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Love you Deeply

Dr. Gary Chapman in His book «The 5 Love Languages» mentions 5 ways people receive and give love.  Because the background of each individual is different, it affects how we receive and give love. Generally the ways we feel loved are through speaking kind and loving words, through spending quality time together, through giving and receiving of gifts, through loving touches or hugs, and through serving each other.

We all have been created differently, in ability and in conditionally. We grow up in different environments and are taught different values. In order to have a strong relationship between two people, they need to have a deeper understanding and acceptance of each other.  This includes understanding the different love languages.  In these five love languages, not everyone has the same sense of each type of expression. As the result, not every one uses the same love languages to express their love for others. We tend to express our love through the ways we have received it. But the problem is the way we express it is not necessarily the way others would receive it. For the love to flow between each other, it is essential to understand the love language your companion uses and give the right type of love language for that person.  For example, in Chinese culture, parents tend to express love through serving the family, instead of using words. In my married life, my husband would ask me if I love him in the first few years of marriage. I would think you should know that through what I do for you. Obviously, his way to receive love is different from the way I give it. When I don’t give the right type of love, his need won’t be filled and the relationship won’t be as secure.

In these five types of love language, the intensity of the need of each type in each individual is not the same. So, to be filled with right type of love for others will help them feel satisfied.  We all need to receive in order to fill our love container, and we need to receive constantly to keep the container full. If we don’t receive for a while, the container will drain out through  emotional consumption. This is how we experience human love.

Similarly, we can apply these five types of love language to the relationship we have with God. When we read and meditate upon God’s Words, it is the love words which God speaks to us. When we see or hear confirmation from someone, that is the love expression from God.

When we pray and have a conversation with God, it is the quality time we spend with God.  When we meditate to waiting for God’s inspiration and enjoy the present of God, it also the quality time we spend with God. When we are inspired by God and gain the knowledge of Him, the joy and peace within us or the miracle we experience, they are the grace of God and the gifts we receive from Him.

Human are gregarious creatures. We are all supported by each other in our living. The food we eat it supported by others, the farmers, processors, distributors and stores. The house we live was built by someone, and emotionally we are all supported by each other and it is unhealthy to be isolated socially. God arranges all this. He sustains us in our life. He serves us all the time.

Some of you might experience the joy of feeling touched by some spirit and we don’t know what that is. This is the love from God by touching our soul. When God touches our soul, it has the same feeling as when someone give us a hug. It is a spiritual touch.

So how do we express our love to God and build a deeper relationship with Him? We can use similar love languages by praying  and meditating often, so we can spend quality time with Him. We can appreciate and praise Him to express our loving words to Him. We can give up excessive attachment to material things as gift to Him. We can keep our minds fixed and grounded in God and follow His commandments. Remembering Him is the spiritual way we connect our heart with Him. We can serve people and serve His Cause to show our love for Him.

God’s love is very different from the love between mankind. The container of love for mankind need to constantly be filled, otherwise it will drain out.  The love of God is like a fountain, when we find it and maintain the condition, the flow of will keep coming and overflow for us to love other. Love is a feeling. We need be able to feel it in order to say we love. The love between mankind and God is similar too. We can not say we love Him if we don’t feel the love flow. The flow of love from God sustains our joy and peace, and it is the source of love so we can love others more. We can feel deeper grace when we have a deeper relationship with Him. God’s love is a hidden treasure and it has all. It really has it all.

Alláh-u-Abhá!

For every one of you his paramount duty is to choose for himself that on which no other may infringe and none usurp from him. Such a thing, and to this the Almighty is My witness, is the love of God, could ye but perceive it. (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 123)

God’s Way

O CHILDREN OF ADAM!  Holy words and pure and goodly deeds ascend unto the heaven of celestial glory. Strive that your deeds may be cleansed from the dust of self and hypocrisy and find favor at the court of glory; for ere long the assayers of mankind shall, in the holy presence of the Adored One, accept naught but absolute virtue and deeds of stainless purity. This is the daystar of wisdom and of divine mystery that hath shone above the horizon of the divine will. Blessed are they that turn thereunto. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, 69)

By studying the Sacred Scriptures we can learn about the ways God exercises His Will in the world. In Chinese we might call it knowing the rules of God, or the natural order as God intended, which is in conformity with our higher spiritual nature. When we follow God’s rules, we will be protected and blessed.  On the other hand, when we do not follow the laws of our higher nature and go against God’s rules, difficulty will follow us. If we don’t know our own position and destiny in creation, we don’t know how noble we were created and we let the animal nature (lower nature) dominate our thoughts and behavior.

Copper into Gold

The principle in all that God does is the principle of Love. He created us to be noble and gives humans eternal life of the spirit.  He wants us to fulfill the purpose of our creation, and bear fruits in this life. To bear fruits means to bring forth virtues, qualities and perfections. When we act with these virtues, we shine with God’s glory like a bright ornament on the tree. We shine with the fruits of virtues, qualities and perfections of our Soul.

God will purify our soul and make us change from copper to shining gold. God is holy and pure above anything else. To get closer to His purity we need to purify ourselves. The journey to return to Him is the acquisition of pure qualities in our soul.  To purify our soul is metaphorically like the process of alchemy. It is a process described by medieval philosophers that involves high heat and water. The difficulties in our life are like heat and water. Our character is strengthened by all kinds of tests that we undergo in our lives. Our impurities are removed gradually in the process. The impurities in our soul are the result of our ego. This process of purification is to remove our ego, where it is an obstruction between us and God. This veil prevents us from knowing Him and understanding His goodwill toward us. It prevents us from seeing His beauty, also causes us to lose our noble identity. The purification process, or turning copper into gold is the mercy and compassion of God. It is His love, because only after we remove these impurities will we be able to see what He has prepared for us, the rich gifts and treasures that are hidden and waiting for us.

Know thou, therefore, that in every age and dispensation all Divine Ordinances are changed and transformed according to the requirements of the time, except the law of love, which, like unto a fountain, flows always and is never overtaken by change. This is of the wonderful mysteries which God has mentioned for His servants! Verily, He is the merciful, the compassionate!  (Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 248)

The Wilderness (Difficulty)

In the Bible, we read the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt into the desert of Sinai, where they remained in the wilderness for 40 years. This was a period of purification, of learning to rely on God. For us, the wilderness is a situation where we are removed from our familiar surroundings and comforts, and we may go through sickness, hardship, suffer loss or betrayal. It may be due to our own mistakes, selfish or cruel actions which result in our being cut off from friends and support. The wilderness is the place where we meet God. It is the place He will rescue us out of the darkness. If we seek Him, we will find His light, and His love. Wilderness that is the mercy of God, the gift He gives us, the place He transforms us, the place we find Him and return to His protection. We must not try to escape from it. It is the living opportunity to see ourselves and know who we really are.

When we read Exodus, we can’t merely look at it as a story. There are many spiritual messages it carries with it. The wilderness is the work of salvation and healing from God.  The food (mana) He gave to the Israelites represents the spiritual food He provides, which is the Word of God. In the journey God showed His faithfulness to them through His power, His might, protection and grace.  When we follow his commandments, we will be protected under His laws. His covenant is His protection and the symbol of His love. His grace will pour down to us when we hold firmly to His covenant. The commandments of God are His strong wings, the sign of His protection. It also is the way to transform us.

In a symbolic sense, the period of living in the wilderness is the description of the difficult life which Israelites encountered due to their own disobedience and lack of faith. Because they lived for generations under controlled and oppressive conditions as slaves, mistrust became one of their characteristics. Mistrust generates a rebellious character. The wilderness is the time for transformation, the place where God does His work on us, changing the rebellious characteristics into faithfulness through His grace. He sets our soul free from the oppression of ego. He heals us and lets our soul be healthy again. So our selfish characteristics can be transformed into nobility, arrogance can be turned into humility, bowing down before Him.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  (John 15:16)

O SON OF BEING!  Walk in My statutes for love of Me and deny thyself that which thou desirest if thou seekest My pleasure.  (Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words 38)

Forgiveness, Humility

O MY SERVANT! Purge thy heart from malice and, innocent of envy, enter the divine court of holiness. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, part two 42)

Forgiveness is the sign of compassion.  God forgives us all the time and He bestows His grace on us continuously. He never leaves us alone, no matter how unfaithful we are. God wants us to forgive others as well and have a positive influence on others with compassion, forgiveness and friendship. Our soul can be pure through forgiveness and still be able to give. This is how we can get closer to God. We all encounter someone that makes us uncomfortable or hurts us in our life, to forgive is the lesson everyone needs to learn!

A reason we may have difficulty forgiving others is our ego, when we are too proud and don’t want to admit our limitations and our own fault.  It’s our pride that causes the trouble. It is an unpleasant feeling that stops us from apologizing. When we realize our own limitations it will help us understand others limitations too. Everyone has different abilities and weaknesses. When we accept our own ability and weakness, then we can be open minded to accept others’ abilities and weaknesses.   We can focus on the positive qualities that each of us have, and praise God and be thankful for everything God does for us. Humility leads us to being grateful. To be humble and grateful will please God and increase our blessings.

Service in the Path of Justice

Without forgiveness and compassion will not bring out the spirit of justice. Justice is more than just right and wrong or good and bad. Each one of us carries our own past, which contributes to making us who we are. We are affected not only by our own past, but that of previous generations. It is the burden from our family, from our society, from our ancestors. It is the accumulation of ideas, values, and often spiritual ignorance from excessive attachment of earthly desires. These are the conditions that cause our suffering and misunderstanding of each other. We all carry our own story in our life and have problems to deal with in our path. If we only focus on our own story and not the cares of others, then we live in our own vain imaginations, which will never help us awaken, never ease our struggles. Unless we have a better understanding of the burden we are carrying and what make us suffer, or we will have trouble to understand what others suffer, too.

O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes. (Bahá’u’lláh , The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh 2)

We can only gain our own knowledge through understanding  our own struggles. And this knowledge will help us have a better understanding of humanity as well. Through understanding the troubles affecting humanity we can see ourselves on the same path and connected to others. In order to move our collective life forward and created a better environment, our community and our society needs this kind of understanding. Service in the path of God requires the promotion of justice, to help others have a better understanding of humanity, so we can all live in a more just society.

Be fair to yourselves and to others, that the evidences of justice may be revealed, through your deeds, among Our faithful servants. (Bahá’u’lláh , Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 128)

Justice comes from the teachings of God in every age, from the laws of God. It also comes from understanding our own suffering and humanity.  So by showing obedience, forgiveness and humility, we show justice. By showing understanding for others is the way we show our love. It will help us to connect heart to heart and remove hatred, and be willing to share.

Prove yourselves worthy of his trust and confidence in you, and withhold not from the poor the gifts which the grace of God hath bestowed upon you. He, verily, shall recompense the charitable, and doubly repay them for what they have bestowed. (Bahá’u’lláh , Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 128)

The gifts which God gives us are for everyone. If we receive a gift from God, we need to share it. The gifts from God could be wealth, power or ability. When we have more money, we can give and help take care of the poor and weak. When a person has power, they can help the oppressed.  When we have an ability to do something more, then we should do more with the capacity we have. These are signs of the spirit of service. Justice can be performed through service to mankind and service to God.

