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Old 05-27-2017, 08:48 AM   #1
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Question Talk on Immortality of the Spirit

Hello everyone

As I was now reading "Maedeye Asemani" (I do not know its English Equivalent) by Bahaullah, in a part of it in which He talks about the immortality of the soul, I read something totally new to me. I would like to know your ideas about it.

in a part ABdul Baha says: (my own trans. because I could not find the text in English)

"The spiritual reality within us is like unto the light and our body is the lantern. If the lantern breaks, the light won't change; it will remain immortal. Human being goes from stage to stage until he reaches a stage which is above the state of this physical world, so as to reach perfection. during the process, he leaves all the lanterns and runs to the world of light. For a while this light was in plants' lantern, then it went to the animals' lantern and now it is in human's lantern. Thus, if this lantern breaks, the light won't change. These are rational reasons which cannot be rejected."
(Abdul Baha talk on 2nd January in Scotland among Theosophists)

my question is, I had never heard that our spirit used to be in the plants realm, then went to the animal realm and then to the human realm. does He say that animals and plants have soul? a soul like that of humans????
 
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Old 05-27-2017, 09:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
Hello everyone

As I was now reading "Maedeye Asemani" (I do not know its English Equivalent) by Bahaullah, in a part of it in which He talks about the immortality of the soul, I read something totally new to me. I would like to know your ideas about it.

in a part ABdul Baha says: (my own trans. because I could not find the text in English)

"The spiritual reality within us is like unto the light and our body is the lantern. If the lantern breaks, the light won't change; it will remain immortal. Human being goes from stage to stage until he reaches a stage which is above the state of this physical world, so as to reach perfection. during the process, he leaves all the lanterns and runs to the world of light. For a while this light was in plants' lantern, then it went to the animals' lantern and now it is in human's lantern. Thus, if this lantern breaks, the light won't change. These are rational reasons which cannot be rejected."
(Abdul Baha talk on 2nd January in Scotland among Theosophists)

my question is, I had never heard that our spirit used to be in the plants realm, then went to the animal realm and then to the human realm. does He say that animals and plants have soul? a soul like that of humans????
I think He relates the Bahá'í view of evolution.

gnat
 
Old 05-27-2017, 09:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by gnat View Post
I think He relates the Bahá'í view of evolution.

gnat
even so, how can the human soul exist in an animal?!
 
Old 05-27-2017, 10:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
even so, how can the human soul exist in an animal?!
At present, it is a "human" soul. :-)

In essence, I guess that it's divine.

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Old 05-27-2017, 10:17 AM   #5
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look, what you say means that plants and animals have spirit. yes? do they have spirit? and is their spirit the same as ours??
 
Old 05-27-2017, 01:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
look, what you say means that plants and animals have spirit. yes? do they have spirit? and is their spirit the same as ours??
No, I mean that the entity that now is called "human spirit" had to be housed somewhere, when there was no life on earth. Then it was housed in minerals. Then there were algae and plants. The entity lived in them. Then there were animals. So, the sprit lived in animals. Now, there are humans, so... That spirit lives in the highest possible life form, if I understand correctly.

I don't wish to speculate too much, but I have a hunch that, actually, all human souls are one. Thence, the need for unity-

gnat
 
Old 05-27-2017, 01:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
look, what you say means that plants and animals have spirit. yes? do they have spirit? and is their spirit the same as ours??
Abdul-Baha says many thing concerning the different levels of spirit in Some Answered Questions and other places. He distinguishes human spirit as being of a different type and degree compared to animal, vegetable or mineral spirit. So no, the other types of spirit are not the same as ours in that they are not immortal, the animal and vegetable spirit ends when those creatures die, but human spirit continues after death. The condition of the human spirit depends on how much it is developed during this life and also on the Mercy of God. For those who are evil or neglectful, their spirit is very weak, and when compared to those who have been favored by God with faith and grow spiritually, it is as if they are dead or non-existent.

The talk you quote which appears to say that human spirit moved from plant to animal to human is a bit puzzling, so I would be careful to check if possible that the source is verified as an accurate transcript of Abdul-Baha's talk in Persian. There are some cases where the talks were not written down exactly. Especially since the talk was to a gathering of Theosophists, He might have been speaking in terms the Theosophists would understand but was not fully grasped by the person writing it down, or some contextual information was left out. If it is accurate, it is quite interesting and I would like to know more about it.
 
