Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh
LXXX: Thou hast asked Me whether man, as apart...
Thou hast asked Me whether man, as apart from the Prophets of God and His chosen ones, will
retain, after his physical death, the self-same individuality,
personality, consciousness, and understanding
that characterize his life in this world. If this
should be the case, how is it, thou hast observed, that
whereas such slight injuries to his mental faculties as
fainting and severe illness deprive him of his understanding
and consciousness, his death, which must
involve the decomposition of his body and the dissolution
of its elements, is powerless to destroy that
understanding and extinguish that consciousness?
How can any one imagine that man's consciousness
and personality will be maintained, when the very
instruments necessary to their existence and function
will have completely disintegrated?
Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above,
and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind.
That a sick person showeth signs of weakness is due
to the hindrances that interpose themselves between
his soul and his body, for the soul itself remaineth
unaffected by any bodily ailments. Consider the light
of the lamp. Though an external object may interfere
with its radiance, the light itself continueth to
shine with undiminished power. In like manner,
every malady afflicting the body of man is an impediment
that preventeth the soul from manifesting its
inherent might and power. When it leaveth the body,
however, it will evince such ascendancy, and reveal
such influence as no force on earth can equal. Every
pure, every refined and sanctified soul will be endowed
with tremendous power, and shall rejoice with
Consider the lamp which is hidden under a bushel.
Though its light be shining, yet its radiance is concealed
from men. Likewise, consider the sun which
hath been obscured by the clouds. Observe how its
splendor appeareth to have diminished, when in
reality the source of that light hath remained unchanged.
The soul of man should be likened unto this
sun, and all things on earth should be regarded as his
body. So long as no external impediment interveneth
between them, the body will, in its entirety, continue
to reflect the light of the soul, and to be sustained
by its power. As soon as, however, a veil interposeth
itself between them, the brightness of that light
seemeth to lessen.
Consider again the sun when it is completely
hidden behind the clouds. Though the earth is still
illumined with its light, yet the measure of light
which it receiveth is considerably reduced. Not until
the clouds have dispersed, can the sun shine again in
the plenitude of its glory. Neither the presence of
the cloud nor its absence can, in any way, affect the
inherent splendor of the sun. The soul of man is the
sun by which his body is illumined, and from which
it draweth its sustenance, and should be so regarded.
Consider, moreover, how the fruit, ere it is formed,
lieth potentially within the tree. Were the tree to be
cut into pieces, no sign nor any part of the fruit,
however small, could be detected. When it appeareth,
however, it manifesteth itself, as thou hast observed,
in its wondrous beauty and glorious perfection. Certain
fruits, indeed, attain their fullest development
only after being severed from the tree.