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What is the meaning and/or significance of The Four Valleys?

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Nov 19, 2009, 4:30:22 AM11/19/09
I've read The Seven Valleys (English, Gail) hundreds of times over 30
years, and save one paragraph haven't found anything new or novel (in
the sense of not already documented, already known and described by a
myriad of lesser authors). The Four Valleys is entirely opaque to
me. Reading The Seven Valleys as youth I realized the places it was
describing that I hadn't yet seen I could, given time, visit. I mean
they all lie along the same "direction", for a lover the ride just
gets better and it's hard to get lost, there is always "further along
(if you can)" or "go back". But where are The Four Valleys? Further
along? Are they even distinct planes, or just an insight into a four-
fold symmetry of the known ones?

If you have questions, speculation, "me too", ideas, guess, hints,
feedback, commentary, historical background or context, translation or
study notes, a desire to discuss or expand your understanding of
either The Four or Seven Valleys, please post to the newsgroup.
Please don't CC me, I don't read the group but I expect that it will
generate a great discussion and general interest. The level of
scholarship in the group has increased about 1000 fold since I was
moderator, sadly the signal to noise ratio hasn't kept pace.

If you Know, email me, krellboy /at/ gmail /dot/ com, CC the newsgroup
if you like.



Brent Poirier

Nov 26, 2009, 10:27:30 PM11/26/09
I think that the Tablet of Four Valleys teaches tolerance and respect
for the ways others go about their approach to God. It seems to me
that the Four Valleys describes four different ways of seeking. "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." (Baha'u'llah, Prologue to the
Four Valleys; Seven Valleys and Four Valleys, p. 49)

The first way is through knowledge of the self. In addition to what He
says in these pages, Baha'u'llah addresses this subject in the very
first selection in the Gleanings. Poorly summarizing, He says that
the Deity cannot be known directly; then He says that the Deity cannot
be known through the Manifestations: "Nay, forbid it, O my God, that I
should have uttered such words as must of necessity imply the
existence of any direct relationship between the Pen of Thy Revelation
and the essence of all created things. Far, far are They Who are
related to Thee above the conception of such relationship! All
comparisons and likenesses fail to do justice to the Tree of Thy
Revelation, and every way is barred to the comprehension of the
Manifestation of Thy Self and the Day Spring of Thy Beauty."
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 4) He concludes by
writing, "Whatever duty Thou hast prescribed unto Thy servants of
extolling to the utmost Thy majesty and glory is but a token of Thy
grace unto them, that they may be enabled to ascend unto the station
conferred upon their own inmost being, the station of the knowledge of
their own selves." (Gleanings, p. 4) We are unaware of the gems God
has placed within us, within our own inner natures. Somehow, when we
are knowing God, we are knowing our selves. He addresses this same
subject in Gleanings Section XC.

The Second Valley describes those who approach God through the mind --
the "divine, universal mind." The focus is different here, on "the
true standard of knowledge." I am interested to know if 'ilm is used
throughout this valley, or if 'irfan is used. Anyway, the focus is on
knowledge -- not information -- knowledge, the soul's knowledge.

The Third Valley describes those who seek God through love -- love for
others, love for God.

The Fourth Valley He describes as "the apex of consciousness" and as
"the realm of full awareness", and He says of the dwellers of this
Valley, "their condition is ever the same." I have read a statement
where Abdu'l-Baha stated that the Bab told Tahirih that she must
attain to "the invariability of the inner state." I do not understand
much of this valley; it describes a realm that I have little or no
experience with; and I sense that this Valley is greater than the

This Tablet helps me, when I encounter people whose approach to life,
or to consultation, is entirely different from my own, though we be of
the same Faith. I think this Tablet is a universal statement, and
though individuals are small compared to the metes and bounds of
Reality, we can at least know that other realms, other approaches, are
used by others.

I hope this is of some service


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