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The Relationship Between Sin and Physical Ailments

It is certainly the case that sins are a potent cause of physical ailments. If humankind were free from the defilements of sin and waywardness, and lived according to a natural, inborn equilibrium, without following wherever their passions led, it is undeniable that diseases would no longer take the ascendant, nor diversify with such intensity.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, #134, p. 152)

Once diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I did everything in my power to find a solution – from medication to alternative health therapies, to many years of talk therapy and everything in between.  As a Bahá’í I found many answers in the Writings which brought comfort to my mind, but nothing got me free from the effects of anxiety and depression till I met Henry Wright, a Christian minister who specializes in the spiritual roots behind disease.  Henry teaches, and I’ve come to believe, that 80% of all disease, including depression, has a spiritual root.  I’m only just learning how the veils we put up between us and God lead to disease in the body.  This was a huge wake-up revelation for me!  ‘Abdul-Bahá describes it so well in today’s quote.

I used to think that “sins” referred to the “big” ones (murder, sex outside marriage), but now I’ve come to understand sin as anything that God (through the Baha’i Writings) tells me to do, which I’m not doing.

By deepening my understanding of these teachings, I’ve come to realize that when I call my disease “anxiety and depression”, I fall into the medical model, and stay trapped in the prison of self.  When I call it “fear and self-pity” instead, it became a sin (or veil between me and God), and there were things I could find in the Writings to do to remove the veil.  This concept changed my life for the better, and when I applied his teachings, I became free and eager to pass along what I learned to others.

Knowing that when I fall into fear and self-pity, I’m not trusting God and His Teachings, and this veil is the cause of my disease, and believing there are solutions I can use, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Making Friends with Sin and Temptation

 

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Nabil Moghaddam is in his final year of a three-year program in Homeopathy, Health Sciences and Nutrition through the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine who are regulating the homeopathic profession in Ontario, and his thorough training matches the competencies required by the College of Homeopaths of Ontario.

He’s combining his knowledge of the Writings, with the learning he is getting in his program.  It’s the first time I’ve seen anyone attempt to balance science and religion on this topic.

Here is what the Writings have to say about homeopathy as a scientific discipline:

One of the friends of Persia wrote to Shoghi Effendi and asked this question: “Is it true that ‘Abdu’l-Baha has said that biochemical homeopathy, which is a form of food medicine, is in conformity with the Bahá’í medical concept?” The beloved Guardian’s reply to this question in a letter dated 25th November, 1944 was as follows: “This statement is true, and the truth thereof will be revealed in the future.”   (Shoghi Effendi and Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 485).

Was it a Spiritual or a Material Cure?

Recently a client asked me how they could know if their panic stopped because of the homework I gave (see blog postings on Anxiety) or the medicine the doctor gave.

I answered:

It’s probably a little of both.

There are two ways of healing diseases, the material and the spiritual way. The first is the remedies of the physicians; the second prayers and turning one’s self to God. Both must be practiced and followed. The diseases that happen to be caused by physical accident are cured by medical aid; others, which are due to spiritual causes, will disappear by spiritual means. For instance: For a disease due to grieving, fear, nervous impressions, the spiritual remedies will take more effect than the physical. Therefore, these two kinds of remedies must be followed; neither is an obstacle to the other. You must take care of the physical remedies. These also came from the bounty and mercy of God who revealed and made evident the science of medicine, so that His servants may also be benefited by this mode of healing. In the same way take care of the spiritual healing, because it giveth wonderful results.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 653)

But I do know that when you start to apply the Writings as your medicine, you get better, and eventually, if you keep applying the Divine Remedy, you won’t need the other medicine.  It’s not me who says so, but the Writings:

The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 212)

God is the great compassionate Physician who alone has the power to give true healing.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 19)

The Prophets of God are the real Physicians. In whatever age or time They appear They prescribe for human conditions. They know the sicknesses; They discover the hidden sources of disease and indicate the necessary remedy. Whosoever is healed by that remedy finds eternal health.  (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 204)

‘Abdu’l-Bahá does often state that the medical science will much improve.  With the spiritual awakening of man this force will develop and marvelous results will become manifest.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 287)

The key to healing is to follow the Teachings:

Now, if thou wishest to know the divine remedy which will heal man from all sickness and will give him the health of the divine kingdom, know that it is the precepts and teachings of God. Guard them sacredly.      (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 376)

