Faith

Sep 2017
357
Earth
#1
Abdul Baha defines faith as concious knowledge and the practice of good deeds.

In some answered questions Abdul baha says
Now, the differences among mankind are twofold: One is a difference of degree, and this difference is not blameworthy. The other is a difference with respect to faith and certitude, the absence of which is blameworthy; for the soul must have fallen prey to its own lusts and passions to have been deprived of this bounty and bereft of the attractive power of the love of God.

Question 1.
What is the 'concious knowledge' Abdul baha is talking about?

Question 2.
How can we differ in respect to faith? How can one have more 'concious knowledge' or less then one ought to have? any examples?
 
Last edited:
Likes: tonyfish58
Sep 2010
4,486
Normanton Far North Queensland
#2
Abdul Baha defines faith as concious knowledge and the practice of good deeds.

In some answered questions Abdul baha says
Now, the differences among mankind are twofold: One is a difference of degree, and this difference is not blameworthy. The other is a difference with respect to faith and certitude, the absence of which is blameworthy; for the soul must have fallen prey to its own lusts and passions to have been deprived of this bounty and bereft of the attractive power of the love of God.

Question 1.
What is the 'concious knowledge' Abdul baha is talking about?

Question 2.
How can we differ in respect to faith? How can one have more 'concious knowledge' or less then one ought to have? any examples?
What springs to mind is "the Good deeds of the righteous are the sins of the near ones."

Being aware of who Baha'u'llah is and also aware of the laws of guidance seems to me a conscious knowledge. Neglecting that knowledge or law would be giving way to ones own lusts and passions.

Regards Tony
 
Likes: Yousefy2
Feb 2019
113
Chicago
#3
Abdul Baha defines faith as concious knowledge and the practice of good deeds.

In some answered questions Abdul baha says
Now, the differences among mankind are twofold: One is a difference of degree, and this difference is not blameworthy. The other is a difference with respect to faith and certitude, the absence of which is blameworthy; for the soul must have fallen prey to its own lusts and passions to have been deprived of this bounty and bereft of the attractive power of the love of God.

Question 1.
What is the 'concious knowledge' Abdul baha is talking about?

Question 2.
How can we differ in respect to faith? How can one have more 'concious knowledge' or less then one ought to have? any examples?
I looked up Abdul Baha's quote for proper context. It is available at Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas: Volume 3

By conscious knowledge, I think Abdu Baha is referring to the soul being conscious of its identity that it is made in the image of God which is essentially dependent upon how far the soul has progressed in its journey towards God. Since God has bestowed the freedom on all souls to seek Him or reject Him, a soul can use the freedom to evolve towards God or sink deeper in to human nature by pandering to lusts and passions. The practice of good deeds comes naturally to any soul that is conscious of it nature and identity and it is only because many people are unaware of that identity, they feel a separation from God and tend to make mistakes. Depending on how far the soul is away from God, the kind of mistakes vary. When we look at animals of any particular specie, they generally tend to have similar nature. But not so with human beings. There are saintly souls like Gandhi and evil men like Hitler among human beings. I think people differ in faith based on how close they are to God. The more spiritual effort people make, the closer they tend to get to God and they develop more conscious knowledge of God. Not all people act the same way in a given circumstance and that because of their varying degrees of conscious knowledge of God.
 
Jul 2017
372
Olympia, WA, USA
#4
I think people differ in faith based on how close they are to God. The more spiritual effort people make, the closer they tend to get to God and they develop more conscious knowledge of God. Not all people act the same way in a given circumstance and that because of their varying degrees of conscious knowledge of God.
That brings some questions to my mind.

How does one get close to God, what does it mean to be close to God?

How does someone know if they are close to God? Is it a thought or feeling they get? Thoughts and feelings can be very deceptive and one might think or feel they are close to God when in fact they are not, or one might be close to God and not even feel it or know it.

If thinking about God all the time means having conscious knowledge of God, I have conscious knowledge of God, but I do not feel close to God.
 
Feb 2019
113
Chicago
#5
That brings some questions to my mind.

How does one get close to God, what does it mean to be close to God?

How does someone know if they are close to God? Is it a thought or feeling they get? Thoughts and feelings can be very deceptive and one might think or feel they are close to God when in fact they are not, or one might be close to God and not even feel it or know it.

