There are five outward material powers in man which are the means of perception—that is, five powers whereby man perceives material things. They are sight, which perceives sensible forms; hearing, which perceives audible sounds; smell, which perceives odours; taste, which perceives edible things; and touch, which is distributed throughout the body and which perceives tactile realities. These five powers perceive external objects.
Man has likewise a number of spiritual powers: the power of
imagination, which forms a mental image of things; thought, which reflects upon
the realities of things; comprehension, which understands these realities; and
memory, which retains whatever man has imagined, thought, and understood. The
intermediary between these five outward powers and the inward powers is a
common faculty, a sense which mediates between them and which conveys to the
inward powers whatever the outward powers have perceived. It is termed the
common faculty as it is shared in common between the outward and inward powers.
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha (Table talks in Akka, authenticated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Some
Answered Questions’ – 2014 revised translation by the Baha’i World Centre)