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Each prophet of God is a wondrous teacher sent to help humanity advance to the next stage in its spiritual education—but the prophets’ abilities go far beyond our understanding.
In a sense, attempting to characterize the prophets of God is like trying to describe the sun. Though its light and warmth can be described, in the end, words fail to convey its complete reality.
Actually, the analogy of a mirror can help us understand both the sun and the prophets of God a little better. Like a perfect mirror placed in the sunlight, all of the prophets of God reflect the glory of God.
These prophets—Abraham, Buddha, Krishna, Moses, Christ, Muhammad and Baha’u’llah and many others—are not God Himself, just as the reflection in the mirror is not the sun. Although the bright reflection and the sun itself appear equal, and both shed their light and warmth upon us, they are separate.
It is impossible for us to approach the sun without being consumed in a mighty force beyond our comprehension, but we can draw near to the dazzling reflection in the mirror and understand something of the sun’s light and power. Similarly, the prophets serve as intermediaries between God and humanity, for they are the mirror in whose reflection we can see the attributes of God.
There have been many prophets of God. We know this is true because God has promised never to abandon us. The names of some of the prophets He has sent may be familiar to us: Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, the Bab, and most recently Baha’u’llah. We can be sure that there were others whose lives and teachings are not known to us because they appeared before the advent of written communication, or to civilizations now lost to human memory.
We do know, however, that one after the other their revelations have each progressively built on what has come before, and focused on the next stage in humanity’s individual and collective spiritual development. In this age, the Baha'i teachings say, the focus is human unity. Baha’u’llah wrote:
My object is none other than the betterment of the world and the tranquillity of its peoples. The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. This unity can never be achieved so long as the counsels which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed are suffered to pass unheeded.
Through the power of the words He hath uttered the whole of the human race can be illumined with the light of unity, and the remembrance of His Name is able to set on fire the hearts of all men, and burn away the veils that intervene between them and His glory. - Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 286-287.
Using that emerging sense of human unity as a focal point, may this series of essays serve as a guide on your sacred journey to find a spiritual “home.”
Whether you seek a spiritual perspective on personal transformation, on the health of your family, or on the well-being of your community, the inspirational Baha'i teachings included here can help you in the journey toward greater spiritual understanding:
… put forth your most earnest endeavor to accomplish this end, that you may investigate and study the Holy Scriptures word by word so that you may attain knowledge of the mysteries hidden therein. Be not satisfied with words, but seek to understand the spiritual meanings hidden in the heart of the words. … It is difficult to comprehend even the words of a philosopher; how much more difficult it is to understand the Words of God. The divine Words are not to be taken according to their outer sense. They are symbolical and contain realities of spiritual meaning. … not to be taken literally, but spiritually. These are the mysteries of God. It is not the reading of the words that profits you; it is the understanding of their meanings. Therefore, pray God that you may be enabled to comprehend the mysteries of the divine Testaments. …
May your souls be illumined by the light of the Words of God, and may you become repositories of the mysteries of God, for no comfort is greater and no happiness is sweeter than spiritual comprehension of the divine teachings. - Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 458-459.
Spiritual growth is not a sudden occurrence or a one-shot deal; it is a gradual process that starts with a leap of faith and grows through consistent efforts to draw closer to God. May His Word be a source of inspiration to you in everything you do, from the most simple and ordinary of acts to the most noble and courageous. There is no great secret to the journey. All it requires is the willingness to turn toward the Creator and a sincere desire to embrace that which will bring God into your heart, your home, and your community.