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‘Abdu’l-Bahá on Suffering and Tests

‘Abdu’l-Bahá on Suffering and Tests

From “Progress of the Soul” in Paris Talks

‘Does the soul progress more through sorrow or through the joy in this world?’
‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most.’
‘He who through suffering has attained development, should he fear happiness?’
‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘Through suffering he will attain to an eternal happiness which nothing can take from him. The apostles of Christ suffered: they attained eternal happiness.’ 179
‘Then it is impossible to attain happiness without suffering?’
‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘To attain eternal happiness one must suffer. He who has reached the state of self-sacrifice has true joy. Temporal joy will vanish.’
‘Can a departed soul converse with someone still on earth?’
‘Abdu’l-Bahá.—‘A conversation can be held, but not as our conversation. There is no doubt that the forces of the higher worlds interplay with the forces of this plane. The heart of man is open to inspiration; this is spiritual communication. As in a dream one talks with a friend while the mouth is silent, so is it in the conversation of the spirit. A man may converse with the ego within him saying: “May I do this? Would it be advisable for me to do this work?” Such as this is conversation with the higher self.’

‘Abdul-Baha: From Tablet to Portland, Oregon, believer; translated July 27, 1909.

“Thou hast questioned concerning ordeals and difficulties and catastrophes: “Are these from God or the result of man’s (own) evil deeds?”

Know thou that ordeals are of two kinds: One kind is for trial (to test the soul), and the other is punishment for actions. (“As a man soweth so shall he also reap.”) That which is for testing is educational and developmental and that which is the punishment of deeds is severe retribution.

The father and the teacher sometimes humor the children and then again discipline them. This discipline is for educational purposes and is indeed to give them true happiness; it is absolute kindness and true providence. Although in appearance it is wrath yet in reality it is kindness. Although outwardly it is an ordeal yet inwardly it is purifying water.

Verily, in both cases we must supplicate and implore and commune to the divine Threshold in order to be patient in ordeals.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá. 1909. “O thou flame of the Love of God!…” Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas Bahá’í Publishing Committee. 730

“O thou flame of the Love of God! What thou hast written caused joy, for that letter was like unto a rose-garden whose roses of significances bestowed the sweet odor of the love of God upon the nostrils. Similarly, my answers to thy letters will, like unto rain and dew, bestow infinite purity and freshness upon those myrtles of significances which have blossomed in the garden of the heart. Thou hast written concerning the tests that have come upon thee. To the sincere ones, tests are as a gift from God, the Exalted, for a heroic person hasteneth, with the utmost joy and gladness, to the tests of a violent battlefield, but the coward is afraid and trembles and utters moaning and lamentation. Likewise, an expert student prepareth and memorizeth his lessons and exercises with the utmost effort, and in the day of examination he appeareth with infinite joy before the master. Likewise, the pure gold shineth radiantly in the fire of test. Consequently, it is made clear that for holy souls, trials are as the gift of God, the Exalted; but for weak souls they are an unexpected calamity. This test is just as thou hast written: it removeth the rust of egotism from the mirror of the heart until the Sun of Truth may shine therein. For, no veil is greater than egotism and no matter how thin that covering may be, yet it will finally veil man entirely and prevent him from receiving a portion from the eternal bounty.” Abdu’l-Bahá 1909

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Joe Coonan permalink
    November 13, 2016 4:47 am

    Thank you…Baha’i Faith INCREDIBLE!!…..The Distilled Essence of the Origons and Teachings from the One Source of All life, imparted in the Teachings of every great and Divinely inspired Teacher, Renewed and expanded upon….What bounty could be better than this….The Essence of utter Grace…The possibilities and potential within this Faith are , truly, Infinite….(!!!!)….

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 7, 2020 5:09 am

      This inspired my heart. What a beautiful invigorated spirit you diffuse your love and hope through these words. My heart delighted to read this!

  2. July 5, 2021 9:37 am

    Très bien, j’aime beaucoup !!

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