Certain qualities and natures innate in some men and apparently blameworthy are not so in reality. For example, from the beginning of his life you can see in a nursing child the signs of greed, of anger and of temper. Then, it may be said, good and evil are innate in the reality of man, and this is contrary to the pure goodness of nature and creation. The answer to this is that greed, which is to ask for something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it is used suitably. So if a man is greedy to acquire science and knowledge, or to become compassionate, generous and just, it is most praiseworthy. If he exercises his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he does not use these qualities in a right way, they are blameworthy.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 215)
Greed hath made captive all mankind: Where are the embodiments of detachment, O Lord of the worlds?
(Bahá’u’lláh, Fire Tablet, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 215)
He should be content with little and free from avarice (Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 50)
If ye be seekers after this life and the vanities thereof, ye should have sought them while ye were still enclosed in your mothers’ wombs, for at that time ye were continually approaching them, could ye but perceive it. Ye have, on the other hand, ever since ye were born and attained maturity, been all the while receding from the world and drawing closer to dust. Why, then, exhibit such greed in amassing the treasures of the earth, when your days are numbered and your chance is well-nigh lost? Will ye not, then, O heedless ones, shake off your slumber?
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 127)
Men keep their possessions for their own enjoyment and do not share sufficiently with others the bounty received from God. Spring is thus changed into the winter of selfishness and egotism.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 82)
Nothing is more contrary to the spirit of the Cause than discord and strife, which are the inevitable outcome of selfishness and greed.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 6)
The spirit is the treasury of My mystery, do not deliver it into the hand of greed.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 133)
The thin eyelid prevents the eye from seeing the world and what is contained therein. Then think of the result when the curtain of greed covers the sight of the heart. Say, O people, the darkness of greed and envy obscures the light of the soul, as the cloud prevents the penetration of the sun’s rays. Should one listen with the ear of intelligence to this utterance, he shall spread the wings of freedom and soar with great joy toward the heaven of understanding.
(Bahá’u’lláh? Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 132)
Therefore it is evident that warfare, cruelty and bloodshed in the kingdom of man are caused by human greed, hatred and selfishness.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 24)