That which hath streamed forth from the Most Exalted Pen is . . . the sovereign remedy for every disease, could they but comprehend and perceive it.  (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 73)

And if thou art looking for the divine remedy which will cure the spirit of man of all diseases and make him obtain the health of the divine Kingdom, know that it is the precepts and teachings of God. Take the greatest care of them.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 653)

The people of religions find, in the teaching of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, the establishment of Universal Religion — a religion that perfectly conforms with present conditions, which in reality effects the immediate cure of the incurable disease, which relieves every pain, and bestows the infallible antidote for every deadly poison.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 290)

Today the world of humanity will not find peace and tranquility except through these teachings and this darkness will not, otherwise, be dispelled, these chronic diseases be cured. Nay, these would, otherwise, be aggravated from day to day.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Letter to Martha Root)

The people of religions find, in the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, . . . the immediate cure of the incurable disease, which relieves every pain and bestows the infallible antidote for every deadly poison.  (Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 416)

When you use only medicine, you’re not allowing the True Physician to do His work:

Its sickness is approaching the stage of utter hopelessness, inasmuch as the true Physician is debarred from administering the remedy, whilst unskilled practitioners are regarded with favor, and are accorded full freedom to act.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 39)

How does this help you understand this topic better?  Post your comments here:

Understanding the Link between Fear and Sin

 

Bahá’u’lláh asks why we’ve never wondered what the cause of the world’s misery and distress might be:

Though the world is encompassed with misery and distress, yet no man hath paused to reflect what the cause or source of that may be.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 217)

The answer is sin, or falling short of God’s standards.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us that there is a clear link between sin and disease:

It is certainly the case that sins are a potent cause of physical ailments. If humankind were free from the defilements of sin and waywardness, and lived according to a natural, inborn equilibrium, without following wherever their passions led, it is undeniable that diseases would no longer take the ascendant, nor diversify with such intensity.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 152)

 

What does the Bahá’í Faith teach about sin?

We are all sinners:

We are all sinners, and Thou art the Forgiver of sins, the Merciful, the Compassionate.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 176)

God doesn’t want us to follow our idle fancies and vain imaginings:

Fear ye God and follow not your idle fancies and corrupt imaginings, but rather follow Him Who is come unto you invested with undeniable knowledge and unshakeable certitude.  (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 61)

We can’t hide our sins from God:

O Heedless Ones! Think not the secrets of hearts are hidden, nay, know ye of a certainty that in clear characters they are engraved and are openly manifest in the holy Presence.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Persian 59)

Verily I say, whatsoever ye have concealed within your hearts is to Us open and manifest as the day; but that it is hidden is of Our grace and favor, and not of your deserving.  (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words 60)

Death is better than sin:

Certainly for an intelligent man death is better than sin . . .  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 265)

 

What qualities are defined as sin?

Sin is anything that the Concourse on High might find averse:

Say: It behoveth every one that holdeth fast to the hem of Our Robe to be untainted by anything from which the Concourse on high may be averse. Thus hath it been decreed by thy Lord, the All-Glorious, in this His perspicuous Tablet. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 307)

Or might take us away from His love:

Say: Set ye aside My love, and commit what grieveth Mine heart? What is it that hindereth you from comprehending what hath been revealed unto you by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise?  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 307)

Lying:

Certainly it is hard to think of a sin that does not require some kind of a lie to go with it.  (Marzieh Gail, Arches of the Years, p. 94)

The Bahá’í Teaching is that all the sins are on one side of the scales, and lying on the other, and that lying outweighs them all. (Marzieh Gail, Arches of the Years, p. 94)

Anger, sensuality, jealousy, avarice, cruelty, pride

The animal is the source of imperfections, such as anger, sensuality, jealousy, avarice, cruelty, pride: all these defects are found in animals but do not constitute sins. But in man they are sins.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 119)

Ignorance, cruelty, ungodliness, insincerity, unfaithfulness, unworthy thoughts:

Man’s ignorance, his cruelty, his ungodliness, his selfishness, his insincerity and . . . One act of unfaithfulness — even a glance betraying the insincerity of the individual or an unworthy thought emanating from his mind . . . (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 227)

Betrayal of trust, neglect, being remiss in the performance of duties, oppression, extortion, selfishness

