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Title: Paris Talks
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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Paris Talks


by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá



Edition 1, (September 2006)



                           BAHA’I TERMS OF USE


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                                 CONTENTS


Baha’i Terms of Use
PART I
   THE DUTY OF KINDNESS AND SYMPATHY TOWARDS STRANGERS AND FOREIGNERS
   THE POWER AND VALUE OF TRUE THOUGHT DEPEND UPON ITS MANIFESTATION IN
   ACTION
   GOD IS THE GREAT COMPASSIONATE PHYSICIAN WHO ALONE GIVES TRUE HEALING
   THE NEED FOR UNION BETWEEN THE PEOPLES OF THE EAST AND WEST
   GOD COMPREHENDS ALL: HE CANNOT BE COMPREHENDED
   THE PITIFUL CAUSES OF WAR, AND THE DUTY OF EVERYONE TO STRIVE FOR PEACE
   THE SUN OF TRUTH
   THE LIGHT OF TRUTH IS NOW SHINING UPON THE EAST AND WEST
   THE UNIVERSAL LOVE
   THE IMPRISONMENT OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ
   GOD’S GREATEST GIFT TO MAN
   THE CLOUDS THAT OBSCURE THE SUN OF TRUTH
   RELIGIOUS PREJUDICES
   THE BENEFITS OF GOD TO MAN
   BEAUTY AND HARMONY IN DIVERSITY
   THE TRUE MEANING OF THE PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE COMING OF CHRIST
   THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE INTERMEDIARY POWER BETWEEN GOD AND MAN
   THE TWO NATURES IN MAN
   MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
   THE EVOLUTION OF MATTER AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUL
   THE SPIRITUAL MEETINGS IN PARIS
   THE TWO KINDS OF LIGHT
   SPIRITUAL ASPIRATION IN THE WEST
   LECTURE GIVEN AT A STUDIO IN PARIS
   BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
   GOOD IDEAS MUST BE CARRIED INTO ACTION
   THE TRUE MEANING OF BAPTISM BY WATER AND FIRE
   DISCOURSE AT ‘L’ALLIANCE SPIRITUALISTE’
   THE EVOLUTION OF THE SPIRIT
   THE DESIRES AND PRAYERS OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ
   CONCERNING BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT
   THE BAHÁ’ÍS MUST WORK WITH HEART AND SOUL TO BRING ABOUT A BETTER
   CONDITION IN THE WORLD
   ON CALUMNY
   THERE CAN BE NO TRUE HAPPINESS AND PROGRESS WITHOUT SPIRITUALITY
   PAIN AND SORROW
   THE PERFECT HUMAN SENTIMENTS AND VIRTUES
   THE CRUEL INDIFFERENCE OF PEOPLE TOWARDS THE SUFFERING OF FOREIGN RACES
   WE MUST NOT BE DISCOURAGED BY THE SMALLNESS OF OUR NUMBERS
   WORDS SPOKEN BY ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ IN PASTOR WAGNER’S CHURCH (FOYER DE L’AME)
   IN PARIS
PART II
   The Eleven Principles out of the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, Explained by
   ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Paris.
   THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, PARIS
   THE FIRST PRINCIPLE—SEARCH AFTER TRUTH
   THE SECOND PRINCIPLE—THE UNITY OF MANKIND
   THIRD PRINCIPLE
   FOURTH PRINCIPLE—THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE RELATION BETWEEN RELIGION AND
   SCIENCE
   THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE—THE ABOLITION OF PREJUDICES
   THE SIXTH PRINCIPLE—MEANS OF EXISTENCE
   SEVENTH PRINCIPLE—EQUALITY OF MEN
   THE EIGHTH PRINCIPLE—UNIVERSAL PEACE
   NINTH PRINCIPLE—THE NON-INTERFERENCE OF RELIGION WITH POLITICS
   THE TENTH PRINCIPLE—EQUALITY OF SEX
   THE ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE—THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
   4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris, November 28th
   THE LAST MEETING
   ADDRESS BY ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ AT THE FRIENDS’ MEETING HOUSE, ST MARTIN’S
   LANE, LONDON, W.C.
   PRAYER
   EVIL
   THE PROGRESS OF THE SOUL
   THE FOUR KINDS OF LOVE
   TABLET REVEALED BY ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ



PART I



THE DUTY OF KINDNESS AND SYMPATHY TOWARDS STRANGERS AND FOREIGNERS


October 16th and 17th, 1911

When a man turns his face to God he finds sunshine everywhere. All men are
his brothers. Let not conventionality cause you to seem cold and
unsympathetic when you meet strange people from other countries. Do not
look at them as though you suspected them of being evil-doers, thieves and
boors. You think it necessary to be very careful, not to expose yourselves
to the risk of making acquaintance with such, possibly, undesirable
people.

I ask you not to think only of yourselves. Be kind to the strangers,
whether come they from Turkey, Japan, Persia, Russia, China or any other
country in the world.

Help to make them feel at home; find out where they are staying, ask if
you may render them any service; try to make their lives a little happier.

In this way, even if, sometimes, what you at first suspected should be
true, still go out of your way to be kind to them—this kindness will help
them to become better.

After all, why should any foreign people be treated as strangers?

Let those who meet you know, without your proclaiming the fact, that you
are indeed a Bahá’í.

Put into practice the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, that of kindness to all
nations. Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let
your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.

Oh, you of the Western nations, be kind to those who come from the Eastern
world to sojourn among you. Forget your conventionality when you speak
with them; they are not accustomed to it. To Eastern peoples this
demeanour seems cold, unfriendly. Rather let your manner be sympathetic.
Let it be seen that you are filled with universal love. When you meet a
Persian or any other stranger, speak to him as to a friend; if he seems to
be lonely try to help him, give him of your willing service; if he be sad
console him, if poor succour him, if oppressed rescue him, if in misery
comfort him. In so doing you will manifest that not in words only, but in
deed and in truth, you think of all men as your brothers.

What profit is there in agreeing that universal friendship is good, and
talking of the solidarity of the human race as a grand ideal? Unless these
thoughts are translated into the world of action, they are useless.

The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of
their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took
the place of words, the world’s misery would very soon be changed into
comfort.

A man who does great good, and talks not of it, is on the way to
perfection.

The man who has accomplished a small good and magnifies it in his speech
is worth very little.

If I love you, I need not continually speak of my love—you will know
without any words. On the other hand if I love you not, that also will you
know—and you would not believe me, were I to tell you in a thousand words,
that I loved you.

People make much profession of goodness, multiplying fine words because
they wish to be thought greater and better than their fellows, seeking
fame in the eyes of the world. Those who do most good use fewest words
concerning their actions.

The children of God do the works without boasting, obeying His laws.

My hope for you is that you will ever avoid tyranny and oppression; that
you will work without ceasing till justice reigns in every land, that you
will keep your hearts pure and your hands free from unrighteousness.

This is what the near approach to God requires from you, and this is what
I expect of you.



THE POWER AND VALUE OF TRUE THOUGHT DEPEND UPON ITS MANIFESTATION IN
ACTION


October 18th

The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought
force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the
animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other
created beings.

If a man’s thought is constantly aspiring towards heavenly subjects then
does he become saintly; if on the other hand his thought does not soar,
but is directed downwards to centre itself upon the things of this world,
he grows more and more material until he arrives at a state little better
than that of a mere animal.

Thoughts may be divided into two classes:

(1st) Thought that belongs to the world of thought alone.

(2nd) Thought that expresses itself in action.

Some men and women glory in their exalted thoughts, but if these thoughts
never reach the plane of action they remain useless: the power of thought
is dependent on its manifestation in deeds. A philosopher’s thought may,
however, in the world of progress and evolution, translate itself into the
actions of other people, even when they themselves are unable or unwilling
to show forth their grand ideals in their own lives. To this class the
majority of philosophers belong, their teachings being high above their
actions. This is the difference between philosophers who are Spiritual
Teachers, and those who are mere philosophers: the Spiritual Teacher is
the first to follow His own teaching; He brings down into the world of
action His spiritual conceptions and ideals. His Divine thoughts are made
manifest to the world. His thought is Himself, from which He is
inseparable. When we find a philosopher emphasizing the importance and
grandeur of justice, and then encouraging a rapacious monarch in his
oppression and tyranny, we quickly realize that he belongs to the first
class: for he thinks heavenly thoughts and does not practise the
corresponding heavenly virtues.

This state is impossible with Spiritual Philosophers, for they ever
express their high and noble thoughts in actions.



GOD IS THE GREAT COMPASSIONATE PHYSICIAN WHO ALONE GIVES TRUE HEALING


October 19th

All true healing comes from God! There are two causes for sickness, one is
material, the other spiritual. If the sickness is of the body, a material
remedy is needed, if of the soul, a spiritual remedy.

If the heavenly benediction be upon us while we are being healed then only
can we be made whole, for medicine is but the outward and visible means
through which we obtain the heavenly healing. Unless the spirit be healed,
the cure of the body is worth nothing. All is in the hands of God, and
without Him there can be no health in us!

There have been many men who have died at last of the very disease of
which they have made a special study. Aristotle, for instance, who made a
special study of the digestion, died of a gastronomic malady. Aviseu was a
specialist of the heart, but he died of heart disease. God is the great
compassionate Physician who alone has the power to give true healing.

All creatures are dependent upon God, however great may seem their
knowledge, power and independence.

Behold the mighty kings upon earth, for they have all the power in the
world that man can give them, and yet when death calls they must obey,
even as the peasants at their gates.

Look also at the animals, how helpless they are in their apparent
strength! For the elephant, the largest of all animals, is troubled by the
fly, and the lion cannot escape the irritation of the worm. Even man, the
highest form of created beings, needs many things for his very life; first
of all he needs air, and if he is deprived of it for a few minutes, he
dies. He is also dependent on water, food, clothing, warmth, and many
other things. On all sides he is surrounded by dangers and difficulties,
against which his physical body alone cannot cope. If a man looks at the
world around him, he will see how all created things are dependent and are
captive to the laws of Nature.

Man alone, by his spiritual power, has been able to free himself, to soar
above the world of matter and to make it his servant.

Without the help of God man is even as the beasts that perish, but God has
bestowed such wonderful power upon him that he might ever look upward, and
receive, among other gifts, healing from His divine Bounty.

But alas! man is not grateful for this supreme good, but sleeps the sleep
of negligence, being careless of the great mercy which God has shown
towards him, turning his face away from the light and going on his way in
darkness.

It is my earnest prayer, that ye be not like unto this, but rather that ye
keep your faces steadfastly turned to the light, so that ye may be as
lighted torches in the dark places of life.



THE NEED FOR UNION BETWEEN THE PEOPLES OF THE EAST AND WEST


Friday, October 20th

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

In the past, as in the present, the Spiritual Sun of Truth has always
shone from the horizon of the East.

Abraham appeared in the East. In the East Moses arose to lead and teach
the people. On the Eastern horizon arose the Lord Christ. Muḥammad was
sent to an Eastern nation. The Báb arose in the Eastern land of Persia.
Bahá’u’lláh lived and taught in the East. All the great Spiritual Teachers
arose in the Eastern world. But although the Sun of Christ dawned in the
East the radiance thereof was apparent in the West, where the effulgence
of its glory was more clearly seen. The divine light of His Teaching shone
with a greater force in the Western world, where it has made a more rapid
headway than in the land of its birth.

In these days the East is in need of material progress and the West is in
want of a spiritual idea. It would be well for the West to turn to the
East for illumination, and to give in exchange its scientific knowledge.
There must be this interchange of gifts.

The East and the West must unite to give to each other what is lacking.
This union will bring about a true civilization, where the spiritual is
expressed and carried out in the material.

Receiving thus the one from the other the greatest harmony will prevail,
all people will be united, a state of great perfection will be attained,
there will be a firm cementing, and this world will become a shining
mirror for the reflection of the attributes of God.

We all, the Eastern with the Western nations, must strive day and night
with heart and soul to achieve this high ideal, to cement the unity
between all the nations of the earth. Every heart will then be refreshed,
all eyes will be opened, the most wonderful power will be given, the
happiness of humanity will be assured.

We must pray that by the Bounty of God, Persia will be enabled to receive
the material and mental civilization of the West, and by Divine Grace to
give in return her spiritual light. The devoted energetic work of the
united peoples, occidentals and orientals, will succeed in establishing
this result, for the force of the Holy Spirit will aid them.

The principles of the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh should be carefully
studied, one by one, until they are realized and understood by mind and
heart—so will you become strong followers of the light, truly spiritual,
heavenly soldiers of God, acquiring and spreading the true civilization in
Persia, in Europe, and in the whole world.

This will be the paradise which is to come on earth, when all mankind will
be gathered together under the tent of unity in the Kingdom of Glory.



GOD COMPREHENDS ALL: HE CANNOT BE COMPREHENDED


Friday evening, October 20th

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

Numerous meetings are held in Paris every day for different purposes, to
discuss politics, commerce, education, art, science and many other
subjects.

All these meetings are good: but this assembly has met together to turn
their faces towards God, to learn how best to work for the good of
humanity, to seek how prejudices may be abolished, and the seed of love
and universal brotherhood sown in the heart of man.

God approves of the motive of our gathering together and gives us His
blessing.

In the Old Testament we read that God said, ‘Let us make man in Our own
image’. In the Gospel, Christ said, ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in
Me’.(1) In the Qur’án, God says, ‘Man is my Mystery and I am his’.
Bahá’u’lláh writes that God says, ‘Thy heart is My home; purify it for My
descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My
manifestation’.

All these sacred words show us that man is made in God’s image: yet the
Essence of God is incomprehensible to the human mind, for the finite
understanding cannot be applied to this infinite Mystery. God contains
all: He cannot be contained. That which contains is superior to that which
is contained. The whole is greater than its parts.

Things which are understood by men cannot be outside their capacity for
understanding, so that it is impossible for the heart of man to comprehend
the nature of the Majesty of God. Our imagination can only picture that
which it is able to create.

The power of the understanding differs in degree in the various kingdoms
of creation. The mineral, vegetable, and animal realms are each incapable
of understanding any creation beyond their own. The mineral cannot imagine
the growing power of the plant. The tree cannot understand the power of
movement in the animal, neither can it comprehend what it would mean to
possess sight, hearing or the sense of smell. These all belong to the
physical creation.

Man also shares in this creation; but it is not possible for either of the
lower kingdoms to understand that which takes place in the mind of man.
The animal cannot realize the intelligence of a human being, he only knows
that which is perceived by his animal senses, he cannot imagine anything
in the abstract. An animal could not learn that the world is round, that
the earth revolves round the sun, or the construction of the electric
telegraph. These things are only possible to man. Man is the highest work
of creation, the nearest to God of all creatures.

All superior kingdoms are incomprehensible to the inferior; how therefore
could it be possible that the creature, man, should understand the
almighty Creator of all?

That which we imagine, is not the Reality of God; He, the Unknowable, the
Unthinkable, is far beyond the highest conception of man.

All creatures that exist are dependent upon the Divine Bounty. Divine
Mercy gives life itself. As the light of the sun shines on the whole
world, so the Mercy of the infinite God is shed on all creatures. As the
sun ripens the fruits of the earth, and gives life and warmth to all
living beings, so shines the Sun of Truth on all souls, filling them with
the fire of Divine love and understanding.

The superiority of man over the rest of the created world is seen again in
this, that man has a soul in which dwells the divine spirit; the souls of
the lower creatures are inferior in their essence.

There is no doubt then, that of all created beings man is the nearest to
the nature of God, and therefore receives a greater gift of the Divine
Bounty.

The mineral kingdom possesses the power of existing. The plant has the
power of existing and growing. The animal, in addition to existence and
growth, has the capacity of moving about, and the use of the faculties of
the senses. In the human kingdom we find all the attributes of the lower
worlds, with much more added thereto. Man is the sum of every previous
creation, for he contains them all.

To man is given the special gift of the intellect by which he is able to
receive a larger share of the light Divine. The Perfect Man is as a
polished mirror reflecting the Sun of Truth, manifesting the attributes of
God.

The Lord Christ said, ‘He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father’—God
manifested in man.

The sun does not leave his place in the heavens and descend into the
mirror, for the actions of ascent and descent, coming and going, do not
belong to the Infinite, they are the methods of finite beings. In the
Manifestation of God, the perfectly polished mirror, appear the qualities
of the Divine in a form that man is capable of comprehending.

This is so simple that all can understand it, and that which we are able
to understand we must perforce accept.

Our Father will not hold us responsible for the rejection of dogmas which
we are unable either to believe or comprehend, for He is ever infinitely
just to His children.

This example is, however, so logical that it can easily be grasped by all
minds willing to give it their consideration.

May each one of you become a shining lamp, of which the flame is the Love
of God. May your hearts burn with the radiance of unity. May your eyes be
illumined with the effulgence of the Sun of Truth!

The city of Paris is very beautiful, a more civilized and well-appointed
town in all material development it would be impossible to find in the
present world. But the spiritual light has not shone upon her for a long
time: her spiritual progress is far behind that of her material
civilization. A supreme power is needed to awaken her to the reality of
spiritual truth, to breathe the breath of life into her dormant soul. You
must all unite in this work of arousing her, in reanimating her people by
the help of that Superior Force.

When an illness is slight a small remedy will suffice to heal it, but when
the slight illness becomes a terrible disease, then a very strong remedy
must be used by the Divine Healer. There are some trees that blossom and
bear fruit in a cool climate, others there are which need the hottest rays
of the sun to bring them to perfect maturity. Paris is one of those trees
for whose spiritual unfoldment a great flaming Sun of the Divine Power of
God is needed.

I ask you all, each one of you, to follow well the light of truth, in the
Holy Teachings, and God will strengthen you by His Holy Spirit so that you
will be enabled to overcome the difficulties, and to destroy the
prejudices which cause separation and hatred amongst the people. Let your
hearts be filled with the great love of God, let it be felt by all; for
every man is a servant of God, and all are entitled to a share of the
Divine Bounty.

Especially to those whose thoughts are material and retrograde show the
utmost love and patience, thereby winning them into the unity of
fellowship by the radiance of your kindness.

If you are faithful to your great work, following the Holy Sun of Truth
without swerving, then will the blessed day of universal brotherhood dawn
on this beautiful city.



THE PITIFUL CAUSES OF WAR, AND THE DUTY OF EVERYONE TO STRIVE FOR PEACE


October 21st

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

I hope you are all happy and well. I am not happy, but very sad. The news
of the Battle of Benghazi grieves my heart. I wonder at the human savagery
that still exists in the world! How is it possible for men to fight from
morning until evening, killing each other, shedding the blood of their
fellow-men: And for what object? To gain possession of a part of the
earth! Even the animals, when they fight, have an immediate and more
reasonable cause for their attacks! How terrible it is that men, who are
of the higher kingdom, can descend to slaying and bringing misery to their
fellow-beings, for the possession of a tract of land!

The highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest form of
matter, earth! Land belongs not to one people, but to all people. This
earth is not man’s home, but his tomb. It is for their tombs these men are
fighting. There is nothing so horrible in this world as the tomb, the
abode of the decaying bodies of men.

However great the conqueror, however many countries he may reduce to
slavery, he is unable to retain any part of these devastated lands but one
tiny portion—his tomb! If more land is required for the improvement of the
condition of the people, for the spread of civilization (for the
substitution of just laws for brutal customs)—surely it would be possible
to acquire peaceably the necessary extension of territory.

But war is made for the satisfaction of men’s ambition; for the sake of
worldly gain to the few, terrible misery is brought to numberless homes,
breaking the hearts of hundreds of men and women!

How many widows mourn their husbands, how many stories of savage cruelty
do we hear! How many little orphaned children are crying for their dead
fathers, how many women are weeping for their slain sons!

There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human
savagery!

I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your
heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a
stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more
powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all
harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.

Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and
happiness.

When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God
clasp each other’s hands! So may all the savagery of man disappear by the
Mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul.
Do not think the peace of the world an ideal impossible to attain!

Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God.

If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth,
your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the
desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the
minds of all men.

Do not despair! Work steadily. Sincerity and love will conquer hate. How
many seemingly impossible events are coming to pass in these days! Set
your faces steadily towards the Light of the World. Show love to all;
‘Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man’. Take courage!
God never forsakes His children who strive and work and pray! Let your
hearts be filled with the strenuous desire that tranquillity and harmony
may encircle all this warring world. So will success crown your efforts,
and with the universal brotherhood will come the Kingdom of God in peace
and goodwill.

In this room today are members of many races, French, American, English,
German, Italian, brothers and sisters meeting in friendship and harmony!
Let this gathering be a foreshadowing of what will, in very truth, take
place in this world, when every child of God realizes that they are leaves
of one tree, flowers in one garden, drops in one ocean, and sons and
daughters of one Father, whose name is love!



THE SUN OF TRUTH


October 22nd

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

It is a lovely day, the sun shines brightly upon the earth, giving light
and warmth to all creatures. The Sun of Truth is also shining, giving
light and warmth to the souls of men. The sun is the life-giver to the
physical bodies of all creatures upon earth; without its warmth their
growth would be stunted, their development would be arrested, they would
decay and die. Even so do the souls of men need the Sun of Truth to shed
its rays upon their souls, to develop them, to educate and encourage them.
As the sun is to the body of a man so is the Sun of Truth to his soul.

A man may have attained to a high degree of material progress, but without
the light of truth his soul is stunted and starved. Another man may have
no material gifts, may be at the bottom of the social ladder, but, having
received the warmth of the Sun of Truth his soul is great and his
spiritual understanding is enlightened.

A Greek philosopher living in the days of the youth of Christianity, being
full of the Christian element, though not a professing Christian, wrote
thus: ‘It is my belief that religion is the very foundation of true
civilization’. For, unless the moral character of a nation is educated, as
well as its brain and its talents, civilization has no sure basis.

As religion inculcates morality, it is therefore the truest philosophy,
and on it is built the only lasting civilization. As an example of this,
he points out the Christians of the time whose morality was on a very high
level. The belief of this philosopher conforms to the truth, for the
civilization of Christianity was the best and most enlightened in the
world. The Christian Teaching was illumined by the Divine Sun of Truth,
therefore its followers were taught to love all men as brothers to fear
nothing, not even death! To love their neighbours as themselves, and to
forget their own selfish interests in striving for the greater good of
humanity. The grand aim of the religion of Christ was to draw the hearts
of all men nearer to God’s effulgent Truth.

If the followers of the Lord Christ had continued to follow out these
principles with steadfast faithfulness, there would have been no need for
a renewal of the Christian Message, no necessity for a re-awakening of His
people, for a great and glorious civilization would now be ruling the
world and the Kingdom of Heaven would have come on earth.

But instead of this, what has taken place! Men turned away their faces
from following the divinely illuminated precepts of their Master, and
winter fell upon the hearts of men. For, as the body of man depends for
life upon the rays of the sun, so cannot the celestial virtues grow in the
soul without the radiance of the Sun of Truth.

God leaves not His children comfortless, but, when the darkness of winter
overshadows them, then again He sends His Messengers, the Prophets, with a
renewal of the blessed spring. The Sun of Truth appears again on the
horizon of the world shining into the eyes of those who sleep, awaking
them to behold the glory of a new dawn. Then again will the tree of
humanity blossom and bring forth the fruit of righteousness for the
healing of the nations. Because man has stopped his ears to the Voice of
Truth and shut his eyes to the Sacred Light, neglecting the Law of God,
for this reason has the darkness of war and tumult, unrest and misery,
desolated the earth. I pray that you will all strive to bring each child
of God into the radiance of the Sun of Truth, that the darkness may be
dissipated by the penetrating rays of its glory, and the winter’s hardness
and cold may be melted away by the merciful warmth of its shining.