If thinking about God all the time means having conscious knowledge of God, I have conscious knowledge of God, but I do not feel close to God.
In the Hidden Words, Bahaullah says that the human heart is the seat of God and if we can clean our hearts, God will descend in to our heart. The Bible says the kingdom of God is within us. It also says that the human body is the temple of God but we don't know it. The Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita says God is seated in the human heart but man does not know it out of spiritual ignorance. The Quran says God is closer to us than the Jugular vein. So why then do we feel separation from God? Is it possible to have a union with God as Bahaullah asserted in the Hidden Words? Is it possible to know God as Bahaullah stated as in the short Obligatory prayer for example. If these goals were impractical or impossible why would Bahaullah make them part of his teachings?

To understand why we feel separate from God, we first need to understand who we are. As human beings, we are a combination of soul, mind stuff and body. The mind stuff is further divided in to ego, intellect, memory and the sense mind that is connected to the physical senses through energy flowing in the nerves. For the sake of this explanation, just be aware that the mind stuff is not the same as sense mind. There are no words in the English language to describe what I am trying to explain and I don't want to use non-English words. From the time we are born we learn, discover and know by gathering information through the physical senses which can only perceive something that changes in the time-space domain. Additionally the senses are focused on the outer and physical world and they are not designed to turn inward and focus on the spiritual world which is non-physical in nature. Since God is essentially formless, the physical senses designed to perceive the physical world cannot find God in the physical world. Since the formless God is beyond the physical world, none of the laws of the physical world can help us find God. So we have no choice but try to go beyond the sense mind, ego, intellect and memory to get close to God and eventually find God or attain union with God.

There are many ways to get close to God. For example the paths described in the Four Valleys which correspond to the different types of Yoga described in the Bhagavad Gita can be very useful. In my personal experience, I have found that the path of silent meditation which is also supported by Bahaullah and Abdul Baha is the fastest way to get close to God. Some forms of meditation work by withdrawing the energy from the nerves and pulling it back in to the spinal cord which interiorizes the consciousness and deactivates the senses for the duration of meditation. In such a state you can perceive God in several ways. God can manifest as light or sound or intense joy or peace or Bliss. God can also speak to the individual through the faculty of intuition which is also the language of the soul. These spiritual experiences cannot be proved to others because they are non-physical in nature but the individual who has these experiences within their own consciousness will need no proof and will feel close to God.

Although God is formless, God can take a form when needed just like the formless water takes a form when poured in to a container or is frozen. There is nothing wrong in developing a personal relationship with God by giving a favorite form to God if it helps the individual. Bahaullah gave God the form of a Houri in the Ode of the Dove and expressed his desire for union with Her. This is called the Yoga of love, Bhakti Yoga, in the Bhagavad Gita and Bahaullah describes it in the Four Valleys.
 
Last edited:
Jul 2017
372
Olympia, WA, USA
#6
In the Hidden Words, Bahaullah says that the human heart is the seat of God and if we can clean our hearts, God will descend in to our heart. The Bible says the kingdom of God is within us. It also says that the human body is the temple of God but we don't know it. The Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita says God is seated in the human heart but man does not know it out of spiritual ignorance. The Quran says God is closer to us than the Jugular vein. So why then do we feel separation from God? Is it possible to have a union with God as Bahaullah asserted in the Hidden Words? Is it possible to know God as Bahaullah stated as in the short Obligatory prayer for example. If these goals were impractical or impossible why would Bahaullah make them part of his teachings?
Obviously those scriptures do not mean that God will literally descend into our bodies. That is akin to the Christian belief that the Holy Spirit lives inside of them, which was refuted by Abdul-Baha. The Holy Spirit affects the soul and the intellectual faculties of man but it does not take up occupancy inside the physical body.

However, it is possible to know God and be close to God, and otherwise Baha’u’llah would not have written what He did. I know many of these passages very well.
To understand why we feel separate from God, we first need to understand who we are. As human beings, we are a combination of soul, mind stuff and body. The mind stuff is further divided in to ego, intellect, memory and the sense mind that is connected to the physical senses through energy flowing in the nerves. For the sake of this explanation, just be aware that the mind stuff is not the same as sense mind. There are no words in the English language to describe what I am trying to explain and I don't want to use non-English words. From the time we are born we learn, discover and know by gathering information through the physical senses which can only perceive something that changes in the time-space domain. Additionally the senses are focused on the outer and physical world and they are not designed to turn inward and focus on the spiritual world which is non-physical in nature. Since God is essentially formless, the physical senses designed to perceive the physical world cannot find God in the physical world. Since the formless God is beyond the physical world, none of the laws of the physical world can help us find God. So we have no choice but try to go beyond the sense mind, ego, intellect and memory to get close to God and eventually find God or attain union with God.
Okay, thanks, I think I am following you. Knowing who God is might be somewhat of a mental process because we learn that through reading the scriptures, but getting close to God is not physical or intellectual, it is beyond that. Perhaps that is one reason that Baha’u’llah says not to be attached to the physical world and that the veil of knowledge is the greatest veil between us and God.

