidden and sacred mystery.”

O ye beloved of the Lord! Beware, beware lest ye hesitate and waver. Let
not fear fall upon you, neither be troubled nor dismayed. Take ye good
heed lest this calamitous day slacken the flames of your ardor, and quench
your tender hopes. Today is the day for steadfastness and constancy.
Blessed are they that stand firm and immovable as the rock, and brave the
storm and stress of this tempestuous hour. They, verily, shall be the
recipients of God’s grace, verily shall receive His divine assistance, and
shall be the truly victorious. They shall shine amidst mankind with a
radiance which the dwellers of the Pavilion of Glory laud and magnify. To
them is proclaimed this celestial call, revealed in His most holy Book: “O
My people! Be not perplexed should the star of My presence disappear, and
the ocean of My utterance be stilled. In My presence among you there was
the wisdom of God, and in My absence from you there is yet another,
inscrutable to all but the One, the All-Knowing. Verily, We behold you
from Our realm of effulgent glory, and will graciously aid whosoever
striveth for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the celestial
Concourse and a company of Our chosen angels.”

The Sun of Truth, that most great Light, has set upon the horizon of the
world to rise with deathless splendor over the Realm of the Limitless. In
His most holy Book He calleth the firm and steadfast of His friends: “O
peoples of the world! Should the radiance of My beauty be veiled, and the
temple of My body be hidden, feel not perturbed, nay arise and bestir
yourselves, that My Cause may triumph, and My Word be heard by all
mankind.”



THE NEW HEAVEN, THE NEW EARTH


O ye beloved of God! O ye children of His Kingdom!

Verily, verily the new heaven and the new earth are come. The holy City,
new Jerusalem, hath come down from on high in the form of a maid of
heaven, veiled, beauteous, and unique, and prepared for reunion with her
lovers on earth. The angelic company of the celestial Concourse have
joined in a call that hath rung throughout the universe, all loudly and
mightily acclaiming: “Hail, O City of God! Abide Thou, and make Thy
habitation with the pure, virtuous and holy servants of Thine; for they
are Thy people, and Thou art their Lord.”

He hath wiped away their tears, kindled their light, rejoiced their hearts
and enraptured their souls. Death shall no more overtake them, neither
shall sorrow, crying and tribulation afflict them. The Lord God Omnipotent
hath been enthroned in His Kingdom and hath made all things new. This is
the truth, and what truth greater than the Revelation of St. John the
divine? He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the One that will give unto him
that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life, and bestow upon the
sick the remedy of true salvation. He whom such grace aideth is verily he
that receiveth the most glorious heritage from the prophets of God and His
holy ones. The Lord will be his God, and he His dearly-beloved son.

Rejoice, then, O ye beloved of the Lord and His chosen ones, and ye the
children of God and His people, raise your voice and laud and magnify the
Lord, the Most High; for His light hath beamed forth, His signs have
appeared, and the billows of His rising ocean have scattered on every
shore many a precious pearl.



SPIRITUAL SPRING


Do ye know in what cycle ye are created and in what age ye exist? This is
the age of the Blessed Perfection and this is the time of the Greatest
Name! This is the century of the Manifestation, the age of the Sun of the
Horizons and the beautiful springtime of His Holiness the Eternal One!

The earth is in motion and growth; the mountains, hills and prairies are
green and pleasant; the bounty is overflowing; the mercy universal; the
rain is descending from the cloud of mercy; the brilliant Sun is shining;
the full moon is ornamenting the horizon of ether; the great ocean-tide is
flooding every little stream; the gifts are successive; the favors
consecutive; and the refreshing breeze is blowing, wafting the fragrant
perfume of the blossoms. Boundless treasure is in the hand of the King of
Kings! Lift the hem of thy garment in order to receive it.

If we are not happy and joyous at this season, for what other season shall
we wait and for what other time shall we look?

This is the time for growing; the season for joyous gathering! Take the
cup of the Testament in thy hand; leap and dance with ecstasy in the
triumphal procession of the Covenant! Lay your confidence in the
everlasting bounty, turn to the presence of the generous God; ask
assistance from the Kingdom of Abhá; seek confirmation from the Supreme
World; turn thy vision to the horizon of eternal wealth; and pray for help
from the Source of Mercy!

Soon shall ye see the friends attaining their longed-for destination and
pitching their tents, while we are but in the first day of our journey.

This period of time is the Promised Age, the assembling of the human race
to the “Resurrection Day” and now is the great “Day of Judgment.” Soon the
whole world, as in springtime, will change its garb. The turning and
falling of the autumn leaves is past; the bleakness of the winter time is
over. The new year hath appeared and the spiritual springtime is at hand.
The black earth is becoming a verdant garden; the deserts and mountains
are teeming with red flowers; from the borders of the wilderness the tall
grasses are standing like advance guards before the cypress and jessamine
trees; while the birds are singing among the rose branches like the angels
in the highest heavens, announcing the glad-tidings of the approach of
that spiritual spring, and the sweet music of their voices is causing the
real essence of all things to move and quiver.



SERVE THE KINGDOM


When the darkness of ignorance and heedlessness concerning the realm of
eternity and bereavement from the True One had encircled the universe,
then the resplendent Luminary dawned and the brilliant Light illumined the
horizon of the East. Hence, the Sun of Reality shone forth, scattering the
sparkling lights of the Kingdom to the East and to the West. Those who had
seeing eyes found the Most Great Glad-Tidings, began to cry the call, “O
blessed are we! O blessed are we!”—and have beheld the reality of things
in themselves, have discovered the mysteries of the Kingdom, were released
from superstition and doubts, perceived the lights of Truth and became so
intoxicated with the cup of the love of God, that, wholly forgetting
themselves and the world while dancing, they ran with utmost joy and
ecstasy to the city of Martyrdom, sacrificing their minds and their lives
upon the altar of Love.

But those who were blinded became astonished and on account of these
joyous acclamations were bewildered and beginning to cry, “Where is the
light?” and said, “We do not behold any light, we do not see any rising
sun! It is void of any truth! This is pure imagination!”

However, they have hastened bat-like in the darkness below the ground, and
according to their own thoughts they have found a little comfort and
tranquillity. Nevertheless, it is yet the early dawn and the strength of
the heat and the rays of the Sun of Truth have not yet made their torrid
and complete impression. When it reacheth the zenith, the heat will
interpenetrate with such great intensity that it will move and spur to the
greatest velocity even the insects below the earth. Although they are not
able to behold the light, yet the penetration of the heat will move and
agitate all of them.

Consequently, O ye friends of God, be ye thankful that in the Day of the
Effulgence ye have turned your faces to the Orb of the regions and beheld
the Lights! Ye have received a portion from the rays of Truth and are
endowed with a share from the Everlasting Outpouring. Therefore, ye must
not rest one minute, but thank Him for this bestowal.

Be ye not seated and silent! Diffuse the glad-tidings of the Kingdom far
and wide to the ears, promulgate the Word of God, and put into practice
the advices and covenants of God; that is, arise ye with such qualities
and attributes that ye may continually bestow life to the body of the
world, and nurse the infants of the universe up to the station of maturity
and perfection. Enkindle with all your might in every meeting the light of
the love of God, gladden and cheer every heart with the utmost
loving-kindness, show forth your love to the strangers just as you show
forth to your relations. If a soul is seeking to quarrel, ask ye for
reconciliation; if he blame you, praise him; if he give you a deadly
poison, bestow ye an all-healing antidote; if he createth death,
administer ye eternal life; if he becometh a thorn, change ye into roses
and hyacinths. Perchance, through such deeds and words, this darkened
world will become illuminated, this terrestrial universe will become
transformed into a heavenly realm, and this satanic prison become a divine
court; warfare and bloodshed be annihilated, and love and faithfulness
hoist the tent of unity upon the apex of the world.

These are the results of the divine advices and exhortations, and the
epitome of the teachings of the Bahá’í Cycle.



FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY


A fire from the Kingdom hath been kindled in the heart of the world, in
the Blessed Tree, whose flame shall ere long set aglow the pillars of the
earth and its rays illumine the horizons of the nations. All the signs
have appeared, all the prophetic references have become clear, all that
was revealed in the Books and Scriptures hath become fully manifest, and
there is no ground for any one to hesitate in regard thereto.

Some people of former times and some sects avoided certain others as
strangers, but now the glorious beloved One hath ridden upon His swift
coursing steed, encircling about in the arena of truth and all that was
hidden became manifest.

Let there be no more silence nor reticence, taciturnity nor negligence.
The Candle is lighted—yet the moths continue motionless and melancholy
behind the veils.

Now is the time to roar like unto a sea and seek to ascend heavenward! If
we desire to reach the apex of the Supreme Kingdom, we must unfurl our
wings; if we wish to dive into the depths of the ocean, we must teach our
limbs swimming. The time is short and the Divine Courser moves swiftly on;
let us keep up and compete with each other and let us light a brilliant
candle!



HERALDS OF HIS NAME


O phoenix of that immortal flame kindled in the sacred Tree!

Bahá’u’lláh (may my life, my soul, my spirit, be offered up as a sacrifice
unto His lowly servants) hath, during His last days on earth, given the
most emphatic promise that, through the outpourings of the grace of God
and the aid and assistance vouchsafed from His Kingdom on high, souls will
arise and holy beings appear who, as stars, would adorn the firmament of
divine Guidance; illumine the dayspring of loving kindness and bounty;
manifest the signs of the unity of God; shine with the light of sanctity
and purity; receive their full measure of divine inspiration; raise high
the sacred torch of faith; stand firm as the rock and immovable as the
mountain; and grow to become luminaries in the heavens of His Revelation,
mighty channels of His grace, means for the bestowals of God’s bountiful
care, heralds calling forth the name of the one true God, and establishers
of the world’s supreme foundation.

These shall labor ceaselessly by day and by night, shall heed neither
trial nor woe, shall suffer no respite in their efforts, shall seek no
repose, shall disregard all ease and comfort and, detached and unsullied,
shall consecrate every fleeting moment of their life to the diffusion of
the divine fragrance and the exaltation of God’s holy Word. Their face
will radiate heavenly gladness, and their hearts be filled with joy. Their
souls will be inspired, and their foundation stand secure. They shall
scatter in the world, and travel throughout all regions. They shall raise
their voice in every assembly, and adorn and revive every gathering. They
shall speak in every tongue, and interpret every hidden meaning. They
shall reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom, and manifest unto every one the
signs of God. They shall burn brightly even as a candle in the heart of
every assembly, and beam forth as a star upon every horizon. The gentle
breeze wafted from the garden of their hearts shall perfume and revive the
souls of men, and the revelations of their minds, even as showers,
reinvigorate the peoples and nations of the world.

I am waiting, eagerly waiting for these holy ones to appear; and yet, how
long will they delay their coming? My prayer and ardent supplication, at
eventide and at dawn, is that these shining stars may soon shed their
radiance upon the world, that their sacred countenance may be unveiled to
mortal eyes, and the billows of grace, rising from His oceans above, may
flow upon all mankind. Pray ye also and supplicate unto Him that through
the bountiful aid of the Ancient Beauty these souls may be unveiled to the
eyes of the world.

The glory of God rest upon thee, and upon him whose face is illumined with
that everlasting light that shineth from His Kingdom of Glory.



THE WORLD IS INFIRM


O ye friends of God! The world is like the body of man—it hath become
sick, feeble and infirm. Its eye is devoid of sight, its ear hath become
destitute of hearing and its faculties of sense are entirely dissolved.
The friends of God must become as wise physicians and care for and heal
this sick person, in accord with the divine teachings, in order that—God
willing—it may perchance gain health, find eternal healing and that its
lost powers may be restored; and that the person of the world may find
such health, freshness and purity that it will appear in the utmost beauty
and charm.

The first remedy is to guide the people, so that they may turn unto God,
hearken unto the divine commandments and go forth with a hearing ear and
seeing eye. After this swift and certain remedy hath been applied, then
according to the divine teachings, they ought to be trained in the
conduct, morals and deeds of the Supreme Concourse, encouraged and
inspired with the gifts of the Kingdom of Abhá. The hearts should be
purified and cleansed from every trace of hatred and rancor and enabled to
engage in truthfulness, conciliation, uprightness and love toward the
world of humanity; so that the East and the West may embrace each other
like unto two lovers, enmity and animosity may vanish from the human world
and the universal peace be established!

O ye friends of God! Be kind to all peoples and nations, have love for all
of them, exert yourselves to purify the hearts as much as you can, and
bestow abundant effort in rejoicing the souls. Be ye a sprinkling of rain
to every meadow and a water of life to every tree. Be ye as fragrant musk
to every nostril and a soul-refreshing breeze to every invalid. Be ye
salutary water to every thirsty one, a wise guide to every one led astray,
an affectionate father or mother to every orphan, and, in the utmost joy
and fragrance, a son or daughter to every one bent with age. Be ye a rich
treasure to every indigent one; consider love and union as a delectable
paradise, and count annoyance and hostility as the torment of hell-fire.
Exert with your soul; seek no rest in body; supplicate and beseech with
your heart and search for divine assistance and favor, in order that ye
may make this world the Paradise of Abhá and this terrestrial globe the
arena of the Supreme Kingdom. If ye make an effort, it is certain that
these lights will shine, this cloud of mercy shall rain, this
soul-nourishing breeze shall waft, and the scent of this most fragrant
musk be diffused.



THE COVENANT


O ye beloved of God, know that steadfastness and firmness in this new and
wonderful Covenant is indeed the spirit that quickeneth the hearts which
are overflowing with the love of the Glorious Lord; verily, it is the
power which penetrates into the hearts of the people of the world! Your
Lord hath assuredly promised His servants who are firm and steadfast to
render them victorious at all times, to exalt their word, propagate their
power, diffuse their lights, strengthen their hearts, elevate their
banners, assist their hosts, brighten their stars, increase the abundance
of the showers of mercy upon them, and enable the brave lions to conquer.

Hasten, hasten, O ye firm believers! Hasten, hasten, O ye steadfast!
Abandon the heedless, set aside every ignorant, take hold of the strong
rope, be firm in this Great Cause, draw light from this Evident Light, be
patient and be steadfast in this wise Religion! Ye shall see the hosts of
inspiration descending successively from the Supreme World, the procession
of attraction falling incessantly from the heights of heaven, the
abundance of the Kingdom of El-Abha outpouring continually and the
teachings of God penetrating with the utmost power, while the heedless are
indeed in evident loss.

Iscariot must not be forgotten; the Divine sheep must constantly be
guarded against devouring wolves; the light of the Cause of God must be
protected from contrary winds by means of a chimney; the oppressed fowls
must be shielded against the birds of prey; blooming roses should be saved
from the outstretched hands of injustice and the lambs of God must be
fortified against the fierce claws of ravenous animals.

Were it not for the protecting power of the Covenant to guard the
impregnable fort of the Cause of God, there would arise among the Bahá’ís,
in one day, a thousand different sects as was the case in former ages. But
in this Blessed Dispensation, for the sake of the permanency of the Cause
of God and the avoidance of dissension amongst the people of God, the
Blessed Beauty (may my soul be a sacrifice unto Him), has through the
Supreme Pen written the Covenant and the Testament; He appointed a Center,
the Exponent of the Book and the annuller of disputes. Whatever is written
or said by Him is conformable to the truth and under the protection of the
Blessed Beauty. He is infallible. The express purpose of this last Will
and Testament is to set aside disputes from the world.

Suffer the friends to become firm in the Covenant and give the message of
the Kingdom of Abhá to other souls.

Praise be to God that the believers in America are steadfast but the
firmer they are the better that no one might be able to intrude and
introduce disputes, for disputes destroy the foundation of God’s
Institution.

His Holiness Abraham, on Him be peace, made a covenant concerning His
Holiness Moses and gave the glad-tidings of His coming. His Holiness Moses
made a covenant concerning the Promised One, i.e. His Holiness Christ, and
announced the good news of His Manifestation to the world. His Holiness
Christ made a covenant concerning the Paraclete and gave the tidings of
His coming. His Holiness the Prophet Muḥammad made a covenant concerning
His Holiness the Báb and the Báb was the One promised by Muḥammad, for
Muḥammad gave the tidings of His coming. The Báb made a Covenant
concerning the Blessed Beauty of Bahá’u’lláh and gave the glad-tidings of
His coming for the Blessed Beauty was the One promised by His Holiness the
Báb. Bahá’u’lláh made a covenant concerning a promised One who will become
manifest after one thousand or thousands of years. He likewise, with His
Supreme Pen, entered into a great Covenant and Testament with all the
Bahá’ís whereby they were all commanded to follow the Center of the
Covenant after His departure, and turn not away even to a hair’s breadth
from obeying Him.

In the Book of Aqdas, He has given positive command in two clear instances
and has explicitly appointed the Interpreter of the Book. Also in all the
Divine Tablets, especially in the Chapter of The Branch—all the meanings
of which mean the Servitude of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—all that
was needed to explain the Center of the Covenant and the Interpreter of
the Book has been revealed from the Supreme Pen. Now as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is
the Interpreter of the Book He says that the “Chapter of The Branch” means
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that is, the Servitude of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and none other.



RACE UNITY


You have written that there were several meetings of joy and happiness,
one for white and another for colored people. Praise be to God! As both
races are under the protection of the All-Knowing God, therefore the lamps
of unity must be lighted in such a manner in these meetings that no
distinction be perceived between the white and colored. Colors are
phenomenal, but the realities of men are essence. When there exists unity
of the essence what power has the phenomenal? When the light of reality is
shining what power has the darkness of the unreal? If it be possible,
gather together these two races, black and white, into one Assembly, and
put such love into their hearts that they shall not only unite but even
intermarry. Be sure that the result of this will abolish differences and
disputes between black and white. Moreover, by the Will of God, may it be
so. This is a great service to humanity.



THE FIRE OF THE LOVE OF GOD


O friend! Be set aglow with the fire of the love of God, so that the
hearts of the people will become enlightened by the light of thy love.

Supplicate to God, pray to Him and invoke Him at midnight and at dawn. Be
humble and submissive to God and chant the verses of thanksgiving at morn
and eve, for that He guided thee unto the Manifest Light and showed to
thee the straight Path and destined to thee the station of nearness in His
wonderful Kingdom. Verily I ask God to augment for thee, every day, the
light of guidance and His gift of virtue, comfort and ease. Thus thou
mayest set a good example in that region; that He may lift up the veil
from before the eyes of thy mother and father, so that they may witness
the lights of the Kingdom of God, which have encompassed all regions.



YE ARE THE ANGELS


Verily, I, from this brilliant and Blessed Spot, speak to you face to
face, while ye are in that far distant country, saying:

“O people of loyalty, O people of faithfulness, O people who are awakened
by the Breath of God, O people who are inhaling the scent of life from the
Spirit of God! The path hath become smooth, the way straightened, the
carpet of the Kingdom is spread, the Tabernacle hath been elevated upon
the Hill of Might, the powers of heaven have been shaken, the corners of
the earth have quaked, the sun has been darkened, the moon ceased to give
light, the stars have fallen, the nations of the earth have lamented, and
the Son of Man hath come upon the clouds of heaven with power and great
glory, and He hath sent His angels with the sound of the great trumpet,
and no one knows the meaning of these emblems save the wise and informed.

“Ye are the angels, if your feet be firm, your spirits rejoiced, your
secret thoughts pure, your eyes consoled, your ears opened, your breasts
dilated with joy, and your souls gladdened, and if you arise to assist the
Covenant, to resist dissension and to be attracted to the Effulgence!
Verily, I say unto you that the Word of God has assuredly been explained
and has become an evident sign and a strong and solid proof, and its
traces shall be spread in the East and West, and to these all heads shall
bow and all souls shall submit and kneel down with their faces to the
ground.”



REALITY OF THANKSGIVING


In these times thanksgiving for the bounty of the Merciful One consists in
the illumination of the heart and the feeling of the soul. This is the
reality of thanksgiving. But, although offering thanks through speech or
writings is approvable, yet, in comparison with that, it is but unreal,
for the foundation is spiritual feelings and merciful sentiments. I hope
that you may be favored therewith. But the lack of capacity and merit in
the Day of Judgment does not prevent one from bounty and generosity, for
it is the day of grace and not justice, and to give every one his due is
justice. Consequently, do not look upon thy capacity, nay, rather, look
upon the infinite grace of the Bounty of Abhá whose grace is comprehending
and whose bounty is perfect.



THE STRAIGHT PATH


Thank God for guiding thee unto the Straight Path, manifesting unto thee
the Evident Light. He shall give thee a draught of the cup whereby thy
spiritual power will be increased. Thou shalt advance unto the Lofty
Station, acquire heavenly qualities and attain knowledge of the
significances of the words of God in this glorious day.

