(continued) ABDUL BAHA ON DIVINE PHILOSOPHY Page 100 the Christ said, "He that drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst." This means the apprehension of the ideals of the human world and of the heavenly realm. Day by day may you receive these concepts; day by day may you inherit this new state of consciousness till you become immerse in the sea of divine light. This station is the ultimate result of human life; this station is the true fruit of existence; this station is the pearl of human consummation, the shining star toward which human destiny points. Practice the teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH, and day unto day you will draw nearer the supreme horizon. ----- In this cause we have many principles to which we adhere, the most important is to avoid that which creates discord. We must have the same aspirations and become as one nation. Humanity must feel entirely united. Until this glorious century the power of unity has been ineffectual and the forces of discord have augmented. Men never reflect that they are brothers. The divine power alone is potent enough to triumph over these religious, racial and patriotic prejudices. Alas! they have lost sight of the divine principles and are in a way to forget them entirely. Had the principles of unity, taught by the Christ, remained in the hearts, men would have refrained from war. Universalism must be Page 101 retaught. BAHA'O'LLAH has brought the force to unite the most antagonistic sects and bring all nations under one flag. ----- From the beginning the followers of all religions have believed in two seas,--one salt and one fresh; in two trees-the tree of good and the tree of evil. For this men have called one another heretics. Misinterpreting the divine commands, men have acquired prejudices and on these prejudices they have waged religious wars and caused bloodshed. Behold what is happening to-day! Men are killing their brothers, believing this to be a cause of salvation, believing that such work is approved by God, believing that those whom they kill will be sent to hell. BAHA'O'LLAH speaks to humanity in a different tone, declaring humanity to be like the leaves of a single branch, the branches of a single trunk. For the new day hath dawned--awaken the sleeping ones! Thanks be to God, you are the beloved of the universe that love the whole world. Praise be to God your affection is for all, you are the enemies of none, lovers of humanity, a precious mine for the souls. Thus will you disperse the heavy clouds of prejudice. The doors of the kingdom are open to you, the divine good news of the ages has come to you. Go further into the teachings and you will arrive at the splendors of divine mysteries. Page 102 The teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH will give to the hearts the necessary impulse for bestowing eternal life and will cause the breeze of the Holy Spirit to waft upon you, so that with a single heart you will turn toward God. ----- Until now it has been said that all religions were composed of tenets that had to be accepted, even if they seemed contrary to science. Thanks be to God, that in this new cycle the admonition of BAHA'O'LLAH is that in the search for truth man must weigh religious question in the balance of science and reason. God has given us rational minds for this purpose, to penetrate all things, to find truth. If one renounce reason, what remains? The sacred texts? How can we understand God's commands and to what use can we put them without the balance of reason? The priests are attached to ancient superstitions and when these are not in keeping with science, the priests denounce science. When religion is upheld by science and reason we can believe with assurance and act with conviction, for this rational faculty is the greatest power in the world. Through it industries are established, the past and present are laid bare and the underlying realities are brought to light. Let us make nature our captive, break through all laws of limitation and with deep penetration bring to light that which is hidden. The power to do this Page 103 is the greatest of divine benefits. Why treat with indifference such a divine spark? Why ignore a faculty so beneficial, a sun so powerful? ----- I have been asked a question: "How can we know when our actions meet with the approval of God?" Sometimes passion incites us to action; the laws of nature attract us, we obey our senses; the other incentive is the comprehension of the direction of God. We must find out if our actions are divinely inspired and if they do not conform, then it is our sensations which speak. Let us ever weigh our deeds in the scales of the divine teaching. When we speak let our speech be an outward evidence of the inner light, for we must speak the truth, otherwise we shall not act wisely. I hope that you will all become eloquent. The greatest gifts of man are reason and eloquence of expression. The perfect man is both intelligent and eloquent. He has knowledge and knows how to express it. Unless man express himself in this day he will remain like a closed casket and one cannot know whether it contain jewels or glass. I desire that all of you may speak on the material and divine sciences with clear and convincing words. ----- Some one has asked this question, "What are the proofs through which one can establish the existence of God?" Page 104 Humanity is divided into two classes:--one is satisfied with the knowledge of divinity through its attributes and the other strives to understand the mysteries of divinity and be informed of the fundamental principles of divine philosophy. I will speak to you of the scientific proofs which establish the existence of God and I will not quote the scriptural proofs from the Old and New Testaments, or the Koran, with which you are more or less familiar. Science teaches us that all forms of creation are the result of composition; for example, certain single atoms are brought together through the inherent law of affinity and the result is the human being. A number of primordial atoms have gone into the make-up of a plant, the result of which is this flower. Again, looking into the mineral kingdom, we observe that this law of attraction is working the same manner. Many atoms go into the composition of a piece of stone which through purification may reach to the station of a mirror. When the particles of a given composition are disintegrated, this may be called non-existence in that kingdom; but the original simple elements go back to their primary atoms and are ever existent. When the body of man becomes the subject of decomposition we call that death. That the existence of phenomena depends upon composition, and mortality upon decomposition, is a scientific fact and there is a great difference between facts sustained by science and theories Page 105 upheld by blind belief which is the result of traditional susceptibility of conscience. The materialists state that inasmuch as it is proved by science that the life of phenomena depends upon composition and its destruction upon disintegration, they question the necessity of a creator, the self-subsistent Lord. "For," argue the materialists, "we see with our own eyes that these infinite beings go through myriads of forms of composition and in every combination they bring about certain distinctive characteristics, so we are independent of any divine maker." Those informed with divine philosophy answer that there are three theories of composition; first, accidental composition; second, involuntary composition; third, voluntary composition. If we declare that construction is accidental, this is logically a false theory, because then we have to believe in an effect without a cause; our reason refuses to think of an effect without a primal cause. The second, involuntary composition, means that each element has within it an innate function of this power of composition--certain elements have flowed toward each other, their union being an inherent necessity of their being. But as long as we reason that it is the inherent necessity of those elements to enter into composition there should not be any necessity for decomposition; and inasmuch as we observe that there is a process of decomposition, we conclude that the constituent elements of life enter neither involuntarily nor Page 106 accidentally, but voluntarily into composition-- and this means that the infinite forms of organisms are composed through the superior will, the eternal will, the will of the living and self-subsistent Lord. This is a rational proof that the will of the Creator is effected through the process of composition. Ponder over this and strive to comprehend its significance, that you may be enabled to convey it to others; the more you think it over, the greater will be your degree of comprehension. Praise be to God that he has endowed you with a power through which you can penetrate mysteries. Verily, as you reflect deeply, ponder deliberately and think continually, the doors of knowledge will be opened unto you. ----- I have been asked to speak of that which is eternal and that which is contingent. Is creation a manifestation or an emanation of God? There are two kinds of eternities. There is an eternity of essence, that which is without first cause, and an eternity of time, that which has no beginning. When you will understand these subjects all will become clear. Know of a certainty that every visible thing has a cause. For instance, this table is made by a carpenter; its originator is the carpenter. Therefore as such objects are not self created, they are not in the nature of things eternal; but need an auxiliary-transforming force, although in Page 107 their essence they are very ancient in time; but their ancient and eternal existence is not due to the temporary form. For instance, the world of elements cannot be annihilated, because pure existence cannot be annihilated; and what we observe are but transformative modifications in the composition of the essence. The combination of different elements has formed physical man; when the composition is destroyed the elements will return to their component parts. Complete annihilation cannot take place. The universe has never had a beginning. From the point of view of essence it transforms itself. God is eternal in essence and in time. He is his own existence and cause. This is why the material world is eternal in essence, for the power of God is eternal. A power is like a kingdom; it needs subjects and armies, for the constituents of a kingdom are rulers and subjects. The power of God is eternal and there have always been beings to manifest it; that is why we say that the worlds of God are infinite--there has never been a time when they did not exist. One can bring nothing forth from nothing, in the same way that which exists is never destroyed; the apparent annihilation is merely transmutation. A mineral compared to us may be said to be non-existent, but in its own sphere it lives. When we die our bodies return to the mineral and vegetable world. This example shows the Page 108 inter-relationship of the different kingdoms which is erroneously called annihilation. All the wealth of contingencies is misery. If we know not the eternal, we are nothing, and as God is eternal, knowing God is a link to eternity. I pray you to reflect deeply upon this, that you may understand clearly. Many people think that creation is a manifestation of God, that the divine reality like unto the embryo in a seed, has come forth out of the seed and become a trunk, branches, leaves, flowers. The prophets teach differently. Creation is an emanation from the creator. It is impossible that the eternal should become limited. A tree never becomes a creature; it never acquires sight nor smell; yet both are creations of God-- creations in emanation. Creation like the sunlight; God is the sun. This light comes forth from the sun; that does not mean that the sun has become the light. The light emanates from the sun. Seek always to prove mysteries in the light of the rational mind. We must all become the light of this sun which is God; the light of the sun, the heat of the sun, the brilliancy of the sun, the bestowals of this sun. ----- There is a point on which philosophers and the prophets differ. The philosophers make education the test of knowledge, holding that any man who receives sufficient education can attain a state of perfection. That is to say man possesses the potentiality for every kind of Page 109 progress and education enables him to bring this into the court of objectivity. The prophets say that something else is necessary. It is true that education transforms the desert into a rose garden, the virgin forest into an orchard, saplings into trees, and single flowers into double and treble flowers, but there is a fundamental difference in men. You may know ten children of one country, in the same school, under the same master, treated and fed in the same way. One of these children may make great progress, others may remain stationary. In the innate nature there are differences of memory, perception and intelligence. There is a superior, a middle and an inferior degree which corresponds to the difference in the fundamental estates of creation. While recognizing the influence of education we must also become acquainted with innate disposition. The prophets are sent to educate this innate quality in humanity. They are like gardeners who sow the grain which afterward springs up in a thousand forms of advancement. The prophets are therefore the first educators of the world, the head masters of the world. However much man may advance in material civilization, if he remain ignorant of the spiritual civilization, his soul is still defaced. The prophets are sent to refresh the dead body of the world, to render the dumb, eloquent, to give peace to the troubled, to make illumined the indifferent and to set free from the material Page 110 world all beings who are its captives. Leave a child to himself and he becomes ill-mannered and thoughtless. He must be shown the path, so that he may become acquainted with the world of the soul--the world of divine gifts. Existence is like a tree, and man is the fruit. If the fruit be sweet and agreeable, all is well, but if it be bitter it were far better there were none. Every man who has known the celestial bestowals is verily a treasury; if he remain ignorant of them, his non-existence were better than his existence. The tree which does not bring forth fruit is fit only for the fire. Strive night and day to change men into fruitful trees, virgin forests into divine orchards and deserts into rose gardens of significance. Light these lamps, that the dark world may become illumined. This is why I am come to Paris. ----- God in his wisdom has created all things. Nothing has been created without a special destiny, for every creature has an