O MY SERVANTS! Ye are the trees of My garden; ye must give forth goodly and wondrous fruits, that ye yourselves and others may profit therefrom. Thus it is incumbent on every one to engage in crafts and professions, for therein lies the secret of wealth, O men of understanding! For results depend upon means, and the grace of God shall be all-sufficient unto you. Trees that yield no fruit have been and will ever be for the fire.  (Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, part two 80)

God acts in our life so that we may become a tree that bears fruits. He is an expert of gardener. He knows when to provide us water and when to trim away unnecessary branches. The unnecessary branches are the attachments we have to the material world. When God takes certain material belongings away from us it is uncomfortable. If we fall into poverty, sickness, lose power, or lose something or someone we love dearly it is an act of God to remove our attachments. He is helping us so we can bear fruits in our life of the spirit. If we don’t forgive each other, we will continue to have difficulty in our life as well. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12)”. We must understand our own suffering in difficulty, so we can have a better understanding of humanity and be just to others. This is what God wants us to learn. The way God works is often through the difficulties we face as we learn about Him, to remove our attachments, to transform our characters, to understand humanity through our own struggles, have forgiveness and connect human hearts to one another. These are the ways of God and the purpose is for us to bear fruits and show His glory.

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  (John 15:5)

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  (John 15:8)

Prayer

I am a sinner, O my Lord, and Thou art the Ever-Forgiving.  As soon as I recognized Thee, I hastened to attain the exalted court of Thy loving-kindness.  Forgive me, O my Lord, my sins which have hindered me from walking in the ways of Thy good pleasure, and from attaining the shores of the ocean of Thy oneness.

There is no one, O my Lord, who can deal bountifully with me to whom I can turn my face, and none who can have compassion on me that I may crave his mercy.  Cast me not out, I implore Thee, of the presence of Thy grace, neither do Thou withhold from me the outpourings of Thy generosity and bounty. 

~ Bahá’u’lláh~

Ways to Know God

God’s Unknowable Essence

The difference in station between man and the Divine Reality is thousands upon thousands of times greater than the difference between vegetable and animal. And that which a human being would conjure up in his mind is but the fanciful image of his human condition, it doth not encompass God’s reality but rather is encompassed by it. That is, man graspeth his own illusory conceptions, but the Reality of Divinity can never be grasped: It, Itself, encompasseth all created things, and all created things are in Its grasp. That Divinity which man doth imagine for himself existeth only in his mind, not in truth. Man, however, existeth both in his mind and in truth; thus man is greater than that fanciful reality which he is able to imagine. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá , Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 21.4)

The difference between conditions in the world of being is an obstacle to comprehension. The spirit of the lower beings in nature, such as minerals and plants, can’t understand the spirit of the higher beings such as animals and humans. How can humans, who are a phenomenal reality created by God, know their Creator, Who is a Preexistent Reality? ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us we can only know God by His qualities and attributes. “We know Him by His attributes. We know Him by His signs. We know Him by His names. We know not what the reality of the sun is, but we know the sun by the rays, by the heat, by its efficacy and penetration. We recognize the sun by its bounty and effulgence, but as to what constitutes the reality of the solar energy, that is unknowable to us. The attributes characterizing the sun, however, are knowable. If we wish to come in touch with the reality of Divinity, we do so by recognizing its phenomena, its attributes and traces, which are widespread in the universe. ” (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 422)

Lauded and glorified art Thou, O Lord, my God! How can I make mention of Thee, assured as I am that no tongue, however deep its wisdom, can befittingly magnify Thy name, nor can the bird of the human heart, however great its longing, ever hope to ascend into the heaven of Thy majesty and knowledge.

If I describe Thee, O my God, as Him Who is the All-Perceiving, I find myself compelled to admit that They Who are the highest Embodiments of perception have been created by virtue of Thy behest. And if I extol Thee as Him Who is the All-Wise, I, likewise, am forced to recognize that the Well Springs of wisdom have themselves been generated through the operation of Thy Will. And if I proclaim Thee as the Incomparable One, I soon discover that they Who are the inmost essence of oneness have been sent down by Thee and are but the evidences of Thine handiwork. And if I acclaim Thee as the Knower of all things, I must confess that they Who are the Quintessence of knowledge are but the creation and instruments of Thy Purpose.

Far, far from Thy glory be what mortal man can affirm of Thee, or attribute unto Thee, or the praise with which he can glorify Thee! Whatever duty Thou hast prescribed unto Thy servants of extolling to the utmost Thy majesty and glory is but a token of Thy grace unto them, that they may be enabled to ascend unto the station conferred upon their own inmost being, the station of the knowledge of their own selves.

No one else besides Thee hath, at any time, been able to fathom Thy mystery, or befittingly to extol Thy greatness. Unsearchable and high above the praise of men wilt Thou remain for ever. There is none other God but Thee, the Inaccessible, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the Holy of Holies. (Bahá’u’lláh , Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 1)

How Shall We Know God?

There are several ways we can learn about God. (1)We can learn about God by learning about the Prophets  and Manifestations, because the Reality of Manifestations of God is that of clear mirrors which reflect the Sun of Reality—the Essence of Oneness, with its infinite perfections and attributes. (2)Also, we can learn about God from the creatures, including ourselves, because in every created things we can see the radiance of God, signs and attributes of God. (3)Furthermore, we can learn about God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit while we have strong faith. This will depend on the depth of the relationship we have with God. Here let’s look at them separately.

1. Through Prophets, Manifestations of God

The Holy Writings tell  us that when we see the Sun of Reality, the perfect mirror, when we come to know the infinite perfections and attributes of the Prophets and Manifestations, we will learn about God.  Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. (John14:8~10)

When we read the Bible, what we must try to understand is its spiritual meaning. By understanding the spiritual meaning which Jesus trys to show us we can learn about God.  Everything Jesus did has a spiritual meaning behind it. When we see His beauty, that is the Father’s beauty; whatever He spoke, that is what the Father spoke; His will is Father’s will. The Father spoke and did His will through Jesus and showed Himself to us. That is to say, if we are not attached to the figure of Jesus, we can see spirit of Father like we see Father Himself. It is similar, the profits and manifestations of God come in different time to show mankind the spirit of Father and spoke to us through the perfect spiritual human been. Holy books and Writings tell us that there is no direct cord to connect between mankind and God, that is why we have to know God through profits and. They look no different from normal person, but the spiritual level are beyond human can understand.

The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the face of all beings, the Source of infinite grace, according to His saying, “His grace hath transcended all things; My grace hath encompassed them all,” hath caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable Essence. (Bahá’u’lláh , Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 19)

And since there can be no tie of direct intercourse to bind the one true God with His creation, and no resemblance whatever can exist between the transient and the Eternal, the contingent and the Absolute, He hath ordained that in every age and dispensation a pure and stainless Soul be made manifest in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. Unto this subtle, this mysterious and ethereal Being He hath assigned a twofold nature; the physical, pertaining to the world of matter, and the spiritual, which is born of the substance of God Himself. He hath, moreover, conferred upon Him a double station. The first station, which is related to His innermost reality, representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself. To this testifieth the tradition: “Manifold and mysterious is My relationship with God. I am He, Himself, and He is I, Myself, except that I am that I am, and He is that He is.” And in like manner, the words: “Arise, O Muhammad, for lo, the Lover and the Beloved are joined together and made one in Thee.” He similarly saith: “There is no distinction whatsoever between Thee and Them, except that They are Thy Servants.” The second station is the human station, exemplified by the following verses: “I am but a man like you.” “Say, praise be to my Lord! Am I more than a man, an apostle?” These Essences of Detachment, these resplendent Realities are the channels of God’s all-pervasive grace. Led by the light of unfailing guidance, and invested with supreme sovereignty, They are commissioned to use the inspiration of Their words, the effusions of Their infallible grace and the sanctifying breeze of Their Revelation for the cleansing of every longing heart and receptive spirit from the dross and dust of earthly cares and limitations. Then, and only then, will the Trust of God, latent in the reality of man, emerge, as resplendent as the rising Orb of Divine Revelation, from behind the veil of concealment, and implant the ensign of its revealed glory upon the summits of men’s hearts. (Bahá’u’lláh , Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 27)

2. Through Creation and Ourselves

When we look at the world and within men’s souls, we see wonderful signs of the divine perfections, which are clear and apparent; for the reality of things proves the Universal Reality. The Reality of Divinity may be compared to the sun, which from the height of its magnificence shines upon all the horizons; and each horizon, and each soul, receives a share of its radiance. If this light and these rays did not exist, beings would not exist; all beings express something and partake of some ray and portion of this light. The splendors of the perfections, bounties and attributes of God shine forth and radiate from the reality of the Perfect Man—that is to say, the Unique One, the supreme Manifestation of God. Other beings receive only one ray, but the supreme Manifestation is the mirror for this Sun, which appears and becomes manifest in it, with all its perfections, attributes, signs and wonders. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 59)

There is sign of God in every created things, the Glory of God can be seen in every creature can.  When we see rocks, we think about solid; mountains, we think about firmly; water, we think about soft and flexible to adjust in condition; oceans, we thinks about inclusive heart; flower, beauty and fragrance; grass and tree in gale, flexible and easy to fold; sun, worm and vitality; ants, serve others…… These are all God’s Glory!

Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes. Upon the reality of man, however, He hath focused the radiance of all of His names and attributes, and made it a mirror of His own Self. Alone of all created things man hath been singled out for so great a favor, so enduring a bounty. (Bahá’u’lláh , Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 27)

Bahá’u’lláh has delivered God’s message, “Man is My mystery, and I am his mystery.” He also said “in your own selves: will ye not, then, behold the signs of God? …And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves. …He hath known God who hath known himself.” (Bahá’u’lláh , Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 90) How shall we lean about God through our inner self? Here what ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has told us, “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. …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.”  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks 31)

When we continually receive the influence from the higher spirit, we will detach ourselves form the material world gradually. When our soul away from the lower nature characters, we will develop noble and perfection. Detached from the material world and discover the quality of our higher nature and act through our soul, this is the way to show God’s Glory and see God’s Glory. This is another way to learn about God. Through practice of pure our soul and act it our through action is the way to verify of the truth. And this is true understanding of the truth.   The more we follow the commandment firmly, the more our mind will be purify and the more shining our inner mirror to reflect the attribute of God, the Glory of God. This also is the way to discover the hidden treasure inside us, the wonder and mystery of God.