It is incumbent upon thee to turn wholly unto the Kingdom of God, to enter
entirely into this wonderful Cause, and to make thy thought, remembrance
and effort confined to the education of thy character, the enlightenment
through the light of Abhá, and to guide the people to the source of the
mercy of thy Lord, the Clement, the Merciful.

Comfort thy mother and endeavor to do what is conducive to the happiness
of her heart. Approach not those who are drowned in the sea of this world,
but rather be enkindled by the fire of the love of God. Be thou such a
flame whereby the hearts may be set aglow.

It is incumbent upon thee to assemble continuously with the beloved of God
and to meet with those whose faces are illumined with the light of the
love of God. Verily, I supplicate to God to make thee sincere in this
love, to illumine thee with the light of His Kingdom, and to destine unto
thee the illumination by the light of His attributes, to make thee a sign
of mercy, a bird warbling the verses of unity; that thou mayest be
nurtured in the bosom of His providence, and become a growing tree bearing
fruit in the Paradise of El-Abha.

Verily, thy Lord confirmeth him whom He willeth, and He is the Forgiving,
the Merciful.



CUT THYSELF FROM THE WORLD


If thou seekest to be intoxicated with the cup of the Most Mighty Gift,
cut thyself from the world and be quit of self and desire. Exert thyself
night and day until spiritual powers may penetrate thy heart and soul.
Abandon the body and the material, until the merciful powers may become
manifest; because not until the soil is become pure will it develop
through the heavenly bounty; not until the heart is purified, will the
radiance of the Sun of Truth shine therein. I beg of God that thou wilt
day by day increase the purity of thy heart, the cheerfulness of thy soul,
the light of thy insight and the search for Truth.



ARISE WITH GREAT POWER


Arise with every power to assist the Covenant of God and serve in His
vineyard. Be confident that a confirmation will be granted unto you and a
success on His part is given unto you. Verily, He shall support you by the
angels of His holiness and reinforce you with the breaths of the Spirit
that ye may mount the Ark of Safety, set forth the evident signs, impart
the spirit of life, declare the essence of His commands and precepts,
guide the sheep who are straying from the fold in all directions, and give
the blessings. Ye have to use every effort in your power and strive
earnestly and wisely in this new century. By God, verily the Lord of Hosts
is your support, the angels of heaven your assistance, the Holy Spirit
your companion and the Center of the Covenant your helper. Be not idle,
but active and fear not. Look unto those who have been in the former
ages—how they have resisted all nations and suffered all persecutions and
afflictions, and how their stars shone, their attacks proved successful,
their teachings established, their regions expanded, their hearts
gladdened, their ideas cleared and their motives effective. Ye are now in
a great station and noble rank and ye shall find yourselves in evident
success and prosperity, the like of which the eye of existence never saw
in former ages.



DIVINE ASSISTANCE


O thou who warmest thyself by the fire of the love of God, spreading from
the Tree of the Covenant! Let thy soul be at ease and thy heart in peace
concerning the perfect success and progress which the pen is not able to
express, for in a short time thou shalt see the flag of the Kingdom waving
in those far and wide regions, and the lights of the Truth shining
brilliantly in its dawn above those horizons, and thou shalt know that
thou art the center of the circle of the love of God, the axis around
which souls revolve in their way and supplication to God. Therefore, thou
must widen thy heart, dilate thy breast, have patience in plenty, calmness
of soul and cut thyself from everything but God! By God, the truth is, if
thou goest according to the teachings of El-Abd and followest the steps of
Him who is annihilated in God, thou shalt see that the cohorts of the
Kingdom of God will come to thy help, one after another, and that the
hosts of the Might of God will be in thy presence in steady succession,
the gates of the great victory opened and the rays of the brilliant
morning diffused! By thy life, O my beloved! if thou didst know what God
had ordained for thee, thou wouldst fly with delight and thy happiness,
gladness and joy would increase every hour. El-Bahá be upon thee!



PROOF OF NOBILITY


The necessity and the particularity of the assured and believing ones is
to be firm in the Cause of God and withstand the hidden and evident tests.
Thanks be to God that you are distinguished and made eminent by this
blessing. Anybody can be happy in the state of comfort, ease, health,
success, pleasure and joy; but if one will be happy and contented in the
time of trouble, hardship and prevailing disease, it is the proof of
nobility. Thanks be to God that that dear servant of God is extremely
patient under the disastrous circumstances, and in the place of
complaining gives thanks.



THE SOURCE OF LOVE


The advent of the prophets and the revelation of the Holy Books is
intended to create love between souls and friendship between the
inhabitants of the earth. Real love is impossible unless one turn his face
towards God and be attracted to His Beauty.



OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE FAITH


Thou hast written of a verse in the Gospels, asking if at the time of
Christ all souls did hear His call. Know that faith is of two kinds. The
first is objective faith that is expressed by the outer man, obedience of
the limbs and senses. The other faith is subjective, and unconscious
obedience to the will of God. There is no doubt that, in the day of a
Manifestation such as Christ, all contingent beings possessed subjective
faith and had unconscious obedience to His Holiness Christ.

For all parts of the creational world are of one whole. Christ the
Manifestor reflecting the divine Sun represented the whole. All the parts
are subordinate and obedient to the whole. The contingent beings are the
branches of the tree of life while the Messenger of God is the root of
that tree. The branches, leaves and fruit are dependent for their
existence upon the root of the tree of life. This condition of unconscious
obedience constitutes subjective faith. But the discerning faith that
consists of true knowledge of God and the comprehension of divine words,
of such faith there is very little in any age. That is why His Holiness
Christ said to His followers, “Many are called but few are chosen.”



SPIRITUAL CAPACITY


Those souls who have the capacity and ability to receive the outpourings
of the Kingdom and the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, they become
attracted through one word. But people who have not the capacity, no
matter how much one explain the divine behests and advices or breathe the
breath of the Holy Spirit, it will not make an effect; nay, rather they
add to their hardness and heedlessness.

No sooner is the oil touched by fire than it is ignited, but the heat of
the fire will not make any effect upon the black stone.

Now praise be to God that thou didst have a pure aim and great capacity so
that as soon as thou didst hear the “Word” thou didst become attracted.
Indeed this is one of the most great gifts of God.



THE BELOVED OF GOD


The spiritual love of God maketh man pure and holy and clotheth him with
the garment of virtue and purity. And when man attacheth his heart wholly
to God and becometh related to the Blessed Perfection, the divine bounty
will dawn. This love is not physical, nay, rather, it is absolutely
spiritual.

The souls whose consciences are enlightened through the light of the love
of God, they are like unto shining lights and resemble stars of holiness
in the heaven of purity.

The real and great love is the love of God. That is holy above the
imaginations and thoughts of men.

The beloved of God must each be the essence of purity and holiness; so may
they be known by their purity, freedom and meekness in every land; they
may drink from the eternal chalice of the love of God, enjoy its ecstasy,
and through meeting the Beauty of Abhá, they should be joyful, active,
aglow with zeal and wonderful. This is the station of the sincere. This is
the quality of those who are firm. This is the illumination of the faces
of those who are near.

Therefore, O ye friends of God, ye must in perfect purity attain spiritual
unity and agreement to a degree that ye may express one spirit and one
life.

In this condition physical bodies play no part; the command and authority
are in the hand of the spirit. When the spirit becometh all inclusive, the
spiritual union shall be attained. Night and day endeavor to attain
perfect harmony; be thoughtful concerning your own spiritual developments
and close your eyes to the shortcomings of one another.

By good deeds, pure lives, humility and meekness be a lesson for others.



IF ONE POSSESSES THE LOVE OF GOD


O thou son of the Kingdom! If one possesses the love of God, everything
that he undertakes is useful, but if the undertaking is without the love
of God, then it is hurtful and the cause of veiling one’s self from the
Lord of the Kingdom. But with the love of God every bitterness is changed
into sweetness and every gift becometh precious. For instance, a musical
and melodious voice imparteth life to an attracted heart but lureth toward
lust those souls who are engulfed in passion and desire.

With the love of God all sciences are accepted and beloved, but without
it, are fruitless; nay, rather the cause of insanity. Every science is
like unto a tree; if the fruit of it is the love of God, that is a blessed
tree. Otherwise it is dried wood and finally a food for fire.

O thou sincere servant of the True One and the spiritual physician of the
people! Whenever thou presentest thyself at the bed of a patient turn thy
face toward the Lord of the Kingdom and supplicate assistance from the
Holy Spirit and heal the ailments of the sick one. I beg of God to bestow
upon thee an eloquent tongue.



THE MAGNET OF THE KINGDOM


Note that thy Lord hath manifested the Magnet of the souls and hearts in
the Pole of the existing world, to which all the sacred hearts are
attracted from the far distant lands and countries.

The iron body is attractable although at long distances away; but the
earthen one is not although in contact and very close.

Therefore, thank thou God for being an attractable body, to be drawn to
the Magnet of the Kingdom of God.



THE ENCOMPASSING SPIRIT


Verily, I say unto thee that the gifts of thy Lord are encircling thee in
a similar way as the spirit encircles the body at the beginning of the
amalgamation of the elements and natures in the womb; the power of the
spirit begins then to appear in the body gradually and successively
according to the preparation and capacity to receive that everlasting
abundance.



SOULS ARE LIKE MIRRORS


Souls are like unto mirrors, and the bounty of God is like unto the sun.
When the mirrors pass beyond all coloring and attain purity and polish,
and are confronted with the sun, they will reflect in full perfection its
light and glory. In this condition one should not consider the mirror, but
the power of the light of the sun, which hath penetrated the mirror,
making it a reflector of the heavenly glory.



THE WORLD OF VISION


As to the question whether the souls will recognize each other in the
spiritual world: This fact is certain; for the Kingdom is the world of
vision where all the concealed realities will become disclosed. How much
more the well-known souls will become manifest. The mysteries of which man
is heedless in this earthly world, those he will discover in the heavenly
world, and there will he be informed of the secret of truth; how much more
will he recognize or discover persons with whom he hath been associated.
Undoubtedly, the holy souls who find a pure eye and are favored with
insight will, in the kingdom of lights, be acquainted with all mysteries,
and will seek the bounty of witnessing the reality of every great soul.
Even they will manifestly behold the Beauty of God in that world. Likewise
will they find all the friends of God, both those of the former and recent
times, present in the heavenly assemblage.



PRAYER IS INDISPENSABLE


O thou spiritual friend! Thou hast asked the wisdom of prayer. Know thou
that prayer is indispensable and obligatory, and man under no pretext
whatsoever is excused from performing the prayer unless he be mentally
unsound, or an insurmountable obstacle prevent him. The wisdom of prayer
is this: That it causeth a connection between the servant and the True
One, because in that state man with all heart and soul turneth his face
towards His Highness the Almighty, seeking His association and desiring
His love and compassion. The greatest happiness for a lover is to converse
with his beloved, and the greatest gift for a seeker is to become familiar
with the object of his longing; that is why with every soul who is
attracted to the Kingdom of God, his greatest hope is to find an
opportunity to entreat and supplicate before his Beloved, appeal for His
mercy and grace and be immersed in the ocean of His utterance, goodness
and generosity.

Besides all this, prayer and fasting is the cause of awakening and
mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests....



TURN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT


Know thou, that letter sent to thee by me, was only because of my perfect
love for thee and my pity upon thee, for I had the desire that the
fragrance of the Holy Spirit, which hath perfumed all regions and imbued
the entire body of the world with the Spirit of Life, should pass over
thee and abide with thee. Notwithstanding the high position it occupieth,
still, with an eloquent tongue, through which the Spirit moveth, hearts
are attracted and bosoms burn, it speaketh to the pure hearts and to the
good and righteous souls in every spot of the earth. This is the powerful
Spirit, the dazzling light, the brilliant star and the overwhelming and
universal abundance. And, from its traces, spread and divulged everywhere,
thou wilt know and realize its influence and comprehend its radiance. I
ask God to expose thee to its fragrance, move thee by its breeze, enkindle
thee by its coals of fire and illuminate thee by its brightness. Turn
thyself wholly to it—thus thou shalt be enabled to ascertain its influence
and power, the strength of its life and the greatness of its confirmation.
Verily, I say unto thee, that if for the appearance of that Divine Essence
thou desirest to have a definite proof, an indisputable testimony and a
strong, convincing evidence, thou must prepare thyself to make thy heart
empty and thine eye ready to look only toward the Kingdom of God. Then, at
that time, the radiance of that widespread effulgence will descend upon
thee successively, and that motion rendered thee by the Holy Spirit will
make thee dispense with any other strong evidence that leadeth to the
appearance of this Light, because the greatest and strongest proof for
showing the abundance of the Spirit to the bodies is the very appearance
of its power and influence in those bodies.



INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT


I now assure thee, O servant of God, that, if thy mind become empty and
pure from every mention and thought and thy heart attracted wholly to the
Kingdom of God, forget all else besides God and come in communion with the
Spirit of God, then the Holy Spirit will assist thee with a power which
will enable thee to penetrate all things, and a Dazzling Spark which
enlightens all sides, a Brilliant Flame in the zenith of the heavens, will
teach thee that which thou dost not know of the facts of the universe and
of the divine doctrine. Verily, I say unto thee, every soul which ariseth
today to guide others to the path of safety and infuse in them the Spirit
of Life, the Holy Spirit will inspire that soul with evidences, proofs and
facts and the lights will shine upon it from the Kingdom of God. Do not
forget what I have conveyed unto thee from the breath of the Spirit.
Verily, it is the shining morning and the rosy dawn which will impart unto
thee the lights, reveal the mysteries and make thee competent in science,
and through it the pictures of the Supreme World will be printed in thy
heart and the facts of the secrets of the Kingdom of God will shine before
thee.



THE INTERMEDIARY


Unless the Holy Spirit become intermediary, one cannot attain directly to
the bounties of God. Do not overlook the obvious truths, for it is a
self-evident fact that a child cannot be instructed without a teacher, and
knowledge is a bounty from the bounties of God. The soil is not covered
with grass and green without the rain of the cloud; therefore the cloud is
the intermediary between the divine bounties and the soil. A body doth not
develop and grow without the soul; therefore the soul is the medium of the
spiritual life.



THE SPIRIT OF FAITH


Now as to what thou askest concerning the spirit and its “return” to this
world of humanity and this elemental space: Know that spirit in general is
divided into five sorts—the vegetable spirit, the animal spirit, the human
spirit, the spirit of faith, and the divine spirit of sanctity.

The vegetable spirit is the virtue augmentative, or growing or vegetative
faculty, which results from the admixture of the simple elements, with the
cooperation of water, air and heat.

The animal spirit is the virtue perceptive resulting from the admixture
and absorption of the vital elements generated in the heart, which
apprehend sense-impressions.

The human spirit consists of the rational, or logical, reasoning faculty,
which apprehends general ideas and things intelligible and perceptible.

Now these “spirits” are not reckoned as Spirit in the terminology of the
Scriptures and the usage of the people of the Truth, inasmuch as the laws
governing them are as the laws which govern all phenomenal being in
respect to generation, corruption, production, change and reversion, as is
clearly indicated in the Gospel where it says: “Let the dead bury their
dead;” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born
of the Spirit is Spirit”; inasmuch as he who would bury these dead was
alive with the vegetative, animal and rational human soul, yet did
Christ—to whom be glory!—declare such dead and devoid of life, in that
this person was devoid of the spirit of faith, which is of the Kingdom of
God.

In brief, for these three spirits there is no restitution or “return,” but
they are subordinate to reversions and production and corruption.

But the spirit of faith which is of the Kingdom consists of the
all-comprehending grace and the perfect attainment and the power of
sanctity and the divine effulgence from the Sun of Truth on luminous
light-seeking essences from the presence of the divine Unity. And by this
Spirit is the life of the spirit of man, when it is fortified thereby, as
Christ saith: “That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” And this
Spirit hath both restitution and return, inasmuch as it consists of the
Light of God and the unconditioned grace. So, having regard to this state
and station, Christ announced that John the Baptist was Elias, who was to
come before Christ. And the likeness of this station is as that of lamps
kindled: for these in respect to their glasses and oil-holders, are
different, but in respect to their light, One, and in respect to their
illumination, One; nay, each one is identical with the other, without
imputation of plurality, or diversity or multiplicity or separateness.
This is the Truth and beyond the Truth there is only error.



TRIALS A GIFT FROM GOD


Thou hast written concerning the tests that have come upon thee. To the
sincere ones, tests are as a gift from God, the Exalted, for a heroic
person hasteneth, with the utmost joy and gladness, to the tests of a
violent battlefield, but the coward is afraid and trembles and utters
moaning and lamentation. Likewise, an expert student prepareth and
memorizeth his lessons and exercises with the utmost effort, and in the
day of examination he appeareth with infinite joy before the master.
Likewise, the pure gold shineth radiantly in the fire of test.
Consequently, it is made clear that for holy souls, trials are as the gift
of God, the Exalted; but for weak souls they are an unexpected calamity.
This test is just as thou hast written: it removeth the rust of egotism
from the mirror of the heart until the Sun of Truth may shine therein.
For, no veil is greater than egotism and no matter how thin that covering
may be, yet it will finally veil man entirely and prevent him from
receiving a portion from the eternal bounty.



THE MYSTERY OF SUFFERING


As to the subject of babes and infants and weak ones who are afflicted by
the hands of oppressors: This contains great wisdom and this subject is of
paramount importance. In brief, for those souls there is a recompense in
another world and many details are connected with this matter. For those
souls that suffering is the greatest mercy of God. Verily that mercy of
the Lord is far better and preferable to all the comfort of this world and
the growth and development of this place of mortality. If it be the will
of God, when thou shalt be present this will be explained in detail by
word of mouth.



BAHÁ’Í MARRIAGE


As to the question of marriage, according to the law of God: First you
must select one, and then it depends on the consent of the father and
mother. Before your selection they have no right of interference.

Bahá’í marriage is union and cordial affection between the two parties.
They must, however, exercise the utmost care and become acquainted with
each other’s character. This eternal bond should be made secure by a firm
covenant, and the intention should be to foster harmony, fellowship and
unity and to attain everlasting life...

In a true Bahá’í marriage the two parties must become fully united both
spiritually and physically, so that they may attain eternal union
throughout all the worlds of God, and improve the spiritual life of each
other. This is Bahá’í matrimony.

Among the majority of the people marriage consists of physical
relationship and this union and relationship is temporary for at the end
physical separation is destined and ordained. But the marriage of the
people of Bahá must consist of both physical and spiritual relationship
for both of them are intoxicated with the wine of one cup, are attracted
by one Peerless Countenance, are quickened with one Life and are illumined
with one Light. This is the spiritual relationship and everlasting union.
Likewise in the physical world they are bound together with strong and
unbreakable ties.

When relationship, union and concord exist between the two from a physical
and spiritual standpoint, that is the real union, therefore everlasting.
But if the union is merely from the physical point of view, unquestionably
it is temporal and at the end separation is inevitable.

Consequently when the people of Bahá desire to enter the sacred union of
marriage, eternal connection and ideal relationship, spiritual and
physical association of thoughts and conceptions of life must exist
between them, so that in all the grades of existence and all the worlds of
God this union may continue forever and ever for this real union is a
splendor of the light of the love of God.

Likewise if the souls become real believers they will find themselves
ushered into this exalted state of relationship, becoming the manifestors
of the love of the Merciful and exhilarated with the cup of the love of
God. Undoubtedly that union and relationship is eternal.

The souls who sacrifice self, become detached from the imperfections of
the realm of man and free from the shackles of this ephemeral world,
assuredly the splendors of the rays of divine union shall shine in their
hearts and in the eternal paradise they shall find ideal relationship,
union and happiness.



KINDNESS TO ANIMALS


Then, O ye friends of God! Ye must not only have kind and merciful
feelings for mankind, but ye should also exercise the utmost kindness
towards every living creature. The physical sensibilities and instincts
are common to animal and man. Man is, however, negligent of this reality
and imagines that sensibility is peculiar to mankind, therefore he
practices cruelty to the animal. In reality what difference is there in
physical sensations! Sensibility is the same whether you harm man or
animal: there is no difference. Nay, rather, cruelty to the animal is more
painful because man has a tongue and he sighs, complains and groans when
he receives an injury and complains to the government and the government
protects him from cruelty; but the poor animal cannot speak, it can
neither show its suffering nor is it able to appeal to the government. If
it is harmed a thousand times by man it is not able to defend itself in
words nor can it seek justice or retaliate. Therefore one must be very
considerate towards animals and show greater kindness to them than to man.
Educate the children in their infancy in such a way that they may become
exceedingly kind and merciful to the animals. If an animal is sick they
should endeavor to cure it; if it is hungry, they should feed it; if it is
thirsty, they should satisfy its thirst; if it is tired, they should give
it rest.

