Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá `Abbás
"O ye beloved of God and maid-servants of the Merciful!..."
O ye beloved of God and maid-servants of the Merciful!
The republic of wise men believes that the difference
in minds and opinions is due to the difference of education
and the acquisition of ethics. That is, that minds
are equal in origin, but education and the acquisition
of ethics cause minds to differ and comprehensions to be
at variance; that this difference is not in entity but in
education and teaching; that there is no individual distinction
for any soul. Hence, the members of the
human race all possess the capacity of attaining to the
highest station, and the proof they adduce therefor is
this: "The inhabitants of a country like Africa are
all as wandering savages and wild animals; they lack
intelligence and knowledge; all are uncivilized; not one
civilized and wise man is to be found among them.
On the contrary, consider the civilized countries, the
inhabitants of which are living in the highest state of
culture and ethics, solidarity and inter-dependence; possessing,
with few exceptions, acute power of comprehensions
and sound mind. Therefore, it is made clear
and evident that the superiority and inferiority of minds
and comprehensions arises from education and cultivation,
or from their lack and absence. A bent branch is
straightened by training and the wild fruit of the jungle
is made the product of the orchard. An ignorant man
by learning becomes knowing, and the world of savagery,
through the bounty of a wise educator, is changed
into a civilized kingdom. The sick is healed by medication,
and the poor man, by learning the arts of commerce,
is made rich. The follower, by attaining the
virtues of the leader, becomes great, and the lowly man,
by the education of the teacher, rises from the nadir of
oblivion to the zenith of celebrity." These are the
proofs of the wise men.
The prophets also acknowledge this opinion, towit:
That education hath a great effect upon the human
race, but they declare that minds and comprehensions
are originally different. And this matter is self-evident;
it cannot be refuted. We see that certain children of
the same age, nativity and race, nay, from the same
household, under the tutorship of one teacher, differ in
their minds and comprehensions. One advanceth rapidly,
another is slow in catching the rays of culture, still
another remaineth in the lowest degree of stupidity.
No matter how much the shell is educated (or
polished), it can never become the radiant pearl. The
black stone will not become the world illumining gem.
and the thorny cactus can never by training
and development become the blessed tree. That
is to say, training doth not change the human gem (i.e.,
human nature or entity), but it produceth a marvelous
effect. By this effective power all that is registered
latent of virtues and capacities in the human reality will
Cultivation by the farmer maketh of the grain the
harvest, and the effort of the gardener maketh of the
seed a noble tree. The gentle teacher promoteth the
children of the school to the lofty altitude and the bestowal
of the trainer placeth the little child upon the
throne of ether. Therefore, it is demonstrated and
proven that minds are different in the original entity
or nature, and that education commandeth a decided and
great influence. Were there no educator, all souls would
remain savage, and were it not for the teacher, the
children would be ignorant creatures.
It is for this reason that, in this New Cycle, education
and training are recorded in the Book of God as
obligatory and not voluntary. That is, it is enjoined
upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with
all effort to train the daughter and the son, to nurse
them from the breast of knowledge and to rear them in
the bosom of sciences and arts. Should they neglect this
matter, they shall, be held responsible and worthy of
reproach in the presence of the stern Lord.
This is a sin unpardonable, for they have made that
poor babe a wanderer in the Sahara of ignorance, unfortunate
and tormented; to remain during a lifetime
a captive of ignorance and pride, negligent and without
discernment. Verily, if that babe depart from this
world at the age of infancy, it is sweeter and better.
In this sense, death is better than life; deprivation than
salvation; non-existence lovelier than existence; the
grave better than the spacious, regal home; for in the
sight of mankind that child is abased and degraded and
in the sight of God weak and defective. in gatherings
it is ashamed and humiliated and in the arena of examination
subdued and defeated by young and old.
What a mistake is this! What an everlasting humiliation!
Therefore, the beloved of God and the maid-servants
of the Merciful must train their children with life and
heart and teach them in the school of virtue and perfection.
They must not be lax in the matter; they must
not be inefficient. Truly, if a babe did not live at all it
were better than to let it grow ignorant, for that innocent
babe, in later life, would become afflicted with innumerable
defects, responsible to and questioned by God,
reproached and rejected by the people. What a sin
this would be and what an omission!
the first duty of the beloved of God and the maid-servants
of the Merciful is this: They must strive by
all possible means to educate both sexes, male and female;
girls like boys; there is no difference whatsoever
between them. The ignorance of both is blameworthy,
and negligence in both cases is reprovable. "Are they
who know and they who do not know equal?" (Koran)
The command is decisive concerning both. If it be
considered through the eye of reality, the training and
culture of daughters is more necessary than that of sons,
for these girls will come to the station of motherhood
and will mould the lives of the children. The first
trainer of the child is the mother. The babe, like unto
a green and tender branch, will grow according to the
way it is trained. If the training be right, it will grow
right, and if crooked, the growth likewise, and unto
the end of life it will conduct itself accordingly.
Hence, it is firmly established that an untrained and
uneducated daughter, on becoming a mother, will be
the prime factor in the deprivation, ignorance, negligence
and the lack of training of many children.
O ye beloved of God and the maid-servants of the
Merciful! Teaching and learning, according to the
decisive texts of the Blessed Beauty (Baha'o'llah),
is a duty. Whosover is indifferent therein depriveth
himself of the great bounty.
Beware! Beware! that ye fail not in this matter.
Endeavor with heart, with life, to train your children,
especially the daughters. No excuse is acceptable in
Thus may eternal glory and everlasting supremacy,
like unto the mid-day sun, shine forth in the assemblage
of the people of Baha', and the heart of Abdul-Baha
become happy and thankful.
1. [Cucumis calocynthis.]