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Old 03-31-2013, 04:04 PM   #1
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What does "Being Closer to God" Mean?

I'm a 14 year old Bahai and I'm being told to research and study the laws for my upcoming age of adulthood, 15. One question that popped up in my head (among others) is that people always say that the reason we do something in the Faith is so we can be "closer to God".

What does this mean?!

What are the benefits of this?
 
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro19 View Post
I'm a 14 year old Bahai and I'm being told to research and study the laws for my upcoming age of adulthood, 15. One question that popped up in my head (among others) is that people always say that the reason we do something in the Faith is so we can be "closer to God".

What does this mean?!

What are the benefits of this?
Hello Hiro19,

I remember somewhere reading from Abdulbaha, saying closeness to God is being like God. That is in terms of spiritual attributes be like God.
 
Old 03-31-2013, 06:58 PM   #3
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Hiro, what people always say, is not a reliable source of knowledge. If you just go by what people always say, you are sure to go astray.

Logic, by itself, is not sufficient either, but I'll start with some logic. I'll suppose that the idea "the reason we do something in the Faith is so we can be closer to God," has some roots somewhere in the Revelation of God, and try to see where that might be. I'll search in the Ocean library for "closer" with "God," and "nearness" with "God." Also, I remember Baha'u'llah saying "Observe my commandments, for love of my beauty." Also, Abdu'l-Baha says that whatever is done with love of God is beneficial, and whatever is done without love of God is harmful.

I might have more to say after I look up those words. One question that comes to my mind is, does that mean it's always wrong to do something if you aren't doing it for love of God? I don't think we always know at every moment how much we are doing something for the love of God, and I don't think it means we have to stop and check, every moment of our lives. I'm thinking it would be more what we might do when we bring ourselves to account every day, we might look at what we did that day and what we might do the next day, and how much of the love of God we see in it. Something like weighing on the scale every day when we're trying to lose weight. We're praying, studying, meditating and practicing, to learn to love God more and more, and we check each day to consider how well we're doing, and how we might do better.

Those are some logical considerations, but at the same time we need to look for the spirit in it, if we find some place in God's revelation that might have given someone the idea to say that we do things to be closer to God.

Another idea that just came to me is that everything God calls us to do, and everything he prescribes for us, is a way for us to get to know Him better, and learn to love Him more. That might be closer to that saying you've heard. I'll see what I can find about that in the Revelation.
 
Old 03-31-2013, 07:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
I testify, O my God, that Thou hast, from eternity, sent down upon Thy servants naught else except that which can cause them to soar up and be drawn near unto Thee, and to ascend into the heaven of Thy transcendent oneness.

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 297)

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. 20)

Say: From My laws the sweet-smelling savour of My garment can be smelled ...

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 20)
It's in the short obligatory prayer. God created us to know and love Him, so of course everything He counsels us to do is to help us know and love Him!

Some benefits:
Quote:
Only when the lamp of search, of earnest striving, of longing desire, of passionate devotion, of fervid love, of rapture, and ecstasy, is kindled within the seeker's heart, and the breeze of His loving-kindness is wafted upon his soul, will the darkness of error be dispelled, the mists of doubts and misgivings be dissipated, and the lights of knowledge and certitude envelop his being. At that hour will the mystic Herald, bearing the joyful tidings of the Spirit, shine forth from the City of God resplendent as the morn, and, through the trumpet-blast of knowledge, will awaken the heart, the soul, and the spirit from the slumber of negligence. Then will the manifold favours and outpouring grace of the holy and everlasting Spirit confer such new life upon the seeker that he will find himself endowed with a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind. He will contemplate the manifest signs of the universe, and will penetrate the hidden mysteries of the soul. Gazing with the eye of God, he will perceive within every atom a door that leadeth him to the stations of absolute certitude. He will discover in all things the mysteries of divine Revelation and the evidences of an everlasting manifestation.