THE LIGHT OF TRUTH IS NOW SHINING UPON THE EAST AND WEST


Monday, October 23rd

When a man has found the joy of life in one place, he returns to that same
spot to find more joy. When a man has found gold in a mine, he returns
again to that mine to dig for more gold.

This shows the internal force and natural instinct which God has given to
man, and the power of vital energy which is born in him.

The West has always received spiritual enlightenment from the East. The
Song of the Kingdom is first heard in the East, but in the West the
greater volume of sound bursts upon the listening ears.

The Lord Christ arose as a bright Star in the Eastern sky, but the light
of His Teaching shone more perfectly in the West, where His influence has
taken root more firmly and His Cause has spread to a greater degree than
in the land of His birth.

The sound of the Song of Christ has echoed over all the lands of the
Western World and entered the hearts of its people.

The people of the West are firm, and the foundations on which they build
are of rock; they are steadfast, and do not easily forget.

The West is like a strong sturdy plant; when the rain falls gently upon it
to give it nourishment and the sun shines upon it, then does it blossom in
due time and bring forth good fruit. It is a long time since the Sun of
Truth mirrored forth by the Lord Christ has shed its radiance upon the
West, for the Face of God has been veiled by the sin and forgetfulness of
man. But now again, praise be to God, the Holy Spirit speaks anew to the
world! The constellation of love and wisdom and power is once more shining
from the Divine Horizon to give joy to all who turn their faces to the
Light of God. Bahá’u’lláh has rent the veil of prejudice and superstition
which was stifling the souls of men. Let us pray to God that the breath of
the Holy Spirit may again give hope and refreshment to the people,
awakening in them a desire to do the Will of God. May heart and soul be
vivified in every man: so will they all rejoice in a new birth.

Then shall humanity put on a new garment in the radiance of the love of
God, and it shall be the dawn of a new creation! Then will the Mercy of
the Most Merciful be showered upon all mankind and they will arise to a
new life.

My earnest desire is that you will all strive and work for this glorious
end; that you will be faithful and loving workers in the building of the
new spiritual civilization; the elect of God, in willing joyful obedience
carrying out His supreme design! Success is truly near at hand, for the
Flag of Divinity has been raised aloft, and the Sun of the Righteousness
of God appeareth upon the horizon in the sight of all men!



THE UNIVERSAL LOVE


October 24th

An Indian said to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

‘My aim in life is to transmit as far as in me lies the message of Krishna
to the world.’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said: The Message of Krishna is the message of love. All
God’s prophets have brought the message of love. None has ever thought
that war and hate are good. Every one agrees in saying that love and
kindness are best.

Love manifests its reality in deeds, not only in words—these alone are
without effect. In order that love may manifest its power there must be an
object, an instrument, a motive.

There are many ways of expressing the love principle; there is love for
the family, for the country, for the race, there is political enthusiasm,
there is also the love of community of interest in service. These are all
ways and means of showing the power of love. Without any such means, love
would be unseen, unheard, unfelt—altogether unexpressed, unmanifested!
Water shows its power in various ways, in quenching thirst, causing seed
to grow, etc. Coal expresses one of its principles in gas-light, while one
of the powers of electricity is shown in the electric light. If there were
neither gas nor electricity, the nights of the world would be darkness!
So, it is necessary to have an instrument, a motive for love’s
manifestation, an object, a mode of expression.

We must find a way of spreading love among the sons of humanity.

Love is unlimited, boundless, infinite! Material things are limited,
circumscribed, finite. You cannot adequately express infinite love by
limited means.

The perfect love needs an unselfish instrument, absolutely freed from
fetters of every kind. The love of family is limited; the tie of blood
relationship is not the strongest bond. Frequently members of the same
family disagree, and even hate each other.

Patriotic love is finite; the love of one’s country causing hatred of all
others, is not perfect love! Compatriots also are not free from quarrels
amongst themselves.

The love of race is limited; there is some union here, but that is
insufficient. Love must be free from boundaries!

To love our own race may mean hatred of all others, and even people of the
same race often dislike each other.

Political love also is much bound up with hatred of one party for another;
this love is very limited and uncertain.

The love of community of interest in service is likewise fluctuating;
frequently competitions arise, which lead to jealousy, and at length
hatred replaces love.

A few years ago, Turkey and Italy had a friendly political understanding;
now they are at war!

All these ties of love are imperfect. It is clear that limited material
ties are insufficient to adequately express the universal love.

The great unselfish love for humanity is bounded by none of these
imperfect, semi-selfish bonds; this is the one perfect love, possible to
all mankind, and can only be achieved by the power of the Divine Spirit.
No worldly power can accomplish the universal love.

Let all be united in this Divine power of love! Let all strive to grow in
the light of the Sun of Truth, and reflecting this luminous love on all
men, may their hearts become so united that they may dwell evermore in the
radiance of the limitless love.

Remember these words which I speak unto you during the short time I am
amongst you in Paris. I earnestly exhort you: let not your hearts be
fettered by the material things of this world; I charge you not to lie
contentedly on the beds of negligence, prisoners of matter, but to arise
and free yourselves from its chains!

The animal creation is captive to matter, God has given freedom to man.
The animal cannot escape the law of nature, whereas man may control it,
for he, containing nature, can rise above it.

The power of the Holy Spirit, enlightening man’s intelligence, has enabled
him to discover means of bending many natural laws to his will. He flies
through the air, floats on the sea, and even moves under the waters.

All this proves how man’s intelligence has been enabled to free him from
the limitations of nature, and to solve many of her mysteries. Man, to a
certain extent, has broken the chains of matter.

The Holy Spirit will give to man greater powers than these, if only he
will strive after the things of the spirit and endeavour to attune his
heart to the Divine infinite love.

When you love a member of your family or a compatriot, let it be with a
ray of the Infinite Love! Let it be in God, and for God! Wherever you find
the attributes of God love that person, whether he be of your family or of
another. Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you
meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any
other nation, colour or shade of political opinion. Heaven will support
you while you work in this in-gathering of the scattered peoples of the
world beneath the shadow of the almighty tent of unity.

You will be servants of God, who are dwelling near to Him, His divine
helpers in the service, ministering to all Humanity. All Humanity! Every
human being! never forget this!

Do not say, he is an Italian, or a Frenchman, or an American, or an
Englishman, remember only that he is a son of God, a servant of the Most
High, a man! All are men! Forget nationalities; all are equal in the sight
of God!

Remember not your own limitations; the help of God will come to you.
Forget yourself. God’s help will surely come!

When you call on the Mercy of God waiting to reinforce you, your strength
will be tenfold.

Look at me: I am so feeble, yet I have had the strength given me to come
amongst you: a poor servant of God, who has been enabled to give you this
message! I shall not be with you long! One must never consider one’s own
feebleness, it is the strength of the Holy Spirit of Love, which gives the
power to teach. The thought of our own weakness could only bring despair.
We must look higher than all earthly thoughts; detach ourselves from every
material idea, crave for the things of the spirit; fix our eyes on the
everlasting bountiful Mercy of the Almighty, who will fill our souls with
the gladness of joyful service to His command ‘Love One Another’.



THE IMPRISONMENT OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ


4 Avenue de Camöens,
Wednesday, October 25th

I regret much that I have kept you waiting this morning, but I have so
much to do in a short time for the Cause of the love of God.

You will not mind having waited a little to see me. I have waited years
and years in prison, that I might come to see you now.

Above all, God be praised, our hearts are always in unison, and with one
aim are drawn to the love of God. By the Bounty of the Kingdom our
desires, our hearts, our spirits, are they not united in one bond? Our
prayers, are they not for the gathering together of all men in harmony?
Therefore are we not always together?

Yesterday evening when I came home from the house of Monsieur Dreyfus I
was very tired—yet I did not sleep, I lay awake thinking.

I said, O God, Here am I in Paris! What is Paris and who am I? Never did I
dream that from the darkness of my prison I should ever be able to come to
you, though when they read me my sentence I did not believe in it.

They told me that ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd had ordered my everlasting imprisonment,
and I said, ‘This is impossible! I shall not always be a prisoner. If
‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd were immortal, such a sentence might possibly be carried
out. It is certain that one day I shall be free. My body may be captive
for a time, but ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd has no power over my spirit—free it must
remain—that can no man imprison’.

Released from my prison by the Power of God I meet here the friends of
God, and I am thankful unto Him.

Let us spread the Cause of God, for which I suffered persecution.

What a privilege it is for us to meet here in freedom. How happy for us
that God has so decided that we may work together for the coming of the
Kingdom!

Are you pleased to receive such a guest, freed from his prison to bring
the glorious Message to you? He who never could have thought such a
meeting possible! Now by the Grace of God, by His wonderful Power, I, who
was condemned to perpetual imprisonment in a far off town of the East, am
here in Paris talking with you!

Henceforward we shall always be together, heart and soul and spirit,
pressing forward in the work till all men are gathered together under the
tent of the Kingdom, singing the songs of peace.



GOD’S GREATEST GIFT TO MAN


Thursday, October 26th

God’s greatest gift to man is that of intellect, or understanding.

The understanding is the power by which man acquires his knowledge of the
several kingdoms of creation, and of various stages of existence, as well
as of much which is invisible.

Possessing this gift, he is, in himself, the sum of earlier creations—he
is able to get into touch with those kingdoms; and by this gift, he can
frequently, through his scientific knowledge, reach out with prophetic
vision.

Intellect is, in truth, the most precious gift bestowed upon man by the
Divine Bounty. Man alone, among created beings, has this wonderful power.

All creation, preceding Man, is bound by the stern law of nature. The
great sun, the multitudes of stars, the oceans and seas, the mountains,
the rivers, the trees, and all animals, great or small—none is able to
evade obedience to nature’s law.

Man alone has freedom, and, by his understanding or intellect, has been
able to gain control of and adapt some of those natural laws to his own
needs. By the power of his intellect he has discovered means by which he
not only traverses great continents in express trains and crosses vast
oceans in ships, but, like the fish he travels under water in submarines,
and, imitating the birds, he flies through the air in airships.

Man has succeeded in using electricity in several ways—for light, for
motive power, for sending messages from one end of the earth to the
other—and by electricity he can even hear a voice many miles away!

By this gift of understanding or intellect he has also been able to use
the rays of the sun to picture people and things, and even to capture the
form of distant heavenly bodies.

We perceive in what numerous ways man has been able to bend the powers of
nature to his will.

How grievous it is to see how man has used his God-given gift to frame
instruments of war, for breaking the Commandment of God ‘Thou shalt not
kill’, and for defying Christ’s injunction to ‘Love one another’.

God gave this power to man that it might be used for the advancement of
civilization, for the good of humanity, to increase love and concord and
peace. But man prefers to use this gift to destroy instead of to build,
for injustice and oppression, for hatred and discord and devastation, for
the destruction of his fellow-creatures, whom Christ has commanded that he
should love as himself!

I hope that you will use your understanding to promote the unity and
tranquillity of mankind, to give enlightenment and civilization to the
people, to produce love in all around you, and to bring about the
universal peace.

Study the sciences, acquire more and more knowledge. Assuredly one may
learn to the end of one’s life! Use your knowledge always for the benefit
of others; so may war cease on the face of this beautiful earth, and a
glorious edifice of peace and concord be raised. Strive that your high
ideals may be realized in the Kingdom of God on earth, as they will be in
Heaven.



THE CLOUDS THAT OBSCURE THE SUN OF TRUTH


4 Avenue de Camöens,
Morning of Friday, October 27th

The day is fine, the air is pure, the sun shines, no mist nor cloud
obscures its radiance.

These brilliant rays penetrate into all parts of the city; so may the Sun
of Truth illumine the minds of men.

Christ said, ‘They shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of
Heaven’.(2) Bahá’u’lláh said, ‘When Christ came for the first time He came
upon the clouds’.(3) Christ said that He had come from the sky, from
Heaven—that He came forth from God—while He was born of Mary, His Mother.
But when He declared that He had come from Heaven, it is clear that He did
not mean the blue firmament but that He spoke of the Heaven of the Kingdom
of God, and that from this Heaven He descended upon the clouds. As clouds
are obstacles to the shining of the sun, so the clouds of the world of
humanity hid from the eyes of men the radiance of the Divinity of Christ.

Men said, ‘He is of Nazareth, born of Mary, we know Him and we know his
brethren. What can He mean? What is He saying? That He came forth from
God?’

The Body of Christ was born of Mary of Nazareth, but the Spirit was of
God. The capacities of His human body were limited but the strength of His
spirit was vast, infinite, immeasurable.

Men asked, ‘Why does He say He is of God?’ If they had understood the
reality of Christ, they would have known that the body of His humanity was
a cloud that hid His Divinity. The world only saw His human form, and
therefore wondered how He could have ‘come down from Heaven’.

Bahá’u’lláh said, ‘Even as the clouds hide the sun and the sky from our
gaze, even so did the humanity of Christ hide from men His real Divine
character’.

I hope that you will turn with unclouded eyes towards the Sun of Truth,
beholding not the things of earth, lest your hearts be attracted to the
worthless and passing pleasures of the world; let that Sun give you of His
strength, then will not the clouds of prejudice veil His illumination from
your eyes! Then will the Sun be without clouds for you.

Breathe the air of purity. May you each and all share in the Divine
Bounties of the Kingdom of Heaven. May the world be for you no obstacle
hiding the truth from your sight, as the human body of Christ hid His
Divinity from the people of His day. May you receive the clear vision of
the Holy Spirit, so that your hearts may be illumined and able to
recognize the Sun of Truth shining through all material clouds, His
splendour flooding the universe.

Let not the things of the body obscure the celestial light of the spirit,
so that, by the Divine Bounty, you may enter with the children of God into
His Eternal Kingdom.

This is my prayer for you all.



RELIGIOUS PREJUDICES


October 27th

The basis of the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the Unity of Mankind, and his
greatest desire was that love and goodwill should live in the heart of
men.

As He exhorted the people to do away with strife and discord, so I wish to
explain to you the principal reason of the unrest among nations. The chief
cause is the misrepresentation of religion by the religious leaders and
teachers. They teach their followers to believe that their own form of
religion is the only one pleasing to God, and that followers of any other
persuasion are condemned by the All-Loving Father and deprived of His
Mercy and Grace. Hence arise among the peoples, disapproval, contempt,
disputes and hatred. If these religious prejudices could be swept away,
the nations would soon enjoy peace and concord.

I was once at Tiberias where the Jews have a Temple. I was staying in a
house just opposite the Temple, and there I saw and heard a Rabbi speaking
to his congregation of Jews, and he spoke thus:

‘O Jews, you are in truth the people of God! All other races and religions
are of the devil. God has created you the descendants of Abraham, and He
has showered His blessings upon you. Unto you God sent Moses, Jacob and
Joseph, and many other great prophets. These prophets, one and all, were
of your race.

‘It was for you that God broke the power of Pharaoh and caused the Red Sea
to dry up; to you also He sent manna from above to be your food, and out
of the stony rock did He give you water to quench your thirst. You are
indeed the chosen people of God, you are above all the races of the earth!
Therefore, all other races are abhorrent to God, and condemned by Him. In
truth you will govern and subdue the world, and all men shall become your
slaves.

‘Do not profane yourselves by consorting with people who are not of your
own religion, make not friends of such men.’

When the Rabbi had finished his eloquent discourse, his hearers were
filled with joy and satisfaction. It is impossible to describe to you
their happiness!

Alas! It is misguided ones like these who are the cause of division and
hatred upon earth. Today there are millions of people who still worship
idols, and the great religions of the world are at war among themselves.
For 1,300 years, Christians and Mussulmans have been quarrelling, when
with very little effort their differences and disputes could be overcome
and peace and harmony could exist between them and the world could be at
rest!

In the Qur’án we read that Muḥammad spoke to his followers, saying:

‘Why do you not believe in Christ, and in the Gospel? Why will you not
accept Moses and the Prophets, for surely the Bible is the Book of God? In
truth, Moses was a sublime Prophet, and Jesus was filled with the Holy
Spirit. He came to the world through the Power of God, born of the Holy
Spirit and of the blessed Virgin Mary. Mary, His mother, was a saint from
Heaven. She passed her days in the Temple at prayer and food was sent to
her from above. Her father, Zacharias, came to her and asked her from
whence the food came, and Mary made answer, “From on high.” Surely God
made Mary to be exalted above all other women.’

This is what Muḥammad taught His people concerning Jesus and Moses, and He
reproached them for their lack of faith in these great Teachers, and
taught them the lessons of truth and tolerance. Muḥammad was sent from God
to work among a people as savage and uncivilized as the wild beasts. They
were quite devoid of understanding, nor had they any feelings of love,
sympathy and pity. Women were so degraded and despised that a man could
bury his daughter alive, and he had as many wives to be his slaves as he
chose.

Among these half animal people Muḥammad was sent with His divine Message.
He taught the people that idol worship was wrong, but that they should
reverence Christ, Moses and the Prophets. Under His influence they became
a more enlightened and civilized people and arose from the degraded state
in which He found them. Was not this a good work, and worthy of all
praise, respect and love?

Look at the Gospel of the Lord Christ and see how glorious it is! Yet even
today men fail to understand its priceless beauty, and misinterpret its
words of wisdom.

Christ forbade war! When the disciple Peter, thinking to defend his Lord,
cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest, Christ said to him:
‘Put up thy sword into the sheath’.(4) Yet, in spite of the direct command
of the Lord they profess to serve—men still dispute, make war, and kill
one another, and His counsels and teaching seem quite forgotten.

But do not therefore attribute to the Masters and Prophets the evil deeds
of their followers. If the priests, teachers and people, lead lives which
are contrary to the religion they profess to follow, is that the fault of
Christ or the other Teachers?

The people of Islám were taught to realize how Jesus came from God and was
born of the Spirit, and that He must be glorified of all men. Moses was a
prophet of God, and revealed in His day and for the people to whom He was
sent, the Book of God.

Muḥammad recognized the sublime grandeur of Christ and the greatness of
Moses and the prophets. If only the whole world would acknowledge the
greatness of Muḥammad and all the Heaven-sent Teachers, strife and discord
would soon vanish from the face of the earth, and God’s Kingdom would come
among men.

The people of Islám who glorify Christ are not humiliated by so doing.

Christ was the Prophet of the Christians, Moses of the Jews—why should not
the followers of each prophet recognize and honour the other prophets
also? If men could only learn the lesson of mutual tolerance,
understanding, and brotherly love, the unity of the world would soon be an
established fact.

Bahá’u’lláh spent His life teaching this lesson of Love and Unity. Let us
then put away from us all prejudice and intolerance, and strive with all
our hearts and souls to bring about understanding and unity between
Christians and Mussulmans.



THE BENEFITS OF GOD TO MAN


4 Avenue de Camöens,
October 27th

God alone ordereth all things and is all-powerful. Why then does He send
trials to His servants?

The trials of man are of two kinds. (a) The consequences of his own
actions. If a man eats too much, he ruins his digestion; if he takes
poison he becomes ill or dies. If a person gambles he will lose his money;
if he drinks too much he will lose his equilibrium. All these sufferings
are caused by the man himself, it is quite clear therefore that certain
sorrows are the result of our own deeds. (b) Other sufferings there are,
which come upon the Faithful of God. Consider the great sorrows endured by
Christ and by His apostles!

Those who suffer most, attain to the greatest perfection.

Those who declare a wish to suffer much for Christ’s sake must prove their
sincerity; those who proclaim their longing to make great sacrifices can
only prove their truth by their deeds. Job proved the fidelity of his love
for God by being faithful through his great adversity, as well as during
the prosperity of his life. The apostles of Christ who steadfastly bore
all their trials and sufferings—did they not prove their faithfulness? Was
not their endurance the best proof?

These griefs are now ended.

Caiaphas lived a comfortable and happy life while Peter’s life was full of
sorrow and trial; which of these two is the more enviable? Assuredly we
should choose the present state of Peter, for he possesses immortal life
whilst Caiaphas has won eternal shame. The trials of Peter tested his
fidelity. Tests are benefits from God, for which we should thank Him.
Grief and sorrow do not come to us by chance, they are sent to us by the
Divine Mercy for our own perfecting.

While a man is happy he may forget his God; but when grief comes and
sorrows overwhelm him, then will he remember his Father who is in Heaven,
and who is able to deliver him from his humiliations.

Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the
gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most
beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit.

The labourer cuts up the earth with his plough, and from that earth comes
the rich and plentiful harvest. The more a man is chastened, the greater
is the harvest of spiritual virtues shown forth by him. A soldier is no
good General until he has been in the front of the fiercest battle and has
received the deepest wounds.

The prayer of the prophets of God has always been, and still is: Oh God, I
long to lay down my life in the path to Thee! I desire to shed my blood
for Thee, and to make the supreme sacrifice.



BEAUTY AND HARMONY IN DIVERSITY


October 28th

The Creator of all is One God.

From this same God all creation sprang into existence, and He is the one
goal, towards which everything in nature yearns. This conception was
embodied in the words of Christ, when He said, ‘I am the Alpha and the
Omega, the beginning and the end’. Man is the sum of Creation, and the
Perfect Man is the expression of the complete thought of the Creator—the
Word of God.

Consider the world of created beings, how varied and diverse they are in
species, yet with one sole origin. All the differences that appear are
those of outward form and colour. This diversity of type is apparent
throughout the whole of nature.

Behold a beautiful garden full of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Each flower
has a different charm, a peculiar beauty, its own delicious perfume and
beautiful colour. The trees too, how varied are they in size, in growth,
in foliage—and what different fruits they bear! Yet all these flowers,
shrubs and trees spring from the self-same earth, the same sun shines upon
them and the same clouds give them rain.

So it is with humanity. It is made up of many races, and its peoples are
of different colour, white, black, yellow, brown and red—but they all come
from the same God, and all are servants to Him. This diversity among the
children of men has unhappily not the same effect as it has among the
vegetable creation, where the spirit shown is more harmonious. Among men
exists the diversity of animosity, and it is this that causes war and
hatred among the different nations of the world.

Differences which are only those of blood also cause them to destroy and
kill one another. Alas! that this should still be so. Let us look rather
at the beauty in diversity, the beauty of harmony, and learn a lesson from
the vegetable creation. If you beheld a garden in which all the plants
were the same as to form, colour and perfume, it would not seem beautiful
to you at all, but, rather, monotonous and dull. The garden which is
pleasing to the eye and which makes the heart glad, is the garden in which
are growing side by side flowers of every hue, form and perfume, and the
joyous contrast of colour is what makes for charm and beauty. So is it
with trees. An orchard full of fruit trees is a delight; so is a
plantation planted with many species of shrubs. It is just the diversity
and variety that constitutes its charm; each flower, each tree, each
fruit, beside being beautiful in itself, brings out by contrast the
qualities of the others, and shows to advantage the special loveliness of
each and all.

Thus should it be among the children of men! The diversity in the human
family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where
many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord. If
you meet those of different race and colour from yourself, do not mistrust
them and withdraw yourself into your shell of conventionality, but rather
be glad and show them kindness. Think of them as different coloured roses
growing in the beautiful garden of humanity, and rejoice to be among them.

Likewise, when you meet those whose opinions differ from your own, do not
turn away your face from them. All are seeking truth, and there are many
roads leading thereto. Truth has many aspects, but it remains always and
forever one.

Do not allow difference of opinion, or diversity of thought to separate
you from your fellow-men, or to be the cause of dispute, hatred and strife
in your hearts.

Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all men your friends.

Every edifice is made of many different stones, yet each depends on the
other to such an extent that if one were displaced the whole building
would suffer; if one is faulty the structure is imperfect.

