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The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at

The Second Valley:

The Valley of Love

In this valley the heaven of attraction is lifted up, the world-illuminating sun of longing dawns forth and the fire of love becomes ablaze.

And when the fire of love is become ablaze, the harvest of reason will be wholly consumed.

At this time the traveller is unconscious, both of himself and of aught else save himself.

He knows neither knowledge nor ignorance, neither doubt nor certainty; neither does he recognise the morn of guidance nor the eve of error.

He avoids both infidelity and faith.

Thus it is said by Attar (one of the great, inspired Sufi leaders, poets and philosophers of the middle ages of Islam), 'Leave infidelity to the infidel and faith to the faithful; a single particle of pain, in thy love, is enough for the heart of Attar.'

The steed of this valley is Pain.

Without pain this journey will never be accomplished.

In this stage the lover has no thought but of

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the Beloved One, and seeks no shelter but the Desired One. At every moment he freely gives a hundred lives in the path of the Beloved, and at every step he throws a thousand at the feet of the Friend.

'O my brother! not until thou enterest the Egypt of the Spirit wilt thou attain, to the Joseph of the beauty of the Friend; not until thou, like Jacob, give up thine outward eye, wilt thou open thine inward eye; and not until thou art ablaze with the fire of love wilt thou associate with the Friend of Ecstasy.

A lover fears nothing, and no loss can do him harm.

Thou wilt see him cool in fire, and find him dry even in the sea.

Love accepts not any existence, nor wishes any life; he finds life in death, and glory in shame.

Much wit is needed to make one worthy of the ardour of love; and many a head is required to be fit for the noose of the Friend. Blessed is the neck which falleth into His noose, and happy is the head which is dropped on the dust in the path of His love.

Be alien to thyself, that thou mayest find thy way to the Incomparable One.

Abandon the mortal earth, that thou mayest take residence in the Divine Nest.

Nothingness is needed until thou mayest kindle the fire of existence and become acceptable in the

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path of love. 'Love does not accept a soul alive (to material things); a falcon preys not on a dead mouse.'

At every moment Love consumes a world; and in whatever land he hoists his banner, he makes it desolate.

Existence has no being in his realm, and men of reason have no foothold in his dominion.

The whale of love swallows up the erudite in reason, and destroys the prudent in knowledge. It quaffs the 'Seven Seas'; and yet the thirst of its heart is not allayed and still it says, 'Is there yet any more?'

It becomes alien to self; and shuns all that is in the world. . . .

Therefore the veils of the Satanic ego must needs be consumed with the fire of love; so that the spirit may become clean and purified for comprehending the grades of the Lord of 'but for thee.'" [Here the reader must be referred to the translator's note: "But for thee"—a tradition, relating the words of God to the Prophet (Mohammed), "But for thee, I would not have created the spheres!" (traditional).] "Kindle thou a fire of love and consume all possessions (or Self); then lift thy foot and step into the mountain of the lovers." [Here our translator informs us that Baha‘u‘llah is quoting from one of his own odes.]

"If, by the assistance of the Creator, the lover is released in safety from the claws of the falcon

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of Love, he will then arrive at the realm of the Valley of Divine Knowledge.

Next: The Third Valley: The Valley of Divine Knowledge