innate station of attainment. This flower has been created to mirror forth a harmonious ensemble of color and perfume. Each kingdom of nature holds potentialities and each must be cultivated in order to reach its fulfillment. The divine teachers desire man to be educated that he may attain to the high rank of his own reality, the deprivation of which is the rank of perdition. The flower needs light that it may achieve it fruitage; Page 111 man needs the light of the Holy Spirit, and the measure of illumination throughout creation is proportionate to the different kingdoms. When we come to the estate of man, we find his kingdom is vested with a divine superiority. Compared to the animal, his perfection or his imperfection is superior. In comparison with man the perfection of a flower is insignificant. Yet if man remain content in an undeveloped state viewed from the point of capacity he is the lowest of creatures. If he attain unto his heritage through divine wisdom, then he becomes a clear mirror in which the beauty of God is reflected; he has eternal life and becomes a participator of the sun of truth. This is to show you how considerable are the degrees of human achievement. The aim of the prophet of God is to raise man to the degree of knowledge of his potentiality and to illumine him through the light of the kingdom, to transform ignorance into wisdom, injustice into justice, error into knowledge, cruelty into affection and incapability into progress. In short, to make all the attainments of existence resplendent in him. The greatest gift of man is universal love-- that magnet which renders existence eternal. It attracts realities and diffuses life with infinite joy. If this love penetrate the heart of man, all the forces of the universe will be realized in him, for it is a divine power which transports him to a divine station and he will make no Page 112 progress until he is illumined thereby. Strive to increase the love-power of reality, to make your hearts greater centers of attraction and to create new ideals and relationships. First of all, be ready to sacrifice your lives for one another, to prefer the general well-being to your personal well-being. Create relationships that nothing can shake; form an assembly that nothing can break up; have a mind that never ceases acquiring riches that nothing can destroy. If love did not exist, what of reality would remain? It is the fire of the love of God which renders man superior to the animal. Strengthen this superior force through which is attained all the progress in the world. May the light of divine advancement shine upon you. This is the glory and progress of man. This is eternal life. ----- Brotherhood and sisterhood that is founded on a universal love is precious. It is not like the material kind which is soon forgotten and, perhaps, changed to hatred before this life is over. Material brothers and sisters seldom have lasting affection for each other, but this divine relationship is eternal. In the world of God it will become more clear and manifest. Here we comprehend according to environment and adaptation. This world is not much of a place for the realization of truth. This world is but the womb of the world of reality. Twins Page 113 in the matrix may even embrace each other without knowing what they do. They are in darkness and cannot know their relationship to their mother who nourishes them, or their father who cares for them and provides for them. However, when they are born out of the world of darkness and live in this world, they realize each other and become assured that they have a father and a mother. So will you become assured when you enter the world of light and then you will realize how great is my fatherhood for you. ----- Someone has asked a question on astronomy. In past ages astronomers accepted the Ptolemaic system. Ptolemy was a philosopher and astronomer of Greek origin and a lecturer in the University of Alexandria which was celebrated as one of the great universities of those times. He wrote a book called the Almagest in which he gathered together the theories held by ancient astronomers, systematizing these laws in a way that represents the knowledge of astronomy of that time. The book became an authority and eastern and western students used it in their colleges as a text-book. Ptolemy founded an observatory and his observations of the heavens were accepted by all the astronomers of the time. According to his calculations the heavens were divided into nine circles, because he observed seven planets, calculating seven distant orbits through which they moved. The circle outside of Page 114 the seventh was thought to be studded with the fixed stars. In order to make this theory clear the ancient astronomers used as an illustration the different layers of an onion--thus the curving surface of each layer adheres to the curve of each succeeding layer. Outside the eight circle there was thought to be a ninth through which these colossal bodies were given the power to march in their destined course. They further believed this ninth sphere of action to be devoid of any solar bodies and that it moved through an invisible power, thus causing the motion of all the other stars within its radius. A motion of the outward layer of the onion moves all the inside layers with it. This, in brief, was the system of ancient astronomy. After centuries of scientific deduction it is proved that there is no fixed heaven; that which we see is an infinite space; these stars are hung like luminous lamps in this immeasurable atmosphere. There are neither eight nor nine nor ninety spheres and the stars are numberless. Later astronomers like Kepler and Newton discovered the law of attraction and repulsion which hold these infinite stars in their place. Through this power of attraction and repulsion there is a universal law of interdependence between the stars. The earth has its inhabitants, the water and the air contain many living beings and all the elements have their nature spirits, then how is it possible to conceive that these stupendous stellar Page 115 bodies are not inhabited? Verily, they are peopled, but let it be known that the dwellers accord with the elements of their respective spheres. These living beings do not have states of consciousness like unto those who live on the surface of this globe; the power of adaptation and environment moulds their bodies and states of consciousness, just as our bodies and minds are suited to our planet. For example, we have birds that live in the air, those that live on the earth and those that live in the sea. The sea birds are adapted to their elements, likewise the birds which soar in the air, and those which hover about the earth's surface. Many animals living on the land have their counterparts in the sea. The domestic horse has his counterpart in the sea-horse which is half horse and half fish. The components of the sun differ from those of this earth, for there are certain light and life-giving elements radiating from the sun. Exactly the same elements may exist in two bodies, but in varying quantities. For instance, there is fire and air in water, but the allotted measure is small in proportion. They have discovered that there is a great quantity of radium in the sun; the same element is found on the earth, but in a much smaller degree. Beings who inhabit those distant luminous bodies hare attuned to the elements that have gone into the composition of their respective spheres. Page 116 May God, the exalted, illumine thy sight and insight! ----- Although outwardly cataclysms are hard to understand and to endure, yet there lies a great wisdom behind them which appears later. All the visible material events are inter-related with invisible spiritual force. The infinite phenomena of creation are as interdependent as the links of a chain. When certain links become rusty, they are broken by unseen forces, to be replaced by newer and better ones. There are certain colossal events which transpire in the world of humanity which are required by the nature of the times. For example, the requirements of winter are cold, snow, hail and rain--but the birds and animals who live for six months, enjoying a short span of life, not realizing the wisdom of the winter, chide and make lament and are discontent, saying, "Why this awful frost? Why this hail and storm? Why not the balmy weather? Why not the eternal springtime? Why this injustice on the part of the creator? Why this suffering? What have we done to be meted out with this catastrophe?" However, those souls who have lived many years and have acquired much experience and have weathered many severe winters realize that in order to enjoy the coming spring they must pass through the cold winter. Page 117 Dost thou think thy body a small thing, while in thee is enfolded the universe?-- (BAHA'O'LLAH IN SEVEN VALLEYS) CHAPTER III SOUL, MIND AND SPIRIT A MEDITATION OF ABDUL BAHA I walked in the Trocadero Gardens near the Eiffel Tower this morning. The grass was so green, the weather so delicious, I began thinking and became amazed at all the material wonders-- amazed at how men deprive and limit themselves. I thought of how the spirit radiates in all the realms of nature according to the receptive degree. In the mineral world the spirit shows itself, but limited to that mineral condition. It is proved through science that the mineral has the power of attraction, the vegetable has the power of growth; life is according to capacity. Man's spirit comprehends the realities of kingdoms which have no knowledge of him, even as the child in the womb has no knowledge of exterior existence; nevertheless, the mother comprehends the child's existence. The superior kingdom understands the inferior, but that the inferior comprehends it not is no proof of the non-existence of the superior kingdom. In the human world, if we do not understand the divine world, it that a proof that the world of God does Page 118 not exist? When we view the universe we see it as endless space, for we cannot restrict the universe to the lower kingdoms and to man who is here for a few days only, then vanishes. This physical universe is infinite, and if material existence is endless, how much more so are the worlds of God! When we think of the visible worlds as infinite, how can we think that the worlds of God are limited? There is no beginning and no end to the material or spiritual worlds. Man passes through different phases and when in a lower consciousness he cannot comprehend the consciousness above. When we were in the state of the unborn child we had no knowledge of the world of man. If the vegetable kingdom could speak it would cry out, "Where is the world of man?" We cry out, "Where is the kingdom of the spirit?" My hope for you is that as you travel through the universe of existence you will ever become acquainted with new and wonderful significances; that your knowledge will ever be increased-- knowledge without limitation; then you will understand the realities existing in all kingdoms. Capacity is in accordance with striving and sincerity. I pray that your inner sight may become clear, that you may be able to perceive things the heedless do not see, that you may understand the infinite worlds of God. A man who has no knowledge of the heavenly universe has missed a portion of his heritage and is like unto Page 119 a stone which knows nothing of humanity. May God open your inner sight, so that you may know his secrets, attain to the highest degree of existence, become manifestors of a spiritual humanity and have your share of the heavenly wisdom that BAHA'O'LLAH bestows. These divine effulgences have enveloped the Orient and Occident, but the eyes know not how to perceive, the intelligences are weak and so men are deprived and are in manifest loss. I commend you to turn towards the kingdom of El-Abha, so that the divine mysteries may be revealed. ----- I have the greatest desire to speak with you, but if I do not talk with my tongue I commune with my heart and my soul is with you. Without the medium of words it speaks to you of mysteries. Those who understand can converse with me thus for night and day I cry, "Ya Baha El-Abha," and I proclaim the kingdom of BAHA'O'LLAH so that intelligent hearts can understand the significance. Those turned toward the kingdom perceive the light of BAHA'O'LLAH; but if they are not turned, even should I address them in eloquent and resonant words, it would be like playing a marvelous instrument for the deaf. Thanks be to God, your hearts and intelligence are awakened, so that you hear the divine mention night and day. I hope that you understand what I say, that you comprehend the praises of BAHA'O'LLAH, for I Page 120 have no aim save to proclaim the kingdom of El-Abha; I have no occupation save to explain the book of BAHA'O'LLAH. My hope in you is great, that the song may penetrate. ----- Some one desires an explanation of the terms soul, mind and spirit. The terminology of ancient and modern philosophers differs. According to the great ancient philosophers the words soul, mind and spirit implied the underlying principles of life; the essence was expressed under different names and these three terms designated the various functions of the absolute reality, or the operations of the one single essence; for instance, when they dealt with the sensations of emotion they called it the soul; when they desired to express that power which discovers the reality of phenomena they gave it the appellation of mind and when they discussed the consciousness which pervades the world of creation they gave it the title of spirit. A man sees, hears, or speaks--seeing, hearing and speaking being the different functions of the same power or reality which animates him; the eye being the organ of sight, the ear of hearing and the tongue of speech. The one invisible primal essence had various names, but this in brief is the synopsis of the ancient philosophy. We make a differentiation in these subjects. When we speak of the soul we mean the motive Page 121 power of this physical body which lives under its entire control in accordance with its dictates. If the soul identifies itself with the material world it remains dark, for in the natural world there is corruption, aggression, struggles for existence, greed, darkness, transgression and vice. If the soul remains in this station and moves along these paths it will be the recipient of this darkness; but if it becomes the recipient of the graces of the world of mind, its darkness will be transformed into light, its tyranny into justice, its ignorance into wisdom, its aggression into loving kindness; until it reach the apex. Then there will not remain any struggle for existence. Man will become free from egotism; he will be released from the material world; he will become the personification of justice and virtue, for a sanctified soul illumines