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

by Abdu'l-Bahá

translated by Khazah Fananapazir.
2002
originally written as "Muntakhabát Makátib-i-Hadrat-i-‘Abdu'l-Bahá' al Mujallad ath-Thání volume 3" in Persian.
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Contents
Section 46: Surúr-i-Ruhání (“On Spiritual Happiness”)
Section 47: Ma‘niy-i-Taraqqí (“On the Meaning of Progress”)
Section 48: Síhhat-i-Rúhání (“On Spiritual Health”)


Chapter 1

On Spiritual Happiness

Surúr-i-Ruhání

[1] 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.


Note:
  1. Original recipient of this Tablet and the date are unknown. (MW’s note)

Chapter 2

On the Meaning of Progress

Ma‘niy-i-Taraqqí

[1]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. Barney;[2] doubtless 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.


Notes:
  1. Original recipient of this Tablet and the date are unknown. (MW’s note).
  2. See Part 4, Some Answered Questions (MW’s note).

Chapter 3

On Spiritual Health

Síhhat-i-Rúhání

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.


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