O Son of Spirit! I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenmnet from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting. (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words 13)

3. Through the Holy Spirit’s Guidance

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John14:26~27)

Having relationship with God, feeling His love, this love relationship in the faith need to be developed through the guidance of Holy Spirit. When we love and been loved, there is very important element “thanksgiving”. In the love relationship with God, this is key element too. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told us, “In this day, to thank God for His bounties consisteth in possessing a radiant heart, and a soul open to the promptings of the spirit. This is the essence of thanksgiving. (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 153.1)

When we are willing to possessing a radiant heart, we are opening our heart for the guidance and receive influence. We love Him, we will follow His teaching and obedient to His commend and will.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (John 14:23~24)

Learning to heard the inner voice from our heart (a thought from our heart), and follow the inspiration to do things, also put down (be obedient) the inner voice don’t want us to do. Through the guidance of Holy spirit, we learn how God doing things, what He like and what He don’t like, we experience the wonder and miracle, we receive grace and comfort with joy and  peace. We observe everything everyday and discover what He is doing, through the cause and effect we learn His will. This type of love relationship is similar to the love relationship we have toward our parents. To be able to feel this love, we need to learn through practice. It just like we learn about someone through reading his/her books, observing a person or living with that person, the depth of learning a person is different in this three cases. We will know more about God definitely, when we be able to feel the spiritual connection with Him. This is why we need to practice to have deeper relationship with God.

The way to practice need daily work. We pray (conversation with God), waiting for God (quietly seat with Him and waiting for the guidance or let Him influence in spirit), and Holy books reading (eat spirit food and wait for His spiritual influence or review something to us).  Feel with all our heart, we will “see” His guidance. The relationship with God and the love of God is the stronghold of our soul. When we love someone we will try to know his/her heart. We learn about love of God in the same way. How that feel everyone is different, it is wonder can’t be describe in words. This kind of “knowing” is unit. It is not the knowledge can put in the words. It is the hidden treasure.

But the human spirit, unless assisted by the spirit of faith, does not become acquainted with the divine secrets and the heavenly realities. It is like a mirror which, although clear, polished and brilliant, is still in need of light. Until a ray of the sun reflects upon it, it cannot discover the heavenly secrets.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá , Some Answered Questions, 55)

Why Many People Don’t Know God

When we turn our soul toward material world and busy at pursuiting of honor and wealth, we turn away from God. Our mirror reflect only material world when we turn toward it. This is the attachment of the material world, and this prevents us to “see” God, to know Him. The obstruction between us and God is like layers veil, like thick clouds and like dense dust.  Unless we remove these obstructions, He will remain hidden from our eyes.

These energies with which the Day Star of Divine bounty and Source of heavenly guidance hath endowed the reality of man lie, however, latent within him, even as the flame is hidden within the candle and the rays of light are potentially present in the lamp. The radiance of these energies may be obscured by worldly desires even as the light of the sun can be concealed beneath the dust and dross which cover the mirror. Neither the candle nor the lamp can be lighted through their own unaided efforts, nor can it ever be possible for the mirror to free itself from its dross. It is clear and evident that until a fire is kindled the lamp will never be ignited, and unless the dross is blotted out from the face of the mirror it can never represent the image of the sun nor reflect its light and glory. (Bahá’u’lláh , Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 27)

Every one of us all with ability to know Him, the ability is hidden in our essence of our soul. It is the gift which God has give to mankind. But this ability need to unfold from receiving influence of higher spirit. This is why we need turn toward the source of influence. The source of influence in this revelation is Baha’u’llha.  When we open our heart to him, the mystery power will influence us and gradually we will be able to receive the guidance of Holy Spirit. We will learn about ourselves more, as well as God. This is the meaning of “God is in us” or “knowing ourselves is knowing God”.

That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. (Ephesians 3:16)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

…the spirit of man is not illumined and quickened through material sources. It is not resuscitated by investigating phenomena of the world of matter. The spirit of man is in need of the protection of the Holy Spirit Just as he advances by progressive stages from the mere physical world of being into the intellectual realm, so must he develop upward in moral attributes and spiritual graces. In the process of this attainment he is ever in need of the bestowals of the Holy Spirit. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá , Foundation of world Unit, P.58)

There are many way to know God ~ Learning about the spirit which profits and manifestation of God try to show us, learning about our higher spirit nature, learning from the guidance of Holy spirit, learning about love through building the relationship with God. Only rely on Holy Writing to know God is not enough. The love of God is the feeling of heart , it is not the knowledge can be describe in words. Living inside the guidance of Holy Spirit is living inside the love of God. It is secure, reliable and warm. It is the power, the forth to serve, to be able to scarify. This only can be developed with all our heart. This is the wonder and most sweet fountain in the spiritual journey. This is the treasure of treasure, mystery of mystery. This is hidden behind the material world.

Praise to God! Thanks to God!

O Salmán! The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been, and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man’s understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God, and whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God. Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard of His Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory.  (Bahá’u’lláh , Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 21)

The Mindset for Prayer

O SON OF SPIRIT! Ask not of Me that which We desire not for thee, then be content with what We have ordained for thy sake, for this is that which profiteth thee, if therewith thou dost content thyself. (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh 18)

Many of us pray often or say prayers every day, but it seems to us that the prayer has not been answered. Here let us look at what we say in our prayers that might please God and have the prayer answered. First, let us look at two passages from Holy Scritures to get some ideas and see what is essential and what kind of attitude we should have when we are facing God.

Pray then like this:“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13

Thou seest me, O my God, bowed down in lowliness, humbling myself before Thy commandments, submitting to Thy sovereignty, trembling at the might of Thy dominion, fleeing from Thy wrath, entreating Thy grace, relying upon Thy forgiveness, shaking with awe at Thy fury. I implore Thee with a throbbing heart, with streaming tears and a yearning soul, and in complete detachment from all things, to make Thy lovers as rays of light across Thy realms, and to aid Thy chosen servants to exalt Thy Word, that their faces may turn beauteous and bright with splendour, that their hearts may be filled with mysteries, and that every soul may lay down its burden of sin. Guard them then from the aggressor, from him who hath become a shameless and blasphemous doer of wrong.  (Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 190)

Jesus said, “Hallowed be your name”,This is a pious and respectful attitude. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Let’s pause and think about what this means? What is God’s will? What would it be like if God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven? To do God’s will is to follow His commandments.  God’s Kingdom is an exalted, sanctified, holy, selfless Kingdom, isn’t it? Give us this day our daily bread.” What is the daily bread for our spirit? It is the words of God. To feed our mind (spirit) with the Word of God and let our mind consume it daily instead of earthly thoughts. Our mind is like a mouth through which we take food for our spirit.  We pray for the spiritual food daily, we pray for a message to enlighten us everyday. We ask for the guidance through Holy Scriptures (the prayer may be answered when we read and understand more about the meaning of the Holy Writings). Every day we eat the right food for our life of the spirit, then we help our life of the spirit grow stronger. Every day the situation is different, so we need to ask for guidance every day. God will give us different words, admonitions, encouragement or instructions. We ask humbly and patiently waiting for  guidance through mediation. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. We need to reflect on ourselves, be honest to look at what we need to improve or can do better every day. When we do something wrong do not try to escape, do not fear and sincerely ask forgiveness from God and ask for divine assistance. When we really want to make the change and improve ourselves, Divine guidance will be like a pouring shower. That is the strength, that is the spiritual force and power, and that is God’s grace. It is our sincerity that lets us remove the veil and lets the spiritual force be received.  It is our determination to follow the path that allows us to have guidance from the Holy Spirit. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Before our spirit of life becomes strong, we need protection from God. We ask help to stay aware, so we won’t fall into temptation and evil tests. But sometimes the test is from God, so we can examine ourselves to continue moving toward the goal, to develop the qualities of our soul.

O SON OF MAN! Transgress not thy limits, nor claim that which beseemeth thee not. Prostrate thyself before the countenance of thy God, the Lord of might and power. ( The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh 24)

O SON OF BEING! How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me. (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh 26)

From the second prayer, we can see the attitude which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tried to show us as  lowliness, humbleness, submission, trembling at the might. “I implore Thee with a throbbing heart, with streaming tears and a yearning soul, and in complete detachment from all things, to make Thy lovers as rays of light across Thy realms, and to aid Thy chosen servants to exalt Thy Word, that their faces may turn beauteous and bright with splendour, that their hearts may be filled with mysteries, and that every soul may lay down its burden of sin.”  This prayer does not contain earthly desires, it’s only aim is for the qualities of the spirit.  When we try to detach from secular things, acquire virtues and qualities of the soul, then a pure and radiant heart will gradually appear in us. “Their hearts may be filled with mysteries, and that every soul may lay down its burden of sin.” A pure and radiant heart is like a shining and clean mirror, it reflects the mysteries of the spirit through our soul.

O SON OF BEING! Walk in My statutes for love of Me and deny thyself that which thou desirest if thou seekest My pleasure. (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh 38)

O SON OF MAN! Thou dost wish for gold and I desire thy freedom from it. Thou thinkest thyself rich in its possession, and I recognize thy wealth in thy sanctity therefrom. By My life! This is My knowledge, and that is thy fancy; how can My way accord with thine? (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh 56)

From these two Writings, we understand what God likes to see from our prayer. It is our spiritual growth and having a pure and radiant heart. He wants us to bring ourselves to account each day, to seek to improve and attain virtues and spiritual qualities in our life. We must not be afraid to face our own weakness, come to receive daily guidance from the words of God, ask assistance to develop our strengths, ask protection from the temptations in the world. He loves us so much and He wants to do this with us no matter how fragile we are, as long as we are not giving up. He will help us become stronger and stronger in our soul, and bring us closer and closer to Him.

O SON OF BEING! Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds. (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh 31)

So if our prayer has not been answered, maybe we should think about what our attitude toward it is and what we were asking in the prayer. When we make mistakes, instead of avoiding it, we should be brave enough to face it and ask forgiveness. This is the attitude of repentance with dedication. When others misunderstand or mistreat us, we avoid conflict and choose understanding and patience. Then we can bear the hurtful feeling and ask healing from God. God likes to see us choose unity instead of arguing or blaming.   When we are thrilled by what we have received, thankful with excitement like we got a surprise gift, we should tell Him how happy and thankful we are, even though He already knows how we feel. God likes to be surround by the joy and intimacy we show to Him. When we understand the truth from our life experiences or from the Writings, we hold the precious gift and tell Him how excited we feel and how valuable is the gift we received. Let Him share our feelings for the gift and grace He gave us. When we encounter difficulty, either for ourselves or others, we ask for guidance and think about what test He has for us. Instead of paying attention to what happened,  think about what virtue He wants us to acquire through this test. Pay no attention to who is right or who is wrong, and focus on what spiritual quality we can gain. Usually the problem will be solved and the difficulty will be removed when we recognize the problem and are willing put in our effort to make the change. If we pray for strength and make the change, our prayer will be answered and the difficulty will be removed by  God. Don’t just ask God to remove the difficulty in the beginning, it won’t work in many cases or the problem will keep coming back. To be obedient and forgive are the most challenging lessons we need to learn. To be obedient to God’s commandment and forgive others are battles for our ego and our own self. We can call out loud for assistance for these battles. We can keep using the Words of God to give us power and force. This is detachment. This is puting away our pride and being humble enough to learn. This is putting down the mask we have been wearing for so long. This is tearing down the strong and high wall we have built around ourselves for protection. This is sacrificing our own ease and comfort to serve others. This is performing justice and putting effort in pursuing the equality of mankind…These are the prayers which God likes to hear, and these are the prayers that will be answered.

