Baha’i Writings


2.     Human / Mental


2.1             Learning and Education (integrated approach)

2.1.1                   Learning & Education – Supreme Talisman

        Man is the supreme Talisman. Lack of a proper education hath, however, deprived him of that which he doth inherently possess.


            (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 161)



2.1.2                   Learning & Education – A mine rich in gems

Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.


            (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 161)



2.1.3                   Learning & Education – The source of learning

The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His Glory, and this cannot be attained save through the knowledge of His Divine Manifestation.


            (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 156)



2.1.4                   Learning & Education – The signs of God

The signs of God shine as manifest and resplendent as the sun amidst the works of His creatures. Whatsoever proceedeth from Him is apart, and will always remain distinguished, from the inventions of men. From the Source of His knowledge countless Luminaries of learning and wisdom have risen, and out of the Paradise of His Pen the breath of the All-Merciful hath continually been wafted to the hearts and souls of men. Happy are they that have recognized this truth.


            (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 144)



2.1.5                   Learning & Education – The gift of understanding

Know thou that, according to what thy Lord, the Lord of all men, hath decreed in His Book, the favors vouchsafed by Him unto mankind have been, and will ever remain, limitless in their range. First and foremost among these favors, which the Almighty hath conferred upon man, is the gift of understanding. His purpose in conferring such a gift is none other except to enable His creature to know and recognize the one true God -- exalted be His glory. This gift giveth man the power to discern the truth in all things, leadeth him to that which is right, and helpeth him to discover the secrets of creation. Next in rank, is the power of vision, the chief instrument whereby his understanding can function. The senses of hearing, of the heart, and the like, are similarly to be reckoned among the gifts with which the human body is endowed. Immeasurably exalted is the Almighty Who hath created these powers, and revealed them in the body of man.


            (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 194)


2.1.6                   Learning & Education – The essence of man

            "Man is even as steel, the essence of which is hidden:  through admonition and explanation, good counsel and education, that essence will be brought to light.  If, however, he be allowed to remain in his original condition, the corrosion of lusts and appetites will effectively destroy him."
              (Baha'u'llah:  Baha'i Education, A Compilation, p. 5)



2.1.7                   Learning & Education - Intellect

God's greatest gift to man is that of intellect, or understanding.


The understanding is the power by which man acquires his knowledge of the several kingdoms of creation, and of various stages of existence, as well as of much which is invisible.


Possessing this gift, he is, in himself, the sum of earlier creations -- he is able to get into touch with those kingdoms; and by this gift, he can frequently, through his scientific knowledge, reach out with prophetic vision.


Intellect is, in truth, the most precious gift bestowed upon man by the Divine Bounty. Man alone, among created beings, has this wonderful power.


            (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 41)



2.1.8                   Learning & Education – Knowledge, resolve, fulfillment

This is a brilliant century. Eyes are now open to the beauty of the oneness of humanity, of love and of brotherhood. The darkness of suppression will disappear and the light of unity will shine. We cannot bring love and unity to pass merely by talking of it. Knowledge is not enough. Wealth, science, education are good, we know: but we must also work and study to bring to maturity the fruit of knowledge.


Knowledge is the first step; resolve, the second step; action, its fulfillment, is the third step. To construct a building one must first of all make a plan, then one must have the power (money), then one can build. A society of Unity is formed, that is good -- but meetings and discussions are not enough. In Egypt these meetings take place but there is only talk and no result. These meetings here in London are good, the knowledge and the intention are good, but how can there be a result without action? Today the force for Unity is the Holy Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh. He manifested this spirit of Unity. Bahá'u'lláh brings East and West together. Go back, search history, you will not find a precedent for this.


            (Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 54)



2.1.9                   Learning & Education – The reality of man

The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other created beings.


            (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 17)



2.1.10                   Learning & Education – Three kinds of Education

       But education is of three kinds:  material, human and spiritual.  Material education is concerned with the progress and development of the body, through gaining its sustenance, its material comfort and ease.  This education is common to animals and man.
     Human education signifies civilization and progress - that is to say, government, administration, charitable works, trades, arts and handicrafts, sciences, great inventions and discoveries and elaborate institutions, which are the activities essential to man as distinguished from the animal.
     Divine education is that of the Kingdom of God:  it consists in acquiring divine perfections, and this is true education; for in this state man becomes the focus of divine blessings, the manifestation of the words, "Let Us make man in Our image, and after Our likeness."  This is the goal of the world of humanity.

                        `Abdu'l-Baha:  Some Answered Questions         Page 8

2.1.11                  Learning & Education – Unity& spiritual education

            I pray earnestly that the Light in this advanced age will so illumine the world that all may rally under the banner of Unity and receive Spiritual education.
     Then those problems which cause difference among the peoples of the earth will be seen no more, for verily they are not.  You are all waves of one sea, mirrors of one reflection.

`Abdu'l-Baha:  Abdu'l-Baha in London*         Pages 48-49

2.1.12                   Learning & Education – Spiritual education and Christ’s disciples  

            Consider the wonderful effect of spiritual education and training. By it the fisherman Peter was transformed into the greatest of teachers.  Spiritual education made the disciples radiant lamps in the darkness of the world and caused the Christians of the first and second centuries to become renowned everywhere for their virtues. Even philosophers bore testimony to this.

`Abdu'l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Page 331

2.1.13                   Learning & Education – Man and the animal instincts 

            A man who has not had a spiritual education is a brute.  Like the savages of Africa, whose actions, habits and morals are purely sensual, they act according to the demands of nature to such a degree that they rend and eat one another.  Thus it is evident that the physical world of man is a world of sin.  In this physical world man is not distinguished from the animal.

`Abdu'l-Baha:  Some Answered Questions       Pages 119-120

2.1.14                  Learning & Education – Branches of knowledge

            Exert every effort to acquire the various branches of knowledge and true understanding.  Strain every nerve to achieve both material and spiritual accomplishments.
     Encourage the children from their earliest years to master every kind of learning, and make them eager to become skilled in every art – the aim being that through the favouring grace of God, the heart of each one may become even as a mirror disclosing the secrets of the universe, penetrating the innermost reality of all things; and that each may earn world-wide fame in all branches of knowledge, science and the arts. Certainly, certainly, neglect not the education of the children.  Rear them to be possessed of spiritual qualities, and be assured of the gifts and favours of the Lord.

            `Abdu'l-Baha:  Education                Pages 267-268 
                        (From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

2.1.15                   Learning & Education – Material and spiritual powers

Man has two powers, and his development two aspects. One power is connected with the material world and by it he is capable of material advancement. The other power is spiritual and through its development his inner, potential nature is awakened. These powers are like two wings. Both must be developed, for flight is impossible with one wing. Praise be to God! material advancement has been evident in the world but there is need of spiritual advancement in like proportion. We must strive unceasingly and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in man, and endeavor with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the nobility of its true and intended station. For the body of man is accidental; it is of no importance. The time of its disintegration will inevitably come. But the spirit of man is essential and therefore eternal. It is a divine bounty. It is the effulgence of the Sun of Reality and therefore of greater importance than the physical body.


            (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 262)