The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys
The Valley of Knowledge
and come out of doubt into certitude, and turn
from the darkness of illusion to the guiding
light of the fear of God. His inner eyes will
open and he will privily converse with his Beloved;
he will set ajar the gate of truth and
piety, and shut the doors of vain imaginings.
He in this station is content with the decree of
God, and seeth war as peace, and findeth in
death the secrets of everlasting life. With inward
and outward eyes he witnesseth the mysteries
of resurrection in the realms of creation
and the souls of men, and with a pure heart
apprehendeth the divine wisdom in the endless
Manifestations of God. In the ocean he findeth
a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of
Split the atom's heart, and lo!
Within it thou wilt find a sun.
The wayfarer in this Valley seeth in the
fashionings of the True One nothing save clear
providence, and at every moment saith: "No
defect canst thou see in the creation of the God
of Mercy: Repeat the gaze: Seest thou a single
He beholdeth justice in injustice, and
in justice, grace. In ignorance he findeth many
a knowledge hidden, and in knowledge a myriad
wisdoms manifest. He breaketh the cage of
the body and the passions, and consorteth with
the people of the immortal realm. He mounteth
on the ladders of inner truth and hasteneth to
the heaven of inner significance. He rideth in
the ark of "we shall show them our signs in
the regions and in themselves,"
over the sea of "until it become plain to
them that (this Book) is the truth."
he meeteth with injustice he shall have patience,
and if he cometh upon wrath he shall manifest
There was once a lover who had sighed for
long years in separation from his beloved, and
wasted in the fire of remoteness. From the rule
of love, his heart was empty of patience, and
his body weary of his spirit; he reckoned life
without her as a mockery, and time consumed
him away. How many a day he found no rest
in longing for her; how many a night the pain
of her kept him from sleep; his body was worn
to a sigh, his heart's wound had turned him to
a cry of sorrow. He had given a thousand
lives for one taste of the cup of her presence,
but it availed him not. The doctors knew no
cure for him, and companions avoided his company;
yea, physicians have no medicine for one
sick of love, unless the favor of the beloved
one deliver him.
At last, the tree of his longing yielded the
fruit of despair, and the fire of his hope fell
to ashes. Then one night he could live no more,
and he went out of his house and made for the
marketplace. On a sudden, a watchman followed
after him. He broke into a run, with the
watchman following; then other watchmen
came together, and barred every passage to the
weary one. And the wretched one cried from
his heart, and ran here and there, and moaned
to himself: "Surely this watchman is Izrá'íl,
my angel of death, following so fast upon me;
or he is a tyrant of men, seeking to harm me."
His feet carried him on, the one bleeding with
the arrow of love, and his heart lamented. Then
he came to a garden wall, and with untold pain
he scaled it, for it proved very high; and forgetting
his life, he threw himself down to the
And there he beheld his beloved with a lamp
in her hand, searching for a ring she had lost.
When the heart-surrendered lover looked on
his ravishing love, he drew a great breath and
raised up his hands in prayer, crying: "O God!
Give Thou glory to the watchman, and riches
and long life. For the watchman was Gabriel,
guiding this poor one; or he was Isráfíl, bringing
life to this wretched one!"
Indeed, his words were true, for he had
found many a secret justice in this seeming
tyranny of the watchman, and seen how many
a mercy lay hid behind the veil. Out of wrath,
the guard had led him who was athirst in
love's desert to the sea of his loved one, and
lit up the dark night of absence with the light
of reunion. He had driven one who was afar,
into the garden of nearness, had guided an
ailing soul to the heart's physician.
Now if the lover could have looked ahead, he
would have blessed the watchman at the start,
and prayed on his behalf, and he would have
seen that tyranny as justice; but since the end
was veiled to him, he moaned and made his
plaint in the beginning. Yet those who journey
in the garden land of knowledge, because they
see the end in the beginning, see peace in war
and friendliness in anger.
Such is the state of the wayfarers in this
Valley; but the people of the Valleys above this
see the end and the beginning as one; nay,
they see neither beginning nor end, and witness
neither "first" nor "last."
Nay rather, the
denizens of the undying city, who dwell in the
green garden land, see not even "neither first
nor last"; they fly from all that is first, and
repulse all that is last. For these have passed
over the worlds of names, and fled beyond the
worlds of attributes as swift as lightning. Thus
is it said: "Absolute Unity excludeth all attributes."
And they have made their dwelling-place
in the shadow of the Essence.
Wherefore, relevant to this, Khájih `Abdu'lláh
--may God the Most High sanctify his
beloved spirit--hath made a subtle point and
spoken an eloquent word as to the meaning of
"Guide Thou us on the straight path,"
is: "Show us the right way, that is, honor us
with the love of Thine Essence, that we may be
freed from turning toward ourselves and
toward all else save Thee, and may become
wholly Thine, and know only Thee, and see
only Thee, and think of none save Thee."
Nay, these even mount above this station,
wherefore it is said:
Love is a veil betwixt the lover and the loved
More than this I am not permitted to tell.
At this hour the morn of knowledge hath
arisen and the lamps of wayfaring and wandering
Veiled from this was Moses
Though all strength and light;
Then thou who hast no wings at all,
Attempt not flight.
If thou be a man of communion and prayer,
soar up on the wings of assistance from Holy
Souls, that thou mayest behold the mysteries
of the Friend and attain to the lights of the
Beloved, "Verily, we are from God and to Him
shall we return."
After passing through the Valley of knowledge,
which is the last plane of limitation, the
wayfarer cometh to
2. [Qur'án 67:3]
3. [Qur'án 41:53]
4. [Qur'án 41:53]
5. [Qur'án 57:3]
6. [Saying attributed to `Alí.]
7. [Shaykh Abú Ismá'íl `Abdu'lláh Ansárí of Hirát (1006-1088 A.D.) Súfí leader, descended from the Prophet's companion Abú Ayyúb. Chiefly known for his Munáját (Supplications) and Rubá'íyyát (Quatrains). "Ansár" means the "Helpers" or companions of Muhammad in Medina.]
8. [Qur'án 1:5]
10. [This refers to the mystic wandering and search for truth guided by "Lights" or Súfí leaders. Bahá'u'lláh here warns the mystics that the coming of the Divine Manifestation in His Day makes further search unnecessary, as it was said by `Alí: "Quench the lamp when the sun hath risen"--the sun referring to the Manifestation of God in the New Day.]
12. [Qur'án 2:151]