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Spirit

Follow thou the way of thy Lord, and say not that which the ears cannot bear to hear, for such speech is like luscious food given to small children. However palatable, rare and rich the food may be, it cannot be assimilated by the digestive organs of a suckling child.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 268)


It has been before explained that spirit is universally divided into five categories: the vegetable spirit, the animal spirit, the human spirit, the spirit of faith, and the Holy Spirit. The vegetable spirit is the power of growth which is brought about in the seed through the influence of other existences. The animal spirit is the power of all the senses, which is realized from the composition and mingling of elements; when this composition decomposes, the power also perishes and becomes annihilated. It may be likened to this lamp: when the oil, wick, and fire are combined it is lighted, and when this combination is dissolved, that is to say, when the combined parts are separated from one another, the lamp also is extinguished. The human spirit which distinguishes man from the animal is the rational soul.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 316)


Only the spirit is real; everything else is as shadow. All bodies are disintegrated in the end; only reality subsists. All physical perfections come to an end; but the divine virtues are infinite.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 137)


The human spirit which distinguishes man from the animal is the rational soul and these two names—the human spirit and the rational soul—designate one thing.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 316)


The spirit however possesseth various grades and stations.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 337-338)


The vegetable spirit is the virtue augmentative, or growing or vegetative faculty, which results from the admixture of the simple elements, with the cooperation of water, air and heat. The animal spirit is the virtue perceptive resulting from the admixture and absorption of the vital elements generated in the heart, which apprehend sense-impressions. The human spirit consists of the rational, or logical, reasoning faculty, which apprehends general ideas and things intelligible and perceptible. Now these “spirits” are not reckoned as Spirit in the terminology of the Scriptures and the usage of the people of the Truth, inasmuch as the laws governing them are as the laws which govern all phenomenal being in respect to generation, corruption, production, change and reversion … In brief, for these three spirits there is no restitution or “return,” but they are subordinate to reversions and production and corruption.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 368)


This great power must evidently be differentiated from the physical body or temple in which it is manifested. Observe and understand how this human body changes; nevertheless, the spirit of man remains ever in the same condition. For instance, the body sometimes grows weak, it becomes strong or stout, sometimes it grows smaller or may be dismembered, but there is no effect upon the spirit. The eye may become blind, the foot may be amputated, but no imperfection afflicts the spirit. This is proof that the spirit of man is distinct from his body. Defects in the body or its members do not imply defects in the spirit. This leads to the accurate conclusion that if the whole body should be subjected to a radical change, the spirit will survive that change; that even if the body of man is destroyed and becomes nonexistent, the spirit of man remains unaffected. For the spirit of man is everlasting. Sometimes the body sleeps, the eyes do not see, the ears do not hear, the members cease to act, every function is as inactive as death; nevertheless, the spirit sees, hears and soars on high. For it is possessed of these faculties which operate without the instrumentality of the body. In the world of thought it sees without eyes, hears without ears and travels without the motion of foot. Without physical force it exercises every function. This makes it evident that during sleep the spirit is alive though the body is as dead. In the world of dreams the body becomes absolutely passive, but the spirit still functions actively, possessed of all susceptibilities. This leads to the conclusion that the life of the spirit is neither conditional nor dependent upon the life of the body. At most it can be said that the body is a mere garment utilized by the spirit. If that garment be destroyed, the wearer is not affected but is, in fact, protected.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 259)


This spirit, which in the terminology of the philosophers is the rational soul, embraces all beings, and as far as human ability permits discovers the realities of things and becomes cognizant of their peculiarities and effects, and of the qualities and properties of beings.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 316)


Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words 59)


Thy spirit is under the Covenant and Testament of the spiritual Divine Church. Thou shouldst protect this.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 390)