Bahá'u'lláh wrote two books each of which he called The Seven Valleys.
They were revealed at the request of an Islamic philosopher, one of the
Sufis. This man was attracted to the Cause when Bahá'u'lláh was living at
Somereh. He asked Baha'Ullah many questions and many epistles were
revealed in reply to these questions. The Persian Seven Valleys has been
translated into English. It is the untranslated Arabic one which I will
explain to you.
The title of this book is The Seven Cities. It describes the spiritual
journey of those who wish to approach God. It begins in this way:
"O thou traveler in the path of justice! O ye who are gazing toward the
beauty of God! Your letter has been received. I carefully read your
questions and heard the melodies which emanated from the tabernacle of your
heart. The clouds of the will of God are rising that the rain of wisdom
may shower upon you and wash away that which you have received from
others." That is to say, you will be purified from previous ideas and
inclinations and prejudices; your attitude will be changed and you will be
led to the oneness of the mind of God and guided to the holy law of God in
order that you may drink from this eternal river and your soul may become
tranquil, your thirst may be quenched, your heart be made ready and you may
become one of those who are lighted by the illumination of God.
If the traveler wishes to accomplish this journey and attain to the
mysteries of God and pass through all these stages of God he must first of
all enter into the City of Investigation. When he enters this city of
Search or Investigation he must sever himself from everything but God. He
must become selfless and lose his will in the will of God, must pass over
everything which is in earth and heaven. There must be in his heart no
hatred of anyone neither especially attachment to anyone. That is to say,
he must love all humanity impartially, not having special love for special
people since this love or hatred might prevent him from attaining to
Another thing which is incumbent upon the traveler is that he should purify
himself from pride, selfishness and ambition. He must never show any sign
of selfishness; he must not be proud of his education, his property or
position. When he has characterized himself with these attributes he will
then arrive at the City of the Investigation of God. All that he asks[,]
God will there make manifest and will show to him His many paths. God will
make His illumined path clear to him for He says: "Those who are
endeavoring to find us and are searching after Us according to the
aforementioned conditions, it will be Our intention to make Ourself known
The traveler who starts out upon this journey will see many changes along
the way. The wonders of God and the mysteries of creation will become
manifest to him and he will be informed concerning the path of God and the
path of guidance. This is the first city, the City of Search and
Investigation, and the requirement for this city is perfect
severance--severance from all save God.
If we become purified from love and hatred then we enter into the City of Love.
In this place the divine zephyrs of God will waft upon the traveler; his
heart will become filled with the love of God to such an extent that he
will completely forget his personal self and will know nothing save God.
He will entirely forget himself and his own personality. Sometimes he is
grieving because of separation and is burning and blazing with the fire of
supplication. Sometimes he is joyous and happy. Sometimes he is grieving;
sometimes discouraged and restless; sometimes perplexed and agitated. He
is anxiously awaiting his especial command from God--waiting with all his
heart and soul--that he may sacrifice his soul and body in the path of God.
If we greatly persecute him he will take it with utmost joy and happiness.
He will live in such a state that he will kiss the hands of his
executioners, and is ever ready to sacrifice his life and property in the
path of God. If he be thrown headlong into the fire he will be cold; if
drowned in the ocean he will be dry. This is the station of the love of
God. These are the attributes of the one who has attained to the City of
Search and has entered into the City of Love.
Question: "Will not the traveler have a definite object, in the
Manifestation of God as the object of his love?"
Answer: Some persons pass rapidly through these seven valleys. He who
searches for Truth, who longs to know right from wrong, seeks to find God's
Manifestation for he realizes his inability to understand God's Essence.
He knows there can be no salvation without the Manifestation of God. He
wishes to find the mystery of Manifestation, to grasp the Center of Lights.
Then he becomes a lover of Truth.
The third city is the City of Divine Oneness. When man's heart becomes
filled with love then he sees oneness; he does not see differences. He
sees that all things and all objects are looking toward one center. He
sees unity among mankind. He sees unity among the Manifestations of God.
He sees unity and amity among the friends of God and he sees one underlying
principle of unity in the teachings of God. He sees nothing but union in
union; he does not see differences. He gazes upon everything in existence
with respect and homage because he considers all as existing in God, as
signs of Divinity. He sees the rays of the Manifestation of God enveloping
all the world of existence. He is never haughty toward anyone. He never
magnifies himself. At every instant he feels himself living by the power
of the Almighty God. He does not wish for himself what he does not wish
for others. He does not say to others what he does not wish said to
himself. This is the station of oneness. Such persons are sailing in the
ark of guidance. The rays of the beauty of God are manifest in their faces
and we can inhale the fragrances of God from their words. These are the
characteristics of those who have attained to this city.
After the third valley, the valley of Oneness, there comes the valley of
Amazement and Surprize. When man reaches this stage he is filled with
wonder at the world of God. He is submerged in the world of God, is
unconscious of himself. This is the state of amazement.
There were in Acca a large number of people who were amazed because of the
beauty of the Beloved (which Baha'Ullah revealed to them.) They would get
up three hours before dawn and would walk around the house of Baha'Ullah
many times. Then, when the time for the meeting arrived, Baha'Ullah would
call them in and talk with them. They were like lovers who were lost in
the beauty of God the Beloved. They were amazed. There are people now who
have attained to this station.
After this stage there comes the City of Selflessness. In this city man
dies in the will of God. That is, his selfish personality dies away. He
forgets himself, forgets his body and soul and swims in the ocean of
selflessness. He becomes unconscious of himself, of his personal
existence. His Holiness Baha'Ullah states that the mysteries of this city
of selflessness are myriad for this is the city of the evanescence of the
lover in the Beloved. When we reach the city of selflessness then the
beauty of the Beloved becomes manifest to us. Unless we are selfless we
cannot see that reality. If self is forgotten then reality will take the
place of self.
After this city or valley comes the City of Immortality, where the traveler
forgets his will. He wishes only what God wishes. The attributes of God
will clearly appear within him. His life will become a divine life.
VII. THE UNSEEN
After the station of Immortality comes the station of the Unseen, or of
Invisibility. His Holiness Baha'Ullah says that this invisible city is an
unfathomable and limitless ocean. This is the world of the Divine
Attributes. The Sun of the Unseen dawns from this Dawning-Place of
Invisibility. Baha'Ullah says that this is a vast city and very few have
entered this city; and no one knows anything about this city of the Unseen
save the Manifestations of God and God Himself.
Everyone enters into the valley of Search and Investigation, because if we
do not arise for the investigation of God we will never reach God, will
know nothing of His attributes. If we do not arise for the search of
Divinity we will know nothing about Divinity; unless we are thirsty we will
not appreciate water. The more we desire to know Truth the sooner we will
arrive at reality. Those who are thirstiest will most appreciate water.
One can easily tell the denizens of each city. One can easily tell that
such a man is in the first city; another man has entered the city of love;
another is passing into the city of oneness, and one can easily see that
some people are confounded and amazed.
Some even travel through the city of Amazement and enter the city of
Selflessness. Those people have annihilated their will in the will of the
Glory of God. They are martyrs; they are living, and walking about, but
they are really martyrs. This is what is called the City of Selflessness,
and this can easily be recognized and discerned. Some have traversed this
station and have reached the station of immortality.
Baha'Ullah says that the traveler will have a test in each city. If he
does not pass that test he must go back to the first stage. It is
difficult to overcome these tests which are in our way, yet, in order to
progress we must conquer our selfishness and pride. All these cities are
very difficult; but the first is the most difficult--to become
characterized with the first conditions. The condition for the first city
is severance, that is, severance from everything except the love of God.