Excerpted from the Compilation "Reality, Soul and the Worlds of God"

The Reality of the Soul ó Understanding Your True Self


A. What is the Human Soul?

[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

#366. Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes. Upon the reality of man, however, He hath focused the radiance of all of His names and attributes, and made it a mirror of His own Self. Alone of all created things man hath been singled out for so great a favor, so enduring a bounty.

Gleanings from the Writings of Baháíuílláh, Selection XXVII, p. 65

#367. Know thou that all men have been created in the nature made by God, the Guardian, the Self-Subsisting. Unto each one hath been prescribed a pre-ordained measure, as decreed in Godís mighty and guarded Tablets.

Gleanings from the Writings of Baháíuílláh, Selection LXXVII, p. 149

#368. Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him.

Gleanings from the Writings of Baháíuílláh, Selection LXXXII, pp. 158-159

#369. Verily I say, the human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among His mysteries. It is one of the mighty signs of the Almighty, the harbinger that proclaimeth the reality of all the worlds of God. Within it lieth concealed that which the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.

Gleanings from the Writings of Baháíuílláh, Selection LXXXII, p. 160

#370. "Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form When within thee the universe is folded?"

The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, "The Valley of Wonderment", quoting ĎAlí , p. 34

[From the Writings of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#371. A human being is distinguished from an animal in a number of ways. First of all, he is made in the image of God, in the likeness of the Supernal Light, even as the Torah saith, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."(Genesis 1:26) This divine image betokeneth all the qualities of perfection whose lights, emanating from the Sun of Truth, illumine the realities of men.

Selections from the Writings of ĎAbduíl-Bahá, Selection #118, p. 140

[From the Talks of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#372. It is said in the Old Testament, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."(Genesis 2:7) Observe that it is said that Adam came into existence from the Spirit of life. Moreover, the expression which John uses in regard to the disciples proves that they also are from the Heavenly Father. Hence it is evident that the holy reality, meaning the real existence of every great man, comes from God and owes its being to the breath of the Holy Spirit.

Some Answered Questions, Chapter 18: "The Greatness of Christ is due to His Perfections", pp. 89-90

#373. Man...is the perfect mirror facing the Sun of Truth and is the center of radiation: the Sun of Truth shines in this mirror.

Some Answered Questions, Chapter 50: "Spiritual Proofs of the Origin of Man", p. 196

#374. Man is said to be the greatest representative of God, and he is the Book of Creation because all the mysteries of beings exist in him.

Some Answered Questions, Chapter 64: "The State of Man and His Progress after Death", p. 236

[From the unauthenticated Talks of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#375. The superiority of man over the rest of the created world is seen again in this, that man has a soul in which dwells the divine spirit; the souls of the lower creatures are inferior in their essence.

There is no doubt then, that of all created beings man is the nearest to the nature of God, and therefore receives a greater gift of the Divine Bounty.

Paris Talks, "20 October 1911, God Comprehends All: He cannot be Comprehended", p. 25

#376. .Öthe soul, even as the body, has its own individuality.

Paris Talks, "3 November 1911, The Evolution of Matter and Development of the Soul", p. 65

#377. Manóthe true manóis soul, not body; though physically man belongs to the animal kingdom, yet his soul lifts him above the rest of creation. Behold how the light of the sun illuminates the world of matter: even so doth the Divine Light shed its rays in the kingdom of the soul. The soul it is which makes the human creature a celestial entity!

Paris Talks, "9 November 1911, Discourse at ĎLíAlliance Spiritualiste, Salle de líAthenee, St. Germain", p. 85

#378. The soul is not a combination of elements, it is not composed of many atoms, it is of one indivisible substance and therefore eternal. It is entirely out of the order of the physical creation; it is immortal!

Scientific philosophy has demonstrated that a simple element ("simple" meaning "not composed") is indestructible, eternal. The soul, not being a composition of elements, is, in character, as a simple element, and therefore cannot cease to exist.

The soul, being of that one indivisible substance, can suffer neither disintegration nor destruction, therefore there is no reason for its coming to an end. All things living show signs of their existence, and it follows that these signs could not of themselves exist if that which they express or to which they testify had no being. A thing which does not exist, can, of course, give no sign of its existence. The manifold signs of the existence of the spirit are for ever before us.