Man is generally sinful and the animal is innocent; unquestionably one
must be more kind and merciful to the innocent. The harmful animals, such
as the bloodthirsty wolf, the poisonous snake and other injurious animals
are excepted, because mercy towards these is cruelty to man, and other
animals. For instance, if you show kindness to a wolf this becomes a
tyranny to the sheep, for it may destroy an entire flock of sheep. If you
give the opportunity to a mad dog it may be the cause of the destruction
of a thousand animals and men. Therefore, sympathy to the ferocious animal
is cruelty to the peaceful animal, so they should be done away with. To
the blessed animals, however, the utmost kindness should be exercised: the
more the better it will be.

This sympathy and kindness is one of the fundamental principles of the
divine kingdom. Ye should pay great attention to this question.



ECONOMY A GREAT TREASURE


It behoveth thee to sever thyself from all desires save thy Lord, the
Supreme, expecting no help or aid from anyone in the universe, not even
from thy father or children. Resign thyself to God! Content thyself with
but little of this world’s goods! Verily, economy is a great treasure. If
one of thy relations oppress thee, complain not against him before the
magistrate; rather manifest magnificent patience during every calamity and
hardship. Verily thy Master is the Lord of Faithfulness! Forgive and
overlook the shortcomings which have appeared in that one, for the sake of
love and affection. Know that nothing will benefit thee in this life save
supplication and invocation unto God, service in His vineyard, and, with a
heart full of love, be in constant servitude unto Him.

If thy daily living become difficult, soon thy Lord will bestow upon thee
that which shall satisfy thee. Be patient in the time of affliction and
trial, endure every difficulty and hardship with a dilated heart,
attracted spirit and eloquent tongue in remembrance of the Merciful.
Verily this is the life of satisfaction, the spiritual existence, heavenly
repose, divine benediction and the celestial table! Soon thy Lord will
extenuate thy straitened circumstances even in this world.



MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD


Thou hast asked regarding the means of livelihood. Trust in God and engage
in your work and practice economy; the confirmations of God shall descend
and you will be enabled to pay off your debts. Be ye occupied always with
the mention of Bahá’u’lláh and seek ye no other hope and desire save Him.



SOCIALISM


Thou hast asked whether to enlist in the Socialist party. The Bahá’ís must
be in the Bahá’í Cause which comprehends all the degrees and is perfect
from every standpoint.



TWO METHODS OF HEALING


There are two ways of healing sickness, material means and spiritual
means. The first is by the use of remedies, of medicines; the second
consists in praying to God and in turning to Him. Both means should be
used and practiced.

Illness caused by physical accident should be treated with medical
remedies; those which are due to spiritual causes disappear through
spiritual means. Thus an illness caused by affliction, fear, nervous
impressions, will be healed by spiritual rather than by physical
treatment. Hence, both kinds of remedies should be considered. Moreover,
they are not contradictory, and thou shouldst accept the physical remedies
as coming from the mercy and favor of God, who hath revealed and made
manifest medical science so that His servants may profit from this kind of
treatment also. Thou shouldst give equal attention to spiritual
treatments, for they produce marvelous effects.

Now, if thou wishest to know the divine remedy which will heal man from
all sickness and will give him the health of the divine kingdom, know that
it is the precepts and teachings of God. Guard them sacredly.



IF THOU DESIREST HEALTH


If the health and well-being of the body be expended in the path of the
Kingdom, this is very acceptable and praiseworthy; and if it is expended
to the benefit of the human world in general—even though it be to their
material benefit and be a means of doing good—that is also acceptable. But
if the health and welfare of man be spent in sensual desires, in a life on
the animal plane, and in devilish pursuits—then disease is better than
such health; nay, death itself is preferable to such a life. If thou art
desirous of health, wish thou health for serving the Kingdom. I hope thou
mayest attain a perfect insight, an inflexible resolution, a complete
health and spiritual and physical strength in order that thou mayest drink
from the fountain of eternal life and be assisted by the spirit of divine
confirmation.



DUTY TO ATTAIN SCIENCE


Now as to what thou askest concerning giving up the scientific attainment
in Paris for the sake of confining thy days to the delivery of this Truth,
it is indeed acceptable and beloved, but if thou acquire both it would be
better and more perfect, because in this new century the attainment of
science, arts and belles lettres, whether divine or worldly, material or
spiritual, is a matter which is acceptable before God and a duty which is
incumbent upon us to accomplish. Therefore, never deny the spiritual
things to the material, rather both are incumbent upon thee. Nevertheless,
at the time when thou art working for such a scientific attainment, thou
must be controlled by the attraction of the love of thy Glorious Lord and
mindful of mentioning His splendid Name. This being the case, thou must
attain the art thou art studying to its perfection.



WORK IS WORSHIP


In this great dispensation, art (or a profession) is identical with an act
of worship and this is a clear text of the Blessed Perfection. Therefore,
extreme effort should be made in art and this will not prevent the
teaching of the people in that region. Nay, rather, each should assist the
other in art and guidance. For instance, when the studying of art is with
the intention of obeying the command of God this study will certainly be
done easily and great progress will soon be made therein; and when others
discover this fragrance of spirituality in the action itself, this same
will cause their awakening. Likewise, managing art with propriety will
become the means of sociability and affinity; and sociability and affinity
themselves tend to guide others to the Truth.



SCIENCE AS WORSHIP


Thy letter was received. Praise be to God it imparted the good news of thy
health and safety and indicated that thou art ready to enter into an
agricultural school. This is highly suitable. Strive as much as possible
to become proficient in the science of agriculture for in accordance with
the Divine Teachings, the acquisition of sciences and the perfection of
arts is considered as acts of worship. If a man engages with all his power
in the acquisition of a science or in the perfection of an art, it is as
if he has been worshipping God in the churches and temples. Thus as thou
enterest a school of agriculture and strivest in the acquisition of that
science thou art day and night engaged in acts of worship—acts that are
accepted at the threshold of the Almighty. What bounty greater than this
that science should be considered as an act of worship and art as service
to the Kingdom of God.



MUSIC


This wonderful age has rent asunder the veils of superstition and has
condemned the prejudice of the people of the East.

Among some of the nations of the Orient, music and harmony was not
approved of, but the Manifested Light, Bahá’u’lláh, in this glorious
period has revealed in Holy Tablets that singing and music are the
spiritual food of the hearts and souls. In this dispensation, music is one
of the arts that is highly approved and is considered to be the cause of
the exaltation of sad and desponding hearts.

Therefore ... set to music the verses and the divine words so that they
may be sung with soul-stirring melody in the Assemblies and gatherings,
and that the hearts of the listeners may become tumultuous and rise
towards the Kingdom of Abhá in supplication and prayer.



SEVERANCE FROM THIS WORLD


Thou hast written of the severe calamity that has befallen thee—the death
of thy respected husband. That honorable personage has been so much
subjected to the stress and pain of this world that his highest wish
became deliverance from it. Such is this mortal abode—a storehouse of
afflictions and suffering. It is negligence that binds man to it for no
comfort can be secured by any soul in this world, from monarch down to the
least subject. If once it should offer man a sweet cup, a hundred bitter
ones will follow it and such is the condition of this world. The wise man
therefore does not attach himself to this mortal life and does not depend
upon it; even at some moments he eagerly wishes death that he may thereby
be freed from these sorrows and afflictions. Thus it is seen that some,
under extreme pressure of anguish, have committed suicide.

As to him rest assured; he will be immersed in the ocean of pardon and
forgiveness and will become the recipient of bounty and favor.



CONSOLATION OF OUR HEARTS


From the death of that beloved youth due to his separation from you the
utmost sorrow and grief has been occasioned, for he flew away in the
flower of his age and the bloom of his youth, to the heavenly nest.

But as he has been freed from this sorrow-stricken shelter and has turned
his face toward the everlasting nest of the Kingdom and has been delivered
from a dark and narrow world and has hastened to the sanctified realm of
Light, therein lies the consolation of our hearts.

The inscrutable divine wisdom underlies such heart-rending occurrences. It
is as if a kind gardener transfers a fresh and tender shrub from a narrow
place to a vast region. This transference is not the cause of the
withering, the waning or the destruction of that shrub, nay rather it
makes it grow and thrive, acquire freshness and delicacy and attain
verdure and fruition. This hidden secret is well-known to the gardener,
while those souls who are unaware of this bounty suppose that the gardener
in his anger and wrath has uprooted the shrub. But to those who are aware
this concealed fact is manifest and this predestined decree considered a
favor. Do not feel grieved and disconsolate therefore at the ascension of
that bird of faithfulness, nay under all circumstances pray and beg for
that youth forgiveness and elevation of station.

I hope that you will attain to the utmost patience, composure and
resignation, and I supplicate and entreat at the Threshold of Oneness and
beg pardon and forgiveness. My hope from the infinite bounties of God is
that He may cause this dove of the garden of faith to abide on the branch
of the Supreme Concourse that it may sing in the best of tunes the praises
and the excellencies of the Lord of names and attributes.



THE UNIVERSITY OF THE KINGDOM


Thou hast written that thou art a student in the progressive spiritual
school. Happy is thy condition! If the various progressive schools join
themselves to the universal university of the Kingdom, such knowledge and
sciences will be brought into light that man will see that the
potentialities of the “Open Tablet” of existence are infinite; will
realize that all the created things are as letters and words; will be
instructed in the lessons of the degrees of significances; will perceive
the signs of oneness in the primordial atoms of the earth; will hear the
voice of the Lord of the Kingdom; will behold the confirmations of the
Holy Spirit and will find such ecstasy and joy that, being unable to
contain himself in the vast area of existence, he will prepare himself for
the journey toward the Kingdom and will hasten to the immensity of the
Realm of Might. As soon as a bird is fledged, it cannot keep itself on the
ground; nay, rather it soareth up toward the Supreme Apex—except the birds
whose feet are tied, whose wings are clipped and feathers broken and who
are soiled with water and clay.

O thou seeker of Truth! The realm of the Kingdom is a unit. The only
difference lies in this: That when the season of spring dawneth, a new and
wonderful motion and rejuvenation is witnessed in all the existing things;
the mountains and meadows are revived; the trees find freshness and
delicacy and are clothed with radiant and bright leaves, blossoms and
fruits. In a like manner the preceding Manifestations form an inseparable
link with the subsequent dispensations; nay, rather they are identical
with each other. Since the world is constantly developing itself, the rays
become stronger, the outpouring becometh greater and the sun appeareth in
the meridian orbit.

O thou yearner after the Kingdom! Each Manifestation is the heart of the
world and the proficient Physician of every patient. The world of humanity
is sick, but that skilled Physician hath the healing remedy and He
bestoweth divine teachings, exhortations and advices which are the remedy
of every ailment and the dressing for every wound. Undoubtedly, the wise
physician discovereth the needs of the patient at every season and
prescribeth medicine. Therefore, when thou wilt compare the teachings of
the Beauty of Abhá with the requisitions and necessities of the present
time, thou wilt conclude that they are to the sick body of the world the
swift healing antidote; nay, rather they are the remedy of everlasting
health. The prescription of the proficient physicians of the past and the
future will not be the same; nay, rather they will be in accord with the
ailment of the patient. Although the medicine is changed, yet all of these
are for the sole purpose of the healing of the sick. In former
dispensations the sick body of the world could not bear the strong and
overpowering remedies. That is why His Highness the Christ said: “I have
yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit,
when He, the Spirit of the Comforter, who is sent by the Father, is come,
He will guide you into all truth.” Therefore, in this age of lights,
specific teachings have become universal, in order that the outpouring of
the Merciful One environ both the East and the West, the oneness of the
kingdom of humanity become visible and the luminosity of truth enlighten
the world of consciousness. The descent of the New Jerusalem is the
heavenly religion which secures the prosperity of the human world and is
the effulgence of the illumination of the realm of God.



THE UNKNOWABLE ESSENCE


All the people have formed a god in the world of thought, and that form of
their own imagination they worship; when the fact is that the imagined
form is finite and the human mind is infinite. Surely the infinite is
greater than the finite, for imagination is accidental while the mind is
essential; surely the essential is greater than the accidental.

Therefore consider: All the sects and peoples worship their own thought;
they create a god in their own minds and acknowledge him to be the creator
of all things, when that form is a superstition—thus people adore and
worship imagination.

That Essence of the Divine Entity and the Unseen of the unseen is holy
above imagination and is beyond thought. Consciousness doth not reach It.
Within the capacity of comprehension of a produced reality that Ancient
Reality cannot be contained. It is a different world; from it there is no
information; arrival thereat is impossible; attainment thereto is
prohibited and inaccesible. This much is known: It exists and Its
existence is certain and proven—but the condition is unknown.

All the philosophers and the doctors knew that It is, but they were
perplexed in the comprehension of Its existence and were at last
discouraged, and in great despair they left this world. For the
comprehension of the condition and mysteries of that Reality of realities
and Mystery of mysteries there is need for another power and another
sense. That power and sense is not possessed by mankind, therefore they
have not found any information. For example: If a man possess the power of
hearing, the power of tasting, the power of smelling and the power of
feeling, but no power of seeing, he cannot see. Hence, through the powers
and senses present in man the realization of the Unseen Reality, which is
pure and holy above the reach of doubts, is impossible. Other powers are
needed and other senses required. If those powers and senses are obtained,
then information can be had; otherwise, not.



FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE


Regarding the “two wings” of the soul: These signify wings of ascent. One
is the wing of knowledge, the other of faith, as this is the means of the
ascent of the human soul to the lofty station of divine perfections.



KNOWLEDGE AND DEEDS


Although a person of good deeds is acceptable at the Threshold of the
Almighty, yet it is first “to know,” and then “to do.” Although a blind
man produceth a most wonderful and exquisite art, yet he is deprived of
seeing it. Consider how most animals labor for man, draw loads and
facilitate travel; yet, as they are ignorant, they receive no reward for
this toil and labor. The cloud raineth, roses and hyacinths grow; the
plain and meadow, the garden and trees become green and blossom; yet they
do not realize the results and outcome of all these. The lamp is lighted,
but as it hath not a conscious knowledge of itself, no one hath become
glad because of it. Moreover, a soul of excellent deeds and good manners
will undoubtedly advance from whatever horizon he beholdeth the lights
radiating. Herein lies the difference: By faith is meant, first, conscious
knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds.



TRAINING OF CHILDREN


As to thy question concerning training children: It is incumbent upon thee
to nurture them from the breast of the love of God, to urge them towards
spiritual matters, to turn unto God and to acquire good manners, best
characteristics and praiseworthy virtues and qualities in the world of
humanity, and to study sciences with the utmost diligence; so that they
may become spiritual, heavenly and attracted to the fragrances of sanctity
from their childhood and be reared in a religious, spiritual and heavenly
training. Verily, I beg of God to confirm them therein.



SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE


If thou wishest the divine knowledge and recognition, purify thy heart
from all beside God, be wholly attracted to the ideal, beloved One; search
for and choose Him and apply thyself to rational and authoritative
arguments. For arguments are a guide to the path and by this the heart
will be turned unto the Sun of Truth. And when the heart is turned unto
the Sun, then the eye will be opened and will recognize the Sun through
the Sun itself. Then man will be in no need of arguments (or proofs), for
the Sun is altogether independent, and absolute independence is in need of
nothing, and proofs are one of the things of which absolute independence
has no need. Be not like Thomas; be thou like Peter. I hope you will be
healed physically, mentally and spiritually.



QUALIFICATIONS OF THE ENLIGHTENED SOUL


As to the seven qualifications (of the divinely enlightened soul) of which
thou hast asked an explanation, it is as follows:

KNOWLEDGE. Man must attain the knowledge of God.

FAITH.

STEADFASTNESS.

TRUTHFULNESS. Truthfulness is the foundation of all the virtues of the
world of humanity. Without truthfulness, progress and success in all of
the worlds of God are impossible for a soul. When this holy attribute is
established in man, all the divine qualities will also become realized.

UPRIGHTNESS. And this is one of the greatest divine attainments.

FIDELITY. This is also a beautiful trait of the heavenly man.

EVANESCENCE or Humility. That is to say, man must become evanescent in
God. Must forget his own selfish conditions that he may thus arise to the
station of sacrifice. It should be to such a degree that if he sleep, it
should not be for pleasure, but to rest the body in order to do better, to
speak better, to explain more beautifully, to serve the servants of God
and to prove the truths. When he remains awake, he should seek to be
attentive, serve the Cause of God and sacrifice his own stations for those
of God. When he attains to this station, the confirmations of the Holy
Spirit will surely reach him, and man with this power can withstand all
who inhabit the earth.



ETERNAL SOVEREIGNTY


All the people of the world are, as thou dost observe, in the sleep of
negligence. They have forgotten God altogether. They are all busy in war
and strife. They are undergoing misery and destruction. They are, like
unto the loathsome worms, trying to lodge in the depth of the ground,
while a single flood of rain sweeps all their nests and lodging away.
Nevertheless, they do not come to their senses. Where is the majesty of
the Emperor of Russia? Where is the might of the German Emperor? Where is
the greatness of the Emperor of Austria? In a short time all these palaces
were turned into ruins and all these pretentious edifices underwent
destruction. They left no fruit and no trace, save eternal ruin.

The souls who have been enlightened with the light of the Kingdom,
however, have founded eternal sovereignty. They shine, like unto the
stars, upon the horizon of everlasting glory. The Apostles were fishers.
Consider thou to what a high station they did rise; and to what great
sovereignty they did attain, whose duration and permanence runs to
eternity! Mary Magdalen was a peasant woman. She was without any name and
fame or consequence. But her candle is, in the assemblage of the world,
lighted till eternity.



CONFIRMATION AND ASSISTANCE


It is known and clear that today the unseen divine assistance encompasseth
those who deliver the Message. And if the work of delivering the Message
be neglected, the assistance shall be entirely cut off, for it is
impossible that the friends of God could receive assistance unless they be
engaged in delivering the Message. Under all conditions the Message must
be delivered, but with wisdom. If it be not possible openly, it must be
done quietly. The friends should be engaged in educating the souls and
should become instruments in aiding the world of humanity to acquire
spiritual joy and fragrance. For example: If every one of the friends
(believers) were to establish relations of friendship and right dealings
with one of the negligent souls, associate and live with him with perfect
kindliness, and meanwhile through good conduct and moral behavior lead him
to divine instruction, to heavenly advice and teachings, surely he would
gradually arouse that negligent person and would change his ignorance into
knowledge.

Souls are liable to estrangement. Such methods should be adopted that the
estrangement should be first removed, then the Word will have effect.

If one of the believers be kind to one of the negligent ones and with
perfect love should gradually make him understand the reality of the Cause
of God in such a way that the latter should know in what manner the
Religion of God hath been founded and what its object is, doubtless he
will become changed; excepting abnormal souls who are reduced to the state
of ashes and whose hearts are like stones, yea, even harder.

If by this method every one of the friends of God were to try to lead one
soul to the right path, the number of the believers would be doubled every
year. But this should be carried out with perfect wisdom and in such a
manner that no harm would ever result therefrom.



THIS WORLD A MIRAGE


O beloved of God! Know ye that the world is like unto a mirage which the
thirsty one thinks to be water; its water is a vapor; its mercy a
difficulty; its repose hardship and ordeal; leave it to its people and
turn unto the Kingdom of your Lord the Merciful. Thus the lights of mercy
and beneficence may shine upon you, the heavenly table descend for you,
your Lord may bestow upon you the greatest gifts and favors, whereby your
breasts may become dilated, your hearts gladdened, your souls purified,
and your eyes enlightened.

O beloved of God! Is there any giver save God? He chooseth for His mercy
whomsoever He desireth.

He shall open unto you the doors of His knowledge, fill your hearts with
His love, rejoice your spirits by the wafting of His holy fragrances,
illumine your faces by the Manifest Light and elevate your names among the
people.



PROTECTION OF THE BAHÁ’ÍS


Throughout these years of disturbance and commotion when the world of
humanity was physically and spiritually afflicted, the friends of God
passed the day in rest, ease and comfort. In the western countries only a
few shared in the hardship and affliction of other souls while the mass of
the friends and the maid-servants of the Merciful ... have been living
quietly and peacefully. In the Orient every nation became distracted and
every gathering dispersed save the friends of God who remained all
protected and sheltered from every trouble and calamity in the Fort of
Bahá’u’lláh’s protection. Verily this is a divine miracle—that we
helpless, friendless, unprotected, unsupported wanderers in these regions
should be saved amidst the fire of oppression and tyranny. This is God’s
miracle.



THE RETURN OF CHRIST


In the day of Christ all nations were expecting that His Holiness Christ
should come from heaven, and He came from heaven, though outwardly He came
from the womb of Mary. Hence, He hath said in the Gospels: “No one shall
ascend to heaven except the one who hath come from heaven.” Now all the
people expect Him to come from heaven.

If thou wishest to find the truth, compare the days of the Manifestation
of the Beauty of Abhá with the days of Christ; consider this is
identically like that and the same doubts and oppositions are put forth.

