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Selections from the Writings of His Holiness ‘Abdu'l-Bahá'

by Abdu'l-Bahá

translated by Khazah Fananapazir.
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Chapter 3

On Spiritual Health


Thou[1] didst ask a question: what is the cause of illnesses and afflictions? The causes are many and various. For some souls, illnesses and afflictions are as a punishment for deeds perpetrated, for others it is the cause of them becoming reminded that they should not become attached to this ephemeral world. In this instance, therefore, trials and calamities are a bounty from God because in the eastern countries, when a kind mother wants to wean off her suckling babe from breast milk so that it can nourish itself on delicious foods, the mother would cover the breast with a bitter ointment so that its bitterness would result in the baby experiencing a revulsion and thereby it would be weaned off breast feeding. Similarly, the all loving God has created, in this ephemeral world, illnesses and afflictions so that human beings may not become engrossed and involved in this transient world. Furthermore, every composition will undergo a decomposition. It is impossible that any elementally composed entity be not decomposed. These ailments and afflictions are the cause of the body’s decline, for, otherwise the composition of the elements of the human body will remain forever. Nevertheless, physical comfort and spiritual tranquillity are both necessary and desirable because both prolong life and therefore it is necessary to have the benefit of a perfect spiritual life and a perfect human progress. Both are wanted, but the fundamental essence of life is the spirit. If the spiritual life and its purpose is present, then even though there be deficiencies in the physical life, no major handicap will result. Yet, if the spiritual life itself is deficient, even though the physical life may be defective yet there is no benefit it will be futile and at the end it will result in evident loss, sorrow, and lamenting will be the consequence on the last day.

  1. Recipient and date of this Tablet are unknown (MW’s note).
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