Advance always in the Kingdom of Bahá’u’lláh; occupy thy heart always by the mentioning of Bahá’u’lláh; take heed that only in your eyes is Bahá’u’lláh, in your heart is Bahá’u’lláh—in your inmost heart is Bahá’u’lláh! If you fall into trouble, say, “Yá Bahá ul Bahá!” If any one oppose you, say, “Yá Bahá ul Bahá!” Even while at your work, mention “Yá Bahá ul Bahá!”
(Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 501)
Any soul that enters the kingdom of BAHA‘O‘LLAH will enjoy an eternal communion with God. It is my hope that each of you may enter this kingdom. May you become thirsty for the water of reality. May you become hungry for the bread of the kingdom; for as His Holiness the Christ said, “He that drinketh the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” This means the apprehension of the ideals of the human world and of the heavenly realm. Day by day may you receive these concepts; day by day may you inherit this new state of consciousness till you become immersed in the sea of divine light. This station is the ultimate result of human life; this station is the true fruit of existence; this station is the pearl of human consummation, the shining star toward which human destiny points. Practice the teachings of BAHA‘O‘LLAH, and day unto day you will draw nearer the supreme horizon.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 99-100)
Bahá’u’lláh proclaims in the Hidden Words that God inspires His servants and is revealed through them. He says, “Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation.” Therefore, we learn that nearness to God is possible through devotion to Him, through entrance into the Kingdom and service to humanity; it is attained by unity with mankind and through loving-kindness to all; it is dependent upon investigation of truth, acquisition of praiseworthy virtues, service in the cause of universal peace and personal sanctification. In a word, nearness to God necessitates sacrifice of self, severance and the giving up of all to Him. Nearness is likeness.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 148)
Divine nearness is dependent upon attainment to the knowledge of God, upon severance from all else save God. It is contingent upon self-sacrifice and to be found only through forfeiting wealth and worldly possessions. It is made possible through the baptism of water and fire revealed in the Gospels. Water symbolizes the water of life, which is knowledge, and fire is the fire of the love of God; therefore, man must be baptized with the water of life, the Holy Spirit and the fire of the love of the Kingdom. Until he attains these three degrees, nearness to God is not possible.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 147-148)
Draw nigh unto Him with a pure heart, cheerful face, gazing eye and a joyful spirit and plunge with thy whole being into the sea of the love of God and forget all else save Him, so that thou mayest be filled with such spiritual sentiments from the kingdom of God, which will take the reins of desire from thy hands and move thee with the power of thy Lord, just as the wind moveth a mote in the open air as it willeth. At that time we will draw unto each other in spirit, a nearness which will be eternal, everlasting and endless.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 200)
Every time I lift mine eyes unto Thy heaven, I call to mind Thy highness and loftiness, and Thine incomparable glory and greatness; and every time I turn my gaze to Thine earth, I am made to recognize the evidences of Thy power and the tokens of Thy bounty. And when I behold the sea, I find that it speaketh to me of Thy majesty, and of the potency of Thy might, and of Thy sovereignty and Thy grandeur. And at whatever time I contemplate the mountains, I am led to discover the ensigns of Thy victory and the standards of Thine omnipotence.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, CLXXVI, p. 272)
I ask God that it may become realized, and day by day, thou mayest walk more and more in the path of the Kingdom, in order that thou mayest be freed from the strangers and friends, be disengaged from attachment to the material world and be attached wholly to the divine Kingdom. At that time thou wilt behold the lights of the most great gift.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 545)
