Select Page

Spiritual Causes of Disease

This is part four 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 diseas, and in this part we look at the spiritual causes of disease.

God’s will:

For these thy prevailing diseases are not on account of sins, but they are to make thee detest this world and know that there is no rest and composure in this temporal life.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v1, p. 185)

Whatever hath befallen you, hath been for the sake of God. This is the truth, and in this there is no doubt. You should, therefore, leave all your affairs in His Hands, place your trust in Him, and rely upon Him. He will assuredly not forsake you. In this, likewise, there is no doubt.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Fire and Light, p. 10)

There have been many men who have died at last of the very disease of which they have made a special study. Aristotle, for instance, who made a special study of the digestion, died of a gastronomic malady. Aviseu was a specialist of the heart, but he died of heart disease.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 19)

Human Condition:

Suffering, of one kind or another, seems to be the portion of man in this world . . . poverty, disease, bereavement – they seem to be part of the polish God employs to make us finer, and enable us to reflect more of His attributes!  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 603)

See how dark and narrow is the physical world of man’s body, and what a prey it is to diseases and ills.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 192)

Think how narrow and dark is the material world of man, how afflicted with disease and maladies; but how bright and spacious is his Spiritual World!  (Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 459)

Disobedience to God:

According to the teaching of the Prophets, disease and all other forms of calamity are due to disobedience to the Divine Commands.      (Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 95)

We live in a world, however, where from time immemorial obedience to the commands of the Prophets has been the exception rather than the rule; where love of self has been a more prevalent motive than love of God; where limited and party interests have taken precedence of the interests of humanity as a whole; where material possessions and sensual pleasures have been preferred to the social and spiritual welfare of mankind. Hence have arisen fierce competition and conflict, oppression and tyranny, extremes of wealth and poverty — all those conditions which breed disease, mental and physical. (Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 105)

Turning away from God:

Know thou verily the Divine Food is descending from heaven, but only those taste thereof who are directed to the light of guidance, and only those can enjoy it who are endowed with a sound taste. Otherwise every diseased soul disliketh the delicious and merciful food and this is because of the sickness which hath seized him, whereby the El-Zekkum is sweet (to his taste) while he fleeth from the ripe fruit of the Tree of the Living and Pre-existent God — and there is no wonder in that.  (El-Zekkum — a thorny tree so called, which bears fruit like an almond, but extremely bitter. Therefore the tree symbolizes a very severe punishment and bitter remorse for the unbelievers).  (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v1, p. 130)

Generational “Sins of the Father”:

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)

Sin:

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-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 152)

Gambling:

Betting on horse racing is a pernicious disease. It hath been seen in Europe what distress this hath caused. Thousands have become afflicted and distraught  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 357)

Fear, Anger, Worry and Sorrow:

Sometimes if the nervous system is paralyzed through fear, a spiritual remedy is necessary . . . It often happens that sorrow makes one ill, this can be cured by spiritual means.      (Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 65)

Fear, anger, worry, et cetera, are very prejudicial to health  (Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 107)

Before she became a Bahá’í she had been a Christian Scientist, and now she brought up the question of mental suggestion as a cure for physical disease. The Master replied that some illnesses, such as consumption and insanity, developed from spiritual causes — grief, for example — and that these could be healed by the spirit.     (Misc Baha’i, The Diary of Juliet Thompson)

Jealousy:

Jealousy is a gnawing disease, as testified by Bahá’u’lláh. It destroys the one who harbours it.  (H.M. Balyuzi, Abdu’l-Baha – The Centre of the Covenant, p. 55)

Lack of Love and Hatred:

The disease which afflicts the body politic is lack of love and absence of altruism. In the hearts of men no real love is found, and the condition is such that, unless their susceptibilities are quickened by some power so that unity, love and accord may develop within them, there can be no healing   (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 171)

The disease of sectarian hatreds, if not decisively checked, threatens harrowing consequences that will leave few areas of the world unaffected.  (Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, One Common Faith)

Individualism:

No aspect of contemporary civilization is more directly challenged by Bahá’u’lláh’s conception of the future than is the prevailing cult of individualism, which has spread to most parts of the world. Nurtured by such cultural forces as political ideology, academic elitism, and a consumer economy, the “pursuit of happiness” has given rise to an aggressive and almost boundless sense of personal entitlement. The moral consequences have been corrosive for the individual and society alike – and devastating in terms of disease, drug addiction and other all-too- familiar blights of century’s end.  (Baha’i International Community, 1999 Feb, Who is Writing the Future)

Disunity:

As long as the various members and parts of that organism are coordinated and cooperating in harmony, we have as a result the expression of life in its fullest degree. When these members lack coordination and harmony, we have the reverse, which in the human organism is disease, dissolution, death.     (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 98)

The primary disease that afflicts society and generates the ills that cripple it, he says, is the disunity of a human race . . . (Baha’i International Community, 1999 Feb, Who is Writing the Future)

Few will disagree that the universal disease sapping the health of the body of humankind is that of disunity.  (Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, One Common Faith)

Disparity between rich and poor:

In much of the world, the gap between the “haves”and “have-nots”has widened and is accelerating with the persistent disparity in income levels. Social problems have not subsided. In fact, crime and disease are not just on the rise; they are also becoming endemic and more difficult to combat.      (Baha’i International Community, 1995 Oct, Turning Point For All Nations)

War:

War is disease and dissolution.  (Compilations, Baha’i World Faith, p. 232)

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