LONGER COMPILATION from Bahá’í Writings education 13,117

NB the original compilation was in relation to ‘Baha’i Education’ and ‘Baha’i-inspired education’.  It works in relation to ‘the changeless faith of God’ c.f. ‘perennial  spirituality’

Principles & Ideals of Bahá’í education: – identified from contemporary educational theory & Bahá’í writings

This ‘book’, in continuous development, is to help answer two questions.

The first question comes from the answer to a letter I received from the Universal House of Justice after I had written to ask for guidance concerning further development of my studies in education;

We …..”might make a contribution to the evolutionary process of devising an educational system which “would be in full harmony with the spirit of the Baha’i Teachings”.

Knowledge of educational theory, for example, could assist (us) in identifying some of the relevant “basic principles” and “teaching ideals” that are set out in the Baha’i Writings.   Such principles could in turn, serve as a basis for highlighting positive aspects of contemporary educational theory and practice which could contribute to the implementation of Baha’i “teaching ideals”.

 Research Dept. Memorandum 21st May 1992

The first question then is; ‘Progressively what are the principles and ideals that we can identify in Baha’i writings by going back and forth between contemporary educational theory and the Baha’i writings?

The second question is; ‘With special reference to Baha’i Writings how can we progressively answer the question, ‘What is it to be positively and fully human?’

An earlier version of this work  was developed to indicate some of the breadth of Baha’i writings concerning themes within the doctoral thesis Spiritualizing Pedagogy: education as the art of working with the human spirit.  This can be found at my website http://sunwalkmodelofholisticeducation.wordpress.com/

More principles and quotations will be added – please send suggestions to onesummit AT gmail.com (Change AT to @)

The themes are presented in alphabetical order, and at least one theme is indicated in respect of each quotation.

Baha’i education I define as ‘education devised by Baha’is for others to be Baha’i or become more Baha’i.  Baha’i-inspired education I define as ‘inspiration and ideas from Baha’i Writings, and practice that contribute to education in the wider community.

All of these quotations can be found on one of the search engines at http://bahai-library.org/etc/links.html   98% of everything ever written about Holistic Education can be reached through the website http://www.sunwalked.wordpress.com

Principles of Baha’i and/or Baha’i-inspired Education

Aims & Objectives

Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him – a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation…. 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.    GL p.65

There are certain pillars which have been established as the unshakable supports of the Faith of God.  The mightiest of these is learning and the use of the mind, the expansion of consciousness, and insight into the realities of the universe and the hidden mysteries of Almighty God.      To promote knowledge is thus an inescapable duty imposed on every one of the friends of God.            SAB p. 126-7

Appearance & reality

Deceive not your own selves that you are being virtuous for the sake of God when you are not.                                          (The Bab:  Selections from the Bab, Page: 86)

In deserts the atmospheric effects are particularly productive of illusions which deceive the eye.  Once I saw a mirage in which a whole caravan appeared travelling upward into the sky.  In the far North other deceptive phenomena appear and baffle human vision.  Sometimes three or four suns, called by scientists mock suns, will be shining at the same time, whereas we know that the great solar orb is one and that it remains fixed and single.

 (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace, Page: 21)

At-one-ment   (in the sense of being at one with, and in the sense of wholeness

“Every created thing in the whole universe is but a door leading into His knowledge, . (GL p190).

In proportion to the acknowledgement of the oneness and solidarity of mankind, fellowship is possible, misunderstandings will be removed and reality become apparent.                       `Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Page 327

it (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest.   Because of its attachment to matter and the phenomenal world, when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul.   When it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind.   And when it soars into the atmosphere of God, and travels in the spiritual world, it becomes designated as spirit.

                                                                                Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190

Authenticity and Autonomy

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.     AHW p.2

Capacity (inc. capability & ability)

During thy supplications to God and thy reciting, “Thy Name is my healing,” consider how thine heart is cheered, thy soul delighted by the spirit of the love of God, and thy mind attracted to the Kingdom of God! By these attractions one’s ability and capacity increase.  When the vessel is enlarged the water increases, and when the thirst grows the bounty of the cloud becomes agreeable to the taste of man.  This is the mystery of supplication and the wisdom of stating one’s wants.
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Prayer, Meditation, Page: 235)

Civilization and Culture

Man – the true man – is soul, not body; …..Behold how the light of the sun illuminates the world of matter: even so doth the Divine Light shed its rays in the kingdom of the soul.  The soul it is which makes the human creature a celestial entity!

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

The same Spirit gives Eternal Life.                                                        Paris Talks p. 85

Conscience  criteria for development

“… the conscience of man is sacred and to be respected; and that liberty thereof produces widening of ideas, amendment of morals, improvement of conduct, disclosure of the secrets of the contingent world. Moreover, if interrogation of conscience, which is one of the private possessions of the heart and the soul, take place in this world, what further recompense remains for man in the court of divine justice at the day of general resurrection? Convictions and ideas are within the scope of the comprehension of the King of kings, not of kings; and soul and conscience are between the fingers of control of the Lord of hearts, not of [His] servants.”            Abdu’l-Baha, A Traveler’s Narrative, 91.

Consciousness/ c. raising

By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good
deeds.                                            (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Baha’i World Faith, Page: 383)

There are certain pillars which have been established as the unshakable supports of the Faith of God.  The mightiest of these is learning and the use of the mind, the expansion of consciousness, and insight into the realities of the universe and the hidden mysteries of Almighty God.      To promote knowledge is thus an inescapable duty imposed on every one of the friends of God.                                     SAB p. 126-7

Say  The first and foremost testimony establishing His truth is His own Self.  Next to this testimony is His Revelation.  For whoso faileth to recognize either the one or the other He hath established the words He hath revealed as proof of His reality and truth.                                                                                                                        Gleanings 105-107

Today it is obligatory for the loved ones of God, and their imperative duty, to educate the children in reading, writing, the various branches of knowledge, and the expansion of consciousness, that on all levels they may go forward day by day.

Education, p. 288

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

(`Abdu’l-Baha’i:  Paris Talks p.174)

Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.                                                                                       AHW p13

…there is a reality of which the animal is lacking.  What is that reality?  It is the spirit of man.  By it man is distinguished above all the other phenomenal kingdoms.  Although he possesses all the virtues of the lower kingdoms, he is further endowed with the spiritual faculty, the heavenly gift of consciousness.                        PUP p258

Man is possessed of the emanations of consciousness; he has perception, ideality and is capable of discovering the mysteries of the universe.                         PUP p241

The human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among his mysteries……..Within it lieth concealed that which  the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.   Ponder in thine heart the revelation of the Soul of God that pervadeth all His Laws……                                                                                 Gl.    p160-161

“He hath known God who hath known himself.”