I swear by God! Were he that treadeth the path of guidance and seeketh to scale the heights of righteousness to attain unto this glorious and supreme station, he would inhale at a distance of a thousand leagues the fragrance of God, and would perceive the resplendent morn of a divine Guidance rising above the dayspring of all things. Each and every thing, however small, would be to him a revelation, leading him to his Beloved, the Object of his quest. So great shall be the discernment of this seeker that he will discriminate between truth and falsehood even as he doth distinguish the sun from shadow. If in the uttermost corners of the East the sweet savours of God be wafted, he will assuredly recognize and inhale their fragrance, even though he be dwelling in the uttermost ends of the West. He will likewise clearly distinguish all the signs of God -- His wondrous utterances, His great works, and mighty deeds -- from the doings, words and ways of men, even as the jeweller who knoweth the gem from the stone, or the man who distinguisheth the spring from autumn and heat from cold. When the channel of the human soul is cleansed of all worldly and impeding attachments, it will unfailingly perceive the breath of the Beloved across immeasurable distances, and will, led by its perfume, attain and enter the City of Certitude. Therein he will discern the wonders of His ancient wisdom, and will perceive all the hidden teachings from 198 the rustling leaves of the Tree -- which flourisheth in that City. With both his inner and his outer ear he will hear from its dust the hymns of glory and praise ascending unto the Lord of Lords, and with his inner eye will he discover the mysteries of "return" and "revival." How unspeakably glorious are the signs, the tokens, the revelations, and splendours which He Who is the King of names and attributes hath destined for that City! The attainment of this City quencheth thirst without water, and kindleth the love of God without fire. Within every blade of grass are enshrined the mysteries of an inscrutable wisdom, and upon every rose-bush a myriad nightingales pour out, in blissful rapture, their melody. Its wondrous tulips unfold the mystery of the undying Fire in the Burning Bush, and its sweet savours of holiness breathe the perfume of the Messianic Spirit. It bestoweth wealth without gold, and conferreth immortality without death. In every leaf ineffable delights are treasured, and within every chamber unnumbered mysteries lie hidden.

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 195)

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-31-2013 at 07:28 PM. Reason: to correct some typos
 
Old 03-31-2013, 07:42 PM   #5
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Anyway, the only thing that I can see that "closer to God" could mean, if it has anything to do with following Baha'u'llah, is learning to know and love God, which means learning to know and love Baha'u'llah. I think that most of us are struggling with learning how to know and love the person right next to us, or the person at the keyboard that typed the preceding post, let alone Baha'u'llah, Whom we'll never see in person, and all we have is His story and His writings and His legacy. How do you learn to know and love someone like that?

Then again, He is the same one we we're communing with when we commune with nature, so maybe He isn't so far away in space and time after all.

?

!

Touched by an angel again!

I heard God talking to me, in my own words, again!

Hiro, thank you!

----

Getting back to the original questions, what does it mean, and what are the benefits, the only possible meaning I've found, in the writings, is learning to know and love God. One way I see to investigate the question is to ask what other reasons we might have for what we do, besides learning to know and love God, and what difference can that make? Think about the things you do in your life, and why you do them. Forget about what people say. What difference do you see that it could possibly make, if you were doing them with your heart set on knowing God better, to learn to love Him more?

If your heart is in this, more than just going through the motions to please your Baha'i teacher or your parents or whoever put you up to this, then it seems to me that besides asking other people you need to do your own research in the writings, and in your own experience. In fact, I should have asked you from the start, what have you learned from your own research in the writings and in your experience?

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-31-2013 at 09:43 PM. Reason: to add some more thoughts
 
Old 03-31-2013, 09:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro19 View Post
I'm a 14 year old Bahai and I'm being told to research and study the laws for my upcoming age of adulthood, 15. One question that popped up in my head (among others) is that people always say that the reason we do something in the Faith is so we can be "closer to God".

What does this mean?!

What are the benefits of this?
My view..

There are two important aspects mentioned in the first paragraph or so of the Kitab-i-Aqdas... As a Baha'i you'll be pouring over them and focused on them again and again... Here they are:

"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."

Contemplate on the above words and I think you'll have your answer...

 
Old 04-01-2013, 06:13 AM   #7
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Please bear in mind also that spritual nearness to God is the definition of Heaven.

Peace, :-)

Bruce
 
Old 04-01-2013, 06:54 AM   #8
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Some very good answers. . .

