Nearness Is Likeness (LOP IX, Notes 79-80)

Too high art Thou for the praise of those who are nigh unto Thee to ascend unto the heaven of Thy nearness

79) However, we must strive to get as close as we can.

Thou art My stronghold; enter therein that thou mayest abide in safety. My love is in thee, know it, that thou mayest find Me near unto thee.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words, No. 10)

Sorrow not save that thou art far from Us. Rejoice not save that thou art drawing near and returning unto Us.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words, No. 35)

'Meditate on what the poet hath written: "Wonder not, if my Best-Beloved be closer to me than mine own self; wonder at this, that I, despite such nearness, should still be so far from Him."...'

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, XCIII, p. 185)

"It is the waywardness of the heart that removeth it far from God, and condemneth it to remoteness from Him. Those hearts, however, that are aware of His Presence, are close to Him, and are to be regarded as having drawn nigh unto His throne.

"Consider, moreover, how frequently doth man become forgetful of his own self, whilst God remaineth, through His all-encompassing knowledge, aware of His creature, and continueth to shed upon him the manifest radiance of His glory. It is evident, therefore, that, in such circumstances, He is closer to him than his own self. He will, indeed, so remain for ever, for, whereas the one true God knoweth all things, perceiveth all things, and comprehendeth all things, mortal man is prone to err, and is ignorant of the mysteries that lie enfolded within him..."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, XCIII, p. 186)

Nearness to God in the Long Obligatory Prayer
  • “O Thou in separation from Whom hearts and souls have melted”
  • “this stranger hastening to his most exalted home...within the precincts of Thy mercy”
  • “the city of Thy nearness”
  • “those who are nigh unto thee...the heaven of Thy nearness”
  • “My trespasses have kept me back from drawing nigh unto Thee and my sins have held me far from the court of Thy holiness.”
  • “separation from Thee hath destroyed me, and remoteness from Thee hath consumed me”
  • “Thou hast sent down unto us that which draweth us nigh unto Thee”

the heaven of Thy nearness [IX]

80) "The wealth of the next world consists in nearness to God."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, 62.4, p. 266)

One of the extraordinary talks Abdu’l-Baha gave in America was devoted to the subject of nearness to God. Here is an excerpt:

26 May 1912

Talk at Mount Morris Baptist Church
Fifth Avenue and 126th Street, New York

Notes by Esther Foster

‘As I entered the church this evening, I heard the hymn "Nearer my God, to Thee." The greatest attainment in the world of humanity is nearness to God. Every lasting glory, honor, grace and beauty which comes to man comes through nearness to God. All the Prophets and apostles longed and prayed for nearness to the Creator. How many nights they passed in sleepless yearning for this station; how many days they devoted to supplication for this attainment, seeking ever to draw nigh unto Him! But nearness to God is not an easy accomplishment. During the time Jesus Christ was upon the earth mankind sought nearness to God, but in that day no one attained it save a very few -- His disciples. Those blessed souls were confirmed with divine nearness through the love of God. Divine nearness is dependent upon attainment to the knowledge of God, upon severance from all else save God. It is contingent upon self-sacrifice and to be found only through forfeiting wealth and worldly possessions. It is made possible through the baptism of water and fire revealed in the Gospels. Water symbolizes the water of life, which is knowledge, and fire is the fire of the love of God; therefore, man must be baptized with the water of life, the Holy Spirit and the fire of the love of the Kingdom. Until he attains these three degrees, nearness to God is not possible. This is the process by which the Bahá'ís of Persia have attained it. They gave their lives for this station, sacrificed honor, comfort and possessions, hastened with the utmost joy to the place of martyrdom; their blood was spilled, their bodies were tortured and destroyed, their homes pillaged, their children carried into captivity. They endured all these conditions joyfully and willingly. Through such sacrifice nearness to God is made possible. And be it known that this nearness is not dependent upon time or place. Nearness to God is dependent upon purity of the heart and exhilaration of the spirit through the glad tidings of the Kingdom. Consider how a pure, well-polished mirror fully reflects the effulgence of the sun, no matter how distant the sun may be. As soon as the mirror is cleaned and purified, the sun will manifest itself. The more pure and sanctified the heart of man becomes, the nearer it draws to God, and the light of the Sun of Reality is revealed within it. This light sets hearts aglow with the fire of the love of God, opens in them the doors of knowledge and unseals the divine mysteries so that spiritual discoveries are made possible. All the Prophets have drawn near to God through severance. We must emulate those Holy Souls and renounce our own wishes and desires. We must purify ourselves from the mire and soil of earthly contact until our hearts become as mirrors in clearness and the light of the most great guidance reveals itself in them.

'Bahá'u'lláh proclaims in the Hidden Words that God inspires His servants and is revealed through them. He says, "Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation." Therefore, we learn that nearness to God is possible through devotion to Him, through entrance into the Kingdom and service to humanity; it is attained by unity with mankind and through loving-kindness to all; it is dependent upon investigation of truth, acquisition of praiseworthy virtues, service in the cause of universal peace and personal sanctification. In a word, nearness to God necessitates sacrifice of self, severance and the giving up of all to Him. Nearness is likeness.’

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 147-48)

Next: "Declarations"


  1. An expression that appears in passage IX of the Long prayer that may strike Baha'is in North America and some other places as curious is "door of Thy gate." I speculate that in some parts of the world they have had walled cities for centuries where the concept of "gate" includes maybe a massive structure with a guardhouse, and, indeed, doors.

  2. This site is enthralling.

    Thank you so very much.