…From that which hath been said it becometh evident that all things, in their inmost reality, testify to the revelation of the names and attributes of God within them.  Each according to its capacity, indicateth, and is expressive of, the knowledge of God.

                          GL p178

Man is endowed with ideal virtues – for example, intellection, volition, faith, confession and acknowledgement of God – while nature is devoid of all these.  The ideal faculties of man, including the capacity for scientific acquisition, are beyond nature’s ken.  These are powers whereby man is differentiated and distinguished from all other forms of life.                                                (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 51)

Covenant

As God is loyal and truthful, man must show forth the same attributes in the human world.   Even as God exercises mercy toward all, man must prove himself to be the manifestation of mercy.  In a word, the image and likeness of God constitute the virtues of God, and man is intended to become the recipient of the effulgences of divine attributes.  This is the essential foundation of all the divine religions, the reality itself, common to all.  Abraham promulgated this; Moses proclaimed it.  Christ and all the Prophets upheld this standard and aspect of divine religion.
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 404)

Man is a child of God, most noble, lofty and beloved by God, his Creator.  Therefore, he must ever strive that the divine bounties and virtues bestowed upon him may prevail and control him.  Just now the soil of human hearts seems like black earth, but in the innermost substance of this dark soil there are thousands of fragrant flowers latent.                                        (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 294)

Creativity

The outer sun is a sign or symbol of the inner and ideal Sun of Truth, the Word of God.  Inasmuch as this is the century of light, it is evident that the Sun of Reality, the Word, has revealed itself to all humankind.                                                     PUP p. 74

creative quickening emanates from the breaths of the Holy Spirit

             (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 130)

The creative energies released at the hour of the birth of His Revelation, endowing mankind with the potentialities of the attainment of maturity are deranging, during the present transitional age, the equilibrium of the entire planet as the inevitable prelude to the consummation in world unity of the coming of age of the human race.

             (Shoghi Effendi:  Citadel of Faith, Page: 81)

Democracy, conscience and development

Consider what a vast difference exists between modern democracy and the old forms of despotism.  Under an autocratic government the opinions of men are not free, and development is stifled, whereas in democracy, because thought and speech are not restricted, the greatest progress is witnessed.  It is likewise true in the world of religion.  When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and right of speech prevail – that is to say, when every man according to his own idealization may give expression to his beliefs – development and growth are inevitable.                               PUP p. 197

Development   individuals and whole societies

How shall we attain the reality of knowledge?  By the breaths and promptings of the Holy Spirit, which is light and knowledge itself.  Through it the human mind is quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge.  PUP p.22

Dialogue

It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit.  In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers:  the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.                             (`Abdu’l-Baha’i:  Paris Talks*, Page: 174)

Most ideas must be taught them through speech, not by book learning.  One child must question the other concerning these things, and the other child must give the answer.  In this way, they will make great progress.  For example, mathematical problems must also be taught in the form of questions and answers.  One of the children asks a question and the other must give the answer.  Later on, the children will of their own accord speak with each other concerning these same subjects. ….. Oral questions must be asked and the answers must be given orally.  They must discuss with each other in this manner.            (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Education, Page: 310)

Ecology

‘We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say  that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved.   Man is  organic with  the world.   His inner life moulds the environment & is itself also deeply affected by it.’

           Shoghi Effendi see http://bahai-library.org/articles/environment.protection.html

East- West

It is by the power of the Spirit that the Eastern World of spiritual thought can intermingle with the Western realm of action, so that the world of matter may become Divine.                                                                                        PT p85

Education

Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value.  Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.
(Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings, Page: 260)

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.                                                                        (Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings, Pages: 65-66)

Ego

The heart of man is open to inspiration; this is spiritual communication.  As in a dream one talks with a friend while the mouth is silent, so is it in the conversation of the spirit.  A man may converse with the ego within him saying:  “May I do this? Would it be advisable for me to do this work?”  Such as this is conversation with the higher self.                                                                            ‘Abdu’l-Baha:  Paris Talks, Page: 179
Evolution

“Man’s evolution is both individual and collective, because of his twofold relationship to himself and to the society in which he lives.  Individual evolution starts with the early stages of one’s existence.  Consciousness too grows with this evolution.”
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January
14, 1938) (Multiple Authors:  Lights of Guidance, Page: 115)
Faith

By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds.                         (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Baha’i World Faith, Page: 383)

“Religion, then, is the necessary connection which emanates from the reality of things……                                                                                             SAQ pp. 157-159

… the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites man with God.  This state of spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer.  And this is the reason why Baha’u’llah has so much stressed the importance of worship       (Multiple Authors:  Lights of Guidance, Page: 544)

Feelings / affect

“Religion, then, is the necessary connection which emanates from the reality of things……                                                                                               SAQ pp. 157-159

God –  transcendent and immanent

Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him – a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation…. 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.                     GL. p.65

Every created thing in the whole universe is but a door leading into His knowledge, a sign of His sovereignty, a revelation of His names, a symbol of His majesty, a token of His power, a means of admittance into His straight Path….

             (Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings, Page: 160)

Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.                                                                                    AHW p13

Goodness (and faith)

By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds.                                                (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Baha’i World Faith, Page: 383)

Heart

the heart …. “is the seat of the All-Merciful and the throne wherein abideth the splendor of His revelation…”                                               Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings Page 185

The heart of man is open to inspiration; this is spiritual communication.  As in a dream one talks with a friend while the mouth is silent, so is it in the conversation of the spirit.  A man may converse with the ego within him saying:  “May I do this? Would it be advisable for me to do this work?”  Such as this is conversation with the higher self.’                                                                      (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Paris Talks, Page: 179)

To man is given the special gift of the intellect by which he is able to receive a larger share of the light Divine.  The Perfect Man is as a polished mirror reflecting the Sun of Truth, manifesting the attributes of God.                                                          PT p25

In the Old Testament we read that God said, `Let us make man in Our own image’.   In the Gospel, Christ said, `I am in the Father, and the Father in Me’.(1)  In the Qur’an, God says, `Man is my Mystery and I am his’.   Baha’u’llah writes that God says, `Thy heart is My home; purify it for My descent.   Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation’.    All these sacred words show us that man is made in God’s image..                          PT p23

Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.                                                                                       AHW p13

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 neighbour.  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.              AHW p.2
Baha’u’llah proclaims in the Hidden Words that God inspires
His servants and is revealed through them.  He says, “Thy heart is
My home; sanctify it for My descent.  Thy spirit is My place of revelation;
cleanse it for My manifestation.” PUP p.148

Higher self

The heart of man is open to inspiration; this is spiritual communication.  As in a dream one talks with a friend while the mouth is silent, so is it in the conversation of the spirit.  A man may converse with the ego within him saying:  “May I do this? Would it be advisable for me to do this work?”  Such as this is conversation with the higher self.’                                                                           (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Paris Talks, Page: 179)

Holism/holistic/whole/hale/heal/hallowed – see Oneness

“…all parts of the creational world are of one whole.”,                               BWF p.364.

