The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys
The Valley of Wonderment
and is tossed in the oceans of grandeur, and
at every moment his wonder groweth. Now he
seeth the shape of wealth as poverty itself, and
the essence of freedom as sheer impotence.
Now is he struck dumb with the beauty of the
All-Glorious; again is he wearied out with his
own life. How many a mystic tree hath this
whirlwind of wonderment snatched by the
roots, how many a soul hath it exhausted. For
in this Valley the traveler is flung into confusion,
albeit, in the eye of him who hath attained,
such marvels are esteemed and well
beloved. At every moment he beholdeth a
wondrous world, a new creation, and goeth
from astonishment to astonishment, and is lost
in awe at the works of the Lord of Oneness.
Indeed, O Brother, if we ponder each created
thing, we shall witness a myriad perfect wisdoms
and learn a myriad new and wondrous
truths. One of the created phenomena is the
dream. Behold how many secrets are deposited
therein, how many wisdoms treasured up, how
many worlds concealed. Observe, how thou art
asleep in a dwelling, and its doors are barred;
on a sudden thou findest thyself in a far-off
city, which thou enterest without moving thy
feet or wearying thy body; without using
thine eyes, thou seest; without taxing thine
ears, thou hearest; without a tongue, thou
speakest. And perchance when ten years are
gone, thou wilt witness in the outer world the
very things thou hast dreamed tonight.
Now there are many wisdoms to ponder in
the dream, which none but the people of this
Valley can comprehend in their true elements.
First, what is this world, where without eye
and ear and hand and tongue a man puts all of
these to use? Second, how is it that in the outer
world thou seest today the effect of a dream,
when thou didst vision it in the world of sleep
some ten years past? Consider the difference
between these two worlds and the mysteries
which they conceal, that thou mayest attain to
divine confirmations and heavenly discoveries
and enter the regions of holiness.
God, the Exalted, hath placed these signs in
men, to the end that philosophers may not deny
the mysteries of the life beyond nor belittle
that which hath been promised them. For some
hold to reason and deny whatever the reason
comprehendeth not, and yet weak minds can
never grasp the matters which we have related,
but only the Supreme, Divine Intelligence can
How can feeble reason encompass the
Or the spider snare a phoenix in his web?
All these states are to be witnessed in the
Valley of Wonderment, and the traveler at
every moment seeketh for more, and is not
wearied. Thus the Lord of the First and the
Last in setting forth the grades of contemplation,
and expressing wonderment hath said:
"O Lord, increase my astonishment at Thee!"
Likewise, reflect upon the perfection of man's
creation, and that all these planes and states
are folded up and hidden away within him.
Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form
When within thee the universe is folded?
Then we must labor to destroy the animal
condition, till the meaning of humanity shall
come to light.
Thus, too, Luqmán, who had drunk from the
wellspring of wisdom and tasted of the waters
of mercy, in proving to his son Nathan the
planes of resurrection and death, advanced the
dream as an evidence and an example. We relate
it here, that through this evanescent Servant
a memory may endure of that youth of
the school of Divine Unity, that elder of the
art of instruction and the Absolute. He said:
"O Son, if thou art able not to sleep, then thou
art able not to die. And if thou art able not
to waken after sleep, then thou shalt be able
not to rise after death."
O friend, the heart is the dwelling of eternal
mysteries, make it not the home of fleeting
fancies; waste not the treasure of thy precious
life in employment with this swiftly passing
world. Thou comest from the world of holiness--
bind not thine heart to the earth; thou
art a dweller in the court of nearness--choose
not the homeland of the dust.
In sum, there is no end to the description of
these stages, but because of the wrongs inflicted
by the peoples of the earth, this Servant is in
no mood to continue:
The tale is still unfinished and I have no
heart for it--
Then pray forgive me.
The pen groaneth and the ink sheddeth tears,
and the river
of the heart moveth in waves
of blood. "Nothing can befall us but what God
hath destined for us."
Peace be upon him
who followeth the Right Path!
After scaling the high summits of wonderment
the wayfarer cometh to
4. [Literally "Jayhún," a river in Turkistán.]
5. [Qur'án 9:51]