humanity and is an honor to mankind, conferring life upon the children of men and suffering all nations to attain to the station of perfect unity. Therefore, we can apply the name "holy soul" to such a one. There is, however, a faculty in man which unfolds to his vision the secrets of existence. It gives him a power whereby he may investigate the reality of every object. It leads man on and on to the luminous station of divine sublimity and frees him from all the fetters of self, causing him to ascend to the pure heaven of sanctity. This is the power of the mind, for the soul is not, of itself, capable of unrolling the mysteries of phenomena; but the mind can accomplish Page 122 this and therefore it is a power superior to the soul. There is still another power which is differentiated from that of the soul and mind. This third power is the spirit which is an emanation from the divine bestower; it is the effulgence of the sun of reality, the radiation of the celestial world, the spirit of faith, the spirit His Holiness the Christ refers to when he says, "Those that are born of the flesh are flesh, and those that are born of the spirit are spirit." The spirit is the axis round which the eternal life revolves. It is conducive to everlasting glory and is the cause of the exaltation of humanity. In another instance His Holiness the Christ says, "Whosoever has not received a portion of the spirit is as dead. Let the dead bury their dead." This means that although the souls of humanity are living, yet if they are deprived of contact with the spirit they are as dead. In another place Christ says, "You must be baptized with the spirit." This spirit of faith is the flame of reality, the life of humanity and the cause of eternal illumination. It inspires man to attain the virtues and perfections of the divine world. It is my hope that each one of you may become conscious of this flame. ----- Regard this globe. Its divisions are mineral, vegetable and animal. Man is the result of all these; therefore man is the result of all existence here. He stays fives days on this earth in great Page 123 trouble and hardship. One day he is ill, the next day he is poor, another day he is sad, one day his father dies, the next his son dies. He has not one moment of peace. Think you the whole earth life culminates in one who spends but five days on its surface--days encompassed with difficulties? Those who think thus--verily, are they not the children of error? But praise be to God, the world of existence does not culminate here. If this were so, existence itself would be sterile. There are many worlds of light. For even as the plant imagines life ends with itself and has no knowledge of our existence, so the materially-minded man has no knowledge of other worlds of consciousness. But some there are who have found divine intelligence and have obtained spiritual understanding. They have the real sight. They know of the other worlds. That is why the prophets of God forfeited this world, renounced everything material and gave their hearts to the heavenly world. Were there nothing after death, Christ would not have accepted the cross; the prophets of all time would not have sacrificed their lives. They were in touch with the celestial world and they overlooked this transitory life. This is the fruit of the tree of creation--to be freed from the darkness of the planet in order to enter the worlds of light. This is the object of existence; this is the fruit of the tree of humanity. If not for this fruition, what is the purpose of the tree? For this world is like unto a tree, Page 124 and the fruits thereof are the divine worlds; assuredly the tree of creation is adorned with luscious fruits. Were it not for the existence of the divine worlds, the kingdom of being would be fruitless. Were it not for the inspiration of the breath of the Holy Spirit, this life would be a farce. May the radiant sea of reality become clear and unveiled of its clouds; may people become freed from the quagmires of the world of matter and soar upward to the city of light. ----- The test of existence is motion. An object which has in itself the power of motion lives. If motion is withheld growth ceases. That is mortality. There are different degrees of motion. There is motion of transit, that is from place to place. For example, the revolution of the earth around the sun; a bird flies from branch to branch. Another kind is the motion of inherent growth, like that of man from the condition of childhood to the estate of manhood, or the development of a tree from the seedling to its full fruition. The third is a motion of condition--the sick man passes from the stage of sickness to the state of health. The fourth motion is that of the spirit. For instance, the child while in the mother's womb has all the potential qualities of the spirit, but those qualities begin to unfold little by little Page 125 as the child is born and grows and develops, finally manifesting all the attributes and qualities of the spirit. The fifth is the motion of the intellect whereby the ignorant become wise; the indifferent, alert; the dark, illuminated and the carnally-minded, spiritual. In this century a great impelling stream is manifest in the world of intellect. Minds have been stirred by this impulse and have made marvelous progress. The sixth motion is that of the eternal essence. That is to say, all phenomena either step forth from the arena of non-existence into the court of objectivity, or from existence into non-existence. Just as being in motion is the test of life, so being stationary is the test of death and when a moving object stops it retrogrades. To stop means to fall. When a tree stops giving fruit it decays. In other words, man must throughout all the degrees of life evolve and progress day unto day, for life is continuous. The manifestors of divine law have appeared so that they may confer upon man an ideal power which will enable him to advance along all the degrees of human attainment. The power of the world of existence is limited, while the power of God is unlimited. If the reality of man should not be confirmed by a divine power human progress would terminate. On the other hand, the divine reality is unlimited and immeasurable and can never stop or deteriorate, therefore the holy souls who are confirmed with this divine power are likewise Page 126 endowed with eternal motion. Their progress becomes unlimited. Day unto day their lives are strengthened, the circle of their comprehension becomes wider, the sphere of their intellects becomes more effectual and their capacities are increased. I desire for you that ideal power, so that you may come into the stream of uninterrupted motion and never cease progressing. Day unto day may you inherit eternal qualities, so that you may continue to travel along all the infinite degrees of human and divine attainments. ----- The spirit of man has two means of action. Sometimes it acts through an intermediary. For instance, the spirit of man sees through the intermediary of the eye, hears through the ear, walks with the help of the legs and smells with the nose. In order to seize the actions of the rational soul, we need the mediation of the body; but the soul can act directly without this intermediary. Thus, when we sleep the soul sees without the help of the eyes. The auditory nerves are inactive, but the soul hears. Our members are in repose, but the soul is in movement. Our body is in the room, our soul is traveling through all horizons. It is clear, therefore, that the soul evolves with and without the intervention of the material body. In the same way when we study an object, sometimes we observe it with the help of some optical Page 127 instrument and sometimes with the naked eye. Sometimes we move by ourselves, sometimes with the help of a machine of locomotion. The soul acts in the physical world with the help of the body. When it is freed from the body it acts without an intermediary. We see with our physical eyes, but with the help of our thoughts we can see other lands. America was discovered through the mind. The day the soul becomes detached from the body it has but this second means of action--without intermediary. It is the same with the holy messengers when they have left the earth. Christ acts to-day without an intermediary. His expressions in the world are numerous. The sun shines once through the medium of the mirror and again without it. Now we are liking at the sun which is reflected in the mirror and when the mirror is broken we look at the sun itself. The body is the horse, the soul is the rider and sometimes the rider moves without a mount. But people who do not reflect say that when the soul has left the body it can no longer act. The divine teachers act more powerfully after the detachment of their souls from the body. In his time the Christ was not able to influence many people. Afterward his influence became widespread. Spirit has no body. Reflect on this subject. ----- What becomes of the soul after its separation from the body? The question concerns that which Page 128 has a place and that which is placeless. The human body is in space; the soul has no place in space. Space is a quality of material things and that which is not material does not partake of space. The soul, like the intellect, is an abstraction. Intelligence does not partake of the quality of space, though it is related to man's brain. The intellect resides there, but not materially. Search in the brain you will not find the intellect. In the same way though the soul is a resident of the body it is not to be found in the body. When man dies, his relation with the body ceases. The sun is reflected in the mirror; the mirror reflects the light and brilliancy of the sun, but the sun does not reside in the mirror. It does not enter nor come out of the mirror, nevertheless one sees it in the mirror, so the soul reflects itself in the body. If the mirror be broken the sun does not die. The body is the temporary mirror; the spiritual soul suffers no change, no more than the sun does remaining eternally in its own station. Even as in the world of dreams when all the physical faculties are in abeyance and the soul travels in all realms seeing, hearing, speaking, so when the physical body decomposes, the soul is not affected. People who know the truth say that the physical body of man is put into motion by the soul and in the same way man is the vital spark of this world. If man had not been put upon this earth the world would be dead. I do not speak of the physical man, but of the human attainments Page 129 which are the adornment of existence. If man did not exist, this world would have no beauty, no eternity, no object. In the same way that the essence of man is the soul, the soul of this world is the subtle growth of spirituality, heavenly morals, divine favors and sacred powers. Were the physical world not accompanied by this spirit, it could not exist. A beautiful creature without a soul signifies nothing. A most sumptuous habitation set in darkness is non-existent. The most wonderfully wrought lamp, if it give no light, is useless. Europe, the most adorned of the continents, has progressed to the apex of refined material civilization. It is a beautifully formed body, --alas, that it has no soul! It is one of the most polished mirrors,--alas, that the sun of truth is not reflected in it! It is an orchard without fruit,--alas, it has no spiritual fragrance. Arise! Put forth a supreme effort, secure some new and heavenly attraction--that this Europe may be set in motion, for it is lamentable that it should be deprived of the heavenly wisdom; lamentable that it knows nothing of the heavenly rays; that it has not the health of the Holy Spirit; that a being of such great beauty should have no soul; that so exquisite a flower should have no scent; that so magnificent a structure should have no light. Do not remain inactive for one moment. perchance you may shed light in this darkness. I beg of God to illumine you with the light of his love so that you may enter into the kingdom Page 130 and draw nigh unto the threshold. His bounties are inexhaustible and this world is very dark. It shows forth no attributes save that of animal characteristics, for the world of nature is an emanation of the animal kingdom, not an emanation of the world of humanity. The human world is a spiritual emanation, but if it become devoid of its distinguishing virtue it retrogrades and becomes akin to the animal. I desire for you such a spiritual effulgence as will give you power to make ideal advancement and enter the kingdom of El-Abha, so that you may become superior to the whole of creation and find an illumination which is eternal. May you become assisted with confirmations that are enduring and attain to an enjoyment of life that is without interruption, without beginning and without end. I will pray for you. ----- Some one has asked a question on personality. From what source does it come? What are its attributes? What are its characteristic features or aspects? Personality is of two kinds. One is the natural or God-given personality which the western thinkers call individuality, the inner aspect of man which is not subject to change; and the other personality is the result of acquired arts, sciences and virtues with which man is decorated. When the God-given virtues are thus adorned, we have character. When the infinite effulgences of Page 131 God are revealed in the individuality of man, then divine attributes, invisible in the rest of creation, become manifest through him and one man becomes the manifestor of knowledge, that is, divine knowledge is revealed to him; another is the dawning place of power; a third is trustworthy; again, one is faithful, and another is merciful. All these attributes are the characteristics of the unchangeable individuality and are divine in origin. These qualifications are loved by all, for they are emanations of the father. They are the significance of his name and attributes, the direct rays of which illuminate the very essence of these qualifications. As regards the personality which is the result of acquired virtues, let us take this mirror as an example: In the beginning it was a piece of black stone; now, through the process of purification, it has become a mirror and has reflecting power and displays its innate perfections so that they are clearly visible to all. The rock was endowed with a distinct individuality which acquired a personality through the process of education. The individuality of each created thing is based upon divine wisdom, for in the creation of God there is no defect. However, personality has no element of permanence. It is a slightly changeable quality in man which can be turned in either direction. For if he acquire praiseworthy virtues, these strengthen the individuality of man and call forth his hidden forces; but