From Darkness to Light
THE MASTER SINGER OF LIFE
On the banks of a soft running river There was a village full of people but empty of life. Oh, the sorrow of it!
Many were the tall temples with graven images, Gods moulded after the thought of man, Proud priests, soft of voice, loud in chants, Grave talkers of philosophy, under the cool trees; The cry of burden, the fear of sorrow, Complicated laws of religion, Morality made for others, The strong maintained by the weak. The naked and the clothed walked on the same narrow street, All in strife one against another, Their Gods, their laws and their love.
They called the village the world.
On a fair day, at the meeting of four roads, A man cried, "Listen, O people, There is a corruption, and a strife; The song of your life is impure. The Master Singer of Life Comes to this ancient village; Harken to the harmony of his song."
The jasmine opens its heart to the dark night.
"I am the Master Singer of Life, I have suffered long, I know. Keep pure the song in thy heart, Simple is the way. Be rid of the complexities of Gods, of religions and of beliefs therein. Bind not thy life with rites, with the desire after comfort. Be a lamp unto thyself. Thou shalt not then cast a shadow across the face of another. Life cannot be held in the bondage of fear. Be free, then there shall be the miracle of order. Love life, then there shall be no loneliness. Ah, listen to the voice of my love; I have suffered long, I know. I am free, eternally happy; I am the Master Singer of Life."
Softly falls the rain on the burning land. A few listened and greatly rejoiced. putting aside all things They freed life of all bondage.
"Yea," cried the people, "But how shall we reconcile the beauty of our Gods with thy song? In what manner shall we fit thy sayings into the temples of our creation? Thou art the bringer of confusion. We shall have none of thee, Thou sayest things that we know not, What thou sayest is of the Devil, Away, away."
The Master Singer of Life went on his way, And the people struggled with the problem of reconcilliation.
Once upon a time - which is the way in which all true stories begin - there was a world in which all the people were sick and sad, and yet all of them were seeking to be released from their suffering and to find happiness. In search of this happiness they prayed, they worshipped, they loved and they hated, they married and made wars. They begot children as miserable as themselves and yet they taught those children that happiness was their right and their eventual goal.
Then one day in the midst of this suffering world there rose a whisper, which grew into a shout, that a Great Teacher was coming who, because of his love for the world and because of his wisdom, would bring to those who were suffering, comfort in their sorrow, and would show all the people in the world how they might find the lasting happiness which all were seeking.
And in order to spread widely the glad news of the coming of the Teacher, organizations and societies were formed, and men and women went throughout the world telling of the Teacher who would come. Some prayed to him that he would come more quickly. Some performed ceremonies in order to prepare the world to receive him. Some made profound studies of forgotten times, when other great Teachers had come and taught, so that by this study they might better understand him. Some proclaimed themselves his disciples in advance, so that when he came there might be some at least to stand around him and to understand him.
Then one day he came. And he told the people of the world that he had come to bring them happiness, to heal their pain and to soothe their sorrows. He said that he himself, through much suffering and pain, had found his way to an abode of peace, to a Kingdom of eternal Joy. He told them that he had come to lead them and to guide them to that abode. But, he said, because the path leading to that Kingdom was steep and narrow, only those could follow him who were willing to set aside everything that they had accumulated in the past. He asked them to set aside their Gods, their religions, their rites and ceremonies, their books and their knowledge, their families and friends. And if they would do that, he said, he would provide them with food for the journey, he would satisfy their burning thirst with the living water he possessed, and would bring them into the Kingdom of Happiness where he himself dwelt eternally.
Then those people, who for so many years had been preparing for the Teacher, began to feel uncomfortable and troubled. For they said: "This is not the teaching we expected and for which we have been preparing. How can we renounce all this knowledge which we have so painfully acquired? Without it the world would never understand the Teacher. How can we renounce all these splendid rites and ceremonies in the performing of which we find so much happiness and power? How can we renounce our families and friends when we need them so much? What teaching is this?"
And they began to question among themselves: "Can this indeed be the Teacher whom we have been expecting? We never thought he would speak in this way and ask of us such renunciations." And those especially who had proclaimed themselves his disciples, because of their more intimate knowledge of his will, felt uncomfortable and troubled.
Then after much thought and meditation light came to them and a solution of their difficulties. And they said: "lt is true that the Teacher comes to help the world, but we know the world better than he does and so we will act as his interpreters to the world."
And so those who had knowledge said: "His call for renunciation does not apply to us because the world needs our knowledge and could not do without it, so for the sake of the world we shall go on seeking knowledge."
And those who performed rites and ceremonies said: "We have of course renounced all rites and ceremonies for our own benefit, we have passed beyond any need of them, but for the sake of the world we shall continue to perform them, otherwise the world would suffer." So they continued to build Churches and Temples and to perform rites, all to help the world, and they were too busy to listen to the Teacher.
And the only people who willingly renounced were those who gave up their homes and their families because they wanted freedom from duty and obligation. And they came to the Teacher and said: "We have left all to follow you, now find us an easy job where we can work for you and also earn a living."
