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'Abdu'l-Bahá on Divine Philosophy

by Abdu'l-Bahá

compiled by Elizabeth Fraser Chamberlain.
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Chapter 2

Knowledge is one of the greatest benefits of God. To acquire knowledge is incumbent on all. These visible arts and present implements are from the results of his knowledge and wisdom, which have been revealed from the supreme pen. In this day the mysteries of this earth are unfolded and have become visible before the eyes. — (BAHA'O'LLAH)



THIS is my second visit to Paris and I meet you with great joy. One a third visit to Europe I hope to see a brilliant flame — the signal of the paradise of El-Abha. That this continent be flooded with rays streaming from the veritable sons of light — this is my hope.

There was a time when the light of Christ shone in the world; when the proclamation of the kingdom was widespread and many spirits and hearts were drawn heavenward; but the law of this world is evanescent. That lamp is lighted and again it is extinguished. This flower starts with a sprout which day by day becomes more verdant, finally bursting into leaves and blossoms. But flowers fade and fruitage yields its seed which is kept and planted again, for the dead tree bears no more fruit. New seeds must be sown and again trees and lowers will bloom.


The great splendor of the day of Christ has gradually merged into the night, so that in this age there is hardly a ray of that great spiritual luminary lighting the world; but after the drought of summer and the cold of winter comes the new life of spring. After each sunset comes a sunrise.

The spiritual light of the world has risen again from the eastern horizon. The night is finished; the day is come and the first rays of the dawn are destroying the shadows, dispersing the clouds, making the plants to grow, the trees to become verdant and ornamenting the flower-beds with roses. The sun of reality hath reappeared with tremendous power and soon the light of BAHA'O'LLAH will be diffused throughout the world. See how the light of Christ's shining star took three hundred years to shed its rays on the world, whereas the light of BAHA'O'LLAH has permeated all regions in less than half a century. His cause has been spread in every country and the mention of BAHA'O'LLAH made in every tongue. In nearly every country there is an assembly of friends from Teheran to Paris, to San Francisco, to Japan. This is a different age and light is spreading with great rapidity.

In every language we find favorable criticisms except from those who have personal animosity against BAHA'O'LLAH, and these cases are rare. Even those newspapers that are not universal in policy, have been favorable in criticism. In the universities, professors and students have listened while I expounded the principles of BAHA'O'LLAH.


Observe and realize the power of this cause. During the time of former prophets, have you ever heard of praise from those who were not disciples? The immediate followers of Christ spoke and wrote to the glorification of the Christ spirit, but others did not occupy themselves with the subject. Verily, what is happening in this day is an unheard-of thing! The like is not recorded in Greek, Roman or Egyptian history. Behold the sovereignty and brilliancy of this truth. Jews and Gentiles alike acknowledge its vitality and are astonished at the radiance of its light. A rabbi of America although he did not claim to be a follower of BAHA'O'LLAH, nevertheless praised the precepts of BAHA'O'LLAH, and said, "We have been wrong in thinking that the light in the East is extinguished." Even those who deny the divinity of this cause do not contest BAHA'O'LLAH'S greatness, his extraordinary power, his universal wisdom; in a word, that he was a super-man.

Those who set themselves against him contended thus: "He refutes our religious customs, therefore we will have none of him — yet his teachings express the truth of the age."

Certain of the clergy in America said, "Many of the truths of our religion have been forgotten. BAHA'O'LLAH has come to remind us of them." One clergyman said before a large congregation "BAHA'O'LLAH revises the old beliefs but he has brought us nothing new. These truths are already found in the sacred books."


Then I arose and said, "I am going to quote you some of BAHA'O'LLAH'S instructions for this day and you will show me in which sacred book they are to be found.

BAHA'O'LLAH exhorts men to free their minds from the superstitions of the past and to seek independently for truth putting aside all dogmas. Religions are one. Let us banish creeds that the reality may become unveiled. In which sacred book do you find this?

"He heralds the hour of unity which has dawned on all mankind. All are children of one Father; all the inheritors of that future peace on earth. He admonishes men to banish prejudice; religious, patriotic, racial preconceptions must disappear, for they are the destroyers of human society. Where is this written? In which part of the Bible, Old or New Testament?

"Religion must be the cause of affection. It must be a joy-bringer. If it become the cause of difference, it would be better to banish it. Should it become the source if hatred, of warfare, it were better that it should not exist. If a remedy produce added illness, it were far better to discard the remedy. A religion which does not conform with the postulates of science is merely superstition. In which sacred book do you find this thought? Tell me!

"BAHA'O'LLAH declares the absolute equality of the sexes. The male and female in the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms share alike the material bestowals. Why should there be a


difference in the human kingdom? Verily, they are equal before God, for so he created them. Why should women be deprived of exercising the fullest opportunities offered by life? Whosoever serves humanity most is nearest God — for God is no respecter of gender. The male and female are like the two wings of a bird and when both wings are reinforced with the same impulse the bird of humanity will be enabled to soar heavenward to the summit of progress. In which sacred book is this written?

"Education holds an important place in the new order of things. The education of each child is compulsory. If there is not money enough in a family to educate both the girl and the boy the money must be dedicated to the girl's education, for she is the potential mother. If there are no parents the community must educate the child. In addition to this widespread education each child must be taught a profession, art, or trade, so that every member of the community will be enabled to earn his own livelihood. Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship. Where do you find this statement?

"BAHA'O'LLAH'S solution of the social question provides for new laws, but the different social classes are preserved. An artisan remains an artisan; a merchant, a merchant; a banker, a banker; a ruler, a ruler; the different degrees must persist, so that each can render service to the community. Nevertheless, every one has


the right to a happy, comfortable life. Work is to be provided for all and there will be no needy ones to be seen in the streets. The vocational labor adjustment provided by BAHA'O'LLAH precludes there being people too poor to have the necessaries of life on the one hand, nor the idle rich on the other. In which sacred book do you find this provided for? Show me!

"In order to facilitate complete understanding between all people, a universal auxiliary language will be adopted and in the schools of the future two languages will be taught — the mother tongue and this international auxiliary tongue which will be either one of the existing languages, or a new language made up of words from all the languages — the matter to be determined by a confederation met for the purpose which shall represent all tribes and nations. This international tongue will be used in the work of the parliament of man — a supreme tribunal of the world which will be permanently established in order to arbitrate international questions. The members of this arbitral court of justice will be representatives of all the countries. It is incumbent upon the nations to obey the commands of this tribunal, for such a tribunal will be under the power of God and for the protection of all men. In all the sacred books where do you find such a statement?

"The purpose of these new laws is to destroy antagonism by finding a point of agreement. We cannot induce men to lay down their arms by


fighting with them. If two individuals dispute about religion both are wrong. The Protestants and Catholics, the Mohammedans and Christians war over religion. The Nestorians claim that Christ was merely a slave, a man like the rest, but God put his spirit upon him. The Catholics say that he was one of the persons of the trinity. Both are wrong."

These precepts were proclaimed by BAHA'O'LLAH many years ago. He was the first to create them in the hearts as moral laws. Alone and unaided he spread them. Writing to the sovereigns of the world he summoned them to universal brotherhood proclaiming that the hour for unity had struck — unity between countries, unity between religions.

In this period of its evolution the world of humanity is in danger. Every war is against the good pleasure of the Lord of mankind, for man is the edifice of God and war destroys the divine edifice. If an active, actual peace is brought about, the human world will attain to the utmost serenity and composure; wolves will be transformed into lambs, devils into angels, and terrors into divine splendors in less than a twinkling of an eye.

BAHA'O'LLAH is the divine physician who diagnoses the world's malady; for the whole planet is ill and needs the power of a great specialist.

BAHA'O'LLAH'S teachings are the health of the world. They represent the spirit of this age,


the light of this age, the well-being of this age, the soul of this cycle. The world will be at rest when they are put into practice, for they are reality.

Praise be to God, the doors of divine knowledge are flung wide, the infinite light is shining, and to such as believe and obey the divine mysteries are revealed.

The woman of the East has progressed. Formerly in India, Persia and throughout the Orient, she was not considered a human being. Certain Arab tribes counted their women in with the live stock. In their language the noun for woman also meant donkey; that is, the same name applied to both and a man's wealth was accounted by the number of these beasts of burden he possessed. The worst insult one could hurl at a man was to cry out, "Thou woman!"

From the moment BAHA'O'LLAH appeared, this changed. He did away with the idea of distinction between the sexes, proclaiming them equal in every capacity.

In former times it was considered wiser that woman should not know how to read or write; she should occupy herself only with drudgery. She was very ignorant. BAHA'O'LLAH declares the education of woman to be of more importance than that of man. If the mother be ignorant, even if the father have great knowledge, the child's education will be at fault, for education


begins with the milk. A child at the breast is like a tender branch that the gardener can train as he wills.

The East has begun to educate its women. Some there are in Persia who have become liberated through this cause, whose cleverness and eloquence the ulema cannot refute. Many of them are poets. They are absolutely fearless.

The mother-in-law of Sultanu'sh Shuhada (sultan of the martyrs) was at Isfahan when the Bab declared himself. She was in the company of that famous woman, the poet Kurrat-ul-Ayn, and together they were stoned in the streets. When her son-in-law was imprisoned, she was living with her brother and the day they martyred him she passed her time in prayer, crying, "O God, help him to remain firm!"

This noble woman witnessed his martyrdom and that of her husband. She passed through great trials. They pillaged her husband's belongings and left her without support. In deference to her brother who was highly respected they did not again attack her openly; but the prince, governor of Isfahan, when he heard that she was at her brother's house sent for her. She entered his presence alone and hardly had he set eyes on her than he fell upon her with blows and kicked her till she became unconscious. Calling to his wife he said, "Come and see to what a state I have reduced this woman"; then he threw her out into the street.


Later, when her brother found her, she was half dead. In spite of this, as with a new impulse, she spread the cause everywhere. Her brother said to her, "Are these troubles not sufficient for you, that you begin again?" "I cannot help it," she replied. "I must go forward; if, however, my actions are a source of danger to you I will go away," — but he would not allow this and they remained together at Isfahan.

Years afterward she came to Acca where she died. She was one of those women to whom I refer — one of the most eloquent and cultured. She knew the text of the Koran and of the Gospels by heart. She understood them. She was free and unafraid. Wherever she went she spoke of what she knew. By this I wish to illustrate the influence of BAHA'O'LLAH on the women. You of the West can hardly understand the extent of this progress.

I hope for a like degree of progress among the women of Europe — that each may shine like unto a lamp; that they may cry out the proclamation of the kingdom; that they may truly assist the men; nay, that they may be even superior to the men, versed in sciences and yet detached, so that the whole world may bear witness to the fact that men and women have absolutely the same rights. It would be a cause of great joy for me to see such women. This is useful work; by it women will enter into the kingdom. Otherwise, there will be no results.


Although a man may progress in science and philosophy, if he does not take advantage of the power of the spirit, he is incomplete.

Moses was neither a philosopher nor a scientist. Outwardly he was but a simple shepherd, but he was able to instruct and develop a whole nation which had been in a state of demoralization; but which through his influence reached a very enlightened civilization. Jesus Christ did not come from the world of princes or scientists. Outwardly he was but an humble artisan, his disciples simple fishermen. Why were these disciples able to do what philosophers and scientists failed to accomplish? You have the example in Peter who was assisted by the Holy Spirit, as has been all those who have enlightened humanity — for universal education can be accomplished only through the Holy Spirit.

