How we pray for wisdom from God

If we wish to ask God for wisdom, the first thing we should ask ourselves is how can we tell if we have wisdom? The Scriptures provide the criteria to see true wisdom.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)

This is to say: when we lack peacefulness, gentleness and mercy toward others, or show partiality and hypocrisy, we can see that we are missing wisdom from God. So what is the next thing we can do?

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. (James 1:5~6)

If we have a troubled mind, it is because God’s wisdom has been blocked by our mind. God said we can pray to Him and ask for wisdom. He will help us overcome the trouble and help us to be gentle and merciful to others. He will help us to address our spiritual issues.

The question is: why is the problem still there after our prayer? Does that mean our faith is not strong enough?

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  (James 2:24)

God gives us much guidance. He gives us methods to deal with our problems. But a lot of the time we care more about our own feelings than those of others, and in so doing, we disobey God’s guidance.  When we care more about our own hurt feelings than others troubles or struggles, then we prevent ourselves being kind to others. We miss the chance to communicate with and try to understand others. A lot of the time people get into a strained emotional state because there are things troubling them. They get even more frustrated if their voice has been ignored. Do we give them a chance to express their feelings, and do we listen? Denying others emotion troubles can turn into our own hurt feelings. This is not wise and we and we often allow this situation to happen. God likes us to work out our own feelings and talk to each other with kindness. That way, we put the communication into action and our action becomes “justified”. God guides us in the right way to communicate. If we act upon it we will see the result. When things start changing it is a confirmation of the work of God. We should continue to put effort into building a trusting relationship, until a good relationship is established. The process of building relationships is one process of receiving wisdom.

Dear friends! God gives us wisdom but do we come forward to receive it? It is our decision to act or not. So God said, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.   (James 4:17)”

God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (James 4:6)

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)

If we don’t obey and act, it means we are showing pride towards God. If we are not in awe of God, even if we have faith we can’t be call justified. When we are humble and in awe of God we can receive the wisdom from God. God is fair (just) and he gives everyone the same chance. He guides everyone in ways which suite each individual to follow. The wisdom is hidden in His guidance. So God bestows wisdom fairly. It is through our free will that we choose to receive it or not.  This is the principle of asking for and receiving wisdom. When the wisdom has been received, we see the signs of wisdom, loving kindness and mercy. These are the fruits of the spirit. To see wisdom and the fruits of the spirit, we need to follow the guidance of God and act upon it to receive it. This is the principle of spiritual reality.

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  (James 2:15~16)

This question appears to relate to material needs, how is it related to the spirit? Consider this: when a person has no food and no clothes to wear how does that person feel? He would be upset and depressed. If a person lacks basic needs and people only pray to God without comforting action, how can the problem be solved? God guides us to help the poor. If we act within our power and capability, we will see the signs of wisdom show in our acts, which are gentleness, love and mercy. These are the fruits of wisdom. They grow bigger while the action continues. So we say the wisdom is in action. When we see the signs of spiritual qualities it means we see the wisdom.

So when we or others have troubled feelings, we pray to God to bestow wisdom. When we have an idea for the solution, we need to act and let the seed of wisdom be able to grow. Continuing to act will make the growth continue and eventually grow into sweet fruits. When we start to act it means the seed of wisdom has been planted. When we continue to act it means the wisdom is growing. The result of continued action is the maturity of wisdom. So we should be happy for others or for ourselves whenever we see people serving others selflessly and we have the opportunity to serve. Service to others is not a burden, it is the effort to plan the seed and make the wisdom grow. The quality of service in action is the symbol of wisdom. The fruits of wisdom require care to reach maturity. Sacrifice is the care and nutrition to make wisdom grow. We acquire wisdom in our daily life through service and sacrifice.

I hope this explanation will encourage our selfless service to others. And I hope to see God’s children and servants full of the fruits of wisdom more and more.

Praise be to God and Glory be to God! Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá!

Our relationship with God

The relationship between us and God is just like the relationship between us and our child(or between us and our parents). If we have a relationship problem with our child, it also reflects that we have a relationship problem with our Heavenly father. If we have relationship problems with our spouses, it also reflects that our commitment (covenant with God) toward God is weak. Before we know our God, we all think problems are from others and everything around us. Unless we are willing to know our God and learn about the root of our problems and the reality, we will never stop blaming others and seeking solutions from the outside world. After I learn a little bit about God and fix my relationship with the Heavenly Father, the relationship between me and my child, and the commitment between me and my husband becomes stronger.

So the relationship problems we have with others just reflects the relationship problems we have with our God. To fix the relationship problem we have with others, God teaches us to fix our spiritual relationship problems with Him first, then the relationship problem in the material world will be fixed by itself.

O my friend, when we wish our child be obedient and follow the protection rules we set for them, let’s think about this, “are we obedient to the Heavenly Father?” When we wish our children to come to us and say sorry for what they have done, let’s think about “ do we turn toward God and repent to Him for the attitude we have toward others?” When we are ready to forgive and are waiting for our child to respond first, “God always forgives us but do we soften our heart first and respond to His calling ?” When we complain about the immaturity of our child and their misunderstanding of us, “is our spirit mature enough to control our temper and do we know the purpose of things which are arranged by God to happen……. Whatever we wish our child to do, think about do we do the same for our Heavenly Father? 

This is what happens in our life, nothing else but God. Put God first, He will bless us and take care of things for us. Then we will understand what it is to rely on God and how He loves us. Our children will understand how to rely on us and how we love them. We are holding the mirror for our child to reflect the love of God. This is reality. Hope we all see and understand the true love and the love of God.