As to the proofs and arguments of the Beauty of Abhá, these are manifest
like the sun. If thou wishest a discerning eye and seekest for a hearing
ear, set thou aside that which thou hast heard from fathers and ancestors,
for such things are imitation—and then seek for the truth with the utmost
attention until the divine confirmation may reach thee and the matter may
be properly disclosed unto thee.



ETERNAL LIFE


Concerning thy question whether all the souls enjoy eternal life: Know
thou those souls partake of the eternal life in whom the spirit of life is
breathed from the Presence of God and all beside them are dead—without
life, as Christ hath explained in the texts of the Gospel. Any person
whose insight is opened by God seeth the souls in their stations after the
disintegration of the bodies. Verily they are living and are subsisting
before their Lord and he seeth also the dead souls submerged in the gulfs
of mortality. Then know thou verily all the souls are created according to
the nature of God and all are in the state of purity at the time of their
births. But afterward they differ from one another insofar as they acquire
excellencies or defects. Nevertheless, the creatures have different
degrees in existence insofar as the creation goes, for capacities are
different, but all of them are good and pure, then afterward they are
polluted and defiled. Although there are different states of creation, yet
all of them are beneficial. Glance thou over the temple of man, its
members and its parts. Among them there are the eye, ear, nose, mouth,
hands and fingers. Notwithstanding the differences between these organs,
all of them are useful in their proper spheres. But if one of them is out
of order, there is need of a remedy and if the medicine does not heal,
then the amputation of that member becomes necessary.



SPREADERS OF CALUMNY


In sooth, there will be found in those regions certain persons like the
Pharisees of the time of Christ, who, night and day, will exert themselves
with all heart and soul to cast forth doubts, in order that they may
deprive the souls of the glad-tidings of the Holy Spirit. They will
disseminate false rumors and utter many a calumny and will publish and
announce stories. They will undertake all these only for the sake of
earthly vanities.

And some Pharisees among the missionaries of the Gospel will hasten
thither from Írán and say, “We are aware of the secret of the matter.” All
they may say is sheer slander.

Now know you these things, that in its time you may dispel and annihilate
the darkness of those suspicions, like unto a manifest light. I beg of God
that He may grant thee a power that thou mayest resist all in the
earth—how much more these weak, hired individuals who receive salary and
bribe for spreading such calumnies!

Be ye admonished, O possessors of understanding!



THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST


The body is composed, in truth, of corporeal elements and every
composition is necessarily subject to decomposition; but the spirit is an
essence, simple, pure, spiritual, eternal, perpetual and divine. He who
seeketh Christ from the point of view of His body hath, in truth, debased
Him and hath gone astray from Him; but he who seeketh Christ from the
point of view of His Spirit will grow from day to day in joy, attraction,
zeal, proximity, perception and vision.

Thou hast then to seek the Spirit of Christ in this marvelous day. The
heaven whither Christ ascended is not an infinite space. His heaven is
much rather the kingdom of His Lord, the Munificent. As He said, “The Son
of Man is in heaven.” It is known then that His heaven is beyond the
boundaries that surround existence and that He is elevated for the people
who adore.

Pray God to ascend to this heaven, to taste of its food—and know thou that
the people have not understood to this day the mystery of the Holy
Scriptures. They believe that Christ was deprived of His heaven when He
was in this world, that He had fallen from the heights of His elevation
and that later He ascended to this elevated pinnacle—that is to say,
towards the heaven which doth not exist, for there is only space. They
expect that He will descend from this heaven seated upon a cloud. They
believe that there is in the heavens a cloud upon which He will be seated
and by which He will descend; while, in reality, the clouds are vapors
which rise from the earth and which do not descend from the heavens. The
cloud mentioned in the Holy Scriptures is the human body, because it is a
veil for them, like a cloud, which prevents them from seeing the Sun of
Truth which is shining in the horizon of Christ.



SALVATION


You ask if, through the appearance of the kingdom of God, every soul hath
been saved. The Sun of Reality hath appeared to all the world. This
luminous appearance is salvation and life; but only he who hath opened the
eye of reality and who hath seen these lights will be saved.



THE SPIRITUAL CHURCH


Thou hast questioned how thou canst accept this divine Cause, for thou art
a member of the church. In the day of the Manifestation of Christ, many
souls became portionless and deprived because they were members of the
Holy of Holies in Jerusalem. According to that membership, they became
veiled from that brilliant Beauty. Therefore, turn thou thy face to the
Church of God which consists in divine instructions and merciful
exhortations. For what similarity is there between the church of stone and
cement and the celestial Holy of Holies!

Endeavor that thou mayest enter in this Church of God. Although thou has
given oath to attend the church, yet thy spirit is under the Covenant and
Testament of the spiritual Divine Church. Thou shouldst protect this.
Although they consider the wine and the bread in the church as the blood
and body of Christ, yet this is but the appearance and not the reality.
But the reality of Christ is the words of the Holy Spirit. If thou art
able, take a portion thereof.

The performance of baptismal celebration would cleanse the body, but the
spirit hath no share; but the divine teachings and the exhortations of the
Beauty of Abhá will baptize the soul. This is the real baptism. I hope
that thou wilt receive this baptism.



THE SUPPER OF THE LORD


The Supper of the Lord which His Highness the Spirit ate with the apostles
was a heavenly supper and not one of material bread and water, for
material objects have no connection with spiritual objects. As at that
time material food was also present, therefore the leaders of the religion
of Christ thought that it was material food which was changed into
spiritual food.

The proof that it was not material food is this: The apostles upon many
occasions partook of material food with His Highness Christ, yet the
supper of that night became designated as the “Lord’s Supper.” From this
designation it is plain and evident that they ate heavenly food at that
supper. That heavenly food consisted of the love of God, the knowledge of
God, the mysteries of God and the bestowal of God.



UNDERSTANDING THE MYSTERIES


Shouldst thou come with the whole of thy being to God and be attracted to
the lights of the Kingdom of God and be enkindled by the fire of the love
of God, then wilt thou see that which thou canst not see today, wilt
comprehend the inner significance of the Word of God and thoroughly
understand the mysteries contained in the holy Books.

But as to the Jewish doctors, Christian priests and monks who read those
Books, verily, they know the letter only and they utter the words, as
parrots, without understanding their inner meanings. They comprehend them
not, because they are engrossed in worldly desires and lusts and their
hearts are attached to mundane allurements. Verily, are they not heedless
of God and understand nothing and find not the right path?



REINCARNATION


As to what thou hast written concerning “Reincarnation”: Believing in
reincarnation is one of the old tenets held by most nations and creeds, as
well as by the Greek and Roman philosophers and wise men, the old
Egyptians and the chief Assyrians. But all these sayings and superstitions
are vanity in the sight of God.

The greatest argument produced by those who held to reincarnation has been
this: “That it is necessary to the justice of God to give every one his
due. Now everybody who is afflicted by any calamity is said to have
sinned; but when a little child, which is still in the womb of its mother
and hath just been formed, is found to be blind, deaf or imperfect, how
could it have committed any sin that we might say this imperfection is
given to it as a punishment therefor—so, though such a child hath not done
outwardly any sin in the womb of its mother, yet they say it must have
sinned when it was in its former body, which hath caused it to suffer this
punishment.”

Indeed, these people have been negligent of the fact that had the creation
been carried out in a uniform fashion, how could the statement be true,
that “God doeth whatever He wisheth and God doeth whatever He desireth!”

Though the fact of “Return” is mentioned in the Divine Books, by this is
intended the return of the qualities, characters, perfections, truths and
lights, which re-appear in every age, and not of certain persons and
souls. For example: If we say this lamp is the return of that of last
night, or that the last year’s flower hath returned in the garden, in this
sense the return of the individual, or identity, or personality is not
meant; nay, rather, it is intended that the same qualities and states
existing in that lamp or flower, which are now seen in this lamp or
flower, have returned. That is, the same perfections and virtues and
properties which existed in the past springtime have returned during this
present springtime. For instance: When one says, these fruits are the same
as those of last year; in this sense, he hath reference to the freshness
and delicacy of the fruit, which hath returned, although there is no doubt
that the identical fruit of last year hath not returned.

Have the friends of God found such enjoyments and repose during their
existence on this visible earth, that they might wish to have their return
renewed and repeated constantly? Are all these calamities, injuries,
trials and difficulties of the once coming not sufficient for them that
they should wish a repeated life in this world? Hath this cup been of such
sweetness that they should long for it successively and repeatedly? No!
the friends of the Beauty of El-Bahá never seek any recompense or reward
except the meeting and the visit in the Kingdom of El-Bahá; and they never
walk but in the valley of desire to attain the Supreme Height. They only
wish the immortal blessing and the eternal gift, which are sanctified
above the worldly understanding.

Because, when thou lookest with the iron sight, thou wilt find that all
mankind is suffering in this earthly world; there is no one in such
tranquillity that this state might have been a reward for his good deeds
in a former life and there is no soul so happy that this might be the
fruit of his past pain! Had the life of a man in his spiritual being been
only confined to his life in this world, the creation would have proved
useless; the divine qualities would have no result and effect; nay, all
things, created beings and the world of creation would have proved
abortive. I ask pardon of God for such false imaginations and for such
errors!

As the usefulness and powers of the life were not seen in that dark and
narrow world, but when it is brought into this vast world, all the use of
its growth and development becometh manifest and obvious in it, so
likewise, reward and punishment, paradise and hell, and the requital of
deeds and actions done by it in the present life become manifest and
evident when it is transferred to the world to come—which is far from this
world! Had the life and growth of the child in the womb been confined to
that condition, then the existence of the child in the womb would have
proved utterly abortive and unintelligible; as would the life of this
world, were its deeds, actions and their results not to appear in the
world to come.

Therefore, know thou that the True One possesseth invisible worlds which
human meditation is unable to comprehend and the intellect of man hath no
power to imagine. When thou wilt purify and clarify thy spiritual nostrils
from every worldly moisture, then thou wilt inhale the holy fragrances
diffusing from the merciful gardens of these worlds.



THIS GLAD-TIDINGS


O my friend, verily the Cause is great and great, and the penetration of
the Word of God in the temple of all the regions is similar to the
pervasion of the soul in a sound body.

By the life of Bahá, verily, the power of the Kingdom of God hath taken
hold of the pillars of the world, and hath possessed all the nations. Thou
wilt surely find the standards of the Testament waving in all regions, the
chanting of the verses of unity raised in exalted assemblies, and the
lights of the Sun of Truth and its heat dispersing the thick clouds massed
on the horizon. Be rejoiced at this glad-tidings, whereby the hearts of
the sincere among the beloved are cheered.



CONSIDER THE PAST


Consider the past, so that thou mayest become informed of the mysteries
which shall be disclosed in the future. When the disciples were calling in
the name of Christ, the Jews scoffed, scorned and laughed at them. They
were saying, “They are taken with madness, and madness is made an art.”
They even beat them with whips, threw stones at them, prevented the people
from approaching them, and were saying, “This man is naught but a
sorcerer, blasphemeth God and is possessed of a devil.”

Then observe how that persecution and scorn were changed to glory, honor
and reverence. Ultimately, they honored their sublime stations and
acknowledged their loftiness, which was exalted, promoted and glorified in
the center of the horizons until it reached the degree of exaggeration in
deeds. They made for them likenesses and pictures, decorated with jewels
shining in the eyes; they placed these likenesses or pictures in the
temples, churches and monasteries built on the tops of the mountains, and
worshipped them with respect, glory, majesty and reverence. This is the
condition of the neglectful ones who are deprived of the Truth at the day
of their existence among them. After the ascension of their spirits unto
the center of purity and piety, then the negligent ones repent and return,
making likenesses and pictures according to their own ideas, which do not
bear resemblance, and worship the same. This is the station of the
ignorant ones who are as animals, following every croaker and shaken by
every wind. “Forsake them to play in their shallow waters.”



THIS BRANCH WILL ASCEND


O maid-servant of God! This prison is indeed more precious and sweet than
a garden to me, this fetter is greater than any liberty and the
confinement is broader than the most spacious wilderness. Therefore,
grieve not on this account. Verily, if my Lord destine unto me and causes
me to taste the sweetness of the cup of the great martyrdom, my greatest
desire will be fulfilled. Fear not if this Branch be severed from the
material earth and cast aside the leaves—nay, rather, its leaves will
flourish, for this Branch will grow after it is cut from the earth, will
ascend until it shelters the universe, its foliage will reach the supreme
Apex and bear fruits, imparting fragrant perfume unto the world.



AFTER THIS STORM


O ye beloved of God! When the winds blow severely, rains fall fiercely,
the lightning flashes, the thunder roars, the bolt descends and storms of
trial become severe, grieve not; for after this storm, verily, the divine
spring will arrive, the hills and fields will become verdant, the expanses
of grain will joyfully wave, the earth will become covered with blossoms,
the trees will be clothed with green garments and adorned with blossoms
and fruits. Thus blessings become manifest in all countries. These favors
are results of those storms and hurricanes.

The discerning man rejoiceth at the day of trials, his breast becometh
dilated at the time of severe storms, his eyes become brightened when
seeing the showers of rain and gusts of wind, whereby trees are uprooted;
because he foreseeth the result and the end, the leaves, blossoms and
fruits; while the ignorant person becometh troubled when he seeth a storm,
is saddened when it raineth severely, is terrified by the thunder and
trembleth at the surging of the waves which storm the shores.

As ye have heard of the former times, when Christ—glory be to
Him!—appeared, a storm of trials arose, afflictions appeared, the winds of
tests blew, the thunder of temptation descended and hosts of people
surrounded the houses of the friends; then the weak ones were shaken and
were misled after once being guided; but the disciples withstood the
hardships and endured the storms of ordeals, remaining firm in the
Religion of God. Then observe that which occurred after the storm and what
appeared subsequent to that severity, whereby the members trembled.

God changed the sorrow to joy, the destructive darkness of calamity into
the shining light from the Supreme Concourse. The people at the beginning
persecuted and reviled the believers in God and said of them: “These are
the people of aberration.” Then, when their light appeared, their stars
shone and their lamps illuminated, the people returned into love and
affinity; they prayed to them, offered words of glory night and day and
remembered them in eulogy, reverence, honor and majesty.

Therefore, O ye beloved of God, be not grieved when people stand against
you, persecute you, afflict and trouble you and say all manner of evil
against you. The darkness will pass away and the light of the manifest
signs will appear, the veil will be withdrawn and the Light of Reality
will shine forth from the unseen Kingdom of El-Abhá. This we inform you
before it occurs, so that when the hosts of people arise against you for
my love, be not disturbed or troubled; nay, rather, be firm as a mountain,
for this persecution and reviling of the people upon you is a pre-ordained
matter. Blessed is the soul who is firm in the path!



THE CENTER


The light hath a center and if one desire to seek it otherwise but from
the center, he can never attain to it. In this solar system the source of
light is the sun and every light is acquired from it; even the lamps of
the night are ignited through the sun, for if there were no sun the trees
would not grow nor the mines develop, so that the oil be extracted from
those trees and mines, and the lamps of the night be lit by it. Is it
possible that one attain to the light in this globular sphere without the
mediation of the sun? No, by the life of God! To suppose it, is pure
imagination. But the truth is this: The main source of the lights is the
sun and the rays are shed from it upon all the regions.



MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL EDUCATION


The republic of wise men believes that the difference in minds and
opinions is due to the difference of education and the acquisition of
ethics. That is, that minds are equal in origin, but education and the
acquisition of ethics cause minds to differ and comprehensions to be at
variance; that this difference is not in entity but in education and
teaching; that there is no individual distinction for any soul. Hence, the
members of the human race all possess the capacity of attaining to the
highest station, and the proof they adduce therefor is this: “The
inhabitants of a country like Africa are all as wandering savages and wild
animals; they lack intelligence and knowledge; all are uncivilized; not
one civilized and wise man is to be found among them. On the contrary,
consider the civilized countries, the inhabitants of which are living in
the highest state of culture and ethics, solidarity and inter-dependence;
possessing, with few exceptions, acute power of comprehension and sound
mind. Therefore, it is made clear and evident that the superiority and
inferiority of minds and comprehensions arises from education and
cultivation, or from their lack and absence. A bent branch is straightened
by training and the wild fruit of the jungle is made the product of the
orchard. An ignorant man by learning becomes knowing, and the world of
savagery, through the bounty of a wise educator, is changed into a
civilized kingdom. The sick is healed by medication, and the poor man, by
learning the arts of commerce, is made rich. The follower, by attaining
the virtues of the leader, becomes great, and the lowly man, by the
education of the teacher, rises from the nadir of oblivion to the zenith
of celebrity.” These are the proofs of the wise men.

The prophets also acknowledge this opinion, towit: That education hath a
great effect upon the human race, but they declare that minds and
comprehensions are originally different. And this matter is self-evident;
it cannot be refuted. We see that certain children of the same age,
nativity and race, nay, from the same household, under the tutorship of
one teacher, differ in their minds and comprehensions. One advanceth
rapidly, another is slow in catching the rays of culture, still another
remaineth in the lowest degree of stupidity.

No matter how much the shell is educated, it can never become the radiant
pearl. The black stone will not become the world illuming gem. The
calocynth and the thorny cactus can never by training and development
become the blessed tree. That is to say, training doth not change the
human gem, but it produceth a marvelous effect. By this effective power
all that is registered latent of virtues and capacities in the human
reality will be revealed.

Cultivation by the farmer maketh of the grain the harvest, and the effort
of the gardener maketh of the seed a noble tree. The gentle teacher
promoteth the children of the school to the lofty altitude and the
bestowal of the trainer placeth the little child upon the throne of ether.
Therefore, it is demonstrated and proven that minds are different in the
original entity or nature, and that education commandeth a decided and
great influence. Were there no educator, all souls would remain savage,
and were it not for the teacher, the children would be ignorant creatures.

It is for this reason that, in this New Cycle, education and training are
recorded in the Book of God as obligatory and not voluntary. That is, it
is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with all
effort to train the daughter and the son, to nurse them from the breast of
knowledge and to rear them in the bosom of sciences and arts. Should they
neglect this matter, they shall be held responsible and worthy of reproach
in the presence of the stern Lord.

This is a sin unpardonable, for they have made that poor babe a wanderer
in the Sahara of ignorance, unfortunate and tormented; to remain during a
lifetime a captive of ignorance and pride, negligent and without
discernment. Verily, if that babe depart from this world at the age of
infancy, it is sweeter and better. In this sense, death is better than
life; deprivation than salvation; non-existence lovelier than existence;
the grave better than the palace; and the narrow, dingy tomb better than
the spacious, regal home; for in the sight of mankind that child is abased
and degraded and in the sight of God weak and defective. In gatherings it
is ashamed and humiliated and in the arena of examination subdued and
defeated by young and old. What a mistake is this! What an everlasting
humiliation!

Therefore, the beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful must
train their children with life and heart and teach them in the school of
virtue and perfection. They must not be lax in this matter; they must not
be inefficient. Truly, if a babe did not live at all it were better than
to let it grow ignorant, for that innocent babe, in later life, would
become afflicted with innumerable defects, responsible to and questioned
by God, reproached and rejected by the people. What a sin this would be
and what an omission!

The first duty of the beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful
is this: They must strive by all possible means to educate both sexes,
male and female; girls like boys; there is no difference whatsoever
between them. The ignorance of both is blameworthy, and negligence in both
cases is reprovable. “Are they who know and they who do not know equal?”

The command is decisive concerning both. If it be considered through the
eye of reality, the training and culture of daughters is more necessary
than that of sons, for these girls will come to the station of motherhood
and will mold the lives of the children. The first trainer of the child is
the mother. The babe, like unto a green and tender branch, will grow
according to the way it is trained. If the training be right, it will grow
right, and if crooked, the growth likewise, and unto the end of life it
will conduct itself accordingly.

Hence, it is firmly established that an untrained and uneducated daughter,
on becoming a mother, will be the prime factor in the deprivation,
ignorance, negligence and the lack of training of many children.

O ye beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful! Teaching and
learning, according to the decisive texts of the Blessed Beauty, is a
duty. Whosoever is indifferent therein depriveth himself of the great
bounty.

Beware! Beware! that ye fail not in this matter. Endeavor with heart, with
life, to train your children, especially the daughters. No excuse is
acceptable in this matter.

Thus may eternal glory and everlasting supremacy, like unto the mid-day
sun, shine forth in the assemblage of the people of Bahá, and the heart of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá become happy and thankful.



CHAPTER NINE: THE DIVINE PLAN



THE CAUSE OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH


The Cause of Bahá’u’lláh is the same as the Cause of Christ. It is the
same Temple and the same Foundation. Both of these are spiritual
springtimes and seasons of the soul-refreshing awakening and the cause of
the renovation of the life of mankind. The spring of this year is the same
as the spring of last year. The origins and ends are the same. The sun of
today is the sun of yesterday. In the coming of Christ, the divine
teachings were given in accordance with the infancy of the human race. The
teachings of Bahá’u’lláh have the same basic principles, but are according
to the stage of the maturity of the world and the requirements of this
illumined age.