“Know verily that Knowledge is of two kinds: Divine and Satanic. The one welleth out from the fountain of divine inspiration; the other is but a reflection of vain and obscure thoughts. The source of the former is God Himself; the motive-force of the latter the whisperings of selfish desire. The one is guided by the principle: “Fear ye God; God will teach you;” 29 the other is but a confirmation of the truth: “Knowledge is the most grievous veil between man and his Creator.” The former bringeth forth the fruit of patience, of longing desire, of true understanding, and love; whilst the latter can yield naught but arrogance, vainglory and conceit.”
The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 69
There are many ways to get close to God. For example the paths described in the Four Valleys which correspond to the different types of Yoga described in the Bhagavad Gita can be very useful. In my personal experience, I have found that the path of silent meditation which is also supported by Bahaullah and Abdul Baha is the fastest way to get close to God. Some forms of meditation work by withdrawing the energy from the nerves and pulling it back in to the spinal cord which interiorizes the consciousness and deactivates the senses for the duration of meditation. In such a state you can perceive God in several ways. God can manifest as light or sound or intense joy or peace or Bliss. God can also speak to the individual through the faculty of intuition which is also the language of the soul. These spiritual experiences cannot be proved to others because they are non-physical in nature but the individual who has these experiences within their own consciousness will need no proof and will feel close to God.
I think I have been close to God while reading the Writings or listening to Christian music, but it has been a long time. To be honest, I do not really want to be close to God right now because I do not like God much of the time. Very often, I wish I could be an atheist but because of Baha’u’llah I cannot be. I do not want to live forever in the Abha Kingdom or anywhere else. I do not feel this way all the time, but I feel this way a lot of the time.

I have been a Baha’i for over 48 years but I was never trying to be a Baha’i. Trying to “be a Baha’i” and do what we are enjoined to do for the last six years has certainly had its ups and downs. I feel lost and alone some of the time but other times I feel totally centered and happy, knowing I am doing what I Baha’u’llah enjoined me to do.

“Go thou straight on and persevere in His service. Say: O people! The Day, promised unto you in all the Scriptures, is now come. Fear ye God, and withhold not yourselves from recognizing the One Who is the Object of your creation. Hasten ye unto Him. Better is this for you than the world and all that is therein. Would that ye could perceive it!” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 314

“O ye beloved of God! Repose not yourselves on your couches, nay bestir yourselves as soon as ye recognize your Lord, the Creator, and hear of the things which have befallen Him, and hasten to His assistance. Unloose your tongues, and proclaim unceasingly His Cause. This shall be better for you than all the treasures of the past and of the future, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 330

The thing is that I do perceive it, and I know it is better for me than the worldly things but I still have to deal with the world.

My other hat is psychology, so I analyze myself and my motives all the time. I try not to analyze other people, only the collective whole, but that can be difficult because that is what I was trained to do in school. I look around and I listen to what people talk about, even what they look like, and I feel out of step with everyone in the world because what I see around me is people living for the world. I see what I see and I wonder about people and then I wonder if maybe I am wrong since nobody else seems to see what I see.

Then I ask myself, if most people are living for the world, how canthey be calling themselves religious, no matter which religion it is? I probably sound critical but I just call it as I see it. If people actually lived according to what Jesus and Baha’u’llah taught the world would be utterly transformed. Instead, what we see is crass materialism, eating away at the very vitals of society. Shoghi Effendi wrote about that about 70 years ago, and how much better off are we now? If anything, it seems to be worse since I became a Baha’i in 1970. Many other Baha’is have called me too austere, but I am just trying to follow what Baha’u’llah wrote and I take it very seriously. If He did not mean it, He should not have written it, and there are so many passages like the following. I once counted over 100 in Gleanings alone and I put all of them in a Word document. Moreover, I know from my personal experience of being hindered for so many years that what He wrote is true. I never loved worldly things that much but I was certainly selfish, and the greatest prison is the prison of self. The Evil One in the following passage is the self, which Baha’u’llah refers to as the Satanic Self in other passages.

