The Seven Valleys And the Four Valleys

  • Author:
  • Bahá’u’lláh

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1991 pocket-size edition
  • Pages:
  • 65
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Pages 1-8

The Seven Valleys of Bahá’u’lláh

1
In the Name of God, the Clement, the Merciful.
Praise be to God Who hath made being to come forth from nothingness; graven upon the tablet of man the secrets of preexistence; taught him from the mysteries of divine utterance that which he knew not; made him a Luminous Book unto those who believed and surrendered themselves; caused him to witness the creation of all things (Kullu Shay’) in this black and ruinous age, and to speak forth from the apex of eternity with a wondrous voice in the Excellent Temple 1 : to the end that every man may testify, in himself, by himself, in the station of the Manifestation of his Lord, that verily there is no God save Him, and that every man may thereby win his way to the 2 summit of realities, until none shall contemplate anything whatsoever but that he shall see God therein.
And I praise and glorify the first sea which hath branched from the ocean of the Divine Essence, and the first morn which hath glowed from the Horizon of Oneness, and the first sun which hath risen in the Heaven of Eternity, and the first fire which was lit from the Lamp of Preexistence in the lantern of singleness: He who was Aḥmad in the kingdom of the exalted ones, and Muḥammad amongst the concourse of the near ones, and Maḥmúd 2 in the realm of the sincere ones. “…by whichsoever (name) ye will, invoke Him: He hath most excellent names” 3 in the hearts of those who know. And upon His household and companions be abundant and abiding and eternal peace!
Further, we have harkened to what the nightingale of knowledge sang on the boughs of the tree of thy being, and learned what the dove of certitude cried on the branches of the bower of thy heart. Methinks I verily inhaled the pure fragrances of the garment of thy love, and 3 attained thy very meeting from perusing thy letter. And since I noted thy mention of thy death in God, and thy life through Him, and thy love for the beloved of God and the Manifestations of His Names and the Dawning-Points of His Attributes—I therefore reveal unto thee sacred and resplendent tokens from the planes of glory, to attract thee into the court of holiness and nearness and beauty, and draw thee to a station wherein thou shalt see nothing in creation save the Face of thy Beloved One, the Honored, and behold all created things only as in the day wherein none hath a mention.
Of this hath the nightingale of oneness sung in the garden of Ghawthíyyih. 4 He saith: “And there shall appear upon the tablet of thine heart a writing of the subtle mysteries of ‘Fear God and God will give you knowledge’; 5 and the bird of thy soul shall recall the holy sanctuaries of preexistence and soar on the wings of longing in the heaven of ‘walk the beaten paths of thy Lord’, 6 and gather the fruits of communion in the gardens of ‘Then feed on every kind of fruit.’” 7
By My life, O friend, wert thou to taste of these fruits, from the green garden of these 4 blossoms which grow in the lands of knowledge, beside the orient lights of the Essence in the mirrors of names and attributes—yearning would seize the reins of patience and reserve from out thy hand, and make thy soul to shake with the flashing light, and draw thee from the earthly homeland to the first, heavenly abode in the Center of Realities, and lift thee to a plane wherein thou wouldst soar in the air even as thou walkest upon the earth, and move over the water as thou runnest on the land. Wherefore, may it rejoice Me, and thee, and whosoever mounteth into the heaven of knowledge, and whose heart is refreshed by this, that the wind of certitude hath blown over the garden of his being, from the Sheba of the All-Merciful.
Peace be upon him who followeth the Right Path!
And further: The stages that mark the wayfarer’s journey from the abode of dust to the heavenly homeland are said to be seven. Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities. And they say that until the wayfarer taketh leave of self, and traverseth these stages, he shall never reach to the ocean of nearness and union, nor drink of the peerless wine. The first is 5