I swear by God, should the traveller in the path of salvation and the seeker for the summits of righteousness attain to this supreme and lofty state, he will inhale the fragrance of the True One from remote distances and discern the brilliant morn of guidance from the Day-springs of all things. Every atom and object will direct him to the Beloved and the Desired One. He will become so discerning that he will distinguish truth from falsehood as the sun from shadow. For example; if the breeze of truth should blow forth from the east of creation, he will surely inhale it in the west of emanation. Likewise, he will distinguish all the signs of the True One—such as wonderful words, incomparable deeds, and brilliant actions—from the deeds, actions and traces of all else, just as the jeweller distinguishes the gem from the stone, and man the spring from autumn and heat from cold. When the head of the soul is purified from the ailment (lit. cold) of the contingent and existent, it will unfailingly discover the fragrance of the Beloved from distant stations, arrive at the city of the assurance of His Highness the Beneficent, through the effect of this fragrance, and behold the wonders of the wisdom of His Highness the Most Holy, in that spiritual city. It will detect the hidden knowledges from the forms of the leaves of the tree of that city, hear the glorification and praise of the Lord of Lords from its soil, with the outward and inward ears, and perceive the mysteries of “advent” and “return” with the outward eye. What shall we mention of the signs, tokens, appearances and splendors ordained in that city, by the command of the King of Names and Attributes! It quencheth thirst without water, and increaseth the heat of the love of God without fire. The ideal consummate wisdom is hidden in every plant, and a thousand nightingales of speech are in ecstasy and rapture upon every rose branch. The mystery of the fire of Moses is revealed in its wonderful tulips, and the breath of the Holy Spirit of Jesus emanates from its fragrances of holiness. It bestows wealth without gold and grants immortality without death. A paradise is concealed in every leaf, and a hundred thousand wisdoms are treasured in every one of its chambers. Those who earnestly endeavor in the way of God, after severance from all else, will become so attached to that city that they will not abandon it for an instant. They will hear conclusive proofs from the hyacinth of that assembly and will receive clear arguments from the beauty of the rose and the melody of the nightingale. This city is renewed and adorned every one thousand years, more or less. Therefore, O my friends, we must make an efforts to attain to that city and remove the veils of glory, through divine favors and lordly compassion, so that we may sacrifice the withered soul in the path of the New Beloved, and show forth a hundred thousand supplications and humiliations in order to be favored with that attainment.
(Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 51-52)
If a soul of his own accord advances toward God he will be accepted at the Threshold of Oneness, for such a one is free of personal considerations, of greed and selfish interests, and he has taken refuge within the sheltering protection of his Lord. He will become known among men as trustworthy and truthful, temperate and scrupulous, high-minded and loyal, incorruptible and God-fearing. In this way the primary purpose in revealing the Divine Law—which is to bring about happiness in the after life and civilization and the refinement of character in this—will be realized.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 46)
If thou wert present before My Throne and didst hearken unto the Tongue of might and grandeur, thou wouldst sacrifice thy body, thy soul, thine entire being as a token of thy love for God, the Sovereign, the Protector, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, and wouldst so thrill to the fascination of His Voice that every pen would be powerless to recount thy station and every eloquent speaker would be confounded in his attempt to describe it. Ponder a while concerning this Revelation and its invincible sovereignty; aid it then as it beseemeth thy Lord, the Gracious, the All-Bountiful.
Ignite, then, within their hearts the torch of Thy love, that its flame may consume all else except their wondrous remembrance of Thee, and that no trace may be left in those hearts except the gem-like evidences of Thy most holy sovereignty, so that from the land wherein they dwell no voice may be heard except the voice that extolleth Thy mercifulness and might, that on the earth on which they walk no light may shine except the light of Thy beauty, and that within every soul naught may be discovered except the revelation of Thy countenance and the tokens of Thy glory, that haply Thy servants may show forth only that which shall please Thee and shall conform wholly unto Thy most potent will.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 89-90)
In the treasuries of the knowledge of God there lieth concealed a knowledge which, when applied, will largely, though not wholly, eliminate fear. This knowledge, however, should be taught from childhood, as it will greatly aid in its elimination. Whatever decreaseth fear increaseth courage. Should the Will of God assist Us, there would flow out from the Pen of the Divine Expounder a lengthy exposition of that which hath been mentioned, and there would be revealed, in the field of arts and sciences, what would renew the world and the nations. A word hath, likewise, been written down and recorded by the Pen of the Most High in the Crimson Book which is capable of fully disclosing that force which is hid in men, nay of redoubling its potency. We implore God—exalted and glorified be He—to graciously assist His servants to do that which is pleasing and acceptable unto Him.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 32)