Bahá’u’lláh has drawn the circle of unity, He has made a design for the
uniting of all the peoples, and for the gathering of them all under the
shelter of the tent of universal unity. This is the work of the Divine
Bounty, and we must all strive with heart and soul until we have the
reality of unity in our midst, and as we work, so will strength be given
unto us. Leave all thought of self, and strive only to be obedient and
submissive to the Will of God. In this way only shall we become citizens
of the Kingdom of God, and attain unto life everlasting.



THE TRUE MEANING OF THE PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE COMING OF CHRIST


October 30th

In the Bible there are prophecies of the coming of Christ. The Jews still
await the coming of the Messiah, and pray to God day and night to hasten
His advent.

When Christ came they denounced and slew Him, saying: ‘This is not the One
for whom we wait. Behold when the Messiah shall come, signs and wonders
shall testify that He is in truth the Christ. We know the signs and
conditions, and they have not appeared. The Messiah will arise out of an
unknown city. He shall sit upon the throne of David, and behold, He shall
come with a sword of steel, and with a sceptre of iron shall He rule! He
shall fulfil the law of the Prophets, He shall conquer the East and the
West, and shall glorify His chosen people the Jews. He shall bring with
Him a reign of peace, during which even the animals shall cease to be at
enmity with man. For behold the wolf and the lamb shall drink from the
same spring, and the lion and the doe shall lie down in the same pasture,
the serpent and the mouse shall share the same nest, and all God’s
creatures shall be at rest’.

According to the Jews, Jesus the Christ fulfilled none of these
conditions, for their eyes were holden and they could not see.

He came from Nazareth, no unknown place. He carried no sword in His hand,
nor even a stick. He did not sit upon the Throne of David, He was a poor
man. He reformed the Law of Moses, and broke the Sabbath Day. He did not
conquer the East and the West, but was Himself subject to the Roman Law.
He did not exalt the Jews, but taught equality and brotherhood, and
rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees. He brought in no reign of peace, for
during His lifetime injustice and cruelty reached such a height that even
He Himself fell a victim to it, and died a shameful death upon the cross.

Thus the Jews thought and spoke, for they did not understand the
Scriptures nor the glorious truths that were contained in them. The letter
they knew by heart, but of the life-giving spirit they understood not a
word.

Hearken, and I will show you the meaning thereof. Although He came from
Nazareth, which was a known place, He also came from Heaven. His body was
born of Mary, but His Spirit came from Heaven. The sword He carried was
the sword of His tongue, with which He divided the good from the evil, the
true from the false, the faithful from the unfaithful, and the light from
the darkness. His Word was indeed a sharp sword! The Throne upon which He
sat is the Eternal Throne from which Christ reigns for ever, a heavenly
throne, not an earthly one, for the things of earth pass away but heavenly
things pass not away. He re-interpreted and completed the Law of Moses and
fulfilled the Law of the Prophets. His word conquered the East and the
West. His Kingdom is everlasting. He exalted those Jews who recognized
Him. They were men and women of humble birth, but contact with Him made
them great and gave them everlasting dignity. The animals who were to live
with one another signified the different sects and races, who, once having
been at war, were now to dwell in love and charity, drinking together the
water of life from Christ the Eternal Spring.

Thus, all the spiritual prophecies concerning the coming of Christ were
fulfilled, but the Jews shut their eyes that they should not see, and
their ears that they should not hear, and the Divine Reality of Christ
passed through their midst unheard, unloved and unrecognized.

It is easy to read the Holy Scriptures, but it is only with a clean heart
and a pure mind that one may understand their true meaning. Let us ask
God’s help to enable us to understand the Holy Books. Let us pray for eyes
to see and ears to hear, and for hearts that long for peace.

God’s eternal Mercy is immeasurable. He has always chosen certain souls
upon whom He has shed the Divine Bounty of His heart, whose minds He has
illumined with celestial light, to whom He has revealed the sacred
mysteries, and kept clear before their sight the Mirror of Truth. These
are the disciples of God, and His goodness has no bounds. You who are
servants of the Most High may be disciples also. The treasuries of God are
limitless.

The Spirit breathing through the Holy Scriptures is food for all who
hunger. God Who has given the revelation to His Prophets will surely give
of His abundance daily bread to all those who ask Him faithfully.



THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE INTERMEDIARY POWER BETWEEN GOD AND MAN


4 Avenue de Camöens,
October 31st

The Divine Reality is Unthinkable, Limitless, Eternal, Immortal and
Invisible.

The world of creation is bound by natural law, finite and mortal.

The Infinite Reality cannot be said to ascend or descend. It is beyond the
understanding of man, and cannot be described in terms which apply to the
phenomenal sphere of the created world.

Man, then, is in extreme need of the only Power by which he is able to
receive help from the Divine Reality, that Power alone bringing him into
contact with the Source of all life.

An intermediary is needed to bring two extremes into relation with each
other. Riches and poverty, plenty and need: without an intermediary power
there could be no relation between these pairs of opposites.

So we can say there must be a Mediator between God and Man, and this is
none other than the Holy Spirit, which brings the created earth into
relation with the ‘Unthinkable One’, the Divine Reality.

The Divine Reality may be likened to the sun and the Holy Spirit to the
rays of the sun. As the rays of the sun bring the light and warmth of the
sun to the earth, giving life to all created beings, so do the
‘Manifestations’(5) bring the power of the Holy Spirit from the Divine Sun
of Reality to give light and life to the souls of men.

Behold, there is an intermediary necessary between the sun and the earth;
the sun does not descend to the earth, neither does the earth ascend to
the sun. This contact is made by the rays of the sun which bring light and
warmth and heat.

The Holy Spirit is the Light from the Sun of Truth bringing, by its
infinite power, life and illumination to all mankind, flooding all souls
with Divine Radiance, conveying the blessings of God’s Mercy to the whole
world. The earth, without the medium of the warmth and light of the rays
of the sun, could receive no benefits from the sun.

Likewise the Holy Spirit is the very cause of the life of man; without the
Holy Spirit he would have no intellect, he would be unable to acquire his
scientific knowledge by which his great influence over the rest of
creation is gained. The illumination of the Holy Spirit gives to man the
power of thought, and enables him to make discoveries by which he bends
the laws of nature to his will.

The Holy Spirit it is which, through the mediation of the Prophets of God,
teaches spiritual virtues to man and enables him to attain Eternal Life.

All these blessings are brought to man by the Holy Spirit; therefore we
can understand that the Holy Spirit is the Intermediary between the
Creator and the created. The light and heat of the sun cause the earth to
be fruitful, and create life in all things that grow; and the Holy Spirit
quickens the souls of men.

The two great apostles, St Peter and St John the Evangelist, were once
simple, humble workmen, toiling for their daily bread. By the Power of the
Holy Spirit their souls were illumined, and they received the eternal
blessings of the Lord Christ.



THE TWO NATURES IN MAN


November 1st

Today is a day of rejoicing in Paris! They are celebrating the Festival of
‘All Saints’. Why do you think that these people were called ‘Saints’? The
word has a very real meaning. A saint is one who leads a life of purity,
one who has freed himself from all human weaknesses and imperfections.

In man there are two natures; his spiritual or higher nature and his
material or lower nature. In one he approaches God, in the other he lives
for the world alone. Signs of both these natures are to be found in men.
In his material aspect he expresses untruth, cruelty and injustice; all
these are the outcome of his lower nature. The attributes of his Divine
nature are shown forth in love, mercy, kindness, truth and justice, one
and all being expressions of his higher nature. Every good habit, every
noble quality belongs to man’s spiritual nature, whereas all his
imperfections and sinful actions are born of his material nature. If a
man’s Divine nature dominates his human nature, we have a saint.

Man has the power both to do good and to do evil; if his power for good
predominates and his inclinations to do wrong are conquered, then man in
truth may be called a saint. But if, on the contrary, he rejects the
things of God and allows his evil passions to conquer him, then he is no
better than a mere animal.

Saints are men who have freed themselves from the world of matter and who
have overcome sin. They live in the world but are not of it, their
thoughts being continually in the world of the spirit. Their lives are
spent in holiness, and their deeds show forth love, justice and godliness.
They are illumined from on high; they are as bright and shining lamps in
the dark places of the earth. These are the saints of God. The apostles,
who were the disciples of Jesus Christ, were just as other men are; they,
like their fellows, were attracted by the things of the world, and each
thought only of his own advantage. They knew little of justice, nor were
the Divine perfections found in their midst. But when they followed Christ
and believed in Him, their ignorance gave place to understanding, cruelty
was changed to justice, falsehood to truth, darkness into light. They had
been worldly, they became spiritual and divine. They had been children of
darkness, they became sons of God, they became saints! Strive therefore to
follow in their steps, leaving all worldly things behind, and striving to
attain to the Spiritual Kingdom.

Pray to God that He may strengthen you in divine virtue, so that you may
be as angels in the world, and beacons of light to disclose the mysteries
of the Kingdom to those with understanding hearts.

God sent His Prophets into the world to teach and enlighten man, to
explain to him the mystery of the Power of the Holy Spirit, to enable him
to reflect the light, and so in his turn, to be the source of guidance to
others. The Heavenly Books, the Bible, the Qur’án, and the other Holy
Writings have been given by God as guides into the paths of Divine virtue,
love, justice and peace.

Therefore I say unto you that ye should strive to follow the counsels of
these Blessed Books, and so order your lives that ye may, following the
examples set before you, become yourselves the saints of the Most High!



MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL PROGRESS


November 2nd

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

How beautiful the weather is today, the sky is clear, the sun shines, and
the heart of man is made glad thereby!

Such bright and beautiful weather gives new life and strength to man, and
if he has been sick, he feels once more in his heart the joyous hope of
health renewed. All these gifts of nature concern the physical side of
man, for it is only his body that can receive material benefits.

If a man is successful in his business, art, or profession he is thereby
enabled to increase his physical wellbeing and to give his body the amount
of ease and comfort in which it delights. All around us today we see how
man surrounds himself with every modern convenience and luxury, and denies
nothing to the physical and material side of his nature. But, take heed,
lest in thinking too earnestly of the things of the body you forget the
things of the soul: for material advantages do not elevate the spirit of a
man. Perfection in worldly things is a joy to the body of a man but in no
wise does it glorify his soul.

It may be that a man who has every material benefit, and who lives
surrounded by all the greatest comfort modern civilization can give him,
is denied the all important gift of the Holy Spirit.

It is indeed a good and praiseworthy thing to progress materially, but in
so doing, let us not neglect the more important spiritual progress, and
close our eyes to the Divine light shining in our midst.

Only by improving spiritually as well as materially can we make any real
progress, and become perfect beings. It was in order to bring this
spiritual life and light into the world that all the great Teachers have
appeared. They came so that the Sun of Truth might be manifested, and
shine in the hearts of men, and that through its wondrous power men might
attain unto Everlasting Light.

When the Lord Christ came He spread the light of the Holy Spirit on all
around Him, and His disciples and all who received His illumination became
enlightened, spiritual beings.

It was to manifest this light that Bahá’u’lláh was born, and came into the
world. He taught Eternal Truth to men, and shed the rays of Divine Light
in all lands.

Alas! behold how man disregards this Light. He still goes on his way of
darkness, and disunity, and quarrels and fierce war are still rife.

He uses material progress to gratify his lust for war, and he makes
destructive implements and appliances to destroy his brother man.

But let us rather exert ourselves for the attainment of spiritual
advantages, for this is the only way of true progress, that which cometh
from God and is alone Godly.

I pray for you one and all that you may receive the Bounties of the Holy
Spirit; so will you become in truth enlightened, and progress ever onward
and upward to the Kingdom of God. Then shall your hearts be prepared to
receive the glad tidings, your eyes shall be opened and you will see the
Glory of God; your ears shall be unstopped and you will hear the call of
the Kingdom, and with tongue made eloquent shall you call men to the
realization of the Divine Power and Love of God!



THE EVOLUTION OF MATTER AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUL


November 3rd

Paris is becoming very cold, so cold that I shall soon be obliged to go
away, but the warmth of your love still keeps me here. God willing, I hope
to stay among you yet a little while; bodily cold and heat cannot affect
the spirit, for it is warmed by the fire of the Love of God. When we
understand this, we begin to understand something of our life in the world
to come.

God, in His Bounty, has given us a foretaste here, has given us certain
proofs of the difference that exists between body, soul and spirit.

We see that cold, heat, suffering, etc, only concern the body, they do not
touch the spirit.

How often do we see a man, poor, sick, miserably clad, and with no means
of support, yet spiritually strong. Whatever his body has to suffer, his
spirit is free and well! Again, how often do we see a rich man, physically
strong and healthy, but with a soul sick unto death.

It is quite apparent to the seeing mind that a man’s spirit is something
very different from his physical body.

The spirit is changeless, indestructible. The progress and development of
the soul, the joy and sorrow of the soul, are independent of the physical
body.

If we are caused joy or pain by a friend, if a love prove true or false,
it is the soul that is affected. If our dear ones are far from us—it is
the soul that grieves, and the grief or trouble of the soul may react on
the body.

Thus, when the spirit is fed with holy virtues, then is the body joyous;
if the soul falls into sin, the body is in torment!

When we find truth, constancy, fidelity, and love, we are happy; but if we
meet with lying, faithlessness, and deceit, we are miserable.

These are all things pertaining to the soul, and are not bodily ills.
Thus, it is apparent that the soul, even as the body, has its own
individuality. But if the body undergoes a change, the spirit need not be
touched. When you break a glass on which the sun shines, the glass is
broken, but the sun still shines! If a cage containing a bird is
destroyed, the bird is unharmed! If a lamp is broken, the flame can still
burn bright!

The same thing applies to the spirit of man. Though death destroy his
body, it has no power over his spirit—this is eternal, everlasting, both
birthless and deathless.

As to the soul of man after death, it remains in the degree of purity to
which it has evolved during life in the physical body, and after it is
freed from the body it remains plunged in the ocean of God’s Mercy.

From the moment the soul leaves the body and arrives in the Heavenly
World, its evolution is spiritual, and that evolution is: The approaching
unto God.

In the physical creation, evolution is from one degree of perfection to
another. The mineral passes with its mineral perfections to the vegetable;
the vegetable, with its perfections, passes to the animal world, and so on
to that of humanity. This world is full of seeming contradictions; in each
of these kingdoms (mineral, vegetable and animal) life exists in its
degree; though when compared to the life in a man, the earth appears to be
dead, yet she, too, lives and has a life of her own. In this world things
live and die, and live again in other forms of life, but in the world of
the spirit it is quite otherwise.

The soul does not evolve from degree to degree as a law—it only evolves
nearer to God, by the Mercy and Bounty of God.

It is my earnest prayer that we may all be in the Kingdom of God, and near
Him.



THE SPIRITUAL MEETINGS IN PARIS


November 4th

All over Europe today one hears of meetings and assemblies, and societies
of all kinds are formed. There are those interested in commerce, science,
and politics, and many others. All these are for material service, their
desire being for the progress and enlightenment of the world of matter.
But rarely does a breath from the spirit world breathe upon them. They
seem unconscious of the Divine Voice, careless concerning the things of
God. But this meeting in Paris is a truly spiritual one. The Divine Breath
is poured forth in your midst, the light of the Kingdom is shining in all
hearts. The Divine love of God is a power among you, and with souls
athirst, ye receive the glad tidings of great joy.

You are all met here with one accord, heart drawn to heart, souls
overflowing with Divine love, working and longing for the unity of the
world.

Verily this assembly is a spiritual one! It is like unto a beautiful
perfumed garden! On it the Heavenly Sun sheds the golden rays, and the
warmth thereof penetrates and gladdens each waiting heart. The love of
Christ, which passeth all knowledge, is among you, the Holy Spirit is your
help.

Day by day this meeting will grow and become more powerful until gradually
its spirit will conquer the whole world!

Try with all your hearts to be willing channels for God’s Bounty. For I
say unto you that He has chosen you to be His messengers of love
throughout the world, to be His bearers of spiritual gifts to man, to be
the means of spreading unity and concord on the earth. Thank God with all
your hearts that such a privilege has been given unto you. For a life
devoted to praise is not too long in which to thank God for such a favour.

Lift up your hearts above the present and look with eyes of faith into the
future! Today the seed is sown, the grain falls upon the earth, but behold
the day will come when it shall rise a glorious tree and the branches
thereof shall be laden with fruit. Rejoice and be glad that this day has
dawned, try to realize its power, for it is indeed wonderful! God has
crowned you with honour and in your hearts has He set a radiant star;
verily the light thereof shall brighten the whole world!



THE TWO KINDS OF LIGHT


November 5th

Today the weather is gloomy and dull! In the East there is continual
sunshine, the stars are never veiled, and there are very few clouds. Light
always rises in the East and sends forth its radiance into the West.

There are two kinds of light. There is the visible light of the sun, by
whose aid we can discern the beauties of the world around us—without this
we could see nothing.

Nevertheless, though it is the function of this light to make things
visible to us, it cannot give us the power to see them or to understand
what their various charms may be, for this light has no intelligence, no
consciousness. It is the light of the intellect which gives us knowledge
and understanding, and without this light the physical eyes would be
useless.

This light of the intellect is the highest light that exists, for it is
born of the Light Divine.

The light of the intellect enables us to understand and realize all that
exists, but it is only the Divine Light that can give us sight for the
invisible things, and which enables us to see truths that will only be
visible to the world thousands of years hence.

It was the Divine Light which enabled the prophets to see two thousand
years in advance what was going to take place and today we see the
realization of their vision. Thus it is this Light which we must strive to
seek, for it is greater than any other.

It was by this Light that Moses was enabled to see and comprehend the
Divine Appearance, and to hear the Heavenly Voice which spoke to him from
the Burning Bush.(6)

It is of this Light Muḥammad is speaking when he says, ‘Alláh is the light
of the Heavens, and of the Earth’.

Seek with all your hearts this Heavenly Light, so that you may be enabled
to understand the realities, that you may know the secret things of God,
that the hidden ways may be made plain before your eyes.

This light may be likened unto a mirror, and as a mirror reflects all that
is before it, so this Light shows to the eyes of our spirits all that
exists in God’s Kingdom and causes the realities of things to be made
visible. By the help of this effulgent Light all the spiritual
interpretation of the Holy Writings has been made plain, the hidden things
of God’s Universe have become manifest, and we have been enabled to
comprehend the Divine purposes for man.

I pray that God in His mercy may illumine your hearts and souls with His
glorious Light, then shall each one of you shine as a radiant star in the
dark places of the world.



SPIRITUAL ASPIRATION IN THE WEST


‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

You are very welcome! From Eastern lands I have come to the West to
sojourn awhile among you. In the East it is often said that the people of
the West are without spirituality, but I have not found it thus. Thank
God, I see and feel that there is much spiritual aspiration among the
Western peoples, and that in some cases their spiritual perception is even
keener than among their Eastern brothers. If the teaching given in the
East had been conscientiously spread in the West the world today would be
a more enlightened place.

Although in the past all the great Spiritual Teachers have arisen in the
East, there are still many men there who are quite devoid of spirituality.
With regard to the things of the spirit they are as lifeless as a stone;
nor do they wish to be otherwise, for they consider that man is only a
higher form of animal and that the things of God concern him not.

But man’s ambition should soar above this—he should ever look higher than
himself, ever upward and onward, until through the Mercy of God he may
come to the Kingdom of Heaven. Again, there are men whose eyes are only
open to physical progress and to the evolution in the world of matter.
These men prefer to study the resemblance between their own physical body
and that of the ape, rather than to contemplate the glorious affiliation
between their spirit and that of God. This is indeed strange, for it is
only physically that man resembles the lower creation, with regard to his
intellect he is totally unlike it.

Man is always progressing. His circle of knowledge is ever widening, and
his mental activity flows through many and varied channels. Look what man
has accomplished in the field of science, consider his many discoveries
and countless inventions and his profound understanding of natural law.

In the world of art it is just the same, and this wonderful development of
man’s faculties becomes more and more rapid as time goes on. If the
discoveries, inventions and material accomplishments of the last fifteen
hundred years could be put together, you would see that there has been
greater advancement during the last hundred years than in the previous
fourteen centuries. For the rapidity with which man is progressing
increases century by century.

The power of the intellect is one of God’s greatest gifts to men, it is
the power that makes him a higher creature than the animal. For whereas,
century by century and age by age man’s intelligence grows and becomes
keener, that of the animal remains the same. They are no more intelligent
today then they were a thousand years ago! Is there a greater proof than
this needed to show man’s dissimilarity to the animal creation? It is
surely as clear as day.

As for the spiritual perfections they are man’s birthright and belong to
him alone of all creation. Man is, in reality, a spiritual being, and only
when he lives in the spirit is he truly happy. This spiritual longing and
perception belongs to all men alike, and it is my firm conviction that the
Western people possess great spiritual aspiration.

It is my fervent prayer that the star of the East will shed its brilliant
rays on the Western world, and that the people of the West may arise in
strength, earnestness, and courage, to help their brethren in the East.



LECTURE GIVEN AT A STUDIO IN PARIS


November 6th

This is in truth a Bahá’í house. Every time such a house or meeting place
is founded it becomes one of the greatest aids to the general development
of the town and country to which it belongs. It encourages the growth of
learning and science and is known for its intense spirituality and for the
love it spreads among the peoples.

The foundation of such a meeting-place is always followed by the greatest
prosperity. The first Bahá’í Assembly that existed in Ṭihrán was
singularly blessed! In one year it had grown so rapidly that its members
had increased to nine times their original number. Today, in far-away
Persia, there are many such assemblies where the friends of God meet
together in the fulness of joy, love and unity. They teach the Cause of
God, educate the ignorant, and draw heart to heart in brotherly kindness.
It is they who help the poor and needy and give to them their daily bread.
They love and care for the sick and are messengers of hope and consolation
to the desolate and oppressed.

Oh, ye in Paris, strive that your assemblies may be like unto this, and
may bear even greater fruits!

Oh, friends of God! If ye will trust in the Word of God and be strong; if
ye will follow the precepts of Bahá’u’lláh to tend the sick, raise the
fallen, care for the poor and needy, give shelter to the destitute,
protect the oppressed, comfort the sorrowful and love the world of
humanity with all your hearts, then I say unto you that ere long this
meeting-place will see a wonderful harvest. Day by day each member will
advance and become more and more spiritual. But ye must have a firm
foundation and your aims and ambitions must be clearly understood by each
member. They shall be as follows:

1. To show compassion and goodwill to all mankind.

2. To render service to humanity.

3. To endeavour to guide and enlighten those in darkness.

4. To be kind to everyone, and show forth affection to every living soul.

5. To be humble in your attitude towards God, to be constant in prayer to
Him, so as to grow daily nearer to God.

6. To be so faithful and sincere in all your actions that every member may
be known as embodying the qualities of honesty, love, faith, kindness,
generosity, and courage. To be detached from all that is not God,
attracted by the Heavenly Breath—a divine soul; so that the world may know
that a Bahá’í is a perfect being.

Strive to attain this at these meetings. Then, indeed and in truth will
ye, the friends of God, come together with great joy! Render help one to
the other, become as one man, having reached perfect unity.

I pray to God that daily ye may advance in spirituality, that God’s love
may be more and more manifested in you, that the thoughts of your hearts
may be purified, and that your faces may be ever turned towards Him. May
you one and all approach to the threshold of unity, and enter into the
Kingdom. May each of you be like unto a flaming torch, lighted and burning
bright with the fire of the Love of God.