“God contains all….The whole is greater than its parts…”                       PT 23 27

“All that exists is God….”                                                                          (AB in London p22)

“Every created thing in the whole universe is but a door leading into His knowledge,
(GL p190).

      ‘We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved.   Man is organic with the world.   His inner life moulds the environment & is itself also deeply affected by it  The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions.’

       From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi 1933

Holy Spirit /Spirit/Breaths of the Holy Spirit

Riches and poverty, plenty and need  without an intermediary power there could be no relation between these pairs of opposites…  between God and Man, and this is none other than the Holy Spirit, which brings the created earth into relation with the `Unthinkable One’, the Divine Reality.                                                      (PT pp. 57-58)

For material civilization is like unto a beautiful body, and spiritual civilization is like unto the spirit of life.  If that wondrous spirit of life enters this beautiful body, the body will become a channel for the distribution and development of the perfections of humanity                    (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 11)

the Administrative Order …..is the channel through which the spirit and guidance flow to the Baha’is and to mankind          (Multiple Authors:  Lights of Guidance, Page: 127)

In proportion to the acknowledgement of the oneness and solidarity of mankind, fellowship is possible, misunderstandings will be removed and reality become apparent.                 `Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Page 327

Human being  /h. nature

In the Old Testament we read that God said, `Let us make man in Our own image’.

In the Gospel, Christ said, `I am in the Father, and the Father in Me’.(1)

In the Qur’an, God says, `Man is my Mystery and I am his’.

Baha’u’llah writes that God says, `Thy heart is My home; purify it for My descent.

Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation’.

All these sacred words show us that man is made in God’s image..    PT p23

…….. in him justice, sincerity, faithfulness, knowledge, wisdom, illumination, mercy and pity, coupled with intellect, comprehension, the power to grasp the realities of things and the ability to penetrate the truths of existence.  All these great perfections are to be found in man.  Therefore, we say that man is a reality which stands between light and darkness.  From this standpoint his nature is threefold:  animal, human and divine.  The animal nature is darkness; the heavenly is light in light.

(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 465)

Man is the microcosm; and the infinite universe, the macrocosm.         PUP pp. 69-70

“Man is like unto this lamp, but the effulgences of the Kingdom are like the rays of the lamp.  Man is like unto the glass, but spiritual splendours are like unto the light within the glass.  No matter how translucent the glass may be, as long as there is no light within, it remains dark.   Reason is mind.                                                             (PUP22)

“…the reality of man is a pure and unknown essence constituting a depository emanating from the light  of the Ancient Entity, God. This essence or soul of man because of its innate purity and its connection with the unseen Ancient Entity is old as regards time but new as regards individuality….It is the same reality which is given different names according to the different conditions wherein it is manifested.   Because of its relation to matter and the phenomenal world when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul; when it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind. And when it soars into the atmosphere of God and travels in the spiritual world it becomes designated as spirit.
(Conow 1990 p. 68)

To man is given the special gift of the intellect by which he is able to receive a larger share of the light Divine.  The Perfect Man is as a polished mirror reflecting the Sun of Truth, manifesting the attributes of God.                                                     PT p25

it (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest.   Because of its attachment to matter and the phenomenal world, when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul.   When it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind.   And when it soars into the atmosphere of God, and travels in the spiritual world, it becomes designated as spirit.
Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190

“Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value.  Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.”                                                                                                                                                     Gl. 260

“Man is, in reality, a spiritual being, and only when he lives in the spirit is he truly happy.  This spiritual longing and perception belongs to all men alike…”          PT p72

If we accept the supposition that man is but a part of nature, we are confronted by an illogical statement, for this is equivalent to claiming that a part may be endowed with qualities which are absent in the whole.  For man who is a part of nature has perception, intelligence, memory, conscious reflection and susceptibility, while nature itself is quite bereft of them.  How is it possible for the part to be possessed of qualities or faculties which are absent in the whole?  The truth is that God has given to man certain powers which are supernatural.   PUP p.17

Humankind/humanity

For the inner reality of man is a demarcation line between the shadow and the light, a place where the two seas meet;(1) it is the lowest point on the arc of descent,(2) and therefore is it capable of gaining all the grades above.  With education it can achieve all excellence; devoid of education it will stay on, at the lowest point of imperfection.

     Every child is potentially the light of the world – and at the same time its darkness; wherefore must the question of education be accounted as of primary importance.

(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Selections …  `Abdu’l-Baha, Page: 130)

Human spirit

The human spirit which distinguishes man from the animal is the rational soul, and these two names – the human spirit and the rational soul – designate one thing.   This spirit, which in the terminology of the philosophers is the rational soul, embraces all beings, and as far as human ability permits discovers the realities of things and becomes cognizant of their peculiarities and effects, and of the qualities and properties of beings.  But the human spirit, unless assisted by the spirit of faith, does not become acquainted with the divine secrets and the heavenly realities.  It is like a mirror which, although clear, polished and brilliant, is still in need of light.  Until a ray of the sun reflects upon it, it cannot discover the heavenly secrets.
Abdu’l-Baha:  Some Answered Questions         Pages 208-210

Indwelling/intuition

the heart …. “is the seat of the All-Merciful and the throne wherein abideth the splendor of His revelation…”               Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings Page 185

Inner being

just as man is in need of outward education, he is likewise in need of ideal refinement; just as the outer sense of sight is necessary to him, he should also possess insight and conscious perception; as he needs hearing, at the same time memory is essential; as a body is indispensable to him, likewise a mind is requisite; one is a material virtue, the other is ideal.
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 328)