THE COMMUNITY OF THE GREATEST NAME


O ye Cohorts of God! Today in the present world each community is
wandering in a wilderness, moving in accord with some passion and desire,
and running to and fro in pursuance of his own imagination. Among the
communities of the world, this community of the “Most Great Name” is free
from every thought, keeping aloof from every project and scheme, arising
with the purest designs and intentions, and striving and endeavoring with
the utmost hope to live in accordance with the divine teachings in order
that the surface of the earth become the delectable paradise, the nether
world become the mirror of the Kingdom, the universe become another
universe, and the human race attain to higher morals, conduct and manners.

O ye Cohorts of God! Through the protection and help of the Blessed
Perfection—may my life be a sacrifice to His beloved ones! —you must
conduct and deport yourselves in such a manner that you may stand out
among other souls distinguished by a brilliancy like unto the sun. If any
one of you enters a city he must become the center of attraction because
of the sincerity, faithfulness, love, honesty, fidelity, truthfulness and
loving-kindness of his disposition and nature toward all the inhabitants
of the world, that the people of the city may all cry out: “This person is
unquestionably a Bahá’í; for his manners, his behavior, his conduct, his
morals, his nature and his disposition are of the attributes of the
Bahá’ís.” Until you do attain to this station, you have not fulfilled the
Covenant and the Testament of God. For according to the irrefutable texts,
He has taken from us a firm covenant that we may live and act in accord
with the divine exhortations, commands and lordly teachings.

O ye Cohorts of God! Now is the time when the signs and the perfections of
the “Most Great Name” become manifest and clear in this golden cycle in
order that it may become demonstrated and established beyond doubt that
this period is the period of the Blessed Perfection, and this cycle is
distinguished from all other cycles and epochs.



GOD LOVETH THOSE WHO WORK IN GROUPS


O ye friends of God! Today is the day of union and this age is the age of
harmony in the world of existence. “Verily, God loveth those who are
working in His path in groups, for they are a solid foundation.” Consider
ye that he says “in groups,” united and bound together, supporting one
another. “To work,” mentioned in this holy verse, does not mean, in this
greatest age, to perform it with swords, spears, shafts and arrows, but
rather with sincere intentions, good designs, useful advices, divine
moralities, beautiful actions, spiritual qualities, educating the public,
guiding the souls of mankind, diffusing spiritual fragrances, explaining
divine illustrations, showing convincing proofs and doing charitable
deeds. When the holy souls, through the angelic power, will arise to show
forth these celestial characteristics, establishing a band of harmony,
each of these souls shall be regarded as one thousand persons and the
waves of this greatest ocean shall be considered as the army of the hosts
of the Supreme Concourse.

What a great blessing it is when the torrents, streams, currents, tides,
and drops are all gathered in one place! They will form a great ocean and
the real harmony shall overcome and reign in such a manner that all the
rules, laws, distinctions and differences of the imaginations of these
souls shall disappear and vanish like little drops and shall be submerged
in the ocean of spiritual unity. By the Ancient Beauty, in this case and
condition, the blessings of the great ocean will overflow and canals shall
become as spacious as an endless ocean and each drop shall become as a
boundless sea!

O ye friends of God! Strive to attain to this high and sublime station and
show forth such a brightness in these days that its radiance may appear
from the eternal horizons. This is the real foundation of the Cause of
God; this is the essence of the divine doctrine; this is the cause of the
revelation of the heavenly Scriptures; this is the means of the appearance
of the Sun of the divine world; this is the way of the establishment of
God upon the bodily throne.



THE DIVINE SHEPHERD


Every flock of the sheep of God which is protected under the shadow of the
Divine Shepherd will not be scattered, but when the sheep are dispersed
from the flock, they will necessarily be caught and torn by the wolf.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to flock together! It is incumbent
upon you to be united! It is incumbent upon you to expose yourselves to
the fragrances of God at every time and moment!



THE FUNDAMENTAL AIM


The aim of the appearance of the Blessed Perfection—may my life be a
sacrifice for His beloved ones!—was the unity and agreement of all the
people of the world. Therefore, my utmost desire, firstly, is the accord
and union and love of the believers and after that of all the people of
the world. Now, if unity and agreement is not established among the
believers, I will become heartbroken and the afflictions will leave a
greater imprint upon me. But if the fragrance of love and unity among the
believers is wafted to my nostrils, every trial will become a mercy, every
unhappiness a joy, every difficulty an expansion, every misery a treasure
and every hardship a felicity.



THIS MEETING IS BLESSED


Praise be to God! that ye are gathered in one assembly like unto the stars
of the Pleiades, are illumined with the light of the knowledge of God and
through the outpouring of the cloud of the love of God, ye are the fresh
flowers of the meadow and plain; ye are intimate and familiar with
infinite unity and love.

Therefore, this meeting is blessed. But if it is firmly established and
become constant, it will bring forth great results and most weighty
developments will be attained. Consequently, persevere ye in renewing your
meetings and display utmost magnanimity in firmness and steadfastness.
When the root of the tree of the garden is well established and its
protection is safeguarded, it will bring forth luscious fruits.

Likewise, when the regiment of an army and the individuals of a cohort are
united and related with ease, untold triumphs will be acquired. But if
they come together one day and disperse another day, no fruits will be
produced.

Therefore, as ye have prepared an army of heaven and become the host of
life, ye must continue to hold meetings, have spiritual communications, be
firm in resolution, steadfast in purpose and be constant and persevering
so that ye may win celestial conquests.



THE SPIRITUAL ELECTION


The blessed letter indicating the election of the Spiritual Meeting was
received and proved a source of joy. Thank God, the beloved of that city,
in perfect unity, love and oneness, held the new election and were
confirmed and strengthened to elect such holy souls as are near the divine
Threshold and known by the republic of the beloved to be firm and
steadfast in the Covenant.

Now they (the members) must, in perfect spirit and fragrance, in sincerity
of heart, in attraction by the fragrances of God and by the confirmations
of the Holy Spirit, engage in service; in the promotion of the Word of
God; the diffusion of the fragrances of God; the training of souls; the
promulgation of the Most Great Peace. They must raise the Banner of
Guidance and become the host of the Supreme Concourse.

Indeed, blessed souls have been elected. When I read their names,
spiritual joy was immediately realized, for, praise be to God! certain
souls have appeared in that continent who are servants of the Kingdom,
self-sacrificing ones of the Peerless Majesty.

O ye friends of mine! Illuminate the meeting with the light of the love of
God, make it joyful and happy through the melody of the Kingdom of
Holiness, and with heavenly food and through the “Lord’s Supper” confer
life.



THE HOUSE OF JUSTICE


O thou party who art assisted by the hosts of the Kingdom of El-Abhá!

Blessed are ye who are assembled in the shadow of the Word of God, who are
abiding in the cave of the Covenant of God, who are comforted by dwelling
in the Paradise of El-Abhá, who are cheerfully moved with the breezes
which blow from the point of the providence of God, and who have arisen to
render service to the Cause of God, to promulgate the Religion of God, to
promote the Word of God and to hoist the standards of sanctity in those
regions and climes.

By the life of El-Bahá! Verily, the perfect and divine power will breathe
in you with bounties from the Holy Spirit and enable you to accomplish a
thing the like of which hath never been seen by the eye of existence.

O party of the Covenant! Verily, the Beauty of El-Bahá hath promised the
most great assistance to the beloved who are firm in the Covenant and to
confirm them through the mightiest power. Ye will surely find in your
luminous assembly such signs as will shine within hearts and souls. Adhere
to the hem of the robe of the Lofty One and do your best to spread the
Covenant of God and to be kindled with the fire of the love of God, so
that your hearts may move with joy through the fragrances of humbleness
which are being diffused from the heart of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Make feet firm,
strengthen hearts and rely upon the everlasting bounties which will
successively pour on you from the Kingdom of El-Abhá. Know, verily, the
lights of Bahá will shine forth unto you during your gathering together in
the brilliant Paradise.

It is incumbent on you to have union and harmony. It is incumbent upon you
to have affinity and accord, so that ye may become united in body and soul
as the Pleiades, and as strings of brilliant pearls. Thereby your
foundation will be laid, your argument will become manifest, your stars
will beam forth and your souls will be comforted.

Whenever ye enter the council-chamber, recite this prayer with a heart
throbbing with the love of God and a tongue purified from all but His
remembrance, that the All-Powerful may graciously aid you to achieve
supreme victory:—

“O God, my God! We are servants of Thine that have turned with devotion to
Thy Holy Face, that have detached ourselves from all beside Thee in this
glorious Day. We have gathered in this spiritual assembly, united in our
views and thoughts, with our purposes harmonized to exalt Thy Word amidst
mankind. O Lord, our God! Make us the signs of Thy Divine Guidance, the
Standards of Thy exalted Faith amongst men, servants to Thy mighty
Covenant. O Thou our Lord Most High! Manifestations of Thy Divine Unity in
Thine Abhá Kingdom, and resplendent stars shining upon all regions. Lord!
Aid us to become seas surging with the billows of Thy wondrous Grace,
streams flowing from Thy all-glorious Heights, goodly fruits upon the Tree
of Thy heavenly Cause, trees waving through the breezes of Thy Bounty in
Thy celestial Vineyard. O God! Make our souls dependent upon the Verses of
Thy Divine Unity, our hearts cheered with the outpourings of Thy Grace,
that we may unite even as the waves of one sea and become merged together
as the rays of Thine effulgent Light; that our thoughts, our views, our
feelings may become as one reality, manifesting the spirit of union
throughout the world. Thou art the Gracious, the Bountiful, the Bestower,
the Almighty, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”

The signature of that meeting should be the Spiritual Gathering (House of
Spirituality) and the wisdom is that hereafter the government should not
infer by the term “House of Justice” that a court is signified, that it is
connected with political affairs, or that at any time it will interfere
with governmental affairs.

Hereafter, enemies will be many. They would use this subject as a cause
for disturbing the mind of the government and confusing the thoughts of
the public. The intention was to make known that by the term Spiritual
Gathering (House of Spirituality), that Gathering has not the least
connection with material affairs, and that its whole aim and consultation
is confined to matters connected with spiritual affairs.



OBEDIENCE TO THE ASSEMBLY


In this day, the gathering of a board for consultation is of great
importance and a great necessity. For all, obedience to it is a necessity,
especially because the members (of it) are the hands of the Cause.

So they (members) must confer and consult in such a way that neither
disagreement nor abhorrence may occur. When meeting for consultation, each
must use perfect liberty in stating his views and unveiling the proof of
his demonstration. If another contradicts him, he must not become excited
because if there be no investigation or verification of questions and
matters, the agreeable view will not be discovered neither understood. The
brilliant light which comes from the collision of thoughts is the
“lightener” of facts.

If all views are in harmony at the end of a conference, it will be
excellent; but if, God forbid! disagreement occurs, then the decision must
be according to the greater number in harmony. If, after reaching the
result, one or other of the members does not agree with it, neither of the
other members nor any one must argue with or reproach him, but keep
silence; then they will write to this Servant.

None (of the members of the board) must spread the matters or methods
pertaining to the conference. At the opening of the conference they are to
ask God for special assistance and help and for their Ruler and his
assistants and for the Governors of the country.

During the conference no hint must be entertained regarding political
affairs. All conferences must be regarding the matters of benefit, both as
a whole and individually, such as the guarding of all in all cases, their
protection and preservation, the improvement of character, the training of
children, etc.

If any person wishes to speak of government affairs, or to interfere with
the order of Governors, the others must not combine with him because the
Cause of God is withdrawn entirely from political affairs; the political
realm pertains only to the Rulers of those matters: it has nothing to do
with the souls who are exerting their utmost energy to harmonizing
affairs, helping character and inciting (the people) to strive for
perfections. Therefore no soul is allowed to interfere with (political)
matters, but only in that which is commanded.



‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ IS PRESENT


Thou hast written concerning the meetings and the gathering places of the
believers of God. Such assemblies and congregations will greatly aid the
promotion of the Word—and all the audience, whether friends or not
friends, become affected. But when the friends have the intention of
entering in these meetings and assemblies, they must first make the
purpose pure, disengage the heart from all other reflections, ask the
inexhaustible divine confirmation and with the utmost devotion and
humility set their feet in the gathering-place. Let them not introduce any
topic in the meeting except the mentioning of the True One, neither must
they confuse that merciful assembly with perplexed outside questions. They
must either teach or open their tongues in propounding argument, either
commune or supplicate and pray to God, either read Tablets or give out
advices or exhortations.

Make ye an effort in every meeting that the Lord’s Supper may become
realized and the heavenly food descend. This heavenly food is knowledge,
understanding, faith, assurance, love, affinity, kindness, purity of
purpose, attraction of hearts and the union of souls. It was this manner
of the Lord’s Supper which descended from the heavenly kingdom in the day
of Christ. When the meeting is conducted after this manner, then
‘Abdu’l-Bahá also is present in heart and soul, though His body may not be
with you.



THE CENTER OF DECISION


If any differences of opinion may arise in those regions you must keep
yourself entirely aloof and show forth love and kindness to all, saying it
is better to refer to the ordained Center all the affairs. Whatever He
commands that very thing is acceptable and beloved. You must be satisfied
with this. Strife is the cause of the dispersion of the Word of God.
Whatever I say and write, that is the duty of all to comply with. Beside
that no other word is permitted.

Regarding the establishment of the board of translation. This matter is
yet a theory, but its realization depends upon many affairs which are far
from attainment at present. Until these affairs are realized, the board of
translation will not find an outward expression.

The most great work to accomplish is this:—that ye must strive so that the
believers of God in America may arise to union and concord. The most
important feat in this day is harmony and agreement. No soul must
interfere with another and no one must find fault with the rest. Praise be
to God that all of them are believers in the Beauty of Abhá, and
‘Abdu’l-Bahá is glad and happy on that account. But they must arise to
perform good deeds according to divine instructions, so that they may
guide the people with heavenly actions and manners:—to such an extent that
all the inhabitants of the world may draw conclusions from their behavior
and deeds, that these persons are Bahá’ís. For the manifestation of such
deeds and actions from anybody else except Bahá’ís is impossible and
impracticable.

This is the foundation of the religion of God and the law of God! Blessed
is the one who practices them!



THE BASIS OF UNION


Organize ye Spiritual Assemblies; lay ye the foundation of union and
concord in this world; destroy ye the fabric of strife and war from the
face of the earth; construct ye the temple of harmony and agreement;
enkindle ye the light of the realm of the oneness of humanity; open ye
your eyes; gaze and behold ye the other world! The kingdom of peace,
salvation, uprightness and reconciliation is founded in the invisible
world, and it will by degrees become manifest and apparent through the
power of the Word of God!

I supplicate God that ye may become the army of that kingdom, in order
that by the power of the Most Great Name, the friends of God may conquer
this world through love, friendship and the strength of the Kingdom of
peace; the human race become compassionate, and bloodshed and carnage be
completely effaced from the universe.

The spirit of truth is soaring on the supreme apex, like unto a bird, in
order that it may discover a severed heart and alight therein and make its
nest.

I hope that all the friends become manifestors of knowledge and the
centers of merciful feelings. Each of them become like unto an angel and
radiate heavenly deeds, thoughts and actions.



THE SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY


Thy letter was received. Thou hast written of the organization of an
assembly in that city. Look not at the small number; nay, rather seek the
pure hearts. One holy soul is better than one thousand other souls. If a
few souls gather together in a beloved meeting with the feelings of the
Kingdom, with the divine attractions, with pure hearts and with absolute
purity and holiness, to consort in spirit and fragrance, that gathering
will have its effect upon all the world. The conditions, the words and the
deeds of that gathering will lead a world to eternal happiness and will be
an evidence of the favors of the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit will strengthen
them and the hosts of the Supreme Concourse will render them victorious
and the angels of Abhá will come in succession. By angels is meant the
divine confirmations and heavenly powers. Angels are also those holy souls
who have severed attachment to the earthly world, who are free from the
fetters of self and passion and who have attached their hearts to the
divine realm and the merciful kingdom. They are of the kingdom, heavenly;
they are of the merciful One, divine. They are the manifestations of the
divine grace and the dawns of spiritual bounty.

The spiritual meetings, which are organized in this cycle of God and this
divine century, have never had their simile or likeness in bygone cycles.
For the great meetings were under the protection of aristocratic men,
while these meetings are under the protection of the bounty of El-Abhá.
The helper or supporter of those was either a prince or a king; either a
priest was the principal, or a great republic; but the helper, the
assistant, the confirmer and the inspirer of these spiritual meetings is
His Majesty the everlasting God.

Consider not the present condition, but rather foresee the future and the
end. A seed in the beginning is very small, but in the end a great tree.
One should not consider the seed, but the tree and its abundance of
blossoms, leaves and fruits.

Consider the days of Jesus, when there was only a small body of people,
and then observe the great tree which grew from that seed and what an
abundant fruit it produced. This is greater than that, forasmuch as it is
the calling of the Lord of Hosts and the voice of the trumpet of the
living God; it is the summons unto the harmony and unison of the world,
and it is the banner of faithfulness, trustworthiness and friendship among
the different nations and sects of the universe; it is the light of the
Sun of Truth and the spirituality of the Majestic One. Verily this great
cycle will encompass all the horizons and ultimately all the nations will
gather together under this standard.

O ye who are firm in the Covenant!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá is constantly engaged in ideal communication with any
Spiritual Assembly which is instituted through the divine bounty, and the
members of which are in the utmost devotion turning to the divine kingdom
and are firm in the Covenant. To them He is heartily attached and with
them He is linked by everlasting ties. Thus correspondence with them is
sincere, constant and uninterrupted.

The Spiritual Assemblies which are organized for the sake of teaching the
truth, whether Assemblies for men, Assemblies for women or mixed
Assemblies are all accepted and are conducive to the spreading of the
fragrances of God. This is essential. Likewise the public meetings in
which one day during the week the believers gather to be engaged in the
commemoration of God, to read Communes and deliver effective speeches is
acceptable and beloved. But now is not the time—it is utterly impossible
to establish the House of Justice which is mentioned in the Book of Aqdas,
nay rather it is impracticable and not to be thought of, that is for the
time when the Cause is proclaimed and the Commands have become effective.
Therefore now is not the time for the House of Justice, which must be
established by general election. Its mention is not permissible and its
realization impossible.

Endeavor ye as much as possible that differences may not arise in the
affairs; let not every insignificant matter become the cause of
disagreement. If such conditions exist the end will be complete
dispersion. The believers and maid-servants of the Merciful must all
consider how to produce harmony, so that the unity of the human world may
be realized, not that every wholly unimportant subject become conducive to
differences of opinion.

It is my hope that the friends and the maid-servants of America become
united on all subjects and not disagree at all. If they agree upon a
subject, even though it be wrong, it is better than to disagree and be in
the right, for this difference will produce the demolition of the divine
foundation. Though one of the parties may be in the right and they
disagree that will be the cause of a thousand wrongs, but if they agree
and both parties are in the wrong, as it is in unity the truth will be
revealed and the wrong made right.

The members of the Spiritual Meeting must endeavor, by the power of the
Holy Spirit, to make the souls real Bahá’ís. If they attain this glorious
purpose, that country will be illumined and that land will become a
veritable paradise, all nations will look to that assembly and from the
explanation and exposition thereof receive realities and meanings.

Trust no man save him whose breast hath been dilated by God through the
light of faith, whom God hath confirmed in His religion, and who is
severed from all else save God and attracted by His fragrances.

In future, of course, certain people will come to you claiming faith; do
not believe them nor trust them, unless after critical examination, search
and investigation, and a long period of waiting, they shall appear to be
faithful and truthful in word, confident in heart, attracted in spirit,
pure in intention, patient in hardship, enduring the most severe tests;
then associate with them. Because some sects will send certain men to
mingle with you in order to throw suspicion upon those who are weak,
therefore avoid them carefully. But let such be hidden that you may not
become a cause of hindrance.

Thou hast written regarding the articles and papers which are written by
the believers of God and the forwarding of them to this land for
correction. This servant, on account of the multitude of works and
occupations, hath no time whatever to attend to this matter. If these
articles are read in the spiritual assembly of each city in America and
the printing and spreading of them is advised and approved by the
assembly, it is acceptable. This permission is granted so that those souls
do not become disappointed and may be engaged in the composition and
printing of instructive papers.