BAHÁ’U’LLÁH


November 7th

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

I will speak to you today of Bahá’u’lláh. In the third year after the Báb
had declared his Mission, Bahá’u’lláh, being accused by fanatical Mullás
of believing in the new doctrine, was arrested and thrown into prison. The
next day, however, several ministers of the Government and other
influential men caused him to be set free. Later on he was again arrested,
and the priests condemned him to death! The Governor hesitated to have
this sentence carried out for fear of a revolution. The priests met
together in the Mosque, before which was the place of execution. All the
people of the town gathered in crowds outside the Mosque. The carpenters
brought their saws and hammers, the butchers came with their knives, the
bricklayers and builders shouldered their spades, all these men, incited
by the frenzied Mullás, were eager to share in the honour of killing Him.
Inside the Mosque were assembled the doctors of religion. Bahá’u’lláh
stood before them, and answered all their questions with great wisdom. The
chief sage in particular, was completely silenced by Bahá’u’lláh, who
refuted all his arguments.

A discussion arose between two of these priests as to the meaning of some
words in the writings of the Báb; accusing Him of inaccuracy, they
challenged Bahá’u’lláh to defend Him if He were able. These priests were
entirely humiliated, for Bahá’u’lláh proved before the whole assembly that
the Báb was absolutely right, and that the accusation was made in
ignorance.

The defeated ones now put Him to the torture of the bastinado, and more
infuriated than before brought Him out before the walls of the Mosque unto
the place of execution, where the misguided people were awaiting His
coming.

Still the Governor feared to comply with the demand of the priests for His
execution. Realizing the danger in which the dignified prisoner was
placed, some men were sent to rescue Him. In this they succeeded by
breaking through the wall of the Mosque and leading Bahá’u’lláh through
the opening into a place of safety, but not of freedom; for the Governor
shifted the responsibility from off his own shoulders by sending him to
Ṭihrán. Here He was imprisoned in an underground dungeon, where the light
of day was never seen. A heavy chain was placed about his neck by which He
was chained to five other Bábís; these fetters were locked together by
strong, very heavy bolts, and screws. His clothes were torn to pieces,
also His fez. In this terrible condition He was kept for four months.

During this time none of His friends were able to get access to Him.

A prison official made an attempt to poison Him but, beyond causing Him
great suffering, this poison had no effect.

After a time the Government liberated Him and exiled Him and His family to
Ba_gh_dád, where He remained for eleven years. During this time He
underwent severe persecutions, being surrounded by the watchful hatred of
His enemies.

He bore all evils and torments with the greatest courage and fortitude.
Often when He arose in the morning, He knew not whether He would live
until the sun should set. Meanwhile, each day, the priests came and
questioned Him on religion and metaphysics.

At length the Turkish Governor exiled Him to Constantinople, whence He was
sent to Adrianople; here He stayed for five years. Eventually, He was sent
to the far off prison fortress of St. Jean d’Acre. Here He was imprisoned
in the military portion of the fortress and kept under the strictest
surveillance. Words would fail me to tell you of the many trials He had to
suffer, and all the misery He endured in that prison. Notwithstanding, it
was from this prison that Bahá’u’lláh wrote to all the Monarchs of Europe,
and these letters with one exception were sent through the post.

The Epistle of Náṣiri’d-Dín _Sh_áh was confided to a Persian Bahá’í, Mírzá
Badí _Kh_urásání, who undertook to deliver it into the _Sh_áh’s own hands.
This brave man waited in the neighbourhood of Ṭihrán for the passing of
the _Sh_áh, who had the intention to journey by that way to his Summer
Palace. The courageous messenger followed the _Sh_áh to his Palace, and
waited on the road near the entrance for several days. Always in the same
place was he seen waiting on the road, until the people began to wonder
why he should be there. At last the _Sh_áh heard of him, and commanded his
servants that the man should be brought before him.

‘Oh! servants of the _Sh_áh, I bring a letter, which I must deliver into
his own hands’, Badí said, and then Badí said to the _Sh_áh, ‘I bring you
a letter from Bahá’u’lláh!’

He was immediately seized and questioned by those who wished to elicit
information which would help them in the further persecutions of
Bahá’u’lláh. Badí would not answer a word; then they tortured him, still
he held his peace! After three days they killed him, having failed to
force him to speak! These cruel men photographed him whilst he was under
torture.(7)

The _Sh_áh gave the letter from Bahá’u’lláh to the priests that they might
explain it to him. After some days these priests told the _Sh_áh that the
letter was from a political enemy. The _Sh_áh grew angry and said, ‘This
is no explanation. I pay you to read and answer my letters, therefore
obey!’

The spirit and meaning of the Tablet to Náṣiri’d-Dín _Sh_áh was, in short,
this: ‘Now that the time has come, when the Cause of the Glory of God has
appeared, I ask that I may be allowed to come to Ṭihrán and answer any
questions the priests may put to Me.

‘I exhort you to detach yourself from the worldly magnificence of your
Empire. Remember all those great kings who have lived before you—their
glories have passed away!’

The letter was written in a most beautiful manner, and continued warning
the King and telling him of the future triumph of the Kingdom of
Bahá’u’lláh, both in the Eastern and in the Western World.

The _Sh_áh paid no attention to the warning of this letter and continued
to live in the same fashion until the end.

Although Bahá’u’lláh was in prison the great Power of the Holy Spirit was
with Him!

None other in prison could have been like unto Him. In spite of all the
hardships He suffered, He never complained.

In the dignity of His Majesty, He always refused to see the Governor, or
the influential people of the town.

Although the surveillance was unremittingly strict He came and went as He
wished! He died in a house situated about three kilometers from St. Jean
d’Acre.



GOOD IDEAS MUST BE CARRIED INTO ACTION


November 8th

All over the world one hears beautiful sayings extolled and noble precepts
admired. All men say they love what is good, and hate everything that is
evil! Sincerity is to be admired, whilst lying is despicable. Faith is a
virtue, and treachery is a disgrace to humanity. It is a blessed thing to
gladden the hearts of men, and wrong to be the cause of pain. To be kind
and merciful is right, while to hate is sinful. Justice is a noble quality
and injustice an iniquity. That it is one’s duty to be pitiful and harm no
one, and to avoid jealousy and malice at all costs. Wisdom is the glory of
man, not ignorance; light, not darkness! It is a good thing to turn one’s
face toward God, and foolishness to ignore Him. That it is our duty to
guide man upward, and not to mislead him and be the cause of his downfall.
There are many more examples like unto these.

But all these sayings are but words and we see very few of them carried
into the world of action. On the contrary, we perceive that men are
carried away by passion and selfishness, each man thinking only of what
will benefit himself even if it means the ruin of his brother. They are
all anxious to make their fortune and care little or nothing for the
welfare of others. They are concerned about their own peace and comfort,
while the condition of their fellows troubles them not at all.

Unhappily this is the road most men tread.

But Bahá’ís must not be thus; they must rise above this condition. Actions
must be more to them than words. By their actions they must be merciful
and not merely by their words. They must on all occasions confirm by their
actions what they proclaim in words. Their deeds must prove their
fidelity, and their actions must show forth Divine light.

Let your actions cry aloud to the world that you are indeed Bahá’ís, for
it is actions that speak to the world and are the cause of the progress of
humanity.

If we are true Bahá’ís speech is not needed. Our actions will help on the
world, will spread civilization, will help the progress of science, and
cause the arts to develop. Without action nothing in the material world
can be accomplished, neither can words unaided advance a man in the
spiritual Kingdom. It is not through lip-service only that the elect of
God have attained to holiness, but by patient lives of active service they
have brought light into the world.

Therefore strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers.
Turn towards God, and seek always to do that which is right and noble.
Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to
the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the
hopeless, shelter the destitute!

This is the work of a true Bahá’í, and this is what is expected of him. If
we strive to do all this, then are we true Bahá’ís, but if we neglect it,
we are not followers of the Light, and we have no right to the name.

God, who sees all hearts, knows how far our lives are the fulfilment of
our words.



THE TRUE MEANING OF BAPTISM BY WATER AND FIRE


November 9th

In the Gospel according to St John, Christ has said: ‘Except a man be born
of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.’(8)
The priests have interpreted this into meaning that baptism is necessary
for salvation. In another Gospel it is said: ‘He shall baptize you with
the Holy Ghost and with fire’.(9)

Thus the water of baptism and the fire are one! It cannot mean that the
‘water’ spoken of is physical water, for it is the direct opposite of
‘fire’, and one destroys the other. When in the Gospels, Christ speaks of
‘water’, He means that which causes life, for without water no worldly
creature can live—mineral, vegetable, animal and man, one and all, depend
upon water for their very being. Yes, the latest scientific discoveries
prove to us that even mineral has some form of life, and that it also
needs water for its existence.

Water is the cause of life, and when Christ speaks of water, He is
symbolizing that which is the cause of Everlasting Life.

This life-giving water of which He speaks is like unto fire, for it is
none other than the Love of God, and this love means life to our souls.

By the fire of the Love of God the veil is burnt which separates us from
the Heavenly Realities, and with clear vision we are enabled to struggle
onward and upward, ever progressing in the paths of virtue and holiness,
and becoming the means of light to the world.

There is nothing greater or more blessed than the Love of God! It gives
healing to the sick, balm to the wounded, joy and consolation to the whole
world, and through it alone can man attain Life Everlasting. The essence
of all religions is the Love of God, and it is the foundation of all the
sacred teachings.

It was the Love of God that led Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that
strengthened Joseph in Egypt and gave to Moses courage and patience.

Through the Love of God, Christ was sent into the world with His inspiring
example of a perfect life of self-sacrifice and devotion, bringing to men
the message of Eternal Life. It was the Love of God that gave Muḥammad
power to bring the Arabs from a state of animal degradation to a loftier
state of existence.

God’s Love it was that sustained the Báb and brought him to his supreme
sacrifice, and made his bosom the willing target for a thousand bullets.

Finally, it was the Love of God that gave to the East Bahá’u’lláh, and is
now sending the light of His teaching far into the West, and from Pole to
Pole.

Thus I exhort each of you, realizing its power and beauty, to sacrifice
all your thoughts, words and actions to bring the knowledge of the Love of
God into every heart.



DISCOURSE AT ‘L’ALLIANCE SPIRITUALISTE’


Salle de l’Athenée,
St Germain, Paris,
November 9th

I wish to express my gratitude for your hospitality, and my joy that you
are spiritually minded. I am happy to be present at a gathering such as
this, assembled together to listen to a Divine Message. If you could see
with the eye of truth, great waves of spirituality would be visible to you
in this place. The power of the Holy Spirit is here for all. Praise be to
God that your hearts are inspired with Divine fervour! Your souls are as
waves on the sea of the spirit; although each individual is a distinct
wave, the ocean is one, all are united in God.

Every heart should radiate unity, so that the Light of the one Divine
Source of all may shine forth bright and luminous. We must not consider
the separate waves alone, but the entire sea. We should rise from the
individual to the whole. The spirit is as one great ocean and the waves
thereof are the souls of men.

We are told in the Holy Scripture that the New Jerusalem shall appear on
earth. Now it is evident that this celestial city is not built of material
stones and mortar, but that it is a city not made with hands, eternal in
the Heavens.

This is a prophetic symbol, meaning the coming again of the Divine
Teaching to enlighten the hearts of men. It is long since this Holy
Guidance has governed the lives of humanity. But now, at last, the Holy
City of the New Jerusalem has come again to the world, it has appeared
anew under an Eastern sky; from the horizon of Persia has its effulgence
arisen to be a light to lighten the whole world. We see in these days the
fulfilment of the Divine Prophecy. Jerusalem had disappeared. The heavenly
city was destroyed, now it is rebuilt; it was razed to the ground, but now
its walls and pinnacles have been restored, and are towering aloft in
their renewed and glorious beauty.

In the Western world material prosperity has triumphed, whilst in the East
the spiritual sun has shone forth.

I am very glad to see such an assembly as this in Paris, where spiritual
and material progress are met together in unity.

Man—the true man—is soul, not body; though physically man belongs to the
animal kingdom, yet his soul lifts him above the rest of creation. Behold
how the light of the sun illuminates the world of matter: even so doth the
Divine Light shed its rays in the kingdom of the soul. The soul it is
which makes the human creature a celestial entity!

By the power of the Holy Spirit, working through his soul, man is able to
perceive the Divine reality of things. All great works of art and science
are witnesses to this power of the Spirit.

The same Spirit gives Eternal Life.

Those alone who are baptized by the Divine Spirit will be enabled to bring
all peoples into the bond of unity. It is by the power of the Spirit that
the Eastern World of spiritual thought can intermingle with the Western
realm of action, so that the world of matter may become Divine.

It follows that all who work for the Supreme Design are soldiers in the
army of the Spirit.

The light of the celestial world makes war against the world of shadow and
illusion. The rays of the Sun of Truth dispel the darkness of superstition
and misunderstanding.

You are of the Spirit! To you who seek the truth, the Revelation of
Bahá’u’lláh will come as a great joy! This teaching is of the Spirit, in
it is no precept which is not of the Divine Spirit.

Spirit cannot be perceived by the material senses of the physical body,
excepting as it is expressed in outward signs and works. The human body is
visible, the soul is invisible. It is the soul nevertheless that directs a
man’s faculties, that governs his humanity.

The soul has two main faculties. (a) As outer circumstances are
communicated to the soul by the eyes, ears, and brain of a man, so does
the soul communicate its desires and purposes through the brain to the
hands and tongue of the physical body, thereby expressing itself. The
spirit in the soul is the very essence of life. (b) The second faculty of
the soul expresses itself in the world of vision, where the soul inhabited
by the spirit has its being, and functions without the help of the
material bodily senses. There, in the realm of vision, the soul sees
without the help of the physical eye, hears without the aid of the
physical ear, and travels without dependence upon physical motion. It is,
therefore, clear that the spirit in the soul of man can function through
the physical body by using the organs of the ordinary senses, and that it
is able also to live and act without their aid in the world of vision.
This proves without a doubt the superiority of the soul of man over his
body, the superiority of spirit over matter.

For example, look at this lamp: is not the light within it superior to the
lamp which holds it? However beautiful the form of the lamp may be, if the
light is not there its purpose is unfulfilled, it is without life—a dead
thing. The lamp needs the light, but the light does not need the lamp.

The spirit does not need a body, but the body needs spirit, or it cannot
live. The soul can live without a body, but the body without a soul dies.

If a man lose his sight, his hearing, his hand or his foot, should his
soul still inhabit the body he lives, and is able to manifest divine
virtues. On the other hand, without the spirit it would be impossible for
a perfect body to exist.

The greatest power of the Holy Spirit exists in the Divine Manifestations
of the Truth. Through the power of the Spirit the Heavenly Teaching has
been brought into the World of Humanity. Through the power of the Spirit
life everlasting has come to the children of men. Through the power of the
Spirit the Divine Glory has shone from East to West, and through the power
of the same Spirit will the divine virtues of humanity become manifest.

Our greatest efforts must be directed towards detachment from the things
of the world; we must strive to become more spiritual, more luminous, to
follow the counsel of the Divine Teaching, to serve the cause of unity and
true equality, to be merciful, to reflect the love of the Highest on all
men, so that the light of the Spirit shall be apparent in all our deeds,
to the end that all humanity shall be united, the stormy sea thereof
calmed, and all rough waves disappear from off the surface of life’s ocean
henceforth unruffled and peaceful. Then will the New Jerusalem be seen by
mankind, who will enter through its gates and receive the Divine Bounty.

I thank God that I have been present amongst you this afternoon, and I
thank you for your spiritual feeling.

I pray that you may grow in Divine fervour, and that the power of unity in
the Spirit will augment, so that the prophecies may be fulfilled, and that
in this great century of the Light of God all the glad tidings written in
the Sacred Books may come to pass. This is the glorious time of which the
Lord Jesus Christ spoke when He told us to pray ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy
Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven’. I hope that this is also your
expectation and great desire.

We are united in the one aim and hope that all shall be as one and every
heart illumined by the Love of our Divine Father, God!

May all our actions be spiritual, and all our interests and affections be
centred in the Kingdom of Glory!



THE EVOLUTION OF THE SPIRIT


15 Rue Greuze, Paris,
November 10th

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

Tonight I will speak of the evolution or progress of the spirit.

Absolute repose does not exist in nature. All things either make progress
or lose ground. Everything moves forward or backward, nothing is without
motion. From his birth, a man progresses physically until he reaches
maturity, then, having arrived at the prime of his life, he begins to
decline, the strength and powers of his body decrease, and he gradually
arrives at the hour of death. Likewise a plant progresses from the seed to
maturity, then its life begins to lessen until it fades and dies. A bird
soars to a certain height and having reached the highest possible point in
its flight, begins its descent to earth.

Thus it is evident that movement is essential to all existence. All
material things progress to a certain point, then begin to decline. This
is the law which governs the whole physical creation.

Now let us consider the soul. We have seen that movement is essential to
existence; nothing that has life is without motion. All creation, whether
of the mineral, vegetable or animal kingdom, is compelled to obey the law
of motion; it must either ascend or descend. But with the human soul,
there is no decline. Its only movement is towards perfection; growth and
progress alone constitute the motion of the soul.

Divine perfection is infinite, therefore the progress of the soul is also
infinite. From the very birth of a human being the soul progresses, the
intellect grows and knowledge increases. When the body dies the soul lives
on. All the differing degrees of created physical beings are limited, but
the soul is limitless!

In all religions the belief exists that the soul survives the death of the
body. Intercessions are sent up for the beloved dead, prayers are said for
their progress and for the forgiveness of their sins. If the soul perished
with the body all this would have no meaning. Further, if it were not
possible for the soul to advance towards perfection after it had been
released from the body, of what avail are all these loving prayers, of
devotion?

We read in the sacred writings that ‘all good works are found again’.(10)
Now, if the soul did not survive, this also would mean nothing!

The very fact that our spiritual instinct, surely never given in vain,
prompts us to pray for the welfare of those, our loved ones, who have
passed out of the material world: does it not bear witness to the
continuance of their existence?

In the world of spirit there is no retrogression. The world of mortality
is a world of contradictions, of opposites; motion being compulsory
everything must either go forward or retreat. In the realm of spirit there
is no retreat possible, all movement is bound to be towards a perfect
state. ‘Progress’ is the expression of spirit in the world of matter. The
intelligence of man, his reasoning powers, his knowledge, his scientific
achievements, all these being manifestations of the spirit, partake of the
inevitable law of spiritual progress and are, therefore, of necessity,
immortal.

My hope for you is that you will progress in the world of spirit, as well
as in the world of matter; that your intelligence will develop, your
knowledge will augment, and your understanding be widened.

You must ever press forward, never standing still; avoid stagnation, the
first step to a backward movement, to decay.

The whole physical creation is perishable. These material bodies are
composed of atoms; when these atoms begin to separate decomposition sets
in, then comes what we call death. This composition of atoms, which
constitutes the body or mortal element of any created being, is temporary.
When the power of attraction, which holds these atoms together, is
withdrawn, the body, as such, ceases to exist.

With the soul it is different. The soul is not a combination of elements,
it is not composed of many atoms, it is of one indivisible substance and
therefore eternal. It is entirely out of the order of the physical
creation; it is immortal!

Scientific philosophy has demonstrated that a simple element (‘simple’
meaning ‘not composed’) is indestructible, eternal. The soul, not being a
composition of elements, is, in character, as a simple element, and
therefore cannot cease to exist.

The soul, being of that one indivisible substance, can suffer neither
disintegration nor destruction, therefore there is no reason for its
coming to an end. All things living show signs of their existence, and it
follows that these signs could not of themselves exist if that which they
express or to which they testify had no being. A thing which does not
exist, can, of course, give no sign of its existence. The manifold signs
of the existence of the spirit are for ever before us.

The traces of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the influence of His Divine
Teaching, is present with us today, and is everlasting.

A non-existent thing, it is agreed, cannot be seen by signs. In order to
write a man must exist—one who does not exist cannot write. Writing is, in
itself, a sign of the writer’s soul and intelligence. The Sacred Writings
(with ever the same Teaching) prove the continuity of the spirit.

Consider the aim of creation: is it possible that all is created to evolve
and develop through countless ages with this small goal in view—a few
years of a man’s life on earth? Is it not unthinkable that this should be
the final aim of existence?

The mineral evolves till it is absorbed in the life of the plant, the
plant progresses till finally it loses its life in that of the animal; the
animal, in its turn, forming part of the food of man, is absorbed into
human life.

Thus, man is shown to be the sum of all creation, the superior of all
created beings, the goal to which countless ages of existence have
progressed.

At the best, man spends four-score years and ten in this world—a short
time indeed!

Does a man cease to exist when he leaves the body? If his life comes to an
end, then all the previous evolution is useless, all has been for nothing!
Can one imagine that Creation has no greater aim than this?

The soul is eternal, immortal.

Materialists say, ‘Where is the soul? What is it? We cannot see it,
neither can we touch it’.

This is how we must answer them: However much the mineral may progress, it
cannot comprehend the vegetable world. Now, that lack of comprehension
does not prove the non-existence of the plant!

To however great a degree the plant may have evolved, it is unable to
understand the animal world; this ignorance is no proof that the animal
does not exist!

The animal, be he never so highly developed, cannot imagine the
intelligence of man, neither can he realize the nature of his soul. But,
again, this does not prove that man is without intellect, or without soul.
It only demonstrates this, that one form of existence is incapable of
comprehending a form superior to itself.

This flower may be unconscious of such a being as man, but the fact of its
ignorance does not prevent the existence of humanity.

In the same way, if materialists do not believe in the existence of the
soul, their unbelief does not prove that there is no such realm as the
world of spirit. The very existence of man’s intelligence proves his
immortality; moreover, darkness proves the presence of light, for without
light there would be no shadow. Poverty proves the existence of riches,
for, without riches, how could we measure poverty? Ignorance proves that
knowledge exists, for without knowledge how could there be ignorance?

Therefore the idea of mortality presupposes the existence of
immortality—for if there were no Life Eternal, there would be no way of
measuring the life of this world!

If the spirit were not immortal, how could the Manifestations of God
endure such terrible trials?

Why did Christ Jesus suffer the fearful death on the cross?

Why did Muḥammad bear persecutions?

Why did the Báb make the supreme sacrifice and why did Bahá’u’lláh pass
the years of his life in prison?

Why should all this suffering have been, if not to prove the everlasting
life of the spirit?

Christ suffered, He accepted all His trials because of the immortality of
His spirit. If a man reflects he will understand the spiritual
significance of the law of progress; how all moves from the inferior to
the superior degree.

It is only a man without intelligence who, after considering these things,
can imagine that the great scheme of creation should suddenly cease to
progress, that evolution should come to such an inadequate end!

Materialists who reason in this way, and contend that we are unable to see
the world of spirit, or to perceive the blessings of God, are surely like
the animals who have no understanding; having eyes they see not, ears they
have, but do not hear. And this lack of sight and hearing is a proof of
nothing but their own inferiority; of whom we read in the Qur’án, ‘They
are men who are blind and deaf to the Spirit.’ They do not use that great
gift of God, the power of the understanding, by which they might see with
the eyes of the spirit, hear with spiritual ears and also comprehend with
a Divinely enlightened heart.

The inability of the materialistic mind to grasp the idea of the Life
Eternal is no proof of the non-existence of that life.

The comprehension of that other life depends on our spiritual birth!

My prayer for you is that your spiritual faculties and aspirations may
daily increase, and that you will never allow the material senses to veil
from your eyes the glories of the Heavenly Illumination.



THE DESIRES AND PRAYERS OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ


November 15th

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

You are all very welcome, and I love you all most dearly.

Day and night I pray to Heaven for you that strength may be yours, and
that, one and all, you may participate in the blessings of Bahá’u’lláh,
and enter into the Kingdom.

I supplicate that you may become as new beings, illumined with the Divine
Light, like unto shining lamps, and that from one end of Europe to the
other the knowledge of the Love of God may spread.

May this boundless love so fill your hearts and minds that sadness may
find no room to enter and may you with joyful hearts soar like birds into
the Divine Radiance.

May your hearts become clear and pure like unto polished mirrors in which
may be reflected the full glory of the Sun of Truth.