The human spirit which distinguishes man from the animal is the rational soul, and these two names – the human spirit and the rational soul – designate one thing.   This spirit, which in the terminology of the philosophers is the rational soul, embraces all beings, and as far as human ability permits discovers the realities of things and becomes cognizant of their peculiarities and effects, and of the qualities and properties of beings.  But the human spirit, unless assisted by the spirit of faith, does not become acquainted with the divine secrets and the heavenly realities.  It is like a mirror which, although clear, polished and brilliant, is still in need of light.  Until a ray of the sun reflects upon it, it cannot discover the heavenly secrets.
Abdu’l-Baha:  Some Answered Questions         Pages 208-210

Inspiration

The heart of man is open to inspiration; this is spiritual communication.  As in a dream one talks with a friend while the mouth is silent, so is it in the conversation of the spirit.  A man may converse with the ego within him saying:  “May I do this? Would it be advisable for me to do this work?”  Such as this is conversation with the higher self.’                                                                        (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Paris Talks, Page: 179)

Integral studies

‘One of the problems of modern times is the degree to which the different disciplines have become specialized and separated from one another.   Thinkers are now faced with a challenge to achieve a synthesis, or at least a coherent correlation, of the vast amount of knowledge that has been acquired during the past century.   The Baha’is must be aware of this factor and of the moderation and all-embracing nature of this Revelation….’               23rd March 1983 on behalf  of the Universal House of Justice

Intellect/intellectuality and science

“Before all else, God created the mind.”              SDC p1

“The reality of man is his thought…”                PT p17

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

The understanding is the power by which man acquires his knowledge

of the several kingdoms of creation, and of various stages of existence,
as well as of much which is invisible.                                                                       PT p41

To man is given the special gift of the intellect by which he is able to receive a larger share of the light Divine.  The Perfect Man is as a polished mirror reflecting the Sun of Truth, manifesting the attributes of God.                                                        PT p25

All blessings are divine in origin, but none can be compared with this power of intellectual investigation and research, which is an eternal gift producing fruits of unending delight. Man is ever partaking of these fruits. All other blessings are temporary; this is an everlasting possession. Even sovereignty has its limitations and overthrow; this is a kingship and dominion 2 which none may usurp or destroy.

 

Briefly, it is an eternal blessing and divine bestowal, the supreme gift of God to man. Therefore, you should put forward your most earnest efforts toward the acquisition of science and arts. The greater your attainment, the higher your standard in the divine purpose. The man of science is perceiving and endowed with vision, whereas he who is ignorant and neglectful of this development is blind. The investigating mind is attentive, alive; the callous and indifferent mind is deaf and dead.

 

A scientific man is a true index and representative of humanity, for through processes of inductive reasoning and research he is informed of all that appertains to humanity, its status, conditions and happenings. He studies the human body politic, understands social problems and weaves the web and texture of civilization.

 

In fact, science may be likened to a mirror wherein the infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected. It is the very foundation of all individual and national development. Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible. Therefore, seek with diligent endeavour the knowledge and attainment of all that lies within the power of this wonderful bestowal.

(“The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912” (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 50) [5]

Briefly, it is an eternal blessing and divine bestowal, the supreme gift of God to man.  Therefore, you should put forward your most earnest efforts toward the acquisition of science and arts.  The greater your attainment, the higher your standard in the divine purpose.  The man of science is perceiving and endowed with vision, whereas he who is ignorant and neglectful of this development is blind.  The investigating mind is attentive, alive; the callous and indifferent mind is deaf and dead.

A scientific man is a true index and representative of humanity, for through processes of inductive reasoning and research he is informed of all that appertains to humanity, its status, conditions and happenings.  He studies the human body politic, understands social problems and weaves the web and texture of civilization.

In fact, science may be likened to a mirror wherein the infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected.  It is the very foundation of all individual and national development.  Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible.  Therefore, seek with diligent endeavour the knowledge and attainment of all that lies within the power of this wonderful bestowal.

             (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 50)

As human creatures fitted and qualified with this dual endowment, we must endeavor through the assistance and grace of God and by the exercise of our ideal power of intellect to attain all lofty virtues, that we may witness the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, reflect the spirit of the Kingdom, behold the manifest evidences of the reality of Divinity, comprehend irrefutable proofs of the immortality of the soul, live in conscious at-one-ment with the eternal world and become quickened and awake with the life and love of God.  (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace  p. 328)

Spiritual blessings are likewise endless – spirit, consciousness, thought, memory, perception, ideation and other endowments.  By these He has guided us, and we enter His Kingdom. He has opened the doors of all good before our faces.  He has vouchsafed eternal glory.  He has summoned us to the Kingdom of heaven

                              (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 237)

Justice see knowledge below

Knowledge/knowing

By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds.                                   (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Baha’i World Faith, Page: 383)

in the human material world of phenomena these four (the senses, reason, traditions, & inspiration) are the only existing criteria or avenues of knowledge, and all of them are faulty and unreliable.  What then remains?  How shall we attain the reality of knowledge?  By the breaths and promptings of the Holy Spirit, which is light and knowledge itself.  Through it the human mind is quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge.                                                                  PUP 22-23

Knowledge is of two kinds.  One is subjective and the other objective knowledge – that is to say, an intuitive knowledge and a knowledge derived from perception.

     The knowledge of things which men universally have is gained by reflection or by evidence – that is to say, either by the power of the mind the conception of an object is formed, or from beholding an object the form is produced in the mirror of the heart.  The circle of this knowledge is very limited because it depends upon effort and attainment.

     But the second sort of knowledge, which is the knowledge of being, is intuitive; it is like the cognizance and consciousness that man has of himself.”

 SAQ Pages: 157-159

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.

                                                                             (Baha’u’llah:  Arabic Hidden Words, Page: 2)

‘Knowledge is all that is knowable…’ KI p.185

“Every created thing in the whole universe is but a door leading into His knowledge…

(GL p190).

Life/energy/spirit

From this same God all creation sprang into existence, and  He is the one goal, towards which everything in nature yearns.  This conception was embodied in the words of Christ, when He said, `I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end’.  Man is the sum of Creation, and the Perfect Man is the expression of the complete thought of the Creator – the Word of God.
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Paris Talks*, Pages: 51-52)

Love/affect/spirit/caring

Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe.

Abdu’l-Baha

Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings.

Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul.

Love is the cause of God’s revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things.

Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next.

Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul.

Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms.

Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe.

Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation…….

      O ye beloved of the Lord!  Strive to become the manifestations of the love of God, the lamps of divine guidance shining amongst the kindreds of the earth with the light of love and concord.

     All hail to the revealers of this glorious light!

      (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Selections …  `Abdu’l-Baha, Pages: 27-28)

If love were extinguished, the power of attraction dispelled, the affinity of human hearts destroyed, the phenomena of human life would disappear.

