Chapter 1: Seven Valleys
Man is the only being who is uncommanded. with no orders. He comes into existence empty and then he starts groping for his being. Then he starts groping and creating and searching. Man is an adventure.
But with the adventure is uncertainty, insecurity, failure, fear. One can always go wrong. There is more possibility of going wrong, less possibility of being right. There are a thousand and one ways - which one is the right one? You are always anxious. And whatsoever you choose you choose with uncertainty because you can never be certain whether this path will lead to your goal or will end in a cul-de-sac somewhere - whether it will reach anywhere or will just end in a desert.
Man’s glory is his freedom: that he can create himself, that he can be himself, that nothing is forced on him, that he is open-ended. And man’s misery is because he cannot be certain, can never be certain that he is on the right path, that whatsoever he is doing is meaningful or not.
Man is the only animal who goes mad. He has problems to face, to solve, to grow beyond. This is the first thing I would like you to understand.
There was a great Sufi master - one of the greatest in all the ages - Al-Ghazzali. He says: “On the path of human growth from man to God - from man the potential to man the actual, from possibility to reality - there are seven valleys.” These seven valleys are of immense importance. Try to understand them because you will have to pass through those seven valleys. Everybody has to pass through those seven valleys.
If you understand rightly what to do with a valley you will be able to go beyond it, and you will attain to a peak - because each valley is surrounded by mountains. If you can pass through the valley, if you don’t get entangled in the valley, if you don’t get lost in the valley, if you don’t become too attached to the valley, if you remain aloof, detached, a witness, and if you keep on remembering that this is not your home, that you are a stranger here, and you go on remembering that the peak has to be reached, and you don’t forget the peak - you will reach to the peak. With each valley crossed there is great celebration.
But after each valley you have to enter another valley. This goes on. There are seven valleys. Once you have reached the seventh then there are no more. Then man has attained to his being, he is no longer paradoxical. There is no tension, no anguish. This is what in the past we have called buddhahood. This is what Christians call the state of being a Christ. This is what Jainas call Jinahood - becoming victorious. There are many names, but the basic idea is that unless man becomes God he remains in anxiety. And to become God these seven valleys have to be crossed.