Paris Talks, "10 November 1911, The Evolution of the Spirit, 15 Rue Greuze", p. 91

#379. Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, "29 August 1912, Talk at Home of Madame Morey, 34 Hillside Avenue, Malden, Massachusetts, Notes by Edna McKinney", p. 293

#380. .Öthe human spirit or reality of man, unless it becomes the recipient of the lights of the Kingdom, develops divine susceptibilities and consciously reflects the effulgence of God, will not be the manifestation of ideal bounties, for only the reality of man can become the mirror wherein the lights of God are revealed.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, "20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Clement Woolson, 870 Laurel Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota, From Stenographic Notes, p. 330

#381. Ö.in man there is a reality which is not the physical bodyÖ.This other and inner reality is called the heavenly body, the ethereal form which corresponds to this body. This is the conscious reality which discovers the inner meaning of thingsÖ.The inner ethereal reality grasps the mysteries of existence, discovers scientific truths and indicates their technical applicationÖ.It is the inner reality which comprehends things, throws light upon the mysteries of life and being, discovers the heavenly Kingdom, unseals the mysteries of God and differentiates man from the brute.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, "4 December 1912, Talk to Theosophical Society, 2228 Broadway, New York, Notes by Esther Foster", pp. 464-465


B. The Soulís Why or Raison díÊtre

[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

1. The Origin of the Soul

#382. O SON OF MAN! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.

The Hidden Words, Arabic #3

#383. Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee beingÖ.Out of the clay of love I molded theeÖ.

The Hidden Words, Arabic #13

#384. O SON OF THE WONDROUS VISION! I have breathed within thee a breath of My own Spirit, that thou mayest be My lover.

The Hidden Words, Arabic #19

[From the Talks of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#385. When it is said in the Bible that God breathed His spirit into man, this spirit is that which, like the discourse, emanates from the Real Speaker, taking effect in the reality of man.

Some Answered Questions, Chapter 54: "On the Proceeding of the Human Spirit from God", p. 206


2. The Eternal Purpose of God for Man

[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

#386. I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee.

Prayers and Meditations, Selection CLXXXI, p. 314

#387. Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Himóa capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation....

Gleanings from the Writings of Baháíuílláh, Selection XXVII, p. 65


C. to Know and to Love...


1. The Generating Impulse or Motive Power Underlying all Creation

[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

#388. As regards thine assertions about the beginning of creation, this is a matter on which conceptions vary by reason of the divergences in menís thoughts and opinions. Wert thou to assert that it hath ever existed and shall continue to exist, it would be true; or wert thou to affirm the same concept as is mentioned in the sacred Scriptures, no doubt would there be about it, for it hath been revealed by God, the Lord of the worlds. Indeed He was a hidden treasure. This is a station that can never be described nor even alluded to. And in the station of "I did wish to make Myself known", God was, and His creation had ever existed beneath His shelter from the beginning that hath no beginning, apart from its being preceded by a Firstness which cannot be regarded as firstness and originated by a Cause inscrutable even unto all men of learning.

That which hath been in existence had existed before, but not in the form thou seest today. The world of existence came into being through the heat generated from the interaction between the active force and that which is its recipient. These two are the same, yet they are different. Thus doth the Great Announcement inform thee about this glorious structure. Such as communicate the generating influence and such as receive its impact are indeed created through the irresistible Word of God which is the Cause of the entire creation, while all else besides His Word are but the creatures and the effects thereof. Verily thy Lord is the Expounder, the All-Wise.

Know thou, moreover, that the Word of Godóexalted be His gloryóis higher and far superior to that which the senses can perceive, for it is sanctified from any property or substance. It transcendeth the limitations of known elements and is exalted above all the essential and recognized substances. It became manifest without any syllable or sound and is none but the Command of God which pervadeth all created things. It hath never been withheld from the world of being. It is Godís all-pervasive grace, from which all grace doth emanate. It is an entity far removed above all that hath been and shall be.


Every thing must needs have an origin and every building a builder. Verily, the Word of God is the Cause which hath preceded the contingent worldóa world which is adorned with the splendours of the Ancient of Days, yet is being renewed and regenerated at all times. Immeasurably exalted is the God of Wisdom Who hath raised this sublime structure.

Tablets of Baháíuílláh, "Lawh-i-Hikmat" or "Tablet of Wisdom", pp. 140-141

#389. Ö.He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Himóa capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation....

