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Compiled by Marlene Macke, St Marys, ON, Canada


Soul.  The immortal part of man, as distinguished from his body; the moral and emotional nature of man, as distinguished from his mind; the vital principle which moves and animates all life.   –  New Websters Dictionary

Soul.   The spiritual part of a human being.  –  Canadian Oxford Dictionary

Thou hast asked Me concerning the nature of the soul.  Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel.  It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him.  If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return to Him.  If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths.  –  Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, LXXXII, pp. 158-59

Scientific philosophy has demonstrated that a simple element (‘simple’ meaning ‘not composed’) is indestructible, eternal.  The soul, not being a composition of elements, is, in character, as a simple element, and therefore cannot cease to exist.  The soul, being of that one indivisible substance, can suffer neither disintegration nor destruction, therefore there is no reason for its coming to an end….  –  Abdu’l-Baha, “The Evolution of the Spirit”, Paris Talks, p. 91

The soul that with a strong and constant calm

Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently,

Lives in the life undying! That which is

Can never cease to be; that which is not

Will not exist.  –  HinduText from the Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter II

Know thou that every soul is fashioned after the nature of God, each being pure and holy at his birth.  Afterwards, however, the individuals will vary according to what they acquire of virtues or vices in this world….  –  Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 190

When the human soul soareth out of this transient heap of dust and riseth into the world of God, then veils will fall away, and verities will come to light, and all things unknown before will be made clear, and hidden truths be understood.

Consider how a being, in the world of the womb, was deaf of ear and blind of eye, and mute of tongue; how he was bereft of any perceptions at all. But once, out of that world of darkness, he passed into this world of light, then his eye saw, his ear heard, his tongue spoke. In the same way, once he hath hastened away from this mortal place into the Kingdom of God, then he will be born in the spirit; then the eye of his perception will open, the ear of his soul will hearken, and all the truths of which he was ignorant before will be made plain and clear.  –  `Abdu’l‑Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l‑Baha, p. 177

It is through the power of the soul that the mind comprehendeth, imagineth and exerteth its influence, whilst the soul is a power that is free.  The mind comprehendeth the abstract by the aid of the concrete, but the soul hath limitless manifestations of its own.  The mind is circumscribed, the soul limitless.  –  `Abdu’l‑Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 337

The Holy Spirit it is, which, through the mediation of the Prophets of God, teaches spiritual virtues to man and enables him to attain Eternal life.  It is evident that the souls receive grace from the bounty of the Holy Spirit which appears in the Manifestations of God, and not from the personality of the Manifestation.  –  Abdu’l‑Bahá, The Divine Art of Living, p. 43

Thou didst write of afflictive tests that have assailed thee. To the loyal soul, a test is but God’s grace and favour; for the valiant doth joyously press forward to furious battle on the field of anguish, when the coward, whimpering with fright, will tremble and shake. So too, the proficient student, who hath with great competence mastered his subjects and committed them to memory, will happily exhibit his skills before his examiners on the day of his tests. So too will solid gold wondrously gleam and shine out in the assayer’s fire.   It is clear, then, that tests and trials are, for sanctified souls, but God’s bounty and grace, while to the weak, they are a calamity, unexpected and sudden.  –  `Abdu’l‑Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l‑Baha, p. 181-82

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.  –  Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, CLIII, p. 325

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose  his own soul?  –  Matthew, Chapter 16, Verse 26

As to the soul of man after death, it remains in the degree of purity to which it has evolved during life in the physical body, and after it is freed from the body it remains plunged in the ocean of God’s Mercy.  –  Abdu’l‑Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 66

Recommended Reading for additional information on the theme of the Nature of the Soul

The Bible, especially Book of Psalms

The Qur’an

Paris Talks by Abdu’l-Baha

Some Answered Questions by Abdu’l-Baha

Drops from the Ocean, Henry A. Weil

Closer than your Life Vein, Henry A. Weil