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The Four Valleys


He is the Strong, the Well-Beloved!

O light of truth, Hisám-i-Dín, the bounteous,
No prince hath the world begot like unto Thee! [Mathnaví of Rúmí]

     I am wondering why the tie of love was so abruptly severed, and the firm covenant of friendship broken. Did ever, God forbid, My devotion lessen, or My deep affection fail, that thou hast thus forgot Me and blotted Me from thy thoughts?

What fault of Mine hath made thee cease thy favors?
Is it that We are lowly and thou of high degree? [Sa'dí, Muslihu'd-Dín of Shíráz (ca. 1184-1291), famed author of the Gulistán and other poetical works.]

Or is that a single arrow hath driven thee from the battle? [Persian proverb describing a man who gives up easily. As used here one connotation is that the Shaykh might have considered his station as a mystic leader compromised by the fact of his being taught the new truth by Bahá'u'lláh.] Have they not told thee that faithfulness is a duty on those who follow the mystic way, that it is the true guide to His Holy Presence? "But as for those who say, `Our Lord is God,' and who go straight to Him, the angels shall descend to them..." [Qur'án 41:30]


     Likewise He saith, "Go straight on then as thou hast been commanded." [Qur'án 11:114; 42:14] Wherefore, this course is incumbent on those who dwell in the presence of God.

I do as bidden, and I bring the message,
Whether it give thee counsel or offense. [Sa'dí]

     Albeit I have received no answer to My letters and it is contrary to the usage of the wise to express My regard anew, yet this new love hath broken all the old rules and ways.

Tell us not the tale of Laylí or of Majnún's woe—
thy love hath made the world forget the loves of long ago.
when once thy name was on the tongue, the lovers caught it
and it set the speakers and the hearers dancing to and fro. [Ibid.]

And of divine wisdom and heavenly counsel, [Rúmí says]:

Each moon, O my beloved, for three days I go mad;
Today's the first of these—'Tis why thou seest me glad.


     We hear that thou hast journeyed to Tabríz and Tiflis to disseminate knowledge, or that some other high purpose hath taken thee to Sanandaj. [fn 8: Senna, capital of Persian Kurdistán.], [fn 9: This preamble to The Four Valleys is written in the finest Persian epistolary style. The rules of classical letter writing in Persian require quotations from literary works, and assertions of abiding love for the one addressed, who is chided for having neglected the writer.]


     O My eminent friend! Those who progress in mystic wayfaring are of four kinds. I shall describe them in brief, that the grades and qualities of each kind may become plain to thee.


pages 47-49

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