A Compilation of Baha'i Teachings on The Topic of Discovering Truth

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Discovering the Truth

One might begin a discussion of discovering truth by stating what is beyond our comprehension.  Although the Essence of God is not comprehensible, we are given the ability to discover hidden truths.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha states:

“To man, the Essence of God is incomprehensible, so also are the worlds beyond this, and their condition. It is given to man to obtain knowledge, to attain to great spiritual perfection, to discover hidden truths and to manifest even the attributes of God; but still man cannot comprehend the Essence of God. Where the ever-widening circle of man’s knowledge meets the spiritual world a Manifestation of God is sent to mirror forth His splendour.”

(Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 66)

Interestingly, the mysteries that we are heedless of in this earthly world will be discovered in the heavenly world:

“The mysteries of which man is heedless in this earthly world, those he will discover in the heavenly world, and there will he be informed of the secret of truth.”  

(Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 367)  

Despite this, the implications are clear that we are still to investigate and discover the truth through the exercise of the mind and the faculty of reasoning.  

“He has endowed him with mind or the faculty of reasoning by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth; and that which he finds real and true, he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based upon blind imitation.”  

(Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 73)  

Not only are we to use our mind and faculty of reasoning, but also the very purpose of this endowment is that we discover the truth.  

“Religion must conform to science and reason; otherwise, it is superstition. God has created man in order that he may perceive the verity of existence and endowed him with mind or reason to discover truth. Therefore, scientific knowledge and religious belief must be conformable to the analysis of this divine faculty in man.”  

(Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 287)  

“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.”  

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

A Requirement of Freedom from Prejudice

“If five people meet together to seek for truth, they must begin by cutting themselves free from all their own special conditions and renouncing all preconceived ideas. In order to find truth we must give up our prejudices, our own small trivial notions; an open receptive mind is essential. If our chalice is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life. The fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest of all obstacles in the path towards unity, and unity is necessary if we would reach truth, for truth is one.”   (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 136)

Arguments and a Pure Heart

Arguments are a guide to the path unto the Sun of Truth:  

“If thou wishest the divine knowledge and recognition, purify thy heart from all beside God, be wholly attracted to the ideal, beloved One; search for and choose Him and apply thyself to rational and authoritative arguments. For arguments are a guide to the path and by this the heart will be turned unto the Sun of Truth. And when the heart is turned unto the Sun, then the eye will be opened and will recognize the Sun through the Sun itself. Then (man) will be in no need of arguments (or proofs), for the Sun is altogether independent, and absolute independence is in need of nothing, and proofs are one of the things (of which absolute independence has no need).”   (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v1, p. 168)

God is the Best of Helpers

According to Baha’u’llah, we are guided by God if we make efforts for Him:  

‘He must search after the truth to the utmost of his ability and exertion, that God may guide him in the paths of His favour and the ways of His mercy. For He, verily, is the best of helpers unto His servants. He saith, and He verily speaketh the truth: “Whoso maketh efforts for Us, in Our ways shall We assuredly guide him.” And furthermore: “Fear God and God will give you knowledge.”‘   (Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 27)

Prophets Sent to Guide Man to the Path of Truth

One of the most manifest ways that God guides man to the straigth Path of Truth is by sending His Prophets and Messengers:  

“The Prophets and Messengers of God have been sent down for the sole purpose of guiding mankind to the straight Path of Truth.”   (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 156)

Secret of the Path

The secret of the “Path” is not to stray the breadth of a hair from the “Law”:  

In all these journeys the traveler must stray not the breadth of a hair from the “Law,” for this is indeed the secret of the “Path” and the fruit of the Tree of “Truth”; and in all these stages he must cling to the robe of obedience to the commandments, and hold fast to the cord of shunning all forbidden things, that he may be nourished from the cup of the Law and informed of the mysteries of Truth.   (Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 39)

Distinction between Truth and Falsehood

According to ‘Abdu’l-Baha, there is a great distinction between Truth and falsehood:  

“How can we get the power to follow the right path?  By putting the teaching into practice power will be given. You know which path to follow: you cannot be mistaken, for there’s a great distinction between God and evil, between Light and darkness, Truth and falsehood, Love and hatred, Generosity and meanness, Education and ignorance, Faith in God and superstition, good Laws and unjust laws.”   (Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 64)  

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