Some there were, a few, who set aside all things, and sat at the feet of the Teacher, and tried to learn from him how they might feed the hungry and satisfy the thirsty. These people thought that his wisdom was likely to prove more helpful to the world than their knowledge; that his simplicity might be more easily understood than their complications; that the Teacher might know best when he said that rites and ceremonies were not necessary for the finding of the happiness he came to give; that you could renounce your family and friends in your heart while not deserting them in the flesh.
But the others reproached them for their selfishness and idleness. They said: "The world does not need the bread of the Teacher, but a particular kind of pastry for which we hold the recipe. It does not need water to quench its thirst, but the wine contained in our chalices. The words of your Teacher will not help the world, because they are too simple and the world cannot understand what they mean. We have complicated theories to solve the complicated problems of the world and the world can understand them."
So there were few of those who had most eagerly announced the coming of the Teacher who listened to the teaching he gave. There were some who said: "This is not the Teacher we expected, so we will go on preparing for the coming of the real Teacher." And the others built up walls and barriers round him so that none could get to him unless they opened the gates.
So in a few years he went away and then the same people hailed him as divinely inspired, and they built new Churches in his name and invented new and elaborate rites and ceremonies for his glory, and built a new religion upon the teaching he had not given. And the world continued to suffer and cry for help.
A HYMN. I have stood in Thy holy presence, I have seen the splendor of Thy face, I prostrate at Thy sacred feet, I kiss the hem of Thy garment, I have felt the glory of Thy beauty, I have seen Thy serene look.
Thy wisdom has opened my closed eyes, Thine eternal peace has transfigured me. Thy tenderness, the tenderness of a mother to her child, the teacher to his pupil, I have felt.
Thy compassion for all things, living and non-living, the animate and inanimate, I have felt.
Thy joy, indescribable, has thrilled me, Thy voice has opened in me many voices. Thy touch has awakened my heart. Thine eyes have opened mine eyes. Thy glory has kindled the glory in me. O Master of Masters, I have yearned for this happy hour when I should stand in Thy holy presence, At last it has been granted unto me. I am happy, I am peaceful, peaceful as the bottom of a deep blue lake. I am calm, calm as the snow-clad mountaintop above the storm clouds. I have longed for this hour, it has come. I shall follow humbly in Thy footsteps along that path which Thy holy feet have trodden. I shall humbly serve the world, the world for which thou hast suffered, sacrificed and toiled. I shall bring that peace into the world. I have longed for this happy hour, it has come.
Thine image is in mine heart, Thy compassion is burning in me, Thy wisdom guides me, Thy peace enlightens me, Thy tenderness has given me the power to sacrifice. Thy love has given me energy. Thy glory pervades my entire being.
I have yearned for this hour, it has come, in all the splendor of a glorious spring. I am young as the youngest. I am old as the oldest. I am happy as a blind lover, for I have found my love. I have seen. I can never be blind, though a thousand years pass. I have seen Thy divine face everywhere, in the stone, in the blade of grass, in the giant pines of the forest, in the reptile, in the lion, in the criminal, in the saint. I have longed for this magnificent moment, it came and I have grasped it.
I have stood in Thy presence. I have seen the splendor of Thy face. I prostrate at Thy sacred feet. I kiss the hem of Thy garment.
MY HEART DANCES WITH THY LOVE
The mind well poised, Calm, serene, Free from the limitations of prejudice, My heart dances with Thy love, O Beloved.
How can I forget Thy love? As well ask the rose To delight in summer's day Without its tender petals.
How can I be separated from Thee, O Guru of Gurus? As well ask the waters of the sea To separate from its joyous waves.
If in this world there is loneliness, Then, where art Thou, O my Love?
As the sun fills the earth With dancing shadows and great open spots of light, So hast Thou filled my heart In great abundance.
FIND THY SOUL, O FRIEND
Nay, canst thou tell me, O friend, Whence comes this mighty assurance And the purpose thereof? The cause of this ceaseless strife, This violent desire for many possessions, This immense longing for life, This never-ending struggle after the passing happiness? How quickly Fades the lovely rose. How easily O friend, Sorrow is begotten.
O friend, Thou wilt find thy lasting happiness In no temple, In no book, Not in the intellect of man, Nor in the Gods of thy creation. Go not to holy places, Worship not in wayside shrines.
How easily The tranquil pool is disturbed, And the reflection thereof.
Nay, friend, Seek not thy happiness In passing things. Find thy soul, O friend, For there alone Abideth thy Beloved.
TELL ME, WHICH IS THE REAL?
How suddenly The still pool is disturbed! The passing wind Delights with the restless waters, The Insect Makes patterns, Annoying the tranquil waters. The reflections pass away, to be re-established again, The stately tree, The blue heavens, The swift bird, The heavy cloud, The tall house with many windows, Are there in the quiet pool.
The sun through the green leaves, The distant stars, through immense space, My own face, so close, Are there established. O pool, My tears disturb thy waters. Tell me, Which is the real?
THE BEGGAR AT THE SHRINE
As the beggar, Lean and hungry, Sits on the steps of the temple Shaking his empty bowl, So have I sat Crying for my empty heart To be filled.
The worshippers On their way to the Shrine, With the habit of offering, With a smile, They gave me of their gifts.
But on the morrow, With the beggers I took my place Once again, Sad and empty.