May your eyes be opened to see the signs of the Kingdom of God, and may
your ears be unstopped so that you may hear with a perfect understanding
the Heavenly Proclamation sounding in your midst.

May your souls receive help and comfort, and, being so strengthened, may
they be enabled to live in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.

I pray for each and all that you may be as flames of love in the world,
and that the brightness of your light and the warmth of your affection may
reach the heart of every sad and sorrowing child of God.

May you be as shining stars, bright and luminous for ever in the Kingdom.

I counsel you that you study earnestly the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, so
that, God helping you, you may in deed and truth become Bahá’ís.



CONCERNING BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
Friday morning, November 17th

There are in the world of humanity three degrees; those of the body, the
soul, and spirit.

The body is the physical or animal degree of man. From the bodily point of
view man is a sharer of the animal kingdom. The bodies alike of men and
animals are composed of elements held together by the law of attraction.

Like the animal, man possesses the faculties of the senses, is subject to
heat, cold, hunger, thirst, etc.; unlike the animal, man has a rational
soul, the human intelligence.

This intelligence of man is the intermediary between his body and his
spirit.

When man allows the spirit, through his soul, to enlighten his
understanding, then does he contain all Creation; because man, being the
culmination of all that went before and thus superior to all previous
evolutions, contains all the lower world within himself. Illumined by the
spirit through the instrumentality of the soul, man’s radiant intelligence
makes him the crowning-point of Creation.

But on the other hand, when man does not open his mind and heart to the
blessing of the spirit, but turns his soul towards the material side,
towards the bodily part of his nature, then is he fallen from his high
place and he becomes inferior to the inhabitants of the lower animal
kingdom. In this case the man is in a sorry plight! For if the spiritual
qualities of the soul, open to the breath of the Divine Spirit, are never
used, they become atrophied, enfeebled, and at last incapable; whilst the
soul’s material qualities alone being exercised, they become terribly
powerful—and the unhappy, misguided man, becomes more savage, more unjust,
more vile, more cruel, more malevolent than the lower animals themselves.
All his aspirations and desires being strengthened by the lower side of
the soul’s nature, he becomes more and more brutal, until his whole being
is in no way superior to that of the beasts that perish. Men such as this,
plan to work evil, to hurt and to destroy; they are entirely without the
spirit of Divine compassion, for the celestial quality of the soul has
been dominated by that of the material. If, on the contrary, the spiritual
nature of the soul has been so strengthened that it holds the material
side in subjection, then does the man approach the Divine; his humanity
becomes so glorified that the virtues of the Celestial Assembly are
manifested in him; he radiates the Mercy of God, he stimulates the
spiritual progress of mankind, for he becomes a lamp to show light on
their path.

You perceive how the soul is the intermediary between the body and the
spirit. In like manner is this tree(11) the intermediary between the seed
and the fruit. When the fruit of the tree appears and becomes ripe, then
we know that the tree is perfect; if the tree bore no fruit it would be
merely a useless growth, serving no purpose!

When a soul has in it the life of the spirit, then does it bring forth
good fruit and become a Divine tree. I wish you to try to understand this
example. I hope that the unspeakable goodness of God will so strengthen
you that the celestial quality of your soul, which relates it to the
spirit, will for ever dominate the material side, so entirely ruling the
senses that your soul will approach the perfections of the Heavenly
Kingdom. May your faces, being steadfastly set towards the Divine Light,
become so luminous that all your thoughts, words and actions will shine
with the Spiritual Radiance dominating your souls, so that in the
gatherings of the world you will show perfection in your life.

Some men’s lives are solely occupied with the things of this world; their
minds are so circumscribed by exterior manners and traditional interests
that they are blind to any other realm of existence, to the spiritual
significance of all things! They think and dream of earthly fame, of
material progress. Sensuous delights and comfortable surroundings bound
their horizon, their highest ambitions centre in successes of worldly
conditions and circumstances! They curb not their lower propensities; they
eat, drink, and sleep! Like the animal, they have no thought beyond their
own physical well-being. It is true that these necessities must be
despatched. Life is a load which must be carried on while we are on earth,
but the cares of the lower things of life should not be allowed to
monopolize all the thoughts and aspirations of a human being. The heart’s
ambitions should ascend to a more glorious goal, mental activity should
rise to higher levels! Men should hold in their souls the vision of
celestial perfection, and there prepare a dwelling-place for the
inexhaustible bounty of the Divine Spirit.

Let your ambition be the achievement on earth of a Heavenly civilization!
I ask for you the supreme blessing, that you may be so filled with the
vitality of the Heavenly Spirit that you may be the cause of life to the
world.



THE BAHÁ’ÍS MUST WORK WITH HEART AND SOUL TO BRING ABOUT A BETTER
CONDITION IN THE WORLD


November 19th

How joyful it is to see such a meeting as this, for it is in truth a
gathering together of ‘heavenly men’.

We are all united in one Divine purpose, no material motive is ours, and
our dearest wish is to spread the Love of God throughout the world!

We work and pray for the unity of mankind, that all the races of the earth
may become one race, all the countries one country, and that all hearts
may beat as one heart, working together for perfect unity and brotherhood.

Praise be to God that our efforts are sincere and that our hearts are
turned to the Kingdom. Our greatest longing is that truth may be
established in the world, and in this hope we draw near to one another in
love and affection. Each and all are whole-hearted and selfless, willing
to sacrifice all personal ambition to the grand ideal towards which they
strive: Brotherly love and peace and union among men!

Doubt not that God is with us, on our right hand and on our left, that day
by day He will cause our numbers to increase, and that our meetings will
grow in strength and usefulness.

It is my dearest hope that you may all become a blessing to others, that
you may give sight to the spiritually blind, hearing to the spiritually
deaf and life to those who are dead in sin.

May you help those sunk in materiality to realize their Divine son-ship,
and encourage them to arise and be worthy of their birthright; so that by
your endeavour the world of humanity may become the Kingdom of God and of
His elect.

I thank God that we are at one in this grand ideal, that my longings are
also yours and that we work together in perfect unity.

Today, upon the earth, one sees the sad spectacle of cruel war! Man slays
his brother man for selfish gain, and to enlarge his territories! For this
ignoble ambition hate has taken possession of his heart, and more and more
blood is shed!

Fresh battles are fought, the armies are increased, more cannon, more
guns, more explosives of all kinds are sent out—so does bitterness and
hate augment from day to day!

But this assembly, thank God, longs only for peace and unity, and must
work with heart and soul to bring about a better condition in the world.

You who are the servants of God fight against oppression, hate and
discord, so that wars may cease and God’s laws of peace and love may be
established among men.

Work! Work with all your strength, spread the Cause of the Kingdom among
men; teach the self-sufficient to turn humbly towards God, the sinful to
sin no more, and await with glad expectation the coming of the Kingdom.

Love and obey your Heavenly Father, and rest assured that Divine help is
yours. Verily I say unto you that you shall indeed conquer the world!

Only have faith, patience and courage—this is but the beginning, but
surely you will succeed, for God is with you!



ON CALUMNY


Monday, November 20th

From the beginning of the world until the present time each
‘Manifestation’(12) sent from God has been opposed by an embodiment of the
‘Powers of Darkness’.

This dark power has always endeavoured to extinguish the light. Tyranny
has ever sought to overcome justice. Ignorance has persistently tried to
trample knowledge underfoot. This has, from the earliest ages, been the
method of the material world.

In the time of Moses, Pharaoh set himself to prevent the Mosaic Light
being spread abroad.

In the day of Christ, Annas and Caiaphas inflamed the Jewish people
against Him and the learned doctors of Israel joined together to resist
His Power. All sorts of calumnies were circulated against Him. The Scribes
and Pharisees conspired to make the people believe Him to be a liar, an
apostate, and a blasphemer. They spread these slanders throughout the
whole Eastern world against Christ, and caused Him to be condemned to a
shameful death!

In the case of Muḥammad also, the learned doctors of His day determined to
extinguish the light of His influence. They tried by the power of the
sword to prevent the spread of His teaching.

In spite of all their efforts the Sun of Truth shone forth from the
horizon. In every case the army of light vanquished the powers of darkness
on the battlefield of the world, and the radiance of the Divine Teaching
illumined the earth. Those who accepted the Teaching and worked for the
Cause of God became luminous stars in the sky of humanity.

Now, in our own day, history repeats itself.

Those who would have men believe that religion is their own private
property once more bring their efforts to bear against the Sun of Truth:
they resist the Command of God; they invent calumnies, not having
arguments against it, neither proofs. They attack with masked faces, not
daring to come forth into the light of day.

Our methods are different, we do not attack, neither calumniate; we do not
wish to dispute with them; we bring forth proofs and arguments; we invite
them to confute our statements. They cannot answer us, but instead, they
write all they can think of against the Divine Messenger, Bahá’u’lláh.

Do not let your hearts be troubled by these defamatory writings! Obey the
words of Bahá’u’lláh and answer them not. Rejoice, rather, that even these
falsehoods will result in the spread of the truth. When these slanders
appear inquiries are made, and those who inquire are led into a knowledge
of the Faith.

If a man were to declare, ‘There is a lamp in the next room which gives no
light’, one hearer might be satisfied with his report, but a wiser man
goes into the room to judge for himself, and behold, when he finds the
light shining brilliantly in the lamp, he knows the truth!

Again, a man proclaims: ‘There lies a garden in which there are trees with
broken branches bearing no fruit, and the leaves thereof are faded and
yellow! In that garden, also, there are flowering plants with no blooms,
and rose bushes withered and dying—go not into that garden!’ A just man,
hearing this account of the garden, would not be content without seeing
for himself whether it be true or not. He, therefore, enters the garden,
and behold, he finds it well tilled; the branches of the trees are sturdy
and strong, being also loaded with the sweetest of ripe fruits amongst the
luxuriance of beautiful green leaves. The flowering plants are bright with
many-hued blossoms; the rose bushes are covered with fragrant and lovely
roses and all is verdant and well tended. When the glory of the garden is
spread out before the eyes of the just man, he praises God that, through
unworthy calumny, he has been led into a place of such wondrous beauty!

This is the result of the slanderer’s work: to be the cause of guiding men
to a discovery of the truth.

We know that all the falsehoods spread about Christ and His apostles and
all the books written against Him, only led the people to inquire into His
doctrine; then, having seen the beauty and inhaled the fragrance, they
walked evermore amidst the roses and the fruits of that celestial garden.

Therefore, I say unto you, spread the Divine Truth with all your might
that men’s intelligence may become enlightened; this is the best answer to
those who slander. I do not wish to speak of those people nor to say
anything ill of them—only to tell you that slander is of no importance!

Clouds may veil the sun, but, be they never so dense, his rays will
penetrate! Nothing can prevent the radiance of the sun descending to warm
and vivify the Divine Garden.

Nothing can prevent the fall of the rain from Heaven.

Nothing can prevent the fulfilment of the Word of God!

Therefore when you see books and papers written against the Revelation, be
not distressed, but take comfort in the assurance that the cause will
thereby gain strength.

No one casts stones at a tree without fruit. No one tries to extinguish a
lamp without light!

Regard the former times. Had the calumnies of Pharaoh any effect? He
affirmed that Moses was a murderer, that he had slain a man and deserved
to be executed! He also declared that Moses and Aaron were fomenters of
discord, that they tried to destroy the religion of Egypt and therefore
must be put to death. These words of Pharaoh were vainly spoken. The light
of Moses shone. The radiance of the Law of God has encircled the world!

When the Pharisees said of Christ that He had broken the Sabbath Day, that
He had defied the Law of Moses, that He had threatened to destroy the
Temple and the Holy City of Jerusalem, and that He deserved to be
crucified—We know that all these slanderous attacks had no result in
hindering the spread of the Gospel!

The Sun of Christ shone brilliantly in the sky, and the breath of the Holy
Spirit wafted over the whole earth!

And I say unto you that no calumny is able to prevail against the Light of
God; it can only result in causing it to be more universally recognized.
If a cause were of no significance, who would take the trouble to work
against it!

But always the greater the cause the more do enemies arise in larger and
larger numbers to attempt its overthrow! The brighter the light the darker
the shadow! Our part it is to act in accordance with the teaching of
Bahá’u’lláh in humility and firm steadfastness.



THERE CAN BE NO TRUE HAPPINESS AND PROGRESS WITHOUT SPIRITUALITY


November 21st

Ferocity and savagery are natural to animals, but men should show forth
the qualities of love and affection. God sent all His Prophets into the
world with one aim, to sow in the hearts of men love and goodwill, and for
this great purpose they were willing to suffer and to die. All the sacred
Books were written to lead and direct man into the ways of love and unity;
and yet, in spite of all this, we have the sad spectacle of war and
bloodshed in our midst.

When we look into the pages of history, past and present, we see the black
earth reddened by human blood. Men kill each other like the savage wolves,
and forget the laws of love and tolerance.

Now this luminous age has come, bringing with it wonderful civilization
and material progress. Men’s intellects have widened, their perceptions
grown, but alas, in spite of all this, fresh blood is being spilt day by
day. Look at the present Turco-Italian war; consider for a moment the fate
of these unhappy people! How many have been killed during this sad time?
How many homes are ruined, wives desolate, and children orphans! And what
is to be gained in exchange for all this anguish and heartache? Only a
corner of the earth!

This all shows that material progress alone does not tend to uplift man.
On the contrary, the more he becomes immersed in material progress, the
more does his spirituality become obscured.

In times gone by progress on the material plane was not so rapid, neither
was there bloodshed in such profusion. In ancient warfare there were no
cannons, no guns, no dynamite, no shells, no torpedo boats, no
battleships, no submarines. Now, owing to material civilization, we have
all these inventions, and war goes from bad to worse! Europe itself has
become like one immense arsenal, full of explosives, and may God prevent
its ignition—for, should this happen, the whole world would be involved.

I want to make you understand that material progress and spiritual
progress are two very different things, and that only if material progress
goes hand in hand with spirituality can any real progress come about, and
the Most Great Peace reign in the world. If men followed the Holy Counsels
and the Teachings of the Prophets, if Divine Light shone in all hearts and
men were really religious, we should soon see peace on earth and the
Kingdom of God among men. The laws of God may be likened unto the soul and
material progress unto the body. If the body was not animated by the soul,
it would cease to exist. It is my earnest prayer that spirituality may
ever grow and increase in the world, so that customs may become
enlightened and peace and concord may be established.

War and rapine with their attendant cruelties are an abomination to God,
and bring their own punishment, for the God of love is also a God of
justice and each man must inevitably reap what he sows. Let us try to
understand the commands of the Most High and to order our lives as He
directs. True happiness depends on spiritual good and having the heart
ever open to receive the Divine Bounty.

If the heart turns away from the blessings God offers how can it hope for
happiness? If it does not put its hope and trust in God’s Mercy, where can
it find rest? Oh, trust in God! for His Bounty is everlasting, and in His
Blessings, for they are superb. Oh! put your faith in the Almighty, for He
faileth not and His goodness endureth for ever! His Sun giveth Light
continually, and the Clouds of His Mercy are full of the Waters of
Compassion with which He waters the hearts of all who trust in Him. His
refreshing Breeze ever carries healing in its wings to the parched souls
of men! Is it wise to turn away from such a loving Father, Who showers His
blessings upon us, and to choose rather to be slaves of matter?

God in His infinite goodness has exalted us to so much honour, and has
made us masters over the material world. Shall we then become her slaves?
Nay, rather let us claim our birthright, and strive to live the life of
the spiritual sons of God. The glorious Sun of Truth has once again risen
in the East. From the far horizon of Persia its radiance is spreading far
and wide, dispersing the dense clouds of superstition. The light of the
unity of mankind is beginning to illumine the world, and soon the banner
of Divine harmony and the solidarity of nations will be flying high in the
Heavens. Yea, the breezes of the Holy Spirit will inspire the whole world!

Oh, peoples and nations! Arise and work and be happy! Gather together
under the tent of the unity of mankind!



PAIN AND SORROW


November 22nd

In this world we are influenced by two sentiments, Joy and Pain.

Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our
intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able
to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness. But when
sadness visits us we become weak, our strength leaves us, our
comprehension is dim and our intelligence veiled. The actualities of life
seem to elude our grasp, the eyes of our spirits fail to discover the
sacred mysteries, and we become even as dead beings.

There is no human being untouched by these two influences; but all the
sorrow and the grief that exist come from the world of matter—the
spiritual world bestows only the joy!

If we suffer it is the outcome of material things, and all the trials and
troubles come from this world of illusion.

For instance, a merchant may lose his trade and depression ensues. A
workman is dismissed and starvation stares him in the face. A farmer has a
bad harvest, anxiety fills his mind. A man builds a house which is burnt
to the ground and he is straightway homeless, ruined, and in despair.

All these examples are to show you that the trials which beset our every
step, all our sorrow, pain, shame and grief, are born in the world of
matter; whereas the spiritual Kingdom never causes sadness. A man living
with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh
is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his
life, the depths are calm and serene.

Today, humanity is bowed down with trouble, sorrow and grief, no one
escapes; the world is wet with tears; but, thank God, the remedy is at our
doors. Let us turn our hearts away from the world of matter and live in
the spiritual world! It alone can give us freedom! If we are hemmed in by
difficulties we have only to call upon God, and by His great Mercy we
shall be helped.

If sorrow and adversity visit us, let us turn our faces to the Kingdom and
heavenly consolation will be outpoured.

If we are sick and in distress let us implore God’s healing, and He will
answer our prayer.

When our thoughts are filled with the bitterness of this world, let us
turn our eyes to the sweetness of God’s compassion and He will send us
heavenly calm! If we are imprisoned in the material world, our spirit can
soar into the Heavens and we shall be free indeed!

When our days are drawing to a close let us think of the eternal worlds,
and we shall be full of joy!

You see all round you proofs of the inadequacy of material things—how joy,
comfort, peace and consolation are not to be found in the transitory
things of the world. Is it not then foolishness to refuse to seek these
treasures where they may be found? The doors of the spiritual Kingdom are
open to all, and without is absolute darkness.

Thank God that you in this assembly have this knowledge, for in all the
sorrows of life you can obtain supreme consolation. If your days on earth
are numbered, you know that everlasting life awaits you. If material
anxiety envelops you in a dark cloud, spiritual radiance lightens your
path. Verily, those whose minds are illumined by the Spirit of the Most
High have supreme consolation.

I myself was in prison forty years—one year alone would have been
impossible to bear—nobody survived that imprisonment more than a year!
But, thank God, during all those forty years I was supremely happy! Every
day, on waking, it was like hearing good tidings, and every night infinite
joy was mine. Spirituality was my comfort, and turning to God was my
greatest joy. If this had not been so, do you think it possible that I
could have lived through those forty years in prison?

Thus, spirituality is the greatest of God’s gifts, and ‘Life Everlasting’
means ‘Turning to God’. May you, one and all, increase daily in
spirituality, may you be strengthened in all goodness, may you be helped
more and more by the Divine consolation, be made free by the Holy Spirit
of God, and may the power of the Heavenly Kingdom live and work among you.

This is my earnest desire, and I pray to God to grant you this favour.



THE PERFECT HUMAN SENTIMENTS AND VIRTUES


November 23rd

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

You should all be very happy and thankful to God for the great privilege
that is yours.

This is purely a spiritual meeting! Praise be to God, your hearts are
turned to Him, your souls are attracted to the Kingdom, you have spiritual
aspirations, and your thoughts soar above the world of dust.

You belong to the world of purity, and are not content to live the life of
the animal, spending your days in eating, drinking, and sleeping. You are
indeed men! Your thoughts and ambitions are set to acquire human
perfection. You live to do good and to bring happiness to others. Your
greatest longing is to comfort those who mourn, to strengthen the weak,
and to be the cause of hope to the despairing soul. Day and night your
thoughts are turned to the Kingdom, and your hearts are full of the Love
of God.

Thus you know neither opposition, dislike, nor hatred, for every living
creature is dear to you and the good of each is sought.

These are perfect human sentiments and virtues. If a man has none of
these, he had better cease to exist. If a lamp has ceased to give light,
it had better be destroyed. If a tree bear no fruit, it had better be cut
down, for it only cumbereth the ground.

Verily, it is better a thousand times for a man to die than to continue
living without virtue.

We have eyes wherewith to see, but if we do not use them how do they
profit us? We have ears wherewith to hear, but if we are deaf of what use
are they?

We have a tongue wherewith to praise God and proclaim the good tidings,
but if we are dumb how useless it is!

The All-loving God created man to radiate the Divine light and to illumine
the world by his words, action and life. If he is without virtue he
becomes no better than a mere animal, and an animal devoid of intelligence
is a vile thing.

The Heavenly Father gave the priceless gift of intelligence to man so that
he might become a spiritual light, piercing the darkness of materiality,
and bringing goodness and truth into the world. If ye will follow
earnestly the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, ye shall indeed become the light
of the world, the soul for the body of the world, the comfort and help for
humanity, and the source of salvation for the whole universe. Strive
therefore, with heart and soul, to follow the precepts of the Blessed
Perfection, and rest assured that if ye succeed in living the life he
marks out for you, Eternal Life and everlasting joy in the Heavenly
Kingdom will be yours, and celestial sustenance will be sent to strengthen
you all your days.

It is my heartfelt prayer that each one of you may attain to this perfect
joy!



THE CRUEL INDIFFERENCE OF PEOPLE TOWARDS THE SUFFERING OF FOREIGN RACES


November 24th

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

I have just been told that there has been a terrible accident in this
country. A train has fallen into the river and at least twenty people have
been killed. This is going to be a matter for discussion in the French
Parliament today, and the Director of the State Railway will be called
upon to speak. He will be cross-examined as to the condition of the
railroad and as to what caused the accident, and there will be a heated
argument. I am filled with wonder and surprise to notice what interest and
excitement has been aroused throughout the whole country on account of the
death of twenty people, while they remain cold and indifferent to the fact
that thousands of Italians, Turks, and Arabs are killed in Tripoli! The
horror of this wholesale slaughter has not disturbed the Government at
all! Yet these unfortunate people are human beings too.

Why is there so much interest and eager sympathy shown towards these
twenty individuals, while for five thousand persons there is none? They
are all men, they all belong to the family of mankind, but they are of
other lands and races. It is no concern of the disinterested countries if
these men are cut to pieces, this wholesale slaughter does not affect
them! How unjust, how cruel is this, how utterly devoid of any good and
true feeling! The people of these other lands have children and wives,
mothers, daughters, and little sons! In these countries today there is
hardly a house free from the sound of bitter weeping, scarcely can one
find a home untouched by the cruel hand of war.

Alas! we see on all sides how cruel, prejudiced and unjust is man, and how
slow he is to believe in God and follow His commandments.

If these people would love and help one another instead of being so eager
to destroy with sword and cannon, how much nobler would it be! How much
better if they would live like a flock of doves in peace and harmony,
instead of being like wolves and tearing each other to pieces.

Why is man so hard of heart? It is because he does not yet know God. If he
had knowledge of God he could not act in direct opposition to His laws; if
he were spiritually minded such a line of conduct would be impossible to
him. If only the laws and precepts of the prophets of God had been
believed, understood and followed, wars would no longer darken the face of
the earth.

If man had even the rudiments of justice, such a state of things would be
impossible.

Therefore, I say unto you pray—pray and turn your faces to God, that He,
in His infinite compassion and mercy, may help and succour these misguided
ones. Pray that He will grant them spiritual understanding and teach them
tolerance and mercy, that the eyes of their minds may be opened and that
they may be endued with the gift of the spirit. Then would peace and love
walk hand in hand through the lands, and these poor unhappy people might
have rest.

Let us all strive night and day to help in the bringing about of better
conditions. My heart is broken by these terrible things and cries
aloud—may this cry reach other hearts!