“Say: Doth it beseem a man while claiming to be a follower of his Lord, the All-Merciful, he should yet in his heart do the very deeds of the Evil One? Nay, it ill beseemeth him, and to this He Who is the Beauty of the All-Glorious will bear Me witness. Would that ye could comprehend it!

Cleanse from your hearts the love of worldly things, from your tongues every remembrance except His remembrance, from your entire being whatsoever may deter you from beholding His face, or may tempt you to follow the promptings of your evil and corrupt inclinations. Let God be your fear, O people, and be ye of them that tread the path of righteousness.

Say: Should your conduct, O people, contradict your professions, how think ye, then, to be able to distinguish yourselves from them who, though professing their faith in the Lord their God, have, as soon as He came unto them in the cloud of holiness, refused to acknowledge Him, and repudiated His truth? Disencumber yourselves of all attachment to this world and the vanities thereof. Beware that ye approach them not, inasmuch as they prompt you to walk after your own lusts and covetous desires, and hinder you from entering the straight and glorious Path.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 275-276

How similar this is to what Jesus said in the following Bible verses.

John 12:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
Although God is formless, God can take a form when needed just like the formless water takes a form when poured in to a container or is frozen. There is nothing wrong in developing a personal relationship with God by giving a favorite form to God if it helps the individual. Bahaullah gave God the form of a Houri in the Ode of the Dove and expressed his desire for union with Her. This is called the Yoga of love, Bhakti Yoga, in the Bhagavad Gita and Bahaullah describes it in the Four Valleys.
I have read the Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys more than once but I never really grasped it that well. I guess you mean giving God a form in our mind in order to conceptualize Him. To be honest, the closest I ever came to dropping out of the Faith was about five years ago when I read the Tablet to the Maiden, translated by Juan Cole. The sexual overtones were extremely troubling to me given what Baha’u’llah wrote about the things of the flesh. I cannot imagine Jesus writing a Tablet like that. Why is it necessary for love to be equated with women’s body parts? I really do have to wonder. I also wonder why Muhammad and Baha’u’llah had so many wives and there were also many children. Sure, it was part of the culture to have many wives, but one would think that a Manifestation of God would rise above that. It is almost enough to make me a Christian, except that I could never believe in the Christian doctrines.
 
Feb 2019
113
Chicago
#7
Obviously those scriptures do not mean that God will literally descend into our bodies. That is akin to the Christian belief that the Holy Spirit lives inside of them, which was refuted by Abdul-Baha. The Holy Spirit affects the soul and the intellectual faculties of man but it does not take up occupancy inside the physical body.

I am not sure

However, it is possible to know God and be close to God, and otherwise Baha’u’llah would not have written what He did. I know many of these passages very well.

Okay, thanks, I think I am following you. Knowing who God is might be somewhat of a mental process because we learn that through reading the scriptures, but getting close to God is not physical or intellectual, it is beyond that. Perhaps that is one reason that Baha’u’llah says not to be attached to the physical world and that the veil of knowledge is the greatest veil between us and God.

“Know verily that Knowledge is of two kinds: Divine and Satanic. The one welleth out from the fountain of divine inspiration; the other is but a reflection of vain and obscure thoughts. The source of the former is God Himself; the motive-force of the latter the whisperings of selfish desire. The one is guided by the principle: “Fear ye God; God will teach you;” 29 the other is but a confirmation of the truth: “Knowledge is the most grievous veil between man and his Creator.” The former bringeth forth the fruit of patience, of longing desire, of true understanding, and love; whilst the latter can yield naught but arrogance, vainglory and conceit.”
The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 69

I think I have been close to God while reading the Writings or listening to Christian music, but it has been a long time. To be honest, I do not really want to be close to God right now because I do not like God much of the time. Very often, I wish I could be an atheist but because of Baha’u’llah I cannot be. I do not want to live forever in the Abha Kingdom or anywhere else. I do not feel this way all the time, but I feel this way a lot of the time.