“O MY FRIENDS! Prefer not your will to Mine, never desire that which I have not desired for you, and approach Me not with lifeless hearts, defiled with worldly desires and cravings. Would ye but sanctify your souls, ye would at this present hour recall that place and those surroundings, and the truth of My utterance should be made evident unto all of you.” (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh 19)

O SON OF MAN! My calamity is My providence, outwardly it is fire and vengeance, but inwardly it is light and mercy. Hasten thereunto that thou mayest become an eternal light and an immortal spirit. This is My command unto thee, do thou observe it. (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh 51)

Prayer for Protection

God, my God!  Shield Thy trusted servants from the evils of self and passion, protect them with the watchful eye of Thy loving-kindness from all rancor, hate and envy, shelter them in the impregnable stronghold of Thy care and, safe from the darts of doubtfulness, make them the manifestations of Thy glorious signs, illumine their faces with the effulgent rays shed from the Dayspring of Thy divine unity, gladden their hearts with the verses revealed from Thy holy kingdom, strengthen their loins by Thine all-swaying power that cometh from Thy realm of glory.  Thou art the All-Bountiful, the Protector, the Almighty, the Gracious.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

The Human Soul

The Human Soul (Download full article in PDF)

Verily I say, the human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among His mysteries. It is one of the mighty signs of the Almighty, the harbinger that proclaimeth the reality of all the worlds of God. Within it lieth concealed that which the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings form the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 82)

The soul is the greatest motivating power within man. And it is the knowledge of the soul which enables us to appreciate our motives and our actions in our life. The soul is our spiritual reality. It is not something we can describe or measure like a physical object. The only way we have to understand the reality and the essence of the soul is to appreciate its characteristics and its powers which are exemplified in the Holy Books of various religions. But up to now, humanity has not reached the stage of being able to appreciate the nature of the soul. And so the Prophets and the Founders of the great religions such as Christ and Muhammad have spoken very little about it. In fact there is only one short sentence in Islam describing the soul:  “The soul is one of the things, of which the knowledge is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.  (Al-Isra Verse No:85).  In the Gospel of Matthew 10:28, Jesus said “And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” This tells us that the soul lives beyond the death of the body, but that it is vulnerable to evil tendencies that can cause it to turn away from God.

In this new Revelation, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have shed much light on the subject of the human soul and spirit. Bahá’u’lláh also brought us more knowledge of God. This deeper knowledge about God and the spirit and soul of man is among the greatest contributions to religious knowledge He has brought to us.

Human knowledge is of two kinds. One is the knowledge of things perceptible to the senses, the other kind of human knowledge is intellectual—that is to say, it is a reality of the intellect; it has no outward form and no place and is not perceptible to the senses. For example, the power of intellect is not sensible; none of the inner qualities of man is a sensible thing; on the contrary, they are intellectual realities. So love is a mental reality and not sensible; for this reality the ear does not hear, the eye does not see, the smell does not perceive, the taste does not discern, the touch does not feel. Even ethereal matter, the forces of which are said in physics to be heat, light, electricity and magnetism, is an intellectual reality, and is not sensible. In the same way, nature, also, in its essence is an intellectual reality and is not sensible; the human spirit is an intellectual, not sensible reality. In explaining these intellectual realities, one is obliged to express them by sensible figures because in exterior existence there is nothing that is not material. Therefore, to explain the reality of the spirit—its condition, its station—one is obliged to give explanations under the forms of sensible things because in the external world all that exists is sensible.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 16)

When our Soul started

The soul is not a material thing that can enter or leave our body, nor is it attached to the body. It is exalted above exit and entry. It can not move from one body to another body. It is an emanation from the spiritual world of God. We are told that the soul is created at the time of conception and is associated with the body when the first cell is created in the womb of the mother. This is the beginning of the human being.

We have no words to describe the soul directly and can only use analogy. Words become an inadequate tool for expressing the spiritual reality of the soul. But if we have to use words to describe the relationship with our body, we say the soul is “associated with the body”. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has describe this association of the soul and the body as the association of the light and the mirror. If we look at the mirror, we will see the light in it. But the light is not in the mirror such that we can take it and move it out. It is the relationship between the light and the mirror. The light comes from a different source and the mirror is a tangible object. If we break the mirror, nothing happens to the light; if we break our body (die), nothing happens to our soul. This is the meaning of eternal life and this is the way that God has created us. We can not understand what our soul is like unless we turn to the Writings from Bahá’u’lláh and the explanation from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Concerning Body, Soul and spirit

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.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks 31)

The Five Aspects of Spirit   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

Spirit is the part of us which connects with God. Even though our individual bodies are separate from each other, our spirit is connected. The spiritual creation from God is one. Buddha said our Buddha-nature is connected like one big ocean. Because the spirit is one, so we influence and affect each other. Because the spirit is one, so we are connected with God and can feel God’s love. God is Spirit. Spirit has force and power. It is the power of growth in plants. It is the power of growth and senses in animals. It is the power of growth, senses, and consciousness (thinking, imagination, understanding, memory) in mankind. All things receive this power from God to live. It seems to be our own power, but it is actually from God. It is God’s grace.

Know that, speaking generally, there are five divisions of the spirit. First the vegetable spirit: this is a power which results from the combination of elements and the mingling of substances by the decree of the Supreme God, and from the influence, the effect and connection of other existences. When these substances and elements are separated from each other, the power of growth also ceases to exist.

After this is the animal spirit, which also results from the mingling and combination of elements. But this combination is more complete, and through the decree of the Almighty Lord a perfect mingling is obtained, and the animal spirit—in other words, the power of the senses—is produced. It will perceive the reality of things from that which is seen and visible, audible, edible, tangible, and that which can be smelled. After the dissociation and decomposition of the combined elements this spirit also will naturally disappear.

The human spirit may be likened to the bounty of the sun shining on a mirror. The body of man, which is composed from the elements, is combined and mingled in the most perfect form; it is the most solid construction, the noblest combination, the most perfect existence. It grows and develops through the animal spirit. This perfected body can be compared to a mirror, and the human spirit to the sun. Nevertheless, if the mirror breaks, the bounty of the sun continues; and if the mirror is destroyed or ceases to exist, no harm will happen to the bounty of the sun, which is everlasting. This spirit has the power of discovery; it encompasses all things. All these wonderful signs, these scientific discoveries, great enterprises and important historical events which you know are due to it. From the realm of the invisible and hidden, through spiritual power, it brought them to the plane of the visible. So man is upon the earth, yet he makes discoveries in the heavens. From known realities—that is to say, from the things which are known and visible—he discovers unknown things.

The fourth degree of spirit is the heavenly spirit; it is the spirit of faith and the bounty of God; it comes from the breath of the Holy Spirit, and by the divine power it becomes the cause of eternal life. It is the power which makes the earthly man heavenly, and the imperfect man perfect. It makes the impure to be pure, the silent eloquent; it purifies and sanctifies those made captive by carnal desires; it makes the ignorant wise.

The fifth spirit is the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit is the mediator between God and His creatures. It is like a mirror facing the sun. As the pure mirror receives light from the sun and transmits this bounty to others, so the Holy Spirit is the mediator of the Holy Light from the Sun of Reality, which it gives to the sanctified realities. It is adorned with all the divine perfections. Every time it appears, the world is renewed, and a new cycle is founded. The body of the world of humanity puts on a new garment. It can be compared to the spring; whenever it comes, the world passes from one condition to another. Through the advent of the season of spring the black earth and the fields and wildernesses will become verdant and blooming, and all sorts of flowers and sweet-scented herbs will grow; the trees will have new life, and new fruits will appear, and a new cycle is founded. The appearance of the Holy Spirit is like this. Whenever it appears, it renews the world of humanity and gives a new spirit to the human realities: it arrays the world of existence in a praiseworthy garment, dispels the darkness of ignorance, and causes the radiation of the light of perfections. Christ with this power has renewed this cycle; the heavenly spring with the utmost freshness and sweetness spread its tent in the world of humanity, and the life-giving breeze perfumed the nostrils of the enlightened ones.

In the same way, the appearance of Bahá’u’lláh was like a new springtime which appeared with holy breezes, with the hosts of everlasting life, and with heavenly power. It established the Throne of the Divine Kingdom in the center of the world and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, revived souls and established a new cycle. .  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 36)

One Entity

Be swift in the path of holiness, and enter the heaven of communion with Me. Cleanse thy heart with the burnish of the spirit, and hasten to the court of the Most High. (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words 8)

God’s creation is one entity. There is no difference in this sense between the physical world (vegetable, animal, human world) and the spiritual world (heavenly spirit, Holy Spirit world ~ the world of God). The spiritual world is never separated from the physical world. The laws we find in nature which apply to the physical world are the same laws and principles which apply to the world of men, religious teaching and the spiritual worlds of God. Therefore, we can appreciate something about the nature of our soul when we are able to find something in the laws of nature to help us understand it. Because the spiritual world and physical world have similar laws, the similarities between physical reality and spiritual reality can be very striking and can help us to understand a little bit more about  the soul, and ourselves. However, when the laws of nature are applied to our higher nature, we must add certain characteristics or features to it, which we can not find in the lower kingdom. That is to say, the animal spirit possesses more power than the vegetable spirit, the human more power than the animal spirit.

Another of the laws of nature is that the lower spirit of nature has no capacity to understand the higher spirit of nature. But the higher spirit of nature is capable of understanding the lower spirit of nature. The human spirit has the capacity to understand the animal and vegetable, but the vegetable realm is incapable of understanding the  animal realm, just as the animal realm is incapable of understanding the  human. This gives us an idea of why the human spirit can not understand the heavenly spirit and Holy Spirit, because we have not been given the capacity to understand them.

As our knowledge of things, even of created and limited things, is knowledge of their qualities and not of their essence, how is it possible to comprehend in its essence the Divine Reality, which is unlimited?  For the inner essence of anything is not comprehended, but only its qualities. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 59)

To every discerning and illuminated heart it is evident that God, the unknowable essence, the  Divine Being, is immensely exalted beyond every human attribute… (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 19)

God’s creation is one entity. Seen in another way, one creation has five aspects of spirit levels. It means the vegetable kingdom can not understand the animal kingdom even though they are existing in the same world of creation; as well as the animal with the human. This tell us even the human kingdom can’t understand the higher lever of the spiritual kingdom even though we exist in the same world of creation. Only one world of creation, we truly exist in one  entity but in different spiritual levels. That is why we are so close to God, “closer than our life-vein”.

 My holy, My divinely ordained Revelation may be likened to an ocean in whose depths are concealed innumerable pearls of great price….It is the duty of every seeker to bestir himself and strive to attain the shores of this ocean…This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you.  Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 153 )

The answer to the first question: the souls of the children of the Kingdom, after their separation from the body, ascend unto the realm of everlasting life. But if ye ask as to the place, know ye that the world of existence is a single world, although its stations are various and distinct. For example, the mineral life occupieth its own plane, but a mineral entity is without any awareness at all of the vegetable kingdom, and indeed, with its inner tongue denieth that there is any such kingdom. In the same way, a vegetable entity knoweth nothing of the animal world, remaining completely heedless and ignorant thereof, for the stage of the animal is higher than that of the vegetable, and the vegetable is veiled from the animal world and inwardly denieth the existence of that world—all this while animal, vegetable and mineral dwell together in the one world. In the same way the animal remaineth totally unaware of that power of the human mind which graspeth universal ideas and layeth bare the secrets of creation. …Of this power of discovery which belongeth to the human mind, this power which can grasp abstract and universal ideas, the animal remaineth totally ignorant, and indeed denieth its existence.

