Just heard of this wonderful piece of Sufi literature..and hence sharing. Amazing conclusions of the book (see highlighted)..
"To Know Your Self is to Know God" (man 'arafa nafsahu faqad 'arafa Rabbahu) -Hadith
We are the birds in the story. All of us have our own ideas and ideals, our own fears and anxieties, as we hold on to our own version of the truth. Like the birds of this story, we may take flight together, but the journey itself will be different for each of us. Attar tells us that truth is not static, and that we each tread a path according to our own capacity. It evolves as we evolve. Those who are trapped within their own dogma, clinging to hardened beliefs or faith, are deprived of the journey toward the unfathomable Divine, which Attar calls the Great Ocean
The seven valleys (see listed below) reminded me of the 7 Chakras of the yoga practice which needs to be opened for enlightenment.
In Bible, the book of Revelation speaks of seven seals being opened prior to the return of Jesus Christ to earth
The Conference of the Birds (Persian: Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr, 1177), is a celebrated literary masterpiece of Persian literature by poet Farid ud-Din Attar, commonly known as Attar of Nishapur. The title, which is in Arabic, is taken directly from the Quran, 27:16, where Sulayman (Solomon) and Dāwūd (David) are said to have been taught the language, or speech, of the birds (Manṭiq Al-ṭayr).
In the poem, the birds of the world gather to decide who is to be their sovereign, as they have none. The Hoopoe, the wisest of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary Simorgh. The Hoopoe leads the birds, each of whom represents a human fault which prevents human kind from attaining enlightenment.
The Hoopoe tells the birds that they have to cross seven valleys in order to reach the abode of Simorgh. These valleys are as follows
1. Valley of the Quest, where the Wayfarer begins by casting aside all dogma, belief, and unbelief.
2. Valley of Love, where reason is abandoned for the sake of love.
3. Valley of Knowledge, where worldly knowledge becomes utterly useless.
4. Valley of Detachment, where all desires and attachments to the world are given up. Here, what is assumed to be “reality” vanishes.
5. Valley of Unity, where the Wayfarer realizes that everything is connected and that the Beloved is beyond everything, including harmony, multiplicity, and eternity.
6. Valley of Wonderment, where, entranced by the beauty of the Beloved, the Wayfarer becomes perplexed and, steeped in awe, finds that he or she has never known or understood anything.
7. Valley of Poverty and Annihilation, where the self disappears into the universe and the Wayfarer becomes timeless, existing in both the past and the future.
"When the birds hear the description of these valleys, they bow their heads in distress; some even die of fright right then and there. But despite their trepidations, they begin the great journey. On the way, many perish of thirst, heat or illness, while others fall prey to wild beasts, panic, and violence. Finally, only thirty birds make it to the abode of Simorgh. In the end, the birds learn that they themselves are the Simorgh; the name “Simorgh” in Persian means thirty (si) birds (morgh). They eventually come to understand that the majesty of that Beloved is like the sun that can be seen reflected in a mirror. Yet, whoever looks into that mirror will also behold his or her own image