A study of _The Seven Valleys_


Reaction score
North Carolina, USA
Taking a stab at what is allowed in CR, I introduce this thread for purposes of Baha'is, and the curious, to review and deepen the understanding of a Baha'i scripture. It is one of my favorites, if one can use the word. This effort only reflects my own thoughts, and in the Baha'i Faith such instances are not binding even on the one who speaks his mind. Consider it an effort in good faith, but with no special station whatsoever. If you want to understand, and that is rather the point, you have to read the references for yourself and decide. We can, of course, discuss parts and see what we can find out by discussion.

You can review the book here though I'll leave aside _The Four Valleys_ for another time. A fuller review of the themes would naturally include not only these two but also the more recently translated _Gems of Divine Mysteries_ as well at the _Book of Certitude_ - we may infact bring them in as they occasionally refers to the exact same themes.

By way of introduction let me try....

In the mid-period of Islam, which is to say after is arising, and before it's widest spread, a Moslem mystic, before the word Sufi was used, named Attar wrote a very famous work, called in translation, The Conference of the Birds. It's fairly hard to find a translation I think still.

_The Seven Valleys_ is written in the mode of this work. Several parts of Islam cultural take a great work as an example of a style or structure and others then write their own form of it. So it is with the _Seven Valleys_. In this case the idea is to review the pattern of human spiritual development laying out certain truths. It doesn't do the job of the adventure for you, but it can be of assistance as well as reconcile some of the issues that seem contradictory.

It begins with an introductory section. The highlight of this phase is to be free of assumptions and the whole world of everyone else's answers to questions and instead seek the answers for your self. You will likely run into the same questions and answers but you must find a way to make them your own and you can't if all you do is echo what you hear and nod without it reaching your heart. See it so with your own eyes and hear it so with your own ears.

The first Valley is the Valley of Search, it is where the questions begin. Questions become consuming and answers just get in the way. You can't really appreciate the question if you leap right away from it. What does it really mean? What does the question depend on? Can you remove assumptions from the question and get a better question?

At some point the depth of the questions becomes real for the seeker. And some point after that, the answer is found. Whatever it is. And suitable to the depth of the question the answer is itself deep and has many implications. Indeed the implications now illumine the whole range of what was the range of questions. The seeker has entered the Valley of Love. Questions because they obscured the great Answer are bothersome. All that matters is the answer.

If a seeker in Search meets a seaker in Love, they can hardly talk. The seeker in Search wants no answers because to him they are just words people use to hide not knowing for themselves. To the seeker in Love, the questions are a hindance to the truth. The truth has it's own domain, and implications from truth are the basis of reality itself. Questions are the realm of shadows and ephemeral reflections of the light of truth.

Suffice it to say they do not get along. It seems they should - what could have a better relationship than a question and an answer? But seeking truth and its implications can be wasting. There is a realm of assumptions that can be tied to truth, but they can achieve a certain diversity of their own. One can appreciate a truth faithfully, but in still multiple ways. Here answers to relate to answers. With enough sincerity apparently seperate truths can become seen as related.

And doing so the seeker embarks on the Valley of Knowledge. A world of truths begins to unfold and relationships abound. Peace and War both really happen. Some think they are entirely destinguished and yet they might be two faces of the same coin. WWI left issues unresolved and though there was a period of peace that peace had to erupt into WWII. The current state of those issues boils down to the UN today. What will it become in the future? In the Valley of Knowledge the seeker sees contradictions and dualities as maps of related concepts.

When the concepts are so interrelated that they come naturally to refer to eachother the Seeker has entered the Valley of Unity. But more on that as opportunity allows?