And if, confirmed by the Creator, the lover escapes from the claws of the eagle of love, he will enter THE VALLEY OF KNOWLEDGE and come out of doubt into certitude, and turn from the darkness of illusion to the guiding light of the fear of God. His inner eyes will open and he will privily converse with his Beloved; he will set ajar the gate of truth and piety, and shut the doors of vain imaginings. He in this station is content with the decree of God, and seeth war as peace, and findeth in death the secrets of everlasting life. With inward and outward eyes he witnesseth the mysteries of resurrection in the realms of creation and the souls of men, and with a pure heart apprehendeth the divine wisdom in the endless Manifestations of God. In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys, p. 11-12)
Cling ye to the Cord of steadfastness, in such wise that all vain imaginings may utterly vanish.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 75)
Fear God, and be not of those who are shut out as by a veil. Burn ye away the veils with the fire of My love, and dispel ye the mists of vain imaginings by the power of this Name through which We have subdued the entire creation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 66)
For the people are wandering in the paths of delusion bereft of discernment to see God with their own eyes or hear His Melody with their own ears.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablet of Ahmad, Bahá’í Prayers)
Hold Thou the hand of this seeker who hath set his face towards Thee, O my Lord, and draw him out of the depths of his vain imaginations, that the light of certainty may shine brightly above the horizon of his heart in the days whereon the sun of the knowledge of Thy creatures hath been darkened through the shining of the Day-Star of Thy glory; the days whereon the moon of the world’s wisdom hath been eclipsed through the appearance of Thy hidden knowledge, and the manifestation of Thy well-guarded secret, and the revelation of Thine enshrined mystery; the days whereon the stars of men’s doings have fallen through the rising of the orb of Thy unity and the shedding of the radiance of Thy transcendent oneness.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 53-54)
How vain, how contemptible, are the imaginations which your hearts have devised, and are still devising!
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 325)
If any one should now arise and, prompted by the vain imaginations his heart hath devised, endeavor, openly or in secret, to sow the seeds of dissension amongst men—can such a man be said to have acted with equity? No, by Him Whose might extendeth over all things! By My life! Mine heart groaneth and mine eyes weep sore for the Cause of God and for them that understand not what they say and imagine what they cannot comprehend.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 202)
It is perhaps understandable that a Bahá’í, especially if not well- deepened, feeling himself to be endowed with a special gift, would, out of love, wish to attribute this power to the Faith, especially if the phenomenon were not explainable in scientific terms. The Assembly should deal sensitively with such persons, advise them not to confuse what they are doing with Bahá’í practices, and be forbearing, unless their actions are against the Teachings, are illegal or immoral. The key point to observe in this case is the important distinction between a claim of Bahá’u’lláh’s inspiration, which is likely the consequence of sincere conviction and needs to be addressed through firm but loving counsel, and flagrant immorality, challenges to the authority of the Covenant, or violation of an administrative principle of the Faith, which are far more pernicious and require direct interdiction in the form of sanctions. With this in mind, you may wish to call to the attention of this person the guidance of the beloved Guardian, but avoid giving undue prominence to the matter or making it an issue. Another useful approach might be to inform the Bahá’ís generally of these exhortations, but without pointing a finger, so as to raise the level of awareness. In this way, the community as a whole will gradually come to attain a greater maturity in regard to such practices.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1998 Dec 16, Traditional practices in Africa)
Mírzá Azizu’llah-i-Misbah, one of the great scholars of the Faith, has written this profound and yet simple verse in his marvellous collection of poetry and meditations: If the bishops had not called vain imaginings religion, the philosophers would not have regarded religion as vain imaginings. In another instance he writes: There is one who worships God, yet is attached to an idol; there is another who, although he bows before an idol, is intoxicated with the wine of the Oneness of God.
(Adib Taherzadeh, Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, v2, p. 81)
Suffer not your labors to be wasted through the vain imaginations which certain hearts have devised.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 196)
The other kind of spiritual discoveries is made up of pure imaginations, but these imaginations become embodied in such a way that many simple-hearted people believe that they have a reality. That which proves it clearly is that from this controlling of spirits no result or fruit has ever been produced. No, they are but narratives and stories.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 251)
They that have disbelieved in God and rebelled against His sovereignty are the helpless victims of their corrupt inclinations and desires. These shall return to their abode in the fire of hell: wretched is the abode of the deniers!
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 284)
We have forbidden men to walk after the imaginations of their hearts, that they may be enabled to recognize Him Who is the sovereign Source and Object of all knowledge, and may acknowledge whatsoever He may be pleased to reveal. Witness how they have entangled themselves with their idle fancies and vain imaginations. By My life! They are themselves the victims of what their own hearts have devised, and yet they perceive it not. Vain and profitless is the talk of their lips, and yet they understand not. We beseech God that He may graciously vouchsafe His grace unto all men, and enable them to attain the knowledge of Him and of themselves. By My life! Whoso hath known Him shall soar in the immensity of His love, and shall be detached from the world and all that is therein. Nothing on earth shall deflect him from his course, how much less they who, prompted by their vain imaginations, speak those things which God hath forbidden.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 204-205)
Yet the people still cling to such vain imaginings as are cherished by the reprobate.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqan, p. 58)