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The Purpose of Life by Ruhiyyih Khanum

What is the purpose of life

The other day a man asked Shoghi Effendi:

"What is the object of life to a Bahá'í?"

As the Guardian repeated his answer to me (I had not been present with the visitor), indeed, before he did, I wondered in my own mind what it had been. Had he told the man that to us the object of life is to know God, or perfect our own character? I never really dreamed of the answer he had given, which was this: the object of life to a Bahá'í is to promote the oneness of mankind.

The whole object of our lives is bound up with the lives of all human beings: not a personal salvation we are seeking, but a universal one. We are not to cast eyes within ourselves and say "Now get busy saving your soul and reserving a comfortable berth in the Next World!" No, we are to get busy on bringing Heaven to the Planet. That is a very big concept. The Guardian then went on to explain that our aim is to produce a world civilization which will in turn react on the character of the individual. It is, in a way, the inverse of Christianity which started with the individual unit and through it reach out to the conglomerate life of men.

This does not mean we must neglect to prune our personalities and weed out our faults and weaknesses. But it does mean we have to do a lot of radiating out to others of what we know to be true through the study of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings.

- Ruhiyyih Khanum, A letter to the Bahá’í Youth in 1948

Read the full letter by Ruhiyyih Khanum here >

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