Gleanings from the Writings of Baháíuílláh, Selection XXVII, p. 65

[From the Writings of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#390. Ö.interaction, co-operation and interrelation amongst beings are under the direction and will of a motive Power which is the origin, the motive force and the pivot of all interactions in the universe.

Tablet to August Forel, p. 23

[From the unauthenticated Talks of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#391. Existence is realized and possible through the bounty of God, just as the ray or flame emanating from this lamp is realized through the bounty of the lamp, from which it originates. Even so, all phenomena are realized through the divine bounty, and...the phenomena of the universe find realization through the one power animating and dominating all things, and all things are but manifestations of its energy and bounty.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, "27 August 1912, Talk at Metaphysical Club, Boston, Massachusetts, Notes by Edna McKinney", p. 286


2. "to Know and to ____" (fill in the Blank)

[Compilerís Note: For passages elucidating purposes of the soul which do not explicitly mention "knowledge" or "to know", see Part III, Section E #7.]


[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

#392. I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee.

Prayers and Meditations, Selecton CLXXXI, p. 314


[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

#393. The beginning of all things is the knowledge of God, and the end of all things is strict observance of whatsoever hath been sent down from the empyrean of the Divine Will that pervadeth all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth.

Gleanings from the Writings of Baháíuílláh, Selection II, p. 5

[From the Writings of the Báb:]

#394. Shouldst thou know the things which in the space of these four years have befallen Me at the hands of thy people and thine army, thou wouldst hold thy breath from fear of God, unless thou wouldst rise to obey the Cause of Him Who is the Testimony of God and make amends for thy shortcomings and failure.

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, "Extracts from an Epistle to Muhammad Sháh", p. 13

#395. Indeed those whose souls have been created through the splendour of the light of thy Lord recognize the Truth and are numbered with such as faithfully obey the One True God and are well assured...

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, "Extracts from a Further Epistle to Muhammad Sháh", p. 24

[From the Writings or Talks of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#396. Pleasing and acceptable as is a righteous person before Godís Holy Threshold, yet good works should proceed from knowledge. However matchless and exquisite may be a blind manís handiwork, yet he himself is deprived of seeing it. How sorely do certain animals labour on manís behalf, what loads they bear for him, how greatly they contribute to his ease and comfort; and yet, because they are unwitting, they earn no recompense for all their pains. The clouds rain down their bounty, nurturing the plants and flowers, and imparting verdure and enchantment to the plain and prairie, the forest and the garden; but yet, unconscious as they are of the results and fruit of their outpourings, they win no praise or honour, nor earn the gratitude and approbation of any man. The lamp imparteth light, but as it hath no consciousness of doing so, no one is indebted to it. This apart, a man of righteous deeds and goodly conduct will assuredly turn towards the Light, in whichever quarter he behold it. The point is this, that faith compriseth both knowledge and the performance of good works.

Revised translation of Baháíí World Faith, pp. 382-383, provided by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice in its "Authenticity of Baháíí World Faith and Foundations of World Unity" Memorandum dated 28 March 1996.



[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

#397. From among all created things He hath singled out for His special favor the pure, the gem-like reality of man, and invested it with a unique capacity of knowing Him and of reflecting the greatness of His glory.

Gleanings from the Writings of Baháíuílláh, Selection XXXIV, p. 77


[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

#398. Thou didst bring mankind into being to know Thee and to serve Thy Cause, that their station might thereby be elevated upon Thine earth and their souls be uplifted by virtue of the things Thou hast revealed in Thy Scriptures, Thy Books and Thy Tablets.

Tablets of Baháíuílláh, "Ishráqát" or "Splendours", p. 111

[From the Writings on Behalf of Shoghi Effendi:]

#399. The most important thing we know from the Teachings is to serve. In carrying out the Plans of God we are strengthened, blessed and purified; we attract the loving attention of Baháíuílláh; our efforts are confirmed; and we are enabled through His power to achieve great victories for His Faith.

Dawn of a New Day, "The Most Important Thing is to Serve"ó21 June 1953, p. 160


3. The Role of Love and Unity in this Generating Impulse

[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

#400. O SON OF MAN! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.

The Hidden Words, Arabic #3

[From the Writings of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#401. Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of Godís holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heavenís kindly light, the Holy Spiritís eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of Godís revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation.

