Healing has a deep connection with the work of the messengers of God. We may, for example, think of the many stories and parables of healing that are recounted in the Gospels. However, while the healing of the individual – physical or spiritual – can be involved, it goes far beyond that. The individual can only truly be whole and healed when society itself is in a condition of well-being.
Healing is so integral to Bahá’u’lláh’s mission that he uses the metaphor of “Divine Physician” to convey insights into the process he is unfolding. Thus he writes:
We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.
That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician. This, verily, is the truth, and all else naught but error.
The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.
In each of these passages we see the concept illuminated in slightly different ways. The first passage focusses on the consequences of “poor diagnosis”, the second prescribes a remedy, the third explains why the “divine physicians” offer different prescriptions in different eras.
It is worth noting that in respect of physical health Bahá’u’lláh encourages the use of competent physicians.
Resort ye, in times of sickness, to competent physicians; We have not set aside the use of material means, rather have We confirmed it through this Pen, which God hath made to be the Dawning-place of His shining and glorious Cause.
The sentence embodies also the broader principle that the material is for human well-being, a concept we have seen in a previous article.
“Material” healing does not exclude the spiritual: as spiritual and material powerfully influence each other. Thus Bahá’u’lláh has given us beautiful healing prayers, such as the following:
THY name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
The following is a video presentation of the Long Healing Prayer. It is a beautiful source of spiritual sustenance and well-being.
(This article is the 98th in a series of what I hope will be 200 articles in 200 days for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. The anniversary is being celebrated around the world on 21 and 22 October 2017, The articles are simply my personal reflections on Bahá’u’lláh’s life and work. Any errors or inadequacies in these articles are solely my responsibility.)