It is incumbent upon thee to turn thyself wholly to the kingdom of God, to sever thyself from aught else but Him, to be filled by the love of God, to put on the garment of sanctity and continence, which is free from worldliness, to [become] transfigured in the mantle of the gifts of the kingdom of God and to be a great sign among the maid-servants of God; that the Supreme Concourse may send out through thee a fragrance by which hearts may be cheered and spirits rested. Give this Truth to every pliable soul that thou mayest deem ready to harken unto the voice of God; for this is better unto thee than the earth and that which is thereupon.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 233-234)
Man has different ways of approaching God. One man thinks he must make extraordinary efforts in science to arrive at the knowledge of the divine and another thinks that he must train his morals. The prophets teach us that the only way to approach God is by characterizing ourselves with the attributes of divinity. Some people lay stress on fasting. They affirm that in augmenting the weakness of the body they develop a spiritual sensibility and thus they think to approach God. Weakening one’s self physically does not necessarily contribute to spiritual progress. Humility, kindness, resignation, and all these spiritual attributes emanating from great physical strength are acceptable to God. That an enfeebled man cannot fight is not accounted a virtue. Were physical weakness a virtue the dead would be perfect, for they can do nothing. If a man be just, kind, humble and merciful and his qualities are acquired through the will-power—this is Godlike. A child cannot kill a man; but a Bonaparte can abstain from war, from shedding blood, from devastating countries. A dumb person will not speak ill of any one, a paralyzed hand cannot strike; but a strong arm can refrain from striking. Justice, love and kindness must be the instruments of strength, not of weakness. Exaggerated fasting destroys the divine forces. God has created man in a way that cannot be surpassed; we must not try to change his creation. Strive to attain nearness to reality through the acquisition of strength of character, through morality, through good works and helping the poor, through being consumed with the fire of the love of God and in discovering each day new spiritual mysteries. This is the path of intimate approach.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 98-99)
Many people are puzzled by the fact that almost the entire family of Bahá’u’lláh defected. Why is it that those who were nearest to Him, who were members of His household, His sons and daughters, should be foremost among the violators of His Covenant? In normal circumstances, when a person attains a prominent position in the community, it is often the family members who rally around him and lend their whole-hearted support. But in the case of Bahá’u’lláh it was the reverse and a similar situation was created within the family of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá after His passing. To appreciate the reasons for this, we observe once again that the proper attitude of a believer towards the Manifestation of God should be a true demonstration of servitude, self-effacement and complete obedience. Whenever these qualities are absent, a barrier will be created between man and God. In such a case the believer may be associating with the Manifestation of God in person, yet because of this barrier he will not be able to appreciate His glory or become enchanted with His Revelation.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 25)
May they, in their longing to meet Thee, invoke and pray unto Thee, intoning wondrous orisons at the dawn of light … shedding their tears at morningtide and even, yearning to pass into the shadow of Thy mercy that endeth never.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 6)
Nearness to Thee is the true life of them who are Thy lovers.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 77)
O thou enraptured handmaid of God! Nearness is verily of the soul, not of the body; and the help that is sought, and the help that cometh, is not material but of the spirit; nevertheless it is my hope that thou wilt attain to nearness in every sense. The bounties of God will verily encompass a sanctified soul even as the sun’s light doth the moon and stars: be thou assured of this.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 181)
Purification is regarded as the most acceptable means for attaining the nearness unto God and the most meritorious of all deed (The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 126).
