Bahá’u’lláh states that there are three barriers between man and God. He exhorts the believers to pass beyond these so that they may attain His Presence. The first barrier is attachment to the things of this world, the second is attachment to the rewards of the next world, and the third is attachment to the Kingdom of Names.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 20)
Beware lest ye suffer one another to be wrapt in veils by reason of the disputes which may, during your night, arise among you as a result of the problems ye encounter or in consideration of such matters as your loftiness or lowliness, your nearness or remoteness.
(The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 130)
But as they failed to recognize the accents of God and the divine mysteries and holy allusions enshrined in that which flowed from the tongue of Muhammad, and as they neglected to examine the matter in their own hearts, and followed instead those priests of error who have hindered the progress of the people in past dispensations and who will continue to do so in future cycles, they were thus veiled from the divine purpose, failed to quaff from the celestial streams, and deprived themselves of the presence of God, the Manifestation of His Essence, and the Dayspring of His eternity. Thus did they wander in the paths of delusion and the ways of heedlessness, and return to their abode in that fire which feedeth on their own souls. These, verily, are numbered with the infidels whose names have been inscribed by the Pen of God in His holy Book. Nor have they ever found, or will ever find, a friend or helper.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 40)
Consume the egotistical veils with the fire of oneness, sincerely for the sake of God.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 134)
Direct, then, his eyes, O my God, towards the horizon of Thy loving-kindness, and make steadfast his heart in its attachment to Thee, and unloose his tongue to praise Thee, and make him able to hold fast the cord of Thy love, and to cling to the hem of Thy bounteousness, and to proclaim Thy name amidst Thy creatures, and to recount Thy virtues throughout Thy realm, in such wise that no obstacle will deter him from turning to Thy name, the All-Bountiful, and no veil shut him out from Thee, in Whose hand is the dominion of utterance and the kingdom of all names and attributes!
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 53)
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)
God loves to attract a soul to Himself, but there are many barriers interposed between man and his Creator. These are all in the nature of attachment to material, intellectual and spiritual things which prevent man from drawing near to his God. These formidable barriers must be removed before man can draw near to God.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 20)
He that turneth aside from the True One is indeed the most veiled amongst His creatures.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 60)
I ask God to strengthen thee in comprehending the mysteries deposited in the reality of existence, to lift up the veil from before thee and thy sister, so that the concealed mystery and the hidden reality become manifest as the sun at noon, and to confirm thy sister and thy husband in entering the Kingdom of God, and heal thee from all physical and spiritual disease in the world of creation.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 56)
If a man’s actions are motivated by the thought that he may reap a reward for himself in the next world, then this is attachment, and a barrier between himself and God.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 22)
… If, then, the pursuit of knowledge lead to the beauty of Him Who is the Object of all Knowledge, how excellent that goal; but if not, a mere drop will perhaps shut a man off from flooding grace, for with learning cometh arrogance and pride, and it bringeth on error and indifference to God … If learning be not a means of access to Him, the Most Manifest, it is nothing but evident loss.
(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 110)
In Paris ‘Abdu’l-Bahá once gave the following instruction to Mary Hanford Ford and others, holding before His eyes a piece of very thin paper, ‘See what a slight thing will shut off our physical sight; so will a slight indiscretion, a cross word, an adverse criticism shut off the delicate spiritual sight.’ (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 134)
Learning is the greatest veil.
(Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 49)
Let not names shut you out as by a veil from Him Who is their Lord, even the name of Prophet, for such a name is but a creation of His utterance.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 172)
Love is a veil betwixt the lover and the beloved.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Four Valleys, p. 60)
Man must free himself from the weeds of ignorance, thorns of superstitions and thistles of imitations, that he may discover reality in the harvests of true knowledge. Otherwise the discovery of reality is impossible, contention and divergence of religious belief will always remain and mankind, like ferocious wolves will rage and attack each other in hatred and antagonism. We supplicate God that He may destroy the veils which limit our vision and that these becloudings which darken the way of the manifestation of the shining lights may be dispelled in order that the effulgent Sun of Reality may shine forth. We implore and invoke God, seeking His assistance and confirmation.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 76)
One of the veils is literal interpretation. To penetrate the inner significances a mighty effort is needed.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 29)
Since Thou hast, O my God, established Thyself upon the throne of Thy transcendent unity, and ascended the mercy seat of Thy oneness, it befitteth Thee to blot out from the hearts of all beings whatsoever may keep them back from gaining admittance into the sanctuary of Thy Divine mysteries, and may shut them out from the tabernacle of Thy Divinity, that all hearts may mirror Thy beauty, and may reveal Thee, and speak of Thee, and that all created things may show forth the tokens of Thy most august sovereignty, and shed the splendors of the light of Thy most holy governance, and that all who are in heaven and on earth may laud and magnify Thy unity, and give Thee glory, for having manifested Thy Self unto them through Him Who is the Revealer of Thy oneness.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 323)
So gaze with divine insight into the horizons of the supreme knowledge and into the souls of the perfect words of eternity, that all the mysteries of the spiritual wisdom may appear without “veils of glory” and become manifest from behind the covering of favor and bounty. The contradictions of people and their controversies have resulted wholly from their lack of knowledge and understanding. For example, they could not comprehend and attain to the truth of the explanations given by the beautiful Countenances of the True One concerning the signs of the subsequent Manifestation. Notwithstanding this they have sought interpretation of the Book from the people of veils and did not acquire knowledge from its fountainhead. For instance, when the day of Moses had passed and the lights of Jesus pervaded the world from the dawn of spirit, the Jews objected that the one who is promised in the Pentateuch must promote and fulfil the laws of the Pentateuch, whereas this youth of Nazareth who calls himself the Messiah of God hath abolished the laws of divorce and of the Sabbath, which are the greatest laws of Moses; and moreover the signs of 8 the Manifestations have not yet appeared. Thus the Jews are still expecting the appearance recorded in the Pentateuch. How many of the holy Manifestations of Unity and Dawning-places of the Light of Eternity have appeared since Moses in the world of creation, while the Jews have been and are still veiled by their satanic, egotistical veils and their selfish erroneous opinions! They still await the time when this fictitious temple will appear according to their understanding of the given signs. Consequently God hath punished them for their sin, stripped them of the spirit of faith and caused them to suffer the fire in the depths of hell on account of their ignorance of the texts recorded in the Pentateuch concerning the signs of the subsequent Manifestation. Since they did not understand the reality of these signs and as such things did not outwardly appear, they were therefore deprived of the beauty of Jesus, did not attain to the meeting of God and were of those who await. Thus the nations by their adherence to similar inventions arising from improper notions, have deprived themselves of the pure, clear and flowing fountains.
(Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 7)
Take heed lest pride deter you from recognizing the Source of Revelation, lest the things of this world shut you out as by a veil from Him Who is the Creator of heaven.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 211)
Tear the veils asunder in such wise that the inmates of the Kingdom will hear them being rent. This is the command of God, in days gone by and for those to come. Blessed the man that observeth that whereunto he was bidden, and woe betide the negligent.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, #171)
The veil or hindrance that interposes between soul and body during physical disease is sickness itself.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 478)
These tests, even as thou didst write, do but cleanse the spotting of self from off the mirror of the heart, till the Sun of Truth can cast its rays thereon; for there is no veil more obstructive that the self, and however tenuous that veil may be, at the last it will completely shut a person out, and deprive him of his portion of eternal grace.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 182)
What is the dust which obscures the mirror? It is attachment to the world, avarice, envy, love of luxury and comfort, haughtiness and self-desire; this is the dust which prevents reflection of the rays of the Sun of Reality in the mirror. The natural emotions are blameworthy and are like rust which deprives the heart of the bounties of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 244)
Your hearts must be pure and your intentions sincere in order that you may become recipients of the divine bestowals. Consider that although the sun shines equally upon all things, yet in the clear mirror its reflection is most brilliant and not in the black stone. This great effulgence and heat have been produced by the crystal clearness of the glass. If there were no clearness and purity, these effects would not be witnessed. Should rain fall upon salty, stony earth, it will never have effect; but when it falls upon good pure soil, green and verdant growth follows, and fruits are produced.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 92)