Mohammad though this power was enabled to elevate a nation, for on his teachings a mighty civilization was constructed in the Arabian peninsula, the influence of which, as recorded in history, extended as far west as Spain. Let us be just. When a being, alone, in the midst of a savage tribe begins by teaching them and finally succeeds in raising them to a high degree of civilization, we must admit that he has an extraordinary power. What I mean is this — philosophy and science will not suffice to elevate and civilize a people who are in a bestial condition.

What philosophy has ever elevated a whole nation and influenced humanity? Philosophy


of necessity is restricted to a small school and cannot have an essentially moral influence.

The following letter was written by the compiler of these notes and narrates the unique incident of Abdul Bahá blessing an unborn babe. The letter was written to the baby upon receiving the news of its birth some months later, in the Isle of Corsica. The beautiful and simple incident of the blessing is one of the many personal episodes that happened during Abdul Bahá's stay in Paris, that came under the observation of the writer.

The mother of this baby, an American girl, an old-time friend of the writer, had gone abroad to study and had married the Count d'Ornano of Corsica. This letter is published at the request of a number of the friends among the mothers and is of great significance showing the effect of the new creation on the new race.

New York, June 19, 1913.

Dear Baby Ursula: I am glad you arrived in due time and had a safe journey into this world. Wasn't it strange that I heard the fairy flutter of the wings of your arrival? I was in London that night and I suddenly took my pen in hand and wrote your mother that I had a feeling that you were about to make your appearance in the arena of existence. A letter from her, received today, assures me that I was right — you were born that very night. This makes us very good friends, don't you think so, Baby Ursula? But there, how foolish of me to expect you to answer in the crude jargon of words. We will speak in the language of the spirit — the language in which you saluted me that night in London when you were on your way to Corsica.


But how you did surprise us! We were all expecting a boy. In fact, we constantly referred to you as Napoleon IV, on account of your island home being the birthplace of the great general. But my heart leaped with joy when I read this at the end of your mother's letter: "Baby Ursula sends caresses to Aunt Isabel and says you will see her at the head of a greater army than Napoleon ever led."

Ah, how I wish I could look at the world through your eyes! What a blessed privilege is yours. You are the Joan of Arc of a new era, for you were blessed by the prince of prince.

It was about five or six months after your mother first dreamed of you when I met her in Paris wither she had journeyed from Corsica to arrange for your little wardrobe. I had been longing to see her for many years and especially did I desire to meet her at that particular time, for Abdul Bahá was there and I longed to take her to him. I knew your mother in the old San Francisco days and my mother loved your mother. The very day she died she spoke of this love.

In Paris I was yearning more than I can tell you to see her, when one day God led me to the American Express and there she sat. The next day we went together to Abdul Bahá and he blessed you both.

I wish I could give you a picture of him as he sat in the inner chamber, with his head thrown back, the world-weary look kindling into a fire


as we acquainted him with our purpose. He smiled a welcome and seated your mother opposite him.

I do not remember exactly what she said, but it was something to this effect — that she hadn't much hope of the present generation, but that she represented the future generation and she craved a blessing. I copied down what Abdul Bahá said, so that you could keep it always. He was so happy when he spoke of you that his face fairly rippled with smiles.

"Your child," he said, "while have extraordinary capacity. It will be a friend of God. Rear it in the teachings of Bahá'o'llah. Rest assured your child will be assisted by the divine concourse and through this assistance it will exhibit a universal consciousness — for this cause encompasses the west and the east and children born under these conditions in this day will have the advantages of the universal illumination. Today some children are called prodigies, but the inheritors of this cause will attain to a degree that the others, even though educated in the best schools and with every advantage, know nothing of.

"Children blessed in this way before they are born are of a new race. I was born in Persia and while I nursed with my mother's milk I received truth. When a little child my first words were, 'Ya Bahá El Abha!'"

When the Master said this, though distanced from him by the veils of flesh and immaturity you heard him, for your mother told me afterwards that you leaped as though in answer to his voice.


With one of his divine smiles the beloved of the worlds raised his hands in blessing. His parting words were:

"I will pray for you and your child always, of this rest assured!"