Then will the blind see, the dead will be raised, and Justice will come
and reign upon the earth.

I beseech you all to pray with heart and soul that this may be
accomplished.



WE MUST NOT BE DISCOURAGED BY THE SMALLNESS OF OUR NUMBERS


November 25th

When Christ appeared He manifested Himself at Jerusalem. He called men to
the Kingdom of God, He invited them to Eternal Life and He told them to
acquire human perfections. The Light of Guidance was shed forth by that
radiant Star, and He at length gave His life in sacrifice for humanity.

All through His blessed life He suffered oppression and hardship, and in
spite of all this humanity was His enemy!

They denied Him, scorned Him, ill-treated Him and cursed Him. He was not
treated like a man—and yet in spite of all this He was the embodiment of
pity and of supreme goodness and love.

He loved all humanity, but they treated Him as an enemy and were incapable
of appreciating Him. They set no value on His words and were not illumined
by the flame of His love.

Later they realized who He was; that He was the Sacred and Divine Light,
and that His words held Eternal Life.

His heart was full of love for all the world, His goodness was destined to
reach each one—and as they began to realize these things, they
repented—but He had been crucified!

It was not until many years after His ascension that they knew who He was,
and at the time of His ascension He had only a very few disciples; only a
comparatively small following believed His precepts and followed His laws.
The ignorant said, ‘Who is this individual; He has only a few disciples!’
But those who knew said: ‘He is the Sun who will shine in the East and in
the West, He is the Manifestation who shall give life to the world’.

What the first disciples had seen the world realized later.

Therefore, you who are in Europe, do not be discouraged because you are
few or because people think that your Cause is of no importance. If few
people come to your gatherings do not lose heart, and if you are ridiculed
and contradicted be not distressed, for the apostles of Christ had the
same to bear. They were reviled and persecuted, cursed and ill-treated,
but in the end they were victorious and their enemies were found to be
wrong.

If history should repeat itself and all these same things should happen to
you, do not be saddened but be full of joy, and thank God that you are
called upon to suffer as holy men of old suffered. If they oppose you be
gentle with them, if they contradict be firm in your faith, if they desert
you and flee from before you, seek them out and treat them kindly. Do harm
to nobody; pray for all; try to make your light shine in the world and let
your banner fly high in the Heavens. The beautiful perfume of your noble
lives will permeate everywhere. The light of truth kindled in your hearts
will shine out to the distant horizon!

The indifference and scorn of the world matters not at all, whereas your
lives will be of the greatest importance.

All those who seek truth in the Heavenly Kingdom shine like the stars;
they are like fruit trees laden with choice fruit, like seas full of
precious pearls.

Only have faith in the Mercy of God, and spread the Divine Truth.



WORDS SPOKEN BY ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ IN PASTOR WAGNER’S CHURCH (FOYER DE L’AME) IN
PARIS


November 26th

I am deeply touched by the sympathetic words which have been addressed to
me, and I hope that day by day true love and affection may grow among us.
God has willed that love should be a vital force in the world, and you all
know how I rejoice to speak of love.

All down the ages the prophets of God have been sent into the world to
serve the cause of truth—Moses brought the law of truth, and all the
prophets of Israel after him sought to spread it.

When Jesus came He lighted the flaming torch of truth, and carried it
aloft so that the whole world might be illumined thereby. After Him came
His chosen apostles, and they went far and wide, carrying the light of
their Master’s teaching into a dark world—and, in their turn, passed on.

Then came Muḥammad, who in His time and way spread the knowledge of truth
among a savage people; for this has always been the mission of God’s
elect.

So, at last, when Bahá’u’lláh arose in Persia, this was His most ardent
desire, to rekindle the waning light of truth in all lands. All the holy
ones of God have tried with heart and soul to spread the light of love and
unity throughout the world, so that the darkness of materiality might
disappear and the light of spirituality might shine forth among the
children of men. Then would hate, slander and murder disappear, and in
their stead love, unity and peace would reign.

All the Manifestations of God came with the same purpose, and they have
all sought to lead men into the paths of virtue. Yet we, their servants,
still dispute among ourselves! Why is it thus? Why do we not love one
another and live in unity?

It is because we have shut our eyes to the underlying principle of all
religions, that God is one, that He is the Father of us all, that we are
all immersed in the ocean of His mercy and sheltered and protected by His
loving care.

The glorious Sun of Truth shines for all alike, the waters of Divine Mercy
immerse each one, and His Divine favour is bestowed on all His children.

This loving God desires peace for all His creatures—why, then, do they
spend their time in war?

He loves and protects all His children—why do they forget Him?

He bestows His Fatherly care on us all—why do we neglect our brothers?

Surely, when we realize how God loves and cares for us, we should so order
our lives that we may become more like Him.

God has created us, one and all—why do we act in opposition to His wishes,
when we are all His children, and love the same Father? All these
divisions we see on all sides, all these disputes and opposition, are
caused because men cling to ritual and outward observances, and forget the
simple, underlying truth. It is the outward practices of religion that are
so different, and it is they that cause disputes and enmity—while the
reality is always the same, and one. The Reality is the Truth, and truth
has no division. Truth is God’s guidance, it is the light of the world, it
is love, it is mercy. These attributes of truth are also human virtues
inspired by the Holy Spirit.

So let us one and all hold fast to truth, and we shall be free indeed!

The day is coming when all the religions of the world will unite, for in
principle they are one already. There is no need for division, seeing that
it is only the outward forms that separate them. Among the sons of men
some souls are suffering through ignorance, let us hasten to teach them;
others are like children needing care and education until they are grown,
and some are sick—to these we must carry Divine healing.

Whether ignorant, childish or sick, they must be loved and helped, and not
disliked because of their imperfection.

Doctors of religion were instituted to bring spiritual healing to the
peoples and to be the cause of unity among the nations. If they become the
cause of division they had better not exist! A remedy is given to cure a
disease, but if it only succeeds in aggravating the complaint, it is
better to leave it alone. If religion is only to be a cause of disunion it
had better not exist.

All the Divine Manifestations sent by God into the world would have gone
through their terrible hardships and sufferings for the single hope of
spreading Truth, unity and concord among men. Christ endured a life of
sorrow, pain and grief, to bring a perfect example of love into the
world—and in spite of this we continue to act in a contrary spirit one
towards the other!

Love is the fundamental principle of God’s purpose for man, and He has
commanded us to love each other even as He loves us. All these discords
and disputes which we hear on all sides only tend to increase materiality.

The world for the most part is sunk in materialism, and the blessings of
the Holy Spirit are ignored. There is so little real spiritual feeling,
and the progress of the world is for the most part merely material. Men
are becoming like unto beasts that perish, for we know that they have no
spiritual feeling—they do not turn to God, they have no religion! These
things belong to man alone, and if he is without them he is a prisoner of
nature, and no whit better than an animal.

How can man be content to lead only an animal existence when God has made
him so high a creature? All creation is made subject to the laws of
nature, but man has been able to conquer these laws. The sun, in spite of
its power and glory, is bound by the laws of nature, and cannot change its
course by so much as a hair’s breadth. The great and mighty ocean is
powerless to change the ebb and flow of its tides—nothing can stand
against nature’s laws but man!

But to man God has given such wonderful power that he can guide, control
and overcome nature.

The natural law for man is to walk on the earth, but he makes ships and
flies in the air! He is created to live on dry land, but he rides on the
sea and even travels under it!

He has learnt to control the power of electricity, and he takes it at his
will and imprisons it in a lamp! The human voice is made to speak across
short distances, but man’s power is such that he has made instruments and
can speak from East to West! All these examples show you how man can
govern nature, and how, as it were, he wrests a sword from the hand of
nature and uses it against herself. Seeing that man has been created
master of nature, how foolish it is of him to become her slave! What
ignorance and stupidity it is to worship and adore nature, when God in His
goodness has made us masters thereof. God’s power is visible to all, yet
men shut their eyes and see it not. The Sun of Truth is shining in all His
splendour, but man with fast shut eyes cannot behold His glory! It is my
earnest prayer to God that by His Mercy and Loving Kindness you may all be
united, and filled with the utmost joy.

I beseech you, one and all, to add your prayers to mine to the end that
war and bloodshed may cease, and that love, friendship, peace and unity
may reign in the world.

All down the ages we see how blood has stained the surface of the earth;
but now a ray of greater light has come, man’s intelligence is greater,
spirituality is beginning to grow, and a time is surely coming when the
religions of the world will be at peace. Let us leave the discordant
arguments concerning outward forms, and let us join together to hasten
forward the Divine Cause of unity, until all humanity knows itself to be
one family, joined together in love.



PART II



The Eleven Principles out of the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, Explained by
‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Paris.


I.—The Search after Truth.

II.—The Unity of Mankind.

III.—Religion ought to be the Cause of Love and Affection. (Not given
separately.)

IV.—The Unity of Religion and Science.

V.—Abolition of Prejudices.

VI.—Equalization of Means of Existence.

VII.—Equality of Men before the Law.

VIII.—Universal Peace.

IX.—Non-Interference of Religion and Politics.

X.—Equality of Sex—Education of Women.

XI.—The Power of the Holy Spirit.



THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, PARIS


Since my arrival in Paris, I have been told of the Theosophical Society,
and I know that it is composed of honoured and respected men. You are men
of intellect and thought, men with spiritual ideals, and it is a great
pleasure for me to be among you.

Let us thank God who has drawn us together this evening. It gives me great
joy, for I see that you are seekers after truth. You are not held in
bondage by the chains of prejudice, and your greatest longing is to know
the truth. Truth may be likened to the sun! The sun is the luminous body
that disperses all shadows; in the same way does truth scatter the shadows
of our imagination. As the sun gives life to the body of humanity so does
truth give life to their souls. Truth is a sun that rises from different
points on the horizon.

Sometimes the sun rises from the centre of the horizon, then in summer it
rises farther north, in winter farther south—but it is always the
self-same sun, however different are the points of its rising.

In like manner truth is one, although its manifestations may be very
different. Some men have eyes and see. These worship the sun, no matter
from which point on the horizon it may dawn; and when the sun has left the
winter sky to appear in the summer one, they know how to find it again.
Others there are who worship only the spot from which the sun arose, and
when it arises in its glory from another place they remain in
contemplation before the spot of its former rising. Alas! these men are
deprived of the blessings of the sun. Those who in truth adore the sun
itself will recognize it from whatsoever dawning-place it may appear, and
will straightway turn their faces towards its radiance.

We must adore the sun itself and not merely the place of its appearance.
In the same way men of enlightened heart worship truth on whatever horizon
it appears. They are not bound by personality, but they follow the truth,
and are able to recognize it no matter from whence it may come. It is this
same truth which helps humanity to progress, which gives life to all
created beings, for it is the Tree of Life!

In His teaching Bahá’u’lláh gives us the explanation of truth, and I wish
to speak to you briefly about this, for I see that you are capable of
understanding. I.—The first principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

The Search for Truth

Man must cut himself free from all prejudice and from the result of his
own imagination, so that he may be able to search for truth unhindered.
Truth is one in all religions, and by means of it the unity of the world
can be realized.

All the peoples have a fundamental belief in common. Being one, truth
cannot be divided, and the differences that appear to exist among the
nations only result from their attachment to prejudice. If only men would
search out truth, they would find themselves united.

II.—The second principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

The Unity of Mankind

The one all-loving God bestows His divine Grace and Favour on all mankind;
one and all are servants of the Most High, and His Goodness, Mercy and
loving Kindness are showered upon all His creatures. The glory of humanity
is the heritage of each one.

All men are the leaves and fruit of one same tree, they are all branches
of the tree of Adam, they all have the same origin. The same rain has
fallen upon them all, the same warm sun makes them grow, they are all
refreshed by the same breeze. The only differences that exist and that
keep them apart are these: there are the children who need guidance, the
ignorant to be instructed, the sick to be tended and healed; thus, I say
that the whole of humanity is enveloped by the Mercy and Grace of God. As
the Holy Writings tell us: All men are equal before God. He is no
respecter of persons.

III.—The third principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

Religion should be the Cause of Love and Affection

Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish
from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and
light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and
division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a
religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose
of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy should only aggravate the
complaint it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause
of love and unity is no religion. All the holy prophets were as doctors to
the soul; they gave prescriptions for the healing of mankind; thus any
remedy that causes disease does not come from the great and supreme
Physician.

IV.—The fourth principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

The Unity of Religion and Science

We may think of science as one wing and religion as the other; a bird
needs two wings for flight, one alone would be useless. Any religion that
contradicts science or that is opposed to it, is only ignorance—for
ignorance is the opposite of knowledge.

Religion which consists only of rites and ceremonies of prejudice is not
the truth. Let us earnestly endeavour to be the means of uniting religion
and science.

‘Alí, the son-in-law of Muḥammad, said: ‘That which is in conformity with
science is also in conformity with religion’. Whatever the intelligence of
man cannot understand, religion ought not to accept. Religion and science
walk hand in hand, and any religion contrary to science is not the truth.

V.—The fifth principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

Prejudices of Religion, Race or Sect destroy the foundation of Humanity

All the divisions in the world, hatred, war and bloodshed, are caused by
one or other of these prejudices.

The whole world must be looked upon as one single country, all the nations
as one nation, all men as belonging to one race. Religions, races, and
nations are all divisions of man’s making only, and are necessary only in
his thought; before God there are neither Persians, Arabs, French nor
English; God is God for all, and to Him all creation is one. We must obey
God, and strive to follow Him by leaving all our prejudices and bringing
about peace on earth.

VI.—The sixth principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

Equal opportunity of the means of Existence

Every human being has the right to live; they have a right to rest, and to
a certain amount of well-being. As a rich man is able to live in his
palace surrounded by luxury and the greatest comfort, so should a poor man
be able to have the necessaries of life. Nobody should die of hunger;
everybody should have sufficient clothing; one man should not live in
excess while another has no possible means of existence.

Let us try with all the strength we have to bring about happier
conditions, so that no single soul may be destitute.

VII.—The seventh principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

The Equality of Men—equality before the Law

The Law must reign, and not the individual; thus will the world become a
place of beauty and true brotherhood will be realized. Having attained
solidarity, men will have found truth.

VIII.—The eighth principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

Universal Peace

A Supreme Tribunal shall be elected by the peoples and governments of
every nation, where members from each country and government shall
assemble in unity. All disputes shall be brought before this Court, its
mission being to prevent war.

IX.—The ninth principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

That Religion should not concern itself with Political Questions

Religion is concerned with things of the spirit, politics with things of
the world. Religion has to work with the world of thought, whilst the
field of politics lies with the world of external conditions.

It is the work of the clergy to educate the people, to instruct them, to
give them good advice and teaching so that they may progress spiritually.
With political questions they have nothing to do.

X.—The tenth principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

Education and Instruction of Women

Women have equal rights with men upon earth; in religion and society they
are a very important element. As long as women are prevented from
attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to
achieve the greatness which might be theirs.

XI.—The eleventh principle of Bahá’u’lláh is:

The Power of the Holy Spirit, by which alone Spiritual Development is
achieved

It is only by the breath of the Holy Spirit that spiritual development can
come about. No matter how the material world may progress, no matter how
splendidly it may adorn itself, it can never be anything but a lifeless
body unless the soul is within, for it is the soul that animates the body;
the body alone has no real significance. Deprived of the blessings of the
Holy Spirit the material body would be inert.

Here are, very briefly explained, some of the principles of Bahá’u’lláh.

In short, it behoves us all to be lovers of truth. Let us seek her in
every season and in every country, being careful never to attach ourselves
to personalities. Let us see the light wherever it shines, and may we be
enabled to recognize the light of truth no matter where it may arise. Let
us inhale the perfume of the rose from the midst of thorns which surround
it; let us drink the running water from every pure spring.

Since I arrived in Paris, it has given me much pleasure to meet such
Parisians as you are, for praise be to God, you are intelligent,
unprejudiced, and you long to know the truth. You have in your hearts the
love of humanity, and as far as you are able, you exert yourselves in the
cause of charitable work and in the bringing about of unity; this is
especially what Bahá’u’lláh desired.

It is for this reason that I am so happy to be among you, and I pray for
you, that you may be receptacles for the Blessings of God, and that you
may be the means of spreading spirituality throughout this country.

You already have a wonderful material civilization and in like manner
shall spiritual civilization be yours.

Monsieur Bleck thanked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and he replied:

‘I am very grateful to you for the kind sentiments which you have just
uttered. I hope that these two movements will ere long be spread all over
the earth. Then will the unity of humanity have pitched its tent in the
centre of the world.’



THE FIRST PRINCIPLE—SEARCH AFTER TRUTH


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris
November 10th

The first principle of the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is:

The Search after Truth

If a man would succeed in his search after truth, he must, in the first
place, shut his eyes to all the traditional superstitions of the past.

The Jews have traditional superstitions, the Buddhists and the
Zoroastrians are not free from them, neither are the Christians! All
religions have gradually become bound by tradition and dogma.

All consider themselves, respectively, the only guardians of the truth,
and that every other religion is composed of errors. They themselves are
right, all others are wrong! The Jews believe that they are the only
possessors of the truth and condemn all other religions. The Christians
affirm that their religion is the only true one, that all others are
false. Likewise the Buddhists and Muḥammadans; all limit themselves. If
all condemn one another, where shall we search for truth? All
contradicting one another, all cannot be true. If each believe his
particular religion to be the only true one, he blinds his eyes to the
truth in the others. If, for instance, a Jew is bound by the external
practice of the religion of Israel, he does not permit himself to perceive
that truth can exist in any other religion; it must be all contained in
his own!

We should, therefore, detach ourselves from the external forms and
practices of religion. We must realize that these forms and practices,
however beautiful, are but garments clothing the warm heart and the living
limbs of Divine truth. We must abandon the prejudices of tradition if we
would succeed in finding the truth at the core of all religions. If a
Zoroastrian believes that the Sun is God, how can he be united to other
religions? While idolaters believe in their various idols, how can they
understand the oneness of God?

It is, therefore, clear that in order to make any progress in the search
after truth we must relinquish superstition. If all seekers would follow
this principle they would obtain a clear vision of the truth.

If five people meet together to seek for truth, they must begin by cutting
themselves free from all their own special conditions and renouncing all
preconceived ideas. In order to find truth we must give up our prejudices,
our own small trivial notions; an open receptive mind is essential. If our
chalice is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life. The
fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the
greatest of all obstacles in the path towards unity, and unity is
necessary if we would reach truth, for truth is one.

Therefore it is imperative that we should renounce our own particular
prejudices and superstitions if we earnestly desire to seek the truth.
Unless we make a distinction in our minds between dogma, superstition and
prejudice on the one hand, and truth on the other, we cannot succeed. When
we are in earnest in our search for anything we look for it everywhere.
This principle we must carry out in our search for truth.

Science must be accepted. No one truth can contradict another truth. Light
is good in whatsoever lamp it is burning! A rose is beautiful in
whatsoever garden it may bloom! A star has the same radiance if it shines
from the East or from the West. Be free from prejudice, so will you love
the Sun of Truth from whatsoever point in the horizon it may arise! You
will realize that if the Divine light of truth shone in Jesus Christ it
also shone in Moses and in Buddha. The earnest seeker will arrive at this
truth. This is what is meant by the ‘Search after Truth’.

It means, also, that we must be willing to clear away all that we have
previously learned, all that would clog our steps on the way to truth; we
must not shrink if necessary from beginning our education all over again.
We must not allow our love for any one religion or any one personality to
so blind our eyes that we become fettered by superstition! When we are
freed from all these bonds, seeking with liberated minds, then shall we be
able to arrive at our goal.

‘Seek the truth, the truth shall make you free.’ So shall we see the truth
in all religions, for truth is in all and truth is one!



THE SECOND PRINCIPLE—THE UNITY OF MANKIND


November 11th

I spoke yesterday of the first principle of the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh,
‘The Search for Truth’; how it is necessary for a man to put aside all in
the nature of superstition, and every tradition which would blind his eyes
to the existence of truth in all religions. He must not, while loving and
clinging to one form of religion, permit himself to detest all others. It
is essential that he search for truth in all religions, and, if his
seeking be in earnest, he will assuredly succeed.

Now the first discovery which we make in our ‘Search after Truth’, will
lead us to the second principle, which is the ‘Unity of Mankind’. All men
are servants of the One God. One God reigns over all the nations of the
world and has pleasure in all His children. All men are of one family; the
crown of humanity rests on the head of every human being.

In the eyes of the Creator all His children are equal; His goodness is
poured forth on all. He does not favour this nation nor that nation, all
alike are His creatures. This being so, why should we make divisions,
separating one race from another? Why should we create barriers of
superstition and tradition bringing discord and hatred among the people?

The only difference between members of the human family is that of degree.
Some are like children who are ignorant, and must be educated until they
arrive at maturity. Some are like the sick and must be treated with
tenderness and care. None are bad or evil! We must not be repelled by
these poor children. We must treat them with great kindness, teaching the
ignorant and tenderly nursing the sick.

Consider: Unity is necessary to existence. Love is the very cause of life;
on the other hand, separation brings death. In the world of material
creation, for instance, all things owe their actual life to unity. The
elements which compose wood, mineral, or stone, are held together by the
law of attraction. If this law should cease for one moment to operate
these elements would not hold together, they would fall apart, and the
object would in that particular form cease to exist. The law of attraction
has brought together certain elements in the form of this beautiful
flower, but when that attraction is withdrawn from this centre the flower
will decompose, and, as a flower, cease to exist.

So it is with the great body of humanity. The wonderful Law of Attraction,
Harmony and Unity, holds together this marvellous Creation.

As with the whole, so with the parts; whether a flower or a human body,
when the attracting principle is withdrawn from it, the flower or the man
dies. It is therefore clear that attraction, harmony, unity and Love, are
the cause of life, whereas repulsion, discord, hatred and separation bring
death.

We have seen that whatever brings division into the world of existence
causes death. Likewise in the world of the spirit does the same law
operate.

Therefore should every servant of the One God be obedient to the law of
love, avoiding all hatred, discord, and strife. We find when we observe
nature, that the gentler animals group themselves together into flocks and
herds, whereas the savage, ferocious creatures, such as the lion, the
tiger, and the wolf, live in wild forests, apart from civilization. Two
wolves, or two lions, may live amicably together; but a thousand lambs may
share the same fold and a large number of deer can form one herd. Two
eagles can dwell in the same place, but a thousand doves can gather into
one habitation.

Man should, at least, be numbered among the gentler animals; but when he
becomes ferocious he is more cruel and malicious than the most savage of
the animal creation!

Now Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the ‘Unity of the World of Mankind’. All
peoples and nations are of one family, the children of one Father, and
should be to one another as brothers and sisters! I hope that you will
endeavour in your lives to show forth and spread this teaching.

Bahá’u’lláh said that we should love even our enemies and be to them as
friends. If all men were obedient to this principle, the greatest unity
and understanding would be established in the hearts of mankind.



THIRD PRINCIPLE


[‘That religion ought to be a Cause of Love and Affection’ is much
emphasized in many of the Discourses of which the Notes are given in this
book, as well as in the explanation of several of the other Principles.]



FOURTH PRINCIPLE—THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE RELATION BETWEEN RELIGION AND
SCIENCE


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
November 12th

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

I have spoken to you of some of the principles of Bahá’u’lláh: The Search
after Truth and The Unity of Mankind. I will now explain the Fourth
Principle, which is The Acceptance of the Relation between Religion and
Science.

There is no contradiction between true religion and science. When a
religion is opposed to science it becomes mere superstition: that which is
contrary to knowledge is ignorance.

How can a man believe to be a fact that which science has proved to be
impossible? If he believes in spite of his reason, it is rather ignorant
superstition than faith. The true principles of all religions are in
conformity with the teachings of science.