But if . . . any one betray the least of trusts or neglect and be remiss in the performance of duties which are intrusted to him, or by oppression takes one penny of extortion from the subjects, or seeks after his own personal, selfish aims and ends in the attainment of his own interests . . .  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 403-404)

Dissension and strife, contention, estrangement and apathy

Nothing whatsoever can, in this Day, inflict a greater harm upon this Cause than dissension and strife, contention, estrangement and apathy, among the loved ones of God. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 8)

Idle talk and advancing yourself over others:

Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words 5)

Antagonism, hatred, selfish struggle for existence, jealousy, revenge, ferocity, cunning, hypocrisy, greed, injustice and tyranny

All the imperfections found in the animal are found in man. In him there is antagonism, hatred and selfish struggle for existence; in his nature lurk jealousy, revenge, ferocity, cunning, hypocrisy, greed, injustice and tyranny. So to speak, the reality of man is clad in the outer garment of the animal, the habiliments of the world of nature, the world of darkness, imperfections and unlimited baseness.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 110)

Dishonesty, laxity and negligence, unlawfully exacting money, securing private gains or seeking personal benefits

Should anyone, God forbid, manifest one iota of dishonesty, or show laxity and negligence in carrying out his duties, or unlawfully exact money from the people, be it even a singe penny, or secure private gains for himself, or seek personal benefits . . . (‘Abdul-Bahá, Nearness to God, p. ‘Izzat 15)

Material ideas and worldly thoughts, anger, passion, ignorance, prejudice, greed, envy, covetousness, jeal­ousy and suspicion

Just as the earth attracts everything to the centre of gravity, and every object thrown upward into space will come down, so also material ideas and worldly thoughts attract man to the centre of self. Anger, passion, ignorance, prejudice, greed, envy, covetousness, jeal­ousy and suspicion . . .  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 241)

Attachment to the world, avarice, envy, love of luxury and comfort, haughtiness and self-desire:

What is the dust which obscures the mirror? It is attachment to the world, avarice, envy, love of luxury and comfort, haughtiness and self-desire; this is the dust which prevents reflection of the rays of the Sun of Reality in the mirror.   (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 244-245)

Anger, jealousy, dispute, covetousness, avarice, ignorance, prejudice, hatred, pride and tyranny:

It is, therefore, certain that sins such as anger, jealousy, dispute, covetousness, avarice, ignorance, prejudice, hatred, pride and tyranny exist in the physical world. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 119)

Repudiate the revealed Truth

It is certainly a much greater responsibility to reject the Manifestation in this day than it was in the past Dispensations, inasmuch as man, and indeed humanity as a whole, have been endowed with a greater measure of spiritual receptivity than ever before, and consequently it would be a much graver sin to repudiate the revealed Truth now than it would have been the case in by-gone ages and centuries.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 480)

Materialism, greed, corruption, conflict, malaise

The institutions of the old world order are crumbling and in disarray. Materialism, greed, corruption and conflict are infecting the social order with a grave malaise from which it is helpless to extricate itself. (The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 563)

The closer we get to God, even good deeds done by others are considered as sins:

The good deeds of the righteous are the sins of the Near Ones. This is established.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 125)

What does any of this have to do with fear?

Although fear is not mentioned specifically here, (except as idle fancies and vain imaginings), disobedience and anything that takes us away from God’s love easily includes fear.

There are many synonyms for each fear reaction:

Fight:  Anger, conflict, dispute, hatred, tyranny, haughtiness, passion, suspicion, antagonism, revenge, ferocity, cunning, hypocrisy, injustice, tyranny, idle talk, advancing yourself over others, dissension and strife, contention, betrayal of trust, oppression, extortion, cruelty and insincerity

Flight (anything that takes us away from our fear): Materialism, greed, corruption, jealousy, covetousness, avarice, prejudice, pride, attachment to the world, envy, love of luxury and comfort, self-desire, material ideas and worldly thoughts, dishonesty, unlawfully exacting money, securing private gains or seeking personal benefits, selfish struggle for existence, unfaithfulness, selfishness and sensuality

Freeze:  malaise, ignorance, laxity and negligence, estrangement, apathy, neglect, being remiss in the performance of duties, ungodliness and unworthy thoughts

How do we know that fear is a sin?