if he acquire defects, the beauty and simplicity of the individuality Page 132 will be lost to him and its God-given qualities will be stifled in the foul atmosphere of self. It is evident that every human being is primarily pure, for God-created qualities are deposited in him. If man extend his individuality by acquiring sciences, he will become a wise man; if he be engaged in praiseworthy deeds and strive for real knowledge, he will become godlike. If, on the other hand, when God has created him to be just and he practices injustice, he denies his God-given attribute. Man was created to be merciful, he becomes a tyrant; he was created to be kind to all the children of men and given the capacity to confer life, but he becomes the destroyer of life. Personality is obtained through the conscious effort man by training and education. A fruitless tree under the influence of a wise gardener becomes fruitful; a slab of marble under the hand of a sculptor becomes a beautiful statue. The ruined places are built up by captains of industry; the ignorant children learn the secrets of phenomena under the tutelage of a wise teacher. The crooked branch becomes straight through cultivation. It is evident that we have two modes for the expression of life,--individuality and personality,-- the former becomes as the son of God and the latter the son of man. As we have shown, the personality of some is illumined, that of others is dark; the personality of some is seen in the manifestation of divine justice, while that of Page 133 others is the embodiment of tyranny. The personality of some is divine guidance made visible, while that of others is choked in the veils of self and desire. That which was hidden in the capability of these souls has been made manifest; just as, for instance, when you sow a seed, that which is hidden in the reality of that seed becomes revealed and unfolded--the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the blossoms and the fruits, which are in the seeds as potentialities. A teacher brings out the potentialities of the pupils. The clouds pour down rain, the sun shines, and that which was hidden in the bosom of the earth springs forth. The personality of man is developed through education, while his individuality which is divine and heavenly should be his guide. Poison is harmful to man. It is the nature of man to find enjoyment in that which is gratifying to his senses; if he pursue this path he subverts his individuality to such a degree that the poison of darkness which was the means of death becomes the means of his existence and his nature becomes so degraded and his individuality so deflected that his one purpose in life will be to obtain the death-dealing drug. What causes the change in the individuality? It comes through the acquirement of evil habits. God originally endowed man with an individuality which enjoyed that which was beneficial and shunned the drug; but man through his evil habits changes this creation and transforms the divine illumination into satanic darkness. Page 134 As long as man is a captive of habit, pursuing the dictates of self and desire, he is vanquished and defeated. This passionate personal ego takes the reins from his hands, crowds out the qualities of the divine ego and changes him into an animal, a creature unable to judge good from evil, or to distinguish light from darkness. He becomes blind to divine attributes, for this acquired individuality, the result of an evil routine of thought, becomes the dominant note of his life. May all of you be freed from these dangers and delivered from the world of desires that you may enter into the realm of light and become divine, radiant, merciful, Godlike. ----- All that has been created is for man who is at the apex of creation and who must be thankful for the divine bestowals, so that through his gratitude he may learn to understand life as a divine benefit. If we hold enmity with life, we are ingrates, for our material and spiritual existence is the outward evidences of the divine mercy. Therefore we must be happy and pass our time in praises, appreciating all things. But there is something else: detachment. We can appreciate without attaching ourselves to the things of this world. It sometimes happens that if a man loses his fortune he is so disheartened that he dies or becomes insane. While enjoying the things of this world Page 135 we must remember that one day we shall have to do without them. Attach not thyself to anything unless in it thou seest the reality of God--this is the first step into the court of eternity. The earth life lasts but a short time, even its benefits are transitory; that which is temporary does not deserve our heart's attachment. Material favors sometimes deprive us of spiritual favors and material rest of spiritual rest. A rich man said to Christ, "I would fain be thy disciple." "Go and put into practice the ten commandments," replied the Christ. "But I know them by heart and have always practiced them." "Then sell what thou hast and take up thy cross and follow me." The man returned to his home. But the rich who are attracted through their hearts have the spark and are like unto brilliant torches. BAHA'O'LLAH has spoken of the importance of their station. Certain rich ones have sacrificed their possessions and even their lives for this cause. Riches did not prove an obstacle for them and they are like unto stars in the heaven of both worlds-- flames of reality. Detachment does not consist in setting fire to one's house, or becoming bankrupt or throwing one's fortune out the window, or even giving away all one's possessions. Detachment consists in refraining from letting our possessions possess us. A prosperous merchant who is not absorbed in his business knows severance. A banker whose Page 136 occupation does not prevent him from serving humanity is severed. A poor man can be attached to a small thing. A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town. One day the poor man said to the rich man, "I want to go to the Holy Land." The rich man replied, "Very good, I will go also," and they started from the town and began their pilgrimage. But night fell and the poor man said, "Let us return to our houses to pass the night." The rich man replied, "We have started for the Holy Land and must not now return." The poor man said, "The Holy Land is a long distance to travel on foot. I have a donkey, I will go and fetch it." "What?" replied the rich man, "are you not ashamed? I leave all my possessions to go on this pilgrimage and you wish to return to get your donkey! I have abandoned with joy my whole fortune. Your whole wealth consists of a donkey and you cannot leave it!" You see that fortune is not necessarily an impediment. The rich man who is thus detached is near to reality. There are many rich people who are severed and many poor who are not. May our spirit be at rest! ----- God has given man a heart and the heart must have some attachment. We have proved that nothing is completely worthy of our heart's devotion save reality, for all else is destined to perish. Therefore the heart is never at rest and never Page 137 finds real joy and happiness until it attaches itself to the eternal. How foolish the bird that builds its nest in a tree that may perish when it could build its nest in an ever-verdant garden of paradise. Man must attach himself to an infinite reality, so that his glory, his joy, and his progress may be infinite. Only the spirit is real; everything else is as shadow. All bodies are disintegrated in the end; only reality subsists. All physical perfections come to an end; but the divine virtues are infinite. How many kings have flourished in luxury and in a brief moment all has disappeared! Their glory and their honor are forgotten. Where are all these sovereigns now? But those who have been servants of the divine beauty are never forgotten. The result of their works is everywhere visible. What king is there of two thousand years ago whose kingdom has lived in the hearts? But those disciples who were devoted to God--poor people who had neither fortune nor position--are to-day trees bearing fruit. Their banner is raised higher every day. When they imprisoned Peter, in the time of Nero, the Roman empire was very powerful, extending from Europe to Asia. Few empires can be compared to what Rome was. Peter and another disciple arrived in Rome a chain around their necks and reduced to the last extremity. But they have triumphed over Nero. His banner is now in the dust whereas theirs is on the summit. Page 138 These two beings were severed from all else save God, and Nero was attached to temporal power. Nothing has remained of him save the mention of his iniquities, but the works of the disciples eternally prevail! Therefore let us yearn for the kingdom of God, so that our works may bear eternal fruit. Otherwise the flower will be lost. Attach your hearts to BAHA'O'LLAH. He is the eternal glory. Then from day to day you will become more enlightened; day by day your efforts will increase; day by day your work will become universal, and day by day your horizons will broaden until in the end they will embrace the universe. Glory be upon the people of glory. ----- My fatigue does not matter--as long as I find loving souls like yourselves, my heart is happy. My hope is that this city may become illumined and pulsate with the health of the Holy Spirit. The sea of materialism is at flood tide and all the nations of the world are immersed in it. It is my hope that the fish will rise to the surface, so that they may behold other wondrous aspects of creation; for the people are like unto the fish swimming in the deep--ignorant of the rest of the universe. May they be transformed into birds of the air and soar in the nether atmosphere! May they break all bonds of limitation, so that they can observe from the height the lordly Page 139 processions of infinite creatures; they will see the blue heavens studded with luminous stars, rivers flowing with salubrious water, gardens bedecked with fragrant flowers, trees adorned with blossoms and fruits, birds singing songs of light, humanity ever striving forward, every atom of existence breathing life and force--the universe of God a wonderful theatre upon the stage of which every created thing plays its part. If you strive unceasingly, if you make a great effort, if you put forward extraordinary exertion, then these people will be awakened, their eyes will be opened and their ears unstopped, so that they can hear the melodious music which streams down from the supreme concourse, the notes and strains of which have been played from all eternity and will be played through all eternity ever enrapturing with the thousand harmonious accompaniments the pure in heart. It is my hope that you may be the means of changing this wild jungle of materialism into a fruitful orchard, this thorny thicket into a rose garden. May Europe become the divine university wherein heavenly sciences and divine arts are taught and learned! By heavenly sciences I mean divine philosophy and spiritual teachings; by the songs and fragrances of the rose garden I mean the mysteries of the kingdom of kingdoms, the secrets of the degrees of existence and the knowledge of the results of human life. ----- Page 140 This universe is not created through the fortuitous concurrences of atoms; it is created by a great law which decrees that the tree bring forth certain definite fruit. Verily, this universe contains many worlds of which we know nothing. Is the materialistic philosophy of this Europe, so much praised by contemporary agnostics and atheists, a philosophy to be admired? Are these people wooers of the spirit? Nay, they have drowned that capacity and are out of touch with the kingdom of reality. Is this an enviable goal to which humanity may aspire? Is this a system of philosophy through which people may become glorified? No, by God, the philosophy of glory needs no scholastic curriculum. Strive so that these people may be released from their nature worship and become like sons of wisdom from the city of light. Page 141 We speak one word and by it we intend one and seventy meanings.--(BAHA'O'LLAH IN THE IGHAN) CHAPTER IV ABDUL BAHA ON THE VALUE OF A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE His Excellency ABDUL BAHA, addressed the Paris Esperanto group on February 12, 1913, at a banquet which was accorded him at the Hotel Moderne in that city. M. Bourlet, President of the Paris Esperanto Society, in introducing Abdul Baha, said that one of the principles of the great world religion which he was promulgating, was the establishment of a universal language. There was a deep silence as Abdul Baha arose. His remarks were punctuated by cheers as he walked up and down the banquet hall, stopping to emphasize with frequent gesture. He spoke in Persian, M. Hippolyte Dreyfus of Paris interpreting into French. Here and there one noted that the French translation was undergoing still further interpretation by Esperantists for the benefit of neighbors who did not understand French but knew Esperanto,--the occasion itself offering a noteworthy argument for the imminent need of a universal tongue. ABDUL BAHA said: Human undertakings are divided into two kinds--universal and personal. Page 142 Those efforts which create general interest are universal; their results are likewise universal for humanity has become interdependent. The international laws of to-day are of vast importance, for as international politics bring nations nearer to one another--and thus promote a bond of oneness which acts as a magnet to attract the divine confirmations--the results and benefits are limitless. Therefore, let us say that every universal cause is divine and every personal matter is human or limited. The universal light for this planet is from the sun and the special electric ray which to-night illumines this banquet hall appears through the invention of man. In like manner the activities which are trying to establish solidarity between the nations and infuse the spirit of universalism in the hearts of the children of men are like unto divine rays from the sun of reality and the brightest ray is the coming of the universal language. Its achievement is the greatest virtue of the age for such an instrument will remove misunderstandings from amongst the peoples of the earth and will cement their hearts together. This medium will enable each individual member of the human family to be informed of the scientific accomplishments of all. The basis of knowledge and the excellencies of endeavor in this world are to teach and to be taught. To acquire sciences, and to teach them in turn, depends upon language, and when the Page 143 international auxiliary tongue becomes universal it is easily conceivable that the acquirement of knowledge and instruction will likewise become universal. No doubt you are aware that in the past ages a common language shared by various nations created a spirit of solidarity amongst them. For instance, thirteen hundred years ago there were many divergent nationalities in the Orient. There were Copts in Egypt, Syrians in Syria, Assyrians and Babylonians in Bagdad and along the rivers of Mesopotamia. There existed among these peoples rank hatred; but as they were gradually brought nearer through common protection and common interests, the Arabic language grew to be the means of intercommunication and they became as one nation. They all speak Arabic to this day. In Syria, if you ask any one of them, he will say, "I am an Arab," though he be a Greek, an Egyptian, Syrian or Jew. We say "this man is a German, the other an Italian, a Frenchman, an Englishman," etc. All belong to the great human family yet language is the barrier between them. The greatest working basis for bringing about unity and harmony amongst the nations is the teaching of a universal tongue. Writing on this subject fifty years ago, His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH declared that complete union between the various nations of the world would remain an unrealized dream until an international language was established. Page 144 Misunderstandings keep people from mutual association and these misunderstandings will not be dispelled except through the medium of a common ground of communication. Every intelligent man will bear testimony to this. The people of the Orient are not fully informed of the events in the west and the west cannot put itself into sympathetic touch with the east. Their thoughts are enclosed in a casket. The universal language will be the master key to open it. Western books will be translated into that language and the east will become informed of the contents; likewise eastern lore will become the property of the west. Thus also will those misunderstandings which exist between the different religions be dispersed. Religious prejudices play havoc among the peoples and bring about warfare and strife and it is impossible to remove them without a common medium. I am an Oriental and on this account I am shut out from your thoughts and you likewise from mine. A mutual language will become the mightiest means toward universal progress, for it will cement the east and the west. It will make the world one home and become the divine impulse for human advancement. It will upraise the standard of oneness of the world of humanity and make the earth a universal commonwealth. It will create love between the children of men and good fellowship between the various creeds. Page 145 Praise be to God, that Dr. Zamenhof has constructed the Esperanto language. It has all the potential qualities of universal adoption. All of us must be grateful and thankful to him for his noble effort, for in this matter he has served his fellow-man well. He has done a service which will bestow divine benefits on all peoples. With untiring effort and self-sacrifice on the part of its devotees it holds a promise of universal acceptation. Therefore every one of us must study this language and make every effort to spread it, so that each day it may receive a wider recognition, be accepted by all nations and governments of the world and become a part of the curriculum of all the public schools. I hope that the business of the future international conferences and congresses will be carried on in Esperanto. In the coming ages, two languages will be taught in the schools, one the native tongue, the other an international auxiliary language. Consider today how difficult is human communication. One may study fifty languages and travel through a country and still be at a loss. I myself speak several Oriental languages, but know no western tongue. Had this universal language pervaded the globe, I should have studied it and you would have been directly informed of my thoughts and I of yours and a special friendship would have been established between us. Please send some teachers to Persia so that Page 146 they may teach Esperanto to the younger generation. I have written asking some of them to come here to study it. May it be promulgated rapidly; then the world of humanity will find eternal peace; all the nations will associate with one another like mothers and sisters, fathers and brothers, and each individual member of the community will be fully informed of the thoughts of all. I am extremely grateful to you and thank you for these lofty efforts, for you have gathered at this banquet in a selfless endeavor to further this great end. Your hope is to render a mighty service to the world of humanity and for this exalted aim I congratulate you from the depths of my heart. Page 147 Is our power exhausted by our first creation? (BAHA'O'LLAH in the Ighan) CHAPTER V ABDUL BAHA ANSWERS QUESTIONS ASKED BY THEOLOGIANS OF PARIS Sunday Evening, February 17, 1913--Pasteur Monnier's Theological Seminary, Paris (The audience was composed of professors, clergy and theological students) PASTEUR MONNIER: We are very happy to find amongst us one who has come on the part of God and has brought to us a divine message. ABDUL BAHA: One endowed with the gift of hearing gets the mysteries of God from all things and all creation conveys to him the divine message. PASTEUR MONNIER: If you will permit us, we want to ask a question: As we are students of theology and are in the rank of the clergy, we would be interested to know your belief about Christ--who he was and what he was. Page 148 ABDUL BAHA: Our belief in regard to Christ is exactly what is recorded in the New Testament; however, we elucidate this matter and do not speak literally or in a manner based merely on blind belief. For instance, it is recorded in the Gospel of St. John, "In the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the word was God." The majority of Christians accept this matter literally, but we give a logical explanation that no one need find occasion to reject. The Christians have made this statement about "the word," the foundation of the trinity; but philosophers state that the trinity as regards the identity of divinity is impossible. We explain this subject as follows: By the "word" we mean that creation with its infinite forms is like unto letters and the individual members of humanity are likewise like unto letters. A letter individually has no meaning, no independent significance, but the station of Christ is the station of the word. That is why we say Christ is the "word"--a complete significance. The universal bestowal of divinity is manifest in Christ. It is obvious that the evolution of other souls is approximate, or only a part of the whole, but the perfections of the Christ are universal, or the whole. The reality of Christ is the collective center of all the independent virtues and infinite significances. For example, this lamp sheds light and the moon illumines the night with its silvery beams, but neither light is self created. Page 149 His Holiness the Christ is like unto the sun; his light issued forth from his own identity. He received it not from another person--therefore we give him the comprehensive title of the "word." By this we mean the all-comprehending reality and the depository of the infinite divine characteristics. This "word" has an honorary beginning and not a beginning of time. For instance, we say this person has precedence over all. This precedence comes to him through the station and honor which he now holds in life, but it is not a precedence of time. In reality the "word" has neither beginning nor ending. The letters of the "word" are those qualities which appeared in Christ and not his physical body. These attributes were from God--like unto the rays of the sun reflected in a clear mirror. The rays, the light and the heat of the sun are its qualities which have become manifest in the mirror. It is evident that these qualities were ever with God, even at this time they are with him, they are inseparable from him because divinity is not subject to division. Division is a sign of imperfection and God is the perfect one. It is clear that the attributes of divinity are co-equal and co-existent with the essence. In that station there is absolute unity. This in brief is the exposition of the station of the Christ. PASTEUR MONNIER: What is the similarity of the cause of Christ to that of BAHA'O'LLAH, or --what relation do they hold toward each other? Page 150 ABDUL BAHA: The foundation of the religion of God is one. The same basis which was laid by Christ and later on was forgotten, has been renewed by His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH. Each divine revelation is divided into two parts. The first part is essential and belongs to the eternal world. It is the exposition of significances and realities. It is the expression of the love of God, the knowledge of God. This is one in all the religions, unchangeable and immutable. The second part is not eternal; it deals with practical life, transactions and business and changes according to the evolution of man and the requirements of the time of each prophet. These laws are the reflex on this plane of the divine law and symbolize a medium for turning the thoughts of humanity toward justice. The mundane laws change as the horizon of man extends, till it encompass the universe. For example, during the days of His Holiness Moses, the foundation and the origin of the religion of God spelled morality and that was not changed in the Christian dispensation, but certain differences crept in through the change of the second part of the religion. During the Mosaic period the hand of a person was cut off in punishment of a small theft; there was the law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This was according to the spirit of the age, but as these laws were not expedient in the time of Christ, they were abrogated. Likewise divorce Page 151 had become so universal that there remained no fixed laws of marriage, therefore His Holiness Christ forbade divorce. According to the exigencies of the time, His Holiness Moses revealed ten laws for capital punishment. It was impossible at that time to protect the community and preserve social security without these severe measures, for the children of Israel lived in the wilderness of Tah, where there were no established courts of justice and no penitentiaries. But this code of conduct was not needed in the time of Christ. The history of the second part of religion is unimportant, because it belongs to the customs of this life only; but the foundation of the religion of God is one and His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH has renewed that foundation. The cause of Christ was wholly spiritual. He changed nothing save the Sabbath day, certain laws of conduct and the law of divorce. All the precepts of Christ deal with the knowledge of God, with the oneness of the world of humanity, the moral relations between the hearts and spiritual susceptibilities. His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH created these merciful sentiments in the most complete form and deposited them in the hearts of men. This is in keeping with the teaching of Christ, because it is the reality and reality changes not. Is it possible to say that divine unity is divisible, or the knowledge of God, the oneness of the world of Page 152 humanity, universal justice, the solidarity of the human race--are they ever subject to transformation? No, I declare by God they are immutable, for they are the reality. PASTEUR MONNIER: What is the relationship of Christ and BAHA'O'LLAH with God? ABDUL BAHA: His Holiness Christ said: "The Father is in me." This we must understand through logical and scientific evidences, for if religious principles do not accord with science and reason, they do not inspire the heart with confidence and assurance. It is said that once John of Chrysostom was walking along the seashore thinking over the question of the trinity and trying to reconcile it with finite reason; his attention was attracted to a boy sitting on the shore putting water into a cup. Approaching him, he said, "My child, what art thou doing?" "I am trying to put the sea into this cup," was the answer. "How foolish art thou," said John, "in trying to do the impossible." The child replied, "Thy work is stranger than mine, for thou art laboring to bring within the grasp of human intellect the conception of the trinity." Let us, free from past tradition, investigate the reality of this matter. What is the meaning of the father and the son? This fatherhood and sonship are allegorical and symbolical. The Messianic reality is like Page 153 unto a mirror through which the sun of divinity has become resplendent. If this mirror expresses "The light is in me"--it is sincere in its claim; therefore Jesus was truthful when he said, "The Father is in me." The sun in the sky and the sun in the mirror are one, are they not?