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Being raised as a Baha’i, I never feared death. In fact, as a youth, it delighted me to read the enchanting and reassuring Baha’i writings concerning life after death in the next world.
In those teachings, marvelous analogies explained the connections of the womb world, this world, and the world to come:
The world beyond is as different from this world as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah
It is similar to the condition of a human being in the womb, where his eyes are veiled, and all things are hidden away from him. Once he is born out of the uterine world and entereth this life, he findeth it, with relation to that of the womb, to be a place of perceptions and discoveries, and he observeth all things through his outer eye. In the same way, once he hath departed this life, he will behold, in that world whatsoever was hidden from him here: but there he will look upon and comprehend all things with his inner eye. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha
I loved these enlightening quotes and many others like them from the Baha’i teachings – then recently I came across a story offering another beautiful analogy regarding these different worlds of God. It gave me such happiness, that I had to share it:
In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense,” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”
The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”
The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”
The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”
The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery, there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”
“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”
The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”
The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her, this world would not and could not exist.”
Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”
To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”
What a wonderful explanation of God and the womb world, I thought. I especially liked the part where one twin doubts the existence of the “Mother” because he couldn’t see her, yet to the outside observer it is perfectly clear that the “Mother” surrounded and gave life to her babies continually. Like gravity, energy, or love – just because we cannot see something does not negate its existence.
And be sure of this: I am with you always. – Matthew 28:2.
O Moving Form of Dust! I desire communion with thee, but thou wouldst put no trust in Me. The sword of thy rebellion hath felled the tree of thy hope. At all times I am near unto thee, but thou art ever far from Me. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words
The Baha’i writings explain the worlds of spiritual existence even further. Though we may not understand what our arms and legs are for in the womb world, we soon discover their importance in the human world. In the same way, in this world we need to progress spiritually by acquiring virtues that are necessary to navigate in the next world. These virtues will be our “arms and legs” there, because that world is spiritual, not physical. We will not take our wealth, possessions, or physical bodies to the next realm, so the physical things we value so much here on Earth will be of no consequence there. Loving kindness, compassion, and faith will constitute the currency in the existence to come:
Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure. It will manifest the signs of God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving-kindness and bounty. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah
Just like the twins postulating in the womb about their life to come, we wonder about the next realm of existence. The Baha’i teachings promise that we can all look forward to the next world with great hope and anticipation. With progress here from our spiritual arms and legs, we are certain to soar there on wings of eternal joy:
The rewards of the other world are peace, the spiritual graces, the various spiritual gifts in the Kingdom of God, the gaining of the desires of the heart and soul, and the meeting of God in the world of eternity. – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions