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I hope that you will turn with unclouded eyes towards the Sun of Truth, beholding not the things of earth, lest your hearts be attracted to the worthless and passing pleasures of the world…
Breathe the air of purity. May you each and all share in the Divine Bounties of the Kingdom of Heaven. May the world be for you no obstacle hiding the truth from your sight… May you receive the clear vision of the Holy Spirit, so that your hearts may be illumined and able to recognize the Sun of Truth shining through all material clouds, His splendour flooding the universe.
Let not the things of the body obscure the celestial light of the spirit, so that, by the Divine Bounty, you may enter with the children of God into His Eternal Kingdom. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 45-46.
In my final essay in this series on drugs and alcohol, I want to depart from the usual format here at BahaiTeachings.org and make a highly personal plea to everyone reading this—please, please don’t let your lives be ruined by substance abuse. Please: quit now, and if you can’t quit on your own, seek help.
Please do absolutely everything in your power to free your lives from the constant pursuit of mental and spiritual oblivion with mind-altering chemicals. Please don’t trade your eternal existence for anything so short-lived and destructive. Please find a happier and more satisfying way to live than chasing temporary pleasures. Please, instead of getting high or drunk, center your attentions on more noble and productive pursuits. Please, don’t let yourself live a broken life. Please lift your sight from the mundane and the temporal, until you can see the radiant and the permanent:
Look thou with seeing eyes at the world about thee and at the inhabitants thereof. Upon the stage of this immense theatre, most spectacular plays are being enacted. On one side thereof thou wilt see the victorious and the vanquished legions of profit and loss. On the other side thou wilt observe the waves of the sea of folly rising and falling. Cries are being raised on every side and the agonies of revolution, revolt and unrest reach unto the ears of progressive men. There is a tremendous strike and clash between capital and labour, and the war between the aristocrats and democrats is carried on relentlessly with bow and arrow, sword and javelin. The phalanxes of a great army are drawn in battle array, each division taking its position. Armed troops and artillery are to be found in every part of the field. The flash of the swords of enmity blind the eyes from even the most remote distance, the lightning effect of breast-plate and lance and the sparkle of the bucklers of hatred light up the night and bewilder the sight. In short: strife, battle, slaughter and war are prepared in organized perfection.
On the other hand thou wilt hear that from every house strains of music are raised, and confusing melodies of harp, lyre, cymbal and flute are heard, and mad revellers are dancing to the tunes, while they are inebriated with the wine of vanishing pleasures. In one place thou wilt behold the wanton and soiled decorations, and in another the flimsy shows of the gilded class of creatures. On the one hand is to be seen the embellishment and luxury made possible through illicit wealth, and on the other hand, the ravishing of this mortal world of its beautiful appearance.
From different parts are to be heard sighs of anguish, lamentations of poverty, cries of agony and misery,-and the calls for succour have reached to the gate of heaven. One hears the weeping of the hopeless, the appeals of the oppressed, the trembling murmurs of the helpless and the harrowing wails of the ship-wrecked in the sea of persecution. The heat of the conflagration of separation spreads on all sides, the fire of longing is raging with great intensity and the tongues of the flames of calamity leap forth in every direction. Here one sees the oppression of kings and the thoughtlessness of cabinet ministers; there one sees conflict on the battle field of thoughts and ideals by ambitious generals, statesmen and administrators of the nations and countries. They consult, scheme, plot and exchange views; they organize fallacious and superfluous companies and make false the established values; and thus do they lay and destroy the foundation of their political careers.
In short: when thou observest these things with the eye of reality, thou wilt see that the outcome, result and fruit of all these theatrical performances are mirages and their sweetness is bitter poison. A few days the earth shall roll on its axis, and these fleeting visions will be completely forgotten.
When thou shuttest thine eyes to this dark world and lookest upward and heavenward, thou wilt see light upon light stretching from eternity to eternity. The reality of the mysteries will be revealed. Happy is the pure soul who does not attach himself to the transient conditions and comforts, but rather seeks to attach himself to the purity, nobility and splendour of the world which endures. – Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 3, p. 273.