The Valley of Search

The steed of this Valley is patience; without patience the wayfarer on this journey will reach nowhere and attain no goal. Nor should he ever be downhearted; if he strive for a hundred thousand years and yet fail to behold the beauty of the Friend, he should not falter. For those who seek the Ka‘bih 8 of “for Us” rejoice in the tidings: “In Our ways will We guide them.” 9 In their search, they have stoutly girded up the loins of service, and seek at every moment to journey from the plane of heedlessness into the realm of being. No bond shall hold them back, and no counsel shall deter them.
It is incumbent on these servants that they cleanse the heart—which is the wellspring of divine treasures—from every marking, and that they turn away from imitation, which is following the traces of their forefathers and sires, and shut the door of friendliness and enmity upon all the people of the earth.
In this journey the seeker reacheth a stage wherein he seeth all created things wandering 6 distracted in search of the Friend. How many a Jacob will he see, hunting after his Joseph; he will behold many a lover, hasting to seek the Beloved, he will witness a world of desiring ones searching after the One Desired. At every moment he findeth a weighty matter, in every hour he becometh aware of a mystery; for he hath taken his heart away from both worlds, and set out for the Ka‘bih 10 of the Beloved. At every step, aid from the Invisible Realm will attend him and the heat of his search will grow.
One must judge of search by the standard of the Majnún of Love. 11 It is related that one day they came upon Majnún sifting the dust, and his tears flowing down. They said, “What doest thou?” He said, “I seek for Laylí.” They cried, “Alas for thee! Laylí is of pure spirit, and thou seekest her in the dust!” He said, “I seek her everywhere; haply somewhere I shall find her.”
Yea, although to the wise it be shameful to 7 seek the Lord of Lords in the dust, yet this betokeneth intense ardor in searching. “Whoso seeketh out a thing with zeal shall find it.” 12
The true seeker hunteth naught but the object of his quest, and the lover hath no desire save union with his beloved. Nor shall the seeker reach his goal unless he sacrifice all things. That is, whatever he hath seen, and heard, and understood, all must he set at naught, that he may enter the realm of the spirit, which is the City of God. Labor is needed, if we are to seek Him; ardor is needed, if we are to drink of the honey of reunion with Him; and if we taste of this cup, we shall cast away the world.
On this journey the traveler abideth in every land and dwelleth in every region. In every face, he seeketh the beauty of the Friend; in every country he looketh for the Beloved. He joineth every company, and seeketh fellowship with every soul, that haply in some mind he may uncover the secret of the Friend, or in some face he may behold the beauty of the Loved One.
And if, by the help of God, he findeth on this journey a trace of the traceless Friend, and inhaleth the fragrance of the long-lost Joseph 8 from the heavenly messenger, 13 he shall straightway step into
1. The Manifestation.   [ Back To Reference]
2. Muḥammad, Aḥmad and Maḥmúd are names and titles of the Prophet, derived from the verb “to praise,” “to exalt.”   [ Back To Reference]
3. Qur’án 17:110.   [ Back To Reference]
4. Sermon by ‘Alí.   [ Back To Reference]
5. Qur’án 2:282.   [ Back To Reference]
6. Qur’án 16:71.   [ Back To Reference]
7. Qur’án 16:71.   [ Back To Reference]
8. The holy Sanctuary at Mecca. Here the word means “goal.”   [ Back To Reference]
9. Qur’án 29:69: “And whoso maketh efforts for Us, in Our ways will We guide them.”   [ Back To Reference]
10. The holy Sanctuary at Mecca. Here the word means “goal.”   [ Back To Reference]
11. Literally, Majnún means “insane.” This is the title of the celebrated lover of ancient Persian and Arabian lore, whose beloved was Laylí, daughter of an Arabian prince. Symbolizing true human love bordering on the divine, the story has been made the theme of many a Persian romantic poem, particularly that of Nizámí, written in 1188–1189 A.D.   [ Back To Reference]
12. Arabian proverb.   [ Back To Reference]
13. Refer to the story of Joesph in the Qur’án and the Old Testament.   [ Back To Reference]