Old 05-27-2017, 01:44 PM   #8
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The talk you quote which appears to say that human spirit moved from plant to animal to human is a bit puzzling...
My interpretation is that this entity didn't move. It just creates increasibly dignified frames around itself. The latest such frame is the human frame.

Unbelievable, isn't it, when you look at certain specimens!

Best

from

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Old 05-28-2017, 02:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by gnat View Post
No, I mean that the entity that now is called "human spirit" had to be housed somewhere, when there was no life on earth. Then it was housed in minerals. Then there were algae and plants. The entity lived in them. Then there were animals. So, the sprit lived in animals. Now, there are humans, so... That spirit lives in the highest possible life form, if I understand correctly.

I don't wish to speculate too much, but I have a hunch that, actually, all human souls are one. Thence, the need for unity-

gnat

That is now a GREAT answer Gnat

I can accept it; it is logical. so we can say that Abdul Baha had been talking about the begining of the creation. Nice!
thank you so much for the satisfying answer.
 
Old 05-28-2017, 02:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jcc View Post
Abdul-Baha says many thing concerning the different levels of spirit in Some Answered Questions and other places. He distinguishes human spirit as being of a different type and degree compared to animal, vegetable or mineral spirit. So no, the other types of spirit are not the same as ours in that they are not immortal, the animal and vegetable spirit ends when those creatures die, but human spirit continues after death. The condition of the human spirit depends on how much it is developed during this life and also on the Mercy of God. For those who are evil or neglectful, their spirit is very weak, and when compared to those who have been favored by God with faith and grow spiritually, it is as if they are dead or non-existent.

The talk you quote which appears to say that human spirit moved from plant to animal to human is a bit puzzling, so I would be careful to check if possible that the source is verified as an accurate transcript of Abdul-Baha's talk in Persian. There are some cases where the talks were not written down exactly. Especially since the talk was to a gathering of Theosophists, He might have been speaking in terms the Theosophists would understand but was not fully grasped by the person writing it down, or some contextual information was left out. If it is accurate, it is quite interesting and I would like to know more about it.
The source is verified as reliable, JCC. it is in fact one of the most reliable sources of Abdul Baha talk, this Maedeye Asemani book. But the answer Gnat provided us with, is quite interesting. so the human soul has always been here but for a while, at the begining of the creation of earth, where there has not been a human BODY, it had to be preserved in plants and animals. and then when human being came into existence (the body I mean) the soul found its abide.
 
Old 05-29-2017, 11:27 AM   #11
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As far as I have understood from my readings, Abdul'Baha discriminates between "soul" and "spirit".
A soul being able to do rational thinking and so confined to rational beings like man, while the spirit is more like an essence not limited by time, space or the nature of specific entities it inhabits (minerals, plants, animals, humans).

It may help to consdier how the Master treats matter in this regard. He explains that atoms in a mineral can go to a plant, an animal and a human, manifesting different features (according to the way they combine with other atoms). (see this compilation about nature in the Bahai Online Library)

In the same way that an atom of hydrogen is an atom of hydrogen whether part of a nebulosa or part of a DNA molecule in one of your cells, a spirit is a spirit wherever it happens to inhabit.

As a matter of fact, all the atoms our bodies are composed of were once in another plant, animal, or inorganic material. An the exchange is constant. We are never physically exactly the same: our atoms go to different beings constantly as our bodies breath, excrete and die, and we are constantly getting atoms from them as they breath, excrete, are eaten by us or die.

Maybe something is similar with the spirit. (In fact, maybe that big split between "matter" and "spirit" that all religions so frequently establish, is just a way to indicate two different manifestations of the same thing, the Ultimate Reality)

In a deep sense, we all share and profit from the Big Pool of Matter, as we all profit from the Big Pool of Spirit... all of this meaning, we all live in God, the Self-Subsistent.

Last edited by camachoe; 05-29-2017 at 11:30 AM.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 08:20 AM   #12
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look, what you say means that plants and animals have spirit. yes? do they have spirit? and is their spirit the same as ours??
Animals definitely do have immortal spirits or souls. If not necessarily human souls and if not necessarily capable of the things human souls are, they nevertheless possess a spirit that transcends death. We can know this if we look at this quote on dreams and the immortality of the spirit/soul from Abdu'l-Baha:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 259.
In the world of dreams the body becomes absolutely passive, but the spirit still functions actively, possessed of all susceptibilities. This leads to the conclusion that the life of the spirit is neither conditional nor dependent upon the life of the body. At most it can be said that the body is a mere garment utilized by the spirit. If that garment be destroyed, the wearer is not affected but is, in fact, protected.
What Abdu'l-Baha does here is use dreams as a proof that our spirits have life outside of our bodies and are not tied to the life of the body.