As many scores of rivers Enter into the sea, So the understanding of the world Has come unto me. Immense longing Is born unto me, An aching love Is burning my heart, A passionate desire Is consuming my being.
Come away, Come away, O world, From thy changing sorrows, From thy dying love. I have found the way.
Come away, Come away, O world, From thy little Gods, From thy interpreters thereof. I have found the way.
Come away, Come away, O world, From thy fleeting passions, From thy decaying achievements. I have found the way. Come away, Come away, O world, From thy prison of pain, From thy keepers thereof. I have found the way.
Come away, Come away, O world, From thy burning desires, From thy agonies therein. I have found the way.
Come away, Come away, O world, From the false, From the burdens thereof. I have found the way.
Come away, Come away, O world, From thy kneeling, From the holding up of thy sad hands, The temple walls are falling. I have found the way.
Come away, Come away, O world, For all things perish, Though thy soft tears Wash away thy memories. I have found the way.
Seized am I With a burning passion To free thee From thy cage, For I have found the way.
The bird is on the wing, And his voice fills my heart. The vast firmament, The limitless space, Enfold me.
I am thy lover, I am thy teacher, Renounce all And follow me, For my way Is the way of Liberation.
Come, Come away, O love, Sit beside me; I will teach thee The way to Happiness.
WALK BY THE LIGHT OF MY LOVE AND THOU SHALT CAST NO SHADOW
My well-Beloved and I Hold thee, O friend, In our heart. I speak to thee From the depths of my heart. I am united with my well-Beloved. I am as the petal to the rose; I am as the scent to the jasmine, My well-Beloved and I Are inseparable, indivisible. As the moon reflects the glory of the sun, So do I reflect the glory of my well-Beloved. As soft as the shade Of a moonlit night So is my love for thee, O friend. As the whirlwinds that sweep O'er the lands, So is my love That shall wipe out the darkness about thee. As the mountain streams That come down with a roar Into the valley, So let my love enter into thee. As the solitary tree Amidst the great mountains Withstands the raging winds, So shall my love uphold thee In times of strife and affliction. As the sea putteth forth mighty waves And conquereth all things So shall my love vanquish The travail of thy life.
Yea, O friend, passing exceeding great Is my love for thee. Drink of it, thou shalt be no more thirsty. Eat of it, thou shalt know of no hunger. Bind it to thy heart, thou shalt not taste of sorrow. Write it down in the tablet of thy mind, Thou shalt be the son of wisdom and understanding. Walk by the light of my love, Thou shalt cast no shadow.
O friend, Come unto me, I will show thee the way of love. Turn not thy head, Close not up thine ears, Seal not up thy heart, But come after me, I will lead thee To the abode of love. Oh! My heart acheth for thee, For thou dost not listen To the voice of my love. Why dost thou not answer to my call? Why dost thou walk away from me? Why dost thou hide thy face among the shadows? Why dost thou pursue the fleeting That engendereth in thee sorrow? Why dost thou hold thyself against me? Why art thou blind to my love? Why dost thou eat out of the hand of affliction? Ah! Answer me, For I am heavy with love.
The love that begetteth sorrow, The love that killeth the smile on an open face, The love that changeth from moment to moment, The love that's lonely in its solitude, The love that's haughty and oppressive, The love that destroyeth the love for others, The love that binds and places a limitation, The love that's consumed with the fires of self, These thou shalt not taste of If thou walkest with me.
O friend, What dost thou pursue? What's the purpose that leadeth thee on? What shadows entice thee on? What murmurings urge thee on? Whither goest thou?
O friend, The divisions of people, The oppression of the poor, The wars of nations, The exploitation of the ignorant,
The hatred of class against class, The strife after wealth, and the sorrow thereof, The intricacy of governments, The portioning of lands, All these cease to be In the clothing of love.
Doth not the man of the fields, After the labours of the day, Seek the shelter of love? Doth not the man of multitudes of things Grow weary of his possessions And seek the shelter of love? Doth not the ruler of many peoples Suffer the loneliness of his ambitions And seek the shelter of love. Doth not the man of the temple, Caught up in the exhaustion of his worship, Seek the shelter of love? Yea, All are in search of the abode That giveth them the glory of love.
But why dost thou contest, O friend, One against another, In the pursuit of love? Why this setting aside of joy In the hatred of one against another? Why this consuming envy That setteth one against another, And destroyeth utterly thy happiness?
Oh! My heart aches for thee, O friend. Keep open wide thy heart, And let no dark shadows creep therein, For without love there shall be Desolation and a strife without an end. Keep pure thy heart, For with impurity There shall be affliction and travail. I tell thee That wherever thou art, Whatever be thy sorrow, Whatever be thy rejoicing, The way to the heart of the Beloved Is the way of love. For it leadeth thee to simplicity, And to the faith that conquereth. Understanding cometh by the way Of love, And knowledge therefrom. Yea, Love all and therein lose thyself. My well-Beloved and I Hold thee, O friend, In our heart. I speak to thee From the depth of my love. I am as the petal to the rose, I am as the scent to the jasmine. I am united with my well-Beloved; Come unto me: I am the heart of love.