Should a person recite but a single verse from the Holy Writings in a spirit of joy and radiance, this would be better for him than reciting wearily all the Scriptures of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Recite ye the verses of God in such measure that ye be not overtaken with fatigue or boredom. Burden not your souls so as to cause exhaustion and weigh them down, but rather endeavour to lighten them, that they may soar on the wings of revealed Verses unto the dawning-place of His signs. This is conducive to nearer access unto God, were ye to comprehend.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 225)
The greatest attainment in the world of humanity is nearness to God. Every lasting glory, honor, grace and beauty which comes to man comes through nearness to God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 147-148)
The troubles of this world pass, and what we have left is what we have made of our souls, so it is to this we must look to becoming more spiritual, drawing nearer to God, no matter what our human minds and bodies go through.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 296)
Therefore do the lovers of the Abhá Beauty wish for no other recompense but to reach that station where they may gaze upon Him in the Realm of Glory, and they walk no other path save over desert sands of longing for those exalted heights. They seek that ease and solace which will abide forever, and those bestowals that are sanctified beyond the understanding of the worldly mind.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 184)
These are very exalted teachings, all pointing to a new way of life in which the believer must be vigilant not to abuse his God-given powers. To the extent that the individual can abide by these standards in his daily life, and is able to harmonize his thoughts, his words and his deeds with the Will of his Creator, he can succeed in reaching the goal of nearness to God.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 4, p. 68 - 70)
This is the process by which the Bahá’ís of Persia have attained it. They gave their lives for this station, sacrificed honor, comfort and possessions, hastened with the utmost joy to the place of martyrdom; their blood was spilled, their bodies were tortured and destroyed, their homes pillaged, their children carried into captivity. They endured all these conditions joyfully and willingly. Through such sacrifice nearness to God is made possible.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 147-148)
True remembrance is to make mention of the Lord, the All-Praised, and forget aught else beside Him.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 155)
Verily, I have read the expressions of thy longing for the visit and thy craving to come to this Brilliant Spot. But the violators of the Covenant of God have stirred up the dust of deception, and besides this, there are numerous obstacles and it is impossible for thee to come in these times. But verily, I pray my Lord to make this success feasible unto thee in a future time. There is for this a mature wisdom concealed from sight, but it shall appear as clear as the sun in midday. As to thee, be rejoiced at the glad-tidings of thy Lord and trust in His great gifts, the lights of which have shone forth upon the horizons of hearts and souls, and trust in the assistance of thy Master, and ask what thou wishest of the gifts of thy Lord, the Unconstrained! Draw nigh unto Him with a pure heart, cheerful face, gazing eye and a joyful spirit and plunge with thy whole being into the sea of the love of God and forget all else save Him, so that thou mayest be filled with such spiritual sentiments from the kingdom of God, which will take the reins of desire from thy hands and move thee with the power of thy Lord, just as the wind moveth a mote in the open air as it willeth. At that time we will draw unto each other in spirit, a nearness which will be eternal, everlasting and endless.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 199-200)
We go through life hitching our wagons to stars that fall; whereupon we are miserable, and lasso the next ones. Our leaves shrivel, our moons wane, the marbles we build our statues of are crumbled. Only God is always strong, always there, always permanent. Only God is worthy to be worked for. And to achieve this detachment from everything except God we require prayer.
(Marzieh Gail, Dawn over Mount Hira)
We shall always be with you; if We inhale the perfume of your fellowship, Our heart will assuredly rejoice, for naught else can satisfy Us.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 315)
When the lamp of search, effort, longing, fervor, love, rapture, attraction and devotion is enkindled in the heart, and the breeze of love blows forth from the direction of unity, the darkness of error, doubt and uncertainty will be dispelled and the lights of knowledge and assurance will encompass all the pillars of existence. Then the ideal Herald will dawn as the true morn from the Divine City, with spiritual glad tidings, and awaken the heart, soul and spirit from the sleep of negligence with the trumpet of knowledge. Then the favors and confirmations of the eternal Holy Spirit will impart such a new life that one will find himself the possessor of a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind, and will direct his attention to the clear, universal signs and to the hidden individual secrets. With the new eye of God he will see a door open in every atom for attainment to the stations of positive knowledge, certain truth and evident light, and will perceive in all things the mysteries of the splendor of Oneness and the traces of the Manifestation of Eternity.
(Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 50)
When thou desirest and yearnest for meeting in the world of vision; at the time when thou art in perfect fragrance and spirituality, wash thy hands and face, clothe thyself in clean robes, turn toward the court of the Peerless One, offer prayer to Him and lay thy head upon the pillow. When sleep cometh, the doors of revelation shall be opened and all thy desires shall become revealed.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 104)
Who is there among you, O people, who will renounce the world, and draw nigh unto God, the Lord of all names?
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 34)
You must pray and supplicate, and the more you pray and supplicate, the nearer you will be to God.
(Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 501)