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Paris Talks

  • Author:
  • ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1972 eleventh edition reprint
  • Pages:
  • 184
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Pages 83-88


Salle de l’Athenée,
St Germain, Paris,
November 9th
I wish to express my gratitude for your hospitality, and my joy that you are spiritually minded. I am happy to be present at a gathering such as this, assembled together to listen to a Divine Message. If you could see with the eye of truth, great waves of spirituality would be visible to you in this place. The power of the Holy Spirit is here for all. Praise be to God that 84 your hearts are inspired with Divine fervour! Your souls are as waves on the sea of the spirit; although each individual is a distinct wave, the ocean is one, all are united in God.
Every heart should radiate unity, so that the Light of the one Divine Source of all may shine forth bright and luminous. We must not consider the separate waves alone, but the entire sea. We should rise from the individual to the whole. The spirit is as one great ocean and the waves thereof are the souls of men.
We are told in the Holy Scripture that the New Jerusalem shall appear on earth. Now it is evident that this celestial city is not built of material stones and mortar, but that it is a city not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.
This is a prophetic symbol, meaning the coming again of the Divine Teaching to enlighten the hearts of men. It is long since this Holy Guidance has governed the lives of humanity. But now, at last, the Holy City of the New Jerusalem has come again to the world, it has appeared anew under an Eastern sky; from the horizon of Persia has its effulgence arisen to be a light to lighten the whole world. We see in these days the fulfilment of the Divine Prophecy. Jerusalem had disappeared. The heavenly city was destroyed, now it is rebuilt; it was razed to the ground, but now its walls and pinnacles have been restored, and are towering aloft in their renewed and glorious beauty.
In the Western world material prosperity has triumphed, whilst in the East the spiritual sun has shone forth. 85
I am very glad to see such an assembly as this in Paris, where spiritual and material progress are met together in unity.
Man—the true man—is soul, not body; though physically man belongs to the animal kingdom, yet his soul lifts him above the rest of creation. Behold how the light of the sun illuminates the world of matter: even so doth the Divine Light shed its rays in the kingdom of the soul. The soul it is which makes the human creature a celestial entity!
By the power of the Holy Spirit, working through his soul, man is able to perceive the Divine reality of things. All great works of art and science are witnesses to this power of the Spirit.
The same Spirit gives Eternal Life.
Those alone who are baptized by the Divine Spirit will be enabled to bring all peoples into the bond of unity. It is by the power of the Spirit that the Eastern World of spiritual thought can intermingle with the Western realm of action, so that the world of matter may become Divine.
It follows that all who work for the Supreme Design are soldiers in the army of the Spirit.
The light of the celestial world makes war against the world of shadow and illusion. The rays of the Sun of Truth dispel the darkness of superstition and misunderstanding.
You are of the Spirit! To you who seek the truth, the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh will come as a great joy! This teaching is of the Spirit, in it is no precept which is not of the Divine Spirit. 86
Spirit cannot be perceived by the material senses of the physical body, excepting as it is expressed in outward signs and works. The human body is visible, the soul is invisible. It is the soul nevertheless that directs a man’s faculties, that governs his humanity.
The soul has two main faculties. (a) As outer circumstances are communicated to the soul by the eyes, ears, and brain of a man, so does the soul communicate its desires and purposes through the brain to the hands and tongue of the physical body, thereby expressing itself. The spirit in the soul is the very essence of life. (b) The second faculty of the soul expresses itself in the world of vision, where the soul inhabited by the spirit has its being, and functions without the help of the material bodily senses. There, in the realm of vision, the soul sees without the help of the physical eye, hears without the aid of the physical ear, and travels without dependence upon physical motion. It is, therefore, clear that the spirit in the soul of man can function through the physical body by using the organs of the ordinary senses, and that it is able also to live and act without their aid in the world of vision. This proves without a doubt the superiority of the soul of man over his body, the superiority of spirit over matter.
For example, look at this lamp: is not the light within it superior to the lamp which holds it? However beautiful the form of the lamp may be, if the light is not there its purpose is unfulfilled, it is without life—a dead thing. The lamp needs the light, but the light does not need the lamp.
The spirit does not need a body, but the body needs 87 spirit, or it cannot live. The soul can live without a body, but the body without a soul dies.
If a man lose his sight, his hearing, his hand or his foot, should his soul still inhabit the body he lives, and is able to manifest divine virtues. On the other hand, without the spirit it would be impossible for a perfect body to exist.
The greatest power of the Holy Spirit exists in the Divine Manifestations of the Truth. Through the power of the Spirit the Heavenly Teaching has been brought into the World of Humanity. Through the power of the Spirit life everlasting has come to the children of men. Through the power of the Spirit the Divine Glory has shone from East to West, and through the power of the same Spirit will the divine virtues of humanity become manifest.
Our greatest efforts must be directed towards detachment from the things of the world; we must strive to become more spiritual, more luminous, to follow the counsel of the Divine Teaching, to serve the cause of unity and true equality, to be merciful, to reflect the love of the Highest on all men, so that the light of the Spirit shall be apparent in all our deeds, to the end that all humanity shall be united, the stormy sea thereof calmed, and all rough waves disappear from off the surface of life’s ocean henceforth unruffled and peaceful. Then will the New Jerusalem be seen by mankind, who will enter through its gates and receive the Divine Bounty.
I thank God that I have been present amongst you this afternoon, and I thank you for your spiritual feeling. 88
I pray that you may grow in Divine fervour, and that the power of unity in the Spirit will augment, so that the prophecies may be fulfilled, and that in this great century of the Light of God all the glad tidings written in the Sacred Books may come to pass. This is the glorious time of which the Lord Jesus Christ spoke when He told us to pray ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven’. I hope that this is also your expectation and great desire.
We are united in the one aim and hope that all shall be as one and every heart illumined by the Love of our Divine Father, God!
May all our actions be spiritual, and all our interests and affections be centred in the Kingdom of Glory!