The Fourth Valley
If the mystic knowers be of those who have reached to the beauty of the
Beloved One (Mahbub), this station is the apex of consciousness and the
secret of divine guidance. This is the center of the mystery: He doth
what He willeth, ordaineth what He pleaseth.(115)
Were all the denizens of earth and heaven to unravel this shining
allusion, this darksome riddle, until the Day when the Trumpet soundeth,
yet would they fail to comprehend even a letter thereof, for this is the
station of God's immutable decree, His foreordained mystery. Hence, when
searchers inquired of this, He made reply, This is a bottomless sea which
none shall ever fathom.(116) And they asked again, and He answered, It
is the blackest of nights through which none can find his way.
Whoso knoweth this secret will assuredly hide it, and were he to reveal
but its faintest trace they would nail him to the cross. Yet, by the
Living God, were there any true seeker, I would divulge it to him; for
they have said: Love is a light that never dwelleth in a heart possessed
Verily, the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, unto the Crimson Pillar in
the snow-white path, will never reach unto his heavenly goal unless he
abandoneth all that men possess: And if he feareth not God, God will make
him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God.(117)
Speak in the Persian tongue, though the Arab please thee more;
A lover hath many a tongue at his command.(118)
How sweet is this couplet which revealeth such a truth:
See, our hearts come open like shells, when He raineth grace like
And our lives are ready targets, when agony's arrows He hurls.
And were it not contrary to the Law of the Book, I would verily bequeath a
part of My possessions to the one who would put Me to death, and I would
name him My heir; yea, I would bestow upon him a portion, would render him
thanks, would seek to refresh Mine eyes with the touch of his hand. But
what can I do? I have no possessions, no power, and this is what God hath
Methinks at this moment, I catch the fragrance of His garment(120) blowing
from the Egypt of Baha;(121) verily He seemeth near at hand, though men
may think Him far away.(122) My soul doth smell the perfume shed by the
Beloved One; My sense is filled with the fragrance of My dear Companion.
The duty of long years of love obey
And tell the tale of happy days gone by,
That land and sky may laugh aloud today,
And it may gladden mind and heart and eye.(123)
This is the realm of full awareness, of utter self-effacement. Even love
is no pathway to this region, and longing hath no dwelling here; wherefore
is it said, Love is a veil betwixt the lover and the beloved. Here love
becometh an obstruction and a barrier, and all else save Him is but a
curtain. The wise Sana'i hath written:
Never the covetous heart shall come to the stealer of hearts,
Never the shrouded soul unite with beauty's rose.
For this is the realm of Absolute Command and is free of all the
attributes of earth.
The exalted dwellers in this mansion do wield divine authority in the
court of rapture, with utter gladness, and they do bear a kingly sceptre.
On the high seats of justice, they issue their commands, and they send
down gifts according to each man's deserving. Those who drink of this cup
abide in the high bowers of splendor above the Throne of the Ancient of
Days, and they sit in the Empyrean of Might within the Lofty Pavilion:
Naught shall they know of sun or piercing cold.(124)
Herein the high heavens are in no conflict with the lowly earth, nor do
they seek to excel it, for this is the land of mercy, not the realm of
distinction. Albeit at every moment these souls appear in a new office,
yet their condition is ever the same. Wherefore of this realm it is
written, No work withholdeth Him from another.(125) And of another state
it is said: Every day doth some new work employ Him.(126) This is the
food whose savor changeth not, whose color altereth not. If thou eatest
thereof, thou shalt verily chant this verse: I turn my face to Him Who
hath created the Heavens and the earth ... I am not one of those who add
gods to God.(127) And thus did we show Abraham the Kingdom of the
Heavens and of the Earth, that He might be established in knowledge.(128)
Wherefore, put thy hand into thy bosom, then stretch it forth with power,
and behold, thou shalt find it a light unto all the world.(129)
How crystal this cool water that the Cup-Bearer bringeth! How bright this
pure wine in the hands of the Beloved! How delicate this draught from the
Heavenly Cup! May it do them good, whoso drink thereof, and taste of its
sweetness and attain to its knowledge.
It is not fitting that I tell thee more,
For the stream's bed cannot hold the sea.(130)
For the mystery of this utterance is hid within the storehouse of the
Great Infallibility(131) and laid up in the treasuries of power. It is
sanctified above the jewels of explanation; it is beyond what the most
subtle of tongues can tell.
Astonishment here is highly prized, and utter poverty essential. Wherefore
hath it been said, Poverty is My pride.(132) And again: God hath a
people beneath the dome of glory, whom He hideth in the clothing of
radiant poverty.(133) These are they who see with His eyes, hear with His
ears, as it is written in the well-known tradition.
Concerning this realm, there is many a tradition and many a verse, of
broad or special relevancy, but two of these will suffice to serve as a
light for men of mind and heart.
The first is His statement: O My Servant! Obey Me and I shall make thee
like unto Myself. I say 'Be,' and it is, and thou shalt say 'Be,' and it
And the second: O Son of Adam! Seek fellowship with none until thou hast
found Me, and whenever thou shalt long for Me, thou shalt find Me close to
Whatever high proofs and wondrous allusions are recounted herein, concern
but a single Letter, a single Point. Such hath been the way of God ...
and no change canst thou find in the way of God.(134)
I began this epistle some time ago, in thy remembrance, and since thy
letter had not reached me then, I began with some words of reproach. Now,
thy new missive hath dispelled that feeling and causeth Me to write thee.
To speak of My love for thine Eminence is needless. God is a sufficient
witness!(135) For his Eminence Shaykh Muhammad--May God the Exalted bless
him!--I shall confine Myself to the two following verses which I request be
delivered to him:
I seek thy nearness, dearer than sweet Heaven;
I see thy visage, fairer than Paradise bowers.(136)
When I entrusted this message of love to My pen, it refused the burden,
and it swooned away. Then coming to itself, it spoke and said, Glory be
to Thee! To Thee do I turn in penitence, and I am the first of them that
believe.(137) Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds!
Let us tell, some other day
This parting hurt and woe;
Let us write, some other way,
Love's secrets--better so.
Leave blood and noise and all of these,
And say no more of Shams-i-Tabriz.(138)
Peace be upon thee, and upon those who circle around thee and attain thy
What I had written ere this hath been eaten by the flies, so sweet was the
ink. As Sa'di saith: I shall forbear from writing any longer, for my
sweet words have drawn the flies about me.
And now the hand can write no more, and pleadeth that this is enough.
Wherefore do I say, Far be the glory of thy Lord, the Lord of all
greatness, from what they affirm of Him.(139)
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