Affliction beat upon this captive like the heavy rains of spring, and the victories of the malevolent swept down in a relentless flood, and still ‘Abdu’l-Bahá remained happy and serene, and relied on the grace of the All-Merciful. That pain, that anguish, was a paradise of all delights; those chains were the necklace of a king on a throne in heaven. Content with God’s will, utterly resigned, my heart surrendered to whatever fate had in store, I was happy.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 226)
All the Divine Manifestations sent by God into the world would have gone through their terrible hardships and sufferings for the single hope of spreading Truth, unity and concord among men. Christ endured a life of sorrow, pain and grief, to bring a perfect example of love into the world—and in spite of this we continue to act in a contrary spirit one towards the other!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 121)
All these things bring joy to the heart, and yet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is sunk deep in an ocean of grief, and pain and anguish have so affected my limbs and members that utter weakness hath overtaken my whole body.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 229)
As this physical frame is the throne of the inner temple, whatever occurs to the former is felt by the latter. In realty that which takes delight in joy or is saddened by pain is the inner temple of the body, not the body itself.
(The Báb, Lights of Guidance, p. 201)
As we suffer these misfortunes we must remember that the Prophets of God Themselves were not immune from these things which men suffer. They knew sorrow, illness and pain too. They rose above these things through Their spirits, and that is what we must try and do too, when afflicted. 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. 297)
Because, when thou lookest with the iron sight, thou wilt find that all mankind is suffering in this earthly world; there is no one in such tranquillity that this state might have been a reward for his good deeds in a former life and there is no soul so happy that this might be the fruit of his past pain! Had the life of a man in his spiritual being been only confined to his life in this world, the creation would have proved useless; the divine qualities would have no result and effect; nay, all things, created beings and the world of creation would have proved abortive. I ask pardon of God for such false imaginations and for such errors!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 392-393)
For example, the people of religions find, in the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, the establishment of Universal Religion—a religion that perfectly conforms with present conditions, which in reality effects the immediate cure of the incurable disease, which relieves every pain and bestows the infallible antidote for every deadly poison.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 31-32)
I am well pleased with that which Thou didst ordain for Me, and welcome, however calamitous, the pains and sorrows I am made to suffer.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 89-90)
If we are caused joy or pain by a friend, if a love prove true or false, it is the soul that is affected. If our dear ones are far from us—it is the soul that grieves, and the grief or trouble of the soul may react on the body.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 65)
It is a blessed thing to gladden the hearts of men, and wrong to be the cause of pain.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 79)
It means, in brief, to regard humanity as a single individual, and one’s own self as a member of that corporeal form, and to know of a certainty that if pain or injury afflicts any member of that body, it must inevitably result in suffering for all the rest.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 39)
O Tender One, Bestowing One, Thou didst calm their pain with the balm of Thy bounty and grace, and didst heal their ailments with the sovereign medicine of Thy compassion. O Lord, make firm their feet on Thy straight path, make wide for them the needle’s eye, and cause them, dressed in royal robes, to walk in glory for ever and ever.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 316)
O thou seeker after the Kingdom! Every divine Manifestation is the very life of the world, and the skilled physician of each ailing soul. The world of man is sick, and that competent Physician knoweth the cure, arising as He doth with teachings, counsels and admonishments that are the remedy for every pain, the healing balm to every wound. It is certain that the wise physician can diagnose his patient’s needs at any season, and apply the cure. Wherefore, relate thou the Teachings of the Abhá Beauty to the urgent needs of this present day, and thou wilt see that they provide an instant remedy for the ailing body of the world. Indeed, they are the elixir that bringeth eternal health.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 58)
Our Blessed Lord said: It is not the body that feels pain or trouble, but the soul. If we have a pain in our arm, the defect is in the body, but it is the soul that feels the pain and is troubled, not the body, though the body is the cause of the trouble.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers 9, p. 46)
