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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 57-65

The Fourth Valley

If the mystic knowers be of those who have reached to the beauty of the Beloved One (Mahbúb), this station is the apex of consciousness and the secret of divine guidance. This is the center of the mystery: “He doth what He willeth, ordaineth what He pleaseth.” 1
Were all the denizens of earth and heaven to unravel this shining allusion, this darksome riddle, until the Day when the Trumpet soundeth, 58 yet would they fail to comprehend even a letter thereof, for this is the station of God’s immutable decree, His foreordained mystery. Hence, when searchers inquired of this, He made reply, “This is a bottomless sea which none shall ever fathom.” 2 And they asked again, and He answered, “It is the blackest of nights through which none can find his way.”
Whoso knoweth this secret will assuredly hide it, and were he to reveal but its faintest trace they would nail him to the cross. Yet, by the Living God, were there any true seeker, I would divulge it to him; for they have said: “Love is a light that never dwelleth in a heart possessed by fear.”
Verily, the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, unto the Crimson Pillar in the snow-white path, will never reach unto his heavenly goal unless he abandoneth all that men possess: “And if he feareth not God, God will make him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God.” 3
Speak in the Persian tongue, though the Arab please thee more;
A lover hath many a tongue at his command. 4 59
How sweet is this couplet which revealeth such a truth:
See, our hearts come open like shells, when He raineth grace like pearls,
And our lives are ready targets, when agony’s arrows He hurls.
And were it not contrary to the Law of the Book, I would verily bequeath a part of My possessions to the one who would put Me to death, and I would name him My heir; yea, I would bestow upon him a portion, would render him thanks, would seek to refresh Mine eyes with the touch of his hand. But what can I do? I have no possessions, no power, and this is what God hath ordained. 5
Methinks at this moment, I catch the fragrance of His garment 6 blowing from the Egypt of Bahá; 7 verily He seemeth near at hand, though men may think Him far away. 8 My soul doth smell the perfume shed by the 60 Beloved One; My sense is filled with the fragrance of My dear Companion.
The duty of long years of love obey
And tell the tale of happy days gone by,
That land and sky may laugh aloud today,
And it may gladden mind and heart and eye. 9
This is the realm of full awareness, of utter self-effacement. Even love is no pathway to this region, and longing hath no dwelling here; wherefore is it said, “Love is a veil betwixt the lover and the beloved.” Here love becometh an obstruction and a barrier, and all else save Him is but a curtain. The wise Saná’í hath written:
Never the covetous heart shall come to the stealer of hearts,
Never the shrouded soul unite with beauty’s rose.
For this is the realm of Absolute Command and is free of all the attributes of earth.
The exalted dwellers in this mansion do wield divine authority in the court of rapture, with utter gladness, and they do bear a kingly 61 sceptre. On the high seats of justice, they issue their commands, and they send down gifts according to each man’s deserving. Those who drink of this cup abide in the high bowers of splendor above the Throne of the Ancient of Days, and they sit in the Empyrean of Might within the Lofty Pavilion: “Naught shall they know of sun or piercing cold.” 10
Herein the high heavens are in no conflict with the lowly earth, nor do they seek to excel it, for this is the land of mercy, not the realm of distinction. Albeit at every moment these souls appear in a new office, yet their condition is ever the same. Wherefore of this realm it is written, “No work withholdeth Him from another.” 11 And of another state it is said: “Every day doth some new work employ Him.” 12 This is the food whose savor changeth not, whose color altereth not. If thou eatest thereof, thou shalt verily chant this verse: “I turn my face to Him Who hath created the Heavens and the earth … I am not one of those who add gods to God.” 13 “And thus did we show Abraham the Kingdom of the Heavens and of the Earth, that He might be established 62 in knowledge.” 14 Wherefore, put thy hand into thy bosom, then stretch it forth with power, and behold, thou shalt find it a light unto all the world.” 15
How crystal this cool water that the Cup-Bearer bringeth! How bright this pure wine in the hands of the Beloved! How delicate this draught from the Heavenly Cup! May it do them good, whoso drink thereof, and taste of its sweetness and attain to its knowledge.
It is not fitting that I tell thee more,
For the stream’s bed cannot hold the sea. 16
For the mystery of this utterance is hid within the storehouse of the Great Infallibility 17 and laid up in the treasuries of power. It is sanctified above the jewels of explanation; it is beyond what the most subtle of tongues can tell.
