Selections From the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá
31: O thou who art dear, and wise! Thy letter dated ...
O thou who art dear, and wise! Thy letter dated 27 May 1906 hath been received and its contents are most
pleasing and have brought great joy.
Thou didst ask whether this Cause, this new and living
Cause, could take the place of the dead religious rites and
ceremonials of England; whether it would be possible, now
that various groups have appeared, whose members are
highly placed divines and theologians, far superior in their
attainments to those of the past, for this new Cause so to
impress the members of such groups as to gather them and
the rest into its all-protecting shade.
O thou dear friend! Know thou that the distinguished
Individual of every age is endowed according to the perfections
of His age. That Individual who in past ages was set
above His fellows was gifted according to the virtues of His
time. But in this age of splendours, this era of God, the pre-eminent
Personage, the luminous Orb, the chosen Individual
will shine out with such perfections and such power
as ultimately to dazzle the minds of every community and
group. And since such a Personage is superior to all others in
spiritual perfections and heavenly attainments, and is indeed
the focal centre of divine blessings and the pivot of the
circle of light, He will encompass all others, and there is no
doubt whatsoever that He will shine out with such power
as to gather every soul into His sheltering shade.
When ye consider this matter with care, it will become
apparent that this is according to a universal law, which one
can find at work in all things: the whole attracteth the part,
and in the circle, the centre is the pivot of the compasses.
Ponder thou upon the Spirit
: because He was the focal
centre of spiritual power, the wellspring of divine bounties,
although at the beginning He gathered unto Himself only a
very few souls, later on He was able, because of that all-subduing
power that He had, to unite within the sheltering
Tabernacle of Christendom all the differing sects. Compare
the present with the past, and see how great is the difference;
thus canst thou arrive at truth and certitude.
The differences among the religions of the world are due
to the varying types of minds. So long as the powers of the
mind are various, it is certain that men's judgements and
opinions will differ one from another. If, however, one
single, universal perceptive power be introduced--a power
encompassing all the rest--those differing opinions will
merge, and a spiritual harmony and oneness will become
apparent. For example, when the Christ was made manifest,
the minds of the various contemporary peoples, their views,
their emotional attitudes, whether they were Romans,
Greeks, Syrians, Israelites, or others, were at variance with
one another. But once His universal power was brought to
bear, it gradually succeeded, after the lapse of three hundred
years, in gathering together all those divergent minds under
the protection, and within the governance, of one central
Point, all sharing the same spiritual emotions in their
To use a metaphor, when an army is placed under various
commanders, each with his own strategy, they will obviously
differ as to battle lines and movements of the troops;
but once the Supreme Commander, who is thoroughly
versed in the arts of war, taketh over, those other plans will
disappear, for the supremely gifted general will bring the
whole army under his control. This is intended only as a
metaphor, not an exact comparison. Now if you should say
that each and every one of those other generals is highly
skilled in the military art, is thoroughly proficient and
experienced, and therefore will not subject himself to the
rule of one individual, no matter how indescribably great,
your statement is untenable, for the above situation is
demonstrably what cometh to pass, and there is no doubt
Such is the case with the holy Manifestations of God.
Such in particular is the case with the divine reality of the
Most Great Name, the Abhá Beauty. When once He
standeth revealed unto the assembled peoples of the world
and appeareth with such comeliness, such enchantments--
alluring as a Joseph in the Egypt of the spirit--He enslaveth
all the lovers on earth.
As to those souls who are born into this life as ethereal
and radiant entities and yet, on account of their handicaps
and trials, are deprived of great and real advantages, and
leave the world without having lived to the full--certainly
this is a cause for grieving. This is the reason why the
universal Manifestations of God unveil Their countenances
to man, and endure every calamity and sore affliction, and
lay down Their lives as a ransom; it is to make these very
people, the ready ones, the ones who have capacity, to
become dawning points of light, and to bestow upon them
the life that fadeth never. This is the true sacrifice: the
offering of oneself, even as did Christ, as a ransom for the
life of the world.
As to the influence of holy Beings and the continuance of
Their grace to mankind after They have put away Their
human form, this is, to Bahá'ís, an indisputable fact. Indeed,
the flooding grace, the streaming splendours of the holy
Manifestations appear after Their ascension from this world.
The exaltation of the Word, the revelation of the power of
God, the conversion of God-fearing souls, the bestowal of
everlasting life--it was following the Messiah's martyrdom
that all these were increased and intensified. In the same
way, ever since the ascension of the Blessed Beauty, the
bestowals have been more abundant, the spreading light is
brighter, the tokens of the Lord's might are more powerful,
the influence of the Word is much stronger, and it will not
be long before the motion, the heat, the brilliance, the
blessings of the Sun of His reality will encompass all the
Grieve thou not over the slow advance of the Bahá'í
Cause in that land. This is but the early dawn. Consider
how, with the Cause of Christ, three hundred years had to
go by, before its great influence was made manifest. Today,
not sixty years from its birth, the light of this Faith hath
been shed around the planet.
Regarding the health society of which thou art a member,
once it cometh under the shelter of this Faith its
influence shall increase a hundredfold.
Thou dost observe that love among the Bahá'ís is very
great, and that love is the main thing. Just as love's power
hath been developed to such a high degree among the
Bahá'ís, and is far greater than among the people of other
religions, so is it with all else as well; for love is the ground
of all things.
Regarding the translation of the Books and Tablets of the
Blessed Beauty, erelong will translations be made into
every tongue, with power, clarity and grace. At such time
as they are translated, conformably to the originals, and
with power and grace of style, the splendours of their inner
meanings will be shed abroad, and will illumine the eyes of
all mankind. Do thy very best to ensure that the translation
is in conformity with the original.
The Blessed Beauty proceeded to Haifa on many occasions.
Thou beheldest Him there, but thou didst not know
Him at that time. It is my hope that thou wilt attain unto
the true meeting with Him, which is to behold Him with
the inner, not the outer eye.
The essence of Bahá'u'lláh's Teaching is all-embracing
love, for love includeth every excellence of humankind. It
causeth every soul to go forward. It bestoweth on each one,
for a heritage, immortal life. Erelong shalt thou bear witness
that His celestial Teachings, the very glory of reality
itself, shall light up the skies of the world.
The brief prayer which thou didst write at the close of
thy letter was indeed original, touching and beautiful.
Recite thou this prayer at all times.