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In the Baha’i Writings, Bahá’u’lláh teaches us that true loss is not knowing ourselves:

True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his self.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 186)

But how do we get to know ourselves?

In the Tarazats, Bahá’u’lláh tells us:

The first Taráz and the first effulgence which hath dawned from the horizon of the Mother Book is that man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty …  (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 34-35)

The word Taraz is from the Arabic, meaning ornaments; or what He wants us to adorn ourselves with. A study of them, then, would be a good place for a discussion on knowledge of self. It’s a particularly long passage, so I’ll just summarize what it teaches us about what’s important in life. You can use it as a checklist, to see how you’re doing and where to improve.  You can read the passage here.

According to this passage, these are the things that lead to our loftiness, glory and wealth:

  • acquire wealth through crafts or professions
  • dedicate your lives to the education of the world and to the edification of its peoples.
  • discover the purpose for which you have been called into being
  • reduce blindness and increase vision
  • observe that which is meet and seemly and exhort others to do the same
  • consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship
  • proclaim what God has set forth
  • observe fairness in all matters
  • be endued with sincerity and faithfulness
  • associate with everyone with joy and radiance
  • promote unity and concord
  • hold fast to the cord of kindliness and tender mercy
  • observe tolerance and righteousness
  • have a good character
  • fix your gaze on justice and fairness
  • be trustworthy, truthful and sincere
  • protect and preserve the stations of God’s servants.
  • enquire into situations, ascertain the facts and look for the truth in all matters
  • give expression to that which is right and true
  • deny not any soul the reward due to him
  • treat craftsmen with deference
  • knowledge and wisdom
  • the arts and crafts
  • fair speech
  • steadfast and righteous
  • hasten unto the Most Great Light
  • set your face towards God
  • associate with the pious
  • reflect upon those souls who have offered up their lives
  • surrender all in the path of God
  • fear God
  • scrutinize the Writings with your own eyes
  • have pity upon yourself and others
  • allow the breaths of divine inspiration to strengthen thee
  • give ear unto the Voice of God
  • hasten towards the ocean of divine knowledge
  • renounce all else but God.
  • summon the people of the world unto God
  • render thanks unto God
  • fellowship and love

These are the things that lead to lowliness, abasement and poverty

  • animosity and hatred
  • defiling your tongues with abuse
  • corruption
  • evil passions
  • heedless
  • wrapt in veils
  • attachment to the world
  • vain imaginings and idle fancies
  • selfish desires
  • superstitions
  • leading others into error
  • leadership
  • the company of the infidels
  • slumber
  • selfish motives
  • use religion as a snare
  • disregard the truth for the sake of gold
  • waywardness
  • ignorant and uninformed
  • oppression
  • aggression

I love it when the Writings make promises and this quote is no exception:

O My servants! Could ye apprehend with what wonders of My munificence and bounty I have willed to entrust your souls, ye would, of a truth, rid yourselves of attachment to all created things, and would gain a true knowledge of your own selves – a knowledge which is the same as the comprehension of Mine own Being. Ye would find yourselves independent of all else but Me, and would perceive, with your inner and outer eye, and as manifest as the revelation of My effulgent Name, the seas of My loving-kindness and bounty moving within you. Suffer not your idle fancies, your evil passions, your insincerity and blindness of heart to dim the luster, or stain the sanctity, of so lofty a station …  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, sec. CLIII, pp. 326-27)

If we gain a true knowledge of ourselves, we will gain:

  • the comprehension of God’s own Being
  • find ourselves independent of all else but God
  • would perceive the seas of God’s loving-kindness and bounty moving within us
  • a lofty station

I think it’s worth the effort! How about you? Post your thoughts below!