Selections from the Writings of His Holiness ‘Abdu'l-Bahá'
by Abdu'l-Bahátranslated by Khazah Fananapazir.
originally written as "Muntakhabát Makátib-i-Hadrat-i-‘Abdu'l-Bahá' al Mujallad ath-Thání volume 3" in Persian.
On Spiritual Happiness
 O thou dear handmaiden of God, thy letter was received and thou did
state with distress your grievous sorrows like unto a grave prison. Praise be to
God that thou didst attain freedom and made your way from prison to the palace.
Rest thou assured that confirmations of the Holy Spirit will reach thee and the
fragrances of the Abhá Kingdom will waft over thee. A true
Bahá’í is always free, and is always soaring in the zenith
of the kingdom of God. Do not let sorrow and sadness afflict thee rather pass
thy days in happiness and joy that thou mayest attain a new birth in the world
of the love of God and that thou mayest be completely freed from all fear and
all danger. Eternal life is ordained for thee; wherefore art thou frightened?
The portals of the kingdom are flung quite open before thy face; wherefore dost
thou grieve? The true spiritual life of man is attained after ascension from
this material world just as man’s bodily life is attained after he is born
from the world of the matrix. Even thou one did have a life in the
mother’s womb but that life was without radiant joy, but when one is born
from the mother one's human material life becomes affected. Similarly in this
world even thou one should attain some spiritual life its resemblance is that of
the embryo. But when one leaves this world and hastens to the world of God, the
world of the kingdom then one will attain a complete spiritual life. I beseech
God that thou mayest remain steadfast in this heavenly matter and thereby attain
all your wishes and aspirations.
On the Meaning of Progress
Thou hast written that you had heard from the friends that should a
man not make spiritual progress he will be utterly non-existent and nothing. The
purpose in this statement is not absolute non-existence; rather by it is meant
that the being of a heedless person relative to the being of the person endowed
with perfections is like non-being. For example, the stone is non being in
relationship to the human being but the stone does have an existence in the
world of the mineral. Thus all men are existing but the existence of a heedless
ignorant soul with respect to a knowledgeable perfect human being is like
non-existence. This matter has been described in detail in reply to the
questions of Mrs.
you will read that text. The essence of that explanation is that the ignorant
one exists and the knowledgeable one also exists but the existence of the
ignorant is like unto a stone and the existence of a perfect one is that of man
and so in this case the mineral, relative to the human, is non-existent.
On Spiritual Health
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