--and yet we see there are apparently two suns. The Jews were expecting the coming of the Messiah, lamenting day and night, saying: "O God, send to us our deliverer!" But as they walked in the path of dogmas, rather than reality, when the Messiah appeared they denied him. Had they been investigators of reality, they would not have crucified--but would have recognized him instantly. PASTEUR MONNIER: Is the unification of religion possible? If so, when and how and through what channel will it be realized? ABDUL BAHA: When the devotees of religion cast aside their dogmas and ritualism, the unification of religion will appear on the horizon and the verities of the holy books will become unveiled. In these days superstitions and misunderstandings are rife; when these are relinquished the sun of unity shall dawn. When in San Francisco I was invited to speak in a Jewish synagogue. I said, "For about two thousand years, between you and the Christians, there has ever existed dark superstitions and misunderstandings which have blinded the eyes. Page 154 You conceive that His Holiness the Christ was the enemy of Moses, the destroyer of the laws of the Pentateuch, the abrogator of the commandments of the Bible. Investigate and observe that Christ appeared at a time when according to your own historians the laws of the Torah were forgotten; the foundation of religion and faith was shaken. Nebuchadnezzar had come, burning the context of the whole Bible and taking into captivity many Jewish tribes. Alexander the Great came for the second time, and Titus, the Roman general, devastated the land for the third time, killed the Jews, pillaged their property and imprisoned their children. "At such an hour and under such gloomy clouds, His Holiness the Christ appeared and said, 'The Torah is the divine book; Moses is the man of God; Aaron, Solomon, Isaiah, Zechariah and all the Israelitish prophets are valid and true.' Throughout all regions he spread the Old Testament which for fifteen hundred years had not been sent out of Palestine. Were it not for Christ the name of Moses and his book would not have reached America; for during fifteen hundred years the Torah had been translated but once. It was Christ's seal of approval which caused it to be translated into six hundred languages. Now be just, was Christ the friend or the enemy of Moses? "You say that he abrogated the Torah, but I say he promulgated the Torah, the ten commandments and all the questions which belong to Page 155 its moral world. He changed but the following: that the punishment for a small theft should not be to cut off the hand of the offender; if a person blind another, he must not be blinded, or if he break another's teeth, his teeth must not be broken. Is it justice nowadays to establish the archaic laws of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? Christ changed only that part of the Mosaic religion which did not accord with the spirit of his time. He had no desire to abolish the Torah. "Is it not true that the Christians believe that Moses was the prophet of God and all the Israelitish seers were the messengers of God and the Bible the book of God? Has this belief of theirs harmed their religion? If you say from your heart that Christ is the word of God, then all these differences will cease. The persecutions of the last two thousand years have been on account of the fact that you were not willing to proclaim these few words. I hope that it is proven to you that Moses had no better friend than His Holiness the Christ." Today the enmity and rivalry existing between the religions are over mere words. It is an established fact that the followers of all the religions believe in a reality, the benefits of which are universal; which reality is a medium between God and man. The Jews call that reality Moses, the Christians Christ, the Mussulmans Mohammed, the Buddhists Buddha and the Zoroastrians Page 156 Zoroaster. Now mark well that none of these religionists have ever seen the founders; they have only heard his name. Could they overlook these names they would at once realize that all believe in a perfect reality which is an intermediary between the Almighty and the creatures. Should you speak to a Jew about the medium or channel between God and man, without referring to any particular name or person, he would say, "Yes, this is right, but I say the name of this mediator is Moses." If you give the exposition of this divine philosophy to the followers of each religion they will agree with you in the abstract, but they will stick to the names of their own prophets and arise in contention and strife over these names. The Jew believes in Christ, though he knows it not, and is quibbling over the mere name. There have been wars and rumors of war amongst the people of the world for many thousand years; much innocent blood has been shed, many kingdoms and empires have been laid waste. Is it not enough? Religion should be the means of good fellowship and love. It must upraise the standard of harmony and solidarity. If religion is conducive to hatred and enmity, its existence is harmful to the welfare of the community. His Holiness the Christ sacrificed his life, not that people might believe the doctrine that he is the word of God; nay, rather, he yearned to Page 157 bestow the consciousness of continued existence. That is why he said, "Jesus, the son of man, is come to give life to the world." His aim has been entirely obliterated and the doctrine of the father, son and Holy Spirit has been fabricated. Christ said, "If one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." Is there any relation between this commandment and the bloody events of the nations of today? The religious dissension between the Catholics and Protestants has caused a deluge of bloodshed. Has this any bearing on the statement of Christ when he addressed Peter: "Put thy sword into the scabbard"? When we hold fast to the foundation of religion, differences will disappear. PASTEUR MONNIER: Is you aim to found a new religion? ABDUL BAHA: Our aim is to free the foundation of religion from its moss grown dogmas; to dispel the black impenetrable fog of creed so that the regions may be flooded and illumined. May these foul clouds never return; may the rays of the eternal sun encircle all countries, for verily the resplendent sun of reality shines from age to age. (Abdul Baha arose.) PASTEUR MONNIER: Our hope is likewise the spread of such ideals of unity, peace and concord. We hope to be your co-workers and co-laborers in this field. ABDUL BAHA: May that unity be established between us that is not ended by separation. Page 158 (Abdul Baha went into the library where several members of the clergy and professors sought his presence.) One of them said: "I desire to express the deepest gratitude and pleasure on the part of those present. What you have said is in truth our aim which is the establishment of universal peace and brotherhood." ABDUL BAHA: Praise be to God that our aims and hopes are one, but we must strive to make this purpose realized. A PROFESSOR: The International Congress of Religions will be opened in Paris during the month of July. We invite you to take part in the proceedings of that congress. ABDUL BAHA: It is nearly two years since I left Haifa. I must return. After forty years of confinement and two years of continuous travel my powers are exhausted. PROFESSOR: The invitation of the congress will be sent to you and we hope you will write a message to be read during the session. ABDUL BAHA: God willing. Page 159 Blessed is he who is free from the sea of names.--(BAHA'O'LLAH IN THE IGHAN) CHAPTER VI A LETTER FROM ABDUL BAHA ABBAS Written from Port Said, Egypt, to the Honorable Secretary of the Sixth International Congress of Free and Progressive Christians and other Religious Liberals (Held in Paris, France, July 16-22, 1913) HE IS GOD! MY honorable and dear friend: Your kind letter was received and its contents became the means of happiness, for it indicated the fact that a number of the well-wishers of humanity have put forth a mighty effort to organize the Sixth International Congress of Free and Progressive Christians and other Religious Liberals, so that they may establish good-fellowship among the various sects and unveil the reality of religion, investigate the foundation of divine faith and remove the present misunderstandings rampant among the nations. This is a Page 160 most noble intention, for it means service to human kind. This effort belongs to the realm of merciful susceptibilities. I hope that the noble congress may become assisted in the affiliation of the hearts of the peoples of the world and create a compact of eternal peace among the adherents of religion; so that the world may become free from strangeness and all the followers of religions may be ushered into the tent of amity which is the universal tabernacle of the oneness of the world of humanity. I entertain the greatest longing to present myself before this august International Congress and I regret exceedingly that at this time I am living in Egypt and the condition of my health prevents my journey. Apologizing for my inability to attend in person, I send this letter on the subject of religion. It is evident and clear to the wise men of nations--those wise men who are the wooers of absolute reality--that the purpose of the divine messengers and the revelation of the heavenly books and the establishment of the religion of God has been none other than to create amity and justice between the children of the races. True religion is the foundation of spiritual union, the union of thought, the union of susceptibilities, the unity of customs and the ideal chain binding together all the children of men. Through its practical realization, the minds and souls will receive development by divine instruction; Page 161 they will become assisted to investigate reality, attain to a lofty station of wisdom and establish the basis of a divine civilization. There are two kinds of civilization,--material civilization which serves the physical world and divine civilization which renders service to the world of morality. The founders of the material, practical civilization are the scientists and investigators and the establishers of divine civilization are the celestial universal teachers. True religion is the basis of divine civilization. Material civilization is like unto the body; divine civilization is like unto the spirit. A body without the spirit is dead, although it may be clothed in the utmost beauty and comeliness. In short, by religion we mean those necessary bonds which have power to unify. This has ever been the essence of the religion of God. This is the eternal bestowal of God! This is the object of divine teachings and laws! This is the light of the everlasting life! Alas! A thousand times alas! that this solid foundation is abandoned and forgotten and the leaders of religions have fabricated a set of superstitions and rituals which are at complete variance with the underlying thought. As these man-made ideas differ from each other they cause dissension which breeds strife and ends in war and bloodshed; the blood of innocent people is spilled, their possessions are pillaged and their children become captives and orphans. Thus religion which was destined to become Page 162 the cause of friendship has become the cause of enmity. Religion, which was meant to be sweet honey, is changed into bitter poison. Religion, the function of which was to illumine humanity, has become the factor of obscuration and gloom. Religion, which was to confer the consciousness of everlasting life, has become the fiendish instrument of death. As long as these superstitions are in the hands and these nets of dissimulation and hypocrisy in the fingers, religion will be the most harmful agency on this planet. These superannuated traditions, which are inherited unto the present day, must be abandoned, and thus free from past superstitions we must investigate the original intention. The basis on which they have fabricated the superstructures will be seen to be one, and that one, absolute reality; and as reality is indivisible, complete unity and amity will be instituted and the true religion of God will become unveiled in all its beauty and sublimity in the assemblage of the world. Hence, to this honorable congress I say, "Tear asunder the veils and curtains of these dogmas, remove these accumulated, suffocating increments, dispel these dark impenetrable clouds, that the sun of reality may shine from the horizon of eternity." Praise be to God that this century is the century of sciences! This cycle is the cycle of reality! The minds have developed; the thoughts Page 163 have taken a wider range of vision; the intellects have become keener; the emotions have become more sensitized; the inventions have transformed the face of the earth, and this age has acquired a glorious capability for the majestic revelation of the oneness of the world of humanity. If the members of this honorable congress engage their deliberations upon the elucidation of the world of reality and disperse the darkness of doctrines which overshadow the devotees of the various shrines and which are contrary to the divine plan, undoubtedly this world will become another world; the earthly sphere will become the sphere of the kingdom; the world of humanity an arena for the display of truth; the rays of the sun of the realm on high will shine upon it; the east and west will become enlightened; the north and the south embrace each other; all the various cults and sects become truth-seekers and speakers of reality; eternal institutions will be established in the human world, and day unto day the superstructure of the palace of the solidarity and the oneness of mankind will be raised to the loftiest pinnacle of heaven! This is the hope of this exiled one! From the throne of the Almighty I beg you assistance and confirmation, so that you may become strengthened to accomplish such a work, the feasibility of which has been considered impossible and utopian since the dawn of creation. May this work be accomplished through you, in Page 164 this radiant century, with the utmost brilliancy and grandeur. Upon ye be greeting and praise! ABDUL BAHA ABBAS Page 165 Whosoever hath known himself, hath surely known his Lord.--(BAHA'O'LLAH IN THE IGHAN) CHAPTER VII ADDRESS DELIVERED BY ABDUL BAHA To the Paris Theosophical Society, at the Theosophical Headquarters, 59 Avenue de la Bourdonnois, February 13, 1913 ACCORDING to science, all forms of creation are endowed with life; this element of life and energy depending on environment and adaptations. Life as an attribute of growth is manifest to minute degree in the mineral kingdom. It is more powerfully manifested in the vegetable; kingdom and when we study the animal world we observe that the power of life is expressing itself through more capable mediums, showing manifold attributes. Ascending to the human kingdom we find that life, or what is figuratively called spirit, is declaring itself with knowledge in the utmost power and transcendency. The more man strives along the degrees of attainment, the greater will be the unfoldment. The child born to the mother manifests this element of life in a more abundant degree than the child in the matrix. The display of the forces of life upon the arena of existence is incomparably greater than that of the dark and narrow world Page 166 in which the babe lived for nine months. But when life attains to the summit of maturity, then its manifestations will be along many paths and cover many fields hitherto undreamed of. Spirit in the human world is the discoverer of the realities of existence. All the inventions, all the sciences, all the hidden mysteries are brought to light through the activity of the spirit on the plane of life. While living in the Orient it organizes affairs in the Occident; while living on the earth it discovers the heavenly constellations. These examples ought to show you that the spirit of life is omnipotent, especially when it establishes a communication with God and becomes the recipient of the eternal light--then it transforms itself into a ray of the effulgence of the eternal sun. This station is the greatest of all stations, for this connection of the spirit of man with God is like unto a mirror and the sun of reality is reflected in it. Thus it becomes the collective center of all the virtues; its emanation is the bestowal of the king of bestowers; its radiations are the manifold splendors of the infinite luminary; its sanctity is from the highest summit of divine essence. This station is the station of heavenly inspiration and is called the station of the divine grace. It signifies that the rays of the sun of reality are resplendent in the mirror and the attributes of the sun of reality are reflected therein. This is the