We know because He asked us not to have fear:

The Pen of the Most High addresseth Me, saying: Fear not.  (Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 90)

Let the fear of no one dismay Thee, and be Thou not of them that waver.  (Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 196)

Fear not the tempestuous gales, O Mariner! He Who causeth the dawn to appear is, verily, with Thee in this darkness that hath struck terror into the hearts of all men.  (Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 36)

If we do something God asks us not to do, it’s a sin.

What causes sin?

Sin causes pathogenic factors which cause diseases to become compounded, multiplied and transmitted to others:

We see clearly, therefore, how powerful are sin and contumacy as pathogenic factors. And once engendered these diseases become compounded, multiply, and are transmitted to others. Such are the spiritual, inner causes of sickness.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 153)

Sin comes from the demands of nature:

All sin comes from the demands of nature, and these demands, which arise from the physical qualities, are not sins with respect to the animals, while for man they are sin. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 119)

When we overcome one, we’ll fall into another:

The physical man, unassisted by the divine power, trying to escape from one of these invisible enemies, will unconsciously fall into hands of another.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 241)

Love of self:

No sooner does he attempt to soar upward than the density of the love of self, like the power of gravity, draws him to the centre of the earth. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 241)

What’s the Purpose of Sin?

Again it seems that we need contrasts:

O my Lord, verily, the sins are bubbling foam and Thy mercy is a full ocean. Trespasses are bitter trees and Thy pardon is a fire whose flame is intense.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 407)

What happens when we sin?

The body is in torment:

If the soul falls into sin, the body is in torment!  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 65)

Sins cause physical ailments:

It is certainly the case that sins are a potent cause of physical ailments. If humankind were free from the defilements of sin and waywardness, and lived according to a natural, inborn equilibrium, without following wherever their passions led, it is undeniable that diseases would no longer take the ascendant, nor diversify with such intensity.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 152)

Sins inflict painful wounds on our souls – it’s a painful torture:

All his sins and shortcomings are tools of torture inflicting painful wounds upon the souls of the Chosen Ones of God [and] . . .  is painful torture to them. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 227)

Sins cause disease, calamity, natural disasters including floods, hurricanes and earthquakes:

According to the teaching of the Prophets, disease and all other forms of calamity are due to disobedience to the Divine Commands. Even disasters due to floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes are attributed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá indirectly to this cause.  (Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 95)

What happens to the sinner?

His sufferings are remedial and educative, reminding us that we’ve strayed from the right path:

The suffering that follows error is not vindictive, however, but educative and remedial. It is God’s Voice proclaiming to man that he has strayed from the right path. If the suffering is terrible, it is only because the danger of wrongdoing is more terrible, for “the wages of sin is death.” (Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 95)

He is deprived of God’s outpourings and blessings:

. . . he shall undoubtedly remain deprived of the outpourings of His Highness the Almighty! Beware! Beware! lest ye fall short in that which ye are commanded in this Tablet!  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 403-404)

. . . such a person will surely be deprived of the blessings of the Almighty.  Beware, beware, lest ye fall short of what hath been set forth in this letter.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Nearness to God, p. ‘Izzat 15)

He’s prevented from ascending to the realms of holiness, and imprisoned in self and ego:

. . . prevent man from ascending to the realms of holi­ness, imprisoning him in the claws of self and the cage of egotism.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 241)

He becomes dissatisfied about not finding a job he likes; or a place in the world that fits him:

You should never be too depressed about your dissatisfaction concerning not finding a job you like, a place in the world that fits you. If you analyse it this general sense of misfit is one of the curses of your generation, one of the products of the world’s disequilibrium and chaos. It is not confined to your life, it is pretty general.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha’i Community, p. 454)

What do the Bahá’í Writings say about “Generational Sin” or “Sins of the Father”?

Many Christians believe that because of Adam’s “original sin”, all of his descendants were, without reason, guilty sinners, which is far from the justice of God:

But the mass of the Christians believe that, as Adam ate of the forbidden tree, He sinned in that He disobeyed, and that the disastrous consequences of this disobedience have been transmitted as a heritage and have remained among His descendants. Hence Adam became the cause of the death of humanity. This explanation is unreasonable and evidently wrong, for it means that all men, even the Prophets and the Messengers of God, without committing any sin or fault, but simply because they are the posterity of Adam, have become without reason guilty sinners, and until the day of the sacrifice of Christ were held captive in hell in painful torment. This is far from the justice of God.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 120)

If the father of a thousand generations committed a sin, is it just to demand that the present generation should suffer the consequences thereof?