In the same way, the denizens of this earth are completely unaware of the world of the Kingdom and deny the existence thereof. They ask, for example: ‘Where is the Kingdom? Where is the Lord of the Kingdom?’ These people are even as the mineral and the vegetable, who know nothing whatever of the animal and the human realm; they see it not; they find it not. Yet the mineral and vegetable, the animal and man, are all living here together in this world of existence. Those souls who are pure and unsullied, upon the dissolution of their elemental frames, hasten away to the world of God, and that world is within this world. The people of this world, however, are unaware of that world, and are even as the mineral and the vegetable that know nothing of the world of the animal and the world of man.

In the other world the human reality doth not assume a physical form, rather doth it take on a heavenly form, made up of elements of that heavenly realm.    (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 163 )

How we can understand our soul

It is impossible for us to understand the soul, but when we have some ideas or a little bit of understanding it will help us to appreciate God’s creation. We can learn some spiritual laws by looking at nature, but looking at nature alone is not sufficient. We also can look at the Holy Writings. Studying the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will enable us to understand something about the soul and ourselves. We can only  understand their characteristics but not their essence.

Consider again the sun when it is completely hidden behind the clouds. Though the earth is still illumined with its light, yet the measure of light which it receiveth is considerably reduced. Not until the clouds have dispersed, can the sun shine again in the plenitude of its glory. Neither the presence of the cloud nor its absence can, in any way, affect the inherent splendor of the sun. The soul of man is the sun by which his body is illumined, and from which it draweth its sustenance, and should be so regarded. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 80)

Bahá’u’lláh teaches that if we want to know God, we should know ourselves first. Everything we do is motivated by our soul. Our mind, our heart and our senses are manifestations of the soul. But when we put mind, heart and senses all together they do not make our soul. Then what is the human soul? We can never know the essence, the true reality, of our soul. It is exalted. When a man reaches the stage of understanding that he can’t comprehended it all, this is a mark of the culmination of man’s development.

Wert thou to ponder in thine heart, from now until the end that hath no end, and with all the concentrated intelligence and understanding which the greatest minds have attained in the past or will attain in the future, this divinely ordained and subtle Reality, this sign of the revelation of the All-Abiding, All-Glorious God, thou wilt fail to comprehend its mystery or to appraise its virtue. Having recognized thy powerlessness to attain to an adequate understanding of that Reality which abideth within thee, thou wilt readily admit the futility of such efforts as may be attempted by thee, or by any of the created things, to fathom the mystery of the Living God, the Day Star of unfading glory, the Ancient of everlasting days. This confession of helplessness which mature contemplation must eventually impel every mind to make is in itself the acme of human understanding, and marketh the culmination of man’s development.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 83)

The laws of nature can help us to understand the soul. Everything which we come across in our life is a counterpart to something spiritual. Everything in our life, this physical world which is created by God, is a counterpart to something in the spiritual world. For instance, a tree in this physical world has a counterpart meaning in the spiritual world. It is a metaphor for the life of spirit of men, a metaphor for the oneness of humanity, all part of a single “family tree”, and of the Religion of God. Everything we see in this life has a spiritual counterpart. The counterpart of the sun is the Prophet or Manifestation of God. If we want to understand the soul or spiritual reality, we can find a counterpart in this life that is similar to it and has the same characteristics, and then study that counterpart. This physical counterpart will help us get some idea or knowledge of the soul. We can’t go along our spiritual journey on our own, we have to constantly seek and be supported by an understanding of the Word of God.

Spiritual Reality Understood Through the Counterpart of the Embryo

Portions of the following are from a talk given by Adib Taherzadeh:

1  One cell becomes one being

The Writings of Baha’u’llah tell us that the physical counterpart of the soul in this life is the embryo which grows in the womb of the mother. That is to say, each stage of growth of the embryo in the womb of the mother, is analogous to a stage of  the development of the soul. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has given us several examples of an embryo being similar to the soul. When we examine the characteristics of the growth of the embryo we find very interesting parallels as we try to understand our spiritual life.  The physical body of man is created at the time of conception and one cell becomes one being. That cell has nothing in it that resembles a human. We can not see the limbs or organs of a person. But that cell has the capacity to multiply and eventually become a perfect human being. As it develops, it gradually acquires limbs and organs. It is the same thing with the soul. The soul has no virtues, no qualities and no perfections when the soul comes to us at the time of conception. But we can acquire the virtues, qualities and perfections in our life, and they develop gradually. It has no knowledge, but that can be acquired too. While the growth of the body only continues up to adulthood, the development of the soul continues throughout our life if we strive to acquire spiritual virtues, qualities and perfections.

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

That is to say, the embryo passes through different states and traverses numerous degrees, until it reaches the form in which it manifests the words “Praise be to God, the best of Creators,” and until the signs of reason and maturity appear. And in the same way, man’s existence on this earth, from the beginning until it reaches this state, form and condition, necessarily lasts a long time, and goes through many degrees until it reaches this condition. But from the beginning of man’s existence he is a distinct species. In the same way, the embryo of man in the womb of the mother was at first in a strange form; then this body passes from shape to shape, from state to state, from form to form, until it appears in utmost beauty and perfection. But even when in the womb of the mother and in this strange form, entirely different from his present form and figure, he is the embryo of the superior species, and not of the animal; his species and essence undergo no change.    (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 47)

2 Attachment

As we see, the embryo must grow in the womb of the mother. In the same way, after we are born, our human bodies, our physical side, are attached to the physical world. We think this world we are living in is our home, and we never leave it as long as we live. Just as the embryo growing in the womb of the mother does not leave the womb world until it is ready to be born, the soul remains associated with the body and our mind and consciousness, which are functions of the soul which remain tied to the material world until physical death.

Another similarity is that the womb of the mother is not a place where the embryo can live forever. It is only a temporary place and a transition period for it to stay.  Similarly, the world we live in is only a temporary and transitional place for our soul. The world is not the permanent home for our soul. For each one of us no matter how long we live in this world, the soul is associated with the body only for that period. If only mankind can realize this, that the world we live in is  not the permanent home for our soul, then we will know that this world is not the place we need to focus on and we can direct our  attention to something more important in our life.

3 Purpose of this life ~ Preparation

Another similarity is that the purpose of the embryo’s growth in the womb of the mother is to acquire limbs and organs. Limbs and organs grow so we can have a perfect human body, but they are not used while we are in the womb. The same thing applies to our soul in this life. The purpose of the growth and development of the soul in this world is to acquire spiritual qualities. These qualities, perfections and virtues have to be acquired in this life. This is the purpose of this life.

When we look at what Creation is like, we can see what God really has done. He has brought two opposite things together. He creates things in pairs, in counterparts. We see this in ourselves where a spiritual entity, a soul, is associated with the material body, and these two together form the human being. This human being has two sides, a physical and a spiritual side. The purpose of this is so the soul of man may grow and become strong, and acquire the qualities and perfections of the spirit.

This pairing of things is even shown forth in the Qur’án: “Glory be to Him Who has created all the pairs: of such things as the earth produceth, and of themselves; and of things which they know not” —that is to say, men, animals and plants are all in pairs—“and of everything have We created two kinds”—that is to say, We have created all the beings through pairing.    (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 17)

We can see something else. The limbs and organs which a child grows in the womb of  the mother are not required there. He has eyes and ears but he does not use them in the womb. But they are needed in the life he is heading towards which is after his birth. Similarly, the virtues, perfections and qualities we are supposed to acquire in this life are really needed for our next life which is our second birth. Indeed, if you think carefully, whether or not we use the spiritual qualities in this world, we still can live physically, although we must use these qualities in this life, otherwise they will never grow. For example, we must love. If we don’t show love to others, we will never strengthen the capacity of our soul to love.  There are millions of people who live without it and yet they carry on their life. When our soul acquires the quality of love, when our soul acquires the quality of unity, when our soul acquires knowledge, when our soul acquires all the virtues that are in the teachings of God, then in the next life, these qualities and perfections become part of our being.  A child in the mother’s womb has two perfect eyes by the end of pregnancy, but they can not see because there is no light. Those eyes are useless inside the womb of the mother. But when they are born, their eyes become useful because there is light. The same thing with the qualities and perfections of our soul is in this life. Some of the qualities seem useless in this life, not necessary to make us successful in this world, but they are necessary for the next life.  So we have to use them and get better and better at it so we can have spiritual vision, like we acquired eyes in the womb of the mother. We don’t know how these qualities or wisdom function in our life as a spiritual being in the next world.

If a child did not acquired perfect limbs or organs in the womb, he can’t acquire limbs and organs after birth. He becomes handicapped. This is similar to the development of our soul. The well-being of our spiritual life relies on the qualities and perfections of the soul just as our well-being in this life relies on perfect limbs and organs. That is why we have to acquire all the perfections, qualities and virtues in this life. So we can take them with us to the next world. At the time of conception, the cell has nothing at all. When the soul is created, it has no qualities and perfections at all. But after years of following spiritual teachings, a soul can become full of qualities and virtues and grow to become a spiritual being.

Another analogy is that of a little bird that has been placed in a cage. The purpose of a bird being placed in the cage is to protect and to feed it so it can become strong. When the bird grows strong enough the cage is opened. The bird is ready to fly in the realm of God. The home of the bird is not really in the cage. The bird has been created to soar in high places. The bird living in the cage is similar to man living in this world. A lot of people do not think about whether we have a soul or not so they don’t feed the soul with spiritual food, which is the Word of God. Without spiritual food the soul becomes small and never grows. Another thing we do is tie our soul up with so many strings, so many attachments to this material world, so even when the cage is opened the bird can’t fly. We are still attached to the things of this world.

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! … 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. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks 31)

Everything returns to its origin.

The body of man is composed of atoms. Therefore when the body dies it decomposes and returns to its origin which is dust. The soul also returns to its origin. Where does it come from? We are told in the Writings  that the soul has come from the spiritual world of God so that is where it must return to. But there is a great difference in it when it returns to the spiritual world of God. When it first came it had no virtues, no qualities, and no perfections, and now it has an identity and personality. Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tell us that we must develop our identity and we will retain the identity in the spiritual world of God. He said we will associate with one another. Holy souls will associate with Prophets, Founders of the great religions and the Manifestations of God in the next life. It is not like we lose consciousness and don’t remember who we are.

Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him. If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 82)

Where is the next world?

Bahá’u’lláh tells us the spiritual world of God is infinite in range. In fact, anything associated with God is infinite. Even the physical universe is infinite. It is the same with the spiritual world of God.  But where is it? In order to be able to understand this and be able to appreciate it we need to turn to the Writings again, which is what Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have told us. Also we can look at nature and find a counterpart or analogy.