But one can thus build from that logically: If our dreams are a proof of a soul's persistence after death, then it follows that any being capable of dreaming has a spirit or soul that persists beyond death.

Now, this doesn't say anything about plants, of course, nor insects and fish (as they do not dream), but for mammals and some birds (and maybe reptiles... scientists aren't yet sure on that), they dream, and therefore we can only conclude that, from what Abdu'l-Baha says, they have a spirit that persists after death.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 11:19 AM   #13
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Please read this compilation from Abdul'bahá and the Universal House of Justice on the topic of pets going to heaven.

The process of individuation, (the highest degree of self-awareness) does not seem to be present (or at least not fully developed) in animals.
So, according to what I understand from these quotes from Abdul'Baha and the UHJ, an animal as a distinct individual does not persist after death.

Meaning, my beloved dog, that particular dog of mine, dead some years ago, will not be there wating for me after I die.

This goes in line with the animals not being able to take ethical/moral decisions.
Therefore, this life is not intended for them to build a moral character and there is no need for an afterlife to keep building it. Animals are already perfect as they are.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 01:08 PM   #14
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Please read this compilation from Abdul'bahá and the Universal House of Justice on the topic of pets going to heaven.
So I'm currently looking through all relevant quotes on the subject (I count three) from Abdu'l-Baha (I'm disregarding UHJ letters because they pretty much just point to Abdu'l-Baha's statements anyways). It seems like there is a contradiction, since one statement unquestionably states animals do not possess immortal souls, and yet another unquestionably states that dreams are a proof of a spirit that persists past death. I think I'm coming to an answer of a sort... perhaps... but I'm still studying.

But while I study, I found something that may be of interest to Maryamr in answering her question or clarifying the verse she found.

In a lot of places Abdu'l Baha and Baha'u'llah refer to three "classes" of "spirit", Plant, Animal, and Man.

Of note: these are not uniquely Baha'i concepts, or even concepts that came directly from revelation. This is an instance of Baha'u'llah or Abdu'l-Baha speaking in terms of the Greek Philosopher Aristotle's own classification system of soul. Which you can read about here: Aristotle's Soul Classifications. This is similar to many times when Baha'u'llah references something in the language and context of the knowledge of his time, like how he describes the process of spiritual development within the framework of the seven stages of spiritual development used by the Sufis. This is not necessarily to state that there are seven objective levels of spiritual development, but more in order to speak to his audience already familiar with the Seven Valleys, in order to better communicate.

An interesting note on Aristotle's system is that, while it is categorized in terms of "Plant", "Animal", and "Human", it is defined a bit different.

A "Plant Spirit" refers to the ability to grow, gain nutrition, and reproduce.

An "Animal Spirit" refers to the ability of sensation and movement.

A "Human Spirit" refers to the thinking mind.

These are also structured in a nested hierarchy, one within another. In other words, all of us communicating here have a "Human Spirit" but we also have an "Animal Spirit" and even a "Plant Spirit". (It's also of note that in this classification system, two of these aren't even things we'd typically consider "spiritual" but are rather what we'd call "physical".)

Now the naming and association of these three categories established by Aristotle is not perfect. I'll leave the question of whether a particular animal can possess what we call a "Human Spirit" for more research (as more research is needed) but... based on Aristotle's own classification system, some plants have "Animal Spirits". Certain plants DO have the ability to sense things, notably touch or light, and move to react to the sensation. It's rare but is indeed a thing that certain plants possess this "Animal Spirit".

Thus this metaphorical light in the verse you cite moving from one lantern to another could refer to the progress of an individual person or humanity as a whole, as we all (as detailed above) possess Plant and Animal Spirits. (Or it could even refer simultaneously to the path of an individual, humanity as a whole, and creation as a whole, in a parallel fashion...)

