The Sura of Vafa (Suriy-i-Vafa) is another work from the latter period of Bahá’u’lláh’s life. Like other works of this period it is written to one of Bahá’u’lláh’s followers, this time in response to specific questions. Among them is a question about the “worlds of God”. This is Bahá’u’lláh’s reply.
As to thy question concerning the worlds of God. Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in their number, and infinite in their range. None can reckon or comprehend them except God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Consider thy state when asleep. Verily, I say, this phenomenon is the most mysterious of the signs of God amongst men, were they to ponder it in their hearts. Behold how the thing which thou hast seen in thy dream is, after a considerable lapse of time, fully realized. Had the world in which thou didst find thyself in thy dream been identical with the world in which thou livest, it would have been necessary for the event occurring in that dream to have transpired in this world at the very moment of its occurrence. Were it so, you yourself would have borne witness unto it. This being not the case, however, it must necessarily follow that the world in which thou livest is different and apart from that which thou hast experienced in thy dream. This latter world hath neither beginning nor end. It would be true if thou wert to contend that this same world is, as decreed by the All-Glorious and Almighty God, within thy proper self and is wrapped up within thee. It would equally be true to maintain that thy spirit, having transcended the limitations of sleep and having stripped itself of all earthly attachment, hath, by the act of God, been made to traverse a realm which lieth hidden in the innermost reality of this world. Verily I say, the creation of God embraceth worlds besides this world, and creatures apart from these creatures. In each of these worlds He hath ordained things which none can search except Himself, the All-Searching, the All-Wise.
Bahá’u’lláh’s reply invites us to understand that what we refer to as “material” is just one of a multiplicity of realities. There is no reason to think that the laws of this world would have any applicability to other realities beyond it. When we use a term such as “spiritual”, it is a way of labelling realities governed by laws of which we only have an indirect understanding. We use terms such as “gravity” in a very similar way.
The connection between inner and outer world is also striking in Bahá’u’lláh’s reply.
(This article is the 168th 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.)