The Four Valleys

"With renunciation, not with grammar’s rules, one must be armed: Be nothing, then, and cross this sea unharmed."

The Four Valleys

The story is told of a mystic knower who went on a journey with a learned grammarian for a companion. They came to the shore of the Sea of Grandeur. The knower, putting his trust in God, straightway flung himself into the waves, but the grammarian stood bewildered and lost in thoughts that were as words traced upon the water. The mystic called out to him, “Why dost thou not follow?” The grammarian answered, “O brother, what can I do? As I dare not advance, I must needs go back again.” Then the mystic cried, “Cast aside what thou hast learned from Síbavayh and Qawlavayh, from Ibn-i-Ḥájib and Ibn-i-Málik, and cross the water!”

With renunciation, not with grammar’s rules, one must be armed:

Be nothing, then, and cross this sea unharmed.
-(The Four Valleys)

Ye have no foe but your own self. Comprehend its nature, O people, and be not of the heedless. In no wise will it be satisfied; when it is fed its flame waxeth, and when deprived, its appetite deepens. “Blessed now is he who has kept it pure” in the name of His Lord, the Omnipotent, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Say, slay it, O people, in my path. This is the true sacrifice for the love of the Merciful. None but the sincere shall understand this.
-(untranslated text: Áthár-i-Qalami-A‘lá 426)

On this plane, the traveller meeteth with many a trial and reverse. Now is he lifted up to heaven, now is he cast into the depths. As it hath been said: “Now Thou drawest me to the throne of the realms above, again Thou scorchest me in the fire of hell.” The hidden mystery of this station is divulged in the following blessed verse from the Súrih of the Cave: “And thou mightest have seen the sun when it arose, pass on the right of their cave, and when it set, leave them on the left, while they were in its spacious chamber. This is one of the signs of God. Guided indeed is he whom God guideth; but for him whom He misleadeth, thou shalt by no means find a guardian and guide.”
-(The Four Valleys)

But the universal divine Intellect, which transcends nature, is the outpouring grace of the pre-existent Power. It encompasses all existing realities and receives its share of the lights and mysteries of God. It is an all-knowing power, not a power of investigation and sensing. The spiritual power associated with the world of nature is the power of investigation, and it is through investigation that it discovers the realities and properties of things. But the heavenly intellectual power, which is beyond nature, encompasses, knows, and comprehends all things; is aware of the divine mysteries, truths, and inner meanings; and discovers the hidden verities of the Kingdom. This divine intellectual power is confined to the holy Manifestations and the Daysprings of prophethood. A ray of this light falls upon the mirrors of the hearts of the righteous, that they may also receive, through the holy Manifestations, a share and benefit of this power.
-(Some Answered Questions 58:4)

In truth, the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, who treadeth the snow-white Path and turneth towards the Crimson Pillar, will never reach his heavenly home unless his hands are empty of such worldly things as are cherished by men. “And he that feareth not God, God shall make him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God.”

Speak the Persian tongue, though the Arabian pleaseth more:

Love indeed doth have a hundred other tongues in store.

How sweet in this connection is the following couplet:

Our hearts will be as open shells

Should He the pearls of grace bestow;

Our lives will ready targets be

Were He to hurl the darts of woe.
-(The Four Valleys)

From these statements therefore it hath been made evident and manifest that should a Soul in the “End that knoweth no end” be made manifest, and arise to proclaim and uphold a Cause which in “the Beginning that hath no beginning” another Soul had proclaimed and upheld, it can be truly declared of Him Who is the Last and of Him Who was the First that they are one and the same, inasmuch as both are the Exponents of one and the same Cause.

This is the seat of the mystery “He doeth what He willeth, and ordaineth what He pleaseth.” Should all that are in heaven and on earth attempt to unravel this exalted allusion and subtle mystery, from now until the Day whereon the Trumpet shall sound, yet would they fail to comprehend even a letter thereof, for this is the station of God’s immutable decree and His foreordained mystery. Hence, when asked regarding this matter, He made reply: “It is a bottomless sea that none shall ever fathom.” And when the question was repeated, He answered: “It is the blackest of nights through which none can find his way.” Whoso comprehendeth this station will assuredly conceal it, and were he to reveal but the faintest trace thereof, they would assuredly hang him from the gallows. And yet, by God, were a true seeker to be found, I would divulge it to him; for He saith: “Love is a distinction never conferred upon a heart possessed by fear and dread.”
-(The Four Valleys)

The significance and essential purpose underlying these words is to reveal and demonstrate unto the pure in heart and the sanctified in spirit that they Who are the Luminaries of truth and the Mirrors reflecting the light of divine Unity, in whatever age and cycle they are sent down from their invisible habitations of ancient glory unto this world, to educate the souls of men and endue with grace all created things, are invariably endowed with an all-compelling power, and invested with invincible sovereignty. For these hidden Gems, these concealed and invisible Treasures, in themselves manifest and vindicate the reality of these holy words: “Verily God doeth whatsoever He willeth, and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth.”

Subscribe for uplifting content.