PUP 255-256

The flame of the fire of love, in this world of earth and water, comes through the power of attraction and not by effort and striving.  Nevertheless, by effort and perseverance, knowledge, science and other perfections can be acquired ….

             (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Some Answered Questions, Page: 130)

   We declare that love is the cause of the existence of all phenomena and that the absence of love is the cause of disintegration or non-existence.  Love is the conscious bestowal of God, the bond of affiliation in all phenomena.  We will first consider the proof of this through sense perception.  As we look upon the universe, we observe that all composite beings or existing phenomena are made up primarily of single elements bound together by a power of attraction.  Through this power of attraction cohesion has become manifest between atoms of these composing elements. The resultant being is a phenomenon of the lower contingent type. The power of cohesion expressed in the mineral kingdom is in reality love or affinity manifested in a low degree according to the exigencies of the mineral world…….

   In man we find the power of attraction among the elements which compose his material body, plus the attraction which produces cellular admixture or augmentative power, plus the attraction which characterizes the sensibilities of the animal kingdom, but still beyond and above all these lower powers we discover in the being of man the attraction of heart, the susceptibilities and affinities which bind men together, enabling them to live and associate in friendship and solidarity. It is, therefore, evident that in the world of humanity the greatest king and sovereign is love.  If love were extinguished, the power of attraction dispelled, the affinity of human hearts destroyed, the phenomena of human life would disappear.

        This is a proof perceptible to the senses, acceptable to reason, in accord with traditions and teachings of the Holy Books and verified by the promptings of human hearts themselves.

      (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Pages: 255-256)

Manifestation of God

“Knowledge is twenty and seven letters. All that the Prophets have revealed are two letters thereof.  No man thus far hath known more than these two letters.  But when the Qa’im shall arise, He will cause the remaining twenty and five letters to be made manifest.”  Consider; He hath declared Knowledge to consist of twenty and seven letters, and regarded all the Prophets, from Adam even unto the “Seal,” as Expounders of only two letters thereof and of having been sent down with these two letters.  He also saith that the Qa’im will reveal all the remaining twenty and five letters. Behold from this utterance how great and lofty is His station!  His rank excelleth that of all the Prophets, and His Revelation transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their chosen ones.

   (Baha’u’llah:  The Kitab-i-Iqan, Pages: 243-244)

Manifestation of God through human heart

the heart …. “is the seat of the All-Merciful and the throne wherein abideth the splendor of His revelation…”
Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings Page 185

Baha’u’llah proclaims in the Hidden Words that God inspires
His servants and is revealed through them.  He says, “Thy heart is
My home; sanctify it for My descent.  Thy spirit is My place of revelation;
cleanse it for My manifestation.”  Therefore, we learn
that nearness to God is possible through devotion to Him, through
entrance into the Kingdom and service to humanity; it is attained
by unity with mankind and through loving-kindness to all; it is dependent
upon investigation of truth, acquisition of praiseworthy
virtues, service in the cause of universal peace and personal
sanctification.  In a word, nearness to God necessitates sacrifice of
self, severance and the giving up of all to Him.  Nearness is likeness.
Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Page 148

Meaning & Meaning making significance

‘To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Baha’u’llah’s stupendous Revelation must, it is my unalterable conviction, remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavour of each one of its loyal adherents.  An exact and thorough comprehension of so vast a system, so sublime a revelation, so sacred a trust, is for obvious reasons beyond the reach and ken of our finite minds.  We can, however, and it is our bounden duty to seek to derive fresh inspiration and added sustenance as we labour for the propagation of His Faith through a clearer apprehension of the truths it enshrines and the principles on which it is based’.                                                                           WOB p100

Meditation/insight/spirituality

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

(`Abdu’l-Baha’i:  Paris Talks*, Page: 174)

Methods in learning/process

Most ideas must be taught them through speech, not by book learning.  One child must question the other concerning these things, and the other child must give the answer.  In this way, they will make great progress.  For example, mathematical problems must also be taught in the form of questions and answers.   One of the children asks a question and the other must give the answer.  Later on, the children will of their own accord speak with each other concerning these same subjects

             (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Education, Page: 310)

Mind

“Before all else, God created the mind.”           SDC p1

“The reality of man is his thought…”                                  PT p17

But the mind is the power of the human spirit.  Spirit is

the lamp; mind is the light which shines from the lamp.

Spirit is the tree, and the mind is the fruit.  Mind is the

perfection of the spirit and is its essential quality, as the

sun’s rays are the essential necessity of the sun.

Abdu’l-Baha:  Some Answered Questions         Pages 208-210

     Now concerning mental faculties, they are in

truth of the inherent properties of the soul, even

as the radiation of light is the essential property of

the sun.  The rays of the sun are renewed but the

sun itself is ever the same and unchanged.  Consider

how the human intellect develops and weakens,

and may at times come to naught, whereas the soul

changeth not.  For the mind to manifest itself, the

human body must be whole; and a sound mind

cannot be but in a sound body, whereas the soul

dependeth not upon the body.  It is through the

power of the soul that the mind comprehendeth,

imagineth and exerteth its influence, whilst the soul

is a power that is free.  The mind comprehendeth

the abstract by the aid of the concrete, but the soul

hath limitless manifestations of its own.  The mind

is circumscribed, the soul limitless.   It is by the aid

of such senses as those of sight, hearing, taste, smell

and touch, that the mind comprehendeth, whereas

the soul is free from all agencies.  The soul as thou

observest, whether it be in sleep or waking, is in
motion and ever active.
`Abdu’l-Baha:  Tablet to August Forel          Page 8

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

(`Abdu’l-Baha’i:  Paris Talks*, Page: 174)

Mystery (in human nature)/potential/subconscious/unknown

The human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among his mysteries……..Within it lieth concealed that which  the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.   Ponder in thine heart the revelation of the Soul of God that pervadeth all His Laws……                                                                                 Gl    p160-161

“Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth is a direct evidence of the revelation within it of the attributes and names of God, inasmuch as within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that Most Great Light. Methinks, but for the potency of that revelation, no being could ever exist. How resplendent the luminaries of knowledge that shine in an atom, and how vast the oceans of wisdom that surge within a drop! To a supreme degree is this true of man, who, among all created things, hath been invested with the robe of such gifts, and hath been singled out for the glory of such distinction. For in him are potentially revealed all the attributes and names of God to a degree that no other created being hath excelled or surpassed. All these names and attributes are applicable to him. Even as He hath said: ‘Man is My mystery, and I am his mystery.'”

