Shoghi Effendi tells us that The Seven Valleys is Baha’u’llah’s greatest mystical work, “which He wrote in answer to the questions of Shaykh Muhyi’d-Din, the Qadi [judge] of Khaniqayn, in which He describes the seven stages which the soul of the seeker must needs traverse ere it can attain the object of its existence.” A testament to the power of Baha’u’llah’s revealed words are their profound impact and effect – even if you are reading His words in a translated language and have no knowledge of its historical or literary context. However, I thought I would write a bit about the historical and literary context of The Seven Valleys so that I could better understand what makes it Baha’u’llah’s greatest mystical work. Continue reading
Even though, as Abdu’l-Baha says, “Every soul is fashioned after the nature of God, each being pure and holy at birth”, as soon as we are born we enter the realm of opposing forces and a lifelong spiritual journey becomes necessary to draw out the virtues and spiritual qualities within us so we can develop more fully our inner nature and potential.
This vital spiritual quest might be thought of as a process of “soul-making,” or what the English poet John Keats says we, as “sparks of the divinity”, undergo in this “World of Pains and troubles” in order “to school an Intelligence and make it a soul.” It is what English teacher and Jungian analyst Marion Woodman says happens “when time meets the timeless” as we constantly confront “the paradox that an eternal being is dwelling in a temporal body.” Soul-making is all about communicating deeply with the inner realm, being fully awake and aware as the numinous bursts forth from the unconscious; it is about experiencing the universals of life. Continue reading