STAGES OF THE SOUL



At last, the soul is "clotheh in the robe of its perfection."



Dear Angels,

Don't we often wonder about the real meaning of hell and heaven or the inner meaning of our experiences, good or bad, that lie in our path?

In addition to the Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys of Baha'u'llah, there is a Tablet that clarifies these points in the Baha'i Holy Writings: `Abdu'l-Baha's Commentary on the Qur'anic Verses concerning the Overthrow of the Byzantines: THE STAGES OF THE SOUL.


The following is an abbreviated description from this Tablet of the Master.  Nowhere else in the Baha'i Writings is there such a vivid description of the progress of the soul, even though Baha'u'llah says, « In several of Our Tablets We have referred to this theme, and have set forth the various stages in the development of the soul. »

What you will read next are only short abstracts of the last part of this lengthy, mystical and powerful Tablet, starting at What you are about to read next are only short summaries of the last part of this long, mystical and powerful Tablet, starting at: « On account of its progression to the stages of nearness and reunion and its descent into the regions of perdition and error... » 

So to better understand each stage, please read this description in its entirety first.

A provisional translation by Moojan Momen, as well as his scholarly paper on this Tablet, are also available in Lights of Irfan, BOOK II, published by ‘Irfán Colloquia.

This diagram of the Worlds of God will certainly be of great help in understanding the heights to which we are called, named this way by the Bab : the « Land of the Heart (Fu'ad) until he comes to the Land of the Spirit (Ruh) and thence to the Land of the Soul (Nafs) and thence to the Land of the Body (Jasad)... »

For more information, see also the TABLET OF ALL FOOD by Baha'u'llah (provisional translation), as well as page 58 of PROLEGOMENA TO A BAHA'I THEOLOGY.

The uplifting videos included as hyperlinks should further enliven this experience in the sanctuary of the  heart, but be warned, abundant tears may result...

 



N.B. 
The titles in this article are mine
and are not part of the text itself.

 
Before entering our subject, here are two quotations on the two domains to which the soul of man has access, the physical and the spiritual.

This physical world of man is subject to the power of the lusts, and sin is the consequence of this power of the lusts, for it is not subject to the laws of justice and holiness. The body of man is a captive of nature; it will act in accordance with whatever nature orders. It is, therefore, certain that sins such as anger, jealousy, dispute, covetousness, avarice, ignorance, prejudice, hatred, pride and tyranny exist in the physical world. All these brutal qualities exist in the nature of man. A man who has not had a spiritual education is a brute.  

- Abdu’l-Baha

And now, on the more positive side of our nature...

Those souls that in this day, enter the divine kingdom and attain everlasting life, although materially dwelling on earth, yet in reality soar in the realm of heaven. Their bodies may linger on earth but their spirits travel in the immensity of transcendent space. For as thoughts widen and become illumined, they acquire the power of flight and transport man to the Kingdom of God.

- Abdu’l-Baha

 

The meaning of 'angels' is the confirmations of God and His celestials powers. Likewise, celestial beings are blessed beings who have severed all ties with this nether world, have been released from the chains of self and the desires of the flesh and anchored their hearts to the heavenly realms of the Lord.

These are of the Kingdom, heavenly; these are of God, spiritual; these are revealors of God's abounding grace; these are the dawning-points of His spiritual bestowals.

- Abdu'l-Baha

 

Illustration

THE INDIGO PRODIGY


From here, let us begin our mystical investigation of the stages of the soul.


THE  STAGES  OF  THE SOUL   
Introduction

On account of its progression to the stages of nearness and reunion and   its descent into the regions of perdition and error, it is clothed in each stage and station in clothes that are different from the previous. Therefore it is known in each stage by a particular term.


- Abdu'l-Baha
(provisional translation)


Illustration
 
(Part 1-6)



S T A G E  I  
 
    THE DARKEST NIGHT OF THE HUMAN SOUL    
(The Commanding Soul of Zaqqum) 

...in its descent into the lowest stations of animal passions, its preoccupation with the trivialities of this vile world, its infatuation with evil and ephemeral desires... ...It is known as "the commanding soul" as He hath said, and His word is the truth: "Verily, the soul commands to evil unless My Lord hath mercy upon it (Qur'an 12:53). 

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)

 
Illustration


S T A G E   I I

THE NIGHT OF THE HUMAN SOUL 
(The Blaming Soul of Zaqqum and Nasut)

Then it progresses from this dire state and this base level to a station wherein there comes to it from time to time an awareness of the depths of its embroilment in danger...

