Mrs. S. asked some questions with reference to the conditions of existence in the next world, and the life after death; she said that having recently lost a very near relative, she had given much thought to this subject. Many thought that re-union with those we had loved, and who had passed on to the future life, would only take place after a long period of time had elapsed. She wished to know whether one would be re-united with those who had gone before immediately after death.
'Abdu'l-Bahá answered that this would depend upon the respective stations of the two. If both had the same degree of development, they would be re-united immediately after death.
The questioner then said, how could this state of development be acquired?
'Abdu'l-Bahá replied, by unceasing effort, striving to do right, and to attain spiritual qualities.
The questioner remarked that many differing opinions were held as to the conditions of the future life. Some thought that all would have exactly the same perfections and virtues; that all would be equal and alike.
'Abdu'l-Bahá said there would be variety, and differing degrees of attainment, as in this world.
The question was then asked as to how it would be possible with no material bodies or environment to recognize different entities and characters, when all would be in the same conditions and on the same plane of existence.
'Abdu'l-Bahá said if several people look into a mirror at the same moment, they behold all the different personalities, their characteristics and movements; the glass of the mirror into which they look is one. In your mind you have a variety of thoughts, but all these thoughts are separate and distinct. Also you may perhaps have hundreds of friends; but when you call them before your memory you do not confuse them one with another: each one is separate and distinct, having their own individualities and characteristics.
(Notes of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s explanations; ‘Abdu’l-Baha in London’)