(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 177)

Mystic/al/icism

For the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites man with God.  This state of spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer.  And this is the reason why Baha’u’llah has so much stressed the importance of worship
(Multiple Authors:  Lights of Guidance, Page: 544)

See also http://bahai-library.org/articles/mysticism.momen.html

Nature, Supernatural and natural

‘We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say  that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved.   Man is  organic with  the world.   His inner life moulds the environment & is itself also deeply affected by it.’

                                                                                                      Shoghi Effendi

By nature is meant those inherent properties and necessary relations derived from the realities of things.  And these realities of things, though in the utmost diversity, are yet intimately connected one with the other.  For these diverse realities an all-unifying agency is needed that shall link them all one to the other. ………………………

     Now concerning philosophers, they are of two schools.  Thus Socrates the wise believed in the unity of God and the existence of the soul after death; as his opinion was contrary to that of the narrow-minded people of his time, that divine sage was poisoned by them.                        (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Tablet to August Forel, Page: 13)

If we accept the supposition that man is but a part of nature, we are confronted by an illogical statement, for this is equivalent to claiming that a part may be endowed with qualities which are absent in the whole.  For man who is a part of nature has perception, intelligence, memory, conscious reflection and susceptibility, while nature itself is quite bereft of them.  How is it possible for the part to be possessed of qualities or faculties which are absent in the whole?  The truth is that God has given to man certain powers which are supernatural.

 (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal peace, Page: 17)

Nature is without the crown of human faculties and attributes.  Man possesses conscious intelligence and reflection; nature does not.
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 51)

Oneness

“…all parts of the creational world are of one whole.”, BWF p.364.

“God contains all….The whole is greater than its parts…” PT 23 27

“All that exists is God….” (AB in London p22)

‘We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say  that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved.   Man is  organic with  the world.   His inner life moulds the environment & is itself also deeply affected by it.’                                                                                                          Shoghi Effendi

In proportion to the acknowledgement of the oneness and

solidarity of mankind, fellowship is possible, misunderstandings

will be removed and reality become apparent.

 `Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Page 327

Oneness of the human spirit

it (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest.   Because of its attachment to matter and the phenomenal world, when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul.   When it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind.   And when it soars into the atmosphere of God, and travels in the spiritual world, it becomes designated as spirit.
Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190

     Now regarding the question whether the

faculties of the mind and the human soul are one

and the same.  These faculties are but the inherent

properties of the soul, such as the power of imagination,

of thought, of understanding; powers that

are the essential requisites of the reality of man,

even as the solar ray is the inherent property of the

sun.  The temple of man is like unto a mirror, his

soul is as the sun, and his mental faculties even as

the rays that emanate from that source of light.  The

ray may cease to fall upon the mirror, but it can
in no wise be dissociated from the sun.
`Abdu’l-Baha:  Tablet to August Forel Pages 24-25

We have three aspects of our humanness, so to speak, a

body, a mind and an immortal identity – soul or spirit.  We

believe the mind forms a link between the soul and the body,

and the two interact on each other.
(Extract, letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, June 7th, 1946)

Person / personhood

Be not careless of the virtues with which ye have been endowed, neither be neglectful of your high destiny.  Suffer not your labors to be wasted through the vain imaginations which certain hearts have devised.  Ye are the stars of the heaven of understanding, the breeze that stirreth at the break of day, the soft-flowing waters upon which must depend the very life of all men, the letters inscribed upon His sacred scroll.  With the utmost unity, and in a spirit of perfect fellowship, exert yourselves, that ye may be enabled to achieve that which beseemeth this Day of God      (Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings, Page: 196)

Philosophy

All mankind must be given a knowledge of science and philosophy

  • that is, as much as may be deemed necessary.

(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, p. 108

Prayer

During thy supplications to God and thy reciting, “Thy Name is my healing,” consider how thine heart is cheered, thy soul delighted by the spirit of the love of God, and thy mind attracted to the Kingdom of God! By these attractions one’s ability and capacity increase.  When the vessel is enlarged the water increases, and when the thirst grows the bounty of the cloud becomes agreeable to the taste of man.  This is the mystery of supplication and the wisdom of stating one’s wants.
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Prayer, Meditation, …, Page: 235)

Purpose

What are the fruits of the human world?  They are the spiritual attributes which appear in man.        (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace, Page: 336)

Questioning and questions

One child must question the other concerning these things, and the other child must give the answer.  In this way, they will make great progress.  For example, mathematical problems must also be taught in the form of questions and answers.  One of the children asks a question and the other must give the answer.  Later on, the children will of their own accord speak with each other concerning these same subjects….  Even so in Godlike affairs.  Oral questions must be asked and the answers must be given orally.  They must discuss with each other in this manner.

(The Baha’i World, Vol. 9 (1940-1944)(Wilmette: Baha’i Publishing Committee, 1945), p. 543)

Real/ity
If love were extinguished, the power of attraction dispelled, the affinity of human hearts destroyed, the phenomena of human life would disappear.   PUP 255-256

it (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest..
Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190

It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit.  In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers:  the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed. (`Abdu’l-Baha’i:  Paris Talks*, p. 174)

Riches and poverty, plenty and need  without an intermediary power there could be no relation between these pairs of opposites…  between God and Man, and this is none other than the Holy Spirit, which brings the created earth into relation with the `Unthinkable One’, the Divine Reality.                                                                 (PT pp. 57-58)

…there is a reality of which the animal is lacking.  What is that reality?  It is the spirit of man.  By it man is distinguished above all the other phenomenal kingdoms.  Although he possesses all the virtues of the lower kingdoms, he is further endowed with the spiritual faculty, the heavenly gift of consciousness.                         PUP p258

Man is possessed of the emanations of consciousness; he has perception, ideality and is capable of discovering the mysteries of the universe.                 PUP p241

The human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among his mysteries……..Within it lieth concealed that which  the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.   Ponder in thine heart the revelation of the Soul of God that pervadeth all His Laws……                                                                                   Gl.    p.160-161

“We will surely show them Our signs in the world and within themselves.”  Again He saith:  “And also in your own selves:  will ye not, then, behold the signs of God?”  And yet again He revealeth:  “And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves.”  In this connection, He Who is the eternal King – may the souls of all that dwell within the mystic Tabernacle be a sacrifice unto Him – hath spoken:  “He hath known God who hath known himself.”

…From that which hath been said it becometh evident that all things, in their inmost reality, testify to the revelation of the names and attributes of God within them.  Each according to its capacity, indicateth, and is expressive of, the knowledge of God.