MY HEART IS HEAVY WITH THY LOVE
The red, red moon arose Eastward, o'er the dreaming sea. The dark palm sighs With the coming quiet of the night. The distant cry of a bird On its homeward flight, The soft ripple of cool waters Tapping the warm shores.
A heart burdened Of frenzied joy, near pain. A heart of understanding is my need.
A melodious song, Soft and plaintive, Cometh up from the deep shadows. Oppressive grows the quiet night air. As the far winking light In the dark temple tower, Above the worshippers And their groaning prayers, High above the silent Gods Amidst their gloomy abodes, So have I become, Free from the hand that wrought me, The conquerer of aching time And its sorrowing ways.
O friend, Come away from the complications of belief, Destroy the monumental superstitions Of thy enslaving creed. But grow in the simplicity of thy heart, In the shadows of thy suffering. O Beloved, My heart is heavy with thy love.
WHO SHALL GIVE THEE COMFORT
Who shall give thee comfort In the days of thy trouble, In the days of thy sorrow? From whom shalt thou seek The consolation of thy heart, The satisfaction of thy mind, In the days of darkness, In the days of affliction? As the rain cometh And falleth on the land In due season, So, O friend, Sorrow descends on all, And it shall spare none. The poor who are humble in the ways Of life, The wealthy who are arrogant in their hearts, The oppressor who maketh the land to cry, The ruler who is far from the peoples, The ardent lover of God, The pursuer of fleeting pleasures; Yea, None shall be spared.
Shall the offering of flowers In the temple Bring to thee the lasting comfort That thou seekest? Shall the chanting of many voices Chase away from thy heart The shadow that covereth it? Shall the perfume of incense Drive away from thy mind The anxiety that over-layeth it? Shalt thou forget the oppression Of thy heart By the consuming of drink? Shalt thou chase away the shadow By the company of many friends? Shall the multitude of rejoicings Bring to thee the consolation That thou seekest? Shall songs and music Entice thee away From thine affliction? Shall the fleeting love In its delight hold thee back From thine aching heart? O friend, As the dark cloud Blotteth out the sun And casteth shadows on the land,
Sorrow shall encompass thee about And destroy the smile on thy face.
In the days of mine illusion, When darkness lay about me, I sought to overpower The sorrow-laden heart With the multitude of rejoicings. Every abode of music knew me, Every flower of decay held me, Every jewel of the eye enticed me. The cool temples, With their great shadows And the cooing of many doves, Gave the passing comfort of a day. The Gods thereof played with me In the innocence of their greatness. They whispered to me of the life In the haven of their rest. The preachers thereof Lulled me to sleep By the words of their books, And the promises of reward For my good deeds. The perfume of the sacred flowers Gave to me of their comfort.
As the leaf is The plaything of the winds, So was I the toy Of sorrow. As the cloud is chased By the cruel winds, So was I driven From shelter to shelter By the mutterings of affliction. But now, O friend, I am beyond The haven of the Gods. The limitations of the preachers, Of books, No longer bind me. As the soft breeze That plays about the temple, So have I become. Not a thing shall hold me, For sorrow is the companion Of the seekers of shelter. Yea, I have found The eternal abode of happiness, I have opened up The fountain of lasting joy. I am beyond sorrow, I am liberated.
My Beloved abideth in me, We two are one.
O friend, I tell thee, As behavior dwelleth with righteousness, So eternal happiness abideth in thine own heart. This vain search After the desires of thy heart Among the flowers of decay Holds thee in its shadows. Thou canst not escape This fury of sorrow In a moment of forgetfulness. No God will give thee The happiness thou seekest. No mutterings of sacred words Will loosen thee From the cords of affliction. There is no way To that abode of lasting happiness Save by the union of the self With the Beloved.
Conceal not thy heart In the sanctity of thoughtlessness As the bird of prey From the open skies Examines the fields of the earth For its food, So thou must look into thy heart And destroy the shadows That are concealed therein, For in the shade Hides the self. There must never be a moment of ease Or the satisfaction of contentment, For thou shalt not behold The face of the Beloved In a heart heavy with stagnation. There must be revolt And great discontentment, For with these Thou shalt purify thy heart. Who shall give thee Of these things? Who will purify thee Of thy stagnation? Who shall uphold thee In thy ceaseless struggle? The perfume cometh forth From the heart of the lotus. O friend, I tell thee As behaviour dwelleth with righteousness, So eternal happiness abideth in thine own heart.
At the great heights Where the snow-clad mountains Meet the blue firmament, I met with two strangers. We talked awhile And separated, Never to meet again.
As two ships, On the vast waters of the sea, pass each other, And the travellers thereof Wave to each other, Never to meet again, So were we On this sea of life.
Often Have I felt sad At the passing by Of a stranger, In some lonesome spot. But yesterday, When the two strangers That I met with Disappeared Around the bend of a narrow path, My heart went with them, And they remained with me. Of what nationality, Of what faith, I know not, Nor care I. They were like unto me, Alone in a solitary place, Seeking new visions, Climbing greater heights, Struggling up dangerous paths, And going down to the valley Once again. This incessant struggle To reach the mountain top, Rarely attaining the glory thereof, But ever descending To the plains, Where man makes his abode, Has been my lot, Life upon life.
