BAHAI THINKING VIII
View of the Monument Garden on Mount Carmel, Israel
Life on earth is but the first stage of man's timeless existence in the worlds of God. Since the dawn of mankind, prophets and thinkers have spoken about a life after death. Immortality of the spirit is a universal thought of mankind. Even the first archeological traces of man testify to the concept of life after death. The spirit of the individual belongs to a higher form of existence than that of the transitory brain. It is reasonable to see one's being from this perspective.
Like the Prophets before Him, Bahá’u’lláh reveals that the conscious soul, man's deepest being, overcomes death gloriously. Dying links the human being to a transcendent universe. The individual, after passing from this world, does not lose his original identity. Everything that a person has experienced, done, neglected, conceived, suffered or enjoyed, is accumulated in the hologram of the incomprehensible self. Never before the coming of Bahá'u'lláh, has so much been revealed about that placeless place beyond Earth.
Consciousness does not originate in the brain. In our ear we hear music even when no instrument plays. And dreams open the wondrous worlds in which man sees without eyes, listens without ears, touches without feeling and moves without limbs. Bahá’u’lláh reveals that the worlds of God are innumerable and unending. He calls the phenomenon of sleep "the most mysterious of the signs of God" on the plane of man.
Everything that is composed will decompose into the parts from which it originated. This principle controls crystals, organisms and stars. There is no physical re-birth, no repetition of the same. The body is a unique expression of man's personal being, a materialization of the true essence of the self. Therefore man cannot become a temple cat, a lapdog or another’s reborn son or daughter.
Reincarnation to a life on earth as an improvement for the soul is not among the truths revealed by Bahá’u’lláh. In the continuation of life after this earthly life, there are innumerable worlds besides this world, each of which offers many, different conditions for growth far above our imagination. It is an endless continuum by which we will become that which we actually were when God created us in timelessness.
There will be no raising up of the dead from ancient graves, mummy cases, charnel houses, or cremation urns; because everyone who has been buried, devoured, drowned, mummified or reduced to ashes, has been truly alive since his death, in retreats now veiled from our eyes, conditions of a more real reality than the conditions here and now.
Consciousness is man's gift at birth, the key to his perception of the universe. Without this potency there would be no person next to us, no stars above us and no sweet-smelling roses, singing nightingales or undulating seas.
Bahá'u'lláh reveals that heaven and hell are conditions of the heart, reflecting its proximity or distance from the blissful aura of Godliness. By denying the Creator and His realities, man does not escape the immortality that is being prepared for him by his Maker. God tells man in His recent revelation that life after this life is indescribably free and light, and that the individual can play a role for others, both in this world and the next. There is no eternal rest with an angelic sound curtain. Life, also beyond life, will move through one's own action and that of others.
According to Bahá'u'lláh, the flashes of inspiration and the insights that enrich the world are sent to the plane of man from the realities into which man will awake after he dies. Nothing happens in this world without the involvement of the others over there. For understanding those worlds imagination does not reach far enough. Man on earth finds himself in the spiritual position of an unborn child, who knows nothing of the world of those born, even though it has brains, ears and eyes.
Only the Messengers of God can tell us about that which follows this earthly life. Their knowledge of the higher realities comes from that higher reality first-hand. No information can therefore be more reliable.
The Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh reveal that man will not be reborn as another person and that death will not separate him from parents and kin, children, loved ones or friends. The individual keeps everyone who shared his life and gains relationships to those souls, angels and higher beings who have been watching over him when he was on earth and knew so little.
From the Gleanings of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh
Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above, and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind. That a sick person showeth signs of weakness is due to the hindrances that interpose themselves between his soul and his body, for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments. Consider the light of the lamp. Though an external object may interfere with its radiance, the light itself continueth to shine with undiminished power. In like manner, every malady afflicting the body of man is an impediment that preventeth the soul from manifesting its inherent might and power. When it leaveth the body, however, it will evince such ascendancy, and reveal such influence as no force on earth can equal. Every pure, every refined and sanctified soul will be endowed with tremendous power, and shall rejoice with exceeding gladness.
The Prophets and Messengers of God have been sent down for the sole purpose of guiding mankind to the straight Path of Truth. The purpose underlying Their revelation hath been to educate all men, that they may, at the hour of death, ascend, in the utmost purity and sanctity and with absolute detachment, to the throne of the Most High. The light which these souls radiate is responsible for the progress of the world and the advancement of its peoples. They are like unto leaven which leaveneth the world of being, and constitute the animating force through which the arts and wonders of the world are made manifest. Through them the clouds rain their bounty upon men, and the earth bringeth forth its fruits. All things must needs have a cause, a motive power, an animating principle. These souls and symbols of detachment have provided, and will continue to provide, the supreme moving impulse in the world of being. The world beyond is as different from this world as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother. When the soul attaineth the Presence of God, it will assume the form that best befitteth its immortality and is worthy of its celestial habitation.
Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him. If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths.
Thou hast, moreover, asked Me concerning the state of the soul after its separation from the body. Know thou, of a truth, that if the soul of man hath walked in the ways of God, it will, assuredly, return and be gathered to the glory of the Beloved. By the righteousness of God! It shall attain a station such as no pen can depict, or tongue describe.
Verily I say, the human soul is exalted above all egress and regress. It is still, and yet it soareth; it moveth, and yet it is still. It is, in itself, a testimony that beareth witness to the existence of a world that is contingent, as well as to the reality of a world that hath neither beginning nor end. Behold how the dream thou hast dreamed is, after the lapse of many years, re-enacted before thine eyes. Consider how strange is the mystery of the world that appeareth to thee in thy dream. Ponder in thine heart upon the unsearchable wisdom of God, and meditate on its manifold revelations....