Last edited by Walrus; 05-30-2017 at 01:14 PM.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 01:24 PM   #15
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He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Luke 19:40

The Breeze of God hath been wafted over the world at the advent of the Desired One in His great glory, whereupon every stone and clod of earth hath cried out: "The Promised One is come! The Kingdom is God’s, the Mighty, the Gracious, the Forgiving." Bahá'u'lláh.

Indeed, matter has a spirit, if we are to believe the scriptures.

gnat
 
Old 05-30-2017, 01:51 PM   #16
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Indeed, one day men will discover a special kind of "particles" or "matter" that constitute conciousness (let's call them "spiritrons" for the sake of joking).

From what I have read, some neurobiologists believe that the known particles of matter cannot explain conciousness.

It is not that conciousness is "magic"... it is very real, but made up of constiuents of reality that are not the known protons, electrons or quarks. Consituents that have not been identified yet, except by their manifestations over what we call "matter". Something like the so called "gravitrons" used to explain gravity.

In the same way that atoms arrange in different ways to form minerals, plants, animals and humans, but they are still atoms, spiritrons, the units of conciousness, may arrange in different ways to inhabit those forms.

I look forward to the day when the gap between what we know as "matter" and what we understand by "spirit" will be filled. The split that religions brought to our lives will be considered just a convention, a practical (but limited) way to talk and teach about different aspects of the same, Ultimate Reality. Until that day comes, we will not be able to fully understand what the Blessed Beauty or the Master said... which should not worry us: they probably did not understand either what they were talking about... they were just reflecting the Light.

Last edited by camachoe; 05-30-2017 at 01:56 PM.
 
Old 05-30-2017, 02:45 PM   #17
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Read this in the light of the discussion above. Then these words by Bahá'u'lláh
are frightening:

Him whom I abhor ye have loved, and of My foe ye have made a friend. Notwithstanding, ye walk on My earth complacent and self-satisfied, heedless that My earth is weary of you and everything within it shunneth you.

The earth weary of us!

O concourse of priests! Leave the bells, and come forth, then, from your churches. It behoveth you, in this day, to proclaim aloud the Most Great Name among the nations. Prefer ye to be silent, whilst every stone and every tree shouteth aloud: ‘The Lord is come in His great glory!’?

Stones and trees already have recognized Him!

gnat
 
Old 05-31-2017, 07:11 AM   #18
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Please read this compilation from Abdul'bahá and the Universal House of Justice on the topic of pets going to heaven.
Of the two Abdu'l-Baha quotes in the provided link, after deep research I can say that I don't think the first one should be used at all here, as after careful research I don't think that Abdu'l-Baha is even talking about this subject in that verse.

He is talking about Aristotle's three-soul model with the terminology assigned to the three categories by Saint Thomas Aquinas. This terminology would naturally be used simply because it was the terminology of the time and not necessarily because the terminology is correct.

Under this three-soul model, a "Plant Soul" is simply the ability to obtain nutrients and grow. An "Animal Soul" is the ability to move one's body and to gain sensory information. A "Human Soul" is the ability to think and to reflect on one's own thoughts, which is an ability called metacognition.

Additionally, these souls exist in a nested hierarchy, in Aristotle's model, where anything that possesses a higher soul also possesses the lesser ones. In other words, a human possesses an animal soul as well as a plant soul, despite not being a plant. This is important when considering Abdu'l-Baha's quote. With this context, we can understand that two of our three souls will die.

In later models adopted by Arabic and Persian philosophers, and later repeated by Aquinas, the idea that the "Human Soul" could, contrary to Aristotle's views, exist without the other two souls was added.

These labels aren't perfect, however. Though it is understandable that Abdu'l-Baha would use the terminology relevant of the time.

For example, by the definitions given by Aristotle and Aquinas, a venus flytrap possesses an Animal Soul.

Furthermore as a Human Soul is defined in the bounds of metacognition, it is worth noting that more species than humans possess this ability. Apes, dolphins, and rats have been shown to possess metacognition, and thus a "Human Soul" by Aristotelian terminology, the same terminology employed by Abdu'l-Baha.

Also it seems obvious at least to me that more than just the human species possesses what is termed a "Human Soul". For example, we have some archaeological evidence that the neanderthal species had religious practices. So one can only imagine that other early human species outside of Homo sapiens possessed the capacity for spiritual development and, thus, a human soul.

