Can be No True Happiness
Progress Without Spirituality
Paris, November 21, 1911
Ferocity and savagery are natural to animals, but men should
show forth the qualities of love and affection. God sent all
His Prophets into the world with one aim, to sow in the hearts
of men love and goodwill, and for this great purpose they
were willing to suffer and to die. All the sacred Books were
written to lead and direct man into the ways of love and unity;
and yet, in spite of all this, we have the sad spectacle of
war and bloodshed in our midst.
When we look into the pages of history, past and present,
we see the black earth reddened by human blood. Men kill each
other like the savage wolves, and forget the laws of love
Now this luminous age has come, bringing with it wonderful
civilization and material progress. Men's intellects have
widened, their perceptions grown, but alas, in spite of all
this, fresh blood is being spilt day by day. Look at the present
Turco-Italian war; consider for a moment the fate of these
unhappy people! How many have been killed during this sad
time? How many homes are ruined, wives desolate, and children
orphans! And what is to be gained in exchange for all this
anguish and heartache? Only a corner of the earth!
This all shows that material progress alone does not tend
to uplift man. On the contrary, the more he becomes immersed
in material progress, the more does his spirituality become
In times gone by progress on the material plane was not so
rapid, neither was there bloodshed in such profusion. In ancient
warfare there were no cannons, no guns, no dynamite, no shells,
no torpedo boats, no battleships, no submarines. Now, owing
to material civilization, we have all these inventions, and
war goes from bad to worse! Europe itself has become like
one immense arsenal, full of explosives, and may God prevent
its ignition - for, should this happen, the whole world would
I want to make you understand that material progress and spiritual
progress are two very different things, and that only if material
progress goes hand in hand with spirituality can any real
progress come about, and the Most Great Peace reign in the
world. If men followed the Holy Counsels and the Teachings
of the Prophets, if Divine Light shone in all hearts and men
were really religious, we should soon see peace on earth and
the Kingdom of God among men. The laws of God may be likened
unto the soul and material progress unto the body. If the
body was not animated by the soul, it would cease to exist.
It is my earnest prayer that spirituality may ever grow and
increase in the world, so that customs may become enlightened
and peace and concord may be established.
War and rapine with their attendant cruelties are an abomination
to God, and bring their own punishment, for the God of love
is also a God of justice and each man must inevitably reap
what he sows. Let us try to understand the commands of the
Most High and to order our lives as He directs. True happiness
depends on spiritual good and having the heart ever open to
receive the Divine Bounty.
If the heart turns away from the blessings God offers how
can it hope for happiness? If it does not put its hope and
trust in God's Mercy, where can it find rest? Oh, trust in
God! for His Bounty is everlasting, and in His Blessings,
for they are superb. Oh! put your faith in the Almighty, for
He faileth not and His goodness endureth for ever! His Sun
giveth Light continually, and the Clouds of His Mercy are
full of the Waters of Compassion with which He waters the
hearts of all who trust in Him. His refreshing Breeze ever
carries healing in its wings to the parched souls of men!
Is it wise to turn away from such a loving Father, Who showers
His blessings upon us, and to choose rather to be slaves of
God in His infinite goodness has exalted us to so much honour,
and has made us masters over the material world. Shall we
then become her slaves? Nay, rather let us claim our birthright,
and strive to live the life of the spiritual sons of God.
The glorious Sun of Truth has once again risen in the East.
From the far horizon of Persia its radiance is spreading far
and wide, dispersing the dense clouds of superstition. The
light of the unity of mankind is beginning to illumine the
world, and soon the banner of Divine harmony and the solidarity
of nations will be flying high in the Heavens. Yea, the breezes
of the Holy Spirit will inspire the whole world!
Oh, peoples and nations! Arise and work and be happy! Gather
together under the tent of the unity of mankind!
(`Abdu'l-Baha: Paris Talks*, Pages: 106-109)
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