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7: Unit 1: The Spiritual Path

7:  Unit 1: The Spiritual Path: Sections 1- 12. pp.3 – 38

  • spiritual dynamics
  • path of service
  • understanding of the forces at work

Unit 1:  The Spiritual Path


Section 1 – no quotations


Section 2

“The most important thing is to polish the mirrors of hearts in order that they may become illumined and receptive of the divine light.  One heart may possess the capacity of the polished mirror; another, be covered and obscured by the dust and dross of this world.  Although the same Sun is shining upon both, in the mirror which is polished, pure and sanctified you may behold the Sun in all its fullness, glory and power, revealing its majesty and effulgence; but in the mirror which is rusted and obscured there is no capacity for reflection, although so far as the Sun itself is concerned it is shining thereon and is neither lessened nor deprived.  Therefore, our duty lies in seeking to polish the mirrors of our hearts in order that we shall become reflectors of that light and recipients of the divine bounties which may be fully revealed through them.” (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 14)


Section 3

“Man’s merit lieth in service and virtue and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches.  Take heed that your words be purged from idle fancies and worldly desires and your deeds be cleansed from craftiness and suspicion.  Dissipate not the wealth of your precious lives in the pursuit of evil and corrupt affection, nor let your endeavours be spent in promoting your personal interest.” (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 138)

“…the happiness and greatness, the rank and station, the pleasure and peace, of an individual have never consisted in his personal wealth, but rather in his excellent character, his high resolve, the breadth of his learning, and his ability to solve difficult problems.” (Abdu’l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 23)

“O My servants! Were ye to discover the hidden, the shoreless oceans of My incorruptible wealth, ye would, of a certainty, esteem as nothing the world, nay, the entire creation.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 323)


Section 4

“The chosen ones of God …should not look at the depraved conditions of the society in which they live, nor at the evidences o moral degradation and frivolous conduct which the people around them display.  They should not content themselves merely with relative distinction and excellence.  Rather they should fix their gaze upon nobler heights by setting the counsels and exhortations of the Pen of Glory as their supreme goal.  Then it will be readily realized how numerous are the stages that still remain to be traversed and how far off the desired goals lies – a goal which is none other than exemplifying heavenly morals and virtues.”   (From a letter dated 30 October 1924 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tihran, published in Living the Life, a compilation issued to all National Spiritual Assemblies by the Universal House of Justice (London:  Baha’I Publishing Trust, 1984, pp. 8-9)

“Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother.” (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words)


Section 5

“For love of God and spiritual attraction do cleanse and purify the human heart and dress and adorn it with the spotless garment of holiness; and once the heart is entirely attached to the Lord, and bound over to the Blessed Perfection, then will the grace of God be revealed.

“This love is not of the body but completely of the soul. And those souls whose inner being is lit by the love of God are even as spreading rays of light, and they shine out like stars of holiness in a pure and crystalline sky.  For true love, real love, is the love for God, and this is sanctified beyond the notions and imaginings of men.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 202)

“He that seeketh to be a helper of God in this Day, let him close his eyes to whatever he may possess, and open them to the things of God.  Let him cease to occupy himself with that which profiteth him, and concern himself with that which shall exalt the all-compelling name of the Almighty.  He should cleanse his heart from all evil passions and corrupt desires, for the fear of God is the weapon that can render him victorious, the primary instrument whereby he can achieve his purpose.  The fear of God is the shield that defendeth His Cause, the buckler that enableth His people to attain to victory.  It is a standard that no man can abase, a force that no power can rival.  By its aid, and by the leave of Him Who is the Lord of Hosts, they that have drawn nigh unto God have been able to subdue and conquer the citadels of the hearts of men.”  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 271)


Section 6

“The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation.  Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed.  It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable.  Neither is acceptable without the other.  Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.”(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 19)

“O ye peoples of the world! Know assuredly that My commandments are the lamps of My loving providence among My servants, and the keys of My mercy for My creatures.” (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 19)

“Indeed, the laws of God are like unto the ocean and the children of men as fish, did they but know it.” (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 5)

“In all these journeys the traveler must stray not the breadth of a hair from the “Law,” for this is indeed the secret of the “Path” and the fruit of the Tree of “Truth”; and in all these stages he must cling to the robe of obedience to the commandments, and hold fast to the cord of shunning all forbidden things, that he may be nourished from the cup of the Law and informed of the mysteries of Truth.” (Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 39)


Section 7

“Although a person of good deeds is acceptable at the Threshold of the Almighty, yet it is first “to know,” and then “to do.”  Although a blind man produceth a most wonderful and exquisite art, yet he is deprived of seeing it.  Consider how most animals labor for man, draw loads and facilitate travel; yet, as they are ignorant, they receive no reward for this toil and labor.  The cloud raineth, roses and hyacinths grow; the plain and meadow, the garden and trees become green and blossom; yet they do not realize the results and outcome of all these.  The lamp is lighted, but as it hath not a conscious knowledge of itself, no one hath become glad because of it.  Moreover, a soul of excellent deeds and good manners will undoubtedly advance from whatever horizon he beholdeth the lights radiating. Herein lies the difference: By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 382)


Section 8

“Never lose thy trust in God.  Be thou ever hopeful, for the bounties of God never cease to flow upon man. If viewed from one perspective they seem to decrease, but from another they are full and complete.  Man is under all conditions immersed in a sea of God‘s blessings. Therefore, be thou not hopeless under any circumstances, but rather be firm in thy hope.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 205)

“If the heart turns away from the blessings God offers how can it hope for happiness?  If it does not put its hope and trust in God’s Mercy, where can it find rest?  Oh, trust in God! for His Bounty is everlasting, and in His Blessings, for they are superb.  Oh! put your faith in the Almighty, for He faileth not and His goodness endureth for ever!  His Sun giveth Light continually, and the Clouds of His Mercy are full of the Waters of Compassion with which He waters the hearts of all who trust in Him.  His refreshing Breeze ever carries healing in its wings to the parched souls of men!” (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 108)

“He is the Compassionate, the All-Bountiful!  O God, my God!  Thou seest me, Thou knowest me; Thou art my Haven and my Refuge.  None have I sought nor any will I seek save Thee; no path have I trodden nor any will I tread but the path of Thy love.  In the darksome night of despair, my eye turneth expectant and full of hope to the morn of Thy boundless favor and at the hour of dawn my drooping soul is refreshed and strengthened in remembrance of Thy beauty and perfection.  He whom the grace of Thy mercy aideth, though he be but a drop, shall become the boundless ocean, and the merest atom which the outpouring of Thy loving-kindness assisteth, shall shine even as the radiant star. Shelter under Thy protection, O Thou Spirit of purity, Thou Who art the All-Bountiful Provider, this enthralled, enkindled servant of Thine.  Aid him in this world of being to remain steadfast and firm in Thy love and grant that this broken-winged bird attain a refuge and shelter in Thy divine nest that abideth upon the celestial tree.”(Baha’i Prayers, p. 30)


Section 9

“The fountain of divine generosity is gushing forth, but we must have thirst for the living waters. Unless there be thirst, the salutary water will not assuage.  Unless the soul hungers, the delicious foods of the heavenly table will not give sustenance.  Unless the eyes of perception be opened, the lights of the sun will not be witnessed.  Until the nostrils are purified, the fragrance of the divine rose garden will not be inhaled.  Unless the heart be filled with longing, the favors of the Lord will not be evident.  Unless a perfect melody be sung, the ears of the hearers will not be attracted.  Therefore, we must endeavor night and day to purify the hearts from every dross, sanctify the souls from every restriction and become free from the discords of the human world.  Then the divine bestowals will become evident in their fullness and glory.  If we do not strive and sanctify ourselves from the defects and evil qualities of human nature, we will not partake of the bestowals of God.  It is as if the sun is shining in its full glory, but no reflection is forthcoming from hearts that are black as stone.  If an ocean of salubrious water is surging and we be not thirsty, what benefit do we receive?  If the candle be lighted and we have no eyes, what enjoyment do we obtain from it?  If melodious anthems should rise to the heavens and we are bereft of hearing, what enjoyment can we find?” (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 195)