I have been a Baha’i for over 48 years but I was never trying to be a Baha’i. Trying to “be a Baha’i” and do what we are enjoined to do for the last six years has certainly had its ups and downs. I feel lost and alone some of the time but other times I feel totally centered and happy, knowing I am doing what I Baha’u’llah enjoined me to do.

“Go thou straight on and persevere in His service. Say: O people! The Day, promised unto you in all the Scriptures, is now come. Fear ye God, and withhold not yourselves from recognizing the One Who is the Object of your creation. Hasten ye unto Him. Better is this for you than the world and all that is therein. Would that ye could perceive it!” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 314

“O ye beloved of God! Repose not yourselves on your couches, nay bestir yourselves as soon as ye recognize your Lord, the Creator, and hear of the things which have befallen Him, and hasten to His assistance. Unloose your tongues, and proclaim unceasingly His Cause. This shall be better for you than all the treasures of the past and of the future, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 330

The thing is that I do perceive it, and I know it is better for me than the worldly things but I still have to deal with the world.

My other hat is psychology, so I analyze myself and my motives all the time. I try not to analyze other people, only the collective whole, but that can be difficult because that is what I was trained to do in school. I look around and I listen to what people talk about, even what they look like, and I feel out of step with everyone in the world because what I see around me is people living for the world. I see what I see and I wonder about people and then I wonder if maybe I am wrong since nobody else seems to see what I see.

Then I ask myself, if most people are living for the world, how canthey be calling themselves religious, no matter which religion it is? I probably sound critical but I just call it as I see it. If people actually lived according to what Jesus and Baha’u’llah taught the world would be utterly transformed. Instead, what we see is crass materialism, eating away at the very vitals of society. Shoghi Effendi wrote about that about 70 years ago, and how much better off are we now? If anything, it seems to be worse since I became a Baha’i in 1970. Many other Baha’is have called me too austere, but I am just trying to follow what Baha’u’llah wrote and I take it very seriously. If He did not mean it, He should not have written it, and there are so many passages like the following. I once counted over 100 in Gleanings alone and I put all of them in a Word document. Moreover, I know from my personal experience of being hindered for so many years that what He wrote is true. I never loved worldly things that much but I was certainly selfish, and the greatest prison is the prison of self. The Evil One in the following passage is the self, which Baha’u’llah refers to as the Satanic Self in other passages.

“Say: Doth it beseem a man while claiming to be a follower of his Lord, the All-Merciful, he should yet in his heart do the very deeds of the Evil One? Nay, it ill beseemeth him, and to this He Who is the Beauty of the All-Glorious will bear Me witness. Would that ye could comprehend it!

Cleanse from your hearts the love of worldly things, from your tongues every remembrance except His remembrance, from your entire being whatsoever may deter you from beholding His face, or may tempt you to follow the promptings of your evil and corrupt inclinations. Let God be your fear, O people, and be ye of them that tread the path of righteousness.

Say: Should your conduct, O people, contradict your professions, how think ye, then, to be able to distinguish yourselves from them who, though professing their faith in the Lord their God, have, as soon as He came unto them in the cloud of holiness, refused to acknowledge Him, and repudiated His truth? Disencumber yourselves of all attachment to this world and the vanities thereof. Beware that ye approach them not, inasmuch as they prompt you to walk after your own lusts and covetous desires, and hinder you from entering the straight and glorious Path.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 275-276

How similar this is to what Jesus said in the following Bible verses.

John 12:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

I have read the Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys more than once but I never really grasped it that well. I guess you mean giving God a form in our mind in order to conceptualize Him. To be honest, the closest I ever came to dropping out of the Faith was about five years ago when I read the Tablet to the Maiden, translated by Juan Cole. The sexual overtones were extremely troubling to me given what Baha’u’llah wrote about the things of the flesh. I cannot imagine Jesus writing a Tablet like that. Why is it necessary for love to be equated with women’s body parts? I really do have to wonder. I also wonder why Muhammad and Baha’u’llah had so many wives and there were also many children. Sure, it was part of the culture to have many wives, but one would think that a Manifestation of God would rise above that. It is almost enough to make me a Christian, except that I could never believe in the Christian doctrines.
 
Feb 2019
113
Chicago
#8
Obviously those scriptures do not mean that God will literally descend into our bodies. That is akin to the Christian belief that the Holy Spirit lives inside of them, which was refuted by Abdul-Baha. The Holy Spirit affects the soul and the intellectual faculties of man but it does not take up occupancy inside the physical body.