ultimate degree of human perfection, for the attainment of which the Page 167 thinkers and philosophers of all time have longed and poets have dreamed; it is the mystery of mysteries and the light of lights wherein the spirit becomes eternal, self-subsistent, age-abiding. When we look upon the world of creation from another standpoint, the analytic, we observe that everything is the result of composition of many single atoms which through the law of affiliation have adhered and according to the shape, order and positions of these atoms, a given being steps forth into the court of objectivity. Every single atom of these aggregate atoms has its myriad transferences as has been proved by science. Every single atom has its coursings throughout all the kingdoms of life. For instance, that which has gone into the composition of a human being was at one time in the mineral kingdom. Along the degrees of the mineral kingdom it journeyed, appearing in various forms and reflecting various images, manifesting a peculiar virtue in each. In the vegetable kingdom, it again partook of many experiences and through each experience became adorned with an added attribute. Having perfected its journeyings here, it entered the animal kingdom and was incarnated throughout multitudes of animal forms and finally, in the human kingdom it traversed endless forms of humanity, in each form of composition showing forth a particular aspect of the one power. Page 168 The forms of life are infinite, therefore the transferences of this primordial unit throughout the degrees of creation are infinite. All phenomena are involved in all phenomena. Consider what a transcendent unity exists, that, from this standpoint, every monad is the expression of all life. This is the harmony which underlies all creation; this is the law and order in the world of existence. What wondrous symmetry! What stupendous organization! What divine completeness! What elysian co-ordination! What celestial union! Every single manifestation of the myriad forms of creation is a reflection of the divine emanations, therefore the divine emanations are infinite, unlimited and illimitable. Gaze upward through immeasurable space to the majestic order of the colossal suns. These luminous bodies are numberless. Behind our solar system there are unfathomable stellar systems and above those stellar systems are the remote aggregations of the milky way. Extend your vision beyond the fixed stars and again you shall behold many spheres of light. In brief, the creation of the Almighty is beyond the grasp of the human intellect. When this objective creation is unlimited and not subject to suspension, is not the subjective creation of His Majesty the Almighty limitless? When the reflection or physical creation is infinite, how is it possible to circumscribe the reality which is the basis of divine creation? The spiritual world is so much greater than the Page 169 physical that in comparison with it the physical world is non-existent. Reflect that every human being is limited through his physical body, but his spirit is free. The body of man may travel for a few miles and become fatigued, but the spirit untrammeled may go throughout the immensity of space. While walking on earth man's thoughts may grasp the motions of the heavenly bodies and define their course. This demonstrates how man's spirit transcends his environment. The divine grace, whether physical or spiritual, is unlimited, yet certain selfish souls desire to circumscribe to their own ideas the outpouring of this heavenly grace. Oh, the ignorant ones! They have declared that the age of this world, for example, is ten thousand years. By this is meant that the descent of the heavenly bestowals has extended only over that period, while in reality it is omnipresent. We cannot state reasonably that this world is ten thousand or one hundred thousand or one hundred million years old, for the divine rays have ever descended upon man. The world of creation has had no beginning and will have no end, because it is the arena upon which the attributes and qualities of the spirit are being manifested. Can we limit God and his power? In the same manner we cannot limit his creations and attributes. Just as the reality of divinity is limitless, likewise his grace and bounties are limitless. Page 170 The supreme bestowal is the appearance of the heavenly messengers. How can we ever define or circumscribe this bestowal? If the scientists have proven that a molecule is an aggregate of myriads of atoms and the atom in turn is an aggregate of infinite electrons, how can the sun be comprehended? If the drop is infinite in its particles, how much more the sea? If the material world is infinite with regard to its manifestations of life, can the spiritual world be finite? The prophets of God have ever appeared in the ages of the past and will continue to appear throughout the ages of the future. Where was Adam when God was exercising his divinity? Where was this petty infinitesimal world of ours when God was bestowing his bounties upon this infinite universe? If we limit the number of his appearances through his prophets, it is equal to limiting God himself. Man has ever longed for a direct means of communication with his Lord and has ever been in a state of anticipation for the unique advent on this earth of a divine being. The followers of all religions have been expecting the coming of a promised one and have longingly prayed for the dawn of the sun of truth. Alas! A thousand times alas! that when he appeared they remained of the heedless, nor turned their faces toward him. Pitiful indeed is their condition! In lamentation, during the darkness of night they prayed for the light of a new day; but when it dawned from the eastern horizon they cried clamorously: "Where Page 171 is the sun? We do not see it!" They are of those who are bereft of sight. Two thousand years ago the Israelites expected the Messiah. Day and night they were praying in the temple, supplicating in the holy of holies, crying, "O God, send to us the true one, our deliverer and redeemer"--thus they lamented and bemoaned his delay. But when His Holiness the Christ appeared they jeeringly turned away; when the orb of reality dawned they could not see it, for their eyes were covered with the veils of traditions and names. These anxious waiting ones did not become the recipients of that bestowal; nor harken to the call of God; nor quaff from the chalice of love; nor behold the rays of the sun of reality. It is now nearly two thousand years since their Messiah appeared and still they await him! May our eyes be ever awake; may the windows of our minds be flung awide, so that when the messenger appeareth, we may not be deprived of his glory through the veils of preconceived ideas; so that when the heavenly herald shouts the word of God, we may not be deaf; so that when the holy fragrance of the paradise of the Almighty be diffused, our nostrils may not be afflicted with cold. May we be enabled to inhale the perfume, behold the splendor, hearken to the voice and be regenerated with the spirit of the new day. Then our life will be revivified, we shall enjoy eternal existence, be refreshed with the breath of Page 172 the Holy Spirit and become informed of the mysteries of creation. Then we shall be inspired to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity; we shall take a portion of the divine grace and become resplendent with the rays of the heavenly luminary; then the human race will mirror forth the attributes of the eternal kingdom and will move like a peaceful sea and each individual will appear as a wave. As we look upon the sea, we will comprehend it as the sea of God; as we look upon the waves, we will realize that they are the souls of humanity. The sun is one; all light is one; the rays are one; it shines on all. This century is the century of the oneness of the world of humanity, the century of justice; this century is the century of universal peace, the century of the dawn of the sun of reality; this century is the century of the establishment of the kingdom of God upon this earth; therefore let us grasp every means to promote the federation of the world, that we may become the recipients of the divine outpourings. Today we observe that various means of unity are being brought forward and this in itself is an evidence that the divine confirmations surround us. One sign of unity is the construction of an international auxiliary language, Esperanto. Let us strive untiringly to spread this language. I am most pleased with you and am very grateful to find myself in such a revered gathering. Page 173 I shall remember your spiritual susceptibilities and pray that they may be directed toward the highest, that your love for your Lord and your attraction toward him may increase day unto day. I hope that this revered society may become conducive to the illumination of the city of Paris, in order that the blind may receive sight; the deaf hearing; the dumb the power of speech; and that into these dead bodies the spirit of life may be infused. Then this Paris will become another Paris and this world another world. After Abdul Baha had taken his seat, at the request of the friends he again mounted the rostrum and offered the following SUPPLICATION O GOD, O MY LORD, I SUPPLICATE TO THEE AND IMPLORE IN THY PRESENCE AND INVOKE THEE WITH THE TONGUE OF MY CONSCIENCE, MY SOUL, MY SPIRIT, MY MIND, TO SHOWER DOWN THY MERCIFUL BESTOWALS UPON THESE HOLY SOULS WHO HAVE GATHERED IN THIS GREAT ASSEMBLY. I BEG OF THEE, O MY LORD, TO FAVOR THEM WITH THE GLANCES OF THY POWER. I ENTREAT THEE, O MY BELOVED, TO POUR UPON THEM THE RAIN OF THY FAVOR FROM THE CLOUDS OF THY MERCY. VERILY THESE ARE THY SERVANTS AND THY MAIDSERVANTS. DEPRIVE THEM NOT OF THE SUNBEAMS OF REALITY; MAKE THEM LIKE WAVES OF THY OCEAN AND LEAVE THEM NOT TO THE DARKNESS OF THEMSELVES. O LORD, ENLIGHTEN THEIR HEARTS WITH THE Page 174 LIGHT OF UNITY; CHEER THEIR SPIRITS WITH THE MYSTIC TRACES OF THY KNOWLEDGE; ILLUMINE THEIR EYES WITH BEHOLDING THY SIGNS; PURIFY THEIR SOULS WITH THE WONDERS OF THY MAJESTY; INSPIRE THEIR CONSCIENCES WITH THE WORD OF THY SINGLENESS; ENCIRCLE THEM WITH THY HEAVENLY GRACES. VERILY THOU ART THE OMNIPOTENT, THE MIGHTY. O LORD! THOU SEEST THE HEARTS OF HUMBLENESS BEFORE THY DOMINION, THE SOULS REJOICED WITH THY PROCLAMATIONS, THE SPIRITS ATTRACTED BY THY HOLY FRAGRANCES. O LORD, CONFIRM US IN THY GOOD PLEASURE, ASSIST US IN THY ADORATION AND CAUSE US TO BECOME WORTHY SERVANTS TURNING OUR FACES TOWARD THE HORIZON OF THY SINGLENESS ILLUMINED WITH THE RAYS OF THE SUN OF THY REALITY. VERILY THOU ART THE CLEMENT, THE BOUNTEOUS AND VERILY THOU ART THE MOST MERCIFUL OF THE MERCIFUL! Page 175 This world is non-existent, adorned in the form of existence.--(BAHA'O'LLAH IN TABLET TO ZOROASTRIANS) CHAPTER VIII ADDRESS GIVEN BY ABDUL BAHA TO THE SPIRITUAL ALLIANCE 14 RUE DE TREVISE, PARIS, FEB. 21st, 1913 WE observe that every movement which establishes unity and amity brings in its train life and every cause which promotes differences and enmity carries death in its wake. Every philanthropic movement is born through love and unity and every movement which has produced ruin and devastation has been born through hostility and differences. We must strive untiringly, perchance we may discover a plan whereby amity and unity will result. Today there are many affiliations inaugurated to bring about more or less unity. The first link which creates love and justice is the family bond, the second is the patriotic bond, the third is the racial bond, and the fourth is the civic bond. These, although useful in their own limited spheres, are not potent enough to bring about the unification of the entire race. Have we not learned often and with much sorrow that there has been a quarrel between the members Page 176 of a family, or the inhabitants of one land, or the denizens of various states, or the individuals of different cities? A permanent peace in the world of existence can be established only through the power of the spirit. Spirit is the ruler over the body. If the people are emancipated through one spirit, there is not a trace of doubt but that the greatest bond of union and harmony will be established amongst them. History informs us that every age has its special ties which bind the people together; but the strongest tie of all ages, the unbreakable tie which binds the hearts together, is the tie of true religion. Religion has been the means of uniting contending nations and harmonizing warring tribes. There is no agency on this planet more potent than the power of religion. Consider for a moment that in the era of Christ there were many nations who were thirsty for one another's blood, carrying at intervals fire and sword over the border lines. There were the Romans, the Greeks, Chaldeans, Assyrians and Egyptians. It was impossible to unite these conflicting tribes and peoples; but when the power of religion came into action it swept away all these barriers and cemented these nations that for ages had been waging war. By the word religion I do not mean the present dogmatic and theological superstitions which are in the hands of the people. By religion I mean the world of celestial attributes. After the moral Page 177 aspect of humanity becomes readjusted, then the greatest unity will be realized; but without this moral readjustment it is impossible to establish harmony and concord, for it is a fact that war, conflict, friction and strife are but the visible results of deterioration of morality and corruption of character. But when the morality of humanity is beautified with praiseworthy virtues there will be an end to war. For example, we observe that certain tribes and nations that are in a state of savagery desire warfare, such as the tribes of Peninsular Arabia and Central Africa. Their moral world is dark. Morality has reached a higher level in the western countries and whenever war is declared between two nations it is not always carried on with the same pitiless methods of torture and is more or less temporary. Many reforms are introduced among civilized nations-- such as care of the wounded, non-molestation of the noncombatants and the observance of certain international laws entirely unknown to the savage tribes. In these days there must needs be a mighty power of accord instilled into the nations. The principle of the oneness of the world of humanity must be proclaimed, understood and put into practice, so that all nations and religions may again remember the long-forgotten fact--that they are all the progeny of primordial humanity, Adam, and the denizens of one land. Are they not breathing one air? Is not the same sun Page 178 shining upon all? Are they not the sheep of one flock? Is not God the universal shepherd? Is he not kind unto all? Let us banish the phantasmal thoughts of east and west, north and south, European