With all our heart, our soul and our strength

I lived through a most difficult situation when I was in my mid forties. One day, I talked to one of my Christian friends and arranged a time for she and I to meditate together. She prayed for me at that time. A few days later she gave me words from the Bible. My life changed since then. The change was gradual, not accidental. At that time, I didn’t know God. When she gave me these words, while I was in this difficult situation, I already believed in God and believed He arranged the events that happend in my life.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

Therefore you shall keep the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them. (Deuteronomy 7:11)

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

That is the first time I “heard” God speak to me. Later on I listened to online courses that my friend recommended and started to learn about God. Because those words so touched my heart, since then I learned with my heart and tried hard to do as I has been taught. In that time I didn’t know what was the meaning of “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” . But I tried to understand from the stories people shared and experiences in my daily life. In those few months of Bible reading, I heard God speak to me through His words sometimes. Gradually, I learned to listen to Him instead of reading the words. Now that I know Baha’u’llah, I listen what He has said, instead of reading what He wrote. God has touched my heart at the begining of learning about Him. It is God Who taught me to live with my heart, see and listen to the world with my heart, not my mind. During the time I followed Buddha’s teaching, I read sutras. After following God, I learned to listen from my heart. I realize what a difference when we use our heart, instead of our mind, to live and learn about spiritual things and God. Connecting with the spirit comes from our heart, as well as knowing the invisible God. God really deserves our love for the rest of our life with all our heart, our soul and our strength.

For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him— then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. (Deuteronomy 11:22~23)

In everyone’s life God tries to help us is “drive out all these nations from before you”. He also said “you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.” This is His promise for us. Those nations represent our ego, our big self, our idle fancies and vain imaginations. This is what we fightfor in a spiritual battle. Our heart is like the lands of the nations. It belongs to God. Dispossess the nations means withdraw our heart from foe and let God possess our heart. When the land has been returned, the heart has been restored, then we can inherit the wealth of the land. The wealth which God rewards us is the richness of spiritual life. That is eternal life and the might of the Throne. It is His immeasurable grace.

O My Friend In Word! Ponder awhile. Hast thou ever heard that friend and foe should abide in one heart? Cast out then the stranger, that the Friend may enter His home. (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh)

The wish which God has for us do we heard it? The love which God has toward us do we understand it?


All men’s hearts are seeking something to be bound to, for sustainment and hope. We search and search, but nowhere do we find a source of everlasting sustainment and un-fading hope on earth. This longing is in our true nature. It is something within us when we were created. Because of the longing, we have a desire to seek the source of our life. Because it is from our heart, by following our heart we have a direction to aim towards. When the desire to search start up, our spiritual journey begins. God wants us to know Him, because He is the source of life. God wants us to seek Him with all our heart, because He is the All-sufficer and He is the deliverer of hope.

No matter where the dewdrop falls, it flows back to the ocean eventually, although it may follow different paths according to conditions that exist. No matter where we were born, our life flows according to external and internal conditions, and the journey to the source of life will begin eventually. Where do we come from, where will we return to? Our body is from dust, so it returns to dust. Our soul is from God, so it returns to God. Do you ever wonder “who am I?” or “what is the meaning of our life?” This kind of curiosity is a gift from God.  It becomes the attraction force for us to follow and the direction to head to — to start the journey back to God. Parents give life to a child, so they can be surrounded by their family. This is the joyful family life of the visible world. God bestows spiritual life to mankind, so He can be surrounded by His children. This is the joyful family life of invisible world. It is heavenly.

So we need to learn about spiritual reality. We can’t say we know ourselves unless we know about our spiritual life. God sends down Divine teachers to us, so we can receive the knowledge of spiritual guidance. Divine teachers tell us — the spiritual life is more bountiful than our physical life. Spiritual life is our real life. It is eternal and the exaltation of it is beyond men’s imagination.

O servant of God! We revealed Ourself to thee once in thy sleep, but thou didst remain unaware. Remember now, that thou mayest perceive and hasten with heart and soul to the placeless Friend. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Tabernacle of Unity)

O friends! Have you heard God’s calling in your heart?

Turn toward God

When something surprises me, a miracle happens to me

I turn toward God to show my joy

And give thanks to Him for His love


When someone said something not nice to me

I turn toward God to express my feelings

And pray for forgiveness for the person who made the mistake


When I do something not nice to express my emotion

I turn toward God and be sorry for it

Adjust my attitude so my heart can soften to generate gratitude


When a challenge comes

I turn toward God and let Him know I will endure it

Face it so I can grow from it


When I have a worry and the mind goes crazy

I turn toward God and lay my burden in front of Him

Put my trust in Him and give a little bit of time to Him

So the things can have time to unfold

And I have time to learn to let go of it


When I see the world lacks something

I turn toward God and tell Him I willing do something about it

And make the change of it


When I feel mad or hurt

I turn toward God and praise Him

So His words can stay with me

And the power of words can release me from the emotion

And His Grace can fill my heart with His joy


God does not like to see us fight

Instead He like us be humble to come to His side

We won’t feel the breeze from the Spirit

Unless We open a window to let it in

We won’t receive the rain of mercy from the cloud

Unless We are ready let the soil be exposed underneath


Turn toward God

And open our heart

So the hardened soil is ready for water to soften in our heart

Build our faith toward God

Let Him arrange it and gradually unfolded in front of our eyes

And Let our patience become the reason to receive the Grace from His love

Praise be to God! And Glory be to God!

Let Him in our heart and trust Him be our God!

Life will be so different when we have a good relationship with our God

And are willing to love Him back from bottom of our heat.        

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.


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)


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.


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)