“As to the soul which is intended, in truth it hath been called forth by the Word of God and is such that, if it be kindled with the fire of the love of its Lord, neither the waters of opposition nor the oceans of the world can quench its flame.That soul is indeed a fire ablaze in the tree of man which proclaimeth: “No God is there but Him!” Whosoever hearkeneth unto its call is verily of those who have attained unto Him. And when it casteth off its earthly frame, God shall raise it up again in the most excellent of forms and cause it to enter a sublime paradise. Thy Lord, of a certainty, hath power over all things.” (Baha’u’llah, The Lord of Hosts, Suriy-i-Ra’is)
“It is known and clear that today the unseen divine assistance encompasseth those who deliver the Message. And if the work of delivering the Message be neglected, the assistance shall be entirely cut off, for it is impossible that the friends of God could receive assistance unless they be engaged in delivering the Message. Under all conditions the Message must be delivered, but with wisdom. If it be not possible openly, it must be done quietly. The friends should be engaged in educating the souls and should become instruments in aiding the world of humanity to acquire spiritual joy and fragrance. For example: If every one of the friends (believers) were to establish relations of friendship and right dealings with one of the negligent souls, associate and live with him with perfect kindliness, and meanwhile through good conduct and moral behavior lead him to divine instruction, to heavenly advice and teachings, surely he would gradually arouse that negligent person and would change his ignorance into knowledge.
“Souls are liable to estrangement. Such methods should be adopted that the estrangement should be first removed, then the Word will have effect.
“If one of the believers be kind to one of the negligent ones and with perfect love should gradually make him understand the reality of the Cause of God in such a way that the latter should know in what manner the Religion of God hath been founded and what its object is, doubtless he will become changed; excepting abnormal souls who are reduced to the state of ashes and whose hearts are like stones, yea, even harder.
“If by this method every one of the friends of God were to try to lead one soul to the right path, the number of the believers would be doubled every year. But this should be carried out with perfect wisdom and in such a manner that no harm would ever result therefrom.”
(“Tablets of Abdul-Bahá Abbas”, vol. 2, p. 391)
”If we acknowledge that there is a beginning for this world of creation, we acknowledge that the sovereignty of God is accidental—that is, we admit a time when the reality of Divinity has been without dominion (lit. “defeated”). The names and attributes of Divinity are requirements of this world. The names the Powerful, the Living, the Provider, the Creator require and necessitate the existence of creatures. If there were no creatures, Creator would be meaningless. If there were none to provide for, we could not think of the Provider. If there were no life, the Living would be beyond the power of conception. Therefore, all the names and attributes of God require the existence of objects or creatures upon which they have been bestowed and in which they have become manifest.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 218)
Your questions, however, can be answered only briefly, since there is no time for a detailed reply.
The answer to the first question:
the souls of the children of the Kingdom, after their separation from the body, ascend unto the realm of everlasting life.
But if ye ask as to the place, know ye that the world of existence is a single world, although its stations are various and distinct.
For example, the mineral life occupieth its own plane, but a mineral entity is without any awareness at all of the vegetable kingdom, and indeed, with its inner tongue denieth that there is any such kingdom.
In the same way, a vegetable entity knoweth nothing of the animal world, remaining completely heedless and ignorant thereof, for the stage of the animal is higher than that of the vegetable, and the vegetable is veiled from the animal world and inwardly denieth the existence of that world –
– all this while animal, vegetable and mineral dwell together in the one world.
In the same way the animal remaineth totally unaware of that power of the human mind which graspeth universal ideas and layeth bare the secrets of creation –
– so that a man who liveth in the east can make plans and arrangements for the west, can unravel mysteries;
although located on the continent of Europe can discover America;
although sited on the earth can lay hold of the inner realities of the stars of heaven.
Of this power of discovery which belongeth to the human mind, this power which can grasp abstract and universal ideas, the animal remaineth totally ignorant, and indeed denieth its existence.
In the same way, the denizens of this earth are completely unaware of the world of the Kingdom and deny the existence thereof.
They ask, for example:
‘Where is the Kingdom?
Where is the Lord of the Kingdom?’
These people are even as the mineral and the vegetable, who know nothing whatever of the animal and the human realm;
they see it not;
they find it not.
Yet the mineral and vegetable, the animal and man, are all living here together in this world of existence.
– ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 194-195
“Hear Me, ye mortal birds! In the Rose Garden of changeless splendor a Flower hath begun to bloom, compared to which every other flower is but a thorn, and before the brightness of Whose glory the very essence of beauty must pale and wither. Arise, therefore, and, with the whole enthusiasm of your hearts, with all the eagerness of your souls, the full fervor of your will, and the concentrated efforts of your entire being, strive to attain the paradise of His presence, and endeavor to inhale the fragrance of the incorruptible Flower, to breathe the sweet savors of holiness, and to obtain a portion of this perfume of celestial glory. Whoso followeth this counsel will break his chains asunder, will taste the abandonment of enraptured love, will attain unto his heart’s desire, and will surrender his soul into the hands of his Beloved. Bursting through his cage, he will, even as the bird of the spirit, wing his flight to his holy and everlasting nest.
“Night hath succeeded day, and day hath succeeded night, and the hours and moments of your lives have come and gone, and yet none of you hath, for one instant, consented to detach himself from that which perisheth. Bestir yourselves, that the brief moments that are still yours may not be dissipated and lost. Even as the swiftness of lightning your days shall pass, and your bodies shall be laid to rest beneath a canopy of dust. What can ye then achieve? How can ye atone for your past failure?
“The everlasting Candle shineth in its naked glory. Behold how it hath consumed every mortal veil. O ye moth-like lovers of His light! Brave every danger, and consecrate your souls to its consuming flame. O ye that thirst after Him! Strip yourselves of every earthly affection, and hasten to embrace your Beloved. With a zest that none can equal make haste to attain unto Him. The Flower, thus far hidden from the sight of men, is unveiled to your eyes. In the open radiance of His glory He standeth before you. His voice summoneth all the holy and sanctified beings to come and be united with Him. Happy is he that turneth thereunto; well is it with him that hath attained, and gazed on the light of so wondrous a countenance.”
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 320-322)
“Death does not separate the soul of the believer from his previous scene of activity but only increases his power. All of those who work in this Great Cause will continue to do so whether they are in the body or out of it. If martyred, they will attach themselves to those who can best secure this influence and the power of these will be doubled or quadrupled by this dynamic assistance of those who have already left the scene of outward action.”
“It is said that the Guardian kept these words at his desk.”
( Words on ‘death’ from the Bab, as found in the prayer book of Amelia Collins confirmed by Hand of the Cause Ali Akbar Furitan)