And so on account of its regret and remorse concerning its station and its blaming itself it is called "the blaming soul" - as He hath said, may His name be magnified: "No, I will swear by the blaming soul" (Qur'an 75:2)­.

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)

Illustration



S T A G E   I I I

THE DAY OF THE HUMAN SOUL 

(The Inspired Soul of Nasut)

And when the soul progressed from this lowly, brutish and abased state and ascended to a more noble, more fortunate, nearer, concealed location, it was assisted by the confirmations of God and inspired by the contents of its own book - as it is said: "Read thou thy book, sufficient is it for thy soul as an account against thee on this day" (Qur'an 17:14).
Then it is termed the "the inspired soul" for it is inspired as to that which leads it to depravation or to righteousness - as He hath said, blessed and glorified be He: "By the soul and what is like unto it, He inspired it as to that which leads it to depravation or to righteousness." (Qur'an 91:7-8).

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)
 
Illustration



S T A G E   I V
 
THE FIRST PARADISE OF THE HUMAN SOUL

(The Assured Soul of Nasut)

... a station which awakens it to the mention of its Lord and arouses it to the call of its Creator from the slumber of vain imaginings and bring its attention to the remembrance of God the All-Mighthy, the All-Knowing...

Then it is termed "the assured soul" because it is assured in its faith, its turmoil and unrest is calmed, it has quench its thirst, soothed its torment, it has thinned and remove its veils, it has changed its darkness to light...

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)

Illustration


 
S T A G E   V 

THE SECOND PARADISE OF THE HUMAN SOUL

(The Accepting Soul of Nasut)

And when it has reached this most mighty and perfect station, this most pleasant, most pure, most sweet destination, and has drunk from these clear spring waters of Saba, it will attain to the station of submission and contentment, it will leave behind its searching and neediness and will entrust its affairs to God, the Mighty and Eternal King.

Then on account of its acceptance of the decree of its Creator and its submission to the command of its Maker, it is known as "an accepting soul".

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)

Illustration



S T A G E   V I 

THE THIRD PARADISE OF THE HUMAN SOUL

(The Accepted Soul of Nasut)

Thou hast left behind thy passions and accepted the decree of Thy Lord. Thou hast expended what is thine and sacrificed thy spirit, thy heart and thine inner self upon the path to thy Lord. This then is thy consolation...

And on account of its rising by means of its acceptance into the heights of being accepted by God, its Lord, and its being approved in its state of nothingness by its Creator, it is known as "the accepted soul."

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)

Illustration



S T A G E   V I I

THE FOURTH PARADISE OF THE HUMAN SOUL
(The Perfect Soul of Nasut)

And when it soared on the wings of holiness into the atmosphere of this paradise and tasted of the sweetness of the stations of reunion in the gardens of heaven... it is known as "the perfect soul" on account of its being characterized by these spiritual and divine perfections and being comprised of these essential and godly attributes.

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)

Illustration



S T A G E   V I I I

THE FIFTH PARADISE OF THE HUMAN SOUL

(The Perfect Soul of Malakut)

Then is it worthy and prepared for entry into the heaven of the Kingdom of God (malakut) which is the paradise of the righteous and the refuge of the free whose faces have been illumined by the glad-tidings of God. The soul, when it has entered this exalted heaven this eternal paradise... It attains to everlasting life and eternal living. It takes pleasure from delights the like of which no eye has seen nor any ear heard.

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)

Illustration  



S T A G E   I X 

THE SIXTH PARADISE OF THE HUMAN SOUL
(The Perfect Soul of Jabarut)

And when the soul hath unfolded the wings of the spirit, been attracted by the Joy of God, hath soared to the most exalted horizon, hath sought the most glorious Companion, it doth ascend to the divine station of Jabarut... It becomes aware of the secrets of hidden and invisible realities which consumes in envy the hearts of the mystic knowers.

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)

 

Illustration




THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SOUL
Its Process

Let us now return to our theme of the stations of the soul and its degree and conditions, its elevation and decline and its exaltation. We have stated that this most great sign in one station confirms the soul and its degrees and is transformed from stage to stage and from station to station. For in each degree it leaves behind its limitations and its condition. It seizes possession through its efforts of the signs of the degree that is above it and it leaves behind [its former] condition through tests which purify it, refine it, cleanse it and make it detached from whatsoever it not worthy in it in the path of its Creator. And when it is released and saved from all of the lower degrees and ascends with the help of its Originator and Fashioner to a high degree, it gains a victory over the power of the lower degrees and vanquishes the hosts of the realities of the base states.