Physical pain is a necessary accompaniment of all human existence, and as such is unavoidable. As long as there will be life on earth, there will be also suffering, in various forms and degrees. But suffering, although an inescapable reality, can nevertheless be utilized as a means for the attainment of happiness. This is the interpretation given to it by all the prophets and saints who, in the midst of severe tests and trials, felt happy and joyous and experienced what is best and holiest in life. Suffering is both a reminder and a guide. It stimulates us to better adapt ourselves to our environmental conditions, and thus leads the way to self- improvement. In every suffering one can find a meaning and a wisdom. But it is not always easy to find the secret of that wisdom. It is sometimes only when all our suffering has passed that we become aware of its usefulness. What man considers to be evil turns often to be a cause of infinite blessings.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 280)
That honorable personage has been so much subjected to the stress and pain of this world that his highest wish became deliverance from it. Such is this mortal abode—a storehouse of afflictions and suffering. It is negligence that binds man to it for no comfort can be secured by any soul in this world, from monarch down to the least subject. If once it should offer man a sweet cup, a hundred bitter ones will follow it and such is the condition of this world. The wise man therefore does not attach himself to this mortal life and does 379 not depend upon it; even at some moments he eagerly wishes death that he may thereby be freed from these sorrows and afflictions.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 378)
The Abhá Beauty Himself—may the spirit of all existence be offered up for His loved ones—bore all manner of ordeals, and willingly accepted for Himself intense afflictions. No torment was there left that His sacred form was not subjected to, no suffering that did not descend upon Him. How many a night, when He was chained, did He go sleepless because of the weight of His iron collar; how many a day the burning pain of the stocks and fetters gave Him no moment’s peace. From Niyavaran to Tihran they made Him run—He, that embodied spirit, He Who had been accustomed to repose against cushions of ornamented silk—chained, shoeless, His head bared; and down under the earth, in the thick darkness of that narrow dungeon, they shut Him up with murderers, rebels and thieves.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 262)
The people of religions find, in the teaching of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, the establishment of Universal Religion—a religion that perfectly conforms with present conditions, which in reality effects the immediate cure of the incurable disease, which relieves every pain, and bestows the infallible antidote for every deadly poison.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 290-291)
The steed of this Valley is pain; and if there be no pain this journey will never end.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Valley of Love in The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys)
The trials which beset our every step, all our sorrow, pain, shame and grief, are born in the world of matter; whereas the spiritual Kingdom never causes sadness. A man living with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his life, the depths are calm and serene.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 109)
Thou knowest that the people are encircled with pain and calamities and are environed with hardships and trouble. Every trial doth attack man and every dire adversity doth assail him like unto the assault of a serpent. There is no shelter and asylum for him except under the wing of Thy protection, preservation, guard and custody.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 619)
Though my body be pained by the trials that befall me from Thee, though it be afflicted by the revelations of Thy Decree, yet my soul rejoiceth at having partaken of the waters of Thy Beauty, and at having attained the shores of the ocean of Thine eternity. Doth it beseem a lover to flee from his beloved, or to desert the object of his heart’s desire? Nay, we all believe in Thee, and eagerly hope to enter Thy presence.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 95)
Verily, I have read thy brilliant letter which is elegantly composed. I supplicate God to alleviate thy trials and look upon thee with the eye of His mercy under all aspects. Turn thou to the Kingdom of thy great Lord with a truthful heart and with all devotion, sincerity and great spirituality and ask to be healed from pain and passions and be confident in the great bounty of thy Lord.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 636)
Verily, the breezes of forgiveness have been wafted from the direction of your Lord, the God of Mercy; whoso turneth thereunto, shall be cleansed of his sins, and of all pain and sickness. Happy the man that hath turned towards them, and woe betide him that hath turned aside.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 46-47)
When thou wishest to treat nervous pains turn thy whole being to the realm on high with thine heart detached from aught else besides Him and thy soul enraptured by the love of God. Then seek confirmation of the Holy Spirit from the Abhá Kingdom, while touching the affected part with utmost love, tenderness and attraction to God. When all these things are combined, be assured that healing will take place.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 461)
With regard to your question concerning spiritual healing. Such a healing constitutes, indeed, one of the most effective methods of relieving a person from either his mental or physical pains and sufferings. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has in His “Paris Talks"emphasized its importance by stating that it should be used as an essential means for effecting a complete physical cure. Spiritual healing, however, is not and cannot be a substitute for material healing, but it is a most valuable adjunct to it. Both are, indeed, essential and complementary.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 276)