Both in Europe and America I have spoken in churches of all denominations, in the Jewish synagogues and universities, even addressing a club of agnostics in San Francisco. Thanks be to God, to BAHA'O'LAH, I have nowhere encountered obstacles. Everywhere I affirmed the message of Christ and to the free thinkers I demonstrated the existence of God. Speaking to them, I said:

There are four means of knowledge. Among scientists and philosophers a method of attaining knowledge is through the senses, principally through observation. Light shows us that light exists. Reality is limited to the perceptible thing; all that is not perceptible is subject to doubt.

Among the ancient philosophers the infallible way to knowledge was through logic. The different schools of logic weighed everything in the scales of cold scholasticism. As to religious people their criterion has ever been the sacred text which must be accepted as final. One is not allowed the slightest reflection. "The word of God," they say, "is truth." Inspiration is the fourth criterion. Occultists say, "I have had a revelation. This truth has been revealed to me."


For them everything outside direct revelation is viewed with doubt. So we have indicated the four criterions: the senses, reason, the sacred text, inspirations. There is no fifth.

Let us speak of the first criterion — that of the senses. Contemporary philosophers say, "We have spent our time in universities and laboratories analyzing composition. We have not encountered the spirituality of God, or any sign of the soul's existence. We are people of truth; intelligent, learned men, but we can find no proof of the existence of a divine being."

The senses mistake a mirage for water; the eyes see the sun move; your train or boat seems immobile and the landscape seems to pass by; planets look like fixed points of light; but they have measurable dimensions. A lighted point set in rotation appears like a circle. These examples show the senses subject to error. How can we put our trust in them?

The test of logic is just as imperfect, for were this criterion perfect there would never have been the continual clash of opinion as the sacred texts. How can they be interpreted by logic if the means be at fault?

Inspiration, what is it? Whence comes it? Is that which reaches our heart divine or satanic? How can we judge?

It is no proof of intelligence to reject everything which does not strike the senses. Nay, rather, such a one is brother to the animal. The cow has no idea of God; she does not know the


soul. So the only difference between her highness the cow and a materialistic philosopher is that the latter takes a great deal of trouble! It is not a special or exclusive privilege to be the prisoner of one's senses; the cow is the example of this theory.

Man has a sacred power beyond the confines of the senses. The power of the rational mind is the power of the soul over the senses. This cycle is radiating love and the bestowals of God are descending like unto rain. Man's glory lies in the difference between him and the animals. In Persia a small child who has been taught to think universally can talk with the learned. The religious people no longer question the followers of BAHA'O'LLAH, being unable to reply to their arguments. The priests and rulers call them necromancers, persecuting and martyring them; and with great joy these disciples give all their worldly goods and gladly lay down their lives for the cause of BAHA'O'LLAH. They go to death crying aloud. "Ya Bahá El-Abha!"

I supplicate to God that you may become inspired with a like spirituality. In the West you have not the same prejudices; you have not that fire of oppression, but have complete liberty of belief. Work, pray, day and night, and you will see the splendors of the kingdom of El-Abha descending upon you.

Materially, man is the prisoner of nature; the least wind disturbs him, the cold hurts him, the heat incommodes him, a mosquito irritates him;


but when we consider the intelligence of man, an elephant is powerless before him, a lion is his prisoner, and a boy of twelve can lead twelve hundred animals. Man dries up the sea, inundates the desert, circumnavigates the globe, discovers what is under the earth, rides upon the air and creates new sciences. These are the signs of the crowning spiritual power of man, — that power which can make nature his prisoner.

Reflect on the divine forces. What has assembled us together? It is not a material but a spiritual force which has created this bond between our hearts, this attraction and affection for one another, — a power stronger than reason, a power which founds nations, creates human unity and makes us renounce the world to discover sciences and organize laws which work through all creatures. Man, the victim of a mosquito, by his spiritual intelligence is conqueror, for by his spirit he is completed; he stands upright and gives well-being to humanity. We must care for man's two natures; for as the material man makes certain demands for food and raiment and if not looked after suffers, even so his spiritual reality suffers without care. This is why the divine messengers come to the rescue — to care for the reality, that man's thoughts may unfold and his aims become realized, that he may inherit a new field of progress, for the spiritual side should be cared for as much as the corporeal; the help that comes is through the resuscitating breath of the Holy Spirit.


