- THE UNITY OF GOD
Any unifying essence of beings and things is a Being, a unifying Structure, an inner Reality, and a Collective Center of divine attributes. The highest Essential Unity (the Deity, infinite Essence, divine Unity, True One, Godhead, Great Being, and Source), the rational and unknowable God (ﷲ, Allāh, the God), exists as the Essence of Essences. He is the “Unifying” or “Unification” (Arabic1, al-Tawḥīd), the Cosmic Envelope, and the unknowable Essence (al-Hāhūt, Haecceity, Quiddity, He-ness, or He Himself). God is the Unity of the SPIRITUAL KINGDOM and of Each of the unifying essences, innermost essences, essential unities, universal realities, collective realities, or universals along with their beings and things. Existence, in its diversity or individuality, can be seen as one. Moreover, because all attributes (including religious moral codes), beings, and things depend upon God, they can be created, changed, or destroyed relative to His Will.
- SPIRITUAL KINGDOM (unity in diversity of souls): This Kingdom of Names and Attributes (of the Unity and His unities), Angelhood (the Angelic Realm), Paradise, or Heaven is manifested by the Prophets to all creation. Sometimes the Kingdom is referred to by only one of the Names of God. Instead of a Trinity, there is an Infinity of Prophets manifested by One God. Within the STATION OF SERVITUDE (or creation), the Kingdom of God is emanated as Progressive Revelation, the Mystery of God, the Hereafter, the World of Dreams, and the Higher Nature.
- The Prophets of God are also called Messengers of God and Manifestations of God. The Greater or Independent Prophets are Lawgivers. They establish a new Dispensation. The Lesser or Dependent Prophets, such as St. Paul the Apostle and St. John of the Apocalypse, are Followers and Promoters. They are the Mirrors of the Greater Prophets. Nevertheless, the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh will not include any Lesser Prophets.
- Station of Essential Unity (Unity of the Prophets): This Station of Divinity (Lāhūt) is the Manifestation of THE UNITY OF GOD in the SPIRITUAL KINGDOM. As a result, the Prophets have a different Nature (Attributes) than human beings. The Prophetic Station of Essential Unity is a Universal (shared) Prophetic Nature. Since these Prophets, in Their Oneness (or First Will), manifest the Station of He is God (Hū Allāh), rejecting even One of Them stakes a claim at “sharing” (al-širk) in God’s Sovereignty and Dominion.
- Station of Distinction (Diversity of the Prophets): The divine Singular, or Station of Essential Unity, and the divine Plural, or Station of Distinction, have been unified. Each of the Prophets, manifesting Omnipotence (Ǧabarūt), is a unique Individual. PROPHETHOOD, or the Greater World, is observed by us as a Progressive Revelation of the Universal (shared) Prophetic Nature or divine Manifestation through individual Perfect Men. The Essence of God is manifested in relationship (ancient, eternal Covenant) with humanity. These uncommonly human Prophets (God manifested as Souls) share, and are made up of, the individualized Attributes or ontological Mechanisms (Holy Spirit, Primal Will, Word, or Cause/Command) of the Unity of God. Revelations of specific Attributes result in differences between Their teachings. We learn about the Unity through Its Reflection in diverse Individuals, or Prophets, with personal Names and Missions. To us, not among Themselves, Bahá’u’lláh, peace be upon Him, has the highest Station. He is the Supreme Manifestation of God.
- STATION OF SERVITUDE
- The station of creation is servitude to the divine Unity. “... the conditions of existence are limited to the conditions of servitude, of prophethood and of Deity ...” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, page 230). The road to perfection is freedom through service. “The liberty that profiteth you is to be found nowhere except in complete servitude unto God, the Eternal Truth” (Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, page 64).
- Progressive Revelation: In this condition, also called the divine philosophy (ʾal-ḥikmaẗ ʾal-ʾilāhiyyaẗ), the Prophets of God progressively manifest Themselves to creation. “The world of being shineth, in this Day, with the resplendency of this Divine Revelation. All created things extol its saving grace, and sing its praises. The universe is wrapt in an ecstasy of joy and gladness” (Bahá’u’lláh in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, page 78).