MERCY AND JUSTICE


The foundation of the Kingdom of God is laid upon justice, fairness,
mercy, sympathy and kindness to every soul. Then strive ye with heart and
soul to practice love and kindness to the world of humanity at large,
except to those souls who are selfish and insincere. It is not advisable
to show kindness to a person who is a tyrant, a traitor or a thief because
kindness encourages him to become worse and does not awaken him. The more
kindness you show to a liar the more he is apt to lie, for he thinks that
you know not, while you do know, but extreme kindness keeps you from
revealing your knowledge.



INTER-ASSEMBLY UNION


The Spiritual Meeting of men and the Spiritual Meeting of women in Chicago
are indeed endeavoring to serve. If they unite, as they should, they will
produce great results. Especially, if the Spiritual Meetings of Chicago
unite with those of New York and become bound together, in a short while
the fragrance of the divine garden, which giveth life, will perfume all
regions.

The Spiritual Meeting of Consultation of New York must be in the utmost
union and harmony with the Spiritual Meeting of Consultation of Chicago,
and that which they deem advisable to publish, these two Meetings of
Consultation must unitedly approve of it and deem its publication
advisable. Then the Meeting of Consultation must send one copy thereof to
Akká, in order that it may be also approved of here and then returned, and
that then it may be printed and published.

That the two Spiritual Meetings of Chicago and New York must be in unity
and harmony is very important, and when a Spiritual Meeting may be also
organized in Washington in a befitting manner, these two meetings must be
also in unity and harmony with that meeting.

To be brief, it hath been decided by the desire of God that union and
harmony may day by day increase among the friends of God and the
maid-servants of the Merciful One, in the West. Not until this is realized
will the affairs advance by any means whatever! And the greatest means for
the union and harmony of all is Spiritual Meetings. This matter is very
important and is as a magnet for divine confirmation. If the beauty of
this Divine Beloved One—that is, unity of believers—does appear in the
ornament of the Kingdom of Abhá, it is certain that those countries will,
in a short time, become the Paradise of Abhá and the light of unity and
singleness will shine upon the whole world from the West. We are
endeavoring with all heart and soul, have no rest night and day, nor a
moment of tranquillity, so that we may make the world of humanity the
mirror of the divine unity; how much more the beloved of God! And this
wish and hope shall appear and shine forth at that time when the true
friends of God may arise and act in accord with the teachings of the
Beauty of Abhá—may my life be a sacrifice to His beloved ones! One of the
teachings is that love and faithfulness must so prevail in the hearts that
men may see the stranger as a friend, the sinner as an intimate fellow,
may count enemies as allies, regard foes as loving comrades, call their
executioner the giver of life, consider the denier as a believer and the
unbeliever as a faithful one—that is, men must behave in such a manner as
may befit the believers, the faithful, the friend and the confidant. If
this lamp may shine in a befitting manner in the assemblage of the world
you will find that the regions will become fragrant and the world become a
delectable paradise, the surface of the earth will become an excellent
garden, the world will become as one home, the different nations will
become as one kind, and the peoples and nationalities of the East and West
will become as one household. I hope such a day may come and such lights
may dawn and such a Countenance may appear in the utmost beauty.

O ye dear friends of mine! The Assemblies of those regions must be
connected with one another and must communicate with each other. Even
communicate with the Assemblies of the East, so that this may become the
means of the great unity and concord.



THE MASHRIQU’L-ADHKÁR


Ye have written regarding the erection of the Temple and the purchase of
the ground, or the finding of a place to be as a home for the gathering of
the believers. At this moment that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is immersed in the ocean
of calamities, this news caused him joy and happiness, that—praise be to
God!—the friends and the maid-servants of the Merciful are thinking to
serve the Kingdom of God.

Concerning the erection of the Temple: Now all the believers must become
united, so that the Temple may be built soon in one place. For should the
believers undertake the erection of the Temple in many places, it will not
become completed anywhere; and as in Chicago they have preceded every
other place to plan the erection of the Temple, undoubtedly to cooperate
and help them is nobler and a necessity. Then, when it is built in one
place, it will become erected in many other places. If, for the present,
you prepare or establish a home in New York, though by renting it, to
become a center for the gathering of the believers of God, it is very
acceptable. God willing, in all the states of America in the future there
will be erected Temples with infinite architectural beauty, art, with
pleasing proportion and handsome and attractive appearances; especially in
New York. But for the present, be ye satisfied with a rented place.

O friends of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His co-sharers and partners in the servitude
of the Lord of Hosts! Verily the greatest affair and the most important
matter today is to establish a Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár and to found a Temple
from which the voice of praisings may rise to the Kingdom of the majestic
Lord. Blessings be upon you for having thought to do so and intending to
erect such an edifice, advancing all in devoting your wealth in this great
purpose and in this splendid work. You will soon see the angels of
confirmation following after you and the hosts of reinforcement crowding
before you.

When the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár is accomplished, when the lights are
emanating therefrom, the righteous ones are presenting themselves therein,
the prayers are performed with supplication towards the mysterious
Kingdom, the voice of glorification is raised to the Lord, the Supreme,
then the believers shall rejoice, the hearts shall be dilated and overflow
with the love of the All-living and Self-existent God. The people shall
hasten to worship in that heavenly Temple, the fragrances of God will be
elevated, the divine teachings will be established in the hearts like the
establishment of the Spirit in mankind; the people will then stand firm in
the Cause of your Lord, the Merciful. Praise and greetings be upon you.

Now the day has arrived in which the edifice of God, the divine sanctuary,
the spiritual temple, shall be erected in America! I entreat God to assist
the confirmed believers in accomplishing this great service and with
entire zeal to rear this mighty structure which shall be renowned
throughout the world. The support of God will be with those believers in
that district that they may be successful in their undertaking, for the
Cause is great and great; because this is the first Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár
in that country and from it the praise of God shall ascend to the Kingdom
of Mystery and the tumult of His exaltation and greetings from the whole
world shall be heard!

Whosoever arises for the service of this building shall be assisted with a
great power from His Supreme Kingdom and upon him spiritual and heavenly
blessings shall descend, which shall fill his heart with wonderful
consolation and enlighten his eyes by beholding the glorious and eternal
God!

The contribution that thou hast made to the Temple is beloved. The Temple
is the most great foundation of the world of humanity and it hath many
branches. Although the Temple is the place of worship, with it is
connected a hospital, pharmacy, pilgrims’ house, school for the orphans,
and a university for the study of high sciences. Every Temple is connected
with these five things. I hope that now in America they will build a
Temple and gradually add to it the hospital, school, university, pharmacy
and pilgrims’ house with the utmost efficiency and thoroughness. Thou
shouldst make known to the believers these details, so that they may
realize how important the Temple is. The Temple is not only a place for
worship; nay, it is perfect in every way.

Thy letter hath arrived and the contents have given glad-tidings that the
ground for the Temple hath been bought and also told about the meeting
which was held concerning the needs for the Temple. From this news great
fragrance and joy were produced. Thanks be to God that thou hast helped to
establish a meeting for this purpose. I hope that the members of this
meeting will become the receivers of the divine benevolence and be aided
by the heavenly assistances. But consult with the House of Spirituality of
Chicago. Ye must all be perfectly united and harmonious until, through
this harmony, ye may perpetually receive help from the Kingdom of God.

Concerning the members of this spiritual meeting, you suggested that they
be selected from all the spiritual meetings of the other cities of
America. I quite approve and am very much pleased with this plan. This
will become the cause of harmony in the Word in all America. Therefore,
ask every spiritual meeting in the other cities that they will each select
one and send him, and from these selected ones and with those who are
selected from the Chicago meeting, establish a new meeting for the
provision of the needs of the Temple. If this be established with perfect
fragrance and joy, it will produce great results. In this new meeting,
especially for the establishment of the Temple, women are also to be
members.

Give to all the divine friends the glad-tidings of the boundless heavenly
blessings and tell them that the glances of the eyes of Providence are
upon them and the perfect favor and bounty are descending upon them.

Thy detailed letter was received. Its contents indicated that thou didst
travel in the cities of America and visited the friends of God until thou
didst reach the general Convention held in Chicago for the building of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár. In thy letter thou hast written in praise and
commendation of the illumination of that Convention. Truly I say, the
Convention of the Bahá’í delegates in Chicago was a heavenly gathering and
confirmed by Divine Assistance.

The splendor of the Kingdom of Abhá shone forth and the soul-refreshing
breeze wafted from the direction of Providence.

It was an effulgence from the rays of the Sun of Truth that the friends of
God gathered in that illumined Assembly with the utmost love, unity and
concord. The intentions of every one were reinforced by divine
confirmation, the aim of every one was service in the Cause of God,
servitude in the Threshold of the Almighty and the erection of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár. The results of that Convention in the future will
be far-reaching and most important, and evident signs shall become
manifest. As it was the first general Convention in America, it displayed
wonderful influence. The gathering of that illumined Assembly in such a
short space of time would have been impossible without the power of the
divine Covenant and Testament. But the Covenant has such a great sway that
it astonishes the minds. In every region the sign of the power of the
Convention is apparent and manifest.

For instance, in Írán the fire of revolution blazed in such wise that all
communities, government and nations, became afflicted with the most severe
trials; but the power of the Covenant protected the Bahá’í friends to such
a degree that in this turbulent storm no dust fell upon them, except in
one locality, which became the cause of the spreading of the Religion of
God and the diffusion of the Word of God. Now all the parties in Írán are
wondering how the people of Bahá were guarded and protected. Praise be to
God that in Ṭihrán and all the provinces of Írán the Call of God has been
raised, the Ensign of the Covenant has been unfurled, the cry of
“Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá!” has been heard and the melody of the Kingdom of Abhá
has been promulgated among the people of intelligence....

Thou hast written concerning the organization of a council for the
building of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár. This news brought much spirit and
fragrance, for the nine delegates, sent by the various assemblies,
gathered in that meeting and consulted concerning the building of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár.

The Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár is the most important matter and the greatest
divine institute. Consider how the first institute of His Holiness Moses,
after His exodus from Egypt, was the “Tent of Martyrdom” which He raised
and which was the traveling Temple. It was a tent which they pitched in
the desert, wherever they abode, and worshipped in it. Likewise, after His
Holiness Christ—may the spirit of the world be a sacrifice to Him!—the
first institute by the disciples was a Temple. They planned a church in
every country. Consider the Gospel and the importance of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár will become evident.

In fine, I hope that all the beloved of God, collectively, in the
continent of America, men and women, will strive night and day until the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár be erected in the utmost solidity and beauty.



THE COLLECTIVE CENTER OF THE KINGDOM


TO THE ASSEMBLIES AND MEETINGS OF THE BELIEVERS OF GOD AND THE
MAID-SERVANTS OF THE MERCIFUL IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA: Upon them
be Bahá’u’lláh El-Abhá!

HE IS GOD!

O ye heavenly souls, sons and daughters of the Kingdom!

God says in the Qur’án: “Take ye hold of the Cord of God, all of you, and
become ye not disunited.”

In the contingent world there are many collective centers which are
conducive to association and unity between the children of men. For
example, patriotism is a collective center; nationalism is a collective
center; identity of interests is a collective center; political alliance
is a collective center; the union of ideals is a collective center, and
the prosperity of the world of humanity is dependent upon the organization
and promotion of the collective centers. Nevertheless, all the above
institutions are in reality, the matter and not the substance, accidental
and not eternal—temporary and not everlasting. With the appearance of
great revolutions and upheavals, all these collective centers are swept
away. But the Collective Center of the Kingdom, embodying the Institutes
and Divine Teachings, is the eternal Collective Center. It establishes
relationship between the East and the West, organizes the oneness of the
world of humanity, and destroys the foundation of differences. It
overcomes and includes all the other collective centers. Like unto the ray
of the sun, it dispels entirely the darkness, encompassing all the
regions, bestows ideal life, and causes the effulgence of divine
illumination. Through the breaths of the Holy Spirit it performs miracles;
the Orient and the Occident embrace each other, the North and South become
intimates and associates; conflicting and contending opinions disappear;
antagonistic aims are brushed aside, the law of the struggle for existence
is abrogated, and the canopy of the oneness of the world of humanity is
raised on the apex of the globe, casting its shade over all the races of
men. Consequently, the real Collective Center is the body of the divine
teachings, which include all the degrees and embrace all the universal
relations and necessary laws of humanity.

Consider! The people of the East and the West were in the utmost
strangeness. Now to what a high degree they are acquainted with each other
and united together! How far are the inhabitants of Írán from the remotest
countries of America! And now observe how great has been the influence of
the heavenly power, for the distance of thousands of miles has become
identical with one step! How various nations that have had no relations or
similarity with each other are now united and agreed through this divine
potency! Indeed to God belongs power in the past and in the future! And
verily God is powerful over all things!

Consider! When the rain, the heat, the sun and the gentle zephyrs
cooperate with each other, what beautiful gardens are produced! How the
various kinds of hyacinths, flowers, trees and plants associate with each
other and are conducive to the adornment and charm of one another! Hence
the oneness of the bounty of the sun, the oneness of rain and the oneness
of the breeze have so overcome all other considerations, that the variety
of hues, fragrances and tastes have increased the adornment, the
attraction and sweetness of the whole. In a similar manner, when the
divine Collective Center and the outpouring of the Sun of Reality and the
breaths of the Holy Spirit are brought together, the variety of races and
the differences existing between countries will become the cause of the
embellishment, decoration and elegance of the world of humanity.

Therefore, the believers of God throughout all the Republics of America,
through the divine power, must become the cause of the promotion of
heavenly teachings and the establishment of the oneness of humanity. Every
one of the important souls must arise, blowing over all parts of America
the breath of life conferring upon the people a new spirit, baptizing them
with the fire of the love of God, the water of life, and the breaths of
the Holy Spirit—so that the second birth may become realized. For it is
written in the Gospel: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that
which is born of the spirit is spirit.”

Therefore, O ye believers of God in the United States and Canada! Select
ye important personages, or that they by themselves, becoming severed from
rest and composure of the world, may arise and travel throughout Alaska,
the Republic of Mexico, and south of Mexico, in the Central American
Republics, such as Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica,
Panama and Belize; and through the great South American Republics, such as
Argentine, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, French Guiana, Dutch Guiana, British
Guiana, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile; also in the group of
the West Indies Islands such as Cuba, Haiti, Porto Rico, Jamaica and Santo
Domingo, and the group of Islands of the Lesser Antilles, the Islands of
Bahama and the Islands of Bermuda; likewise to the Islands of the east,
west and south of South America, such as Trinidad, Falkland Islands,
Galapago Islands, Juan Fernandez and Tobago. Visit ye especially the city
of Bahia, on the eastern shore of Brazil. Because in the past years this
city was christened with the name, Bahia, there is no doubt that it has
been through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Consequently, the believers of God must display the utmost effort, upraise
the divine melody throughout those regions, promulgate the heavenly
teachings and waft over all, the spirit of eternal life; so that those
Republics may become so illumined with the splendors and the effulgences
of the Sun of Reality that they may become the objects of the praise and
commendation of all other countries. Likewise, ye must give great
attention to the Republic of Panama, for in that point the Occident and
the Orient find each other united through the Panama Canal, and it is also
situated between the two great oceans. That place will become very
important in the future. The Teachings once established there, they will
unite the East and the West, the North and the South.

Hence the intention must be purified, the effort ennobled and exalted, so
that ye may establish affinity between the hearts of the world of
humanity. This glorious aim will not become realized save through the
promotion of divine teachings which are the foundations of the holy
religions.

Consider how the religions of God served the world of humanity! How the
religion of Torah became conducive to the glory and honor and progress of
the Israelitish nation! How the breaths of the Holy Spirit of His Holiness
Christ created affinity and unity between divergent communities and
quarreling families! How the sacred power of His Holiness Muḥammad became
the means of uniting and harmonizing the contentious tribes and the
different clans of Peninsular Arabia—to such an extent that one thousand
tribes were welded into one tribe, strife and discord was done away with,
all of them unitedly and with one accord strove in advancing the cause of
culture and civilization, and thus were freed from the lowest degree of
degradation, soaring toward the height of everlasting glory! Is it
possible to find a greater Collective Center in the phenomenal world than
this? In comparison to this Divine Collective Center, the national
collective center, the patriotic collective center, the political
collective center, and the cultural and intellectual collective center are
like child’s play!

Now strive ye that the Collective Center of the sacred religions, for the
inculcation of which all the Prophets were manifested and which is no
other than the spirit of the Divine Teachings,—be spread in all parts of
America—so that each one of you may shine forth from the horizon of
Reality like unto the morning star, divine illumination may overcome the
darkness of nature, and the world of humanity may become enlightened. This
is the most great work! Should ye become confirmed therein, this world
will become another world, the surface of the earth will become the
delectable Paradise, and eternal Institutions be founded.

Let whosoever travels to different parts to teach, peruse over mountain,
desert, land and sea this supplication!

O God! O God! Thou seest my weakness, lowliness and humility amongst Thy
creatures; nevertheless I have trusted on Thee and have arisen in the
promotion of Thy Teachings amongst Thy strong servants, relying on Thy
power and might!

O Lord! I am a broken-winged bird and desire to soar in this Thy space to
which there is no limit. How is it possible for me to do this save through
Thy providence and grace, Thy confirmation and assistance!

O Lord! Have pity on my weakness and strengthen me with Thy power!

O Lord! Have pity on my impotency and assist me with Thy might and
majesty!

O Lord! Should the breaths of the Holy Spirit confirm the weakest of
creatures, he shall attain to the highest station of greatness and shall
possess anything he desireth. Indeed Thou hast assisted Thy servants in
the past, and they were the weakest of Thy creatures, the lowliest of Thy
servants and the most insignificant of those who lived upon the earth; but
through Thy sanction and potency they took precedence over the most
glorious of Thy people and the most noble of Thy mankind. Whereas formerly
they were as moths, they became royal falcons and whereas before they were
as bubbles they became seas. Through Thy bestowal, Thy mercy and Thy most
great favor, they became stars shining in the horizon of guidance, birds
singing in the rose garden of immortality, lions roaring in the forest of
knowledge and wisdom, and whales swimming in the oceans of life.

Verily, Thou art the clement, the powerful, the mighty, and the most
merciful of the merciful!



BAHÁ’U’LLÁH THE LORD OF HOSTS


TO THE BELIEVERS OF GOD AND THE MAID-SERVANTS OF THE MERCIFUL OF THE
BAHÁ’Í ASSEMBLIES IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA: Upon them be
Bahá’u’lláh El-Abhá!

HE IS GOD!

O ye apostles of Bahá’u’lláh,—May my life be a ransom to you!

The blessed Person of the Promised One is interpreted in the Holy Book as
the Lord of Hosts, i.e., the heavenly armies. By heavenly armies those
souls are intended who are entirely freed from the human world,
transformed into celestial spirits and have become divine angels. Such
souls are the rays of the Sun of Reality who will illumine all the
continents. Each one is holding in his hand a trumpet, blowing the breath
of life over all the regions. They are delivered from human qualities and
the defects of the world of nature, are characterized with the
characteristics of God, and are attracted with the fragrances of the
Merciful. Like unto the apostles of Christ, who were filled with Him,
these souls also have become filled with His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, i.e.,
the love of Bahá’u’lláh has so mastered every organ, part and limb of
their bodies, as to leave no effect by the promptings of the human world.

These souls are the armies of God and the conquerors of the East and the
West. Should one of them turn his face toward some direction and summon
the people to the Kingdom of God, all the ideal forces and lordly
confirmations will rush to his support and reinforcement. He will behold
all the doors open and all the strong fortifications and impregnable
castles razed to the ground. Singly and alone he will attack the armies of
the world, defeat the right and left wings of the hosts of all the
countries, break through the lines of the legions of all the nations and
carry his attack to the very center of the powers of the earth. This is
the meaning of the Hosts of God.

Any soul from among the believers of Bahá’u’lláh who attains to this
station, will become known as the Apostle of Bahá’u’lláh. Therefore strive
ye with heart and soul—so that ye may reach this lofty and exalted
position, be established on the throne of everlasting glory, and crown
your heads with the shining diadem of the Kingdom, whose brilliant jewels
may irradiate upon centuries and cycles.

O ye kind friends! Uplift your magnanimity and soar high toward the apex
of heaven—so that your blessed hearts may become illumined more and more,
day by day, through the Rays of the Sun of Reality, i.e., His Holiness
Bahá’u’lláh; at every moment the spirits may obtain a new life, and the
darkness of the world of nature may be entirely dispelled—thus ye may
become incarnate light and personified spirit, become entirely unaware of
the sordid matters of this world and in touch with the affairs of the
divine world.

Consider ye what doors His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has opened before you, and
what a high and exalted station He has destined for you, and what bounties
He has prepared for you! Should we become intoxicated with this cup, the
sovereignty of this globe of earth will become lower in our estimation
than the children’s plays. Should they place in the arena the crown of the
government of the whole world, and invite each one of us to accept it,
undoubtedly we shall not condescend, and shall refuse to accept it.

To attain to this supreme station is, however, dependent on the
realization of certain conditions.

