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Some Answered Questions

  • Author:
  • ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1990 reprint of pocket-size edition
  • Pages:
  • 305
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Pages 154-156


We said that the Manifestations have three planes. First, the physical reality, which depends upon the body; second, the individual reality, that is to say, the rational soul; third, the divine appearance, which is the divine perfections, the cause of the life of existence, of the education of souls, of the guidance of people, and of the enlightenment of the contingent world.
The physical state is the human state which perishes because it is composed of elements, and all that is composed of elements will necessarily be decomposed and dispersed.
But the individual reality of the Manifestations of God is a holy reality, and for that reason it is sanctified and, in that which concerns its nature and quality, is distinguished from all other things. It is like the sun, which by its essential nature produces light and cannot be compared to the moon, just as the particles that compose the globe of the sun cannot be compared with those which compose the moon. The particles and organization of the former produce rays, but the particles of which the moon is composed do not produce rays but need to borrow light. So other human realities are those souls who, like the moon, take light from the sun; but that Holy Reality is luminous in Himself.
The third plane of that Being 1 is the Divine Bounty, the 155 splendor of the Preexistent Beauty, and the radiance of the light of the Almighty. The individual realities of the Divine Manifestations have no separation from the Bounty of God and the Lordly Splendor. In the same way, the orb of the sun has no separation from the light. Therefore, it may be said that the ascension of the Holy Manifestation is simply the leaving of this elemental form. For example, if a lamp illumines this niche, and if its light ceases to illuminate it because the niche is destroyed, the bounty of the lamp is not cut off. Briefly, in the Holy Manifestations the Preexistent Bounty is like the light, the individuality is represented by the glass globe, and the human body is like the niche: if the niche is destroyed, the lamp continues to burn. The Divine Manifestations are so many different mirrors because They have a special individuality, but that which is reflected in the mirrors is one sun. It is clear that the reality of Christ is different from that of Moses.
Verily, from the beginning that Holy Reality 2 is conscious of the secret of existence, and from the age of childhood signs of greatness appear and are visible in Him. Therefore, how can it be that with all these bounties and perfections He should have no consciousness?
We have mentioned that the Holy Manifestations have three planes. The physical condition, the individual reality, and the center of the appearance of perfection: it is like the sun, its heat and its light. Other individuals have the physical plane, the plane of the rational soul—the spirit and mind. 3 So the saying, “I was asleep, and the divine breezes passed over Me, and I awoke,” is like Christ’s saying, “The body is sad, and the spirit is happy,” or again, “I am afflicted,” or “I am at ease,” or “I am troubled”—these refer to the physical condition and have no reference to the individual reality nor to the manifestation of the Divine Reality. Thus consider what thousands 156 of vicissitudes can happen to the body of man, but the spirit is not affected by them; it may even be that some members of the body are entirely crippled, but the essence of the mind remains and is everlasting. A thousand accidents may happen to a garment, but for the wearer of it there is no danger. These words which Bahá’u’lláh said, “I was asleep, and the breeze passed over Me, and awakened Me,” refer to the body.
In the world of God there is no past, no future and no present; all are one. So when Christ said, “In the beginning was the Word” 4 —that means it was, is and shall be; for in the world of God there is no time. Time has sway over creatures but not over God. For example, in the prayer He says, “Hallowed be Thy name”; the meaning is that Thy name was, is and shall be hallowed. 5 Morning, noon and evening are related to this earth, but in the sun there is neither morning, noon nor evening.
1. The Manifestation.   [ Back To Reference]
2. The Manifestation.   [ Back To Reference]
3. Cf. “Soul, Spirit and Mind,” p. 208.   [ Back To Reference]
4. Cf. John 1:1.   [ Back To Reference]
5. Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2.   [ Back To Reference]