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The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at

The Sixth Valley:

The Valley of Astonishment

He plunges in the sea of grandeur and at every moment his amazement increases.

Now he sees the body of affluence as indigence itself, and the essence of independence as impotence. Now he becomes astonished at the beauty of the All-glorious, and now he loathes his own being.

Many are the trees of Significances uprooted by the blast of astonishment, and many are the souls it exhausted.

For this valley sets the traveller in agitation.

But such appearances are highly beloved and esteemed in the eye of one who has attained.

At every moment he witnesses a wonderful world and a New Creation, he adds astonishment upon astonishment and he becomes dazed at the new creation of the King of Oneness.

If we reflect upon any of the creations we shall

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behold a hundred thousand consummate wisdoms, and learn a hundred thousand knowledges.

One of these is that of Sleep (or dreams): consider what mysteries are deposited therein, what wisdoms are stored therein.

Consider. You sleep in a certain house, the doors of which are closed.

Suddenly you find yourself in a remote city; you enter it without motion of the feet or exhaustion of the body; you see without troubling the eyes; you hear without distressing the ears; and you speak without the use of the tongue.

There are times when it happens that—ten years thereafter—you will witness outwardly in the world what thou hast seen at this night in a dream.

Now there are many wisdoms visible in this dream; but others than the people of this valley cannot comprehend them as they are.

First; what is that world, wherein, without eye, ear, hand or tongue, one realises the purpose of these senses?

Secondly; this day thou seest in the world of reality the effect of a dream which thou hast experienced years ago in the world of dreams.

Reflect upon the differences of these two worlds, and the mysteries deposited therein; so that thou mayest attain unto the confirmations and revelations of the Glorified One, and enter into the World of Holiness.

God, the Exalted, has placed these signs within

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the creatures, so that philosophers may not deny the mysteries of the After Life, and not make light of that whereunto they have been promised.

For some have clung to reason, and deny whatever cannot be grasped by reason; although the feeble reason can never comprehend these same aforesaid conditions, but only the Universal, Supreme Reason (can do so).

'How can finite reason comprehend the Koran? How can a spider hunt a Simurgh?'"

[A "Simurgh"—a griffin; a fabulous bird; the conception of the largest and rarest of birds; mythologically conceived as inhabiting the lofty peaks of Mount Caucasus.]

"All these worlds (i.e. conditions) will present themselves in the Valley of Astonishment, and, at every moment, the traveller seeks for an increase of such, without becoming exhausted.

Hence the 'Lord of those gone by and those who are to come' has said concerning the grades of reflection and the declaration of astonishment—'O Lord! Increase my astonishment in Thee!'

Likewise; ponder over the completeness of the creation of man; all these worlds and all these grades are enveloped and concealed in him.

'Post thou think thy body a small thing, while in thee is enfolded the universe?'

Then an effort is needed that we annihilate the animal condition, in order that the meaning of the human may become manifest.

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Likewise Lokman, who drank from the fount of Wisdom and tasted of the sea of Mercy, in demonstrating the states of resurrection to his son Nathan, gave the dream (or sleep) as a proof, and applied it as an illustration.

We speak of it in this place, so that this humble servant may leave here a mention of that youth of the school of Unity, who was aged in the stages of instruction and abstraction.

He said: 'O Son! if thou be not able to sleep, thou wilt not be able to die; and if thou canst manage to not awake from sleep, thou canst manage to not resurrect after death.'

The heart is a store of divine mysteries.

Make it not a receptacle for mortal thoughts, and consume not the capital of the precious life by occupying yourself with this evanescent world. Thou art of the World of Holiness; attach not thy heart unto the earth.

Thou art a denizen of the Court of Nearness; choose not an earthly home.

In fine, there is no end to mentioning these grades, and this servant has no composure on account of the injuries done by the people of the world.

'This speech remained unfinished and incomplete. I am disheartened and downcast—O forbear!'

The pen laments and the ink weeps, and the river of the heart rolls with waves of blood.

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Naught shall befall us, save that which God hath decreed unto us!

Peace be upon those who follow Guidance.

(The Valley of Astonishment is sometimes translated as The Valley of Perplexity.)

After ascending to the lofty heights of Astonishment the traveller arrives at the Valley of Absolute Poverty and Annihilation.

Next: The Seventh Valley: The Valley of Absolute Poverty and Annihilation