To me, being closer to God means loving people more, helping them more, being less prone to anger and backbiting and thoughtlessness.

So that is what I am trying to do.

I find that obedience to God's Laws as revealed by Baha'u'llah is what sustains and enables me to do this. I thought I could do it on my own, and tried to for many years, but it didn't work and I made a mess out of my life.
 
Old 04-01-2013, 07:06 AM   #9
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Saw this one on a wall poster in the Sunday school classroom in the basement of the Catholic Church my family attended at the time. Waaaaay back in my childhood, and I've remembered it ever since:


"You love God only as much as the person you love the least."
 
Old 04-01-2013, 07:24 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mytmouse57 View Post
Saw this one on a wall poster in the Sunday school classroom in the basement of the Catholic Church my family attended at the time. Waaaaay back in my childhood, and I've remembered it ever since:


"You love God only as much as the person you love the least."
Ouch!!!!! :-)
 
Old 04-01-2013, 07:43 AM   #11
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Well, in Spiritual World, physical distance is meaningless. Nearness or being far can be only related to material world. But in our world when Two people are alike, they feel close to each other. So, being like God, also make a person feel closer to Him. That's because every one will seek some one who is simillar to himslef. That's because the Manifestations of God are the closest Him, since they are like God. There is a Hidden Words that says that.
 
Old 04-01-2013, 07:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro19 View Post
I'm a 14 year old Bahai and I'm being told to research and study the laws for my upcoming age of adulthood, 15. One question that popped up in my head (among others) is that people always say that the reason we do something in the Faith is so we can be "closer to God".

What does this mean?!

What are the benefits of this?
Dear young friend you have received some very good answers here to think about.

But nothing is as good as your own study and reading the Sacred Words of Baha'u'llah, Bab, Abdul-Baha etc. These Words will speak to your heart and only then you will slowly grow spiritually little by little day by day. One never stops learning even when you are bent with age and your head as white as snow, you will still be learning.
 
Old 04-01-2013, 01:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by light upon light View Post
Ouch!!!!! :-)
Another zinger I like (although I'm not sure where it came from)

"You can be reasonably certain your God is a mere product of your imagination, if He hates the same people you do."
 
Old 04-02-2013, 04:28 PM   #14
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I had one other selection from the Writings of Baha'u'llah that I think very much addresses the issue of nearness to God in this thread..and decided to share it here:

XXI. O Salman!

The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been, and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man's understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court.

As a token of His mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance,

the Symbols of His divine unity,

and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self.

Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God.

Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God,

and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself.

Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God,

and whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God.

Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard of His Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven.

They are the Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory.


~ Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 49

The above really does in my view provide a clarity to what is involved and so I've separated the statements..
 
Old 04-03-2013, 11:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hiro19
I'm a 14 year old Bahai and I'm being told to research and study the laws for my upcoming age of adulthood, 15. One question that popped up in my head (among others) is that people always say that the reason we do something in the Faith is so we can be "closer to God".
What does this mean?!

What are the benefits of this?
Hello Hiro19,

Let’s find the meaning of “BEING CLOSER TO GOD” or “NEARNESS TO GOD” from the sources of knowledge:

The Bab revealed the precondition or prerequisite for “BEING CLOSER TO GOD:

“KNOW thou that in the Bayan PURIFICATION is regarded as the most acceptable means for ATTAINING NEARNESS UNTO GOD and as the most meritorious of all deeds. Thus PURGE THOU THINE EAR that thou mayest hear no mention besides God, and PURGE THINE EYE that it behold naught except God, and THY CONSCIENCE that it perceive naught other than God, AND THY TONGUE that it proclaim nothing but God, and THY HAND to write naught but the words of God, and THY KNOWLEDGE that it comprehend naught except God, and THY HEART that it entertain no wish save God, and in like manner PURGE ALL THINE ACTS and thy pursuits that thou mayest be nurtured in the paradise of pure love, and perchance mayest attain the presence of HIM WHOM GOD SHALL MAKE MANIFEST (*), adorned with a purity which He highly cherisheth, and be sanctified from whosoever hath turned away from Him and doth not support Him. Thus shalt thou manifest a purity that shall profit thee. ...”. (Selections From the Writings of the Bab, Page 98).