                       GL p178

“Religion, then, is the necessary connection which emanates from the reality of things……                                                                                              SAQ pp. 157-159

“Man is, in reality, a spiritual being, and only when he lives in the spirit is he truly happy.  This spiritual longing and perception belongs to all men alike…”    PT p72

The lights of God illumine the world of man, even as the effulgences of the sun shine gloriously upon the material creation. The Sun of Reality is one; its bestowal is one; its heat is one; its rays are one; it shines upon all the phenomenal world, but the capacity for comprehending it differs according to the kingdoms, each kingdom receiving the light and bounty of the eternal Sun according to its capacity.

(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 173)

“The reality of man is his thought…”                PT p.17

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

        The same Spirit gives Eternal Life.                                                                     PT p85

Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him – a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation…. 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.
(Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings, Page: 65)

Reason/rationality

The human spirit which distinguishes man from the animal is the rational soul, and these two names – the human spirit and the rational soul – designate one thing.

.  SAQ pp.  208-210

Religion

  “Religion, then, is the necessary connection which emanates from the reality

of things……                                                                                                SAQ pp. 157- 159

For the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites man with God.  This state of spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer.  And this is the reason why Baha’u’llah has so much stressed the importance of worship               (Multiple Authors:  Lights of Guidance, Page: 544)

RESEARCH

All blessings are divine in origin, but none can be compared with this power of intellectual investigation and research, which is an eternal gift producing fruits of unending delight. Man is ever partaking of these fruits. All other blessings are temporary; this is an everlasting possession. Even sovereignty has its limitations and overthrow; this is a kingship and dominion 2 which none may usurp or destroy.

 

Briefly, it is an eternal blessing and divine bestowal, the supreme gift of God to man. Therefore, you should put forward your most earnest efforts toward the acquisition of science and arts. The greater your attainment, the higher your standard in the divine purpose. The man of science is perceiving and endowed with vision, whereas he who is ignorant and neglectful of this development is blind. The investigating mind is attentive, alive; the callous and indifferent mind is deaf and dead.

 

A scientific man is a true index and representative of humanity, for through processes of inductive reasoning and research he is informed of all that appertains to humanity, its status, conditions and happenings. He studies the human body politic, understands social problems and weaves the web and texture of civilization.

 

In fact, science may be likened to a mirror wherein the infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected. It is the very foundation of all individual and national development. Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible. Therefore, seek with diligent endeavour the knowledge and attainment of all that lies within the power of this wonderful bestowal.

(“The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912” (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 50) [5]

Briefly, it is an eternal blessing and divine bestowal, the supreme gift of God to man.  Therefore, you should put forward your most earnest efforts toward the acquisition of science and arts.  The greater your attainment, the higher your standard in the divine purpose.  The man of science is perceiving and endowed with vision, whereas he who is ignorant and neglectful of this development is blind.  The investigating mind is attentive, alive; the callous and indifferent mind is deaf and dead.

A scientific man is a true index and representative of humanity, for through processes of inductive reasoning and research he is informed of all that appertains to humanity, its status, conditions and happenings.  He studies the human body politic, understands social problems and weaves the web and texture of civilization.

In fact, science may be likened to a mirror wherein the infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected.  It is the very foundation of all individual and national development.  Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible.  Therefore, seek with diligent endeavour the knowledge and attainment of all that lies within the power of this wonderful bestowal.

             (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 50)

As human creatures fitted and qualified with this dual endowment, we must endeavor through the assistance and grace of God and by the exercise of our ideal power of intellect to attain all lofty virtues, that we may witness the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, reflect the spirit of the Kingdom, behold the manifest evidences of the reality of Divinity, comprehend irrefutable proofs of the immortality of the soul, live in conscious at-one-ment with the eternal world and become quickened and awake with the life and love of God.  (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace  p. 328)

Spiritual blessings are likewise endless – spirit, consciousness, thought, memory, perception, ideation and other endowments.  By these He has guided us, and we enter His Kingdom. He has opened the doors of all good before our faces.  He has vouchsafed eternal glory.  He has summoned us to the Kingdom of heaven

                              (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 237)

Science

science may be likened to a mirror wherein the infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected.  It is the very foundation of all individual and national development.  Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible.  Therefore, seek with diligent endeavour the knowledge and attainment of all that lies within the power of this wonderful bestowal.

(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 50)

Self-knowledge

Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.                                                                                    AHW p13

“Before all else, God created the mind.”            SDC p1

“The reality of man is his thought…”                PT p17

Self – reading of

     One must …….. read the book of his own self, rather than some treatise on rhetoric. Wherefore He hath said, “Read thy Book: There needeth none but thyself to make out an account against thee this day.”(14)

     The story is told of a mystic knower, who went on a journey with a learned grammarian as his companion.  They came to the shore of the Sea of Grandeur.  The knower straightway flung himself into the waves, but the grammarian stood lost in his reasonings, which were as words that are written on water.  The knower called out to him, “Why dost thou not follow?”  The grammarian answered, “O Brother, I dare not advance.  I must needs go back again.”  Then the knower cried, “Forget what thou didst read in the books ……. and cross the water.”

          The death of self is needed here, not rhetoric:

          Be nothing, then, and walk upon the waves.(16)

     Likewise is it written, “And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves. These are the wicked doers.”(17)
(Baha’u’llah:  Seven Valleys and Four Valleys, Pages: 51-52)

Service to others

Therefore, we learn
that nearness to God is possible through devotion to Him, through
entrance into the Kingdom and service to humanity; it is attained
by unity with mankind and through loving-kindness to all; it is dependent
upon investigation of truth, acquisition of praiseworthy
virtues, service in the cause of universal peace and personal
sanctification.  In a word, nearness to God necessitates sacrifice of

self, severance and the giving up of all to Him.  Nearness is likeness….. PUP p.148

Soul

Now let us consider the soul.  We have seen that

movement is essential to existence; nothing that has

life is without motion.  All creation, whether of the

mineral, vegetable or animal kingdom, is compelled

to obey the law of motion; it must either ascend or

descend.  But with the human soul, there is no decline.

Its only movement is towards perfection; growth and

progress alone constitute the motion of the soul.

     Divine perfection is infinite, therefore the progress

of the soul is also infinite.  From the very birth of a

human being the soul progresses, the intellect grows

and knowledge increases.  When the body dies the soul

lives on.  All the differing degrees of created physical

beings are limited, but the soul is limitless!

