Baha’u’llah taught that each human being is “a mine rich in gems“ unknown even to the owner, let alone to others, and inexhaustible in its wealth. The purpose of life is to develop these capacities both for one’s own life and for the service of humanity. Life in this world, as Baha’u’llah presents it, is like the life of a child in the womb of its mother: the moral, intellectual, and spiritual powers which a human being develops here, with the help of God, will be the “limbs” and “organs” needed for the soul’s progress in the worlds beyond this earthly one.
The way of life which Bahá’ís seek to cultivate, therefore, is one that encourages personal development. Daily prayer and meditation free the soul from conditioned patterns and open it to new possibilities. Joining in projects with peoples of diverse backgrounds breaks down traditional prejudices. The use of alcohol or narcotic drugs is avoided, except when prescribed for medical reasons, because these substances eventually deaden the mind. The latter is also true of the habit of backbiting, which weakens trust between people and undermines the spirit of unity upon which human progress depends. Bahá’u’lláh’s writings attach great importance to the institution of the family as the foundation of human society. The sanctity of marriage, recognition of the equality of the husband and wife, and the use of consultation are especially emphasized.