Each power is localized. Reason has its seat in the brain, sight in the eye, hearing in the ears, speech in the tongue. The force of gravity is localized in the center of the earth. Everything on the surface of the earth is attracted toward the center. Our light is localized in the sun. The heat of the sun transforms minerals, vegetables, animals, and man.

In the world of beings, some have specialized in statesmanship, some in morals, others in commerce, agriculture, art, politics, laboratory work, or industrial activities, for these are the outer expression of spiritual, philosophical and scientific faculties. In brief, each individual expresses himself through some special occupation; but one does not hold the others in condemnation.

Certain religious teachers, however, think only of their creeds. They believe a holy war can conquer the world. They reason thus: "All the other religious teachers are in error and I am obliged to chastise them and show them their mistakes for their own salvation."

The belief of the friends of God is quite different. They believe that one must affiliate with all, love all humanity and seek ever to better its condition. God is one, the true shepherd of all creation. Let us be kind to every one in order to unify the world and spread affection abroad.

Let us be ready to give our lives, our fortunes, positions, achievements, in order that a new state of existence may be diffused throughout the earth.


There are fellow-beings who are weaker than we are, let us strengthen them; there are those who are more ignorant, we must teach them; some are as children, help them to develop; many are asleep, awaken them; others are ill, heal them; never despise them. Be kinder to them than to the stronger ones. One must always be kinder to the weak and ill and to the children. Never seek to humiliate your brother.

BAHA'O'LLAH is the sun of truth; all humanity will be illumined under his protection and whosoever follows his instructions in this day will feel the potency of his protection.

Man has different ways of approaching God. One man thinks he must make extraordinary efforts in science to arrive at the knowledge of the divine and another thinks that he must train his morals. The prophets teach us that the only way to approach God is by characterizing ourselves with the attributes of divinity.

Some people lay stress on fasting. They affirm that in augmenting the weakness of the body they develop a spiritual sensibility and thus they think to approach God.

Weakening one's self physically does not necessarily contribute to spiritual progress. Humility, kindness, resignation, and all these spiritual attributes emanating from great physical strength are acceptable to God. That an


enfeebled man cannot fight is not accounted a virtue. Were physical weakness a virtue the dead would be perfect, for they can do nothing.

If a man be just, kind, humble and merciful and his qualities are acquired through the will-power — this is Godlike. A child cannot kill a man; but a Bonaparte can abstain from war, from shedding blood, from devastating countries. A dumb person will not speak ill of any one, a paralyzed hand cannot strike; but a strong arm can refrain from striking. Justice, love and kindness must be the instruments of strength, not of weakness.

Exaggerated fasting destroys the divine forces. God has created man in a way that cannot be surpassed; we must not try to change his creation. Strive to attain nearness to reality through the acquisition of strength of character, through morality, through good works and helping the poor, through being consumed with the fire of the love of God and in discovering each day new spiritual mysteries. This is the path of intimate approach.

Any soul that enters the kingdom of BAHA'O'LLAH will enjoy an eternal communion with God. It is my hope that each of you may enter this kingdom. May you become thirsty for the water of reality. May you become hungry for the bread of the kingdom; for as His Holiness


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 immersed 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


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.


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 questions 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


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?"


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 in 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 into 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


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


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


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


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 is 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 the 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


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 a is 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 the 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


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 tree 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 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 its fruitage;


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 a 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 prophets 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


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


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.

Some one 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


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 eighth circle there was thought to be a ninth through which these colossal bodies were given the power to march in there 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 natural spirits, then how is it possible to conceive that these stupendous stellar


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 on 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 alloted 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 are attuned to the elements that have gone into the composition of their respective spheres.


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 forces. 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 of winter.


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