Project Conversion

Project Conversion


Baha’i: Day 3/”The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys”

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I know, I know…I promised that the next post would be about the history and tenets of the Baha’i faith, but I’m reading an essay (many Baha’is might consider it scripture) called The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys written by Baha’u’llah, the central figure of the religion, and I think it’s worth taking a moment to explore. 

Here is an electronic copy of The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys” for your convenience. 

Compact, poetic and pretty awesome.

I won’t give you a full synopsis here (no spoilers here. You’ve got to read it for full impact), however the overall theme of this piece of Baha’i literature is the spiritual journey one takes toward God. As described by Baha’u’llah himself, 

And further: The stages that mark the wayfarer’s journey from the abode of dust to the heavenly homeland are said to be seven. Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities. And they say that until the wayfarer taketh leave of self, and traverseth these stages, he shall never reach to the ocean of nearness and union, nor drink of the peerless wine. 

Project Conversion is in fact a journey with manifold intentions. Sure, its personal. I know little to nothing about these various faiths, so my exploration is in fact due to a great deal of curiosity on a spiritual as well as scholarly level. The other half of my intention is to both bring awareness to each faith through my discoveries and to inspire others to think for themselves and research an issue before forming a conclusion. 

So, where is Project Conversion within the context of The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys? Which valley am I in personally? I think it’s obvious that the answer to both is the first, that of Search. Remember, this is a graduated scale reaching from the ground up; from the dust kicked up by exploration to the settled calm of the Valley of True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness. For one who reaches this goal, they realize the true focus of love and relationship with God. 

I’d love to hear of your journey. Read through the Valleys at the link above. It’s a short work so don’t worry. Which Valley are you in? Or are you about to traverse the mountain between two of them? Maybe you aren’t on the journey at all. Everyone is different, and that’s the spice of life.



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Anonymous

posted February 6, 2011 at 2:09 am


Miles,

Thanks for the invite. My Mentor has some things in store for me with
Baha’i friends of hers so I doubt we’ll make it there. Who knows, maybe
we’ll get the chance to visit later this month!

Enjoy the event!

Andrew



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Anonymous

posted February 5, 2011 at 10:31 am


Allah-u-Abha,

A great description of this journey, no doubt.



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asterias

posted February 5, 2011 at 2:39 am


My favorite passage from the Seven Valleys is the lover longing for his beloved, pursued relentlessly by the watchman. The idea of seeing the end in the beginning is one that I have reflected often on.

In case you don’t know, Baha’u’llah is evoking (and redefining) the idea of a journey through the seven valleys from Farid ud-Din Attar’s 12th century Sufi (epic) poem, The Conference of the Birds.



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Janna

posted February 5, 2011 at 1:01 am


So excited to read about your journey. I’ll be following closely!



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Nomadic Deity

posted February 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm


Which Valley am I in? I would think the Valley of Knowledge… “And if, confirmed by the Creator, the lover escapes from the claws of the eagle of love, he will enter and come out of doubt into certitude, and turn from the darkness of illusion to the guiding light of the fear of God. His inner eyes will open and he will privily converse with his Beloved; he will set ajar the gate of truth and piety, and shut the doors of vain imaginings. He in this station is content with the decree of God, and seeth war as peace, and findeth in death the secrets of everlasting life. With inward and outward eyes he witnesseth the mysteries of resurrection in the realms of creation and the souls of men, and with a pure heart apprehendeth the divine wisdom in the endless Manifestations of God. In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.”

Good luck on your endeavors!



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Anonymous

posted February 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm


It’s very compact and moving indeed.



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Anonymous

posted February 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm


It is indeed a great work!



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Lee

posted February 4, 2011 at 5:52 am


as a visual learner, I got a lot out of creating a summary of the journey in a drawing (lots of visual allusions and metaphors). enjoy!!



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Anonymous

posted February 4, 2011 at 5:20 am


These two small books are my favorite Baha’i scriptures. Baha’u’llah is able to take the main points of Sufi Islamic tradition, and condense it all into a single short volume, without dilluting it in the process. That is a miracle in of itself. This was my nightly reading for Ramadan in August. I figure if I read it fifty more times, maybe I will be able to do a presentation on it, but it still won’t do it justice.



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World Wonderer

posted February 4, 2011 at 4:55 am


It helped me enormously when someone explained that this work was written by Baha’u’llah in response to a Sufi mystic’s query asking how a “Seeker” finds reunion with the “Beloved,” which explains the mystic and poetic features of the writing. I still struggle with some of the allusions. Good luck!



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