The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, , at sacred-texts.com
The Seventh Valley:
This is the station of dying from self, and living through God; of being poor of one's self, and rich in the Desired One.
In this station poverty is mentioned as meaning one's indigence in all that is of the world of creation; and one's affluence in all that is of the worlds of Truth.
For when a sincere lover and agreeable friend attains to the meeting of the beloved and desired one, a fire is enkindled from the radiance of the beauty of the beloved and the heat of the heart of the lover, which consumes all coverings and veils.
Nay, whatever is with him, even marrow and skin, will thereby be burnt, and naught remain except the friend.
'When the attributes of the Ancient One became manifest, then the Interlocutor (Moses) consumed the attributes of all things accidental.'
In this station the one who has attained is sanctified from all that pertaineth to the world.
If, therefore, those who have attained to the Sea of Union do not possess any of the limited things of this mortal world: be these things of material belongings or of selfish thoughts: there is no harm in that.
For whatever is possessed by men is confined within its own limits; whereas that which is God's is sanctified (from all limitations).
Much reflection should be bestowed on this explanation in order that the end may become manifest. . . .
This station is that of Poverty, of which it is said, 'Poverty is my glory' (Mohammed).
Many are the meanings and grades of the outward and inward poverty, which I do not deem appropriate to be mentioned in this place, and which I therefore reserve for some other time; if God will, and the Divine Decree may ordain.
It is in this stage that the traces of all things are destroyed in the traveller, and the Beauty of the Face unveils itself from the Orient of the Eternal World, and the meaning of 'Everything is mortal save the Face of God' becomes manifest.
Hearken to the melodies of the Spirit with all
thy heart and soul, and preserve them as the sight of thine eyes; for the Divine Enlightenments will not always flow, like the vernal rain, upon the soil of human hearts.
Although the bounty of the Bountiful One is continual and free from interruption; yet for every time and age a certain portion is determined and a certain benefit is ordained; and these are bestowed (on men) according to a certain quantity and measure.
'There is no thing but the storehouses thereof are in Our Hands, and we distribute not the same save in a determinate measure' (Koran).
The cloud of the Mercy of the Beloved One will pour down only on the Garden of the Soul, and it will not bestow this bounty except in times of Spring.
Other seasons have no portion of this mightiest Grace, and barren soils have no share in this Favour.
Not every sea has pearls; not every branch brings forth flowers; nor doth the nightingale sing thereon.
Therefore, so long as the nightingale of the spiritual planting hath not returned to the Divine Rose-Garden, and the Lights of the Spiritual Dawn have not returned to the Sun of Reality;—make an effort.
Perchance in this mortal land thou mayest inhale a fragrance from the Immortal Rose-Garden,
and rest for ever under the shade of the people of this valley (city).
When thou hast reached this lofty, exalted grade and attained to this great station, then wilt thou see the Friend, and forget strangers (i.e. all else save Him).
'The Friend, unveiled, is manifest from every door and wall (everywhere), O ye possessors of Sight!'
Then thou hast abandoned the drop of life and reached the ocean of the Beloved One.
This is the goal which thou hast demanded; God willing, thou mayest attain thereunto.
In this Valley even the veils of Light are rent asunder and vanish.
'To His Beauty there are no veils but Light, and His Face has no covering save manifestation.'
How wonderful that the Well-Beloved is manifest as the sun, while strangers are in search of vanities and riches.
Yea! He is concealed by the intensity of manifestation, and He is hidden by the ardour of Emanation.
`The True One hath become manifest, like unto the shining sun. Pity that He hath come in the city of the blind!'
In this valley the traveller journeys through the stages of 'Oneness of Existence' and of Appearance, and will attain to a Oneness which is sanctified above both these stations."
[paragraph continues] ["The mystic doctrine of the 'Oneness of Existence' is outlined from this formula—'Only God exists; He is in all things, and all things are in Him.'"—Note by Translator.]
"(The condition of) Ecstasy can penetrate this saying, but not controversy nor conflict.
He who hath chosen an abode in this Meeting, or discovered a breeze from this Garden, knoweth what I say.
1In all these journeys the traveller must not deviate . . . but must cling to the hem of obedience to the (Divine) Commandments, and lay firm hold of the rope of shunning things forbidden by the Law. . . .
Although these journeys have no visible termination in the world of time, yet, if the Invisible Assistance vouchsafe a devoted traveller (lit. one severed from all else save God), and if the Guardian of the Command (i.e. the manifestation of God) help him, he will traverse these seven stages in only seven steps; nay, in seven breaths; nay, even in one breath (a moment) if God will or desire. 'This is through His Bounty to whomsoever He willeth.'
Those who soar in the sky of Oneness, and who have attained to the Sea of Abstraction, have accounted this station, which is the station in this city of Immortality in God, to be the ultimate destination of the Arif—(one who is intimate with
highest mystic thought)—and the ultimate home of the Lovers.
But, to this humble (nit of the Sea of Significances, this station is only the first city-wall of the heart; that is, the first arrival of man at the City of the Heart.
Four stages have been assigned to the heart, of which we will make mention. There will be found those who are intimate with such mysteries.
'When the pen reached the point of describing this state, the pen broke and the paper was torn.'
This gazelle of the desert of Oneness is chased by many hounds, and this nightingale of the Garden of Eternity is followed by many beaks; the crow of oppression is lain in ambush for this bird of the Sky of Divinity, and this prey of the Wilderness of Love is pursued by the hunter of jealousy.
Make an effort; perchance it may, as a globe, protect this lamp from contrary winds; although it is the hope of this lamp to shine in the Divine Glass and to be ablaze in the Ideal Niche.
For a neck which is lifted in the Love of God, will certainly be severed by a sword; a head which is raised in Love will assuredly blown by the winds; and the heart which is linked to the commemoration of the Beloved will certainly be full of grief.
How well it is said (by the poet):
Peace be upon those who follow Guidance.
If thou hearest the melodies of this mortal bird, thou wilt seek after the Immortal Ever- lasting Chalice, and abandon the mortal and transient cups.
Peace be upon those who follow Guidance.
Here is the End of the 'Seven Valleys.'"
Before we leave them for this present time, we will transcribe a note which runs:
"The three stages of Sufi life are as follows:
I. Shariat, i.e. Religious Laws; or religious life.
II. Tari-Kat, i.e. Travelling in Search of Truth; by finding the Perfect Man who embodies it, and guides men to it. This stage also includes 'hermit' life.
III. Hakirat, i.e. Truth; to attain to which, according to Sufis, depends upon passing through the two preceding stages.
Here Baha‘u‘llah teaches that, contrary to what some Sufis teach or believe, the laws of religion
must be the guide even when man has attained the Truth; for Truth itself is embodied in the laws of religion. To abandon the laws in any stage of development would be sheer antinomianism and therefore a great error."
(This note refers to the text above, concerning the error of deviation from commandment.)
Here, too (since they are added to the script of "The Seven Valleys"), we may appropriately place these sayings:
"Empty thyself from that which is caused by thy desire (or lust); then advance towards thy Master.
Purify thyself from all else save Him, so that thou mayest sacrifice thy soul in His Love.
Abstain from the Presence of the True One, if the attributes of the world still remain in thee.
Thank thy Lord on His earth, so that He may thank (bless) thee in His Heaven; although, in the world of Oneness, Heaven is identical with His earth.
Renounce from thyself the limited veils, so that thou mayest know that which thou hast not known of the Stations of Sanctity."
Peace be upon those who follow Guidance.
81:1 See Note at end.