Forgetful of her own self, disdaining rest and comfort, and undeterred by the obstacles that still stood in her path, she, acting as the honoured hostess to a steadily increasing number of pilgrims who thronged ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s residence from both the East and the West, continued to display those same attributes that had won her, in the preceding phases of her career, so great a measure of admiration and love.
(Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 38-39)
He should be … not preferring his own self before any one, but cleansing the tablet of the heart from pride and vainglory (Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 49-50)
How keenly I feel at this challenging hour in the history of the Cause the need for a firm and definite determination to subordinate all our personal likings, our local interests, to the interests and requirements of the Cause of God! Now is the time to set aside, nay, to forget altogether, minor considerations regarding our internal relationships, and to present a solid united front to the world animated by no other desire but to serve and propagate His Cause.
(Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, p. 18)
Man is he who forgets his own interests for the sake of others. His own comfort he forfeits for the well-being of all. Nay, rather, his own life must he be willing to forfeit for the life of mankind. Such a man is the honor of the world of humanity. Such a man is the glory of the world of mankind. Such a man is the one who wins eternal bliss. Such a man is near to the threshold of God. Such a man is the very manifestation of eternal happiness.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 42)
O ye that are immersed in the ocean of selflessness! Hasten to enter the City of Immortality, if ye seek to ascend its heights.” And We exclaim: “Verily we are God’s, and to Him shall we return.” From this most august and exalted station, and from this most sublime and glorious plane, the seeker entereth the City of Immortality, therein to abide forever. In this station he beholdeth himself established upon the throne of independence and the seat of exaltation. Then will he comprehend the meaning of that which hath been revealed of old concerning the day “whereon God shall enrich all through His abundance”. Well is it with them that have attained unto this station and drunk their fill from this snow-white chalice before this Crimson Pillar.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 71-72)
O, when will one arise and while listening to this song don the garment of selflessness and hasten to the precinct of the friend!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 30)
Protect us, bless us, support us, make us such that we shall love but Thy good pleasure, utter only Thy praise, follow only the pathway of truth, that we may become rich enough to dispense with all save Thee, and receive our gifts from the sea of Thy beneficence, that we may ever strive to exalt Thy Cause and to spread Thy sweet savours far and wide, that we may become oblivious of self and occupied only with Thee, and disown all else and be caught up in Thee.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 232-233)
Pure detachment and selfless service, these should be the sole motives of every true believer. And unless each and every one of the friends succeeds in translating such qualities into living action, no hope of further progress can be entertained.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 6)
The mass of the people are occupied with self and worldly desire, are immersed in the ocean of the nether world and are captives of the world of nature, save those souls who have been freed from the chains and fetters of the material world and, like unto swift-flying birds, are soaring in this unbounded realm. They are awake and vigilant, they shun the obscurity of the world of nature, their highest wish centereth on the eradication from among men of the struggle for existence, the shining forth of the spirituality and the love of the realm on high, the exercise of utmost kindness among peoples, the realization of an intimate and close connection between religions and the practice of the ideal of self-sacrifice.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 281)
The pure heart is one that is entirely cut away from self. To be selfless is to be pure.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 106)
The wish of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that which attracts His good pleasure and, indeed, His binding command, is that Bahá’ís, in all matters, even in small daily transactions and dealings with others, should act in accordance with the divine Teachings. He has commanded us not to be content with lowliness, humility and meekness, but rather to become manifestations of selflessness and utter nothingness. Of old, all have been exhorted to loyalty and fidelity, compassion and love; in this supreme Dispensation, the people of Bahá are called upon to sacrifice their very lives. Notice the extent to which the friends have been required in the Sacred Epistles and Tablets, as well as in our Beloved’s Testament, to be righteous, well-wishing, forbearing, sanctified, pure, detached from all else save God, severed from the trappings of this world and adorned with the mantle of a goodly character and godly attributes. First and foremost, one should use every possible means to purge one’s heart and motives, otherwise, engaging in any form of enterprise would be futile. It is also essential to abstain from hypocrisy and blind imitation, inasmuch as their foul odour is soon detected by every man of understanding and wisdom. Moreover, the friends must observe the specific times for the remembrance of God, meditation, devotion and prayer, as it is highly unlikely, nay impossible, for any enterprise to prosper and develop when deprived of divine bestowals and confirmation. One can hardly imagine what a great influence genuine love, truthfulness and purity of motives exert on the souls of men. But these traits cannot be acquired by any believer unless he makes a daily effort to gain them... It is primarily through the potency of noble deeds and character, rather than by the power of exposition and proofs, that the friends of God should demonstrate to the world that what has been promised by God is bound to happen, that it is already taking place and that the divine glad-tidings are clear, evident and complete. For unless some illustrious souls step forth into the arena of service and shine out resplendent in the assemblage of men, the task of vindicating the truth of this Cause before the eyes of enlightened people would be formidable indeed. However, if the friends become embodiments of virtue and good character, words and arguments will be superfluous. Their very deeds will well serve as eloquent testimony, and their noble conduct will ensure the preservation, integrity and glory of the Cause of God.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 1-2)
Until a being setteth his foot in the plane of sacrifice, he is bereft of every favour and grace; and this plane of sacrifice is the realm of dying to the self, that the radiance of the living God may then shine forth. The martyr’s field is the place of detachment from self, that the anthems of eternity may be upraised. Do all ye can to become wholly weary of self, and bind yourselves to that Countenance of Splendours; and once ye have reached such heights of servitude, ye will find, gathered within your shadow, all created things. This is boundless grace; this is the highest sovereignty; this is the life that dieth not. All else save this is at the last but manifest perdition and great loss.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 76-77)
Verily, the Supreme Concourse utter praise upon you, because ye forsook the desires of self, were illumined by the light of guidance, clothed yourselves with the garment of sanctity and called in the Name of El-ABHA among the people. Verily, ye shall reap what ye sow and obtain the fruits of what ye plant. This is a pre-ordained fact.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 12)