It is related that one day they came upon Majnun sifting the dust, and his tears flowing down. They said, "What doest thou?" He said, "I seek for Layli." They cried, "Alas for thee! Layli is of pure spirit, and thou seekest her in the dust!" He said, "I seek her everywhere; haply somewhere I shall find her."
(Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 6)

Who is Layli and why do we seek her?

What is a Seeking Layli Event?

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Layli 1 Seekers 0

He sendeth down the rain from Heaven: then flow the torrents in their due measure, and the flood beareth along a swelling foam. (The Qur'an (Rodwell tr)
As the day approached we had such high hopes. Many of us, with no real evidence, have a gut feeling that Layli surely lives somewhere amid the forests, cliffs, and wild tundra that run from Liffey up to Pine Lake. With the river running so high would she not be at the waterfall?
But, as the day dawned, the rain was still pouring down. Doubts set in. What exactly is "due measure" and where would the torrents be flowing? Fears were expressed that they'd be flowing gleefully down the dirt track that is the road up from Liffey to the waterfall. The Bureau of Meteorology didn't help with promises of thunderstorms, winds and more rain not to mention vague 'Flood watches' and 'Minor Flood warnings'. The phones hummed and, by mutual consent, the event was informally canceled. One rather glum organiser set off to park as near as possible and warn off anyone who had not heard of the cancellation.
Before you accuse us of cowardice remember the words of God:
And it shall be no crime in you to lay down your arms if rain annoy you, or if ye be sick. The Qur'an (Rodwell tr)
Rain had certainly annoyed us.

However, the organiser found things not as bad as feared. The track was no worse than wet, slippery, pot-holed and dangerous so no problem if taken slowly. Though no Layli seekers were found there were rather a lot of Tasmanians up there seeking a waterfall in spate and who is to say that is not, in its own way, just as spiritual a quest?
And the Liffey was running white:

And the falls were full:
Even the little tributaries which normally trickle drop by drop were miniature waterfalls:
And then a quite place in the moist forest for prayers and and a somewhat lonely picnic.
So the great game of spiritual hide and seek continues. In the title of this post we have recorded a clear win for Layli - we did after all cancel the search. But more by accident than design, the waterfall was visited, prayers were said, the celebratory picnic was eaten. Did we possibly snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat?

And then perhaps the search for Layli is a search which can never succeed. Perhaps it is its own reward. After all what will we do if "haply" somewhere we should find her? Chat about the weather? Ask her what kind of music she likes? Below are two quotes from Baha'u'llah highlighting different aspects of the search for the Divine.

It follows, therefore, that every man hath been, and will continue to be, able of himself to appreciate the Beauty of God, the Glorified. Had he not been endowed with such a capacity, how could he be called to account for his failure? (Baha'u'llah)
Every attempt to attain to an understanding of His inaccessible Reality hath ended in complete bewilderment, and every effort to approach His exalted Self and envisage His Essence hath resulted in hopelessness and failure. (Baha'u'llah)

And heres one that combines both views:
How can I claim to have known Thee, when the entire creation is bewildered by Thy mystery, and how can I confess not to have known Thee, when, lo, the whole universe proclaimeth Thy Presence and testifieth to Thy truth? (Baha'u'llah)

The rules of this game are beyond my simple mind but Baha'u'llah has a recognition even of our confusion.
Ye shall be hindered from loving Me and souls shall be perturbed as they make mention of Me. For minds cannot grasp Me nor hearts contain Me. (Baha'u'llah)

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