07 July 2009

A Compass Rose for the Path of Faith

At last, the tree of his longing yielded the fruit of despair, and the fire of his hope fell to ashes.

The Seven Valleys, p. 13

A lover feareth nothing and no harm can come nigh him: Thou seest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea.

The Seven Valleys, p. 9

Blessed are the steadfastly enduring, they that are patient under ills and hardships, who lament not over anything that befalleth them, and who tread the path of resignation....

Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 129

THE essence of these words is this: they that tread the path of faith, they that thirst for the wine of certitude, must cleanse themselves of all that is earthly -- their ears from idle talk, their minds from vain imaginings, their hearts from worldly affections, their eyes from that which perisheth.

Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 3


  1. I will have to think about this chart for a while. I find it interesting that you have two kinds of certainty. One for hope and faith and one for fear and resignation. It's like one is real and the other is a vain imagining.

  2. Well, the dual nature of "certainty" is well-documented in the Valley of Knowledge. One is the beginning, one is the end we're meant to see.

    I'm more intrigued by the other axis, the nature of desire and detachment. Both are necessary, each in their own sphere. But if both are needed, then neither is the lack of the other. Is there a name for the place at which desire and detachment balance one another perfectly? Or is such a state even possible? Also, there seem to be a lot of concepts that might be equated with desire, but few with detachment. It's pretty clear that this is the result of a culture that is focused almost exclusively on the various permutations of desire, but it would be interesting to see detachment explored as a more multifaceted quality than simply non-desire.

  3. I don't necessarily see detachment and desire as dichotomous. Desire in the writings is referred to as two different phenomenon, one being the hearkening to selfish pursuits, and one being the hearkening to a higher purpose. I think of desire as the motive for movement, either good or bad. If we pursue our higher purpose, then we are detached from our lower self. In this sense, they are no more separable than truth and love.

  4. And if we pursue our lower purpose, we become increasingly detached from the Divine. But we cannot increase both our desire for the physical world and our detachment from it simultaneously.