Baha’u’llah in the Tablet of Ahmad, proclaims the fulfilment of the Bab’s above prophecy, by giving the glad-tidings that attaining His presence is “NEARNESS TO GOD”:

“Lo, the Nightingale of Paradise singeth upon the twigs of the Tree of Eternity, with holy and sweet melodies, proclaiming to the sincere ones THE GLAD TIDINGS OF THE NEARNESS OF GOD, calling the believers in the Divine Unity to the court of the Presence of the Generous One, informing the severed ones of the message which hath been revealed by God, the King, the Glorious, the Peerless, guiding the lovers to the seat of sanctity and to this resplendent Beauty”. (Compilations, Baha'i Prayers, p. 208).

So the nearness of God is attracting to the DIVINE MANIFESTATION in every Age, and in this Age, attaining the presence of Baha’u’llah.

‘Abdu’l-Baha clarified the NEARNESS TO GOD in His following talk:

“As I entered the church this evening, I heard the hymn "Nearer my God, to Thee." The greatest attainment in the world of humanity is nearness to God. Every lasting glory, honor, grace and beauty which comes to man comes through nearness to God. All the Prophets and apostles longed and prayed for nearness to the Creator. How many nights they passed in sleepless yearning for this station; how many days they devoted to supplication for this attainment, seeking ever to draw nigh unto Him! But nearness to God is not an easy accomplishment. During the time Jesus Christ was upon the earth mankind sought nearness to God, but in that day no one attained it save a very few—His disciples. Those blessed souls were confirmed with divine nearness THROUGH THE LOVE OF GOD. Divine nearness is DEPENDENT upon ATTAINMENT TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, upon SEVERANCE FROM ALL ELSE SAVE GOD. It is contingent upon SELF-SACRIFICE and to be found only through FORFEITING WEALTH AND WORLDLY POSSESSIONS. …”. (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 147).

“Bahá’u’lláh proclaims in the Hidden Words that God inspires His servants and is revealed through them. He says, “THY HEART IS MY HOME; SANCTIFY IT FOR MY DESCENT. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation.” Therefore, we learn that NEARNESS TO GOD is possible through DEVOTION TO HIM, through ENTRANCE INTO THE KINGDOM and SERVICE TO HUMANITY; it is attained by UNITY WITH MANKIND and through LOVING-KINDNESS TO ALL; it is dependent upon INVESTIGATION OF TRUTH, ACQUISITION OF PRAISEWORTHY VIRTUES, SERVICE IN THE CAUSE OF UNIVERSAL PEACE and PERSONAL SANCTIFICATION. IN A WORD, 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).

“It is evident that THE DIVINE NEARNESS IS AN UNLIMITED NEARNESS, BE IT IN THIS WORLD OR THE NEXT ONE. This is a nearness which is sanctified from the comprehension of the minds. The more a man seeketh light from the Sun of Truth, the nearer he will draw. For instance, a clear body is near unto the sun, and a black stone is far from the sun. This nearness dependeth upon clearness, purity and perfection and that remoteness is due to density, dullness (or obscurity) and imperfection”. (Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v1, p. 204).

Regarding its benefits, we can derive from the above writings, but in short, it is being relatively transformed into human perfections.
__________________________________________________ ___________________

(*). The title of the Promised One in the Dispensation of the Bab Whose coming fulfilled by Baha’u’llah.
 
Old 04-04-2013, 05:32 AM   #16
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[QUOTE=mytmouse57;40912]Another zinger I like (although I'm not sure where it came from)

"You can be reasonably certain your God is a mere product of your imagination, if He hates the same people you do."[/QUOTE]

Wonderful!! :-) :-) :-)

BTW, the credit for this one is Anne Lamott, though she says she got it from a third party.)

Cheers! :-)

Bruce
 
Old 05-26-2013, 11:02 PM   #17
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Smile

Its mean do altruistic activity all time, help other others, do justice etc

Then, you himself feel proud and closer to GOD
 
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