Could we conceive of the Divinity, Who is Justice itself, inflicting punishment upon the posterity of Adam for Adam’s own sin and disobedience? Even if we should see a governor, an earthly ruler punishing a son for the wrongdoing of his father, we would look upon that ruler as an unjust man. Granted the father committed a wrong, what was the wrong committed by the son? There is no connection between the two. Adam’s sin was not the sin of His posterity, especially as Adam is a thousand generations back of the man today. If the father of a thousand generations committed a sin, is it just to demand that the present generation should suffer the consequences thereof?  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 449-450)

These interpretations and statements are due to a misunderstanding of the meanings of the Bible.

There are other questions and evidences to be considered. Abraham was a Manifestation of God and a descendant of Adam; likewise, Ishmael, Isaac, Jeremiah and the whole line of prophets including David, Solomon and Aaron were among His posterity. Were all these holy men condemned to a realm of punishment because of a deed committed by the first father, because of a mistake  said to have been made by their mutual and remotest ancestor Adam? The explanation is made that when Christ came and sacrificed Himself, all the line of holy Prophets who preceded Him became free from sin and punishment. Even a child could not justly make such an assertion. These interpretations and statements are due to a misunderstanding of the meanings of the Bible.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 449-450)

‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains how the sins of parents carry forward 3 or 4 generations:

If a man does a great injustice to another in his life, then, after his death, his son will be despised for having had such a father and in some cases the injury might be so serious that the effect would reach to the grandson, etc., or a man may, by wrong living, fall into consumption and give that disease to his children unto the third or fourth generation. “Both physically and mentally the sins of the fathers may be visited upon the children.”  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Daily Lessons Received at ‘Akká 1979 ed., pp. 45-46)

Children can inherit the weaknesses and ineffectiveness of their parents:

The variety of inherited qualities comes from strength and weakness of constitution; that is to say, when the two parents are weak, the children will be weak; if they are strong, the children will be robust. In the same way, purity of blood has a great effect; for the pure germ is like the superior stock which exists in plants and animals. For example, you see that children born from a weak and feeble father and mother will naturally have a feeble constitution and weak nerves; they will be afflicted, and will have neither patience, nor endurance, nor resolution, nor perseverance, and will be hasty; for the children inherit the weakness and debility of their parents.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 318)

How do we overcome our sins?

Sins can be forgiven when we repent:

Should anyone be afflicted by a sin, it behoveth him to repent thereof and return unto his Lord. He, verily, granteth forgiveness unto whomsoever He willeth, and none may question that which it pleaseth Him to ordain. He is, in truth, the Ever-Forgiving.  (Baha’u’llah, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 37)

Through obedience and turning to God:

Just as calamity is due to disobedience, so deliverance from calamity can be obtained only be obedience. There is no chance or uncertainty about the matter. Turning from God inevitably brings disaster, and turning to God as inevitably brings blessing.  (Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 95)

Apply Bahá’u’lláh’s remedy:

With every passing day it becomes more and more evident that no time must be lost in applying the remedy prescribed by Bahá’u’lláh, and it is to this task that Bahá’ís everywhere must bend their energies and commit their resources.  (The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 563)

By gaining victory over ourselves as quickly as possible:

But when we find ourselves falling short we must add to this response the high resolve to “gain victory over (our) own selves” as speedily as possible, as a mercy to ourselves and to our fellow men, so that others may be attracted to the Faith without hindrance.  (Compilations, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 120)

By weeding out our faults, habits, and tendencies which we’ve inherited and to cultivate qualities and characteristics needed to participate in the work of the Faith

How great, therefore, how staggering the responsibility that must weigh upon the present generation of the American believers, at this early stage in their spiritual and administrative evolution, to weed out, by every means in their power, those faults, habits, and tendencies which they have inherited from their own nation, and to cultivate, patiently and prayerfully, those distinctive qualities and characteristics that are so indispensable to their effective participation in the great redemptive work of their Faith. (Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 20-21)

By fleeing them and knitting together the hearts of men:

Flee them, through the power of God and His sovereign aid, and strive ye to knit together the hearts of men, in His Name, the Unifier, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 8)

Through the power of the Holy Spirit:

The only power that is capable of delivering man from this captivity is the power of the Holy Spirit. The attraction of the power of the Holy Spirit is so effective that it keeps man ever on the path of upward ascension.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 241)

For more in this series, please read:

What is Fear? 

