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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Pages 207-209

Body and Soul

The Bahá’í teachings with regard to body and soul, and the life after death, are quite in harmony with the results of psychical research. They teach, as we have seen, that death is but a new birth—the escape from the prison of the body into a larger life, and that progress in the afterlife is limitless.
A large body of scientific evidence has gradually been accumulating 208 which in the opinion of impartial but highly critical investigators is amply sufficient to establish beyond all question the fact of a life after death—of the continued life and activity of the conscious “soul” after the dissolution of the material body. As F. W. H. Myers says in his Human Personality, a work which summarizes many of the investigations of the Psychical Research Society:—
Observation, experiment, inference, have led many inquirers, of whom I am one, to a belief in direct or telepathic intercommunication, not between the minds of men still on earth only, but between minds or spirits still on earth and spirits departed. Such a discovery opens the doors also to revelation. …

We have shown that amid much deception and self-deception, fraud and illusion, veritable manifestations do reach us from beyond the grave. …

By discovery and by revelation certain theses have been provisionally established with regard to such departed souls as we have been able to encounter. First and chiefly, I, at least, see ground to believe that their state is one of endless evolution in wisdom and in love. Their loves of earth persist, and most of all, those highest loves which find their outlet in adoration and worship. … Evil to them seems less a terrible than a slavish thing. It is embodied in no mighty Potentate; rather it forms as isolating madness from which higher spirits strive to free the distorted soul. There needs no chastisement of fire; self-knowledge is man’s punishment and his reward; self-knowledge and the nearness or the aloofness of companion souls. For in that world love is actually self-preservation; the Communion of Saints not only adorns but constitutes the Life Everlasting. nay, from the laws of telepathy it follows that that communion is valid to us here and now. Even now the love of souls departed makes answer to our invocations. Even now our loving memory—love is itself a prayer—supports and strengthens those delivered spirits upon their upward way. 209
The measure of agreement between this view, which is founded on careful scientific research, and that of the Bahá’í teachings, is truly remarkable.