10 Mar
Posted in: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, France, Paris Talks, Spiritual Qualities
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Paris Talks Revisited: The Power of the Holy Spirit

On 18 November 1911 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained the 11th principle of His Father’s teachings:  The Power of the Holy Spirit:

In the teaching[s] of Bahá’u’lláh, it is written: ‘By the Power of the Holy Spirit alone is man able to progress, for the power of man is limited and the Divine Power is boundless.’ … We understand that the Holy Spirit is the energizing factor in the life of man. Whosoever receives this power is able to influence all with whom he comes into contact.

At a previous occasion on 31 October 1911, the Master explained how the Holy Spirit is the intermediary between the Infinite Reality of God and the finite world.  In His later talk He emphasized again and again how learning that is not inspired by the Holy Spirit has no effect.  In contrast, an education infused by Divine Power and Assistance is true life: one’s whole being, words and deeds, are literally enlightened and inspire others to be the same.

How do we attain to this life?  The verb ‘to receive’ is repeated several times in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Talk.  One must open up, must submit to that which is higher so that the soul can truly receive and therefore give form to its destiny.  This, the Master explained, requires a letting go of the earthly self:

May you be given life! May the rain of the Divine Mercy and the warmth of the Sun of Truth make your gardens fruitful, so that many beautiful flowers of exquisite fragrance and love may blossom in abundance. Turn your faces away from the contemplation of your own finite selves and fix your eyes upon the Everlasting Radiance; then will your souls receive in full measure the Divine Power of the Spirit and the Blessings of the Infinite Bounty.

In London in September 1911, while talking about the many years He had been a political prisoner, the Master explained how the self is ‘the greater prison’:

When one is released from the prison of self, that is indeed release, for that is the greater prison. When this release takes place, then one cannot be outwardly imprisoned. When they put my feet in stocks, I would say to the guard, ‘You cannot imprison me, for here I have light and air and bread and water. There will come a time when my body will be in the ground, and I shall have neither light nor air nor food nor water, but even then I shall not be imprisoned.’ The afflictions which come to humanity sometimes tend to centre the consciousness upon the limitations, and this is a veritable prison. Release comes by making of the will a Door through which the confirmations of the Spirit come.

It does me good to be reminded of who each one of us truly is: a soul that derives its life and inspiration from a Source that is beyond this world — a soul whose temporary home (body and ‘self’) and earthly, often painful, experiences do not define its essence.



Paris Talks, The Power of the Holy Spirit

‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p.12

Photo by Alison, www.nineteendays.wordpress.com

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