The Meaning of Haft Vadi
Persian and Baha'i Connections
The name of the studio, Haft Vadi, means seven valleys in the Persian language. It was named after one of Dharlene and Sheldon Valeda's favorite books, The Seven Valleys by Baha’u'llah. Baha’u'llah is the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, who Baha’is believe is the Manifestation of God for this age, when peace will be established. Although the name of the studio is taken from the Baha'i tradition, the studio has no religious affiliation, and people of all, or no, faith backgrounds are welcome.
The Valley of Search
The valley of search is described as the first step that a seeker must take in his path. Baha’u'lla¡h states that the seeker must cleanse his heart, and not follow the paths of his forefathers. It is explained that ardour, and patience are required to traverse this valley.
The Valley of Love
The next valley is the “Valley of Love” and in this valley the seeker is compared to a moth who has found a flame. Baha’u'lla¡h writes that the heart of the seeker is touched, and the seeker has fallen in love with God.
The Valley of Knowledge
The knowledge referred to in this valley is the knowledge of God, and not one based on learning; it is explained that pride in one’s knowledge and accomplishments often disallows one to reach true understanding, which is the knowledge of God. It is explained that the seeker, when in this valley, begins to understand the mysteries contained within God’s revelation, and finds wisdom in all things including when faced with pain and hardship, which he understands to be God’s mercy and blessing. This valley is called the last limited valley.
The Valley of Unity
The next stage is the valley of unity, and it is explained that the seeker now sees creation not by its limitations, but sees the attributes of God in all created things. The seeker, it is written, is detached from earthly things, is not concerned with his own self and has no ego; instead he praises God for all of creation.
The Valley of Contentment
The next valley for the seeker is the valley of contentment, where it is explained, that the seeker becomes independent from all things, and even though he may look poor or is subjected to suffering, he will be endowed with wealth and power from the spiritual worlds and will inwardly be happy. Happiness is explained to be the attribute of the true believer, and it cannot be achieved by obtaining material things, since material things are transitory.
The Valley of Wonderment
In the valley of wonderment the seeker, it is written, is struck dumb by the beauty of God; the seeker becomes conscious of the vastness and enormity of creation, and discovers the inner mysteries of God’s revelation. Being led from one mystery of creation to the next, it is explained that the seeker continues to be astonished by the works of God.
The Valley of True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness
The final valley is the valley of true poverty and absolute nothingness and it is the furthermost state that the mystic can reach. The seeker, it is explained is poor of all material things, and is rich in spiritual attributes. It is explained that it is the state of annihilation of self in God, but not an existential union: the essences of God’s self and the mystic’s self remain distinct, in contrast to what appears to be a complete union in other traditions.