February 16, 2012

The Valley of Love -- by Juliet Thompson

The “Seven Valleys” of Baha’u’llah is a letter written by Him to an eminent Sufi, in which the Poet of poets, the supreme Revelator of this day, chooses a theme used in the Islamic middle ages by the Sufi poet, Attar: the seven stages through which the soul must pass in its migration from self to God.

"Not until the whole nature is consumed to the roots," wrote Attar, "can the heart become a casket of rubies to pay the price." Baha’u’llah, in His Seven Valleys, leads us as far as the Valley of Annihilation, in which the fire of love, consuming at last "the whole nature," unites the soul to the Divine Beloved. Then He tells us that even so pure a state as this is "but the first gate to the city of the heart."

The Valley of Love is the second stage in this spiritual journey.

The Sufis' interpretation of the Islamic Religion is, in a sense, Pantheistic, for to them the Essence the Deity Itself permeates all created things and the whole creation is in the process of becoming God. According to the Teachings of Baha’u’llah, the Essence of the Creator is like the sun, which, as 'Abdu'l-Baha explains "does not divide itself into luminous particles" and enter planetary life, but emanates life-giving rays. Thus the soul's relation to its Creator is one of emanation. Our only means of comprehending the Divine Essence is through the great Messenger of God, who are as flaless mirrors reflecting to us His holy Attributes.

Throughout the "Seven Valleys," a delicate ear will hear the call of Baha’u’llah to the Sufis to recognize the Messenger of today.

The traveler in the Valley of Search, when he has "found a trace of the Traceless Friend and inhaled the fragrance of the lost Joseph from the Divine Herald," immediately plunges into the Valley of Love and "is consumed by the fire of love."

He has found the Messenger, has seen for the first time, powerfully reflected, the unclouded Beauty of God. And he has become like a new-born babe in a strange and glorious world.