Now the second quote from Abdu'l-Baha suffers from some vagueness and, thus, is something I wish could be clarified. For example, knowing the specific wording of the question as it was asked, as well as the translations of both the question and answer, would be extremely helpful in discerning its precise meaning. As we have it, though, Abdu'l-Baha only mentions dogs in his answer, which leaves open the possibility of having an immortal soul for those species now confirmed by science to have metacognition, as they definitively have a Human Soul by the Aristotelian definitions that Abdu'l-Baha himself employs.

As for the quote I placed above, using dreams as proof of an immortal presence not tied to a physical life, it would be interesting to see, as studies on metacognition and dreaming in animals proceeds in the future, if there is any link between metacognition and dreaming.

Though, I'm still running into one contradiction problem in what Abdu'l-Baha states: While there have been no studies that I can find on metacognition in dogs, there is ample evidence that dogs dream. So I cannot, as of yet, find a clean way to reconcile Abdu'l-Baha's statements that dreaming is a proof of having an immortal soul and that dogs do not posses the "immortal soul of the man". My only resolutions to this seeming contradiction so far is if he was only referring to a specific type of dreaming (there are three types in Baha'i understanding), or perhaps he had something else in mind other than what I was thinking when he used the term "immortal soul of the man". Or a mistranslation in either the question or answer of either talk. Well... still puzzling that one through.

Last edited by Walrus; 05-31-2017 at 07:20 AM.
 
Old 05-31-2017, 07:33 AM   #19
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More digging, and another find. This time from Abdu'l-Baha which further elaborates on the Aristotelian soul system. On how a higher soul possesses all the lower souls (in this specific instance, focusing on the presence of love in all categories). Emphasis added:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 255-256
We take a step higher into the vegetable kingdom where we find an increased power of attraction has become manifest among the composing elements which form phenomena. Through this degree of attraction a cellular admixture is produced among these elements which make up the body of a plant. Therefore, in the degree of the vegetable kingdom there is love. We enter the animal kingdom and find the attractive power binding together single elements as in the mineral, plus the cellular admixture as in the vegetable, plus the phenomena of feelings or susceptibilities. We observe that the animals are susceptible to certain affiliation and fellowship and that they exercise natural selection. This elemental attraction, this admixture and selective affinity is love manifest in the degree of the animal kingdom.
Finally, we come to the kingdom of man. As this is the superior kingdom, the light of love is more resplendent. In man we find the power of attraction among the elements which compose his material body, plus the attraction which produces cellular admixture or augmentative power, plus the attraction which characterizes the sensibilities of the animal kingdom, but still beyond and above all these lower powers we discover in the being of man the attraction of heart, the susceptibilities and affinities which bind men together, enabling them to live and associate in friendship and solidarity. It is, therefore, evident that in the world of humanity the greatest king and sovereign is love. If love were extinguished, the power of attraction dispelled, the affinity of human hearts destroyed, the phenomena of human life would disappear.
 
Old 05-31-2017, 09:15 AM   #20
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Thank you so much, Walrus, for this deep study on what the "soul" of animals may mean.

Going back to the original post of this thread, I think that gnat has made a good point in framing this under the overall concept of evolution.

First, let me refer to the meaning of Light. I have seen this word used a lot in reference to God. In fact, Glory (splendor, "Bahá") and Light are used as the same concept. Other sacred names of god are "Resplendent", "Source of Splendor", "Luminary", "Everlasting Candle", "Most Great Light".

So maybe Abdul'baha in the quote referred in the original post is using "light" in reference to God, since human in his pursuit of perfection comes to the "world of light".

During the evolution of this world, the Light of God was manifested first in the minerals, as there were no living beings on earth. Then plants appeared, so the Light of God manifested in plants as the apex of creation for that time. Then animals came, and the Light of God was best manifested in them. Finally, humans appear, and we are now the apex and the best manifestation of God attributes (as other texts in the Scriptures declare).

So, rather than an itinerant "spirit", Abdul Bahá may be referring to the progressive nature of the manifestations of God on this planet.
By the way, this would be in line as well with the concept of progressive revelation.
We could say that the Light was in the lantern of Buddha, then in the lantern of Moses, then Christ's, then Mohammed's, then Baha'u'llah's. It is not that there was an "itinerant" individual soul inhabiting each of them, but that the Light of God ("Bahá") was being manifested in each one of them successively, making the most recent revelations greater than previous one.