What are we Afraid Of?

Reactions to Fear 

Fight, Flight or Freeze

Doubt and Fear  

What is the Purpose of Fear?

What about the Fear of God? 

What Makes us Susceptible to Fear?

Understanding the Link Between Fear and Sin 

Overcoming Fear – Introduction 

Overcoming Fear By Turning to God

Overcoming Fear with Prayer

Overcoming Fear By Reading the Writings

Overcoming Fear By Focusing on the Virtues 

Overcoming Fear Through Love

Overcoming Fear with Faith

Overcoming Fear with Patience

Overcoming Fear through Courage

Overcoming Fear through Teaching and Service

Overcoming Fear By Changing your Thoughts

Overcoming Fear through Forgiveness

Overcoming Fear through Using Role Models

Overcoming Fear through Tests and Difficulties

What Can Others Do, To Help Those Who Are Afraid?

 Prayers to Eliminate Fear

Were you surprised by any of what you just read?  Post your comments here:

 

Advice to Doctors

This is part ten 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, in Part 5 we looked at the effects of disease, in Part 6 we looked at the attitudes we want to strive for, when we are diseased, in Part 7 we looked at the spiritual treatments for disease,  in Part 8 we looked at the physical treatments for disease, in Part 9 we looked  at why people aren’t getting better, and in this part we look at advice given to doctors.

Study medicine:

Thou shouldst endeavour to study the science of medicine. It is extremely useful and serveth as the greatest instrument for the dissemination of the Cause. It is absolutely imperative that thou acquire this bounty. Strive day and night that thou mayest become highly qualified in this science.

And research:

These investigations you have so painstakingly pursued in the field of medical science, and on a subject which is still puzzling the minds of all the leading scientists in the world, cannot but be of a captivating interest and of a great value to all medical research workers.  It is significant that you as a believer should have undertaken a work of this nature, as we all know that the powers released by the Manifestation of Bahá’u’lláh in this day are destined, in the course of time, to reveal themselves through the instrumentality of His followers, and in every conceivable field of human endeavour.  That you should increasingly prove, through your confirmed researches in the domain of medicine, to be one of those instruments, is the fervent hope of our beloved Guardian.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 287)

Turn to God and ask for Help:

And when thou wishest to dispense treatment set thy heart toward the Abha Kingdom, entreating Divine confirmations.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 285)

When giving medical treatment turn to the Blessed Beauty then follow the dictates of thy heart . . . Indeed, such a heavenly breath quickeneth every mouldering bone and reviveth the spirit of every sick and ailing one.     (‘Abdul-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 285)

Give God the credit:

Well is it with the physician who cureth ailments in My hallowed and dearly cherished Name.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

Diagnose then prescribe:

First diagnose the disease and identify the malady, then prescribe the remedy, for such is the perfect method of the skilful physician.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 269)

Know the spiritual causes as well as the physical:

Say to [Dr.] . . . . that “he studied physical medicine and he cured physical diseases. I beg of God that he may become a spiritual physician and heal the sickness of the ignorant ones.”  (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 507)

Know the patient as well as disease and remedies:

Consequently, the doctor must be aware of, and know, all the members and parts, as well as the constitution and state of the patient, so that he can prescribe a medicine which will be beneficial against the violent poison of the disease. In reality the doctor deduces from the disease itself the treatment which is suited to the patient, for he diagnoses the malady, and afterward prescribes the remedy for the illness. Until the malady be discovered, how can the remedy and treatment be prescribed? The doctor then must have a thorough knowledge of the constitution, members, organs and state  of the patient, and be acquainted with all diseases and all remedies, in order to prescribe a fitting medicine.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 158)

Know the different remedies and medicines:

The skillful physician does not give the same medicine to cure each disease and each malady, but he changes remedies and medicines according to the different necessities of the diseases and constitutions. One person may have a severe illness caused by fever, and the skilled doctor will give him cooling remedies; and when at some other time the condition of this person has changed, and fever is replaced by chills, without doubt the skilled doctor will discard cooling medicine and permit the use of heating drugs. This change and alteration is required by the condition of the patient and is an evident proof of the skill of the physician.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 94)

Treat with foods:

