A passage from Secret of Divine Civilization

Jul 2017
359
Kettering, Ohio USA
Sen,

"selfish passions" instead of "desire" at the beginning of that paragraph certainly makes the point to Walrus that this is not about the Valley of Love.
 
Jun 2014
1,122
Wisconsin
I don't understand the Seven Valleys. I don't know of anyone who has been in such a state as described here:
I know of those whom that state describes: Zealots.

I think you are making a fundamental mistake in thinking that each of the Seven Valleys describe things that are wholly virtuous (for lack of a better term) states of mind.

Seven Valleys is, essentially, in part a commentary on the poet Attar's Conference of the Birds, which also describes the Seven Valleys as a concept. Attar's text, perhaps more obviously, mentions perils in each of the Valleys that might hinder a person's spiritual growth. As an example, Attar mentions that when wandering the Valley of Knowledge one needs to be detached from one's ego. If spiritually detached, one finds God in this Valley. If egocentric, one finds the Idol in this Valley.

The Valley of Love shouldn't be seen as a wholly virtuous state of mind, it is a step on the path to enlightenment and knowledge of God. It describes the state of mind of one who has found Love and has become totally overwhelmed by the emotions that such a thing brings, and who is not in control of their self due to those emotions overwhelming their reasonable side.

This state of mind has boons: A wayfarer of the Valley of Love would gladly die for the sake of another.

But it also has dangers: A wayfarer of the Valley of Love would gladly kill for the sake of another as well. Baha'u'llah says that all bloodshed in the world is the cause of the action of Lovers. Are you sure 'Abdu'l-Baha wouldn't find aspects of this Valley objectionable?? "Know that every redness in the world is from his anger" (Baha'u'llah, underline for emphasis is mine)

This Valley I find a mixed bag. It has elements of it that are beautiful, and elements of it that are horrifying.

But both Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha are speaking of the same thing, they are speaking of desire overwhelming reason and rationality. The only difference I can see is that, perhaps, Baha'u'llah is specifically speaking of the desire for God (though other aspects of his writing makes me think that the Valley of Love could apply to other desires too, since the "Love" the book is talking about is the source of all worldly bloodshed, by Baha'u'llah's own testimony).

This is why Baha'u'llah describes this stage in terms of insanity, comparing it to story of Majnun (whose name means literally "Madman") and mentions it burning or swallowing reason and rationality. This is also why Baha'u'llah describes entering the Valley of Knowledge (a state of mind where reason has taken back control of the human mind from emotion), as an "escape" from "claws of the eagle of love".

I don't think one should mistake the idea of the Seven Valleys as each being a wholly good thing. In one sense, they are all good because each moves us towards true oneness with the Will of God, but each is not a place we want to end up stuck in, and each has its unique perils.

The Valley of Seek, at its worse, is the base animal nature of man, at its best the Seeker may discover God in the most unlikely of places.
The Valley of Love is, at its worse, fanatical and violent by nature, at its best it is self-sacrificing, protecting, and nurturing.
The Valley of Knowledge, at its worse, becomes distracted by one's own ideas, at its best it receives true divine inspiration.
As for the further Valleys, I don't feel qualified to try to parse their perils and virtues.

I know I have never offered a hundred lives in the path of the Loved One.
I think you may be reading a tad too literally there. Have you ever had a moment where your emotions, even well-intentioned emotions, have caused you to act in a way that you rationally shouldn't have acted, and have as a result caused harm (of any sort) to another person??

I think most people can relate to that notion. That's a bit of the Valley of Love, for however long or brief such a state of mind may be. Now picture being stuck in that mindset of emotion overwhelming reason for a length of time, and you can see how violence and bloodshed, "redness" and "poison", might result from your actions in that state.

Luckily, for many of us, this state of mind doesn't last long enough to do serious harm on the scale that the Valley of Love may describe, but I think the majority of us all probably know of this Valley, and have had experiences in it.