But now, O strangers, I have reached the pinnacle Of the mysterious mountain. I know full well The struggles thereof, The great chasms that divide, The precipices That men Slip down I know full well The multitude of paths That encircle the mountain, But they meet all At the narrow ridge Beyond which All must climb upward If they would attain The mountain summit. There is only one path Leading upward Beyond that ridge Towards which all paths Come together.
O strangers, I know not Where ye be, Through what joys, Through what struggles Ye are passing, But ye are myself.
As two stars Of a sudden Come into being Of a dark night, So ye two Came into my vision And there ye are established. My heart is the heart Of my well-Beloved, It holdeth a multitude.
O my strangers, Once again Ye and I shall meet, I dwell in the abode Which is the end Of all journey. To be united with the Beloved Is to love all, For in all Dwelleth the Beloved.
THE SEARCH OF THE BELOVED
O friend, I show the way That shall open thy heart To the welcome of thy Beloved. As the precious metal Is found at great depths And for the discovery thereof Thou must delve deep down Into the heart of the world, So thou must, If thou wouldst behold The face of the Beloved, Dive deep within thy heart And tear aside The veil upon veil That hides the glory, The Light of thy life. As a fire Is covered o'er With thick smoke Before it shall burst forth Into a roaring flame, So, O friend, Thy heart and mind Are in a cloud of darkness That can be dispelled Only by the desire Of thy deep purpose.
O friend, Thy Beloved, The desire of thy heart, Is my well-Beloved. In times past There was a veil That separated Him from myself, But now I have destroyed This separation And welcomed Him into my heart. He abideth there And I am consumed With His love.
I tell thee That my well-Beloved Is the Beloved of all. He and I are one, We are inseparable, Eternal and everlasting. Yea, I have found the way That shall offer unto thee the ecstasy Of purpose, That shall unfold unto thee the beauty Of life, That shall give happiness Unto all, That shall bring unto thee the comfort Of truth.
As the spark That shall give warmth Is hid among the grey ashes, So, O friend, The light Which shall guide thee Is concealed Under the dust Of thine experience.
O friend, Wait not for the dark shadows That shall fill the valley, Cutting off The sunlit view of the mountain, For by the light of day Thou canst see the path That shall lead thee To the great heights Where the mists of life Shall not confuse thee. This is the time When thou shouldst walk In the open light. The Beloved is with thee, For He and I are One.
O friend, As in the time of winter Thou canst not sow the seeds That shall give thee The food for the coming year, So in time of darkness, Strife and confusion, Thou canst not lay up The lasting happiness That shall be the wellspring Of thy life. O friend, As in the springtime When every seed Shall shoot forth To the glory of its fulfillment, So in the days Of thy great rejoicing Every deed of thy thought, Every action of thy feeling Shall come forth To its full fruition, And it shall give thee The burden thereof. O friend, As in the time of decay, How sad it is That the green foliage Should wither and die, So grievous it is That in the time of desolation There be none to deliver thee From the shadows of thy creation. O friend, There is a time for all things. This is the time When thou shouldst walk In the open light. The Beloved is with thee For He and I are One.
As a traveller In the full knowledge Of his voyage puts aside the things that shall weigh him down On his journey, So, O friend, Set aside all things That shall compass thee On thy journey In search of the Beloved. For without the Beloved There shall be no comfort There shall be no rejoicing, There will be no permanency But There shall be confusion, Strife and the conflict of purpose, A darkness and a searching, A misery and a travail.
O friend, The Beloved is thyself. But to realize Him And to hold Him Fast in thy heart, Firm in thy mind, There must be no dark spot Hidden away In thy being. No false comforters, No pleasant Gods Who give thee counsel Of ease, No greeds that bind thee, No beliefs that shelter thee In their dark shadows; No thoughts, no affections that hold thee. O friend, pursue the self From shelter to larger shelter, From temple to greater temple, From desire to greater desire, From conceit to greater conceit. Mercilessly chase him Down the paths of his delights, Relentlessly question him Of his dying certainties. Till in the long last, O friend, Thou drivest him To the open light Where he shall cast no shadow, Where he shall be united With the Beloved. Then thou shalt realize The Beloved, Then thou shalt be Like unto myself.
O friend, There is a time for all things. This is the time When thou shouldst walk In the open light. The Beloved is with me For He and I are One.
THE BELOVED IN ALL
My Beloved and I Are one. I come forth from Him, My being is in Him. Without Him I am As the cloud that wandereth from one shelter To another, That hath no resting place. In Him Is my rest. In Him Is my glory. For in Him All things exist And I in all. O friend, I tell thee Of the way to the heart Of the Beloved. For I am the Beloved. My Beloved and I Are One. As a dew drop Entereth the sea, So have I become one With my Beloved.
The well-Beloved Is in all. All things are in the Beloved. The blade of grass That men do tread down, The great spreading tree That giveth shelter, The green reptile That men hold in terror, The fly that annoyeth The seller of the sweetmeat, The singing bird That delighteth the ear, The fierce lion That giveth fear To the heart of the forest, The simple barbarian That men hold up in contempt, The man of great knowledge That giveth satisfaction to many, The worshipper of many gods That wandereth from shrine to shrine.
