The Valley Of Knowledge





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.



Split the atom's heart, and lo!

Within it thou wilt find a sun.(20)



The wayfarer in this Valley seeth in the fashionings of the True One

nothing save clear providence, and at every moment saith: No defect canst

thou see in the creation of the God of Mercy: Repeat the gaze: Seest thou

a single flaw?(21) He beholdeth justice in injustice, and in justice,

grace. In ignorance he findeth many a knowledge hidden, and in knowledge a

myriad wisdoms manifest. He breaketh the cage of the body and the

passions, and consorteth with the people of the immortal realm. He

mounteth on the ladders of inner truth and hasteneth to the heaven of

inner significance. He rideth in the ark of we shall show them our signs

in the regions and in themselves,(22) and journeyeth over the sea of

until it become plain to them that (this Book) is the truth.(23) And if

he meeteth with injustice he shall have patience, and if he cometh upon

wrath he shall manifest love.



There was once a lover who had sighed for long years in separation from

his beloved, and wasted in the fire of remoteness. From the rule of love,

his heart was empty of patience, and his body weary of his spirit; he

reckoned life without her as a mockery, and time consumed him away. How

many a day he found no rest in longing for her; how many a night the pain

of her kept him from sleep; his body was worn to a sigh, his heart's wound

had turned him to a cry of sorrow. He had given a thousand lives for one

taste of the cup of her presence, but it availed him not. The doctors knew

no cure for him, and companions avoided his company; yea, physicians have

no medicine for one sick of love, unless the favor of the beloved one

deliver him.



At last, the tree of his longing yielded the fruit of despair, and the

fire of his hope fell to ashes. Then one night he could live no more, and

he went out of his house and made for the marketplace. On a sudden, a

watchman followed after him. He broke into a run, with the watchman

following; then other watchmen came together, and barred every passage to

the weary one. And the wretched one cried from his heart, and ran here and

there, and moaned to himself: Surely this watchman is Izra'il, my angel

of death, following so fast upon me; or he is a tyrant of men, seeking to

harm me. His feet carried him on, the one bleeding with the arrow of

love, and his heart lamented. Then he came to a garden wall, and with

untold pain he scaled it, for it proved very high; and forgetting his

life, he threw himself down to the garden.



And there he beheld his beloved with a lamp in her hand, searching for a

ring she had lost. When the heart-surrendered lover looked on his

ravishing love, he drew a great breath and raised up his hands in prayer,

crying: O God! Give Thou glory to the watchman, and riches and long life.

For the watchman was Gabriel, guiding this poor one; or he was Israfil,

bringing life to this wretched one!



Indeed, his words were true, for he had found many a secret justice in

this seeming tyranny of the watchman, and seen how many a mercy lay hid

behind the veil. Out of wrath, the guard had led him who was athirst in

love's desert to the sea of his loved one, and lit up the dark night of

absence with the light of reunion. He had driven one who was afar, into

the garden of nearness, had guided an ailing soul to the heart's

physician.



Now if the lover could have looked ahead, he would have blessed the

watchman at the start, and prayed on his behalf, and he would have seen

that tyranny as justice; but since the end was veiled to him, he moaned

and made his plaint in the beginning. Yet those who journey in the garden

land of knowledge, because they see the end in the beginning, see peace in

war and friendliness in anger.



Such is the state of the wayfarers in this Valley; but the people of the

Valleys above this see the end and the beginning as one; nay, they see

neither beginning nor end, and witness neither first nor last.(24) Nay

rather, the denizens of the undying city, who dwell in the green garden

land, see not even neither first nor last; they fly from all that is

first, and repulse all that is last. For these have passed over the worlds

of names, and fled beyond the worlds of attributes as swift as lightning.

Thus is it said: Absolute Unity excludeth all attributes.(25) And they

have made their dwelling-place in the shadow of the Essence.



Wherefore, relevant to this, Khajih 'Abdu'llah(26)--may God the Most High

sanctify his beloved spirit--hath made a subtle point and spoken an

eloquent word as to the meaning of Guide Thou us on the straight

path,(27) which is: Show us the right way, that is, honor us with the

love of Thine Essence, that we may be freed from turning toward ourselves

and toward all else save Thee, and may become wholly Thine, and know only

Thee, and see only Thee, and think of none save Thee.



Nay, these even mount above this station, wherefore it is said:



Love is a veil betwixt the lover and the loved one;

More than this I am not permitted to tell.(28)



At this hour the morn of knowledge hath arisen and the lamps of wayfaring

and wandering are quenched.(29)



Veiled from this was Moses

Though all strength and light;

Then thou who hast no wings at all,

Attempt not flight.(30)



If thou be a man of communion and prayer, soar up on the wings of

assistance from Holy Souls, that thou mayest behold the mysteries of the

Friend and attain to the lights of the Beloved, Verily, we are from God

and to Him shall we return.(31)



After passing through the Valley of knowledge, which is the last plane of

limitation, the wayfarer cometh to





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