“Stop being conscious of your frailties, therefore; have a perfect reliance upon God; let your heart burn with the desire to serve His mission and proclaim His call; and you will observe how eloquence and the power to change human hearts will come as a matter of course.” (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 219)


Section 10

“Unto each one hath been prescribed a pre-ordained measure, as decreed in God’s mighty and guarded Tablets. All that which ye potentially possess can, however, be manifested only as a result of your own volition.  Your own acts testify to this truth.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 149)

“Indulge not your bodies with rest, but work with all your souls, and with all your hearts cry out and beg of God to grant you His succour and grace.  Thus may ye make this world the Abha Paradise, and this globe of earth the parade ground of the realm on high.  If only ye exert the effort, it is certain that these splendours will shine out, these clouds of mercy will shed down their rain, these life-giving winds will rise and blow, this sweet-smelling musk will be scattered far and wide.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 245)


Section 11

“…look at me, follow me, be as I am; take no thought for yourselves or your lives, whether ye eat or whether ye sleep, whether ye are comfortable, whether ye are well or ill, whether ye are with friends or foes, whether ye receive praise or blame; for all these things ye must care not at all.  Look at me and be as I am; ye must die to yourselves and to the world, so ye shall be born again and enter the kingdom of heaven. Behold the candle, how it gives light.  It weeps its life away drop by drop in order to give forth its flame of light.” (Baha’i Scriptures, p. 503)

“…nearness to God necessitates sacrifice of self, severance and the giving up of all to Him. Nearness is likeness.” (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 148)

“Thus I exhort each of you, realizing its power and beauty, to sacrifice all your thoughts, words and actions to bring the knowledge of the Love of God into every heart.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 83)


Section 12

“…ye must in this matter — that is, the serving of humankind — lay down your very lives, and as ye yield yourselves, rejoice.”(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 72)

“If only thou couldst know what a high station is destined for those souls who are severed from the world, are powerfully attracted to the Faith, and are teaching, under the sheltering shadow of Bahá’u’lláh!  How thou wouldst rejoice, how thou wouldst, in exultation and rapture, spread thy wings and soar heavenward — for being a follower of such a way, and a traveller toward such a Kingdom.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 100)

“Hold ye fast to the hem of God’s garment, and direct all your efforts toward furthering His Covenant, and burning ever more brightly with the fire of His love, that your hearts may leap for joy in the breathings of servitude which well out from the breast of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 85)

“Let us put aside all thoughts of self; let us close our eyes to all on earth, let us neither make known our sufferings nor complain of our wrongs.  Rather let us become oblivious of our own selves, and drinking down the wine of heavenly grace, let us cry out our joy, and lose ourselves in the beauty of the All-Glorious.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 236)

“Ye are the angels, if your feet be firm, your spirits rejoiced, your secret thoughts pure, your eyes consoled, your ears opened, your breasts dilated with joy, and your souls gladdened, and if you arise to assist the Covenant, to resist dissension and to be attracted to the Effulgence!” (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 360)

“At all times do I speak of you and call you to mind.  I pray unto the Lord, and with tears I implore Him to rain down all these blessings upon you, and gladden your hearts, and make blissful your souls, and grant you exceeding joy and heavenly delights…” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 37)

“My only joy in this swiftly-passing world was to tread the stony path of God and to endure hard tests and all material griefs.  For otherwise, this earthly life would prove barren and vain, and better would be death. The tree of being would produce no fruit; the sown field of this existence would yield no harvest. Thus it is my hope that once again some circumstance will make my cup of anguish to brim over, and that beauteous Love, that Slayer of souls, will dazzle the beholders again. Then will this heart be blissful, this soul be blessed.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 226)

“Then rose the Sun of Truth and the splendours of the Kingdom were shed over east and west. Those who had eyes to see rejoiced at the glad tidings and cried out:  ‘O blessed, blessed are we!’, and they witnessed the inner reality of all things, and uncovered the mysteries of the Kingdom.  Delivered then from their fancies and their doubts, they beheld the light of truth, and so exhilarated did they become from draining the chalice of God’s love, that they utterly forgot the world and their own selves.  Dancing for joy they hastened to the place of their own martyrdom and there, where men die for love, they flung away their heads and hearts.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 33)


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