The Search for Truth
Talk Given by Abduíl-Bahá to the Theosophical Society
In Liverpool on Saturday Night, December 14, 1912
When I was in America, I had many opportunities of addressing the Theosophical Society there. In every city I spoke once to them, and in some cities many times. The Theosophists are very dear to me, for they have abandoned all prejudice. They do not abide in the confines of dogma, but are seeking truth in a spirit of freedom. All the religions of the world are submerged in prejudice. A Jew is a Jew because his father was before him. A Christian is such for the same reason, and it is the same for a Musselman*. All follow the precepts of their fathers, refusing to go forth and seek for themselves.
We both (Theosophists and Baháíís) have abandoned all dogmas in our earnest search for truth. But look at the tribes and nations of the world Ė why are they seething with contention? Because they are not seeking truth. Truth is one. It admits of absolutely no division and accepts neither limitations nor boundaries. All dogmas differ, hence the nations are opposed. The different dogmas make wars and strifes. Behold the events of these days! If it were not for these differences in religions there would be no wars.
We would not see what is now taking place in the Balkans if both sides were sincere seekers after truth.
Regard Persia: in that land there were many tribes, governments and religions, but they cut down the barriers of dogmas, became followers of Baháíuílláh, and are now as one. Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, et al, meeting together as we are doing here to seek for truth. Truth is one, so they became united.
All the different religions of God that have risen on the face of the earth have one purpose: to educate man and to inform him of the spiritual, the luminous, the divine, so that he may partake of heavenly spirit and find eternal life, show forth the virtues of mankind, and from a world of darkness enter a world of light.
There is no other reality of meaning to the different religions. Their purpose is one, the teaching is one.
Man may be said to have three natures: The first is sunk in darkness and here he is a prisoner to his desires for here he is the co-possessor of the same qualities as the animals. The second nature might be called his human nature and in this human nature is the home of the mind and the soul. The third is his likeness to God and this he possesses in proportion to the divine qualities he imparts, the breeze of the holy spirit, pure spiritually, luminosity.
All the religions, all the prophets, all the great teachers had no other purpose than to raise mankind from the animal to the divine nature. Their purpose was to free man and to make him an inhabiter of the realm of Reality. For although the body of man is material, his reality is spiritual; although his body is darkness, his soul is light; although his body may seem to imprison him, his soul is essentially free. To prove this freedom, the prophets of God have appeared and will continue to appear, for there is no end to divine teachings and no beginning.
The thoughtless say that the power of God is occasional; some will say that this material universe is hundreds of thousands of years old. But the power of God is eternal and the creation of God is likewise eternal. Divinity is dependent on creation. Can you imagine a king without a people? Can you imagine our sun without light and heat? The sun to us means light and heat. The king needs his kingdom and the qualities of God are eternal. As long as God exists his creation will exist and the manifestations of God in the divine teachers have always existed as an energy of God and will always continue to exist.
The very greatest blessings of God are represented by these divine beings who come and who will continue to come forth to humanity for hundreds of thousands of years. They represent the blessings of God and the blessings of God never cease.
Always hope that one day a Sun of Truth will rise and bring a Dawn whose light will destroy the darkness of the human world, will unite hearts and make souls happy, do away with contention and establish universal Peace. Then there will be no divisions. All be united and live as one family under the flag of unity and love. Then will mankind be inspired with a new progress and show forth diverse virtues. A new spirit will be given to him and the new world will be invested with a divine beauty. I hope we will always be expecting the appearance of such an One, for he will have education marked with a divine power. Such an One will be superhuman in all conditions, able to subdue material limitations, able to free man from his bonds of country and unite east and west. Such an One will make the Kingdom to appear, for such an One is, in his essence, superior to the laws governing human education. In his essence he is a universal teacher and does not depend on human means for knowledge. He does not need the light from a human lamp nor yet from an astral body. His mission is to give light.
Such an One is a pure mirror in which the Light of Reality is reflected on the world of humanity.
We must be looking for such an One to the end that we may be attracted when he comes to go on wings flying to such an One, born with a new spirit each day to do new works. Thus we will invite this greatest of divine blessings to appear.
Again let us look at Persia! More than 20,000 there sacrificed their lives Ė joyfully giving them in the path of God. They were supplemented by hosts of Heavenly spirits so that they never complained; nay, as trouble increased, their efforts increased and day by day they were enlightened with the Light of the Eternal.
My hope for you is that you may do all in your power to invite to this earth Godís greatest blessing in your search for truth.
Source "Star of the West".
* This is an old fashioned term, meaning Muslim, which was current at that time.