Death and Return

This Interfaith Devotional program focuses on life after death and the eternal reality of the soul. These readings have been selected from various religious traditions. Please come and join us on Sundays at 9:30 am at the Beaverton Baha’i Center.

Opening Prayer

O my Lord! Thou knowest that the people are encircled with pain and calamities and are environed with hardships and trouble. Every trial doth attack man and every dire adversity doth assail him like unto the assault of a serpent. There is no shelter and asylum for him except under the wing of Thy protection, preservation, guard and custody.

O Thou the Merciful One! O my Lord! Make Thy protection my armor, Thy preservation my shield, humbleness before the door of Thy oneness my guard, and Thy custody and defense my fortress and my abode. Preserve me from the suggestions of self and desire, and guard me from every sickness, trial, difficulty and ordeal.

Verily, Thou art the Protector, the Guardian, the Preserver, the Sufficer, and verily, Thou art the Merciful of the Most Merciful.

Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

First Reading

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Judaism, Ecclesiastes 1:3-7, 12:7

Verily He Who ordained the Qur’an for thee, will bring thee back to the Place of Return. Say: “My Lord knows best who it is that brings true guidance, and who is in manifest error.”

Islam, Qur’an Surah 28:85

God is indeed the Maker of all things. He giveth sustenance in plenty to whomsoever He willeth. He is the Creator, the Source of all beings, the Fashioner, the Almighty, the Maker, the All-Wise. He is the Bearer of the most excellent titles throughout the heavens and the earth and whatever lieth between them. All do His bidding, and all the dwellers of earth and heaven celebrate His praise, and unto Him shall all return.

Bahá’í Faith, The Báb


Second Reading

Truly Allah leaveth, to stray, whom He will; but He guideth to Himself those who turn to Him in penitence — Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.

For those who believe and work righteousness is every blessedness, and a beautiful place of final return.

Islam, Qur’an Surah 13:27-29

In the name of the Sovereign Lord, the Lord of Power. Glorified is He before Whom all the dwellers of earth and heaven bow down in adoration and unto Whom all men turn in supplication. He is the One Who holdeth in His grasp the mighty kingdom of all created things and unto Him shall all return. He is the One Who revealeth whatsoever He willeth and by His injunction `Be Thou’ all things have come into being. It behooveth you to return unto God even as ye were brought forth into existence, and to utter not such words as why or nay, if ye wish your creation to yield fruit at the time of your return. For none of you who have been born in the Bayán shall gain the fruit of your beginning unless ye return unto Him Whom God shall make manifest. He it is Who caused your beginning to proceed from God, and your return to be unto Him, did ye but know.

Bahá’í Faith, The Báb

True transformation comes from illumination. As fire consumes all things, so does the fire of knowledge consume all evil and ignorance. Transformation of the inner life is necessary; and this is accomplished by control of the mind and of the senses, by the practice of concentration, and by following and living the Truth. The great secret of complete transformation is the development of love for God. As when the sun rises the dewdrops vanish away, so when love grows all sin and ignorance disappear.

Hinduism, Srimad Bhagavatam 6.1

Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.

Judaism, Lamentations 3:40

Whoever was heedless before, and afterwards is not, such a one illumines this world like the moon freed from clouds.

Buddhism, Dhammapada 172-173


Third Reading

The grace of the Lord of heaven and earth is infinite and boundless; He has endowed you with the Beautiful Gift, called the Spirit of Repentance, with which to light up and purify yourself from sin.

Omoto Kyo, Michi-no-Shiori

As was the will of God, so I ought to have thought; As was the will of God, so I ought to have spoken; As was the will of God, so I ought to have acted. If I have not so thought, so spoken, so acted, Then do I repent for the sin, Do I repent by my thought, word, and deed. Do I repent with all my heart and conscience.

Zoroastrianism, Patet 6

And call not, besides Allah, on another god. There is no god but He. Everything that exists will perish except His own Face. To Him belongs the Command, and to Him will ye all be brought back.

Islam, Qur’an Surah 28:88

Now when the light of God’s everlasting Morn is breaking; when the radiance of His holy words: “God is the light of the heavens and of the earth” is shedding illumination upon all mankind; when the inviolability of His tabernacle is being proclaimed by His sacred utterance: “God hath willed to perfect His light;” and the Hand of omnipotence, bearing His testimony: “In His grasp He holdeth the kingdom of all things,” is being outstretched unto all the peoples and kindreds of the earth; it behooveth us to gird up the loins of endeavour, that haply, by the grace and bounty of God, we may enter the celestial City: “Verily, we are God’s,” and abide within the exalted habitation: “And unto Him we do return.”

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

“Nowadays, all living things spring from the dust and to the dust return. But I will lead you through the portals of Eternity to wander in the great wilds of Infinity. My light is the light of sun and moon. My life is the life of Heaven and Earth. Before me all is nebulous; behind me all is dark, unknown. Men may all die, but I endure for ever.”

Tao, Chuangtse

Thou art, verily, the Eternal Truth, and unto Thee, our infallible Retreat, must we all return.

Islam, Qur’an Surah 40


Open Prayers


Closing Prayer

Praise be unto Thee, O Lord. Forgive us our sins, have mercy upon us and enable us to return unto Thee. Suffer us not to rely on aught else besides Thee, and vouchsafe unto us, through Thy bounty, that which Thou lovest and desirest and well beseemeth Thee. Exalt the station of them that have truly believed and forgive them with Thy gracious forgiveness. Verily Thou art the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

Bahá’í Faith, The Báb

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

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