Perfection and conservation in Gate of the Heart

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Continuing with the readings from Nader Saiedi’s Gate of the Heart. I’ve selected a section beginning on page 315, where it is headed ‘Perfection and refinement’ — a title that doesn’t do justice to the implications of these concepts for a theology of positive stewardship for the natural world.

If action is a process of spiritual journey, and if it is performed for God and to attain God’s good pleasure, then every single action must be a means of realizing the potentialities of things and the beautification and refinement of the world. This principle is one of the main criteria of an acceptable action in the Persian Bayan. In the writings of the Bab, the two concepts of perfection and refinement are inseparable from each other. The principle of perfection refers to the duty of all human beings to exert their utmost efforts to realize the potentialities of all things in the world. This duty is based on the idea that heaven and hell apply to all beings and that a thing’s state of perfection is its paradise. Humans, however, are required by the Bab to ensure that all phenomena achieve their perfection because “no created thing shall ever attain its paradise unless it appeareth in its highest prescribed degree of perfection.” Thus, in whatever activity the Babis are engaged, whether in the realm of industry or art, they must perform that work in the best possible manner and realize the utmost perfection in all things.

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