The first condition is firmness in the Covenant of God. For the power of
the Covenant will protect the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh from the doubts of the
people of error. It is the fortified fortress of the Cause of God and the
firm pillar of the religion of God. Today no power can conserve the
oneness of the Bahá’í world save the Covenant of God; otherwise
differences like unto a most great tempest will encompass the Bahá’í
world. It is evident that the axis of the oneness of the world of humanity
is the power of the Covenant and nothing else. Had the Covenant not come
to pass, had it not been revealed from the Supreme Pen and had not the
Book of the Covenant, like unto the ray of the Sun of Reality, illuminated
the world, the forces of the Cause of God would have been utterly
scattered and certain souls who were the prisoners of their own passions
and lusts would have taken into their hands an axe, cutting the root of
this Blessed Tree. Every person would have pushed forward his own desire
and every individual aired his own opinion! Notwithstanding this great
Covenant, a few negligent souls galloped with their chargers into the
battlefield, thinking perchance they might be able to weaken the
foundation of the Cause of God: but praise be to God, all of them were
afflicted with regret and loss, and ere long they shall see themselves in
poignant despair. Therefore, in the beginning one must make his steps firm
in the Covenant—so that the confirmations of Bahá’u’lláh may encircle from
all sides, the cohorts of the Supreme Concourse may become the supporters
and the helpers, and the exhortations and advices of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, like
unto the pictures engraved on stone, may remain permanent and ineffaceable
in the tablets of the hearts.

The second condition: Fellowship and love amongst the believers. The
divine friends must be attracted to and enamored of each other and ever be
ready and willing to sacrifice their own lives for each other. Should one
soul from amongst the believers meet another, it must be as though a
thirsty one with parched lips has reached to the fountain of the water of
life, or a lover has met his true beloved. For one of the greatest divine
wisdoms regarding the appearance of the Holy Manifestations is this: The
souls may come to know each other and become intimate with each other; the
power of the love of God may make all of them the waves of one sea, the
flowers of one rose garden and the stars of one heaven. This is the wisdom
for the appearance of the Holy Manifestations! When the most great
bestowal reveals itself in the hearts of the believers, the world of
nature will be transformed, the darkness of the contingent being will
vanish, and heavenly illumination will be obtained. Then the whole world
will become the Paradise of Abhá, every one of the believers of God will
become a blessed tree, producing wonderful fruits.

O ye friends! Fellowship, fellowship! Love, love! Unity, unity! —So that
the power of the Bahá’í Cause may appear and become manifest in the world
of existence. Just at this moment I am engaged in your commemoration and
this heart is in the utmost glow and excitement! Were ye to realize how
this conscience is attracted with the love of the friends, unquestionably
ye would obtain such a degree of joy and fragrance that ye would all
become enamored with each other!

The third condition: Teachers must continually travel to all parts of the
continent, nay, rather, to all parts of the world, but they must travel
like ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who journeyed throughout the cities of America. He was
sanctified and free from every attachment and in the utmost severance.
Just as His Holiness Christ says: “Shake off the very dust from your
feet.”

Ye have observed that while in America many souls in the utmost of
supplication and entreaty desired to offer some gifts, but this servant,
in accord with the exhortations and behests of the Blessed Perfection,
never accepted a thing, although on certain occasions we were in most
straitened circumstances. But on the other hand, if a soul for the sake of
God, voluntarily and out of his pure desire, wishes to offer a
contribution (toward the expenses of a teacher) in order to make the
contributor happy, the teacher may accept a small sum, but must live with
utmost contentment.

The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart
independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution
firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch.
Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock;
otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not
perfected, how can he efface the defects of others! Unless he is detached
from aught else save God, how can he teach the severance to others!

In short, O ye believers of God! Endeavor ye; so that ye may take hold of
every means in the promulgation of the religion of God and the diffusion
of the fragrances of God.

Amongst other things is the holding of the meetings for teaching—so that
blessed souls and the old ones from amongst the believers may gather
together the youths of the love of God in schools of instruction and teach
them all the divine proofs and irrefragable arguments, explain and
elucidate the history of the Cause, and interpret also the prophecies and
proofs which are recorded and are extant in the divine Books and Epistles
regarding the Manifestation of the Promised One, so that the young ones
may go in perfect knowledge in all these degrees.

Likewise, whenever it is possible a committee must be organized for the
translation of the Tablets. Wise souls who have mastered and studied
perfectly the Íránian, Arabic and foreign languages, or know one of the
foreign languages—must commence translating Tablets and books containing
the proofs of this Revelation, and publishing those books, circulate them
throughout the five continents of the globe.

Similarly, the Magazine, the Star of the West must be edited in the utmost
regularity, but its contents must be the promulgator of the Cause of
God—so that both in the East and the West, they may become informed of the
most important events.

In short, in all the meetings, whether public or private, nothing should
be discussed save that which is under consideration, and all the articles
be centered around the Cause of God. Promiscuous talks must not be dragged
in and contention is absolutely forbidden.

The teachers traveling in different directions must know the language of
the country in which they will enter. For example, a person being
proficient in the Japanese language may travel in Japan, or a person
knowing the Chinese language may hasten to China, and so forth.

In short, after this universal war, the people have obtained extraordinary
capacity to hearken to the divine teachings, for the wisdom of this war is
this: That it may become proven to all that the fire of war is
world-consuming, whereas the rays of peace are world-enlightening. One is
death, the other is life; this is extinction, that is immortality; one is
the most great calamity, the other is the most great bounty; this is
darkness, that is light; this is eternal humiliation and that is
everlasting glory; one is the destroyer of the foundation of man, the
other is the founder of the prosperity of the human race.

Consequently, a number of souls may arise and act in accordance with the
aforesaid conditions, and hasten to all parts of the world, especially
from America to Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, and travel through
Japan and China. Likewise, from Germany teachers and believers may travel
to the continents of America, Africa, Japan and China; in brief, they may
travel through all the continents and islands of the globe. Thus in a
short space of time, most wonderful results will be produced, the banner
of Universal Peace will be waving on the apex of the world and the lights
of the oneness of the world of humanity may illumine the universe.

In brief, O ye believers of God! The text of the Divine Book is this: If
two souls quarrel and contend about a question of the Divine questions,
differing and disputing, both are wrong. The wisdom of this
incontrovertible law of God is this: That between two souls from amongst
the believers of God, no contention and dispute might arise; that they may
speak with each other with infinite amity and love. Should there appear
the least trace of controversy, they must remain silent, and both parties
must continue their discussions no longer, but ask the reality of the
question from the Interpreter. This is the irrefutable command!



THE MASTER’S LAST TABLET TO AMERICA


O ye friends of God!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá is day and night thinking of you and mentioning you, for the
friends of God are dear to Him. Every morning at dawn I supplicate the
Kingdom of God and ask that you may be filled with the breath of the Holy
Spirit, so that you may become brilliant candles, shine with the light of
guidance and dispel the darkness of error. Rest assured that the
confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom will continuously reach you.

Through the power of the divine springtime, the downpour of the celestial
clouds and the heat of the Sun of Reality, the tree of life is just
beginning to grow. Before long, it will produce buds, bring forth leaves
and fruits, and cast its shade over the East and the West. This Tree of
Life is the Book of the Covenant.

In America, in these days, severe winds have surrounded the Lamp of the
Covenant, hoping that this brilliant Light may be extinguished, and this
Tree of Life may be uprooted. Certain weak, capricious, malicious and
ignorant souls have been shaken by the earthquake of hatred, of animosity,
have striven to efface the Divine Covenant and Testament, and render the
clear water muddy so that in it they might fish. They have arisen against
the Center of the Covenant like the people of Bayán who attacked the
Blessed Beauty and every moment uttered a calumny. Every day they seek a
pretext and secretly arouse doubts, so that the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh
may be completely annihilated in America.

O friends of God! Be awake, be awake; be vigilant, be vigilant! His
Holiness, the Báb, made a Covenant for Bahá’u’lláh with all the people of
the Bayán, so that on the day of appearance of “Him Whom God shall
manifest”—and of the radiation of the Light of Bahá’u’lláh, they might
believe and be assured, arise in service and promulgate the Word of God.
Later the people of the Bayán, like Mírzá Yaḥyá and many others, arose
against the Blessed Beauty, invented every sort of calumny, aroused doubt
in the minds of the people, and from the Books of His Holiness the
Báb—that were full of references to “Him Whom God shall manifest”—tried to
prove Bahá’u’lláh false. Every day they wrote and spread a pamphlet
opposing Bahá’u’lláh, caused trouble and perplexity among the people; they
inflicted the greatest injury and cruelty, yet counted themselves firm in
the Covenant of His Holiness, the Báb. However, when the light of the
Covenant of His Holiness, the Báb, lighted the universe, then all the
faithful and sincere souls were freed from the darkness of the violation
of the people of the Bayán and shone like brilliant candles.

Bahá’u’lláh, in all the Tablets and Epistles, forbade the true and firm
friends from associating and meeting the violators of the Covenant of His
Holiness, the Báb, saying that no one should go near them because their
breath is like the poison of the snake that kills instantly.

In the Hidden Words, He says: “Esteem the friendship of the just, but
withhold both mind and hand from the company of the wicked.”

Addressing one of the friends, He says: “It is clear to your honor that
before long Satan, in the garb of man, will reach that land and will try
to mislead the friends of the Divine Beauty through temptations which
arouse the desires of self, and will cause them to follow the footsteps of
Satan away from the right and glorious path, and prevent them from
attaining the Blessed Shore of the King of Oneness. This is a hidden
information of which we have informed the chosen ones lest they may be
deprived of their praiseworthy station by associating with the embodiments
of hatred. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all the friends of God to shun
any person in whom they perceive the emanation of hatred for the Glorious
Beauty of Abhá, though he may quote all the Heavenly Utterances and cling
to all the Books.” He continues— Glorious be His Name!—“Protect yourselves
with utmost vigilance, lest you be entrapped in the snare of deception and
fraud.” This is the advice of the Pen of Destiny.

In another address, He says: “Therefore, to avoid these people will be the
nearest path by which to attain the divine good pleasure; because their
breath is infectious, like unto poison.”

In another Tablet, He says: “O Kázim, close thine eye to the people of the
world; drink the water of knowledge from the heavenly cup bearers, and
listen not to the nonsensical utterances of the manifestations of Satan,
because the manifestations of Satan are occupying today the observation
posts of the glorious path of God, and preventing the people by every
means of deception and ruse. Before long you will witness the turning away
of the people of Bayán from the Manifestation of the Merciful.”

In another Tablet, He says: “Endeavor to your utmost to protect
yourselves, because Satan appears in different robes and appeals to
everyone according to each person’s own way, until he becomes like unto
him—then he will leave him alone.”

In another Tablet, He says: “Shun any man in whom you perceive enmity for
this Servant, though he may appear in the garb of piety of the former and
later people, or may arise to the worship of the two worlds.”

In another Tablet, He says: “O Mahdi! Be informed by these utterances and
shun the manifestations of the people of hell, the rising place of
Nimrods, the rising place of Pharees, the fountain of Tagut, and the
soothsayers.”

Again He says: “Say, O my friend and my pure ones! Listen to the Voice of
this Beloved Prisoner in this Great Prison. If you detect in any man the
least perceptible breath of violation, shun him and keep away from him.”
Then He says: “Verily, they are manifestations of Satan.”

In another Tablet, He says: “And turn your faces to the Great Countenance
for before long the foul odors of the wicked persons will pass over these
regions. God willing, you may remain protected during these days.”

In the 18th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, 6th to 9th verses, His
Holiness Christ says: “But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones
which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged
about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto
the world because of offenses, for it must needs be that offenses come,
but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh. Wherefore if thy hand or
thy feet offend thee, cut them off and cast them from thee; it is better
for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands
or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend
thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee.”

And in the 21st chapter and 38th verse of the Gospel of Matthew, He says:
“But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, this is
the heir, come let us kill him and let us seize on his inheritance. And
they caught him and cast him out of the vineyard and slew him.”

Also in the 22nd chapter and the 14th verse of the Gospel of Matthew, He
says “But many are called and few are chosen.”

In the Holy Writings of His Holiness, Bahá’u’lláh, in a thousand places at
least, the violators of the Covenant are execrated and condemned. Some of
the heavenly passages will be mentioned.

In short, all the friends in America know that the founders of this
sedition—namely, the violators of the Covenant—are people whose aims are
known to all the friends. Yet, O glorious God, they are deceived by them!

Praise be to God, you know with perfect clearness that His Holiness
Christ, was extremely kind and loving, yet there were people like Judas
Iscariot who—by their own deeds—separated themselves from Christ.
Therefore, what fault of Christ’s could that be? Now the Nakazene say that
‘Abdu’l-Bahá is despotic, drives some people out and excommunicates like
the Pope. This is not so at all! Any person who has left (the Cause), did
so because of his own actions, intrigues and evil plots. If this objection
be raised against ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, they must also object to the Blessed
Beauty who, with distinct and conclusive command, forbids the friends from
companionship and familiarity with the violators of the people of Bayán.

Supplication! O Lord of the Covenant! O luminous Star of the world! The
persecuted ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has fallen into the hands of persons who appear as
sheep and in reality are ferocious wolves; they exercise every sort of
oppression, endeavor to destroy the foundation of the Covenant,—and claim
to be Bahá’ís. They strike at the root of the Tree of the Covenant—and
count themselves persecuted—just as did the people of Bayán who broke the
Covenant of His Holiness, the Báb, and from six directions shot arrows of
reproach and calumny at Thy Blessed Body. Notwithstanding this great
oppression, they call themselves oppressed. Now this Servant of Thy
Threshold has also fallen into the hands of oppressors. Every hour they
contrive new intrigues and fraud, and bring forth new calumny.

Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá! Protect the Stronghold of Thy Cause from these thieves,
and safeguard the lamps of the Kingdom from these malevolent winds!

Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá! ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not rest a moment until He had raised
Thy Cause and the Standard of the Kingdom of Abhá waved over the world.
Now some people have arisen with intrigues and evil aspirations to trample
this flag in America, but My hope is in Thy confirmations. Leave Me not
single, alone and oppressed! As Thou didst promise, verbally and in
writing, that Thou wouldst protect this deer of the pasture of Thy love
from the attacks of the hounds of hatred and animosity, and that Thou
wouldst safeguard this persecuted sheep from the claws and teeth of the
ferocious wolves,—now do I await the appearance of Thy bounties and the
realization of Thy definite promise. Thou art the true Protector, and Thou
art the Lord of the Covenant! Therefore, protect this Lamp which Thou hast
lighted, from the severe winds.

Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá! I have forsaken the world and its people, am heartbroken
because of the unfaithful, and am weary. In the cage of this world I
flutter like a frightened bird and long for the flight to Thy Kingdom.

Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá! Make me to drink the cup of sacrifice, and free Me!
Relieve Me from these difficulties, hardships, afflictions and troubles!
Thou art the assister, the helper, the protector and the supporter!

Now some of the writings, prayers and verses of the Blessed Beauty will be
mentioned in which association with the violators is forbidden. In the
Íránian Commune, He says:

“Protect this Servant from the doubts of the persons who have turned away
from Thee and are deprived of the sea of Thy knowledge. O God! O God!
Protect this Servant through Thy bounty and generosity from the evil of
Thine enemies who have broken Thy Covenant and Testament.”

In another place He says: “O My God and the Aim of My Life! Protect this
weak one with Thy Mighty hand from the voice of the Naegh.”

Also He says: “Ye have taken one whom I hate to be thy beloved, and My
enemy to be thy friend.”

Also He says: “The company of the wicked ones increaseth sorrow, and the
association with the pious ones removeth rust from the heart. The one who
desires to associate with God, let him associate with His friends; the one
who wishes to hear the Words of God, let him hear the words of His chosen
ones.”

Also He says: “Do not associate with the wicked, because the company of
the wicked changeth the light of life into the fire of remorse. If thou
asketh for the bounties of the Holy Spirit, associate with the pure ones,
because they have quaffed the eternal chalice from the hands of the
Cupbearer of eternity.”

Also He says: “The greatest of degradation is to leave the Shadow of God
and enter under the shadow of Satan.”

Also He says: “O ye servants! There is nothing in this heart save the
effulgences of the splendor of the morn of Meeting, and it does not speak
but the absolute truth from your Lord. Therefore, do not follow self;
break not God’s Covenant and violate not His Testament. Proceed with
perfect steadfastness, and with heart, soul and tongue, turn unto Him, and
be not of the thoughtless.”

And still He says: “You have forgotten God’s Covenant and violated His
Testament.”

And again He says: “If anyone comes to you with the book of the wicked,
put him behind you.”

“Among the people are those who have broken the Covenant, and among them
are those who have followed what was ordained by the All-Knower, the
All-Wise. My affliction is not from My imprisonment and persecution, or
from what comes to Me from My rebellious servants,—but from the actions of
those who attribute themselves to this persecuted One and commit among the
people that which is degrading to the honor of God. Verily, they are of
the seditious.”

Likewise speaking for the violators, He says: “Thou hast made the pulpits
for Thy mention, the proclamation of Thy Word and the manifestation of Thy
Cause, and we have ascended them to proclaim the breaking of Thy Covenant
and Testament.”

Likewise, He says: “Take what has been ordained for you and follow not
those who have broken God’s Covenant and Testament, for lo! they are the
people of error.”

Again He says: “Those who have broken the Covenant of God, notwithstanding
His Commands, and have turned away, they are the people of error before
the most Opulent, the Exalted.”

And He says: “Those who have been faithful to God’s Covenant are of the
highest ones in the sight of the exalted Lord. Those who have become
negligent are of the people of fire in the sight of Thy Lord, the Beloved,
the Independent.”

Likewise He says: “Blessed is the servant or maid-servant who believes,
and woe to the polytheists who have violated the Covenant of God and His
Testament, and deviated from My Right Path.”

Likewise He says: “I implore of Thee not to deprive me of what Thou
possessest or what Thou hast ordained for Thy chosen ones who have not
broken Thy Covenant and Testament. Say! Die with your hatred! Verily, He
is come by Whom the pillars of the world have been shaken and because of
Whom the feet have stumbled—save those who have not broken the Covenant,
but have followed what God revealed in His Book.”

Likewise He says: “The Supreme Concourse will pray for the one who is
adorned with the garment of faithfulness between heaven and earth; but he
who breaks the Covenant is cursed by heaven and earth.”

Likewise He says: “Take hold of what has been revealed unto you, with a
power superior to that of the hands of the unbelievers who have violated
the Covenant of God and His Testament, and have turned from the Face.”

Also He says: “O Yaḥyá! Verily the Book has come! Take it with a power
from Us and do not follow those who have broken the Covenant of God and
His Testament, and have denied what has been revealed from the Powerful,
the All-Knower.”

Likewise He says: “I awoke this morning, O My God, under the shadow of Thy
great bounty and have taken, with Thy power, the pen to mention Thee with
such mention as shall be a light unto the pure, and fire unto the wicked
who have violated Thy Covenant, denied Thy Verses and put aside the
Kaw_th_er of life which appeared by Thy command and was revealed by the
finger of Thy will.”

Here, in a Tablet to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, He says also: “O God! This is a Branch
which has sprung forth from the Tree of Oneness, the Sadrat of Thy Unity.
O God! Thou seest Him looking to Thee and clinging to the rope of Thy
Bounties. Protect Him in the shelter of Thy Mercy! Thou knowest, O My God,
that I do not desire Him save for what Thou dost desire Him, and I do not
choose Him save for what Thou dost choose Him. Assist Him with the Hosts
of Thy earth and Thy heaven. Assist, O God, those who assist Him, and
choose those who choose Him. Confirm those who draw nigh unto Him, and
debase those who deny Him and do not want Him. O God, Thou seest that at
this moment of Revelation My Pen shakes and My Being trembles. I ask Thee,
By My impatience in Thy Love and My willingness to proclaim Thy Cause, to
ordain for Him and His friends, what Thou hast ordained for Thy Messengers
and the faithful ones of Thy Revelation. Verily, Thou art the powerful and
the omnipotent! By God, O people, My eye weeps, and the eye of ‘Alí weeps
in the Supreme Concourse; My heart throbs, and the heart of Muḥammad
throbs in the Courts of Abhá; My heart and the hearts of the Prophets
lament with the people of knowledge, if you are those who are possessed of
sight. My sorrow is not for Myself, but for the One Who comes after Me in
the Shadow of the Cause with a clear, undeniable reign; because these will
not acknowledge His Manifestation and will deny His evidences and verses,
will dispute His power, will antagonize Him and will be traitors to His
Cause—as they did to His Person in those days—and ye were witnesses.”