- Mystery of God (ʾal-Sirra ʾAlla̍h): Servitude is spiritually perfected in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. As the Perfect Man or created Being, He is the Master, Exemplar, Archetype, or Ideal Type of servitude. Perhaps both the beloved Master and His brother, Muḥammad ʿAlī, were exceptionally created beings. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, peace be upon Him, lived up to it. Bahá’u’lláh, peace be upon Him, then blessed Him with perfection. Muḥammad ʿAlī, may God forgive him, broke his Father’s Covenant.
- Hereafter: Beings from the HUMAN KINGDOM continue in higher dimensions, or perhaps parallel universes, after death. The attributes, or qualities, of the SPIRITUAL KINGDOM in the world to come are rewards (blessings for good deeds in this world), pardons (for sins committed in this world), and bounties (in the next world). Heavenly attributes, eternal life, or spirit are the ingredients of each departed soul. The immediate heavenly and hellish state of the immortal soul is a result of its accomplishments in this world. A chalice of pure light, or psychic field, might replace some of the functions of the rational faculty, human spirit, or HUMAN KINGDOM. “On him [who makes mention of the name of his Lord] shall ... descend the Concourse on high, each bearing aloft a chalice of pure light” (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, page 280).
- Great Workshop of this World
- World of Dreams: This state, wrapped up within each of us and hidden in the innermost reality of this world, is the portal to the Guardian Angels or Archangels (المَلَائِكَة عَلَّى, ʾal-MalāꞋikaẗ ʿAllaỳ) “between them” (بَيْنَهُمَا, bayna-humā, or بَيْنِهِمَا, bayni-himā), i.e., the “Jacobʼs ladder” between the heavens (السَمَوَات, ʾal-samawāt) or the next world and the earth (الأَرْض, ʾal-ꞌarḍ) or this world. These inner-dimensional, interdimensional, and transtemporal healing Beings, such as the Maiden (الحُورِيَّة, ʾal-Ḥūriyyaẗ), are sometimes misidentified as strictly extraterrestrial. Perhaps They live both on and spirituallly within various cosmic spheres. Their omnipresence becomes evident once our physical senses are dimmed. Individually, They constitute the Unifying Essences of the Great Workshop of this World. “It would be true if thou wert to contend that this same world [experienced in dreams] is, as decreed by the All-Glorious and Almighty God, within thy proper self and is wrapped up within thee. It would equally be true to maintain that thy spirit, having transcended the limitations of sleep and having stripped itself of all earthly attachment, hath, by the act of God, been made to traverse a realm which lieth hidden in the innermost reality of this world. Verily I say, the creation of God embraceth worlds besides this world, and creatures apart from these creatures.” (Bahá’u’lláh, “Súriy-i-Vafá” or Tablet to Vafá, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Page 187-188.) Dreams are real. They not the unconscious mental constructs of depth psychology.
- Higher Nature (unity in diversity of religions): This human spiritual nature, the soul’s purpose or nobility, consists of the attributes of the unity of revealed religions (the Religion of God) within the SPIRITUAL KINGDOM. The essence of faith is that unity. Progressively deeper teachings or formulations of truth, relative to each Age, are revealed through God’s eternal Covenant. By accepting the unity of religions, we acquire its attributes in this world. “... he who turns away from this Beauty hath also turned away from the Messengers of the past and showeth pride towards God from all eternity to all eternity” (Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Prayers, page 214). We are born again and live according to our universal or shared Higher Nature. Gradually, the HUMAN KINGDOM is spiritually perfected. These “faithful virtues,” like love and insight, are called the spirit of faith (or faith). In addition to the human spirit, the spirit of faith can become the ingredients of a human soul. “... the human spirit, unless assisted by the spirit of faith, does not become acquainted with the divine secrets and the heavenly realities” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, page 208). “… the Kingdom has no place, but is connected with man” (page 242). The Higher Nature includes the seven valleys, the four valleys, and other conditions of existence.