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)


Then understand what He, glorified be He, hath said: "The Byzantines were overthrown" - that is to say it [the soul] has overthrown and caused to diminish and fade away "the commanding soul" through the misfortune of the thunderbolts that fell upon it from the realms of the Kingdom and the flaming fire that entered upon it from the repositories of Might and Command (Jabarut).

Then was it aided by the hosts of guidance and victory and assisted by the angels of spirit and righteousness. It was awakened from its slumber and its negligence and it ended its immersion, its decline and abasement and bore witness to its fall and its lowly condition. Then it called to mind its condition, refined its vision, purified its sight until it came to know its state and what it was that veiled it and hindered it and became a cause for its remoteness, denial, negligence and inebriation. Then it grasped hold of the hem of Grace and Mercy and supplicated God and took refuge in His Presence, until it ascended and was saved from that station and stage and entered the loftiest station. Thus was it transformed in its stations and degrees and was victorious over and over again until it went back to its origin and returned to its centre and was clothed in the robe of its perfection and entered the shadow of its Lord, the Seat of Truth in the presence of the Mighty King.

- Abdu'l-Baha (provisional translation)

 

- End -


FROM THE WRITINGS OF BAHA'U'LLAH


How lofty is the station which man, if he but choose to fulfill his high destiny, can attain! To what depths of degradation he can sink, depths which the meanest of creatures have never reached! Seize, O friends, the chance which this Day offereth you, and deprive not yourselves of the liberal effusions of His grace. I beseech God that He may graciously enable every one of you to adorn himself, in this blessed Day, with the ornament of pure and holy deeds. He, verily, doeth whatsoever He willeth.

O friends! Help ye the one true God, exalted be His glory, by your goodly deeds, by such conduct and character as shall be acceptable in His sight. He that seeketh to be a helper of God in this Day, let him close his eyes to whatever he may possess, and open them to the things of God. Let him cease to occupy himself with that which profiteth him, and concern himself with that which shall exalt the all-compelling name of the Almighty. He should cleanse his heart from all evil passions and corrupt desires, for the fear of God is the weapon that can render him victorious, the primary instrument whereby he can achieve his purpose. The fear of God is the shield that defendeth His Cause, the buckler that enableth His people to attain to victory. It is a standard that no man can abase, a force that no power can rival. By its aid, and by the leave of Him Who is the Lord of Hosts, they that have drawn nigh unto God have been able to subdue and conquer the citadels of the hearts of men.

And again He said :

Know thou that whoso seeketh to scale the summits of the divine mysteries must needs strive to the utmost of his power and capacity for his Faith, that the pathway of guidance may be made clear unto him
   
And again, always from the Blessed Beauty...

Much hath been written in the books of old concerning the various stages in the development of the soul, such as concupiscence, irascibility, inspiration, benevolence, contentment, Divine good-pleasure, and the like; the Pen of the Most High, however,
is disinclined to dwell upon them. Every soul that walketh humbly with its God, in this Day, and cleaveth unto Him, shall find itself invested with the honor and glory of all goodly names and stations.


A PRAYER BY ABDU'L-BAHA

Thou seest me, O my God, bowed down in lowliness, humbling myself before Thy commandments, submitting to Thy sovereignty, trembling at the might of Thy dominion, fleeing from Thy wrath, entreating Thy grace, relying upon Thy forgiveness, shaking with awe at Thy fury. I implore Thee with a throbbing heart, with streaming tears and a yearning soul, and in complete detachment from all things, to make Thy lovers as rays of light across Thy realms, and to aid Thy chosen servants to exalt Thy Word, that their faces may turn beauteous and bright with splendour, that their hearts may be filled with mysteries, and that every soul may lay down its burden of sin. Guard them then from the aggressor, from him who hath become a shameless and blasphemous doer of wrong.

Verily Thy lovers thirst, O my Lord; lead them to the wellspring of bounty and grace. Verily, they hunger; send down unto them Thy heavenly table. Verily, they are naked; robe them in the garments of learning and knowledge.

Heroes are they, O my Lord, lead them to the field of battle. Guides are they, make them to speak out with arguments and proofs. Ministering servants are they, cause them to pass round the cup that brimmeth with the wine of certitude. O my God, make them to be songsters that carol in fair gardens, make them lions that couch in the thickets, whales that plunge in the vasty deep.

Verily Thou art He of abounding grace. There is none other God save Thee, the Mighty, the Powerful, the Ever-Bestowing.




FOR A MORE DETAILED STUDY

THE SEVEN VALLEYS and THE FOUR VALLEYS

THE STAGES OF THE SOUL

THE TABLET OF ALL FOOD


PRAYERS OF ECTASY



Be wonderfully blessed !

Share this page...