The Unity of God is logical, and this idea is not antagonistic to the
conclusions arrived at by scientific study.

All religions teach that we must do good, that we must be generous,
sincere, truthful, law-abiding, and faithful; all this is reasonable, and
logically the only way in which humanity can progress.

All religious laws conform to reason, and are suited to the people for
whom they are framed, and for the age in which they are to be obeyed.

Religion has two main parts:

(1) The Spiritual.

(2) The Practical.

The spiritual part never changes. All the Manifestations of God and His
Prophets have taught the same truths and given the same spiritual law.
They all teach the one code of morality. There is no division in the
truth. The Sun has sent forth many rays to illumine human intelligence,
the light is always the same.

The practical part of religion deals with exterior forms and ceremonies,
and with modes of punishment for certain offences. This is the material
side of the law, and guides the customs and manners of the people.

In the time of Moses, there were ten crimes punishable by death. When
Christ came this was changed; the old axiom ‘an eye for an eye, and a
tooth for a tooth’ was converted into ‘Love your enemies, do good to them
that hate you’, the stern old law being changed into one of love, mercy
and forbearance!

In the former days the punishment for theft was the cutting off of the
right hand; in our time this law could not be so applied. In this age, a
man who curses his father is allowed to live, when formerly he would have
been put to death. It is therefore evident that whilst the spiritual law
never alters, the practical rules must change their application with the
necessities of the time. The spiritual aspect of religion is the greater,
the more important of the two, and this is the same for all time, it never
changes! It is the same, yesterday, today, and for ever! ‘As it was the
beginning, is now, and ever shall be.’

Now, all questions of morality contained in the spiritual, immutable law
of every religion are logically right. If religion were contrary to
logical reason then it would cease to be a religion and be merely a
tradition. Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s
intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can
progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone! Should a man try
to fly with the wing of religion alone he would quickly fall into the
quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wing of
science alone he would also make no progress, but fall into the despairing
slough of materialism. All religions of the present day have fallen into
superstitious practices, out of harmony alike with the true principles of
the teaching they represent and with the scientific discoveries of the
time. Many religious leaders have grown to think that the importance of
religion lies mainly in the adherence to a collection of certain dogmas
and the practice of rites and ceremonies! Those whose souls they profess
to cure are taught to believe likewise, and these cling tenaciously to the
outward forms, confusing them with the inward truth.

Now, these forms and rituals differ in the various churches and amongst
the different sects, and even contradict one another; giving rise to
discord, hatred, and disunion. The outcome of all this dissension is the
belief of many cultured men that religion and science are contradictory
terms, that religion needs no powers of reflection, and should in no wise
be regulated by science, but must of necessity be opposed, the one to the
other. The unfortunate effect of this is that science has drifted apart
from religion, and religion has become a mere blind and more or less
apathetic following of the precepts of certain religious teachers, who
insist on their own favourite dogmas being accepted even when they are
contrary to science. This is foolishness, for it is quite evident that
science is the light, and, being so, religion truly so-called does not
oppose knowledge.

We are familiar with the phrases ‘Light and Darkness’, ‘Religion and
Science’. But the religion which does not walk hand in hand with science
is itself in the darkness of superstition and ignorance.

Much of the discord and disunion of the world is created by these man-made
oppositions and contradictions. If religion were in harmony with science
and they walked together, much of the hatred and bitterness now bringing
misery to the human race would be at an end.

Consider what it is that singles man out from among created beings, and
makes of him a creature apart. Is it not his reasoning power, his
intelligence? Shall he not make use of these in his study of religion? I
say unto you: weigh carefully in the balance of reason and science
everything that is presented to you as religion. If it passes this test,
then accept it, for it is truth! If, however, it does not so conform, then
reject it, for it is ignorance!

Look around and see how the world of today is drowned in superstition and
outward forms!

Some worship the product of their own imagination: they make for
themselves an imaginary God and adore this, when the creation of their
finite minds cannot be the Infinite Mighty Maker of all things visible and
invisible! Others worship the sun or trees, also stones! In past ages
there were those who adored the sea, the clouds, and even clay!

Today, men have grown into such adoring attachment to outward forms and
ceremonies that they dispute over this point of ritual or that particular
practice, until one hears on all sides of wearisome arguments and unrest.
There are individuals who have weak intellects and their powers of
reasoning have not developed, but the strength and power of religion must
not be doubted because of the incapacity of these persons to understand.

A small child cannot comprehend the laws that govern nature, but this is
on account of the immature intellect of that child; when he is grown older
and has been educated he too will understand the everlasting truths. A
child does not grasp the fact that the earth revolves round the sun, but,
when his intelligence is awakened, the fact is clear and plain to him.

It is impossible for religion to be contrary to science, even though some
intellects are too weak or too immature to understand truth.

God made religion and science to be the measure, as it were, of our
understanding. Take heed that you neglect not such a wonderful power.
Weigh all things in this balance.

To him who has the power of comprehension religion is like an open book,
but how can it be possible for a man devoid of reason and intellectuality
to understand the Divine Realities of God?

Put all your beliefs into harmony with science; there can be no
opposition, for truth is one. When religion, shorn of its superstitions,
traditions, and unintelligent dogmas, shows its conformity with science,
then will there be a great unifying, cleansing force in the world which
will sweep before it all wars, disagreements, discords and struggles—and
then will mankind be united in the power of the Love of God.



THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE—THE ABOLITION OF PREJUDICES


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
November 13th

All prejudices, whether of religion, race, politics or nation, must be
renounced, for these prejudices have caused the world’s sickness. It is a
grave malady which, unless arrested, is capable of causing the destruction
of the whole human race. Every ruinous war, with its terrible bloodshed
and misery, has been caused by one or other of these prejudices.

The deplorable wars going on in these days are caused by the fanatical
religious hatred of one people for another, or the prejudices of race or
colour.

Until all these barriers erected by prejudice are swept away, it is not
possible for humanity to be at peace. For this reason Bahá’u’lláh has
said, ‘These Prejudices are destructive to mankind’.

Contemplate first the prejudice of religion: consider the nations of
so-called religious people; if they were truly worshippers of God they
would obey His law which forbids them to kill one another.

If priests of religion really adored the God of love and served the Divine
Light, they would teach their people to keep the chief Commandment, ‘To be
in love and charity with all men’. But we find the contrary, for it is
often the priests who encourage nations to fight. Religious hatred is ever
the most cruel!

All religions teach that we should love one another; that we should seek
out our own shortcomings before we presume to condemn the faults of
others, that we must not consider ourselves superior to our neighbours! We
must be careful not to exalt ourselves lest we be humiliated.

Who are we that we should judge? How shall we know who, in the sight of
God, is the most upright man? God’s thoughts are not like our thoughts!
How many men who have seemed saint-like to their friends have fallen into
the greatest humiliation. Think of Judas Iscariot; he began well, but
remember his end! On the other hand, Paul, the Apostle, was in his early
life an enemy of Christ, whilst later he became His most faithful servant.
How then can we flatter ourselves and despise others?

Let us therefore be humble, without prejudices, preferring others’ good to
our own! Let us never say, ‘I am a believer but he is an infidel’, ‘I am
near to God, whilst he is an outcast’. We can never know what will be the
final judgment! Therefore let us help all who are in need of any kind of
assistance.

Let us teach the ignorant, and take care of the young child until he grows
to maturity. When we find a person fallen into the depths of misery or sin
we must be kind to him, take him by the hand, help him to regain his
footing, his strength; we must guide him with love and tenderness, treat
him as a friend not as an enemy.

We have no right to look upon any of our fellow-mortals as evil.

Concerning the prejudice of race: it is an illusion, a superstition pure
and simple! For God created us all of one race. There were no differences
in the beginning, for we are all descendants of Adam. In the beginning,
also, there were no limits and boundaries between the different lands; no
part of the earth belonged more to one people than to another. In the
sight of God there is no difference between the various races. Why should
man invent such a prejudice? How can we uphold war caused by an illusion?

God has not created men that they should destroy one another. All races,
tribes, sects and classes share equally in the Bounty of their Heavenly
Father.

The only difference lies in the degree of faithfulness, of obedience to
the laws of God. There are some who are as lighted torches, there are
others who shine as stars in the sky of humanity. The lovers of mankind,
these are the superior men, of whatever nation, creed, or colour they may
be. For it is they to whom God will say these blessed words, ‘Well done,
My good and faithful servants’. In that day He will not ask, ‘Are you
English, French, or perhaps Persian? Do you come from the East, or from
the West?’

The only division that is real is this: There are heavenly men and earthly
men; self-sacrificing servants of humanity in the love of the Most High,
bringing harmony and unity, teaching peace and goodwill to men. On the
other hand there are those selfish men, haters of their brethren, in whose
hearts prejudice has replaced loving kindness, and whose influence breeds
discord and strife.

To which race or to which colour belong these two divisions of men, to the
White, to the Yellow, to the Black, to the East or to the West, to the
North or to the South? If these are God’s divisions, why should we invent
others? Political prejudice is equally mischievous, it is one of the
greatest causes of bitter strife amongst the children of men. There are
people who find pleasure in breeding discord, who constantly endeavour to
goad their country into making war upon other nations—and why? They think
to advantage their own country to the detriment of all others. They send
armies to harass and destroy the land, in order to become famous in the
world, for the joy of conquest. That it may be said: ‘Such a country has
defeated another, and brought it under the yoke of their stronger, more
superior rule’. This victory, bought at the price of much bloodshed, is
not lasting! The conqueror shall one day be conquered; and the vanquished
ones victorious! Remember the history of the past: did not France conquer
Germany more than once—then did not the German nation overcome France?

We learn also that France conquered England; then was the English nation
victorious over France!

These glorious conquests are so ephemeral! Why attach so great importance
to them and to their fame, as to be willing to shed the blood of the
people for their attainment? Is any victory worth the inevitable train of
evils consequent upon human slaughter, the grief and sorrow and ruin which
must overwhelm so many homes of both nations? For it is not possible that
one country alone should suffer.

Oh! why will man, the disobedient child of God, who should be an example
of the power of the spiritual law, turn his face away from the Divine
Teaching and put all his effort into destruction and war?

My hope is that in this enlightened century the Divine Light of love will
shed its radiance over the whole world, seeking out the responsive heart’s
intelligence of every human being; that the light of the Sun of Truth will
lead politicians to shake off all the claims of prejudice and
superstition, and with freed minds to follow the Policy of God: for Divine
Politics are mighty, man’s politics are feeble! God has created all the
world, and bestows His Divine Bounty upon every creature.

Are we not the servants of God? Shall we neglect to follow our Master’s
Example, and ignore His Commands?

I pray that the Kingdom shall come on Earth, and that all darkness shall
be driven away by the effulgence of the Heavenly Sun.



THE SIXTH PRINCIPLE—MEANS OF EXISTENCE


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris

One of the most important principles of the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is:

The right of every human being to the daily bread whereby they exist, or
the equalization of the means of livelihood.

The arrangements of the circumstances of the people must be such that
poverty shall disappear, that everyone, as far as possible, according to
his rank and position, shall share in comfort and well-being.

We see amongst us men who are overburdened with riches on the one hand,
and on the other those unfortunate ones who starve with nothing; those who
possess several stately palaces, and those who have not where to lay their
head. Some we find with numerous courses of costly and dainty food; whilst
others can scarce find sufficient crusts to keep them alive. Whilst some
are clothed in velvets, furs and fine linen, others have insufficient,
poor and thin garments with which to protect them from the cold.

This condition of affairs is wrong, and must be remedied. Now the remedy
must be carefully undertaken. It cannot be done by bringing to pass
absolute equality between men.

Equality is a chimera! It is entirely impracticable! Even if equality
could be achieved it could not continue—and if its existence were
possible, the whole order of the world would be destroyed. The law of
order must always obtain in the world of humanity. Heaven has so decreed
in the creation of man.

Some are full of intelligence, others have an ordinary amount of it, and
others again are devoid of intellect. In these three classes of men there
is order but not equality. How could it be possible that wisdom and
stupidity should be equal? Humanity, like a great army, requires a
general, captains, under-officers in their degree, and soldiers, each with
their own appointed duties. Degrees are absolutely necessary to ensure an
orderly organization. An army could not be composed of generals alone, or
of captains only, or of nothing but soldiers without one in authority. The
certain result of such a plan would be that disorder and demoralization
would overtake the whole army.

King Lycurgus, the philosopher, made a great plan to equalize the subjects
of Sparta; with self-sacrifice and wisdom was the experiment begun. Then
the king called the people of his kingdom, and made them swear a great
oath to maintain the same order of government if he should leave the
country, also that nothing should make them alter it until his return.
Having secured this oath, he left his kingdom of Sparta and never
returned. Lycurgus abandoned the situation, renouncing his high position,
thinking to achieve the permanent good of his country by the equalization
of the property and of the conditions of life in his kingdom. All the
self-sacrifice of the king was in vain. The great experiment failed. After
a time all was destroyed; his carefully thought-out constitution came to
an end.

The futility of attempting such a scheme was shown and the impossibility
of attaining equal conditions of existence was proclaimed in the ancient
kingdom of Sparta. In our day any such attempt would be equally doomed to
failure.

Certainly, some being enormously rich and others lamentably poor, an
organization is necessary to control and improve this state of affairs. It
is important to limit riches, as it is also of importance to limit
poverty. Either extreme is not good. To be seated in the mean(13) is most
desirable. If it be right for a capitalist to possess a large fortune, it
is equally just that his workman should have a sufficient means of
existence.

A financier with colossal wealth should not exist whilst near him is a
poor man in dire necessity. When we see poverty allowed to reach a
condition of starvation it is a sure sign that somewhere we shall find
tyranny. Men must bestir themselves in this matter, and no longer delay in
altering conditions which bring the misery of grinding poverty to a very
large number of the people. The rich must give of their abundance, they
must soften their hearts and cultivate a compassionate intelligence,
taking thought for those sad ones who are suffering from lack of the very
necessities of life.

There must be special laws made, dealing with these extremes of riches and
of want. The members of the Government should consider the laws of God
when they are framing plans for the ruling of the people. The general
rights of mankind must be guarded and preserved.

The government of the countries should conform to the Divine Law which
gives equal justice to all. This is the only way in which the deplorable
superfluity of great wealth and miserable, demoralizing, degrading poverty
can be abolished. Not until this is done will the Law of God be obeyed.



SEVENTH PRINCIPLE—EQUALITY OF MEN


‘The Laws of God are not imposition of will, or of power, or pleasure, but
the resolutions of truth, reason and justice.’

All men are equal before the law, which must reign absolutely.

The object of punishment is not vengeance, but the prevention of crime.

Kings must rule with wisdom and justice; prince, peer and peasant alike
have equal rights to just treatment, there must be no favour shown to
individuals. A judge must be no ‘respecter of persons’, but administer the
law with strict impartiality in every case brought before him.

If a person commit a crime against you, you have not the right to forgive
him; but the law must punish him in order to prevent a repetition of that
same crime by others, as the pain of the individual is unimportant beside
the general welfare of the people.

When perfect justice reigns in every country of the Eastern and Western
World, then will the earth become a place of beauty. The dignity and
equality of every servant of God will be acknowledged; the ideal of the
solidarity of the human race, the true brotherhood of man, will be
realized; and the glorious light of the Sun of Truth will illumine the
souls of all men.



THE EIGHTH PRINCIPLE—UNIVERSAL PEACE


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris

A Supreme Tribunal shall be established by the peoples and Governments of
every nation, composed of members elected from each country and
Government. The members of this Great Council shall assemble in unity. All
disputes of an international character shall be submitted to this Court,
its work being to arrange by arbitration everything which otherwise would
be a cause of war. The mission of this Tribunal would be to prevent war.

One of the great steps towards universal peace would be the establishment
of a universal language. Bahá’u’lláh commands that the servants of
humanity should meet together, and either choose a language which now
exists, or form a new one. This was revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas forty
years ago. It is there pointed out that the question of diversity of
tongues is a very difficult one. There are more than eight hundred
languages in the world, and no person could acquire them all.

The races of mankind are not isolated as in former days. Now, in order to
be in close relationship with all countries it is necessary to be able to
speak their tongues.

A universal language would make intercourse possible with every nation.
Thus it would be needful to know two languages only, the mother tongue and
the universal speech. The latter would enable a man to communicate with
any and every man in the world!

A third language would not be needed. To be able to talk with a member of
any race and country without requiring an interpreter, how helpful and
restful to all!

Esperanto has been drawn up with this end in view: it is a fine invention
and a splendid piece of work, but it needs perfecting. Esperanto as it
stands is very difficult for some people.

An international Congress should be formed, consisting of delegates from
every nation in the world, Eastern as well as Western. This Congress
should form a language that could be acquired by all, and every country
would thereby reap great benefit.

Until such a language is in use, the world will continue to feel the vast
need of this means of intercourse. Difference of speech is one of the most
fruitful causes of dislike and distrust that exists between nations, which
are kept apart by their inability to understand each other’s language more
than by any other reason.

If everybody could speak one language, how much more easy would it be to
serve humanity!

Therefore appreciate ‘Esperanto’, for it is the beginning of the carrying
out of one of the most important of the Laws of Bahá’u’lláh, and it must
continue to be improved and perfected.



NINTH PRINCIPLE—THE NON-INTERFERENCE OF RELIGION WITH POLITICS


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
November 17th

In the conduct of life, man is actuated by two main motives: ‘The Hope for
Reward’ and ‘The Fear of Punishment’.

This hope and this fear must consequently be greatly taken into account by
those in authority who have important posts under Government. Their
business in life is to consult together for the framing of laws, and to
provide for their just administration.

The tent of the order of the world is raised and established on the two
pillars of ‘Reward and Retribution’.

In despotic Governments carried on by men without Divine faith, where no
fear of spiritual retribution exists, the execution of the laws is
tyrannical and unjust.

There is no greater prevention of oppression than these two sentiments,
hope and fear. They have both political and spiritual consequences.

If administrators of the law would take into consideration the spiritual
consequences of their decisions, and follow the guidance of religion,
‘They would be Divine agents in the world of action, the representatives
of God for those who are on earth, and they would defend, for the love of
God, the interests of His servants as they would defend their own’. If a
governor realizes his responsibility, and fears to defy the Divine Law,
his judgments will be just. Above all, if he believes that the
consequences of his actions will follow him beyond his earthly life, and
that ‘as he sows so must he reap’, such a man will surely avoid injustice
and tyranny.

Should an official, on the contrary, think that all responsibility for his
actions must end with his earthly life, knowing and believing nothing of
Divine favours and a spiritual kingdom of joy, he will lack the incentive
to just dealing, and the inspiration to destroy oppression and
unrighteousness.

When a ruler knows that his judgments will be weighed in a balance by the
Divine Judge, and that if he be not found wanting he will come into the
Celestial Kingdom and that the light of the Heavenly Bounty will shine
upon him, then will he surely act with justice and equity. Behold how
important it is that Ministers of State should be enlightened by religion!

With political questions the clergy, however, have nothing to do!
Religious matters should not be confused with politics in the present
state of the world (for their interests are not identical).

Religion concerns matters of the heart, of the spirit, and of morals.

Politics are occupied with the material things of life. Religious teachers
should not invade the realm of politics; they should concern themselves
with the spiritual education of the people; they should ever give good
counsel to men, trying to serve God and human kind; they should endeavour
to awaken spiritual aspiration, and strive to enlarge the understanding
and knowledge of humanity, to improve morals, and to increase the love for
justice.

This is in accordance with the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh. In the Gospel also
it is written, ‘Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto
God the things which are God’s’.

In Persia there are some amongst the important Ministers of State who are
religious, who are exemplary, who worship God, and who fear to disobey His
Laws, who judge justly and rule their people with Equity. Other Governors
there are in this land who have no fear of God before their eyes, who
think not of the consequences of their actions, working for their own
desires, and these have brought Persia into great trouble and difficulty.

Oh, friends of God, be living examples of justice! So that by the Mercy of
God, the world may see in your actions that you manifest the attributes of
justice and mercy.

Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality. Its operation must be
carried out in all classes, from the highest to the lowest. Justice must
be sacred, and the rights of all the people must be considered. Desire for
others only that which you desire for yourselves. Then shall we rejoice in
the Sun of Justice, which shines from the Horizon of God.

Each man has been placed in a post of honour, which he must not desert. A
humble workman who commits an injustice is as much to blame as a renowned
tyrant. Thus we all have our choice between justice and injustice.

I hope that each one of you will become just, and direct your thoughts
towards the unity of mankind; that you will never harm your neighbours nor
speak ill of any one; that you will respect the rights of all men, and be
more concerned for the interests of others than for your own. Thus will
you become torches of Divine justice, acting in accordance with the
Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, who, during His life, bore innumerable trials and
persecutions in order to show forth to the world of mankind the virtues of
the World of Divinity, making it possible for you to realize the supremacy
of the spirit, and to rejoice in the Justice of God.

By His Mercy, the Divine Bounty will be showered upon you, and for this I
pray!



THE TENTH PRINCIPLE—EQUALITY OF SEX


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
November 14th

The Tenth Principle of the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the equality of the
sexes.

God has created all creatures in couples. Man, beast, or vegetable, all
the things of these three kingdoms are of two sexes, and there is absolute
equality between them.

In the vegetable world there are male plants and female plants; they have
equal rights, and possess an equal share of the beauty of their species;
though indeed the tree that bears fruit might be said to be superior to
that which is unfruitful.

In the animal kingdom we see that the male and the female have equal
rights; and that they each share the advantages of their kind.

Now in the two lower kingdoms of nature we have seen that there is no
question of the superiority of one sex over the other. In the world of
humanity we find a great difference; the female sex is treated as though
inferior, and is not allowed equal rights and privileges. This condition
is due not to nature, but to education. In the Divine Creation there is no
such distinction. Neither sex is superior to the other in the sight of
God. Why then should one sex assert the inferiority of the other,
withholding just rights and privileges as though God had given His
authority for such a course of action? If women received the same
educational advantages as those of men, the result would demonstrate the
equality of capacity of both for scholarship.

In some respects woman is superior to man. She is more tender-hearted,
more receptive, her intuition is more intense.

It is not to be denied that in various directions woman at present is more
backward than man, also that this temporary inferiority is due to the lack
of educational opportunity. In the necessity of life, woman is more
instinct with power than man, for to her he owes his very existence.

If the mother is educated then her children will be well taught. When the
mother is wise, then will the children be led into the path of wisdom. If
the mother be religious she will show her children how they should love
God. If the mother is moral she guides her little ones into the ways of
uprightness.

It is clear therefore that the future generation depends on the mothers of
today. Is not this a vital responsibility for the woman? Does she not
require every possible advantage to equip her for such a task?

Therefore, surely, God is not pleased that so important an instrument as
woman should suffer from want of training in order to attain the
perfections desirable and necessary for her great life’s work! Divine
Justice demands that the rights of both sexes should be equally respected
since neither is superior to the other in the eyes of Heaven. Dignity
before God depends, not on sex, but on purity and luminosity of heart.
Human virtues belong equally to all!

Woman must endeavour then to attain greater perfection, to be man’s equal
in every respect, to make progress in all in which she has been backward,
so that man will be compelled to acknowledge her equality of capacity and
attainment.

In Europe women have made greater progress than in the East, but there is
still much to be done! When students have arrived at the end of their
school term an examination takes place, and the result thereof determines
the knowledge and capacity of each student. So will it be with woman; her
actions will show her power, there will no longer be any need to proclaim
it by words.

It is my hope that women of the East, as well as their Western sisters,
will progress rapidly until humanity shall reach perfection.