`Abdu’l-Baha:  Paris Talks*                Page 89

it (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest.   Because of its attachment to matter and the phenomenal world, when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul.   When it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind.   And when it soars into the atmosphere of God, and travels in the spiritual world, it becomes designated as spirit.
Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190

The human spirit which distinguishes man from the animal is the rational soul, and these two names – the human spirit and the rational soul – designate one thing.   This spirit, which in the terminology of the philosophers is the rational soul, embraces all beings, and as far as human ability permits discovers the realities of things and becomes cognizant of their peculiarities and effects, and of the qualities and properties of beings.  But the human spirit, unless assisted by the spirit of faith, does not become acquainted with the divine secrets and the heavenly realities.  It is like a mirror which, although clear, polished and brilliant, is still in need of light.  Until a ray of the sun reflects upon it, it cannot discover the heavenly secrets.
‘Abdu’l-Baha:  Some Answered Questions         Pages 208-210

The human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among his mysteries……..Within it lieth concealed that which  the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.   Ponder in thine heart the revelation of the Soul of God that pervadeth all His Laws……                                                                                     Gl    p160-161

Spirit/Spiritual/ity/ization/

`What is the purpose of our lives?’

     Abdu’l-Baha. – `To acquire virtues.

             (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Paris Talks*, Page: 177)

It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit.  In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers:  the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.                     Paris Talks Page: 174)

The heart of man is open to inspiration; this is spiritual communication.  As in a dream one talks with a friend while the mouth is silent, so is it in the conversation of the spirit.  A man may converse with the ego within him saying:  “May I do this? Would it be advisable for me to do this work?”  Such as this is conversation with the higher self.’                                                                        (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Paris Talks, Page: 179)

it (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest.   Because of its attachment to matter and the phenomenal world, when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul.   When it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind.   And when it soars into the atmosphere of God, and travels in the spiritual world, it becomes designated as spirit.
Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190

Subject/ivity see Autonomy and Authenticity

See also http://bahai-library.org/provisionals/surah.sun.html

Truth
“Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.”
Abdu’l-Baha The Advent of Divine Justice p 26

Truth/beauty & goodness

God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and recognize truth.  He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the message of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may discover things for himself.  This is his endowment and equipment for the investigation of reality.  Man is not intended to see through the eyes of another, hear through another’s ears nor comprehend with another’s brain.  Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God.  Therefore, depend upon your own reason and judgment and adhere to the outcome of your own investigation; otherwise, you will be utterly submerged in the sea of ignorance and deprived of all the bounties of God.  Turn to God, supplicate humbly at His threshold, seeking assistance and confirmation, that God may rend asunder the veils that obscure your vision.  Then will your eyes be filled with illumination, face to face you will behold the reality of God and your heart become completely purified from the dross of ignorance, reflecting the glories and bounties of the Kingdom.

      (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 293)

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.   AHW p. 2

Truth/proof/testimony

in the human material world of phenomena these four (the senses, reason, traditions, & inspiration) are the only existing criteria or avenues of knowledge, and all of them are faulty and unreliable.  What then remains?  How shall we attain the reality of knowledge?  By the breaths and promptings of the Holy Spirit, which is light and knowledge itself.  Through it the human mind is quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge.                                                                    PUP 22-23

Man is degraded in becoming the captive of his own illusions and suppositions….
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace, Page: 232)

God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and recognize truth.  He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the message of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may discover things for himself.  This is his endowment and equipment for the investigation of reality.  Man is not intended to see through the eyes of another, hear through another’s ears nor comprehend with another’s brain.  Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God.  Therefore, depend upon your own reason and judgment and adhere to the outcome of your own investigation; otherwise, you will be utterly submerged in the sea of ignorance and deprived of all the bounties of God.  Turn to God, supplicate humbly at His threshold, seeking assistance and confirmation, that God may rend asunder the veils that obscure your vision.  Then will your eyes be filled with illumination, face to face you will behold the reality of God and your heart become completely purified from the dross of ignorance, reflecting the glories and bounties of the Kingdom.

      (`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 293)

Unity and love as animators of human purpose

Our duty lies in educating souls so that the Sun of the bestowals of God shall become resplendent in them, and this is possible through the power of the oneness of humanity. The more love is expressed among mankind and the stronger the power of unity, the greater will be this reflection and revelation, for the greatest bestowal of God is love.  Love is the source of all the bestowals of God.  Until love takes possession of the heart, no other divine bounty can be revealed in it.

     All the Prophets have striven to make love manifest in the hearts of men.
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Page: 15)

Virtues/names/attributes

Man acquires divine virtues; nature is denied them.  Man can voluntarily discontinue vices; nature has no power to modify the influence of its instincts.  Altogether it is evident that man is more noble and superior, that in him there is an ideal power surpassing nature.  He has consciousness, volition, memory, intelligent power, divine attributes and virtues of which nature is completely deprived and bereft; therefore, man is higher and nobler by reason of the ideal and heavenly force latent and manifest in him.
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Pages: 178-180)

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.
(Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings, Page: 65)

Will/volition

All that which ye potentially possess can, however, be manifested only as a result of your own volition

             (Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings, Page: 149)

Nature has no consciousness; man is endowed with it.  Nature is without volition and acts perforce, whereas man possesses a mighty will..
(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Pages: 178-180)

Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him – a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation…. 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.
(Baha’u’llah:  Gleanings, Page: 65)

Word  The / Word of God

Naught but the celestial potency of the Word of God, which ruleth and transcendeth the realities of all things, is capable of harmonizing the divergent thoughts, sentiments, ideas, and convictions of the children of men.  Verily, it is the penetrating power in all things, the mover of souls and the binder and regulator in the world of humanity.

(`Abdu’l-Baha:  Selections …  `Abdu’l-Baha, Pages: 289-292)

Work

Baha’u’llah has even said that occupation and labor are devotion.

All humanity must obtain a livelihood by sweat of the brow and

bodily exertion, at the same time seeking to lift the burden of

others, striving to be the source of comfort to souls and facilitating

the means of living.  This in itself is devotion to God.  Baha’u’llah

has thereby encouraged action and stimulated service.  But the

energies of the heart must not be attached to these things; the soul

must not be completely occupied with them.  Though the mind is

busy, the heart must be attracted toward the Kingdom of God in

order that the virtues of humanity may be attained from every direction

and source.    `Abdu’l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Page 187

O people of Baha!  It is incumbent upon each one of you to engage in some occupation – such as a craft, a trade or the like.  We have exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship of the one true God.
Baha’u’llah:  The Kitab-i-Aqdas p. 30

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