- HUMAN KINGDOM (unity in diversity of human beings): Humanity (Nāsūt), the universal attributes of the divinely willed unifying “essence of man,” is also termed the rational faculty, rational soul, human spirit, lesser world, universal mind, shared human nature, rationality, humanness, or common faculty2. Included are rational (free will, imagination, thought, understanding, and memory), sensory, growing, and cohesive attributes. They are the ingredients of each human being and of each Prophet’s human nature. Humanity and the human spirit are, like faith and the spirit of faith, identical. To elaborate, human unity or “copresence” is the unknowable unifying essence of man. Being an individual is not being independent. Relationships, throughout an endless multidimensional omniverse of human beings, are formed within a web of interdependence or essential unity. Spirit is the ocean. Souls are the drops. The attributes of the unity of humanity progress from stage to stage (family, tribe, city-state, and nation). Bahá’u’lláh, through the Bahá’í Faith, is now restructuring unity into His World Order, the Kingdom of God on earth, through the reality of the Universal House of Justice (the form of divine Justice in this world). Its conferred infallibility, like any infallibility, is known to God. Its authority, like any authority, is revealed to us.
- Human Religion: Revealed religion, from the Higher Nature, becomes accepted, institutionalized, established, or “routinized” as diverse religions or devotional systems, united around Prophets, in the HUMAN KINGDOM.
- Disunity: The negations or contradictions of human unity (in diversity), and its attributes, as dualism (division), “demireality,” illusion, disunity in diversity, the old world order, partnership (širk) with God, conflicting human religions, and imperfection may be found wherever the HUMAN KINGDOM does not operate in the Higher Nature. “... unity, mutual attraction, gathering together, engender life, but disunity and inharmony spell death. When thou dost consider all phenomena, thou wilt see that every created thing hath come into being through the mingling of many elements, and once this collectivity of elements is dissolved, and this harmony of components is dissevered, the life form is wiped out” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, page 31). As the SPIRITUAL KINGDOM is Paradise, Heaven, or unity, Disunity is Hell, hellishness, or a lack of unity. “They say: ‘Where is Paradise, and where is Hell?’ Say: ‘The one is reunion with Me; the other thine own self, O thou who dost associate a partner with God and doubtest’” (Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, page 132).
- Nature: The physical kingdoms of spacetime, listed below, include the attributes of sensation, growth, and cohesion. Nature (physical attributes), in the HUMAN KINGDOM, is the universal or shared lower nature of human beings. The attributes which are appropriate to focus upon in the lower level are simply presumed in the higher. Focusing upon them is a waste of time.
- ANIMAL KINGDOM (unity in diversity of animals): This kingdom may include numerous unifying essences (“species”). The attributes of these divinely willed essential unities (unifying essences) are termed the animal spirit. The ingredients of each animal are sensory (bodily coordination, including fight and flight), cohesive, and growing attributes or traits. They are the animal’s bodily functions (shared by human beings).
- VEGETABLE KINGDOM (unity in diversity of vegetables): This kingdom may include numerous unifying essences “species”). The attributes of these divinely willed essential unities (unifying essences) of nature are termed the vegetable spirit. The ingredients of each vegetable are growing and cohesive attributes or traits.
- MINERAL KINGDOM (unity in diversity of atoms and subatomic particles): This kingdom may include numerous unifying essences (“species”). The attributes of these divinely willed essential unities (unifying essences) of nature are called the mineral spirit. The ingredients of each mineral are cohesive attributes. Among these attributes are electromagnetism and other forms of energy, gravity, possible antigravity, and the world of time (or formation) which connects entities in the past, present, and future. “... each time that the isolated elements combine conformably to the divine universal system, one being among beings comes into the world” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, page 292).
I am not fluent in Arabic, but I can work with it. Unless otherwise stated, all English translations are from the Arabic or Persian languages (or, in some cases, a “Persianized” Arabic). There are differences, which will be evident, between the system of transliteration
, or romanization, of Arabic and Persian words contained in official Bahá’í texts and the ISO
(International Organization for Standardization) system (or the Tiberian
system for some Hebrew words) adopted in other parts of this work. (See this page on verb conjugation
.) Diacritics (the signs used in transliteration) for various languages have sometimes been modified in quotations. Focusing on both translation and transliteration has, from my perspective, been a way to draw close, in my heart, to the individuals and ideas being discussed. Perhaps your experiences will be similar. Learning any “tongue” comes through love:
Speak in the Persian tongue, though the Arab please thee more;
A lover hath many a tongue at his command.
al-Ḥiss al-muštarik (Ancient Greek, koiné
aísϑésis) is the common faculty. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá appears to have adopted the concept from Aristotle
The intermediary between the five outward powers and the inward powers is the sense which they possess in common-that is to say, the sense which acts between the outer and inner powers, conveys to the inward powers whatever the outer powers discern. It is termed the common faculty ....