In fact, Baha’is see the investigation of the truth as every person’s most important life aspect.
We all have minds, hearts and souls. When these three powerful instruments combine in a seeker’s quest for meaning, our intelligence, our emotions and our deepest spiritual yearnings can bring our true inner reality to light. The Baha’i Faith encourages everyone to take that journey of spiritual discovery.
God has created in man the power of reason, whereby man is enabled to investigate reality. God has not intended man to blindly imitate his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind or the faculty of reasoning by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth; and that which he finds real and true, he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality.
Baha’u’llah, urging all humanity to investigate spiritual truth for themselves, urged us to “Look into all things with a searching eye.” An open-minded spiritual exploration can take many forms, but the Baha’i teachings recommend looking for meaning inwardly, seeking to know and understand your true self:
When the spiritually minded dive deeply into the ocean of their meaning they bring to the surface the pearls of their inner significance.
When you dedicate yourself to a spiritual search, to your own independent investigation of reality, you become a true seeker. You can learn from the experience and knowledge of others, of course, but ultimately you must let your own heart and mind decide what you truly believe.
For this reason, Baha’is have no clergy. Each Baha’i has the responsibility for his or her own spiritual growth. Every Baha’i prays and meditates as they see fit; no preaching, sermons, sacraments, confessions or rituals exist; and democratically-elected bodies administer every Baha’i community, rather than individual authorities who can impose their understandings on others.
The Baha’i teachings urge seekers to read and study the holy books of every Faith—and to go beyond their literal, outer words to discover their profound, symbolic inner meanings. At the same time, Baha’u’llah asks seekers of truth to explore their own inner landscape and learn to understand themselves: “One must, then, read the book of his own self …”
That searching self-exploration, coupled with a quest for inner and outer truth, leads the seeker on a journey of insight, spiritual development and growth.