and American, English and German, Persian and French. Consider the creation of the infinite universe. This globe of ours is one of the smallest planets. Those stupendous bodies revolving in yonder immeasurable space, the infinite blue canopy of God, are many times greater than our small earth. To our eyes this globe appears spacious; yet when we look upon it with divine eyes, it is reduced to the tiniest atom. This small planet is not worthy of division. Is it not one home, one native land? Is not all humanity one race? Creationally there is no difference whatsoever between the peoples. How short-sighted we would be should we try to divide a room into the eastern and western corners. The geographical division of this world is an exact parallel. Through our ignorance and lack of viewpoint we divide this common home, we divide the members of this family into various races, we divide religion into different sects and then with these suppositional divisions we wage war against one another; we shed one another's blood and we pillage one another's possessions. Is not this unpardonable ignorance? Is this not the height of injustice? Were we just and could we observe without prejudice we would Page 179 realize that there are no fundamental differences. For the last six thousand years there have been wars and contentions between the various nations and in every age we have had some great culminating catastrophe. Were we given the vision of human brotherhood we could not have engaged in warfare. Consider how humanity has retrograded from its ideals, for it glories in fratricide. If one person kill another he is called a murderer and the civil authority brings him before the law; but if he kill one hundred thousand people on a battlefield, he is hailed as a conqueror. Is not this like unto some blood-thirsty wolf glorying in that he has wantonly strangled a hundred thousand sheep in a night? If a person steal one franc he will be branded as a thief; but if he pillage a whole country he will be acclaimed a great hero. How ignorant is humanity! From a physiological standpoint human beings differ from carnivorous animals. Their teeth, unlike the lion's, are not made for tearing flesh. All the functions of the human body are created for love and good-fellowship and it is evident that the continuation of this world of humanity depends upon the practice of these attributes and the destruction of the world of humanity lies in war and conflict. But through long custom and usage savagery and bloodthirstiness are kneaded into the very being of man and the Godlike attributes which contribute to the powers of treaty-making and international Page 180 laws have not been sufficiently strong to stem the tide of warfare. There must needs be some tremendous force to upraise the standard of eternal friendship between nations and this force must come through self-sacrifice and universal service. At a time when the Orient was in the dark night of cataclysmic ignorance, His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH, like unto a glorious sun, shone forth from the eastern horizon. In the midst of contention and the clashing rivalries of the Oriental peoples he boldly proclaimed the doctrine of the oneness of the world of humanity. Numerous souls who had the courage of their convictions gathered under his banner. In order to promote universal peace and the confederation of the nations, they were ever ready to give up their possessions and their lives. His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH suffered imprisonment, exile and incarceration for fifty years. While under chains he raised his voice and summoned the people to the tent of unity. More than twenty thousand hastened to the arena of sacrifice and while singing songs of joy were martyred at the hands of the executioners. The governments of the east arose with great determination to exterminate this cause. They held councils and said, "We must uproot the tree of this community and abolish the foundation of this palace of universal peace which these people desire to found"; they said, "We want to carry conquest to other countries, we desire Page 181 to make other nations captive, we wish to extend the boundary of our dominions and defend our frontiers. How are we going to do all these things except through militarism? And as BAHA'O'LLAH's aim is to prevent war we must destroy him and his followers so that his ideals may not take root and flourish. This illustration proves that those who live in the divine law are self-sacrificing in this path; for they have proven it by their deeds. They are neither visionaries nor utopians. With the greatest might and strength they have arisen to serve their fellow-men. Through their marvellous power they are establishing amity between the various nations and religions; they are working incessantly day and night. Today in the Orient those souls from amongst the various sects, religions and nations who have accepted the teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH are cemented together with the power of affinity and love. Were you to enter any of their conferences in the Orient you would behold the Mussulmans, Buddhists, Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians associating together in a spirit of unity and brotherhood to such degree that no one could differentiate one race from another. It is as though they had previously been opposing forces and were now welded into one consciousness. These souls have reached the highest station of self-sacrifice. Should the occasion arise, all that they possess would be freely given in order to unfurl the banner of the solidarity of the human Page 182 race over the religions of the east and the west, so that all differences might be annulled and all peoples from one end of the earth to the other might sing in accord the song of life and peace, that it might be borne on the wings of light to the throne of the father, there to be blended with the symphonies of the heavenly angels and thus heaven and earth become harmonized with the golden strains of the music of unity. Be it known that there is but one foundation to the religion of God. The apparent differences have come through ignorance. Words differ but the purpose is one. Consider how ignorant and rapacious is man. Domestic animals live with their kind in peace and harmony. If you bring together sheep from various countries, from France, Persia, America, etc., not one would contend: "I am a Persian sheep," or "I am an American sheep." Let us at least live together as these animals would. Is it fitting that we should be more savage than they? Again, if you collect in one room doves from Asia, Europe, Africa, America and Australia, cooingly they will love one another. Man, who is endowed with intelligence, must not be less than they; for the greatest bounty in the world of existence is the mind which should lead men to love and concord. We must exercise the functions of such a holy power in the path of love and not expend it upon the inventions of Krupp guns, Mauser rifles and Maxim's rapid-firing cannons. God has endowed us with intellects, Page 183 not for the purpose of making instruments of destruction; but that we might become diffusers of light; create love between the hearts; establish communion between the spirits and bring together the people of the east and the west. Every cherished effort must extend its powers to other souls. Is there anything more cherished than the mind of man? We must expend this faculty in the cause of human union, for we are the children of one father. A delicate spiritual power is ever exercising an influence over the hearts and minds of men. Why should we abandon the holy power which binds us together and cleave to the barbarous traditions which keep us apart? The world of existence is like unto an orchard and humanity is like unto the trees. All these trees are planted in the same orchard, reared through the heat of one sun, watered with one rain. We must be the cause of the adornment of this orchard. The world of humanity is like unto a rose garden and the various races, tongues and people are like unto contrasting flowers. The diversity of colors in a rose-garden adds to the charm and beauty of the scene as variety enhances unity. Why should we not look upon the human world with rose-colored vision? If this warfare and conflict are not entirely effaced, if the whole world of humanity is not united and in accord, if the various races refuse to associate with one another, how can we ever aspire to the realization of that dream of the Page 184 millennium of which it is said, "The earth will be transformed into a delectable paradise and all the children of men will live in the utmost happiness"? If the members of a family are perfectly united it will add to their comfort and joy. If the people of a city are inspired with civic unity the whole community will advance. If the inhabitants of a great continent become one spirit in different bodies marvelous progress will be made and if the people of the entire globe are welded into one great commonwealth the prayer, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven," will be a reality for each will have the kingdom within himself. What sublime happiness! What God-inspired progress! What a heavenly ideal! What a divine disposal! I request that each one of you work for this great end and hold fast to every means of harmony, that this blood-thirstiness may be forever quenched; that the horizons of the world may become illumined by the rays of a divine humanity and the east and the west become radiant with the light of its Lord. Page 185 O ye editors of the world:--It behooves ye to be free from prejudice and adorned with equity and justice in order to mirror forth the facts.--(BAHA'O'LLAH) CHAPTER IX A LOVING FAREWELL EXTRACT FROM AN INTERVIEW GIVEN TO THE EDITOR OF "THE LONDON BUDGET" S. S. CHAMBERLAIN For east is east and west is west, And ever (not never) the twain shall meet. (No rebuke intended to Mr. Kipling) ABBAS EFFENDI (Abdul Baha, Servant of God, as he prefers to call himself), son of the Persian prophet, BAHA'O'LLAH, who is at present sojourning in Paris held an interesting farewell conference at his apartment, 30 rue St. Didier. Abdul Baha willingly endured imprisonment rather than abjure his faith, one of the tenets of which declares for the absolute equality of all souls regardless of such outer differences as sex, race or color. He recognizes no class distinctions except those given by service and in the spirit of brotherly love; for this and other like doctrines he was held prisoner for forty years in the fortressed city of Acca in Palestine. WIth the advent of the Young Turks' supremacy realized through the "Union and Progress" committee, in 1908, he was freed. Something of the daily life of this advocate of universal brotherhood may be of interest. Page 186 He lives in apartment almost in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and one of the striking sights of Paris is to see him walking about in his Oriental attire through the gardens of the Trocadero and the Champ de Mars, or visiting Notre Dame. His life is of the simplest, his attitude humble, his needs few. He chants at midnight and at dawn and he who would interview this "master" must be up betimes. His secretaries gather about him and papers and magazines are read and discussed in the reception hall where Persian tea is served. It is then that he answers his mail, always a large one from people and assemblies all over the world. Every letter that is sent him is answered and every one that rings his door bell, from the humblest to the most arrogant, receives due consideration. Speaking of Paris and the French people, "Paris is a city of adornment," he said, standing at the window, looking out on the sleeping city. "I hope that, as this century is a radiant century and this age a merciful age, the human world will become united and the standard of the solidarity of the human race will be hoisted in Paris; for Paris is a center of refined civilization and has advanced marvelously along the path of science. Paris is like unto a lamp and the light will be the realization of the brotherhood of man. I hope that this light will be ignited in the lamp and that like unto a brilliant star it will shed its benign rays of unity on all religions. "People have a superstitious respect for Page 187 certain doctrines which are against science and the wise men of the country have thought that religion is opposed to science. Know thou that the greatest ethical foundation of knowledge is divine revelation and the basis of religion is reality itself. It is like unto the sun which shines on all things making them clear and luminous, whereas lesser lights as well as superstitious beliefs illumine but one aspect of things leaving room for shade and doubt. "I have great confidence in the wisdom and understanding of the world leaders of thought that they may discover this reality. "I hope that the soul of Paris will arise from the city of obscurity and progress steadily forward to the new civilization." When asked how this new civilization was to be brought about, Abdul Baha said: "Through solidarity. In some animals mutual co-operation is frequently seen; when in time of danger, each will try to surpass the others in help. One day as I was standing near the borders of a little stream on Mt. Carmel, I noticed a number of locusts that had not yet developed full wings. "These insects wishing to pass from my side of the stream to the other in order to procure some food, threw themselves forward, each one trying to emulate the other in flinging itself into the water, so that a bridge was formed in order that the others might pass over and this was accomplished; Page 188 yet those who gave themselves as a bridge finally perished. Consider how much solidarity makes for life as compared to the fighting for self interest which destroys it." When the moment came for the patriarch's parting words, he pushed back his white turban and gave one of his smiles that in itself seems like a benediction. "I am leaving Paris for the Orient though in reality I am always with you. Place does not matter. Two people may be in the same room and yet not attain to a visitation. When I was in prison many people came to see me. They crossed seas and deserts and yet remained in the city of the blind while others in far-distant lands attained the meeting. "Alas, alas! the world has not discovered the reality of religion hidden beneath the symbolic forms!" Page 189 "May it do good unto me, unto thee, unto whomsoever may ascend to the heaven of knowledge and to him whose heart is fascinated by the zephyr of assurance wafting upon the garden of his innate heart from the sheba* of the merciful! "Peace be unto those who follow guidance." (BAHA'O'LLAH IN SEVEN VALLEYS) *Sheba--A symbol of home or dwelling place.