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This is part five of an eleven part series on the Baha’i Perspective on Disease.   In Part 1,  we looked at how I got interested in this topic and looked at some quotes on prevention of disease.  In Part 2, we looked at the reasons for disease.  In Part 3, we looked at the physical cause of disease, in Part 4 we looked at the spiritual causes, and in this part we look at the effects of disease.

Plain Hell:

But when year after year a house is torn by heart-breaking emotions, shaken by scenes that leave one’s brain numb, one’s nerves decimated and one’s feelings in a turmoil, it is not simple, it is just plain hell. Before a patient lies on the operating table and the offending part is removed there is a long process of delay, of therapeutic effort to remedy the disease, of hope for recovery.  (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 308)

Everyone suffers when someone is diseased:

If one member of the members be in distress or be afflicted with some disease all the other members must necessarily suffer.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 38)

. . . were each member to be subjected to any injury or were it to become diseased, all the other members would sympathetically suffer, due to the existence of their perfect unity.  (Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 280)

The effects of deprivation, disease and strife in one part of the globe are felt everywhere.” Increasingly we are becoming aware that as members of a single human family, we are all touched in some way by the suffering of every human being. Until that suffering is alleviated, no member of the family can be fully happy or at ease.  (Baha’i International Community, 1994 Aug 17, Human Rights Extreme Poverty)

When a body is diseased, it’s deprived of the bounty of the spirit:

But when the body is wholly subjected to disease and misfortune, it is deprived of the bounty of the spirit; like a mirror which, when it becomes broken, or dirty, or dusty, cannot reflect the rays of the sun, nor any longer show its bounties.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 327)

. . . the person, while he is in the diseased condition the manifestation of the power and might of the spirit will be prevented and concealed (Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 228)

Effects on the Spirit

The human spirit is in one condition; it neither becomes ill from the diseases of the body, nor cured by its health; it does not become sick, nor weak, nor miserable, nor poor, nor light, nor small. That is to say, it will not be injured because of the infirmities of the body, and no effect will be visible even if the body becomes weak or if the hands and feet and tongue be cut off, or if it loses the power of hearing or sight.  (Compilations, Baha’i World Faith, p. 328)

Regarding your questions concerning the condition of the soul during illness. The passages in the “Gleanings” make it quite clear that physical ailments, no matter how severe, cannot bring any change in the inherent condition of the soul. As Bahá’u’lláh says: ‘The spirit is permanent and steadfast in its station’. The veil or hindrance that interposes between soul and body during physical disease is sickness itself.   (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 113)

You must always remember, no matter how much you or your others may be afflicted with mental troubles and the crushing environment of these State Institutions, that your spirit is healthy, near to our Beloved, and will in the next world enjoy a happy and normal state of soul. Let us hope in the meantime scientists will find better and permanent cures for the mentally afflicted. But in this world such illness is truly a heavy burden to bear!  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

For more in this series:

Part 1: Intro to Disease

Part 2:  Reasons for Disease

Part 3:  Physical Causes of Disease

Part 4:  Spiritual Causes of Disease

Part 5:  Effects of Disease

Part 6:  Attitudes towards Disease

Part 7:  Spiritual Treatment for Disease

Part 8:  Physical Treatment for Disease

Part 9:  Why People Aren’t Getting Better

Part 10:  Advice to Doctors

Part 11:  Prayers for Health