Astonishment here is highly prized, and utter poverty essential. Wherefore hath it been said, “Poverty is My pride.” 18 And again: “God hath a people beneath the dome of glory, whom 63 He hideth in the clothing of radiant poverty.” 19 These are they who see with His eyes, hear with His ears, as it is written in the well-known tradition.
Concerning this realm, there is many a tradition and many a verse, of broad or special relevancy, but two of these will suffice to serve as a light for men of mind and heart.
The first is His statement: “O My Servant! Obey Me and I shall make thee like unto Myself. I say ‘Be,’ and it is, and thou shalt say ‘Be,’ and it shall be.”
And the second: “O Son of Adam! Seek fellowship with none until thou hast found Me, and whenever thou shalt long for Me, thou shalt find Me close to thee.”
Whatever high proofs and wondrous allusions are recounted herein, concern but a single Letter, a single Point. “Such hath been the way of God … and no change canst thou find in the way of God.” 20
I began this epistle some time ago, in thy remembrance, and since thy letter had not reached me then, I began with some words of reproach. Now, thy new missive hath dispelled that feeling and causeth Me to write thee. To 64 speak of My love for thine Eminence is needless. “God is a sufficient witness!” 21 For his Eminence Shaykh Muḥammad—May God the Exalted bless him!—I shall confine Myself to the two following verses which I request be delivered to him:
I seek thy nearness, dearer than sweet Heaven;
I see thy visage, fairer than Paradise bowers. 22
When I entrusted this message of love to My pen, it refused the burden, and it swooned away. Then coming to itself, it spoke and said, “Glory be to Thee! To Thee do I turn in penitence, and I am the first of them that believe.” 23 Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds!
Let us tell, some other day
This parting hurt and woe;
Let us write, some other way,
Love’s secrets—better so. 65
Leave blood and noise and all of these,
And say no more of Shams-i-Tabríz. 24
Peace be upon thee, and upon those who circle around thee and attain thy meeting.
What I had written ere this hath been eaten by the flies, so sweet was the ink. As Sa’dí saith: “I shall forbear from writing any longer, for my sweet words have drawn the flies about me.”
And now the hand can write no more, and pleadeth that this is enough. Wherefore do I say, “Far be the glory of thy Lord, the Lord of all greatness, from what they affirm of Him.” 25
1. Qur’án 2:254; 5:1, etc   [ Back To Reference]
2. Statement attributed to ‘Alí.   [ Back To Reference]
3. This quotation is in Arabic.   [ Back To Reference]
4. The Mathnaví.   [ Back To Reference]
5. This was revealed before the Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh. The lines following refer to the imminence of His Manifestation.   [ Back To Reference]
6. Literally, the garment of Ha’, which is the letter “H” and here represents Bahá.   [ Back To Reference]
7. This reference is to the story of Joseph in the Qur’án and the Bible.   [ Back To Reference]
8. This refers to those who did not expect the imminent advent of Him Whom God Shall Manifest.   [ Back To Reference]
9. The Mathnaví.   [ Back To Reference]
10. Qur’án 76:13.   [ Back To Reference]
11. This quotation is from one of the commentators on Qur’án 55:29. Cf. the dictionary Lisánu’l-‘Arab.   [ Back To Reference]
12. Qur’án 55:29.   [ Back To Reference]
13. Qur’án 6:79.   [ Back To Reference]
14. Qur’án 6:75.   [ Back To Reference]
15. Cf. Qur’án 7:105 etc., and Hadíth.   [ Back To Reference]
16. The Mathnaví.   [ Back To Reference]
17. Ismat-i-Kubrá, the invariable attribute of the Divine Manifestation.   [ Back To Reference]
18. Muḥammad.   [ Back To Reference]
19. Hadíth.   [ Back To Reference]
20. Qur’án 33:62; 48:23.   [ Back To Reference]
21. Qur’án 4:164.   [ Back To Reference]
22. Sa’dí.   [ Back To Reference]
23. Qur’án 7:140.   [ Back To Reference]
24. Shams-i-Tabríz, the Súfí who exerted a powerful influence on Jalálu’d-Dín Rúmí, diverting his attention from science to Mysticism. A great part of Rúmí’s works are dedicated to him. These lines are from the Mathnaví.   [ Back To Reference]
25. Qur’án 37:180.   [ Back To Reference]