When highly-skilled physicians shall fully examine this matter, thoroughly and perseveringly, it will be clearly seen that the incursion of disease is due to a disturbance in the relative amounts of the body’s component substances, and that treatment consisteth in adjusting these relative amounts, and that this can be apprehended and made possible by means of foods. (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 154-155)

It is certain that in this wonderful new age the development of medical science will lead to the doctors’ healing their patients with foods . . .  Observe how an animal will graze in a field where there are a hundred thousand kinds of herbs and grasses, and how, with its sense of smell, it snuffeth up the odours of the plants, and tasteth them with its sense of taste; then it consumeth whatever herb is pleasurable to these senses, and benefiteth therefrom. Were it not for this power of selectivity, the animals would all be dead in a single day; for there are a great many poisonous plants, and animals know nothing of the pharmacopoeia. And yet, observe what a reliable set of scales they have, by means of which to differentiate the good from the injurious. Whatever constituent of their body hath decreased, they can rehabilitate by seeking out and consuming some plant that hath an abundant store of that diminished element; and thus the equilibrium of their bodily components is re-established, and they are rid of their disease.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 155-156)

At whatever time highly-skilled physicians shall have developed the healing of illnesses by means of foods, and shall make provision for simple foods, and shall prohibit humankind from living as slaves to their lustful appetites, it is certain that the incidence of chronic and diversified illnesses will abate, and the general health of all mankind will be much improved. This is destined to come about. (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 156)

Use spiritual and material forms of healing:

O thou distinguished physician!…Praise be to God that thou hast two powers: one to undertake physical healing and the other spiritual healing. Matters related  to man’s spirit have a great effect on his bodily condition. For instance, thou shouldst impart gladness to thy patient, give him comfort and joy, and bring him to ecstasy and exultation. How often hath it occurred that this hath caused early recovery. Therefore, treat thou the sick with both powers. Spiritual feelings have a surprising effect on healing nervous ailments      (‘Abdul-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 285)

Remedy the sick by means of heavenly joy and spiritual exultation cure the sorely afflicted by imparting to them blissful glad tidings and heal the wounded through His resplendent bestowals. When at the bedside of a patient, cheer and gladden his heart and enrapture his spirit through celestial power. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 285)

Circumcision:

The beloved Guardian says that the question of circumcision has nothing to do with the Bahá’í Teachings; and the believers are free to do as they please in the matter.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 289)

Euthanasia, birth control and abortion:

We are impressed by the spirit of your letter of 15 Sultan seeking guidance concerning certain aspects of the medical profession. Your desire to avoid doing anything in your study of medicine which would be contrary to the Bahá’í Teachings is most commendable.  As you have keenly observed, the Universal House of Justice may consider it untimely to make definitive rulings on certain matters to which no direct reference can be found in the Sacred Text. Among these are euthanasia and certain aspects of birth control and abortion, and until such time as rulings are made, these matters are left to the consciences of those concerned who must weigh the medical advice on the case in the light of general guidance given in the Teachings. Your National Spiritual Assembly has specific references regarding birth control and abortion which might be useful to you.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 289)

Organ Transplants:

We have not come across anything specific in the writings on transplants of hearts and other organs or regarding the time of death, and the Universal House of Justice does not wish to make any statements on these points at this time.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 289)

There is nothing in the teachings which would forbid a Bahá’í to bequeath his eyes to another person or for a hospital; on the contrary it seems a noble thing to do.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 290)

Dissection:

When dissecting a human body for the purposes of medical study, should keep in mind that since the body was once the temple of the spirit it must be treated with respect even though there is no further connection between the two.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 290)

Avoid commissions:

The Guardian feels that your attitude towards the corrupt practice of accepting commissions from fellow physicians and pharmacists is most admirable. The more upright and noble the Bahá’ís are in their conduct, the more they will impress the public with the spiritual vitality of the Faith they believe in.  (Shoghi Effendi,, Lights of Guidance, p. 287)

Ethical Conduct:

Knowledge is praiseworthy when it is coupled with ethical conduct and virtuous character; otherwise it is a deadly poison, a frightful danger. A physician of evil character, and who betrayeth his trust, can bring on death, and become the source of numerous infirmities and diseases.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Scholarship, p. 21)

Bahá’í Holy Days:

He thinks it is better for Bahá’í doctors not to work on our 9 Holy Days — but, of course, that does not mean they should not attend to very sick people and emergencies on these days.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 287)

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