However, it is possible to know God and be close to God, and otherwise Baha’u’llah would not have written what He did. I know many of these passages very well.

Okay, thanks, I think I am following you. Knowing who God is might be somewhat of a mental process because we learn that through reading the scriptures, but getting close to God is not physical or intellectual, it is beyond that. Perhaps that is one reason that Baha’u’llah says not to be attached to the physical world and that the veil of knowledge is the greatest veil between us and God.

“Know verily that Knowledge is of two kinds: Divine and Satanic. The one welleth out from the fountain of divine inspiration; the other is but a reflection of vain and obscure thoughts. The source of the former is God Himself; the motive-force of the latter the whisperings of selfish desire. The one is guided by the principle: “Fear ye God; God will teach you;” 29 the other is but a confirmation of the truth: “Knowledge is the most grievous veil between man and his Creator.” The former bringeth forth the fruit of patience, of longing desire, of true understanding, and love; whilst the latter can yield naught but arrogance, vainglory and conceit.”
The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 69

I think I have been close to God while reading the Writings or listening to Christian music, but it has been a long time. To be honest, I do not really want to be close to God right now because I do not like God much of the time. Very often, I wish I could be an atheist but because of Baha’u’llah I cannot be. I do not want to live forever in the Abha Kingdom or anywhere else. I do not feel this way all the time, but I feel this way a lot of the time.

I have been a Baha’i for over 48 years but I was never trying to be a Baha’i. Trying to “be a Baha’i” and do what we are enjoined to do for the last six years has certainly had its ups and downs. I feel lost and alone some of the time but other times I feel totally centered and happy, knowing I am doing what I Baha’u’llah enjoined me to do.

“Go thou straight on and persevere in His service. Say: O people! The Day, promised unto you in all the Scriptures, is now come. Fear ye God, and withhold not yourselves from recognizing the One Who is the Object of your creation. Hasten ye unto Him. Better is this for you than the world and all that is therein. Would that ye could perceive it!” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 314

“O ye beloved of God! Repose not yourselves on your couches, nay bestir yourselves as soon as ye recognize your Lord, the Creator, and hear of the things which have befallen Him, and hasten to His assistance. Unloose your tongues, and proclaim unceasingly His Cause. This shall be better for you than all the treasures of the past and of the future, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 330

The thing is that I do perceive it, and I know it is better for me than the worldly things but I still have to deal with the world.

My other hat is psychology, so I analyze myself and my motives all the time. I try not to analyze other people, only the collective whole, but that can be difficult because that is what I was trained to do in school. I look around and I listen to what people talk about, even what they look like, and I feel out of step with everyone in the world because what I see around me is people living for the world. I see what I see and I wonder about people and then I wonder if maybe I am wrong since nobody else seems to see what I see.

Then I ask myself, if most people are living for the world, how canthey be calling themselves religious, no matter which religion it is? I probably sound critical but I just call it as I see it. If people actually lived according to what Jesus and Baha’u’llah taught the world would be utterly transformed. Instead, what we see is crass materialism, eating away at the very vitals of society. Shoghi Effendi wrote about that about 70 years ago, and how much better off are we now? If anything, it seems to be worse since I became a Baha’i in 1970. Many other Baha’is have called me too austere, but I am just trying to follow what Baha’u’llah wrote and I take it very seriously. If He did not mean it, He should not have written it, and there are so many passages like the following. I once counted over 100 in Gleanings alone and I put all of them in a Word document. Moreover, I know from my personal experience of being hindered for so many years that what He wrote is true. I never loved worldly things that much but I was certainly selfish, and the greatest prison is the prison of self. The Evil One in the following passage is the self, which Baha’u’llah refers to as the Satanic Self in other passages.

“Say: Doth it beseem a man while claiming to be a follower of his Lord, the All-Merciful, he should yet in his heart do the very deeds of the Evil One? Nay, it ill beseemeth him, and to this He Who is the Beauty of the All-Glorious will bear Me witness. Would that ye could comprehend it!

Cleanse from your hearts the love of worldly things, from your tongues every remembrance except His remembrance, from your entire being whatsoever may deter you from beholding His face, or may tempt you to follow the promptings of your evil and corrupt inclinations. Let God be your fear, O people, and be ye of them that tread the path of righteousness.

