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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 104-105

Effect of Obedience to Prophetic Commands

The bearing on health of these commands relating to the simple life, hygiene, abstinence from alcohol and opium, etcetera, is too obvious to call for much comment, although their vital importance is apt to be greatly underestimated. Were they to be generally observed, most of the infectious diseases and a good many others would soon vanish from among men. The amount of illness caused by neglect of simple hygienic precautions and by indulgence in alcohol and opium is prodigious. Moreover, obedience to these commands would not only affect health, but would have an enormous effect for good on character and conduct. Alcohol and opium affect a man’s conscience long before they affect his gait or cause obvious bodily disease, so that the moral spiritual gain from abstinence would be even greater than the physical. With regard to cleanliness, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says:—“External cleanliness, although it is but a physical thing, has great influence upon spirituality. … The fact of having a pure and spotless body exercises an influence upon the spirit of man.”
Were the commands of the Prophets concerning chastity in sexual relations generally observed, another fertile cause of disease would be eliminated. The loathsome venereal diseases, which wreck the health of so many thousands today, innocent as well as guilty, babes as well as parents, would very soon be entirely a thing of the past. 105
Were the commands of the Prophets concerning justice, mutual aid, loving one’s neighbor as oneself, carried out, how could overcrowding, sweated labor and sordid poverty on the one hand, together with self-indulgence, idleness and sordid luxury on the other, continue to work mental, moral and physical ruin?
Simple obedience to the hygienic and moral commands of Moses, Buddha, Christ, Muḥammad or Bahá’u’lláh would do more in the way of preventing disease than all the doctors and all the public health regulations in the world have been able to accomplish. In fact, it seems certain that were such obedience general, good health would also become general. Instead of lives being blighted by disease of cut off in infancy, youth or prime, as so frequently happens now, men would live to a ripe old age, like sound fruits that mature and mellow ere they drop from the bough.