Selections from the Writings of ĎAbduíl-Bahá, Selection #12, p. 27

[From the unauthenticated Talks of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#402. Unity is necessary to existence. Love is the very cause of life; on the other hand, separation brings death. In the world of material creation, for instance, all things owe their actual life to unity. The elements which compose wood, mineral, or stone, are held together by the law of attraction. If this law should cease for one moment to operate these elements would not hold together, they would fall apart, and the object would in that particular form cease to exist. The law of attraction has brought together certain elements in the form of this beautiful flower, but when that attraction is withdrawn from this centre the flower will decompose, and, as a flower, cease to exist.

So it is with the great body of humanity. The wonderful Law of Attraction, Harmony and Unity, holds together this marvellous Creation.

As with the whole, so with the parts; whether a flower or a human body, when the attracting principle is withdrawn from it, the flower or the man dies. It is therefore clear that attraction, harmony, unity and Love, are the cause of life, whereas repulsion, discord, hatred and separation bring death.

Paris Talks, "11 November 1911, The Second PrincipleóThe Unity of Mankind", p. 139

#403. Consider how clearly it is shown in creation that the cause of existence is unity and cohesion and the cause of nonexistence is separation and dissension. By a divine power of creation the elements assemble together in affinity, and the result is a composite being. Certain of these elements have united, and man has come into existence. Certain other combinations produce plants and animals. Therefore, this affinity of the inanimate elements is the cause of life and being. Through their commingling, therefore, human affinity, love and fellowship are made possible. If the elements were not assembled together in affinity to produce the body of man, the higher intelligent forces could not be manifest in the body. But when these elements separate, when their affinity and cohesion are overcome, death and dissolution of the body they have built inevitably follow. Therefore, affinity and unity among even these material elements mean life in the body of man, and their discord and disagreement mean death. Throughout all creation, in all the kingdoms, this law is written: that love and affinity are the cause of life, and discord and separation are the cause of death.

Consider the bodies of all the natural organisms. Certain elements have gathered and combine in chemical affinity. The tree, the man, the fish are due to this attraction and cohesion which have brought the elements together. A composition or composite being has resulted. The outcome of certain atomic grouping, for instance, is a mirror, table or clock because a cohesive power has magnetized and bound these atoms together. When that attracting power is withdrawn, dissolution and disintegration follow; no mirror, table or clock remainóno trace, no existence. Therefore, commingling of the atoms brings forth a reality, while dispersion or dissemination of them is equivalent to nonexistence.

Study the law of affinity among the domestic animals. They manifest fellowship, they live in flocks and herds; the love of association is evident among them. Among birds we see evidences of instinctive fellowship and love. But the ferocious animals and birds of prey are just the reverse of the domestic. Sheep, cows and horses graze together in concord and agreement, but ferocious animals are never seen associating in love and fellowship. Each lives solitary and alone or with a single mate. When they see each other, they manifest the utmost ferocity. Dogs pounce upon dogs; wolves, tigers, lions rage, snarl and fight to the death. Their ferocity is instinctive. There is a creative reason for it. Birds of prey, like eagles and hawks, live solitary and build their nests apart, but doves fly in flocks and nest in the same branches. When an eagle meets another eagle, there is a furious battle. The meeting of two doves is a peace meeting. Therefore, it is evident that these blessed characteristics as well as the reverse are found among the creatures of a lower kingdom.

The great mass of humanity does not exercise real love and fellowship. The elect of humanity are those who live together in love and unity. They are preferable before God because the divine attributes are already manifest in them. The supreme love and unity is witnessed in the divine Manifestations. Among Them unity is indissoluble, changeless, eternal and everlasting. Each One is expressive and representative of all. If we deny One of the Manifestations of God, we deny all. To inflict persecution upon One is to persecute the Others. In all degrees of existence each One praises and sanctifies the Others. Each of Them holds to the solidarity of mankind and promotes the unity of human hearts. Next to the divine Manifestations come the believers whose characteristics are agreement, fellowship and love. The Baháíí friends in Persia attained such a brotherhood and love that it really became a hindrance in the conduct of material affairs. Each one into whatever house of the friends he went considered himself the owner of the house, so to speak. There was no duality but complete mutuality of interests and love. The visiting friend would have no hesitation in opening the provision box and taking out enough food for his needs. They wore each otherís clothes as their own when necessary. If in need of a hat or cloak, they would take and use it. The owner of the clothing would be thankful and grateful that the garment had gone. When he returned home, he would perhaps be told, "So and so was here and took away your coat." He would reply, "Praise be to God! I am so grateful to him. Praise be to God! I am so thankful I have been given this opportunity of showing my love for him." To such an extreme degree this love and fellowship expressed itself that Baháíuílláh commanded that no one should take possession of anotherís belongings unless presented with them. The intention is to show to what an extent unity and love prevailed among the Baháíí friends in the East.