I like to think that Bahai Faith is bound to "rule" over all other faiths ("spiritual" manifestations of God), just as man "rules" over plants, animals and minerals ("physical" manifestations of God).

Last edited by camachoe; 05-31-2017 at 09:34 AM.
 
Old 05-31-2017, 09:41 AM   #21
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Thank you everyone for the very good links and quotes. I like to mention some points here.

1- thank you Camachoe for reminding me the difference between spirit and soul it is very useful to remember it. I looked at the part of the scripture I first referred to; in it, Abdul Baha talks about the "soul" and not the spirit.

we may be able to give "spirit" another name, and that is "energy". so, energy is not created and won't die. It only goes from one form to another; just like our definition of the spirit.

2- Walrus, I too have read that Animals do not go to heaven or hell after they die. So, the dreams are the signs of the existence of a spirit, not a soul (maybe).
and again, I guess by Plant, Animal, and human soul, Aristotle in fact has meant "spirit", Plants do not have a "soul" even if Aristotle say they do.

This is an interesting discussion in my view. I would be glad to read more from you
 
Old 06-05-2017, 07:55 AM   #22
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Walrus, I too have read that Animals do not go to heaven or hell after they die. So, the dreams are the signs of the existence of a spirit, not a soul (maybe).
I had a similar thought, but it seems this is not the case. 'Abdu'l-Baha's full quote on the subject (I'll repeat it below) specifically states that the state of dreaming is a proof that there is something about the dreamer that will survive after the body has been destroyed.

"In the world of dreams the body becomes absolutely passive, but the spirit still functions actively, possessed of all susceptibilities. This leads to the conclusion that the life of the spirit is neither conditional nor dependent upon the life of the body. At most it can be said that the body is a mere garment utilized by the spirit. If that garment be destroyed, the wearer is not affected but is, in fact, protected."

So while the word used here by the translator is "spirit", it would seem 'Abdu'l-Baha is talking about the "soul" here, at least in the definition of spirit/soul that we are using in this thread.

I'm still trying to figure in how this fits in with the quote where 'Abdu'l-Baha says that a dog (which science tells us is a dreaming being) does not have "the immortal soul of a man".

Perhaps a dog possesses a soul that is not immortal (in that it will not exist forever) but a soul that will survive past the death of the dog's body?? That's one current thought I had, and it would make both quotes valid, but the solution seems kind of silly to me. So back to thinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
and again, I guess by Plant, Animal, and human soul, Aristotle in fact has meant "spirit", Plants do not have a "soul" even if Aristotle say they do.

This is an interesting discussion in my view. I would be glad to read more from you
I agree. Using the definitions we've established in this thread, what Aristotle calls a "soul" we'd more likely call a "spirit", except perhaps Aristotle's "human soul", which is more in line with what we'd call "soul".

It is just important to remember Aristotle's system when analyzing Baha'i writings, because 'Abdu'l-Baha speaks in those precisely those terms. Whenever 'Abdu'l-Baha is talking about "soul" or "spirit", and mentions "human", "animal", and "plant" in that discourse, it is safe to assume that the "human" portion is the "true soul" as we Baha'is understand it, whereas when he is talking about the "animal" or "plant" portion, he is speaking of things more akin to "spirit", or perhaps maybe even more generally as simply "properties of living creatures".
 
Old 06-05-2017, 10:34 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Perhaps a dog possesses a soul that is not immortal (in that it will not exist forever) but a soul that will survive past the death of the dog's body?? That's one current thought I had, and it would make both quotes valid, but the solution seems kind of silly to me. So back to thinking.
I spoke about this topic with my spiritual teacher who is a very learned man. He gave me a very good answer, which I am going to try to explain here. I may not be able to explain it as clearly as he did. But I will try anyway:

1-the Light of God shines on ALL creatures, and each creature reflects it to its own degree. In the mineral realm, it is reflected the least and in the human realm (that of Manifestation) it is reflected the most.

2- The soul is the instrument in each creature (not actually IN, tho) that reflects the light; just like a mirror. and this is that which will remain even after the creature is destroyed.

3-There is this mirror like instrument in all creatures because all creatures reflect the Light of God in their own degree. that is why in mysticism it is said that the whole universe carries the Attributes of God.

4- The highest and most advanced form of it is in humans, as I mentioned. why? because the human being has "awareness" and "consciousness".