Let’s look at nature first. When we see a child growing in the womb of the mother we ask “where is he”? If he is in the womb of the mother, it means he is here in this world, isn’t he? He is in this world with his mother. The womb prevents him from recognizing the great world he is living in. It is like a chicken before it is hatched, and it is already in the world. But the shell prevents the chicken from seeing it and recognizing it.  So, in the Writings we are told the next world is here. It is closer to us than we think.

A child, as long as he lives in the womb, is not given the capacity to understand the world he is going to be born into. What a small world he is living in compared with the world he will be born into! Because a child does not understand and is not given the capacity to understand, he is content. If he ever knew or had the slightest capacity to know what a great world he is going to live in, then he would want to come out of the womb immediately. In the Writings it is mentioned that if the glory of next life is disclosed to the eyes of men then all of humanity will wish to go immediately. God has not given the capacity to an unborn child to understand the smallness of the place he is living in and what a great world is waiting for him. The same God has not given us the capacity to understand what the soul is and what a great spiritual world is waiting for us after our separation from the body. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has clearly told us that the place where we are living now is as small as where a child lives in his mother’s womb, when compared with the spiritual world we are going to. This gives us an idea of the wisdom of God in not disclosing to us what it will really be like living in the next life. We don’t think about it and we can not understand the spiritual world until we are born there and live in it. But of course, we are in the spiritual world already; even if we have no capacity to understand it, just like a child has no capacity to understand that he is already in this world even when he is inside his mother.

What do we carry with us on the spiritual journey?

When a child is born, he brings everything with him which he has. He does not leave anything behind. It is the same with our birth into the spiritual world. When we leave this world, the body remains on the earth and the soul departs.  We carry anything which is good with us, because bad has no existence in itself. In this world it looks like there are plenty of bad things. But in God’s creation, bad is the non-existence of good. So doing bad things means a person has a lack of doing good things. Just like darkness has no existence itself. Darkness means lack of light. The darkness disappears when the light shines in the dark. Bad things disappear when a person learns to do good things.  We can say one person brings light from one room to another room, but we can not say a person brings dark with him. It is the same thing with poverty. We can not say I am a poor man and I am going to bring poverty with me. Poverty means he has very little money and that is only what is meant. So whatever we have that is good, we take to the next world. And from there we start our spiritual life. It is like the capital we have. When we have all the good qualities, we have good capital and it means we move ourselves away from poverty. Our capital is our virtues, good qualities and perfections. We start our next spiritual journey depending on what we have acquired in this life.  The qualities and perfections of what we have will decide which level of spiritual reality we will live in.

Quality levels

Bahá’u’lláh tells us that in the next life men will be graded into levels. The levels in the next life will be similar to the levels of existence in this life. This life has a mineral kingdom, vegetable kingdom and animal kingdom. Within the animal kingdom there are animals of lower intelligence and higher intelligence. Bahá’u’lláh also tells us that in the spiritual world those who are at higher levels will encompass the lower levels. The lower levels will never understand the higher levels, but those at higher levels can interact with the lower levels and pray for their progress. This is the meaning of heaven and hell. The more perfections we have, the nearer we are to God, and it may be said we are in heaven. When we lack qualities of the soul, it is like we don’t have perfect limbs and organs, we survive due to the mercy of others and from God to be able to live. It means we are in the lower level of the spiritual world. It is all relative. Heaven and hell are relative terms and our existence in the next life depends on what spiritual qualities we have acquired in this life.

Free Will

Another thing to point out is that the embryo and all other physical beings have no control over what they do. The embryo grows because the law of nature makes it so. It grows without any will. The soul also grows in this life as it acquires qualities and perfections, but there is one thing added to it. It has choice.  It can make the choice of either developing its spiritual qualities or not. The embryo does not have the choice to grow or not. The seed will grow by the natural laws without choice once we plant it.  Our soul has something extra added to it, the power of free will. This is a great difference. When we apply a law from a lower level to a higher level in nature, we find that something is added to it.

You can find the same principles in many other religions. The main teachings of the faiths all have the same origin. You can trace the origin in nature. You can see that nature is the reflection of the Teachings of God. In many Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh you can see the similarity in nature. While we study nature, along with the Writings, then we come to have more understanding of what life is and what creation is.

O Son of Spirit! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting. (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words 1)

So we know we acquire qualities in this life and carry them with us to start our spiritual existence in the next life. The journey will never end according to Bahá’u’lláh. He said a man has a beginning and has no end. And it will continue as long as God exists. Can you imagine that the great glory, the life of the spirit, has been born and is living and never ends on this journey? It always will be closer and closer to God, but he never reaches Him in the spiritual world of God. Endless, limitless, infinite, immortal is the soul.

Fulfillment

You perceive how the soul is the intermediary between the body and the spirit. In like manner is this tree 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. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks 31)

In nature we will find everything has organic growth. It begins with the seed. We plant a seed in the ground. The seed grows to become a tree. A tree grows and eventually will become a mature tree, and the same thing as our soul. Our soul has organic growth as well. It begins with the seed so to speak, a spiritual seed. A tree comes to a point in its life when it must give fruit. And when it gives fruit, we say it has fulfilled itself. Because it was created to produce fruits and its own seeds, the stage of maturity to giving birth. In life, a tree can not produce a tree by itself, it has to be pollinated from different sources. A mother can not give birth to a child by herself. A female must have a relationship with male so the female can conceive a child. When she conceives a child, she can give birth to a child. Our soul is the same. The Holy Books tell us our soul is represented as a female. If it is going to fulfill itself, the soul must produce a child. It must give birth to a child. Where does the soul turn to be fertilized for this to take place? The Writings tell us that our soul, acting as a female, should turn to the influence from the Manifestation of God.

Adam signifies the heavenly spirit of Adam, and Eve His human soul. For in some passages in the Holy Books where women are mentioned, they represent the soul of man. The tree of good and evil signifies the human world; for the spiritual and divine world is purely good and absolutely luminous, but in the human world light and darkness, good and evil, exist as opposite conditions. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 30)

When our body grows to maturity, we search for a companion, and then have a relationship with the companion, and then maybe have a child. Similarly, when our soul gets to a certain stage we are seeking light, which is the light from God, the spiritual companion. We start to build the relationship with God. How does our soul give fruit? Like the embryo is the seed and the beginning of our physical life, the life of the spirit we carry in our soul is the seed of our spiritual life. When a soul has in it the life of the spirit, then does it bring forth good fruit and become a Divine tree.  The embryo relies on the food from the mother, the food source from the cord which connects them. Our life of the spirit also needs food to be able to grow. The food source is from God, the spiritual power and Word of God. The cord for the food is through the Manifestations of God. They deliver the food to us. They are the connection between our soul and God. A pregnant mother would be very careful about the food she eats and the condition of her body. When our soul carries the life of the spirit we should be very careful what we feed to our soul and our soul’s condition. We pray to God and read Holy Books everyday for the spiritual food.  Let our mind consume God’s words instead of earthly words and purify our soul to keep our soul in good condition for the new life to grow. Like we do our best to hope for a healthy child, we watch out for our soul so that the life of the spirit can grow and be born into the next world.

He will come to your aid with invisible hosts, and support you with armies of inspiration from the Concourse above; He will send unto you sweet perfumes from the highest Paradise, and waft over you the pure breathings that blow from the rose gardens of the Company on high.  He will breathe into your hearts the life of spirit, cause you to enter the Ark of salvation, and reveal unto you His clear tokens and signs. Verily is this abounding grace. Verily is this the victory that none can deny. . (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 157 )

Imagine that when a mother does not pay attention to what she can do to protect the new life, a miscarriage could happen or physical problems occur.  When we have faith in God, if we fail to maintain the relationship with God or do not take our spiritual food daily, the same thing can happen to our soul, a miscarriage and lack of qualities and virtues. Maintaining our soul’s condition, purification, and having appropriate food is critical to our spiritual development. A mother needs to be very careful during pregnancy, and so does our soul when we carry the life of the spirit which is firm in faith and in the Covenant of God. When we fall outside of the path, it is like a miscarriage, everything has to start over again.

Another condition is where a woman might have trouble getting  pregnant and having a baby. It may be because of the condition of the body.  When our soul is not ready, the faith is not strong enough, the life of the spirit won’t happen, the seed won’t produce. The female in this kind of situation needs to bring her body back to health and prepare it to become pregnant. We need to prepare the condition for our soul to be able to have the life of the spirit. In this situation we need to turn our soul to the influence from the Manifestation of God. In each age there has been a Manifestation of God. In this age it is Bahá’u’lláh. We turn to Bahá’u’lláh to establish the mysterious spiritual intercourse with these forces. These forces will be released into the soul and the soul becomes pregnant with the life of the spirit.

What is the spiritual fruit when it is produced? It is our life of the spirit (fruit) born in the next world. This is the meaning of “the soul is the intermediary between the body and the spirit “. Bahá’u’lláh tells us that this is the purpose for which God created men. Not only  does the soul come here to develop good qualities and perfections, but to give birth to the life of the spirit in the next world. The life of the spirit comes to us not by its own efforts. It is impossible to become a Christian, Muslim or Bahá’í by ourselves. The only way we can have faith is that this mysterious relationship must be established. The forces of the Manifestation will penetrate into the heart of a person, into a soul.  And come to the point of “I believe”. And when the soul says “I believe” that embryo has started. In every age in which a Manifestation of God appears the same thing happens. When Peter recognized Christ he opened his soul to the influence of Christ and then he acquired the life of the spirit. That spirit of life originates from two sources. One is from the Manifestation of God, Who is Bahá’u’lláh in this age, and also the human soul.

This is our human soul, how and what we have been created for. I hope by now, we all know the purpose of our life and why we need to turn towards our creator and to know Him, and to worship Him. This might be only a glimmering of our spiritual reality, but enough for us to know who we are and be able to appreciate our value. We are all on the same journey, truly, one creation and one humanity.

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. 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.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks 31)

(References: Bahá’i Writings  and The Human Soul by Adib Taherzadeh)

Our Dual Nature

We are God’s lamp and our light is from God. Our love is from God. Our justice, mercy, generosity, and wisdom are from God. He is the source of these qualities. No matter which parts of creation we look at, we see signs of the power of God, of His knowledge and His bounty. We learn about the invisible spiritual world through analogy of the visible world. What we see, hear and feel of the visible world helps us to understand the perceptions of the invisible world.  For example, the sun give us bright and warm feelings, similarly when we receive the truth of God’s love it gives light and warm feelings to our spirit. A rock gives us the sense of firmness, so we say we should be as firm as rocks in our love for God, and God’s love gives us strength and helps us to be firm. When we see mountains, they remind us of the power and majesty of God.  When we see the rain pouring down from the clouds, it can remind us of God’s generosity and grace. When we see sunlight shining on everything, it can remind us that the light of God also shines on every created thing and is reflected in it, although only mankind has the potential to reflect all the names of God. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá also says that we are “the noblest of all beings, the sum of all perfections.”  So we should never forget that we have all the signs of God in us.

Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created. (Bahá’u’lláh)

If good things come from God, then where do bad things come from? If we were created noble, then why do we abase ourselves? Let’s think about the two natures of the human being: the spiritual, or higher nature and the material, or lower nature. Qualities such as love, mercy, kindness, truthfulness, and justice belong to our higher nature. It is in this sense that we have been created noble. Our material nature is the part that we have in common with animals. Imperfections like selfishness, cruelty, and jealousy come from it. There is no such thing as good or bad in the world of animals. Animals act according to their instincts. They eat. They drink. They wander about and they sleep. They are captives of these desires. The poisonous snake stings when it feels danger. The hungry wolf hunts other animals in order to survive. It is not wrong for an animal to do any of these things. But we abase ourselves when we live just like animals. We don’t abase ourselves because there is a devil that makes us do so, but because we become captives of the desires of our lower nature.

All men have been created to carry forward an every-advancing civilization. The Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man. Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth. (Bahá’u’lláh)

Acting according to our higher nature takes discipline. Discipline requires patience and perseverance. The Buddha teaches us to get control our own mind. Our lower nature is like gravity pulling us down. To go against the gravity we need another force to lift us up, so we can rise up towards our higher nature. What is this force that can lift us?  It comes from turning toward heaven, toward God. We can pray for divine assistance. We need the power of divine assistance to help us lift up to reach the higher nature. Self-discipline can be reflected in our attitudes and actions. When we encounter difficulty,  with self-discipline we can try to see where the problem is and patiently solve the problem or make an improvement; when we face disputes, through self-discipline we can control our emotions and really listen to each other and think only what is good for the situation … Self-discipline is not easy to do in the beginning, but we can turn toward God  and ask His assistance to give us strength.  Relying on the power of faith will help us be patient and be able to lift us higher up and be transformed.

Our lower nature is not evil. For example, our desire for food is necessary for survival in this life,  for children to grow and adults to lead productive lives. So, the desire for food is not bad but our higher nature should control it, so that we don’t become greedy and want more than our share, or more than is healthy. Anger has its usefulness too. When we express anger over injustice we show we care for others instead of being indifferent. But, our higher nature should control it, so that we don’t lose our temper, or do some crazy thing, which in the end will bring more problems.  Fear helps us to avoid dangers that surround us in order to survive. Fear protects us from danger. But through our higher nature, we learn to overcome our fears and develop courage. We can overcome our fear of failure by understanding there is no such thing called failure, but only mistakes. Mistakes are only part of our learning process. Mistakes help us develop the courage to learn. They also help  us to be better each time when we learn from them. Desires can be good or bad, but through our higher nature we can channel our desire towards learning and improving ourselves, desire for justice, desire to show kindness kindness to others, desire to serve mankind and to make the world a better place. This kind of desire should be praised and encouraged.

It follows therefore that in existence and creation there is no evil at all, but that when man’s innate qualities are used in an unlawful way, they become blameworthy. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 57.9)

There is a very important idea that we need to understand, God has not created evil. He has only created good. Evil is the absence of good. Think of light and darkness. There are particles of light called photons. The rays of light are made of these photons. But there are no particles of darkness. Where there is no light there is darkness. Ignorance is lack of knowledge. Hate appears when there is no love. Pride is the absence of humility. When we lack something, we sense a void and we try to fill the void. If we feel a lack of love, we can learn to love. We can learn to be humble, to be merciful, and to be compassionate.

Praise be to God! Man ever aspires to greater heights and loftier goals. He ever seeks to attain a world surpassing that which he inhabits, and to ascend to a degree above that which he occupies. This love of transcendence is one of the hallmarks of man. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 48.8)

Meditation

I have perfected in every one of you My creation, so that the excellence of My handiwork may be fully revealed unto men.

Love is light in whatsoever house it may shine and enmity is darkness in whatsoever abode it dwell.

Therefore, you must thank God that He has bestowed upon you the blessing of life and existence in the human kingdom. Strive diligently to acquire virtues befitting your degree and station. Be as lights of the world which cannot be hid and which have no setting in horizons of darkness.

The will and plan of God is that each individual member of humankind shall become illumined like unto a lamp, radiant with all the destined virtues of humanity, leading his fellow creatures out of natural darkness into the heavenly light.

Prayers

O Lord! Make me as a lamp shining throughout Thy lands that those in whose hearts the light of Thy knowledge gloweth and the yearning for Thy love lingereth may be guided by its radiance.

Make firm our steps, O Lord, in Thy path and strengthen Thou our hearts in Thine obedience.  Turn our faces toward the beauty of Thy oneness, and gladden our bosoms with the signs of Thy divine unity.  Adorn our bodies with the robe of Thy bounty, and remove from our eyes the veil of sinfulness, and give us the chalice of Thy grace; that the essence of all beings may sing Thy praise before the vision of Thy grandeur.  Reveal then Thyself, O Lord, by Thy merciful utterance and the mystery of Thy divine being, that the holy ecstasy of prayer may fill our souls—a prayer that shall rise above words and letters and transcend the murmur of syllables and sounds—that all things may be merged into nothingness before the revelation of Thy splendor. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

Spiritual Creation of Mankind

What is the source of creation? The love of God is the source of creation.

O SON OF MAN! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty. (The Hidden Words, Bahá’u’lláh)

Who did God create us to be?  We are created to glorify God. All of God’s creation has a purpose, including mankind.  God created man to know Him, worship Him and glorify Him.

for I have created him for my glory (Isaiah 43:7)

How can we manifest His glory? Worship Him and love Him. When we know how great our God is and how amazing His Grace, we will praise Him, worship Him and humble ourselves before Him. Worship is the respect, humility and praise of God and thanksgiving of His eternal grace. Worship is faithfulness to His commandments. We glorify Him by worshiping Him and becoming His companion.

What is spirit? Spirit is the part of us which has the ability to learn about God and connect with Him. Even though our individual bodies are separate from each other, our spirit is connected. The spiritual creation from God is one. Buddha said our Buddha-nature is connected like one big ocean. Because the spirit is one, so we influence and affected each other. Because the spirit is one, so we are connected with God and can feel God’s love. God is Spirit. Spirit has force and power. It is the power of growth in plants. It is the power of growth and senses in animals. It is the power of growth, senses and consciousness (thinking, imagination, understanding, memory) in mankind. All things receive this power from God to live. It seems to be our own power, but it is actually from God. It is God’s grace. We are so close to God, “closer than our life vein”.  When we feel the spiritual force and rely on it to elevate ourselves, we will say God is living inside of us. This is the mystery of human spirit.

The soul of Adam

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  (Genesis 2:7)

Adam not only had a physical body, but also a soul. A person’s body is visible, but the soul is invisible. Our thoughts, feelings and will are affected by our soul, which is the essence of our mind. When the mind produces thought, we distinguish things; when the mind produces feelings, we have emotion; when the mind produces free will we chose love or hate. Learning about how our mind works, we can remove the obstacles which limit our spiritual power. When we realize that emotions and greed or resentment are the reflection of an illusioned mind, then we can lead our mind to positive thinking. Putting away the illusion then we can see the perfection.  Put away fearful emotions then we can express affection.  Put aside self-interest then we can choose love to join our will to God’s will. When our soul and spirit come together, our mind, body and soul will unite. The spirit of life will enrich us.

O SON OF MAN! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.  (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh)

When we choose love, our soul and spirit become one. The spirit of life will enrich our soul.

Our Identity

God’s Sheep

        Be ye aware that the children of men are sheep of God and He their loving Shepherd, that He careth tenderly for all His sheep and maketh them to feed in His own green pastures of grace and giveth them to drink from the wellspring of life. Such is the way of the Lord. Such are His bestowals. Such, from among His teachings, is His precept of the oneness of mankind. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

God’s Lamp

O SON OF BEING! Thou art My lamp and My light is in thee.   (Bahá’u’lláh)

We, who are like God’s lamps then, should shine with the light of love, the light of knowledge, the light of truth, the light of a good character.

*Reflection:

(1) How do we shine with the light of knowledge? Exploring nature, creating a work of art, playing music, teaching prayers to children…

(2) How do we shine with the light of love? Helping a friend in difficulty, helping estranged friends get back together, smiling, speaking kindly, preferring others before ourselves…

(3) How do we shine with the light of good character? Being polite, being considerate, being joyful, being truthful…

God’s Dominion

O SON OF MAN! Thou art My dominion and My dominion perisheth not.  (Bahá’u’lláh)

This is like a country with a king. The king rules over his kingdom. We belong to God’s kingdom. The kingdom here is not a piece of land, it is the human heart, which is eternal. Bahá’u’lláh tells us: all that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of my beauty and glory…’ Earthly dominion does not last. Kingdoms rise and fall. But God’s dominion will never perish.

We are God’s dominion. Just as a king could have enemies who would try to take over his kingdom, our hearts may be attacked by desires and passions that are contrary to God’s will. If we want God to rule over our heart, we should avoid envy, jealousy, hypocrisy and greed entering our heart.

God’s Treasure

O YE SONS OF SPIRIT! Ye are My treasury, for in you I have treasured the pearls of My mysteries and the gems of My knowledge. (Bahá’u’lláh)

Think of all the powers God has given us : the power of love, the power of understanding, the power of intellect. These are some of the pearls of His mysteries. We cannot fully comprehend the powers and abilities that are within us, but we can see their results. For example, through the power of love, we can overcome hate, build friendships, cooperate and achieve unity.

Reflection:

What we can achieve with the power of imagination, the power to serve humanity, the ability to discover the laws of the universe, the power of speech, understanding, and memory?

Saplings

Ye are the saplings which the hand of Loving-kindness hath planted in the soil of mercy, and which the showers of bounty have made to flourish. (Bahá’u’lláh)

Saplings are baby trees. The purpose of a tree is to bear fruit. Bahá’u’lláh tell us: ‘ The fruits of the tree of man have ever been and are goodly deeds and a praiseworthy character.’ We are like young trees. The bounty of God is like the rain. Through the bounties of God we are able to grow, flourish and give forth the fruits of goodly deeds and praiseworthy character. We can attract the bounties of God by praying daily, reading the Word of God, Imploring God for the ability to serve humanity, teaching the Faith, etc…

We are God’s sheep, lamps shedding the light, God’s dominion, a treasury full of the pearls of God’s mysteries and a tree that bears the fruits of goodly deeds. If we forget who we are, then we forget God and His teachings. Bahá’u’lláh warns us against becoming careless of all the wonderful qualities God has given us. He says: ‘ O friends! Be not careless of the virtues with which ye have been endowed, neither be neglectful of your high destiny.’

O Friends! Be not careless of the virtues with which ye have been endowed, neither be neglectful of your high destiny. Suffer not your labours to be wasted through the vain imaginations which certain hearts have devised. Ye are the stars of the heaven of understanding, the breeze that stirreth at the break of day, the soft-flowing waters upon which must depend the very life of all men, the letters inscribed upon His sacred scroll. (Bahá’u’lláh)

The life of the spirit

“Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit…”    ( Bahá’u’lláh)

The self that we have is composed of body and soul. To know the invisible soul, we need to learn about it through interaction with our body and the material world. The major attribute of the body self is its association with the material and earthly world. Similarly, the major attribute of our soul is its association with the spiritual world.