Life is one As my Beloved and I Are one. There is only one way To the heart of the Beloved. That path lieth Through thyself, Through thine own heart. Of that I tell thee. There be many forms Of His manifestation, But there is only one way, O friend, That leadeth me To the heart of my well-Beloved.
In times When I obeyed The laws of the gods, Of the world, I walked on the paths That lead to their shrines, And there I was held in the power Of their small authority, But the fury of discontentment Drove me on, Never stayed I In the shelter Of the temple. As one wandereth From place to place In search of lasting comfort, So wandered I, Setting aside the comforts That gave me over to sleep, Till in the long last I opened my heart; There found I My well-beloved. Many will tell thee, O friend, That there be various works, Many ways To the approach of the Beloved. Yea, There be, But they all lead To one path, For there is only one way To the heart of the Beloved. Of that I tell thee. If thou wouldst discover My well-Beloved That abides in me, O friend, Then thou must Set aside all thy gods, Thy comforts, thy small authorities. Thou must cleanse thyself Of thy conceit of little knowledge. Thou must purify thyself Of thy heart and mind. Thou must renounce all Thy companions, Thy friends, thy family, Thy father, thy mother, Thy sister and thy brother. Yea, Thou must renounce all. Thou must destroy Thy self utterly, To find the Beloved.
O friend, Wouldst thou walk In the light of a candle When I give thee The light of the Beloved? I tell thee My Beloved and I are one. I know the way. Come with me, I shall lead thee To my heart Where dwells the Beloved. There be many reflections That fade and die away, But I possess The truth That is everlasting. Of that I give thee, O friend. Why is there doubt In thy heart? Art thou happy in the shadows? Do men give thee The substance that shall satisfy thy hunger? Thou playest by the rivers Of water, But they quench not Thy burning thirst. Art thou content With the decaying? O friend, My heart is heavy with love For thee. Come to me And I shall give thee Of my love, That knoweth no alteration, That knoweth no decay, That withereth not, For my well-Beloved and I Are one. I come from Him, I tell thee Of the way that lieth hid In the heart of my Beloved. I shall open unto thee The gate That shall admit thee To the abode of my well-Beloved. That valley lieth in the shadow Of a deep cloud, And I dwell among The mountain tops. Yea, My well-Beloved and I are one.
I AM ALL
I am the blue firmament and the black cloud, I am the waterfall and the sound thereof, I am the graven image and the stone by the wayside, I am the rose and the falling petals thereof, I am the flower of the field and the sacred lotus, I am the sanctified waters and the still pool, I am the tree that towereth among the mountains And the blade of grass in the peaceful lane, I am the tender spring leaf and the evergreen foliage. I am the barbarian and the sage, I am the pious and the impious, I am the godly and the ungodly, I am the harlot and the virgin, I am the liberated and the man of time, I am the renunciation and the proud possessor, I am the destructible and the indestructible. I am neither This nor That, I am neither detached nor attached, I am neither heaven nor hell, I am neither philosophies nor creeds, I am neither the Guru nor the disciple.
O friend, I contain all.
I am clear as the mountain stream, Simple as the new spring leaf. Few know me. Happy are they That meet with me.
I CANNOT TEACH YOU TO PRAY
I cannot teach you to pray, O friend, Nor can I teach you to weep. I am not the God of your long prayers, Nor am I the cause of your many sorrows. They are made by the hand of man.
Come with me, O friend, I will lead you To the fountain of Happiness. Laughter is as the honey In the heart of the scented flower. You shall drink of it In that garden of roses Where all desire ceases Save the desire to be like the Beloved.
This pool of Wisdom Is not made by the hand of man, Nor are the steps leading down to its clear waters. There you will meet with every man, The brown, the white, The black, the yellow. In its pure waters, You will behold the face of my Beloved.
Come, O friend, Leave all your passing joys, Your burning anxieties, Your aching sorrows, Your fading love, Your ever-growing desires. For all these lead but to prayer, To the cause of many tears. As the passing wind is the life of man, As the withering rose is the love of man, The glory and the strength Are gone in but a day.
I have drunk deep at this pool. My Beloved has filled me With the delights of eternity.
Truth is neither evil nor good, Truth is neither love nor hate, Truth is neither the pure nor the impure, Truth is neither holy nor unholy, Truth is neither simple nor complex, Truth is neither of heaven nor hell, Truth is neither moral nor immoral, Truth is neither of the God nor of the devil, Truth is neither virtue nor vice, Truth is neither birth nor death, Truth is neither in religion nor without religion. Truth is as the waters - -it wanders, It has no resting place. For Truth is Life. I saw the mountain come down to the valley.
DESIRE IS LIFE
Desire is Life. The fulfillment of Life Is the perfection of Desire.
As the scent of a lone flower is desire That fades with the death of the flower, That has no being in itself But comes into rejoicing with Life;
As the roaring waters rushing through the dark valley - - Hidden, boisterous, terrible - - So is desire.
As angry as the waters seeking a release Is desire. Woe to him who is caught up therein.
Through the dark valley Lie the open, smiling fields, And the scent of many flowers.