God’s Bounty is for all and gives power for all progress. When men own the
equality of women there will be no need for them to struggle for their
rights! One of the principles then of Bahá’u’lláh is the equality of sex.

Women must make the greatest effort to acquire spiritual power and to
increase in the virtue of wisdom and holiness until their enlightenment
and striving succeeds in bringing about the unity of mankind. They must
work with a burning enthusiasm to spread the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh among
the peoples, so that the radiant light of the Divine Bounty may envelop
the souls of all the nations of the world!



THE ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE—THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
November 18th

In the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, it is written: ‘By the Power of the Holy
Spirit alone is man able to progress, for the power of man is limited and
the Divine Power is boundless.’ The reading of history brings us to the
conclusion that all truly great men, the benefactors of the human race,
those who have moved men to love the right and hate the wrong and who have
caused real progress, all these have been inspired by the force of the
Holy Spirit.

The Prophets of God have not all graduated in the schools of learned
philosophy; indeed they were often men of humble birth, to all appearance
ignorant, unknown men of no importance in the eyes of the world; sometimes
even lacking the knowledge of reading and writing.

That which raised these great ones above men, and by which they were able
to become Teachers of the truth, was the power of the Holy Spirit. Their
influence on humanity, by virtue of this mighty inspiration, was great and
penetrating.

The influence of the wisest philosophers, without this Spirit Divine, has
been comparatively unimportant, however extensive their learning and deep
their scholarship.

The unusual intellects, for instance, of Plato, Aristotle, Pliny and
Socrates, have not influenced men so greatly that they have been anxious
to sacrifice their lives for their teachings; whilst some of those simple
men so moved humanity that thousands of men have become willing martyrs to
uphold their words; for these words were inspired by the Divine Spirit of
God! The prophets of Judah and Israel, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah and
Ezekiel, were humble men, as were also the apostles of Jesus Christ.

Peter, the chief of the apostles, used to divide the proceeds of his
fishing into seven parts, and when, having taken one part for each day’s
use, he arrived at the seventh portion, he knew it was the Sabbath day.
Consider this! and then think of his future position; to what glory he
attained because the Holy Spirit wrought great works through him.

We understand that the Holy Spirit is the energizing factor in the life of
man. Whosoever receives this power is able to influence all with whom he
comes into contact.

The greatest philosophers without this Spirit are powerless, their souls
lifeless, their hearts dead! Unless the Holy Spirit breathes into their
souls, they can do no good work. No system of philosophy has ever been
able to change the manners and customs of a people for the better. Learned
philosophers, unenlightened by the Divine Spirit, have often been men of
inferior morality; they have not proclaimed in their actions the reality
of their beautiful phrases.

The difference between spiritual philosophers and others is shown by their
lives. The Spiritual Teacher shows His belief in His own teaching, by
Himself being what He recommends to others.

An humble man without learning, but filled with the Holy Spirit, is more
powerful than the most nobly-born profound scholar without that
inspiration. He who is educated by the Divine Spirit can, in his time,
lead others to receive the same Spirit.

I pray for you that you may be informed by the life of the Divine Spirit,
so that you may be the means of educating others. The life and morals of a
spiritual man are, in themselves, an education to those who know him.

Think not of your own limitations, dwell only on the welfare of the
Kingdom of Glory. Consider the influence of Jesus Christ on His apostles,
then think of their effect upon the world. These simple men were enabled
by the power of the Holy Spirit to spread the glad tidings!

So may you all receive Divine assistance! No capacity is limited when led
by the Spirit of God!

The earth of itself has no properties of life, it is barren and dry, until
fertilized by the sun and the rain; still the earth need not bewail its
own limitations.

May you be given life! May the rain of the Divine Mercy and the warmth of
the Sun of Truth make your gardens fruitful, so that many beautiful
flowers of exquisite fragrance and love may blossom in abundance. Turn
your faces away from the contemplation of your own finite selves and fix
your eyes upon the Everlasting Radiance; then will your souls receive in
full measure the Divine Power of the Spirit and the Blessings of the
Infinite Bounty.

If you thus keep yourselves in readiness, you will become to the world of
humanity a burning flame, a star of guidance, and a fruitful tree,
changing all its darkness and woe into light and joy by the shining of the
Sun of Mercy and the infinite blessings of the Glad Tidings.

This is the meaning of the power of the Holy Spirit, which I pray may be
bountifully showered upon you.



4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris, November 28th


4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
November 28th

In these gatherings where we have met and spoken together you have all
become acquainted with the principles of this dispensation, and with the
reality of facts. Unto you it has been given to know these things, but
there are many still unenlightened and submerged in superstition. They
have heard but little of this great and glorious Cause, and the knowledge
they have is for the most part based only on hearsay. Alas, poor souls,
the knowledge they have is not based on truth, the foundation of their
belief is not the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh! There is, assuredly, a certain
amount of truth in what they have been told, but for the most part their
information has been inaccurate.

The true principles of the blessed Cause of God are the eleven rules which
I have given you, and I have carefully explained these, one by one.

You must endeavour always to live and act in direct obedience to the
teachings and laws of Bahá’u’lláh, so that every individual may see in all
the acts of your life that in word and in deed you are followers of the
Blessed Perfection.

Exert yourselves so that this glorious teaching may encircle the globe,
and that spirituality may be infused into the hearts of men.

The breath of the Holy Spirit shall confirm you, and although many will
arise against you, they shall not prevail!

When the Lord Christ was crowned with thorns, He knew that all the diadems
of the world were at His feet. All earthly crowns, however brilliant,
powerful and resplendent, bowed in adoration before the crown of thorns!
It was from this sure and certain knowledge He spoke, when He said: ‘All
power is given unto Me, in Heaven and in earth’.(14)

Now I say unto you, bear this on your hearts and in your minds. Verily
your light shall illumine the whole world, your spirituality shall affect
the heart of things. You shall in truth become the lighted torches of the
globe. Fear not, neither be dismayed, for your light shall penetrate the
densest darkness. This is the Promise of God, which I give unto you. Rise!
and serve the Power of God!



THE LAST MEETING


15 Rue Greuze, Paris,
December 1st

When I arrived in Paris some time ago for the first time, I looked around
me with much interest, and in my mind I likened this beautiful city to a
large garden.

With loving care and much thought I examined the soil, and found it to be
very good and full of possibility for steadfast faith and firm belief, for
a seed of God’s love has been cast into the ground.

Clouds of Heavenly Mercy showered their rain upon it, and the Sun of Truth
fell warmly upon the young seeds, and today one can see in your midst the
birth of belief. The seed cast into the ground has begun to spring up, and
day by day you will see it grow. The bounties of the Kingdom of
Bahá’u’lláh shall indeed bring forth a wondrous harvest!

Behold! I bring you glad and joyful tidings! Paris will become a garden of
roses! All kinds of beautiful flowers will spring up and flourish in this
garden, and the fame of their fragrance and beauty will be spread in all
lands. When I think of Paris in the future, I seem to see her bathed in
the light of the Holy Spirit! Verily, the day is dawning when Paris will
receive her illumination, and the Goodness and Mercy of God will be
visible to every living creature.

Do not allow your minds to dwell on the present, but with eyes of faith
look into the future, for in truth the Spirit of God is working in your
midst.

Since my arrival a few weeks ago, I can see the growth of spirituality. At
the beginning only a few souls came to me for Light, but during my short
sojourn among you the numbers have increased and doubled. This is a
promise for the future!

When Christ was crucified and left this world, He had only eleven
disciples and a very few followers; but as He served the Cause of truth,
look today at the result of His life’s work! He has illumined the world,
and given life to dead humanity. After His ascension little by little His
Cause grew, the souls of His followers became more and more luminous, and
the exquisite perfume of their saintly lives spread on all sides.

Now today, thank God, a similar condition has begun in Paris. There are
many souls who have turned to the Kingdom of God, and who are attracted to
unity, love and truth.

Try so to work that the goodness and mercy of Abhá may enfold the whole of
Paris. The Breath of the Holy Spirit will help you, the Celestial Light of
the Kingdom will shine in your hearts, and the blessed angels of God from
Heaven will bring you strength and will succour you. Then thank God with
all your hearts that you have attained to this supreme benefit. A great
part of the world is plunged in sleep, but you have been awakened. Many
are blind, but you see!

The call of the Kingdom is heard in your midst. Glory be to God, you have
been born again, you have been baptized by the fire of the Love of God;
you have been plunged in the Sea of Life and regenerated by the Spirit of
Love!

Having received such favour be thankful unto God, and never doubt His
Goodness and Loving Kindness but have undying faith in the Bounties of the
Kingdom. Consort together in brotherly love, be ready to lay down your
lives one for the other, and not only for those who are dear to you, but
for all humanity. Look upon the whole human race as members of one family,
all children of God; and, in so doing, you will see no difference between
them.

Humanity may be likened to a tree. This tree has branches, leaves, buds
and fruit. Think of all men as being flowers, leaves or buds of this tree,
and try to help each and all to realize and enjoy God’s blessings. God
neglects none: He loves all.

The only real difference that exists between people is that they are at
various stages of development. Some are imperfect—these must be brought to
perfection. Some are asleep—they must be awakened; some are negligent—they
must be roused; but one and all are the children of God. Love them all
with your whole heart; no one is a stranger to the other, all are friends.
Tonight I come to say farewell to you—but bear this in your minds, that
although our bodies may be far apart, in spirit we shall always be
together.

I bear you one and all in my heart, and will forget none of you—and I hope
that none of you will forget me.

I in the East, and you in the West, let us try with heart and soul that
unity may dwell in the world, that all the peoples may become one people,
and that the whole surface of the earth may be like one country—for the
Sun of Truth shines on all alike.

All the Prophets of God came for love of this one great aim.

Look how Abraham strove to bring faith and love among the people; how
Moses tried to unite the people by sound laws; how the Lord Christ
suffered unto death to bring the light of love and truth into a darkened
world; how Muḥammad sought to bring unity and peace between the various
uncivilized tribes among whom he dwelt. And last of all, Bahá’u’lláh has
suffered forty years for the same cause—the single noble purpose of
spreading love among the children of men—and for the peace and unity of
the world the Báb gave up his life.

Thus, strive to follow the example of these Divine Beings, drink from
Their fountain, be illumined by Their Light, and to the world be as
symbols of the Mercy and Love of God. Be unto the world as rain and clouds
of mercy, as suns of truth; be a celestial army, and you shall indeed
conquer the city of hearts.

Be thankful unto God that Bahá’u’lláh has given us a firm and solid
foundation. He left no place for sadness in hearts, and the writings of
His sacred pen contain consolation for the whole world. He had the words
of truth, and anything that is contrary to His teaching is false. The
chief aim of all His work was to do away with division.

The testament of Bahá’u’lláh is a Rain of Goodness, a Sun of Truth, Water
of Life, the Holy Spirit. Thus open your hearts to receive the full power
of His Beauty, and I will pray for you all that this joy may be yours.

Now I say ‘Good-bye’.

This I say only to your outer selves; I do not say it to your souls, for
our souls are always together.

Be comforted, and rest assured that day and night I shall turn to the
Kingdom of Abhá in supplication for you, that day by day you may grow
better and holier, nearer to God, and more and more illumined by the
radiance of His Love.



ADDRESS BY ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ AT THE FRIENDS’ MEETING HOUSE, ST MARTIN’S LANE,
LONDON, W.C.


Sunday, January 12th, 1913

About one thousand years ago a society was formed in Persia called the
Society of the Friends, who gathered together for silent communion with
the Almighty.

They divided Divine philosophy into two parts: one kind is that of which
the knowledge can be acquired through lectures and study in schools and
colleges. The second kind of philosophy was that of the Illuminati, or
followers of the inner light. The schools of this philosophy were held in
silence. Meditating, and turning their faces to the Source of Light, from
that central Light the mysteries of the Kingdom were reflected in the
hearts of these people. All the Divine problems were solved by this power
of illumination.

This Society of Friends increased greatly in Persia, and up to the present
time their societies exist. Many books and epistles were written by their
leaders. When they assemble in their meeting-house they sit silently and
contemplate; their leader opens with a certain proposition, and says to
the assembly ‘You must meditate on this problem’. Then, freeing their
minds from everything else, they sit and reflect, and before long the
answer is revealed to them. Many abstruse divine questions are solved by
this illumination.

Some of the great questions unfolding from the rays of the Sun of Reality
upon the mind of man are: the problem of the reality of the spirit of man;
of the birth of the spirit; of its birth from this world into the world of
God; the question of the inner life of the spirit and of its fate after
its ascension from the body.

They also meditate upon the scientific questions of the day, and these are
likewise solved.

These people, who are called ‘Followers of the inner light’, attain to a
superlative degree of power, and are entirely freed from blind dogmas and
imitations. Men rely on the statements of these people: by
themselves—within themselves—they solve all mysteries.

If they find a solution with the assistance of the inner light, they
accept it, and afterwards they declare it: otherwise they would consider
it a matter of blind imitation. They go so far as to reflect upon the
essential nature of the Divinity, of the Divine revelation, of the
manifestation of the Deity in this world. All the divine and scientific
questions are solved by them through the power of the spirit.

Bahá’u’lláh says there is a sign (from God) in every phenomenon: the sign
of the intellect is contemplation and the sign of contemplation is
silence, because it is impossible for a man to do two things at one
time—he cannot both speak and meditate.

It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your
own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit
and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is
revealed.

You cannot apply the name ‘man’ to any being void of this faculty of
meditation; without it he would be a mere animal, lower than the beasts.

Through the faculty of meditation man attains to eternal life; through it
he receives the breath of the Holy Spirit—the bestowal of the Spirit is
given in reflection and meditation.

The spirit of man is itself informed and strengthened during meditation;
through it affairs of which man knew nothing are unfolded before his view.
Through it he receives Divine inspiration, through it he receives heavenly
food.

Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state
man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all
outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of
spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. To
illustrate this, think of man as endowed with two kinds of sight; when the
power of insight is being used the outward power of vision does not see.

This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal nature, discerns the
reality of things, puts man in touch with God.

This faculty brings forth from the invisible plane the sciences and arts.
Through the meditative faculty inventions are made possible, colossal
undertakings are carried out; through it governments can run smoothly.
Through this faculty man enters into the very Kingdom of God.

Nevertheless some thoughts are useless to man; they are like waves moving
in the sea without result. But if the faculty of meditation is bathed in
the inner light and characterized with divine attributes, the results will
be confirmed.

The meditative faculty is akin to the mirror; if you put it before earthly
objects it will reflect them. Therefore if the spirit of man is
contemplating earthly subjects he will be informed of these.

But if you turn the mirror of your spirits heavenwards, the heavenly
constellations and the rays of the Sun of Reality will be reflected in
your hearts, and the virtues of the Kingdom will be obtained.

Therefore let us keep this faculty rightly directed—turning it to the
heavenly Sun and not to earthly objects—so that we may discover the
secrets of the Kingdom, and comprehend the allegories of the Bible and the
mysteries of the spirit.

May we indeed become mirrors reflecting the heavenly realities, and may we
become so pure as to reflect the stars of heaven.



PRAYER


97 Cadogan Gardens, London,
December 26th, 1912

‘Should Prayer take the form of action?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘Yes: In the Bahá’í Cause arts, sciences and all crafts are
(counted as) worship. The man who makes a piece of notepaper to the best
of his ability, conscientiously, concentrating all his forces on
perfecting it, is giving praise to God. Briefly, all effort and exertion
put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is
prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity.
This is worship: to serve mankind and to minister to the needs of the
people. Service is prayer. A physician ministering to the sick, gently,
tenderly, free from prejudice and believing in the solidarity of the human
race, he is giving praise’.

‘What is the purpose of our lives?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘To acquire virtues. We come from the earth; why were we
transferred from the mineral to the vegetable kingdom—from the plant to
the animal kingdom? So that we may attain perfection in each of these
kingdoms, that we may possess the best qualities of the mineral, that we
may acquire the power of growing as in the plant, that we may be adorned
with the instincts of the animal and possess the faculties of sight,
hearing, smell, touch and taste, until from the animal kingdom we step
into the world of humanity and are gifted with reason, the power of
invention, and the forces of the spirit.’



EVIL


‘What is evil?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘Evil is imperfection. Sin is the state of man in the world
of the baser nature, for in nature exist defects such as injustice,
tyranny, hatred, hostility, strife: these are characteristics of the lower
plane of nature. These are the sins of the world, the fruits of the tree
from which Adam did eat. Through education we must free ourselves from
these imperfections. The Prophets of God have been sent, the Holy Books
have been written, so that man may be made free. Just as he is born into
this world of imperfection from the womb of his earthly mother, so is he
born into the world of spirit through divine education. When a man is born
into the world of phenomena he finds the universe; when he is born from
this world to the world of the spirit, he finds the Kingdom.’



THE PROGRESS OF THE SOUL


‘Does the soul progress more through sorrow or through the joy in this
world?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by
suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow,
the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth
deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation
free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a
state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of
divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of
suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find
that the greatest men have suffered most.’

‘He who through suffering has attained development, should he fear
happiness?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘Through suffering he will attain to an eternal happiness
which nothing can take from him. The apostles of Christ suffered: they
attained eternal happiness.’

‘Then it is impossible to attain happiness without suffering?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘To attain eternal happiness one must suffer. He who has
reached the state of self-sacrifice has true joy. Temporal joy will
vanish.’

‘Can a departed soul converse with someone still on earth?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘A conversation can be held, but not as our conversation.
There is no doubt that the forces of the higher worlds interplay with the
forces of this plane. The heart of man is open to inspiration; this is
spiritual communication. As in a dream one talks with a friend while the
mouth is silent, so is it in the conversation of the spirit. A man may
converse with the ego within him saying: “May I do this? Would it be
advisable for me to do this work?” Such as this is conversation with the
higher self.’



THE FOUR KINDS OF LOVE


97 Cadogan Gardens, London,
Saturday, January 4th, 1913

What a power is love! It is the most wonderful, the greatest of all living
powers.

Love gives life to the lifeless. Love lights a flame in the heart that is
cold. Love brings hope to the hopeless and gladdens the hearts of the
sorrowful.

In the world of existence there is indeed no greater power than the power
of love. When the heart of man is aglow with the flame of love, he is
ready to sacrifice all—even his life. In the Gospel it is said God is
love.

There are four kinds of love. The first is the love that flows from God to
man; it consists of the inexhaustible graces, the Divine effulgence and
heavenly illumination. Through this love the world of being receives life.
Through this love man is endowed with physical existence, until, through
the breath of the Holy Spirit—this same love—he receives eternal life and
becomes the image of the Living God. This love is the origin of all the
love in the world of creation.

The second is the love that flows from man to God. This is faith,
attraction to the Divine, enkindlement, progress, entrance into the
Kingdom of God, receiving the Bounties of God, illumination with the
lights of the Kingdom. This love is the origin of all philanthropy; this
love causes the hearts of men to reflect the rays of the Sun of Reality.

The third is the love of God towards the Self or Identity of God. This is
the transfiguration of His Beauty, the reflection of Himself in the mirror
of His Creation. This is the reality of love, the Ancient Love, the
Eternal Love. Through one ray of this Love all other love exists.

The fourth is the love of man for man. The love which exists between the
hearts of believers is prompted by the ideal of the unity of spirits. This
love is attained through the knowledge of God, so that men see the Divine
Love reflected in the heart. Each sees in the other the Beauty of God
reflected in the soul, and finding this point of similarity, they are
attracted to one another in love. This love will make all men the waves of
one sea, this love will make them all the stars of one heaven and the
fruits of one tree. This love will bring the realization of true accord,
the foundation of real unity.

But the love which sometimes exists between friends is not (true) love,
because it is subject to transmutation; this is merely fascination. As the
breeze blows, the slender trees yield. If the wind is in the East the tree
leans to the West, and if the wind turns to the West the tree leans to the
East. This kind of love is originated by the accidental conditions of
life. This is not love, it is merely acquaintanceship; it is subject to
change.

Today you will see two souls apparently in close friendship; tomorrow all
this may be changed. Yesterday they were ready to die for one another,
today they shun one another’s society! This is not love; it is the
yielding of the hearts to the accidents of life. When that which has
caused this ‘love’ to exist passes, the love passes also; this is not in
reality love.

Love is only of the four kinds that I have explained. (a) The love of God
towards the identity of God. Christ has said God is Love. (b) The love of
God for His children—for His servants. (c) The love of man for God and (d)
the love of man for man. These four kinds of love originate from God.
These are rays from the Sun of Reality; these are the Breathings of the
Holy Spirit; these are the Signs of the Reality.



TABLET REVEALED BY ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ


August 28th, 1913

O Thou my beloved daughter!

Thine eloquent and fluent letter was perused in a garden, under the cool
shade of a tree, while the gentle breeze was wafting. The means of
physical enjoyment was spread before the eyes and thy letter became the
cause of spiritual enjoyment. Truly, I say, it was not a letter but a
rose-garden adorned with hyacinths and flowers.

It contained the sweet fragrance of paradise and the zephyr of Divine Love
blew from its roseate words.

As I have not ample time at my disposal, I will give herein a brief,
conclusive and comprehensive answer. It is as follows:

In this Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, the women go neck and neck with the
men. In no movement will they be left behind. Their rights with men are
equal in degree. They will enter all the administrative branches of
politics. They will attain in all such a degree as will be considered the
very highest station of the world of humanity and will take part in all
affairs. Rest ye assured. Do ye not look upon the present conditions; in
the not far distant future the world of women will become all-refulgent
and all-glorious, For His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh Hath Willed It so! At the
time of elections the right to vote is the inalienable right of women, and
the entrance of women into all human departments is an irrefutable and
incontrovertible question. No soul can retard or prevent it.

But there are certain matters, the participation in which is not worthy of
women. For example, at the time when the community is taking up vigorous
defensive measures against the attack of foes, the women are exempt from
military engagements. It may so happen that at a given time warlike and
savage tribes may furiously attack the body politic with the intention of
carrying on a wholesale slaughter of its members; under such a
circumstance defence is necessary, but it is the duty of men to organize
and execute such defensive measures and not the women—because their hearts
are tender and they cannot endure the sight of the horror of carnage, even
if it is for the sake of defence. From such and similar undertakings the
women are exempt.

As regards the constitution of the House of Justice, Bahá’u’lláh addresses
the men. He says: ‘O ye men of the House of Justice!’

But when its members are to be elected, the right which belongs to women,
so far as their voting and their voice is concerned, is indisputable. When
the women attain to the ultimate degree of progress, then, according to
the exigency of the time and place and their great capacity, they shall
obtain extraordinary privileges. Be ye confident on these accounts. His
Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has greatly strengthened the cause of women, and the
rights and privileges of women is one of the greatest principles of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Rest ye assured! Ere long the days shall come when the men
addressing the women, shall say: ‘Blessed are ye! Blessed are ye! Verily
ye are worthy of every gift. Verily ye deserve to adorn your heads with
the crown of everlasting glory, because in sciences and arts, in virtues
and perfections ye shall become equal to man, and as regards tenderness of
heart and the abundance of mercy and sympathy ye are superior’.



FOOTNOTES


    1 St. John xiv, II.

    2 St Matthew xxiv, 30. St Matthew xvi, 27.

    3 St John iii, 13

    4 St John xviii, 11.

    5 Manifestations of God.

    6 Exodus iii, 2.

    7 A certain man who was present when Badí was told he should carry the
      Epistle to the _Sh_áh saw him transfigured; he became radiant.

    8 St John iii, 5.

    9 St Matthew iii, 11.

   10 i.e.—All good actions bring their own reward.

   11 A small orange-tree on the table nearby.

   12 i.e.—Divine Manifestation.

   13 ‘Give me neither poverty nor riches.’—Prov. xxx., 8.

   14 Matthew xviii, 18.





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