The life of our body begins at conception when the self of the physical world begins to develop at that moment and is gradually formed. When we are in our mother’s womb, we develop the faculties we need for the physical world. Those faculties include the physical senses and consciousness to experience and enjoy the material world which God prepared for us. Our soul also develops together with the body beginning at conception  when God created us. Ideally,  our body and soul should grow together. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case, as physical and material development are often given precedence.  We gradually ignore and forget the existence of our soul, if we are not educated about our spirit reality. Because of a lack of nurturing of our mind and soul, our soul is gradually withered like a plant that lacks water, nutrients or sunshine. This problem brings us all kinds of difficulty in our life.

God never leaves mankind alone. Throughout history, God has sent to humanity a series of divine Educators—known as Manifestations of God—whose teachings have provided the basis for the advancement of civilization and spirit education. They teach us us that our spirit need to be nurtured too. Beyond  our bodily life, we are spiritual beings with a noble spiritual life. Beyond the material world, there is a spiritual world. They are calling us to recognize the spiritual reality. We can’t nurture and develop it unless we recognize it. This recognition and awareness is so call “rebirth”. The rebirth is like the withered plant which after giving it water and sunshine it becomes alive again. When our withered spirit is given, with compassion, water and sunshine from the Sun of Truth, it will be alive and full of vitality.

There is another meaning of the awakening of the spiritual reality. We know our body develops starting at the moment of conception. Our birth brings us into the life of the material world. Our spiritual life started at the moment of conception and it continuously develops through pregnancy and our whole earthly life. Think of this, what is it that continues to exist when our body no longer exists? Isn’t that our spirit? Isn’t this like our spirit being born into the spiritual world? The birth here means a change in the pattern of existence. Life in our mother’s womb is the development of one pattern of existence which is completely enclosed and constrained. Once we are born we enter an unconstrained living pattern. Although we are still dependent on are parents during childhood, we are more free to move around. In the same way, when we live in this physical world our spirit is constrained by the needs and limitations of our physical self and our senses. Once we are born into the spiritual world this limitation will be removed. The next world, or you may call it the next life, will be another pattern of existence that is freed from physical limitations.

Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. (Bahá’u’lláh )

‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us, “the mysteries of which man is heedless in the earthly world, those will he discover in the heavenly world, and there will he be informed of the secrets of the truth; how much more will he recognize or discover persons with whom he has been associated.” This is like when we had no ability to understand the wonder of the world we were going to be born into when we were in our mother’s womb. We learn about this new world gradually after we are born. In the same way, we have no ability to understand the wonder of the spiritual world we are going to born into at our physical death. But soon after we leave this world and are born in next world, the mystery will be revealed to us. 

Baha’u’llah said “The world beyond is as different from this world as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother.” Just as the womb provides the environment for a person’s initial physical development, the phenomenal world is the arena within which we develop the spiritual characteristics and capacities  that we need for our onward journey. Both here and in the next life, we advance with the assistance of God’s bounty and grace. Also important to the progress of our souls in the next world are the good deeds carried out in our names here on earth, and the sincere prayers of our families and friends. (http://www.bahai.org/beliefs/life-spirit/human-soul/life-death)

Death in this world means spiritual birth in the next world. In the creation of God, there is no life and death, there is only revelation and progress. Our concept of life and death are just stages of existence. The human spirit exists eternally after physical death, but the state or condition of it depends on our faith and actions in this world. Through God’s grace and forgiveness, we can progress eternally as well.

Undoubtedly the holy souls who find a pure eye and are favored with insight will, in the kingdom of lights, be acquainted with all mysteries, and will seek the bounty of witnessing the reality of every great soul. They will even manifestly behold the Beauty of God in that world. Likewise will they find all the friends of God, both those of the former and recent times, present in the heavenly assemblage.  The difference and distinction between men will naturally become realized after their departure from this mortal world. But this distinction is not in respect to place, but in respect to the soul and the conscience. For the Kingdom of God is sanctified (or free) from time and place; it is another world and another universe. And know thou for a certainty that in the divine worlds the spiritual beloved ones will recognize one another, and will seek union with each other, but a spiritual union. Likewise a love that one may have entertained for anyone will not be forgotten in the world of the Kingdom, nor wilt thou forget there the life that thou hadst in the material world. ( ‘Abdu’l-Bahá The Divine Art of Living, p124-125)

What do people need in the spiritual world after they leave the mortal life? We must develop what we need there in this life.  The spiritual world is a holy and splendid world. We should gain those sacred quality here for our next life. That world requires spirituality, faith, and love toward God. All of these qualities must be obtained in this world, so that what we need in our eternal life is ready for us once we depart from this world.

The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men. The Prophets and Messengers of God have been sent down for the sole purpose of guiding mankind to the straight Path of Truth. The purpose underlying Their revelation hath been to educate all men, that they may, at the hour of death, ascend, in the utmost purity and sanctity and with absolute detachment, to the throne of the Most High. The light which these souls radiate is responsible for the progress of the world and the advancement of its peoples. They are like unto leaven which leaveneth the world of being, and constitute the animating force through which the arts and wonders of the world are made manifest.   ( Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 155.)

Learn about God ~The Covernant with God

The Creator of all things is God, the One, the Incomparable, the Self-Subsisting. He has created the heavens and the earth with its mountains and valleys, its forests, meadows, deserts, rivers and seas. God has caused every living thing to come into being. He has made man and has engraved on him His image.

Baha’u’llah teaches us that the essence of God is incomprehensible to the human mind, for the finite cannot comprehend the infinite. The representations that the followers of various religions make of Him are but fruits of their own imaginations. God is not a man, and He is not a mere force spread throughout the universe. The words we must necessarily use to refer to the Source of our being, such as the Heavenly Father, the Heavely Power, the Great Spirit, each express one of His names and attributes in the human tongue, which is totally inadequate to describe Him.

O Son of Man! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life. (Baha’u’llah  Headden words)

God’s love for us is the very reason for our existence. We must be ever conscious of this love which protects us, sustains us, and fills us with the spirit of life. In moments of diffiuclty or ease, of sadness or joy, even we mistakenly choose to ignore Him, His love never stop showering upon us. And He never stops patientely waiting for us to come back to Him.

We have learned that God created us out of His love. God has established with us a Covenant which is to last throughout the ages. The word “covenant” means pact or promise between two or more people. According to the Eternal Covenant, the All-Bountiful creator never abandons us, and from time to time, makes His will and His Purpose known to us through one of His Manifestations. The verb “manifest” means to reveal, to show something that was not known before. The Manifestations of God are those special Beings who reveal to us the Word of God. They are Universal Educators who teach us how to live according to the Will of God and how to achieve true happiness. Among these Manifestations are Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, and The Bab and Baha’u’llah 

A pact has two parts; it is made between two parties each of whom promises to act in a certain way. In the Eternal Covenant of God, His part has always been fulfilled. But how can we make sure that we fulfill our part in this mighty Covenant? The Covenant calls upon us to reconginize the Manifestation of God and to submit to His will. Since the essence of God is incomprehensible to the human mind, we can only know God through His Menifestations.  All the perfection, the bounty, and the splendor that come from God are visible in the Holy Manifestation, like the sun which is resplendent in a clear polished mirror. To say that these Mirros are the Manifestation of the Sun of Truth does not mean that the Sun has descended from Its hieghts of glory and become incorporated into the Mirror. What is meant is this: All that humanity knows, discovers, and understands of the names and attributes and perfections of God refers to His Holy Manifestation.

The first and foremost duty prescribed unto men, next to the reconition of Him Who is the Eternal truth, is the duty of steadfastness in His Cause. Cleave thou unto it, and be of them whose minds are firmly fixed and grounded in God. (Ibid., CXXXIV, p.290)

Why is it so important to know about God and learn to love Him back? The mystery of the spirit of faith and true happiness won’t be revealed unless we know about Him and feel His Love and want to love Him back. In other words, when we know how much God loves us and are willing to love Him back with all our strength the secret of the spirit of faith will be revealed to us. Even if we explore just a little bit of the mystery, the joy and happiness itself would make us want to discover more. Recognizing ourselves as having been created in such bountiful way, who would not want to accept His offer and be obedient under His law (that is, submitting ourselves to God). Before we know our God, it’s like we are living in a dark room full of treasures, but we can not see them. In order to see the bountiful hidden treasure we need to kindle the spirit light inside us. It needs some effort to light the lamp and it also needs effort to keep the light on.  Knowing God is like the effort to kindle the light and Loving God is the effort to keep the light up.

Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life (~ Baha’u’llah Hidden words 4).

The more we learn about His love, mighty, powerful, and exalted…, the more we will submit ourselves to His omniscience and wisdom, and are willing to keep the Covernant with God and replace our will with His will, and be willing to walk on the path He has planned for us. When we are able to take hold of the Covenant,  our relationship with God will start to grow. We will make peace under His protection. The feeling of protection from God’s love is the home of our soul.

Eternal Love

God is Love! God’s Love is the origin of His creation. It is the power to hold and connect every part of His creation together. Everybody is seeking for true love in this earthly world. Where can we find it? In reality, it is through learning about God and His Love for mankind, and building a realtionship with Him to be able to love Him back. Here let’s look at what Abdu’l-Baha told us about the eternal love from God.

The Four Kinds of Love  (Paris Talks by Abdu’l-Baha)

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.

Love is not simply some abstract principle that one talks about. It is real, and it is directed towards something or someone. If we love someone, we need not continually speak of our love — others will know without any words. On the other hand if we do not love others, they will know it — and they would not believe us if we were to tell them in a thousand words that we loved them. And when love is a reality, when one truly loves anothers, a bond is created between hearts through which noble feelings and lofty ideas can flow. One soul can uplift the others and joy fills them both. Can we really experience this kind of love in our earthly world? Sure we do. But it won’t happen until we know how much God love us and also be able to love Him back. When the blockage of our love flow to God has been removed, joy and noble feelings occur, the love toward brothers will arise naturally. That is true love to others.

There are conditions for true love to occur. They include sincerity and truthfulness, generosity and liberality, forgiveness and trustworthiness. These are necessary for love to exist. For what is insincere love but hypocrisy? What is the outcome of love when it is ruled by jealousy and control, and not by open-heartedness and generosity? What kind of love is assoicated with vengeance rather than forgiveness? How can anyone trust in our love, if we are not trustworthy? This is the kind of love all Manifestations of God try to show us. if we really follow them on the path, than we should all strive to cultivate these good virtues. And let God’s love fill our heart.

O thou son of the Kingdom! All things are beneficial if joined with the love of God; and without His love all things are harmful, and act as a veil between man and the Lord of the Kingdom. When His love is there, every bitterness turneth sweet, and every bounty rendereth a wholesome pleasure. For example, a melody, sweet to the ear, bringeth the very spirit of life to a heart in love with God, yet stanieth with lust a soul engrossed in sensual desires. And every branch of learning, conjoined with the love of God, is approved and worthy of praise; but bereft of His love, learning is barren —indeed, it bringeth on madness. Every kind of knowledge, every science, is as a tree: if the fruit of it be the love of God, then is it a blessed tree, but if not, that tree is but dried-up wood, and shall only feed the fire.   (Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha , no 154, P.190)