The fear of desire Is the putting away of Life.
In the corruption of the known Man is stifled By his fear of the unknown.
As a lone cloud is driven in search of a secluded valley, So, pursued by fear, Man creates out of the known The protection of the image of God. In that protection fear is multiplied. Strange is the way of the shadow of fear.
The voice of fear calls out And man burdens the earth With the loveliness of a distant paradise And with the horror of a near hell. The shadow of fear covers the land.
Between himself and his fear Man builds a temple for the image of his God, And in its dark shadows is born a religion of great panoply, Whose threat is conditioned by a loving priest.
Against that fear which he calls death, Man seeks out a way for the furtherance of life, And in that search fear is the master of his love. The sacrifice of the unwise is out of the burden of fear.
The burden of wealth is the fear of the rich. The poor are caught up in the desire for possession. Envy, hatred, ambition, pride of dignity, judgment of convention, The good, the evil, and the cruelty of binding morality, Are but the sign posts on the path of fear. If fear be the source of thought, Then shall there be darkness in the land. If the bubbling wellspring of love be corrupted by fear, Then its clear waters shall create a burning thirst In the mouth of man.
Ah, friend, The loveliness of life is not the child of fear But it lies in the womb of understanding. Fear brings forth the tears of the world. Laughter rejoices in the wake of true love.
A dried pool aches for the coming rains.
Place not thy love in the scent of a decaying violet, But hold in thy heart that love which is Life, That love which is of the Beloved. As a great flame that defies all corruption So is this love of the Beloved.
O friend, Why dost thou need the still weight of temples When Life dances in the street?
O friend, Why dost thou hide in fear - - Of death, of loneliness, of sorrow - - When Life rejoices about thee in the swaying fields?
O friend, Why dost thou seek the passing comfort When Life gives of its eternal understanding? O, be the creators of great mountains Rather than seek guides To lead thee up their dangerous ways.
I am Life, I am the Beloved, The flame that defies all corruption.
Ah, come with me, Walk in the way of Life - - Love which brings no death.
O friend, I am anxious for thee.
The long race with time, The ceaseless dance with the winds of space, The burden of lonely sorrow And the gathering in of joy: They are over, and I await thee As the parched land the coming rains. The love that corrupts the form of its loveliness, Offerings to pacify the inward fear of thought, Vain hopes void of understanding, Visions and dreams ever in the semblance of man, Death that creates darkness in life: They are over, and I await thee As the lotus the cool night air.
Hear me, O friend, I await thee, As the snowy peak in a still valley.
In the choicest of valleys There is moaning and lamentation, In the great thoroughfares of men There is the laughter of changing sadness, In the melodious song There is the emptiness of fulfilled desire, Upon the lofty mountain There awaits the stillness of death.
Wave upon wave Comes the action of men To break lonely upon the shores of vain glory. The whirlwind of young love Grows sad within the fold of a single day. Thought conquers the great regions of time, Only to return to the bondage Of a deceiving mind.
Ah, desire is as young as the first ray of dawn, And sad as the procession of death to the grave; Struggle, the pursuit of fleeting pleasure, Toil, the dull pain of easy ambition, Gain, the gathering of the peculiar treasures of the rich, Domination, the cry of perverted judgment that holds the heart of the oppressor, Greed, the cruelty of privation that corrupts the growth of life, Fear, the eager search after the shelters of comfort, Worship, the deep forgetfulness from the confusion of many desires.
To the music of the distant flute Flows the wide, ancient river, Fresh with young waters. Many chants are sung in praise of happiness, Many gods are invoked as guides to happiness, Many heavens are glorified as enticements to happiness, Many altars are built to happiness, Many rites are performed as offerings to happiness, Many benedictions are asked as protection for happiness, Many truths are extolled in anguish for happiness, Many virtues are sought in fear for happiness, Many possessions are gathered in hope of happiness, Many desires are gratified in expectation of happiness, Many sacrifices are made in quest of happiness, Many austerities are imposed in longing for happiness.
Deep in the mire the seed of the lotus is in travail, The soft fragrance lies hid in the heart of the flower.
Life is one. It has no beginning, no end, The source and the goal live in your heart. You are caught up In the darkness of its wide chasm. Life has no creed, no belief, It is of no nation, of no sanctuary, Not bound by birth or by death, Neither male nor female. Can you bind the "waters in a garment" Or "gather the wind in your fists"?
Answer, O friend.
Drink at the fountain of Life. Come, I will show the way. The mantle of Life covers all things.
As the potter's vessels break to pieces, So are they broken who look for shelter, For therein lie sorrow and ever changing confusion. They that desire comfort Shall find desolation. Tears shall await those Who have established comfort in the loftiness of their purpose.
I met a man in the shadow of a temple And I beheld my face in his tears. None shall wake thee from thy weariness And the sun shall have arisen and set Before thou walkest forth. The fatness of thy heart Shall blind thine eye in time of affliction, And as a man is lost in the darkness of the forest, So shall it be with thee If thou stayest in the sanctuary of a graven thought. Ah, friend, Great must be the burning fire To consume thy house of comfort, To increase thy devouring anxiety, For out of that confusion Shall be born full understanding. Take council with the whole For in the part there is decay.