5-After any created being is destroyed, the mirror like faculty is freed. there is no awareness in it, thus even its existence is equal to destruction. it Just (symbolically) "turns into dust" because it is not conscious of itself.

6-In human being tho, it is aware of its existence and aware of every other thing. It continues to be aware even after the destruction of the body. This same awareness is what makes it the object of the "judgment, punishment, reward".

7- All created things dream their own dreams; in their own degree. even a stone dreams. Look at the writings in scripture where for example it is said that "The very earth hates the infidels that walk on it". There is also the prophesy of the next stage in each lower stage. so there is the prophesy of the plant realm in mineral realm. how? the mineral can "grow" in its way, when forming other minerals. there is also the prophesy of animal stage in plant stage. how? that is where for example plants show reactions towards kindness or fear. Thus, there is the prophesy of the human stage in animal realm. how? The animals' dream is most near to humans' dream. but as I mentioned before, the turning point is the "awareness" of dreaming. without awareness, the existence is equal to non-existence.

Ok, that is all. I hope I have been successful, at least to a little degree to re-explain what I learnt.
 
Old 06-06-2017, 05:25 AM   #24
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I agree with maryamr.

Dear Walrus: I think Abdul'Bahá was not presenting dreaming, the biological process, as a proof of the existence of a spirit.
He was just illustrating the fact that "self awareness" persists even when senses not working, as during sleep.... and he was using widespread beliefs that made sense for his audiences, as you have indicated in the thread on "Can Prophets be Wrong?"

In reality, the body is active (and not "absolutely passive", as per the quote) during sleep. And the brain in particular is very active. There is no moment during sleeping where you can say that the body is "turned off" and leaves the soul working on its own.

I believe that during his existence in this life, the human soul is so integrated with the body, that we can surely state the human person is ONE. The division between "soul" and "flesh", as a way to teach realities, is practical in many contexts, but not practical in others.

So, in the end, we can say that God is One, Religion is One, Mankind is One, and I am One.
 
Old 06-08-2017, 12:41 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Meaning, my beloved dog, that particular dog of mine, dead some years ago, will not be there wating for me after I die.
I have not yet found any new information on specifically souls, but the realization came for me that this statement, Camachoe, is technically incorrect, regardless of whether or not your dog has an immortal component to his or her existence.

I recalled the following verse:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 205-206
For the Kingdom of God is sanctified (or free) from time and place; it is another world and another universe.
This implies that our souls are no longer bound by the constraint of space or even time past our death. This has many very interesting implications, or, at least, implications interesting to a person like myself, but limiting my interest in the subject to simply your statement here: if we will no longer be bound by the spectrum of time past death, this means that you will be united with your dog, with the entirety of your dog's physical existence after you are dead, even if nothing about that dog is immortal.

We're told we are both free from time after death and able to freely interact with the world of the living. Thus, any beloved animal, plant, rock, or even inanimate object is something we will be reunited with after death.

Of course, I cannot possibly imagine what this reunion will be like, since I am a being constrained currently by time, but the reunion will occur.

(Now me being me what I'm looking forward too is, purely out of curiosity, finding out to what extent I can interact with my living self after I am dead. Because that sounds like a really weird thing to try to do!!)
 
Old 06-08-2017, 01:03 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
(Now me being me what I'm looking forward too is, purely out of curiosity, finding out to what extent I can interact with my living self after I am dead. Because that sounds like a really weird thing to try to do!!)
That's the (walrus) spirit!


gnat
 
Old 06-11-2017, 11:51 AM   #27
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Symbiotic relationships

If we view the whole of creation, the world composed of minerals, plants, animals, as parts of an entire system upon which man sits at the apex, then all of these creatures, whether microbes and bacteria within our guts, which we depend upon, or the outer creatures which maintain the ecosystem, the unity of this megasystem exists for, and is part of, the human system.

My fingernails do not have a soul, nor do the blood cells, fat cells, microbes, etc. They are physical portions of my anatomy which serve to function harmoniously to serve the existence of one soul - me... or you...

So the outer creatures, whether lions, tigers, or bears... Oh my!! are like my fingernails, blood cells, bones, etc. They are part of me, whether in my gut or arms, or external to the biological framework. They are the nails and beams of a structure which houses a soul, until that soul departs from its temple.
 
Old 06-12-2017, 12:44 AM   #28
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You mentioned an interesting aspect Dale. thank you
 
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