What´s that? – Volume 003 Mar 2023

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What is Simurgh?

The Simurgh, also spelled as “Simorgh,” is a mythical bird that appears in Persian mythology, literature, and art. The Simurgh is often depicted as a wise and benevolent creature, sometimes said to possess the knowledge of all the ages.

In Persian literature, the Simurgh plays an important role in the story of “The Conference of the Birds” by the poet Farid ud-Din Attar. In this tale, a group of birds set out on a perilous journey to find their king, the Simurgh, and discover their true identities. Along the way, they face various obstacles and challenges, and ultimately find the Simurgh, who is revealed to be a symbol of their own true selves.

The Simurgh is also a popular motif in Persian art, appearing in miniature paintings, carpets, and other decorative items. The image of the Simurgh is often associated with wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual enlightenment, and is considered a symbol of transcendence and transformation.

Me: Are you familiar with Farid ud-Din Attar – The Conference of the Birds ?

Yes, I am familiar with “The Conference of the Birds” or “Mantiq al-Tayr” in Arabic, which is a celebrated poem written by the Persian poet and philosopher Farid ud-Din Attar. The poem tells the story of a group of birds who embark on a perilous journey to seek out their king, the legendary Simorgh, and undergo various trials and tribulations along the way. It is a classic work of Persian literature and is widely read and studied in many cultures.

Me: There is a talk of seven valleys, please describe them Please write in English language.

The Seven Valleys is a mystical work written by the 19th-century Persian poet and philosopher Bahá’u’lláh, who is considered the founder of the Bahá’í Faith. The Seven Valleys describes the journey of the soul in search of God and the stages of spiritual development that the soul must pass through to reach its ultimate destination.

The seven valleys described in the work are as follows:

  1. The Valley of Search: In this valley, the seeker begins the search for truth and God, and seeks knowledge and understanding.
  2. The Valley of Love: In this valley, the seeker experiences the transformative power of love and devotion to God, which helps to purify the soul.
  3. The Valley of Knowledge: In this valley, the seeker gains knowledge and insight into the mysteries of creation and the nature of God.
  4. The Valley of Unity: In this valley, the seeker experiences the oneness of all things and realizes the unity of God and creation.
  5. The Valley of Contentment: In this valley, the seeker learns to be content with whatever God has decreed for them and finds inner peace and tranquility.
  6. The Valley of Wonderment: In this valley, the seeker is filled with wonder and amazement at the beauty and perfection of God’s creation.
  7. The Valley of True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness: In this final valley, the seeker becomes detached from all worldly desires and attachments and is filled with a sense of humility and nothingness before God, achieving true spiritual poverty.
Me: Philosopher Bahá’u’lláh and philosopher Farid ud-Din Attar compare the 2 descriptione of the seven valleys Please write in English language.

While both Bahá’u’lláh and Farid ud-Din Attar describe the concept of the seven valleys in their respective works, there are some notable differences between their interpretations.

In “The Conference of the Birds,” Attar describes the journey of the birds through seven valleys or stages, each representing a different spiritual obstacle or test that must be overcome in order to reach the ultimate goal of spiritual enlightenment. The seven valleys in Attar’s work are: 1) the valley of the quest, 2) the valley of love, 3) the valley of knowledge, 4) the valley of detachment, 5) the valley of unity, 6) the valley of amazement, and 7) the valley of death and annihilation.

On the other hand, Bahá’u’lláh’s work “The Seven Valleys” describes a similar journey of the soul towards God, but emphasizes different stages and concepts. Bahá’u’lláh’s seven valleys are: 1) the valley of search, 2) the valley of love, 3) the valley of knowledge, 4) the valley of unity, 5) the valley of contentment, 6) the valley of wonderment, and 7) the valley of true poverty and absolute nothingness.

While both works describe the spiritual journey towards God through seven stages, Attar’s work emphasizes the idea of the seeker’s journey through a series of obstacles or tests, while Bahá’u’lláh’s work emphasizes the stages of spiritual development that the seeker must pass through to reach their ultimate destination.

Me: How do you understand the concept of stages being used in the texts above 

In the context of the texts mentioned above, the concept of stages refers to a series of steps or levels that an individual must progress through in order to achieve a certain goal or reach a particular destination. These stages are often described as sequential and progressive, with each stage building upon the previous one and leading towards a higher level of understanding or attainment.

For example, in “The Conference of the Birds” and “The Seven Valleys,” the stages or valleys represent different levels of spiritual development or obstacles that the seeker must overcome in order to achieve enlightenment or reach God. Each stage requires a different level of spiritual growth, understanding, and discipline, and the seeker must pass through each stage in order to progress to the next one.

The concept of stages is often used in spiritual and philosophical texts as a way to map out the journey towards self-realization, enlightenment, or other spiritual goals. It provides a framework for understanding the process of personal transformation and development, and helps individuals to identify where they are in their own spiritual journey and what steps they need to take to continue growing and evolving.