There is order in the freedom of Life But in bondage a great confusion.
Smooth as the waters that delight In the burden of the pure eye of heaven, So is Life in the fullness of its freedom. Furious as the waters that are bound - - Filling the valley with deep anguish - - So is Life in the bondage of its confusion.
Let Life paint of its loveliness On the canvas of thy being. Be thou the background for its fullness. And withhold it not its even flow. He who walks upright amidst confusion Is in love with Life.
Ah, come sit beside me by the sea, open and free. I will tell thee of that inward calmness As of the still deep; Of that inward freedom As of the skies; Of that inward happiness As of the dancing waters. And as now the moon makes a silent path on the dark sea, So beside me lies the clear path of pure understanding. The groaning sorrow is hid under a mocking smile, The heart is heavy with the burden of corruptible love, The deceptions of the mind pervert thought.
Ah, come sit beside me Open and free. As the even flow of clear sunlight, So shall thine understanding come to thee. The burdensome fear of anxious waiting Shall go from thee as the waters recede before the rushing winds. Ah, come sit beside me, Thou shalt know of the understanding of true love. As the mind drives the blind clouds, So shall thy brutish prejudice be driven by clear thought. The moon is in love with the sun And the stars fill the skies with their laughter. Oh, come sit beside me Open and free.
To a man of true purpose There is no renunciation; For he is not drawn away from the path of pure understanding By the confusion of experience, By the multitude of desires, By the deceitfulness of thought.
He is not held by the fear of sacrifice: For the man of true purpose, Time creates not its wasteful abundance.
I saw of an evening, Over a city of vast habitation, A bird swiftly flying towards its distant home.
I walked on a path through the jungle Which an elephant had made, And about me lay a tangle of wilderness. The voice of desolation fills the distant plain. And the city is noisy with the bells of a tall temple. Beyond the jungle are the great mountains, Calm and clear. In the fear of Life The temptation of sorrow is created.
Cut down the jungle - -not one mere tree, For Truth is attained By putting aside all that you have sown.
And now I walk with the elephant.
The world moans and languishes, Thought is ashamed and made crooked. Love is a wilderness and a cruel confusion. The pure blossom of Life is turned to dust.
How they suffer, how they despise! The anger of contempt breeds hatred, And affection is smitten in the midst of the street. The shadow of weariness lies on the face of man.
His ambition is in the dust of decay, His doubt creates a darkness about him, His talk is as the sound of many hoofs On the smooth-paved roads Filling the silent house. His glory, his pomp, his rejoicings, Cover the empty spaces of his loneliness. The dark fear of death Snatches away the jewel in his eye. And as the spider weaves with delicate ease its web So man weaves the stuff of common events But is caught up in its exquisite confusion. His days are spent in the destruction of his handiwork.
The song of the river, The wandering of the waters, And a dead tree in full summer. Ah, in the cruel confusion of purpose The pure blossom of Life lies withering. Who shall nourish it, who shall uphold it, Who shall awaken it to its sweet fragrance?
My Beloved calls And the echo goes aching down the valley.
THE GARDEN OF MY HEART
I am the path Leading to the sheltered garden Of thy heart, O world. I am the fountain That feeds thy garden, O world, With the tears Of my experience. I am the scented flower That beautifies thy garden, The honey thereof, The delight of thy heart. Destroy the weeds In thy garden, O world, And keep thy heart pure and strong, For there alone I can grow.
Create no barriers In the garden of thy heart, O world, For in limitation I wither and die. I have a garden In my heart, O world, Where every flower Speaketh of thee.
Open the gates Of thy garden of thy heart, O world, And let me in. Without me There shall be no shade, Nor the soft breeze From the cool mountains.
I have a garden in my heart, O world, That hath no beginning And no end, Where the mighty Do sit with the poor, Where the Gods Do delight with the human. Open as the vast skies, Clear as the mountain stream, Strong as the tree in the wind, Is my heart.
Come, O world, Gather thy flowers In the garden of my heart.
Desire is life, And the freedom of life is the freedom from desire. Love is life, And the happiness of life is the incorruptibility of love. Thought is life, And union with life is the glory of a boundless mind.
With the eternity of life, Inseparable, undecaying and immeasurable, I am in union: Mine immortality is my Beloved, The Beloved of all life.
O friend, Sorrow is the flower of understanding And it beareth the fruit of rejoicing. Out of the fullness of thy heart Invite sorrow And the joy thereof shall be in abundance. Sorrow shall bring forth love eternal, Sorrow shall unfold the weaving of Life, Sorrow shall give the strength of loneliness, Sorrow shall open the closed doors of thy heart, Sorrow shall conquer the spaces of eternity. Out of the fullness of thy heart Invite sorrow. As the streams swell After the great rains And the pebbles rejoice once again In the murmur of running waters, So shall the gatherings by the wayside Fill the emptiness that creates fear. The scent is coming on the breeze. Take not shelter In the abode of authority Where breed comfort and decay. Come away, come away. To go far, Thou must begin near. To climb high, Thou must begin low.
The voice of sorrow is the song of fulfillment And the rejoicings therein The fullness of Life.