Last comes the Valley of Poverty and Annihilation. How can one describe this steepest of steep Valleys? The essential features of this valley are forgetfulness, dumbness, deafness and distraction. Here, under a single ray of the spiritual sun, you see countless shadows that surrounded you vanish. When the ocean of immensity begins to ruffle its waves, how can the shapes traced upon its surface endure? Both the worlds are no more than the forms which you see on the surface of the ocean. Whoever dis­putes this statement is labouring under a hallucination. He whose heart is lost in this ocean is lost for ever, and reposes there in peace. In these quiet waters he finds nothing but oblivion. If it be ever permitted to him to return from this oblivion, he will understand what is creation, and many a secret will then be divulged to him. As soon as experienced travellers in the spiritual path and tried men of action entered the realm of love, they went astray at the very first step. Of what use then was talking of this road since none of them was able to take the second step? They were all annihilated at the first step, whether they belonged to the mineral kingdom or were worthy descendants of Adam. Aloes and firewood are both equally reduced to cinders when put on the fire. In appearance they look like one and the same substance, and yet their qualities are quite different. Were an unclean object to fall into an ocean of rosewater, it would still remain impure by reason of its innate qualities. On the other hand, if something pure were to fall into this ocean, it would lose its individual existence and be identified with the motion of the ocean’s waves. Ceasing to exist separately, it would thenceforward remain beautiful. It exists not and yet exists. What is this mystery? It is beyond reason to comprehend.

In this stage of the pilgrim’s journey, the movement of the traveller and the motion of the ocean are the same. He is and he is not. How can that be? Who can explain this mystery? The mind cannot con­ceive it. In order that you may understand it, it is essential that not one hair of self shall remain with you, otherwise the seven hells will be filled with this one hair (one thought of self-consciousness).