Please define "self and passion"

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Please define "self and passion"

Postby J_B » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:18 pm

Good day all,

As we continue the Fast, I was reflecting on what is the full definition of the term "self and passion".

... fasting is the supreme remedy and the most great healing for the disease of self and passion." -- Bahá'u'lláh

What is the definition? In the Four Valleys the self is not a bad thing, and in a modern day context these terms are positive ones. What does self and passion really mean in the way Baha'u'llah means it?

Thank you friends,

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Re: Please define "self and passion"

Postby brettz9 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:16 am


An important question...

"Regarding the questions you asked: Self has really two meanings, or is used in two senses, in the Bahá'í writings: one is self, the identity of the individual created by God. This is the self mentioned in such passages as 'he hath known God who hath known himself etc.'. The other self is the ego, the dark, animalistic heritage each one of us has, the lower nature that can develop into a monster of selfishness, brutality, lust and so on. It is this self we must struggle against, or this side of our natures, in order to strengthen and free the spirit within us and help it to attain perfection.
"Self-sacrifice means to subordinate this lower nature and its desires to the more godly and noble side of ourselves. Ultimately, in its highest sense, self-sacrifice means to give our will and our all to God to do with as He pleases. Then He purifies and glorifies our true self until it becomes a shining and wonderful reality."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 10, 1947, in Lights of Guidance, no. 386)

Although there is the side where the self is beloved, even here, the discovery of this true self is to be in the path toward God and service to others:

"Today the confirmations of the Kingdom of Abha are with those who renounce themselves, forget their own opinions, cast aside personalities and are thinking of the welfare of others... Whosoever is occupied with himself is wandering in the desert of heedlessness and regret. The 'Master Key' to self-mastery is self-forgetting. The road to the palace of life is through the path of renunciation."

('Abdu'l-Bahá: Star of the West, Vol. XVII, p. 348, in Lights of Guidance, no. 390)

"The more we search for ourselves, the less likely we are to find ourselves; and the more we search for God, and to serve our fellow-men, the more profoundly will we become acquainted with ourselves, and the more inwardly assured. This is one of the great spiritual laws of life."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 18, 1954, in Lights of Guidance, no. 391)

Some other quotes (with both uses of the word) at

Best wishes,

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Re: Please define "self and passion"

Postby brettz9 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:45 am

As far as "passion", here is a quote which mentions love but also passion in saying that caution against them is meant to the degree they not keep us from God:

"We must never take one sentence in the Teachings and isolate it from the rest: it does not mean we must not love, but we must reach a spiritual plane where God comes first and great human passions are unable to turn us away from Him. All the time we see people who either through the force of hate or the passionate attachment they have to another person, sacrifice principle or bar themselves from the Path of God."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, October 4, 1950; in Lights of Guidance, no. 1341)

And while "passion" is used in reference to different kinds of desires, one kind that may be neglected more in modern usage of the word is in the context of a "terrifying sea of passion and desire" spoken in the context of Europe being engulfed in wars where the people and governments of the time wanted to "conquer and crush one another" (from Secret of Divine Civilization).

That being said, I think our lack of connection to the negative context of the word is more often because of the fact that our current society has been engrossed in a belief in mostly unmitigated expressions of desire.

Baha'u'llah speaks in the Kitab-i-Aqdas about such desires for absolute "freedom":

"Consider the pettiness of men's minds. They ask for that which injureth them, and cast away the thing that profiteth them. They are, indeed, of those that are far astray. We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance.

"Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench. Thus warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing. Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness."

"Regard men as a flock of sheep that need a shepherd for their protection. This, verily, is the truth, the certain truth. We approve of liberty in certain circumstances, and refuse to sanction it in others. We, verily, are the All-Knowing."

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Re: Please define "self and passion"

Postby MontanaDon » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:46 am

passion is an emotional response, a strong desire or predisposition.

today instead of "self" we would prob say "ego".

Don C
Understood properly, all man's problems are essentially spiritual in nature.

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Re: Please define "self and passion"

Postby LeesaJohnson » Mon May 15, 2017 5:22 am

Self- a person's essential being that distinguishes them from others.
Passion- strong and barely controllable emotion.

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