I hope that this same degree and intensity of love may become manifest and apparent here; that the spirit of God shall so penetrate your hearts that each one of the beloved of God shall be considered as all; that each one may become a cause of unity and center of accord and all mankind be bound together in real fellowship and love.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, "20 June 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, Notes by Howard MacNutt", pp. 207-209


4. Love binds Man and Creation together

[From the Writings of Baháíuílláh:]

#404. O SON OF MAN! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.

The Hidden Words, Arabic #4

#405. O SON OF BEING! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.

The Hidden Words, Arabic #5

[From the unauthenticated Talks of ĎAbduíl-Bahá:]

#406. There are four kinds of love. The first is the love that flows from God to man; it consists of the inexhaustible graces, the Divine effulgence and heavenly illumination. Through this love the world of being receives life. Through this love man is endowed with physical existence, until, through the breath of the Holy Spiritóthis same loveóhe receives eternal life and becomes the image of the Living God. This love is the origin of all the love in the world of creation.

Paris Talks, "4 January 1913, The Four Kinds of Love, 97 Cadogan Gardens, London", p. 180

#407. In this meeting the divine susceptibilities are radiant. This is a spiritual house, the home of the spirit. There is no discord here; all is love and unity. When souls are gathered together in this way, the divine bestowals descend. The purpose of the creation of man is the attainment of the supreme virtues of humanity through descent of the heavenly bestowals. The purpose of manís creation is, therefore, unity and harmony, not discord and separateness. If the atoms which compose the kingdom of the minerals were without affinity for each other, the earth would never have been formed, the universe could not have been created. Because they have affinity for each other, the power of life is able to manifest itself, and the organisms of the phenomenal world become possible. When this attraction or atomic affinity is destroyed, the power of life ceases to manifest; death and nonexistence result.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, "12 April 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Howard MacNutt, 935 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York, Notes by Howard MacNutt", p. 4

#408. We declare that love is the cause of the existence of all phenomena and that the absence of love is the cause of disintegration or nonexistence. Love is the conscious bestowal of God, the bond of affiliation in all phenomena. We will first consider the proof of this through sense perception. As we look upon the universe, we observe that all composite beings or existing phenomena are made up primarily of single elements bound together by a power of attraction. Through this power of attraction cohesion has become manifest between atoms of these composing elements. The resultant being is a phenomenon of the lower contingent type. The power of cohesion expressed in the mineral kingdom is in reality love or affinity manifested in a low degree according to the exigencies of the mineral world. We take a step higher into the vegetable kingdom where we find an increased power of attraction has become manifest among the composing elements which form phenomena. Through this degree of attraction a cellular admixture is produced among these elements which make up the body of a plant. Therefore, in the degree of the vegetable kingdom there is love. We enter the animal kingdom and find the attractive power binding together single elements as in the mineral, plus the cellular admixture as in the vegetable, plus the phenomena of feelings or susceptibilities. We observe that the animals are susceptible to certain affiliation and fellowship and that they exercise natural selection. This elemental attraction, this admixture and selective affinity is love manifest in the degree of the animal kingdom.

Finally, we come to the kingdom of man. As this is the superior kingdom, the light of love is more resplendent. In man we find the power of attraction among the elements which compose his material body, plus the attraction which produces cellular admixture or augmentative power, plus the attraction which characterizes the sensibilities of the animal kingdom, but still beyond and above all these lower powers we discover in the being of man the attraction of heart, the susceptibilities and affinities which bind men together, enabling them to live and associate in friendship and solidarity. It is, therefore, evident that in the world of humanity the greatest king and sovereign is love. If love were extinguished, the power of attraction dispelled, the affinity of human hearts destroyed, the phenomena of human life would disappear.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, "16 August 1912, Talk at Green Acre, Eliot, Maine, Notes by Edna McKinney", pp. 255-256

This content exists as a frame inside the home page of www.investigatereality.org.