Letter to the Editor: The Seven Valleys, a Deepening with Sohrab Kourosh

Now is always a good time to study once again a work by Bahá’u’lláh—in this case His Seven Valleys. In May 2017, just before the commemoration of the ascension of Baháu’lláh, Dr. Sohrab Kourosh gave a Web Talk deepening called “The Seven Valleys of Bahá’u’lláh: Reformation of Mysticism and Outline of Bahá’í Theology.” Dr. Kourosh wrote this about his deepening:

Sohrab's Self Study Notes for the Seven Valleys of Baha'u'llah

The Seven Valleys, characterized by Shoghi Effendi as Bahá’u’lláh’s greatest mystical composition, is generally considered a complex mystical treatise guiding wayfarers in treading the path of spirituality. However, in the Seven Valleys Bahá’u’lláh, while employing mystical language, reformed mysticism by redefining the goal and path of mystical wayfaring and describing many theological concepts and fundamental principles of Bahá’í theology, some of which were unprecedented in the history of religious discourse. In my presentation I will discuss several principles outlined in mystical language in the Seven Valleys (and subsequently developed in the Kitáb-i-Íqán and other writings of Bahá’u’lláh) and provide a methodology for facilitating the study of the Seven Valleys.

What did the many listeners have to say about the talk? Here are some of their comments.

[The] presentation was yet another door opened to learning. The way Dr. Kourosh placed the material in historical and cultural context gave me a glimpse of understanding. I’ve ordered his study guide and look forward to studying the Seven Valleys closely. Is it possible for the Wilmette Institute to host an online, moderated discussion of the Seven Valleys?—BOBBIE KOLEHOUSE, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA

ED. NOTE: This is a wonderful idea, but, to date, we have not found a panel to moderate such a discussion.

Thank you! Having this outstanding presentation on this day just before observing the passing of Bahá’u’lláh! For sure this is an inspirational and mystic experience!—SOHEILA MAHBOUBI

I was interested to read, I think, that the Seven Valleys was written to a Sunní Muslim. I had understood it was to a Shí‘í Muslim. Relative to psychology studies, I wonder if Dr. Kourosh would consider looking at the work of Lawrence Kohlberg and of James Fowler that followed Kohlberg. There seem to be some possible strong parallels. Relative to other texts that dwell on the theme of the Seven Valleys, I wonder if a cross-examination with the Gems of Divine Mysteries details the valleys after the Seventh (briefly the “city of immortality,” a station which “knoweth no bounds,” and “a City that hath no name:) and of which there may be a parallel with “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Commentary on the Qur’anic Verses Concerning the Overthrow of the Byzantines: The Stages of the Soul” by Moojan Momen as posted to http://bahai-library.com/momen_byzantines How does Dr. Kourosh see this? On the other hand, I know some see the Four Valleys as that extension after the Seventh .—STEVEN KOLINS

I enjoyed the seminar and step away knowing that I can still attain a perfect life—LOUNPUEBLO

Awesome.—ROSE LEASK

Such a wonderful explanation of these concepts, the context of which many Westerners such as me, have only a sketchy and incomplete understanding.—BOB JOHNSON

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