Again in a Tablet to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, He says: “O Greatest Branch! Verily,
Thy illness caused Me sorrow, but God will cure Thee, and He is the most
generous and best helper. Glory be upon Thee and upon those who serve Thee
and encircle Thee! Woe and torment be upon him who opposes and torments
Thee! Blessed is he who befriends Thee, and hell be for him who opposes
Thee!”

Likewise He says: “Is it possible that after the dawning of the sun of Thy
Testament from the horizon of Thy greatest Tablet, that any feet shall
slip away from the right Path? We said, O My Supreme Pen, it behoves Thee
to do as Thou hast been bidden by God, the exalted and the great. Do not
ask about that which melts Thy heart and those of the denizens of Paradise
who encompass Thy wonderful Cause. Thou shouldst not know what We have
hidden from Thee. Thy Lord is the veiler and the knower. Turn Thy most
luminous Face to the greatest aspect and say: O My Merciful God! Decorate
the Heaven of Bayán with the stars of steadfastness, trust and truth.
Verily, Thou art the Powerful over what Thou willest. There is no God save
Thee, the wise and the generous.”

In short, from these Holy Utterances and those of His Holiness Christ, it
becomes clear, evident and proved, that man should associate with people
who are firm in the Covenant and Testament, and befriend the pure ones;
because bad associates bring about infection of bad qualities. It is like
leprosy; it is impossible for a man to associate and befriend a leper and
not be infected. This command is for the sake of protection and to
safeguard.

Consider this text of the New Testament: the brothers of His Holiness
Christ, came to Him and they said: “These are your brothers.” He answered
that His brothers were those who believed in God, and refused to associate
with His own brothers.

Likewise Qurratu’l-‘Ayn, who is celebrated in all the world, when she
believed in God and was attracted to the Divine Breaths, she forsook her
two eldest sons, although they were her two oldest children, because they
did not become believers, and thereafter did not meet them. She said: “All
the friends of God are my children, but these two are not. I will have
nothing to do with them.”

Consider! The Divine Gardener cuts off the dry or weak branch from the
good tree and grafts to it, a branch from another tree. He both separates
and unites. This is that which His Holiness Christ says: that from all the
world they come and enter the Kingdom, and the children of the Kingdom
shall be cast out. Noah’s grandson, Canaan, was detested in the sight of
Noah and others were accepted. The brothers of the Blessed Beauty detached
themselves from Him, and the Blessed Beauty never met them. He said: “This
is an eternal separation between you and Me.” All this was not because the
Blessed Beauty was despotic; but because these persons, through their own
actions and words deprived themselves from the bounties and bestowals of
the Blessed Beauty. His Holiness Christ did not exercise despotism in the
case of Judas Iscariot and His own brothers,—but they separated
themselves.

In short, the point is this: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is extremely kind, but when the
disease is leprosy, what am I to do? Just as in bodily diseases we must
prevent intermingling and infection and put into effect sanitary
laws—because the infectious physical diseases uproot the foundation of
humanity; likewise one must protect and safeguard the blessed souls from
the breaths and fatal spiritual diseases; otherwise violation, like the
plague, will become a contagion and all will perish. In the early days,
after the Ascension of the Blessed Beauty, the center of violation was
alone; little by little the infection spread; and this was due to
companionship and association.



EXCERPTS FROM THE WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ


All-praise to Him Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath guarded the
Temple of His Cause from the darts of doubtfulness, Who by the Hosts of
His Testament hath preserved the Sanctuary of His Most Beneficent Law and
protected His Straight and Luminous Path, staying thereby the onslaught of
the company of Covenant-breakers, that have threatened to subvert His
Divine Edifice; Who hath watched over His Mighty Stronghold and
All-glorious Faith, through the aid of men whom the slander of the
slanderer affects not, whom no earthly calling, glory and power can turn
aside from the Covenant of God and His Testament, established firmly by
His clear and manifest words, writ and revealed by His All-glorious Pen
and recorded in the Preserved Tablet.

Salutation and praise, blessing and glory rest upon that primal branch of
the Divine and Sacred Lote-Tree, grown out, blest, tender, verdant and
flourishing from the Twin Holy Trees; the most wondrous, unique and
priceless pearl that doth gleam from out the twin surging seas; upon the
offshoots of the Tree of Holiness, the twigs of the Celestial Tree, they
that in the Day of the Great Dividing have stood fast and firm in the
Covenant; upon the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God that have diffused
widely the Divine Fragrances, declared His Proofs, proclaimed His Faith,
published abroad His Law, detached themselves from all things but Him,
stood for righteousness in this world, and kindled the Fire of the Love of
God in the very hearts and souls of His servants; upon them that have
believed, rested assured, stood steadfast in His Covenant and followed the
Light that after my passing shineth from the Dayspring of Divine
Guidance—for behold! he is the blest and sacred bough that hath branched
out from the Twin Holy Trees. Well is it with him that seeketh the shelter
of his shade that shadoweth all mankind.

O ye beloved of the Lord! The greatest of all things is the protection of
the True Faith of God, the preservation of His Law, the safeguarding of
His Cause and service unto His Word. Ten thousand souls have shed streams
of their sacred blood in this path, their precious lives they offered in
sacrifice unto Him, hastened wrapt in holy ecstasy unto the glorious field
of martyrdom, upraised the Standard of God’s Faith and writ with their
life-blood upon the Tablet of the world the verses of His Divine Unity.
The sacred breast of His Holiness, the Exalted One, (may my life be a
sacrifice unto Him) was made a target to many a dart of woe, and in
Mázindarán, the Blessed feet of the Abhá Beauty (may my life be offered up
for His loved ones) were so grievously scourged as to bleed and be sore
wounded. His neck also was put into captive chains and His feet made fast
in the stocks. In every hour, for a period of fifty years, a new trial and
calamity befell Him and fresh afflictions and cares beset Him. One of
them: after having suffered intense vicissitudes, He was made homeless and
a wanderer and fell a victim to still new vexations and troubles. In
‘Iráq, the Day-Star of the world was so exposed to the wiles of the people
of malice as to be eclipsed in splendor. Later on He was sent an exile to
the Great City (Constantinople) and thence to the Land of Mystery
(Adrianople), whence, grievously wronged, He was eventually transferred to
the Most Great Prison (Akká). He Whom the world hath wronged (may my life
be offered up for His loved ones) was four times banished from city to
city, till at last condemned to perpetual confinement, He was incarcerated
in this Prison, the prison of highway robbers, of brigands and of
manslayers. All this is but one of the trials that have afflicted the
Blessed Beauty, the rest being even as grievous as this.

According to the direct and sacred command of God we are forbidden to
utter slander, are commanded to show forth peace and amity, are exhorted
to rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and harmony with all the
kindreds and peoples of the world. We must obey and be the well-wishers of
the governments of the land, regard disloyalty unto a just king as
disloyalty to God Himself and wishing evil to the government a
transgression of the Cause of God.

O God, my God! Thou seest this wronged servant of Thine, held fast in the
talons of ferocious lions, of ravening wolves, of bloodthirsty beasts.
Graciously assist me, through my love for Thee, that I may drink deep of
the chalice that brimmeth over with faithfulness to Thee and is filled
with Thy bountiful Grace; so that, fallen upon the dust, I may sink
prostrate and senseless whilst my vesture is dyed crimson with my blood.
This is my wish, my heart’s desire, my hope, my pride, my glory. Grant, O
Lord my God, and my Refuge, that in my last hour, my end, may even as musk
shed its fragrance of glory! Is there a bounty greater than this? Nay, by
Thy Glory! I call Thee to witness that no day passeth but that I quaff my
fill from this cup, so grievous are the misdeeds wrought by them that have
broken the Covenant, kindled discord, showed their malice, stirred
sedition in the land and dishonored Thee amidst Thy servants. Lord! Shield
Thou from these Covenant-breakers the mighty Stronghold of Thy Faith and
protect Thy secret Sanctuary from the onslaught of the ungodly. Thou art
in truth the Mighty, the Powerful, the Gracious, the Strong.

O God, my God! Shield Thy trusted servants from the evils of self and
passion, protect them with the watchful eye of Thy loving kindness from
all rancor, hate and envy, shelter them in the impregnable stronghold of
Thy Cause and, safe from the darts of doubtfulness, make them the
manifestations of Thy glorious Signs, illumine their faces with the
effulgent rays shed from the Dayspring of Thy Divine Unity, gladden their
hearts with the verses revealed from Thy Holy Kingdom, strengthen their
loins by Thy all-swaying power that cometh from Thy Realm of Glory. Thou
art the All-bountiful, the Protector, the Almighty, the Gracious!

O ye that stand fast in the Covenant! When the hour cometh that this
wronged and broken winged bird will have taken its flight unto the
celestial concourse, when it will have hastened to the Realm of the Unseen
and its mortal frame will have been either lost or hidden neath the dust,
it is incumbent upon the Afnán, that are steadfast in the Covenant of God,
and have branched from the Tree of Holiness; the Hands, (pillars) of the
Cause of God, (the glory of the Lord rest upon them), and all the friends
and loved ones, one and all to bestir themselves and arise with heart and
soul and in one accord, to diffuse the sweet savors of God, to teach His
Cause and to promote His Faith. It behoveth them not to rest for a moment,
neither to seek repose. They must disperse themselves in every land, pass
by every clime and travel throughout all regions. Bestirred, without rest
and steadfast to the end they must raise in every land the triumphal cry
“O Thou the Glory of Glories!” (Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá), must achieve renown in
the world wherever they go, must burn brightly even as a candle in every
meeting and must kindle the flame of Divine love in every assembly; that
the light of truth may rise resplendent in the midmost heart of the world,
that throughout the East and throughout the West a vast concourse may
gather under the shadow of the Word of God, that the sweet savors of
holiness may be diffused, that faces may shine radiantly, hearts be filled
with the Divine spirit and souls be made heavenly.

In these days, the most important of all things is the guidance of the
nations and peoples of the world. Teaching the Cause is of utmost
importance for it is the head corner-stone of the foundation itself. This
wronged servant has spent his days and nights in promoting the Cause and
urging the peoples to service. He rested not a moment, till the fame of
the Cause of God was noised abroad in the world and the celestial strains
from the Abhá Kingdom roused the East and the West. The beloved of God
must also follow the same example. This is the secret of faithfulness,
this is the requirement of servitude to the Threshold of Bahá!

The disciples of Christ forgot themselves and all earthly things, forsook
all their cares and belongings, purged themselves of self and passion and
with absolute detachment scattered far and wide and engaged in calling the
peoples of the world to the Divine Guidance, till at last they made the
world another world, illumined the surface of the earth and even to their
last hour proved self-sacrificing in the pathway of that Beloved One of
God. Finally in various lands they suffered glorious martyrdom. Let them
that are men of action follow in their footsteps!

O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is
incumbent upon the A_gh_sán (Branches), the Afnán (Twigs) of the Sacred
Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of
the Abhá Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi—the youthful branch branched
from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the
union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness,—as he is the sign of
God, the chosen branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all
the A_gh_sán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones
must turn. He is the expounder of the words of God and after him will
succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants.

The sacred and youthful branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, as well
as the Universal House of Justice, to be universally elected and
established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty,
under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One
(may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of
God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God;
whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God;
whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath
contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso
denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in
God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath
in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God. May the
wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him! The
mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to
him who is the guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the
members of the House of Justice, upon all the A_gh_sán, the Afnán, the
Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and
subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and
be lowly before Him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will
make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His word and will become a
manifestation of the Center of Sedition. Beware, beware, lest the days
after the ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) be repeated when the Center of
Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse
deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others. No doubt every
vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly
declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, would he seize
upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the
gathering of the people of Bahá. My object is to show that the Hands of
the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone
beginning to oppose and protest against the guardian of the Cause of God
cast him out from the congregation of the people of Bahá and in no wise
accept any excuse from him. How often hath grievous error been disguised
in the garb of truth, that it might sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts
of men!

O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause
of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his
successor, that differences may not arise after his passing. He that is
appointed must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things,
must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God,
knowledge, wisdom and learning. Thus, should the first-born of the
guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the
words:—“The child is the secret essence of its sire,” that is, should he
not inherit of the spiritual within him (the guardian of the Cause of God)
and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must
he (the guardian of the Cause of God), choose another branch to succeed
him.

The Hands of the Cause of God must elect from their own number, nine
persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in
the work of the guardian of the Cause of God. The election of these nine
must be carried either unanimously or by majority from the company of the
Hands of the Cause of God and these whether unanimously or by a majority
vote, must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of
the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor. This assent must be given
in such wise as the assenting and dissenting voices may not be
distinguished.

O friends! The Hands of the Cause of God must be nominated and appointed
by the guardian of the Cause of God. All must be under his shadow and obey
his command. Should any, within or without the company of the Hands of the
Cause of God disobey, and seek division, the wrath of God and His
vengeance will be upon him, for he will have caused a breach in the true
Faith of God.

The obligations of the Hands of the Cause of God are to diffuse the Divine
Fragrances, to edify the souls of men, to promote learning, to improve the
character of all men and to be, at all times and under all conditions,
sanctified and detached from earthly things. They must manifest the fear
of God by their conduct, their manners, their deeds and their words.

This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the
guardian of the Cause of God. He must continually urge them to strive and
endeavor to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of
God, and to guide all the peoples of the world, for it is the light of
Divine Guidance that causeth all the universe to be illumined. To
disregard, though it be for a moment, this absolute command which is
binding upon everyone, is in no wise permitted, that the existent world
may become even as the Abhá Paradise, that the surface of the earth may
become heavenly, that contention and conflict amidst peoples, kindreds,
nations and governments may disappear, that all the dwellers on earth may
become one people and one race, that the world may become even as one
home. Should differences arise they shall be amicably and conclusively
settled by the Supreme Tribunal, that shall include members from all the
governments and peoples of the world.

O ye beloved of the Lord! In this sacred Dispensation, conflict and
contention are in no wise permitted. Every aggressor deprives himself of
God’s grace. It is incumbent upon everyone to show the utmost love,
rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and sincere kindliness unto all
the peoples and kindreds of the world, be they friends or strangers. So
intense must be the spirit of love and loving-kindness, that the stranger
may find himself a friend, the enemy a true brother, no difference
whatsoever existing between them. For universality is of God and all
limitations earthly. Thus man must strive that his reality may manifest
virtues and perfections, the light whereof may shine upon everyone. The
light of the sun shineth upon all the world and the merciful showers of
Divine Providence fall upon all peoples. The vivifying breeze reviveth
every living creature and all beings endued with life obtain their share
and portion at His heavenly board. In like manner, the affections and
loving-kindness of the servants of the One True God must be bountifully
and universally extended to all mankind. Regarding this, restrictions and
limitations are in no wise permitted.

Wherefore, O my loving friends! Consort with all the peoples, kindreds and
religions of the world with the utmost truthfulness, uprightness,
faithfulness, kindliness, good-will and friendliness; that all the world
of being may be filled with the holy ecstasy of the grace of Bahá, that
ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor may vanish from the world and the
darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples and kindreds of the world may
give way to the Light of Unity. Should other peoples and nations be
unfaithful to you show your fidelity unto them, should they be unjust
toward you show justice towards them, should they keep aloof from you
attract them to yourself, should they show their enmity be friendly
towards them, should they poison your lives sweeten their souls, should
they inflict a wound upon you be a salve to their sores. Such are the
attributes of the sincere! Such are the attributes of the truthful.

And now, concerning the House of Justice which God hath ordained as the
source of all good and freed from all error, it must be elected by
universal suffrage, that is, by the believers. Its members must be
manifestations of the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and
understanding, must be steadfast in God’s faith and the well-wishers of
all mankind. By this House is meant the Universal House of Justice, that
is, in all countries, a secondary House of Justice must be instituted, and
these secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of the Universal
one. Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all
ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy
Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved and the
guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished
member for life of that body. Should he not attend in person its
deliberations, he must appoint one to represent him. Should any of the
members commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the guardian of the
Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him, whereupon
the people must elect another one in his stead. This House of Justice
enacteth the laws and the government enforceth them. The legislative body
must reinforce the executive, the executive must aid and assist the
legislative body so that through the close union and harmony of these two
forces, the foundation of fairness and justice may become firm and strong,
that all the regions of the world may become even as Paradise itself.

O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon you to be submissive to all
monarchs that are just and show your fidelity to every righteous king.
Serve ye the sovereigns of the world with utmost truthfulness and loyalty.
Show obedience unto them and be their well-wishers. Without their leave
and permission do not meddle with political affairs, for disloyalty to the
just sovereign is disloyalty to God himself.

This is my counsel and the commandment of God unto you. Well is it with
them that act accordingly.

O dearly beloved friends! I am now in very great danger and the hope of
even an hour’s life is lost to me. I am thus constrained to write these
lines for the protection of the Cause of God, the preservation of His Law,
the safeguarding of His Word, and the safety of His Teachings. By the
Ancient Beauty! This wronged one hath in no wise borne nor doth he bear a
grudge against any one; towards none doth he entertain any ill-feeling and
uttereth no word save for the good of the world. My supreme obligation,
however, of necessity, prompteth me to guard and preserve the Cause of
God. Thus, with the greatest regret, I counsel you saying:—“Guard ye the
Cause of God, protect His law and have the utmost fear of discord. This is
the foundation of the belief of the people of Bahá (may my life be offered
up for them). ‘His Holiness, the Exalted One, (the Báb) is the
Manifestation of the Unity and Oneness of God and the Forerunner of the
Ancient Beauty. His Holiness the Abhá Beauty, (may my life be a sacrifice
for His steadfast friends) is the Supreme Manifestation of God and the
Dayspring of His Most Divine Essence. All others are servants unto Him and
do His bidding.’” Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn and all that
is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House
of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority
doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose of God himself. Whoso
doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown
forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant. By this House
is meant that Universal House of Justice which is to be elected from all
countries, that is, from those parts in the East and West where the loved
ones are to be found, after the manner of the customary elections in
Western countries such as those of England.

It is incumbent upon these members (of the Universal House of Justice) to
gather in a certain place and deliberate upon all problems which have
caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not
expressly recorded in the Book. Whatsoever they decide has the same effect
as the Text itself. And inasmuch as this House of Justice hath power to
enact laws that are not expressly recorded in the Book and bear upon daily
transactions, so also it hath power to repeal the same. Thus for example,
the House of Justice enacteth today a certain law and enforceth it, and a
hundred years hence, circumstances having profoundly changed and the
conditions having altered, another House of Justice will then have power,
according to the exigencies of the time, to alter that law. This it can do
because that law formeth no part of the Divine Explicit Text. The House of
Justice is both the Initiator and the Abrogator of its own laws.

And now, one of the greatest and most fundamental principles of the Cause
of God is to shun and avoid entirely the Covenant-breakers, for they will
utterly destroy the Cause of God, exterminate His Law and render of no
account all efforts exerted in the past. O friends! It behoveth you to
call to mind with tenderness the trials of His Holiness, the Exalted One
and show your fidelity to the Ever-Blest Beauty. The utmost endeavor must
be exerted lest all these woes, trials and afflictions, all this pure and
sacred blood that hath been shed so profusely in the Path of God, may
prove to be in vain.

O ye beloved of the Lord! Strive with all your heart to shield the Cause
of God from the onslaught of the insincere, for souls such as these cause
the straight to become crooked and all benevolent efforts to produce
contrary results.

O God, my God! I call Thee, Thy Prophets and Thy Messengers, Thy Saints
and Thy Holy Ones, to witness that I have declared conclusively Thy Proofs
unto Thy loved ones and set forth clearly all things unto them, that they
may watch over Thy Faith, guard Thy Straight Path and protect Thy
Resplendent Law. Thou art, verily, the All-Knowing, the All-wise!

Whosoever and whatsoever meeting becometh a hindrance to the diffusion of
the Light of Faith, let the loved ones give them counsel and say: “Of all
the gifts of God the greatest is the gift of Teaching. It draweth unto us
the Grace of God and is our first obligation. Of such a gift how can we
deprive ourselves? Nay, our lives, our goods, our comforts, our rest, we
offer them all as a sacrifice for the Abhá Beauty and teach the Cause of
God.” Caution and prudence, however, must be observed even as recorded in
the Book. The veil must in no wise be suddenly rent asunder. The Glory of
Glories rest upon you.

O ye the faithful loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá! It is incumbent upon you to
take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi, the twig that hath branched from
and the fruit given forth by the two hallowed and Divine Lote-Trees, that
no dust of despondency and sorrow may stain his radiant nature, that day
by day he may wax greater in happiness, in joy and spirituality, and may
grow to become even as a fruitful tree.

For he is, after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the guardian of the Cause of God, the
Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must
obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God;
he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God and he that
denieth him, hath denied the True One. Beware lest anyone falsely
interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant
after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) advance a pretext, raise the
standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false
interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or
express his particular convictions. All must seek guidance and turn unto
the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto
whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.

The Glory of Glories rest upon you!





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