Say: Should your conduct, O people, contradict your professions, how think ye, then, to be able to distinguish yourselves from them who, though professing their faith in the Lord their God, have, as soon as He came unto them in the cloud of holiness, refused to acknowledge Him, and repudiated His truth? Disencumber yourselves of all attachment to this world and the vanities thereof. Beware that ye approach them not, inasmuch as they prompt you to walk after your own lusts and covetous desires, and hinder you from entering the straight and glorious Path.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 275-276

How similar this is to what Jesus said in the following Bible verses.

John 12:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

I have read the Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys more than once but I never really grasped it that well. I guess you mean giving God a form in our mind in order to conceptualize Him. To be honest, the closest I ever came to dropping out of the Faith was about five years ago when I read the Tablet to the Maiden, translated by Juan Cole. The sexual overtones were extremely troubling to me given what Baha’u’llah wrote about the things of the flesh. I cannot imagine Jesus writing a Tablet like that. Why is it necessary for love to be equated with women’s body parts? I really do have to wonder. I also wonder why Muhammad and Baha’u’llah had so many wives and there were also many children. Sure, it was part of the culture to have many wives, but one would think that a Manifestation of God would rise above that. It is almost enough to make me a Christian, except that I could never believe in the Christian doctrines.
I am not sure Abdul Baha had the same understanding of the Trinity that Bahaullah, Jesus and Krishna had. But that would be a topic for another discussion. God descending in to us is not meant in a physical sense but it is meant spiritually. The truth is that the quality of love is the most important quality for God since God created human beings to experience their love. The heart is the seat of love but unfortunately due to human nature it is occupied by negative qualities like anger, ego, greed, fear, pride, lust, selfishness etc. As a person cleanses his heart of these negative qualities, spiritual qualities like kindness, compassion, fearlessness, charity, service will start manifesting and eventually love will be perfected as human love is transformed in to divine love. At this point a human being would manifest attributes of God and that is what is meant by God descending in to us.

Regarding the translation of the Tablet of the Maiden by Juan Cole, I am open to the possibility that there may be some errors but I am not completely certain there are. Generally speaking, when mystical truths expressed by a mystic in rich language like Arabic are translated by an ordinary person from another culture in to another language there could be some errors due to misunderstanding. It takes a mystic to understand a mystic. Often times, there are multiple meanings to a word some of which are very esoteric. A well developed intuitive ability is required to glean the correct meaning intended by the author. I am not sure Juan Cole has that ability.

Having said that, even if we assume there were no errors in Juan Cole's translation, I would not rush to the conclusion that there was something wrong with Bahaullah for authoring Tablet of the Maiden given that the highest wisdom permeates his teachings. His words have a spiritual potency that can only come from a true manifestation of God. There is no one way to God. One person's way might be very strange to another. Of the several ways that Hindus discovered to God, the Tantric way that involves sexual intercourse as a spiritual practice is a valid one but a very difficult one. The 19th century Hindu avatar Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa was once asked by one of his disciples about the Trantic way to God. He said that it was a legitimate way but an extremely difficult one. He added that he preferred to approach God as his Mother for he found that easier. His was a relationship of child and Mother but God can also be treated as a Father, Spouse (Divine Lover), Child or a Friend. I believe Bahaullah in some of his Tablets considered God as a Divine Lover and gave the form of a beautiful Houri to God. It is not unusual for Sufis to do so and we should not be surprised if Bahaullah did something similar in the company of Sufis.

The average man wishes to enjoy the material objects of the world. Tantra bids him enjoy these, but at the same time discover in them the presence of God. Mystical rites are prescribed by which, slowly, the sense-objects become spiritualized and sense attraction is transformed into a love of God. So the very "bonds" of man are turned into "releasers". The very poison that kills is transmuted into the elixir of life. Outward renunciation is not necessary. Thus the aim of Tantra is to sublimate bhoga, or enjoyment into yoga, or union with Consciousness.
Source: Tantra

The multiple wives of Mohammed and Bahaullah could be a different topic for discussion. I am not convinced the multiple marriages were out of personal needs like physical or emotional.
 
Feb 2019
113
Chicago
#9
Trailblazer,

I just wanted to add that the Tablet of the Maiden was a vision that Bahaullah experienced. In other words it came from God and it wasn't a product of his intellect or feelings of the heart. At the end, he asks the reader to interpret the vision.

Venu
 

Similar threads